Why the Campaign of solidarity with Palestinians must never admit the extreme right
Mick Napier 02 March 2007
"Palestinians need mass support – it won’t come by associating ourselves with extreme-right sympathisers who miss no opportunity to spew their racist bile into a movement for human and national rights for the Palestinian people. For the Palestinians are groaning under Zionism, which is armed and sustained by western imperialism. Not a Jewish world conspiracy. One of these ideas is the natural discourse of the left and liberal centre: one is a blind cul-de-sac propagated by the extreme right."
Anyone who imported sympathy for the BNP into the Palestine solidarity movement would ensure the loss of our most committed supporters, and alienate most of our potential supporters, left-wing, Muslim, Christian, as well as those individual Jews who have had the courage to buck the leadership of their community. Anybody who insists that Jews must give up their Jewishness, or Catholics their Catholicism, before being allowed to join the anti-Zionist movement, or even line up alongside the vast army of critics of Israeli murder, is not just an idiot, but is a menace to the Palestinians. I write as an ex-Catholic and committed atheist, who sees religion as capable of sustaining impulses to both liberation and mass murder. I certainly deny Christians – given the genocidal history of Christian powers, or the influence of deranged Christian fundamentalists today - any right to denigrate any other belief system.
We should not lose a moment’s sleep over accusations of “anti-Semitism” levelled against pro-Palestinian activists. We should care, however, about developing the broadest militant campaign among trade unionists, anti-war activists and the general public in active support of a boycott of Israel and its support base around the world, whether Gentile or Jewish, rather than being drawn into a blind, racist cul-de-sac. To drag the Palestinian movement into bed with the nutters and thugs of the BNP-type extreme right, or even allowing space for them in our midst, would be to strengthen the Zionists by driving away our potential supporters. This is not rocket science. Allowing in the extreme right would be a sure own-goal at a time when the Israelis are losing the battle for public opinion across Europe and most of the rest of the world. It is the Zionists who have traditionally allied with the extreme-right – our hope is with the millions of decent people who hate oppression and racism. Keep the BNP and all those who endorse it at arm’s length. Or at boot’s length.
Israel Shamir is one who works assiduously to align the Palestine solidarity movement with the extreme right, including the Nazi-BNP. He says openly, “…we need the voices of Duke, Sobran, Raimondo, Buchanan, Mahler, Griffin and of other anti-bourgeois nationalists.” Decent people do not need the voices of Duke’s KKK or Griffin’s BNP. (All but one quote from Shamir’s website)
Shamir’s support for the extreme right is militant. He sides, for example, with the BNP ballet dancer, Simone Clarke, and smears anti-BNP protestors. He says that the BNP’s Clarke
“expressed her view that the country has enough immigrants, and the endless process of importing workers should slow down or even cease. Well, it is a view, certainly a reasonable one…Some crazy anti-racists went to demonstrate against the dancer’s being engaged in the Ballet. …for godless, obsessive Hitler-demonisers even such a moderate view may not be expressed…I do stand for Simone Clarke’s right to belong to BNP and to dance Giselle on the scene of English National Opera.”
How can any decent person think it is possible to 'demonise' Hitler, to libel someone as foul as he? Shamir, however, obviously thinks the Fuhrer has had a bad press. If we signed up to Hitler-admiration and then ask for support for Palestine from Russians, Jews, Poles, Gypsies, Gays, Serbs, and the great majority of decent people everywhere, we would be driven away. Rightly so.
But Shamir goes even further, more royalist than the king! He chastises today’s BNP for becoming a bit too soft on Jews, and he has reluctantly felt compelled to criticise this deviation of his ‘White Nationalist’ allies: "I do not feel at ease accusing you and your comrades of betraying the Britons and joining with the Jews.” He considers, however, that the BNP have fallen from the lofty heights of an earlier generation of Fascists and Nazis: he is outraged when one BNP-er claims that, ‘The BNP is NOT the heir to Oswald Mosley's fascists.’ Shamir denounces this backslider, on the grounds that
“there are many things for good and for bad to be said about the movements of 1930s, and it is not the place to do it. However, the far right of 1930s stood against what they considered 'Jewish onslaught', while you, Sir, join in it."
Shamir wants Palestinians, the ultimate victims of colonial dispossession and oppression, to ally with the extreme right. His website runs many articles to this effect, but I take only one, by an ally, Joh Domingo. Shamir calls him “a strong and clear new voice”, for such pieces as “White Nationalists - a possible ally?” which explains “Why Zionism is Racism but antisemitism is not." Domingo paints the KKK sympathetically, and also "David Duke, the ex-Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, who struggles to maintain his livelihood and culture in his own land…" The KKK may be “rogues” (what a gentle description of those who hanged thousands of black people from trees in the US), but Domingo excuses these murderers, on the grounds that the
"antisemitism of White Nationalists (called White Supremacy by their adversaries) is a reaction to Jewish racist assertion in White societies…From a White-Nationalist point of view, it can be seen to be a moral imperative and necessary to combat the Jewish war against their values and heritage."
Not that Domingo and Shamir are ignorant of their ally's record:
“David Duke was the grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. They hanged black people from tree trunks. What they did was however small change compared to what the Ku Klux Knesset does on a daily basis. Today the White Nationalists are downtrodden and discriminated-against people in America.”
Pity the poor US Nazis!
In case anybody missed the point that what is proposed is a KKK-Palestinian alliance, Domingo’s “strong and clear voice” spells it out on Shamir’s website: “It is not White Racist Supremacist oppressing Palestinians. If I were a Palestinian, the White Nationalists would be my legitimate ally.”
Back to one example of Shamir in his own voice, this time rooting for Le Pen in France. Shamir insists there are too many black players in the French football team. He sees black people as not really ‘native’ French: Zinedine Zidane being born in France doesn’t seem to be enough.
“Blacks indeed are well endowed in sports and music, like the Greeks of Homer, but maybe the native French are also interested and are entitled to play football in their own team.”
Continuing on the theme of contrasting “black” with “French”, Shamir places racism way ahead of love of the game in his slander of the mass of French people: “if all football players were black, maybe the native French will not be interested enough even to watch football anymore.” Quick, kick out the blacks and bring in “native French.” Luckily the French seem to be ignoring Shamir and Le Pen, and continuing to support the best team available in international competitions.
Shamir is in perfect solidarity with Gilad Atzmon, and the intense admiration is returned: “What I love about Eisen, Shamir, Blankfort and many others, rather than talking in the name of the Jews they talk in the name of reason and ethics.”* Both Shamir and Atzmon agree that the enemy is not Zionism itself, but is really the "Jewish-ness" (Atzmon) or "Judaism" (Shamir) which creates Zionism. Deriding any notion that Zionism might be a strategic asset of the US and Europe, both see Zionism as inherent in Jewishness, which becomes the main enemy. Shamir uses language that reminds one of the ranting of the Hitler he doesn’t want to “demonise” when he adds in the same article about Gilad Atzmon, that "it is a question of spirit, the Judaic spirit we find at the basis of Zionism."
Griffin-supporter Shamir doesn’t stint in his praise for Atzmon:
“Our friends Gilad Atzmon, Paul Eisen and Mary Rizzo are the shining stars of the battle, and they are doing good by defeating the adversary…Gilad takes up the tools of modern philosophical discourse ... to explain our position: why we are against domination by Judaic spirit."
In line with Domingo’s “strong and clear voice” asserting that “We must deny the concept of Holocaust without doubt and hesitation,” Shamir gives Gilad a pat on the head, because "Gilad correctly stated that ‘holocaust denier’ is but a Zionist term." Nick “Griffin and...other anti-bourgeois nationalists”, the voices that Shamir says we need, would agree, even though the BNP are attracted to Israel’s militarism and racism. They drool at the Israeli jackboot on the Palestinian neck and one million Israeli/US cluster bombs transported through Scotland and dropped on Arab towns and villages in Lebanon.
Palestinians need mass support – it won’t come by associating ourselves with extreme-right sympathisers who miss no opportunity to spew their racist bile into a movement for human and national rights for the Palestinian people. For the Palestinians are groaning under Zionism, which is armed and sustained by western imperialism. Not a Jewish world conspiracy. One of these ideas is the natural discourse of the left and liberal centre: one is a blind cul-de-sac propagated by the extreme right.