FINALLY, A FINAL WORD ON GRETA BERLIN

Image by Pete Pasho
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Many Zionists constantly claim that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism, while anti-Semites try to convince us that their hatred of Jews as Jews is actually anti-Zionism. So both Zionists and anti-Semites constantly collude to blur the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, and between Zionism and Judaism. We should do nothing to help them.
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A final word on Greta Berlin and the Free Gaza controversy

Submitted by Ali Abunimah 

On 6 October I published a post casting doubt on Free Gaza movement co-founder Greta Berlin’s explanation of how she came to tweet a link to a video of an anti-Jewish diatribe by notorious anti-Semite and conspiracy theorist Eustace Mullins, from the @freegazaorg Twitter account.

Like others, I had at first accepted Berlin’s explanations that it had all been a mistake, just one single tweet posted in the wrong place, that was supposed to have been part of an anti-racist discussion in a private Facebook group.

But as the versions of the story began to vary, my doubts grew. Once I saw the content of the “Our Land” Facebook group that Berlin administers, I was certain we were dealing with a well-established pattern of exchanging, tolerating and indulging truly racist material that has no connection to Palestine solidarity work.

Today in an article on Mondoweiss, Bekah Wolf has published some of the racist material I saw in that group.

Even though I knew about this material, I did not elaborate on it in my 6 October post. Instead, other than the Mullins video, I restricted my comments to what was not in the group, rather than what was there:

This evening I had an opportunity to spend several hours with full access to a private Facebook group of which Berlin is an administrator, and where the video was first posted by another administrator on 28 September with the comment “This will be a real thought provoker for some.”

When the video was posted on 28 September it was neither preceded nor followed by any interactions that would fit the description that it “was shared with a group of people who were discussing propaganda and racism, and this link was an example of the terrible propaganda that could be spewed on websites.” This context does not exist.

Contrary to various claims I’ve seen, I never labeled Berlin an “anti-Semite.” Yet as Wolfwrites:

Greta is an active administrator of a Facebook group that is full of unabashedly anti-Semitic rhetoric and has been called out before by activists for it but has never done anything to challenge or stop it.

And as Wolf shows, Berlin often went beyond that.

Should I have been more explicit about what I saw? Perhaps, but I had my reasons to take a more restrained approach. I had hoped that by sounding the alarm, and signaling that Berlin’s explanations were not credible, Berlin herself would begin to take the issue seriously, and that the new Free Gaza board would do the same. Sadly that did not happen.

The most dispiriting spectacle over the past two weeks was seeing Berlin disseminating, and a small group of people embellishing, outlandish stories intended to distract and shift the blame on to those who were asking for accountability.

Almost every day, I’ve received emails alleging, among other things, that I am a “Zionist agent,” that I’ve been “conned” by Israel into attacking Berlin so that Israel can steal Gaza’s natural gas, that I am engaged in a “vendetta” because Berlin endorsed a book I didn’t like, and so on. A few of these messages came from people I had previously believed to be reasonable and sensible, which added to the disappointment.

Berlin herself has used Islamophobic epithets against me, accusing me of issuing “fatwas” and mocking me as “Ali Ayatollah.” But for me this is not and has never been about Greta Berlin. I knew that what I saw in the “Our Land” group could not be more damaging and discrediting to the Palestinian rights movement.

I also received tremendous encouragement and affirmation that was far louder. I am thankful to individuals including Élise Hendrick who understood what was at stake from the start, and has helped illuminate some of the disturbing connections that have come out of this.

As someone who is frequently accused by Zionists of being “anti-Semitic,” I do not take these matters lightly. But this episode also helped me gain some clarity about the symbiotic relationship between Zionism and anti-Semitism.

Many Zionists constantly claim that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism, while anti-Semites try to convince us that their hatred of Jews as Jews is actually anti-Zionism. So both Zionists and anti-Semites constantly collude to blur the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, and between Zionism and Judaism. We should do nothing to help them.

The movement I am proud to be part of eschews racism and bigotry in all their forms, and doesn’t seek the support of those who trade in them.

Written FOR

5 Comments

  1. Blake said,

    October 19, 2012 at 11:39

    Greta Berlin is the latest in the long line of diversion tactics to scapegoat away from the usurping zionist entity which should not even be there. the boy who cried wolf…only on a massive scale.

  2. larrysturn said,

    October 19, 2012 at 12:26

    Tough stuff. Hard to monitor the inside game from inside. Do we know what’s in people’s hearts? Do they wear their hearts on their sleeves? Do the words work or do they display the limits of anger, fear and pain in a conversation that is full of agony and blame? I pray for compassion and work for peace.

  3. HH said,

    October 19, 2012 at 16:22

    As usual, sorting out what the real deal is on this latest mess of intentionally cultivated multiple realities would require hours of research. However, I am familiar enough with this political and social terrain to know that Greta Berlin could have come from either camp, but I’m leaning toward her being a plant of the by way of deception crew, given the damage this whole situation has caused. It serves to again confuse a very simple reality: Those people stole another people’s land as part of an ongoing world political project under totally dishonest circumstances and the only right thing for them to do is leave. Some of them can pretend to be the group’s ignorant porch brethren, not privy to the backstory or what’s now going on in the inner chambers, but the excuses and rationalizations and hatred and blame the victim finally come off as “doth protest too much” for pretenders and even flatout mental illness for those in conscious denial.

  4. Syed Zaidi said,

    October 19, 2012 at 18:29

    Kevin Barrett has written well about this incident. The point is that “When you point out simple, obvious, yet taboo political facts, you’re going to get smeared.” Most of what Eustace Mullins has stated is the truth, unpalatable though it might be to the Masters of Discourse. We must resist being bullied into silence on these crucial topics. Here is the link to Barrett’s article: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2012/10/17/mind-controllers-chant-anti-semite/

  5. Davey said,

    October 24, 2012 at 23:51

    George Bush once famously said “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists” among similar statements said by other suspect people in history including fictional ones such as the laughably bad “If you’re not with me then you’re my enemy” line by Anakin Skywalker in one of those SW prequels.

    Here is the thing. The Palestinian solidarity movement blogosphere is walking on egg shells trying to distance themselves from the Berlin thing. I understand that. What I do not understand are the Orwellian tactics being employed such as shunning people like Anne Wright for association, among others.

    Recently mondoweiss changed their comments policy to further curb free speech and some of there usual members mostly agree with it. Some have left. That says a lot about the group that remained behind. These are the kinds of minds you don’t want when it comes to Palestinian solidarity. Because it’s “you’re either with us or against us” and that’s wrong. Some of the ones who stuck around might just not see it or are using group think but even group think is a problem.

    I noticed that it’s common among theses so-called liberals and leftists. Basically these guys claim to be altruistic and for the greater good and employ group think. Disagree and you’re out of the group and forever smeared. So maybe Berlin made a mistake. Maybe she had a reason to question the things she did. Why not educate her with facts?

    What kind of message does that send when the left insists on silencing anybody who doesn’t agree with them? A Marxist message. Look around and you’ll see that many of these so-called liberal egalitarian “altruistic” types are anything but. They are communist apologists. The left is not the center and to be the center it needs to destroy anybody who disagrees and anybody associated with them. This is the opposite side of the far right. Both are extremists. It’s just the far left is in charge of the Western establishment right now so it doesn’t seem that way.

    If people think that we should just move on and forget the past, they’re in the wrong. Because you can’t get everybody to agree to do that. There are too many loose ends. Tying up these loose ends might be uncomfortable and not good for certain people. If those certain people were really “altruistic” and didn’t just care about their own self interests (which Weiss admit to Atzmon was the case) then they are NOT HELPING free Palestine.

    They are politically Zionist just as Atzmon has pointed out whether they see it or not. If this past week or so has been any indicator, they showed their true face. One that isn’t as serious as they led on to be. And they’ve lose a lot of readers and users and divided the movement. This is good because now you’re left with anti-Zionist Zionists and useful idiots in one corner on a sinking ship and people who are tired of the BS and the political correct anti-free speech self censorship and have woken up to what the problem is. Zionism is the real problem even among so-called anti-Zionists.


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