COUNTERPUNCH: WEEKEND EDITION — August 28 / 29, 2004:
"Joseph Anderson Displays [Reveals] Anti-Blackism & 'Anti-Semitism' "
— by Alexander Cockburn http://www.counterpunch.com/cockburn08282004.html
Anti-Blackism and 'Anti-Semitism': Notes from Joseph Anderson
Any leftist talking to an audience in the Bay Area will probably have faced some penetrating questions from Joseph Anderson. Both your CounterPunch editors have, to their edification.
Not so long ago Ishmael Reed ran a startling piece by Anderson in his online magazine Konch [http://www.ishmaelreedpub.com
, see "Articles"], which described a truly amazing piece of invective by a member of the faculty of the Berkeley Journalism School. If a public official had made the same sort of remark appropriate sanctions would have been swift. Reed, incidentally, asked witnesses for comment or refutation of Joe's description, and received no response. Here's Anderson in Konch:
"The incident, which took place back in 2003, involved a Cody's-sponsored book interview of Anne Garrels, NPR's Iraq celebrity war reporter, 'off-site' (at a nearby church hall).Garrels had recently made a scandalously unconscionable (except in white society) statement about the U.S. military killing of a prominent Palestinian reporter in Baghdad, saying that, 'he got what was expected, because he shouldn't have been there in the first place.' (Yet, Garrels subsequently claims--somehow in order to cover her remarks--to have been 'a good friend' of the slain reporter. I say, gee, with 'good white friends' like Garrels, what Palestinian needs the Israeli army!?') The Palestinian reporter, Tareq Ayoub, was killed (assassinated?) when a U.S. military fighter-jet leisurely--not at all in 'the fog of war'--fired two missiles: one, then, the jet circling in a few minutes, another one, directly at Al-Jazeera's building, with Ayoub on the roof
"I--and far from alone in the nonwhite world--considered Garrels' remark to be an egregiously racist statement. So, when I saw Garrels afterwards, I asked her about it.
"I civilly, but frankly told Garrels--merely performing what logicians call a substitution analysis--that she never would have said such a thing about "journalist" Daniel Pearl, for example. Pearl, as you would recall, was the white media-mourned Jewish white-American reporter killed in Pakistan. This, when he went looking for people he knew to have connections to the formerly U.S.-supported (and later betrayed) al-Qaeda, during the U.S. war and bombing in Afghanistan, within which al-Qaeda had bases! Most importantly, Pearl was well-believed, or well-suspected, by many as having direct connections to the CIA and Israel's Mossad! (Simply put, of being a CIA/Mossad informant or spy.) Thus, it was Pearl who--even much more arguably--'got what was expected, because he really shouldn't have been there in the first place.'
"At that point, the event interview host, Sandy Tolan, UC Berkeley Journalism School lecturer scornfully told me that my comparison of Pearl vis-à-vis the Al-Jazeera reporter was "deeply anti-Semitic.".. However, Tolan, for all his concerns about anti-Semitism, apparently doesn't care much about other forms of racism. Tolan, suddenly, angrily, shouted to me, "We're tired of all your Black s---!" Quoi!??? That's French for, 'Say what!???' Amazingly, this is Tolan--one of those white liberals who apparently only respects Black turn-the-other-cheek sports celebrities (or perhaps safely dead Black historical figures)--who wrote an entire book about all the white s--- even baseball great Hank Aaron had to put up with. (But then, conservative wack George Will's greatest hero was Willie Mays. Will even wanted his first grandson named after Willie: "Willie Wills"! That's right! You can't make that s--- up!)"
More recently Joe went to the 3-day conference on anti-Semitism in Oakland, and filed an interesting and often amusing report in IndyNews: "My overall, albeit limited, personal experience of the conference and the numerous discussions I had, with Jews having a range of political positions on Zionism/Israel, was enjoyable, I am pleased to say."
Later, Joe writes:
"I noted the word anti-Jewish 'oppression' appeared so many times in the workshop titles that you would think that 'Jews' were barely surviving and getting profiled, harassed, framed, beaten or killed by cops in American city and town ghettos, instead of Blacks, Latinos, and poor SE Asians.
"In fact, it was I who was stopped by a cop and held up for about 40 minutes(!) -- as he checked me out(!) -- on a pretext for 'parking while Black' on a quiet residential side street later that night, when I was giving three white attendees a ride, later after the conference! (Don't that count for 'somethin'!!???) I guess the cop might have thought the three whites in my car might have been in trouble!: being held hostage or something for money! No good deed by Black men (even for whites or white senior citizens) goes unpunished by the cops!
"Smarmily, the cop even said as he finally let me go, though both I and the remaining white senior citizen passenger were obviously wearing our seatbelts and shoulder straps, "You both be sure and buckle up now!" I just rolled my eyes. Even the Jewish senior citizen woman in the car immediately said, "You were definitely just racially profiled!" I'm lucky some white people I knew were there; otherwise, God only knows what could have happened to me -- all by myself in the middle of the night! But, especially with my lawyer friends, those cops don't intimidate/scare me: I just want them to do what they gotta do -- write a ticket (that I can get dismissed anyway) or whatever -- and get the fuck outta my face.
"But, the assumption at the workshops seemed to be that the presence of any anti-Semitism automatically equals anti-Jewish OPPRESSION -- in America!! When it was my turn to speak, I said that traditional American minorities of color face EVERYTHING -- ALL THAT casual prejudice -- which was queried by the presenter-moderator [in all that very broad, casual criteria that anyone might experience for any reason -- external and internalized], PLUS MUCH, MUCH MORE-- at the hands of society's INSTITUTIONS or the STATE!
I then said that these would be my questions:
"If the police have stopped you for 'driving while Jewish', then raise your hand."
"If you have been in prison or have relatives in prison because you're Jewish, then raise your hand."
"If you have been manhandled, roughed up, or beaten by a cop, because you are Jewish, then raise your hand."
"If you fired from a job because you are Jewish, then raise your hand."
"If your house was busted into by the cops because you are Jewish, then raise your hand."
"If you had a non-Jewish white guy pull a gun on you in your own residential, predominantly white [university] neighborhood, demanding to know what you were doing there, and trying to mockingly talk to you in Yiddish slang -- and when you reported it to the cops they did nothing about it -- because you are Jewish, then raise your hand."
"If you were denied a business or investment loan or insurance because you are Jewish, then raise your hand."
I would have added, "If you were denied a house/apartment because you are Jewish, then raise your hand," but I didn't want someone trying to evade my point by talking about the 1920's or something.
I did mention it, but could have posed it as a question, "If you were pretextually stopped by a cop and detained for about 40 minutes, while he checked you out, for 'parking while Jewish' on a quiet residential street last night while you were dropping off passengers from this conference, then raise both your hands."
But, I want to end on a positive note (not because I believe in namby-pamby, superficial "happy endings"), but because there were at least some very POSITIVE things about the conference:
I especially enjoyed my conversations there with, generally but not only, younger, enthusiastic, morally-conscious, energetic, anti-Zionist Jews (unlike UC Berkeley IAC/AIPAC/Hillel Jewish students) that -- raised in, in principle, egalitarian democracies, NOT religioethnically-defined states -- weren't up for all that political/nationalist, ethno-chauvinistic Zionism shit!
And those younger anti-Zionist Jews catch hell and political pressure from older, reactionary Zionist Jews too, at least behind the scenes. I told them that they should be like The White Rose Society during the Nazi era: morally-driven, energetic younger non-Jewish Germans who opposed the state-institutionalized persecution and attacks against Jews. I told a couple of them, "You remind me of the spirit of The White Rose Society!" -- who put their lives on the line for German Jews -- and, sadly, sometimes paid for that with their lives.
Those energetic younger anti-Zionist Jews with whom I conversed -- like me, my Palestinian friend, and my non-European Jewish acquaintance -- indeed fervently wanted a Palestine (which Israel is IN[!!]; not, by the new Zionist geographical propaganda, apart from) as a multicultural society, where EVERYONE has ABSOLUTELY equal rights (with no tricks in the small print) without regard to ethnicity, race or religion.
Only then would Palestine-Israel be "a light unto the world".