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Total number of comments: 4363 (since 2011-11-07 00:34:23)

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  • A year after Shipman lost his Yale job for speaking out on Israel's actions, some Jews say the same thing
    • Pabel,

      It's hard to say. Look at what happened to Weir recently.

    • They could at least post a book review as we have been discussing in the comments section for a while. Phil has been on Weir's panel in DC in the past where he did a fine job.

      It would be strange if MW took a position against Weir, considering tha MW basically repeats Weir's thesis about the power of lobbying, not to mention that Marc Ellis has written things more offensive on MW than Weir and that MW even helped sell Shlomo Sand's book that promoted a version of the Khazar theory, which I find more "controversial" than anything Weir has theorized about.

    • Hello, Toky.

      I am also confused what you mean.

      The Pilgrims and Puritans in Britain were undergoing severe persecution by the English in the 17th century. So to make polemics about the Puritans in that time and place could be a form of religious discrimination.

      But then the Puritans came to the US and massacred the Indians and executed people because of religious differences or suspicions. And so in that different context it seems important to criticize the Puritans and Pilgrims.

      I am not advocating criticizing the Jewish people or the English people. It just seems to me that in some contexts you can criticize a religious group if they are in a position of power, even if elsewhere they have been discriminated against. What do you think?

  • Nadler says his vote against Iraq war caused some to question his 'commitment to Israel'
  • Netanyahu Asks GOP Candidates: What kind of contortions will you do for Israel?
  • Over 1,000 Black activists, scholars and artists sign statement supporting freedom and equality for Palestinian people
    • Here as you observe the word “antisemitism” sets people off. This is in large part because the accusation is often made falsely to shut down criticism of Israel or Zionism, but some think that any accusation that someone is antisemitic or insensitive to it means you are trying to distract attention from Israeli crimes.

      Hello, Donald.
      I think that few people would agree that any accusation of antisemitism means that the accuser is trying to distract from progressive goals. If you are accusing Holocaust deniers of it, I doubt that few people would be set off against you.

      But if an organization would ban a longterm human rights activist on grounds of Holocaust denial because of some indirect comments or writings (like Chomsky's essay on Faurisson in the Faurisson Affair), how should other Solidarity activsts respond?

    • Hello, Jennifer, again.

      I saw that your website is: link to

      I understand the importance of supporting peace between the parties and "freeing" an occupied people. But what do you have in mind when you emphasize supporting the Israeli state?

  • Danny Danon 'would only make Israel look more extreme' -- former Israeli ambassador
    • Cześć Piotr.

      I am not sure why this is a translation problem, because the same kind of expression exists in slavic languages:

      Ale przez prawie każdy środek sytuacja tylko pogorszyła się.

      Без трансплантации состояние сердца Максима только бы ухудшилось.

      How would you say in Polish:

      If Danon was appointed, the situation "would only" worsen.

  • Meeting Jimmy Carter
    • Good article, Marc. Nice personal touch.

      You mentioned Jurgen Moltmann: "Jurgen Moltmann, a well-known German theologian and a mainstay of the conference, opposed my presence. He wanted to avoid the Palestinian issue – and Jewish dissent – at all costs."

      You may find it interesting that even in the 1970's there were liberal Christian Zionists more ardent than Moltmann himself (if Moltmann qualified as one) and who harshly criticized him. See:

      link to

  • Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir
    • Rusty,

      Did you think about going to the conference and talking about Weir? Overall, the US Campaign is a good organization.

      What is the proper abbreviation for the US Campaign? Aren't abbreviations usually made of the initials in an organization's title? I don't know why Atzmon calls it the EOIO, since there is no O before the I in their title.

    • On receiving your note, I dedicate this to you and Alison, B.A.J.

      Cheers, old boy.

    • BJ,

      Reading that statement by Barghouti again, it looks like at best an allusion to supporting JVP's decision. It's ridiculous that the "Left Collective" says that this was Barghouti "commenting directly" about Weir, since he never names her in the Collective's quote.

      A lot of this Weir Affair is simply Weird.

    • Bonajew,

      OK. Here in the US I saw it in the context of a put down used to misportray Palestinian activists' view of Jews.

    • BornaJew,

      I heard that Barghouti mentioned it in a JVP webinar, but does anyone have a link to that?
      link to
      The July 23 webinar is not online.
      If you saw it, could you carefully recount what he said on this?

      You better not tell them what your username is (I had to censor it), or you risk getting drummed out with a full marching band, based on the way things are going. See the Urban Dictionary definitions if you don't know what I mean.

    • Sibiriak and Echinococcus,

      The reason I used Merriam Webster was to debunk that it refers to some "political analysis" of history.

      Merriam Webster's definition has the downside of throwing in religion, because people can be hostile to religions without being racially prejudiced. And the root word "-Semitism" specifically points to an ethnicity, rather than a religion. So I think that it's wrong to see anti-Semitism as an inherent part in opposition to a religion. After all, the Bolsheviks were opposed to all the religions and religious communities in the Russian empire, but were they really anti-Semitic?

      That's why I say that the best definition should be a narrow one that refers to discrimination that is directed against a people as an ethnic or racial group, not as something else like "political analysis" or religion, because that just makes things too broad and as Mooser pointed out, people can get accused of it when they actually aren't discriminatory against any people or nationality but are only making religious criticisms.

    • Notatall,

      That would mean that someone who hates all Jews, but doesn't care about making it a "philosophy of history" is not anti-Semitic.

      But Merriam Webster defines anti-Semitism as "hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group."

      Maybe the impetus for the term's creation was not that it's necessarily different from discriminating against another whole group, but because whoever created the term had a special focus on it. (The Eskimos, I've heard, have 50 words for ice, proving that if you have a special focus on something, you can create different terms closely related to it.)

      If someone needs to express the idea of an "anti-Semitic political analysis", they can just use that three word phrase.

    • Can I ask if the boarding school thing was before or after 1970? Because the Catholics liberalized a lot since then.

      Personally, I sympathize with you, but think that the worst thing about going to a Catholic school before 1970 would not be taking lessons in a car. The worst thing would be going to a Catholic school before 1970, if you know what I mean.

    • Hello, Mooser.

      That seems a bit broad though. Is religion an essential attribute? If so, could one explain certain longstanding social problems in medieval Muslim or Christian societies as at least partly an effect of certain religious ideas without being discriminatory against those religions?

      Doesn't racism in its narrowest sense mean intolerance directed at an entire group based on false notions about the group's different inherent biological qualities?

    • Hello, Sibiriak:

      You asked:

      But then, what does that say about IF AMERICANS KNEW which is generally characterized as a nationalist-patriotic group identified with the U.S. (national group), i.e. identified with the world’s hegemonic imperialist power? Surely, there is a risk that they are biased toward that imperialist power, and might have a tendency to blame the moral failings of that power on foreign influences?

      The short answer I think is that what you are saying has a grain of truth. Just as JVP could have a bias, so could an American group or a Christian group or a Palestinian group. If Alison Weir were openly championing clearly imperialistic goals and slogans, then naturally her championing of that position would reflect the bias that you are talking about. However, I think it's only a "risk", as you put it, so I wouldn't presume it, just as six months ago I wouldn't have presumed that JVP would have banned all cooperation with Weir on the pretenses that they did.On the same account, Weir's critics shouldn't presume that Weir is imperialist just because her group supports American interests. Even JVP's FAQ says that the "true US interest" is against the Occupation.

      I don't see having an "American" organization as the same thing as having, say, a "Christian" organization or a "Ukrainian-American" one. The reason is that an American group is really tied together by citizenship, rather than, say, religion. The Socialists in Europe divided up on national lines and fought eachother in WWI, but the anarchists and pacifists probably had national organizations too without fighting in WWI. So dividing along national lines doesn't necessitate international conflict and can just be a nonsectarian delineation.

    • Hello, Jennifer.

      Your thesis on discourse appears to be that a human rights discourse, like opposition to Israeli politics, that has some similarities to racist discourse, like that in the 1950's US, shows that both discourses are racist at some important level.

      The problem with this thinking is that it also tars people who are not actually racist or saying actual racist things. Take for example the discourse on bad neighborhoods and crime and drugs. Complaints about those things can be part of a discourse against African Americans. But just because someone makes lengthy complaints about those things doesn't mean that the complainer is racist. If you ban the person, you may have just banned someone who in fact is genuinely concerned about crime and drugs and wants to solve the problem through constructive and positive means.

      Were we talking about an everyday environment removed from human rights advocacy, your thesis would be fine and progressive. The problem is that in a context where you say that anti-Semitism is not actually a major problem, like modern America in general, compared to Islamophobia or brutality against Palestinians, your thesis is being used to ban and expel leading human rights activists who have said things that only could indirectly resemble a different, racist discourse. That's a huge problem and it essentially handcuffs and locks down human rights activists because at some point in making hundreds of statements and interviews, it's inevitable that they will make several comments or decisions that indirectly could be seen as resembling a different, racist discourse. And then people whose main focus is detecting these potential indirect ties to a different discourse may choose to demand expulsion and banning of leading human rights activists instead of taking the understanding attitude that Susan Landau proposed above.

      It's a huge problem.

    • Blankfort's point in bringing up Lerner's opposition to the Rainbow grocery BDS motion was to show that the drive on the left is not really due to anti-Arab racism but to taking a PEP position. The grocery turned down the Boycott after hearing from Lerner, and Lerner is not driven by anti-Arab racism in particular. Lerner told people to "buy more Israeli products" at the store according to the article above.

    • The underlying issue behind the JVP-Weir Affair seems to be her new book tour. That explains the timing better than something 5 years ago, and the "tail wags dog" portrayal of Weir constitutes the second half of JVP's letter against her.

      In my view, the overall environment of US foreign policy is some kind of domination, as has been true with with most superpowers in history. The domination can take the form of either direct intervention and occupation or it can take place through spheres of influence. Numerous factors can affect what form it will take. In the Cold War, ideological alignments were a factor (like in the Contra conflict), but so can lobbies, as in the role of the notable Florida-based Cuban-American lobby in determining our Cuba policy even when Presidents were inclined to improve relations with Cuba.

      Certainly AIPAC and its direct allies are very powerful, as shown by the controversy over the Iran deal. Further, lobbies play a huge, outsized role in US politics, like in the issue of the tobacco industry. Is it really fair to say that US policies on tobacco are guided more by "US national interests" than by tobacco? Is it overall more to the advantage of US capitalism if the US continues to rely on wasteful gas cars, or is it more important to the car companies and to their lobbies? Arguably the latter. The way US politics works based on financial interests, lobbies play a crucial role.

      Consequently, my conclusion is that capitalism may set the parameters, but the lobby is a key leader within those parameters. Further, I don't see any US interest in the Israeli Occupation or discriminatory Israeli laws on Israeli Palestinian citizens, even if the Israeli military were a strategic asset. So it is hard to understand why the US would take enormous blows like having to withdraw from UNICEF for the Israelis to continue their Occupation.

      The focus of Alison Weir on the Lobby's key role is an important one, and resembles the importance Phil gives it here on this website sometimes daily.

      The only two times I know of an open debate between Palestinian rights activists who focus on the importance of the lobby and those who oppose them in doing so are Chomsky's debate with Omar Baddar and Blankfort's debate with Stephen Zunes.

      (1) JVP advisor Chomsky's debate with the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee's Baddar is here:

      JVP's advisor Chomsky endorsed the writings of Stephen Zunes a few times on the topic, and I think that one endorsement was during the debate above. However, Chomsky and Baddar seem to have softer attitudes about their own sides of the debate than Blankfort and Zunes do.

      (2) Zunes' debate with Blankfort is here:
      link to

      At 26:00 - Zunes said that rather than the Israeli lobby explaining cross party unanimous support for Israeli militarism, the problem is that the left like Move On is driven by "anti-Arab racism" and that explains why it doesn't challenge the pro-Israeli line.
      Personally, I find it doubtful that the Left is actually driven by anti-Arab racism when it thinks about the Mideast. I think that the actual reason for the PEP phenomenon on the left that Zunes talks about is the pro-Israeli sentimentality by the PEPs, not anti-Arab racism in particular.

      Blankfort points out in the debate that Tom Harkin was on a Palestinian HR Campaign board of directors. AIPAC came to his office one day, his employees were told to leave, and after that Harkin changed his position. The ADL spent 8 million dollars against Blankfort in a suit and lost because they could not find anything against him. Blankfort said that he is nowhere as important as a congressperson, implying that even more money must be spent getting to them.

      As for the left, Blankort pointed out that Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun magazine was going to picket the Rainbow grocery in California if the grocery instituted a humanitarian boycott, thus defeating the boycott. (See: link to wherein "Lerner spoke to about 40 Rainbow workers")

      Zunes concluded the interview by admitting that even he (Zunes) gets threatening phone calls for supporting Palestinian human rights. Zunes also said that prioritizing the lobby's importance was not anti-Semitic, although he said that someone could mistakenly make anti-Semitic conclusions from it.

      Blankfort said during the debate that the radio episode was historic because it is one of the few times that he can get someone on the left to debate the issue. He has said elsewhere that he cannot get people like Chomsky, Beinin, or Bennis to debate him on the issue.

      So I understand how people can have different views on the question. That's why I cannot comprehend how JVP made Alison's position of emphasizing the lobby like Phil and Blankfort do the second main basis for banning all work with her.

    • OK. Thank you, Annie for the editing above.

    • Annie,

      What I am saying is that even if you accept JH's incorrect premises about how to sniff out potential indirect anti-semitism, her conclusions about Weir still do not make sense.

      We are talking about a situation where the nonsensical does not make sense even within the world of the nonsensical. What do you do when that happens?

      (╯°□°)╯ ︵ ┻━┻


    • Mooser,
      It sounds like you do not agree with JVP's and ETO's banning of Weir?

    • To clarify, the Palestinians are not actually anti-Semitic, nor is Alison Weir.

      But even if we were going to use the excessively sensitive detection method of anti-Semitism that J.Hitchcock promotes, then Weir would still be less anti-Semitic than Palestinians. Mondoweiss has an article here about how Palestinian children regularly talk about their mistreatment by "the Jews". But Weir doesn't even write against the Jews.

      CAMERA and MEMRI make it their specialties to pick out intolerant statements by Palestinians (a population of maybe 7 million), and anyone is free to check their archives. But the things that J.H. and ETO have put forward are about the worst that they can prove against her.

      So even if you accept J.H.'s extremely heightened sensitivity test where any indications of any potential anti-Semitism are full proof, what she is still saying is still not rational.

      This was a kind of devil's advocate argument I was making. The ADL survey was extremely flawed, but it relied on the kind of anti-Semitism detector that J.H. relies on, searching out any potential possible indications of possible indirect anti-Semitism. And even if you use that kind of low standard, Weir is still "less anti-Semitic."

    • Taxi,

      [...] The point I have made to Weir's opponents was that if someone writes on the IP Conflict long enough you can find some offensive things someplace in their writing. Ellis has plenty of offensive things on the MW blog against Christianity, but that is not enough reason for US CEIO to ban Phil. The JSF blog has said offensive things about Judaism even though they are a leading force in the fight to ban Weir for posting Roger Tucker's article. If you go through Chomsky's writings or most other longterm writers on the conflict, you can find some offensive statements. That was the point of what I said to you.


    • Taxi,

      Somehow Mondoweiss is usually able to avoid having long extended thread arguments between intense pro-Israelis and supporters of Palestinian rights. I've ended up in these elsewhere on forums online. The pro-Israelis can go on for weeks or years, and it generally follows the rules of the Primer "How to Defend Israel and Win". You know- "Why are you singling out Israel?", etc. , and some of them end their posts with some brief personal "snarky" comment. After a few years of going one on one like this, it can break you down - me anyway.

      In some cases, one side makes irrational arguments but is very intense and dedicated to "staying in the fight" and getting the last word. It's really as if the good points that you have made have not really affected their outlook, even after a week of trying. And it is just hard to understand. I mean, is there some mental issue where they don't consider actually what people are saying, are not reasonable, and are totally dedicated to "winning" the argument in terms of overwhelming you with comments and repeating themselves so that it is supposed to force its way into you, or what? It reminds me a bit of idolatry or getting stuck into an intense ideology.

      On Mondoweiss, typically someone like Hophmi makes a rash, brief comment, gets a pile up, and then after a few exchanges leaves. The closest thing we had to what I am talking about was Richard Witty.

      With Jennifer, I want to remain respectful, and she did say that she withdraws her comment about Counterpunch. But the exchanges still remind me a little bit of those conversations I have seen.

    • I see some of Weir’s criticisms (but not all of them; as I have said, most of her work and statements do not suggest antisemitism and are commendable) as painting Israel and Jews/Zionists in a more uniquely sinister way than the vast majority of Palestinians

      I think that the ADL rated the Palestinians as the most anti-Semitic people on earth in their recent global survey. They rated about 90% or higher on the anti-Semitism scale of the ADL. I mean, have you read the Hamas charter or seen the cartoons?

      Since Weir has been very careful to avoid talking in generalizations about the Jewish people, I think that it's a pretty unrealistic argument to claim that she is somehow more anti-Semitic than what's common among Palestinians when she criticizes the Israelis.

    • Stephen,

      I know what you mean. Back when the Israelis made the prisoner trade with Shalit and Hamas, the Wall Street Journal ran an article, maybe an Op-Ed, that was extremely critical of that decision. And Sheldon Alderson runs a major pro-Netanyahu Israeli newspaper. There are times when their American Cousins are much more warlike than the Israelis themselves, to the point where Jeff Halper said that he wished they would leave the Israelis alone.

    • Annie,

      I understand that to "participate" in something is not the same to be "responsible" for something, because there is an issue of neglect causing responsibility.

      Anyway, I don't think that the distinction really matters here. If you take a collectivist mindset, you can imagine things like Nation X "collectively" participates in the wars that it engages in. Ellis has said at times that the people participate in the Conflict, with his collective phraseology. (link to

      Personally I agree with Eljay that I am inclined to be against using collectivist ways of phrasing responsibility like "the Jews" or "the Americans" did or are responsible for X.

      Of course, it feels like one thing for Stephen, Ellis, or I to say in repentance that our peoples did X, and quite a different thing for a Nazi to say that our peoples did X, because the Nazis take an oppressive approach to dealing with crime.

    • Stephen,

      Marc Ellis shares your view, and you can find this way of thinking in the Tanakh, where "the people" are collectively responsible for their community's actions. It's a similar way of saying that Americans collectively are responsible for the invasion of Iraq or the Vietnam War.

      Personally though when writing or talking I prefer to go with Annie's view of distinguishing between Jews and Americans on one hand, and the political forces that act in their name and with their support on the other. Here is an exception: Sometimes I do say "the Israelis" to refer to what Israeli society does because it sounds more politically correct than repeating "the Zionists" like Ali Abunimah does. "The Zionists" may actually be the precise term for describing Israeli militarists, but M.J. Rosenberg had at least a few months' period of focusing on his blog on how Ali A. is anti-Semitic because of the way Ali uses "the Zionists" to refer to Israeli supporters of control over Palestinians. The alternative to saying "The Israelis" would be to throw around the term "Zionists" like Ali A. does, but it seems that this is the kind of thing that puts up a red flag for Weir's harshest critics like J.Hitchcock.

    • Hostage,
      You wrote elsewhere that a directional shift began when Blankfort was banned in 2012, and that you had said the same things as Blankfort yourself.

      Notice that in 2007-2011 a report came out by Political Research Associates on Finkelstein, Blankfort, and Alison aimed at portraying them as anti-Semitic. Ostensibly the report was a left wing one also directed against Islamophobia.
      link to

      Notice that one of the charges against Finkelstein in the report was that a CUNY trustee denied a pro-Palestinian writer Kushner a degree because "Kushner had disparaged the State of Israel, an assertion (the trustee) said came from Finkelstein’s website."
      link to

      The two paragraphs about Kushner seem to draw a practically non-existent link between Finkelstein and the attack on Kushner. Why?

      Notice also that all three activists targeted in the report have become somehow persona non grata in both the Solidarity movement and for JVP, all based on questionable grounds, since the 2007-2011 report came out on them.

      It's true that Finkelstein has a pretty mixed take on BDS, but so does Chomsky, and Chomsky still gets invited to speak at events. Blankfort gets into very touchy subjects, but you and Brenner have written the same things. And now Weir is non grata for doing a few of the same things mostly six years ago that Chomsky and others have done in their lifetimes.


    • Parity,

      If you comb through Douglas' website enough, you can find a full cornucopia of nonsensical statements against "the Jews" as a whole group, and I am not going to repeat the trash here unless you force it to be an issue.

      Trying to defend all of Douglas' views would be worse than shooting yourself in the foot, and even Weir told him in one of the interviews that she had different views on racism than he did. The only issue is whether progressive groups should ban Weir for failing to oppose his racism strongly enough, or whether JVP and ETO are wrong to do so.

    • Dear Notatall,

      You wrote: " have been surprised that the comments on this thread have been running about 10 to 1 against me; I think a few years ago most people would have sided with JVP and the CEO notwithstanding their soft Zionism."

      The issue is not really siding with their overall positions. CEO is probably one of the most popular groups, if not the main one. The issue is banning any work with a major activist for a handful of appearances on programs that other activists had. That was not something that happened "a few years ago", even though Weir's questionable radio appearance was in 2010. Don't we get a statute of limitations for past failures to "sufficiently challenge" intolerance? This blacklisting is the new phenomenon, not people being somehow inherently anti-JVP, which we are not.

      You wrote: "I think part of my difficulty lies in that Alison Weir (and apparently others here) accept the framework of “national interests,” and I do not." Please notice however that JVP's faq considers it a "core principle" required for its members to accept that the occupation is against America's "interests". link to

      May I ask what makes you think that James Dean doesn't care about Palestinians? For all I know you could be right, but I am skeptical: Just because someone is not a Palestinian or left wing doesn't necessarily mean that they don't have human feelings against a major instance in the world today of oppression.

      FWIW, it's nice to see Douglas removed that quote. Most of the anti-semite propagandists like Douglas seem off in the brains.

    • Toky,

      You wrote: "Annie, you will always find a way to make any claim anti-semitism disappear (or be just as bad as or what about what about what about? because you think every mention of it is in the service of Israel. -"

      What are you talking about? Do you know that Annie regularly censors clearly anti-Semitic posts from the Comments section. There is even a policy statement at MW against it. The rule says that people are not supposed to get on here and simply pillory Jewish culture. It is required that people engage in a respectful discussion and make only fully reasonable commentaries about it, if any.

      Here's a proof. Make an unambiguously offensive statement pillorying the whole people. Something like that definitely won't pass muster, Toky. There is no need to pillory Annie, either.

    • Toky,

      I know what you mean. If Weir were Ken, Weir's opponents would have a better case.

    • Peace T. Justice,

      Atzmon claims that Neturei Kartei is fine because it's religious. My argument against Atzmon is that JVP has a rabbinical council and thus it's legitimate. Furthermore, I buy into JVP's argument that they are effective in disproving that one's religious background requires one to give support to militaristic policies in the Levant.

      The downside that Atzmon is pointing to is that if your organization happens to be identified and arranged around the conquering nation's group, then there is a risk that you could have a bias in favor of them. JVP for example said that the reason it delayed recognizing BDS until this January was because it was toxic in its community.

      So the risk is that Alison Weir's emphasis in targeting the lobbying efforts acted as the real impetus behind JVP's attacks on her, even though JVP declares that it is against the lobbying that goes on in favor of the Occupation.

    • That activist is Kevin O'Keefe. Wikipedia says he is half Palestinian.

      If Alison Weir were Kevin O'Keefe, there were be a much better case against her. But she is not.

    • RoHa,

      Back in the first century there were lots of dissident Jewish sects, like the Essenes, John the Baptist's followers, and the Nazarene Christians. It's only natural that they conflicted with the establishment of their day, and in turn suffered repression. John the Baptist got killed by Herod according to the famous 1st century Jewish writer Josephus.

      Consequently, it is hard for me to understand how simply portraying those sects' narratives of their conflict and repression is inherently anti-Semitic. Wouldn't that be a bit like saying that a movie portraying Open Hillel's or JVP's story of ther own conflicts with more powerful organizations is anti-Semitic, or for that matter that a movie about Left wing organizations' repression under McCarthyism is anti-American?

      Anyway, in the Passion, the Romans are also "bad guys", not just Herod and the religious leaders.

    • OK, Annie.

    • Tree,

      You realize that this is basically the logic used against Weir? Weir didn't object enough and other thread users here didn't object at all about the Ferguson comment, so we all condone or "fail to challenge" whatever racist comments were made.

    • Kathleen.

      Norman Finkelstein was included in the profiles list of troublesome activsts next to Weir and Jeff Blanfort in 2007-2011. (See: link to

      This was years before the JVP fight with Weir came up, but notice that the profile made against Weir includes the accusation of her being on Douglas' program, which has now become the centerpiece against her.

      One could conclude that there has long been a subtle campaign aimed at those three activists and that has been inserted into an anti-Isampohobic, antiracist framework.

    • Eva,

      After talking to other proponents of banning Weir, it does appear that they are relying on what you call "post-modernist" thinking in order to say that she is condoning racism.

      Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. In essence, it stems from a recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal.

      link to

      So even though through the centuries a full host of left wing activists have appeared on shows like The American Free Press or Israeli rightwing radio programs without battling head on their host's views, Weir's opponents use post-modernist styles of argumentation to explain why she needs to be banned for doing so several times herself.

      Or even though writers like Phil and Judis have taken on the Lobby with excoriating language, many of Weir's opponents say that she needs to be expelled because when she uses powerful wording or makes the Lobby her own focus, it must mean that her 'framing" is chauvinist.

      So they are not relying on a logic that applies to all groups but only to Weir. If you tried to evaluate Weir based on concrete objectivity, it wouldn't be very post-modernist, and you would be missing how it's all about "implicit condoning" in her case only.

    • I.Moses,

      Yes, I meant the post to Henry when I asked your opinion. You had said to Jennifer "You seem to be either a witting or unwitting tool of those at JVP central who are managing this witch hunt."

      In my post, I pointed to a pamphlet on the website of Political Research Associates, which had made a report against Weir some time ago.. Jennifer's site calls the pamphlet a "primer" on anti-semitism. And the primer is about how to target things, particularly in the Left, that could be inferred to be anti-Semitic. One example of such inferential anti-Semitism given by the Pamphlet was the movie "The Passion".

      Perhaps this pamphlet put out by PRA, which elsewhere targeted Weir, reflects the kind of reasoning used by Jennifer in inferring that Weir, an activist in a major leftwing cause, has made anti-semitic statements, eg. in her book?

    • Maria,

      Can you or anyone give some insight into the Corrie Foundation's declaration against Weir?
      link to

      The ETO Statement expelled Weir in part for appearing on the American Free Press, but actually Rachael Corrie's parents had appeared on that program themselves:
      link to

      Do you think Rachel Corrie would support expelling Alison? Do a Google Image search for Rachel Corrie gun. Corrie's opponents were able to find some old incriminating photos of her and post them all over the net. It's not surprising that Weir's opponents were able to find a 6 year old Clay Douglas interview to point to.

    • Dear Preston,

      You have just recommended us a pamphlet from a program run in cooperation with Political Research Associates, who wrote a report against Weir some time ago.

      Would you please be able to clear up some things in that pamphlet?

      It says:

      Even in the U.S. , where Jews have had 200 years of exceptional physical safety, (anti-Semitism is) a background hum: be it rumors placing Jews or Israelis behind 9/11, the hit film that restaged the “Passion plays” which sparked annual Easter massacres of Jews in medieval Europe, or theories arising amid growing public disenchantment with the Iraq war that it was fought for Jewish or Israeli interests.

      Can you please say how was “The Passion” film itself anti-Semitic, even though there were medieval massacres?

      Have you ever heard about this event mentioned in the pamphlet:

      – In WW2, as armed Jewish resisters fought back against the Nazis and Eastern Europeans resisted the German occupation, significant numbers of gentile fighters acted out anti-Jewish oppression at the Jews fighting beside them – refusing to team up in battle, even murdering Jews as they sought hiding places in their vicinity.

      I am not aware of Tito or the Poles doing this, but did they?

    • IrishMoses,

      "I think what surprises most of us is that the attacks are coming from the so-called pro-Palestinian side of the I-P debate,our side."

      Who knows what the real story is? It must not really be something like a JVP activist just happened to be enjoying listening to 6 year old Clay Douglas archives and happened upon Alison's interview. Why now?

      I am curious why you mentioned Finkelstein. His old anti-Palestinian adverseries retain a keen, unfortunate "interest" in Finkelstein, it seems, even though the Solidarity community rarely invites him to events due to his non or anti BDS stance. Of course, that grounds for total exclusion is a bit strange, since JVP itself only this January accepted BDS. I get that people wouldn't be in a hurry to invite N.F. as a speaker because of his views, but I wouldn't ostracize if that's what happened.

      Irish Moses, let me know what you think of my post dated August 15, 2015, 4:03 pm

    • Wouldn’t it be nice if Alison Weir were to say, I went on Clay Douglas’s show because I wanted to reach his audience with my antizionist message, but I now see that in remaining silent in the face of his w-s and a-s views I was turning my back on black Americans and others deserving of support.

      Do you think that if this was the only real point of division, as alleged, then perhaps she actually might have admitted this, particularly in private?

      She wrote on her website about this particular problem:
      "I apologize if there were cases where I should have done better."

      That is, maybe if someone said, "Look, couldn't you have responded better to some questions?", she might actually privately agree about that too and apologize, since that would be similar to her general apology above.

      However, JVP's and ETO statement went beyond just that issue, which has become the main grounds used against her. Instead they demanded that she never appear on those programs at all, a not unreasonable request in itself of course, but tough grounds for total censure. And she for her part believes that she needs to take her message of Mideast human rights to all audiences.

    • Nota Bene:
      The Primer from J.H.'s site is from, which is done in cooperation with Political Research Associates, the same organization that wrote the report on Alison Weir long before the scandal with JVP erupted.

    • Henry:

      On the website, the most relevant article is the 30 page one J.H.'s site calls "A primer on the history of anti-Semitism and its relation to the Left"

      The Past Didn't Go Anywhere
      link to

      The Left has long procrastinated on taking on anti-Jewish oppression. In part we’ve had trouble because it looks different from the oppressions we understand, which enforce inferiority on oppressed groups to disempower them...

      Even in the U.S. , where Jews have had 200 years of exceptional physical safety, it’s a background hum: be it rumors placing Jews or Israelis behind 9/11, the hit film that restaged the “Passion plays” which sparked annual Easter massacres of Jews in medieval Europe, or theories arising amid growing public disenchantment with the Iraq war that it was fought for Jewish or Israeli interests.

      Yes it would be wrong and very anti-Semitic to say that "the Jews were behind 9/11". But can you say how was "The Passion" film itself anti-Semitic, even though there were frightful medieval massacres?

      Henry, have you ever heard about this:

      - In WW2, as armed Jewish resisters fought back against the Nazis and Eastern Europeans resisted the German occupation, significant numbers of gentile fighters acted out anti-Jewish oppression at the Jews fighting beside them - refusing to team up in battle, even murdering Jews as they sought hiding places in their vicinity.

      I am not aware of Tito or the Poles doing this, but did they? The only instance I can think of is in WWII West Ukraine, where Nazi collaborators who fought the Allies and massacred Jews and Poles occasionally turned on their German allies, and therefore could be considered a strange treacherous resistance too.


    • Kathleen,

      Finkelstein took a rather anti-BDS position and then became slightly a persona non grata among the Solidarity community as far as speaker invitations go. His criticism was that BDS was a cult. Now of course I don't agree with him, but note his relationship to the main activist institutions.

      Finkelstein hasn't made any statements against Weir, Atzmon, or any other activist AFAIK. This is not to say that he would actually agree with all Weir's positions- he clearly doesn't: Finkelstein sees the Special Relationship basically in terms of empire and "dog wags tail", not really as lobbying or "tail wags dog" as Weir's position has been described.

      But see the two parts about Finkelstein:

      I am agreeing with the film. But now what would you say about Finkelstein's views?

    • Excellent work on your interview, Henry.

    • Maybe the solution is for the movement to split based on target audiences...

      Both camps working in solidarity for Palestinians but for different audiences? One audience doesn’t mind and is even maybe attracted by antisemitic and white supremacist rhetoric and the other audience is more progressive and antiracist. Would that work?

      I am confused. Are you actually expressly considering advocating this, or trying to get someone else to discuss something self-incriminating like this?

    • Pixel,

      That is a paragraph by IAK saying that Weir meant for IAK to be directed by people without family ties to the region. I think she means she doesn't want people with direct relatives who live in the Levant to direct IAK because of possible bias and because she wants a US perspective for the directorship. She never said she excludes other voices and she quotes Jews and Palestinians often in fact.

    • Who are any of the people in the coven exactly?

    • Congratulations on your talk.
      For your desire for a discussion (please be friendly), try the comments section here:
      link to

    • Stephen,

      See my comment at August 12, 2015, 10:31 pm below about the quandary of what to say in that case.

      The problem isn't really just making a decent reply, but also the challenge of how to address the question while avoiding making the interview go off the rails totally. And even forgetting Weir's decisions, it's important if you as an activist could be banned for failing to reply strongly enough.

      The reply you proposed under "basic knowledge" is of course an acceptable one in terms of anti-racism. The Bolshevik revolution can't be reduced to primitive racist terms.

      The difficulty is navigating the talk. Let's say you point out like I do in those online exchanges that the leaders included multiple nationalities among Bolsheviks, etc.. The downside is that you have just opened up a can of worms instead of refocusing the talk on your actual thesis (human rights under occupation). It's a can of worms because Douglas can say things like "Isn't it true that the main leaders L, T, K, Z were Jewish? Isn't it true that the Soviet placed statues of Judas in a few cities in the post revolutionary period? Isn't it true that...?
      And then Douglas just strings along 10 troubling facts and draws to inferences that you and I are opposed to based on those facts. And then the more you reject the inferences, the more the talk becomes a debate with a Solidarity activist (you) about the Soviets and some sensitive aspect of their history.

      Of course, that is acceptable as a decision by an activist to challenge and go off this way. But other activists in reality would choose to just ignore these kinds of tangents, like Weir's claim that she knows about "the connection" or whatever and then change the topic without actually approving of anything else he just said.

      Now in my opinion, the best way to address these issues/claims like the alleged Judas statues* or church destruction, which are real and troubling events, if you are in an academic or healthy leftwing setting is to avoid any unnecessary, generalizing inferences from them.
      I am sure that the Jewish population in Russia would be basically against building those statues. Don't you agree, Stephen, that the refusal to draw inferences is the best way to deal with accusations on all kinds of troubling issues? Why not refuse when it comes to whether activists actually condone offensive claims when their interviewers make them?

      (* It's debated in Russia today if the story of the statues were an urban myth.

      link to

      You write:

      There is literary and memoir evidence that at least some of the Jews who entered the secret police at this time were seeking ethnic revenge.

      OK. Look, I take it as a presumption that you are not a racist, because we are both in a human rights campaign. But with the new JVP and ETO decisions about things like Weir's discussion on Toaff, will people even be able to read each other's statements like these without draw such inferences about each other?

      All the best.

    • Stephen,

      There is a verb now too, based on the ban on any Solidarity activist who knowingly interviews for an offensive outlet without challenging their views enough, according to the Weir Affair:

      Are you to judge someone by the venue they appear on or write for? I ask because I have now been Weired, to coin a term.

      On June 19th a blogger named Elise Hendrick wrote a long attack on CounterPunch for supposedly promoting the agenda of the far right and named me as an enabler. Three days later Tony Greenstein crossposted the same article and embellished it with a nice photo of me taken by my good friend the late Fred Baker about 17 years ago. Greenstein added a caption characterizing me as an “ex-Marxist”. Very nice.

      link to

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