by Jay Knott, with input from Francis Clark-Lowes
by Jay Knott
Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
The other main far-right group in the UK is the British National Party. It claimed it was the only party in Britain to unconditionally support the Israeli massacre of Gaza in 2008-9 (Shaviv 2009).
The BNP’s leader, Nick Griffin, frankly admitted that his party was once anti-Semitic, but said it had changed. If you’re a far-right leader, and want to prove you’re not anti-Semitic, what do you do? Support Israel! Most people aren’t aware of Lenni Brenner’s view, that fascism and Zionism are twins, and tend to think in simplistic terms. For them, anti-Semitism implies opposition to Israel.
So why did Griffin feel the need to prove his party is not anti-Semitic? Because Zionists and anti-fascists had been screaming “Nazis!” at the BNP, and its predecessor, the National Front, for decades. The leader of the Anti-Nazi League once confided to me that it wasn’t strictly true to say these parties were National Socialist, but, as he put it, “the shit stuck to the blanket”. To attract wealthy Jewish support, the anti-fascist left exaggerated their opponents’ anti-Semitism. To grab nationalism back from the fascists, the anti-fascists harked back to World War II. It worked. Posters of the leader of the NF, next to a picture of Goebbels and a pile of bodies, did the trick, leveraging both Jewish fear and British patriotism. The far right had to change its tune.
The pro-Semitic, Islamophobic, English Defense League is, in part, the result. Despite this achievement, and despite its falsehood, lefties still shout “Nazis!” at the far right. They don’t shout “Zionists!”. The implication is that white identity politics is worse than Jewish supremacy.
Today, we might begin to ask what was so good about the Allies, why the war was “necessary”. This will not harm modern Britain. But undermining the Allied narrative is dangerous for the state of Israel. Why this is so, was indicated, unconsciously, by an anti-fascist, who said that, if you mention the holocaust in the same breath as other crimes of World War II, you ‘eviscerate’ the holocaust’s ‘historical meaning and importance’ (Knott 2012).
Without the holocaust’s ‘historical meaning and importance’, Israel is nothing more than the only remaining apartheid state.
The reader is probably thinking this is all a storm in a teacup. But the story has more wide-ranging implications. Why has Palestine solidarity been so unsuccessful, when the fight against white apartheid was so successful? The oppression of the Palestinians is roughly the same problem – racial supremacy supported by the West – and roughly the same kind of people are opposing it, i.e. leftists. But, whereas there are “Jews Against Zionism”, there never was “Aryans Against Apartheid”. We need a critique of Palestine solidarity as it currently exists. Gilad is a leader in this critique. He’s shaking the movement out of its complacency.
The above is a rather complicated argument, so we have to explain what we’re not saying. We’re not saying that fascism is an acceptable political philosophy. Though we say the BUF was against war, this doesn’t mean we think they were right on any other issue. We disagree with Tony’s claim that the EDL is a new BUF; it is not a serious political movement. We’re just defending the hypothesis that, today, Jewish racism is so important in comparison with white European racism, that concentrating on the latter, or even making them equal (“against all racism”), occludes this vital truth.
- Knott, Jay. (2012, March 13). Zionist Bullying in the West Coast Co-op Movement. http://www.deliberation.info/zionist-bullying-in-the-west-coast-co-op-movement
- Shaviv, Miriam. 2009, October 23. BNP Leader Nick Griffin, friend of Israel? The Jewish Chronicle. http://www.thejc.com/blogpost/bnp-leader-nick-griffin-friend-israel
- Greenstein, Tony. (2012, 18 March). Successful Anti-Fascist Book Despite EDL Threats and Quaker Cowardice. http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2012/03/successful-anti-fascist-book-despite.html
- Clark-Lowes, Francis. (2008, January 9). Brighton Rocked – Gilad Atzmon event a success. http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/2008/01/brighton-rocked-gilad-atzmon-event.html
- Brenner, Lenni. (1983). Zionism in the Age of the Dictators. http://www.marxists.de/middleast/brenner