A little light entertainment. A worthy sounding organisation, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, led by a certain Dr Ed Beck, recently launched a petition in support of a Salah Shoaib Choudhury, a Bangladeshi who supports the Israeli state and who has been arrested and charged with capital crimes by the Bangladeshi state. Despite this, my good friend Sue Blackwell signed the petition, because like many of us she is opposed to capital punishment, including in the case of Zionists.
However Sue added a few comments to her petition supporting the Palestinians and drawing attention to the plight of the inhabitants of Gaza, something you might think would aid the efforts to free Choudhury, since it would show that not just Zionists and racists support him.
However Beck and the even more lamentable Salzman are only interested in supporting Choudhury like, to quote Lenin, a rope supports a hanging man. Their interest is in his support of Zionism not in his plight, because of course if they were they would turn their attention to Israel’s 11,000 Palestinian prisoners, most of whom are in administrative detention.
Sue’s name was therefore removed from the petition and when I wrote in response to this I received the following, barely literate response, from a Carl Salzman, whom a quick google reveals is indeed a Zionist activist. Enjoy!
On Tue, 8/19/08, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote: Subject: another racist organisation run by racists To: email@example.comTuesday, August 19, 2008 Obviously facts are of no interest to you, but your reference to the Israeli abandonment of Gaza as “expanding borders” suggests an unusual level of delerium. Similarly, that no Jews may live in Arab countries seems in your mind to weigh nothing against the legal rights of Arabs in Israel. Just too bad that Hitler didn’t finish the job, eh? Philip Carl Salzman Professor of Anthropology McGill University Montreal
From: tony greenstein To: firstname.lastname@example.org Tue, 19 Aug 2008 Subject: A racist professor speaks out One of the things that has often puzzled me is how distinguished professors have aided the most barbarous regimes with their academic sophistry. People like Professor August Hirt, head of the Anatomical Institute at Strasbourg University who was integrally involved in Himmler’s medical experiments or Werner Heisenberg or Heidegger. So you can rest assured that you follow in a long, if not particularly distinguished tradition dear professor. If you believe that Israel ‘abandoned’ Gaza then it merely proof that there is no bigger fool or charlatan than an academic. Israel specifically retained control, as we have seen, over Gaza’s airspace, borders, shoreline etc. Removing guards from inside to outside a prison doesn’t constitute freedom in most peoples’ understanding of the term. Likewise the statement that ‘no Jews may live in Arab countries.’ Let us leave aside the fact that before Zionism lots of Jews lived in Arab countries, one-third of Baghdad up till 1950 was Jewish. Or the fact that Arab countries were places of refuge for people like Maimonedes and refugees from the Inquisition. Indeed having met Jews in both Syria and Lebanon and having an Jewish Moroccan sister-in-law I can only assume that the discipline of Anthropology has, at least at McGill University, dispensed with the requirement for simple verifiable and objective facts. If you are referring to the United State’s protectorate of Saudi Arabia, created by Aramco and fed by Bush, then I wonder if there are any living examples of Jews who wanted to live there and who’ve been denied that chance? As to your final flourish regretting the fact that Hitler ‘didn’t finish the job’. Well apart from the usual hackneyed sub-text, i.e. to oppose Zionism is anti-Semitic, wasn’t it the Zionist movement in Hungary which agreed to keep quiet about Auschwitz and allow the deportees to go to what they thought was ‘resettlement’ in exchange for the train of the Prominents? After all Zionism and anti-Semitism have always agreed about Jews not belonging in the countries of their birth. It would seem that what you lack in argumentation you make up for in large type. Tony Greenstein
— On Wed, 8/20/08, email@example.com wrote: From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: A racist professor speaks out: so you do. To: email@example.com Wednesday, August 20, 2008 You clearly know nothing about Middle Eastern history, the suffering of the dhimma, and the atrocities that were normal against non-Muslims. Nor have you seemed to notice that all Arab states outside of Arabia were conquest states imposed on Christian and Jewish populations, and that Arabia ethnic cleansed itself. Instead, you exaggerate the flaws of the only successful, multi-religious, multi-racial, democratic country in the region, and neglect to mention all of the other counties of the region, without exception falled, despotic, and brutal, a fact well recognised by the Arabs themselves. The best test is where folks want to be: you don’t see Israeli Arabs rushing to live in other Arab countries, but plenty beg Israeli status (as the daughter of the current P.A. negotiator), just as all the claims of East Germany were negated by the flow of human traffic away (when they survived). But then I imagine that you were a great fan of East Germany and its ilk. As well, you clearly have no idea what “race” means or “racism,” other than a bad word that you yell at the good guys. Philip Carl Salzman Professor of Anthropology McGill University Montreal
Thursday August 21st 2008 There is a saying in English. When you’re in a hole stop digging. I notice that you’re still writing in large type and so I can only conclude that either you’re the academic equivalent of the green ink brigade or, it occured to me, you suffer from the same problem as Hitler. He had to use a magnifying glass to read documents and many of his briefings were therefore specially typed in large print. So which is it – Hitlerian eyesight or green ink? I am very well aware of Middle East history, which is why your specious nonsense remains exactly that. Nonsense. I’m well aware of the Dhimmi, the People of the Book, both Christians and Jews. Certainly they suffered from civil disabilities but remember we are talking about a feudal, pre-capitalist society. Notions of equality made about as much sense as nationalism. The whole basis of feudal society was the existence of castes and the separation of social classes (in so far as they existed). But the atrocities you talk about were the exception, not the rule. I’m not aware of an Arab holocaust or Chmielniki or York. Anyone who did know anything about Arab Jewry would know that some of the most prosperous Jewish communities lived there in harmony with their neighbours. After all there were no separate Arab states until recently. They were part of the Ottoman Empire. There was nothing to prevent Jews in Arab countries, had they so desired, leaving to go to Palestine. Yet until the formation of the modern settler colonial movement known as Zionism this simply didn’t happen. Yet if conditions were as you say they were one would have expected thousands of Oriental Jews to either go to Palestine or Europe. Yet the reverse occurred. It was Jewish refugees from Europe who came to Arab lands and so, no matter how many lies and tales that you tell, it is the actions of Jews at the time that speak loudest. The best example of this was in Vichy Morroco, where there was a large Jewish community of around 200,000. Despite intense Nazi pressure Morroccan Arabs refused to allow the round-up of Jews. No Jews were deported to my knowledge to the concentration camps and the Sultan declared that ‘The Jews remain under my protection and I refuse to allow any distinction to be made among my subjects.’ The only comparable instance of this in Europe was in Denmark where there were a few thousand Jews. It is one of the ‘triumphs’ of Zionism that it made the position of Arab Jews untenable and the case of Iraq, when the Jews proved stubborn, the Zionist emissaries planted bombs outside cafes Jews frequented and the Masuda Shemtov synagogue in order to ‘encourage’ emigration. So what you are doing is attempting to rewrite the history of Arab-Jewish relations in much the same way as the ideologues of the Third Reich did in relation to Teutonic mythology. It really doesn’t surprise me dear Prof. that your discipline is Anthropology because this false science of human origins was the main vehicle for the spread of scientific racism in Britain through the Royal Anthoropological Society and the Anthropological Society of London. People like James Hunt and Robert Knox who, just like you, used science and false history in order to ‘prove’ that the reason for colonial occupations was the biological and cultural inferiority of Black people. And like all good racists you resort to one of the oldest justifications. Israeli Palestinians want to stay in Israel rather than going to another Arab country. But they were born there, why should they move? Should Germans leave and come to the UK because we are all European? This is a nonsense. It is also the old justification for Apartheid – Blacks want to come to South Africa rather than go to one of the many Black African states. Which was true of course, because it was a question of work and standards of living. Some Jews left Palestine before 1939 and returned to Germany but what is one to conclude from that? that Hitler’s Germany wasn’t so bad after all? You say that I ‘exaggerate the flaws of the only successful, multi-religious, multi-racial, democratic country in the region’. But I have said nothing about Lebanon, despite obvious problems with its confessional structure (inherited from France). And no. Because I am no lover of Zionism doesn’t mean that I was a lover of stalinism or East Germany either. But at least then there was someone to stand up to the United States. Tony Greenstein