Anti-Israel fanatics disrupt Scott-Heron gig

April 28, 2010 at 12:24 am (anti-semitism, Champagne Charlie, Middle East, music)

Let’s be charitable and accept that not everyone who disrupted Gil Scott-Heron’s gig at the South Bank Centre was an anti-semite and that some of them may have been motivated by genuine concern for the plight of the Palestinian people and their just struggle for nationhood.

Even so, it’s clear that the pro-boycotters are fundamentally anti-Israeli rather than pro-Palestinian. Did the fact that a long-standing anti-racist and anti-apartheid campaigner like Scott-Heron doesn’t agree with the boycott not give these people at least pause for thought? Or the fact that if his planned concert in Tel Aviv goes ahead it will undoubtably be a boost to the Israel left and peace movement?

 Gil Scott-Heron performing “We Almost Lost Detroit” & “Work For Peace” recently

No, none of that seems to matter to the anti-Israel fanatics. They just want to demonise and delegitimise Isreal and all its people, making a politically illiterate comparison with apartheid as a cover for their real programme of opposition to Israel’s very right to exist.

Even the Morning Star‘s reviewer at the gig seems to have noticed the double standards of the boycott campaign:

“Is it not hypocritical for us, as British citizens, to be calling for a boycott of Israel when our own government’s treatment of Afghans and Iraqis – and historically many, many others from Ireland to Kenya to India – is hardly better than Israel’s treatment of Palestinians?” Eh, quite so, comrade: try thinking that one through some time.

According to the Morning Star report, Scott-Heron eventually left the stage while his pianist took a solo, and returned to announce that he would cancel the Tel Aviv gig. Let’s hope this was a momentary lapse and that he doesn’t give in to anti-Israeli exceptionalism (the modern form of anti-semitism) and instead  follows the courageous and principled lead of the writer Amitar Ghosh:

“I would like to state clearly that I do not believe in embargoes and boycotts where they concern matters of culture and learning. On the contrary I believe very strongly that it is important to defend the notion that institutions of culture and learning must, in principle, be regarded as autonomous of the state. Or else every writer in America and Britain, and everyone who teaches in a British or American university, would necessarily be implicated in the Iraq war… Similarly every Indian writer and academic would also be complicit in the actions of the Indian government in areas of conflict. And if we don’t defend this principle how will we defend the rights of dissent of those who are employed in universities – especially, for instance, in times of war, when reasons of state can be cited to create an explicit complicity?

“I do not see how it is possible to make the case that Israel is so different, so exceptional, that it requires the severing of connections with even the more liberal, more critically-minded members of that society.”

(h/t: Norm)


  1. Flagged at Poblish... said,

  2. maxdunbar said,

    ‘Is it not hypocritical for us, as British citizens, to be calling for a boycott of Israel when our own government’s treatment of Afghans and Iraqis – and historically many, many others from Ireland to Kenya to India – is hardly better than Israel’s treatment of Palestinians?’

    Well yeah – it is the equivalent of Palestinian leftists boycotting UK universities and entertainers because of Afghanistan and Iraq.

  3. RB said,

    I never really understood why British people hate Israel so much. Oh well. I enjoy watching the British economy go down the toilet, and the country being taken over by Islamists.

  4. resistor said,

    ‘Is it not hypocritical for us, as British citizens, to be calling for a boycott of Israel when our own government’s treatment of Afghans and Iraqis – and historically many, many others from Ireland to Kenya to India – is hardly better than Israel’s treatment of Palestinians?’

    It would be for you Max, because you support British Imperialism. For real Socialists who have a consistent record of anti-imperialism, especially opposition to the imperialism of their own governments, no hypocrisy is committed.

    As for Gil Scott-Heron, perhaps he recognised the hypocrisy of supporting a boycott of Apartheid (which he did) and performing in the neo-Apartheid state of Israel.

    Of course the AWL position was against a boycott of Apartheid South Africa so here’s another lot of hypocrites – according to Max and his ‘comrades’.

  5. entdinglichung said,

    by the way: which state produced the settler states of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and South Africa?

  6. johng said,

    My understanding is that gil scott heron has now cancelled the gig in Israel, suggesting in a statement made at the concert that he didn’t want to play anywhere where people were excluded. Given his financially desperate straits and his recent incarceration good on him. Of course he will now become a target for hate for those who see solidarity with Palestinians as a crime. I await Jim’s fervent denunciations of the man as an anti-semite (I see he is already getting himself ready). I remember this from the days of the Anti-Aparthied boycott:

    Tell me whats the word from hebron shiraz socialist?

  7. johng said,

  8. johng said,

    “the country being taken over by Islamists”

    And ten foot lizards?

  9. Jillian C. York said,

    Anti-Israel exceptionalism? You’ve got to be kidding. Was it exceptional when we singled out South African apartheid, too?

  10. johng said,

    Yeah this is what is so ludicrous. How many state’s which enjoy good diplomatic relations with our rulers are responsible for a forty year brutal militarity occupation of a people who are denied all citizenship rights as a consequence? They can’t have their own citizenship because they are denied a state. And the occupying power refuses to allow them citizenship. And yes Gaza is still legally occupied because Palestinians are denied the right to form a state. Can’t be many. And where similar abuses occur, what shiraz socialist have to explain, is why they don’t oppose all boycotts or sanctions against any state guilty of these practices. I have’nt noticed outrage directed against those campaigning for sanctions against Burma on the basis that Mynnamer isn’t the only state guilty of gross human rights abuses.

  11. johng said,

    And how deeply disapointing Amitav Gosh’s stance was. Of course Jim would have absolutely hated everything his novels stood for before he decided that a literary prize was more important then the principles embodied in his writings (the thought of Jim reading any of his novels and appreciating is actually somewhat comical). But there is a strange cognitive dissonance involved in critiquing colonialism historically, so subtly exploring the disengenuity of liberalism entangled with colonial logics in the PAST and then suddenly espousing these same logics in the PRESENT. Thing is that Jim unfortunately does not experiance any such dissonance. He does’nt even recognise colonialism as a problem in the past. At least not when it involves countries where muslims happen to live.

  12. Jim Denham said,

    John G: I await Jim’s fervent denunciations of the man as an anti-semite (I see he is already getting himself ready). I remember this from the days of the Anti-Aparthied boycott:”

    When, John, did anyone denounce anti-Aparthied campaigners as anti-semitic? One of the major differnces between the campaign to boycott South African goods (and – more controversially – cultural links) and the present campaign against all things and all people Israeli, is that (regardless of how effective the campaign actually was) no-one could possibly misunderstand the *reasons* for the anti-South Africa campaign; the *reasons* for boycotting Israel are much less clear and the campaigh most certainly is supported by anti-semites, holocaust deniers, the likes of Gilad Atzmon, etc, etc.

    The crude and apolitical comparison between Apartheid South Africa and Israel has been debunked many, many times (including here:) and whilst I’m quite prepared to re-run the argument, I can’t be bothered just at the moment.

  13. johng said,

    I don’t understand why you think the reasons for the boycott are unclear. Israel has mantained a brutal military occupation for forty years which denies all citizenship rights to those who are occupied and continues to take steps (ie expanding settlement programs) to ensure that this situation will never change. Until you explain why you are not opposed to all measures proposed by activists against states which similarly abuse human rights, your position is simply inconsistant. Importantly I wasn’t suggesting that you would accuse Gil Scott Heron of anything on the basis of his principled position about supporting cultural boycott of South Africa (although I seem to recall you getting involved in an on-line argument suggesting it was a bad idea at the time: apologies if I misremember): I was suggesting that now that Gil Scott Heron has, quite consistantly, taken the same position viz Israel due to its continued military occupation and denial of both national and human rights towards Palestinians, you were likely to find him suddenly distasteful. In the same way that you find Ghosh today, suddenly and rather unaccountably tasteful.

  14. johng said,

    I have, incidently, never seen the analogy with Aparthied ‘debunked’ (it was a comparison made in Israeli sociology through wider comparative work on settler states since the early 1970s). I have seen some rather crude attempts to distort the work or statements of anyone who suggests an analogy, largely on the spurious basis of confusing analogy with identity. If this was a legitimate argument it would be impossible to compare anything to anything, and therefore impossible to have any kind of social theory at all. Which would make something like Marxism impossible. Fair enough for the kind of hysterical right wing op-ed pieces you seem to favour, but a bit odd from someone who claims to belong to a Marxist trot outfit.

  15. Jim Denham said,

  16. Jim Denham said,

    • skidmarx said,

      “Israeli is not an apartheid state, but a nation – one that denies rights to and oppresses the Palestinians, but a nation nonetheless”
      It’s a state that gives rights to one section of the population that claim the territory it administers as its home rights but not others, defining the nation as one racial group would seem to be the essence of apartheid, and I think the level this is at it the definition of insubstantial.

  17. johng said,

    Its a very strange article. In the first part the author seems to be confused by Tutus statements about solidarity. The solidarity in this case is with the Palestinians under military occupation in the west bank and gaza. It is not a campaign of solidarity with Israeli citizens whether Jewish or Palestinians: its in solidarity with those denied citzenship or any such rights by the Israeli state in other words. The fact that the majority of those who are citizens INSIDE Israel would not regard it as an act of solidarity is therefore a very curious obfuscation, which I would suggest is charecteristic of the kinds of blind spot you see developing amongst even liberal progressives in oppresser states (take for example the attitudes of even quite progressive Serbian liberals to the Kosovo question, or indeed similarly more generally progressive Indians over Kashmir). Its the duty of socialists to point out these blind spots and pander to them. They are not the product of individual failings but of the power of ruling ideas. I’ll ignore the workers liberty piece because its even more insubstantial.

  18. johng said,

    NOT pander to them, obviously.

  19. martin ohr said,


    I’ve read all your comments on this thread -which also qualify as pretty unsubstantial I might add- I’m left with the impression that you support a boycott against all occupying states. Is this your position or one of the SWP as a whole?

    While we’re on the subject of boycotts- you know the owner of the socialist unity blog works for a company that make very healthy profits by making weapons specifically designed to kill palestinians like this do you feel motivated to boycott that website too?

    • skidmarx said,

      I wouldn’t like to speak of johng’s behalf or the SWP, but on your first point, if there is support for a boycott of occupying states then yes probably, but if there isn’t it’s a futile gesture, and your argument seems to be that if it isn’t done for all occupying states then it must be anti-semtism that drives the Israeli boycott, which is nonsense.

      On the second, having never seen that website before you pointed it out I’d be happy to avoid it.

  20. Jim Denham said,

    John G: ” I’ll ignore the workers liberty piece because its even more insubstantial”: very wise, Gameboy. You obviously know when you’re out of your depth. Marxist analysis always was a bit beyond you, wasn’t it?

    • Harry Tuttle said,

      Maybe Mr. G could also explain to us how associating the pro-Palestinian movement with the sort of cretinism on display helps benefit the Palestinians?Unless, of course, they’ve decided to follow the lead of PETA and completely destroy the movement in favor of pointless theatrics. The Likudniks couldn’t ask for better enemies.

  21. Jenny said,

    I think the boycott’s important and well, if there are Israeli peace groups out there, they sure as hell don’t seem to be doing much about their government’s cruel treatment of Gaza.

  22. resistor said,

    So Jim, why did the AWL oppose the successful BDS campaign against Apartheid South Africa?

  23. johng said,

    I would very much like to know whether you oppose all human rights organisations campaigning for sanctions or boycotts against regimes which abuse democratic and human rights. If not your position is clearly inconsistant. Stop dusting down Netenyahu’s latest talking points (ie the frankly comical argument that calling for sanctions against Israel is discriminatory) and try and engage with actual arguments.

  24. martin ohr said,

    johng, can you answer the straight questions I asked above before you start on your own?

  25. johng said,

    sorry i asked mine first AND explained why your is the wrong question. You claim you read what I wrote. So why the refusal to engage with what I say? Its clear why Netenyahu won’t engage (see below). Why won’t you? I don’t on principle oppose boycotts of states were civil society activists in those states demand them. I’m unclear what YOUR position is on this question.

    Netenyahu incidently is on record as being extremely concerned about the way BDS is framing the issue in terms of citizenship rights for Palestinians. You seem to share these concerns as you simply refuse to address the question.

  26. skidmarx said,

    A little off-topic – what about Frankie Boyle? Are you going to protest against pro-Israel fanatics disrupting the BBC’s comedy output and the craven reaction of the BBC Trust in caving in, or take the position that anyone who calls Israelis Jews must be an evil fascist?

    • Harry Tuttle said,

      Did pro-Israel fanatics disrupt Mr. Boyle’s show? Maybe I’m reading the wrong link, but it says the Trust apologized after receiving a complaint? A letter to the editor and a group bullying a musician at his show aren’t really the same, are they?

      Surely there was a better way to convince Gil Scott-Heron not to play?

      • skidmarx said,

        No, one complainant further disrupted the ability of comedians at the BBC to make jokes by getting Frankie Boyle censured because he happened to use “Jew” as shorthand for the majority community in Israel. If it becomes more difficult to perform because of such actions then there is a sameness, perhaps, but because you are pro-Israeli fanatics here I don’t expect any meeting of minds.

      • Harry Tuttle said,

        I don’t disagree with you over the outcome, just in the methods. The hecklers at Gil Scott-Heron’s show could have made their case without resorting to such behavior. They did a disservice to both the man and the movement.

  27. Sarah AB said,

    I don’t follow your last point skidmarx – Boyle’s comment was clearly offensive just as someone, while criticising the actions of Hamas, who started generalising about ‘Arabs’ would be offensive.

    • skidmarx said,

      No, it would be like a comedian making a joke about Hamas’ firecrackers happening to call them Arabs rather than Palestinians.

      • martin ohr said, me- surely you can’t in the same breath defend using the word ‘Jews’ as shorthand for the majority of Israel and then complain that we are unjustified in feeling that a campaign against israel is actually a campaign against us.

        If it is acceptable shorthand then “boycott Israel” actually translates to “boycott jews”.

        It does rather re-enforce the idea that the proposed BDS are less like those against apparthied, and more like these:

      • skidmarx said,

        Quite the reverse.”All Zionists support the Jewish state” doesn’t mean the same as “all Jews support the Zionist state”. The majority in Israel are Jews, why should it be taboo to say that that is the case? You could reasonably translate “boycott Isarel” as “boycott the Jewish state”, but to translate it as “boycott Jews” is to deliberately re-inforce your own prejudices.You want to claim that calling Israeli Jews “Jews” is anti-semitic, and that any mention of “Zionists” or attempts to on challenge the “right” to have a racist state based on the expulsion and oppression of the Palestinians are attempts to cover anti-semtism. Not the way to go if you want to avoid the idea that you’re not a bunch of fanatics that can’t engage with the world without claiming that everyone who disagrees with you is a Nazi. When they come for you, there might not be anyone left to speak out.

  28. johng said,

    bullying? how was it ‘bullying’?

  29. johng said,

    Incidently could I have an answer to my question about the general attitude on Shiraz Socialist to whether boycotts in general are bad? Or are we going to discuss Frankie Boyle instead?

  30. Jim Denham said,

    The general attitude of Shiraz Socialist to “boycotts in general”? As a blog, we don’t have a “general attitude” to the question. My own (reflecting the AWL’s) is that boycotts (ie consumer boycotts and “cultural” boycotts) are not the way that working class politics operates, tend to cut against working class solidarity, and are usually not very effective either. We judge each situation on its merits. We (the AWL, not ‘Shiraz’) didn’t oppose the consumer boycott of South African goods, Barclays Bank, etc, but pointed out its shortcomings. We were very critical of the ‘cultural boycott.’ I personally advocated defying and breaking it in certain circumstances.

    In general, the South African boycott was positive, in that it sent an unambiguous message of solidarity, even if its practical effect in the struggle against apartheid was minimal. Crucially, there was not a significant white South African working class with which to make solidarity.

    We oppose the proposed boycott of Israel because,
    1/ There *is* a significant Israeli working class and labour movement and boycots generally cut across working class solidarity;

    2/ Even the symbolism of the anti-Israel boycott campaign is ambigious in a way that the South African boycot wasn’t: lots of anti-semites hate Israel and Jews and are only too happy to join the campaign: it’s no surprise that Marks and Spencers (with its Jewish connotations) was the focus of the campaign for many years.

    So: in general, we (“we”as in AWL – *not* Shiraz) are not keen on boycotts, but don’t have a “general” position of active opposition. But in the case of Israel, we *do* oppose it. Clear enough, John?

  31. martin ohr said,

    jim, M+S still is the focus.

    SWP comrade speech to NUT conference 2009 started “Every pound you spend in marks and spencers is a bullet in the body of a palestinian child, every pound you spend in starbucks…every can of coke you buy…”

  32. johng said,

    1)I see no evidence of any solidarity either past, present or future between Israeli trade union organisations and Palestinian workers in the occupied territories. Indeed if one makes comparison’s with the South African situation there were in fact more historical prescedents for solidarity between black and white workers then there are for solidarity between unions like Histradut which in its origins was a nativist organisation campaigning against Arab Labour and the marketing of Arab produce in undivided Palestine.
    2)There are of course anti-semites but its very unclear that, in Britain, most of them would support the boycott. The biggest bunch of organised anti-semites in Britain today are the BNP. For entirely opportunist reasons they have decided to pretend to be supporters of Israel (this is part of a wider re-alignment of the radical right in Europe, where, outside of Eastern Europe, pains have adopted a broadly similar position): largely because their main thrust is anti-immigrant and anti-muslim bigotry. There is nothing ambiguous about the official position of organisations campaigning for BDS and nor is there anything ambiguous about the civil society organiseations in occupied Palestine calling for the same. There is of course a big campaign to try and make it SEEM ambiguous from opponents of the campaign.

    • martin ohr said,

      johng- I’m sorry for seeming so stupid, but what is the aim of those groups calling for BDS, people like the BIGcampaign, just seem to see organising a boycott as the aim itself.

      can we expect you to turn off your computer and close down the swp website soon? I’m thinking of chucking red paint at Martin Smith everytime he speaks to symbolise the blood on his hands.

  33. martin ohr said,

    I more or less agree with Jim about boycotts. As for divestment and sanctions well until we are a workers’ government we are unlikely to find these a useful tool ourselves.

    In general I’m not against boycotts but in practice I almost always will be.

    Specifically for Israel it is problematic for the following reasons: it makes an ally of genuine anti-semites; it blurs the line between boycotting things produced in Israel, or by companies which support Israel, or companies which supply Israel enough to make the boycotts more or less random (typical example, the computer johng is reading this from has parts made in the intel factory in the occupied territories- I doubt he will willingly turn it off and chuck it in the bin+ the socialist worker website relies on products made by the partnership between sun,cisco,microsoft and the IDF); it makes it genuinely hard for people to buy kosher stuff (80% of the factory made products in my local kosherie are made in Israel, every single kosher product in my local tesco is too.) and finally it is not clear what the ‘sucess’ criteria for such a bds campaign is.

  34. johng said,

    The BDS campaign is designed to ensure that the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the denial of basic human and democratic rights to the Palestinian people by the Israeli state is on the international agenda. In precisely the same way as the boycott of Aparthied South Africa was designed to ensure that the denial of basic human and democratic rights to the black population was on the international agenda. It does seem to me that your real problem here is that you don’t think Israel’s denial of democratic and human rights to the Palestinians should be on the international agenda.

    The fact that computer parts are made in the occupied territories (ie under a military occupation which denies the most basic democratic, national and human rights to an entire people) is surely a scandal. And surely ought to be addressed. Are you opposed to addressing this?

    If so why?

    Precisely what for of solidarity do you advocate for those living under Israeli military occupation? What forms of campaign and pressure would you find acceptable?

  35. martin ohr said,

    I will fully support you when yo turn your pc off.

  36. saeed said,

    Precisely what for of solidarity do you advocate for those living under Israeli military occupation? What forms of campaign and pressure would you find acceptable?

    they don’t have an answer for this mate because these guys are unmitigated hypocrites…

  37. charliethechulo said,

    John G writes:

    “I see no evidence of any solidarity either past, present or future between Israeli trade union organisations and Palestinian workers in the occupied territories. Indeed if one makes comparison’s with the South African situation there were in fact more historical prescedents for solidarity between black and white workers then there are for solidarity between unions like Histradut which in its origins was a nativist organisation campaigning against Arab Labour and the marketing of Arab produce in undivided Palestine.”

    Read this for starters, John:

  38. Jim Denham said,

    Q:Precisely what for of solidarity do you advocate for those living under Israeli military occupation? What forms of campaign and pressure would you find acceptable?

    A: There is a wide range of positive activities by which we can make solidarity with the Palestinians without the drawbacks of boycott. In fact, the boycott demand often serves a diversion, directing people towards token or downright counterproductive activities instead of what they could do positively.

    1. Demonstrations, lobbies, pickets, petitions, trade-union resolutions, focused on positive demands for “two states”, rather than on increasing generalised hostility to Israel. One of the plagues of much of current “pro-Palestinian” activism is that, because it is in principle opposed to recognising Israel and making limited demands on it, it eschews the sort of limited demands which can be won immediately and yield some progress. For example, regular pickets of the Israeli embassy in London helped win the early release of five Israeli refuseniks jailed for much longer sentences than those usually imposed on refuseniks (indeed, theoretically indefinite sentences). Such protests might also win concessions on checkpoints within the West Bank, or on Gaza students not being allowed to attend universities outside Gaza.

    2. Direct links (visits, speaking tours, etc.) between trade-union, student, etc. organisations here and Palestinian and Israeli workers’ groups and peace movements.

    3. Support for groups which send international “observers” to the West Bank to help monitor Israeli military actions and groups like Ta’ayush which work to build grass-roots Jewish-Arab links in Israel/ Palestine.

    4. Pressure on the British and other Western governments to take a clear stand for “two states” and to condemn Israeli government measures blocking the way to it.

    5. Material aid to Palestinians in the West Bank (e.g. sending books and other supplies).

    By building a real movement around such activities, focused on positive demands for Palestinian demands rather than “hate Israel”, we could reach the level where the question could be posed of industrial action by workers internationally to hasten a “two states” settlement, e.g. to block military supplies to the Israeli government, or to demand a definite stand from their home governments.

  39. Jenny said,

    That’s easier said than done, Jim. And there has been attempt to send goods to Gaza via the Gaza freedom boat, but Israel authorities arrested them and had em deported:


  40. Jim Denham said,

    No-one said that real solidarity action is always easy, Jenny. Just because “boycotting” is relatively easy to implement doesn’t mean its either effective or right.

  41. Jenny said,

    I kinda take back what I said, I still support boycotts, but yes, supporting unions would be good too:

  42. Will said,

    “I still support boycotts,”

    Thick fuckking biatch.

    take that fuckking cunT’s vote away from it.

    Does not deserve it.

  43. Sarah AB said,

    I don’t agree with boycotts either – but neither do I agree with Will!

  44. resistor said,

    Denham suggests,

    ‘5. Material aid to Palestinians in the West Bank (e.g. sending books and other supplies).’

    Note ‘West Bank’ not Gaza. I see he supports the blockade of Gaza while opposing sanctions against Israel. What a racist and hypocrite!

  45. Will said,

    someone put a fuckking bullet thru that dozy cunt ressisstOR’S thick fuckking pissant cranium please. WooD do fuckkiNghumanity a favour.

  46. Will said,

    I don’t agree with sarah.

  47. Will said,

    Boycotts are about de-legitimating Israel, not about pushing it towards a settlement based on Oslo. Solidarity with labour unions and the peace movements is the way that any self-conscious leftie should move. How the Israeli left is to be strengthened when faced with fascist militias is a big problem because this is not a pretend threat.

    Also…was never really pro boycott re SA, not least because it was used by the ANC to remain hegemonic and to block direct links with the Unions. That might be less of an issue re Israel but its that type of solidarity action that shuD be sought rather than something which will become a barrier to interaction with the Israeli left. The swampies like gameboy and other assorted antisemites (scum) have no interest in such activity and would “police” it in such a manner that would conform to their perspective. Practically, I also doubt how much impact a boycott would have (i.e none of a positive nature).

    I would also add that I do concede that the usual counter argument against boycott of exceptional “demonisation” of Israel is probably fatally wounded by recent events re gaza conflagration, however, It would also be impossible to make a nuanced case for boycott which could be heard above the braying of the mob (i.e. antisemitic scum). Therfore, counterpoising international labour movement solidarity action makes more sense to me.

    PS. Reshitser and his ilk couldn’t give a toss about Palestinian lives. They just hate jews and want to see less of them on the planet. The Palestinians provide a convenient cover for their anti-jewish racism. For Jews to defend themselves on their own terms — this is anethema for the anti-zionist/antisemite.

    ‘Anti-zionism’ is a political safety valve for people who think that somehow the imperialism of ‘the West’ is the ‘primary contradiction’ of capitalism. In fact, antisemitism most often does not result from an engagement with Jewish people, and (often) the people decrying Zionism have no real knowledge of the conflict; these ideas result from a particular despair vis-a-vis one’s agency in capitalist society. It is nothing but a reaction to modernity.

    Israel’s original purpose as a place of defense for Jews resumes it’s importance especially now – in this world of Islamism and European nationalism resurgent. Internationalism and solidarity with Israel is demanded of all Marxists.

    Finally, those who make use of Israel’s policies as a way to give credence to their antisemitism deserve to be denounced for what they truly are. If Israel carries out shit policies/actions then by all means deliver a critique of the same policies and actions instead of the cry that ultimately the need is to destroy Israel. The only reason to destroy Israel is to destroy its reason for existence. Use of language such as ‘apartheid state’, ‘Zionist Entity’ etc and to appear more ‘balanced’, the constant refrain from the ultras that ‘Israel is a state and we want the end of all states’ completely misunderstands the historical neccessities and possibilities and the central position that anti-semitism plays in obfuscating from what is truly liberatory. The extreme state of counter-revolution in the middle east demands that, while maintaining a critical position vis-a-vis nation states everywhere, stand in solidarity with Israel, the founding of which is inextricably linked to the climax of European counter-revolution and the defense of which is made necessary by the continuing reactionary modernism of Middle East regimes.

    PPS. A baseball bat would also suffice in cracking the skull of ResissstOR.

  48. martin ohr said,

    I’ve written about this before- but the gulf states have been operating a boycott of israel and jews for a long time. In the early nineties when I was promoted from working on the shop-floor in an engineering works to the shipping office, one of my jobs was to go to the gulf trade mission/saudi arabian embassy and have the ‘certificate of origin’ forms endorsed. On pain of imprissonment I had to sign forms to say that the company didn’t trade with Israe (of course it did), didn’t use parts from companies on a blacklist(which of course it did, and the blacklist was randomly strange), didn’t employ any Israeli nationals, or anyone with links to Israel and a load of quite random other stuff.

    The customers in UAE and saudi arabia knew the certificates were utter rubbish, and I guess the trade mission did too, and despite the certificate being a tissue of lies- it was clearly the price to pay for people to actually conduct their business. There was one company in UAE which prided itself on buying parts from us because those parts were also used by the Israeli military reserve- they wanted to have whatever their Israeli counterparts had.

    Such is the reality of boycott. The boycotters pick and choose which things they can live without anyway and decide to make everyone who wants them suffer

  49. johng said,

    I asked for examples of solidarity with Palestinians enduring a brutal decades old military occupation by the Israeli State and the first post suggests TUFI- I saw no reference to the occupation in the link and no reference to campaigning against it.

    Indeed much of the discussion seems to be an attempt to avoid recognising that Israel has been responsible for a brutal military occupation denying all civil and human rights to an entire people for decades.

    We are told that pickets to support refuseniks and to oppose the more brutal aspects of the occupation might be regarded as tolerable. There then follow a series of canards and lies about those building solidarity with Palestinians with comical suggestions that they are motivated by ‘hatred of Israel’ etc.

    Its entirely ridiculous. Israel’s setting up of a military occupation, its denial of all civil, democratic and human rights to an entire population deserves to be treated in precisely the same way as any other state responsible for the same. Its the possibility that Israel might be held to account in public discourse in the same way as any other state that upsets the opponents of the boycott. Deep down they think this is wrong.

  50. Will said,

    the lair and antisemite GameboY is up to his old tricks again i see.

    guess the fuck woT you idiot piece of shit… it doesn’t fuckking wash you thick posh idiotcunT.

  51. charliethechulo said,

    No, John, it is *not* the fact that ” Israel might be held to account in public discourse in the same way as any other state that upsets the opponents of the boycott”; it’s the fact that it *isn’t* – that it is singled out in a way that no other state in the world (including much more oppressive and orthoritarian ones) are not, that “upsets opponenets of the boycott.” But then it might be a bit much to expect a member of an organisation that has promoted the politics of Gilad Atzmon to understand that.

  52. Will said,

    In related news… I note that the gadgie has been convicted and will most likely be hanged for Bombay terror attacks.


    One small increase in the sum total of humanity.

    They tortured the Jews before they killed them. The pathologist said he’s seen hundreds of corpses, but never anything as shocking as those. Of course Slobbery Fudge and resisstoRRR justified it on the basis that anyone in the Jewish Centre was by association an extreme rightwing Zionist and had everything coming to them. Wot pieces of filth these antisemitic cunTs are. baseball or cricket bat (cricket bats wood be my preferred instrument), cranium, back of, swing it at. Shwack!

  53. johng said,

    I don’t think Israel *is* in fact singled out in a way that other State’s are not. Its just that entirely appropriate criticism’s which would be regarded as quite unexceptional in the case of any other State which had mantained a brutal military occupation for four decades and continued to do so, are a matter for controversy in western countries, for the perfectly explicable reason that Israel is a close ally of western countries. It is the surfeit of controversy about entirely proportionate criticism of a military occupation that creates the illusion that Israel is *singled out* for more criticism then other countries. It is incidently interesting to see all the old arguments used by defenders of Aparthied wheeled out all over again: that other countries are worse, that the worst of all are of the same ethnicity as those complaining etc, etc. This is of course to be expected. Its more then a little wierd to see these old arguments recycled on what preports to be a left wing blog however.

    • entdinglichung said,

      Western Sahara? Native Terretories in the Americas? minority areas in Burma? West Papua? Tibet? …

  54. Will said,

    wot a piece of werK gameboy is — as dishonest in his ‘arguments’ as he is thick. That is. very much a lot.

  55. johng said,

    You believe that Chinese crimes in Tibet are not discussed? You believe that Burmese crimes are not discussed? Its just perposterous. Again, it is the controversy created by criticism rather then criticism itself which misleads people into thinking there is some kind of disproportionate spotlight on Israel. In practical terms there is very little done about the matter by mainstream politics. And think a little about the example of Aparthied South Africa. South Africa was the subject of much more controversy then the terrible crimes being committed in a number of other African states (it was indeed discussed much more then the western Sahara). Did one then find leftists complaining bitterly about double standards? No. Why so in this case?

  56. charliethechulo said,

    Gameboy asks:” Why so in this case?”

    Because, John, of the existance of the Israeli working class.

    Because of the holocaust.

    Because of anti-semitism..Oh yes, I forgot: you think anti-semitism is something to “have some fun with” don’t you?

  57. johng said,

    So you concede that Israel is not in fact singled out, but you like to pretend it is, because a) of the existence of the Israeli working class and b) The Holocaust (how obscene is that?). As to your final remark I have no idea what your talking about. But trivialising anti-semitism, insulting the victims of the Holocaust, and making up ludicrous lies about people in the hope that mud will stick seems to be your preferred debating tactic.

  58. charliethechulo said,

    “As to your final remark I have no idea what your talking about.”

    John, let me refresh your memory: remember this?

    29.johng said,
    June 3, 2007 at 3:46 pm · Edit

    Actually Denham I’m interested in reality not fantasies. And no. I don’t think Richard Neumann is ‘racist scum’. Increasingly Jim it seems to me that hanging out with real fascists on the net has done something to your brain. But anyway. This place is no different to Harry’s Place these days. And given that the AWL is now campaigning vehmanantly against Palestinian voices being heard in the trade union movement, I think its probably true that this marks the end of any possibility of useful dialogue.

    The article by Richard Neumann that you were defending (not for the first time), was this:
    including this:

    “I take a different view. I think we should almost never take antisemitism seriously, and maybe we should have some fun with it. I think it is particularly unimportant to the Israel-Palestine conflict, except perhaps as a diversion from the real issues. I will argue for the truth of these claims; I also defend their propriety. I don’t think making them is on a par with pulling the wings off flies.”

  59. Will said,

    Case proven re gameboy then. An antisemite, snake oil salesman and thick cunT and a liar second to none. Not even slightly controversial in saying so.

  60. Will said,

    have just watched this fillum tonight,_les_enfants

    gameboy shuD maybe watch it — he might learn something.

    Or maybe not seeing as he is a thick fuckking cunt.

    • Will said,

      And as we know, there is no such thing as ‘liberation theology’ – practitioners of such are merely apostates who have not been found out or caught up with yet.

      Catholics — real fuckking scum. Need to be imprisoned for crimes against humanity.

  61. Will said,

    After all this bullshit arguing with Gameboy and his ilk — i.e. antisemites and assorted loonytunes… There is still hope.

    1. The fuckwits are not new, they have been there all along – even from the early days of settlement before the founding of the state of Israel. In fact, Israeli rejectionism was more widespread then. The secular left had even more regressive views about Palestinians. Some of the early writings are shocking. The occupation after 1967 opened up the national divisions, made them explicit and created a large peace camp. These divisions fluctuate with events – and the right are stronger at the moment. But there are also growing movements for cultural and political reconciliation that never existed forty years ago. This matters and will develop. The unity and collaboration developing through the common experience of class and exploitation is woT matters. Consciousness and identity are changing, the politicians (cuntS) lag behind – and the theocrats on both sides will have to be defeated by the majority – and they are a majority.

    2. The two state solution on the table is not just and equitable, it is merely possible. It is based on the substantial dispossession of the Palestinians and a vastly larger Israel than was approved at the UN in 1947. It is possible because majorities on both sides accept it and want it. However, it does mean that the Palestinians accept that they have been defeated and the Israelis that they have actually won – that is why there are groups on both sides that will neither accept defeat nor what they see as only a partial victory. The result is that it is possible but difficult. It will take courage to hold off the loonie cuntS (like Gameboy and his ilk).

    3. The two state solution is the ONLY solution that is possible.

    4. If you see psycho-theocrats wandering all over the place, say it. There are a lot of pro-Israel, socialists, democrats, peaceniks, liberals etc. who want people to tell the truth without lapsing into imbecilic apartheid analogies and conspiracy theory. They are fucked off with the Gameboys of this world with their blind loyalties that give nothing to the solving of complex conflicts, just as they are by the crazies and their conspiracy-lite (and not so lite) theories. You can also, always, tell the antisemites to fuck the fuck off with the same vigour as you WooD any other common or garden racist cunt.

    As I like to do.

  62. Will said,

    “Now it is the turn of France. The victory of fascism in this country would signify a vast strengthening of reaction, and a monstrous growth of violent anti-semitism in all the world, above all in the United States. The number of countries which expel the Jews grows without cease. The number of countries able to accept them decreases. At the same time the exacerbation of the struggle intensifies. It is possible to imagine without difficulty what awaits the Jews at the mere outbreak of the future world war. But even without war the next development of world reaction signifies with certainty the physical extermination of the Jews .”

    Written: 1937-1940 — Leon Trotsky

  63. johng said,

    Yes I stand by my statement that Neumann is not ‘racist scum’. His central argument that the conflict in the Middle East is not driven by anti-semitism (a different claim to an argument that there is no anti-semitism in the Middle East) seems straightfowardly true to me. This does not imply total agreement with everything he says. And what is really remarkable about this absurd attempt to argue that if you don’t agree that Neumann is ‘racist scum’ you are therefore ‘racist scum’ yourself and an ‘anti-semite’, and moreover (and perhaps more importantly) it becomes unneccessary to conduct any argument at all about a forty year military occupation and the denial of basic democratic and human rights to an entire people. This must be the only military occupation in the world where human rights and civil liberties campaigners are told that the best way to move foward is not to make too much of a fuss.

  64. martin ohr said,

    johng- how come you are still using your computer? where is your support for bds?

    amusing aside from the archives of socialist worker via harry’s place of what happens when you unthinkingly join-in with negative campaigning whereas the AWL has a much better record than the likes of the swp in setting up actual working class solidarity with palestinians: see for example our motion that was passed by the rmt:

  65. johng said,

    Ah so now we have messages of support from Harry’s Place. And further attempts to equate the oppresser with the oppressed. Could you explain why anyone who wanted a serious discussion about solidarity with the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories (as opposed to discussions about mitigating the ‘effects’ of the occupation, or demanding that Palestinians have to become socialists before they deserve solidarity) would regard you as someone worth discussing with?
    Just asking like. Its not normal for those campaigning against a military occupation to spend much of their time focused on working with those who want to normalise it.

    • martin ohr said,

      tbh, no idea wtf you are talking about now:

      perhaps if you can translate “Its not normal for those campaigning against a military occupation to spend much of their time focused on working with those who want to normalise it.” from seymourspeak to a language we are both familiar with I might have a clue.

      just in case you didn’t follow the HP link (of course I know you did, but you are just pretending so that a casual visitor here might dismiss it as being irrelevant) it is to an archive of the newspaper Socialist Worker, who unthinkingly printed a letter from a fascist because it denounced zionists.

  66. johng said,

    Oh and mockery of Palestinian civil society and triumphant laughter about the strength of the Israeli economy at the expense of the dispossessed and defeated. Obviously any sane person ignores Will: he’s a lunatic. But people who claim in some sense to be both socialists and reasonably compis mentis: disturbing Martin, very disturbing.

  67. Will said,

    John Game is a proven liar and has not a leg to stand on when hurling around abuse such as ‘lunatic’. Note how he has not addressed a single point i raised in any of my own substantial contributions.

    A Thick fuckking CUNt is gameboy. fact.

  68. johng said,

    A “proven liar”. Really? Evidence please.

  69. johng said,

    I did enjoy Will’s rant about how the road to peace and justice involved persuading Palestinians that they were defeated and that Israeli’s were victorious. Its a really interesting addition to philosophical arguments about global justice it has to be said.

  70. johng said,

    Neumann incidently boiled down his argument in an op-ed:

  71. Jim Denham said,

    Gameboy: it is clear that you are defending someone who – to say the least- doesn’t care about antisemitism.. Someone who thinks it’s OK to “have fun” with antisemitism. This, combined with the SWP’s support for Gilad Atzmon, marks you and your organisation down as antisemitic, and people who must be fought and exposed as such. You are – to put it bluntly- racists.

  72. johng said,

    Jim this is gibberish. I am suggesting that someone who believes that western europe and north america have less anti-semitism then at any time previously in their history is not for that reason ‘racist scum’. I am suggesting that someone who does not accept the kind of claim just made by a commentator on HP that these parts of the world are today more anti-semitic then they were fifty years ago, is not for that reason ‘racist scum’. And I am suggesting that your utterly pathetic attempt to paint me as an anti-semite because I say these things is a dishonest attempt to avoid arguments which are simply unanswerable. What really makes me laugh is that on this very site there was a denial that people were accused of anti-semitism simply because they made criticisms of Israel. Just view your own comments.

  73. martin ohr said,

    johng – how come you are still using your palestine oppressing computer- do you believe in this BDS campaign or what?

    I’m coming round to your place of work and every time you try to type I’m going to press random keys down- that will show how much more I’m in solidarity with palestinians than you. When you complain I’m going to denounce you as a zionist and then I’m going to go round telling people you’re a racist.

    Will that be OK? or does it sound like an absolutely stupid way to go about politics?

  74. johng said,

    Martin its really sad that you can’t see how offensively racist your ‘jokes’ are. What exactly is your point aside from laughing at people under military occupation?

  75. johng said,

    Are you suggesting that the military occupation and profits generated from that occupation DON’T oppress Palestinians? Are you suggesting that because Israel has a computer industry Palestinians don’t deserve solidarity? Or are you just saying hooray for Israel boo to dirty pali scum?

  76. martin ohr said,

    no johng, I’m not laughing at anyone apart from you, f’cking hypocrite

  77. johng said,

    This is up there in the ‘a socialist-I see you wear shoes!’ bracket. Its the sneering right wing tone that really gets to me. Again, whats the point? What are you trying to say exactly?

  78. johng said,

  79. Jim Denham said,

    John Gameboy:

    Your utterly incoherent whipering drivel in the face of serious points, leaves me speechless. The fact that I can no longer be arsed to even answer your crap and drivel, should not be taken as a sign that I *cannot*: just that I choose not to, in the face of a completete fucking idjeet and an anti-semite who is so anti-semitic and racist that he doesn’t even know that he’s l’ll ol’ jew-hater, plain an’ simple: jus’ like his lil’ ol’ organisation, the “SWP”, and their famous front-man, Paul Foot.

    PS: if you want to know about Paul Foot’s anti-semitism, I’ll inform you very soon.

    • Lobby Ludd said,


      • Celeste said,

        Finally. Farmer Giles takes the hint and fucks off.

  80. Will said,

    Slobby Fludge — oh how much pludge — not even a sheep farmer. That is how bad.

  81. Will said,

    Stupid and pointless abuse which has been edited.

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