Monday, September 04, 2006


Fringe lefty Antony Loewenstein is sceptical of a recent sharp rise in antisemitic incidents as reported by the Age. He links to two Leftwrites posts as proof he is right to have doubts.

In the first linked post Chris Haan casts Jews as the aggressors; at least that's how he remembers it:
There is a growing right-wing Zionist campaign to attack the Left on Australia's campuses for its opposition to the Lebanon war and Zionism generally. The usual suspects must have put together a press release/story about "growing anti-semitism on campus" (read: activity critical of Israel) to get this article in today's Age titled "Jews in fear of hardline groups on campus"


When I was on campus several years ago the zionists who walked past stalls tended to hurl pro-zionist abuse as they went past and, unsurprisngly, the socialists responded. It would go something like this: Zionist yells, "Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorists!", and socialists yell back, "Israel is a state terrorist!" and so it would go.
He also throws in a gratuitous link to our brave Jewish dissenter:
The Left has to be confident to defend itself against spurious claims of anti-semitism from the Right. It's becoming more apparent that books like Antony Lowenstein's My Israel Question are becoming necessary reading in order to instil that confidence.
Jeff Sparrow also weighs in even though he knows nothing about the situation:
I'm completely out of the loop of campus politics, but reading between the lines it sounds much more like the Left is being suppressed by the Right rather than the other way round.


Kamien says activists on socialist stalls regularly shout out comments about 'f–ing Jew[s]'. When I was in the [International Socialist Organization] and [Socialist Alternative], anyone who used such language (or harboured the sentiment behind it) would have been expelled. I cannot believe that matters are any different today.
Lefty Paul Norton is, however, not at all surprised at the upsurge in antisemitism:
As someone who has identified with the left throughout my adult life, I was depressed but not surprised to read the report (4 September) on ultra-leftist hostility towards Jewish students.

I was once involved in self-described “pro-Palestinian” activism. However, after reading and thinking carefully about the issue I moved away from the anti-Zionism of the ultra-left. I became convinced that the destruction of Israel would be a human catastrophe, I remained critical of specific Israeli policies whilst accepting Israel’s right to exist, and I concluded that Palestinian self-determination had to be achieved in parallel with, not at the expense of, Jewish self-determination.

For adopting these views I attracted calumny from the anti-Zionist faithful similar to that heaped on NUS President Rose Jackson for her statements regarding the current campus debates. Eventually I ceased being active on the Israel-Palestine issue because my conscience wouldn’t let me attend meetings and rallies dominated by chants of “Palestine Yes! Israel No!”
I've made a lot of fun of Norton but have to give him credit for taking the stand he's taken on this.

And what about Loewenstein? He shouldn't be surprised antisemitism is on the rise; just the other day he posited a cause and effect link between Israel's actions and antisemitism – a link he had previously denied. As always, the poor guy wouldn't have a clue.


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