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(en) France, UCL AL #315 - Against racism, Far left: anti-Semite, me ? (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 29 Apr 2021 09:28:28 +0300

The increase in anti-Semitic acts in France is a given for over twenty years now. However, the radical left, which should assume a clear anti-racist position, is far from being at the forefront of this fight. Some elements to understand and develop our camp. ---- The observation has been made in recent years by some activists, anti-Semitism is a non-subject on the left[1]. A brief historical review allows us to partly understand the stakes of this fight. While the nascent labor movement in the XIX th century has been steeped in anti-Semitism, the Dreyfus affair was a turning point in ranking for the first time massively anti-Semitism in the camp of enemies to fight [2].
The right, the party of social inequality, but also racial, is an obvious political camp for those who advocate hatred of the other. But for left-wing activists, modern anti-Semitism could and continues to be a temptation: as the Manichean expression of discontent against the changes brought about by capitalist modernity, but also as the personalization of abstract social processes. (capital, finance).

On February 14, the political rally for the 15 years of the assassination of Ilan Halimi brought together hundreds of people and several organizations (read AL, mats 2021)
Cc NNOMAN (Eye Collective)
Over the past twenty years, our camp has repeatedly missed the opportunity to take the place that should have been ours. Who, on the far left, was moved by the fire at the synagogue in Trappes in October 2000? Who demonstrated following the attacks in Toulouse in 2012? Or when stores run by Jews were vandalized in Sarcelles in 2014, on the sidelines of protests for Gaza? The list of assaults, desecration, destruction of property, assassinations which deserved a strong response could be detailed at length.

There are many in our ranks who refuse to howl with the wolves that are the right-wing editorialists and politicians, when anti-Semitism is expressed in deeds and words. Thus, priority is given to the fight against the instrumentalization of anti-Semitism rather than against anti-Semitism itself. However, it is a question of doing things in order. The possibility of this instrumentalisation by the reactionaries has been made possible by the abandonment of the fight against anti-Semitism by a large part of the progressive and revolutionary movement for two decades.

Don't howl with wolves

It is not a question of giving good or bad points by saying of such as that he is anti-Semitic, but rather to see that the anti-capitalist movements can be permeable to explanations of the world which tend towards anti-Semitism. Some examples are clear, such as this time in 2017 where the socialist Gérard Filoche shared (before quickly removing it) a montage showing three Jewish people above a Macron wearing a Nazi armband where the dollar replaces the swastika, him - even above a terrestrial globe, all against a backdrop of American and Israeli flags.

Other examples create the debate, as when Mélenchon writes that he refuses the "genuflections" in front of "the arrogant oukases of the Crif communitarians" . Willingly or not, he appeals here to the image of powerful, arrogant Jews, capable of establishing decrees before which one would have to kneel. Right in the middle of the worst anti-Semitic clichés. Certainly, one can argue that the Crif only represents itself, but then why appeal to this odious imaginary by speaking of a Jewish community organization?

Likewise, it will be difficult for Jewish people to feel accepted and at ease in militant circles as long as a majority of them turn a blind eye to the anti-Semitic slogans, texts and symbols appearing regularly in the movements. of solidarity with Palestine in France. We think of the fight that the League of Human Rights had to lead, alone, in 2014, against the leaders of the BDS-34 committee who had shared negationist content [3].

It is difficult to make an uncompromising voice heard when the parties, unions and collectives are at best silent and at worst support the confusionists and deniers in their ranks, sometimes even supported by Jewish activists indecently highlighting their tragic family history to tilt the balance. To make the friend of Nadine Morano pale.

Even today, we find in the ranks of the far left activists to relay the writings - are they doing anything else? - of the Indigenous Party of the Republic. This movement maintains online on its site a mind-blowing interview with Jacob Cohen claiming that thousands of Jews around the world are hidden agents of Mossad; but also an odious press release waiting for the police to rule on whether anti-Semitism is a reason for the murder of Ilan Halimi or a press release in support of Kémi Séba for comments on Auschwitz, among other texts explaining the privilege of being Jewish in France.

In this gloomy picture, it's not all about self-flagellation. Many left-wing activists have always known how to stay the course, be physically present to confront anti-Semites and free them from our streets, our demonstrations and certain virtual spaces. But our political camp today lacks training, and even analyzes and definitions allowing us to grasp the subject of anti-Semitism in all its complexity, and therefore to offer an unambiguous critique of capitalism.

In this period when political benchmarks are weakened, let us listen to the Jewish voices exasperated by anti-Semitism[ 4]and let us accompany them. The dynamics proposed by the Action Network against Antisemitism and All Racisms (RAAR, see box) should be followed to move in the direction of taking these issues into account at their proper level.

Eli (UCL Lille) and Manu (UCL Pantin)


We return here to the political consequences to be expected from the February 14 rally in tribute to Ilan Halimi. Formed on January 21, 2021, the Action Network Against Antisemitism and All Racisms (RAAR) offers a new dynamic for the anti-racist movement.

RAAR's message is clear: the upsurge in anti-Semitism that we have witnessed for twenty years should not leave us indifferent. Far too many supporters of social emancipation have abandoned this question and the mobilisations that surround it, leaving the field to reactionary forces.

The RAAR is therefore committed to making tools available to as many people as possible (arguments, physical and digital dissemination objects) and to mobilizing against the anti-Semitism experienced on a daily basis. Including in struggles and in the workplace.

Also opposing a certain Islamophobic discourse, they assert that anti-Semitism does not come mainly from the Muslim population, and that the fight against anti-Semitism must be done head-on with the fight against all other racisms.

Among the upcoming actions, the RAAR is planning an online event on April 19 and possibly a rally in memory of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, several meetings with unions, associations and progressive Jewish organizations, and a campaign against the group. Bolloré. On social networks: RAAR2021

Fred (UCL Grand Paris Sud)


[1] Camilla Brenni, Memphis Krickeberg, Léa Nicolas-Teboul & Zacharias Zoubir, "The non-subject of anti-Semitism on the left", Vacarme , winter 2019.

[2] "January 1898: A first victory over the anti-Semites in the Dreyfus affair" , Alternative libertaire , January 2008.

[3] "About the lawsuits brought by the LDH against two BDS-34 activists" on Ldh-france.org.

[4] "Everything I wish I had never known about anti-Semitism within Labor" on Golema.net.

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