Once again into the breach: Denouncing Israel is not anti-Semitic

June 2, 2010

Whenever there is an outrage like the Israel military killing unarmed protestors in cold blood there is international condemnation. Some of it is weak as piss (Obama’s “concern” etc echoed by Western leaders who fall in behind the US strategy of propping up the failed Zionist state), but consistently the socialist left and the anti-war movement denounces Israeli military and political policy.

When the left does attack Israel and Zionism the immediate response from pro-Israel forces is to condemn leftists as anti-Semites. I have talked about this before and I have experienced it first-hand again this time.

Why defending Palestinians is not anti-Semitic

Tumeke boycott a red herring

An old friend (now an ex-friend) defamed me several times in a post on my Facebook page. Firstly as an anti-Semite and then as an alcoholic to boot. He has no evidence for this latter claim, but no doubt takes exception to the “Martini” part of this blog’s title. He has not seen me drunk for at least 20 years and the last time I was in his company I had two glasses of red wine.

I can laugh that off; it really is like spilt wine water off a barman’s slop cloth duck’s back. But the charge of anti-Semitism is more serious.

I won’t go over all the arguments again; you can catch up with the previous posts or Google your own version of events, but I will link to two pieces which I think explain my position quite well.

The first is a piece by Alexander Cockburn written in CounterPunch:

Of course the rhetorical trick is to conflate “Israel” or “the State of Israel” with “Jews” and argue that they are synonymous. Ergo, to criticize Israel is to be anti-Semitic. Leave aside the fact that many of Israel’s most articulate critics are Jews, honorably committed to the cause of justice for all in the Middle East. Many Jews just don’t like hearing bad things said about Israel, same way they don’t like reading articles about the Jewish lobby here. Mention the lobby and someone like Fox will rush into print denouncing those who “toy with the old anti-Semitic canard that the Jews control the press.”

These days you can’t even say that New York Times is owned by a Jewish family without risking charges that you stand in Goebbels’ shoes.

The second is from antiwar.com and is by Justin Raimondo:

If anti-Semitism is not a problem, then that is a problem for the Zionist project, and so the idea is to provoke it, create it where it never before existed. One way to do that is to redefine “anti-Semitism” in such broad terms that it could include practically anybody but Norman Podhoretz.

Tumeke boycott a red herring

April 23, 2009

I will not be joining the Tumeke boycott instigated by Whaleoil and now supported by Something should go here, maybe later and its stablemate Keeping Stock.

Tumeke’s mildly left-of-centre-ish in a libertarian pro-capital kind of way; Whaleoil is hard-right. Keeping Stock and SSGHML are variants of  some weird Christian intermediate thingy which both lean heavily rightwards.

The ostensible reason for the boycott, according to Whaleoil, is that Tumeke host Tim Selwyn is a holocaust denier because he dared to criticise media coverage of the walk-out during a speech by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the UN anti-racism conference in South Africa a few days ago.

Holocaust denial is actually a hard charge to sustain against Tim on any reading of his post. The main thrust of which is to have a go at New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully for not attending the conference in the first place; to have a go at the soft coverage given to the walk-out and to point out that Zionism is actually a racist ideology.

Nothing wrong with that. Tim does not make any reference to support for the holocaust deniers and he doesn’t offer much defence of Ahmadinejad either. He mainly talks about how New Zealand is too close to the Americans on foreign policy – such as military involvement the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations.

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