Sunday, February 22, 2009

How the "Left" legitimizes antisemitism

It is hard to believe but this piece of poison discourse is written by someone who considers himself a voice for the "Left". Note please what it is in response to.

An academic who specialises in anti-Semitism explains the three ways in which the "Left" and antisemitism are bed fellows these days:

The first takes the form of explaining anti-Semitism in a way that effectively justifies it. This occurs when, for example, suicide bombing (that is, the deliberate killing of Jewish civilians) is explained in a pseudo-materialist mode as simply a product of desperation. That many people have found themselves desperate without resorting to such actions and such hatred is ignored, as is the obvious fact that they are planned by people who are certainly anti-Semitic but not by any stretch of the imagination hopeless or without considerable material resources.

The second form is collusion – the effective toleration of anti-Semitic language, chants and slogans on demonstrations against Israel. I say ‘effective’ because this is a repeated and growing phenomenon, known in advance. It does not require an occasional well-meaning reproof but the recognition that joint participation in, and organisation of, such demonstrations provides a forum for anti-Semites to express their hatred of Jews without fear or anxiety. (It is in this respect a direct reversal of the old socialist programme of ‘no platform for fascists’.)

The third way in which the left helps to legitimise anti-Semitism, and this often accompanies the first two, has to do with the downplaying of evidence of anti-Semitism itself: the claim that anti-Semitic incidents are over-reported or misinterpreted and that, in any case, they are far less significant than other forms of hatred.

Read the entire article here. That is, if you still need to become aware or persuaded about the direction in which the gathering winds blow.


At 11:36 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Noga:

Whatever gave you the idea that Joachim Martillo, a notorious bigot, considers himself a "voice for the left"?

Actually I put the question badly; maybe I can see what would give you the idea. But as it happens, Mr. Martillo is an American businessman and frequenter of right-wing hate sites who appears to have developed his obsessive hatred of Israel and his "Boycott the Zionist Entity" preoccupation only after some lucrative business deal he was involved with in Israel went bad for him but apparently good for the Israeli government, or something like that. At any rate, as recently as 2002 this was Martillo's view of Middle Eastern affairs: "Americanism is superior to Arab-Islamic culture and for the good of all Middle Eastern peoples and the world in general, Americanism must
one day supplant Arab-Islamic culture in the Middle East and North Africa." Even now, Martillo describes himself as "Pro-America, anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, for Christian, Islamic and Jewish family values."

I sympathize with you in the growing difficulty of telling apples from oranges and the left from the far-right these days, but whatever one might make of Martillo's accounting of himself, it's hardly fair to leave your readers with the impression that this is a person of the left.



At 12:53 PM EST, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Terry: As you may have noted, not only did I say that Martillo is "someone who considers himself a voice for the "Left", I also said " "Left" ", not "Left". By which I meant to convey my position that the "Left" Martillo thinks he represents is not even what I would call The Rancid Left.

I told Mr. M. once that I was sure his presence embarrasses people on the Left whom he rushes to apologize for, like Nadia abu el-Hadj. He adamantly insisted this was not the case. And I believed him. A short google search can prove that there are those on the "Left" who find they have use for his poison.

His main idea, that terrorism against Israelis is morally justified, is the same type of ideas that animate radical philosophers like Ted Honderich and his admiration for Hamas and Hizzbulla is of the same rationale as Norman Finkelstein's.

The nuanced differences between Finkelstein (for example) and Martillo are not important considering that they both frequent the same conferences, are read by the same kind of people, and see themselves at the front of "anti-Imperialist" struggle (whatever that means for them).

If we lived in a rational and decent world, where good arguments backed by sound facts are the accepted form of persuasion, then your comment would be right on. But we are not. And that kind of nuance is no longer terribly relevant, I'm afraid. As I'm sure you must be aware.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that while you seem concerned to pick out the oranges from the apples, my position is that when “rottenness” is the name of the disease, do we really want to take the time to differentiate between rotten oranges and rotten apples?

At 3:20 PM EST, Blogger Terry Glavin said...

I was only pointing out what I took to be an error of fact and implication. I also think it's important to be mindful of distinctions. I suppose rottenness is sufficiently accurate, but insufficiently precise to draw what are actually important distinctions between apples and oranges: It is only by being clear about these "nuances" that we can draw "left-wing antisemitism" into the light of day, into that "rational and decent world" where good arguments are indeed backed by sound facts.

Is all.



At 7:28 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The language of the Left that is being used against Israel is the same as was developed to attack Western Civiliazation.

This should come as no surpise to anyone.

At 1:43 PM EST, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

This Martillo character is just what a (Nazi) doctor would recommend. I would agree with TG that to try and classify Martillow on a political right-left scale is rather pointless. This excrescence needs some serious squashing and not classification.

At 7:11 PM EST, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

If I understand you properly, snoop, you seem to be agreeing with me more than you agree with Terry. It was important for Terry to point out that Martillo is not a person of the Left. It was my point that when “rottenness” is the name of the disease, do we really want to take the time to differentiate between rotten oranges and rotten apples?

And the fact remains that people with Martillo's opinions about Jews are mostly associated with the neo-Nazis and they usually make no bones about this affiliation. They do not pretend, like Martillo does, that they care about such things as human rights, anti-imperialism or anti-racism and what not. So Martillo finds it much more useful to consider himself a person of the Left. And he probably believes it, too.

At 2:23 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So Martillo finds it much more useful to consider himself a person of the Left. And he probably believes it, too."

Sometimes I wonder whether it is simply opportunism or the openness to anyone or any group who takes the time to read/listen to their crazy crap. If they are on the far right, cool! On the far left, great! Internationalist or nationalist it makes no difference.


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