Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

May 2, 2020

Bill de Blasio, the Hasidim, and COVID-19

Filed under: anti-Semitism,COVID-19,Jewish question — louisproyect @ 5:48 pm

This week, Mayor Bill de Blasio was pilloried for being anti-Semitic. On April 28, when hundreds of Hasidic Jews took part in a funeral procession for their rabbi, de Blasio rushed to the scene in Brooklyn to oversee the police trying to disperse the crowd. Some of the Hasidim were wearing masks but others were not. Even if everyone was wearing a mask, the procession would be in violation of ordinances City Hall had approved to implement social distancing.

That evening de Blasio tweeted about the incident:

By simply referring to the “Jewish community”, he became the moral equivalent of Bernie Sanders, who became persona non grata in Hasidic circles for having “done more to legitimize antisemitism than any Democratic presidential candidate in recent memory.” That characterization appeared in the March 3, 2020 Algemeiner Journal, a newspaper marketed to the orthodox Jewish community. Like most rightwing Jews, the editors made an amalgam between being pro-Palestinian and anti-Semitic.

Like any number of people over the past decade who use Twitter, de Blasio got caught in the unfortunate position of simplifying a complex situation. By referring to the “Jewish community”, he was supposedly judging an entire ethnic group. If I were Mayor, I might have tweeted something much more like this:

Last night there was a funeral procession for Rabbi Chaim Mertz who died from COVID-19. Over a thousand of his followers violated social distancing guidelines that might have kept him alive in the first place. The orthodox community has to do a better job of protecting itself.

One can understand the mayor’s frustration. Ever since the pandemic hit New York, some Hasidic sects have been as defiant of social distancing as the AstroTurf mobs funded by Charles Koch. On March 17th, the NY Times reported on “Defying Virus Rules, Large Hasidic Jewish Weddings Held in Brooklyn”. After the Fire Department busted the wedding, that did not prevent people from continuing to celebrate on the street outside.

A day later Pro Publica published an article titled “As Coronavirus Cases Rise, Members of Some Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Communities Continue to Congregate”. Even when the headquarters of the Lubavitcher Hasidic sect was closed at 770 Eastern Parkway, “a large group of men — numbering perhaps over 100 — had simply moved their prayers from inside the building to outside of it, crowding together.”

In a perceptive article on how Hasidic neighborhoods became the epicenter within a pandemic epicenter, the NY Times published an article on April 21 that offered an explanation of why there is a defiance of city ordinances. Basically, the Hasidic sects view the state itself as an infringement on its rights as a separate social entity that operates on its own legal codes. The Times put it this way:

That sense of defiance has been evident in neighborhoods like Borough Park and South Williamsburg, where some businesses and religious bathhouses have displayed signs written in Yiddish — a language not widely spoken outside the Hasidic community — informing patrons of hours and prices or instructing them to use an entrance not visible from the street.

Beyond this insular attitude, there is also a failure to come to terms with medical science. During a measles epidemic last year, the Hasidic sects were a bastion of resistance to vaccinations. A Brooklyn Orthodox Rabbi William Handler told Vox that the MMR vaccine used to guard against measles, mumps and rubella caused autism. He viewed parents who “placate the gods of vaccination” are engaging in “child sacrifice.” As is the case with COVID-19, orthodox Jewish children suffered because of adult inaction.

The irony in all this is that Bill de Blasio has been a long-time ally of the most rightwing and religiously obscurantist segments of the “Jewish community”. In 2013, after he announced his campaign for mayor, I blogged about these ties:

The first sign that de Blasio was traveling down a familiar road was his appearances on State Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s radio show on WMCA on Saturday night when he ran for City Council from the 39th District in 2001, that includes Borough Park, an area that contains many orthodox Jews who vote as a bloc and take their cues from Hikind. Hikind is one of the biggest scumbags in the Democratic Party in N.Y. who leaves a trail of slime going back to his days as a follower of Meir Kahane, an openly fascist leader of the Jewish Defense League.

Hikind went on to endorse de Blasio for Public Advocate in 2009 and now endorses him along with William Thomson in the DP mayor primary. In return, de Blasio has endorsed Hikind’s favorites, including Joe Lazar who ran unsuccessfully for City Council in the 39th District in 2010.

You can tell how important Borough Park votes are for de Blasio based on the stance he took on the BDS controversy at Brooklyn College early this year. In a McCarthyite campaign orchestrated by Dov Hikind, the school came under pressure to include a pro-Israel speaker. This was de Blasio’s statement:

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is inflammatory, dangerous and utterly out of step with the values of New Yorkers. An economic boycott represents a direct threat to the State of Israel–that’s something we need to oppose in all its forms. No one seriously interested in bringing peace, security and tolerance to the Middle East should be taken in by this event.

This is not the first time that de Blasio has positioned himself as a “friend of Israel”. Raillan Brooks, a blogger at the Village Voice, revealed that de Blasio was opposed to Saudi airplanes landing at local airports:

Here’s a little morsel of insanity for your Tuesday morning: New York City Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio is trying to yank Saudi Arabian Airlines’ right to land at U.S. airports over its policy of not allowing Israeli citizens to board, starting with JFK. The director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Khalid Al-Melhem, shot back at de Blasio, insisting that it is merely the lack of diplomatic relations between the two countries that is behind the policy. Al-Melhem’s claim that discrimination isn’t behind the ban is bullshit, but so is de Blasio’s outrage.

Brooks then posed the question: “Why is coverage of de Blasio so light on skepticism? Because the man has spent a career building a name for himself as a Defender of the Downtrodden, a bonny shroud for cold political calculus.”

In office, de Blasio bent over backwards to make sure that the medieval social norms of the Brooklyn were honored. Among the most disgusting concessions he made was easing the ban on metzitzah b’peh, or oral suction, adopted by his predecessor Michael Bloomberg. This is a controversial circumcision ritual that has been linked to herpes infections in infants.

Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, parents had to sign a consent form before the ritual, which involves the circumciser using his mouth to suck blood away from the incision on a boy’s penis. Orthodox rabbis called the consent requirement an infringement on their religious rights. By suspending it, de Blasio got the thumbs up from Rabbi David Zweibel, who stated, “It is to Mayor de Blasio’s eternal credit that he recognized how profoundly offensive the regulation was to our community.”

Weighing in for liberal Zionist opinion, the NY Times’s Bari Weiss took de Blasio to task in a meretricious article titled “Bill de Blasio Finds His Scapegoat”. Trying to speak out of both sides of her mouth, she reminded her readers that the mayor was a man “whose political instinct drove him to quote Che Guevara at a Miami union rally.” For me, that’s reason enough to tip my hat to Bill for having the balls to tell an audience the truth, even if it defied political expediency—something Ms. Weiss obviously doesn’t get.

She also biffed the Chapo Trap House, who—as far as I can tell—never got mentioned once in a NY Times op-ed. They aren’t Jacobin, after all. She wrote:

“Hassids own so much,” Felix Biederman, a co-host of the popular left-wing “Chapo Trap House” podcast, tweeted on Thursday. “Just zero regard for the rest of humanity or any idea of modernity and they’re also like yeah we need to live in the middle of this city for whatever reason.”

I guess all you can say is that Biederman is an equal-opportunity offender, just like Howard Stern. That’s how these people make $60,000 a month, after all. I’ve seen more offensive references on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and funnier as well.

Once she got finished with the left, Weiss made a point that was much sharper than de Blasio’s tweet:

“The failure of leadership here cannot be overstated,” said Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, a writer and the wife of an Orthodox rabbi, about those who encouraged the funeral. “This is almost reminiscent of the stories of Hasidic rebbes leaving their flocks during the Holocaust. Only this time, followers will be able to know exactly how they were abandoned and by whom, because now this information is public.”

Of course, nobody will bash Bari Weiss for referring to someone comparing these Brooklyn medieval leaders to Hasidic rabbis leaving their flocks during the Holocaust. She has too many brownie points for opposing BDS, disparaging Bernie Sanders as anti-Semitic, etc. I do appreciate her brief refence to rabbis “leaving their flocks”, however. That’s something worth following up on.

January 22, 2018

Anti-Semitism and the socialist left

Filed under: anti-Semitism — louisproyect @ 10:40 pm

Rejected by fellow Putinites unhappy with his naked anti-Semitism

Recently, just by coincidence, I received queries from two different people about manifestations of anti-Semitism.

One wrote a series of messages, the first appearing under the subject heading “Socialists and anti-Semitism”:

I’ve been reading a bit about (as the title of this email would suggest) the anti-Semitism of a lot of “pioneers” of socialist thought: people like Charles Fourier, Pierre Leroux, P.J. Proudhon and apparently a lot of others. A few interesting (but obviously right-wing pieces:




It’s an uncomfortable subject for me, given that I consider my “libertarian socialism” closer to Proudhon (mostly on the necessity of markets and voluntary association) than to Marx. What is your opinion on this? Do you think that hatred of Jews is natural to go alongside opposition of “usury” or “commerce,” given their association with Jews by early socialists?

He followed up with this:

Just found this; a good example of a right-wing attempt to win leftists over to anti-Semitism, on the basis of historical continuity.


And concluded with this:

Sorry to keep at this, but I found a piece here which seems to relate to the other material: it says that Jews became moneylenders, not because they had no other options, but because it was the most lucrative venture.


Two days later another comrade wrote:

Hi Louis,

Once again I came across your writing while doing digging on disinfo. A former US information operation guy I know runs the website To Inform is to Influence did a write up on Charles Bausman at Russia Insider and his recent piece “It’s time to drop the Jew taboo”. I’ve been looking to see what I can find as well. (https://louisproyect.org/2016/04/17/all-you-need-to-know-about-the-russia-insider-scandal-and-more/ )

(The rest of it related to other matters.)


Here is my response to these disparate expressions of anti-Semitism:

The first article, titled “The return of left-wing anti-Semitism” was written by a Tory politician named Dan Hannan who complained about Corbyn supporters being “undisguised Jew-haters”. As it turns out, this is nothing but the Tweets of purported Corbyn supporters, including one that that said “Zyklon B was used for delousing.” Well, who knows who was posting such Tweets? For all I know, it could have been enemies of Corbyn trying to provide fodder for an article like this. Hannan does refer to a cleric named Raed Salah, who was supposedly found guilty of propagating the blood libel. Considering the fact that an Israeli court acquitted him of this charge, it is safe to say that it was trumped-up (I used the term advisedly) in the first place.

Hannan’s article concludes with a reference to the Book of Esther that serves as the theological underpinning of Purim, a holiday that is celebrated by wearing costumes and getting drunk. In Israel, it has become a day in which Arabs are fair game for violence, just like in the film “The Purge”. Actually, this is not that far from the words of the Book of Esther, where the King has decided to line up with the Jews on the urging of his Jewish queen:

The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies. The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar.

The next article titled “How Four Influential Socialist anti-Semites shaped the left” comes from arch-conservative David Horowitz’s Front Page website. It refers to Karl Marx’s “On the Jewish Question” that was also referred to by Hannan and that serves as a sine qua non for articles such as this. To really understand what Marx was driving at in this work, you have to know the historical context. It was actually a critique of a book by Bruno Bauer titled “The Jewish Question”. An article by Michael Cooke in Links provides the necessary context:

What provoked Marx’s ire was that Bauer was opposed to a petition being circulated at the time asking for rights for the Jewish community similar to those enjoyed by their Christian brethren and sisters in the Prussian state. Marx had already signed the petition and had publicly supported its aims. Bauer, however, criticised the state for defending the privileges of the elite and the use they made of religion in perpetuating this.

My advice is to read Marx’s article that while rather problematic in many ways is hardly an expression of Nazi-style anti-Semitism. Even though it contains the infamous words (What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering.) repeated in the Front Page website, it was fairly standard for the period and reflected widespread animosity toward the Rothschilds, including Moses Hess, an early proponent of Zionism. In a useful article on Marx, Hess and the Economic-Jew stereotype, Hal Draper writes:

Earlier in 1843 Hess had published an important article on The Philosophy of Action, which only incidentally remarked that “The Christian God is an imitation of the Jewish Moloch-Jehovah, to whom the first-born were sacrificed to ‘propitiate’ him, and whom the juste-milieu age of Jewry bought off with money …”

This sort of thing was eclipsed by later Marxist analysis of the Jewish question from Abram Leon and Isaac Deutscher but you wouldn’t expect David Horowitz’s website to cite them. His goal, as was Hannan’s, was to smear socialists.

Next we have Tyler Cowen, the libertarian ideologue, writing an article titled “The Socialist Roots of Modern Anti-Semitism” that repeats the Bauer stuff but within a narrative reminiscent of Daniel Goldhagen’s “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” that paints German society in the 19th century as a seed-bed for Nazism, but predominantly from the left. He writes:

In the second half of the nineteenth century, Germany became the first country to develop systematic anti-Semitic political and intellectual movements. In Germany, Adolf Stocker’s Christian Social Party (1878-1885) combined anti-Semitism with left-wing, reformist legislation. The party attacked laissez-faire economics and the Jews as part of the same liberal plague. Stocker’s movement synthesized medieval anti-Semitism, based in religion, and modern anti-Semitism, based in racism and socialist economics. He once wrote: I see in unrestrained capitalism the evil of our epoch and am naturally also an opponent of modern Judaism on account of my socio-political views. Stocker had revered the Prussian aristocracy since his youth.

While Stocker was an anti-Semite, the German Social Democracy was a fierce opponent of Jew-hatred. Do you think that Cowan referred once to Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg or even a Jew like Eduard Bernstein? Don’t be foolish. But keep in mind that the chief ideological influence on German socialism had this to say:

In North America not a single Jew is to be found among the millionaires whose wealth can, in some cases, scarcely be expressed in terms of our paltry marks, gulden or francs and, by comparison with these Americans, the Rothschilds are veritable paupers. And even in England, Rothschild is a man of modest means when set, for example, against the Duke of Westminster. Even in our own Rhineland from which, with the help of the French, we drove the aristocracy 95 years ago and where we have established modern industry, one may look in vain for Jews.

Hence anti-Semitism is merely the reaction of declining medieval social strata against a modern society consisting essentially of capitalists and wage-labourers, so that all it serves are reactionary ends under a purportedly socialist cloak; it is a degenerate form of feudal socialism and we can have nothing to do with that. The very fact of its existence in a region is proof that there is not yet enough capital there. Capital and wage-labour are today indivisible. The stronger capital and hence the wage-earning class becomes, the closer will be the demise of capitalist domination. So what I would wish for us Germans, amongst whom I also count the Viennese, is that the capitalist economy should develop at a truly spanking pace rather than slowly decline into stagnation.

–Frederick Engels, “On Anti-Semitism”, 1890

Next we turn to Andrew Joyce’s “On The Left and the Myth of the ‘Jewish Proletariat’”. Like everybody else referred to above, Joyce is on the right, and, furthermore, the extreme right. The article appeared in the Occidental Observer whose mission statement avers: “The Occidental Observer will present original content touching on the themes of white identity, white interests, and the culture of the West.” Indeed, Joyce has written articles making the case that the Jews fomented a war against Hitler. Should I bother debunking Joyce’s neo-Nazi tripe? It is not worth my reader’s time. The guy is fouler than an overflowing toilet.

Finally, we come to an article that appeared in a publication that at least has liberal credentials. In the Huffington Post, Michael Levin’s “Why Did Jews Become Moneylenders? Because They Could” is a brief review of a book titled “The Chosen Few: How Education Shaped Jewish History” that makes the case that Jews became bankers because their families very early on raised their male children to study the Torah. This literacy came in handy when it came to looking at the fine print of contracts. No, I am not joking.

For a more convincing analysis, I recommend Abram Leon who focuses on economics rather than Torah study:

So long as Europe lived under a regime of natural economy, the initiative in commercial traffic belonged to merchants from the Orient, principally the Jews. Only some peddlers, some lowly suppliers to the chateaux of the nobles and the clergy, succeed in freeing themselves from the humble mass of serfs bound to the soil. But the development of native production makes possible the rapid formation of a powerful class of native merchants. emerging from the artisans, they gain control over them by taking over the distribution of raw materials. Contrary to trade as conducted by the Jews, which is clearly separate from production, native trade is essentially based on industry.

This covers all of the links supplied by my first correspondent. Now let me turn to the second, who was interested in what I had to say about the Charles Bausman controversy. I first came across Bausman in August 2016, when his Russia Insider website was accused by fellow Putinites of being a scam to make money. Peter Lavelle, a member in good standing of the Kremlin propaganda network, was the focus of an article titled “Bausman and fraud at Russia Insider? Lavelle blows the whistle”  that appeared in Fort Russ, a typical “axis of resistance” website. Lavelle’s investigative reporting revealed:

The website [Russia Insider] consistently claimed that 100% of the proceeds went to ‘journalists’. They misinformed the public that, “We’ll only spend it on journalist salaries, nothing else. Period.”

In the course of Fort Russ’s investigation, it has been explained to us from people very close to the operation that the above claim does not have any merit. According to one anonymous source, formerly very close to this area of Russia Insider’s scheme, none (or a negligible amount) of the money raised by Russia Insider was spent on what can properly be called ‘Journalist salaries’.

So, you get it. Bausman is a shady character.

Bausman makes a bunch of different points, all of them ludicrous. Among them is that hostility to Putin’s Russia is largely a Jewish phenomenon. The evidence? That the biggest enemies of the Kremlin in Congress are Jews, like Chuck Schumer. I suppose that’s so but there was a time when the bedrock of anti-Russian sentiment was Christian, like Joe McCarthy, Robert Taft, Richard Nixon and just about every CIA chief going back to Kermit Roosevelt Jr. Bausman is basically constructing a dichotomy between the neocons and Clintonite liberals like David Frum and Schumer on one side and the good, open-minded Gentile, Trump-supporting politicians like Mike Pence on the other who want a “reset” with Russia. At some point, it will become obvious that Trump is taking his marching orders from the traditional Slavophobic elements in the GOP and that these distinctions based on ethnicity are idiotic. That the White House has authorized the shipment of weapons to Kiev should be proof enough.

Next targeted by Bausman is the Jewish-controlled media like the N.Y. Times and the Washington Post (is Jeff Bezos Jewish?). This is an old story that is based on a cherry-picking of ownership data. Yes, the N.Y. Times is owned by Jews but there are other powerful media figures who are not Jewish, like Rupert Murdoch and the Hearst dynasty. If you look at the WSJ, you will find the same hostility to Putin that you can see in the N.Y. Times. It is not driven by religion or ethnicity but by geopolitics.

Bausman is stupid enough to repeat the canard about October 1917 being a Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy funded by Wall Street. This is the kind of garbage that people like Henry Ford spread and hardly worth replying to. Indeed, Bausman’s article was so outrageous that even the Putinites have disowned him. The Duran, an awful mouthpiece for Assadist propaganda, published an article titled “Russia Insider goes Goebbels: debunking Charles Bausman’s warped vision of Russian reality” that makes excellent points, similar to my own:

In Britain none of the four most stridently anti-Russian newspapers – the London Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times and the Guardian – have Jewish proprietors.

In the case of the London Times the proprietor is the Australian/American billionaire publisher and businessman Rupert Murdoch, who is known to micromanage his newspapers, and who is also known to be extremely hostile to President Putin and to Russia.

I recommend a look at www.toinformistoinfluence.com, which basically aggregates all of the articles written about Bausman. I honestly don’t think that he is a beacon of shifting attitudes in the pro-Kremlin milieu. Considering his salute to Richard Spencer that appears as an update to his article, it would seem that Bausman is aligning himself with the alt-right. Given his shady con artist past, it is plausible that he is trying to tap into whoever is funding the neo-Nazi movement in the USA.

The important question is whether any of this is reflected on the left. Bausman was never really the kind of person whose articles would show up in Alternet but there are some characters who have managed to inveigle themselves into the left, like Israel Shamir who was Assange’s man in Russia, and Gilad Atzmon. As fucked up as they are, neither of them has much influence.

Despite the spectacle of the alt-right chanting “The Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville, anti-Semitism is a non-starter in the USA and will remain so. If you study German history, you will understand that the Muslims and the Latino immigrants are playing the role of scapegoat today. Let me conclude with links to articles I have written about anti-Semitism in the past:






And some others relevant to the topic:



Finally, all of these articles and others have been aggregated in two places, with a fair amount of overlap:





September 23, 2017

The one degree of separation between Valerie Plame and white supremacy

Filed under: anti-Semitism,Fascism — louisproyect @ 10:55 pm


Ron Unz: the white supremacist Jew who publishes Patrick Cockburn

Two days ago Valerie Plame, who was outed as a CIA agent in 2003 as retaliation for her husband Joseph Wilson’s NY Times op-ed piece denying that Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons, tweeted an article by another ex-CIA agent named Philip Giraldi titled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars” that created a major shit-storm.

Looking back at the obvious Jewish background of many high-placed officials in the George W. Bush administration, Giraldi hopes to forestall a war with Iran that supposedly is being fomented by the Israel lobby. While undoubtedly people like David Frum, Max Boot, Bill Kristol and Bret Stephens would love nothing better than a war with Iran, it is hard to figure out whether their removal from public life would make much difference since Donald Trump, his ex officio adviser Steve Bannon and the various Christian military brass that stud his administration would not need any goading. Stating that it is necessary for Jews to pressure the Trump administration to make war on Iran is tantamount to breaking down an open door.

Giraldi’s was not smart enough to use the words Zionist or Israel lobby, which are acceptable to his inside-the-beltway peers. This was just a bit too David Dukish: “Jewish groups and deep pocket individual donors not only control the politicians, they own and run the media and entertainment industries, meaning that no one will hear about or from the offending party ever again.” Mind you, most people probably wouldn’t have guessed from this outburst that he was a darling of the left for many years as a co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) with Ray McGovern. Not even their special pleading for Bashar al-Assad over his sarin gas attacks would have lost him fans.

And if there is a Jewish-controlled media, it doesn’t seem to be on board with a war on Iran. Does Giraldi have the NY Times and CBS in mind? Owned by the Sulzberger and Redstone families respectively, they would be by his standards champing at the bit to invade Iran. However, unless I am missing something, they are worried that Trump will terminate the deal that Obama worked out with the Islamic Republic. In fact, the three most powerful media outlets pushing Trump’s agenda are the WSJ, the NY Post and Fox News. Guess who owns them. Here’s a clue. He is not circumcised and enjoys nothing more than a roast pork sandwich washed down with a glass of milk.

Glancing over the Giraldi article, I began wonder what the Unz Review was. Described on the home page as “An Alternative Media Selection” A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media”, I had to admit that Giraldi’s article qualified as “largely excluded” from the mainstream media—thank god for small favors.

A cursory review indicated that Unz Review is largely an aggregation of articles that are published elsewhere with an occasional exception such as Giraldi’s and others in the inner circle of editor Ron Unz. In addition to Philip Giraldi, who is his National Security Editor, there are two men described as “bloggers”: Anatoly Karlin and Steve Sailer. Karlin is a Russian who studied at U. Cal Berkeley and once wrote for “Sputnik & Pogrom”, an ultra-nationalist website that was even too much for Putin based on the evidence of it being shut down on July 6th. In 2015 the website called for “crushing Ukraine” and establishing a “Russian ethnic state.”

In addition to his contributions to Unz Review, Sailer also writes for Taki’s Magazine, a publication started by Taki Theodoracopulos who once wrote: “Modern humans evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago. Africans and non-Africans then split about 100,000 years ago. The further north they went, the harder it became to find food, raise children and find shelter. Larger brains were needed for a longer life and more family stability.”. When he isn’t busy pumping out filth for Taki, Sailer is writing stuff for VDARE, an anti-immigration outfit that can best be described as white nationalist.

Beginning to connect the dots now? Philip Giraldi: the Jews own the media. Anatoly Karlin: too nationalistic for Putin. Steve Sailer: a good old boy from Taki’s and VDARE.

So who is the mastermind behind this “alternative media” outlet? When I first saw “Unz”, I thought it might have something to do with New Zealand, not exactly an alt-right lightning rod. As it turns out, Ron Unz is a Jew himself and wealthy from banking software he wrote when he was a student at Harvard. His first foray into politics was sponsoring Proposition 227 on a California ballot in 1998, a successful attempt to get rid of bilingual education that was repealed two years ago. So you could see how he would hook up with someone writing for VDARE.

To get right to the point, Unz is an out-and-out racist. About a year ago, he wrote an article titled “American Pravda: The KKK and Mass Racial Killings” that wondered why there was so much attention paid to lynchings when Communism was responsible for the death of millions. He also took exception to a string of racist cop killings by pointing out that the victims were “bad guys”. He describes Trayvon Martin as a “violent young thug” and Michael Brown as “a gigantic, thuggish criminal”. Not even Emmett Till gets off the hook. He weighed 150 pounds, was “quite large and muscular for his age” and had a violent history. It certainly can be possible that the 14-year old weighed 150 pounds and was muscular. However, there is no evidence of a “violent history”. Could it be possible that Unz is just a lying piece of shit? You be the judge.

If this smacks of the KKK, you might be on to something. You can find another Jew (or ex-Jew since he converted to Russian Orthodoxy) writing for Unz’s magazine who is on the same wave-length. That is Israel Shamir, the notorious anti-Semite who advised Unz Review readers that “It’s Time to Re-Think David Duke” in 2005. Like the KKK that he once ran in Louisiana, Duke is supposedly getting a bad rap. Shamir’s article is mostly a transcript of a David Duke interview in 2005 when he blamed the Jews for the war in Iraq, just like Giraldi does. “The neo-cons, the people who founded this [war] were actually Trotskyite communists originally. Russia has worked to free itself from the Jewish supremacist Bolshevists.”

Oh, by the way, did I mention that Shamir has been a free-lancer for Wikileaks? One imagines that he and Assange must have gotten along famously since he has had his own soiled underwear on Twitter, just like Plame. Just over a year ago, the gray-haired cult figure Tweeted that he didn’t care much for his critics. Most of them have 3 brackets around their name (a way of indicating that you are a Jew on Twitter), are “tribalists”, and wear black-rimmed glasses.

It should be abundantly clear at this point that Unz Review is poised somewhere ideologically midway between Breitbart News and The Daily Stormer. That being said, you have to wonder why Ron Unz also aggregates the following writers: Patrick Cockburn, Tom Engelhardt, Norman Finkelstein, Michael Hudson, Peter Lee and Mike Whitney. All of them, except for Engelhardt, are well-known contributors to CounterPunch. I strongly suspect that Unz is reposting their articles without their permission even though he includes this disclaimer at the end of each one: “Republished from Counterpunch.org by permission of author or representative”. I find it hard to believe that Patrick Cockburn has ever been contacted by Unz. If he has been and still gives his approval, then someone should tug his sleeve and tell him to wake up.

I don’t think it is difficult to understand why a racist pig like Ron Unz is publishing leftists. It is part of a Red-Brown tendency that has been developing for the past 5 years. Mostly my focus has been on leftists making overtures to the right in one way or another such as Boris Kagarlitsky singing the praises of Donald Trump or Diana Johnstone defending Marine Le Pen’s “sovereignism”.

But Ron Unz is an interesting if vomit-inducing example of a white supremacist trying to reconcile his own views with people who would likely punch him in the mouth for referring to Emmett Till as he did or at least tell him he had no permission to crosspost their CounterPunch articles. So what is going on here?

The answer is that in that gray area between the Red and the Brown, you find a receding interest in class. The unit of analysis is the nation-state rather than social class. So for both a Mike Whitney and a Ron Unz there is a laundry list of bad things: NATO, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the IMF, Hillary Clinton, the Eurozone, the Council on Foreign Relations, George Soros and the CIA. On the other hand, there is the Kremlin, Iran, the Baathists, the Donetsk People’s Republic, BRICS and Brexit. If the bad things somehow disappeared overnight, the good things would win. Hoorah. Questions of class struggle, political economy and the need for socialism disappear into the background. But in that gray area, there is always the troubling “Jewish problem” with people like Unz effacing the distinction between Zionist and Jew. Of course, that is the mirror image of the Zionist state that is also intent on making them indistinguishable.

Frankly, I don’t feel threatened by Giraldi’s nonsense. As I have stated repeatedly, there is no existential threat to the Jews posed by the “unite the right” marchers chanting “The Jews will not replace us”. The real target today is Muslims and immigrants.

Given the increasing affinity for the state of Israel for the kinds of policies being put forward by the Trump administration, it may be the case that the American populist right will follow the lead of its advanced guard. Richard Spencer recently visited Israel and told an interviewer how an Israeli citizen should regard him:

… an Israeli citizen, someone who understands your identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood, and the history and experience of the Jewish people, you should respect someone like me, who has analogous feelings about whites. You could say that I am a white Zionist – in the sense that I care about my people, I want us to have a secure homeland for us and ourselves. Just like you want a secure homeland in Israel.

This wasn’t the first time Spencer warmed up to Israel. Last December, he told Haaretz that he “respects Israel” and that he would “respect” the decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

There might be a mutual admiration society in the works considering what Prime Minister Netanyahu’s son is up to on Facebook. He posted an image that could have been lifted from The Daily Stormer.

Where all this is going cannot be predicted. Although I hate to sound like a broken record, my advice is to build a world revolutionary movement committed to socialism—starting yesterday. Rosa Luxemburg said that the choice was between socialism and barbarism. Decades ago that sounded like inspiring rhetoric. Today it is much more like an RX for survival.

August 31, 2017

This is what American fascism looks like: the Lyndon LaRouche story (part three)

Filed under: anti-Semitism,Kevin Coogan,LaRouche — louisproyect @ 8:15 pm

Lyndon LaRouche’s use of anti-Semitism

(part one, part two, part four, part five)



Marine Le Pen: The Jews have nothing to fear from the National Front

In the Weimar Republic, anti-Semitism served the interests of big capital by singling out the Jews for scapegoating. With an enraged and economically desperate middle-class, it made sense to blame the Jews for their suffering. All this is detailed in Abram Leon’s “The Jewish Question” that can be read online.

The economic catastrophe of 1929 threw the petty-bourgeois masses into a hopeless situation. The overcrowding in small business, artisanry and the intellectual professions took on unheard of proportions. The petty bourgeois regarded his Jewish competitor with growing hostility; for the latter’s professional cleverness, the result of centuries of practice, often enabled him to survive hard times more easily. Anti-Semitism even gained the ear of wide layers of worker-artisans, who traditionally had been under petty-bourgeois influence.

What is more difficult to understand is how anti-Semitism can serve the same function in contemporary America. To start with, except for the Hasidic sects in Brooklyn, there are no identifiable Jewish neighborhoods in large cities like New York. An assimilated population, the Jews are spread throughout the city and cannot be identified by skullcaps or any other marker. Additionally, the scapegoat of choice for today’s fascists is the African-American, the Latino, the immigrant and the Muslim. Considering all this, it is somewhat of a mystery why men on the “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville were chanting “The Jews will not Replace Us!” What exactly did that mean? That a tax accountant in Park Slope whose grandfather changed his name from Bernstein to Burns was now going to take their jobs at Walmart or an auto repair shop?

In this article, I want to take a close look at the LaRouche movement’s use of anti-Semitism and more recent expressions found in places like Daily Stormer, as well as the European fascist movement that in many instances is strongly Zionist and Judeophilic. These are complex questions that I hope to answer here, especially for my own need for clarity.

As it happens, the chapter in Dennis King’s “Lyndon Larouche and the New American Fascism” on the cult’s anti-Semitism has the same title as Abram Leon’s book: the Jewish Question.

In 1975, not long after LaRouche had completed his fascist turn, he came into contact and formed a partnership with Willis Carto, who was the founder of the Liberty Lobby and the most prominent anti-Semite of the time. Carto put out a magazine called The Spotlight that had a paid circulation of almost 200,000 in 1979. LaRouche’s targets became the same as his: the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, Henry Kissinger, and the Council on Foreign Relations. And like many ultrarightists today, starting with David Duke, Carto was staunchly anti-Zionist. This might help understand why people like David Duke are sympathetic to Bashar al-Assad today. He is a symbol of resistance to Israel. Just ask Max Blumenthal.

Not long after Carto and LaRouche bonded, The Spotlight began publishing articles by National Caucus of Labor Committee (NCLC) members writing under pen names, including his Jewish members who were plentiful. You were also able to buy LaRouche’s publications through Carto’s mail-order service.

The anti-Semitic dynamic accelerated after LaRouche traveled to Germany to straighten out some problems among his followers there. On that trip, he met Helga Zepp who he would soon marry. Zepp remains an important figure in his movement today even as she is a care-giver to the 94-year old man in his dotage. When he returned to the USA, his newspaper New Solidarity began publishing the same kind of articles as Spotlight but with more of an anti-capitalist coloring.

In 1986, ex-member Linda Ray explained why Jewish members went along with this:

Many people find it difficult to understand how Jews—such as I—could have worked for an anti-Semitic group. Perhaps the answer is that the members get so hypnotized by the simplistic “good guys and bad guys” approach to history that they do not hear what LaRouche is really saying.

For example, a 1974 edition of LaRouche’s Campaigner magazine falsely reported that Britain put Hitler in power. Britain, the story said, was the initial controller of the Nazi German war machine, before it went out of control. LaRouche kept writing on that theme for many years. By 1978, he even was writing how the British were a different, “subhuman species.”

Since the blasts were overtly directed against the British, Jewish members often did not recognize the subliminal anti-Semitism of the attacks. LaRouche, like the Ku Klux Klan, Hitler and Goebbels, was attacking the Rothschilds and other British-Jewish banking interests. In the wake of these anti-Semitic writings, many of us were confused. But we continued to defend LaRouche by lamely saying, “We’re not anti-Semitic. So many of our members are Jews. We always say in our publications that we are against the Nazis.”

Today, George Soros is added to the mix. For the alt-right, he is a like a villain plucked out of a James Bond movie who is masterminding conspiracies all around the world. Reflecting the agenda of the Breitbart right, blogger and provocateur Mike Cernovich has depicted Soros and the Rothschilds as orchestrating the purge of Steve Bannon from the White House in this cartoon:

That is Trump’s National Security Adviser Herbert McMaster on the left and David Petraeus on the right. The image suggests that the Jews are controlling everything.

While clearly the bailiwick of the far right, there are signs of the same sort of anti-Semitic tropes on nominally leftist websites. Indeed, if you looked at LaRouche’s press when he was still arguably on the left, you can see the same sort of thing.

Let’s take a look at 21st Century Wire, a website that features articles by Vanessa Beeley and that was launched by an Infowars editor. There you will find the same sort of crap. A search on Rothschild will turn up a shocking article titled “The Money Changers: Rothschild Banking Dynasty Said To Be Worth $100 Trillion” by an asshole named Dean Henderson who has also written for In These Times, for what that’s worth.

The article begins with a dead giveaway that it feeds from the same trough as Willis Carto and LaRouche’s fascist cult:

Since America’s inception…

 there has been a lingering notion that European Illuminati bankers seek to bring America to its knees and return it to the fold of the Crown of England, which centuries ago became the key political vassal for the Eight Families who own majority stock in every private central bank in the world — Rothschild, Rockefeller, Kuhn Loeb, Lehman, Goldman Sachs, Warburg, Lazard and Israel Moses Seif.

In sync with LaRouche, Henderson claims that “Zionist Bankers Created Nazism, White Supremacy & Eugenics”.

If many of the Jews like Linda Ray had no problem writing anti-Semitic articles for LaRouche’s press, you can something of the same tendency in the writings of Gilead Atzmon who wrote some really filthy stuff on DissidentVoice, a website that has become very problematic over the past decade despite its honorable origins as a voice against Bush’s “war on terrorism”. On April 13, 2013, Atzmon wrote this:

But, as ubiquitous as they are, AIPAC, CFI, ADL, Bernie Madoff, ‘liberator’ Bernard Henri Levy, war-advocate David Aaronovitch, free market prophet Milton Friedman, Steven Spielberg, Haim Saban, Lord Levy and many other Zionist enthusiasts and Hasbara advocates are not necessarily the core or the driving force behind Jewish Power, but are merely symptoms. Jewish power is actually far more sophisticated than simply a list of Jewish lobbies or individuals performing highly developed manipulative skills. Jewish power is the unique capacity to stop us from discussing or even contemplating Jewish power. It is the capacity to determine the boundaries of the political discourse and criticism in particular.

Finally, there is Information Clearing House, another website with a trajectory like DissidentVoice. They published an article by one John Kaminski claiming “Jewish Media Myths Leading Us Toward World War III”. Metapedia, an alt-right version of Wikipedia, identifies him as “best known for his works on Jewish supremacism and as a critic of Judaism.” Yeah, they got that right based on the article:

But just because I revile Hitler doesn’t mean I believe the fictions the Jewish dominated media have spun about the Holocaust. I have been driven irrevocably into the category of Holocaust denier (a 1947 AP story said 875,000 Jews were killed in Germany during WW II) simply because of the way the Jewish community has trumpeted its martyrdom for financial gain, how the Jewish community has destroyed freedom of speech in a dozen European countries by making it a crime to talk about the events that led up to World War II.

Here is some other Kaminski jewels cited on Metapedia:

The Jews are traitors to every country that they live in. Everyone in the entire world needs to wake up and realise what Jewish influence, Jewish poison medicine, Jewish fake wars and Jewish control of their money supplies have done to everyone in the entire world. It is easily the greatest crime ever committed by humans. The sad thing about Jewish philosophy is, after they wind up destroying everybody else, they won’t be able to avoid destroying themselves.

Jews promote diversity because it dilutes the ethnic fabric of nations and allows the tribe to assimilate and exploit more efficiently. They are better able to hide in a confusing racial mix, where people are less likely to notice they are ruthless Asian nomads, who destroy societies because they never really had one of their own that they didn’t steal from someone else.

I should mention that Kaminski is quite the regular at Information Clearing House, having published 8 articles over the years.

Despite all this, there really is no existential threat to Jews today for the reasons I stipulated at the beginning of this article. To be perfectly blunt about it, neither is there an existential threat to the working class from fascism at least in the USA. People like David Duke, Richard Spencer, the Daily Stormer website, et al are very marginal. The Southern Poverty Law Center would have you believe that we are living as if it were the Weimar Republic in 1928 but nothing could be further from the truth. Except for the sporadic turning over of headstones in a Jewish cemetery or a swastika drawn on a synagogue, Jews suffer nothing that begins to resemble what Black youth or Muslims have to put up with on a daily basis. Unlike the mostly assimilated Jewish population, Muslims tend to be much more like the Jews of the 1930s living in clearly delineated neighborhoods and identifiable by their appearance.

Google “woman hijab attacked” and you will get 1,370,000 results. By comparison, you will get only 6% of those results when you do a search on “Jew kippah attacked”, keeping in mind that most Jews in the USA would not be caught in a kippah, starting with me.

Finally, you might expect the American alt-right to catch up with their European brethren who have dumped anti-Semitism and moved in a philo-Semitic and Zionist direction. For example, Marine Le Pen stated in a June 2014 interview that “I do not stop repeating it to French Jews. … Not only is the National Front not your enemy, but it is without a doubt the best shield to protect you. It stands at your side for the defense of our freedoms of thought and of religion against the only real enemy, Islamist fundamentalism.” Indeed, she expelled her virulently anti-Semitic father who had founded the National Front because he was an obstacle to carrying out this turn.

Meanwhile, despite the veiled anti-Semitism of Trump administration figures and his support among the alt-right, there are indications that the government of Israel has become Trump’s best friend outside of the Christian right. In an article for Jacobin titled “Unholy Alliance“, Amir Fleischmann documents the growing connections with Richard Spencer perhaps being capable of carrying out a Marine Le Pen type turn:

Trump has vowed to be the best friend Israel has ever had and has floated the idea of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer has actually praised Zionism for helping inspire the ethno-nationalism that he has made his own.

Herein lies the key to understanding this alliance. The state of Israel was founded at the end of World War II, when the major powers sought to redraw the world map in a way so that (nearly) every minority got their own country. This way, there would be no minorities. In order for Israel to become a Jewish state, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had to be ethnically cleansed in what is now known as the Nakbe.

This ideology — that ethnicities should be separate and that minorities should be expunged — is precisely what is driving the alt-right. This allows us to understand why the alt-right can simultaneously hate Jews and love Israel. The alt-right is fine with Jews, as long as they’re over there, far away from the United States.

And because they consider Jews “more white” than Arabs, the alt-right is happy to use them, through the state of Israel, to keep those uppity Muslim states in check. This has been Israel’s historical role. It was the case in 1956, when France and Britain entreated Israel to invade Egypt in order to stop Gamel Abdel Nasser’s nationalization of the Suez Canal.

More recently, the Mossad has also helped the United States assassinate Iranian scientists and otherwise sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. The alt-right is happy to give support to the state it sees as the West’s first line of defense against the dreaded Muslim invasion.

As shocking as it might seem to see orthodox Jews eagerly jump into bed with rabid antisemites, we should really know better than to be surprised. What the alt-right and Israeli settlers (and their supporters) have in common is a shared fervor for ethno-nationalism and a strong inclination towards Islamophobia and racism.

Israel is useful to the alt-right both as a tool for wreaking havoc in the Muslim world and as an ideological fellow traveler, willing to support their nationalist and chauvinist policies. Without acknowledging this, we cannot hope to understand either movement. The Left must be vigilant in opposing this alliance and refuse to let the alt-right’s support for Israel be a cover for their extreme antisemitism.

August 11, 2017

Writer Beat — BEWARE!!!

Filed under: anti-Semitism,Fascism — louisproyect @ 3:41 pm

In May someone named Autumn Cote (autumncote@writerbeat.com) asked my permission to crosspost an article I had written about whether George Soros was promoting a color revolution against Donald Trump on her website. Frankly, I don’t care who crossposts my articles but after discovering today that she published neo-Nazi shit, I told her to remove my articles and not contact me again.

I discovered this from a chance look at a discussion about Venezuela on Michael Roberts’s blog that I had participated in a few days ago. She showed up asking Michael if she could crosspost his article and like me he gave her the green light. That immediately prompted someone to post a comment about how she had published this:

This article “explains” the use of Zyklon-B as an innocent attempt to kill lice rather than Jews, a staple of the Zundel/Leuchter/Irving neo-Nazi repertory.

(I’ve been told that the article has been deleted from Writer Beat. I didn’t want to provide a link to it because it didn’t deserve one but you can see the cached version here.)

Out of curiosity, I did a little more checking on Cote after this nasty bit of business. For those with a strong stomach, I suggest this interview she gave to Whiteout Press, another website that has the same initially innocent-looking appearance as hers. Out of curiosity, I did a search on “Jews” on Whiteout Press and this was the first article that cropped up:

Is the Media Controlled by Jews?

It referred readers to National Vanguard Books, a subsidiary of the National Alliance, a now defunct alt-right outfit based in West Virginia founded by William Luther Pierce III, the author of “The Turner Diaries”, a book that people like Timothy McVeigh swore by.

You have to be careful about sneaky little neo-Nazis  like Autumn Cote. So if she contacts you about crossposting your articles, tell her to crawl back into the hole she came from.


November 19, 2016

Denial: David Irving versus Deborah Lipstadt

Filed under: anti-Semitism,Film — louisproyect @ 8:29 pm

As I stated in my review of “Barry” on Counterpunch, this is the time I begin to receive those middle-brow films that Hollywood studios submit for consideration to members of New York Film Critics Online for our annual awards meeting in early December. Like “Barry”, “Denial” is just one of those films—a holocaust movie that is inevitably greeted as an object of reverence. It deals with the Deborah Lipstadt-David Irving trial that took place in England twenty years ago and that was now a blur in my mind even if I certainly understood that the film would depict holocaust denier David Irving as a villain. I also understood that he would get his comeuppance in the film just as happened in the actual trial.

My aversion to holocaust movies was like that of British playwright David Hare who once wrote:

I have no taste for Holocaust movies. It seems both offensive and clumsy to add an extra layer of fiction to suffering which demands no gratuitous intervention. It jars. Faced with the immensity of what happened, sober reportage and direct testimony have nearly always been the most powerful approach.

As it happens, David Hare wrote the screenplay for “Denial”. As I will explain, his decision flowed from some very unusual aspects of the trial but before that I should give you some background. Since you are probably aware that Europe has some very stringent laws against holocaust denial, including a three-year prison term that Irving once received in Austria in 1992 (he was released after serving one year), you might assume that it was Irving who was on trial. However,  in this instance Lipstadt was the defendant. Irving was suing her and Penguin publishers for libel. Lipstadt’s 1993 “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory” was a scorching rebuttal of Irving and other deniers, including Robert Faurisson who Noam Chomsky defended on a free speech basis.

After Faurisson was relieved of his duties at the University of Lyon, Chomsky signed a petition on his behalf. He argued that if MIT scientists could conduct research even if it was used to “massacre and destroy”, why would the right of a professor to earn a living be denied even if he was guilty of nothing except of defending such practices in his spare time. Going beyond the free speech criterion, Chomsky’s added: “I have nothing to say here about the work of Robert Faurisson or his critics, of which I know very little, or about the topics they address, concerning which I have no special knowledge” raised hackles, as did his characterization of Faurisson as “a relatively apolitical liberal of some sort”.

This led French Marxist antiquities scholar Pierre Vidal-Naquet to write a pointed reply to Chomsky. Even on free speech grounds, he found the petition dubious. It stated that Faurisson had been prevented from conducting research in public libraries and archives, an allegation that Vidal-Naquet found baseless. Furthermore, Faurisson’s books on the holocaust have been published without interference and he has given interviews on two occasions to Le Monde. Addressing Chomsky in sorrow just as much as anger, Vidal-Naquet writes in “Assassins of Memory”:

The simple truth, Noam Chomsky, is that you were unable to abide by the ethical maxim that you had imposed. You had the right to say: my worst enemy has the right to be free, on condition that he not ask for my death or that of my brothers. You did not have the right to say: my worst enemy is a comrade, or a “relatively apolitical sort of liberal.” You did not have the right to take a falsifier of history and to recast him in the colors of truth.

Even though Lipstadt was on trial, she was never called as a witness. Since she was probably the world’s leading expert on holocaust denial, why not call on her expertise? In “Denial”, a book timed to the release of the film that reprises her 2006 “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier” with new material, Hare explains her absence from the witness stand and what challenge that posed to his screenplay. Her lawyers had decided that if she was a witness, Irving would have the license to force her to dredge up rebuttals to every detail of his own toxic take on concentration camp history. Despite her absence from the witness stand, her chief counsel Richard Rampson (played ably by Tom Wilkinson) shredded Irving’s credibility with an obvious mastery of the facts.

For Hare, the facts of the case made it difficult for Rachel Weisz, who was playing Lipstadt, to make a bravura performance in the final scene as we have become accustomed to in courtroom dramas such as Tom Hanks in “Philadelphia” or Gregory Peck in “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Her character—to be honest—was written and directed as if she were an annoying and intrusive presence getting in the way of the defense attorney’s winning strategy. It was also a directorial mistake to have her speak in a grating Queens accent that New Yorkers will be all too familiar with, even if that is the way the real Deborah Lipstadt speaks.

In addition to Rampson, Lipstadt relied on the pro bono services of Anthony Julius (Andrew Scott), who had written “T. S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism and Literary Form”, a book based on his PhD dissertation. Julius’s degree was in literary theory even though it was pursued more as an avocation than anything else. Played by Andrew Scott as a somewhat imperious figure, he not only opposed Lipstadt taking the stand but having holocaust survivors testify as well. He thought they would be traumatized by Irving’s aggressive and hectoring style.

Irving himself is played against type by Timothy Spall, a British character actor generally assigned likable roles such as the wizard Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter films. It reminded me of Patrick Stewart playing the neo-Nazi gang leader in Jeremy Saulnier’s “The Green Room”. As is generally the case with Spall, his performance was outstanding. He captured Irving’s reptilian character as if he came out of a crocodile’s egg.

I recommend “Denial” without qualifications both for its intrinsic interest as a sober and informed account of a deep-seated malaise that will find fertile ground now that ultraright tendencies are given full rein. It is also a first-rate film benefitting from David Hare’s artistic and political assets. Along with Harold Pinter and Caryl Churchill, Hare is a voice of the British left theater. In 1983 I saw a performance of his “Plenty” on Broadway about the disillusionment of a woman who had worked for the French Resistance in WWII and who had never adjusted to bourgeois society once returning to civilian life. It is the greatest play I ever had the pleasure of seeing on Broadway.

A Guardian review of his lecture collection titled “Obedience, Struggle and Revolt” notes:

The title of the volume comes from a Balzac quotation, listing the three paths in life available to the young. Obedience, he said, is dull, revolt is impossible and struggle is hazardous. Of those outcomes, it is clear that Hare fears dullness the most. He grew up in the 1950s, an era ‘stupefyingly uninteresting and conformist’. Hare’s commitment to forging social change, while fed by left-wing doctrine along the way, was clearly born of revulsion at the torpor of postwar Britain. Nothing is more dangerous in his eyes than the ease with which our society slips back to a default position of supine deference to the establishment.

Notwithstanding Marine Le Pen’s banishing her father from the National Front for holocaust denial and other anti-Semitic affronts that undermine her ambitions to rule France, such views are still promoted by Jobbik in Hungary. The UKIP in Great Britain has formed a bloc with Polish holocaust deniers to secure seats in the European Parliament.

Despite Putin’s reaching out to groups like Jobbik and UKIP, he has criminalized holocaust denial in Russia. His close ally Boris Spiegel introduced the bill that became law in 2013. One might consider Spiegel’s understanding of genocide as flawed based on his accusing Georgia of this crime during the 2008 South Ossetia War, another one of those flare-ups in which the Kremlin reasserts its imperial privileges.

As for Trump, who is America’s version of UKIP’s Nigel Farage, he never tweeted anything in this vein as far as I know but his foreign policy adviser Joseph Schmitz has a thing about Jews. McClatchy reported that he bragged about forcing Jews to leave the Pentagon when he was Inspector General between 2002 and 2005. He also claimed that concentration camp ovens were too small to kill 6 million Jews, per John Crane, a Pentagon official who worked with Schmitz. (The ovens were used for getting rid of corpses, not as a way of creating them.)

Probably the worst offender was Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who convened a conference on the holocaust in 2006 with invited “experts” such as David Duke and Robert Faurisson. Long before Iran intervened on behalf of Bashar al-Assad, this act was sufficient to force me to break ranks with the Islamic Republic that was being lauded as “more socialist” than Venezuela by MRZine’s Yoshie Furuhashi.

Speaking of socialism and holocaust denial, I ran into an appalling defense of David Irving on the alt.politics.socialism.trotsky (APST) newsgroup in 1998 when it was well on the way to having nothing to do with Trotskyism. A character named Neil Gardner, who claimed to support Trotsky’s Marxism, was using APST to defend Irving, Leuchter, Faurisson et al:

All dangerous authoritarian tendencies are imposed from the top down. We live in a chaotic world in which it is all too easy to misjudge events and media accounts. Degenerate tendencies within society are merely manipulated by those in power to further their ends. Neo-Nazism is a dead duck because the US and German ruling classes have for the last 50 years collaborated. Maybe we should be criticising the Germans for being too apologetic of US foreign policy. Racism and interethnic tensions remain a real threat, although we would be foolish to ignore the transformation of Western European and North American societies since the 1950’s. We are all human beings. Today the racism exhibited by our ruling class is no longer based on the colour of one’s skin (though most Blacks and Asians in the world are still significantly poorer than most Whites) but on cultural superiority. All is forgiven if one accepts American ways and believes the mainstream US media.

As the ruling class approaches a crisis of values, advocating free market economics and relentless growth and prosperity for all with obvious contradictions, fringe rightwing sects of the disillusioned millionaires begin to fill gaps but will never be embraced by international capitalism until it breaks down into warring gangs. The likes of the ADL and B-naith have everything in common with rightwing white supremacists. Their methods are the same.

In this entangled web, we should cherish free speech and open debate on all subjects. Religious fervour should be used to uphold poltically motivated propaganda. Not for the first time, the ruling classes cloak their devious actions with pseudo-progressive actions. Bombs on Afghanistan are justified by the repression of women by the Taleban. Bombs on Sudan are justified by the repression of Christian Sudanese.

Whether Fred Leuchter is a qualified bio-chemist or not, is not the issue. His thesis has not been conclusively refuted and no irrefutable evidence of the alleged gas chambers have been provided.

Before rendering my own opinion on holocaust denial, it is worth clarifying Lipstadt’s views on holocaust denial. To start with, she is opposed to all bans on its advocacy and argues that it is necessary to combat the ideas rather than making them illegal. And even more importantly, she has lashed out at Israel for using the holocaust as a justification for its persecution of the Palestinians.

Speaking to a synagogue in London in 2014, Lipstadt told the audience uncomfortable truths as reported in the Camden New Journal:

IF there is one thing the eminent world Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt isn’t – she isn’t a dry-as-dust academic.

She is not afraid of causing waves as she showed in the last few minutes of a question-and-answer session at the packed Hampstead Synagogue in West Hampstead, on Thursday when she criticised Israel over its conduct of its war on Gaza.

The professor told the more than 300 guests – among them many leading members of the Jewish community, including survivors of the Holocaust – that the Israel  government had “cheapened” the memory of the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews by using it to justify the war on the Palestinians. She also seemed to liken the war as an act of “genocide” against the Palestinians.

Although I believe it is important to challenge holocaust deniers as I did on APST, there is little reason to believe that people such as David Irving constitute an existential threat to Jews. Unlike the 1930s, it is the Arab and the Muslim who will be scapegoated by the ultraright as the forces of reaction grow stronger.

Last Tuesday Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a key member of Trump’s transition team who helped write racist immigration laws in Arizona and elsewhere, stated that they had discussed creating a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.

Meanwhile Carl Higbie, a former spokesman for a major super PAC backing Donald Trump said on the following day that the mass internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was a “precedent” for the president-elect’s plans to create a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.

This led Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), to denounce the Trump proposal: “I pledge to you that because I am committed to the fight against anti-Semitism that if one day Muslim-Americans are forced to register their identities, that is the day this proud Jew will register as Muslim. Making powerful enemies is the price one must pay, at times, for speaking truth to power.”

This led Morton A. Klein, the leader of the Zionist Organization of America, to defend Trump as a friend of Israel and to take exception to Greenblatt’s attack on Steve Bannon as an anti-Semite and implicitly his opposition to the idea of registering Muslim immigrants:

It is painful to see Anti-Defamation League (ADL) president Jonathan Greenblatt engaging in character assassination against President-elect Trump’s appointee Stephen Bannon and Mr. Bannon’s company, Breitbart media.  ADL/Greenblatt essentially accused Mr. Bannon and his media company of “anti-Semitism” and Israel hatred, when Jonathan Greenblatt/ADL tweeted that Bannon “presided over the premier website of the ‘alt right’ – a loose-knit group of white nationalists and anti-Semites.”

As someone who has been critical of the ADL, particularly when Abraham Foxman was running the group, I am willing to let bygones be bygones if Greenblatt continues his attack on the alt-right administration that while not likely to repeat the Third Reich despite its worst intentions still promises to be the most reactionary gang running the government in American history.

In the next four years, the assaults on democratic rights and the rights of minorities to live without fear from an out-of-control government will bring together many individuals and groups that have never had anything in common before. It will be incumbent on the left to think creatively about the kind of united front that eventually forced the USA to pull out of Vietnam—of course in common with the resistance itself. The Trump gang is utterly counter-revolutionary and it is up to us to forge a united revolutionary front that can stop it in its tracks.

September 5, 2016

The problem with anti-Semitism

Filed under: anti-Semitism — louisproyect @ 3:28 pm

Christopher Bollyn: believes that being a Jew is a lot like being a wolf

 Off-Guardian is a website deeply committed to the Assadist cause that recently attacked the Ashley Smith article on Syria that appeared on CounterPunch. In making the case for Assad’s genocidal war, these people have the temerity to fault CounterPunch that has published a hundred Rick Sterling articles praising Assad to just one by Ashley Smith attacking him. Their shrieks of outrage would make you think the ratio was reversed. To show you how case-hardened the editorial board and its regular readers are, the article included this qualification:

We’re the first to acknowledge he [Assad] should be named a tyrant – if that is what he is. But Smith’s article doesn’t come close to producing any evidence that Assad is a tyrant or a “brutal dictator.”

But that wasn’t good enough for the wretched Phil Greaves who coined the term “axis of resistance”. He commented:

Next time someone criticizes a dumb line like this…

“We’re the first to agree Assad isn’t beyond criticism and shouldn’t be sanctified by the “enemy of my enemy” syndrome. We’re the first to acknowledge he may entirely deserve to be called a tyrant.”

You should thank them and acknowledge them when you edit it out.

In other words, Greaves was angry that they could even refer to Assad and tyranny in the same sentence, even though they obviously have denied any such connections from day one.

As awful as the article was, it paled in comparison to comments by one Al Sordi [emphasis added] :

These older socialist publications always had a strong jewish presence. Its amazing how many of these intellectuals commenting here will refuse to see the elephant in the room, when it comes to how the anti-war movement was hijacked by zioinists from the get go, and continue to be mislead while the US does Israel’s bidding.

Why is anyone surprised. Many of these socialists and marxists are also zionists, like [Joshua] Frank. BTW Russia Today is the best and honest news and analysis one can find aired anywhere in the US. In comparison with RT, NPR looks like Stalinist propaganda, with its fluff, obfuscation, obvious bias and warm and fuzzy warm mongering.

The “older socialist publications” is a reference to Socialist Worker, the newspaper of the ISO where Smith’s article originally appeared. Or then again, who knows what he was talking about? It is difficult to figure out what someone as addled as Sordi meant.

But the reference to Zionists “like Frank” is a much clearer indication that the guy is a classic anti-Semitic guttersnipe. He is talking about Joshua Frank, whose ethnicity could be Jewish but even if it was, how does that make him a Zionist?

This was not the first time I have run into anti-Semitic tropes on an Assadist website. In December 2013, I ran into a character named Rowan Berkeley who is a frequent commenter at Moon of Alabama, a website with the same commitment to the Baathist cause as Off-Guardian. After I posted a critical comment of an article blaming the Syrian rebels for a “false flag” attack of sarin gas on Ghouta, Berkeley wrote: “Now, Louis, you must understand that the fact that [x] expresses rhetorical support for [y] simply tells you nothing about [y]. Indulging in this kind of guilt by involuntary association is a very common Jewish weakness in argument.”

A very common Jewish weakness in argument? Was it my genes that produced such a weakness? None of this should come as a major surprise. The boundaries between the legitimate leftist groups and individuals who have succumbed to mechanical “anti-imperialism” and filth like Rowan Berkeley is rather porous.

This was demonstrated dramatically when the Brooklyn Commons, a home to a number of groups like WBAI, Jacobin, Indypendent and the Marxist Education Project, scheduled a talk by Christopher Bollyn defending 9/11 conspiracy theories. He was billed as “a rare voice exposing the neocons and their Zionist partners-in-crime who had the means, motive, and opportunity to pull off this game-changing event.” Well, to start with I am mortified that anybody on the left would still be offering a platform for Truthers but that’s not the worst of it.

It turns out that Bollyn is another Rowan Berkeley. A Google search on his name and “Jews” turns up fetid morsels like:

It seems like being a Jew is a lot like being a wolf. Maybe that is where the name came from. As Rudyard Kipling wrote in “The Law for the Wolves”, “…the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”

In one article, Bollyn recommends a book by Douglas Reed titled “The Controversy of Zion”. Reed was a British fiction writer and political analyst (the two roles obviously overlapped) who viewed communism as a Jewish plot and defended colonial rule in Africa, a rather logical pairing when you stop and think about it. As it happens, Reed’s book can be read online at the VHO website that is dedicated to neo-Nazi material. Chapter 21 is titled “The World Revolution” and contains this eye-opening revelation:

The 19th Century, in the West, differed from the preceding eighteen centuries of the Christian era there in the emergence of two movements with a converging aim, which by the century’s end dominated all its affairs.

The one movement, Zionism, aimed at reassembling a dispersed nation in a territory promised to it by the Jewish god; the second movement, Communism, aimed at the destruction of separate nationhood as such.

Will Bollyn expound on this at the Brooklyn Commons? I suppose that even this might be a pardonable offense given the man’s dedication to the democratic and tolerant values of the Middle East’s leading member of the “axis of resistance”. In an article titled “UN: Israel Supporting Syrian Rebels”, he opines:

This report should help people finally understand that Israel is behind the terrorism, carnage, and madness that has been inflicted on the people of Syria for the past few years.  This is the Syrian chapter of the Zionist “War of Terror” that began with the false-flag terrorism of 9-11.

Well, who knows? Maybe he has a point. After all, Electronic Intifada’s intrepid contributor Rania Khalek has been making the same points in articles and tweets for some time now as demonstrated in “Why has Israel embraced al-Qaida’s branch in Syria?

One good thing that has come out of this is a disavowal of the invitation to Bollyn from the Brooklyn Commons groups alluded to above:

Statement from Multiple Organizations on Christopher Bollyn Event at the Brooklyn Commons

As organizations that work out of the Brooklyn Commons, we reject the antisemitic politics of Christopher Bollyn. We do not have any say in event booking and management at the Commons but agree that such politics should have no place in leftist spaces.

I first heard about the controversy from an article on Jewschool.com by Daniel Sieradski. When I posted a link to it on Facebook, long-time Palestine solidarity activist Amith Gupta referred me to an Electronic Intifada article that exposed Sieradski’s connection to the Israel lobby despite his leftist pretensions:

Sieradski has also provided professional services to groups whose core mission is to influence public opinion in support of the Israeli state by whitewashing its crimes against Palestinians. His LinkedIn profile notes his work with Israel21c, a hasbara organization which “redefines the conversation about Israel” by diverting media and public attention away from Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and instead toward it’s “vibrant diversity, humanity, creativity, innovative spirit, and responsiveness”. The organization, which has also “trained more than 1,500 Israel activists in seven US cities,” is currently headed by former AIPAC President Amy Friedkin.

In a nutshell, this is the problem with anti-Semitism especially when it is cloaked with anti-Zionist verbiage. It gives people like Sieradski the leverage they need to embarrass the left and put it on the defensive. The ADL has exploited Bollyn events in the past to further its goal of making an amalgam between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

The people who decided to extend an invitation to Bollyn did not exercise due diligence. Five minutes of Googling would have revealed his sordid past. On the other hand, there is the troubling possibility that it was exactly that past that endeared him to them.

The truth is that anti-Semitism is not an existential threat to American Jews. Except for the occasional swastika scrawled on a wall, the bourgeois press would find nothing else to report on. In fact, the ultraright both here and in Europe is now targeting Muslims rather than Jews. Marine Le Pen is a prime example. Her party has attracted French Jews despite her father’s well-known anti-Semitic views:

But since Marine Le Pen took over her father’s party in that same year, it appears as if everything and nothing has changed in the relationship between the FN and French Jewry. Her efforts to “de-demonize” the FN have centered on its anti-Semitic past. Not only did she declare that the Holocaust was the “summit of human barbarity,” but she also gave the bum’s rush to the party’s collection of Holocaust deniers and revisionists. Of course, this housecleaning ultimately swept up her own father when he revealed himself to be a recidivist on the matter of historical details. Last year, when asked during a radio interview whether he still held to his position on the Holocaust, Jean-Marie Le Pen replied, “Yes, absolutely, I still maintain this opinion, because I believe it is the truth and it should shock no one.”

Except, perhaps, his daughter. Shaken by this paternal attempt to undermine her authority, Marine Le Pen launched the process that eventually led to her father’s removal from the party he created. While the series of events burnished her image as a reformer, she had already impressed Roger Cukierman, head of CRIF, the country’s umbrella organization for Jewish institutions. Shortly before the falling-out between father and daughter, Cukierman had announced that Marine Le Pen, unlike her father, was “personally irreproachable” — a remark he quickly walked back in the resulting firestorm of criticism.

No, Jews are not the target now. In fact, the biggest threat that anti-Semitism poses is its usefulness to the Israel lobby that is desperate to make links between anti-Zionism and Jew hatred. When the left gives them ammunition, it is undermining the cause of Palestinian freedom.


January 21, 2016

Disinformation Clearing House

Filed under: anti-Semitism,Fascism,mechanical anti-imperialism — louisproyect @ 11:29 pm

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So their fundraiser is a disaster. With all the bad news from every corner of the globe, finally some good news.

This week an article appeared on this website by one Robert Bridge titled “US Elites Are Trying to Destroy Europe with Immigrants that has this astonishing comment:

According to a German sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn, by mid-21st century millions of migrants from Africa and Asia (950 million of them are already willing to relocate to the EU) will drag Europe back into the Dark Ages. So isn’t this exactly what Barack Obama, a man with African roots, should be willing to achieve through his foreign policy?

This Robert Bridge lives in Russia and writes for RT.com and Infowars. No big surprise there. When you see the reference to Obama having “African roots”, you need to remember that RT.com has been airing a lot of racist junk about Obama. Irina Rodnina, an MP from Vladimir Putin’s party and a triple Olympic champion figure-skater photoshopped a picture of Obama with a banana on Twitter. You get the idea.

Meanwhile, Bridge’s article has drawn comments such as these from “Subluna” just like a pile of steaming shit draws flies. Love the reference to Khazar Jews, an obscure anti-Semitic trope if I’ve ever heard one:

“While on the surface it may seem that the refugee crisis has taken Western leaders by surprise, in fact it is all part of their plan for global domination, which was outlined in a paper by the now-defunct group of US neoconservatives known as The Project for a New American Century (PNAC).”

IT IS ALL PART OF THE JEWISH PLAN FOR GLOBAL DOMINATION! That is what I’ve been saying over and over again.

Now who are these US neoconservatives? The overall majority are the KHAZAR JEWS with dual nationality, US – Israeli.

Recently George Souros, the Jewish billionaire said that: “Europe Union should take “at least a million” refugees every year…” https://www.rt.com/op-edge/320747-soros-european-…

Have a look at Jewish Barbara Spectre in this 1 minute video where she calls for Jews to have a leading role in transforming Europe into a multicultural society: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFE0qAiofMQ

The European Flag/Logo was the work of Jewish Paul Lévi, the 12 yellow stars on a blue background represent the 12 Tribes of Israel.

Count R. N. Courdenhove-Kalergi is seen by many as the father of the modern European Union. His father was a close friend of Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism.

Otto von Habsburg was Coudenhove-Kalergi’s successor as president of the Pan European Union. He is a honorary professor of the University of Jerusalem, and recipient of the ‘International Humanitarian Award’, of the ‘Anti Defamation-League’ (ADL) of the Jewish B’nai B’rith Masonery Lodge.

The Jewish owned media promote the ‘Clash of Civilisations’ by Samuel Huntington, who got the idea from Bernard Lewis, a Jewish scholar. Have the Christian West fight Islam, while the Jews conquer the world and make the Goyim their slaves.

Benjamin Freedman: “Act I was World War I. Act II was World War II. Act III is going to be World War III.

“The Jews of the world, the Zionists and their co-religionists everywhere, are determined that they are going to AGAIN use the United States to help them permanently retain Palestine as their foothold for their world government.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8OmxI2AYV8

Transcript: http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/israel/freedma…

The Feast of Tabernacles is the period when Israel triumphs over the other people of the world. That is why during this feast we seize the loulab and carry it as a trophy to show that we have conquered all other peoples, known as “populace”… Zohar, Toldoth Noah 63b

November 1, 2015

Anti-Semitism and the amen corner

Filed under: anti-Semitism — louisproyect @ 8:39 pm

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Today, I got a good idea of the mental makeup of the Baathist amen corner. The article above appeared on Thom Prentice’s Facebook timeline. My only knowledge of Prentice is that he used to write me friendly emails about this and that until he discovered that I was not into the whole Baathist fan club deal. When I saw the image of the stereotypical anti-Semitic cartoon on the left, I was a bit taken aback. I am opposed to any French laws that put people in jail for making either anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist statements but I don’t have any use for anti-Semitism per se. For me, the people who adapt to it are not part of the left. They are enemies of the left. When I went to the website where the article taking up the cause of the cartoonist was published, I discovered that it is put out by a couple of characters who mention that among their concerns is “historical revisionism”. You can bet what that is about. Five minutes of exploring their website revealed an article that stated: “Zionist leaders and activists gave Hitler more than enough ammunition to justify interning Jews in camps as a security threat to Germany.” Imagine that? Jews were put into Auschwitz because Hitler had legitimate security concerns. Meanwhile, Prentice continues to defend Hitler as having legitimate concerns. What a fucked up “left” we have today when someone like this can speak in its name.

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July 28, 2015

A Putin fan of note

Filed under: anti-Semitism,Fascism,Russia — louisproyect @ 9:52 pm

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An example of how a Putin fan understood the origins of WWII

WordPress has a list of all the url’s that link to my blog and I am in the habit of checking them out, including one that  that took me to a neo-Nazi website run by a piece of dirt named Mike King. In an rant against the Working Families Party, King linked to my blog: “The Working Families Party is a known Marxist entity – a detail which the writer fails to mention. (here)”

I am the aforementioned writer and the here in parentheses is a link to something I wrote that described the WFP as a wing of the Democratic Party despite their nominal independence.

Looking a bit more into King’s website, I found this on a page about the origins of WWII: “Jewish Red terrorists, their Polish government protectors, and their Globalist-Zionist masters have picked a fight with Germany!”

On his video page, he has a clip described as “ZIONIST-MARXISTS PROMOTE ANTI-WHITE VIOLENCE”.

But what really intrigued me was how this guy was a big Putin fan. On the video page, he has a clip of Putin laughing “in the Face of a Stupid Western Journalist!”

So gung-ho is he on Putin that he wrote an entire book titled “The Talented Mr. Putin: How the government media complex does not want you to know about the new Russia.” Sounds fascinating.

As it turns out Paul Craig Roberts reviewed the book:

There is an interesting book, a pamphlet (booklet) really, titled “The War Against Putin” by M.S. King available on Amazon.com. The book has 16 5-star reviews and one review accusing the book of being Kremlin propaganda.

The value of this publication is in showing how Washington operated against the Soviet Union and how Washington operates against Russia today. Readers will gain insight into the mendacity of the government in Washington and learn that the US and European media are propagandistic organizations that impose false stories on the minds of Americans and Europeans. Anyone who relies on the Western media lives inside The Matrix.


Interesting. Very interesting.

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