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Started by opaz__ on May 8, 2019 10:47:00 PM
Soviet Anti-Zionism and Contemporary Left Antisemitism

Fathomjournal is an online magazine specializing in Israeli issues (from an Israeli perspective). It suggests that 'anti zionism' was created/promoted by the Soviets and that this partly explains its popularity with the British Left. I've no idea whether that's true or not but I'd be interested to hear a counter argument.

Hejog243 - 19 Nov 2021 12:31:27 (#1 of 38)

Jewish life in the Soviet Union generally flourished. Perhaps there were instances of anti-Semitism but certainly no more than elsewhere. It was the Nazi invasion of 1941 that largely put paid to the Jewish population.

Intowntonight - 21 Nov 2021 20:13:22 (#2 of 38)

Jewish life in the USSR could only be defined as flourishing if you compare it with the Czarist period and that time between the end of WW1 and the establishment of the USSR. (mass slaughter of Jews in Poland, the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia)

Stalin was an anti semite , and throughout his long reign, Jews were discriminated against, expelled to the Gulag and Siberia and executed.Jews in the Soviet forces were often posted to the most hazardous fronts during the war against Nazi Germany (see Grigory Svirsky - Hostages)Jews, who in more benign times had reached high office or in Soviet cultural life were continually purged.

Stalin initially supported Zionism and Israel as he saw it as a Soviet entry point into the Mid East and its opposition to the West. However, he became fearful of the appeal Israel would have to the USSRs Jewish population, and to wider nationalities and did as 180 degree turn.

In the 60s 70s and 80s, anti-Zionism became a useful Soviet tool in the Arab/Muslim world and also drawing on anti-semitism and anti-westernism, further afield.

I dont, however, believe that the a/s in the British left draws on the USSR.Firstly I think the USSR is discredited amoungst the British Left, particularly after the Hungarian uprising, the anti-semitic show trials in Poland, Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia after WW2.

A/s in the British left, I think of which too much is made, has other historical roots: some of its stems from Marx himself, with his crude and snobbish description of "Ost-Juden" which was projected onto all Jews: this carries over into the early Labour Party ( see Keir Hardie & JA Hobson) at the time of the Boer War and "Jewish Capitalism" of which we have heard so much recently.

Atticus - 21 Nov 2021 20:41:16 (#3 of 38)

Thanks Intown. Interesting read.

Intowntonight - 26 Nov 2021 14:03:03 (#4 of 38)

You're welcome Atticus:

Im not suggesting my views are either authoritative or scholarly: I am not a historian:

the only thing I could have added was about Jewish refuseniks in the USSR:but then the USSR refused exit almost to all, unless refusal was seen as too big of a PR disaster for them.

Ebadlun - 26 Nov 2021 15:31:20 (#5 of 38)

It suggests that 'anti zionism' was created/promoted by the Soviets and that this partly explains its popularity with the British Left. I've no idea whether that's true or not but I'd be interested to hear a counter argument.

It's difficult to offer a counter-argument against an unsupported and unproveable assertion,

Intowntonight - 26 Nov 2021 15:35:50 (#6 of 38)

No, Eb, that ought to be easy, if the assertion can offer no evidence.

But in this whole arena, the cause is often more important than the facts.

tasselhoff - 26 Nov 2021 15:35:55 (#7 of 38)

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was first published in Russia, but in 1903 before the revolution. The Germans seem to have found plenty of Jews to kill there when they invaded, so I'm not sure where Soviet anti Zionism is meant to come from.

tasselhoff - 26 Nov 2021 15:36:58 (#8 of 38)

unless it's meant in the sense of not liking Israel, which I also have no idea about.

HouseOfLametta - 26 Nov 2021 17:33:05 (#9 of 38)

Stalin went wildly antisemitic after the war and, for instance, rounded up all his doctors.

But modern A/s on the left, to the extent that it is a thing, is a biproduct of the palestinian situation.

Intowntonight - 26 Nov 2021 17:55:30 (#10 of 38)

Correct about Stalin - "the doctors plot"

but the Palestine situation is where its migrated to:

you cant do raw, unfiltered Jew hate easily these days, unless you are a loon or in the KKK, or the Hamas end of Islamism

Israel/Palestine is where you go when you still need to look respectable.

Mind you, on the extreme right its "George Soros & New York Money"

Ebadlun - 27 Nov 2021 02:05:09 (#11 of 38)

What evidence is there that criticism of Israel is motivated by anti-semitism? Rather than, you know, the terrible things that Israel does?

Intowntonight - 27 Nov 2021 08:46:23 (#12 of 38)

I am not saying all criticism of Israel is motivated by anti-semitism:

just more that would be natural given Israel,s crimes and misdemenours.

An anti-semite is hardly likely to say "the reason I hate Israel is because I hate Jews: Israel is their "get-out" card.

Its not as if anti-semitism has been parachuted into the debate: its been around in many forms for a very long time.

If someone attacks Israel, and yet is silent on greater abuses elsewhere (as many are), I think you can come to certain conclusions.

NightInTGeorgia - 27 Nov 2021 10:07:39 (#13 of 38)

What evidence is there that criticism of Israel is motivated by anti-semitism?

Lack of proportionate interest in other conflicts

RosyLovelady - 27 Nov 2021 10:11:24 (#14 of 38)

Who's lacking the proper interest, Tintge?

NightInTGeorgia - 27 Nov 2021 10:18:30 (#15 of 38)

I think of someone is capable of bullet point dissection of the evolution of the I/P situation, or Twitter threads (just for you) detailing point counter point of the history since the Balfour declaration but can only provide general hand-wringing over things like the Uighurs or various conflicts in Africa then I’d conclude they are motivated by more than just humanitarian concern. Though to be fair I think it’s as likely to be “western imperialism” as A/S.

Intowntonight - 27 Nov 2021 10:49:46 (#16 of 38)

That is valid:

for example - though he is no example:

George Galloway - and "viva Palestina" over Gaza,

but no "Viva Syriana" over a far more vile and murderous civil war in Syria:

it is as Night says, the selectivity - the sustained and focused malice to Israel, whilst myopic to far worse abuses elsewhere.

And certainly support for Hamas with its Charter of Jew-hate.

HouseOfLametta - 27 Nov 2021 10:51:36 (#17 of 38)

But Galloway is neither on the left, or representative of it.

He's a freelance narcissist.

Intowntonight - 27 Nov 2021 10:54:03 (#18 of 38)

That as well: but he sees himself as a man of the left.

My comment was not so much about his political orientation , as the focus of his hate.

NightInTGeorgia - 27 Nov 2021 11:24:34 (#19 of 38)

As Mrs Merton might have said, “What first attracted you to the only foreign conflict involving Jews?”

mingmong - 27 Nov 2021 11:38:08 (#20 of 38)

The same thing that attracted leftists to the first ever situation of colonial oppression involving the Dutch (i.e. South Africa)

The AS thing is 90% (deliberate) red herring in the case of the Israel-Palestine thing. The real attraction to the I/P situation for a certain type of leftist is the 'western' (i.e. white) identity of the Israeli state vs. the 'eastern' (i.e. black) identity of the Palestinian resistance. The fact that this essentially colonialist moral paradigm survives in tact (albeit in inverse formation) within this critique is reason enough to regard it with suspicion, aside from any spurious resemblance to medieval Jew hate or its twentieth-century manifestations (in Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany)

The 10% is where the hard left intersects with (or at least turns a blind eye to) the genuine out-and-out antisemetism of Hamas and certain other strains of radical Islam. The shameful conduct of Lindsey German and certain others in the Stop the War movement spring to mind here. I think the smearing of Corbzy was unfair, but you can see why some in the Jewish community might have smelt a rat.

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