The SWP's blind spots

20 Aug 2010 by CST

A Socialist Workers Party editorial reveals (again) the manner in which the party’s anti-Israel fervour prevents it from acknowledging antisemitism in any such setting.

The SWP understands the significance of the Holocaust upon support for the mere continued existence of Israel. However, this does not change the fact that for the SWP, Israel is always in the wrong. That is the only way it can ever be, and if the Holocaust, or antisemitism, get in the way of that fact, then they must be spun away by any means necessary.

The latest example of this lies in the SWP’s editorial against BBC’s Panorama programme regarding what happened with the flotilla to Gaza and the killing by Israeli commandos of nine people aboard the Mavi Marmara.

The SWP (like many other anti-Israel groups) were simply livid that Panorama had the chutzpah to accept some of Israel’s version of events. This included the BBC referring to the antisemitic catcall “Shut up, go back to Auschwitz”: said in a radio transmission by one of the flotilla participants in response to the Israeli navy.

The editorial does not explicitly deny that the words were spoken, but its context and wording is every bit as close as you can get to it:

…Immediately after the attack the IDF said that its soldiers had been shot, though it soon had to withdraw this allegation. It released a recording it claimed was broadcast from the flotilla, telling the Israelis, “Shut up, go back to Auschwitz.”

The IDF soon backed off, admitting that the recording had been doctored. But both these allegations were included in the “evidence” presented by Panorama.

And the programme repeated as fact Israel’s lying defence that problems in Gaza are down to the rise of the Islamist movement Hamas and IDF attacks are a measured response to rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.

The press release therefore says that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) admitted to having “doctored” “Shut up. Go back to Auschwitz”.

Despite not having not explicitly denied the antisemitic remark, the very next sentence includes it under the term “allegations” and deliberately places the word “evidence” within quotation marks. It doesn't say that this was an imaginative fake from the IDF, but the inference is clear and will no doubt be wheeled out again and again in years to come.

The SWP’s steadfast refusal to acknowledge antisemitism within the context of anti-Israel activism, is a Trotskyist spin of Stalinist proportions. It is also very stupid. Antisemitism does not help the Palestinian cause and every time the SWP turns a blind eye to such antisemitism, or actively colludes in its promotion, it does not nothing more than prove that its own human rights credentials are a joke – as those concerned with the SWP’s tactical abandonments of homosexual rights will also readily testify.

NB – Those wishing to see what lies behind the SWP’s “doctored” claim should read, view and listen to the following:

Firstly, the original recording supplied by Israel of “Shut up. Go back to Auschwitz”, which the IDF originally said came from the flotilla’s lead boat, the Mavi Marmara.

Secondly, the IDF’s subsequent explanation that the transmission in the recording had not necessarily been from the Mavi Maramara. (Note however that the SWP’s spin relates to the entire “flotilla”: and not just the Mavi Marmara.)

…So to clarify: the audio was edited down to cut out periods of silence over the radio as well as incomprehensible comments so as to make it easier for people to listen to the exchange. We have now uploaded the entire segment of 5 minutes and 58 seconds in which the exchange took place and the comments were made.

This transmission had originally cited the Mavi Marmara ship as being the source of these remarks, however, due to an open channel, the specific ship or ships in the “Freedom Flotilla” responding to the Israeli Navy could not be identified…

Thirdly, the IDF's entire recording of the transmissions


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