Munich and the Left, 1972: The American SWP’s turn to anti-Semitism

07Aug12

Eric Lee, veteran leftist, writes in his blog and in Solidarity:

This may be news to some, but what is today commonplace was once quite rare. I’m referring to anti-Semitism on the far Left — and am reminded of what some of us saw as a turning point back in 1972.

For a quarter of a century following the defeat of Nazi Germany, anti-Semites everywhere were laying low — especially in the West. The Soviet leadership was growing increasingly anti-Jewish and anti-Israel, and anti-Semitism was rife in the Arab world, but in countries like the USA, it was quite rare for Jew-hatred to be expressed openly. And certainly not on the Left.

So while there were various degrees of criticism of Israel — especially of Israel’s brand-new occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan Heights — these took place at a time when anti-Semitism remained taboo.

That’s why the Munich massacre of that year — and particularly the reaction of America’s largest far Left group to it — was such a shock.

The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) was then still riding on a wave of support following its successful leadership of a large part of the anti-war movement during the Vietnam years — a war that was still raging. Its youth section, the Young Socialist Alliance, was strong on many college campuses. And it was still at that time pretty much an orthodox Trotskyist organization, though was later to drift.

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3 Responses to “Munich and the Left, 1972: The American SWP’s turn to anti-Semitism”

  1. to be fair, the SWP’s Militant some years ago printed a couple of good articles critizising the boycott campaigns: http://www.themilitant.com/2010/7428/742852.html & http://www.themilitant.com/2009/7313/731336.html


  1. 1 The Uselfconscious Thinker
  2. 2 Linkage « Poumista

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