Some of you are probably more familiar with this than I am, but for the sake of clarity I’ve compiled some of the relevant documents on the incident regarding the tweet that shook the Free Gaza movement.
Basically, the free Gaza twitter account sent out a video of a speaker
talking anti semitic propaganda. I could link the video, but I don’t want to. Basically the guy is saying that “nazi” stands for “national socialist-zionist party”, a claim I can’t find any historical basis for. He goes on to tell a conspiracy theory version of the story of the conflict between Zionist and Anti-Zionist Jews in Germany, a version in which the Zionists “run the concentration camps”. I don’t think there is any basis to this kind of outlandish claim.
What makes this all worse is that there actually was a conflict between zionist and anti-zionist Jews in Germany and around the world, and it is true that the Zionist allied with the Nazis to stop the global jewish-led boycott movement against Nazi Germany, and to sign the Haavara agreement which brought a crucial amount of Jewish wealth and expertise to Palestine between 1933 and 1939. Of course, no one is talking about the real history of zionism and national socialism, which is strange and suggests that people are infinitely more worried about associating themselves with racism than they are with getting the history right.
Anyway, onto the documents. This was the clarification made by Greta Berlin explaining the context in which she posted the tweet, and why a mis understanding of how facebook works contributed to what she calls a mis understanding:
And here’s the (largely repetitive) apology from the Free Gaza movement:
But this apology and clarification was not enough for Ali Abunimah and friends:
Why? Because of private access to a private which Abunimah had, but which you don’t have. So he wants you to trust him:
However, the apology and clarification was enough for the Gaza’s Ark people:
And the clarification was also enough for Ramzy Baroud, who posted this on facebook:
“Greta Berlin, our support and total solidarity with your noble
efforts will not cease, but double. Thank you for all you have done
for justice in Palestine. For the numerous hours you spent
brainstorming ways to break the siege on Gaza, to dodge the Israeli navy, to act upon your beliefs in ways that some of us can only tweet about. You are an indefatigable warrior. I am sorry about the misguided attacks on you and your integrity. Please don’t stop. Your courage will continue to inspire us. Much Love. Ramzy Baroud.”
What can I say about this other than everything here is doubtable – both Abunimah’s claims on having seen the private facebook group, and Greta’s claims about the context of posting. I don’t know Greta Berlin, so I’m not in a position to make a character judgement – and neither do I know personally any of the people making character judgements, although I’ve met and/or spoken with some of them.
What should one do in such a situation? I think that regarding whether Greta Berlin is still an appropriate leader in the Free Gaza movement, a kind of neutrality is appropriate – not a neutrality of innocence, but a neutrality that takes responsibility for one’s inability to know enough to make a proper judgement. However, regarding history, regarding the misinformation in the content of the video posted, we shouldn’t be neutral – we should be committed to historical honesty, to the best account of things we can unearth – and that means in this case understanding the real relationship between Zionism and the political world that it existed in prior to 1948.