The problem with Miko Peled’s ‘Holocaust: yes or no’

Middle East
on 113 Comments

Miko Peled was speaking in UK at an event concerning free speech and Israel (organized by Free Speech on Israel), an event that was a side event of the British Labour conference, what the British call a ‘fringe’ event (with no derogatory sense). Here he was saying:

“This is about free speech, the freedom to criticise and to discuss every issue, whether it’s the Holocaust: yes or no, Palestine, the liberation, the whole spectrum. There should be no limits on the discussion”.

He was, perhaps unwittingly, activating several traps.

Now before analyzing what he said and what that caused, let me first mention the many good things Peled is known for. His staunch advocacy for Palestinian rights, his ability to cut through details and make strong, cogent points, his activity in actual protests in Palestine, his down-to-earth work to help Palestinians, as described in his remarkable 2012 book The General’s Son, his continuing research and writings on discrimination of Palestinians also in USA – these are all very strong assets. Miko Peled is not just a black belt in martial arts; he’s an activist-warrior.

But warriors can give a foul punch once in a while, and it can have repercussions that are not necessarily victorious. So let’s look at those words. First of all, his “Holocaust: yes or no” was a major dog-whistle for all kinds of Holocaust deniers and revisionists.

It could not help much, I think, that in the aftermath, Peled clarified to The Guardian that he was not a Holocaust denier himself:

“The Holocaust was a terrible crime that we must study and from which we must all learn”, he wrote in response.

Interestingly, Peled’s subsequent remarks at the Labour fringe event seemed to indicate that he was not a blanket supporter of ‘free speech’:

“It’s about the limits of tolerance: we don’t invite the Nazis and give them an hour to explain why they are right; we do not invite apartheid South Africa racists to explain why apartheid was good for the blacks, and in the same way we do not invite Zionists – it’s a very similar kind of thing”, he said.

So Peled is saying two things here: There is free speech, he wants there to be free speech, but he also wants to determine where that free speech stops: Nazis, and Zionists. At the same time, Peled suggests that this free speech also include “Holocaust: yes or no” – and with that “no”, he is quite clearly whistling to Holocaust deniers. So while he wasn’t inviting Holocaust deniers directly, and while he wasn’t inviting the Zionists or Nazis, he was throwing out raw meat for the sharks at that moment.

Thus, when Ken Loach was interviewed about this by BBC, his answer, “I think history is for all of us to discuss”, only made him part of the same bait for the liberal-Zionist shark Jonathan Freedland.

I don’t think it helped much that Loach afterwards responded to the Guardian, saying, “The Holocaust is as real a historical event as the second world war itself and not to be challenged”.

Because the context is the “Holocaust: yes or no” dog-whistle. That doesn’t go away that fast.

I am reluctant to quote Jonathan Freedland approvingly, but I will do so here, where he writes concerning Loach:

“Remember, Loach had not been asked whether there should be discussion of the meaning of the Nazi slaughter of the Jews. He had been asked about the fact of it happening.”

I think it’s a very serious issue, and I think it would be a mistake to trivlialise this as yet another statement that Israel-apologetics are exploiting disingenuously. Oh, they are exploiting it – but there is substance to it. Peled has provided it.

This is not the first time Miko Peled has come with remarks of this sort.

In September last year, in response to an Israeli celebration of the new 10-year $38 billion package of aid from the U.S., Peled tweeted, “Then theyr surprised Jews have reputation 4being sleazy thieves. #apartheidisrael doesn’t need or deserve these $$”. The Princeton Committee on Palestine canceled his speech at the school, saying the tweet and others that followed were “anti-Semitic and hateful.” Jewish Voice for Peace supported the Princeton committee’s decision, also calling the tweet anti-Semitic. Peled responded that his hosts had succumbed to a quiet campaign of pro-Israel pressure; and he declined to apologize for the tweet. Many members of JVP took on their leadership for its statement, and a week later JVP’s head, Rebecca Vilkomerson, said she had made a mistake and overreached in her criticism, though she maintained that Peled’s original tweet was “reckless and inappropriate.”

In the wake of that, Philip Weiss had a conversation with Peled on this issue, which gave Peled an open and respectful opportunity to clarify his views on these matters and how he thinks about making such statements. Referring to the tweet, Peled opined that the claim that it contains expressions of antisemitism is “nonsense”. In fact, he says about the notion of anti-Semitic expression, “I’m not even sure what that means”. Does Peled really not know what actual anti-Semitic expression means? Asked specifically about anti-Semitism within the Palestine solidarity movement, Peled says “I don’t know what antisemitism means. I think it’s an antiquated term. I don’t know what it means.”

Yet further down, he proves that he does:

“Well the stereotype is there, all the way from Shylock to Fagin in Dickens. The stereotype is there. I talk with Jewish friends, who still remember when they were kids, others would make fun of their people, and talk about money. The stereotype is there, of Jews and money; racism is there in America. I think there’s another facet of that. America is deeply racist, and people are afraid to touch it, because it’s so powerful, and the expression is so deep. This exists, these stereotypes exist, especially about blacks and others—Latinos– exist. They’re ugly, they’re wholly unjustified, wholly inexcusable. At the same time they exist.”

So Peled does know about the stereotypes. How does he then justify his exploitation of them?

Peled seems to mock an American ‘political correctness’ and a supposed fear of even dealing with racism, as grounds for being ‘provocative’:

“People do still repeat the negative characterizations of Jews, so that is very deep, as with all minorities. That is always there. Americans don’t deal with it because it’s so deep. That’s why I say something about sleazy Jews, regardless of the context, and boom, something explodes. Oh my god, it’s antisemitism! Let’s shut it down, let’s not talk about it!”

He regards this as somewhat petty, in relation to what is going on in Palestine: “So how can you talk about my little thing compared to this? I don’t want to make it a big thing. The other side is waiting for this kind of stuff, it’s a distraction.”

And Peled seems to believe that this kind of talk is creating a necessary ‘openness’: “Sometimes people feel these things, and are afraid to express them. They get sent somewhere, to Mondoweiss, or I say it, somebody says it, and they think, Now we can all say this, more of us can say this. It’s really out there. That’s how we all feel anyway.”

But I think Peled’s selective ‘freedom of speech’ contains a certain naiveté, which is embodied in his, “I don’t even know what it means” concerning anti-Semitism. Because there are actual anti-Semites out there, and I don’t mean the ones who cynically exploit the term in order to charge it against pro-Palestinians. One of these, who predictably celebrated Miko Peled’s ‘free speech’ at the Labour fringe conference, was Gilad Atzmon. Atzmon the pundit who calls me “the merchant of JVP”, who calls himself both a “proud self-hating Jew”, an “ex-Jew”, and says “I despise the Jew in me…I absolutely detest the Jew in you”. You know, it’s that bona-fide anti-Semitism, really, not the pretend-stuff.

Atzmon says unequivocally: “I do not agree that anti-Semitism exists”, which is ostensibly why he couldn’t possibly be one… So in response to Peled’s recent “Holocaust: Yes or no”, Atzmon celebrated with a blog:

“Unlike the Diaspora Jews who are defined by antisemitism and a chain of holocausts, Miko Peled, myself and Israelis of our generation are defined by the rejection of the Diaspora identity and disassociation from Diaspora past” (emphasis added).

In this supposedly sophisticated form of Holocaust denial, Atzmon doesn’t need to address the Nazi Holocaust itself – he simply trivilialises it as part of a chain of ‘Holocausts’, an assertion which suggests that this is yet another Jewish invention in the tribal saga. This sarcastic notion of ‘repetitive Holocaust’ is what feeds the anti-Semitic podcasts such as ‘Daily Shoah’. Atzmon lines himself up with names such as “Gideon Levy, Israel Shamir, Uri Avnery, Israel Shahak, Schlomo Sand, Miko Peled” who have become “the most vocal critics of the Jewish State and the Jewishness at its core…Needless to mention that a few of the names above, including myself, realised at a certain stage that fixing Jewishness is a futile exercise, we departed from the tribe and stopped being Jews.”

After Peled issued a clarifcation, Atzmon was naturally disappointed, and responded that “Miko Peled is now zigzagging his withdrawal path […] how sad”.

So I think Miko Peled has opened a can of worms here, once again, and it’s not going to be easy to close it again. He has delivered a confusing message concerning freedom of speech: while he spoke of limiting it so as to not provide a stage for ‘Nazis’ and ‘Zionists’, he advocated that it be applied to include Holocaust deniers. And when the Holocaust deniers ask why he’s seemingly backing down from it, it’s hard to explain. And he has provided Israel apologists raw meat, which provides further encouragement to the Blairite assault on Labour’s Corbynite ‘anti-Semitic problem’.

Jonathan Freedland attacks a group of three in one go: trade union leader Len McCluskey, film director Ken Loach and former mayor of London Ken Livingstone. The arguments about McCluskey and Livingstone are terribly weak. For instance, with Livingstone, the words of whom so many love to twist, he essentially makes do with referring to “Livingstone’s toxic claim of ideological solidarity between the Nazis and those German Jews who sought a Jewish homeland”. This ideological ‘solidarity’ (or shall we say ‘dovetailing’) is rather factual, so Freedland is really only voicing his discontent with its portrayal. Freedland is desperate to get some real substance for his accusations, and he gets it from Ken Loach, who defends Peled’s “Holocaust: Yes or no”.

And that’s how Freedland makes his home-run. Peled provided it, and that one remark made at a Labour fringe event now serves as the ultimate proof of the Labour “anti-Semitic problem”.

Now, it’s obvious that many Labour supporters of Corbyn, and many Palestine solidarity activists would reflexively defend Peled’s comments, having been so used to ridiculous and cynical political assaults against Labour in the past couple of years. But I think we need to realize how serious this is. I will not trivialize this as Miko Peled does, saying that “it’s a distraction”. Oh, it IS a distraction, but Peled provided it. Notably, this is not at all the same case as with Moshe Machover, who was recently expelled for his article “Anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism”. The grounds for expelling Machover are spurious and do not even live up to party policy. Machover’s article is sophisticated and nuanced, even when he quotes Heydrich supporting Zionism. He’s not even close to Holocaust denial or any sort of baiting of it. But Miko Peled is. And those seeking to discredit the Palestine solidarity movement and Corbyn, only need the latter to make their bite count.

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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113 Responses

  1. Emory Riddle
    October 11, 2017, 12:55 pm

    Come on. What’s this idea of free speech on any topic — except the Holocaust?

    If the official narrative is so well supported by the facts and evidence, why so hysterical to prevent anyone attacking that narrative from being heard? Surely deniers and revisionists can be defeated on the facts? Can’t they?

    • Citizen
      October 11, 2017, 5:33 pm

      Just as there is a difference between someone claiming to speak for all Jews when peddling Zionist hasbara and a Jew who claims Zionism, either de jure or de facto, is not Judaism or the main core of Jewish ethics/morality, there’s also a difference between Holocaust deniers and historians revising history when new information comes to light. At one time, part of the official Holocaust narrative was that the Nazis turned Jews into soap and lampshades; another example: the official number of Jews who perished at Auschwitz has decreased substantially over the years. Another ostensible example is the issue of gas chambers, is it not?

      When I was a kid the famous painting of Custer’s Last Stand was practically sacred; today, it’s the subject of cultural ridicule. Christopher Columbus, General Lee, the Founding Fathers–and so on…. At one time many folks believed Hitler was a house painter, rug-chewer, Jew, and had one ball, etc.

      I think the Holocaust happened, same as WW2 happened–and so did the Nakba; and so on. In conclusion, I agree with Annie: “i don’t support arresting people (or trials) for expressing their thoughts and opinions as long as the form of expression does not incite or cause bodily harm. there’s no contradiction in supporting free speech and not hosting speech you do not agree with.” The First Amendment only applies to speech one does not like or agree with–if all agreed it would not have any function.

      • rosross
        October 12, 2017, 9:21 pm

        History is written by the victors and prone to propaganda because of that fact. This is why forensic, rigorous, objective research is so important. Censorship supports propaganda and disinformation.

    • Sibiriak
      October 11, 2017, 8:23 pm

      Who’s defending the idea of “free speech on any topic”??

      Not Peled:
      ————————————–

      Peled’s subsequent remarks at the Labour fringe event seemed to indicate that he was not a blanket supporter of ‘free speech’:

      “It’s about the limits of tolerance: we don’t invite the Nazis and give them an hour to explain why they are right; we do not invite apartheid South Africa racists to explain why apartheid was good for the blacks, and in the same way we do not invite Zionists – it’s a very similar kind of thing”, he said.

      • echinococcus
        October 11, 2017, 9:09 pm

        BS. Did Peled say he would invite “Holocaust(TM) deniers”? No. He is not one himself. He did not either say that Afrikaners or Zionists should be silenced by denial of speech. So yes, he opposes there three things and he opposes all bans on speech. Is that so hard to understand?
        In fact, it really looks like one of the things “liberals” have a very hard time understanding.

      • Sibiriak
        October 11, 2017, 10:35 pm

        echinococcus: Did Peled say he would invite “Holocaust(TM) deniers” …

        ——————-

        He says there are “limits to tolerance” regarding speech.

        As an example of such a limit, he says ” we do not invite apartheid South Africa racists…we do not invite Zionists.”

        In stark contrast, he said speakers discussing “Holocaust: yes or no” should not be denied a public platform. If you are arguing that the Holocaust might not have happened, you are a Holocaust denier.

        He’s for giving Holocaust deniers a platform, but not South African racists or Zionists– and Jonathan Ofir was perfectly right to point out the political toxicity of that contradiction.

      • rosross
        October 12, 2017, 9:25 pm

        Surely if one has freedom of speech and information then we should hear any defence, if indeed one could be mounted, for Nazism, Apartheid, Zionism etc.

        In order to understand our history and ourselves we need to have perspective and to comprehend in context.

        A major problem in academia and particularly history today is the habit of retrofitting the past with attitudes of today. We will not stop excesses of any kind unless we can understand how they happened.

        What was behind the growth of Naziam, Apartheid , Zionism and any of the extreme, repressive movements which have arisen in human history.

        Why was there such discrimination toward blacks in South Africa? Why were Jews and Gypsies singled out by the Nazis? Why do Zionists consider non-Jews to be inferior and the Palestinians to be sub-human?

        Without knowing the source of such beliefs and prejudices we will never heal whatever wounds create them.

    • Qualtrough
      October 12, 2017, 12:36 am

      Even asking that question will invite charges of anti-semitism.

    • rosross
      October 12, 2017, 9:19 pm

      This is my view also. A rational, reasoned, common sense view which is generally rejected.

    • JeffB
      October 13, 2017, 5:27 am

      @Emory Riddle

      Yes they can be debated on the facts and they have been including in court cases. Example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irving_v_Penguin_Books_Ltd

  2. Vikram
    October 11, 2017, 1:01 pm

    Unfortunately, I agree with Jonathan Offir.

    • echinococcus
      October 11, 2017, 11:10 pm

      There is no word about “denying a public platform” to anyone there.
      Tolerance is one thing, inviting/sponsoring another.
      If you are arguing for or against something, you’re not necessarily a denier but a person discussing.

      While you are there, let’s have a good reason for not discussing with Holocaust(TM) deniers. After all, the record of the facts is relatively widely available.

      Speaking of discussing –what’s totally pointless is trying to discuss anything with liberaloids. Are they tolerable? Not any more than reactionaries. Would I invite or sponsor them? Not really. But I’d oppose denying them freedom of speech anyway.

      • Sibiriak
        October 11, 2017, 11:38 pm

        echinococcus: There is no word about “denying a public platform” to anyone there

        Don’t play dumb, please. The context of this whole issue is British Labour Party conferences etc. and the question raised is who should be allowed a platform in those events.

      • markolopa
        October 13, 2017, 7:32 am

        @Sibiriak I don’t see this as “dumb”. Jonathan Offir is trying to make a general statement about Palestinian solidarity, not to offer a discussion on the Labour conference. The weekness of his argument is IMO to blur the distinction between forbidding someone to express their ideas and providing them a stage. He sees a contraction where for me there is none.

  3. Mooser
    October 11, 2017, 1:24 pm

    “Then theyr surprised Jews have reputation 4being sleazy thieves.”

    Why can’t he say ‘Zionists and their supporters’ instead of “Jews”?
    If he did that, nobody could accuse him of any anti-Semitism.

    • genesto
      October 12, 2017, 4:18 pm

      Maybe I’m mincing words here, but I would say he simply expressed a typical anti-Semitic trope while not actually agreeing with it. It is true that, when a member of a minority does something wrong that fits a negative stereotype, he, or she, adds credence to the stereotype, fuel to the fire so to speak. This is just a fact of life. My wife is a proud, secular, anti-Zionist Jew. So, when a prominent Jew, particularly a Zionist, behaves badly, it makes me angry for my wife and kids since it gives strength to the purveyors of anti-Semitism which potentially reverberates against them.

      Having said this, I will agree that he either shouldn’t have said it or at least qualified it by using ‘Zionists’ instead of ‘Jews’. However, we shouldn’t be directing our anger at Miko, but at the party at fault for his, or her, bad behavior. I think we all agree that anti-Semitism would be far less of a problem if the state of Israel behaved itself with regard to its treatment of the Palestinians.

      • rosross
        October 12, 2017, 9:31 pm

        You find similar claims made against any tribalistic culture. Chinese, Indian Jains, probably Indians in general, orthodox religions of all kinds – people stick together, choose their own when filling jobs, buying goods etc.

        Judaism, on many counts has been a tribalistic culture and often still is. Any group which for whatever reason, sets itself apart from the society in which it lives will increase levels of tribalism in order to remain other and separate.

        Look at the experience of various Indian religious groups in the UK, Muslim, Jain, Hindu, where they will work together to form chains of businesses, or employ their own and only their own as in Heathrow and elsewhere, because the tribal nature says you can only trust your own.

        Actually, for Indians, and I lived there for a long time, the motivations are the same as for Jews, and I have worked with and for Jews and Israelis, that you cannot actually trust anyone but you might be able to trust someone who is a member of your family, community, religion etc.

        It is all tribalism and not particular to followers of Judaism, just more entrenched in that religion than many others. Having said that, Jains are the same. Ironic really as both groups are very active in the diamond industry, no doubt for the same reasons.

  4. JoeSmack
    October 11, 2017, 1:40 pm

    Not sure what JO’s agenda is with this article, sounds like tone policing and once again blowing something Miko Peled said out of proportion.

    • Annie Robbins
      October 11, 2017, 3:52 pm

      i doubt if he has an agenda per se, but i tend to agree w/peled here. however, not being raised jewish, i’m not hyper holocaust sensitive.

      this:

      But I think we need to realize how serious this is.

      fundamentally, i just completely disagree. only in an environment where people experience fear of discussing certain historical events would this be considered a serious matter. had peled said cambodian genocide, yes or no? or native american genocide, yes or no? or armenian genocide y/n? no one would have blinked an eye.

      plus, i can completely see a distinction between supporting free speech (meaning one should be able to discuss or argue anything one wants) vs some requirement to host nazi speech or colonizer speech for “balance” or whatever. not hosting racist fruitcakes isn’t anti free speech. it’s common sense. but i don’t support arresting people (or trials) for expressing their thoughts and opinions as long as the form of expression does not incite or cause bodily harm. there’s no contradiction in supporting free speech and not hosting speech you do not agree with.

      • rosross
        October 12, 2017, 9:34 pm

        Only the Jewish experience of genocide has been turned into some sacred cow of suffering, greater and more horrendous than any other and turning all followers of Judaism, somehow, into sharers of that suffering even though they did not experience it.

        It is powerful theology as opposed to history. And it diminishes and demeans all non-Jewish sufferers of holocaust, reducing their experience to mere trivialities in the face of superior Jewish suffering.

        And that is why the Jewish experience of holocaust at the hands of the Nazis can never be questioned.

      • Maghlawatan
        October 13, 2017, 4:01 am

        The Shoah has been Messianised. The existence of Israel is a covenant with God. The Shoah was necessary for it to happen. That is the logic

      • Mooser
        October 13, 2017, 12:36 pm

        ” That is the logic”

        It all fits in with our religion, don’t you see? The Holocaust is our Crucifixion, and Israel the Resurrection!

    • Sibiriak
      October 11, 2017, 8:54 pm

      JoeSmack: sounds like tone policing
      —————————————–

      It’s about content not tone. It’s about the massive political stupidity and harmfulness of arguing that “Holocaust: yes or no” should be up for discussion but other forms of political speech like pro–Zionism should be shut down.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 11, 2017, 10:14 pm

        It’s about the massive political stupidity and harmfulness of arguing that “Holocaust: yes or no” should be up for discussion

        it’s likely he wasn’t reading off a written script, should people have “the freedom to criticize and to discuss” the holocaust? yes? or no?

        frankly, i do think people should have the freedom to criticize and discuss the holocaust. i mean, people have been criticizing the holocaust since it happened. so i don’t think there’s any question most people think it’s ok to criticize the holocaust. so what you’re arguing is that discussing the holocaust is wrong. i think we can either decide to read something into peled’s statement we don’t like or just take it on face value. but the punctuation is not his punctuation, it’s an editors punctuation.

        i don’t understand why the holocaust should be so taboo in a climate where the US government has not even formally acknowledged the genocide of native americans. it is unlikely jews have more negative feelings about the holocaust than native americans have about their genocide. yet there’s no taboo about arguing native americans were not genocided. can someone explain the difference to me. there are also people still alive today arguing slaves had a better life on the plantation than they would have had otherwise. no one is putting them on trial, throwing them in jail or kicking them out of political parties. i mean, these people are insufferable, but we don’t generally give them the time of day other than telling them off or calling them racist ignorant fools.

        so should we allow people to criticize and discuss the american genocide of the indigenous people of this land? yes? or no? or is that massive political stupidity and harmfulness? is it career ending? no, it’s not. in fact there are university professors who deny we genocided native americans.

        bounty hunters got paid for every scalp here in california, so that’s friggin genocide.

      • Sibiriak
        October 11, 2017, 10:53 pm

        @Annie

        You left out the second part of my sentence: “but other forms of political speech like pro–Zionism should be shut down.”

        so what you’re arguing is that discussing the holocaust is wrong,

        Not at all.

        I’m arguing it’s wrong to call for de-platforming of Zionists, while arguing that Holocaust deniers should be given a platform. Two words are crucial there: “platform” and “deniers”.

        And while I think people should be free to discuss “Holocaust: yes or no?”, I think it’s massively politically stupid to champion such a public discussion and put it into the same league as public discussion of “Palestine, the liberation…”

      • Annie Robbins
        October 11, 2017, 11:13 pm

        ok, i will review what he (and you) said. i wasn’t aware he said anything about (or even mentioned) holocaust deniers. albeit, that accusation was made against jackie walker who at no time denied the holocaust, so i really don’t know the breadth of how it’s being applied nowadays.

        (edit after review)

        You left out the second part of my sentence: “but other forms of political speech like pro–Zionism should be shut down.”

        he didn’t reference anything about shutting down other forms of political speech. he spoke about not inviting them to speak (as i referenced earlier, hosting them).

        the guardian article opened by saying

        investigate how it gave a platform at a conference fringe event to a speaker who said people should be allowed to question whether the Holocaust happened.

        (fake news, he didn’t say that)

        also referenced and linked to another article that claimed

        suggested Labour should be free to debate whether the Holocaust had happened.

        (fake news, he didn’t say that .. at least they had the decency to write “suggested”)

        and peled still stands by his words:

        “…crime that we must study and from which we must all learn”, he wrote in response.

        so all this ‘holocaust denier/debate whether it happened’ is conjuncture likely spoon fed to the press via JLM. frankly i’d like to read (or listen to) the whole speech in context. your commentary appears to be more related to what has been written about what he said vs the specific words he used. when someone said, in the context of discussing free speech, we should be allowed to discuss and criticize the holocaust yes? or no? it could be construed as an invitation to question whether the holocaust really happened, but that seems to me to be a radically extreme interpretation of those words.

        i recall getting raked over the coals in the comment section once when i interpreted netanyahu’s words about obama and the grassy knoll as an implied threat. for me (and i believe my generation) speaking in relation to an american president, as being too obvious to ignore. i think there’s some hyper sensitivity here regarding who’s allowed to set the parameters of speech. had netanyahu spoke of criticizing and discussing the holocaust no one would have thought he was alluding to denying it happened. but peled? it’s like wacko gangbusters. the press did this whole “debate whether the Holocaust had happened” routine, not peled.

      • Sibiriak
        October 11, 2017, 11:46 pm

        Annnie Robbins: i wasn’t aware he said anything about (or even mentioned) holocaust denier
        ————————-

        In Peled’s expression “Holocaust: yes, or no” , “no” means denial.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 12, 2017, 1:02 am

        peled didn’t make an “expression” of “Holocaust: yes, or no”, that was an editorial choice.

        peled’s expression was

        This is about free speech, the freedom to criticize and to discuss every issue. Whether it’s the Holocaust [do you support the freedom to criticize and to discuss it] yes? or no? Palestine [do you support the freedom to criticize and to discuss it], the liberation [do you support the freedom to criticize and to discuss it], the whole spectrum [do you support the freedom to criticize and to discuss it]. There should be no limits on the discussion.

        “Holocaust: yes, or no”, in spoken words, stripped of context, standing alone in some editor’s interpretation/glory, is slanderous disingenuous cherry picking. which hopefully explains why i will not debate it with you. because i do not support the premise that was he meant was “did the holocaust happen? yea or no?”. that is clearly NOT what he said.

        “freedom to criticize and to discuss every issue. Whether it’s the“.. everything after the “whether it’s the” pertains to what he had just expressed: “”freedom to criticize and to discuss every issue.”

        absolutely nothing about denying the holocaust.

      • Sibiriak
        October 12, 2017, 12:00 am

        Annie: he didn’t reference anything about shutting down other forms of political speech. he spoke about not inviting them to speak
        ——————————

        De-platforming is a form of “shutting down speech”, rightly or wrongly.

        If a Zionist group, for example, lobbied against a proposed invitation to a pro-Palestinian speaker at a Labour event, would you not consider that an attempt to shut down a certain kind of political speech at that event?

      • Annie Robbins
        October 12, 2017, 12:27 am

        De-platforming is a form of “shutting down speech”

        right, your word. the definition being “Canceling or disinviting someone to speak at an event”.

        not inviting someone is not deplatforming.

        If a Zionist group, for example, lobbied against a proposed invitation to a pro-Palestinian speaker at a Labour event, would you not consider that an attempt to shut down a certain kind of political speech at that event?

        yes i would. but i’m starting to get the impression what he said was somehow not offensive enough to make an argument. because he didn’t ‘lobby against a proposed invitation’, he said

        It’s about the limits of tolerance: we don’t invite the Nazis and give them an hour to explain why they are right; we do not invite apartheid South Africa racists to explain why apartheid was good for the blacks, and in the same way we do not invite Zionists

        take it or leave it. but advocating not extending an invite to zionists is not shutting down their speech, canceling an event, or disinviting them. it’s not offering them a platform.

        as an aside, i would appreciate a comment section w/no zionists. can’t they just talk elsewhere? i’d also like a political party in the US that didn’t invite zionists to speak. note how aipac doesn’t issue invites to anti zionists at their convention. are people all up in arms they are not giving anti zionists a platform? zionist shut down and deplatform and disinvite all the time. and they have a firm grip on the msm (anti zionist journalists hired by the msm? not really). and all of this happens under the 1st amendment. so not offering zionists a platform would seem normal for a party who supports palestinian rights.

      • echinococcus
        October 12, 2017, 2:48 am

        Annie,

        as an aside, i would appreciate a comment section w/no zionists. can’t they just talk elsewhere?

        Entirely agreed with the aside (“god forbid” as Annie says) –without the crudely overt Zionists polluting the air, there might be a chance to discuss things worth discussing. They can go yak at the Tablet or somesuch.

      • Sibiriak
        October 12, 2017, 3:41 am

        Annie Robbins: it could be construed as an invitation to question whether the holocaust really happened, but that seems to me to be a radically extreme interpretation of those words.
        ——————

        No, it’s the most natural interpretation of the plain words. Jonathan Ofir certainly has no motive to interpret them that way– and yet he clearly and unequivocally does.

        Jonathan Ofir : Peled suggests that this free speech also include “Holocaust: yes or no” – and with that “no”, he is quite clearly whistling to Holocaust deniers.

        Politics is a rough game. Phrases will predictably be taken out of context. It would be massively stupid– politically– to use a phrase that in its most simple and obvious interpretation means something you don’t mean to say at all.

        If Peled believed that Holocaust deniers and trivializers should not have a platform in Labour Party events etc. then why give Zionists a huge opening to claim the opposite??

        As Donald Johnson put it:

        Yes, you should defend free speech, but no, that doesn’t mean you have to give a shout out to people who think the reality of the Holocaust is up for debate. Peled sounds like a good guy, but he said something dumb.

        If Donald Johnson, Jonathan Ofir and many others such as myself who have no motive to attack Peled interpreted his remarks that way, certainly something went very wrong in the speech.

      • Emory Riddle
        October 12, 2017, 7:50 am

        “I’m arguing it’s wrong to call for de-platforming of Zionists, while arguing that Holocaust deniers should be given a platform”

        The reality is that Zionism has a massive platform — the mainstream media, our pols, Hollywood, our schools, etc. while discussion of the Holocaust outside the official narrative will end your career or worse.

        Let’s not portray the powerful as victims.

      • eljay
        October 12, 2017, 9:08 am

        || Annie Robbins: … peled didn’t make an “expression” of “Holocaust: yes, or no”, that was an editorial choice. … ||

        IMO, by unnecessarily saying “yes or no” – and by saying it immediately and only after “Holocaust” – that’s exactly what Mr. Peled appears to have done, even if it’s not what he meant to do.

        It’s odd that he didn’t just say:
        This is about free speech, the freedom to criticise and to discuss every issue, whether it’s the Holocaust, Palestine, the liberation, the whole spectrum. There should be no limits on the discussion.

      • Sibiriak
        October 12, 2017, 9:19 am

        Emory Riddle: The reality is that Zionism has a massive platform — the mainstream media, our pols, Hollywood, our schools, etc …
        ————————————–

        Absolutely. But that is precisely why it’s wrong to call for de-platforming or no-platforming Zionists, while arguing that Holocaust deniers should be given a platform. (please do not drop that second part of my sentence.)

        It’s wrong because it harms the anti-Zionist cause. It associates anti-Zionism with Holocaust denial, and that association can be massively damaging precisely because Zionism has a massive platform.

      • Mooser
        October 12, 2017, 5:27 pm

        “They can go yak at the Tablet or somesuch.”

        If they could do that, they would’t be here. At Tablet, or Commentary, they would be ejected as a rank embarrassment.

      • rosross
        October 12, 2017, 9:37 pm

        Those who are dismissed as Holocaust deniers are often people not questioning that Jews experienced holocaust at the hands of the Nazis, but questioning the details of that experience.

        That is not denial but it is called denial. Some of those questioning such historical details have been hounded, abused, professionally destroyed…. which is ironic really given that such behaviour is what was and is condemned in Nazism, Fascism and Zionism.

        Surely if the facts stand they can survive all and every question?

      • Sibiriak
        October 12, 2017, 11:04 pm

        rosross: Some of those questioning such historical details have been hounded, abused, professionally destroyed….
        ——————————

        Could you please provide some specific examples? What historical details? Thanks.

      • Mooser
        October 13, 2017, 1:23 pm

        “Surely if the facts stand they can survive all and every question?”

        No, unfortunately, they can’t. Which facts will answer the question: “Was the Holocaust just retribution for the crimes of Jews against Germany, or would some less drastic measure have served the purpose?”
        When a question is constructed with denial as its aim, no facts and figures can answer it.

      • echinococcus
        October 13, 2017, 2:12 pm

        Except, Mooser, that your question is not about fact but subjective interpretation.

      • Nathan
        October 14, 2017, 9:29 am

        Annie Robbins – You state a number of times that “it’s okay to criticize the Holocaust”. Perhaps, you don’t understand the concept of criticism (to tell someone that he needs a haircut would be criticism). In any case, I can’t imagine what it is about the Holocaust that could be criticized. Would criticism of the Holocaust be a claim that the Germans should have used the bus system instead of the train system in order to transport the Jews to their death?

        In criticism, one points out a problem or a mistake that could be corrected. In the case of an event in history, we busy ourselves with the question of “why” (“why did the Germans decide to murder the Jews”) and “significance” (“what does it mean to us today that such an event took place”).

        The issue of Holocaust-denial should not be an issue of “freedom of speech” (that’s my criticism). There are places in this world where Holocaust-denial is a crime (in Germany and Austria). But by and large, there is no stopping the phenomenon, and books denying the Holocaust are published regularly throughout the world. Since no one writes a book denying the French Revolution or the conquests of Alexander the Great, the question that should interest the public is “what is the reason for Holocaust-denial”. Obviously, the denial of an event in living memory is motivated by an ideology. That ideology is the topic of interest, not the question of freedom of speech.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 14, 2017, 3:02 pm

        nathan: I can’t imagine what it is about the Holocaust that could be criticized.

        hmm. let’s start with the definition of “criticize”

        crit·i·cize
        ˈkridəˌsīz/Submit
        verb
        1.
        indicate the faults of (someone or something) in a disapproving way.
        “states criticized the failure to provide an adequate and permanent compensation”
        synonyms: find fault with, censure, denounce, condemn, attack, lambaste, pillory, rail against, inveigh against, arraign, cast aspersions on, pour scorn on, disparage, denigrate, give bad press to, run down; More
        2.
        form and express a sophisticated judgment of (a literary or artistic work).
        “a literary text may be criticized on two grounds: the semantic and the expressive”

        for example, one of the faults of the holocaust was how so many people died. like all genocide, it was destructive to humanity.

        further conceptualization of what indicating “the faults of (someone or something) in a disapproving way” might include studying what the opposite of criticism might include. for example, to approve or to compliment (ie: to claim the holocaust was ‘highly proficient and an excellent moment in the history of mankind’ might be construed as a compliment expressing approval).

        personally, i can find very little information about the holocaust i could imagine not criticizing. so, i guess we’re rather on opposite ends of the spectrum here.

      • Mooser
        October 14, 2017, 3:59 pm

        “I can’t imagine what it is about the Holocaust that could be criticized.” “Nathan”

        I’m so glad you can view it in that objective fashion. You don’t want to reject anything which might be useful to Zionism.

      • RoHa
        October 14, 2017, 8:13 pm

        Nathan, people quite often present arguments against official or widely accepted accounts of events both ancient and modern. We see this in respect of the existence of Jesus, the origins of Buddhism, the downing of MH17, and the recent shooting in Las Vegas.

        The really important question is the quality of the arguments, not the ideology of the person making the argument. When assessing the arguments, you should forget about those ideologies. They are irrelevant.

        If, after assessing the arguments, you do want to think about ideologies, give equal time to ideology of the persons presenting the official account.

  5. Annie Robbins
    October 11, 2017, 4:28 pm

    He was, perhaps unwittingly, activating several traps.

    jonathan, there’s just no mention of getting rid of these traps. between the JLM and the british press there’s been a constant non stop focus on anti semitism ever since corbyn became leader of the party. constant. this is part of a strategy to take him (and his supporters) down. i don’t see why people should accommodate those traps by tip toeing around them. i think it was really clear what peled was saying. not only that — i agree with him. and if people, as a party, are going to unite over a common policy regarding i/p, i don’t really see why people should be cobbled by constant restrictions and accusations of anti semitism.

    in todays world, the accusation of anti semitism is primarily used as a weapon. but it requires a compliant browbeaten society for that weapon to be effective. unless you accept peled is an anti semite, which i don’t, i think it’s more important to focus on hearing what he has to say, meaning his point, rather than concern yourself for traps set by ones adversaries. unless you believe anti semitism is running rampant in the labour party (i don’t), in relation to all the labour party issues that need focus and attention (brexit!), this is (relatively) a contrived non issue being blown way out of proportion to counter the ever increasing support for palestine within the party.

    i’m not british but if i were i wouldn’t give it the time of day. imagine as the dem party becomes more and more supporters of palestine. do you really think that would mean the whole party (all those individuals) turning anti semitic? no, obviously not. but would the accusations be as loud and screaming as they are in the UK? you betcha!

    blow.it.off. do not empower these trap setting fanatics.

    • Nathan
      October 14, 2017, 8:27 pm

      Annie Robbins – You really don’t understand the concept of criticism. One criticizes a doctor for making the wrong diagnosis. One criticizes the police for not having solved a crime. One criticizes a student for not having done his homework. The common denominator is, obviously, that we are dealing with human beings and their faults. Your statement that “one of the faults of the Holocaust was…” places blame on an historic event – not on human beings. It’s silly to pretend that the Holocaust is responsible for the deaths of so many people. Do you criticize the accident for someone’s death, or do you criticize the driver for being reckless?

      There is no such thing as “criticism of the Holocaust”. You might want to criticize German society. You might want to criticize people who claim that the event never happened. You might want to criticize people who want to belittle the event by spelling the term with a small “h”. Again, the common denominator is that criticism is about the doings of human beings.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 15, 2017, 1:39 pm

        indicate the faults of (someone or something) in a disapproving way.
        “states criticized the failure to provide an adequate and permanent compensation”

        i didn’t make that up. i just googled “criticize” and it popped up. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/criticize also says “Indicate the faults of (someone or something)”

        The common denominator is, obviously, that we are dealing with human beings and their faults….the common denominator is that criticism is about the doings of human beings.

        other than your infallible logic, do you have any source for this? this “doing of human beings?”

        places blame on an historic event – not on human beings.

        can you find even one definition of criticize that includes “to blame”? what about all the reports we’re hearing about the fire in northern california critical of the winds? blaming them for spreading the fire?

        i’d like to your sources that criticism is solely in relation to human relations. granted, i would agree it generally requires a human to criticize but that does not mean a human cannot criticize practically anything, including the weather, or an event such as the industrial revolution. and in criticizing an event, such as a revolution or a genocide, there’s no implication one’s absolving the human culpability.

        There is no such thing as “criticism of the Holocaust”.

        hmm, this is an interesting line of argument. has anyone else ever made it? off the top of my head, i can’t think of anything that can’t be criticized. what other things can’t be criticized? what about the founding of our country? can that be criticized? WW1, is that off limits? what about god? can god be criticized? a religion, can one criticize a religion or only the people worshiping it? your allegation opens a can of worms.

  6. vacyv
    October 11, 2017, 5:31 pm

    What a silly and pointless article except perhaps to put down Peled. Clearly Ofir can’t distinguish, as sensible people can, the morality/immorality between free speech and giving offensive racists a platform. Ofir is spreading the Zionist gospel that exploits the holocaust and antisemitism to defend its war crimes against Palestinians. That is worse than holocaust denial.

  7. Maghlawatan
    October 11, 2017, 5:52 pm

    Peled is a sabra. In the 50s Sabras joked about old time yishuv heads, sephardi Jews and Holocaust survivors.
    The sabra sense of what is acceptable is different.

    • rosross
      October 12, 2017, 9:39 pm

      A Sabra is a Jewish Palestinian, which gives hope for the one-state solution.

      • echinococcus
        October 13, 2017, 12:06 am

        Rosross,

        I don’t understand what it is that gives hope. The sabras, i.e. prickly pears, are in their overwhelming majority brainwashed genocidaires. Just think that they are most of the Zionist entity army. Hope?

  8. yonah fredman
    October 11, 2017, 7:09 pm

    Peled’s an idiot. Makes it easier to conflate antizionism and antisemitism.

    In this day and age of a president who spouts the phrase “fake news” at the drop of a hat, one would think that devotion to historical truth would be a priority, but apparently not.

    Let’s try a few on for size: More European sailors (by percentage) died of disease than Africans brought to America on the Middle Passage. The Tuskegee experiment: fake news. Blacks in America under slavery had a longer life expectancy than blacks who never left Africa. The Armenian genocide was not a genocide, but casualties of a nationalistic uprising. The palestinians were recent immigrants to Palestine. 50% of Palestinians living in Palestine in 1947 were not indigenous but immigrants trying to take advantage of the economic boom introduced by the Zionist movement.

    Let’s discuss. Don’t be oversensitive.

    • Donald Johnson
      October 11, 2017, 9:36 pm

      I agree with Yonah here. Yes, you should defend free speech, but no, that doesn’t mean you have to give a shout out to people who think the reality of the Holocaust is up for debate. Peled sounds like a good guy, but he said something dumb.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 11, 2017, 10:39 pm

        I agree with Yonah here.

        really donald? let’s review:

        Blacks in America under slavery had a longer life expectancy than blacks who never left Africa. The Armenian genocide was not a genocide, but casualties of a nationalistic uprising. The palestinians were recent immigrants to Palestine. 50% of Palestinians living in Palestine in 1947 were not indigenous but immigrants trying to take advantage of the economic boom introduced by the Zionist movement.

        Let’s discuss. Don’t be oversensitive.

        i’d call this a false comparison. name one person who was put on trial, put in jail, or even fired for expressing any of these ideas. where are the headlines denouncing them? and i do not think, when discussing the principle of free speech, asking if people should be free to discuss and criticize the holocaust is a “shout out” to people who think the reality of the Holocaust is up for debate. i do not think that was peled’s intent — at all.

        and had he said the armenian genocide instead, nobody would have blinked an eye.

      • Sibiriak
        October 11, 2017, 11:14 pm

        Annie Robbins: and had he said the armenian genocide instead, nobody would have blinked an eye.
        ———————————

        I seriously doubt that.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 12, 2017, 12:59 am

        get real Sibiriak.

        This is about free speech, the freedom to criticise and to discuss every issue. Whether it’s the Armenia genocide, yes? or no? Palestine? the liberation? the whole spectrum. There should be no limits on the discussion

        you really think that would have made headlines anywhere???? seriously, get friggin real.

        note how i altered the punctuation. remember, this was speech — the choice of “Holocaust: yes or no” was an editorial decision. the decision to not place a period after “the freedom to criticise and to discuss every issue” was an editorial decision.

      • Donald Johnson
        October 11, 2017, 11:41 pm

        I think we are talking about different things. That might be happening a lot in this thread.

        I don’t think people should be jailed or forbidden to deny the Holocaust or to say various other stupid or offensive things, but Peled’s words as quoted in the article sounded like he was putting Holocaust denial in there alongside debate about Palestine. He isn’t a Holocaust denier, but it just seems dumb to link the issues like that. That’s how I see it in general. The last thing antizionists need to be doing is getting into arguments about the Holocaust, unless someone like Finkelstein does it. But he is an historian by training and isn’t remotely a Holocaust denier even if certain liars have claimed he is. One jerk, the editor of the Progressive years ago, said that many years ago on the basis that Finkelstein used Hilberg’s figure for the death toll. After that I rooted for the Progressive to go bankrupt. ( Don’t know whether it is still around.)

        Got off on a tangent.

        I think Yonah’s list of things are in response to people who say we should be free to discuss anything. Sure, we should have the civil right to free speech and to say anything, but it isn’t productive or decent or sensible to have discussions about the reality of the Holocaust. You are talking about something else— whether Holocaust denial is treated more seriously than Armenian genocide denial or other things. Yes, it is. You are right about that and right to say it is a double standard. Or anyway that is what I think your point is.

        One reason I have cut way back on getting into long discussions in these threads is that it sometimes seems like people are talking about 15 different things and arguing past each other. It’s a bit less frustrating just sitting back and trying to decide whether two other people are talking about the same thing than it is to get into it.

      • Sibiriak
        October 12, 2017, 3:53 am

        Annie, I didn’t claim that Armenian genocide denial would ever be as big a political issue as Holocaust denial. We both know the reason why that is true.

        But you wrote: had he said the armenian genocide instead, nobody would have blinked an eye.

        I think that’s hyperbolic.

  9. Frankie P
    October 11, 2017, 7:15 pm

    The truth needs no protection. Let people say what they will. The truth will shine forth in the end. Those who try to protect the “truth” by making rules about what can and cannot be said, discussed, revisited, or revised, are not protecting the truth, they are protecting their own narrative.

    But hey, Jonathan Ofir needs something to write about, and Miko Peled says some things that Jonathan doesn’t like, so he takes him down. Surprised? Don’t be.

    Frankie P

  10. Keith
    October 11, 2017, 8:56 pm

    JONATHAN OFIR- “In this supposedly sophisticated form of Holocaust denial, Atzmon….”

    This is a perfect example of how the term “Holocaust denial” can be misapplied and, in the process, infer something which isn’t true. Strictly speaking, Holocaust denial should only be applied if someone essentially denies that around 5 to 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis. Period. Is that what Atzmon did? This BS about “trivializing” the Holocaust being Holocaust denial implies something which isn’t true. It is this casual misuse of the term that allows Zionists to ludicrously claim that Norman Finkelstein is a Holocaust denier. A quote from ADL Regional Director David Friedman to illustrate.

    “We are shocked and troubled that on November 18, 2002, Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies Department, Justice and Peace Center, and the Young Arab Leadership Association (YALA) sponsored a lecture by a known Holocaust denier and anti-Israel propagandist, Norman Finkelstein.” (David Friedman, ADL Regional Director) http://normanfinkelstein.com/2006/10/13/how-the-adl-fights-anti-semitism/

    • Sibiriak
      October 11, 2017, 9:19 pm

      Keith: . Strictly speaking, Holocaust denial should only be applied if someone essentially denies that around 5 to 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis.
      ————————————

      I agree. Holocaust denial and Holocaust trivialization are two different phenomena (as are Nakba denial and Nakba trivialization.) Both are bad. Trivialization is arguably worse, since it’s hard these days to get away with pure Holocaust denial. Of course, mythologizing the Holocaust as an absolutely unique event, the epitome of an irrational eternal Gentile Jew-hatred, is to be roundly rejected as well.

      • Keith
        October 12, 2017, 1:04 am

        SIBIRIAK- “Trivialization is arguably worse….”

        Trivialization is in the eye of the beholder, subjective in the extreme. How could anyone in their right mind call Norman Finkelstein a Holocaust denier? It has degenerated into yet another Zionist attack weapon, implying something which does not exist for tactical purposes. I would be most interested in you providing an example of odious Holocaust trivialization worse than Holocaust denial.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 12, 2017, 1:42 am

        keith, you mean like claiming only 4 million died vs nazis never tried to kill any jews, or they didn’t kill any intentionally? how could the former be worse than the latters?

      • Keith
        October 12, 2017, 10:49 am

        ANNIE- “keith, you mean like claiming only 4 million died….”

        I agree with your comparison, however, “Holocaust trivialization” will be virtually anything that the Zionists wish it to be, such as criticizing Holocaust exploitation. I don’t agree that accusing Norman Finkelstein of Holocaust trivialization is an improvement over calling him a Holocaust denier. Furthermore, I think that the narrow focus on the Nazi Holocaust tends to trivialize the many other instances of mass murder including, I might add, the killing of between 20 – 30% of the population of North Korea during the Korean War. The number of people killed by the British empire, for example, is stupendous, the starvation deaths in India alone resulting from British policies. And the US has taken up where Britain left off. Neoliberal globalization has been a disaster for the entire Third World. And how many true Holocaust deniers are there anyway? And what has been the consequence? True Holocaust denial has been a trivial problem at worst. On the other hand, accusing people of Holocaust denial in order to silence criticism of Israeli policies and behavior is a serious problem.

  11. Sibiriak
    October 11, 2017, 9:01 pm

    Peled: Peled says “I don’t know what antisemitism means.
    ————————————————-

    If he doesn’t know what antisemitism is, then he is in no position to argue that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism.

    • echinococcus
      October 11, 2017, 10:59 pm

      Nobody knows what that means –if it is not plain racism, it must be something against acquired characteristics and is perfectly acceptable wherever there is free expression. If it is plain racism, it doesn’t need or deserve a separate name.

      • Sibiriak
        October 11, 2017, 11:20 pm

        ehinococcus : Nobody knows what that means
        ————————

        Speak for yourself.

        Do you know what “anti-Arab” means? Or “anti-Muslim”, or “anti-communist” etc?

        Do you struggle to understand the meaning of any of those or similar terms?

        Substitute “Jewish” or “Jewishness” for “Semite” or “Semitism” and you should be able to figure out what “anti-Semite” or “anti-Semitism” means.

        (Note that in the above expressions there is no need to precisely define “Arab”, “Muslim”, or “Communist” in order to understand the basic meaning of the expressions–in fact, precise definitions of the term after “anti” strip the expression of its function.)

      • Annie Robbins
        October 12, 2017, 1:32 am

        Sibiriak, for brevities sake, and i won’t try to speak for echi here (god forbid), but i think what peled may have meant was he doesn’t understand what anti semitism is supposed to mean anymore. there was once a time when anti semitism meant hatred for jews.

        have you ever heard of the “new” anti semitism? it means anti zionism equals anti semitism. in this new configuration, zionism being a political construct, it means if one is anti ethnocratic or anti colonialist states, including or specific to israel, one hates jews. that’s sort of twisted logic. so when people change the definitions of terms, to fit their political objectives, it’s normal to either not understand those new terms or reject them.

        i recommend jonathan cook’s “The ‘New Anti-Semitism’ and Nuclear War” for an understanding of this new (faux) version of AS: http://www.antiwar.com/orig/cook.php?articleid=9745

      • Sibiriak
        October 12, 2017, 2:23 am

        Annie: have you ever heard of the “new” anti semitism?

        —————–

        Of course.

        it means anti zionism equals anti semitism

        It claims that anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism. But you need a definition of antisemitism in order make that argument as well as to make the argument that anti-Zionism is NOT antisemitism.

        there was once a time when anti semitism meant hatred for jews.

        But the “New Antisemitism” doesn’t abandon that (rough) definition. You demonstrated that yourself:

        [Annie Robbins:] in this new configuration, zionism being a political construct, it means if one is anti ethnocratic or anti colonialist states, including or specific to israel, one hates jews

        So it’s still about “hating Jews”.

        The argument against “The New Antisemitism” is simply, no, anti-Zionism is NOT antisemitic because it’s not about hating Jews or Jewishness (followed up, of course with facts and logic that prove that point.)

        You can’t make a strong argument that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism if you claim not to know what “antisemitism” means (Peled, echino), or if you deny that it exists (Atzmon). Those r
        rhetorical strategies just don’t work, whatever the impulse behind them.

      • echinococcus
        October 12, 2017, 2:59 am

        BS overbidding here, Sibiriak.

        “Antisemitism” is not at all like anti-Arab/Muslim/ Communist. You’re playing dumb.
        The operative part is to know if the term is used a) to designate opposition based on a characteristic of birth (=ancestry) in which case it is racism, or b) anything acquired (like religion or anything else in the acquired department, which would make it entirely kosher.)

        So one still cannot know what it means in practical terms before the above is made clear.

        My personal, additional contention is that if it supposed to designate plain racism as in a) above, then using a separate fancy word for just that separate, particular kind of racism is a sly propaganda operation by Zionists and other “Jewish” fake-nationalists (even if they are not entirely Zionist) designed to justify their “non-antisemitic” racist and tribal attitude.

      • Sibiriak
        October 12, 2017, 9:54 am

        echinococcus : “Antisemitism” is not at all like anti-Arab/Muslim/ Communist.
        ——————

        It’s exactly the same.

        “Anti” means against or opposed to. What is opposed is the entity following the word “anti”. The only possible confusion is with the word “semitism”. Once it is understood that it refers to Jews and/or Jewishness, the expression becomes perfectly meaningful. Antisemitic means being opposed to Jews/Jewishness, just as anti-Muslim means being opposed to Muslims/Islam, or anticommunist means opposed to communists or communism. It’s that simple. The semantic structure is identical in all cases.

        [echinococcus: ] The operative part is to know if the term is used a) to designate opposition based on a characteristic of birth (=ancestry) in which case it is racism, or b) anything acquired (like religion or anything else in the acquired department, which would make it entirely kosher.)

        Absolutely wrong. Anti-Arab bigotry, for example, can be based on alleged “characteristics of birth” or alternately it can be based on alleged acquired cultural defects (or others). In both cases it is wrong because 1) it posits a monolithic Arab identity; 2) it posits some *essential* negative characteristics, whether acquired or not, and 3) that posited monolithic, essentialist characterization is not consistent with empirically verified reality.

        Creating a false essentialist notion of an “Arab mind”– created primarily through culture, not genetics– is just as objectionable as a false essentialist notion of Arabs based on purely inherited characteristics.

        See:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Arab_Mind

        Along with prefaces, a conclusion, and a postscript, the book contains 16 chapters, including Arab child-rearing practices, three chapters on Bedouin influences and values, Arab language, Arab art, sexual honor/repression, freedom/hospitality/outlets, Islam’s impact, unity and conflict and conflict resolution, and Westernization.

        [..]Patai is criticized in passing at several points in Edward Said’s book Orientalism. Other scholars[who?] describe the book as simplistic, reductionist, stereotyping, generic, essentialist, outdated, superseded, flawed, unscientific, and even intellectually dishonest.[3]

        The Racism Watch organisation reported in June 2004 that Manning Marable, Columbia University director of African American Studies, had called for immediate action to be taken to end the U.S. military’s use of the book. This was followed by a surge of media interest in the book during the summer of 2004. In an article in The New Yorker, Seymour Hersh said that he was told by an academic that the book was “the bible of the neocons on Arab behaviour”.[4]

        The anti-Arab ideology in “The Arab Mind” does not, as you would have it, become kosher simply because it deals with alleged acquired characteristics.

        The irrelevancy or your acquired characteristic vs “characteristics of birth” dichotomy becomes even clearer if we consider anti-Islam bigotry (aka Islamophobia ) where there is no question of “characteristics of birth.”
        Criticizing Islam while being empirically accurate and acknowledging its complexities is perfectly legitimate. But giving a false, distorted, monolithic, essentialist condemnation of Islam is not. It’s bigotry. It’s falsification of reality, therefore not legitimate.

      • Keith
        October 12, 2017, 11:41 am

        SIBIRIAK- “But the “New Antisemitism” doesn’t abandon that (rough) definition.”

        Indeed, the “new anti-Semitism” makes use of two criteria simultaneously. There is the criteria for attaching the label which boils down to most things which inhibit Jewish Zionist power seeking. Then there is the criteria which attaches to the label, namely, hatred of Jews. The attaching of the label fulfills two functions. First, it is used as an ad hominem attack to discredit a person’s views without actually discussing them. Second, it is a signal to Zionist (and other?) Jews, and perhaps other Zionists, that this person is to be treated as an enemy.

      • echinococcus
        October 13, 2017, 9:25 am

        Sibiriak,

        “Falsification of reality” is totally OK. It is a presentation (or pretends to be) of someone else’s “reality”. The way to oppose it s to compete in presenting your interpretation of so-called reality, not to shut him up by “anti-this-and-that!” cries.

        Of course most so-called anti-Islamism is very thinly veiled racism against people from a given part of the world, no matter if they are atheists or Christians. You attack that because it is plain racist, not by taking it at its own self-description.

        The ridiculous “antisemitism” accusation is mostly directed against people who criticize or oppose tribalist practices and Zionism. Even if this opposition did “falsify reality” it is not racist and should be opposed by weighing facts.

      • ErsatzYisrael
        October 16, 2017, 3:21 pm

        Sibiriak said on October 11, 2017, at 11:20 pm:

        Do you know what “anti-Arab” means?

        Yes, it means “anti-Semite”, literally.

      • ErsatzYisrael
        October 16, 2017, 3:42 pm

        echinococcus said on October 11, 2017, at 10:59 pm:

        Nobody knows what that means

        “Anti-Semitism” literally means hating Arabs because they are Arabic speakers.

      • Mooser
        October 16, 2017, 4:04 pm

        “Yes, it means “anti-Semite”, literally.”

        That both the Jews and Arabs are descended from Shem, one of Noah’s sons, after the Flood had wiped out all human life on earth is an unavoidable historical fact.

      • echinococcus
        October 16, 2017, 8:24 pm

        Ersatz Yisrael,

        I would first run it by Humpty Dumpty, just to make sure that meaning is kosher.

      • ErsatzYisrael
        October 17, 2017, 5:59 am

        echinococcus said on October 16, 2017, at 8:24 pm:

        I would first run it by Humpty Dumpty, just to make sure that meaning is kosher.

        Run it by your brain, echi:

        Do the etymological roots of “Semitism” lie in the 18th and 19th century philological research that led to the discovery of a family of “Semitic” languages?

        Is Arabic the most widely spoken Semitic language on planet?

        Is hating Arabic speaking Arabs because they are Arabic speaking Arabs literally “anti-Semitism”?

      • echinococcus
        October 17, 2017, 9:14 am

        Ersatz Yisroel:

        Run it by your brain

        That was already done and you’re Oll Korrekt by me.
        What a word is to mean, though, is determined by the Master.

        ‘But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.
        ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
        ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
        ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

      • echinococcus
        October 17, 2017, 10:14 am

        Now let’s proceed past Humpty Dumpty and see who’s to be Master here, who defines the words.

        Today Amena Elashkar, “a third generation Palestinian refugee living in a camp in Lebanon”, touring the US as an interpreter for Nakba survivor octogenarians, tells us who the Master is who defines words. Like “antisemitism”.

        In CounterPunch, she asks: “If You Work for Justice in Palestine, Why Won’t You Let Palestinians Speak?”
        https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/17/if-you-work-for-justice-in-palestine-why-wont-you-let-palestinians-speak/

        Hear what is happening during these tours:

        What surprised us, however, was that some of the groups calling themselves “Students for Justice in Palestine” would also challenge us. The first was at Stanford University last year, where they expressed a concern that Alison Weir had come with us to hear our talk, and where I was told that I should not say that “Israel” has no right to exist (which is not part of our presentation, but which is a view held by millions of Palestinians).

        This earned us a reputation as “anti-Semites” in some circles, despite the fact that no one has shown anything anti-Semitic in any of our presentations. Some groups also object to statements made by some of the people in our organizing committee, composed of Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the International Solidarity Movement – Northern California and the Free Palestine Movement. But no one has produced any anti-Semitic statements from any of these groups, either. Most recently, we were informed by the SJP group at George Washington University in Washington, DC that our Oct. 19 talk would be cancelled because we were “anti-Semitic”.

        Of course, we expect such talk from our Zionist enemies, and we give it little importance. But to hear it from a group that claims to be standing for justice in Palestine? Do these groups really expect to have any credibility among Palestinians when they do this?

        So yes, we are supposed to run any definition of words by the tribal Antisemitism-Hunter master and get the Kosher stamp.

        Nobody is getting at the “official” Zionists before getting out of the way their spies and agents at the helm of these tribally segregated organizations, founded with the sole aim of ensuring a good name for the tribe (and incidentally keeping an uninvited grip on Palestine.)

        Has anyone a good investigation of how come these Antisemitism-hunter fake solidarity orgs are always the best-funded, best-organized?

      • Mooser
        October 17, 2017, 12:53 pm

        “Do the etymological roots of “Semitism” lie in the 18th and 19th century philological research that led to the discovery of a family of “Semitic” languages?”

        If I am not mistaken, “Semitic” was a theoretical family of “proto-languages” which must have been there sometime since history must match up with the Bible, and all those people are descended from Shem, one of the son’s of Noah, repopulating the world after the Flood.

        It’s all very male-chauvinist if you ask me. If it was up to me, I would have given Noah a daughter named “Emma”.

    • Keith
      October 12, 2017, 11:51 am

      SIBIRIAK- “If he doesn’t know what antisemitism is, then he is in no position to argue that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism.”

      Of course he is in a position to argue that criticism of Israel and Zionism is legitimate, and that attempts to label such criticism as anti-Semitism, however defined but usually implying Jew hatred, are bogus. In fact, the ongoing overemphasis on locating and labeling anti-Semitism when anti-Semitism is of negligible importance is primarily indicative of the power of Jewish Zionists to control the narrative.

  12. HHM
    October 11, 2017, 10:03 pm

    In his book, An Ethical Tradition Betrayed – the End of Judaism, (page 179) Holocaust survivor Dr. Hajo Myer shrewdly observed that “an anti-Semite used to be a person who disliked Jews. Now it is a person who Jews dislike.” The term “anti-Semitism” is problematic. “Anti-Jewish bigotry” would be more precise.

    Also, Peled’s statement, “Promoters of racist ideologies should not be given a public platform, and to me that does include people who promote Zionism – which is a racist ideology whose followers have committed and continue to commit crimes against the people of Palestine.” can be seen as a direct result of Antifa’s many attempts to protest and deplatform racist white nationalist speakers but who do not show up to protest and deplatform Zionist speakers promoting Israel.

    • Qualtrough
      October 12, 2017, 12:39 am

      Dr. Hajo Myer shrewdly observed that “an anti-Semite used to be a person who disliked Jews. Now it is a person who Jews dislike.”

      So accurate. Thanks for sharing that.

  13. erizo
    October 12, 2017, 3:06 am

    Yes Jonathan, You hit the nail on the head. Peled has given ammunition, however unwittingly, to the Israel Lobby and its cronies. Unfortunately his comment did prove an immense distraction to the fabulous and powerful conference and was wholly unnecessary. That is what is so sad here. With the terrific and relentless work Peled is doing for Palestinian Rights, one sometimes wonders whether the almost “celebrity status” that he has obtained amongst activists and Palestinians has maybe inflated his ego to the extend that he believes that the judiciousness of his work has put him beyond reproach. That is a dangerous place for anyone to be, as present events reveal only too well. No-one is beyond reproach. Everyone who believes in the moral path must act with responsibility. Peled’s words were most certainly irresponsible. The most courageous thing for him to have done (and it is still not too late to do so) would be to retract his comments and apologise for them.

    • echinococcus
      October 13, 2017, 9:44 am

      Unfortunately his comment did prove an immense distraction to the fabulous and powerful conference and was wholly unnecessary.

      Not “unfortunately”. It’s by design, because

      1) the Zionist media are there to pounce on your every said and unsaid word and create a three-ring circus everyday to distract from their heinous crimes and perform character assassination of serious anti-Zionists;

      2) non-Zionist tribal groups, like the commanding bodies of some Palestine support associations, are equally ready to pounce on every possible word that could be construed as “antisemitism”(if necessary by convoluted analysis of intent) , because antisemitism-hunting seems to be their primary objective instead of support to Palestinian resistance.

      Looks like Peled has been consistent enough to be designated for the “If Americans Knew” treatment. I’d be delighted to be wrong.

  14. Jonathan Ofir
    October 12, 2017, 3:16 am

    Annie Robbins, I would like to address your interpretation of Peled’s words, where you write:

    “[P]eled didn’t make an “expression” of “Holocaust: yes, or no”, that was an editorial choice.
    peled’s expression was
    This is about free speech, the freedom to criticize and to discuss every issue. Whether it’s the Holocaust [do you support the freedom to criticize and to discuss it] yes? or no? Palestine [do you support the freedom to criticize and to discuss it], the liberation [do you support the freedom to criticize and to discuss it], the whole spectrum [do you support the freedom to criticize and to discuss it]. There should be no limits on the discussion.”

    But I think this is incorrect, Annie, because Peled DID make ‘an expression of’ “Holocaust: yes or no” – simply because he said those words. Now you want to interpret HOW he meant those words, and thus you insert editorial brackets.

    But this interpretation does not seem to be supported by Peled’s subsequent response to the Guardian (nor in other responses which I am aware of). As quoted by Guardian, he goes (full quote this time):

    “The Holocaust was a terrible crime that we must study and from which we must all learn. I reject the idea that Holocaust deniers, foolish as they may be, should be treated as criminals and I doubt that supporters of Israel should be given the authority to judge who is or is not a racist and antisemite.”

    So, that is his issue. He’s not saying ‘no, you misunderstood, I meant yes and no in terms of debate or no debate’, as he would if he really meant what you thought he meant. He strengthened his assertion about allowing free speech on Holocaust denial.

    The issue here, the PROBLEM here, is that this is not really about the criminalization of Holocaust deniers (and note, that is the term Peled refers to here, if anyone was in doubt). Because Peled did not speak about criminalizing Zionists or Nazis in the parallel reference to them, as mentioned. He spoke about not giving them a stage. The problem is, that he is now inevitably speaking about ‘giving a stage’ when he speaks of ‘free speech’ for Holocaust deniers – the proximity of the two issues makes them hardly distinguishable.

    Yes, it’s vague, but it leaves a very murky grey area. It’s not at all as clear as what your interpretation suggests, and Peled is not even claiming it is. He’s clear on Zionists, Nazis – but vague on Holocaust denial. Would he say “Nazism yes or no”, “Zionism yes or no” as part of ‘free speech’?, No, he clearly excludes that, because he says “we don’t invite the Nazis and give them an hour to explain why they are right”, and that “in the same way we do not invite Zionists – it’s a very similar kind of thing”.

    In other words, the Holocaust deniers should get an opportunity to “explain why they are right” – but not the Nazis, or the Zionists.

    So Peled is not really advocating free speech here as a universal notion. He is precisely defining where he thinks it should border. And the border does not exclude Holocaust denial.

    • echinococcus
      October 12, 2017, 3:52 am

      Ofir,

      I’ll skip a couple points where I don’t agree re reading Peled’s words, but to the meat now:

      “we don’t invite the Nazis and give them an hour to explain why they are right”, and that “in the same way we do not invite Zionists – it’s a very similar kind of thing”.
      In other words, the Holocaust deniers should get an opportunity to “explain why they are right” – but not the Nazis, or the Zionists.
      So Peled is not really advocating free speech here as a universal notion. He is precisely defining where he thinks it should border.

      How so? Not inviting, or not listening when someone explains something, has zilch to do with opposing free speech.
      Peled is just one martial arts guy, not an armed, entire fascist government with the powers to silence anyone –let alone the Zionists.

      Also, the statements are absolutely correct. It is absolutely despicable and ridiculous to invite Zionists or listen to them at all. There is as little to debate with them as there was with the Nazis in 1944. They are in power and they are murderous, nay genocidal.

      “Holocaust(TM) deniers” are one side in a historical discussion (a kooky side mostly, manned by ridiculous nostalgics, but still a side in a discussion.) They are not nearly as off line as the moneymakers off the Holocaust(TM) industry and certainly cannot be compared to the Zionists.

      • rosross
        October 12, 2017, 9:57 pm

        Everyone should have a right to speak.

      • echinococcus
        October 16, 2017, 2:53 am

        Yes, Rosross. Everybody should have a right to speak.
        Not necessarily in my house, though.
        Also, one can at the same time oppose any censorship of one’s enemy and do one’s best to eliminate said enemy.

    • Leahj
      October 12, 2017, 11:29 am

      Jonathan,

      I don’t understand why you find his position on that so problematic. In several countries, people labeled holocaust deniers or trivializers are sent to prison for years, & required to pay large fines, solely for expressing their opinions/beliefs. Being ‘treated as criminals’ isn’t metaphorical. Even in the US, they receive numerous death threats, get beaten up, have their homes & offices firebombed, etc. So Peled doesn’t find these ‘punishments’ acceptable. Do you??

    • Annie Robbins
      October 13, 2017, 12:47 am

      because Peled DID make ‘an expression of’ “Holocaust: yes or no” – simply because he said those words.

      i don’t see it as that simple jonathan. i think context matters. when you preface a thought with “whether it’s” this or that, it has to be in relation to something. like, whether we buy a blue house or a purple house make sure it’s a big house, yes or no?

      so this person was not making an expression of “house: yes or no?” because he’s not asking whether they want a house, yes or no. in “whether it’s holocaust yes or no?” the “whether ” has to relate to something. you can’t divorce it from the statement. and the topic he was discussing is “the freedom to criticize and to discuss every issue.” iow, do we support the freedom to criticize and to discuss the holocaust. yes or no?

      A colon is used before a list or quote.

      This is about free speech, the freedom to criticise and to discuss every issue, whether it’s: the Holocaust, yes or no, Palestine, the liberation, the whole spectrum.

      There should be no limits on the discussion”.

      Now you want to interpret HOW he meant those words, and thus you insert editorial brackets.

      punctuation matters. A colon is used before a list or quote. given that, what was the list about in my punctuation? you interpreted holocaust yes or no as did the holocaust happen yes or no? i interpreted it as the beginning of a list of topics that he advocates should be discussed and criticized.

      But this interpretation does not seem to be supported by Peled’s subsequent response to the Guardian (nor in other responses which I am aware of). As quoted by Guardian, he goes (full quote this time):

      maybe that has to do with the charges made against him or the phrasing of the question. the guardian citing another publication, opened their article w/claims of “a speaker who said people should be allowed to question whether the Holocaust happened.”

      can we just assume that was what they ask him and therefore, that was what he responded to? again, i wish i could hear a tape recording of what he said or read an entire transcript. transcribing is a tricky business.

      but more importantly, we just see things, fundamentally, very differently. because while you see him “quite clearly whistling to Holocaust deniers” i see, quite clearly, he was whistling to JLM. and when you see him “throwing out raw meat for the sharks at that moment” i see the same thing. but in my world the sharks are not holocaust deniers (which in the british labour party, in the grand scheme of things, people who question whether the holocaust happened, are insignificant) they are the press, the JLM and those who want to take down corbyn and redefine anti semitism and alter the labour party rules. he threw them raw meat and wow did they bite. he was fearless, daring, provocative.

      watching all this from the other side of the pond, i think the jewish labour pro israel lobby needs a punch in the face. and i think he gave it to them. frankly, i loved it. he set the tone which was their trap and they all chomped like hyenas. i think he’s come out of it the hero that he is. he’s brave and honest and they can’t take him down. he’s his father’s son.

      • RoHa
        October 14, 2017, 9:26 am

        “punctuation matters.”

        !

  15. Citizen
    October 12, 2017, 4:01 am

    Official narratives by historians change over time as more information enters the mix, e.g., at one time part of the official narrative of The Holocaust was that Nazis made soap and lampshades out of murdered Jews.

    • rosross
      October 12, 2017, 9:58 pm

      History is littered with errors in every field – science, medicine, academia, all of them. Littered with lies, propaganda, misinformation and mistakes.

      Which is why freedom of speech is so important.

  16. Tony Greenstein
    October 12, 2017, 9:12 am

    I find this very difficult because I am on both sides of the fence. I agree with some of Jonathan’s points but on the other hand I disagree with the criticism of Miko.

    Let’s be clear that the Zionists wanted something to ‘prove’ that the supporters of the Palestinians were ‘anti-Semitic’ at the Labour Party conference and they would have run with anything For that reason Miko should have been more careful not to give them the raw meat that Jonathan mentions. But on the other hand his remark was ambiguous.

    The important thing is that when Miko was challenged he made it quite clear in the Guardian that he was no holocaust denier, so the question is whether or not the holocaust is a validl subject for debate.

    Firstly the holocaust is debated, continuously. How many died, why did it happen, why did the Nazis prioritise extermination over mililtary priorities, was it planned from the start or a product of the German war machine (intentionalism v functionalism) how many survived etc. The question of whether or not there was a holocaust is essentiall trivial. It is like debating whether the Earth is flat or if water is wet!

    Holocaust denial began with neo-Nazis who saw it as essential to deny the crimes of the Nazis if they were to have a chance of repeating them. People like Arthur Butz’s 1976 Hoax of the 20th Century, Paul Rassinier’s 1964 Dram of the European Jews and in Britain Richard Harwood/Verall’s Did 6 Million Really Die?

    However holocaust denial has now gained far wider support and isn’t still confined to the neo-Nazi fringe. The reason for this, let us be quite clear is Zionism and the State of Israel. It is the Ahmedinajad reaction. In essence the more stupid opponents of Israel, who are NOT anti-Zionists, took the position that if Israel claimed its legitimacy from the Holocaust then all that was needed was to deny the Holocaust and hey presto, Israel had no legitimacy.

    Not only is holocaust denial widespread in the Arab and Third world, as a result of Israels deployment of it but it is widespread amongst the circles of conspiracy theorists who are also convinced that 9/11 didn’t happen.

    There is only one thing wrong with this conjuring trick. The Holocaust did happen, it is provable beyond any doubt. Hence was these deniers to is in fact reinforce the legitimacy of the very thing they oppose.

    But this doesn’t answer the question of whether or not Miko was right to say everything must be discussed, ‘holocaust yes or no’. I certainly don’t think we should debate holocaust deniers because that will give them legitimacy but on the other hand we cannot shrink from debate either. Many is the time I have challenged holocaust deniers on Facebook and point out the absurdity of their views. If we take the view that you don’t ever debate holocaust deniers or call them out then you must never challenge them either.

    Indeed it is dangerous to suppress or make holocaust denial illegal. For a long time I wasn’t sure about this and I weep no tears if Ernst Zundel gets 5 years in Germany, but we have to say that making holocaust denial illegal doesn’t make it illegal it simply drives it underground. If anything it becomes the forbidden fruit and more attractive. Germany has made it illegal and they now have a far-Right party, AfD, with holocaust deniers prominent in it, as the 3rd party in the Bundestag.

    In Austria, the candidate of the Freedom Party, a party set up as a neo-Nazi party that failed to get their candidate elected by a whisker to the Presidency. In Austria David Irving served time for holocaust denial. Is this a model?

    There is no doubt that Israel and Zionism are primarily responsible for the spread of holocaust denial from the fringes to almost mainstream far-Right politics.

    I also don’t seem to have a great problem with Miko’s comment about Jews having a reputation as sleazy thieves. It is a fact that the stereotype of Jews as mean, dishonest, financially greedy etc. is still fairly common. We had Owen Smith in the Labour Party leadersip debate with Jeremy Corbyn saying that Jews were good entrepeneurs!

    It is a fact that Zionism is happy to substantiate anti-Semitic tropes and stereotypes. Another stereotype they further is the idea that Jews owe a dual loyalty to the state where they live and Israel. Indeed Zionism demands that Jews are loyal to Israel and Zionism. That is why Jewish anti-Zionists are called traitors. We are and can only be traitors to Israel is we owe a loyalty!

    I should also recall the comments of Raul Hilberg, Professor of Holocaust Studies at Vermont University and author of the seminal work The Destruction of the European Jews. He said that we, that is researchers and students of the Holocaust could learn things from holocaust deniers. Why? Because in their attempt to prove that we are wrong they point to flaws and weaknesses in our own understanding and arguments. He is right. We have nothing to fear from holocaust denial, quite the contrary.

    But above all we should remember that it is the supporters of Israel who bear the brunt of the responsibility for this pernicious phenomenon.

    • rosross
      October 12, 2017, 10:02 pm

      Would you not agree that a major problem is that the label holocaust denier is applied far too broadly and frequently where it does not exist?

      It is ridiculous to claim there was no holocaust. It is not ridiculous to question the claims made in regard to it. Neither is it ridiculous to classify theJewish experience of holocaust on a par with all human experiences of holocaust, i.e. not greater, more significant, or worse than any other.

      Can you give a description of what a true holocaust denier is? Clarify what does and does not amount to holocaust denial?

  17. watzal
    October 12, 2017, 10:38 am

    Come on, your moral enforcers from Mondoweiss. Your smear campaign against Miko Peled could not have been done better by the Zionist Hasbara. Don’t pretend to be anti-Zionist. You are no better than the so-called liberal Zionists who are hypocrites. Peled never came near denying the Holocaust. Don’t forget that even Noam Chomsky supported real Holocaust deniers because they also have their right to freedom of speech, as absurd their opinion might be. For this liberal and laissez-faire attitude, the German sect the “Antideutschen” (Anti-Germans) ostracize Chomsky until now. Jonathan, look who’s talking!

    • Donald Johnson
      October 12, 2017, 12:09 pm

      Nobody here said Peled denied the Holocaus and I also don’t see anyone saying that Holocaust deniers shouldn’t have free speech. And you are doing exactly what you claim to condemn–you are smearing a bunch of people because they think Peled put his foot in his mouth. Evidently in order to believe that the Nakba was a crime against humanity, we also have to agree with you about whether Peled said something dumb. Sorry. Logic doesn’t work that way. People can disagree about Peled’s remarks and still agree on other things, even if you claim otherwise.

  18. ritzl
    October 12, 2017, 11:28 am

    So does this mean Peled will be disinvited from speaking at JVP, USCPR, SJP, and/or other Palestinian activist events?

  19. Ossinev
    October 12, 2017, 12:52 pm

    Holocaust denial is pathetic and Holocaust deniers are pathetic. They should be allowed as much airtime as possible to allow them to spout their nonsense and on questioning to be revealed quite easily for what they are. I do think however that Zionists/Israeli Firsters will fight for them not to be given an airing not because their views and analyses are immoral and hurtful to Holocaust survivors or Holocaust descendants. No I think they will oppose giving them a platform because it will reveal them to be a miniscule bunch of weirdos and not the vanguard in the alleged massive ongoing Anti – Semitism ( ie anti – Judaism ) which they claim is still all pervasive throughout humanity. In other words it`s another little weapon in the eternally victimised armoury which they are desperate to hold on to.

  20. Jane Porter
    October 12, 2017, 2:20 pm

    About Holocaust: It included Jews, Gypsies, Poles Russians, But this genocide has been kidnapped by pro-Israel Jews and non-Jews. The word Holocaust appeared more than a decade later after WW2 and since then so many other “holocausts ” happened in the world.”.
    In the 1990’s watching a french TV talk-show called”ça se discute’ Let’s discuss it’ a French government ex-minister Simone Weil, one of the best they ever had, a brilliant woman, was invited as survivor of Auchwitz with 2 gypsies to recall how they were taken away from there
    because the Red Army was arriving, and how they walked a very long journey in the snow and lot’s of them died of weakness during the trip. When she was asked if she knew that these people were also there. She said “no” very coldly and never addressed to the to others. It surprised me from a woman I then admired. It was clear that she didn’t want to share any memories with these Gypsies.
    And the word Antisemitism, was also kidnapped for political purpose. But real racists don’t make any difference: When at school, I was 12 years walking with 2 other class-mates, discussing who they liked and who not, in our class, then giving my own opinion, I said: The one i like best is A M Rosenberg. Answer: Hum! trop youpine! (ugly name forJewish,) and later
    round the corner, an Algerian worker was stooping ,repairing the side-walk then the other girl
    spat on the floor, saying : Sale arabe!. Wel!, that was in the end fifties. I witnessed other times
    when Arabs and Jews were put in the same bag in popular racism. As both not christians, circumsised and not eating pork.
    So jews fighting “antisemitism” don’t be so exclusive
    it’s time you admit the Arabs in your club!

    • gamal
      October 12, 2017, 5:28 pm

      “it’s time you admit the Arabs in your club!”

      while I am disinclined to get in involved in any of this Madame, you reminded me of two books so very briefly, i would recommend them, judging by many of the comments here it couldn’t hurt,

      do you know Mohamed Dib : Who remembers the Sea and Driss Chraibi : Flutes of Death,

      Dib: ” Horror never grows more profound, it only repeats itself” He examines modern savagery but also gives the perspective of Arabs caught up in the collapse of the state and “liberation”, it is apparently an unknown perspective.

      Chraibi: following the path first opened up by Yahya Haqqi and Taufik al Hakim in Flutes he details the assumption of the newly free Arab “Rulers” technocrats, bureaucrats of the role previously occupied by the colonial regimes and the fundamental failures of the revolutions to restructure their societies rather than to reproduce a colonial structure with different personel and a new logic, development and rational management, this is a sardonic work

      Dib wrote some well known lines in his collection Feu Beau Feu

      “je brule d’agir
      dans le pelage
      et forge demuseree
      sur les hautes mers
      de designer
      en blondeurs
      les rives a usure”

      wasn’t JFKs’ first senatorial speech or something about Algeria, i forget.

      a really excellent book is of course : L’Algerie en 1995: La Guerre, l’histoire, la politique: Benjamin Stora, an academic companion to Chraibi, it was reviewed in the Arab Quarterly, may contain non-reductive representations of the Arab experience, going back to the 1830’s, so you’ve been warned.

  21. Danaa
    October 12, 2017, 5:12 pm

    As usual, to me these discussions seem to be more evocative of a theological dispute rather than anything substansive. people parsing the ‘true” meaning of Peled’s 4 word throw-away sentence, part of a paragraph delivered in a speech – he must be a lucky man indee, to draw this kind of careful attention!

    The argument Ofir seems to be making is “be careful and don’t give ammunition to the Lib zionists” The argument Peled seems to have waded into appears to be something like “are there or should there be limits to free speech?” (just trying to boil things down to the basics).

    Now I see no way for reaching a consensus on either side. As someone in the habit of “speaking from the hip” I’d say that the Lib Zios, like the true blue Zios, and/or the arch-zios, need no excuses whatsoever to appeal to some throw-away sentences to interpret ill-intent. After all, the euphemism known as the dreaded “anti-semitism”, whatever that is, will be found even among the most artfully delivered expressions anyways, givenenough microscopes. In any case, the high priests of liberal zionism, people like, what’s his name, Freedland?, are as practiced in linguistic contrivances as Israel’s illustrious archaeological experts are at finding Judaica evidence in very artefact they dig out from anywhere. Trying to herd all speakers, especially those for whom English may not be their mother’s tongue, into some kind of a linguistic and contextual straight-jacket will only serve to get us an ever -diminishing pool of speakers from which to choose. At the end all there’ll be left are the linguists, and may be not even them.

    So yes, this argument of “watch your language! bears be there” is something that can only beget rites of counting just how many devils can safely dance on a pin (answer: more than one, if they be good dancers).

    But as to Peled’s wading into the “how free should free be” well, that’s another can of worms that the wise would better stay away from. There’s no way one does not get trapped in a muddy swamp full of hungry alligators just waiting for a chance of an evening meal. One becomes prey the minute one gives in to the temptation of providing a single example. Basically, no, there are no safe examples to give (OK, I’ll bite – how can I resist? here’s one: “The genocide of the Indians beget the great country of America. Was it worth it? discuss…..”).

    I realize this kind of debate may make sense in the English context, what with Corbyn rising (hooray!), a history of sectarian in-fighting going back to Henry the VIII’s (which may be what led to this apparent fondness for semanticism of “ism”s), and yes, the spectre of Atzmonics (an interesting phenomenon all on its own – something akin to dread of the nightwalkers. Note to self: need to look more into this some day). It may also appeal to the subset of Americans that still miss their debate clubs (I didn’t get to be in one, ever!). But does any of it make any difference to events on the ground in a Palestine being carved up as we speak?

    I imagine the [unstated] response of an arbitrary palestinian, may be someone stuck in a Gaza bread line, or lost in a crowd milling through a west bank checkpoint (who may be reading this debate on his/her mobile, having just finished going through the latest Weinstein disclosures). Thoughts such as: say what? could Peled or Ofir get me through this checkpoint a little faster if I say I agree with all they say, and which one shall I choose? Is this debate a sign that our water allotment going to be reduced again? or, better yet, this anti-semitism business – should really look into that some time – wonder if it’s like a Zika virus, or that Lyme disease I’ve been reading about. May be it’s something chronic, or is that just one of those conspiracy theories Americans are always into?

    Me, I always try to imagine, if only for a moment, that [imaginary?] lost-in-place Palestinian, as I [desperately] attempt a half-way decent come-back to one or more of those really well-articulated points made by my betters above, failing miserably. It kind of helps dispel, if only for a second, the cloud of disconnect that keeps hovering over everything, casting an ever-darkening shadow.

  22. rosross
    October 12, 2017, 7:47 pm

    Why should any topic be censored? Given how often mistakes are made in academia and science and how history is incorrect, or not as factual as believed, then why should any topic be beyond the bounds of investigation?

    Surely if the Jewish experience of holocaust happened as claimed, exactly as claimed, then that would be the end result of any questioning. We do not have censorship of the Romany, Polish, Homosexual, Slavic etc., experience of holocaust at the hands of the Nazis so why do we have it with followers of Judaism?

    Is it not in the interests of history, society and integrity, to question everything and ensure that when facts are presented, they are validated and sourced, and not the end result of unreliable oral histories or guestimates?

    If the facts of something are solid then that is what will come out, no matter how many questions are asked.

    Few dispute that followers of Judaism, along with Gypsies, Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Homosexuals, political dissenters and many more, suffered terribly at the hands of the Nazis, as indeed did the Chinese and many others at the hands of the Japanese, but the details of the experience will either stand up to investigation or they will not. What is there to fear?

    And as long as it is only the Jewish experience of holocaust which is censored then more people will ask more questions instead of having the entire dispute put to rest by sensible questions and credible research.

  23. rhkroell
    October 12, 2017, 7:52 pm

    To me, the bottom line is that Jonathan Ofir insists — like Rebecca Vilkomerson and many other self-identifying “Jews” who criticize Zionist ideology and/or practices (while always conspicuously declaring they will renounce, root and branch, any potentially antisemitic language used by intellectuals who are seated on their side of the dais in a debate) — that Miko Peled must walk on his tiptoes whenever he discusses the Nazi holocaust but not when he discusses any other subject whatsoever.

    There is for many self-identifying “Jews” — as far as I can determine — a double standard at work here. I quit supporting JVP after Rebecca Vilkomerson and others criticized Miko Peled for receiving better accommodations and higher speaking fees than other pro-Palestinian activists at some conference. That, to me, was so petty and small-minded it made me cringe. The JVP insists on scrutinizing every word of every speech Miko Peled makes to discover potentially antisemitic rhetoric. But they never seem to subject the language of other public speakers to the same kind of minute semantic criticism. I find this double standard to be both absurd and indefensible.

  24. Brewer
    October 12, 2017, 8:11 pm

    This is a fine kettle of fish. Lots of disparate ideas being conflated.
    There is a vast difference between Holocaust Denial and Historical Revisionism yet the two are rolled in together as one, both here and further abroad.
    History is constantly being revised. Dozens of books are published every year concerning Historical events and characters from a past far more distant than WWII. One can read accounts that paint the likes of Napoleon, Julius Caesar and King John as saints or as tyrants. This is non-controversial and serves a good purpose in questioning narratives that are formed by popular fictions.
    So should we ban Historical Revisionism? My answer is an emphatic no. Should we confine it to those who possess qualification? I am sure the unlettered Thomas Macaulay, whose 5 volume “The History of England from the Accession of James the Second” was the standard text for many years would object as would the highly qualified Howard Zinn.

    There is a spectrum of thought on both sides of this (almost non-existent in any serious sense) debate. Respected Historians’ estimates on the numbers vary greatly. Raul Hilberg for example knocked a million off the commonly accepted six. He also stated that he found some revisionist points instructive yet he is not considered a “denier”. David Irving is not far behind, having stated that “a huge number” of Jews (about 3 million) were killed – yet he is vilified as a “denier”.

    For the sake of this post, let me characterize a Holocaust Denier as someone on the spectrum’s extreme who, without serious study, has fixed on some anomalies bandied about on the net and and expanded them into total denial. This is balanced by extremists on the other side who have simply invented stuff for personal gain – I refer to the likes of Zisblatt, Defonseca, Wilkomirski, Grabowski etc. Elie Wiesel with his geysers of blood and “Some stories are true that never happened” assertion probably fits with this group.

    Somewhere between these extremes lies the truth but are we likely to reach a consensus while a taboo exists? I doubt it for the taboo serves only the two extremes mentioned above. It is the two extreme fringe groups that benefit if debate is not engaged. It feeds directly into the deniers’ narrative of Jewish control and allows the hoaxers license to invent. Legitimate, sincere voices on both sides are silenced.

    The reaction to Miko’s statement illustrates why legitimate Historians refuse to engage even if they agree with some of the revisionist points. The taint can destroy reputations and livelihoods. I for one think this is a bad thing.

    Danaa makes a good point: “these discussions seem to be more evocative of a theological dispute”. The treatment of revisionists and the taboo closely resembles the Church’s attitudes to heresy in the past. I think the World is better off without it. By the same token, although Religion is an appropriate analogy it is illogical to posit that because heretics in the past (I’m thinking Galileo, Tyndale etc) have proven to be correct, all heretics are likely to be – that is a fallacy. There were many heretics who were dead wrong.

    Much of this brings to mind a theme that has intrigued me in recent years. Man is not a rational creature. It is very easy to demonstrate that much of what is accepted as fact, including scientific, Historical and philosophical, is actually the product of “weight of opinion” rather than analysis. The fact that contradictory religions have millions of adherents is testament to this. Medicine is rife with contradiction and fallacy, as are other branches of science. In the absence of information, man’s default position is to go with the crowd.

    I like iconoclasts, be they right or wrong. Whether or not we agree, their activity helps us to focus and consider from possibly new angles. If, in the end we prove (to ourselves at least) that they are wrong, we are better off for the exercise.

  25. rosross
    October 12, 2017, 11:56 pm

    Perhaps the fact that the Jewish experience of Holocaust has been censored and mythologised, has played a part in Zionists, Israelis and Jews not processing fully that historical experience for followers of the religion and in turn has led to the inflicting of similar horrors and holocaust on the Palestinians, in ways which can only represent a shadow effect of denied realities and incomplete processing and healing.

  26. LostinAlaska
    October 13, 2017, 12:52 am

    Jews win the gold medal in the Olympics of pain and suffering. Who are we to argue with that?

    • rosross
      October 13, 2017, 1:31 am

      @LostinAlaska,

      That is belief, not fact and it is a belief which serves no good purpose for anyone, least of all Jews.

  27. Citizen
    October 17, 2017, 8:13 am
    • echinococcus
      October 17, 2017, 11:11 am

      He has a point. Except that he falls in the same error as Ofir/Sibiriak etc. but from the opposing side:

      “I really do not understand how anyone can claim to believe in free speech yet claim that ‘holocaust deniers’ are criminals.” Peled wrote in his Mondoweiss reply to Ofir. This sounds promising and principled but then Peled continues, “if someone is ill informed or ignorant or racist or stupid or all of the above – that is not a crime or a reason to vilify.” Peled’s argument here is that questioning the Jewish past, or even the past in general, is not a ‘crime,’ but it does show ‘stupidity’, ‘ignorance’, ‘racist’ inclinations or all the above. Is this the universal freedom offered to us by Peled?

      Even though Atzmon is not confusing (while Ofir does) the interjecting of a personal opinion about an argument with the banning of it, he does fall in the same trap of denying Peled free speech rights with regard to arguments Peled disagrees with. Surely we can oppose what we don’t agree with, while participating in a discussion.

      While we’re at it, an unfortunate choice of words by Peled may have helped the confusion:
      “if someone is ill informed or ignorant or racist or stupid or all of the above – that is not a crime or a reason to vilify.”
      He’s right that it isn’t a reason to ban but he himself did vilify, and how, the ignorant stupid racist etc. in the first part of his sentence. It isn’t a crime, check, but it is a perfect reason to *vilify.

    • Keith
      October 17, 2017, 1:06 pm

      CITIZEN- “Athens vs Mondoweiss”

      The author states that “…the dystopia in which we live has a lot to do with the victory of Jerusalem over Athens. The tyranny of correctness is the backbone of the Identitarian and New Left reign. It has managed to obliterate our ability to apply reason and engage in an open vibrant intellectual exchange. It dismantles our dialogical culture and makes a farce of our academic institutions.”

      This is a serious misreading both of Western history and of our current political economy. The only “Athens” part of our history is the mythology which misrepresents the reality. The Founding Fathers who could proclaim that “All men are created equal, etc.” while owning slaves and massacring Indians. Hypocrisy is not a virtue, and mistaking rhetoric for reality is not a sign of intelligence. The reality is that the rhetoric is almost always propagandistic mythology. Our history is one of militaristic violence against others to acquire wealth and power. Our current political economy is a consequence of the requirements of empire, not some reasoned philosophical discourse. The notion that the Western “Athens” has been corrupted by the Zionist “Jerusalem” is ludicrous. It is the lust for power by the elites which corrupts, the ideology merely the justification, not the cause.

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