The title of this post echoes that of a post on the widely-read British left blog, Socialist Unity, by its main blogger Andy Newman:


Who are these “Zionists”? And how are they cynically exploiting the Sri Lankans? Well, it turns out that the three targets of the post are (a) “slow-burn Zionist Bob From Brockley”, who had the front to “condemn” Socialist Unity for only mentioning Sri Lanka twice in 2009 (actually, Bob simply gives SU as an example of a broader trend, in which he includes himself), (b) “Terry Gavlin” (i.e. Terry Glavin, who Bob apparently “praises to the skies” – actually he simply says “Terry says it better”), and (c) ModernityBlog, who Comrade Newman cannot even bring himself to name, simply talking of the “callous crocodile tears of Zionists”.

And what is the crime of these three fearsome “Zionists”? They ask why the left has not made more of a big deal of the horrific suffering of the Tamil people as a result of the recent onslaught by the Sri Lankan state against the Tamil Tigers. Actually, Glavin does not even talk about the left, but about mainstream Canadian opinion.

And what is wrong with doing this? Apparently, this false sympathy for the Sri Lankans is an example of whataboutery, deflecting attention from one crime by focusing on another. That is, “the Zionists” draw attention to Sri Lanka in order to whitewash Israel.

Never mind that Bob is an anti-nationalist one-stater, that Terry is a cosmopolitan socialist who hasn’t mentioned Israel on his blog since March when he said that “the death cult Hamas, the worst enemy the cause of Palestinian freedom has ever faced”, or that Modernity is far better described as an anti-anti-Zionist or non-Zionist socialist.

As Bob writes in a comment, “Sloppy use of the word “Zionists” as some catch-all swearword plays into very ugly forms of conspiracy theory; it is a substitute for real analysis.” This mentality is confirmed by the number of SU commenters who think that Israel/Palestine is a “clear-cut issue”, and not least the commenter Ray who manages to even include Sri Lankan aggression in the Zionist-apartheid conspiracy because Israel is sells arms to Sri Lanka. (Actually, as Mod shows and Neil from the Socialist Party acknowledges, China, Pakistan and Europe are far worse offendors in this regard.)

Time to retire the word “Zionist” from the debate.

/////P.S. I just looked at other things Bob has said about Andy Newman of Socialist Unity. After the jump.1. “a bizarre outbreak of agreement has occurred between the “bourgeois anti-fascists” of Harry’s Place and Andy Newman of Socialist Unity, that hitting a BNP thug with a claw hammer is a squaddist own-goal.”

2. On the silencing of Harry’s Place: “The sane anti-Zionist left – and even some Indecent leftists I might think of as irredeemable – have come out in solidarity with Harry’s Place. For example, Andy Newman, to his great credit, asked Phil (AVPS) to repost his statement of solidarity on the widely read Socialist Unity.”

3. On Leo Abse: “Less well known is his role in a splendid example of proletarian democracy, the 1944 Cairo Forces Parliament, as related here by Andy Newman and in Tam Dalyell’s obituary.”

4. On Radovan Karadzic: “In the discussion at Dave Osler’s excellent post, Andy Newman of Socialist Unity, who strikes me as a generally decent bloke, seems to give the deniers some moral courage by suggesting the figure of 8000 for the Srebrenica massacre may be media-massaged.”

5. On anti-fascism: I agree with most of what Nick Lowles says, of Paul Meszaros’s contribution, and of the perspective Andy Newman puts forward at SU.”

6. two interesting takes on the on-going Rowan Williams shariah law debate (and its ramifications for other areas of multicultural and faith-related politics), from Andy Newman and from David Aaronovitch. I don’t agree 100% with either, but I found them refreshing in the way they grope, in different ways, towards a more intelligent version of secularism than the one which is dominant on the liberal left.”

What an evil “Zionist”!

Oh, I see, here is where he gets really, really Zionist:

“I have posted more than one links to Socialist Unity in this series, but I am disgusted that they publish, without editorial comment, statements from Hamas (1,2) and a cartoon by Latuff, the antisemitic cartoonist lauded by Iranian Holocaust deniers. What next, publishing BNP press releases?”


  1. 1 modernityblog

    Thanks for that, I never realized anyone took any notice of that post.

  2. Hi, interesting post. I have been thinking about this issue,so thanks for blogging. I’ll likely be subscribing to your blog. Keep up great writing

  1. 1 Dreams are the cure of Imagination. » Blog Archive » Quick scan of the net - rowan williams

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