Finkelstein on Israel: sometimes even an asshole tells the truth

March 11, 2012 at 10:09 pm (academe, anti-semitism, Asshole, intellectuals, israel, Jim D, Middle East, SWP, truth)

I have come in for some flak for quoting Benny Morris, an Israeli – Jewish historian who’s said and written some dodgy things about Arabs and Palestinians. I did not, of course, endorse Morris’s overall politics – I just quoted him as a reputable and honest historian. I’m not sure that the same can be said about Norman Finkelstein, an academic who has said and written some pretty vile stuff in the past. In fact, the man’s clearly an asshole of the first water. But he has also, recently, made some sharp and pertinent comments about the anti-Israel (“BDS”) movement, that need to be taken to heart by all who seek a just and peaceful way forward in Israel/Palestine.

This is what the SWP’s Alex Callinicos wrote about Finkelstein’s book The Holocaust Indusrtry; it was, of course, 2000, before the SWP started grovelling to Islamists and excusing and itself engaging in open antisemitism:

By Alex Callinicos

A STORM has burst out over The Holocaust Industry, the provocative new book by the left wing New York historian Norman Finkelstein. His target is the now vast effort-reflected in a plethora of museums, institutes, courses, conferences and the like-to commemorate the Nazi murder of 5.1 million Jews.

For Finkelstein the Holocaust is an ideology. He believes that the dominant representation of the Nazis’ crimes, particularly in the United States, has got in the way of any serious attempt to understand or remember it. In criticising this representation, Finkelstein follows the lead given by the liberal historian Peter Novick. In his recent book The Holocaust and Collective Memory, Novick argues that the Holocaust only became a major issue even for American Jews in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

For Novick, this shift came as a result of the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars. Leading American Jews believed that the state of Israel faced a danger comparable to Hitler. Invoking the Holocaust allowed defenders of Israel to portray their opponents as crypto-Nazis. Finkelstein dismisses this explanation, pointing out that Israel was in much greater danger in the 1948 war when the state was founded. He argues that it was Washington’s decision after 1967 to treat the Zionist state as a major American strategic asset in the Middle East that was responsible for the change in attitude.

“It was not Israel’s alleged weakness and isolation, not the fear of a ‘second Holocaust’,” he writes, “but rather its proven strength and strategic alliance with the United States that led Jewish elites to gear up the Holocaust industry after June 1967.”

A second factor, Finkelstein argues, was the increasing prosperity of American Jews and their corresponding political shift rightwards: “Moving aggressively to defend their corporate and class interests, Jewish elites branded all opposition to their new conservative policies anti-Semitic.”

This analysis provides the basis for Finkelstein’s scathing attack on the “Holocaust industry”. Thus he denounces Nobel Prize winning Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel for turning the Holocaust into “a ‘mystery’ religion” that he expounds for a standard fee of $25,000 per appearance. Equally dubious, for him, are the efforts by Jewish organisations to win compensation from countries like Germany and Switzerland. Finkelstein claims that in what he calls “the Double Shakedown” the compensation claims are inflated and little of the money reaches genuine Holocaust survivors.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that Finkelstein has come under vicious attack. Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian on Friday last week that he was “closer to the people who created the Holocaust than to those who suffered it”. Given that both Finkelstein’s parents survived the Warsaw Ghetto and the Nazi camps, this is an odious accusation.

All the same, in his fury at the American Zionist establishment, Finkelstein does offer enormous hostages to fortune. How different is his assertion that “the field of Holocaust studies is replete with nonsense, if not plain fraud” from the Holocaust revisionist David Irving’s rantings during his recent libel case?

Finkelstein manages to praise Irving’s “‘indispensable’ contribution” as a historian. Worse still, he follows Novick in dismissing the significance of Holocaust denial: “There is no evidence that Holocaust deniers exert any more influence in the United States than the flat earth society does.” But, whatever may be true in the US, Holocaust denial is a live political issue in Europe. When Jean-Marie Le Pen, who dismissed the Holocaust as “a detail of history”, can win 15 percent of the vote in France, and SS sympathiser Jšrg Haider can dominate the Austrian government, ignoring Holocaust revisionism is a dangerous luxury.

Worst of all, Finkelstein at times makes concessions to the idea that some Jews at least are partially responsible for anti-Semitism. Thus he approvingly quotes the claim that the World Jewish Congress, in pressing for reparations from East European governments, is “guilty of promoting…a very ugly resurgence of anti-Semitism”.

This seems entirely the wrong place to start. To the extent that there is a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Russia and Eastern Europe, its most obvious cause is the economic and political disruption caused by the collapse of the Stalinist regimes at the end of the 1980s. In this climate it’s hardly surprising racists have sought out Jews and others-notably the Roma-as scapegoats, quite independently of the behaviour of these victims.

Finkelstein, like Novick before him, has raised legitimate questions. He has highlighted some ways in which Holocaust commemoration has become a tool of the powerful. But so exaggerated is his polemic that at times he comes, quite contrary to his own intentions, dangerously close to giving comfort to those who dream of new holocausts.

Now fast-forward to 2012; here’s what Finkelstein has said about the “BDS” campaign:

54 Comments

  1. skidmarx said,

    Thanks for reminding us what a wonderful revolutionary writer Alex Callinicos is. You should turn this blog over to reproducing his material more often.

    • modernity's ghost said,

      Why do I know that Skidmarx will nearly always be the first poster in these types of threads?

      Still, I suppose he’s trying to educate himself on antiracism, after all of these years….

  2. Jim Denham said,

    “what a wonderful revolutionary writer Alex Callinicos is”

    “is” ??

    Don’t you mean “was”?

    The Prof would never write anything like that 2000 article now, would he?

    PS: anything, yet, to say about binationalism?

    PPS: Anything to say about the Finkelstein interview?

  3. skidmarx said,

    Yes,no, quite regularly, is that like homonationalism?,great piece on it here.

  4. timothyMN said,

    In fifty years time no one will be reading the incoherent, ad hominem, insults of Jim Drunkham or collected drivel of his religious godfather Sean Matgamna.

    There is a chance that Alex Callinicos, Tony Cliff, Chris Harman and a few others will still be on the bookshelves (or on eReaders of some kind).

    • Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

      ha ha.

      the best cjhomment yet on any thread evaer.

  5. Jim Denham said,

    “the incoherent, ad hominem, insults of Jim Drunkham …”

    “ad hominem,” eh? That’s a fancy bit of latin terminology, isn’t it? I wonder what it could possibly mean?

  6. skidmarx said,

    I wonder why then, when Andrew Murray wrote:” By the standards of many of the comments posted, his ad hominem attacks are almost mature”, Jimbo replied: “Thank you for clarifying “, rather than “What the fuck was that fancy Latin phrase you used?”.
    When someone wrote:
    AnonymousApr 10, 2011 06:35 PM
    We’re back to ad hominem attacks are we? The Shitarsed Socialist is off his arse to support war and lie about it.

    Jimbo’s reply was :
    Jim DenhamApr 10, 2011 07:08 PM
    Get a proper job, Beaumont.

    rather than feigning a lack of understanding.

    In 2007, when Bob Musselburgh wrote:
    In my judgement ad hominem attacks are great fun but are likely to backfire,
    Jimbo was the only one to comment. There was even a link to the wikipedia page about ad hominem.

    In 2008,this was written about Jimbo’s conduct:
    that does not mean that we are willing simply to descend into ad hominem abuse of political opponents who do not deserve it.
    Now I was going to focus on this as a sign that Jimbo is maybe not as dumb as he appears, but every bit as dishonest, but let’s get the whole piece:

    Chris Strafford – an apology
    August 18, 2008 at 6:03 pm (blogging, Iran, Jim D, left, voltairespriest)
    In the course of a previous heated debate around Israel-Iran, Jim called Chris Strafford of the CPGB a “pro-nazi” and an “anti-semite”. These comments were intemperate and unwarranted, and we both apologise for any distress or upset caused. Whilst we have always been (and remain) proud to hold one of the most libertarian posting and comments policies of any blog on the UK left, that does not mean that we are willing simply to descend into ad hominem abuse of political opponents who do not deserve it.

    Did he threaten to sue for for libel, Jimbo? Did you feel good apologising for once for an insult you sling around all the time?

    • vildechaye said,

      Wow. Nothing better to do than research an obscure blogger’s references to “ad hominem.” How absurdly psychotic, but then, we knew that already.

  7. timothyMN said,

    Jim Drunkham: I offer you a challenge: provide one, yes only one, example of a book written by a member of the AWL that explains something fundamental about the world political or economic system. Yes one full length AWL written book that shows some understanding of the capitalist system.

    For a real Marxist organisation this would not be such a difficult task, no matter how small and insignificant that organisation might be. After all the AWL had been around some time in one form or another.

    There is plenty material coming from SWP sources, some of may contain errors, some of it may contain flaws, that’s what happens when you analyse a changing world, but at least it exists, at least it can be debated and improved.

    I know asking the AWL to provide such a credible example is a bit like asking Bambi to explain the solution to Fermat’s Last Theorem. And amusing as it is to watch Bambi/the AWL floundering it’s not terribly instructive. But there we go, give it a try. I know what your reply will be like, all full of evasion and insults, because the challenge simply cannot be met. No such entity exists or ever will exist.

    And let me give you a clue: being a ranting cheerleader for imperialism is not the same thing as analysing the system.

  8. Clive said,

    Timothy – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more repellently obsequious example of the ‘argument from authority’. The SWP has a number of academics who are able to get publishers for their books (and has an organisation big enough sometimes to publish their own) therefore their ideas have merit; the AWL – or for that matter all sorts of other groups, not to mention mere individuals who are able to think – do not have these resources, or access to publishers, therefore their ideas are worthless.

    Why stop there? I believe there are a number of bourgeois economists whose books are best-sellers. Perhaps those are even better than Callinicos’?

  9. Pinkie said,

    Of course timothy is not making a point of any substance. We all know that ‘arguments from authority’ are generally nonsense. That is probably why re-discovering the works of Max Shachtman, say, doesn’t count for much.

  10. Clive said,

    The argument for reading Max Shachtman isn’t ‘he’s Max Shachtman’; it’s that he’s worth reading.

  11. Jim Denham said,

    Timmy-boy (*not* “ad hominem”, of course): “Jim Drunkham: I offer you a challenge: provide one, yes only one, example of a book written by a member of the AWL that explains something fundamental about the world political or economic system. Yes one full length AWL written book that shows some understanding of the capitalist system.

    For a real Marxist organisation this would not be such a difficult task, no matter how small and insignificant that organisation might be. After all the AWL had been around some time in one form or another.”

    OK Timmy-boy, I’ll offer you two publications, one a book, the other a pamphlet. Both absolutely essential reading and making contributions that no-one else has (also both, in passing, exposing the banality of the SWP):

    1/ ‘The Fate of the Russian Revolution lost texts of critical Marxism Vol 1’ edited by Sean Matgamna;

    2/ ‘Two nations, Two States: socialists and Israel/Palestine.’

    …And, if that isn’t enough, coming soon (here!!): Camila Bassi: ‘The Inanity of Tony Cliff’, published in the JOURNAL FOR THE STUDY OF ANTISEMITISM, Jan 2012.

    You didn’t mention any kind of prize, Timmy-boy. But my prize (and pleasure) is simply in educating foolish and ignorant people like you.

  12. Jim Denham said,

    Skidiot: “wonder why then, when Andrew Murray wrote:” By the standards of many of the comments posted, his ad hominem attacks are almost mature”, Jimbo replied: “Thank you for clarifying “, rather than “What the fuck was that fancy Latin phrase you used?”.

    Skidiot, one day, when I can be arsed, I’ll explain the subtle and highly sophisticated art of sarcasm to you. Although often described as the lowest form of humour, it can bring immense pleasure, especially when a self-important prick doesn’t geddit.

    P.S: got your sweet head round binationalism yet?

  13. Jim Denham said,

    Back to the actual subject of this post – Israel/Palestine and the boycott movement; this is well worth reading:

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/nicky-larkin-israel-is-a-refuge-but-a-refuge-under-siege-3046227.html

  14. holy joe said,

    What do you like most about that Larkin article, Jimbo? The assertion that “Now I loathe Palestinian terrorists. Now I see why Israel has to be hard.” The fact that this person sees “aggression” in a Palestinian woman sitting forward in her chair, or, in Hebron, not in the form of a hideous military occupation by those lovable beer loving Israeli soldiers, but in the form of graffiti on walls? The utterly crazed story about “20 Arab teenagers filled with ecstasy tablets and sent running towards the base he’d patrolled. Each strapped with a bomb and carrying a hand-held detonator”? The absurd view of Israel as “a refuge under siege, a refuge where rockets rain death from the skies”? The contemptous rejection of the idea that anybody should “remonstrate loudly about The Occupation”?

  15. holy joe said,

    Or is it the assertion that it is perfectly ok for Israeli soldiers to shoot Palestinian kids in the head that you find “well worth reading”?

  16. holy joe said,

    some background on Larkin here: http://abureesh.wordpress.com/

  17. holy joe said,

    And incidentally, the partner of this “leftist” artist, Norma Costello, recently became notorious as the author of a racist anti-Polish article published in the same vile rag, based on fabricated quotes:
    http://katekatharina.com/2012/02/03/welcome-to-life-at-the-irish-independent-how-irelands-best-selling-newspaper-embraced-lethica-dela-new-of-the-world/

  18. Jim Denham said,

    Holy Joe: even assholes are capable of speaking the truth occasinally (the subject of this posting actually). One day even you might manage it. Meanwhile, continue to rattle your rosary beads while spouting antisemitism.

  19. holy joe said,

    JD first, in England we say “arseholes”. Second, can you indicate to me what aspects of this extraordinarily trashy and dishonest article you consider to represent “the truth”? The tale about the 20 ecstasy crazed Arab teenagers rushing the Israeli military base strapped with bombs and who therefore had to be shot in the head, perhaps? I have to say that initially I looked in vain for the name of Chris Morris on the strapline of this nonsense.

  20. Jim Denham said,

    Holy Joe:

    This gives a flavour:

    …”she refused to condemn the actions of the suicide bombers. She was all aggression.

    “This aggression continued in Hebron, where I witnessed swastikas on a wall.

    Though I expect you approve of suicide bombings (so lomg as they’re aimed at Jews) and swastikas, given the history of your church.

    Finally, whatever the crimes of Israelover the years, the following remains essentially true now just as it was in 1948:

    “I began to experience the sense of isolation Israelis feel. An isolation that began in the ghettos of Europe and ended in Auschwitz.

    “Israel is a refuge — but a refuge under siege…”

    • skidmarx said,

      Though I expect you approve of suicide bombings (so lomg as they’re aimed at Jews) and swastikas
      Are you calling him a pro-Nazi and anti-Semite? Didn’t you have to say
      I’ve apologised for my remarks about “anti-semitism” to Mr Strafford. I’d do so again to his face.
      when you did that last on one of the many occasions you’ve done that?

  21. holy joe said,

    As to the “aggression” of Hind Khoury, who is not some Islamist but a leading Christian member of that PLO you allegedly “support”, you can judge it here in an excerpt from the film in question: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPna6K_RMjY
    As to those who believe graffiti on the walls of Hebron (where did it come from? settlers are quite liberal in their use of swastika imagery, actually) represents Palestinian “aggression” against those poor settlers and their beer drinking soldier protectors, I think the aggression of Baruch Goldstein and the guys in Kiryat Arba would strike any allegedly neutral observer as somewhat more significant. But I expect you approve of the mass slaughter of Arabs, given the history of your sect.

  22. modernity's ghost said,

    Skidmarx doesn’t want to engage with the topic, but repeats himself on other matters, again.

    The small mind of this Oxbridge educated racist is a wonder to behold.

    • Pinkie said,

      Still no evidence as to the racism of Skidmarks, I see, Modernity. More evidence of the rather large chip on your shoulder, though, e.g:

      “The small mind of this Oxbridge educated racist is a wonder to behold.”

      Just what is your problem, Modernity?

      Mind you, of course, you are not the only one to call Skidmarks a racist or anti-Semite. Jim Denham is happy to do so, but for rather different reasons, i.e. current AWL thinking on Zionism.

      Perhaps the two of you could have an interesting debate on this matter, cheer us up for god’s sake.

  23. Jim Denham said,

    Holy Joe: I can back up what I say about your church’s shameful history of appeasement and collaboration towards Nazism; this is just one of many examples:
    http://emperors-clothes.com/analysis/hitlerspope.htm

    Care to back up your claim may “my sect” (I presume you mean the AWL) “approve(s) of the mass slaughter of Arabs” with some evidence?

  24. holy joe said,

    Back up? Well, I generally find that hurling out random accusations at people I have never met to the effect that they are probably advocates of racist mass murder is a way of ensuring a constructive and amicable debate. I rather had the impression that you took the same view, since you do it all the fucking time.
    As to your back up, while I take second place to none in my admiration for Jared Israel’s work exposing 9/11 as an inside job, or proving that all those photos of Serb atrocities were faked, I jib at accepting him as a scholar of second world war history. Perhaps you might consider this http://www.lewrockwell.com/woods/woods48.html instead, which gives some background on the “Hitler’s Pope” nonsense and tributes to Pope Pius XII’s role in the Second World War from some of your favourite Zionist politicians and religious figures, such as Golda Meir, Moshe Sharrett and Rabbi Isaac Herzog. If you want to demur from that lot, I will have to accuse you of being anti-Semitic of course.
    But honestly, is this how you live your life? When you meet a Catholic, you assume them to be a Nazi sympathiser and somebody who supports the killing of Jews? You really are a seriously weird person, aren’t you?
    As to your support for killing Arab civilians, I would refer you to your approving link yesterday to an article justifying the shooting of Palestinian children in the head, an article you describe as “interesting” and “true”.

  25. Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

    just about every cunwernt who cooments here is a lunatic and a tosspott. excepting me.

  26. Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

    oh – and clive — he is okay as well.

  27. modernity's ghost said,

    Lew Rockwell? That Conservative crank?

    A bit like referencing a Thatcherite thinktank as an objective source on trade unions, utter nonsense.

    Even worse, as Rockwell is far to the right of Thatcher and was the editor of the Ron Paul newsletter when it published some real nasty stuff

    This provides a background to Lew Rockwell, http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2010/07/murray-rothbard-lew-rockwell-and.html

    http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/98883/ron-paul-incendiary-newsletters-exclusive

  28. modernity's ghost said,

    More on Rockwell:

    ” In 2003, LewRockwell.com, a Web site run by Von Mises Institute President Llewellyn Rockwell that at the time included a “King Lincoln” section, hosted a “Lincoln Reconsidered” conference in Richmond, Va., starring DiLorenzo. The conference became a bit of a road show, reappearing around the South and headlined by DiLorenzo.

    Ron Paul has connections to von Mises as well. When several of Paul’s newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s were found to include bigoted rhetoric about African Americans and gays, Paul claimed not to know who wrote them. But in 2008, Reason Magazine fingered the culprit: Paul’s chief ghostwriter was none other than von Mises founder Rockwell, who had earlier served as Paul’s chief of staff. To this day, the institute runs Paul’s commentaries and, according to Reason, “Rockwell remains a friend and advisor to Paul.”

    http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2011/02/09/ron-paul-invites-witness-with-neo-confederate-ties-to-testify-in-congress/

  29. holy joe said,

    I wouldn’t expect you to actually read anything before going off one of your seven degrees of separation paperchases, Modernity, but this review isn’t actually by Rockwell. And it is an objective source for the quotations from Jewish leaders in praise of Pius XII, and gives a fairly objective account of Rabbi Dalin’s book in my view. If you have disagreements let us know what they are, I am sure you have read the book, what with you being such an expert on the Holocaust and all. I think you will find all this student union identity politics guilt by association spiel you specialise in won’t really impress US libertarians, they are interested in ideas and arguments above all else.
    “just about every cunwernt who cooments here is a lunatic and a tosspott”
    I couldn’t agree more.

  30. SteveH said,

    “excepting me”

    That is the part I have the problem with Joe.

    Modernity,

    If SkidMarx were to engage with the subject, like I did, he would probably be banned or have comments deleted. So he is probably correct not to give his view. This site operates the classic cult small sect blueprint, allow only those narrow points of view that are endorsed by the cult micro sect in order to save said micro sect cult’s purity. Some societies protect virginity in a similar way.

    Out in the ‘normal’ world, beyond the borders of the sect people are not screaming Nazi and far rightists every time someone strays from the official line.

  31. modernity's ghost said,

    I’m hardly surprised that “holy Joe” wouldn’t recognise the odious nature of Lew Rockwell’s site.

    I imagine given his continued defence of the Papacy and the Catholic Church’s capitulation to fascism that Rockwell’s guff doesn’t cause him to bat a single eyelid.

    I look forward to his rationalisation of the 1933 Concordat.

    However, I doubt that even “holy joe” would have the courage to defend the Lateran Treaty, still given his venturing into the hard right territory of Lew Rockwell anything is possible.

  32. SteveH said,

    Incidentally a brilliant piece here from a proper left thinker:

    http://leninology.blogspot.com/2012/03/free-speech-martyr.html

    • Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

      proper left thinker indeed. not a Marxist of any kind tho but.

  33. Jim Denham said,

    SteveH (“This site operates the classic cult small sect blueprint, allow only those narrow points of view that are endorsed by the cult micro sect in order to save said micro sect cult’s purity”): bloody hell, man! We generally tolerate you (periodically banning you when you become offensive and/or abusive and/or simply tiresome) and Skidmarks (with the same provisos) and people like John Game, and many other often quite abusive commenters.

    This is in stark contrast to, say, Nooman’s missnamed ‘Socialist Unity’ site and your friend (“a proper left thinker” ha-ha-ha – it’s the comedy I like) Seymour’s Tomb, both of which operate long-standing and permanent bans on yours truly.

    So grow up and stop bleating.

  34. SteveH said,

    I never said you were worse than those other places.

    Seymour is on the left, so are you actually (and sadly), its just Seymour is a proper thinker and you have, how can I put this without offending, you have yet to show us this side of your talents.

  35. modernity's ghost said,

    I am sure SteveH will remind us how Seymour resigned from the SWP over its hosting of the racist, Gilad Atzmon.

    The SWP hosted him for four years.

    The SWP pushed his works, his concerts and appearances, for four years.

    Yet not one SWPers was embarrassed enough to resign over it, in principle. Not Seymour, not one of these supposed “antiracists”.

    Palestinian activists have clearly rejected Gilad Atzmon in their recent statement, but the silence is deafening from the SWP

    Seymour and the SWP are fecking useless, not that I expect SteveH (or Skidmarx) to understand why…..

  36. skidmarx said,

    I thought Alex Callinicos was the subject. Here he is talking about the AWL’s inspiration, a Trotskyist turned witch-hunter and imperialist:

    http://www.marxists.de/trotism/callinicos/4-1_heresies.htm

  37. modernity's ghost said,

    That’s an example, of the once Leninist mindset, incapable of arguing by himself, with his own words.

    Instead Skidmarx has to genuflect to his blue blooded superior, Professor Callinicos.

    It would be marvellous to actually see these irrational cranks marshal their own arguments for once and follow through each point logically, but that’s not going to happen.

    The democratic centralism of the SWP turns out fairly mindless paper sellers who repeat a “line” told to them from on high and Skidmarx is no exception.

    His intellectual lethargy knows no bounds.

    If, hypothetically, Baron Callinicos were to produce a paper arguing that the Moon was made of cheese then Seymour would write a 4000+ word blog post arguing that contemporary scientific explanations of the Moon’s composition and origin were the unsatisfactory product of a postcolonial Earthcentric outlook, and in fact the moon was really made of Brie.

    In turn, SWP newspaper sellers would then assert that any deviation from Callinicos’s theory was part of a Bush-Blairite trick to fool the masses and extend capitalists hegemony into the solar system, but would have difficulty finding the Moon without the aid of a nonparty member, or a diagram. Not that such a line would trouble them too much as long as the Pub was open.

  38. Jim Denham said,

    Skidiot: if you’re trying (via Callinincos) to suggest that because Shactman ended up on the wrong side on many issues (eg Vietnam), that means all his earlier thinking and writing can be dismissed, then I presume you’d apply the same ignorant and undialectical rule to, say, Plekhanov?

  39. skidmarx said,

    Is this the Shactman you want to remember:

    As early as 1949 they supported the purge of CP-linked unions from the CIO… the 1964 Democratic Convention, when he and his allies backed the Johnson Administration’s decision to seat only two delegates from the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party…Shachtman’s refusal to condemn the Bay of Pigs Invasion?

    I think I may have read some Plekhanov once upon a time, but wasn’t impressed enough for it to make a permanent impression. I did like Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid a lot, if that helps.

  40. Jim Denham said,

    “I think I may have read some Plekhanov once upon a time, but wasn’t impressed” -doh!!!

    NB: The Shactmanites support of the purge of the CP-linked unions from the CIO in 1949 is not a clear-cut issue (given the behaviour of the CP within the unions at the time), but is probably the earliest sign of their (the Shactmanites) rightward movement. Shactman’s most valuable writing was years before that.

    I repeat my question: is it your contention that because Shactman ended up on the wrong side on many issues … that means all his earlier thinking and writing can be dismissed?

  41. skidmarx said,

    I don’t think I said that. I might see parallels between his later thinking and actions and those of others, but that’s a different matter entirely.

  42. modernity's ghost said,

    Fascinating to watch Trots (ex-Trots) discuss such matters, like watching Jesuits picking their toes with blunt knifes as chalk is scraped across a blackboard.

    Not that anyone would dream of staying on topic!

    But if you can’t analyse current events with any competence then trying to grasp complex historical issues is a next to impossible task.

  43. vildechaye said,

    RE: If SkidMarx were to engage with the subject…

    That goes for Joe too. Instead, he goes in for the tried-and-true Israel bashing, imagining he’s doing Palestinians a favour egging them on. Gross.

  44. holy joe said,

    “Gross”? Does everybody here communicate in American teenage slang? It is kind of appropriate to the political level, though, I must admit.

  45. Kritique and theory « Anti-National Translation said,

    […] Alex Callinicos on Norman Finkelstein Share this:StumbleUponDiggRedditEmailFacebookTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Filed under: critique and theory   |  Leave a Comment […]

  46. Bloggerati « Poumista said,

    […] Alex Callinicos on Norman Finkelstein […]

  47. vildechaye said,

    RE: Does everybody here communicate in American slang…..

    Wow. what a devastating comeback. Your emphasis on form over substance is so impressive.

  48. The Fink to BDS supporters: “I have no interest in spouting empty, vacuous, pointless slogans, in between attending wine and cheese parties” – Shiraz Socialist (Second Run) said,

    […] upon the fact that his family were holocaust victims, in order to give himself cover for spreading antisemitic tropes. Nevertheless, he’s a smart guy and in his twisted, perverse way, quite honest. Here he tells […]

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