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The Devil Made Me Do it. Some Brief Notes on the Strange anti-Semitism of the left.

“Since my daughter is only half-Jewish, could she go into the water up to her knees?”

— Groucho Marx

 

Watching alternative media one soon runs out of not only options, but also out of variations. Sam Seder does not sound remarkably different from The Young Turks who don’t sound remarkably different from Kyle Kulinski who in turn doesn’t sound very different from Jimmy Dore.

Within that homogeneity there is a small corner reserved for the upside down backwards universe where Israel – code for Jew – is to blame for everything.

Kulinski for example, in one podcast, offers up a twisted review of the history of events in the Middle East and manages to get nearly everything wrong, and what he does get right is almost in every case a matter of being right for all the wrong reasons. He gets the UN partition plan wrong, he gets the pre-mandate record wrong, and he ignores the Jewish schism between the Ashkenazi and the Sephardim and how it impacted Zionism and the early politics of Israel, and of course he also ignores, or succeeds in not mentioning that Al Hussayni, the nominal leader of the Palestinians, went to Berlin and offered a deal to the little corporal to help kill all of the Jews.

Things like that tend to be a bad look politically and also tend to make you unpopular in certain circles, especially when you and your supporters never bother to cough up even a cursory apology. Granted there’s enough of that sort of thing to turn the whole issue into a circular firing squad but that only begs the question – if you’re going to delineate cause and effect, then by all means do so and stop cherry picking the low hanging fruit.

But it’s Dore we are going to focus on.

Apparently some sort of a stand up comedian and also apparently not on Sam Seder’s list of favorite people, Dore hosts both his own show and something attached to TYT called the Aggressive Progressives.

In a recent segment Dore had the opportunity to flog one of his favorite ideas, and a staple of certain corners populated by the haute leftists of The London Review of Books,* that the accusations against Russia for aiding Trump and fucking with the election are mostly if not entirely bogus, part of a CIA engineered campaign of hysteria and that when properly viewed, reveals that the far more serious issues are that the US regularly screws with elections everywhere and that the far more urgent threat to the US electoral system is Israel.

To support this Dore offers a segment from Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, in which Noam Chomsky makes those same points.

What’s missing from both Chomsky and Dore is any actual evidence.

Intead we get blanket statements like: America is a joke in the rest of the world because of the obsession with Russia.

The world is a relatively large place, and while anything is possible we haven’t actually seen anyone of any stature – politically or culturally – come out and say, you Americans and your underwear in a knot hysteria about the Russians sure are funny.

We don’t doubt some people feel that way but we also don’t doubt that it’s not a uniform point of view. In fact as with just about everything, we figure it’s got as wide a variance as every other topic.

Dore of course doesn’t offer any example of this world wide view, nor does Chomsky. They also don’t offer any evidence that Israel is engaged in manipulating US elections on a scale that dwarfs Russia’s allegedly non-existent efforts.

While we have no doubt that the US screws with other countries’ elections and has a long history of, as on wit put it, threatening people until someone we like can be elected, and staging coups, counter coups and doing whatever it takes to protect America’s interests (which almost always coincide with the interests of rich people doing billions of dollars worth of business on Wall Street) there remains a fundamental flaw in Dore and Chomsky’s pretzel logic.

In deconstructing Kuklinski’s odd political tics we made a similar analysis and take the liberty of quoting ourselves to make the same point about Dore:

“Among the huate leftists who populate the pages of The Nation and The London Review of Books, it is taken as an article of faith that the intelligence agencies not only never tell the truth, but that even when they are honest it is in the service of a greater lie.

This of course goes back into the mists of things like The Palmer Raids, moves through the brutal realities of Hoover’s blunt assault on civil liberties from the 30s until the end of the Nixon regime and takes in the right wings greatest hits (including but not limited to) – mass murdering death squads in Vietnam, mass murder in Indonesia, assassinations, coups, counter coups, the Shah, Pinochet, Franco, MK Ultra, radiation experiments, and so on up until now with mass surveillance.

It is an impressive run, having left a mountain of skulls and fields of unmarked graves  on every continent.

Thus one can understand the impulse, the reflex at best, and the Tourette’s syndrome at worst response, in which anything the spooks say is treated with the same answer one would give a band of Visigoths or bankers asking to spend the night.

But the truth is that they don’t always lie, and along side all the utterly heinous things they have done there are an equally impressive number of things that have saved lives, and shored up the creaky, sclerotic support systems of the nearly dead republic.

One does not excuse the other but it provides balance and context.

Consider Noam Chomsky saying in an interview that talking about Russian interference in America’s elections is hysteria, and a diversion, because we have been doing the same to them and others for years. Therefore he concludes, Russian interference is negligible if it happened at all.

Of course that is a fantastic display of pretzel logic because if a – the Russians interfered, then b – it’s unimportant because of c – America has done worse and more including to the Russians, therefore d – Russia has no motivation to interfere and if they did it was negligible so let’s talk about the Military Industrial Complex.

If she floats, she’ a witch.

The truth is, Chomsky has scored on his own goal. Precisely because America has, as he correctly says, done more and worse, the Russians have retaliated.”

We have no doubt the CIA is capable of just about anything. But the idea that it is absurd to say the Russians have retaliated is in fact, absurd.

But then there’s the issue of Israel.

Like everyone else in this carnival of mendacity the Israeli government is brilliant at being professional assholes and lies like an enormous rug.

But making statements that, Israel is a far greater threat to America’s shaky democratic institutions than Russia, and offering zero evidence to support the claim, reeks of classic Protocols of the Elders of Zion bullshit.

And the left, or what we charitably call the left, not only keeps repeating these baseless claims, but is not so stupid as to be unaware of how it feeds into traditional scapegoating of Jews.

We have absolutely no doubt that Dore and Co are aware of the comments that show up on Youtube below their videos – if for no other reason than the fact that they often tag comments with which they agree. That the comments reek of the basic moronic hate-filled traditional bigotry with the standard clichés about Jews and money and being insidious and akin to vermin should surprise no one. However, the next time the alternative media declares its disgust at how Trump or Alex Jones are ginning up the potential for violence, they might want to take moment and look in the mirror.

But needless to say that what’s missing is any condemnation of the comments that sound like they fell off the front page of The Daily Stormer or come from the jukebox that plays the Luftwaffe serenade and gives old fascists a smile and a hard on. Given the fact-free statements, and the cries of THE JEWS ARE AT IT AGAIN, we are not surprised. After all, hypocrisy is not a monopoly of the right.

As to Israel’s involvement in manipulating US elections, we do not doubt that efforts both overt and legal are joined by efforts covert and illegal.

But exactly what does that mean?

You may find AIPAC to be vile, ruthless and politically toxic but it’s not illegal. You may (like us) find the odious Sheldon Adelson to be a perfect example of a cross between a malignant troll and a throwback to psychopaths like Bugsy Siegel, and you may find it highly suspicious that he’s heavily invested in gambling in Macau, that it puts him in bed with both the Chinese mafia and the Chinese government (two sides of the same coin), and you may find it highly suspicious that he in turn connects Trump to the Netanyahu regime but, Dore doesn’t say any of that. And if he did then logically the issue would not be how Israel is the greater threat but that capitalism, with its tendrils that reach everywhere, is the issue, and it doesn’t care if you read left to right or right to left and cares instead only about how much money you have.

In the absence of any nuanced questions let alone any nuanced answers, Dore sounds like he’s reading off a neo-fascist template and Chomsky sounds senile.

The left’s problem with Israel goes back to Marx’s problem with 19th century nationalism. Nationalism was for him just another piece of the alienated masses needing the dialectic to set them on the path to righteousness. As a result, Zionism was a defect and had to be resisted. Elements of that filtered into Trotskyism and god knows Stalin didn’t need any help in coming up with reasons to hate Jews, any more than he needed help coming up with reasons to hate everyone.

But anyone who thinks traditional anti-Semitism hasn’t found a resting place among the left is either an anti-Semite or a fool or both.

Consider the British Labour party’s current train wreck regarding this very issue. For decades the left has been in bed with left wing fascists screaming about how Israel is an imperial apartheid state on par with Nazi Germany. The tepid response from Jeremy Corbyn (described by one caustic critic as either a fellow traveler of the anti-Semites or the single most unlucky politician in England for the number of times he accidentally ends up aligned with people who say things like – the Jews run the banks and start all the wars) and his supporters, does nothing to address anything and the venomous responses from devout leftists, that every time anyone criticizes Israel, the answer is you’re an anti-Semite, is proof of Israeli (Jewish) mendacity and control of the media through secret influence, are themselves evidence of a toxic political dead end.

And of course we’re back to where we started and one can easily understand (if one is not a bigot) why such language makes some people nervous.

That the government of Israel is full of gangsters, fools, bigots and any number of other malodorous types should not surprise anyone who isn’t a dilettante.

On the other hand, the biggest public event in Israel is the annual gay pride parade which attracts around 250,000 thousand people. Add to that the new round of advertisements that show a speedo-wearing gang of hot lithe Davids frolicking on a beach and has a banner that says something to the effect of – come find your gay adventure in Israel, and you have essentially the same bizzaro mixed bag that you have in a lot of other places. France after all can boast Le Pen, Petain and Truffaut; free speech and support for a hall of fame of genocidal African dictators. After all, it was no less a thug than de Gaulle who, when encouraged to have Sartre arrested for his blistering public denunciations of the government said, one does not arrest Voltaire. England, for example, is home to both Thatcher and Ken Loach, Monty Python and Boris Johnson. It gives the world both the Beatles and Enoch Powell screaming about rivers of blood. America of course runs the gamut from Twain to Springsteen with stops along the way for the Trail of Tears, Emmett Till, Nixon and the malignant troll currently occupying the White House.

And speaking of leftists, we recall that as one of them had it: there is no record of civilization that is not also a record of barbarism.

We however do not need anyone’s help in delineating the psychosis of the Israeli establishment having experienced it first hand.

You want a fun time, try publishing work by a famous Palestinian poet and see what shows up in your life. Kafkaesque does not do it justice.

But as with everyone else these things are a train wreck of competing narratives and views of any group as being monolithic are false.

All of which bring us back to Dore and the weird political Tourette’s Syndrome spasm that afflicts the left. Otherwise perfectly intelligent people turn into Mr. Hyde the moment anyone mentions Israel and the conversation goes off the rails.

Like any form of bigotry there is both a kind of logic to it, and something that defies understanding precisely because it is so blatantly illogical.

Criticism of a political position is understandable but couching it in the crude, banal and toxic rhetoric of traditional anti-Semitism is not* – except and unless one just throws up one’s hands and says, well what do you expect from a pack of bigots.

Which is not to say Jimmy Dore is a bigot.

It is however to say that on this subject, were someone to accuse him of being unfit to sleep with the pigs, we would have no choice but to defend him and say, to the contrary, he’s plenty fit.

 

See the Dore, Chomsky video here:

Watch

 

*For a look at the strange stylings of The London Review of Books, see the following:

https://theviolentink.blog/2018/02/22/the-mad-hatters-little-red-book/

For a consideration of Corbyn, Labor and the issue of anti-Semitism, see the following:

Read

*Nor is it any less anti-Semetic when the attacks make use of the relatively sophisticated and slick stylings of the “dirtbag left” which likes to present itself as enlightened in comparison to the mouth breathing, knuckle dragging types who throw around clichés about Jews and money. Lacing garbage with the rhetorical cologne of assorted theorists, and splicing it with criticism of the odious Trump, or the twisted adventurism of the Bush Cheney junta, does mean it isn’t still shit.

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2 comments on “The Devil Made Me Do it. Some Brief Notes on the Strange anti-Semitism of the left.

  1. My own criticism of Israel is hypocrisy. It’s not only that Jews have created ghettos to isolate and oppress another population while killing many of them in the process, as the Nazis did to them. Not to say the difference in scale of violence is insignificant because for there is no comparison — then again, the Nazi ghettos didn’t seem all that horrific prior to the death camps.

    The saddest part of it is that the Israeli apartheid state is itself antisemitism, a point many people overlook. The Palestinians are Semites, the original Jewish population that never left. Genetic tests have proven this. This is further supported by how Palestinians have even maintained some of the original Jewish culture. It’s Semites harming Semites rationalized with the rhetoric of defending Semites against antisemitism. It demonstrates how humans can rationalize anything for the sake of power. The point is that Palestinians are being portrayed as Arabs and the Western hatred of Arabs is as old as the hatred of Jews.

    But as you say, the leftist critics rarely if ever offer such well-informed arguments. Zionism too often becomes a caricature. And the history behind such caricatures should give one pause. Yet it remains true that Israel is a key component to American imperialism, the only other country playing such a geographically central role being Saudi Arabia. And a you say, that has everything to do with capitalism.

    Dore can be amusing at times. I can’t say that I’ve ever had any particular respect for him, though. And I’ve never understood his obsession with denying the role Russia has played. There is sometimes a knee-jerk denial by leftists of whatever the DNC promotes, as a way for leftists to solidify their own sense of separate identity. As for Chomsky, I’ve been losing respect for him lately. He comes off as a scared old many whose mind isn’t as sharp and probing as it once was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. rauldukeblog says:

      In no special order: I don’t understand Dore’s kneejerk responses either. He doesn’t seem unintelligent if not an intellectual but on Russia he seems to have a kind of spasm that he can’t control. In its more sophisticated if still odd form you find the uber intellectuals of The London Review of Books saying the same thing. They are, needless to say, smoother, and offer more obscure lit references and couch their rejectionism in deeper historical terms but in the end it’s still off-kilter. But it is as you say down to a desire for leftists to solidify their own sense of separate identities.

      Chomsky does sound like a scared old nanny. His criticism of “Postmodernism” comes across as parochial and as if he’s intimidated by the idea of superior Parisian intellectuals who for some reason scare people. Chomsky of course is a bit of a saint to many especially on the left and any criticism tends to immediately generate accusations of being right wing which of course I find amusing if irritating.

      As to the bogeyman of Israel it’s a deep dive to say the least. Here’s a book review from the new issue of TLRoB which is really worth a read. The LRob is almost always part of the sophisticated anti-Zionism set in Europe which traces its origins back to Trotsky’s anti-nationalism but like a great many in that crowd rarely manages to miss a chance to compress the facts to generate a specific narrative.

      https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n16/adam-shatz/the-sea-is-the-same-sea?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=4016&utm_content=usca_nonsubs

      I have no doubt that Netanyahu is not just a bigot but a specific type of Ashkenazi bigot. I referenced that in the post as something Kulinski not only missed but I’m sure is completely unaware of – the schism between Ashkenazi and Sephardim is the major socio-political Faultline in Israel.

      As to jabotinsky-esque thugs like Avigdor Lieberman – the man is a straight up atavistic right wing goon with the mentality of a chicken farmer promoted to a position of power. He’s a fascist and somewhere to the right of Atilla the Hun in how he views foreign policy.

      He’s a throwback to the right wing of 19th century Zionism exemplified by Jabotinsky – at least Jabo in his first iteration. These were the guys forged in Czarist Russia.

      As to the blunt brutal truths of Gaza et al of course the narrative is complicated. There’s no doubt it involves a host of sins including systemic bigotry and degradation/humiliation as part of a bureaucratic policy. It also contains a vortex of everything else – Wall Street manipulation, drug running (The Bekah Valley is ground zero for hash/weed/opium) systemic misogyny and assorted other pathologies which filter up to become “policy” and it’s like trying to reason with a belch. That’s why I mentioned Al Husseini – people like that cast long shadows both in a material sense but also psychologically. It’s like trying to be reasonable in a Faulkner novel – thus hopeless because it’s all shadows and generational traumas.

      In the middle of all of that you have professional cynics and thugs taking advantage. Netanyahu is a smooth and intelligent version of Trump. Far more cunning and nimble but he is the same sort of demagogic goon. He is of the very elite he condemns while ginning up the right wing disenfranchised base. The Palestinian “leadership” is the same – riven by factions with a series of familial blood feuds you can find them switching from one position to another with the same situational morality as Netanyahu then you add in genuine ideologues on both sides and then add in the multi-billion dollar oil/tech/arms industries and of course it’s Capitalism at its finest – take no prisoners, and all that matters is who has the most money. In that environment ideology is just another product and Netanyahu is a perfect illustration of that even if in his mind he’s acting out of a sense of (pragmatic) nationalism and in a sense he is. It’s me first which he conflates with “us” as in my side first.

      What then strikes me is how unremarkable all of it is in the sense that it’s essentially identical to everywhere else but is filtered as if it’s somehow infinitely worse and more egregious then any other display of human stupidity and barbarism.

      That of course brings us full circle and back to the language/rhetoric of Dore and Kulinski at the low end of the spectrum and the more sophisticated rhetorical napalm of The London Review. The LRoB of course will give you a brilliant deconstruction of say, Northern Ireland, with shades of grey and nuance full of paradox and contradiction while maintaining an anti-imperialist POV. Read their thought on the ME and it all goes sideways.

      And mind that this little missive barely scratches the surface. I have in mind to write a piece at some point comparing Baltimore to the ME – complete with a focus on how here it’s the “Beltway” and over there its “by-pass roads” but in truth it’s the same.

      Liked by 1 person

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