Chomsky on Gaza conflict

Gaza’s Torment, Israel’s Crimes, Our Responsibilities
Noam Chomsky
July 12, 2014

At 3am Gaza time, July 9, in the midst of Israel’s latest exercise in savagery, I received a phone call from a young Palestinian journalist in Gaza. In the background, I could hear his infant child wailing, amidst the sounds of explosions and jet planes, targeting any civilian who moves, and homes as well. He just saw a friend of his in a car clearly marked “press” blown away. And he heard shrieks next door after an explosion but can’t go outside or he’ll be a likely target. This is a quiet neighborhood, no military targets – except Palestinians who are fair game for Israel’s high tech US-supplied military machine. He said that 70% of the ambulances have been destroyed, and that by then over 70 had been killed, and of the 300 or so wounded, about 2/3 women and children. Few Hamas activists have been hit – or rocket launching sites. Just the usual victims.

It is important to understand what life is like in Gaza when Israel’s behavior is “restrained,” in between the regular manufactured crises like this one. A good sense is given in a report to UNRWA [Brief report to UNRWA: The Gaza Health Sector as of June 2014: PDF] by Mads Gilbert, the courageous and expert Norwegian physician who has worked extensively in Gaza, also throughout the vicious and murderous Cast Lead operation. In every respect, the situation is disastrous. Just keeping to children, Gilbert reports: “Palestinian children in Gaza are suffering immensely. A large proportion are affected by the man-made malnourishment regime caused by the Israeli imposed blockage. Prevalence of anaemia in children <2yrs in Gaza is at 72.8%, while prevalence of wasting, stunting, underweight have been documented at 34.3%, 31.4%, 31.45% respectively.” And it gets worse as the report proceeds. When Israel is on “good behavior,” more than two Palestinian children are killed every week, a pattern that goes back over 14 years. The underlying cause is the criminal occupation and the programs to reduce Palestinian life to bare survival in Gaza, while Palestinians are restricted to unviable cantons in the West Bank and Israel takes over what it wants, all in gross violation of international law and explicit Security Council resolutions, not to speak of minimal decency. And it will continue as long as it is supported by Washington and tolerated by Europe – to our everlasting shame.

When White nationalists attack! New Right @ Gaza solidarity rally, Sydney, November 24


Two weeks ago in Sydney, a small group of White-nationalists-in-anarchist-drag rocked up to a rally against the latest Israeli attack on Gaza (aka ‘Operation Pillar of Defense’, November 17). Armed with banners, Anonymous masks and bizarro political merch (branded tees and the like), the 10 or so wingnuts were soon identified as hostile by members of the crowd, who proceeded to isolate them outside the Town Hall. Reportedly, an attempt was made to confiscate one of their banners, which was unsuccessful. The White nationalists were then surrounded by police, and remained silent and stationary at the Town Hall for the duration of the rally.

So, who were these wEiRd0eS?

Their propaganda proclaimed them to be ‘national anarchists’. While the term may seem oxymoronic, ‘national anarchism’ is in fact an ideological development on the far right, one whose immediate origins can be traced back to the late 1980s and early 1990s and attempts by racists and fascists to find a place for their activities among anarchists in England. The standard account of this fringe and its evolution during this period is ‘Co-opting the Counter Culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction’, Graham D. Macklin, Patterns of Prejudice, Vol.39, No.3, September 2005.

Despite having some initial success (fooling a handful of leftists, including the recently-deceased Terry Liddle, into collaborating with them), Southgate and his followers found little real political purchase among radicals. (Of course organising, from the mid-2000s, a talking-shop in London, calling it ‘New Right’, and inviting various extreme-right wing loons — including Holocaust-denialists and other mentalists — to talk shit to other wEiRd0eS doesn’t help any.) In any event, Southgate & Co have sensibly turned to the online world for support and in this realm they’ve been reasonably successful, the milieu specialising in virtual political expressions, seemingly on the basis of Ein Volk, Ein Blog (my favorite being a Hitler-worshipping Afro-punk).

In Australia, the national anarchists (hereafter referred to as gnats) announced their existence back in 2007, when a group of around 20 or so right-wing loons of diverse origins — including Darrin Hodges (above), the (former) leader of the anti-Muslim ‘Australian Protectionist Party’ in NSW, and disgraced academic and White racialist Andrew Fraser — gathered at the APEC counter-protests, also in Sydney. (See : Anarchist statement on the New Right, October 21, 2007.) As in the more recent incident, at APEC the racist wankers were isolated and protected by a large number of police.

The principal exponent of ‘national anarchism’ in Australia is a Sydney-based small businessman named Welf Herfurth (above, with Adelaide-based Holocaust denialist Fredrick Töben, together holding an NPD flag belonging to German neo-Nazi Horst Mahler), who has been joined in the past by a handful of Victorians (including a young Creatard from Geelong named Scott Harrison), a student from Perth named Nicholas Cole, and more recently several boneheads. Thus for reasons best known to themselves, the members of the Australian franchise of the US-based neo-Nazi Volksfront gang cultivated close links with Herfurth & Co in Sydney; following its formal dissolution in October (seemingly as a result of US pressure on the group in the wake of neo-Nazi skinhead Wade Michael Page’s murderous spree), it would seem reasonable to expect former VF members to increase the level of their activity on behalf of the gnats/New Right. As it stands, it’s difficult to gauge the seriousness with which the gnats in Sydney intend to continue to provoke the left, but a source in Sydney’s Chinatown reckons former VF member Steev Levings [?] is keen, and Steev’s political loyalties find graphic expression on his body:

The recent Gaza intervention is one of just a handful of public manifestations by gnats, who for whatever reason seem to be concentrated in Sydney (as is the Australia First Party and Australian Protectionist Party), while Melbourne can boast of being the centre of B&H and Hammerskin activity and the tiny groupuscule Nationalist Alternative. Further afield, the gnats appear to have only been able to maintain a temporary presence on The Streets of San Francisco — in the shape of a bunch of BANANAs. A beat-down on BANANA leader Andrew White (‘Andrew Yeoman’) on May Day a coupla years ago — and his subsequent denouncement by ideologue Southgate as a psychopath and race traitor — put paid to White’s dream of a Bay Area purged of non-Whites, but not before the racist loser paid a visit to Australia to address AF’s annual conference the (2009) Sydney Forum (at which his kamerad Welf Herfurth performs as MC).

Otherwise, the gnats may be located within a wider attempt by the far right to re-articulate a form of racist nationalism, one which has taken on increasing significance, especially in Europe, over the last few decades. See, for example: Czech Republic : The Big Neo-Nazi Crib ( | Germany : German city battles elusive new-look neo-Nazis (Reuters) | Italy : CasaPound’s First Big Outing in Rome Was a Snooze-Fest, (Giuseppe Pisani, Vice).

Finally, as Durruti put it:

Fascism is not to be debated, it is to be smashed.

Anarchists Against the Wall Speaking Tour (And Moar), March 2012

Beginning Friday, March 16, a member* of the Israeli group ‘Anarchists Against the Wall’ will be speaking at various events around Melbourne. (Barricade hosted another speaker back in April 2009.) NB. Details of some events are TBC.

Friday, March 16
7pm, Melbourne Anarchist Club (62 St Georges Rd, Northcote)
Tuesday, March 20
Monash University
Wednesday, March 21
Victoria University
University of Melbourne (Union Building)
Thursday, March 22
1pm, Latrobe University (Agora Cinema)

…And Moar

From the Department of “Anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools” (“Der Antisemitismus ist der Sozialismus der dummen Kerle”) comes news of another tour (of the United States) by Gilad Atzmon. Some folks aren’t all that happy about his tour or his work — especially the support given him by left or progressive organisations — and have issued a statement about it: Not Quite “Ordinary Human Beings”—Anti-imperialism and the anti-humanist rhetoric of Gilad Atzmon (March 13, 2012). You can read it here. Another statement — Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon (March 13, 2012) — has been issued by a mob called the US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN).

Closer to home, I’m aware of only a handful of Australians to have attached their names to the former statement. Otherwise, in July 2010, Michael Brull complained about ‘Australians for Palestine’ re-publishing some of Atzmon’s work — the latest such activity occurring in May 2011. (AFP published an editorial statement responding to such criticisms in July 2010.) In the UK, Atzmon’s work has been supported by the SWP, tho’ it seems to have distanced itself in recent times, presumably on account of his batshit.

Here’s a song (or three):

See also : Anti-Fascism, Anti-German, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism… (June 29, 2009).

Bonus Butler!

Crazy cat lady and crackademic Judith Butler performs her number one smash hit ‘Anarchy is a fag’ at the Australasian Document Computing Symposium Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies 2011 conference The Anarchist Turn! Turn! Turn!

[2] [3] [4]

…the best of times…

They held up a stone.
I said, “Stone,”
Smiling they said, “Stone.”

They showed me a tree.
I said, “Tree.”
Smiling they said, “Tree.”

They shed a man’s blood.
I said, “Blood.”
Smiling, they said, “Paint.”

They shed a man’s blood.
I said, “Blood.”
Smiling, they said, “Paint.”

~ Dannie Abse (adapted from the Hebrew of Amir Gilboa), 1982

הנורמה שדובר צה”ל אבי בניהו מכחיש [“The Norm that IDF Spokesperson Avi Benayahu Wants to Deny”?] via Move Over Eden Abergil. New Facebook “Souvenir Pictures” of Bound Palestinian Civilians, The Magnes Zionist, August 17, 2010 — “When the IDF veterans group “Breaking the Silence” had its first photo exhibition in 2004, pictures like that were included. Once again, the IDF put a show of being shocked; once again nobody really cared.” — via Young IDF soldier simply does what comes naturally, Antony Loewenstein, August 18, 2010…

There is “great rejoicing at the nation’s capital”. So says the morning’s paper.

The enemy’s fleet has been annihilated.

Mothers are delighted because other mothers have lost sons just like their own;

Wives and daughters smile at the thought of new-made widows and orphans;

Strong men are full of glee because other strong men are either slain or doomed to rot alive in torments;

Small boys are delirious with pride and joy as they fancy themselves thrusting swords into soft flesh, and burning and laying waste such homes as they themselves inhabit;

Another capital is cast down with mourning and humiliation just in proportion as ours is raised up, and that is the very spice of our triumph…

This is life–this is patriotism–this is rapture!

But we–what are we, men or devils? and our Christian capital–what is it but an outpost of Hell?

~ Ernest Crosby, ‘War and Hell’, 1898 (at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War)