A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby General Patton » Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:54 pm

https://linksunten.indymedia.org/de/node/169431
Open letter to Clausnitz

Dear Clausnitzers,

everywhere one reads that you are afraid, that you are insecure. You want a dialogue at eye level. On Thursday you showed, where your dialogue leads and we are happy to build on! We of the Antifa visited your village. A beautiful village. Even your local museum was much appreciated. Things can go broken, tractors can spontaneously combust - it would be a shame. Well, some of our other options would unsettle the population.

If you scare one more refugee, there will be consequences for you. We're watching you. Another attack on a refugee, a firecracker outside the property - and your village will be in ruins. We will drive up the price of your inhumanity as high as possible. Your hatred and your agitation will not remain unchallenged. We will not stand by the sidelines as you live out your authoritarian character. You live in a world in which "Being German" is worth more than being human. We will not tolerate that.


Dear Saxon police, In Clausnitz you have once again shown that you willingly execute, what the German mob wants you to. We did not expect anything else from you. You already showed in Heidenau and Freital what you stand for. By ignoring, connivance, downplaying and active support you promote a racist Saxon mob, which knows about your consent and strikes on a daily basis. You too will feel the consequences for your inhuman act.


Allegedly from some German antifa. If so they've stepped up their game from burning down black metal clubs.
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby Luther Blissett » Mon Mar 07, 2016 11:34 am

The Anti-Immigrant 'Soldiers of Odin' Are Expanding Across Europe

The Soldiers of Odin, a far-right vigilante group whose members have patrolled streets in Finland saying they want to protect locals from immigrants, have started spreading to other Nordic and Baltic countries, worrying authorities.

Named after the king of the gods in Norse mythology, the self-proclaimed patriots say they want to be the eyes and ears for the police who they say are struggling to fulfill their duties. But critics say they are jumping on the back of Europe's migration crisis to propagate a racist and dangerous agenda.

With some 250,000 asylum seekers moving into the region as a whole over the last year, fleeing brutal wars and desperate poverty in their home countries, the group has triggered fears of a rise in vigilantism.

The Soldiers are now expanding outside Finland, wearing similar black jackets adorned on the back with a Viking, his mouth covered with the relevant country's national flag, and the name of the group written in English.

In Estonia, the group held their first meeting in mid-February, with local media reporting that 60 people attended.

"We don't want refugees to come here," Indrek Olm, who said he was one of the leaders of the group in Estonia, told Reuters later in the month. "We will start going on patrol to make sure they don't do something illegal."

The Baltic country of 1.3 million has almost no asylum seekers or refugees. But the authorities nonetheless do not like the Soldiers of Odin.

"Self-proclaimed patrol gangs do not increase the Estonian people's sense of security in any way, rather the opposite." Prime Minister Taavi Roivas said on Twitter.

In Norway, police have expressed concern about how the arrival of some 31,000 asylum seekers in the country of 5.2 million last year will affect far-right groups.

"We consider the threat from right-wing milieus to be increasing. The asylum issue is fuelling right-wing activity, radicalization and recruitment," said the Police Security Service in its latest threat assessment last month.

The Soldiers of Odin held their first patrol in Norway on February 13 in Toensberg, a town of some 42,000 about 62 miles to the south of Oslo.

"Our main goal is to prevent violence, the sale of drugs and not least sexual assaults," Ronny Alte, then spokesman for the Soldiers of Odin in Norway, told Reuters. Alte has since quit the group over differences about the organization's stance.

"And if you look at these problems ... it is unfortunately the case that immigrants, and not least illegal immigrants, are over-represented in these cases," he claimed.

Other patrols have taken took place in several cities, while others were stopped by police. In the city of Kristiansand in the south, the Soldiers of Odin were told by police they could only distribute free buns and coffee.

The Soldiers of Odin do attract support in some quarters.

"Every citizen who wants to contribute towards reducing criminality and insecurity should be applauded," Jan Arild Ellingsen, a lawmaker from the populist Progress Party, a member of Norway's ruling coalition, told broadcaster NRK.

But his statement was condemned by Norway's prime minister. "The Soldiers of Odin have no place in the work to keep our streets safe. Dangerous values," Erna Solberg said on Twitter.
The Rich and the Corporate remain in their hundred-year fever visions of Bolsheviks taking their stuff - JackRiddler
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby chump » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:39 am


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/21/arts ... at-83.html
Albert Speer Jr., Architect and Son of Hitler Confidant, Dies at 83

By JACK EWING - SEPT. 21, 2017

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Albert Speer Jr. in 1987. Credit Kurt Strumpf/Associated Press

FRANKFURT — Albert Speer Jr., an internationally prominent architect who sought throughout his life to distance himself from the dark legacy of his father, a member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle, died on Sept. 15 at his home in Frankfurt. He was 83.

His death was announced by his architectural firm, AS & P, in Frankfurt. It said the cause was complications of surgery he had undergone after falling at his home.

Mr. Speer was the eldest of six children of Albert Speer, one of Hitler’s closest confidants. The elder Speer was Hitler’s chief architect and later his armaments minister, and was convicted of war crimes for his use of slave labor.

The younger Mr. Speer’s impact on urban landscapes was ultimately far greater than that of his father, whose grandiose architectural plans for the Nazi Third Reich were never realized. Albert Jr.’s firm designed master plans for Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany; the Nigerian capital city, Abuja; and a so-called Automobile City on the outskirts of Shanghai, close to a large Volkswagen factory.

He had a particularly strong impact on Frankfurt, his home city, where he served as an adviser to the municipal government for many years and worked on master plans for the European Central Bank, as well as for a new section of the city known as the Europaviertel, which was built on land reclaimed from railroad freight yards.

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The Oval, a building designed by Mr. Speer’s firm at Baseler Platz in Frankfurt, Germany. Credit Christian Grau

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A criminal court complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, designed by Mr. Speer’s firm. Credit ADA Arriyadh Development Authority

Albert Speer Jr. was born in Berlin on July 29, 1934, only days before Hitler declared himself Führer, or leader, of Germany. Albert Jr. grew up in Berchtesgaden, Germany, the Alpine village used by Hitler as a retreat. Films from the 1930s show a young Mr. Speer playing on the veranda of Hitler’s villa while the dictator looks on. But Mr. Speer once told an interviewer that he had only vague memories of that time.

As Hitler’s chief architect, the elder Mr. Speer designed the Reichskanzlei in Berlin, the regime’s seat of power, and formulated extravagant plans to remake the German capital as a showcase of Nazi power, including erecting a People’s Hall in Berlin capable of holding 180,000 people...

... Appointed Germany’s armaments minister, Albert Speer used his organizational talents to maintain weapons production, largely through slave labor, and prolong the war. He was convicted during the Nuremberg trials and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He became one of the few top Nazis to express remorse for the regime’s crimes.

After he was imprisoned for war crimes, the Speer family moved in with Albert Jr.’s grandparents in Heidelberg. Albert Jr. developed a severe stutter, which he later overcame. He initially trained as a carpenter, then studied architecture at the Technical University of Munich before opening his own firm in Frankfurt in 1964.

Mr. Speer insisted that his decision to become an architect had little to do with his father. “I could draw well, I could express myself well, I had ideas,” he told an interviewer from ZDF, a German broadcaster, in 2005. “My father played almost no role.”

Over the years Mr. Speer made a name for himself specializing in large projects, often overseas. They included a criminal court complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; a government building complex in Changchun, China; and the campus of Fudan University in Shanghai.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Ingmar Speer, an actress known professionally as Ingmar Zeisberg. He had no children. Information on other survivors was not available.

As an architect, Mr. Speer said he had striven to give his projects a human scale that respected local culture and the environment.

He told the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2010 that he avoided talking about his father, who died in 1981.

“I have tried my whole life to separate myself from my father, to distance myself,” he said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/21/arts ... at-83.html
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby American Dream » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:36 am

https://www.criticalmuslimstudies.co.uk ... amophobia/


ISLAM AS TRANSGRESSION: KEKISTAN, THE ALT-RIGHT AND ISLAMOPHOBIA
by Hizer Mir

“Normies, out… Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” (Big Man Tyrone, 2017). With that quite bizarre war cry, my first experience of the nation known as Kekistan ended. I couldn’t believe what I had seen. A group of trolls and self-described shitposters had come together under the flag, religion and history of a completely fictional nation known as Kekistan. A little more investigation led me to the Youtuber who started the Kekistani meme: Sargon of Akkad.



Sargon states that he invented Kekistan as a “parody of identity politics… for people who don’t like identity politics”. Sargon explicitly positions Kekistan as against both the far right and the far left, both of whom he sees as subservient to identity politics (The Thinkery, 2017). Perhaps the most ironic thing then, is the fact that currently there is a battle raging for the soul and identity of Kekistan. There are those within the Alt-Right who have co-opted it, much to the annoyance and chagrin of those who wish to keep it as a parody of identity politics. What unites both factions of Kekistanis, however, is their view of Islam as transgression.

Image

Kekistan is a transgressive concept. It exists to blur boundaries and break them where possible. This can be shown through Sargon’s own view of the guidelines given by the census bureau in the UK (The Thinkery, 2017). Furthermore, the subversive nature of Kekistan and the religion of Kek is shown in the fact that those not part of these are known as ‘normies’ thus suggesting that those who are not Kekistani are normal and that the Kekistani is marked by his/her transgressing against the norm. What is interesting is the fact that in order to transgress, Kekistan and the religion of Kek has adopted much of that deemed to be Islamic(ate). Why is this the case?



Orientalists have long considered Islam to be scandalous and transgressive. The famous example of this is the oriental’s sexual freedom that, to a “restrained” Victorian observer, was a sign of a primitive society (Said, [1978] 1995, 190). Indeed, there is also the notion that Islam, if not characterised as a defective form of “Pauline Christianity” is a “parasitic and arid religion” (Turner, [1994] 2003, 67). Within both the Kekistan and the religion of Kek, there are two main allusions to the Islamicate. The first is the name of the nation, Kekistan, which reminds one of the Islamicate central Asian countries as well as Pakistan. The second relates to the central declaration of the cult of Kek to be found on the Kekistan Reddit, “There is only one god, Kek, and Pepe is his prophet”. This is clearly an allusion to the Islamic declaration of faith, “There is only one God, Allah, and Muhammad is his Prophet”. Thus Islam is seen as something subversive and different and the Kekistani clothe themselves in Islamicate symbols and references to prove how transgressive they are. The implication that Islam is subversive and scandalous is Islamophobic, as defined by the Runnymeade report (The Runnymeade Trust, 1997), and provides the basis for the Kekistan’s own subversiveness.



A second example of Islam as transgressiveness taking centre stage comes from the Alt Right itself. During a white nationalist rally at Charlottesville, a chant was heard. “White Shariah Now, White Shariah Now” (Taze Haber En, 2017). So what exactly is white shariah?



According to Vandal (2017), the white shariah meme is in reference to the need for the white race to implement a patriarchy more extreme than that the West has had the past. Without this patriarchy, the white race will cease to exist. In modern times, the only value system that implements an “extreme, rigidly codified patriarchy” is Islam. Vandal states:



“I don’t like Muslims, but if they had invented the wheel, I would have no qualms about stealing it from them. If our enemies are in possession of a superior weapon, it is our duty – in the name of the survival of our race – to steal that weapon from them and use it against them. One must fight fire with fire” (Vandal, 2017)

The placing of Islam and the Muslim as transgressive is confirmed in Vandal’s theorisation. The overly sexual oriental is seen as “out-breeding” the white man. Thus the white man requires patriarchy in order to “fight fire with fire”. Furthermore, Vandal juxtaposes the “overly civilized weaklings” of the West with what Thorenson (2017) calls “… the brutality of the Islamic world” (Vandal, 2017). Vandal (2017) argues that Western man has lost the barbarity that made him great; white men did not conquer the world by being civilized, he says, but by going to foreign lands and forcibly taking them.



What we see In Vandal’s (and others) theorisations is a radical inversion of the West/Non-West distinction. The core distinction, that the West is civilized and the Rest are barbaric, is left intact, but that which is to be aspired to is the barbarity of the Rest. Not the civilization of the West. What is to be aspired to is the “trad life” (traditional life) not the trappings of modernity which have led to the aforementioned “overly civilized weaklings” of the West (Vandal, 2017; Anon, 2016). This inversion of the hegemonic binary of westernese has the potential to change our understanding of the newest manifestation of the right and its relationship with Islam.
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby American Dream » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:13 pm

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2017/10/g ... dent.html/

Sunday, October 08, 2017
Grotesque Islamophobia of the Independent Newspaper: Las Vegas shooter and his motives
"Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had visited the Middle East during a series of cruises, police have revealed. Investigators remain stumped as to Paddock’s motives but said he visited the contentious region on a cruise. The region, where Isis and other jihadi groups have a presence in some areas, may be of interest to security services because of speculation Paddock became radicalised. He also took at least 11 other cruises to other destinations over the last several years, the AP reported." So he made one port stop in Egypt, and that made him a terrorist serial killer? (thanks Basim)
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby American Dream » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:45 am

Nazism for Hipsters

European Identarianism is just neo-Nazism with good marketing.

Image


Like Le Pen herself, identitarianism is a French product. The word itself became most known through “Génération identitaire” (Identitarian generation), created in 2012. The group had catapulted itself into the news cycle after occupying the construction site of a mosque in a small town in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. In the following year, the same group climbed on the roof of the building of the French socialist party, demanding the resignation of then president François Hollande for supporting gay marriage. The move was widely seen as an act of intimidation, and the activists were removed by police forces.

But why is it that these identitarians have been more successful than other far-right groups? The answer: marketing.

On the marketing tactics, these far-right activists have drastically improved from old-school neo-nazi parties. Everything is hip and fresh, ranging from the websites to the banners, the music in their videos and the style of their activists. No skinheads or tattoos. On the contrary: The modern identitarian wears fancy sunglasses and dresses to the extent that it’s tough to say who just shopped at Scotch&Soda and who thinks Europe is being overrun by Muslims. Their online merch features everything from polo shirts to stickers asking to people to “Defend Europe” against the “invasion.” The movement shows off a lot of female faces, by featuring gender-balanced videos and putting women in the first row in their protests. The goal is to break with the burden of old European neo-Nazi parties, which are heavily male and unattractive to (at least) half the population.

Behind the hipster look and the inclusive marketing campaign however, lies a deeply worrying philosophy. The “About” page of the French identitarians “Génération identitaire” calls its mission a “declaration of war”:

We are the victimized generation of May 1968. Of the one who claimed to want to emancipate us from the weight of the traditions, the knowledge, and the authority in schools, but which was emancipated at first from its own responsibilities. . . . Our only legacy is our land, our blood, our identity.

It starts out as a standard conservative criticism. The Baby Boomers were bad, the sexual and political revolutions of the 1960s decimated society . . . fair enough . . . but suddenly it’s all “Hey there! Blood and soil!”

This is what the identitarians are really about. Talking points on “race” become talking points about “blood” and “heritage.” Instead of talking about “preserving racial foundations of white people,” the new kids prefer to “defend Europeans.” In news coverage, identitarianism and neo-Nazism are talked about as different categories, but the reality is that it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

To the extent that there is a difference between the two, it may be that identitarians aren’t openly anti-Semitic. They dodge questions regarding Jews and the Holocaust, and sue TV channels as soon as there is a suggestion that they are Nazis. However, when you enter the identitarian blogosphere and chat rooms, you see different attitudes at the grassroots level. In this identitarian forum post, for instance, an author argues that Judaism to be a dangerous religion and his (her?) commentators fill the sections with remarks such as “mohammad copied most of his shtick from the kikes” and “It's like they are both sand nigger religions. Imagine that.” Earlier this year, inhabitants of the French village of La Salvetat petitioned local authorities to kick out the identitarian music group “Les Brigandes”, which writes songs that target Muslims and Jews. Back in 2003, budding French identitarians distributed pig soup to homeless people, with the intent of excluding Muslims and Jews.

The identitarians spend a lot of time organizing in the public space. They hold conferences and protests; they climb rooftops and put veils on statues. In 2016, German identitarians hung banners from the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin asking for “secure borders,” seemingly unaware that a secure border had stood behind that exact spot until 1989.

They may be hipsters, but they seem to lack any sense of irony. The “Ligue du Midi” (League of the South), an identitarian group in Southern France posted a video to Facebook last year, in which they violently demolished the offices of an organization that supports migrants. The description of the post said “no subsidies for collaborators.” The French word “collabo,” of course, is directly associated with people who supported the Nazis during Second World War.


http://www.weeklystandard.com/nazism-fo ... le/2012002
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby American Dream » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:00 am

Anti-Semitism – rooting out oppression or ruling class hypocrisy?

Image


On 28 March 2018 the “Daily Mail” carried a front page objecting to “the stench of anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party. This is the same “Daily Mail” who, in the 1930s trumpeted “Hurrah for the Blackshirts”, the British Union of Fascists whose favoured chant was “The Yids, the Yids, we’ve got to get rid of the Yids”. The same paper in 1938 also published a denunciation of “German Jews Pouring into this country” which the paper argued had to be stopped. A fine display of how the ruling class’s propaganda machine has demoted the real poison of anti-Semitism into a ploy to manoeuvre for or against political parties and factions.

In early April, the degree of farce escalated when Jeremy Corbyn attended a Passover event hosted by Jewdas, an organisation of Jews in the pro-Corbyn camp in the left of the capitalist political spectrum. In response, anti-Corbyn elements tried to use this as evidence of anti-Semitism because Corbyn mixed with Jews with whom they had political differences.

Behind the ruling class hypocritical cant lies the reality of violence and oppression flowing from the anti-semitic sewer. On March 23 Mireille Knoll an 86 year Parisian who had managed to escape the Holocaust was repeatedly stabbed to death in her flat. It was one incident amongst many in France. Last year it was 65 Sarah Halimi’s murder that brought about demonstrations against anti-Semitism.

In Hungary, in 2017 the government erected many billboards with a large picture of George Soros, an international financier who was born in Hungary and is Jewish. The posters’ slogan was “Don’t let Soros have the last laugh”. The “dog whistle” message was clear – Reuters reported that, “Some Soros billboards have been defaced with the words ‘stinking Jew’ in magic marker”. In Poland, about 60,000 took part in a nationalist and xenophobic demonstration in Warsaw in November, 2017.2 The Guardian reported on 12th November

Demonstrators with faces covered chanted “Pure Poland, white Poland!” and “Refugees get out!”. Unsurprisingly, in a country where there is a significant historic strand of anti-Semitism the same paper reported “A demonstrator interviewed by state television TVP said he was on the march to ‘remove Jewry from power’.


https://libcom.org/blog/anti-semitism-r ... y-09042018
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby American Dream » Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:14 pm

Robert Fine and Philip Spencer on left antisemitism

From the introduction to Antisemitism and the left (Manchester University Press, 2017) by Fine & Spencer:

To the pure, everything is pure

(in Hebrew ‘la tehorim kol tahor’).


Image
Above: Ephraim Moses Lilien, Ex Libris in E.M. Lilien, Sein Werk, mit einer Einleitung von Stefan Zweig, Berlin and Leipzig: Schuster & Löffler, 1903.


Left antisemitism

Antisemitism has again become an issue in our time. In recent years we have observed its re-emergence in a number of distinct political sites, including left antisemitism, Islamist antisemitism, Christian antisemitism, nationalist antisemitism and liberal antisemitism. Our focus in this book is on the contested origins of left antisemitism.

Historically, there has been no shortage either of antisemitism or of opposition to antisemitism within the left tradition. For example, the revolutionary anarchist Mikhail Bakunin wrote approvingly that ‘in all countries the people detest the Jews … so much that every popular revolution is accompanied by a massacre of Jews’. He maintained that this was a ‘natural consequence’ of the fact that ‘this whole Jewish world … constitutes a single exploitative sect, a sort of bloodsucker people, a collective parasite, voracious, organised in itself, not only across the frontiers of states but even across all the differences of political opinion’. He went on to claim that ‘this world is presently, at least in great part, at the disposal of Marx on the one hand and the Rothschilds on the other’.5 Bakunin was right only in one respect, that Marx was his antagonist. Marx’s close collaborator Friedrich Engels also pointed to oppositions within the left when he criticised his fellow socialist, Eugen Dühring, for his anti-Judaic prejudice: ‘That same philosopher of reality who has a sovereign contempt for all prejudices and superstitions is himself so deeply imbued with personal crotchets that he calls the popular prejudice against the Jews, inherited from the bigotry of the Middle Ages, a “natural judgment” based on “natural grounds”, and he rises to the pyramidal heights of the assertion that “socialism is the only power which can oppose population conditions with a strong Jewish admixture” ’.6

These two instances indicate how split the modern left tradition has been over the Jewish question: it has played a role both in representing ‘the Jews’ as the enemy of humanity and in combating the prejudices of those who see Jews through this lens. We should be wary of any generalisation to the effect that either ‘the left is fundamentally antisemitic’ or that there is no such thing as ‘left antisemitism’. It remains important for us to recognise that Marx, Engels and many of those they inspired contributed far more than is usually recognised to supporting Jewish emancipation and resisting the terms of the Jewish question. In spite of the dusty clouds of interpretation that surround his work, Marx’s actual writings reinforce our conviction that while there is a long tradition of left antisemitism, there is also on the left a strong critique of antisemitism and of the barbarism it represents. Marx’s famous essays ‘On the Jewish Question’ were in substance a critique of the very idea of the Jewish question.

We, the authors of this book, both come from a Marxist-socialist background, whose legacy has shaped our understanding of and responses to the various distorted forms of modernity that have preoccupied us: racism, antisemitism, genocide, crimes against humanity, apartheid, ethnic nationalism, totalitarianism, etc. We recognise of course that much has gone wrong, dramatically wrong, in the name of ‘Marxism’ and ‘the left’, so much so that these names have reached the threshold of total devaluation, and that the question of antisemitism is not the least of these problems. We take it as axiomatic that those who locate themselves within this tradition ought, as a matter of basic principle, to combat antisemitism whenever it raises its face, but we know this is not always the case. We ought to pay attention to the experiences of those who suffer or are exposed to antisemitism and we ought not treat the self-justifications of those they challenge as a sufficient guide as to the truth of the matter. We ought to acknowledge that not all antisemites wear their conviction on their sleeve, that sometimes people may not be aware of their own antisemitic temptations, and that antisemitism can be political and cultural as well as personal. We ought to do the work of learning what antisemitism is and what shapes and forms it takes. In these respects our relation to antisemitism ought to be no different from our relation to other forms of racism: both should be open to the liberating power of education, research, engagement, criticism and self-reflection. It should not be controversial to say that the critique of antisemitism should now be part of any emancipatory movement that seeks to understand what has gone wrong in the development of modern capitalist society rather than simply blame it on secret conspiracies or particular scapegoats.

None of this should be controversial but it has become so. We hear on the left a different refrain: notably, that antisemitism no longer matters compared with other racisms; that antisemitism was once a problem in the past but is no longer in the present; that antisemitism was a European malady that had no presence in the Islamic world; that antisemitism is understandable today given the ways Zionists behave; that the charge of antisemitism is mainly put forward for dishonest and self-seeking reasons; that people cry ‘antisemitism’ in order to deflect criticism of Israel; that the stigmatising of individuals and groups as antisemitic is more damaging than antisemitism itself; that the Jewish state and its supporters are the main source of racism in the modern world. It is said, for instance, that those who ‘cry antisemitism’ do so in order to shut down debate on Israel. This may be true in particular cases but the reverse is more plausible: that there are many who cry ‘Israel’ in order to shut down debate on antisemitism. When the critique of antisemitism is viewed as a problem, the problem may lie with the viewer.

Political actors with very different political agendas can and do coalesce around such rhetorics to construct a discourse with its own semblance of internal unity, its own self-justifications, its own stereotypes of external enemies and its own defence mechanisms. As this book goes to press, the British Labour Party has been struggling to come to terms with the fact that one of its leading figures, Ken Livingstone, a former mayor of London, long-term ally of its elected leader and a standard bearer of the party’s left-wing, thinks that Hitler was sympathetic with Zionism before he ‘went mad’. One of its newly elected MPs, Naz Shah, posted a suggestion that the simple solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was for the Jews in Israel to be relocated to the United States. Both have been accused of antisemitism and suspended from the Labour Party. In the first case, Ken Livingstone is refusing to apologise, which is consistent with the fact that for decades he has promoted the view that Nazism and Zionism are umbilically linked. By contrast, Shah has publicly acknowledged the damage such statements can make and has undertaken to reflect on the prejudice that underwrote her quip about the transportation of Jews. As we write, the Labour Party is undertaking a review of how widespread antisemitism has become in its ranks and what might be done about it. There is now more extensive public debate, of which this book is part, concerning how far ignorance and tolerance of antisemitism have affected thinking and practice within the left, most of whose members rightly pride themselves on their antiracism, and what kinds of resistance they mount collectively to rectify this situation.

A note on methodology

Misrecognition of antisemitism is both underpinned and compounded by troubling methodological assumptions that have crept into the political culture of the left and into the work of radical scholars.

The first set of assumptions we draw attention to concerns what we call the ‘methodological separatism’ that obscures connections between antisemitism and other forms of racism.7 The language of antisemitism is different in important respects from that of anti-Black racism or Islamophobia and it may not be helpful to reduce them all to a generic concept like ‘prejudice’, partly because every form of prejudice has its own distinctive characteristics and partly because the idea of ‘prejudice’ does not capture all that is involved in these phenomena. To say, however, that they are not the same does not mean that they are not connected or best understood in relation to one another. A sense of the connectedness of racism and antisemitism was once viewed as the common sense of the antiracist imagination. For example, Frantz Fanon famously described Blacks and Jews as ‘brothers in misery’ on the grounds that racism and antisemitism both reveal ‘the same collapse, the same bankruptcy of man’.8 He cited the words of his philosophy professor: ‘Whenever you hear anyone abuse the Jews, pay attention, because he is talking about you’, and Fanon commented that his professor was right in the sense that ‘an anti-Semite is inevitably anti-Negro’.9 W.E.B. Du Bois remarked that it had never occurred to him that ‘race prejudice could be anything but colour prejudice’ until his visit to the Warsaw Ghetto gave him ‘a more complete understanding of the Negro problem’ as a form of ‘human hate … capable of reaching all sorts of people’.10 He commented that ‘The ghetto of Warsaw helped me to emerge from a certain social provincialism into a broader conception of what the fight against race segregation, religious discrimination, and the oppression by wealth had to become if civilisation was going to triumph and broaden in the world’.11 The disconnection of racism and antisemitism today is suggested by the alacrity with which some antiracists respond to racism and Islamophobia but not to antisemitism, or conversely by the suspicion they show to ‘charges’ of antisemitism that they do not show to other forms of racism. Such responses seem to us to indicate that something has gone seriously wrong with the universalism of the antiracist imagination.

A second set of assumptions we wish to draw attention to concerns what we call the ‘methodological historicism’ that positions antisemitism exclusively as a phenomenon of the past. A justified refusal to treat antisemitism as a natural and permanent feature of relations between Jews and non-Jews has given way to another problematic tendency: that of situating antisemitism emphatically in the past. We may look back in horror to the period of history in which genocidal antisemitism was written into the very texture of social and political life, but console ourselves with the thought that antisemitism has, since that time, been empirically marginalised and normatively discredited. It may appear that the Holocaust has served as a learning experience concerning the dangers of antisemitism, that few in mainstream society still claim adherence to antisemitic ideologies, and that some ultra-nationalist movements are reluctant to embrace antisemitism. Liberals have paid tribute to the success of the new Europe in transcending ethnic nationalism and recognising rights of difference. Radicals have affirmed that many forms of racism still prevail in Europe but insist that antisemitism is no longer one of them. The positioning of antisemitism as a creature of the past – for instance, of a now superseded age of nationalism, late modernisation or organised modernity – serves to close our eyes to new forms it may assume in the present.

A third set of assumptions concerns the development of what we call the ‘methodological dualism’ that restricts our view of racism and antisemitism within a bifurcated world of ‘them’ and ‘us’. It addresses vital distinctions – between oppressor and oppressed, power and resistance, executioner and victim, enemy and friend, imperialism and anti-imperialism, etc. – but grants them a master status that overrides all other ethical considerations. It does not treat anti-imperialism as one element within a constellation of democratic principles but turns it into an absolute truth that prevails over all other democratic principles. It is the absolutising of anti-imperialism that allows some leftist intellectuals, like Judith Butler, to declare that Hamas or Hezbollah belong to the camp of anti-imperialism and should be supported regardless of other democratic deficiencies including antisemitism.12 The temptation on the left is simply not to see racism, antisemitism or sexism in those states and movements deemed to be in the camp of anti-imperialism, perhaps for no other reason than that they are opposed to America and Israel, and at the same time to withdraw solidarity from victims of racism, antisemitism and sexism within the camp of ‘anti-imperialism’. If we label this tendency the ‘anti-imperialism of fools’, following in the footsteps of the Second International’s labeling of antisemitism as the ‘socialism of fools’, this is not to indicate that anti-imperialism is foolish but rather that it is a foolish form of anti-imperialism that divorces it from wider democratic concerns.13 The problem of methodological separatism is reinforced when racism and antisemitism are situated in opposing camps: that is, when racism is condemned as the exercise of oppressive power while antisemitism is excused as a mislabelled or misguided form of resistance. Following what David Hirsh has called a ‘politics of position’,14 the same Marxist writers who deny the possibility of far-left antisemitism have been tempted to situate those who do raise concerns about antisemitism only and emphatically on the side of oppressive power and Western imperialism.15

The final set of assumptions we need to mention here concerns the question of ‘methodological nationalism’ or rather the development of a cosmopolitan critique of methodological nationalism that re-instates precisely what it criticises when it singles out one form of nationalism, in this case Jewish nationalism, as the bearer of all the defects of nationalism in general. Cosmopolitans emphasise that racism and antisemitism are not only a problem for their immediate victims but also for humanity in general and correspondingly that the responsibility to combat racism and antisemitism is a universal human responsibility.16 They seek to resist the mimetic temptation to blame, say, ‘the Germans’ in the way antisemites blame ‘the Jews’. It may appear ‘natural’ that if we are attacked as Blacks, Muslims or Jews, we fight back as Blacks, Muslims or Jews, and this semblance of the natural is confirmed by the well-established leftist credo that represents the ‘nationalism of the oppressed’ as the natural and rational way of responding to the racism of the oppressors. The cosmopolitan consciousness is one that does not simply negate but seeks positively to supersede this reactive standpoint. What we find today, however, is the replacement of the cosmopolitan critique of methodological nationalism by a simulacrum of cosmopolitanism that projects onto one particular instance of nationalism the defects of nationalism in toto. Zionism becomes here the universal equivalent of the deficiencies of all nationalism. Such singling out of Jewish nationalism for special opprobrium threatens both to reconfigure old stereotypes about the ‘tribalism’ of the Jews and to erode from within the universalistic critique of methodological nationalism.

This is not of course an exhaustive list of methodological difficulties we face in studying the elements of contemporary antisemitism that concern us here, but they hopefully suffice to indicate the difficult nature of the task. They highlight the need to reconnect racism and antisemitism as twin expressions of the same human bankruptcy, to reconnect past and present in ways that recognise the emergence of new forms of antisemitism, to reconnect domination and resistance in ways that allow for a relational understanding of the complexities of power, and to reconnect nationalist responses to antisemitism with other nationalist responses to racism. The sensitising idea that guides our work is that of reconnection. All forms of modern political life are relative to one another and universalism itself should not be thought of in emphatically absolutist terms. The little suffix ‘–ism’ can do a lot of damage when it transforms what is relative and valid into what is absolute and invalid. As Theodor Adorno phrased it, the threat posed by universalism is to ‘compress the particular like a torture instrument’.17

Jewish assimilationism and nationalism have both been subjective responses to the contradictions of living in an antisemitic society. One makes an ‘ism’ of assimilating to the norms of society as the only means of neutralising an otherwise understandable antisemitism; the other makes an ‘ism’ of the nation as the only means of escaping an otherwise ineluctable antisemitism. Both bear witness to the immense contradiction under these conditions between recognising our unity with others and our separate existence. Cosmopolitanism offers itself as an attractive third way for Jews living in an antisemitic world, but this ‘ism’ contains its own pitfalls: not only that of aloofness as a cosmopolitan world citizen from one’s particular existence as a Jew but also that of accommodating to a reified cosmopolitanism that is set against the alleged particularism of Jews. We owe a debt of gratitude to cosmopolitan social scientists for putting universalism back on the agenda but to those who say that the ‘humanist’ universalism that once homogenised populations and repressed difference has now given way to a cosmopolitan post-universalism that respects heterogeneity and plurality, we should respond that the battle for the spirit of universalism has not so readily been resolved.18 It is as much the illusion of progress to lock the past in the past as if it contained no alternative voices, as it is to celebrate the present in the present as if we have definitively overcome our prejudices and learned the lessons of our catastrophic history.


Excerpted from: https://shirazsocialism.wordpress.com/2 ... isemitism/
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