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Bernie supporters: talk about Palestine, or succumb to the smears

Opinion
on 30 Comments

The smear campaign has begun.

On December 13, Washington Examiner commentator Tiana Lowe published an opinion piece  claiming that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is running the most antisemitic campaign in decades. Outraged Sanders supporters, staffers and surrogates launched a hashtag campaign to remind voters that Sanders would be the #FirstJewishPresident of the United States of America. And although I am excited and proud to support the first serious Jewish contender for the American presidency, as an anti-Zionist Jewish supporter of Bernie Sanders I fear that this well-intentioned response to Lowe’s hit piece has the potential to backfire and damage not only our campaign’s momentum, but commitment to Palestinian freedom.

I wouldn’t be excited for just any Jewish candidate. We should reject the ideologically vacuous politics that purport the superiority of candidates on the bases of race, gender and other identities. For example, many Sanders supporters (myself included) lambast the liberal devotion to electing the first female president, even if she is a warhawk, cop or “capitalist to her bones.” Would, or should we, be equally as excited for Jewish presidential candidate and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg? Notorious for his stop-and-frisk policies and Occupy Wall Street crackdowns, Bloomberg is also a right-wing Zionist who considers Benjamin Netanyahu a friend and commended Israel for Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 assault on Gaza which killed over 2,000 Palestinians.

The Examiner published Lowe’s article one day after the Labour Party’s historic defeat in the United Kingdom’s General Elections. The inarguably defining election issue was Brexit, but another contributing (although not necessarily decisive) factor was the successful right-wing smear campaign against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn is a veteran of the Palestine solidarity movement. He has condemned Israel’s illegal settlements, weekly killing of unarmed protesters in Gaza and the 2018 nation-state law which enshrines apartheid by asserting that only Jewish citizens possess the right to self-determination.

For the past four years, Corbyn and Labour have been slandered as antisemitic for insufficient deferrence to Israel. Labour’s defeat has emboldened right-wing Zionists to leverage the same accusations against Sanders because they worked against Corbyn. Even if it didn’t decide the election, the campaign succeeded in assassinating the character of a lifelong anti-racist activist and his working class party. Labour apologized for antisemitism where it didn’t exist and failed to confront it where it did. One notable study showed that Brits overestimated the number of Labour members faced with allegations of antisemitism by almost 300 times the published figures. (Only 0.1% of Labour members have been accused of antisemitism.)

Sanders’ Jewishness is significant insofar as it informs his commitments to social and economic justice. In a similar way that Sanders connects his personal background to the struggle for humane immigration policy, Sanders’ Jewishness is significant because he rejects the American Jewish establishment consensus on Israel. He unapologetically recognizes Netanyahu as a tyrant, declares himself an anti-Occupation Jew and uses the national debate stage to talk about Israel’s illegal blockade against Gaza.

Appealing to Sanders’ Jewish identity can be rhetorically effective. It’s important that we condemn ironically antisemitic attempts to deny his Jewishness, as Lowe does when she denigrates him as “ethnically” Jewish. One in five American Jews describe themselves as secular and are just as Jewish as those who are religious. It is certainly useful to highlight the cynicism of these smear merchants - we live in truly strange times when the granddaughter of a Chetnik Nazi-collaborator can weaponize allegations of antisemitism against the nephew of Jewish Holocaust victims.

Simply invoking Sanders’ Jewishness might help us win the short-term battle against this particular hit piece. However, it doesn’t get to the root of the problem in a much longer battle, one that has raged for decades: the fight for justice in Palestine. It leaves us vulnerable when these smears are leveraged against non-Jews, namely Palestinians. It’s easy to defend Sanders and his mild criticisms - he’s Jewish, has worked on a Kibbutz and proclaims to be “100% pro-Israel” - but what about Palestinian American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib or Women’s March co-founder Linda Sarsour, who take even braver stances in defense of Palestinian self-determination? Although Sanders’ case exemplifies how even liberal criticisms can incur the wrath of right-wing Zionists, the accusations leveraged against him are primarily because of his proximity to Tlaib, Sarsour and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Tlaib and Sarsour endorse a one-state solution guaranteeing full rights and equality for all citizens, and all three women are supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Since gaining prominence, they have been subjected to vicious right-wing, Islamophobic attacks; their criticisms of the state of Israel and the US Israel lobby have been intentionally misconstrued and cited as evidence that they - and by extension, all Muslims and Palestinians - are virulent antisemites.

Even though Sanders is not an anti-Zionist, we must be prepared to push back against the conflation of anti-Zionism and antisemitism. Jews are not the only ones with the moral authority to criticize and boycott the state of Israel. Millions of Palestinian refugees and exiles are anti-Zionists because Israel denies them their internationally recognized right of return. Thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel are evicted, imprisoned and murdered on their ancestral lands. Do we really believe Palestinians hate Jews, or rather the state violence perpetrated by Israel, “the national state, not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people?” We must honor their struggle by defending their right to resist Israeli occupation and apartheid.

If we are too afraid to utter the word “Palestine” when countering unfounded allegations of antisemitism, then we squander an unprecedented opportunity to talk to voters about Sanders’ progressive foreign policy platform, which perhaps more than anything else distinguishes him from the other supposed progressives in the race, Elizabeth Warren and Julián Castro. Sanders is the first major presidential candidate to propose not only cutting US military aid to Israel, but also diverting that money as humanitarian aid for Gaza. Yet if Sanders clears the bar for progressive policy on Palestine, it is only because the bar is so low. We cannot afford cede an inch to the smear merchants because our goal ultimately should be to pressure Sanders to endorse BDS, which is considered the bare minimum in the Palestine solidarity movement. And because the Sanders campaign is uniquely responsive to the grassroots - and because many of his surrogates and endorsers support BDS - we have a shot at doing so, but only if we extend our solidarity to Palestinians.

We have to learn from Labour’s failure to categorically reject the conflation of antisemitism and anti-Zionism (or even mere criticism of Israel) or we are doomed to repeat their mistakes and succumb to the smear campaign. We cannot shy away from centering Palestinian freedom in our movement.

“Not me, us” means “not Bernie Sanders, the first Jewish president,” but “all of us, including Palestinians.”

Shelby Shoup

Shelby Shoup is a senior at Florida State University studying social science education. She is president of the FSU chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, and a volunteer with the Bernie Sanders campaign.

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30 Responses

  1. Keith on December 17, 2019, 5:28 pm

    SHELBY SHOUP- “The smear campaign has begun.”

    Yes, and it is going to get worse. Below I quote and link to a Commentary article essentially saying that Sanders is surrounded by anti-Semites. Insofar as criticism of Israel is defined as “anti-Semitc,” this is technically true.

    I would remind everyone that in the 1996 Russian election involving the hugely unpopular Yeltsin, US money and campaign assistance and outright fraud bought Yeltsin an election victory. Look at right wing fascist Bolsonaro in Brazil. The imperial oligarchy will not be overthrown at the ballot box. These are little more than marketing extravaganzas designed to give the citizenry the illusion of control. Expect the worst.

    “Bernie Sanders has thus far evaded scrutiny over the values he and his campaign share with the Labour Party’s discredited leader, but that lack of curiosity is indefensible. As of this writing, Sanders is firmly in second place in the average of national Democratic primary polls. He’s in second and gaining in Iowa, too, and is leading in New Hampshire. Sanders is a contender, and it’s time for the press to act like it. But taking that job seriously would entail an examination of the senator’s conspicuously Corbyn-esque instincts, to say nothing of the bigots with whom he has surrounded himself.” (Noah Rothman) https://www.commentarymagazine.com/politics-ideas/liberals-democrats/bernie-sanders-has-a-big-jeremy-corbyn-problem/

    • JWalters on December 18, 2019, 8:02 pm

      “Insofar as criticism of Israel is defined as ‘anti-Semitic,’ this is technically true.”

      Some con-artist criminal “defining” criticism of Israel as “anti-Semitic” does not make it true. By facts and by logic it is false. This false equation, and false accusation of Bernie, is a conscious, bad-faith effort to get away with grotesque crimes on a massive scale. These people should not be treated like a language scholars. They should be hit back, and hit HARD. They should be unmasked and put in prison.

  2. Misterioso on December 18, 2019, 8:42 am

    https://israelpalestinenews.org/the-nation-dem-insiders-try-to-block-party-from-supporting-palestinian-rights/?utm_source=mailpoet&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+Updates

    “The Nation: Dem Insiders try to block party from supporting Palestinian rights”
    If Americans Knew Blog, Dec. 17/19

    “The Nation has just published: ‘These Democratic Insiders Want to Keep the Party From Moving Left on Israel-Palestine, in which it states: ‘the Democratic Majority for Israel is on a mission to make sure the party remains a reliable backer of the US-Israel alliance.’

    “The Nation article reports: ‘As high-profile endorsements rolled in for Bernie Sanders after his debate performance on October 15, one group of Democrats bristled. Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI), a lobby group filled with Washington insiders, struck back at the outsider who’s been rattling the Democratic establishment with his popular progressive agenda…’ Read more https://www.thenation.com/article/democratic-majority-israel-dmfi/

    “For an earlier report on the Democratic Majority for Israel, read Alison Weir’s ‘Democratic bigwigs create group to promote Israel to progressives.'” https://israelpalestinenews.org/democratic-bigwigs-create-group-to-promote-israel-to-progressives/

  3. Misterioso on December 18, 2019, 8:55 am

    Not that it’s needed, but here is further confirmation that “Israel” is sick, very sick:

    https://jewishcurrents.org/naked-gun/

    Essay: “‘Naked Gun’ December 5/19, Jewish Currents, by Sophia Goodfriend.”

    EXCERPT:
    “DRESSED IN MATCHING white crop tops, the Alpha Gun Angels arrived 20 minutes late to the opening ceremony of Israel’s Defense, Homeland Security and Cyber Exhibition (ISDEF), just as Major General Danny Yotam, former director of the Mossad, welcomed the crowd. The hot June sun beat down on the gray strip of asphalt outside Tel Aviv’s convention center, where heads of state, national security agencies, police forces, and private defense corporations sat sweating in awkwardly small black plastic chairs.

    “The Alpha Gun Angels ignored the ceremony and headed directly to the Harley Davidson Display inside the air-conditioned lobby, where they posed on motorcycles and fondled sniper rifles manufactured by the Israeli company MeProLite. Their impossibly long glossy hair was luminescent under the fluorescent overhead lights. A bearded man in a t-shirt printed with the Angels’ slogan— ‘Fire Up Your Marketing!’ — live-streamed the scene to hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers on an iPhoneX. A group of counter-protesters locked outside the front gates called for an end to Israeli arms exports through a megaphone. Their chants drifted through the humid summer air.

    “The Alpha Gun Angels, who bill themselves as Israel’s premier gun-modeling and social media–marketing agency, are a team of nine active and veteran IDF combat soldiers turned Instagram celebrities. On social media, the Angels market their combat experience as a sexy lifestyle brand, turning Israeli militarism into a generic but alluring image to be sold to gun companies, militaries, police forces, and gun rights advocacy groups around the world. This year, the Angels were at ISDEF projecting eroticism at a discordant combination of registers, crossing the sultriness of Megan Fox in Transformers with the libidinal thrust of Channing Tatum in White House Down. ‘Alpha Gun Angels’ isn’t that much of a mouthful, but the group sometimes just brands itself as the AGA, simultaneously connoting the faceless severity of a government agency (think NSA) and the arch professionalism of a talent management firm (think IMG Models). At the conference, their popularity was manifest—the line of cybersecurity specialists and army generals waiting for autographed photos snaked all the way around the booth of an Israeli spyware developer 100 feet away.

    “As the crowd dispersed inside the exposition hall, some Angels posed for photos with the latest in offensive weaponry and combat accessories: shooting gloves used by Israeli combat troops, minuscule CCTV helmet-cameras tested by Colombian counterinsurgency units, compact drones equipped with AI technology. Meanwhile, several Angels handed out brochures listing their Instagram handles, number of social media followers, clothing and shoe sizes, and bust and butt measurements. Their brochures find them splattered in dirt and fake blood, crawling out of thorny bushes in an ambiguous desert setting, as if Charlie’s Angels had joined the Mossad.

    “ISDEF TAKES PLACE every other year in Tel Aviv. For Israel, a country whose economy rests heavily on its defense and security sector, the expo is an important business opportunity; in 2018, Israel’s arms exports were the eighth largest in the world. Over the course of three days, 15,000 participants from 90 countries circulated around exposition booths selling everything from bedazzled combat boots to tiny recording devices embedded in fake sticks of gum. Intensifying the sci-fi dystopia vibe, archival footage of news anchors breaking reports of terrorist attacks played in an endless loop on an enormous TV monitor as miniscule drones darted overhead. A roped-off corner of the exhibition area was converted into a lecture hall, where Israeli generals and American CEOs of cybersecurity firms shared counterinsurgency tactics and digital-warfare strategies with military and police delegates from India, Sudan, and China.”

  4. Citizen on December 18, 2019, 10:07 am

    Where does @BernieSanders stand on anti-Semitism, Israel and other issues that matter to Jewish voters in 2020? – Jewish Telegraphic Agency https://www.jta.org/2019/12/12/politics/where-does-bernie-sanders-stand-on-anti-semitism-israel-and-other-issues-that-matter-to-jewish-voters-in-2020#.Xfo_sAbiobs.twitter via @jtanews

  5. Talkback on December 18, 2019, 1:33 pm

    Yep, Corbyn was a test run.

  6. wondering jew on December 18, 2019, 2:30 pm

    Re: Latuff cartoon. Corbyn brought the Labor party to its lowest point since 1935. If you think Zionists were the cause of that, you are dumb. Corbyn was/is a lousy politician, out of touch. Do you really think all those habitual Labor voters voted against Labor because Corbyn was anti Israel? Ha. You are DUMB!!!

    • Talkback on December 18, 2019, 5:26 pm

      wondering jew: “…, you are dumb. … You are DUMB!!!”

      Your most intelligent reasoning so far.

    • Misterioso on December 18, 2019, 6:49 pm

      Like Trump, Boris Johnson kneels before the pro-“Israel” lobby:

      https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/damaging-anger-boris-johnson-plans-anti-bds-law-191217113123145.html

      “‘Deeply damaging’: Anger as Boris Johnson plans ‘anti-BDS’ law”

      “Activists, experts concerned as UK government reportedly plans to ban public bodies from boycotting foreign products.” Al Jazeera, Dec. 17/19, by Anealla Safdar.

      “London, United Kingdom – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to ban public bodies from boycotting foreign products from countries including Israel, a move seen as targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

      “Lord Eric Pickles, Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues and a former Conservative MP, confirmed the move, saying: ‘BDS is an organisation devoted to boycotting and removing investment from Israel, one of our key allies. We’re going to ensure that public sector, places like councils and health authorities, can’t work against Israel, can’t prejudice Israel.’

      “‘BDS is just a thin disguise for ant-Semitism and we as Conservatives should always tackle racial discrimination. BDS is one of the worst, wink wink, nudge nudge, piece of racialism that we know.’

      “His message, posted in a video on the Conservative Friends of Israel lobby group’s Twitter feed, has stirred concerns among experts and activists who see BDS as a non-violent protest movement aimed at pressuring Israel to comply with international law and stop oppressing Palestinians.

      “Specifically, BDS seeks to break down Israel’s illegal wall and settlements. Its supporters demand equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel and call for the rights of Palestinian refugees to be upheld.

      “Hilary Aked, whose PhD thesis investigated opposition to BDS, told Al Jazeera: ‘Labelling the Palestinian-led BDS movement ‘anti-Semitic’ is deeply damaging to the cause of anti-racism, both in terms of fighting genuine anti-Semitism and opposing the apartheid system Israel imposes on Palestinians.’

      “‘The Conservative government’s renewed talk of outlawing BDS is the result of having lost the moral argument and, like supporters of Israel everywhere, needing to resort to repression and smears to stop ethical boycott and divestment initiatives.’

      “Johnson, who scooped a large parliamentary for his Conservative Party in a December 12 election, has previously described himself as a ‘passionate Zionist.’

      “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to congratulate Johnson, calling his recent win a “crushing victory in the fight against anti-Semitism’ – apparently a reference to allegations of anti-Jewish racism within the opposition Labour Party – as he looked forward to strengthening ‘the excellent relationship’ between Israel and the United Kingdom.

      “Netanyahu often rails against BDS and has said its founders ‘want to see the end of the Jewish state.’

      “Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, told Al Jazeera: ‘Israel recognises it is losing the battle for world opinion and risks isolation. In response, it has been coordinating a global campaign to fight back against the BDS movement.’

      “‘Central to this has been the attempt to frame the movement as extremist and anti-Semitic… Israel has tried to persuade its allies to introduce anti-BDS legislation.’

      “In the US, politicians from the Republican and Democratic parties have hit out at the movement and some states have passed anti-BDS measures, such as punishing companies that refuse to do business with illegal Israeli settlements.

      “‘In the US for example, we have seen a raft of laws introduced trying to prevent US citizens and companies responding to the BDS call, laws that are being challenged in the US courts on the basis of their violation of basic principles of free speech,’ said Jamal. ‘Unsurprisingly a Conservative government that seeks to ally itself with [US President] Donald Trump and his far-right agenda is following suit.’

      “‘All those who believe in international law, human rights and freedom of expression must vigorously oppose this legislation.’

      “In November, the European Court of Justice, the EU’s top court, ruled that food and drink made in Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land should be labelled if producers wanted to sell them in the bloc.

      “Johnson will take the UK out of the EU within weeks. His parliamentary majority means that unlike before, he will face little resistance regarding his Brexit proposals.”

    • eljay on December 18, 2019, 6:51 pm

      || wondering jew: … Do you really think all those habitual Labor voters voted against Labor because Corbyn was anti Israel? … ||

      It’s quite possible that many of them voted against Labour because Zionists anti-Semitically conflated Zionism and Israel with all Jews and then proceeded quite effectively to smear Corbyn (and, by association, Labour) with destructive accusations of anti-Semitism.

      || … You are DUMB!!! ||

      You are a Zionist.

      • wondering jew on December 18, 2019, 11:38 pm

        Don’t believe a columnist from Britain (Cook), instead believe a cartoonist from Brazil. It’s not Brexit, it’s not that Corbyn was out of touch, no, it’s Rabbi Mirvis who beat Labour. Genius!

      • MHughes976 on December 19, 2019, 4:51 am

        I think that the newspaper editors have a reasonably good idea about how their campaigns are going down with the readers and would not have persisted so strongly with the anti-S allegations unless they had thought that they were going down well and steadily contributing to Corbyn’s astonishingly low approval rating.

      • Talkback on December 19, 2019, 5:56 am

        eljay: “You are a Zionist.”

        Wooow, what a disproportionate response and accusation! Almost hateful. You should be very careful with this accusation, no human being deserves that.

      • eljay on December 19, 2019, 8:04 am

        || wondering jew: Don’t believe a columnist from Britain (Cook), instead believe a cartoonist from Brazil. It’s not Brexit, it’s not that Corbyn was out of touch, no, it’s Rabbi Mirvis who beat Labour. Genius! ||

        It could very well have been Brexit and Corbyn’s “out of touch”ness that beat Labour.

        But that’s no reason to pretend that Corbyn and, by association, Labour were not smeared with destructive accusations of anti-Semitism. Zionist!

      • eljay on December 19, 2019, 8:12 am

        || Talkback: eljay: “You are a Zionist.”

        Wooow, what a disproportionate response and accusation! Almost hateful. You should be very careful with this accusation, no human being deserves that. ||

        I realize that Zionist is a dirty – and hateful and immoral – word so I am careful never to call someone a Zionist who isn’t one. But y.f. most definitely and unapologetically is one.

      • echinococcus on December 19, 2019, 9:00 am

        Hughes,

        Newspaper owners, as perhaps different from editors, or not, are way past the point of letting audience response lead their choices. They stick to the party line, every time. They are part of the Owners of the Countries, as a quick look at the last years has abundantly shown.

  7. genesto on December 18, 2019, 3:19 pm

    As I’ve said before, we should be prepared to stand up to these people, declare that we are NOT anti-Semites simply because we criticize Israel’s policies, and counter that ZIONISM is a racist ideology. We should also make clear that Israel, from which all of these attacks emanate, IS anti-Semitic because of its embrace of white nationalists, and neo Nazis, here and in other countries like Hungary and Poland.

    Bold statements gain traction, whether true or false, by continuing to repeat them as many times, and in as many places, as you can.

    • mondonut on December 18, 2019, 4:55 pm

      @genesto

      I fully support your strategy of declaring Israel anti-Semitic. That sounds like a real winner.

      • genesto on December 19, 2019, 1:20 pm

        When you support white supremacist and neo Nazi regimes, what else are you? Let’s put it this way – Israel loves power but not so much world Jewry.

    • Talkback on December 18, 2019, 5:35 pm

      genesto: “As I’ve said before, we should be prepared to stand up to these people, declare that we are NOT anti-Semites simply because we criticize Israel’s policies, and counter that ZIONISM is a racist ideology.”

      Declaring that we are not antisemites by countering that Zionism is a racist ideology? That just leads to the accusation of antisemitism. To say that Zionism is a racist ideology is a slogan that doesn’t explain anything.

      genesto: “We should also make clear that Israel, from which all of these attacks emanate, IS anti-Semitic because of its embrace of white nationalists, and neo Nazis, here and in other countries like Hungary and Poland.”

      Why is that antisemitic? And what difference would it make if it is? That’s just to far-fetched.

      genesto: “Bold statements gain traction, whether true or false, by continuing to repeat them as many times, and in as many places, as you can.”

      So you want us to be brainwashing propagandists like Zionists?

      • echinococcus on December 18, 2019, 9:31 pm

        Some people really seem to have no clue, as already suggested, why things that seem to have traction in their own circles — like, say, Russysteria, Duty 2 Wage Aggressive War, or “anti-Semitism” fall flat in the Lower Classes. Even “racism” won’t take you anywhere without a subway token, ehm, some practical repercussions. All one can say to them is “Just so, damn the torpedoes.”

      • MHughes976 on December 19, 2019, 6:27 am

        We’re all free to define words as we wish, there being no truth or falsity there, only clarity or obscurity.
        I do think that Z lays too much emphasis on ancestry in its assignment of rights. That excessive emphasis comes close to what I, for what that’s worth, would call ‘racism’. In good-faith conversation it may be best not to use a word generally regarded as insulting. Z rhetoric, not being in particularly good faith, hurls the insulting term ‘anti-Semite’ around in every sentence it can manage. No effective counter-rhetoric has been found. Defensive expostulation – ‘of course I’m not and I can prove it’ – can easily sound as if it is conceding the right to sit in judgement to the other side, which is very self-weakening.

      • echinococcus on December 19, 2019, 8:49 am

        Hughes,

        “No effective counter-rhetoric has been found.”

        You’re right: protesting one’s innocence, pointing to the insignificant scale of AS incidents, differentiating between AS and anti-Zionism, indicating the presence of “Jews” among the AZ, etc. is useless, as we have seen.

        In fact, there is an effective tactics, though: ignoring the “anti-Semitism” accusation, in fact considering it irrelevant works. The efficacy of the “anti-Semitism” smear among the general public is not considerable by itself, as opposed to the effect among the tribe or among the self-characterized liberals. Even the unheard-of witchhunt hysteria unleashed on Corbyn didn’t seem to have to have hurt that much (to the surprise of the liberal politicians.)

        The effective “counter-rhetoric” here can be condensed as “So what? Palestine is illegally occupied and it still is a crime against humanity / hurting our interests”. Let’s even stop trying to defend our good reputation among Zionists and the quasi-Zionist anti-semite hunters. It’s irrelevant — they are not the population that will help us, but the legendary Dick and Jane.

      • Talkback on December 19, 2019, 10:10 am

        MHughes976: ” Z rhetoric, not being in particularly good faith, hurls the insulting term ‘anti-Semite’ around in every sentence it can manage. No effective counter-rhetoric has been found. ”

        No counter-rhetoric is needed, because that would only mean being reactive and defensive. On the other hand that doesn’t mean to be offensive.

        The accusation of antisemitism itself is counter-rhetoric. And it can only be a response to a rhetoric which is not expressing universal principles, human rights, international law, etc. but attacks on Zionists, Zionism on the one hand or defense of Palestinians on the other. And its is solely in the Zionist interesst to maintain this frame which is based on the “conflict of two parties” instead on focusing on the violation of universal principles, human rights, international law, etc. no matter wich party is the perpetrator.

        Universal principles like sharing, co-existence, equality, etc simply can’t be accused of being racist or antisemitic. To the contrary. But if someone reduces the absence of this principles to “Zionism is racism” it ‘s absolutely counterproductive despite being true in the case of real existing Zionism.

      • MHughes976 on December 19, 2019, 12:28 pm

        Thanks for interesting points, you two. I do think that the anti-Corbyn rhetoric was quite effective. I suppose that test will be whether the next – I won’t say ‘new’ – Labour leader falls as resolutely silent about Palestine as I expect or renews the discussion. I think that we will know that the cries of anti-S are starting to lose their power when it no longer seems necessary to stop in our tracks and start explaining ourselves but are just able to press on with talking about justice for all, for Palestinians, for Jews. But so far our cries of ‘universal justice!’ have been met with their cries of ‘bloody anti-Semites!’ and it is their clamour that risen to the high heavens and deafened ears on earth, not ours.

      • genesto on December 19, 2019, 1:37 pm

        Here’s the explanation of why Zionism is racist. The Israeli Jewish power elite does everything it can, short of mass murder, to make sure that non Jews, especially Palestinians, don’t share REAL power in Israel, and does all it can (once again, short of mass murder) to rid the country of these ‘undesirables’. The Nation State Law, which essentially disenfranchises non Jews in Israel, ongoing home demolitions and land confiscation, the denial of basic rights and essential goods, are just some of the preponderance of evidence proving Zionism is basically racist in nature.

        To put it simply, Israeli Jews do not consider non Jews, again most notably Palestinians, to be either safe or advanced enough as civilizations to have more than a token role in the Jewish state’s government. Anyone that denies this really doesn’t know what the hell he, or she, is talking about. Even the most hardcore Zionists don’t deny this. They just don’t care what the rest of the world thinks about it anymore.

      • MHughes976 on December 19, 2019, 5:27 pm

        I think of racism as the claim on behalf of some fairly large group, defined at least to a major degree by ancestry, to possess certain important and exclusive rights and privileges.

      • Talkback on December 19, 2019, 6:09 pm

        genesto, you are preaching to the choir. But can you translate everything in how it shouldbe according to universal principles, human rights, international law, etc. and without refering to Jews, Nonjews, Israel, Palestinman, Zionists, etc.?

        Here’s an example. Instead of saying “Here’s the explanation of why Zionism is racist. … to make sure that non Jews, especially Palestinians, don’t share REAL power in Israel…” it would be better to simply say:

        Every citizen of a state should equally have “real power” despite their faith or heritage. Or:
        States shouldn’t differentiate between nationals and citizens on the base of their faith and heritage to privilige the former.

        See? It’s completely decontextualized and therefore not possible for Zionists to accuse you of antisemitism withough revealing their own racism. So you don’t have to explicitely accuse them of racism nor explain why they are racist which they would simply counter by accusing you of antisemitism. Just formulate universal principles and allow them to expose their racism themselves by rejecting these principles.

  8. Tuyzentfloot on December 19, 2019, 6:03 pm

    I think the effect of the full spectrum anti-Corbyn propaganda is difficult to measure because it is indirect. The permanent bashing (terrorist lover, Putin stooge, antisemite, threat to safety and so on) damaged his repuation and at that point every other damaging claim about him becomes more credible. So people find it easy to blame Corbyn himself for the loss , or his position on Brexit but how many will mention the claims the propaganda was pushing?
    The reputation test is : do you want to be publicly associated with Corbyn? Or would you feel slightly ashamed?

    30% of the vote went to Labour, as opposed to 43 % for Conservatives.
    A lot of these 30% will feel they are not represented in the media, and with the purge of Labour, they will not be represented in Labour. So it will be all up to the PR types to keep that party afloat.

    What stage is this in the process? the wealthy pillaging the sinking ship?

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