Response to 'Red Scribblings' by Jay Knott (11/04/11) ⇌ (Gilad)
If you want to read this article, you need to read the following blog entries, and all the comments:
The blog "Red Scribblings" contains the most coherent writing from the left about Gilad Atzmon's work on Jewish identitity and Zionism, and his critics, so far.
In contrast to the efforts of other red scribblers such as "Lenin's Tomb" and Andy Newman in "the Guardian", to slander, smear and suppress Atzmon's insights into Israeli apartheid, and the Jewish power in the Western countries that keeps it in business, Red Scribblings take on Atzmon's arguments, and when disagreeing, attempt to explain why they are wrong. But sometimes, Red categorizes an argument a priori as belonging to this or that 'ism', and therefore outside the parameters of rational discussion.
The scientific approach doesn't rule out ideas a priori, but judges them solely on whether they are meaningful, and if so, whether they are falsifiable, and if so, on how economically they explain the known facts.
Where do you draw the line? With whom do you debate, and whom do you excommunicate? Red draws the line in a different place to Andy Newman, Richard Seymour and other leftist critics of Atzmon. For Red, it's 'fascists' who are beyond the pale.
Unlike Red, I don't believe Atzmon's criticisms of Jewish power are comparable to the theories which ooze out of victim studies departments in the US universities. Atzmon attempts to oppose the only real racial supremacy in the West today. On the other hand, the story of 'white privilege', promoted by Jewish hate groups like the Anti-Defamation League and their leftist poodles, is a diversion from this end. Exegesis of the works of Theodor Adorno, Ken Stern, Noel Ignatiev et. al., their exaggeration of white bigotry, and their explicit excuses for Zionism, leads me to the conclusion that their critique of white privilege is little more than a defense of Jewish power.
Which is the more powerful, the American Jewish Committee or the Aryan Nations? AIPAC or the KKK? These questions answer themselves. White supremacy is dead. Atzmon, to his credit, has aired doubts about his initial denunciation of controversial historian Kevin MacDonald as a 'white supremacist':
I wish I'd said that. Come to think of it, I did say that. I disagree with MacDonald's views about white interests, black people, and immigration. They are his opinions. But what about his analysis - 'The Culture of Critique'? As far as I can see, it's an important contribution to an explanation of the left's weakness on Israel. It's useful to Palestine solidarity, since it helps understand and Zionist power in the Western left and society in general. So drawing the line at what Red calls 'white supremacy' is as arbitrary and pointless as drawing it at Stalinism, or anywhere else. What we think about white identity and so on, should be open questions within the Palestine solidarity movement.
Red believes Marxism explains Western support for Israel:
"Marxism can however, explain it. It is not that difficult. The US ruling class, which is overwhelmingly European derived and non-Jewish, though with a minority Jewish component, is committed, in its overwhelming majority, to a strategic military and political alliance with Israel. Its purpose in doing so is to divide and render powerless the Arab population as much as possible, and thus make easier US and allied control of the world’s most important strategic energy resources" and "There is absolutely no way that a 3% minority can exercise power in an advanced country like the US without the leading circles of the other 97% actively wanting them to and granting them that power willingly. It is materially impossible for it to be otherwise."
Marxism isn't always a pseudo-science. Sometimes, it makes falsifiable predictions. For example, it predicts that the US government – the executive committee of the ruling class - will coldly weigh up capitalist interests, and support whichever party in the Middle East serves them. It does not do that. It grovels to Israel. Israel is not a 'forward base'. It has no oil. It contributes no troops to US adventures - Syria supported the 1990 invasion of Iraq, but Israel did not. Israeli soldiers aren't dying for America. The Jewish state costs the US eight million dollars a day. If the Arab population is divided, that's not because of Israel, which tends to unite it. In any case, capitalism is not inherently philo-semitic and Islamophobic. If support for Israel were a rational policy, it would be possible for politicians to discuss it. Instead, they fall over each other to put Israel first, claiming the slightest deviation from the party line is 'anti-Semitism'. When George Bush senior mentioned that the Israel lobby had far more members than the Palestinian one, he was denounced, and had to apologize. President Obama too kisses ass, and so do all the candidates for next year's election. Mearsheimer and Walt in 'The Israel Lobby' ask, ironically, if all this kowtowing is a cynical attempt to cover up for American realpolitik. No, that's not the most economical explanation of the facts.
I summarize this argument in a review of a Noam Chomsky book on Dissident Voice, here:
It only takes one exception to refute a theory. There are many holes in Marxism, but Western support for Israel delivers the coup de grâce.
If your theory claims it is 'impossible for it to be otherwise', and it clearly is otherwise, your theory has a problem. Capitalist interests overrule working class interests most of the time, obviously. It is not much less clear that, whenever there is a conflict between Jewish interests and everyone else's, Jewish interests prevail.
When George Mitchell was sent by the US government to achieve peace in Northern Ireland, he armtwisted the British government into talking to the IRA. Then he approached the Israel/Palestine question. Not only did he have to give up, but currently, it is illegal for US politicians to talk to Hamas, even for the purpose of persuading them to follow non-violent aims. Currently, the US is trying to pressurize Britain to help attack Iran. Is the US putting similar pressure on Israel? No, it's the other way round.
What we need to do is figure out how such a small ethnic group can be so powerful. I suggest its mostly the manipulation of fear of being anti-Semitic in the Western countries, via the media, education and the democratic system. Westerners, the least racist people who have ever lived, are easily blackmailed. Anti-Western ideas do not help encourage support for Palestinian rights, and neither does the notion that Israel is an ally of the West, and I suspect some of their promoters know it. Chomsky is no fool.
Red says the phrase 'Jewish power' has unfortunate connotations. Then we must ignore these connotations. Like Marxism, political correctness is a hindrance, not a help.
Finally, I would think twice before saying anyone is 'worthy of hatred', as Red says of 'holocaust deniers', especially as he/she separates white European deniers from Muslim and Jewish culprits of this thought-crime. But I lack Red's ability to read minds, so I don't know if these people are deliberately lying. I have the same approach to holocaust revisionism as to any other daft conspiracy theory. Palestine solidarity movements should host meetings with revisionists, and support them against imprisonment for their beliefs. It exposes allies of Zionism. It takes the struggle against Zionism in the left out of the blogosphere, and into the streets.