Sunday, 25 May 2008

Solidarity as love

What useful synonyms might we seek for the word 'solidarity'? How about 'love'?

More obvious examples occur, of course - 'commonality', 'mutuality', 'collectivity', among others.

But I think love is a much-neglected intimate of the term, suggesting a close coupling of ideals, values and consideration for each other.

Love as solidarity invokes feelings of care, safe-keeping and protection, a sharing spirit, a desire to hold dear, to cherish that which supports and enhances the common good. From kind friendship to being there in times of sickness and adversity, it's a bonding of hearts, minds and souls. These are universal human attributes which inform all situations, from social communities to personal partnerships.

It's the manifesto for a true politics of love. Whether it's state relations or intimate relations, politics is about power and how we choose to exercise or restrain ourselves from its misuse. From the cabinet room to the war room, the board room to the newsroom, the living room to the bedroom, we face moral choices about how we regard and treat each other. Do we idolise profit and greed or idealise sharing and generosity? Do we trust our leaders or ourselves? Do we support unholy war or foster 'holy' love?

Deep down, I believe that people are more inclined towards the peace, love and solidarity end of the social and emotional spectrum. It's the self-interested market system which keeps people atomised and mercenary. Divisive competition inhibits us from evolving in more altruistic ways. The capitalist disorder has no use for 'romantic' notions of love as solidarity. Instead, we're urged to see our lives as a set of privatised 'goals'. We even come to regard our partners as market commodities to be discarded or 'upgraded'.

It's part of the crude individualism that constrains feelings of solidarity and love. For the power elite, love as solidarity is an uncomfortable impediment to market desires. And the corollary to that is the language of hostility, conflict and hate.

This week we learned about the kind of 'solidarity' urged by George W Bush as he rallied the troops in Iraq:
"Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!"
Or how about this in the same spirit of belligerent 'solidarity' from the faltering Hillary Clinton:
"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president we will attack Iran...In the next ten years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."
So much for reaching out in a spirit of dialogue, tolerance and engagement. Clinton's brand of 'tough love', amplifying her eager solidarity with Israel, is of the exclusive 'us' variety. It's also, as with her political peers, the 'solidarity-speak' of corporate America.

Heading homewards on an overnight train from Barcelona last week, I had the interesting experience of being berthed alongside two pleasant young American lads on their first trip to Europe. And, of course, the chat turned to politics. Rather sheepishly, they confessed their support for John McCain, at least aware of the relative antipathy to that kind of allegiance this side of the Atlantic. It seemed not to occur to them that their Republican hopeful and his new proto-hawks are concerned only with a grasping love of power and a quest for imperial domination over others.

What interested me more, though, was the insularity of their understanding, some of it, in this case, the apparent product of how 'political science' is taught in US colleges. Their main 'worldview' seemed fixated on how America will deal with its own global 'problems', not about the wanton killing and chaos it is visiting on other people and places. Their thoughts were not overtly hateful. Quite the contrary. But they registered a kind of imbued indifference, a desensitisation, to 'external' suffering, as though the province of political life can only be about power, brinkmanship and gain rather than a praxis of solidarity and love.

Wandering the seductive streets of Paris later that day, a more hopeful sense of solidarity came to mind, conjured around the iconography of 'liberty, equality, fraternity' - and, yes, romantic love. It all rests on a set of heady ideals, of course. But - in optimistic contrast to my train-travelling McCainites - it still encourages the enduring belief that we are ever-capable of something much more giving, much more caring, much more loving.

And, sitting reflectively at the Seine, a little piece of special verse came back, reminding me of how love speaks as a kind of solidarity in all its life-experiencing facets:

"To hold her in my arms against the twilight and be her comrade for ever - this was all I wanted so long as my life should last...And this, I told myself with a kind of wonder, this was what love was: this consecration, this curious uplifting, this sudden inexplicable joy, and this intolerable pain." (Anon.)
In the perennial spirit of love as solidarity, past, present, future.

John

15 comments:

joe90 said...

Hi John
sorry to bother you but I noticed from a messege posted on the Media Lens Messege Board that you have signed Mary Rizzo's petition.

Just to let you know that many consider her an antisemite who has no buisness in being allowed to help in the alestinian solidarity campaign.

The same applies to her associate Gilad Atzmon on which subject there was a recent discussion on the MLMB I believe.

I don't say these things lightly John.

There is a decent blog run by Tony Greenstein, amongst others, which was set up in the wake of an article which UK Indymedia eventually took down from their site. Written by Atzmon, in it he didn't deny the Nazi Holocaust, but justified it.
Here is the blog -


Here you will find a few of my own thoughts on this petition written by an antisemite like rizzo, on behalf of a Palestinian -
ENGAGE Hypocrites Support Finkelstein's Arrest & Deportation
azvsas blogspot
27 May 2008

all the best John!

joe90 said...

I meant to say John,
in case you wish to follow up on what I allege, you could try checking with Mick Napier (I don't know him personally) over at the 'Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign' whom I believe also has some definite views about atzmon and his associates.

all the best Zp!

John Hilley said...

Thanks, Joe.

This is an unfortunate and diversionary spat, though we must accept the reality of contending viewpoints within such movements.

I had a little review of the arguments here and feel that Greenstein and his associates have been virulent and mendacious in their denunciations of Atzmon. Rizzo also gets falsely denounced due to her association with Atzmon. Yet, there's little convincing evidence that either Atzmon or Rizzo are racists or anti-semites. Provocative, perhaps. But that's not something we should be overtly worried about.

Greenstein, in contrast, has embarked on a seemingly obsessive campaign and private vendetta against Atzmon, claiming, in the process, that this is some kind of a 'make-or-break' issue for the PSC.

It's worth remembering that Atzmon and Rizzo are also critiquing the issues from within their own (past) Jewish backgrounds. It's part of a searching, personal and intellectual journey on the corruptions of Zionism.

We don't have to share their precise views. But we have to be mature enough to allow such debates and avoid the shrill words of both the Zionist denouncers and those within the Palestinian movement who think we have to maintain 'purity' of purpose lest we offend the Zionists.

Let's keep focused on Israel's plentiful sins rather than castigate committed people trying to expose them in pursuance of the Palestinian cause.

So, I see no problem in signing the petition initiated by Mary Rizzo in support of Khalid Amayreh – a worthy action in defence of someone being persecuted by the Israeli apartheid state.

This piece from the administrator at Indymedia UK offers some useful insights on the “war of attrition” going on between Atzmon and Greenstein, illustrating the latter's highly questionable motives:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18721.htm

This exchange between Atzmon and Greenstein also tends, in my mind, to reveal something of the latter's intellectual shallowness.

http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/2005/06/gilad-atzmon-tony-greenstein-debate.html

Note, further, the following on Greenstein's rejected motions at the 2007 PSC gathering:

http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/2007/03/report-on-2-failed-motions-by.html

And I think this is a fair summation from the SWP of how we should view Gilad Atzmon and his legitimate right to be on such platforms:

http://www.swp.org.uk/gilad.php

Mary Rizzo also offers a fair defence of Atzmon in this piece:

http://www.counterpunch.org/atzmon06172005.html

See also:
http://peacepalestine.wordpress.com/

http://palestinethinktank.com/

http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/2008/04/anti-zionist-zionist-if-you-are-tony.html


http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/2008/03/shraga-my-karma-ran-over-your-dogma.html

http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/2008/03/tony-tried-to-pull-blog-so-no-one-could.html

http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/2008/02/try-to-censor-peacepalestine-its-tony.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilad_Atzmon

http://robertlindsay.blogspot.com/2008/02/zionist-try-to-shut-down-peacepalestine.html

http://www.solidarityscotland.org/content/view/106/2/

In solidarity
John

joe90 said...

Thanks for that John.

Just to say that CounterPunch refused Tony Greenstein the right to reply to the antisemite Mary Rizzo
Here is TG's reply -
'The Zionism of Gilad Atzmon, Mary Rizzo & Israel Shamir'
05 Apr 2008
AZVAS blog
http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2008/04/zionism-of-gilad-atzmon-mary-rizzo.html

The IndyMedia UK article from Roy Bard aka 'freethepeeps' is significant for its denoument, in that, Atzmon's antisemitic articles are now barred from IndyMedia UK -
'IndyMedia UK: now ATzmon-free - a victory for anti-racism'
http://geniza.wordpress.com/topic-index/

Also try UK IndyMedia's own statement -
'Indymedia UK and the Atzmon-Greenstein affair'
IndyMedia UK
24 Feb 2008
https://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/02/392188.html

The following is an insightful article by Tony Greenstein about the way 'anarchist' decision-making structures are actually absolutist and tyrannical in nature. Hence the reason Atzmon's antisemitism was allowed to pollute 'IndyMedia UK' and damage its repuation -
'How Indymedia UK Lost Its Way and became a safe haven for Anti-Semitism'
by Tony Greenstein
Socialist Unity website
07 Feb 2008
http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=1690

Of course, you will never hear a peep from either Atzmon or his helper, Rizzo, about this racist debacle. Such is their dedication to truth and honesty.

For some more background on Atzmon's ideas try -
'Israel Shamir - The ‘Unique & Advanced Thinker’ Behind Gilad Atzmon'
Socialist Unity
25 Feb 2008
http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=1773

Jews sans Frontiere blog quotes the offensive Atzmon statement justifying the holocaust -
the Jewish state and the sons of Israel are at least as unpopular in the Middle East as their grandparents were in Europe just six decades ago. Seemingly, it is the personification of WW2 and the Holocaust that blinded the Israelis and their supporters from internalising the real meaning of the conditions and the events that led towards their destruction in the first place.
'....but don't call him a nazi whatever you do'
JSF
21 Oct 2007
http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2007/10/but-dont-call-him-nazi-whatever-you-do.html

And here is Rizzo herself, not denying the holocaust, rather she justifies it as well by defending the above statement by Atzmon.
The following quote of her is a comment from a thread which has other such gems from Rizzo, as well as evidence that she knows nothing about the history and development of Palestinian national cosnsciousness -
As to not knowing history, Joe, get a new one, this one is tired, as it is indeed ridiculous for anyone to keep trying to point out that there was Anti-jewish sentiment in Europe during the 30s and 40s. Why the hell else were there extermination and concentration and labour camps?
thecutter (aka Mary Rizzo)
24 April 2008 08:02
http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2008/04/death-of-mary-rizzos-peacepalestine.html?showComment=1209020520000#c4333527143872859511


Just to say
that a petition put together by an antisemite, such Rizzo, is no defence for a Palestinian but actually a condemnation.
If Israel's supporters answer that this is just another example of the antisemitism of pro-Palestinians it won't be because they are trying to silence their critics, its because they'll be answering them, becuase they will be correct.

You say John -
Let's keep focused on Israel's plentiful sins rather than castigate committed people trying to expose them in pursuance of the Palestinian cause.

As I say, the reason Israel's supporters say it exists is because of antisemitism, and it is a gift to the agents of Israeli hasbara if Palestinian solidarity is infiltrated or tainted with antismeitism.

When pro-Israelis answer their critics that they are just antismites, it will be because they are correct.
No better weapon for the continued suffering and dispossesion of Palestinians can be given to their racist enemies by their supporters than surrendering to antisemites poisioning the solidarity movement.

all the best John!

John Hilley said...

Hi Joe,

Alas, the more I read of this sordid affair the more I'm convinced of Greenstein's obsessive and destructive motivations.

For example, Greenstein goes to elaborate lengths in this article to invoke Ilan Pappe and Jonathan Cook as, somehow, serving his case.

http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2008/04/zionism-of-gilad-atzmon-mary-rizzo.html

Pappe and Cook are among some of the most articulate and incisive writers on the issues. But nothing they say, or are cited by Greenstein as saying here, stands in stark opposition to the things people like Rizzo are arguing.

Take this section:

“Pappe went on to note how incredible it is that ‘a colonialist policy can be still accepted in the 21st century.’ Rizzo protested that ‘it must be demonstrated that it is simply a colonialist policy…. because it includes an ideology of transformation of the land into suiting the needs of a specific group in maintaining it ethnically pure. The idea of reclaiming the "promised land" of restituting it to the "will of God's plan" is much more than colonial ideology, it is a racist and supremacist ideology based on religious belief or tradition. That is why many do not fight against it as a colonial struggle. The Palestinians do not see it that way.’ ”

Rizzo is simply saying that, yes, it may be a colonial project, but it's a colonial project driven by “a racist and supremacist ideology”. That seems to me to be a fair interpretation of what's keeping the settlements intact in the West Bank. There's nothing anti-Semitic about that kind of remark.

There's something fundamentally facile in charging Atzmon and Rizzo with anti-Semitism. These people are, or were, Jews. Should they be disqualified from criticising their own religion as a form of political identity or discussing how it has been appropriated and corrupted by Zionism?

I was raised a Catholic, but came to reject the fundamentals of Catholic teaching and much of the conservative doctrine associated with it. Does that make me anti-Catholic?

To repeat, I don't necessarily accept Atzmon's or Rizzo's arguments. But neither do I see the need to exclude them from the debate. I say this as someone who would never support platforms for the BNP and other fascists, or anyone who, like Irving, denies the Holocaust. Neither would the SWP, yet they were specific in supporting Atzmon's right to speak at their gatherings. Again, that SWP statement seemed to me a fair and intellectually-balanced view.

http://www.swp.org.uk/gilad.php

The PSC have also rejected calls for Aztmon's exclusion.

Atzmon's piece 'On Anti-Semitism - ' http://www.gilad.co.uk/html%20files/onanti.html -
contains a number of critical truths on how Zionism has used the narrative of anti-Semitism to promote its project. As Atzmon shows - in line with Chomsky's and others' critique of the Holocaust industry - Zionists and the Israeli network have regularly cultivated anti-Semitic feeling in order to defend and build the Zionist agenda.

On the other hand, I think Atzmon lapses into erroneous territory in the second half of this piece in arguing that Jews control the world and that Zionists are completely driving American foreign policy. (It's worth remembering that the latter is, essentially, the Walt and Mearsheimer thesis. I don't think they are ant-Semitic for arguing that, just analytically mistaken.) My view is closer to Finkelstein and, more recently, Jonathan Cook, in arguing that there's a close intersection between Zionist imterests and those executing US policy.

On the mater of Indymedia, note this conclusion from their key meeting to discuss the Greenstein-Atzmon affair:
“Agree that what Greenstein has done and his campaign has been disruptive. All agreed this was the case. This is not a personal problem, it is a political problem. Responsibility of the collective to discuss this.”
http://docs.indymedia.org/view/Local/UkNetworkMeeting2008MinutesSunday#Anti_Semitism

Note also the Indymedia statement that Greenstein has been banned from the imc features e-mail list for continued “abuse” - but he can still post articles, subject to the usual guidelines, at the main site:

https://docs.indymedia.org/view/Local/UkModerationAtzmon

You conclude:

“...it is a gift to the agents of Israeli hasbara if Palestinian solidarity is infiltrated or tainted with antismeitism.”

With respect, Joe, try not to get over-fixated on 'placating' the agents of Israeli ideology. We, at least, can see what the real issues are for the Palestinians. Let's keep to the essentials: exposing the apartheid brutalities and illegal occupation. I could go on here, but I repeat this basic point. Greenstein et al have become almost neurotic in their campaign to silence Atzmon et al and 'cleanse' the PSC of these 'dark forces.' Their calls have been rightly rejected as intellectually flawed and divisive. Their campaign has been a massive distraction from the actual issues.

On that sad note, I think we should agree to differ on this matter and get on with the real task in hand.

Best wishes,
John

joe90 said...

Well fair enough John
if you think Palestinians are best served by people justifying the holocaust, of which you say nothing about, that's up to you. There is plenty of rizzo's antisemitism to read through on some of the threads of AZVAS, as well as her complete ignorance of Palestinian history.

Antisemitism in Palestinian solidarity is a gift to zionists.

Atzmon considers any and all Jews to be zionists and I think it was him and rizzo who referred to 'dark forces' trying to take over the PSC (in an awful public petition they put together once, their first one) - or as Atzmon once put it 'Marxist rabbis out to judify the PSC'.

Atzmon's crude neo-nazi propaganda was eventually taken down from UK IndyMedia because of the efforts of Tony Greenstein - despite the fact of 'Roy Bard' trying to steamroller his colleagues in the UK IM collective. So, in spite of the UK-IM's mealy-mouthed excuses they agreed, in practice, that Atzmon is a racist disseminating crude jew-baiting anti-Jewish propaganda.

The SWP has a hermetically-sealed leadership which its members is allowed to criticise, as far as I understand it. An endorsement from them isn't much to go on. See this recent discussion thread on Socialist Unity if you're interested John, especially the start -
'This is a real witch hunt'
SU
05 June 2008
http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=2439#comments

I'll leave things there.

all the best!

joe90 said...

correction -

The SWP has a hermetically-sealed leadership which its members ARE NOTallowed to criticise, as far as I understand it.

John Hilley said...

I won't belabour this further, Joe, but, just to be clear, Atzmon asked for his own material to be taken down from Indymedia:

"On 21 February, 2008, Gilad Atzmon wrote to the imc-uk-moderation list asking for all his writings on Indymedia UK to be "removed within 48 hours" and that none of his stuff is published there "without [his] consent." Having followed the discussions within IMC UK for the last 3 months, he added, "I do believe in hierarchic editorial clear-cut decisions and, as sad as it may be, I do not approve any form of ideological collectivism. I believe in freedom of the spirit and freedom of speech.""

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/02/392188.html

One thing I find dispiriting about these kind of 'sectarian' spats, apart from their ugly divisiveness, is the resort to hyperbolic, hateful and vindictive language. It's a humble thought, but, as intimated in this post, I think we serve our common cause better by pursuing a language of solidarity and a politics of love. Ultimately, nothing of use grows from hate.

Peace and harmony,
John

joe90 said...

John,
the reason Atzmon asked for his article justifying the holocaust to be withdrawn, was because his fellow antisemitic monkey at UK IndyMedia, Roy Bard, wasn't doing a good enough job of convincing the other collective members of the justice of Atzmon's case. In fact, all Roy Bard was doing was vetoing any and all attempts to get Atzmon's racist poison banned. Not a very good example of debate and demoacracy at work, I'm afraid.

Claiming that the victims of the Nazis were responisble for the crimes carried out against them, as Atzmon clearly does, has nothing to do with peace or love or democracy or tolerance.

Tolerating racism and racists isn't tolerance, it is racism.

Exploiting the suffering of weak and defenceless Palestinians in order to use them as a vehicle to peddle neo-nazi propaganda and antisemitism has no place in a solidarity campaign.

Given the nature of atzmon-rizzo's racism, they are working against Palestinian solidarity and harming Palestinians by justifying the Israeli zionist case that antisemitism does indeed exist and that Palestinians and their friends are indeed antisemitic.

There should be a clear as daylight firewall bewteen Palestinians and their friends, and any spurious psuedo-intellectual waffle pretending to be honest debate when it is nothing but hatred of Judaism and Jewish Peoples.

As far as I am concerned, Tony Greenstein is one of Britian's leading anti-zionist intellectuals, and the Jewish anti-zionists round London way are among the most dedicated, sincere and hard-working souls in Palestinian solidarity.

Why Atzmon started his virulent antisemitic campaign against them, with his notorious jew-baithing screed 'The Protocols of the Elders of London', I can only imagine its because they are so effective at what they do. After all, Atzmon does join with his fellow zionists, such as Antony Julius, in attacking anti-zionists doesn't he?.

In fact, here is one of Atzmon's zionist collaborators from the racist Islamic-hating 'Harry's Place' blog, Mike Ezra -
'Zionist Collaboration in Hungary - Mike Ezra attempts to Defend the Indefensible'
AZVAS blog
12 June 2008
http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2008/06/zionist-collaboration-in-hungary-mike.html

Like much else about rizzo-atzmon, its when they are away from the spotlight that their antisemitic pro-zionist credentials really begin to shine.

all the best!

joe90 said...

That's quite strange behaviour John,
you claim discussions like this are diversionary and yet you flag it up on the Media Lens Messege Board, attracting the world's attention to it.

Still, I don't mind if people see that continually repeating the same 'mistake', as you claim Atzmon-Rizzo do, isn't a mistake at all but something structural - racism in fact.

all the best.

azvsas said...

I don't wish to get into a long argument over this, not least since you have already made clear John that you consider that I have been waging some kind of political vendetta against Atzmon and Rizzo.

That is not at all true. I have been subjecting what they write to political criticism and they have then, Atzmon in particular, resorted to quite vile personal attacks. Not merely raking up long dead minor criminal convictions but working in alliance with a virulent Zionist named Mikey Ezra to do so.

The motions at PSC AGM did not mention Atzmon. They called on PSC not to have anything to do with Deir Yassin Remembered and as soon as the motion was submitted the link with DYR was terminated. Even before the debate there was a PSC Exec. statement that PSC would have nothing to do with them so the motions fell in the light of those reassurances.

Since you know nothing about me I'm surprised that you write that 'Alas, the more I read of this sordid affair the more I'm convinced of Greenstein's obsessive and destructive motivations.' Clearly you have misinterpreted or misunderstood what it is I have written and done.

If I am obsessed with anything it is the overthrow of Zionism and I will criticise those who stand in the way of that. Unfortunately, despite certainly in Rizzo's case a genuine motivation in support of the Palestinians, what they do and say achieves the precise opposite.

Despite the motions I describe above not mentioning Atzmon he and Rizzo took it upon themselves to defend DYR. DYR is run by people who are explicitly holocaust deniers, as you must know if you have read anything of what I've written. If you think that that kind of stuff serves the interests of the Palestinians then we will never agree.

Likewise all the Jewish conspiracy stuff, the attribution of the Holocaust to the Jews' 'unpopularity' the statement that Jews in the anti-Zionist movement prevent Palestine solidarity from becoming a mass movement or indeed the Atzmon essay which sums up his entire credo and which I suggest you read - 'Not in my name' which explicitly says that the more Jewish anti-Zionists protest against Zionism the more they demonstrate their Zionist credentials.

My destructiveness as you term it includes being a founding member of PSC, proposing a successful Boycott of israel at last year's UNISON Conference, which I'm hoping will be debated again next week at conference, triggering the picket of Windsor Castle over the JNF reception by the royals etc. Do tell what Atzmon & Rizzo do apart from attacking others who are anti-Zionists?

I won't even go into the IM stuff except to say I objected to a radical site carrying anti-Semitic nonsense that can only harm the Palestinian cause. It caused the biggest ruckus and debate in their history and about that I have no regrets.

I don't know which petition you signed. If it was the one in support of a Palestinian then that is fine. If it was the one attacking me and supporting '2 outstanding personalities' i.e. Rizzo and Atzmon then that is not fine.


But it is not a diversionary spat. Zionists do their best to attack supporters of the Palestinians as anti-Semitic. When and if I stand up at UNISON next week, the second biggest union in the UK, that will be the line of attack from the Zionists. What you are saying is that to criticise and ostracise anti-Semites around the fringes of the PS movement is a diversion. I'm afraid I don't agree, it is an essential accompaniment to building solidarity with the palestinians and I have more experience of that than you I'm afraid.

re the colonialism thing. Rizzo was quite clear in her disagreement with Ilan Pappe about Israel being a settler colonial state. The arguments both she and Atzmon use are indeed ones that say Israel is not a settler colonial entity. Ones such as these colonists in Israel have no mother country, so how can they be colonists when it has always been clear that colonisation doesn't have to be sponsored by a single country as was the case in South Africa and the United States. They won't come out and say explicitly that Israel is not a colonial country but if in fact Israel controls the US foreign policy, as Atzmon says and Rizzo supports, then of course Israel can't be a settler colonial state.

But since you've made your mind up without bothering to contact me first to discuss these things then I suspect you are one more person who believes that support for Palestine solidarity is an internet affair. Those of us who are engaged in street activity and work in unions know how poisonous and dangerous Atzmon's anti-Semitism is and resorting to the SWP - a thoroughly undemocratic organisation which doesn't even allow any genuine debate inside it - convinces noone except those who are signed up supporters of the Stalinist model of politics.

regards

Tony Greenstein

John Hilley said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Tony.

You've expressed your views and I'd prefer not to engage the matter further, except to wonder at the intemperate and egocentric use of language in your comments.

I'm struck, in particular, by the constant castigation of Atzmon and Rizzo as “Zionists”. It's such a patently false label to apply to people so opposed to Zionism, and makes one suspicious of the related descent into hyperbolic charges of “anti-Semitism”, “Holocaust deniers” and “neo-nazis”.

While I might dispute some of their interpretations and formulations, it's clear that they hold no truck with Zionist or racist ideas. Many within the Palestinian movement and leftist circles appear to accept that basic truth - though, as your other generalised denunciation of the SWP suggests, they are also a 'deceitful cabal' not to be trusted with judging one's political character.

You note:

“I don't know which petition you signed. If it was the one in support of a Palestinian then that is fine. If it was the one attacking me and supporting '2 outstanding personalities' i.e. Rizzo and Atzmon then that is not fine.”

I signed the petition in support of a persecuted Palestinian journalist – which Joe, apparently, thought was not fine. I would never sign anything denouncing a fellow Palestinian supporter. I not only believe in solidarity, but practice it.

You say:

“But since you've made your mind up without bothering to contact me first to discuss these things then I suspect you are one more person who believes that support for Palestine solidarity is an internet affair. Those of us who are engaged in street activity... ”

That's a very revealing statement. I had a look at the arguments and expressed a view. Arguments that are already in the public domain. Why do you presume a need to contact you first in order to do so?

Moreover, with respect, you know precisely nothing of my Palestinian support activities - such as I can offer - on the streets of Glasgow, in the West Bank refugee camps and, yes, on the internet, for example in highlighting and challenging the BBC's blatant unreporting of daily IDF brutality.

This is not an activists' contest. I humbly do what I can for this and other such causes. I also appreciate what you and others bring to the movement – in particular, in promoting the boycott. But I still think it mistaken to pursue this kind of divisive, sectarian campaign.

I regret having been drawn into this ugly correspondence. Indeed, I feel tainted by it. Please feel free to respond. Readers can form their own view. But I'd prefer now to get on with what little I can do for the actual Palestinian cause.

Best wishes,
John

joe90 said...

I regret having been drawn into this ugly correspondence. Indeed, I feel tainted by it.
- I believe activism and solidarity begins at home, and as I live in Lanarkshire and you live in Glasgow John, this is the only real reason I commented on your blog, otherwise I wouldn't have troubled you.

I'm sorry you feel this way, but there are those of us who feel that Palestinians should be protected and defended from antisemites posing as their supporters. It's an obvious pitfall for such a solidarity movement, given the nature of the Israeli regime and its claims about being a 'Jewish state'. Antisemitism also happens to be one of the reasons why zionists claim a 'Jewish state' is needed.

Atzmon is an antisemite who belives all Jews are zionists. If you don't know this John, then you don't understand anything about Atzmon. This is racist.

To give all Jewish people, everywhere, the blame for the crimes carried out by the Israeli government is to believe Israeli-zionist government propaganda about Jews and their spurious claims over them. If that doesn't make Atzmon a zionist, then I don't know what does.

For people to make claims about their support for Palestinians is one thing - but how that works out in practice is something completely different.

In his article 'Saying no to the hunter's of Goliath' Atzmon clearly states that Jewish people were unpopular 65 years ago. A logical conclusion from this is to say the victims of the nazis were, partly at least, responsible for the crimes carried out against them. Or in other words, the victims of Hitler didn't do enough to make themselves popular with those rational reasonable members belonging to the Nazi Party.

This is pure neo-Nazi propaganda and it has no place in a movement devoted to Palestinian solidarity. To exploit the pain and suffering of Palestinians in order to use them as vehicle for antisemitism, is the lowest of the low.

I'll quote mary rizzo again
who said this -
Joe, get a new one, this one is tired, as it is indeed ridiculous for anyone to keep trying to point out that there was Anti-jewish sentiment in Europe during the 30s and 40s. Why the hell else were there extermination and concentration and labour camps?
comment by mary rizzo aka 'thecutter'
24 April 2008 08:02
'The Death of Mary Rizzo's PeacePalestine Sewer'
azvas blog
25 Apr 2008
http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2008/04/death-of-mary-rizzos-peacepalestine.html?showComment=1209020520000#c4333527143872859511

So when you defend these two you cannot also be defending Palestinians John. You either support these antisemites, which is an endorsement of zionism and the reasons for the current Israeli regimes existence and its destruction of Palestine and Palestinians - or you support peace and justice for all, especially the cause of Palestine and Palestinian solidarity.

As for the petition, as I've said, I've no idea how a petition run by an antisemite like rizzo helps Palestinians rather than completely undermining their cause with the zionist authorities. In practice, it is an endorsement of the zionist's racist treatment of their Palestinian victims, if anything.

all the best.

thecutter said...

Joe manages to distinguish himself in his monomaniacal obsession with Gilad and me (and his collosal lack of logical analysis) when he states:
"In his article 'Saying no to the hunter's of Goliath' Atzmon clearly states that Jewish people were unpopular 65 years ago. A logical conclusion from this is to say the victims of the nazis were, partly at least, responsible for the crimes carried out against them. Or in other words, the victims of Hitler didn't do enough to make themselves popular with those rational reasonable members belonging to the Nazi Party."

Joe seems to believe Jews were popular 65 years ago in Europe? I think he'd be the only one believing that. Where my family lived at the time, there were racial laws, some were sent to internment and labour camps and others converted or fled... for the reason that they were Jews. I suppose I didn't need to hear this from those who were there, it's in nearly every book and film about the period. Jews knew they were "unpopular", I don't think it was an illusion in their minds. Unless Joe has some knowledge the rest of us are lacking.

Joe then draws "a logical conclusion" from all of this and comes to some assumptions about anyone making this claim. He will have to then call around 98% of Jews and almost the entire rest of the world anti-Semitic then, because this is what people believe. Is he willing to go that far?

Of course, if Tony says so, he will continute to make this false claim and then draw his own conclusions about it that no one cares about except Joe and Tony. He has to keep on following Tony, even when Tony prints lie after lie like the petitions are fake, signatories are fake, we don't support the boycott, we are involved with Engage, we do not have good collaborative relations with Finkelstein, etc., and it is demonstrated that all of his claims are lies, the two of them persist!!! It is as if they are in a "Catholic Marriage".. they have to stick together even through the thick and thin and the litany that they bang out keeps being deafly sung. It's madness! Included in the harassment of anyone supporting us are Jews as well, don't be fooled by the fake magnanimity... when Jews, including people who survived Auschwitz signed an open letter by friends of Gilad's and mine asking for Tony to stop the harassment of us (this was the open letter, signed as well by many bloggers, Palestinians and others directly involved, writers, activists, and others) he started to harass them (Jews first, then the others shortly after) and infer that they were in some way hoodwinked into signing something obtuse. They were aware of what they signed, and the pressure exerted by one of them, an 80 year old woman who was harassed and said she agreed with what she signed (she's Gilad's translator into German, so she obviously supports his views at some level) but would have her name removed because at her age "she didn't want any trouble".

Now, you can know those bits of information and do what you like with it, but... if solidarity work is what counts, why are Joe and Tony working so hard to harass other activists and to bother those whose views they disagree with. They have insulted academics such as Paul de Rooij, Oren Ben-Dor and others. Several Palestinians have noted the things Tony has written, including that thanks to Britain and Zionist colonialism, the Palestinian people were created, and see that the Judeocentric position he adopts is nothing less than Zionist.. but you see, Tony has blind spots as big as the sun itself.

Not to mention the patronising views of this dynamic duo:
"there are those of us who feel that Palestinians should be protected and defended from antisemites posing as their supporters"

Is there anything more patronising than this?

Let Tony and Joe lead and guide the Palestinians to freedom. They think they can do it.

Tony has never tried to get a Zionist site blocked, but a popular site that has hundreds of contributions by Palestinians, yes, this is important for him to claim that he did his best to stop it. Makes ya kinda wonder.....

joe90 said...

I'm not obessesed with anyone, except to help the victims of the British government.

That includes exposing people like rizzo and atzmon exploiting the suffering of Palestinians (victims of my government) in order to peddle their antisemitism and neo-nazi propaganda.

Even Blair, Brown and Bush claim to be supporters of Palestinians - what does these words actually mean in practice though, is the real question.

Joe seems to believe Jews were popular 65 years ago in Europe? I think he'd be the only one believing that.
- Same with gypsies, homosexuals, german communists and soclialists and the like - why else would anyone want to build concentration and extermination camps mary?

If only the Jews, and the like, had made themselves more popular with those reasonable rational members of the Nazi Party - history would be so different.

Same with Palestinians today and why they are so unpopular - why else would Palestinians want to flee from Palestine?

...we do not have good collaborative relations with Finkelstein,
- How ironic that an academic noted for his uncovering of fakes and hoaxers should fall to an antisemitic fraud like rizzo.

Mary, have you told Dr Finkelstein his parents deserved their treatment at the hands of the Nazis because they didn't do enough to make themselves popular with them?

We'll see how long this relationship you claim to have, and which you brag about non-stop, with Dr Finkelstein lasts.

They have insulted academics such as Paul de Rooij, Oren Ben-Dor and others.
- Presumably, just like the members of the Media Lens Messege Board who also 'insulted' Oren Ben-Dor recently when they criticised his woolly-headeded pronouncements as well -
- for the other person mentioned, if anyone is still interested, see the Cork Database
'Palestine: Information with Provinance'
http://student.cs.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/php/home.php

sorry to have taken up Zp's time!

all the best!