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Neocons diss anti-Semites —yet again... Ho-hum...

Here we go again. We ourselves have noted before the insidious mainstreaming of anti-Semitism in "progressive" discourse by the likes of the execrable MondoWeiss blog. So you'd think we would feel vindicated to see such criticisms getting mainstream play. Armin Rosen in the The Atlantic decries that Peter Beinart's Open Zion blog (on the Daily Beast, in turn affiliated with Newsweek) published a piece by Alex Kane who also writes for MondoWeiss. Now, it has to be said that Kane is one of MondoWeiss' more rational writers, although we do wish he would find a new venue rather than loan legitimacy to the sinister wackiness of MondoWeiss. But Rosen does a good job of calling out that sinister wackiness:

An April 2011 article on the site strongly implied that Mossad agents were involved in the murder of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigonni, an assertion for which there's no factual evidence. In 2011, contributor Max Ajl argued against "left-wing" condemnation of the Itamar massacre, in which attackers killed five members of a settler family, including a three-month old baby. In 2009, Jack Ross, who has contributed to the white nationalist, Holocaust-denying journal The Barnes Reviewargued on Mondoweiss that "it was not the appeasement, but the internationalist hubris and bellicosity of Chamberlain which started World War II." In other words, lay off the Nazis.

"Iran has never officially denied the Holocaust," Mondowess claimed in April of this year. This statement might be technically true, but it is functionally false. It also reflects a troublingly dismissive attitude towards Holocaust denial on the part of high-ranking Iranian officials.

Yes, we've pointed out too that Ahmadinejad stays out of the outright-denial camp only through the most narrow and slippery use of deniability, and it is pathetic that those who view themselves as "progressive" or on the "left" (as we presume MondoWeiss' editor Philip Weiss does) would fall for his noxious snake-oil. But even we missed Weiss' embrace of the Barnes Review, which, as Southern Poverty Law Center informs us, is the latest spawn of neo-Nazi Willis Carto's Holocaust-denialist Institute for Historical Review. Just great. One of the most widely read blogs on the anti-Zionist left embracing real live freaking Nazis. Is anyone starting to grasp yet that we have a real problem here?

So what's the problem with The Atlantic calling this egregiousness out? We'll tell you the problem. This Armin Rosen also writes (if we are to apply to him the same criteria by which he skewers Alex Kane) for the New Republic, owned by Islamophobic propagandist Martin Peretz. And for the Weekly Standard, soapbox of neocon war-monger William Kristol. And for the smarmy-conservative Propagandist blog. And, of course, for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, pillar of Zionist Consensus Reality.

So Rosen's critique can be easily dismissed as Zionist propaganda by the very people who most need to hear it, and he paradoxically (perhaps intentionally) serves to entrench the incipient alliance between the anti-Zionist left and the neo-fascist right.

Where are the legitimate radical-left voices that are anti-Zionist and anti-fascist—meaning, intrinsically, genuinely opposed to anti-Semitism? For whom neither opposition to Zionism nor opposition to anti-Semitism is a mere afterthought or lip service?

Are we the only ones?


Iran & condemnations.

Just because Ahmadinejad is, without a doubt, playing with holocaust denial does not make the use of this accusation any more legitimate in the way it is used by the mainstream. Iran is a signatory to international treaties that recognize the holocaust, condemn antisemitism, and require states to act against it. One such document is the Durban statement, that Israel and the US refused to sign.
Of course, signing such international documents does not imply full or even partial commitment to the words within. But the US refused to sign the same document, primarily because it defined the slave trade as "crime against humanity," so obviously the words to have some bite. To bash Iran for holocaust denial while celebrating the progressive international role of the US, without any attention to the actual FACTS, is pure ideological support for imperialism. And saying that out loud should imply that one makes light of the reactionary role played by Ahmadinejad. Hope this is not to complicated to grasp.

Max Ajl, contrary to the implied accusation of that idiot neo-con, does not endorse murder. He does oppose using sentimentality to buttress a racist reading of the conflict in Palestine, which is the actual function of ritual "condemnations" of "terror," particularly since nothing is known about the perpetrators other than the conclusion of racist judge presiding over a racist "trial" based on confessions taken under torture. If you feel like condemning people found guilty under such process, maybe you should join the neo-cons.

And yes, the other accusations stick.


More red herrings, ho-hum...

1. Did anybody here "celebrate the progressive international role of the US"? I certainly didn't do that. (And didn't you mean "should not imply"?)

2. If Max Aji is not justifying killing children as "belligerent reprisals" (even while admitting they are rejected by the Geneva Conventions!) we'd love to know what he is doing. And the question isn't condemning those found guilty in the Itamar massacre, but condemning the massacre. Do you have reading comprehension problems, or are you just moving the goal-post and hoping nobody will notice?

Zero for two.

meaningless words

You may not celebrate the US role, but every mention of Iran's holocaust denial in the media does that, if only implicitly, by making Iran a uniquely "rogue state" and using Ahmadinejad as evidence of how uniquely batty that country is. Apparently, for you, pointing out the hypocrisy and laying out the facts is tantamount to endorsing antisemitism. Sad.

So you want everyone to condemns massacres in the abstract, without saying anything about anybody in particular? Do you also want a declaration of support for motherhood? Here it is: I am for motherhood and against massacres.

Are you really that thick that you don't know what the discourse of "terrorism" is about? Do you really think that emoting on cue during our regularly mediated "two minutes hate" sessions is an expression of how principled and evenhanded you are?


Cowardly equivocation

So you think we should ignore Ahamdinejad's reactionary politics because same is exploited for imperialist propaganda. A bankrupt and cowardly position that only assists imperialist propaganda by making anti-imperialists look dishonest. I keep hoping the radical left is going to grow up already, and I'm always disappointed. Your attitude is a despicable betrayal of Iran's women and workers. "Pointing out the hypocrisy" is indeed legitimate, but that doesn't square with your admonition against "every mention of" Ahmadinejad's sinister wackiness.

We can condemn the Itamar massacre without endorsing the conviction in the case. In fact, it would be nice if condemning the massacre were superfluous. Unfortunately, Max Aji explicitly made excuses for the massacre, with the imprimatur of MondoWeiss, Robert Wright and you.

The only one to invoke the word "terrorism" here is you.

Argue honestly or take a hike.

me: saying that out loud

me: saying that out loud shouldn't imply that one makes light of the reactionary role played by Ahmadinejad. Hope this is not to complicated to grasp.

you: So you think we should ignore Ahamdinejad's reactionary politics

I guess it is too complicated. My bad.

Let me make it simple. Iran doesn't deny the holocaust. Iran has a president who is a little batty, as well a lot reactionary, and likes to say idiotic things about the holocaust. Iran's President is no more reactionary than the President of the US, who worked to deny, not it empty speeches, but in actual binding documents, international recognition of the crime committed against Africans through the Atlantic slave trade, something that is on the same level as holocaust denial for me, but maybe not for you. Making fun of Ahmadinejad's battiness serves an ideological function in the West, and doesn't represent real caring about victims of genocide, given that the people who like to make fun of Ahmadinejad often support genocide. On the contrary, it represents the instrumentalisation of the genocide of Jews for imperial ends. It is incumbent on me to point that out when I get the chance. Your mileage may vary.

The word "terrorism" is today an essential part of the blackmail of condemnation that is demanded whenever it is suspected that the underdog commits an atrocity. This ritual of shock and horror, which is uniquely reserved in the media to crimes allegedly committed against white people (and whitened Jews), by their victims, again, is an ideological function, not an innocent expression of humanity. You may feel that participating in such rituals establishes your moral authority. It doesn't. Ethics is the measure of what you do, not how well you deploy emoticons. If it were otherwise, Lawrence Olivier would have been the most ethical person who ever lived. These ritual condemnations, moreover, do not help reduce the horrors they condemn. On the contrary, they serve as a mechanism of legitimation for the sense of superiority, manifest destiny, and other burdens white men carry around, and therefore help perpetuate the conditions from which such horrors spring.

It seems to me therefore far more important, and far more ethical, to deconstruct the underbelly of these rituals of righteousness than to participate in them. But you go on "condemning" whatever floats your boat. Just take care not to explode from an excess of morality.

your bad indeed

This is pathetic. Ahamedinejad doesn't just "say idiotic things" about the Holocaust. He hosted a Holocaust revisionism confab that was attended by David Duke. Your equivocation is a betrayal of the courageous student protesters who took to the streets to oppose it. They said "marg bar diktator!" but all the Western "left" can say is "Ahmadinejad isn't so bad after all."

Did I or anyone else here utter a defense of the US stance re. Durban? No. So that's just changing the subject.

As stated (there's that reading comprehension problem again), it would be nice if condemnation of the Itamar massacre were superfluous. Unfortunately, Max Aji explicitly made excuses for it, with the imprimatur of MondoWeiss, Robert Wright and you.

What part of "argue honestly or take a hike" don't you understand?

and a cartoon from Carlos Latuff? Really?

Do you have *any* f***king idea how offensive most Jews find Carlos Latuff? This guy uses classic anti-Semitic images (e.g. octopuses with tentacles grabbing at everything) when portraying Israel, and routinely accuses Israel of being Nazis -- I have a seriously hard time buying that you don't think such comparisons are anti-Semitic given what else you've said on this site. Are you simply unaware of who Carlos Latuff is?

Carlos Latuff?

If you are referring to one of the Flickr-generated images that appear on the right-hand panel, they are not endorsed by this website any more than the Google-generated ads are.

Very confused ranter in the wilderness

Honestly dude, there's a massive cognitive disconnect in your attitudes. You seem to genuinely care about anti-Semitism but utterly fail to see how advocating boycotting of Israel is one of the most effective ways to increase anti-Semitism. Many, perhaps most, of the BDS advocates have expressed explicitly anti-Semitic views; sometimes they try a bit to hide them by saying "Zionist" instead of "Jew" but they trot out the same old anti-Semitic canards. The BDS advocates explicitly want to destroy Israel -- many of them have explicitly said this -- and this would be one of the most effective ways to *increase* anti-Semitism. You as a presumably Ashkenazi Jew ranting from your place of privilege in the U.S. -- have you ever once bothered to go speak to a Mizrahi Jew in Israel and ask *them* what would happen if Israel disappeared, to be replaced by some fantasy "pan-Semitic" state? Have you ever asked *them* about what life was like when ruled by a Semitic but non-Jewish majority? Have you ever considered what happened to Jews who were so unfortunate as to have lived in the West Bank at the time when Jordan took it over in 1948? What makes you think things would be so different?

Wilderness yes, but not confused.

Spare me the privilege-baiting. It is rather unbecoming from someone who opposes any pressure on the Israeli state to lift the boot from the Palestinians' necks because some advocates of BDS are not politically correct. Yes, I have spoken with Mizrahi Jews from Israel—who agree with me on the question of Palestine. See below.

Predictable denial

Robert Wright, a senior editor at The Atlantic, predictably responds by accusing Rosen of "McCarthyism" and merely exonerating MondoWeiss of anti-Semitism—as if it were not promoting Nazis! Helloooo...?

How depressing.

Honest denial?

Does it matter if Ahmadinejad and the Iran government don't really believe their statements of denial, and are doing it for internal political reasons?

Honest irrelevancy?

That's a completely irrelevant question, since neither I nor the people I am critiquing argued either that Ahmadinejad is being honest or cynical.

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