labour + antisemitism

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Ross Wolfe has some good stuff on the relationship between radicalism and anti-semitism:



https://thecharnelhouse.org/2016/05/02/structural-antisemitism/
This is very good thanks, although surely needs to be generalised - most ideologies are "structured to find archetypal personifications at the heart of what (they oppose)" - the problem is of adhering to any ideology too rigidly without thought. Surely progressivism is about being constantly self-reflective so that one always interrogates what is true and what is just lazy, stereotyped thinking, rather than following a prescribed ideology.

I would say that it is where a person adopts an ideology in order to structure/shore up/become their identity, that problems begin, and archetypal personifications are indulged. And the left is no different from any other ideology in this regard - which is why I've found myself often (but far from always) dismayed when attending left-wing groups - where ideology is worn as a cloak to prevent thinking, it is always dangerous.

This is why imo radicalism without psychological shifts is ultimately pointless, and why so often left-wing states have ended in barbarism. Because people too steeped in ideology tend towards seeing people as expendable in the service of an idea, whatever their political persuasion.
 
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padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
The reason I regard it as being particularly dangerous for the Left is precisely because antisemitism has a pseudo-emancipatory dimension that other forms of racism rarely have
I found that whole line of thought p interesting. one of those things that seems like it should've been obvious once someone else pointed it out.

it reminded me of this monograph on Jewish economic history by the Belgian Trotkyist Abraham Leon (shortly thereafter murdered in Auschwitz) that I read a few years back. the first/last chapters are p crude 30s Marxist party line whatever but in between a p fascinating analysis of the shifting economic role of Jews in Europe from the birth of the Holy Roman Empire through to the 20th century, and how that tied into modern antisemitism.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I found that whole line of thought p interesting. one of those things that seems like it should've been obvious once someone else pointed it out.

it reminded me of this monograph on Jewish economic history by the Belgian Trotkyist Abraham Leon (shortly thereafter murdered in Auschwitz) that I read a few years back. the first/last chapters are p crude 30s Marxist party line whatever but in between a p fascinating analysis of the shifting economic role of Jews in Europe from the birth of the Holy Roman Empire through to the 20th century, and how that tied into modern antisemitism.
Weren't Jews legally banned from owning land in many parts of Europe in the middle ages? Or were simply made semi-nomadic people by default, on account of the number of times they were expelled from an entire country. I think that, plus the fact that they were exempt from laws against lending at interest that applied to Christians (paralleling the rather roundabout way lending is still conducting under Islamic law) meant that they naturally gravitated towards banking as the only realistic way of making a living. (That and being specialized craftsmen working with high-value materials, hence the prevalence of Jewish surnames such as Goldsmith, Rubenstein etc.)

So in fact the commonplace idea that Jewish domination of banking in Europe led to anti-Semitism has cause and effect the wrong way round - it was anti-Semitism that led to the Jewish domination of banking.
 
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padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
commonplace idea that Jewish domination of banking in Europe led to anti-Semitism has cause and effect the wrong way round
basically ya. also, no other group was able to fulfill the necessary role of merchant/financier until the rise of a Christian urban bourgeois. I'm no expert but I do get the impression that Jewish small merchants were supplanted much more thoroughly than the tiny elite of financiers. the Italian banking houses, and later on people like the Fuggers, did cut into that but Jews continued to be + still are obv prominent in finance. how they came to be in the first place tho, that is dead accurate.

there's also a bunch of stuff about Jews becoming estate managers for Eastern European absentee noble landlords, and thus replacing the nobles as the focal point of Polish etc peasants' visceral hatred, so deeply ingrained into the cultural DNA that it just became a more general virulent enduring antisemitism. paralleling a bit the unfortunate Jewish role as point man for structural racism in New York as slumlord/pawn shop owner - see this typically excellent James Baldwin essay, for example.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Something came up on my Facebook feed yesterday that was a big rant about how the Labour anti-Semitism row is a "witch-hunt" organised by the "hard right" in the party, all the usual apologist guff. Anyway, it was on a website called The Electronic Intifada.

Because, you know, calling your website that definitely makes it sound like a source of balanced, unbiased opinions about anti-Semitism. :rolleyes:
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
Me and Jon posted a few links towards the end of the Corbyn thread about Moshe Postone, who is saying exactly the same thing as the Ross Wolfe stuff, just via a heavy Marxist lens. Worth a read.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Oh yeah Dan, I read the big interview, excellent stuff. Just thought I'd post this here to revive this thread and leave the other for discussion about aspects of Corbynology not related to anti-Semitism.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Something came up on my Facebook feed yesterday that was a big rant about how the Labour anti-Semitism row is a "witch-hunt" organised by the "hard right" in the party, all the usual apologist guff. Anyway, it was on a website called The Electronic Intifada.

Because, you know, calling your website that definitely makes it sound like a source of balanced, unbiased opinions about anti-Semitism. :rolleyes:
Do you mean that supporters of Palestinians' rights - some of whom, unsurprisingly, are Palestinian themselves - cannot have 'unbiased' opinions about anti-Semitism because they criticise Israeli policy (wonder why they might do that?), and so must be silent on the issue?

The whole idea of an 'unbiased' opinion about anti-Semitism is itself bizarre - not quite sure what it means or who you take to have these unbiased opinions.
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Do you mean that supporters of Palestinians' rights - some of whom, unsurprisingly, are Palestinian themselves - cannot have 'unbiased' opinions about anti-Semitism because they criticise Israeli policy (wonder why they might do that?), and so must be silent on the issue?

The whole idea of an 'unbiased' opinion about anti-Semitism is itself bizarre - not quite sure what it means or who you take to have these unbiased opinions.
I'm talking - as surely you well know - about (mostly white) people who think the whole world would be rainbows, ice cream and brotherly love if it weren't for the Little Satan.
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
But since you mention Palestinians, I've seen a couple that I know sharing pro-Assad material on Facebook over the last year or so. This is the same Assad whose forces have killed many times more Palestinians since 2011 than Israel has. This is not a phenomenon that can be explained simply by rational self-interest.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Me and Jon posted a few links towards the end of the Corbyn thread about Moshe Postone, who is saying exactly the same thing as the Ross Wolfe stuff, just via a heavy Marxist lens. Worth a read.
I'm just going to read this one.

As a point of interest that just occurred to me, this editorial from 2002 : https://www.newstatesman.com/node/194341 after the NS headlined their January issue " A kosher conspiracy?" (I was doing work experience at the NS when Action Against Antisemitism visited their offices, so remember it well)
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
But since you mention Palestinians, I've seen a couple that I know sharing pro-Assad material on Facebook over the last year or so. This is the same Assad whose forces have killed many times more Palestinians since 2011 than Israel has. This is not a phenomenon that can be explained simply by rational self-interest.
Yeah I'm sure that's true, what's your point though and how does it relate to the issue? Many Jewish people living in Israel, by virtue of the way they vote, support policies that impoverish Holocaust survivors, but that's not directly relevant here either.

The issue - and now I feel like Paxman vs Michael Howard - is that your comment insinuated that it is an obvious matter that those supporting the Palestinian cause (to be free of Israeli oppression), including Palestinians, cannot be trusted on questions about anti-Semitism. Again, why is that?

In other news: Natalie Portman is apparently anti-Semitic for not receiving an award in the presence of Netanyahu: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news...hu-boycott-borders-on-anti-semitism-1.6014423

" "Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism. Boycotting Israel has elements of anti-Semitism,” Steinitz (Israeli minister) asserted, adding that Portman would not have boycotted China or India. "
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
The issue - and now I feel like Paxman vs Michael Howard - is that your comment insinuated that it is an obvious matter that those supporting the Palestinian cause (to be free of Israeli oppression), including Palestinians, cannot be trusted on questions about anti-Semitism. Again, why is that?
It's not so much that they can't be 'trusted', it's more a case of 'why would you listen to a group who are so clearly for one side, and even more importantly against the other side, if you weren't already in full agreement with them?'.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
The issue - and now I feel like Paxman vs Michael Howard - is that your comment insinuated that it is an obvious matter that those supporting the Palestinian cause (to be free of Israeli oppression), including Palestinians, cannot be trusted on questions about anti-Semitism. Again, why is that?
But to actually get down into this point: an idea I've come across a number of times recently, and which I think makes a great deal of sense, is that many people - white and Muslim alike - are motivated far more strongly by a hatred of Israel than they are by any particular love of, or solidarity with, Palestinians. The disparate Palestinian death tolls in Syria and the occupied territories over the last seven years, and the relative amount of outrage over each in the Muslim world and among anti-imperialist circles in Western countries, is a case in point (as if there were anything special or particularly worthy about Palestinians compared to the countless other ethnic and cultural groups being brutalized by this state or that jihadi group throughout the MENA region, which there clearly isn't.)
 

john eden

male pale and stale
It's not so much that they can't be 'trusted', it's more a case of 'why would you listen to a group who are so clearly for one side, and even more importantly against the other side, if you weren't already in full agreement with them?'.
The difficulty here is that you conflate "the other side" as being both the Israeli state and the victims of anti-semitism. Which obliterates any potential for criticism of Israel which is not anti-semitic. Which plays into the hands both the Israeli state and anti-semites.


But to actually get down into this point: an idea I've come across a number of times recently, and which I think makes a great deal of sense, is that many people - white and Muslim alike - are motivated far more strongly by a hatred of Israel than they are by any particular love of, or solidarity with, Palestinians. The disparate Palestinian death tolls in Syria and the occupied territories over the last seven years, and the relative amount of outrage over each in the Muslim world and among anti-imperialist circles in Western countries, is a case in point (as if there were anything special or particularly worthy about Palestinians compared to the countless other ethnic and cultural groups being brutalized by this state or that jihadi group throughout the MENA region, which there clearly isn't.)
Classic whataboutery.

When I was picketing Barclays Bank as a teenager because of their links with Apartheid, there would always be one old biffer who came up and insisted that we should also be protesting against "Black African Dictators". Of course, he wasn't doing that.
 
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