Moishe Postone on the apparent emancipatory power of antisemitism

In this recent interview of Moishe Postone by Martin Thomas (of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty), Postone outlines different forms of anti-Zionism which have converged into a general indignation aimed at Jews and which, for those seeking Israel’s abolition, have become programmatic. He observes that global capitalist power is mis-recognised as the Jews, and consequently the Jews easily become the target of those whom capitalism has failed. Antisemitism today is unlike other forms of racism because it attributes to Jews enormous and mysterious power, and so can seem both progressive and anti-imperialist.

And the left? For many, antipathy to the USA blunts their critical gaze, apologises for Stalin, and allies with political Islamists such as Hamas and Hesbollah.

“Racism is rarely a danger for the left. The left has to be careful not to be racist, but it isn’t an ongoing danger because racism doesn’t have the apparent emancipatory dimension of anti-semitism.”

Read it all.

Particularism on the left, and its critics

Where is the outcry in my trade union about the murder of Iranian students by the Iranian authorities and its executors, the Basij militia? Why is Israeli state violence against Palestinian universities so much more important to UCU members in Britain than Iranian state violence against its own universities and students?

Intellectual historian Moishe Postone talked about this sort of particularism at his SOAS presentation on Monday.

Update June 30th: see Martin in the Margins’ UCU does something right (hat tip Kellie):

“On Saturday UCU general secretary Sally Hunt represented the union at a protest outside the Iranian embassy, as part of the Justice for Iranian Workers campaign.

The UCU has also condemned the Iranian government’s arrest of 70 university professors, as part of the crackdown on opposition protestors.
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