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The Rebranding of the Anti-Syria Left

Part 1: The Anti-Anti-War-Left

By Barbara McKenzie | November 23, 2016

One could argue that for any serious student of the Middle East, using a range of sources, the approved narrative on the Syrian conflict should have been suspect from the outset: the precedents of Iraq and Libya and the accompanying lies, the well-reported lack of interest in revolution on the part of the Syrian people, the quickly developing violence in contrast with the ready accommodations of the government in terms of reform and release of political prisoners, the dominant role of brutal sectarian gangs in a traditionally tolerant and pluralist society. Those trying to find the truth of the Syrian war, however, found themselves opposed from an unexpected quarter.

There is a large body of commentators in the West who define themselves as ‘left’, ‘progressive’ and ‘anti-imperialist’ insofar as they condemn Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. Their claimed support for the Palestinians is offset by virulently opposing anything that threatens Israel’s interests in other areas, such as investigation into the role of Mossad’s activities outside of Israel. Israel’s interests are likewise to the fore when it comes to drastic change in Syria (seen by Hillary Clinton as essential to Israel’s interests as far back as 2006) – the ‘soft Zionists’ have been promoting the externally created revolution in Syria from the outset.

The Thirdwayers

Sharing most of these characteristics are a group of people who espouse a ‘third way’ whereby ostensible anti-imperialists criticise their governments’ interventionist policies but at the same time have promoted the revolution and been determined opponents of the Syrian government. While in theory they oppose external intervention, they at the same time facilitate such intervention by peddling propaganda to that end.

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For five years, people like Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton and Rania Khalek have actively promoted forced regime change in Syria, insisting on the validity of the popular revolution, characterising the Syrian president as a butcher, and alternately vilifying and patronising those who were unconvinced by the NATO narrative.

At the same time there has been no attempt by proponents of the Syrian war to engage with the anti-war activists who have been carrying out and sharing research on the conflict –  instead they have contented themselves with unfounded slurs on the intellect and integrity of supporters of Syria.

However, ripples have been going through social media in recent months as these seemingly diehard opponents to the Syrian government  have moved to taking a more nuanced view of the conflict. This was quickly picked up by eagle-eyed users of twitter who have been following the war on Syria for years…

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In order to consider the significance and extent of this shift in perspective, it is worth looking back at the views espoused by the thirdwayers over the years

The popular revolution

Long after the violent, sectarian and fundamentally un-Syrian nature of the uprising was revealed along with its external impetus, diehards were still promoting the idea of a popular revolution, with a sentimental attachment to the Free Syrian Army well after its use-by date. While atrocity stories to the disfavour of the ‘Assad thugs’ (Syrian Arab Army) were quickly shared, those which show the ‘revolutionaries’ in an unfavourable light were ignored or speedily forgotten: By 2012 there was abundant proof of FSA atrocities, including cannibalism, decapitation and sectarian massacres, but this did not stop Blumenthal tweeting approvingly in August ‘Protest in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights in support of the #Syrian revolution’.

Thus in August 2014, when most people were discarding the fiction of Syria’s moderate rebels, Ben Norton still had a rosy view of the ‘democratic’ revolutionaries: a spate of tweets in their favour on August 18 included such optimistic claims as, ‘Syrian revolutionaries have already liberated cities, and they ran them somewhat democratically’, and on 22 September, ‘Majority of the FSA consists of average Syrians & former SAA members who refused to slaughter civilians & defected’.

As late as February 2015 Ben Norton complained:

Blame Assad for brutally destroying the progressive and secular resistance against his murderous fascist regime […] not Syrians for standing up to bravely fight for not just food, justice, and dignity, but for their very lives.

In 2014 Khalek interviewed Molly Crabapple, artist, writer and fervent supporter of the ‘Syrian revolution’. Both Khalek and Crabapple assume a non-violent inception to the Syrian conflict, ruthlessly crushed by government forces.

Khalek: […] You addressed the fact that there was a segment of the anti-war left that still till now is very dismissive of the Syrian uprising and in some cases excuses Assad for the horrific crimes he’s committing and you got attacked for pointing this out.

Crabapple: […] Many people I deeply respect are anti-intervention for good reasons. Other ones were pro certain sorts of intervention. But I think what is absolutely wrong is to pretend the Syrian revolution didn’t exist, to pretend that these activists weren’t amazing people …

The ‘evil Assad’

Attacking any movement by demonising its leader is a tried and true tactic where there is no legitimate means to an end – one only needs to look at the treatment meted out to Alex Salmond who, in the run-up to the Scottish referendum, was variously compared to Hitler, Mugabe, Nero and Genghis Khan. Likewise vilification of Bashar al Assad has been a major plank of regime change advocates. For more than five years the anti-Syria movement has relentlessly vilified the Syrian president with an incontinent flow of accusations, making full use of language favoured by the most hard-line interventionists: Assad ‘the butcher’, ‘the brutal tyrant’ has been accused of deliberately conducting a reign of terror, of bombing, starving, raping, gassing his own people, deliberately targeting hospitals, blood-banks, schools, bakeries, children and even kittens.

The thirdwayers have been amongst the most determined proponents of the evil Assad narrative: ‘Assad slaughter continues’ BN8/8/14; Assad’s ‘brutal tyranny’ MB 4/10/11; ‘Assad slaughter’ MB22/2/13; ‘Assad’s atrocities’ MB 14/9/13; ‘Assad’s reign of terror’ MB 16/9/14; ‘Assad family’s ongoing legacy of criminal fascism’ MB 18/10/14; ‘Assad the butcher’ RK 15/8/14 ‘Assad’s butchery’ RK 29/7/14; Assad is a mass murdering criminal’ RK  19/7/16; ‘the criminal Assad regime’ RK 18/1/14; civilians are being intentionally starved by the Assad Regime’ RK 19/4/14; ‘Assad is starving, torturing, & killing not just Syrian but also Palestinians’, BN 26/8/14.

From very early in the war many allegations of atrocities and war crimes have been leveled at the Syrian government and then soon shown to be false. Furthermore, substantial research had been carried out revealing the extent of foreign intervention, the billions of dollars of aid to the ‘rebels’, the many thousands of mercenaries pouring in through Turkey. However even in February  21015 Norton was still undeterred. According to his article 56 dead in one day: a Glimpse of Assad’s brutality Assad was responsible both for the early violence:

Since Assad first tried to drown the nonviolent popular uprising against his fascist regime in blood in 2011 …

and its continuation:

… the Syrian regime has dropped thousands upon thousands of bombs on civilian areas—and has engaged in systematic campaigns of torture, starvation, and rape. […]   If you want to see why horrible reactionary groups like Al-Nusra and even ISIS have support among some Syrians, try taking a look at the crimes the fascist Assad regime commits on a daily basis. […]

Norton is, therefore, offering a partial justification for joining ISIS.

No possible accusation has been overlooked. Specific claims of atrocities are seized on, never questioned and then, once debunked by others, forgotten. Although the thirdwayers, unlike the hard-line interventionists, may be prepared to discard discredited anti-Assad horror stories, this never seems to impact on the overall theme of Assad the monster. Thus massacres such as those that occurred at Houla, Ghouta and Banias were all immediately blamed on the Syrian government by both the corporate media and the third-wayers, even though subsequently found to have been carried out by insurgents, for either ethnic cleansing or ‘false flag’ purposes. (Blumenthal was still insisting that the Houla massacre was carried out by ‘shabiha’ (derogatory term for local defence forces) in February 2013, see video, below).

Assad is correlated with Israel, or ISIS, or is even worse than ISIS, according to both Rania Khalek

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echoing the sentiments expressed by Josie Ensor of the Telegraph a few months earlier

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The public knowledge that both the US and Israel are hell-bent on regime change in Syria was turned on its head with claims that the US and Israel supported Assad: ‘”Israel’s preference is for Bashar al Assad to remain in power…”‘, MB 11/12/2012.

US support for the ‘Assad regime was a favourite theme of Ben Norton, who explored this thesis in an article US Government Essentially Sides with Assad. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Norton supports the US administration in its blatant fiction that its priority is going after ISIS:

‘With the Syrian Civil War approaching its fourth whole year, the evidence increasingly suggests that the Obama administration has essentially sided with the Assad regime. […] In October 2014, Foreign Policy noted that “U.S. officials are beginning to see Assad as a vital, de facto ally in the fight against the Islamic State.”’

With the advent of foreign fighters from Central Asia, polio reappeared in Syria, after having been eradicated in 1995 (the strain in Syria is the same as that present in Pakistan, source and transit point for many jihadists fighting in Syria). Despite being engulfed in war the Syrian [government] acted quickly to set in place vaccination programmes (the latest campaign was announced on 16 October). Rania Khalek, however, laid a large part of the responsibility at the door of the ‘regime’, likewise ignoring evidence available at the time which showed that the Red Crescent is frequently blocked by groups such as the ‘Free Syrian Army’.

The insanely high toll [from chronic disease] is largely due to the Assad regime’s criminal use of food and medicine as weapons in his war against his own people.’

The discrediting of the 2011 lie that Gaddafi was giving black mercenaries viagra to encourage them to rape Arab women did not deter Ben Norton from seizing with alacrity on an obscure and short-lived rumour that the Deputy Mufti of the ‘Syrian regime’ advocated rape by the army.

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‘Assad worshippers’

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[Pro-Assad Bingo, posted by Ben Norton in April 2015]

In parallel with the demonisation of Bashar al Assad is the recurrent theme of contempt for Assad supporters.

Undermining one of NATO’s principle planks and justification for intervention, ie the demonisation of al Assad, is an enormous threat to the NATO narrative. For this reason a major focus of the anti-Syria left has been to undermine, not just the Syrian government, but also the credibility of pro-Syria activists who have questioned the atrocity narrative. 

Critics of the anti-Assad narrative are deemed to be stupid and hypocritical. A spate of tweets about the pusillanimity of ‘Assad worshippers issued from Ben Norton in 2014, eg 24 August: ; I just can’t get over the ludicrous degrees Assad defenders are going to to try to defend the mass murderer… it’s almost unbelievable.’; ‘HAHAHAHAHAHA, these Assad-worshiping conspiracy theorists just get more and more absurd. They are completely deranged’. ‘The Western “anti-imperialists” who support (read: worship) Assad so fervently have never met a working-class  Syrian’.

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Max Blumenthal is equally contemptous of ‘Assad apologists”, informing writer Miri Wood: ‘when non Muslima say takfiri I cringe almost as much as when they defend Assad’s reign of terror 16/9/14. Even Syrians cannot escape Blumenthal’s derision:

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Assad supporters have, we are told, a tendency to Islamophobia, ‘I noted a while ago that Islamophobia informed certain Assad apologists’ MB 12/4/13; or fascism and Stalinism, ‘when you see someone defend Assad, remind them that Fascists & far-rightests throughout europe support Assad’ 12/4/13.

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In this tweet of March 2016, Norton is referring to the protester top right, who is holding a placard supporting Bashar al Assad. Not everyone was convinced by Norton:

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In October 2013 Blumenthal tweeted:

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Thus in an impressive use of twitter, he managed to impugn the integrity of an opponent to regime change, indicated that it was ‘Assad’ that was responsible for the Ghouta sarin attack, and played ‘in bed with Israel’ card.

In late 2012 Max Blumenthal noisily resigned from al-Akhbar News, complaining that the outlet was providing a forum for ‘Assad supporters’. As well as publishing a letter of resignation, Blumenthal’s departure from the newspaper was the subject of an  interview with The Real News in which, on the basis of his visit to a refugee camp in Jordan, he presents himself as an expert on Syria. The video is 18 minutes and is an education.

In letter and interview Blumenthal reiterates his position on the Syrian war: ‘the Syrian army’s pornographically violent crackdowns on what by all accounts is still a mostly homegrown resistance’, the regime’s responsibility for massacres such as Houla; ‘the Assad regime’s campaign to delegitimise the Syrian opposition by casting it as a bunch of irrational jihadis’. According to Blumenthal, Assad ‘makes Israel look like a champion of human rights’.

There is an interesting attempt to correlate Hezbollah with al Qaeda and ISIS: ‘ironically [the Syrian regime]  seem to have little problem with Hezbollah’s core Islamist values’. One wonders what the people of Maaloula, very thankful to be liberated from jihadists with the help of Hezbollah, would make of Blumenthal’s implication.

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[Hezbollah fighter saluting the Virgin Mary after the Battle of Maaloula]

In 2014 Norton wrote a spiteful article termed  Meet the Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theorists Who Are Assad’s Biggest Fans. The primary purpose appears to have been to wreak vengeance on a group of social media activists who found it hard to take Norton at his own evaluation:

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Norton starts from the fundamental premise that all who oppose the war on Syria are, without exception, devoid of all moral sense.

Those of us with at least some kind of rudimentary moral compass are compelled to oppose draconian tyrants like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, whose regime regularly engages in brutal state terrorist campaigns of mass bombingtorturestarvation, and rape of civilians, including children.

The article is a fascinating exercise in dishonesty, damning the ‘antisemites’ by association with the anti-war movement and vice-versa, and conflating all members of the group on every point while ignoring all contrary evidence. (Norton’s piece was answered by one of the group.

Regime change the third way

The part played by the NATO countries, the Gulf States, Turkey and foreign mercenaries has been essentially ignored or denied by the thirdwayers, who have stayed with their narrative of a ‘civil war’. They have theoretically been opposed to proposals for open military intervention, or at least the idea of bombing campaigns, whether by the NATO states or Russia.

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The narrative hasn’t been totally consistent: a lot of what is tweeted is ambiguous, even irresponsible, often indicating that intervention might actually be the humanitarian option.  bluminterventioncaesarfiles

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Again, Blumenthal’s angry response in 2014 to an article by Bob Dreyfuss suggesting that Obama give up on regime change in Damascus hardly seems consist with an anti-interventionist viewpoint.

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Max Blumenthal’s own credentials as a ‘reporter from the region’ lie in a visit to Jordan to interview refugees. The article chronicles the dire conditions in Zaatari camp, but Blumenthal chooses to end on a call for bombing Syria: ‘Either bomb the regime or you can bomb Zaatari and get it over with for us.’

The group’s principle plank is that the conflict in Syria is a ‘civil war’, a ‘popular revolution’. While being opposed in principle to external intervention, they have facilitated that intervention by promoting NATO propaganda against the Syrian government and in favour of the ‘revolutionaries’, in effect the jihadist extremists who have controlled the insurgency from the beginning. They may not be responsible for the inception of the war, but they share culpability for its continuation.

January 29, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Bibi A Lizard?

By Gilad Atzmon | September 12, 2016

Netanyahu’s recent ethnic-cleansing video offers us a spectacular glimpse into Jewish identity politics and the ease with which the Jews morph between ideology and political stance. In the video below, PM Netanyahu accuses the Palestinians and their supporters, by making it a condition of peace that Israel withdraws its illegal settlement, of leanings towards ethnic cleansing.

I am not here going to argue with Netanyahu’s ridiculous idea. I am obviously in total agreement with Gideon Levy and others who have taken the trouble, time and again, to prove that Israel is the only ethnic cleanser between the river and the sea.

But if Israel is the only ethnic cleanser in Palestine, then all Bibi is doing is simply projecting i.e. attributing his own racist symptoms onto the Palestinians and their supporters. Now, I’m no great fan of Freud and even less enthusiastic about his terminology, but he sure did help us understand the Jew or, shall we say, the Jewish psychological nature. Seemingly, projection is at the core of the Jewish psyche. Jews see racism everywhere, simply because they attribute their own racism to others. So, Netanyahu, in accusing others of ethnic cleansing, is simply projecting his own symptoms onto the Palestinians.

But it goes further. The concern with people being ethnically cleansed is a humanist, empathic position, traditionally associated within Left and progressive thought. It is in fact totally foreign to the Lebensraum, racist ideology that drives the Zionist precept of which PM Netanyahu is a devout follower.

So one may wonder how Bibi managed to transcend himself from oppressor to victim? How does he manage to so abruptly switch sides from being a practitioner of Lebensraum into a ‘progressive voice’? The answer is devastatingly simple. For a Jew to switch sides, to move from the hard right into the poetic left and vice versa is a mere verbal exercise. This capacity of metamorphosis is embedded within Jewish identity politics and I guess that Kafka was the first to point us towards it.

So, with a little help from Binyamin Netanyahu, Israelis mange to simultaneously be oppressors as well as victims. But are the anti Zionists that different?

How long did it take Max Blumenthal to morph from being an enthusiastic Zionist Nazi Hunter into a pro- Palestinian who only occasionally hates Germans for being White.  The same can be said about pretty much every Jewish Left and anti-Zionist organisation. They preach anti-racism in the name of the most enlightened liberal and progressive ideologies but at the same time, they themselves operate within racially inclusive political cells.

The so-called ‘antisemites – those who hate Jews for being Jews, used to refer to Jews as chameleons. They simply could not understand the lack of integrity at the heart of Jewish politics. They could not grasp how Jews switch allies so rapidly.

Netanyahu’s video this morning certainly made me wonder at how comfortable he seems lying compulsively in front of the camera. But what, I wonder, happens to Bibi when he faces himself, alone in the morning in front of the mirror? Who (or what) does he see in front of him? Is it the head of the Likud party? Is it a progressive humanist? Or is it simply a lizard, a chameleon who morphs constantly as it moves along.

I guess David Icke has, more than once, attempted to address this question…

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 3 Comments

Is the BDS Democratic?

Open letter to Omar Barghouti, Co-founder, PACBI

By Paul Larudee | Dissident Voice | March 23, 2014

Dear Omar,

Let me start by saying that you have done a lot for BDS and that BDS has done a lot for the Palestinian cause.  It is perhaps for this reason that we should all be concerned with potential corruption of the movement, and you most of all.  I refer to changes of wording, changes of direction and changes of priority within the movement.

The change of wording is the infamous four words “occupied in June, 1967″ inserted into the first of three objectives in the mission statement portion of the 2005 BDS Call signed by 173 Palestinian organizations, such that the statement now demands of Israel:

“Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall…” (added phrase in italics)

I understand your argument that this phrase only clarifies the meaning of the original statement, and that it changes the meaning not at all.  Even so, who gave you the right to make the change without consulting and getting the approval of the signatories to the original call?  Why was it inserted without even telling anyone, such that no one but you even knows when it was done?  If it is so uncontroversial, why not get it approved?

Why is the phrase needed, anyway?  You argue that it results in no change of meaning.  Why, then, is it not superfluous?  Since it is a bone of contention, just remove it and be done with it.

I also understand that the offending phrase occurs only in the ”Introducing the BDS Movement” section of the website and that the original wording is preserved elsewhere.  However, this is at best misleading and at worst disingenuous.  The “Introducing the BDS Movement” section reproduces the three demands from the 2005 Call completely verbatim, except for the added four words, and then proceeds to make the claim that this wording is endorsed by the signatories of the 2005 BDS Call.

This is deceptive and even fraudulent and must be corrected.  The altered wording has even been mistakenly quoted by Max Blumenthal in his book Goliath as being the wording of the original BDS Call.  Your misrepresentation has led directly to his error.

However, the wording is not merely a technical problem.  The wording is apparently important to you.  But why?  Could it be that the wording was needed in order to satisfy individuals or groups or interests that demanded this wording?  Was it meant as an assurance that BDS would not demand the return of all lands stolen from Palestinians but only those lands that were stolen outside the Green Line?

If this is the case, it would explain why many “soft” Zionists, who want to maintain a Jewish state but give back the West Bank, now participate in BDS, but only against institutions that support the Israeli presence in the West Bank.

In fact, that is the current priority of the movement, with little or no Boycott, Divestment or Sanctions aimed at institutions that deny equal rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel or the Right of Return to Palestinians in the shatat (“diaspora”).

Is this a coincidence or is BDS headed in a different direction than its origins would indicate?  Is it no longer a Palestinian movement, but rather a “soft” Zionist movement?

Obviously, people join movements for different reasons, and if Zionists want to boycott organizations that do business with Israel – even if only in the West Bank – their contribution is welcome.

However, it is quite another matter to effectively turn over the reins of the movement to them or to accommodate them by changing the wording of the mission statement.  A Palestinian movement that welcomes Zionists that have limited objectives is quite different from a Zionist movement that wants to limit its mission but accepts Palestinians that have wider goals.

Is that what is going on?  Perhaps not.  Perhaps my concerns are exaggerated.  But in that case, please dispel all doubt by removing the four words.

Paul Larudee

Paul Larudee is one of the founders of the Free Gaza and Free Palestine Movements and an organizer in the International Solidarity Movement.

March 24, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Probing Max Blumenthal’s Goliath

By Jay Knott | Dissident Voice | December 11, 2013

Note: throughout this review I refer to concepts like “racial oppression”, “Jewish supremacy” and so on. None of this is intended to imply that the concept “race” is meaningful, biologically or otherwise. Racial supremacy does not depend on the reality of race, but merely on the belief in it. Whether race is or is not meaningful is a completely separate question from whether Israel is an instance of racial supremacy. I cover this separate question in another article, Invention, Imagination, Race and Nation.

Max Blumenthal just had a book published, entitled Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. He is a left-wing Jewish American journalist. The book assumes that the left/right political dichotomy is meaningful, not only in America, but in the Jewish state. He writes as if Israel can be reformed:

“The Nakba law was only one among a constantly expanding battery of racist and anti-democratic proposals pouring from the legislative offices onto the floor of the Knesset” (page 62).

“Israel’s very existence is threatened by fascism” (Uri Avnery, quoted sympathetically by Max Blumenthal on page 65, complaining about Jewish extremism undermining what is good about Israel).

“…the maintenance of a Jewish demographic majority is Israel’s national priority…” (page 42).

A national priority is something which can be changed. [it changed in south africa] But a Jewish majority is what Israel is.

My point (at least, in this review) is not to criticize reformism as such – normal Western countries can be, and are continually being, reformed. They are critical of their own histories, particularly in regard to racial oppression. Israel stands alone in its self-righteousness.The almost exclusive concern of organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, radical anti-racist groups, and various academic departments, with “white racism”, tends to obscure this. Another article of mine, “The One-Sided View of Hate in Hate Studies,” goes into this question in more detail.

On several occasions in the book, the author criticizes the “settlements” in the “occupied territories” and the “right wing” Israeli politicians who support them. Taken seriously, this argument supports Israel’s fallback position — withdrawal to its 1967 frontiers, before it occupied the “occupied territories”. On page 273, he explains that liberal Zionists mislead us, by claiming that the “source of Israel’s crisis” is in 1967, with the occupation of the West Bank and other areas, rather than with the ethnic cleansing of 1948. But the Nakba was not the “source of Israel’s crisis” – it was the source of Israel!

The book is critical of what it calls Israeli “racism”, for example, on pages 18, 23, 39, 77, 135, 176, 247, 334 and 398. But what would it mean for a state, whose very definition of citizenship is membership of a particular “race”, regardless of geographical origin, leading to the expulsion of non-members of that “race”, who happen to be located within that state’s boundaries, to be “less racist”?

One area where Blumenthal argues there could be improvement, is the mistreatment of Israeli citizens of Palestinian Arab descent.

“…it is hard to find any Arab citizen who travels abroad by air and who has not experienced a discriminatory security check at least once” (page 39).

But, unlike equality for minorities in Western countries like the USA, equality for Israel’s Arab minority would make no difference to the basic fact that Israel, the Jewish state, is an implementation of imagined racial supremacy. They’re a minority because most of them were driven out.

In line with his effort to make Israel look like a Western society, Blumenthal lauds “feisty bands of Israeli radical leftists who had dedicated themselves to direct action against their country’s militaristic policies” (page 67) as if they are analogous to the anti-war movement in the USA. But the war in Vietnam really was a US policy, and that is why it could be changed. Ditto, US aggression in the Middle East. The imposition of Jewish supremacy is not an Israeli policy. It is what Israel is.

On page 116, he contrasts the left-wing shministim with right-wing “Israeli ultra-nationalists”. But what is an “ultra” nationalist in Israel? You either support Jewish power, or you don’t. Uri Avnery confuses the issue further by claiming that the “violence” of the “rightists” is the result of “brainwashing”.

“About fifty Jewish radical leftists brought up the rear of the protest [against a settlement], banging drums and chanting in Hebrew ‘Fascism will not pass!’” (page 50).

One of Blumenthal’s radicals left Israel and landed in London. No, it’s not Gilad Atzmon, whom the author explicitly repudiates. In contrast to Atzmon’s critique of Zionism and Jewish anti-Zionism, Blumenthal’s favorite joined “a radical counterculture” that was “transforming the Western world”, “successfully fusing anti-Zionism into the New Left’s broader struggle against colonialism” (page 265).

He’s right. Subordinating anti-Zionism to anti-racism, etc., has been very successful – in the sense of making it completely ineffective. As a result, the struggle against Zionism has been a complete failure – segregation and apartheid were ended, but Jewish supremacy in Palestine continues.

Blumenthal is, at best, ambiguous; he criticizes Israeli policies and politicians, and sometimes comes close to criticizing the entire project, but never once gets to the point – since the Western countries (the USA, Britain, France, etc.) have repudiated racial supremacy, and enforced compliance with that repudiation, and Israel is, by its very definition, based on racial supremacy, the Western countries should, if they follow their own standards, boycott Israel until it grants citizenship only to those born in Palestine, and those whose recent ancestors were born in Palestine, in other words, ceases to exist.

An example of this ambiguity is the first paragraph on page 74. It starts by saying there is not much to choose between the right and left wing Israeli parties, because they only differ in how to maintain the what he delicately calls the “Jewish demographic majority”. But the same paragraph ends:

In a society where maintaining the tyranny of the ethnic majority formed the underpinnings of national policy, there could be little wonder that an unapologetically supremacist party like Yisrael Beiteinu was able to consolidate a mainstream foothold in such a rapid fashion.

What does claiming the tyranny of the ethnic majority forms the underpinnings of national policy mean? Isn’t it just a roundabout way of saying that racial supremacy is what that nation is? In which case, why does it matter how unapologetic its parties are about their supremacy?

Blumenthal complicates and confuses the issue, but it’s quite simple. There are three major differences between South African apartheid and Israel. One is that, unlike apartheid, Israel exists. The second, is that Israel is Jewish. Finally, South Africa merely had to change its laws, but if Israel abandoned racial supremacy, it would no longer be the Jewish state. The complete contrast between the treatments of these two implementations of racial supremacy means that Jews have special rights in the Western world, and that white gentiles do not. It follows that opposing racial supremacy today therefore means, first and foremost, dismantling Jewish privilege, and that the “anti-racist” industry’s continuing emphasis on the critique of “white privilege” is, to put it charitably, a diversion.

How is Jewish privilege maintained? Blumenthal does briefly mention an example of president Obama having to grovel to the power of the American Jewish lobby on page 275, but only in passing, and with no attempt to help us understand how the organizations of a small ethnic minority can make the most powerful country in the world follow its interests.

~

Jay Knott wrote The Mass Psychology of Anti-Fascism.

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Everything But Real News

By Gilad Atzmon | November 15, 2013

In this video I expose the obvious contradictions intrinsic to Jewish progressive thoughts as explored by Paul Jay and Max Blumenthal. We are dealing here with nothing short of controlled opposition.

This is my first attempt to produce such a video. I am obviously technically limited on that front. But I promise to improve quickly.

November 15, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Independent Media as Vehicle for Character Assassination

By Kim Petersen | Dissident Voice | August 23, 2013

Common decency demands that when someone slanders you in a public forum that you should have the right to respond in that same forum.

TRNN is an independent news network that provides thought-provoking news, analysis, and commentary. TRNN is much more than news headlines. For the greatest part, news events are reported in context and with relevant background information. This distinguishes TRNN very much from state and corporate media news. In addition, TRNN senior editor Paul Jay is very adept at playing devil’s advocate, laying out the corporate media/government line whereby guest analysts can probe and expose propaganda and disinformation.

Since criticizing the corporate media is very much like flogging a dead horse and because getting the real news out there is so important, I tend to focus my media criticism on TRNN. For instance, I criticized TRNN for parroting a corporate-state media message about North Korea (without providing relevant background information).1 Its US electoral coverage in 2008 and 2012 was fundamentally anti-democratic because of its inordinate focus on the evilist parties rather than allotting equal coverage to all parties (albeit third party coverage did increase from 2008 to 2012).

Recently TRNN has been presenting a series called “Reality Asserts Itself.” Some fine insight has been provided by Chris Hedges, Vijay Prashad, and Max Blumenthal. However, in a recent installment of the show, Blumenthal engaged in, what can best be described as, character assassination. Blumenthal’s target was the jazz musician/author Gilad Atzmon.2

At the beginning of the segment, Jay stated “some criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.” Jay provided no examples of this. I am failing to see how criticism of a state can be construed as anti-the people. If someone criticizes the Canadian state, should he also be construed as anti-Canadian? I have heard of people who criticized the United States subsequently being denounced as anti-American, but outside of the examples of criticizing Israel or the US, I have seldom, if ever, encountered charges of being anti-the people because of criticizing the people’s state. Maybe what Jay claims could be true, but as its stands, what he has said is just an assertion.3

Blumenthal responded “some who criticize Israel are anti-Semites.” This is likeliest true. And Jay agreed.

Blumenthal continued, charging that some of Israel’s critics are neo-fascists, racists, Islomophobic, and fearful of the Other.

Then Blumenthal launched into his character assassination of Gilad Atzmon “who,” claims Blumenthal, “pretends to be an anti-Zionist but is actually just pure anti-Semitic.” Without specific examples, Blumenthal’s charge amounts to pure ad hominem. Ad hominem, as Israel critic Noam Chomsky argued, is a despicable tactic:

If someone calls you an anti-Semite, what can you say? I’m not an anti-Semite? If someone says you’re a racist, you’re a Nazi or something, you always lose. The person who throws the mud always wins because there is no way of responding to such charges.4

There’s something unsettling and peculiar in denouncing racism (holding derogatory opinions or beliefs about the entirety of a particular group – ethnic, religious, gender, national, etc.) and then engaging in, what can be labeled as, personism (holding derogatory opinions about a person based on who one believes – as opposed to knows — that person is).

Jay appeared caught-off-guard by Blumenthal’s calumny; he left the character assassination unchallenged, and he quickly moved on to the next topic.

Atzmon says Blumenthal has not read his book,5 The Wandering Who.6 ‎ Since Blumenthal did not provide evidence for his ad hominem other than hearsay, his acerbic position is mired in epistemological quicksand.

Jay also allowed his guest to denigrate historical revisionists — Holocaust deniers Blumenthal calls them. That might also be more ad hominem. The right to challenge the historical record and narrative must be inalienable, otherwise history risks becoming mere propaganda.7 Nonetheless, Blumenthal did proffer an explanation for his attack noting that historical revisionists told him they dislike Jews because they are liberals.

I have read Atzmon’s book. Unless it is racist to explore the relations among Jews and how they integrate or separate from others, view the Other, accept or oppose occupation, then the book is not anti-Semitic. There is a certain tribalism among Jews. This is true among many groups except the tribalism takes the form of allegiance to a nation state (referred to as patriotism) rather than to a pseudo ethnic/religious affiliation.

I do not need to defend Atzmon; he can do that quite well himself. What I will call for is Atzmon’s right to defend himself in the same forum.

Does TRNN want a free thinking viewership who consider the facts, analysis, and conclusions presented and arrive at their own reason-based conclusions after examining, discussing with others, cogitating over the facts, and testing the cogency of the logic? Or does TRNN want viewers who uncritically accept what is said on their reports as gospel? It must not be the latter as this would thoroughly undermine the raison d’être of The Real News Network.

Consequently, since TRNN has allowed its program to be used as a vehicle for character assassination, it is incumbent on an ethical, professional, self-respecting, viewer-respecting news organization to allow the maligned Gilad Atzmon a chance at an on-air rebuttal.

  1. See Kim Petersen, “Independent Media as Mouthpiece for Centers of Power,” Dissident Voice, 28 May 2010.
  2. See “Israel, Anti-Semitism, and Negotiations Without End,” TRNN, 22 August 2013.
  3. During this episode of “Reality Asserts Itself,” Jay and Blumental both disdained, and rightfully so, anti-Semitism, anti-Arabism, Islamophobia, Zionism, and racism in general.
  4. From Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick’s documentary Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media NFB, 1992. Cited in Kim Petersen, “Anti,” Dissident Voice, 6 April 2004.
  5. Gilad Atzmon, “Max Blumenthal on Anti Semitism, Neo Fascists and Gilad Atzmon (Amusing As Well As Tragic),” 22 August 2013.
  6. See review.
  7. See Kim Petersen, “Progressivism, Skepticism, and Historical Revisionism: The Inalienable Right to Question History,” Dissident Voice, 19 December 2005.

Kim Petersen can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org.

August 23, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Max Blumenthal on Anti Semitism, Neo Fascists and Gilad Atzmon (Amusing As Well As Tragic)

  By Gilad Atzmon | August 22, 2013

The campaign against me and my work fell apart a while ago. I assume that my Jewish detractors came to realise that I enjoy their attention and use it to affirm my criticism of their tribal and exclusivist identity politics.

But yesterday I had a nostalgic moment reading Max Blumenthal dissing me publicly. When Blumenthal was asked about Israeli critics he ended up talking about the vile ‘anti Semites’, ‘neo Fascists’ and the ‘racists’ in the movements. Interestingly enough, he failed to remember any name but one – Gilad Atzmon.

Atzmon is a “pure anti Semite who believes that all of the problems of Israel flow not from colonialism but from Judaism.” said Blumenthal.

Apparently, not buying into the clumsy ‘colonial paradigm’ makes me into a ‘neo Fascist’, ‘anti Semite’ and a ‘racist’.

It is obviously clear that Blumenthal didn’t read a single word by me. I naively believe that if someone insists to criticise my work, he or she better spend some time to read me first. It is an established fact that Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah also called for my disavowal while admitting to Prof. Norton Mezvinsky that he has never read a single word by me. Tragically enough, the fear of intellectual exchange and open discourse is endemic within the Jewish progressive ghetto but also within some quarters of the solidarity movement.

However, those who are even mildly familiar with my thoughts know that Blumenthal reacts out of hysteria rather than knowledge. My scholarship is not concerned with Judaism (the religion) nor am I referring to Jews (the people). I am critical of Jewish Identity politics and Jewish ideology. I elaborate on Jewish-ness and Jewish culture as opposed to Judaism. Race, genetics or biology have never been part of my study. If anything, I am critical largely of Jewish secular politics and culture rather than the Jewish religion.

I am indeed critical of the ‘colonial paradigm’ which Blumenthal adheres to. Colonialism is defined traditionally as a material exchange between a settler state and a mother state. Israel is clearly a settler state, however, it is far from being clear what is its ‘mother state’.  Is it the USA, Britain or actually the Jewish people?  In fact I argue adamantly that the colonial paradigm is there to divert the attention from the embarrassing fact that the Jewish State being racially driven, nationalist and expansionist is actually closer in its political nature to Nazi Germany rather than to South Africa. I guess that Max Blumenthal, who operates within Jews-only political cells doesn’t like this equation. Yet, such an argument doesn’t make me into a neo Fascist or an anti-Semite. If anything, it secures my status as an out-spoken observant mind.

Unlike Blumenthal and his comrades, I also believe that if Israel defines itself as the Jewish State, we are more than entitled to verify what its Jewishness stands for. Does this make me into a racist? I guess that the huge lists of scholars and humanists who decided to endorse my work didn’t think so.

But I also believe that since Max Blumenthal identifies politically as a secular Jew who operates within Jews-only political cells (and even signs on ‘Jewish letters’, as he himself admits), is actually a legitimate case study of Jewish tribal political operation.

Sooner or later Blumenthal and his comrades will have to make an effort and tell us what their ‘Jewishness’ stands for. Is it a love of chicken soup they share, or is it something more profound?

Being an expert on the matter and an avid reader of Jewish history, I know pretty well why Blumenthal is tormented by my work. Jewish hegemony within radical movements always backfired. My work indeed exposes an intrinsic dishonest element within the Jewish Left in general and Jewish anti Zionism in particular. I guess that the vastly growing popularity of the descriptive abbreviation AZZ (Anti Zionist Zionists), only suggests that Blumenthal & Co have a good reason to panic.  In The Wandering Who I give this very panic a name – Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pre – TSD).

I would like to take this opportunity and advise Blumenthal that killing the messenger is not going to rescue his cause: it would only attribute him the characteristics of just another Judas and he has himself to blame for it.

August 22, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment