Self Hating Jew – Part 2

May 28, 2006

This is a follow up to a post I did a short time ago called Self Hating Jew? so it might help to read that first.

A couple of days ago, someone wrote to an NZ Jewish email list, stating that they considered an article published in Craccum, the Auckland University student magazine, to be antisemitic. I replied with the following:

Without particularly wanting to get into this argument again, while the article below is anti-Zionist, it most certainly is not antisemitic in any way, shape or form.

A short discussion followed, and my next email to the list was the following (names replaced with **'s):

***, I deny the "right" of the State of Israel to exist. So do an ever-increasing minority of Jews the world over.

Your step from "Israel shouldn't exist" to "kill the Jews" carries a severe logical flaw – many of the people the world over who deny the"right" of Israel to exist as a Jewish state do for for reasons of justice for Palestinians, of anti-statism in general and a number of other reasons, rather than antisemitism. They do not have an issue with Jews in any way, shape or form, but rather with the way Israel was formed and/or the concept of nation states in general.

Of course, a number of people who believe Israel shouldn't exist are antisemitic. That is not in doubt. But seeking to label all anti-Zionists as antisemites is a definitive step down the wrong path. If you see people trying to kill you everywhere you look, chances are you'll make it come true.

All fairly low-key, all quite polite. So, imagine my surprise when I awoke the next morning to find an email in my inbox from a Wellington Jew who has known me, quite literally, for my entire life. This email had been sent off-list, by someone who grew up with my Mother (who died in 2002).

The email read:

Shame on you Asher.

Your Mother would turn over in her grave to read what you have just posted.

This is the sort of shit I have to deal with. Discussion is great, argument is fine. But when someone stoops down to this sort of level, I can only respond with vitriol. The person who sent me this email was also responsible for spreading lies about me at last years Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day, a day when Zionists celebrate the conquering of East Jerusalem in the 6 day war of 1967) event in Wellington. My reply follows:

Fuck you *****.

As if you can even begin to think you have the right to presume what my Mother might have said or thought in any given situation.

My Mother raised me to value my own thoughts and opinions in the knowledge that they were valid. My Mother raised me to be more than merely a reactionary spouting off talking points that I had heard on the news.

When I was young, I remember a certain Wellington Orthodox Rabbi who told me I should question everything anyone told me. Being a cheeky kid, I asked him "even things you tell me, Rabbi?". He answered me swiftly with something I remember and value to this very day. He said, "You should question me most of all, as I'm claiming a position of authority".


Police to charge Louise Nicholas supporters

May 26, 2006

This week two members of the Christchurch group involved in a March rally in support of Louise Nicholas have been approached by police concerning the leaflets which contained suppressed information about the case and were handed out during the protest. The officers stated that the police are going to be laying charges in relation to the dissemination of the suppressed material.

The two activists, Daniel Rae and Frances Martin, are planning to fight the charges in court if the police decide to prosecute.

“I handed out the leaflets knowing the police were likely to lay charges but I felt my actions were justified because the verdict in the Louise Nicholas case was a travesty of justice. If the jury had been aware of the suppressed information at the time it is almost certain that they would have reached a different verdict,” said Daniel Rae. Mr Rae this week made a written statement to the police stating he did hand out the leaflets and was willing to defend the action. Miss Martin will be talking to the police soon.

“At the moment the legal system is heavily biased against rape survivors and the verdict in this case will only further deter women from taking future prosecutions, especially against men in positions of authority such as police offices,” said Frances Martin.

The two activists are planning to defend themselves in court and are looking at being involved in further actions in support of Louise.

Both of the people to soon be facing charges are friends of mine, so all my love and support goes out to them.

I also want to send my thoughts out to the woman who is pressing on with yet more charges for the rapist cops Clint Rickards, Bob Schollum and Bradley Shipton. Will post more on this soon.


Trevor Loudon – Once a nutter, always a nutter

May 24, 2006

So, my previous post on Trevor Loudon, ACT's vice-president, generated a hell of a lot of comments on this blog. You should at least read the initial post before this one, but reading the comments, Trevor's half-arsed reply and maybe even the feature on Aotearoa Indymedia in order to see where this story is at.

Trevor offers a few answers. I'll go through them here.

One is that the claim of ties and expulsion is a total fabrication on the part of the author/authors, or Mr Zandbergen.

He manages to extrapolate this sentance into two more or less identical possibilities – ie, either the NZ Herald or New Force were lying when they talked about ZAP (and their front group TRIM)'s ties to New Force.

As mentioned numerous times in comments on both blogs, Paul Spoonley (a sociologist at Massey University) published a book called The Politics of Nostalgia on fascism/racism in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This book talks at length about ZAP and it's ties to the fascist extreme right in Christchurch (where ZAP was founded). Combine that with the NZ Herald article, and I think you can clearly see that ZAP and New Force had links of some sort.

Trev then goes on, trying to find more excuses – first, maybe New Force, as a pseudo political party, recieved a letter from TRIM or maybe it was even personal correspondance from a member of ZAP/TRIM. These explanations are simply too stupid to even bother refuting – even fascists know the difference between membership/support and a personal letter or lobbying propaganda.

Next, Trevor attempts to compare ZAP to the Catholic Church (talk about ego!) and states that just as 1 or 2 rogue Catholics can't be taken to represent the Church, neither can 1 or 2 rogue fascists be taken to represent ZAP.

A commenter on this blog, Scott, put it well when he stated

Anyone who reads Spoonely’s account of the far right scene in Chch in the 70s and 80s and the rise of ZAP and its front group TRIM can see that the organisations were completely centralised, based as they were on the authority of the bizarre John Dahlhorf, who was known to his disciples as John Ultimate. Spoonely quotes several primary documents, including a letter from Ultimate to his folowers, which make his absolute authority clear (in the letter he talks of reading group members’ minds in his dreams).

The notion that a significant number of members of a tiny, close-knit, centralised froup like ZAP were involved in New Force/the NWP without the say-so of Ultimate is not credible.


ACT Vice President to quit?

May 10, 2006

A while ago, Trevor Loudon, ACT Vice President and member of the Zenith Applied Philosophy cult, said the following on his blog in response to a question from possible Green party future co-leader Russel Norman.

Russel; Were you aware of the association between ZAP and the fascist Nationalist Workers Party?

Trevor; No Russel and neither are you. There never have been any such links. I am willing to bet my membership and position in ACT against your membership and position in the Green Party, that you have no credible proof of such allegations.

At the time, I mentioned a newspaper article that proved the links between ZAP and Kerry Bolton's fascist party. Trevor continued to deny all links. Unfortunately, I couldn't scan and post the article as it was packed somewhere in a box. I've got it again now though, and while I don't have a scanner, I thought I would reproduce it in full below. The article is from the New Zealand Herald, 20/06/1983 (page 2).

NAZIS, ZAP AND TRIM OUT

One of New Zealand's small but active ultra-conservative groups has expelled "nazi elements" and other extreme right-wingers in an attempt to improve it's image.

The group, New Force, has also expelled sympathisers of two Christchurch-based organisations, Zenith Applied Philosophy and Trim, the Tax Reduction Integrity Movement.

The national director of New Force, Mr B.W. Zandbergen, said last night that youths from the New Zealand Nazi Party had attached themselves to New Force, giving his organisation a bad name.

As well, sympathisers of Zap and Trim had threatened to defect to the proposed new party of Wellington businessman Mr Robert Jones, unless New Force swung behind their free-market, laissez faire philosophies.

Wrong Idea

"These people (Zap, Trim and the Nazi youths) have got the wrong idea of what New Force was about." Mr Zandbergen said in Wellington.

"It was useless to argue with them, so we have cut our ties."

Mr Zandbergen said New Force in future would be known as the Nationalist Workers Party, in order to identify it more readily as a party devoted to being an alternative to "world communism and world capitalism".

New Force, one of about a dozen groups active on the far right wing of New Zealand politics, was founded about 1980 after earlier unsuccessful attempts to form a local version of the British National Front.

One of its founders, Mr Kerry Bolton, of Wellington, who is now chairman of the New Force directorate, in December 1980 formed a New Zealand branch of what is known as the Church of Odin.

A paper published by Mr Bolton, seeking members of the Church of Odin, was strongly anti-semitic, preached white supremacy and had the catchline "Odinism: The white man's religion".

Mr Zandbergen stood for Parliament for New Force in Western Hutt in 1981, on a platform which included repatriation of Pacific Islanders. He got 30 votes.

Last night, Mr Zandbergen said he hoped the expulsion of extreme right elements would help to make New Force more respectable.

"When Bob Jones first announced the possibility of establishing a free enterprise party, this faction threatened to break with New Force, in favour of Jones, unless New Force made a committment to the free-market philosophy." he said.

Bob Jones

"These elements have been identified and expelled. Bob Jones is welcome to them."

Mr Jones was astonished last night when told of the comments made by Mr Zandbergen.

"I have had letters from these people (Trim and Zap) from time to time, but I don't know anything much about them." he said.

Mr Jones said his proposed party would not be right-wing. It would follow the principles on which the National Party was founded. He considered himself a liberal and did not support a laissaz faire system.

"They ought to read what I have been saying about politics before they bring me into it."

So, Trev, there's the link proven. You are part of a cult that was too nutty for even Kerry Bolton, New Zealand's longest running Nazi nutter!

I eagerly await news of your resignation.


Book Review: Fuhrer-Ex

May 4, 2006

So, last night I went to bed and opened up Fuhrer-Ex by Ingo Hasselbach, excited to have a new book to read after a few days without anything. This morning, I finished the book, after being so engrossed that I read right through the night without sleeping!

Fuhrer-Ex is the true story of Ingo Hasselbach’s life, from his early days in East Germany as a punk to his prison sentances and steady decline into neo-Nazism. Hasselbach rose fast in the ranks, and by the time the Berlin Wall fell (3 days after he’d escaped to West Germany!) he was the “Fuhrer of the East”, with only Michael Kuhnen above him.

After Kuhnen’s death from AIDS, Hasselbach assumed an even greater prominence in a movement whose profile was steadily rising in Germany following a number of attacks on immigrants, including firebombings, and multiple streetfights and firebombings against anarchist anti-fascist activists.

However, all was not going according to plan for Hasselbach, who steadily became disillusioned with his ideals and the other people in the movement. This culminated in a resignation video televised on national German TV.

Hasselbach then suffered harrasment from his former allies, including an attempted mailbomb which almost killed his Mother (but luckily failed to detonate). Since then, Hasselbach has toured the world talking about his experiences and he has also founded a group called Exit in Germany to help neo-Nazis leave the movement.

The book is extremely well written, as evidenced by me being unable to put it down. It manages to convey the seriousness of what went on, without depressing the reader unbearably, and includes some highly amusing segments as well. For anyone with an interest in fascism or anti-fascism I cannot reccomend this book highly enough, and even if you’re not, I would still reccomend it as a great read!


Self Hating Jew?

May 2, 2006

The following is a piece that I wrote on February 5th of this year. I never finished it, and never sent it to the place I wrote it for, an email list used by a large number of NZ Jews.

Since I became more public with my beliefs as a anti-Zionist member of the New Zealand Jewish community, a large number of people, many of whom have known me most of my life, have seen fit to label me with that cruel epithet "self-hating Jew". This has reached the stage where I now very rarely involve myself in the Jewish community or it's activities. I no longer feel welcome at the Jewish community centre in Wellington, a place where I went to kindergarten and primary school, a place where I have spent so much of my life.

Now, I could write here about the role my Jewish identity plays in my life. I could write about how I express my Judaism, or the role Judaism plays in influencing the political activism I do (such as anti-fascist activism). But I'm not going to do that, because that would be allowing those who have smeared me to dictate the frame of the argument. I'm not going to defend myself or my beliefs, because I shouldn't have to. In a truly respectful community, we would agree on some things, disagree on others and respect each others differences. We would discuss, and we would argue, but at the end of the day, regardless of the outcome, we would continue on our seperate paths with both of us having grown from the experience, because that's what a community is about.

If you feel uncomfortable associating with me because my beliefs differ from yours, perhaps you should seek out a cult, rather than our community, because there you won't have to question yourself – everything you say will be echoed by everyone else.

If you haven't run away after that last paragraph, I'm going to assume you want to be a part of the Jewish community still. That's fantastic. Now, how about we engage in some dialogue, rather than spreading (frequently false) rumours about me behind my back.

I don't want to hear your patronising comments about how me not believing in G-d (you see, I write it that way out of respect for you, even if I may not agree) or not linking my fate to that of Israel's is a "failure of the community to properly educate". As I said in a previous email to this list a few months ago:

"Education is giving knowledge in such a way that empowers the educated to form their own opinions

In education, as long as the educated are sufficiently able to form their own opinions, you cannot fail. The only way to fail in education is if you fail to educate.

On the other hand, indoctrination is regarded as exactly what the dictionary says: "To imbue with a partisan or ideological point of view". This means teaching certain things with the explicit goal of producing a specific point of view. In indoctrination, one is considered to have failed if the recipient does not come out with the required point of view."

I hope sincerely that our community aims to educate, not indoctrinate, although sadly sometimes I'm not sure that it does.

So, why did I never finish this? Sadly, the reason was not because the community suddenly became welcoming and ceased to be bigoted against me. Rather, I never spent the time finishing this piece because I lost hope that things would ever change.
Of course, there are some Jews in the Wellington community who I love dearly with all my heart. Some agree with my politics on Israel/Palestine, others disagree but are able to keep our differences respectful. To these people, I say thank you.

To those who would seek to informally excommunicate me from the community however, I wish to issue a resounding fuck off. I won't let you dictate my identity to me, and I sure as hell won't bow to your pressure. If you want your little exclusive cult, you're going to have to fight for it.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26 other followers