zionism

Arendt on Equality and Political Collapse

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/05/2020 - 9:19pm in

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The breakdown of the feudal order had given rise to the new revolutionary concept of equality, according to which a "nation within the nation" could no longer be tolerated. Jewish restrictions and privileges had to be abolished together with all other special rights and liberties. This growth of equality, however, depended largely upon the growth of an independent state machine which, either as an enlightened despotism or as a constitutional government above all classes and parties, could, in splendid isolation, function, rule, and represent the interests of the nation as a whole. Therefore, beginning with the late seventeenth century, an unprecedented need arose for state credit and a new expansion of the state's sphere of economic and business interest, while no group among the European populations was prepared to grant credit to the state or take an active part in the development of state business.--Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, Part 1 (Antisemitism), Chapter 2 ("The Jews, the Nation-State, and the Birth of Antisemitism"), paragraph 1 ("The Equivocalities of Emancipation and the Jewish State Banker")

The passage caught my attention because Arendt's position reminded me (recall) of a feature of ordoliberalism. The ORDOs thought it normatively desirable to conceptualize the state as an 'independent state machine' above the parties. This naturally feeds into conceptualizing (recall also this post on Walter Lipmmann) the state as a kind of umpire who sets and enforces the rules and, where necessary, keeps score. The problem with this conceptualization is that it turns real politics explicitly into a problem because political agents will naturally pursue interests that may end up tilting the state machine into one direction or another. And it is no surprise the ORDOs spent considerable intellectual energy devicing different means to tackle the problem. 

One thing that Arendt makes explicit about the possibility of an 'independent state machinery' is that it requires independent revenue. As her larger argument makes clear during the broad centuries between the fall of feudalism and the introduction of the bureaucratically administered income tax,* the independent state machinery was financed primarily by credit. Presumably once the income tax is instituted, which often involves strengthening democratic representation and oversight, and thereby elevates the significance democratic politics, the possibility of keeping politics at arm's length starts to evaporate. 

Obviously, the previous paragraph obscures that the maintenance of the independent state machine now becomes coextensive with maintaining good credit. And, so this means that the politics free state machinery automatically serves the class of creditors which become coextensive with the "interests of the nation as a whole." This only works if the state machinery is run by children of the creditor class (so on a quasi caste system) or has extraordinary esprit de corps.  And, to simplify, this means there is a bias against inflation and an incentive to secure property rights. In addition, among the public goods that are produced by the independent state machinery are the rule of law (or formal equality).

It is, of course, an open question whether reality ever approached this near enough.  Later in part 1 -- I treat Part 1 as a kind of distinct monograph --, Arendt discusses the collapse of this fiction. I quote passages a few pages apart. 

It is characteristic of the period that a miscarriage of justice could arouse such political passions and inspire such an endless succession of trials and retrials, not to speak of duels and fisticuffs. The doctrine of equality before the law was still so firmly implanted in the conscience of the civilized world that a single miscarriage of justice could provoke public indignation from Moscow to New York....

[S]uspicion of the republic itself, of Parliament, and the state machine....Down to our times the term Anti-Dreyfusard can still serve as a recognized name for all that is antirepublican, antidemocratic, and antisemitic. A few years ago it still comprised everything, from the monarchism of the Action Francaise to the National Bolshevism of Doriot and the social Fascism of Deat. It was not, however, to these Fascist groups, numerically unimportant as they were, that the Third Republic owed its collapse. On the contrary, the plain, if paradoxical, truth is that their influence was never so slight as at the moment when the collapse actually took place. What made France fall was the fact that she had no more true Dreyfusards, no one who believed that democracy and freedom, equality and justice could any longer be defended or realized under the republic.

I deleted passages pertaining to antisemitism. On my reading of her that is the mechanism by which the collapse is focalized and accelerated, but itself not itself a root cause. Of course, it becomes central to what follows on the ruins of this collapse (recall here and here).

So, once the income tax and democracy start to predominate, the stability, even survival, of the state state machinery rests not just one the good opinion of the public, but in a particular belief that belief that the republic makes possible, or at least facilitates the plausible hope, that "democracy and freedom, equality and justice" can be realized  could under "the republic." And, in larger context, Arendt has no doubt there are two key features that make this collapse likely: first unpunished, endemic graft and corruption among the ruling classes. Second, widespread, potentially competing explanatory frameworks that emphasize the selfishness of agents such that talking or acting on public spirit is understood as either ideology or delusion. 

I will stop here. Some other time, I'll explore if Arendt has solutions on offer to prevent the dissolution of faith in democratic life. That the victory of fascism does not require  the numerical strength of fascism is (recall) a 'paradoxical' point also made by Karl Polanyi (and echoed by his brother Michael). If Arendt is right, the previous paragraph should frighten us.

 

 

*See a fascinating list here.  The timing of these events suggests a tight connection between mass warfare and the introduction of the tax.

+No

Racist and Biased Equalities and Human Rights Commission Drops Tory Islamophobia Investigation

Here’s another revolting development, as it would be described by Marvel Comics’ ever-lovin’, blue-eyed Thing, the idol o’ millions and butt of the Yancey Street gangs’ pranks. On Tuesday Mike reported that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission had decided not to go ahead with an investigation into islamophobia in the Tory party. It considered that this would not be ‘proportionate’ after seeing the Tories’ own plans and terms of reference for its own investigation, which included specific reference to islamophobia.

The Muslim Council of Britain declared that these terms were a ‘facade’ and that the investigation was too narrow compared to Labour’s Chakrabarti investigation into anti-Semitism. They went on to say that the investigation would hide the hundreds of incidents of bigotry in the Tory party, which they had uncovered.

Mike in his article makes the very valid point that it doesn’t matter what the EHRC says about ant-Semitism in the Labour party. It has shown it cannot treat the two parties equally. Indeed, BoJob’s own behaviour provides a prima facie case for investigation. Mike concludes

If the EHRC can’t see that, then no decision it makes about the Labour Party can have any weight at all.

I recommend that it be disbanded and replaced by an organisation staffed by people who can do the job properly.

Equalities watchdog undermines itself by refusing to examine Tory Islamophobia

Of course, Mike’s right. There’s Johnson’s wretched book 72 Virgins, a wish-fulfillment fantasy if ever there was one, about a bike-riding Prime Minister foiling an evil Islamist plot to bomb parliament. This also included racist comments about other ethnic groups as well, including a Black character, who is described as a stupid coon, and a shady Jewish businessman who makes his money by exploiting migrant workers. This nasty anti-Semitic stereotype was accompanied by the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about the Jews controlling the media. And then, of course, there’s Johnson’s vile newspaper column in which he compared women in burqas to bin bags and letter boxes. Despite all the bluster about how he was merely being un-PC and it was an act of free speech, nothing more, Johnson’s rhetoric did lead to a spike in islamophobic assaults, especially against women clad in that way.

Zelo Street and other left-wing bloggers have also put up articles about the numerous supporters of BoJob and Rees-Mogg revealed by the internet activist Jacobsmates, who posted viciously islamophobic and anti-Semitic comments on Twitter. Like the various Conservative politicos Mike and Zelo Street also reported were suspended by the Tories for their islamophobic conduct. In their posts they had declared that Sadiq Khan and other Muslim and ethnic minority politicos, like Diane Abbott, should be killed, ranted about how Muslims were plotting to destroy the country and were responsible for rape and terrorism and supported the old anti-Semitic conspiracy libel that Muslims and non-White immigrants were being imported into Europe and the West by the Jews with the intention of destroying the White race.

And the Equalities and Human Rights Commission is grossly disproportionate itself in the importance it gives to the allegations of anti-Semitism in Labour on the one hand and islamophobia in the Tories in another.

The reality is that there was far less anti-Semitism in Labour under Jeremy Corbyn than in wider British society, and that the vast majority of it comes from the right, and especially the far right. What those screaming about Labour anti-Semitism really objected to was anti-Zionism and support for the Palestinians. This is why Corbyn was viciously denounced as an anti-Semite for attending a speech by a Holocaust survivor, who compared Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians to the Nazis’ persecution of himself and other Jews, while the same witch-hunters had nothing to say about Tweezer and Rachel Reeve singing the praises of Nancy Astor, a real anti-Semite and supporter of Hitler. Part of the motivation for the anti-Semitism smears against Labour was pure partisanship. It was a convenient stick for the Tory establishment, including the Thatcherites within the Labour party, to beat Corbyn and try to oust him or prevent the party from ever coming to power. It didn’t matter whether they were true or not. And western geopolitical interests were involved. Israel is one of the pillars of British Middle Eastern policy, along with Saudi Arabia. Tony Greenstein among other bloggers and activists has put up a number of quotes from British officials showing that it always was regarded as a centre of western influence in the region from the days of the British Mandate in Palestine, comparable to Ulster in Ireland.

The anti-Semitism smears had nothing to do with real anti-Jewish hatred. It was purely about defending Israel and preventing a genuine the formation of a socialist, genuinely Labour government.

The EHRC’s decision not to investigate Tory islamophobia may also be connected to the anti-Muslim prejudices of its leader, Trevor Philips. He is, or was, a member of the Labour party, but was suspended a little while ago by General Secretary Jennie Formby for islamophobia. He had accused Muslims of forming a ‘nation within a nation’ and stated that the members of the Asian grooming gangs, who abused White girls, committed their horrendous crimes because ‘Muslims see the world differently’. He seems to regard Muslims as fundamentally different and Other to the rest of British society, stating that they ‘are not like us’. He also chaired a Tory conference on ‘Challenging Islamophobia’, in which he and several of the others attending even blamed Muslims themselves for the terrorist attacks on the mosques in New Zealand and Finsbury Park. They were, Phillips and the others declared, a natural response to Muslim terrorism. In 2006 Ken Livingstone, then mayor of the London Assembly, accused Phillips, who was chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, as the EHRC then was, of pandering to the right and turning it into a huge press department while at the same time winding down its legal work. Six of the EHRC’s commissioners also resigned in protest at Phillips’ leadership. Phillips has also presented programmes for Channel 4 which accused Blacks of being far more inclined towards criminality than Whites, and that a significant number of British Muslims had terrorist sympathies among other accusations. Both of these were misleading. In fact, the number of British Muslims, who had terrorist sympathies was s1-3 per cent, rather than the nearly quarter that has been claimed.

Tony Greenstein has put up a long piece including several other articles, which extensively discusses Phillips’ islamophobia  and shabby career and critiques and demolishes the two programmes he presented. Greenstein states that when he was active in student politics in the 1970s, he came across Phillips politically. It struck him then that Phillips really had nothing to say about racism, and was only using the fact of his colour for political advancement.

See: https://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/03/even-tommy-robinson-supports-trevor.html

And its very noticeable that, as Greenstein describes in the above article, Phillips has received glowing support from a series of notorious racists and islamophobes like Tommy Robinson. Phillips is also another Labour rightist, who has weaponised the anti-Semitism smears for his own benefit. When he was suspended for islamophobia, he claimed that it was really because he had spoken out about Labour anti-Semitism. Which is purest twaddle.

With someone creditably accused of islamophobia himself in charge of the EHRC, it’s not surprising that it has decided not to pursue anti-Muslim prejudice in the Tories.

And this sorry episode also illustrates another point Quentin Letts has made about race relations in this country. In his book, Bog-Standard Britain, the Tory journo argued that there was a racial hierarchy of power and influence amongst ethnic and other minorities. Jews were at, or near the top. Blacks and Muslims were much lower down. I think Muslims may well have been at the bottom.

There’s much truth in this, as Sayeeda Warsi herself has complained that people are able to say things about Muslims with impunity, for which they would be immediately attacked if they said them about Jews.

Tony’s article also reports that Richard Littlejohn, another scummy right-wing hack, has even claimed that Phillips only agreed to chair the EHRC in order to close it down.

Perhaps this would now be the right action to take. Mike’s right in that at present it seems utterly unfit for purpose.

On Eichmann in Jerusalem (II); On Crimes Against Humanity and International Law

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 13/05/2020 - 1:08am in

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None of the participants ever arrived at a clear understanding of the actual horror of Auschwitz, which is of a different nature from all the atrocities of the past, because it appeared to prosecution and judges alike as not much more than the most horrible pogrom in Jewish history. They therefore believed that a direct line existed from the early anti-Semitism of the Nazi Party to the Nuremberg Laws and from there to the expulsion of Jews from the Reich and, finally, to the gas chambers. Politically and legally, however, these were "crimes" different not only in degree of seriousness but in essence.--Hannah Arendt (1963; [Revised and Enlarged Edition, 1965]) Eichmann in Jerusalem: the Banality of Evil, p. 267

Let's grant, for the sake of argument, that Arendt has privileged understanding of the situation. My present interest is in trying to grasp what she takes to be the 'essential' feature or difference she is pointing to and why she thinks this is significant. And I take it that the Nuremberg Laws are on one side of a dividing line and "the actual horror of Auschwitz" and the "gas chambers" on the other. She clearly states in the sentences before the quoted passage that genocide is "the unprecedented crime." She repeats variations on this point throughout the "epilogue:" so, for example, she writes, "Nothing is more pernicious to an understanding of these new crimes, or stands more in the way of the emergence of an international penal code that could take care of them, than the common illusion that the crime of murder and the crime of genocide are essentially the same, and that the latter therefore is "no new crime properly speaking." The point of the latter is that an altogether different order is broken and an altogether different community is violated." (272) And also:  "Expulsion and genocide, though both are international offenses, must remain distinct; the former is an offense against fellow-nations, whereas the latter is an attack upon human diversity as such, that is, upon a characteristic of the "human status" without which the very words "mankind" or "humanity' would be devoid of meaning." (268)

Arendt presupposes here (and explains in Eichmann) that while victims are interested parties, fundamentally a crime is an offense or harm against a community or, more abstractly, an order. And because she insists on this distinction between victim and community, what is characteristic of Nazi genocide as a crime is not its murderous antisemitism directed at particular Jews, but rather its attack on "human diversity as such." So, what makes this crime essentially different is a violation of (let's grant) a fundamental principle.* By 'crime' here Arendt does not mean a violation of existing law or even the retrospective law Eichmann was tried under. But rather an offense against a more fundamental law that will have to figure into a future (positive) "international law" (273) For it is such a developing, as of yet "unfinished nature of international law" (274) that will be legal guarantor of offenses against the community of mankind. 

These remarks help us understand the purpose and significance of Arendt's analysis of the essential difference between genocide and other crimes. As I noted yesterday, for her the function of a trial, the meting out of justice, is not just, although this is central, to sit in judgment of a person, and, as she would emphasize (recall) in "truth and politics," ascertain the truth, but also a mechanism to channel and placate the moral indignation victims and spectators ought to feel at the sight of crimes done to fellow humans.

But according to Arendt, a trial can also be the occasion to help develop the as of "yet unfinished nature of international law," so she claims it "has become the task of ordinary trial judges to render justice without the help of, or beyond the limitation set upon them through, positive, posited laws." (274) To be sure, she recognizes that this task was not so understood by the district judges nor assigned them by Israeli (positive) law. That is to say, for Arendt the Eichmann trial turned into a missed opportunity to go beyond the Nuremberg Tribunal and its successor trials in order to help develop, from the bottom up as it were, the legal framework or "international penal code" that could take care for the internal order, that is, the community of mankind.  This is why claims that "had the court in Jerusalem understood that there were distinctions between discrimination, expulsion, and genocide, it would immediately have become clear that the supreme crime it was confronted with, the physical extermination of the Jewish people, was a crime against humanity, perpetrated upon the body of the Jewish people, and that only the choice of victims, not the nature of the crime." (269)

With that in place, I think Arendt should not have suggested that it is "Jewish history" that made the Israeli polity and other Jews miss this point. By this I do not mean the more critical observation that she fails to acknowledge that her aims for the trial risk instrumentalizing victims into tools for the development of international law. Even if one is receptive to the development of such an international penal code, it is no small matter having to acknowledge that the antisemitism in the Nazi genocidal antisemitism is a contingent feature of the crime and not essential to its nature.+ Even if genocide is also a crime against humanity, against "mankind in its entirety," (276) it does not follow it is primarily a crime against humanity from the perspective of the victims and their communities/community 

For, even if one grants Arendt the possible existence of a world order, it is from a political and legal point of view not obvious such a possible community would have to take precedence over existing orders and communities. That is itself a political (and legal) question. Part of the explicit polemic of the book is directed against Ben Gurion not just because Arendt thinks he created a show-trial, but more fundamentally that he who the spokesperson for particularity. When he is quoted, in response to the demand of an international tribunal, as saying, "Israel does not need the protection of an International Court" (272) he is not presented as merely stating an empirical fact, or making a prediction, he is being held up as an exemplar of the rejection of a certain "ideal" standard. (273)

Now, what I find interesting here is that it is characteristic of genocide that is essentially (according to Arendt) a crime against human diversity--underneath it there is a murderous desire for homogeneity, the "elimination forever" of "certain "races"" (277). But it is precisely that very particularity international law is supposed to serve that on the principle of humanity has to grant the legal precedence of the global order over  the particular. This need not be a conceptual tension, but it is obvious that attachment to local orders may be stronger or even practically necessary for the global to come into being. In Eichmann Arendt does not resolve these complexities.

I could stop there. But as it happens Arendt does offer an argument for why her perspective should predominate:

It is essentially for this reason: that the unprecedented, once it has appeared, may become a precedent for the future, that "all trials touching upon "crimes against humanity" must be judged according to a standard that is today still an "ideal." If genocide is an actual possibility of the future, then no people on earth - least of all, of course, the Jewish people, in Israel or elsewhere - can feel reasonably sure of its continued existence without the help and the protection of international law. Success or failure in dealing with the hitherto unprecedented can lie only in the extent to which this dealing may serve as a valid precedent on the road international penal law. (273)++

Before I close on a note of criticism; I agree with her that because the unprecedented, once it has appeared, may become a precedent for the future, the only response to it must -- given the enormity of genocide -- be structural. Her fear has, alas, been amply vindicated. This is, in part, why Eichmann remains an urgent book. 

But it is not obvious that the development of international penal law, even if welcome, is the the right ideal. For, Arendt claims on the very same page that "punishment" has never possessed "enough power of deterrence" (273). So, she has de facto granted that even with international penal law no people can feel reasonably sure of its continued existence. Moreover, she offers no other argument for her claim that "success or failure in dealing with the hitherto unprecedented can lie only in the extent to which this dealing may serve as a valid precedent on the road international penal law." 

And so, while the liberal internationalist may feel joy at discerning in Arendt a surprising ally, the sober student of politics may feel not without some justification that, even if international law is perfected, the cause of Justice may sometimes be better served by fiercely defended, imperfect parochial laws.

 

 

 

+That's compatible with recognizing that other groups -- in context, Arendt rightly notes the significance of gypsies -- were also victims of genocide.

++I ignore here how Arendt's definitions of genocide and crimes against humanity compare to current legal definitions.

*I do not mean to suggest this exhausts Arendt's analysis. She also thinks there are other features of the crime that are unprecedented and distinctive:

Eichmann, it will be remembered, had steadfastly insisted that he was guilty only of "aiding and abetting" in the commission of the crimes with which he was charged, that he himself had never committed an overt act....For it was an important point; it touched upon the very essence of this crime, which was no ordinary crime, and the very nature of this criminal, who was no common criminal; by implication, it also took cognizance of the weird fact that in the death camps it was usually the inmates and the victims who had actually wielded "the fatal instrument with [their] own hands." What the judgment had to say on this point was more than correct, it was the truth: "Expressing his activities in terms of Section 23 of our Criminal Code Ordinance, we should say that they were mainly those of a person soliciting by giving counsel or advice to others and of one who enabled or aided others in [the criminal] act." But "in such an enormous and complicated crime as the one we are now considering, wherein many people participated, on various levels and in various modes of activity - the planners, the organizers, and those executing the deeds, according to their various ranks - there is not much point in using the ordinary concepts of counseling and soliciting to commit a crime. For these crimes were committed en masse, not only in regard to the number of victims, but also in regard to the numbers of those who perpetrated the crime, and the extent to which any one of the many criminals was close to or remote from the actual killer of the victim means nothing, as far as the measure of his responsibility is concerned. On the contrary, in general the degree of responsibility increases as we draw further away from the man who uses the fatal instrument with his own hands [Arendt's italics]." (246-7)

On Eichmann in Jerusalem (I); on Indignation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 11/05/2020 - 10:08pm in

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It is more noteworthy that [Ben Gurion] had not foreseen, or did not care to mention, that Eichmann's capture would trigger the first serious effort made by Germany to bring to trial at least those who were directly implicated in murder. The Central Agency for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes, belatedly founded by the West German state in 1958 and headed by Prosecutor Erwin Schüle, had run into all kinds of difficulties, caused partly by the unwillingness of German witnesses to cooperate and partly by the unwillingness of the local courts to prosecute on the basis of the material sent them from the Central Agency. Not that the trial in Jerusalem produced any important new evidence of the kind needed for the discovery of Eichmann's associates; but the news of Eichmann's sensational capture and of the impending trial had sufficient impact to persuade the local courts to use Mr. Schüle's findings, and to overcome the native reluctance to do anything about "murderers in our midst" by the time-honored means of posting rewards for the capture of well-known criminals.
The results were amazing. Seven months after Eichmann's arrival in Jerusalem - and four months before the opening of the trial - Richard Baer, successor to Rudolf Höss as Commandant of Auschwitz, could finally be arrested. In rapid succession, most of the members of the so-called Eichmann Commando - Franz Novak, who lived as a printer in Austria; Dr. Otto Hunsche, who had settled as a lawyer in West Germany; Hermann Krumey, who had become a druggist; Gustav Richter, former "Jewish adviser" in Rumania; and Willi Zöpf, who had filled the same post in Amsterdam - were arrested also; although evidence against them had been published in Germany years before, in books and magazine articles, not one of them had found it necessary to live under an assumed name. For the first time since the close of the war, German newspapers were full of reports on the trials of Nazi criminals, all of them mass murderers (after May, 1960, the month of Eichmann's capture, only first-degree murder could be prosecuted; all other offenses were wiped out by the statute of limitations, which is twenty years for murder), and the reluctance of the local courts to prosecute these crimes showed itself only in the fantastically lenient sentences meted out the accused.--Hannah Arendt (1963; [Revised and Enlarged Edition, 1965]) Eichmann in Jerusalem: the banality of evil, 13-15.

There has been so much journalistic and scholarly polemic surrounding Eichmann in Jerusalem (hereafter Eichmann) from even before its publication that it may come as a surprise that some of the most significant, even polemical arguments in the book have received scant attention. But since these involve unresolved issues in political life and political philosophy, I hope, dear reader, you will forgive me for ignoring the familiar issues as I return to Eichmann

The quoted passage above introduces the second main theme in the book: this is the failure of West Germany to prosecute its own war-criminals in a serious fashion after it was founded in 1949. And Arendt notes that one of the unintended and highly welcome effects of the illegal kidnapping of Eichmann was that it created the legal and political will to start holding major "mass murderers" to account. No less important is that it created mass publicity around their deeds.  For, one of the main themes of Eichmann is the failure of justice in Germany (and some other countries, including the Netherlands). 

Of course, Arendt is not hopeful that justice will be served in Germany. Most trials of the mass murderers end in ridiculously low sentences in West Germany. One may suspect this was due to the failure of genuine denazification in West Germany: 

There is little hope that things will change now, even though the Adenauer administration has been forced to weed out of the judiciary more than a hundred and forty judges and prosecutors, along with many police officers with more than ordinarily compromising pasts, and to dismiss Wolfgang Immerwahr Fränkel, the chief prosecutor of the Federal Supreme Court, because, his middle name notwithstanding, he had been less than candid when asked about his Nazi past. It has been estimated that of the eleven thousand five hundred judges in the Bundesrepublik, five thousand were active in the courts under the Hitler regime. (16)

And, in fact, as early as 1950 Arendt has written perceptively on the moral and political failures of denazification in Commentary.+ But Arendt leaves no doubt that the underlying problem is not a lack of political will from, as it were, the top down thwarting a more authentic democratic sensibility, but rather that the political leadership of West Germany (Adenauer) reflects the underlying sensibility all too well: "The attitude of the German people toward their own past...could hardly have been more clearly demonstrated: they themselves did not much care one way or the other, and did not particularly mind the presence of [these] murderers at large in the country." (16)* Arendt thinks this indifference blameworthy (recall her "fantastically lenient").

This naturally raises the question what the citizenry ought to feel and why this matters.  Somewhat surprisingly** Arendt thinks moral indignation is the proper response. She repeatedly calls attention to its absence where it should have been apt: first, she notes explicitly that the  conspirators against Hitler were "not inspired by moral indignation or by what they knew other people had been made to suffer." (100) A second, more striking occasion occurs, in the context of criticizing an argument by Martin Buber, in the final chapter of the book. (This reinforces my point that the theme discussed here frames the argument of Eichmann.) Buber had claimed in opposition to the death penalty that the execution of Eichmann would "serve to expiate the guilt felt by many young persons in Germany." Arendt is polite enough not to say that Buber is, thereby, treating Eichmann as a christ like figure whose execution thereby becomes a mechanism of atonement for those  entirely unrelated to (the events leading to) his conviction. Arendt's response is instructive:

The youth of Germany is surrounded, on all sides and in all walk  of life, by men in positions of authority and in public office who are very guilty indeed but who feel nothing of the sort. The normal reaction to this state of affairs should be indignation, but indignation would be quite risky - not a danger to life and limb but definitely a handicap in a career. Those young German men and women who every once in a while - on the occasion of all the Diary of Anne Frank hubbub and of the Eichmann trial - treat us to hysterical outbreaks of guilt feelings are not staggering under the burden of the past, their fathers' guilt; rather, they are trying to escape from the pressure of very present and actual problems into a cheap sentimentality.) (251)

There are a number of central issues lurking here. First, the absence of felt indignation by elder and younger Germans is evidence that the "moral collapse" which according to Arendt was omnipresent during the Nazi years has not ended with the end of war. (This is with the use of those words also a major theme of the 1950 Commentary article mentioned above.) That is to say, the effects of moral collapse become visible in the failure to feel and express relevant moral emotions. This is connected to Arendt's main criticism of the Eichmann trial: its failure to "put before the eyes of the world in its true dimensions, because it offers the most striking insight into the totality of the moral collapse the Nazis caused in respectable European society - not only in Germany but in almost all countries, not only among the persecutors but also among the victims." (125; see also the remarks in the postscript on p. 297 ) I return to the nature and causes of such moral collapse in future posts.

So, second, the function of a trial, the meting out of justice, is not just, although this is central, to sit in judgment of a person, and, as she would emphasize (recall) in "truth and politics," ascertain the truth, but also a mechanism to channel and placate the moral indignation victims and spectators ought to feel at the sight crimes done to fellow humans.++ This reactive attitude is to be distinguished from the many various failures to take on the position of another recounted in Eichmann.  The lack of such expressed indignation is a measure of the fact that what we may call the social conditions of very possibility of true justice are absent even in political and legal practices/circumstances where the form of the rule of the law is present (as exhibited by the sentencing practices in West Germany). 

Third, and finally today: Arendt's comment on the youth of West Germany may strike some as unfair.  She treats them as careerist (no better in a sense than Eichmann, who is revealed as a base careerist throughout Eichmann). But while it would be too simple to connect the many trials prompted by Eichmann's kidnapping and, perhaps Eichmann, to the student movement in Germany of the 60s and 70s, there is some such connection. For, while the student movement was, in one dimension an international affair, there is no doubt that along another dimension the triggers and content varied locally (as she put it in an interview in 1970, "the national differences" of the student movement "are very great"). Arendt recognized the "conspicuous moral coloration of the movement," although she also thought that remnants of nationalism were visible in it.

In West Germany part of the grounds of social unrest among the student protestors is that so many positions of authority were being held by former Nazis. (I have not found a comment by Arendt on this alas.) And so from this perspective they provide hope that a moral collapse can be reversed over time. But I don't intend to end on such hope. Rather, this student movement also turned, in part, violent eventually;*** this suggests that the inability  or incapacity to express moral indignation is a problem not just for justice, but also politics.

*I added "these" because in context it is clear that these murderers are not viewed as dangerous in present conditions.

+I thank Waseem Yaqoob for reminding me of this piece.

**I say 'surprisingly' for two reasons: (i) what I am about to say fits awkwardly with the Kantianism that now frames the main scholarly approaches to Eichmann; (ii) to the best of my knowledge the recent revival of interest in philosophical approaches to anger -- recall Srinivasan, Lorde and Dotson, Olberding,  Johnson and Kazarian  etc. -- has not found inspiration in Arendt.

++This idea is nicely expressed by Adam Smith, and recently revived by Steve Darwall in his work on the significance of the second person.

***Most relevant here: the RAF's kidnapping and murder of Hanns-Martin Schleyer.

Riley’s Mates Oberman and Barber Smear Rachael of Swindon because She’s RT’d by Lineker

More anti-Semitism smearing and scumbaggery from Rachel Riley, Tracey Ann Oberman and Frances Barber. The internet commenter ‘Rachael Swindon’, or @rachael_swindon, her Twitter monicker, is Rachael Cousins, a firm supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. Her internet handle comes from the fact that she’s from the railway town in Wiltshire. According to a Buzzfeed article last year by disgraced FT hack Mark di Stefano, she and her husband are both currently unable to work due to their disabilities. Her husband has fibromyalgia, the same debilitating disease that afflicts Mrs Mike, and which can cause severe pain and fatigue. Swindon herself suffers from osteoarthritis in her legs. As well as supporting Corbyn, she also shares the former Labour leader’s support for the Palestinians. However, this does not mean that she is anti-Semite. She isn’t. It’s perfectly possible to support the country’s indigenous people – the Arabs – without hating Jews. Indeed, the pro-Palestinian organisation to which Tony Greenstein, a self-respecting secular Jew belongs, won’t accept real anti-Semites.

Unfortunately, this fact isn’t reported by the lamestream media, and for fanatical the fanatical supporters of Israel, any sympathy for the Palestinians means that someone must be a vicious anti-Semite. This even extends to left-wing Zionists. When a group of liberal Israelis said the Jewish prayer for the dead, the Kaddish, over dying civilians shot by the IDF last year after they broke out from Gaza, they were subjected to a hail of abuse from the ultra-Zionist right. And yesterday, Rachael Swindon was subjected to the same smearing for her support for the Palestinians by Riley, Oberman and Barber.

This was sparked off by a Tweet she’d put up about another 100 year old man, who like Captain Tom Moore, was also doing laps of his garden for charity. Unlike Captain Moore, he wasn’t White, and wasn’t getting the same amount of attention. Gary Lineker noticed this and retweeted it. And Riley’s mates, Barber and Oberman erupted into frothing ire. They called her Rachel Swindler, claimed that she led a Corbynite troll army to post anti-Semitic hate and abuse against Oberman, and compared her to David Icke.

Zelo Street in his article about this sordid piece of smearing and abuse states that it’s another example of the rich trying to silence the poor. He concludes

‘Rachael Cousins is political, opinionated, insistent, and yes, persistent. But she is not a “swindler”, she doesn’t have a “troll army”, she’s not racist, and not a hate merchant. Yet there are the well off, trying to have her erased from Twitter conversations.

She knew that when she gave BuzzFeed that interview. “I am a woman who has got a voice … They are trying to take that away from me”. Free speech is for everyone, whether you agree with their politics or not. Maybe Ms Cousins’ detractors should remember that.’

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-erasing-of-rachael-cousins.html

One of the ways Rachel Riley tries to silence her critics is by suing them for libel. At the moment she is pursuing Mike and two other people through the courts after they blogged and criticised her for the abuse she has poured on her critics, including calling them anti-Semites simply because they supported Jeremy Corbyn.

This nasty bit of jealousy and smearing by Riley’s friends coincidentally occurred at the same time I was reading Bernard Shaw’s The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism and Fascism. First published in 1928, this the great Fabian playwright’s savage indictment of capitalism. It was written at the request of his sister-in-law, and obviously aimed at a female audience. It is directly addressed at the reader – he constantly refers to her using the second person, and the examples used to illustrate his argument are, as far as possible, female. I found it in one of the second hand book companies’ catalogues, and ordered it. Although it was written nearly a century ago – he first began it in 1924 – his arguments still have bite. And one of the many all-too relevant points he makes is how the rich use the law to their advantage against the poor simply because their wealth allows them to engage expensive lawyers that are well beyond the ability of the poor to afford. Shaw writes

The civil law by which contracts are enforced, and redress given for slanders and injuries that are not dealt with by the police, requires so much legal knowledge and artistic eloquence to set it in motion that an ordinary woman with no legal knowledge or eloquence can get the benefit of it only by employing lawyers whom she has to pay very highly, which means, of course, that the rich woman can afford to go to law and the poor woman cannot. The rich woman can terrorize the poor woman by threatening to go to law with her if her demands are not complied with. She can disregard the poor woman’s rights, and tell her that if she is satisfied she can take her complaint into court, knowing very well that her victim’s poverty and ignorance will prevent her from obtaining proper legal advice and protection. (p. 61).

This, in my opinion, exactly describes the behaviour of Riley and her besties Oberman and Barber. She has, however, got a surprise with Mike, as he has been able to crowdfund a defence against her suing him for libel. Mike had simply described how she had abused a sixteen year old school girl with anxiety as an anti-Semite, who then suffered a torrent of similar bullying from her followers and supporters. Riley doesn’t dispute the facts of this case, but nevertheless has accused Mike of libel. It’s important that Mike, and the others defending themselves against her, win in order to stop her abusing the law to silence reasonable criticism of her shabby, unreasonable behaviour.

If you are therefore willing and can afford it, you may wish therefore to make a donation to Mike’s crowdfunding campaign. Details are over at this website.

https://voxpoliticalonline.com/

Anti-Semitism Witch-Hunters Targeting Prospective Labour Politico for Something She Hasn’t Yet Done

As Asa Winstanley, another anti-racism activist falsely expelled from the Labour Party for anti-Semitism remarks, this is beyond thoughtcrime. It’s pre-crime. Mike in his article about Keir Starmer reprimanding the respected Black women MPs Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy also mentions that the witch-hunters are demanding he censure their next target, Salma Yaqoob. Yaqoob is a prospective Labour candidate for mayor of the West Midlands, and a patron of the Stop the War Coalition. She is also due to appear in an online discussion from the Coalition about the new Labour leadership’s position on anti-war issues and Palestine on the 8th of this month, May 2020, alongside Paul Kelemen, the author of The British Left and Zionism: A History of a Divorce, and Tony Greenstein, ‘Jewish socialist and anti-war campaigner’. And it is his appearance on the panel that has sent the witch-hunters into a fearful bate, as Molesworth would sa. 

Greenstein is very definitely a Jewish socialist and anti-war campaigner. He a fierce, bitter opponent of Fascism and racism. This means that he also criticises Zionism for Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, and the movement’s own crimes against Jews. He has pointed out again and again that throughout their history Zionists and the Israeli state have supported Fascists against Jews and other ethnic minorities when it has served their purpose. Israel sought out an alliance with another White Supremacist state, apartheid South Africa. In the 1970s and ’80 they also allied with Fascist regimes in South and Central America, including Guatemala during its dictatorship’s genocidal civil war with the Mayan Indians, and the neo-Nazi regime in Argentina, which targeted Jews for torture, massacre and murder. At the same time, the Board of Deputies of British Jews attacked the Anti-Nazi League in this country, forbidding Jews from joining it or allowing it to hold meetings in synagogues, because the founder was an anti-Zionist. Some left-wing Jews, who defied the ban and joined it nonetheless, like David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group, say that there were rumours that the Board opposed it for different, racist reasons: they didn’t want Jews joining the Black and Asian fight against racism.

Yaqoob’s appearance was picked up by Ian Austin, the former Labour MP complaining of anti-Semitism while the real reason was that Jeremy Corbyn had returned it to its socialist ideals. He has complained to Starmer and demanded Yaqoob’s suspension. Hence Asa Winstanley tweeted

This racist fanatic wants a prominent Muslim woman expelled from Labour for a future event with the “wrong” kind of Jewish person.

This is beyond Thought Crime, it’s Pre-Crime.

Jackie Walker, another Jewish anti-racism activist smeared as an anti-Semite and expelled from the Party, also commented: It’s open season on black women.

Kerry-Ann Mendoza, the mighty head of The Canary said

Corbyn’s Labour:

For the many, not the few.

Starmer’s Labour:

For us, not you.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/05/02/keir-starmer-has-turned-labour-into-the-party-of-hypocrisy-and-racism/

During the smear campaign a few years ago, the Board, Campaign for Anti-Semitism, Jewish Leadership Council and the other pro-Israel groups and their supporters waved placards at their protests bearing the slogan ‘Labour Party – For the many, not the Jew’. It was a play on Corbyn’s slogan ‘Labour – for the many, not the few’. According to Tony Greenstein, it was made up by British literary author, Howard Jacobson, when he was living in New York. It was supposed to show how anti-Semitic the Labour Party is. But the witch-hunters themselves have particularly targeted Jewish critics of Israel and pro-Palestinian activists. These entirely decent, self-respecting men and women have been viciously smeared as ‘self-hating’. The Board and the other pro-Israel organisations have also misrepresented themselves as standing for Britain’s Jewish community as a whole. They don’t. Board doesn’t represent Orthodox, Haredi nor secular Jews. It really only represents the United Synagogue. I find it very significant that when the I ran an article from a Jewish journalist denouncing Labour as anti-Semitic apart from their own columnist, Simon Kelner, that journo was always described as a member of the United Synagogue. As a Zionist organisation, the Board also doesn’t represent anti-Zionist Jews. The Board and the other organisations attacking Labour and Corbyn were also incensed when the Labour leader attended a Passover Seder with Jewdas, a left-wing Jewish group. This was another anti-Semitic affront to the Jewish community. They were the wrong kind of Jew! Which is itself a noxious, anti-Semitic gesture.

In fact the Board and the other witch-hunters targeting of Jews means that you could reasonably invert their slogan so it reads ‘Board of Deputies – For Israel, not the Jew’. 

It was Tony Blair’s administration that launched the invasion of Iraq, against which the Stop the War Coalition protested, and the Blairites shared the same goals as the Neocons. After George Dubya left office, and was replaced as President by Barack Obama, it was Blair and Sarkozy in France who really wanted an attack on Libya and the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafy. The result has been the destruction of one of Africa’s most prosperous states, which had a strong welfare system and was relatively secular. It has now been replaced in some areas by a hard-line Islamist theocracy, which has returned to slavery with Black migrants now being openly sold in markets. Before the appearance of Coronavirus plunged the world into lockdown, the American right seemed also to be preparing and agitating for a war with Iran. The Neocons also want that country’s regime overthrown because of its militant opposition to Israel, accompanied by frankly genocidal rhetoric, and its defiance of American hegemony in the Middle East. They and their Saudi allies also covet its oil reserves, which they also wish to seize, just like they did Iraq’s.

And there’s also a streak of islamophobia in the witch-hunters a mile wide. People have turned up at pro-Israel and anti-Palestine protests wearing Kach T-shirts. This is a far-right organisation banned in Israel for terrorism. They also wear T-shirts and wave placards for its successor, the Jewish Defence League, which is also banned. One of the witch-hunters turned up next to one anti-Palestinian demo two years or so ago next to Paul Besser, the intelligence officer of the infamous islamophobic group, Britain First. These pro-Israel demonstrators also include open supporters of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League and Pegida UK. One of the Board’s members even appeared with him in a video for Rebel Media, a far-right Canadian internet broadcaster.

It therefore very much seems to me that Austin and the other witch-hunters, by making this complaint against Yaqoob, are desperately trying to keep debate and criticism in the Labour party of Israel and its genocide of the Palestinians very firmly closed. They are also seeking to keep Blair’s Neocon agenda alive in Labour. And they are terrified of Muslims and Muslim influence in the Labour Party. There have been polls showing that 85 per cent of British Muslims support Labour. Muslims are one of the largest ethnic minorities in contemporary Britain. The Radio Times a few years ago covered a radio programme about Jewish comedy and literary festivals that were being held up and down the country. These festivals were open to the wider British population. According to the Radio Times, they were partly being held in order to encourage the broader population to support the Jewish community at a time when that community felt its respect was slipping away and being replaced by concern for other ethnic groups.

Now I’ve got absolutely no objection to such festivals, whether by Jews or any other religious or ethnic group. And with the Far Right on the rise in Europe, Jews do need the support and solidarity of non-Jewish anti-racism activists. But Austin’s complaint about Yaqoob, a Muslim patron of the Stop the War Coalition, suggests that the general insecurity felt by part of the Jewish population is shared by the Israel lobby. And they’re scared of competition from Britain’s Muslims for our sympathies.

The witch-hunter’s targeting of Salma Yaqoob is therefore about preserving the Neocon project and protecting Israel from criticism by silencing genuine anti-racism activists, particularly Jews and Muslims. It’s yet another example of the racism of the Blairite Right.

Disgraceful! Starmer Caves in to Board’s Racist Demands over Black Women MPs

Mike put up a piece on Saturday reporting that Labour leader Keir Starmer had caved in to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and reprimanded two leading and highly respected Black women MPs, Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy.

These two ladies offended the Board because they appeared in a conference on Zoom, whose audience included Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein, who asked questions. The Board objected, as Jackie and Tony were two of the many people smeared as anti-Semites and expelled from the party. One of the noxious Ten Pledges that the Board persuaded Starmer and the other leadership contenders to sign was that no Labour member would share a platform with someone expelled for anti-Semitism. Hence Marie van der Zyl, the Board’s current president, sent in a complaint about the incident to Starmer calling for him to deal with them.

However, the Board’s complaint is wrong for a series of reasons. Firstly, Jackie and Tony weren’t actually expelled from the party for anti-Semitism. And as Mike says, saying that they’re anti-Semites simply because the Labour party said so has less weight than gossip.

Secondly, the two women weren’t sharing a platform with the two accused. They were merely in the audience. The fact that the van der Zyl and the Board chose to attack the two women anyway not only shows their determination to attack them, but also their failure to understand how Zoom works. Perhaps they’re like the American congressman, who was so ignorant about the internet when it first emerged in the ’90s that he asked if you needed a driver’s licence to go on the information superhighway as it then was.

Thirdly, while Starmer and the others are free to sign anything they wish, decisions affecting the party as a whole have to be ratified by conference. And the Ten Pledges weren’t. Starmer’s disciplining of the two women is therefore constitutional.

The Board’s complaint also looks more than a little racist itself. Zionism has a long history of collaborating with real anti-Semites and Fascists so long as its purposes are served. And these are frequently against the safety and wellbeing of the Jewish people as a whole. The Zionists in Nazi Germany supported the Nuremberg Laws, which defined Jews as racially distinct and incompatible with gentile Germans and signed the infamous Ha’avara Agreement in which the Nazis sent Jewish emigrants to Israel. During the War, the head of the Zionists in Hungary, Rudolf Kasztner, also made a pact with the Nazis to send tens of thousands of Jews to Auschwitz just so that a few could be sent to Israel. Israel has also supplied weapons and expertise to a string of Latin American dictatorships, including Guatemala when that nation’s government was exterminating the Mayans. When a neo-Nazi government took power in Argentina in the mid-70s and began persecuting Jews there, the Israeli government did not scruple to supply them with arms. Arms that were used against us during the Falklands War.

The Board defines itself as a Zionist organisation. It’s also politically right-wing, although perhaps not all its members are members and supporters of the Tories. And the Tories have hated Diane Abbott ever since she entered parliament in the 1980s. She was a left-wing firebrand, one of the first Black women MPs, who was determined to attack anti-Black racism. Over half of all the abusive messages sent to MPs go to her. She was one of those racially bullied by the Blairite plotters, according to the leaked anti-Semitism report. Not only did the scumbags reduce her to tears, but they told journalists where she was crying. This is in stark contrast to the treatment of Black anti-racist activist Marc Wadsworth, who was accused of anti-Semitism and reducing a Jewish woman to tears after he caught her passing information on to a Telegraph journo at a meeting at which he was speaking. Yet instead of suspending the plotters, Starmer instead has disciplined Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy.

The Board’s record when it comes to defending Britain’s Jews against Fascism is blotchy. In the 1930s when Mosley’s British Union of Fascists was marching through the East End of London in order to intimidate the Jewish inhabitants, instead of standing up to them the Board advised Jews to stay indoors out of the way. Fortunately many courageous people ignored it, and joined Irish people, trade unionists and Communists in blocking Mosley’s march and giving his storm troops a well-deserved hiding.

The Board also showed the same twisted mentality forty years later in the 1970s when the National Front was on the rise and trying the same tactics. Instead of attacking them, the Board turned its fire on their opponents, the Anti-Nazi League. Jews were forbidden to join the organisation or allow it to hold meetings in synagogues. This was ostensibly because its founder was an anti-Zionist, and they were afraid of Jews hearing anti-Zionist propaganda. But others suspect that it was because the Board itself had White supremacist views.

Tony Greenstein has written a piece on his blog taking the Board and Starmer to task for their treatment of Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy. He discusses the shameful behaviour of the Board towards British Fascism, and quotes Maurice Ludmer, the Jewish founder of the anti-Nazi magazine, Searchlight.  Ludmer wrote in issue 41 of the magazine

“In the face of mounting attacks against the Jewish community both ideologically and physically, we have the amazing sight of the Jewish Board of Deputies launching an attack on the Anti Nazi League with all the fervour of Kamikaze pilots… It was as though they were watching a time capsule rerun of the 1930’s, in the form of a flickering old movie, with a grim determination to repeat every mistake of that era. “

The-then secretary of the Anti-Nazi League, Paul Holborrow, also wrote that they were under attack from the Board. Tony is annoyed that genuine anti-racists like himself are smeared as anti-Semites for opposing and criticising Israel, while genuine racists, like Katie Hopkins, were given an invitation by the Zionist Federation to attend their gala dinner and meet the Israeli ambassador, Mark Regev. As for the Board, its previous head, Jonathan Arkush, welcomed the election of Donald Trump. Trump’s a racist, and his cabinet included real anti-Semites. However, he got a pass because he supports Israel.

Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy issued an apology for their actions. They had no call to do so, being blameless and actually the real injured parties in this sordid case. Greenstein in his piece advises them to stand firm and act like two of the heroes of the civil rights struggle in America, Paul Robeson and Angela Davies.

Robeson was a member of the Communist Party, and was thus hauled before the House Inquiry on Un-American Activities. When McCarthy asked him if he was a Communist, Robeson refused to answer, challenging the senator instead to stand behind him the next time he voted and fish his voting paper out of the ballot box to see. Greenstein also doesn’t mention it, but it is a significant fact here that Robeson was also an opponent of anti-Semitism. He gave a concert in Moscow after the War at the end of which he sang a Yiddish song by the Jewish resistance fighters against Nazism. This was not just to celebrate the millions of Jews killed by the Nazis, but also the millions of Soviet citizens murdered by Stalin.

Angela Davies is a Black American civil rights activist, who last year, 2019, was given the Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award by the Civil Rights Institute of Birmingham, Alabama. However, the Alabama equivalent of the Board got mightily offended and complained, because Davies is a critic of Israel and its persecution of the Palestinians, which she compares to the police’s maltreatment of Black Americans. The Alabama Board complained, and then issued an embarrassed retraction and apology for their own racism when Davies stood her ground and called them out instead.

And the British Board deserves to be called out on its racism. It includes as deputies individuals like Robert Festenstein, an islamophobe who appeared in a Rebel Media video with Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League and Pegida UK. Arkush and van der Zyl have also appeared at meetings in which members of the audience sported Jewish Defence League T-shirts. The JDL is a Judaeo-Nazi organisation, whose predecessor, Kach, is banned as a terrorist group in Israel. Unlike the majority of modern Jews, who strongly reject any idea that their religion makes them superior to anyone else, Kach was founded by Meir Kahane, an extreme right-wing rabbi. He really did believe that Jews are superior to gentiles, and urged Jews to arm themselves. He also absolutely believed that the Holy Land belonged solely to the Jews, and demanded the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people.

There’s a connection here to the militia movement that emerged in America during the ’90s. These were the successors to the Survivalists of the 1980s. They were arming themselves against the American government, which they believed had been corrupted by liberalism and was about to establish a murderous totalitarian dictatorship. According to their critics, such as the Southern Poverty Law Centre, the militias were White Supremacists with close connections to American Nazism and the Klan. However, according to Adam Palfrey’s Cult Rapture, an examination of American fringe culture in the aftermath of the Oklahoma bombing, there was also Jewish militia. This group also based their ideology on that of Kahane’s. Palfrey sees them, as well as the fact that the leader of one of the other militias was Black, that the movement as a whole wasn’t White Supremacist. I think he’s wrong, and it’s just that some parts of the movement were less strict in their racism than others, and were prepared to include Jews as fellow White Supremacists.

Now Arkush and Zyl did not meet the American Kahanists. But by speaking at meetings attended by their British cousins they have shown a culpable willingness to tolerate real Islamophobes with paramilitary sympathies. They deserve to be called out on this, as should the Zionist Federation for its endorsement of Hatey Katie.

Starmer should not be kowtowing to the Board and punishing real anti-racists like Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy. He should be backing them instead and holding the Board to account for their racism. As Angela Davies’ case shows, it can be done.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/05/02/keir-starmer-has-turned-labour-into-the-party-of-hypocrisy-and-racism/

https://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-new-mccarthyism-zionist-board-of.html

 

Glynis Millward’s Complaint to Charity Commission about Political Bias of Board of Deputies

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 02/05/2020 - 6:56pm in

Glynis Millward, one of the great commenters and supporters of Mike’s blog, is so incensed by the Board of Deputies of British Jews’ arrogantly dictatorial attitude towards the Labour Party and its continued interference in its affairs, that she has made an official complaint to the Charity Commission about the Board. Her contention is that the Board has violated the Commission’s rules about political impartiality. Charities are not supposed to be politically involved, or if they are, not to favour one side or party over another. But the Board has violated this rule by foisting on Labour demands that it certainly has not made of any other party. Unfortunately, Glynis has not yet had a reply from the Commission.

The Board demonstrated this arrogance and bias yet again yesterday in demanding the expulsion of two highly respected Black women MPs, Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy. The women’s crime was that they appeared in a Zoom discussion and took questions from an audience which included Tony Greenstein and Jackie Walker. Tony and Jackie are two passionate Jewish anti-racists, which the witch-hunters contrived to suspend or expel, smearing them as anti-Semites as they did so. One of the Ten Pledges the Board persuaded Starmer to sign is that Labour members should not share a platform with those expelled for anti-Semitism.

But as I said in my article about this noxious affair yesterday, this looks like more political intriguing. The Conservatives have hated Abbott for a long time as an anti-racist activist and a friend and ally of Corbyn’s. The fact that both of the women are Black also adds a very nasty whiff of racism to their demands.

Glynis explained that she had sent a complaint to the Charities Commission about the Board’s demands, and was still waiting for their reply in a comment to Mike’s piece about the Board’s latest demand. She wrote

I am STILL waiting for a response from BOD re my complaint, which is as follows and I have now passed on my complaint to the Charity Commission

Dear  Madam

As directed by the Charity Commission website, I am making my formal complaint to you in the first instance.

As I understand it, the Board of Deputies (“BoD”) is controlled by the BoD Charitable foundation with the same directors as BoD.

I contend that the 10 point pledge that BoD demand Labour Party leader and deputy leader candidates sign up to is a breach of the Charities Act ( see link to guidance here) on the grounds that political bias is being exhibited by the organisation.

Campaigning and political activity guidance for charities (CC9)

Campaigning and political activity guidance for charities (CC9)

What charities need to consider when campaigning or engaging in political activity. Also includes guidance about Elections and Referendums.

I am particularly concerned with the wording in pledge 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Pledge 2 and 3 are incompatible with safeguarding the independence of the Labour Party from political interference by other bodies. The only external influence on a political party process should be the law of the land which of course applies to us all.

Pledge 5 promotes “guilt by association”.

It is trite law that a person is innocent until proven guilty. If they are being assisted through the investigation process by another member whilst suspended, you appear to be demanding that the person assisting is also suspended. This would be rather like a trade union representative being suspended because they were supporting an employee, who was suspended from the workplace pending an investigation into allegations made against them.

It is interesting perhaps to note that you do not appear to have demanded that other political parties sign up to this pledge particularly when, as I am sure you are aware, that only the Conservative Party MPs and not its ordinary members, have signed up to the IHRA working definition of antisemitism (not including the 11 examples) whereas the Labour party MPs and all its members have signed up to the full IHRA definition including the 11 examples. It is beyond doubt that there are instances of antisemitism within the Conservative party as various newspaper reports reveal

I also note that you do not appear to have met with the Labour party National Executive Committee to discuss this pledge with them which would need to be ratified by conference.

I feel it only right and proper to give you an opportunity to respond to my complaint and concerns before contacting the Charity Commission.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Glynis is totally right in her criticisms and complaints, but I’m afraid she might be a long time waiting for any kind of reply from the Charity Commission. Others, I believe Tony Greenstein is one of them, have made exactly the same complaint to the Charity Commission about the squalid activities of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. This wretched organisation, which claims that it combats anti-Semitism, is really all about defending Israel from criticism for its slow-motion genocide of the Palestinians. Its primary targets seems to be left-wing anti-Zionists. The vast majority of its pieces attack Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party. Although the vast majority of anti-Semitism comes from the Far Right, they have precious few articles about that. And of course, as the web entity Jacobsmates has shown, the Conservative party is a cesspool of racism. Most of this is directed against Muslims, Blacks and Asians, but there are some individuals that are extremely anti-Semitic. These nutters really believe in the ‘great replacement’, the conspiracy theory that holds that the Jews are deliberately importing non-Whites into the West to destroy and replace the White race. But of Tory anti-Semitism the Board has said nary a word.

Unfortunately, although their complaints about the Campaign for Anti-Semitism are entirely valid, they haven’t had any response either. They believe it is because the head of the Commission is a far-right Tory.

I fully support the complaints by Glynis and others against the Board of Deputies and the Campaign for Anti-Semitism, but I very much regret that I don’t see the Commission acting on them.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/05/01/this-minority-interest-group-is-dictating-racist-membership-rules-to-the-labour-party-why/

Tony Greenstein on Anti-Semitic and Fascist Support for Zionism

In my last piece, I discussed Tony Greenstein’s examination of the leaked report into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Greenstein shows that report still uncritically accepts the existence of mass Jew hatred in the party, and the necessity of conducting a purge of members accused of it. But he shows that these allegations and the witch-hunt were entirely motivated by a corrupt political establishment, including and especially that of Britain’s Jewish community, which simply wanted to oust Corbyn and protect Israel and its decades-long ethnic cleansing of the country’s indigenous people. His article is an effective expose of the witch-hunt, its smears against decent, anti-racist people, like Tony himself, and the absolute stupidity of Corbyn and his team in complying with the smear merchants’ demands. As part of his case, Tony shows how real anti-Semites, far from fighting Zionism as Zionist propaganda claims, actively supported and promoted it. Tony writes

‘Zionism has never fought anti-Semitism just anti-Zionism 

One thing missing from any discussion of the ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign is that Zionism has no interest in opposing anti-Semitism.

 ‘Maybe there was some kind of fiddling of the figures by the oligarchs who ran the TV stations (and who were mainly, as some lost no time in pointing out, of Jewish origin)

The above quote is from Boris Johnson’s book 72 Virgins published in 2004. As The Independent notes it depicted Jews as controlling the media, amidst a torrent of racial slurs and stereotypes. Yet the Board of Deputies and the Zionists said nothing. If their real concerns were about anti-Semitism then they would surely have said something?

Indeed when  Boris Johnson became Prime Minister  they fell over themselves to congratulate him. Johnson’s previous record as a racist, anti-Semitism included, was ignored. He was, after all, a strong supporter of Israel.

Imagine if Corbyn had penned such a book? Corbyn was criticised by the Zionists for not mentioning anti-Semitism when reviewing Imperialism by John Hobson, a standard academic textbook, because he didn’t mention that a few lines out of 334 pages were anti-Semitic. The hypocrisy of the anti-Semitism mongers is breathtaking but the authors of the Report never seemed to notice these double standards.

When Theodor Herzl, the founder of Political Zionism, wanted to hold the First Zionist Congress in 1897 his choice of venue was Munich. The Jewish population promptly rose up in protest and accused the authorities of anti-Semitism. Why? Because the Zionist proposition that Jews formed a separate nation from other Germans meant that they were therefore aliens. This was exactly what the anti-Semites were saying.

Alfred Rosenberg, Minister for Ostland and the Nazi Party’s main theoretician, who was hanged at Nuremburg in 1946, wrote that

 ‘‘Zionism must be vigorously supported in order to encourage a significant number of German Jews to leave for Palestine or other destinations.’[Francis Nicosia, Third Reich and the Palestine Question, p.25]

As author Francis Nicosia noted, Rosenberg

‘intended to use Zionism as a legal justification for depriving German Jews of their civil rights’ and he ‘sanctioned the use of the Zionist movement in the future drive to eliminate Jewish rights, Jewish influence and eventually the Jewish presence in Germany.’ [TRPQ, pp. 25-26]

Francis Nicosia, the Raul Hilberg Professor of Holocaust Studies at Vermont University and himself a Zionist wrote that:

whereas today non-Jewish criticism of Zionism or the State of Israel are often dismissed as motivated by a deeper anti-Semitism, in Herzl’s day an opposite non-Jewish reaction, one of support for the Zionist idea, might have resulted in a similar reaction. [Zionism and Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany p.7]

When Herzl sought the support of the Grand Duke of Baden, the uncle of Kaiser Wilhelm II, for Zionism the Duke’s

‘chief misgiving was that if he supported the [Zionist] cause, people would misinterpret this as anti-Semitism on his part.’ (Diaries of Herzl]

Zionism was unique as a movement amongst Jews because it accepted that anti-Semitism was the natural biological reaction of non-Jews to the Jews in their midst. As Herzl wrote in his Diaries:

“In Paris… I achieved a freer attitude towards anti-Semitism, which I now began to understand historically and to pardon. Above all, I recognized the emptiness and futility of trying to ‘combat’ anti-Semitism.” [The Diaries of Theodor Herzl, London: Gollancz, 1958, p.6]

This was in the middle of the Dreyfus Affair which culminated in the triumph of Emile Zola and the Republicans and a defeat for the clerical and military caste that wanted to restore the monarchy.

It was the Zionist acceptance of anti-Semitism as something that was natural, which could not be fought and only utilised, that was the basis of the collaboration between the Nazis and the Zionists. When German Jews and world Jewry were aghast at the assumption of power by the Nazis in January 1933 and instituted a boycott, the Zionists only saw a golden opportunity. David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister saw Hitler’s rise as:

a rare opportunity to achieve the “Zionist solution”, the only true solution to the problem of the Jewish people.’ [Yechiam Weitz, Jewish Refugees and Zionist Policy during the Holocaust, p.355, Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Volume 30, 1994 – Issue 2]

Dr Noah Lucas, a critical Zionist historian wrote that:

 ‘As the European Holocaust erupted, Ben Gurion saw it as a decisive opportunity for Zionism… Ben Gurion above all others sensed the tremendous possibilities inherent in the dynamic of the chaos and carnage in Europe… In conditions of peace,… Zionism could not move the masses of world Jewry. The forces unleashed by Hitler in all their horror must be harnessed to the advantage of Zionism. … (The Modern History of Israel, pp. 187/8)

Ben Gurion’s deputy, Berl Katznelson was even more explicit. The rise of Hitler was

an opportunity to build and flourish like none we have ever had or ever will have [Nicosia, ZANG, p.91]

Nor was this attitude to anti-Semitism confined to the pre-State days. When there arose in Argentina in 1976 a neo-Nazi Junta, the first in the post-war era, it targeted Jews. The most famous victim was Jacobo Timmerman, Editor of La Opinion. He was released and deported to Israel after having been savagely tortured. With the advent of the Lebanon War, Timmerman fell out of love with Israel.

The Argentina Junta murdered up to 3,000 Jews. According to Juan Pablo Jaroslavsky of the Barcelona-based Commission of Solidarity with Relatives of the Disappeared

“Jews represented more than 12 per cent of the victims of the military regime while constituting under 1 per cent of Argentina’s population,” See Jews targeted in Argentina’s dirty war,

What was Israel’s reaction? There wasn’t one. Instead it took the opportunity of the United States’s decision to cut off arms sales to this vile regime to increase its own arms sales. During the Falklands/ Malvinas war Israel became the Junta’s main arms supplier.

retired Argentine pilots and military figures who testified that in 1982 they secretly flew to Israel, where they met with representatives from the military and defense manufacturers and returned with their plane loaded with light arms, mortars, air-to-air missiles and anti-tank weapons.

Not once did Israel condemn the anti-Semitism of the Junta. Zionist organisations in the United States instead defended the Junta, minimising its atrocities. The Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires refused to help or grant visas to Jews that the Junta declared were subversives. The Knesset refused to discuss what was happening in Argentina during the 7 year life of the Junta.

An article in Ha’aretz, Argentine-Israelis Urge Israel to Disclose Past Junta Ties describes how Wanda Clara and Marcus Weinstein appealed to Israel concerning the arrest and disappearance of their son Mauricio. Weinstein said he felt the Israeli diplomatic representatives

“cared little interest about the disappeared Jews, including his son and a second Israeli citizen.”

This is the bastard ‘Jewish’ state that Lansman and the Momentum authors of this Report defend with the sterile accusation of ‘anti-Semitism’.’

http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/04/pt-2-labours-leaked-report-sad-sorry.html

This is a lengthy passage, which I’ve reproduced in full because it is such a comprehensive refutation of a central ultra-Zionist claim. Ken Livingstone was smeared as an anti-Semite and suspended from the party because he correctly stated that Hitler supported Zionism. Which the Fuhrer did, initially, through the Ha’avara agreement. And my brother, Mike, was accused of anti-Semitism in turn because he wrote a piece, The Livingstone Delusion, showing that the Spartacist newt-fancier was correct. Mike is currently suing the party for breach of contract for their treatment of him.

And the Israel lobby and its supporters are still making the grotesque claim that somehow Zionism = Judaism and Zionists are the Jews’ friends. In her response to  the decision of a judge in her ongoing case against Laura Murray that Murray had made a factual statement, which had a tendency to be defamatory – but crucially did not rule that it was – Rachel Riley claimed that he had ruled in her favour. She concluded her tweet by thanking all her supporters, whom she claimed were opponents of anti-Semitism and the friends of Jews.

While Riley has been the target of real anti-Semitic abuse, I believe, many of the people she has accused of anti-Semitism were simply supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. She accused them, and Corbyn himself, of being anti-Semitic, because he was a critic of Israel. And it seems that she also subscribes to the absolutely false belief that Zionism = Judaism, and Zionists are the most ardent defenders of Jews against prejudice and hatred.

But they aren’t. Time and again Zionists have been supported by real, genocidal anti-Semites and Fascists, to the point where they have actively colluded in the murderous persecution and genocide of Jews, so long as Israel’s interests are served.

It has frequently been the case that the Jewish peoples’ real defenders – and their greatest heroes – have been anti-Zionists. And it is these people, that the self-appointed witch-hunters have smeared and libeled, and twisted history through lies and propaganda to misrepresent themselves as the real protectors of the Jews.

http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/04/pt-2-labours-leaked-report-sad-sorry.html

Tony Greenstein on the Leaked Anti-Semitism Report, the Political Motivation behind the Smears, and Corbyn’s Capitulation

Tony Greenstein has just put up the second part of his critique of the leaked report on anti-Semitism in the Labour party. This is the report that has caused so much anger and outrage amongst ordinary, rank and file members, through its revelations that the party bureaucracy were doing everything they could to unseat Corbyn, including purging his supporters and actively campaigning against the Labour party in the 2017 election. The first part of Greenstein’s article examines this aspect of the report. The second part now explains how it shows that Corbyn and his office did not understand the political nature of the anti-Semitism allegations. Led by Jon Lansman, Corbyn and his team absolutely accepted that the accusations were made in good faith. They caved in utterly to the accusers, who were motivated purely by a desire to topple Corbyn and protect Israel from justifiable criticism of its brutal programme of slow-motion genocide against the Palestinians. Thus Corbyn, Lansman, Milne et al threw their supporters to the wolves in a massively mistaken policy of appeasement. The Israel lobby and its accomplices inside and outside the party, including the Conservative Jewish establishment, were not only not appeased, by emboldened by this capitulation. They continued with increasing fervour until Corbyn himself, a passionate lifelong anti-racist and opponent of anti-Semitism, was smeared.

Greenstein’s piece tackles a number of episodes in this sorry tale of retreat and capitulation. This includes how Corbyn should have responded to Andrew Neil’s demand that he apologise to the Jewish community by pointing out how Neil, as head of the board of the Spectator, was responsible for the continuing employment of real anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers by the magazine. Scumbags like David Irving and Taki. He describes how Corbyn’s office itself put on pressure for the expulsion of himself, Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and Ken Livingstone.

His piece discusses real anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, such as the historical cases of the Webbs, Herbert Morrison, and the perversion of the definition of anti-Semitism to mean anti-Zionism. He also argues that some of the hostile rhetoric against the Rothschilds really isn’t anti-Semitic, as many of those using it don’t understand that the Rothschilds were Jewish. It just reflects a poor political understanding of Zionism, when used solely in this context. He makes the point that the British and American elites support Israel for its military and political significance in the Middle East.

He also shows how the far-right ultra-Zionist activist David Collier infiltrated the Labour Party, leading the party’s Governance and Legal Unit to suspend Glyn Secker of Jewish Voice for Labour. He also discusses Jackie Walker’s and other cases, where the claims of anti-Semitic were false or at best, extremely flimsy. He also describes how anti-Semites have supported Zionism ever since the days of Alfred Dreyfus, and shows how the Jewish Labour Movement always supported Netanyahu and never criticised Israel, despite their denials. He refutes the claim that Sir Stephen Sedley and Geoffrey Robertson, one a former appeal court judge, the other a QC, both supported the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. In fact, they were both ardent critics. The report also boasts of how Jennie Formby increased the suspensions for anti-Semitism due to pressure from the Jewish establishment. He quotes Len McCluskey, who said of the Jewish establishment’s refusal to be satisfied that Labour was effectively tackling anti-Semitism, as them refusing to take ‘yes’ for an answer.

He also shows how the accusations that Labour was in denial about the extent of anti-Semitism in the party was simply a convenient slur to mask their real targets – Corbyn’s support for improved conditions for working people and proper funding of the NHS. He states that Corbyn was unable to formulate a competing worldview to counter that of the Tories, which is why he ultimately lost. He simply wanted an improvement in conditions, whereas the whole structure of society needs to be changed. And he states that this accusation shows absolute contempt for the 70 per cent of Labour members, who don’t believe anti-Semitism is a problem and understand that the vast majority of accusations are politically motivated.

He then moves on demolish other cases of bogus accusations of anti-Semitism against Margaret Tyson, Asa Winstanley, Chris Williamson, Brian Lovett-White – smeared because he said that Zionism was anti-Semitism, which was actually historically the attitude of most Jews; and Alan Bull, suspended for connecting Israel to ISIS, when there is evidence to support this as factually correct. He also describes cases where the witch-hunters dragged their feet or failed to act against genuine cases of anti-Semitism, such as Nasreen Khan, Christopher Crookes, and Fleur Dunbar. He contrasts their case with that Anne Mitchell of Hove, who was expelled simply for talking about the Israel lobby, despite the fact that Israel does have lobbying groups like AIPAC campaigning on its behalf.

His piece concludes

The expulsion of socialists who have dedicated their life to the labour movement and the Labour Party is having a serious detrimental effect on their health. Pauline Hammerton died of a brain haemorrhage a week after receiving her expulsion letter. Clearly the Labour Party’s treatment of her contributed to her death. However such matters are of no concern to the author(s) of this Report. Their only concern is factional, rebutting the suggestion that they were not equally as active in expelling socialists and anti-racists as McNicol and Matthews.

See: http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/04/pt-2-labours-leaked-report-sad-sorry.html

This is a thorough demolition of the witch-hunt, showing just how spurious and hypocritical the allegations and those behind them were. But it also shows that their false assumption were shared by the compilers of the report. Both Mike at Vox Political and Martin Odoni have also written extensively attacking the report’s blithe acceptance of these smears.

Unfortunately, while there is immense pressure to bring the political intriguers to justice, there is absolutely no commitment to refute assumptions by Starmer and the current leadership. This is probably because they, like Corbyn, uncritically accept them.

And so decent people remain grotesquely smeared, and the potential for fresh witch-hunt, whenever the Israel lobby find it convenient, remains.

 

 

 

 

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