May 08, 2006

Linda Grant: an apology

Wow! This is exciting stuff. I posted that correspondence between Linda Grant and me because Engage wouldn't post a comment of mine under the Irene Bruegel article, responding to a load of emotive disingenuous nonsense by her (Linda not Irene). Well after I posted it, they posted my comment. Anyway, then they posted one by Deborah Fink. And then another one by Deborah Maccoby. So here's how it all began, I noticed this post from Linda Grant:
As far as I'm aware, Jews against Zionism oppose Zionism full stop. I take their position to be one of opposition to all forms of nationalism, but particularly Zionism, as it's predicated on the dispossession of another people's rights.

As their argument commences from the left, from an anti-nationalist socialism, they labour hard to provide evidence that Zionism and the right, including the evangelical right, and the anti-semitic right, are natural allies.

Frequently evidence presents itself which contradicts the clean lines of this position, but complexity isn't one of their great interests, and so they must find a means of eliding the inherent contradictions of documentary reality.

Basically, they fundamantalists-lite. They have a dogma.
A dogma, got that? Now here's Deborah Maccoby. She's a plucky one I must say:
I don't think any members of JAZ would dispute that many antisemites have jumped on to the anti-Zionist bandwagon. But surely the best way to unmask their real agenda is to bring out the distinction between antisemitism and anti-Zionism. Instead, Engage adopts the dogmatic position that all anti-Zionism is antisemitism (in effect even if not in intent). The result is that only JAZ is actively opposing the Shamir group (and incurring great hostility from this group) because only JAZ can identify and act against real antisemitism.

As a corrective to the dogmatic Engage position, JAZ points out the many connections between Zionism and antisemitism. Personally I think Zionism is not monolithic and has had many different aspects and is full of contradictions, but certainly a mainstream trend of Zionism arose as a reaction to nationalistic, fascist antisemitism and formed its own nationalism, which we see now turning into fascism. There is of course a strong connection between Christian Zionism and antisemitism (this is just one aspect of the strong links between Zionism and antisemitism). And Israel has a vested interest in promoting antisemitism,, so that more Jews will emigrate to Israel. Also Israel uses European guilt about antisemitism in order to cover up its politicide against the Palestinians. And Engage, wittingly or not, is aiding it in this exploitation.

That was a red rag to some but I want to cut through the non-celebrity dross and concentrate mostly on Linda Grant. Aha, there he is, it's me:

It's wrong to say that Jews against zionism are dogmatic. There are many different views we have on how governance or society might be improved in what we now call Israel and the occupied territories. Some want a one state solution, some two and still others think (as I do) that it isn't the number of state that is important but how they are ruled. Some want a socialist society others aren't socialists at all. I would say that we all share the view that the Law of Return is wrong and that the right of return should be granted to the Palestinian refugees. My own view is that Israel should adhere to minimalist principles of democracy, liberty and the rule of law and let the chips fall where they may. I see zionism (as in support for a state specifically for Jews) as being far more dogmatic since it has required colonial settlement by Jews, the ethnic cleansing of the native Arabs and an array of laws and policies (and even university conferences) to ensure that the resulting "demographic balance" is maintained.

Regarding zionist collusion and confluence with antisemitism, this is too well documented to either deny or to have to "labour hard to provide evidence of."

We know and we acknowledge that antisemites have used Israel's conduct to smear all Jews just as you and your Engage colleagues have used antisemitism to smear all anti-zionists. It is you and your colleagues who refuse to acknowledge the evidence against your zionist dogma. This is why Engage denunciations of anti-zionists are typically shrill and dishonest in what they say and avoid far more than they engage.
At this point for some reason Linda Grant comes and declares the argument over and the zionists have won.
You can actually hear the moment on this link at which anti-Zionism lost the argument among the overwhelming majority of Jews - it's one of the most extraordinary recordings I have ever heard, eerie and terrifying. Everything else is commentary.
I still haven't listened to it so I don't know when Linda is claiming that her side won the argument among Jews or what exactly it was that brought about the victory. Judging from other remarks she has made I would say that this is one of those "good for Jews" arguments. But I'm only guessing. Next up a rather peculiar chap pops up to invent some stuff "from" my blog:
Mark Elf has a webside called “Jews without borders.” In it he has posted that he is grateful that he is British. When asked how he can be grateful to be a Jew living within a national State with borders he replied that Jews are white and indistinguishable from other white people and should assimilate.
Surely Linda Grant knows that I don't prescribe what Jews should or shouldn't do. After all, as we know, she monitors my blog. Well she seems to have ignored the guy to get back to her "it's good for Jews" schtick.
'let the chips fall where they may'

This remark of Mark's is at the very heart of why Jews against Zionism remains a marginal, peripheral group. He doesn't care what happens to Jews in a future non-Zionist state. The voices on the recording are the result of that not caring. They are his judge.

Patrick Gordon Walker says in his introduction that they want the world to hear what they have to say - I heard it. Loud and clear.
I think she is saying that I am being judged by holocaust victims. She hears them but I don't, therefore she supports a racist and militarist state and I, er, don't. And here's me again:
"Mark Elf has a website called “Jews without borders.” In it he has posted that he is grateful that he is British. When asked how he can be grateful to be a Jew living within a national State with borders he replied that Jews are white and indistinguishable from other white people and should assimilate."

This is absurd. I have never said any of that stuff as people can see for themselves, together with evidence of zionist antisemitism, here: Given your opening falsehood there's no need for me to deal with rest of what you say save for your last point which I skipped to. I don't see how establishing the most dangerous state where a Jew can live has helped Jews live freely in more democratic societies than Israel.

The relevant point to make here is that from its earliest days the zionist movement saw fit to collude with antisemitic movements and there are examples at every stage of its history up to the present. It began with Herzl's collaboration with the Tsarist regime, Jabotinsky collaborated with Petliura, there was collaboration with the nazis, covering up the antisemitism of the Galtieri regime and the present day collaboration with the antisemites of the Christian right in America. A lot of evidence was posted here - and here - - together with a fine example of how zionists like to debate.
I was trying to stay on topic. Linda Grant didn't have to do that because whilst the Engage site says that comments have to contribute to the debate, clearly the contributors, like Linda, don't have to abide by such rules. There was a lengthy comment by a guy complaining that all my examples of zionist/antisemite collaboration were taken out of context but that was by the same guy who said that my blog says that Jews should play the white man. Some of his links might be of interest but I couldn't be bothered with him except to say
you should provide a link and a quote from me that makes any reference to my "gratitude" for being British or any notion of mine that Jews should assimilate on the grounds that Jews are white. Not all Jews are white and I don't believe that Jews should assimilate if they don't want to. The closely that I have said that has anything to do with assimilation or segregation of Jews is that neither assimilation nor segregation should be enforced by legislation.

Regardless of what Jews in Israel think, Israel is the most dangerous place on earth that a Jew can live insofaras more Jews have died violently there in the post WWII period than anywhere else in the world.
Linda adopts a new language at this point: Melanie Phillipsish:
Ah yes, dangerous Israel in which Jews have the right of self-determination and self defence, as opposed to Mark's one-state solution where, in his own words. 'let the chips fall where they may.'

Come off it, we all know you don't give a damn about what happens to Israelis. You have never expressed a single word of interest in their fate.

In an interview with Ha'aretz in August 2000, Edward Said was asked what would happen to the Jews if they became a minority in a single state: "It worries me a great deal," he said. "The question of what is going to be the fate of the Jews is very difficult for me. I really don't know. It worries me."

It worries Edward Said, but it doesn't worry Mark Elf.

In summary, Mark Elf and his anti-Zionists don't give a toss about the fate of the Jews, so what's the likelihood of the Jews giving a toss about him?

Any true political activism needs to care about the future of BOTH peoples, to see BOTH as human, to hear BOTH narratives, to recognise BOTH the histories and the suffering. The anti-Zionist left and the Zionist right, only care for one. Cold, callous bastards, in my opinion, all of you.
I didn't read the whole comment at the time. The thing I noticed most was the "don't give a toss" bit. So here's me again:

The fact that I refuse to support racist rule by any group against any group does not amount to not giving a toss about Jews as a minority in Israel or Palestine or anywhere else and there is no telling that Jews would become a minority in a democratic secular state of Israel/Palestine.

I only joined this discussion because you misrepresented the position of Jews against zionism with regard to the relationship between antisemitism and zionism. I returned because someone lied about my position regarding Jews, assimilation and "whiteness" and now you are misrepresenting Jews against zionism again.

What is happening to Jews now in Palestine is that more are dying violently there, precisely because of zionist rule and the Palestinian resistance to it than are dying violently anywhere else because Jews are not oppressors anywhere else. To end the violence I suggest the oppression should end.

Arguing for Jewish supremacy is not giving a toss about Jews any more than Hitler cared for Germans. It is causing terrible instability and conflict and anyone who looks for a way out of that is routinely denounced as being uncaring at best or antisemitic at worst on this site. Such is the Engage tactic and it is common to all of its contributors. With everything you write you show yourself to be completely lacking in integrity. You can't make a case for Israel because there is no case for Israel so you fabricate a case against Israel's detractors and then with the ultimate chutzpah you declare the argument over and that you have won.

Well done Linda!
I didn't mention that Linda was quoting someone whose right to return she was opposed to and I couldn't check the context of what Edward Said said because Linda Grant was now using another corpse to support her zionist position. So now Linda, the self-proclaimed opponent of dogma, asks me this:
Here's a straightforward question, Mark. What are your own concrete plans for Jews in a unitary state? What detailed, specific proposals have been worked out by advocates of a one-state solution that would ensure that once Jews no longer have the means of self-defence, Edward Said's fears are not realised? Because if you haven't actually worked out those plans, then why should anyone take your professed sympathy for the fate of the Jews seriously?
That's an interesting notion isn't it. If you don't have specific plans for Jews, not humans generally, not all of the people of Palestine, Jews only. If you don't have a plan for Jews you cannot be taken seriously. But there's more from Linda:
(Nor have I of course, Mark, misrepresnted your position. You call for a unitary state and 'let the chips fall where they may.' Your response is merely flapping up and down in indignation and lashing out in ad hominem attacks, as you realise you have painted yourself into a corner.)
She's good at English. Me? I don't understand the brackets. But what ad hominem attacks?

Re ad hominems and misrepresentation - I'm not playing games here. I haven't engaged in any ad hominem attacks and I haven't used terminology like "cold, callous bastards....all of you." I have stuck to the subject as presented by you and by Irene Bruegel and I have refuted lies about me by someone else. I don't need to repeat stuff here, people can simply look at the comments above, assuming, of course that this comment is allowed through. I had to post the last two twice in order to get them accepted. I hope the censors here won't censor this as it is a response to a question put to me and yet another false allegation, this time that I engage in ad hominem attacks.

"Let the chips fall where they may" means that it is not for anyone to dictate what the outcome of democracy, liberty and the rule of law should be in detail. Democracy means that all can choose their government and form of government, liberty means the absence or minimisation of coercion and the rule of law means that all are protected by the law regardless of their ethno-religious background. I apply those principles everywhere. If I focus more on Israel it is because Israel has more apologists (indeed liars)in the mainstream media than other states that lack this triad of sound principles. I reject the idea that people who support Jewish supremacy, care more about Jews than those of us who support equality. By all means call me naive, but I am not uncaring about the well-being of Jews or of anyone else. The idea that something can be "good for Jews" (as they say) but bad for the rest of humanity is a dangerous brand of short-termism and will ultimately be bad for Jews since Jews are a part of humanity, and I believe should be an integral and equal part of humanity; not apart from nor above nor beneath the rest of humanity.

The only thing we can be sure of if your Geneva accords were to be implemented is that Jews would continue to be the armed majority in Palestine and that the Palestinians would continue to be mostly dispossessed, scattered and powerless. When I asked you on the Just Peace forum if Israel could persist in its internal ethnic cleansing under the Geneva accords your reply was "I hope not." Hardly a detailed plan or a proposal to be taken seriously, any more than your cherry picking the points made in order to "paint [someone] into a corner" is.
and here's Linda once again declaring the argument over and that she has won:
Thanks. Your cupboard's bare then. Edward Said worries about the fate of the Jews in a single state. You don't.
Now here's my comment that they held back for a good while:
Deal with the arguments and stop falling back on emotive irrelevances. It is you who supports a situation that is getting Jews and Arabs killed in unacceptably large numbers and it is my belief that it is the injustice inflicted on the Palestinians by the zionist movement that is mostly responsible for this. Whether I worry about this or that group has no relevance to the rights and wrongs of the situation.

It makes no difference to me what Edward Said said but I would be interested to see the context of the quote you provide. Many people have expressed concern that whilst the Palestinians have indicated that they are willing to share Palestine as equals with Jews, the more they are oppressed and the longer the oppression persists, this willingness may disappear. Let's hope not. That would be worrying for both sides - not that worrying by me or by you is relevant.
And that might have been an end to it. But no, there's another Deborah, Fink this time
I've noticed that although you do post the comments of Elf and myself, you don't do so on the same page. You have therefore, not posted my last comment here and I guess, were Mark to defend me on another page, you wouldn't post that either.

You like to make us look like minorities who are a bait for your crows.
Obviously an offer they couldn't refuse. And that really should have been an end to it but no, Deborah Maccoby is back exposing Linda Grant's disingenuousness over her "quote" from Edward Said:
I don't think Linda Grant should be allowed to get away with quoting Edward Said entirely out of context. Her quote from him is taken from an Ari Shavit interview with Said in Ha'aretz, August 18th, 2000, which I recommend everyone to look up and read. He advocates a binational state in which Jews and Palestinians can retain their national identities but overcome their nationalism (note the difference). Shavit says this would make the Jews into a minority and yes, Said does say that he is worried about the fate of the Jews as a minority in the Middle East, but later on he returns to the subject of the Jews as a minority and strongly qualifies his previous statement by pointing out how much worse and more dangerous their present militaristic, paranoid ghetto Jewish State is:

"As a Jew, you obviously have good reasons to be afraid. But in the long run, one should move toward less rather than more anxiety. Maybe I'm wrong, but the way I read it, the present existence of Israel is based largely upon fending off what's around and preventing it, as it were, from crashing in. That's an unattractive way to live, I think. The nationalistic option created an anxiety-ridden society. It produced paranoia, militarization and a rigid mindset. All for what? The other way, the option I'm talking about, would give you, the Jews, a much more mobile and open life. It would give the project of the Jews coming to Palestine, to Israel, a much saner basis."

This is all left out by Linda, and she seriously distorts the quotation from Said by quoting it out of context.

Deborah (Maccoby)
Let's hope that's the last word.

No comments:

Post a comment