Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Socialist Fight (Gerry Downing): Ian Donovan and supporter of critic of ‘Holocaust Religion’ Gilad Atzmon.

with 18 comments


Recommended Reading by Socialist Fight’s Ian Donovan.

Revolutionary socialist Gerry Downing to appeal against Labour expulsion.

Gerry Downing, a revolutionary socialist expelled by Labour after criticism of his views on 9/11, has said he will appeal against the move.


Ian Donovan, a key member of just expelled from the Labour Party, Gerry Downing’s groupuscle Socialist Fight, is well known for his admiration for Gilad Atzmon.


Gilad Atzmon: The Wandering Who (2011).

Some of Atzmon’s detractors allege that his views must be anti-Semitic, because hardcore anti-Semites utilize his criticism of Jews and Jewish culture in their depictions of Jews generally. Hardcore anti-Semites often use anti-Zionist criticisms of the state of Israel to forge unwarranted anti-Semitic depictions of Jews. For pro-Palestinian activists to use this same technique against Atzmon is shameful.

Another serious allegation is that Gilad Atzmon is a Holocaust denier. That is nonsense, and as such deserves little discussion. Atzmon not only acknowledges the Holocaust; he emphasizes its effect upon him personally and upon Jews in general. He discusses varied reactions to it. He emphasizes the development—unfortunate from his perspective—of a Holocaust religion. He opposes, as do many others, the use of the Holocaust in attempts to garner political and economic support for the state of Israel. This is not Holocaust denial.”  (http://www.wrmea.org/wrmea-archives/507-washington-report-archives-2011-2015/may-2012/11161-gilad-atzmon-and-the-wandering-who.html)

In my view this work contains much informative material about the ideologies that drive Israeli politics and its bourgeois/imperialist supporters in the United States, Western Europe and elsewhere.. Its main focus is on what he, following Israel Shahak, calls ‘Jewish ideology’ and (more in keeping with current Marxist critiques of similar things in other spheres) ‘Jewish Identity Politics’. It is also critical of what he sees as political weaknesses of those who oppose Zionism while accepting aspects of this Jewish Identity politics, as he sees it, and he attributes a lack of effectiveness of solidarity with the Palestinians in the Western nations to this weakness. Some of this material is very cogent and powerful.

Again, this is not a Marxist work. But in the absence of a coherent Marxist analysis of the current world situation and Israel’s real role in it, works like this play a very valuable role in explaining in the sphere of ideas at least, what is actually going on and what drives formations like AIPAC and its relatives to play the role of Israel’s guardians in the wider world.

This warm feeling is reciprocated:

GA: The following is Ian Donovan’s communist reading of my current  expose of the Jewish Left  orchestrated attempt to derail the Palestinian solidarity discourse.

Gilad Atzmon on “the Jewish Solidarity Spin”

By Ian Donovan


I am taking the liberty of republishing this, not because I agree with everything in it, but because it contains a great deal of profound material that Marxist critics of Zionism and its supporters, Jewish and non-Jewish, in the advanced capitalist world, ought to find invaluable.

This post leads to this:

The Jews are not a nation, but they have a pan-national bourgeoisie that had national aspirations and wanted a territorial asset to give expression to that.

Here is what Atzmon says about Jews (2014):

Holocaust Day – The Time Is Ripe For A Jewish Apology.

Once again, they clearly failed to appreciate the growing mass fatigue of Shoah indoctrination and belligerent lobby politics. However, I would contend that instead of whining about the “rise of anti-Semitism”, Jews better, once and for all, learn to ask why?  Why the Jews again? Why are they hated? What is it in Jewish politics that evokes so much resentment? Why does it happen time after time?

It wasn’t easy for me to admit in my latest book that Jewish suffering is actually embedded in Jewish culture. In other words, Jews are actually destined to bring disasters on themselves. Jewish politics and culture, unfortunately, is obnoxious, abusive, as well as racist, and supremacist to the bone. Jewish culture is set to infuriate the Goyim just because Jews are defined by negation – that chilling sensation of being hated.

..Instead of constantly blaming the Goyim for inflicting pain on Jews, it is time for Jews to look in the mirror and try to identify what it is in Jews and their culture that evokes so much fury. It may even be possible that some Jews would take this opportunity to apologise to the Gentiles around them for evoking all this anger.

This is what Atzmon says on the Shoah and the “Holocaust religion”.

The question of whether there was a mass homicide with gas or ‘just’ a mass death toll due to total abuse in horrendous conditions is no doubt a crucial historical question. The fact that such a major historical chapter less than seven decades ago is scholarly [sic] inaccessible undermines the entire historical endeavour.”

…Furthermore, unless one approves and repeats the official Holocaust narrative, one may find oneself locked behind bars. This happened lately to three rightwing history revisionists who dared to suspect the official Auschwitz narrative. ….I can see these three outlaws: [David] Irving, [Ernest] Zundel and [Germar] Rudolf, the three rightwing historical revisionists who happen to be locked behind bars. …While left academics are mainly concerned with signalling out Holocaust deniers telling us what is right and who is wrong, it is the revisionists who engage themselves in detailed archive work as well as forensic scrutiny…. If history shapes the future, we need to liberate our perspective of the past, rather than arresting revisionists, we simply need many more of them.7 65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz we should reclaim our history and ask why? Why were the Jews hated? Why did European people stand up against their next door neighbours? Why are the Jews hated in the Middle East, surely they had a chance to open a new page in their troubled history?

… We should also ask for what purpose do the holocaust denial laws serve? What is the holocaust religion there to conceal? As long as we fail to ask questions, we will be subjected to Zionists and their Neocons agents’ plots…Holocaust religion robs humanity of its humanism. For the sake of peace and future generations, the holocaust must be stripped of its exceptional status immediately. It must be subjected to thorough historical scrutiny. Truth and truth-seeking is an elementary human experience. It must prevail.

Here are the views of some of the critics of Atzmon,

The argument over Gilad Atzmon is a side issue. Atzmon is the mere mouthpiece for a Swedish/Russian fascist called Israel Shamir. This is someone whose followers have taken over an organisation called Deir Yassin Remembered, whose co-director is a Paul Eisen. In an e-mail of 12th June, Atzmon wrote to me that ‘Indeed I correspond with Shamir occasionally. I find him an extremely charming man and rather entertaining. But more to the point, my ties with Shamir are merely intellectual. I regard Shamir as a unique and advanced thinker.’

Visitors to his website can perhaps judge for themselves just how ‘unique’ and ‘advanced’ Shamir’s views are. Certainly his defence of the blood libel myth is unique. In an article On Anti-Semitism Shamir writes that:

‘For as long as Richard Perle sits in the Pentagon, Elie Wiesel brandishes his Nobel Prize, Mort Zuckerman owns the USA Today, Gusinsky bosses over Russian TV, Soros commands multi-billions of funds and Dershowitz teaches at Harvard, we need the voices of Duke, Sobran, Raimondo, Buchanan, Mahler, Griffin and of other anti-bourgeois nationalists.’

Shamir quotes Horst Mahler of the German neo-Nazi NPD, “a great adversary of Jewish supremacy, (who) stressed the spiritual element of the struggle: ‘Hitler failed for he attended to biological (racist, tribal) aspect of Jews, while it is the spiritual aspect that had to be fought.’” The war in Iraq is a ‘Zionist war’ according to Kristoffer Larson in another article on Shamir’s website. For those who desire such things, Shamir’s site is packed with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, waxing lyrical about Jewish ‘Christ killers’. As he explains: “In the forthcoming struggle, it makes sense to know who your enemy is and what sort of victory you hope to achieve. In my opinion, the enemy is Jewish supremacy carried out by organised Jewry.”

Tony Greenstein.

And so it goes.

Or as Atzmon says in defence of his mates in Socialist Fight,

If this is what Corbyn’s Labour is, who needs Tories?

” I’ve been reporting on Jeremy Corbyn’s shameless capitulation to the Jewish Lobby. The long time campaigner for Palestine has, in just a few weeks, been reduced into a sad Zionist puppet whose position on Israel has descended into a copy of a Likud pamphlet.

Labour’s shameless groveling knows no end. We learn this morning that Corbyn’s party has expelled Gerry Downing, a far left activist whose views on Zionism don’t fit with the new kosher party line. ”

Written by Andrew Coates

March 10, 2016 at 5:09 pm

18 Responses

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  1. Gerry Downing on the ‘Jewish Question’ , ‘Zionists’ in “vanguard role of capitalist offensive against workers” and offensive against Corbyn, against Muslims. Zionists “most of them” have “dual citizenship” , and role of ‘Zionist’ politicians in the “ruling class” of Britain and America.

    He also talks of his ‘tactical support’ for ISIS and other genociders.

    against ‘imperialism’.

    Andrew Coates

    March 10, 2016 at 5:42 pm

  2. The man is an anti-Semitic arsehole, a conspiracy theorist and a disgrace to the left: in the context of his expulsion from the Labour Party he’s entitled to due process – and no more.

    Jim Denham

    March 11, 2016 at 9:17 am

  3. Jim Denham – the pope of the left, forever excommunicating others from the ‘left’. but AWL are not themselves ‘left’.

    George Galloway is a far far far greater left wing leader than you’ll ever be.

    Jeremy Corbyn is also promoting stupid ideas, which the spineless Spiked magazine are promoting:


    How about criticising Corbyn comrade, about this blunder.

    Grassroots Out!


    March 11, 2016 at 6:53 pm

  4. It’s all too predictable that most commentators here will but follow the lead of LP officials – and indeed Cameron – in taking some wrong actions by Socialist Fight to heap calumny at the door of that organisation.

    For example, Coates, in his comment above, falsely attributes a quote to Downing from the Neil interview. It is Neil, not Downing, who says Zionism (not Zionists, actually) is/are in the “vanguard role of capitalist offensive against workers”.

    Neil is quoting from what I understand to be the original Socialist Fight text and which makes a slightly different point: “Since the dawning of the period of neo-liberal capitalism in the 1970s, elements of the Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie, from Milton Friedman to Henry Kissinger to the pro-Israel ideologues of the War on Terror, have played a vanguard…”

    SF politics can both be both wrong and in the example, above anti-Semitic (why single out war-criminal Kissinger; how much influence would ‘Zionists’ have had in the capitalist offensive against workers in Japan, S Korea, etc?).

    SF can also be right and in a way that is beyond the comprehension of those who hate revolution as well as many ostensible Trots. IS, no matter how reactionary they are, should be supported (and only in these circumstances) against imperialist attack.

    What would worry you more as someone in Raqqa or be the worse outcome for capitalism/imperialism? Barbaric cutthroats who kill you individually and as a spectacle, or high-tech weapons that you won’t even hear as they evaporate you and hundreds of neighbours whilst they return you from one group of oppressors to another (the sectarian Iraqi state?.

    But beyond lacking comprehension is the actual stupidity of all the Mini-mes here, with their proforma ‘outrage’. Can you not see the Labour Party right will come for you and your paper heroes of Corbyn and all are saying nothing (has he publically supported a single left rank-and-file LP member under attack from the right?)

    Already LP right characters, like Luke Akehurst, are drawing attention to the list of signatories to the petition supporting Downing. Next it will be those protesting the expulsion of Jill Mountford and Nick Wrack. And then it will be you.

    And, incidentally, the attack by Denham in mentioning Donovan’s previous mental-health problem (which is acknowledged by Donovan) was abysmal. So if someone was once mentally ill (a substantial proportion of the population, incidentally) then any judgement they make in future can be called into question as possibly irrational? Once ill, always ill? Why do the AWL tolerate this reactionary?

    • Neil is quoting Socialist Fight, therefore Socialist Fight says the anti-Semite statement.

      Any other ‘clarifications’?

      Oh yes, ” IS, no matter how reactionary they are, should be supported (and only in these circumstances) against imperialist attack. ”

      No doubt you’d have supported the Khmer Rouge and indeed any bunch of genociders when they had been attacked by ‘imperialism’.

      If a group of ‘anti-imperialist’ Islamists tried to slaughter every Christian, heterodox Muslim, Shia, Kurd, Yazidi in Syria, you’d complain.

      But woe betide them if they worked with the ‘imperialists’ to stop the genocide.

      Andrew Coates

      March 12, 2016 at 1:05 pm

  5. I didn’t know Ian Donovan was a nutter? I might have guessed it then, it does make a bit more sense now.
    I thought he might have mental health problems. Nice call Jim!

    Assad should be supported against imperialist attack!


    March 11, 2016 at 10:22 pm

  6. We’ve seen the same drivel peddled by the WRP in the past – when they included the AWL in their list (also including the BBC) of members of the ‘International Zionist conspiracy’.

    There is a difference – the WRP were a worryingly sinister organisation probably involved in fingering Middle Eastern dissidents to the security services of their dictators. Downing is an individual fool wrapped up in his own world with little connection with the real one.

    The problem is that there are quite a few like him, thrown off the out of control helter-skelter of the of what thought of itself as the ‘Trotskyist’ left as it played with one daft idea after another.

    Soon we will probably see the likes of the Posadists and all sort of conspiracy theorists dragged out as threats to civilization.

    Serious socialists should take the attitude that these are sad nobodies, many of whom have been in the Labour Party over many years precisely because they are that.

    There are people in the trade union movement like that as well, but again but they shouldn’t be hunted down. They are inconsequential and there can, of course, be no question of them having any position of influence

    Jim Denham

    March 12, 2016 at 10:41 am

  7. Coates appears to have a problem relating to the facts as are, instead inventing fictional scenarios that he thinks will better support his propositions.

    For example, he is still wrong on the quote and also just repeating what Neil says. It’s Zionism not Zionists and as I said before, Socialist Fight was making a slightly different point in the article quoted to what Neil said.

    More fiction is about Cambodia (or maybe he just don’t know). It was imperialist support that kept the Khmer Rouge as the ‘official’ government of Cambodia years after they were such and it was Vietnam who finished off their regime, not some friendly imperialism.

    And then there is the present-day fiction. The supposed scenario where IS seek to slaughter all except their supporters. They have shown no sign of doing such.

    But one group of people have killed a seven-figure number of Iraqis: Muslim – Shia and Sunni, Christians, Jews (if there were any then left in Iraq) and more, not least because they have the technology (such as an air force) to do so. Imperialism – and that was just with their enforced sanctions.

    The main enemy is at home.

  8. What the fuck are you on about, Punch-drunk? Cannot you recognise anti-Semitic shite when it stares you in your stupid face? Or don’t you care about anti-Semitism, eh,pal?>

    Jim Denham

    March 14, 2016 at 12:09 am

  9. Well said Southpawpunch. But keep that handy if you are in the same room as Jim Denham. He often ‘loses’ it when he is drunk and swings wildly at his political opponents – literally as I found out to my coast, as did Ian Donavan and Geoff Smith. It is not just his politics that are wildly swung.


    March 14, 2016 at 10:23 am

  10. Cde Greenstein enters the already crowded fray:

    Gerry Downing, Anti-Semitism and the Socialism of Fools


    Andrew Coates

    March 14, 2016 at 4:56 pm

  11. Re: my alleged “swing” at Downing: I can only repeat what I’ve previously stated: id I had done this, my only regret would have been that my alleged hay-raker failed to land. But it’s a complete lie, and Downing is either a conscious or a pathological liar. As well, of course, as being an anti-Semite.

    Jim Denham

    March 14, 2016 at 5:34 pm

  12. Look, as Downing advocates some bizarre ‘dialectical’ support for mass genocidal movements, not to mention (see next post) some kind of ‘anti-imperialist’ defence of Assad’s chemical weapon programme and the Iranian regime.

    Nobody is going to feel much pity for him when he stubs his toes.

    Andrew Coates

    March 14, 2016 at 5:40 pm

  13. Jay-zus. Southpawpunch – if your political worldview necessitates supporting ISIS, a group who crucify teenage girls for repudiating Islam, execute street magicians, throw gays off rooftops, take Yazidi sex slaves from the women(having murdered the rest of them), burn people alive, behead aid workers and punish drug addicts with the death penalty, then perhaps there’s something a touch off about it.

    Saul Till

    March 14, 2016 at 8:00 pm

  14. The above several comments are based on a failure to actually read or take notice of what I wrote.

    If it’s not the latter (a big if’), I can only presume illiteracy.

  15. Andrew Coates

    March 15, 2016 at 1:30 pm

  16. I am working class, but I am also a serial murderer and a sex criminal, but as socialists and members of the ‘left’ you must not condemn me. Rather, you must seek to understand and explain how and why I came to this point and thereby reintegrate me into the struggle. I am alienated, capitalism has severed me from what I produce and what I retain, this return of my expropriated surplus labour is only money not true capital and so I exist in a fury of estranged rage. Therefore it is a good and worthy thing that you do not attempt either to condemn or prevent me from killing you and defiling your coprse, but rightly blame the ‘system’.
    My consciousness is commodified and stupified by the higher orders of commodity capitalism and its attendant social exclusion and so I regularly attack random strangers in the crazed belief that they are ‘collaborators’. Again, it is a worthy thing that you do not wish to see me jailed but rather ‘helped’ and educated so I can finally recognise that my actions are over-determined, but nonetheless an emblem of legitimate ‘anger’. In the intermim, I will continue randomly attacking those that I regard as easy targets, so thank you.
    The insidious structuring and inherent repression of the bourgeoise family has ‘made’ me hate women and despise authoritarian father figures, so I regualrly assault women and slash older men in the street with a rather elegant cut-throat razor. Once again, it is a very handy thing that the ‘left’ knows that none of this is actually my doing but the fault of higher ‘economic, social and strategic forces’ of which I am actually the victim and so utterly innocent. I will be even more grateful when you find the political acumen to excuse and explain me as I am actually slashing and murdering you.
    Capitalist property relations have utterly dissolved and exploited my sense of ownership and so I regularly thieve from any poor vulnerable bastard I can find. Again, thank you for showing me how my thieving is a ‘legitimate’ response to a ‘distorted society’.
    Mind you, if a Tory wanks off on Twitter, now that really is a crime and scum like that really do deserve the slammer or the electric chair. Meanwhile…..


    March 19, 2016 at 1:25 am

  17. SouthernPunchDrunk operates in a binary universe in which there are ‘fictional’ enemies and ‘real’ ones. The ‘real’ ones need to be opposed, the ‘fictional’ ones are either a binary opposite to the ‘real’ threat and so should be supported, or just a necessary corollary or projction of the ‘real’. PunchDrunk knows the ‘real’ the rest know only the fiction. He opposes the real, all who disagree with him are in thrall to the ‘fiction’.
    The fact that you can oppose two positions at once and that binaries are actually interlocking dialectical relations never seems to occur to him. Similarly, he cannot grasp the nature of expansion and contraction in dialectical materialism and certainly he fails to recognise the force of negative dialectics. His thought processes are those of the child that draws a picture of the ‘world’ with a line for the sky at the top and a line below for the earth. The blank space between is the allegorical emblem of his utter disinterest in any human and ethical complexity and his inability to understand that the blank space is where he is a truly standing. (We can pass over the fact that he obviously does not grasp the logical slide between real amd true.)


    March 19, 2016 at 11:09 am

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