Regulars will know that I don’t have a very high opinion of Andy Newman and his bizarre semi-Stalinist blog ‘Socialist Unity.’ Indeed, for a considerable while Mr Newman banned me from even commenting at his site on the grounds that I’m a “racist” (I’d been rude about a contributor who happened to be non- white).
Nevertheless, Newman does have one thing in common with us at ‘Shiraz’: unlike a lot of the so-called “left” he takes antisemitism seriously. He has, for instance, frequently denounced the holocaust-denying conspiracy theorist and neo-nazi Gilad Atzmon, a modestly-talented jazz saxophonist once lionized by the SWP. Unlike a lot of the “left” (especially in the Stalinist circles he now moves in), Newman does recognise that someone calling themselves an ‘anti-Zionist’ and proclaiming solidarity with the Palestinian cause, can still be an antisemite.
Newman has an article in today’s Graun (entitled “Root out this hate speech” in the print version but retitled “Gilad Atzmon, antisemitism and the left” online), that is quite good, though it tells you nothing you won’t have read many times here at ‘Shiraz.’ He once again calls out Atzmon for the antisemite he is, notes the SWP’s role (until relatively recently) in promoting him and Indymedia’s role in defending him. Newman also notes other examples of “left” antisemitism, like the US magazine Counterpunch defending unsubstantiated claims about Israeli organ-harvesting/smuggling (the old blood libel tricked out in a new garb), and closes by warning that:
“It is incumbent upon the left and the Palestinian solidarity movement to both be aware of the conscious efforts of far-right antisemites to infiltrate the movement, and to vigoruosly oppose and exclude antisemites. We would not hesitate to condemn racists, homophobes or sexists, and must be equally robust in opposing anti-Jewish hate-speech.”
Excellent sentiments and, I’ve no doubt, entirely sincere. But we do need to ask Andy Newman why it is that ‘Socialist Unity’ continues to carry pieces by someone who is quite clearly a “left” antisemite of precisely the kind denounced in the Graun article: one Mr John Wight.
NB: Newman’s Graun article is here; his follow-up posting at ‘Socialist Unity’ is here: both are worth looking at if only for the predictable comments apologising for “left” antisemitism and/or refusing believe it exists and/or if it does exist it isn’t a problem, etc, etc, etc…