PSC – What happened?

March 12, 2007 at 7:43 am (voltairespriest)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketDoes anyone know what happened at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign conference this weekend just gone? I’m told (and I also read on Harry’s Place) that anti-Zionist activists Tony Greenstein and Sue Blackwell were putting a motion to have to campaign proscribe Deir Yassin Remembered, due to that organisation’s association with far-rightists such as Israel Shamir and Holocaust deniers like Ernest Zundel. Incidentally, before we go any further, if you think that’s all hyperbole then you should bear in mind that Greenstein, Blackwell and I (and still less that pair and Denham) are hardly political allies. Furthermore, you might want to read this article by DYR director Paul Eisen, which contains the immortal line:

“Although I stopped short of coming out in definite agreement with revisionists, I did (and do) find their case compelling.”

Obviously historical scholarship ain’t his thing.

UPDATE: The comments box on Harry’s Place, and a report at the anti-semitic rathole that is the “Peace Palestine” blog, state that Greenstein’s motion fell by a huge margin. Which would be a great shame as I’m someone who was very sympathetic to the PSC at one stage, and I still would be upset to see it descend into such a pit of far-right associations as DYR seems to be bringing it toward.

The comments box is all yours, if you have any information or opinions. 

40 Comments

  1. David T said,

    People are being rather tight lipped about this.

    Even Atzmon groupiesphere is less triumphalist than one might expect – although I think we can expect a piece by Atzmon in the next day or so explaining that the “jewish gatekeepers” who wish to invoke “jewish power” to control the Palestine Solidarity movement have been well and truely defeated.

    If I were them, I would push my advantage, and try to afflilate Deir Yassin to the PSC. I wonder if they would be successful, though. I notice that DYR was once on the PSC’s links page, but now has disappeared:

    http://tinyurl.com/2xyxwl
    http://tinyurl.com/2hnjj8

    What I think the spin on the rejection of the Greenstein/Blackwell motion will be is that “Palestinians are the Priority” and “We Must not Split the Movement” etc. This is the Ramzy Baroud line:

    “However, instead of confronting the Zionist scheme that has brought such untold harm to the image of one of the greatest and oldest monotheistic faiths by holding Israel and its associates to account, there is a growing and alarming trend where members of the peace and justice movement have themselves fallen into the ominous trap: engaging in most ruinous and consuming scuffles, isolating members and entire groups for allegedly being anti-Semitic. While taking a moral stance against racism in all of its forms is a requisite for any genuine peace and justice activist, the intense debate in some instances is reaching such grievous points that it is threatening to tear apart the peace and justice movement.

    A most notable example is the quarrel in the United Kingdom between members of Jews against Zionism and those of Deir Yassin Remembered; the former, accusing members of the latter of anti-Semitism, is endorsing a motion at an upcoming conference of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign that would ostracize the Deir Yassin group from the peace and justice movement. Members of both groups have spoken out strongly against the maltreatment of Palestinians in the past and both have a lot to offer PSC and its various activities.

    The entire episode is a continuation of an alarming trend that began in the U.S. several years ago, and has consumed activists, distracting them from the real fight. Moreover, it is dangerously compromising constructive dialog and freedom of speech, the lack thereof has historically sidelined the pro-Palestinian voice for decades. If members of both groups are unable to work jointly and sort out their differences through dialog, then they should refrain from taking their fights to the public, as has been the case in Britain, in ways that are demoralizing the entire movement. ”

    What this rhetoric hides, however, is the following:

    (1) The Palestinian Solidarity movement has a significant constituency which is either unconcerned about racism directed at the “powerful” jews (i.e. the ones who together constitute “The Lobby”, etc.)

    (2) Some of that constituency is racist.

    (3) There is also a potential tension between those PSC-ers who still formally speak of a “single democratic secular state”, and those who take the view that solidarity requires full support of Hamas: an organisation which looks forward to the genocide of jews in its Constitution.
    Far better simply to dodge the issue.
    After all, if Blackwell were to have succeeded in skewering DYR, that would open the door to a consideration of the far more serious issue of the relationship of the solidarity movement with Hamas.

    What is clear, however, is that the Palestinian Solidarity movement is now confident that it does not need socialist or anti-zionist jewish figureheads to prove that its positions are not racist. Greenstein and Rance have been effectively told to sod off. Atzmonism has triumphed. Blackwell’s position has been destroyed.

    As a footnote, see David Roseberg’s account, here, of how JFJFP were thrown off the STWC platform by a leading member of the SWP:

    “During the summer of 2006 there were two big demonstrations over the lebanon war in London. I spoke at one for “European Jews for a Just Peace”. On the second one there was due to be a speaker from Jews for Justice for Palestinians (jfjfp). The proposal to have a speaker from jfjfp was strongly supported by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. But this proposal was blocked within the Stop the War committee.

    I have been told, on very good authority, who blocked it – a leading member of the SWP. I don’t know whether this member is also part of the faction that is supporting the continued association with Atzmon but I wouldn’t be surprised.”

    http://tinyurl.com/3a2dq2

  2. David T said,

  3. jules said,

    Thanks for the report T. Despite the spin put on the events by the Engage and DYR clowns the decision reached by conference was the correct one. The motions put forward by Greenstein, Blackwell and Rance were ideologically far too narrow to be suitable for a broadbased movement is solidarity with the Palestinians.

    The ammendment passed stated explicitly that anyone holding anti-Semitic
    views could not be a member of the PSC. In addition they issued a statement before the debate that they have never had nor do they have any links with Deir Yassin
    Remembered. All seems entirely reasonable to me.

  4. voltaires_priest said,

    Cheers Jules, and thanks Mr T.

  5. http://modernityblog.blogspot.com said,

    if we accept Jules’ point that SPSC has had no links with Deir Yassin
    Remembered, etc and utterly deplores antisemitism, then why did Greenstein, Blackwell and Rance bring up the issues?

    Hmm?

  6. Renegade Eye said,

    As an outsider I agree with your analysis.

    You don’t link to my blog anymore?

  7. voltaires_priest said,

    Sorry Renegade, it was an error not a deliberate act!

    I’ve now reinstated your link.

  8. twp77 said,

    This is a very interesting development indeed. Is the tide turning on the left? I remember a friend of mine recently visited from NY and upon seeing the Hasidic Jewish members of our neighborhood in North London said “Do they control everything here like they do in New York?”

    I immediately responded with “Don’t say that! Why would you say such a thing?” She replied “Because it’s true.” I said it wasn’t and changed the subject.

    I attended a StWC event at my university as well and there was a gentleman from Campaign Iran there who proceeded to defend Ahmedinejad’s comments on Israel. There were about five other people there including a black British guy who said “I agree, I think Israel should be wiped off the map”. Instead of disapproval, this was met with nervous laughter from the SWPers. This type of subtle or overt racism can’t be tolerated any longer.

    I think it is high time that the left distances itself from groups which will not take a strong stance on anti-semitism and I hope that the fact that people like Greenstein and Rance are trying to take up this issue – in however half-assed a way – indicates a shift and recognition of how far down that road the left has travelled.

  9. johng said,

    The Muslim Brotherhood and the Left:

    http://www.merip.org/mer/mer242/hamalawy.html

  10. johng said,

    Just to say that I agree wholly with Jules on the conference thing. Thats simply what happened.

  11. Johnny Rook said,

    If you tag the posts only with the author’s name, you won’t get any hits at all from tags.

  12. http://modernityblog.blogspot.com said,

    JohnG,

    can you tell us, to the best of your knowledge, were any members of the SWP at that conference?

    and if so, how did they vote?

    also could you explain in a logical fashion, why Blackwell, Rance and Greenstein would bring up the issue, if they didn’t think it was a problem??

    why would they do that? I would welcome a logical explanation

  13. johng said,

    I have no idea. To both your questions. But I do know that to accuse the PSC of anti-semitism because they rejected the particular motions put foward is an utter absurdity which only makes sense in terms of a) the general and vicious witch hunting of Palestinians and b) the extremely misguided politics of those who put the motions.

  14. http://modernityblog.blogspot.com said,

    JohnG wrote:

    I have no idea. To both your questions.

    then clearly you are incapable of getting a valid answer to the original question:

    “if we accept Jules’ point that SPSC has had no links with Deir Yassin Remembered, etc and utterly deplores antisemitism, then why did Greenstein, Blackwell and Rance bring up the issues?”

    but let’s pass on that, I doubt we’ll get an honest answer from you, just a party line.

    you state that:

    the extremely misguided politics of those who put the motions.

    how are they misguided ? or are they wrong to be concerned with antisemitism? is that really what you are saying?

    btw, was Mike Rosen misguided about Atzmon too?? or just that he saw the warning signs before you and SWP did?

  15. Jules said,

    Well Modernity, first of all it is the PSC that is in question here not the SPSC which is an organisationally seperate.

    Why Greenstein and co raised this issue i’m not entirely sure, you’d have to ask them. I suspect its becuase they’re hopeless sectarians. DYR are not affliated to the PSand never have been. DYR did have a stall at PSC’s last Trade Union Conference but it was vigorously denied that the stall was officially agreed. The PSC website contained a link to DYR but this was removed in mid january.

    When the PSC executive affirmed to conference that there was no linkage with DYR Greenstein removed all references to them in his motion and all that was left
    was the statement that anti-semites have no place in the PSC and Greenstein’s longwinded and ideologically purist thesis on Zionism. The former was adopted and
    the latter ommitted.

    The hypocritical liars of Engage and Harry’s Slaughterhouse are in essence condemning the PSC for not adopting a thesis on Zionism that neither of them
    would support in a million years. David T is obviously concerned that somebody might burst his little shit stiring bubble with the truth so he’s shut down the
    comment’s on his blog (freedom if it means anything…right?) .

    At any rate these minor factional skirmishes are atotal distraction from the overriding need to build effect solidarity with the Palestinians whist racist Israel continues to oppress them and commits atrocities like this:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6432133.stm

    Incidently VP – is there any reason why I can no longer post on this site from my home IP address? A technical error I hope.

  16. Lenin's Womb said,

    Any reason why I can’t post under my name or from my home IP adress VP?

  17. johng said,

    I really don’t understand why the PSC should be subjected to villification when they have nothing to do with the arguments about either Atzmon or the Deir Yassin Commitee. If Tony et al think that campaigning against Atzmon and Eisen ought to be the main priority of the Palestinian Solidarity Commitee, they are of course welcome to their opinion, but its a bit bizarre to presume that people voting against the proposal are doing so because they are anti-semitic. Especially as I understand that Tony had resigned from the organisation on the basis that the PSC took a catholic position on the two state solution. It was nice of them to allow him to put a motion to the conference (and even perhaps appropriate given his concerns) but it can hardly be seen as obligatory to vote for it, particularly when much of the motion commited people to a whole analyses of US imperialism which many might not have shared. The motion as it stood would have implied that Palestinian and Arab organisations in the US which attempted to form lobbies to counter the Zionist lobby were in some sense anti-semitic. Obviously this is not the intention but its the effect of writing the motion as if the most important thing in the world is Gilad Atzmon. Its not, although there are many, many people who would love it to be.

  18. Jules said,

    Modernity, you’d have to ask Greenstein et al. My own guess is becuase they’re hopeless sectarians.

    When the PSC executive affirmed to conference that there was no linkage with DYR Greenstein removed all references to them in his motion and all that was left
    was the statement that anti-semites have no place in the PSC and Greenstein’s longwinded and ideologically purist thesis on Zionism. The former was adopted and
    the latter ommitted.

    The cyber warriors for Israel (Harry’s Salughterhouse, Engage etc) are in essence objecting to the fact that conference did not pass a thesis on Zionism that they disagree with. Just about sums up what a pathetic bunch of discredited, good-for-nothing losers they are.

  19. Mike Wood said,

    I thought Google Cache searches showed that PSC did indeed have a link to DYR on their site until just a few months ago?

  20. johng said,

    well its hardly very surprising is it? I suppose there are some people who enjoy being ‘shocked and outraged’ by people having google cached links to sites, but this is supposed to be a discussion amongst supporters of the Palestinian struggle for self determination and not a bunch of witless Zionist witch hunters.

  21. http://modernityblog.blogspot.com said,

    so on the one hand, we’re told that the Scottish PSC had no links with Deir Yassin Remembered, and when that is proven incontrovertibly wrong by the use of technology, which proves they did have a link then JohnG simply dismisses it and moves on? Hmm

    and in terms of Greenstein’s, Rance’s or Blackwell’s argumentd which is characteristically misconstrued by JohnG, I doubt that they said ” that campaigning against Atzmon and Eisen ought to be the main priority of the Palestinian Solidarity Commitee,” I would suspect their point was that Palestinian solidarity will not benefit from any association with holocaust deniers, neo-Nazis or similar nutjobs.

    a rather elementary point that any genuine antiracist would get, but alas not JohnG

    and the question of Eisen, Atzmon may not be the most monumental in the world but for antiracists it is good to know which side you’re on, and in this case you’re on the wrong side

    and all your never-ending waffle won’t change those facts

  22. johng said,

    Don’t you ever get tired of your fetid and ridiculous obsessions modernity? I know I do.

  23. http://modernityblog.blogspot.com said,

    JohnG,

    I tire of your evasion and tolerance for anti-Jewish racism.

  24. Jules said,

    Modernity, you have total disregard for the facts. Firstly we’re talking about the PSC not the SPSC which is a completely seperate organisation. Secondly the motions opposing anti-semitism in the PSC were adopted. Thirdly, the link to the DYR website on the PSC website was removed several months ago after some members of the PSC brought the views of some of its members to the leadership’s attention – does this not in fact show that there is no link on any level between the two groups?

    It’s just so pathetic seeing Israel’s online stooges sqirm.

  25. Jules said,

    I’ve just seen Greenstein’s article in the WW regarding the conference. He explains why he believes his motion was defeated, and believe it or not he doesn’t think its because the PSC are a bunch of racists:

    “The PSC executive, however, prefers that motions to its AGM should be solely to do with activism. Political motions are frowned upon. The aim of the campaign, as they see it, is to pressurise governments, flatter trade union leaders and not rock the boat diplomatically. Support for a two-state solution is taken for granted and the idea of a unitary or even a binational state is dismissed, as is deZionisation of the current Israeli state. Not surprisingly the JAZ motions were about as welcome as a ham sandwich at a Jewish wedding!”

    So the hopeless sectarian Greenstein thinks they opposed the motion because they are not willing enough to campiagn against Zionism or call for the dismantling of Israel… and Modernity, a thrid rate Israeli propagandist, takes the side of Greenstein!

    Just confirms to the old Marxist truism that ultra leftism and opportunism are different sides of the same reactionary coin.

  26. voltaires_priest said,

    Lenin’s Womb;

    I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t be able to post from your home IP or under your own name, if you wanted to. It would help obviously if I knew who you actually are, though…

  27. Clive said,

    Jules

    It’s true Greenstein is a sectarian, and it does seem odd to want to link this issue to an explicitly ‘one state’ policy – for one thing because it gives your opponents an easy get-out.

    But equally, it seems pretty odd that not only Greenstein but also Roland Rance – another well-known anti-Zionist, who is more reasonable in general, in my experience, than Greenstein, but pretty much shares his position on Zionism – should feel moved to put resolutions on this issue if, well, there wasn’t one. This is very far from the staple of their political activity.

    I don’t think it follows that PSC are all rabid racists, or something. But the general tone of ‘what are you talking about?’ is troubling.

  28. twp77 said,

    I agree with Clive here. I worked with Roland and there are few people I know who have more consistently defended the Palestinians and I rarely heard him call anyone or any organisation “anti-semitic” and doubt he would’ve done so here without good cause.

    I find it annoying that there are so many personal attacks on these comrades for putting forward their valid viewpoints at a conference and against those contributing on this blog for having a valid discussion about the said motions and conference.

    This is a very important issue for the left and it is not simply going to disappear. The political damage that aligning with anti-semites does to the left is irreparable. Having discussions to ensure that this doesn’t happen any longer is very important – and no it doesn’t mean we are all “Zionist stooges” anymore than it makes people raising the issues of the Palestinians “anti-Semitic”. The tone of the replies from some on here show they don’t take the issue seriously – my question is “why not”? How does tackling anti-semitism within the movement weaken the Palestinian struggle? Surely we can intelligently discuss both of these issues.

  29. http://modernityblog.blogspot.com said,

    Jules,

    I thank you for your correction, my poor old eye sight is a problem sometimes.

  30. Tim said,

    Please leave JohnG alone.
    His tolerance of anti semitism brings his associations into disrepute and is therefore a good thing.
    Let him write freely.

  31. johng said,

    The tone of the replies here assumes that the PSC has a problem with anti-semitism. Thats whats objectionable. And Tony does want the PSC to adopt his view of a one state solution, indeed thats why he resigned from the organisation in the first place. To repeat, it was rather good of them to let him present a motion in the first place.

  32. voltaires_priest said,

    “Rather good of them to let him present a motion”?

    That’s called democratic accountability, John. I know you might be a bit out of touch with that, given your partisan loyalties etc…

  33. Jules said,

    VP – John does have a point though. Greenstein isn’t a member of the National PSC and has attacked the organisation publicly on a number of occations. They would have been well within the rights not to have allowed his motion. When his ludicrous thesis on Zionism was rejected he responds by throwing yet another wobbly in the Weekly Worker. I know twp doesn’t like me referring to Greenstein as a hopeless sectarian but how else should he be described?

  34. voltaires_priest said,

    I carry no brief for Greenstein, however it doesn’t seem to me that there’s anything “sectarian” about him continuing to put his views in the public press even though he lost a motion at the PSC?

  35. voltaires_priest said,

    Jules – I’ve worked out the problem with the commenting btw – you were never banned, be assured. It’s just that the WordPress spam filter goes into overdrive occasionally.

  36. johng said,

    There might be something ‘sectarian’ about accusing the membership of having a ‘low level of consiousness’ and arguing that if people are not anti-zionist in the proper Tony Greenstein way, they’ll be subject to anti-semitism, though.

    Doesn’t that seem just a teensy bit sectarian to you?

  37. Do you know who they are? « Shiraz Socialist said,

    […] before we continue, some of you (look at the comments) thought the JAZ members who moved a motion at the recent PSC conference […]

  38. voltairespriest said,

    So… you think it’s sectarian to tell people that they have the wrong take on anti-zionism? And presumably that a symptom of that sectarianism was Greenstein’s motion (and Rance’s?) to proscribe DYR?

  39. Jules said,

    Yes VP is was sectarian of Greenstein to take the dispute between his wacky fringe group and another wacky fringe group to the PSC when this is frankly not a concern to the PSC, which exists to build solidarity with the Palestinians (the clue’s in the title). It was also sectarian of Greenstein subsequently publicaly denounce the campiagn for not voting for his ridiculus motion.

    The guy is a dyed in the wool sectarian and an ego maniac. That is a scientifically accurate description. Truth is he’s done more to promote DYR than the PSC ever did.

  40. Will said,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: