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This professor's plight is a sign both of the Trump regime's suppression of academia and activism associated with the left, and of the long-standing hostility towards the Palestinians and the solidarity movement by the US ruling class as a whole. Our solidarity with such victims is unquestionable and these cases need to be highlighted as Louis has done by posting it.

Now I'm hoping that Amith doesn't have the idea that a few words he discovered in print has changed anything at all in relation to a debate that has surfaced on this list a few times in the last 3 years. I can understand why reading that would have upset him (as I have been upset in comparable situations), but I'm pretty sure that if he thinks about it he will understand (but I'll spell it out anyway!) why his concern is invalid:

On 2018-02-08 18:49, A.R. G via Marxism wrote:

[That the Guardian article links to an attack article which ]
in turn links to Tablet Mag, a right-wing Jewish sewer hole,
which wholly uses the criticisms of If Americans Knew written by two other ostensibly pro-Palestine groups, Jewish Voice for Peace and US Campaign, in order to make their case that there is a consensus that If Americans Knew
is an anti-Semitic website.

Of course that "case" is a mischaracterization but you'd expect as much from the right-wing. Amith's calling the named organizations "ostensibly" pro-Palestine is inexcusable and indefensible, but beside the point for now. The matter Amith has stumbled upon is that the enemy will happily use critical discussion within the left against the left. This should have been no revelation as it occurs regularly and is a predictable cost for us having our discussions and internal disagreements in the open. For those of us who have confidence in our mission, that is a small price and one well worth paying!

It is unacceptable to blame those participating in such discussion for what the enemy chooses to do with our words; that should be obvious. But I do understand the temptation to do so when it is an issue you feel strongly about. Less principled forces have had no scruples in that regard: Stalinists during their heyday blamed Trotsky (among many others on the left) when his criticisms of the soviet bureaucracy were echoed by anti-communists. They considered that sufficient evidence to label Trotsky a "social-fascist." Discussion within the left around the Moscow trials (Stalinist purges) inadvertently provided fodder for those on the right intent on identifying revolutionary socialism with dictatorship. This is nothing new; this is NORMAL.

What isn't so normal is when a left participant in such discussions chooses to blame the other side of the public debate that was intended to be among the left. If that were valid then the discussions on this list would have to be strongly regulated, or otherwise held in strict secrecy among a trusted group. Because, for instance, criticisms of the Black Bloc appearing on this very list (or 1000 other places on the internet) might be used by the Trump regime or prosecutors. Or take criticism of the Black Panther Party (at the time) for their ultraleftist tactics. Hell, we couldn't even have a discussion on the state of civil liberties in Cuba without the possibility of providing ammunition against that worker's state. The reason none of that is a major concern, is that the discourse of the right wing among themselves is going to be stupid anyway and doesn't mainly affect what our target audience hears or understands. But in the cases when someone who should be on our side hears from the right on such an issue, then they will likely look up the original discussion that had been cited and read what we REALLY are saying and in the proper context, which is what we'd want anyway!

I trust this reaction from Amith was purely emotional and he'll accept that there is no valid conclusion that can be drawn in regards to our own concerns from any discussion among the enemy even when it involves quoting (or misquoting) our own discussions. If on the other hand he sees this as an opportunity to relaunch that previous discussion on this list then he's probably making a big mistake and I'm prepared to present the evidence I became aware of when Louis cut off the discussion about the leader (not the website!) of that organization and her association with the far-right (including her holding the presidency of a clearly right wing group whose executive director was trained in the CIA). Amith's attack at that time (in an open letter) had destructive effects such as splitting solidarity organizations.

On this list he claimed bad political positions being taken by the two largest and most prominent solidarity organizations in the US. Although there was no justifying evidence for those claims, I thought I should dig deeper and see what they were telling their own members (as if it might be different from their websites), so I made a point of getting on the mailing lists (and still am) of both. All I can say is that if anything Amith claimed about them is correct, then they are keeping it well hidden not only from their website but from their members. What's more, Amith goes beyond criticism of the sort that one would use to rectify errors in policy or analysis, but once actually admitted that he thinks (closely paraphrasing....) we'd be better off if neither of those organizations even existed! (Note that I have never said such a thing about either IAK or CNI, just that their right-wing opposition to Israel is antithetical to the left and precludes collaboration.)

- Jeff
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