Archive for the 'Jewish Culture & Religion' Category

Kalle Lasn (Adbusters): “Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?” (full image) (2004)

“Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?”,  Kalle Lasn’s infamous Adbusters article (March/April 2004),  is often talked about. But it is curiously hard to find a copy of the actual image—especially since much of its notoriety  derives from it being a list political figures in which the Jewish ones are marked with symbols next to their names! So, with all the brew-ha-ha lately about antisemitism at Occupy Wall Street, we thought we’d pull this one out of the archives.

(If you have trouble seeing the image, click here.)

We have a lot to say about antisemitism and the critique of finance capital; the failure of the left to oppose antisemitism at OWS and how this has handed openings to the right; the left’s pathetic failure in the response to these accusations, which have some validity; and the comparison between the anti-globalization and “Occupy” movements in terms of antisemitism, the critique of finance capital, and Left/Right crossover. But it will all have to wait.

Further reading about the Occupy movement, the critique of finance capital, and left/right crossover:

Spencer Sunshine, “Occupied With Conspiracies? The Occupy Movement, Populist Anti-Elitism, and the Conspiracy Theorists”

Matthew Lyons, “Rightists woo the Occupy Wall Street movement”

TPMDC, “Not Helping: David Duke Supports Occupy Wall Street”

The Liberty Lamp, “Infiltrators of the Occupy Movement.”

Michael C. Moynihan, “Busted: The Canadian magazine Adbusters sparked the Occupy Wall Street movement. It also has a weakness for Israel-bashing conspiracy theories.”

(mostly important for information at the end about Adbusters publishing Holocaust-denier Gilad Atzmon & co)

Scission,  “OCCUPY KANSAS CITY DEBATES THE “PROTOCOLS OF THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION”/ ARE YOU KIDDING ME”

“The bad seed of the #Occupy Movement—Occupy Tallinn”

Our American Generation, “American Neo Nazis and the Occupy Movement”

Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement (HARM), HARM Withdraws Support for Occupy Indianapolis

Mike Levine, “US Professors Travel to Iran to Discuss Occupy Wall Street Movement”

(Normally, I’d never link to FOX, but this is of interest because, while the “US professors” were leftists and marxists – one an Italian-style autonomist – Iran’s Press TV quotes a US Iman saying that the OWS 99% is “naturally against Zionism…. The monster today is global Zionism.”)

(Documents some of the antisemitic cartoons which came out in 2012 in Occupy/Anonymous circles.)

YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO SEE THIS IMAGE IN FIREFOX; IF NOT, USE A DIFFERENT BROWSER

TEXT:

WHY WON’T ANYONE SAY THEY ARE JEWISH?

Friends help each other out. That’s why the US sends billions of dollars every year to Israel. In return, Israel advances US strategic interests in the Middle East. But despite this mutual back scratching, Israeli-American relations are enduring a rough patch. Last December, a senior State Department official blasted Israel for having “done too little for far too long” to resolve the conflict with its Palestinian neighbors. Indeed, President Bush himself had scolded Israel a month earlier with his demand that “Israel should freeze settlement construction, dismantle unauthorized outposts, end the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people and not prejudice final negotiations with the building of walls and fences.”

Harsh words, but is it all just window-dressing? This was not the first time Bush criticized Israel and he has made numerous calls for a “viable” Palestinian state during his presidency. Nevertheless, he has never concretely punished Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for ignoring US directives and shrugging off his commitment to the peace process. It’s also worth noting that diplomatic admonitions are the responsibility of the State Department which has been on the losing end of the policy wars in Bush’s White House. One wonders what Israeli-American relations, and indeed what American relations with the rest of the world would look like if the neocon hawks who control Rumsfeld’s Defense Department were also in charge at State.

A lot of ink has been spilled chronicling the pro-Israel leanings of American neocons and fact that a the disproportionate percentage of them are Jewish. Some commentators are worried that these individuals – labeled ‘Likudniks’ for their links to Israel’s right wing Likud party – do not distinguish enough between American and Israeli interests. For example, whose interests were they protecting in pushing for war in Iraq?

Drawing attention to the Jewishness of the neocons is a tricky game. Anyone who does so can count on automatically being smeared as an anti-Semite. But the point is not that Jews (who make up less than 2 percent of the American population) have a monolithic perspective. Indeed, American Jews overwhelmingly vote Democrat and many of them disagree strongly with Ariel Sharon’s policies and Bush’s aggression in Iraq. The point is simply that the neocons seem to have a special affinity for Israel that influences their political thinking and consequently American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Here at Adbusters, we decided to tackle the issue head on and came up with a carefully researched list of who appear to be the 50 most influential neocons in the US (see above). Deciding exactly who is a neocon is difficult since some neocons reject the term while others embrace it. Some shape policy from within the White House, while others are more peripheral, exacting influence indirectly as journalists, academics and think tank policy wonks. What they all share is the view that the US is a benevolent hyper power that must protect itself by reshaping the rest of the world into its morally superior image. And half of the them are Jewish.

Kalle Lasn


Bob Avakian on SNCC, Anti-Zionism & Anti-Semitism (2005)

One time through Eldridge [[Cleaver]] I got this issue of the SNCC newspaper and they had this cartoon portraying Nasser, who was the head of the government of Egypt at that time, going up against Israel, and the cartoon drew a parallel with how Black people had to deal with Jews who were exploiting them in the ghetto in America. This really bothered me. I was already learning about imperialism, partly from Eldridge, so I said to him: “Look, this is not right. The common enemy here is imperialism. What’s wrong with Israel is not the Jewish character of it; it’s the fact that it’s an instrument of imperialism. And the common cause of black people in the U.S. and people in Egypt is that they’re going up against imperialism.” Eldridge said, “Well, why don’t you write them a letter?” So I did. I made these arguments and I made the point that in writing the letter that I was a strong supporter of SNCC and of Black liberation, but this bothered me because it wasn’t the right way to look at the problem and to analyze friends and enemies, and so on. So they wrote back and said, “We take you at your word that you’re a supporter of Black liberation and let us make clear that we are not anti-Semitic and we don’t see Jews as the enemy.”

= = =

from Bob Avakian, From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey From Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist (Chicago: Insight Press, 2005), p 147.

RADICAL ARCHIVES NOTE: Bob was a member of SDS and the Revolutionary Union, and is the founder and chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP), a Maoist sect. The son of East Bay judge ‘Sparky’ Avakian, Bob has stated that “After the Holocaust, the worst thing that has happened to Jewish people is the state of Israel.” His follower Alan Goodman took this to heart and, after Israel’s 2009 attack on Gaza, Goodman held a banner with this slogan outside the ‘Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial To The Holocaust’ in downtown New York City.

Despite its subtitle, the Museum of Jewish History is not a Holocaust museum; current exhibitions include an expose about the love of American Jews for Mah Jongg.

Rudolf Rocker’s Yiddish translation of Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ (1910)

Title page of Rocker's Yiddish translation of 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra'

German radical Rudolf Rocker was one of the most prominent figures of the anarcho-syndicalist movement during the classical period. His works such as Nationalism and Culture (as well as works of literary criticism like The Six) also made him anarcho-syndicalism’s most noted intellectual in the Anglophone world. A polyglot, Rocker learned Yiddish and became a well-known organizer of Jewish workers when he lived in London.

Lesser known is Rocker’s work as a translator, and his most interesting work was a Yiddish translation of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The Yiddish edition can be read online here.

Some of his Rocker’s works in Yiddish are available here as well.

(Special thanks to the Russian anarchist blogger Laplandian for finding these resources.)

Skirda on “Jewish capital” and the Dreyfus Affair

In fact, the period was profoundly marked by that [[Dreyfus]] Affair: it gave rise to a confused turmoil in which a revolutionary cat would have had great difficulty identifying her kittens! The root cause of it all was the unjust conviction of a captain, (a millionaire and son of a millionaire in the francs of the day) on account of his Jewish faith. Many anarchists let themselves be dragged into this questionable episode; Sébastien Faure even set up a daily newspaper with the backing of Jewish capital, and good comrades wrote for it. It is questionable whether libertarians seized upon the issue the better to attack and discredit the army, the very army whose commanders had waded deep in the blood of the Communards. This, it was a sort of revenge from beyond the grave, albeit in a very roundabout fashion. But let us move on.

= = =

from Alexandre Skirda, Facing the Enemy: A History of Anarchist Organization from Proudhon to May 1968, translated Paul Sharkey. (Edinburgh & Oakland: AK Press, 2002), p 70 footnote 5.

James Horrox on anarchism and early kibbutzim

The Zionism of the early kibbutz communards had never imagined a national revival taking the form of a state-building enterprise. For them, the Balfour Declaration in 1917, promising a “national home” for the Jews, meant an opportunity to establish a completely new form of society and a chance to put their dreams and visions into practice. Collective settlement was not seen simply as the most efficient way of colonizing the land in order to create a Jewish state and install a market-capitalist economy, as some have since argued. Though the later centrality of the movement to the creation and defence of Israel is clear, the notion that the pioneers resorted to collectivism simply in order to create suitable conditions for the institution of that state is largely a myth. Even the founders of Degania were strictly opposed to the notions of government and state, and by the time the Third Aliya groups arrived, the idea of building a stateless society on the back of the new social model they had created was one that was widely embraced. The idea held in common by many of the groups arriving in Palestine during the 1920s was to transform the Yishuv into a stateless commonwealth of autonomous communities that would include few, if any, non-collective alternatives.

= = =

from James Horrox, A Living Revolution: Anarchism in the Kibbutz Movement (Oakland, CA & Edinburgh: AK Press, 2009), pp 57–58.

Anarchist letters from Palestine in MAN! (1937)

TWO LETTERS FROM PALESTINE

Palestine, Aug 20, 1937

Dear Comrade:

Only now I have got back the MAN! after they “visited” other comrades through the country. I read and read them and though I am disagreeing with you in some things I think that MAN! is the best journal I have ever seen in English.

Especially hurt me your statement toward the disturbances in Palestine in August, 1936, and also the statement of your collaborator, Samuel Palinov, published in the FREIE ARBEITER STIME. I would have written in particular about the situation in Palestine, but now I want only to express you my best wishes, and to tell you that in the last August number there was nothing that I could disagree with. The article of Voltarine de Celyre appealed very much to me and I am really sorry that I have no money to do my part in helping you to publish it in pamphlet form.

J.T.

* * *

Palestine, August 25, 1937

Dear Comrade:

Just wanted to send you this short letter when I received yours. I thank you very much for it. And I am trying to answer some of your questions.

A. Of course our circles are against the partition of Palestine; first because we didn’t lose our faith that there is a possibility of mutual understanding with the Arabs, and secondly because we are against the Jewish State, following the ideals of the first laleos pioneers to Palestine who were (A. B. Gordon and I. Ch. Brener) very near to Anarchism and stated their idea is “not a Jewish State but a free creative settlement”, a “Human-Nation” striving for self-determination and not-assimilated culture.” These men founded the communal movement which numbers now more than 12,000 members, but who did not follow their founders. These communards’ life is very near to the anarchist ideals because they are giving, each one according to his ability, and each one receives according to his needs. The communes are membered by Zionist-social-democrats and other Marxist Parties. And we Anarchists are only a little number scattered among many communes, and though in the last year we more than doubled our number we are known as members of a commune, but not as anarchists.

B. That is the reason we cannot get money for our anarchist activity. Of course we cannot send you handcraft for the same reason. We are very busy now, in our new movement. Of course I hope to write in the future for MAN! in Hebrew and shall find some one among my friends who will translate it into English.

Best wishes to you and to MAN!.

J.T.

* * *

Since Governmental persecution of anarchists is universal, we are omitting the name of the Commune from which  the two letters came, as also the name of the writer – EDITOR.

===

from MAN!, April 1938, p 8 (400), taken from the reprint in the Greenwood Press anthology.

Spelling and grammar are as they appear in the journal.



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