Francis Clark-Lowes' Appeal Speech to PSC AGM
Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: Francis Clark-Lowes, an academic, former Chair of the National PSC and former chairman of the Brighton branch for Palestinian Solidarity, appealed today to the PSC AGM against his recent expulsion from the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.
Clark-Lowes has been maintaining, for a while. that the opposition to the Jewish State and Zionism, should attempt to grasp the true nature of the Jewish State and Jewish ideology. Being a leading UK Palestinian solidarity activist, Clark-Lowes has challenged the notion of the ‘primacy of Jewish suffering’. This was apparently enough for the PSC’s Executive Committee to expel him last year on the ground of ‘anti Semitism’.
Earlier today, Clark-Lowes’ appeal to the PCS AGM was rejected.
I tend to believe that the PSC’s Executive Committee has lost its way. In the last year it repeatedly bowed to Zionist pressure groups. Together with some Jewish anti Zionist bodies, it expelled and marginalised some of UK’s leading activists and thinkers. At a certain stage, it was even applauded by the notorious Zionist Jewish Chronicle.
Instead of being an umbrella organisation that encourages open debate and pluralism on issues to do with Palestine and the conflict, the PSC’s central body has become a narrow-minded political indoctrinating instrument, engaged primarily with the fight against anti Semitism. This is very tragic indeed, but at least it is all in the open.
The PSC’s Executive Committee should be reminded that political battles come to an end, but ideas, spirit and truth remain.
Read Francis Clark-Lowes beautiful words and judge for yourself.
Appeal Speech to PSC AGM Delegates, 21st January 2012
by Francis Clark-Lowes
So, here I stand before you, ex-Chair of PSC, founder and ex-Chair of Brighton & Hove PSC, accused of being a racist, an anti-Semite, a Nazi sympathiser, a capitulator to Zionism, a pre-judger of Jews, an ‘upper-class fascist twit,’ a ‘Holocaust’ denier.
I’ve stopped defending myself against such descriptions, and have even, paradoxically, embraced them at times. How else do you challenge the simplistic mindset from which they arise?
From my background in German-Jewish Studies, I have come to believe that a major contributor to that mindset is a story of innate Gentile hatred of Jews, and consequent perennial Jewish suffering.
Zionism was consciously constructed on the foundation of this same unlikely story, and therefore required its maintenance and protection.
The carefully nurtured and moulded ‘Holocaust’ narrative has done a good deal of that job since the Second World War. But more fundamental is the prohibition on all discussion of Jews which does not accord with their own collective view of themselves – that is of a uniquely talented and uniquely suffering people. Hence the extraordinary move to ban any questioning of the ‘Holocaust’ narrative at this AGM.
Of course there are Jews who challenge elements of Jewish ideology. But these exceptions don’t invalidate, in principle, generalisations about Jews. That would be like saying you mustn’t describe dogs as quadrupeds because some of that species have lost a leg.
Put simply, the idea that Gentiles have an anti-Semitic gene, the story of Jewish suffering, the ‘Holocaust’ myth, Zionism, Jewish chauvinism, and anti-racist rhetoric have combined into an ideology which, because it is virtually unsinkable in its own terms, is immensely powerful. Breach one compartment of the vessel, and bulkheads protect the others to ensure the ship stays afloat.
Consequently, whatever we may say, no ambitious Western leader will be foolish enough to propose effective action against Israel, let alone to criticise the concept of Zionism. To do so is to risk being accused of anti-Semitism and enabling (quotes) ‘another Holocaust’. That’s a career stopper!
I am taken to task for capitulating to the Zionist narrative. Instead I should join forces with anti-racists to eliminate prejudice and thereby prove the Zionist story false. But what Zionist, let alone any intelligent person, is going to accept that generalisation, a crucial function of the brain, can be extinguished?
With all the difficulties there may be in defining groups and their cultures, and in estimating their power, without doing so we cannot make sense of the world. For a group to exist it must make itself recognisable, to its members and to others, and if a group can be recognised, then it can also be judged – positively, neutrally or negatively.
PSC’s acquiescence in the tendency to regard dislike of groups a cardinal sin is weakening ‘our,’ or should I already be saying ‘your’, organisation. Campaigning organisations turn to in-fighting when the force they seek to overcome appears insuperable. ‘If you can’t beat them, blame your comrades,’ seems to be the thought.
But the key to resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict lies in our hands. Instead of cowering in fear at the use Zionists might make of what we say, and desperately scouring every word uttered on this subject to root out supposed anti-Semitism, we should be challenging Jewish ideology. Anything less does the Israelis’ work for them and exposes the Palestinians to yet more grinding oppression.
I understand your reluctance to agree with me, but I am still prepared to work within PSC. All I ask is that you respect my right to free thought and speech. Readmit me, and you will have taken a step towards creating a more effective broad-based organisation.