August 25, 2011

The mighty Zionist struggle against racism

The relation between Zionism and racism never ceases to amaze. On the one hand, Israel's willing apologists can't see 90% of the racism in Israel. Some can't see 110%. On the other hand, they have an ear with absolute pitch and subliminal sensitivity, that identifies not just racist notes, but even forth and fifth harmonics of racism, no matter how inaudible even to expert musicologists. But they hear those exquisitely difficult to hear tones on two conditions only: 1. The victim of racism is not an Arab. 2. The "perpetrator" of racism has criticized Israel. If those two conditions are not met, you can treat these "anti-racist" lions to the crudest racist diatribes and be certain they will never ever roar. Such ears, carefully attuned to hear only what's important to the hunt and discard everything else, are an evolutionary marvel fit for a David Attenborough TV special. If I didn't know better, I'd suspect the Volcani Center found a way to genetically engineer that old Zionist dream, a "new man."

The latest example is Adam Holland's assault on Silverstein's "racism." Now, if you want to know who Adam Holland is, it would be enough to note that he lists among his recommended links, MEMRI, a US government funded, Israeli security apparatus initiated, pro Saudi antisemitism, but otherwise Islamophobic, (mis)translation and disinformation service. You can go through his blog, but I saw nothing there to cast doubt on the idea that Adam Holland major concern is defending Israeli apartheid.

Holland is unhappy that Richard Silverstein dared criticize a Black politician for taking AIPAC's blood stained money and for writing (was it a quid pro quo, or just the appearance thereof?) a nauseating op-ed in Der Jerusalem Stürmer. I must thank Silverstein for reading through that filth, as I would otherwise not know of it. In that op-ed, Jesse Jackson "advises" Palestinians (like a Mafioso, without even saying it) not to seek UN recognition, and worse, not to engage is massive civil, non-violent protest, because of the negative effect that this will have on the US. To add to the injury, he used Martin Luther King as his inspiration for that advice! In the same breath, Jackson also criticized Palestinians for NOT having a non-violent resistance (which is a lie) AND attacked (in a racist, ad hominem way) Marwan Barghouti for calling for non-violent resistance, AND advocated himself that Palestinians should be "pursuing a path of nonviolent active resistance." In this mishmash of lies and nonsense, he also approvingly cited Israel's top fascist Avigdor Lieberman, commended Netanyahu for his willingness to meaningless "talk," and, in a telling reflection of this knave's genuflection before US and Israeli militarism, referred to his own visit in Israel as "boots on the ground."

To be clear, other than the fact that Jackson used MLK to justify surrender to racism, there was nothing about Jackson's performance to which the fact that he is African-American makes any difference. It was the kind of weaseled, uninformed, stupid, anti-people, militaristic, genuflecting and obsequious to power performance that one expects from anyone feeding at the trough of US gunboat capital. That is also a point on which I will disagree with Silverstein, since his focus on the Black Caucus's relation with AIPAC did not include any substantial argument related to their role as representatives of African American interests, there was no reason to criticize Black representatives separately from white representatives on matters where there is really no difference between the two.

What is Holland's smokin' gun? Silverstein spelled words without the final 'g', "whorin' and schnorrin'". That, according to Holland's exquisitely tuned ear, is supposed to be a parody of African American linguistic practices. puleeeeze! Is that it! Dropin' that f**in' g' is racist? As Silverstein points out, the phrase was applied to Congress, not to Jackson, and the usage is all American, just listen to George Bush speakin'. It could have been a racist overtone if Silverstein had used the form specifically to parody Jackson, which he didn't. But here's a deal, dear Adam, if you support the Palestinian Right of Return, I will support legislation that forbids Jewish Israelis from using expressions such as "dir balak" as well as mangling "yl'an dinak." Together we can score two against racism!

Then Holland got exercised by Silverstein's reply, titled "The Negro's greatest friend," a title which Holland found offensive. I assume it was supposed to be offensive, because it was clearly meant to offend Holland by painting him as a kind of benevolent white guy who supported slavery but got really offended when slave owners didn't use Mr. and Mrs. when talking to their slaves. If that was Silverstein's intention, bully! Although the pose Holland is striking is worse. Holland is using false accusations of racism against one group of people, African Americans, in order to defend racism against another group of people.

Far from us however to discourage Holland from his new commitment to fighting racism. We certainly need more people. Here are some interesting topics that, given his present activities, suggest Holland might be uniquely qualified to tackle: the use of white racist imagery and arguments in the US political discourse in support of Israel mass murdering of Palestinians, for example, by Rabbi Hier. The use of the false accusation of antisemitism in order to derail African-American attempt to win reparations. The role of Zionist donations in undermining political representation for poor and oppressed African American communities. The historical ties between Black liberation movements and Palestine. The link between Black struggle and BDS. One can go on. Lots of work for you, Adam! We'll keep an eye on your progress.


Mondoweiss, as usual, was first on the story, and as often, got high on its hobby horse and missed the point. Although it is surprising he didn't, Holland did not define the phrase "pro-Israel rich Jews" as racially offensive, although he clearly didn't like it. His attack on Silverstein was, for a change, not riding on antisemitism, but on racism against Blacks. That is also common Zionist practice, and something worth criticizing in its own sake, not only in solidarity with Palestinians, which Weiss gets, but also in support of the millions of African Americans who continue to be victims, as jail inmates and their families, as poor people, as evictees, as unemployed, of US imperialism, militarism, racism and capitalism. That latter point, I am afraid, is still one with which Weiss has quite a lot of difficulty.

UPDATE: Another thought

The reason J Street attacked Silverstein has nothing to do with ideas. J Street is building power in Washington, and they need powerful friends. Jackson is the kind of Democratic weasel who is closer to J-Street ideologically. J-Street, by presenting itself as more "balanced," can help Jackson reconcile his African American voters with apartheid in a way AIPAC cannot. If J-Street cannot win Jackson, it has no hope of ever getting anyway near power. That is why it is defended Jackson.

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