Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jürgen Graf on China, Castro and 'Defensive Racism'

It appears that Jürgen Graf's advocacy of free speech for Revisionists is somewhat compromised by his support for authoritarianism and what he calls 'defensive racism'. In 2005, Graf gave these responses to an interviewer's questions here.

Wäre es denn eine bessere Welt?
Demokratie ist ein Luxus und funktioniert nur in guten Zeiten, doch die Probleme dieser Welt lassen sich nur mit einem autoritären Regime lösen [Democracy is a luxury and only works in good times, but the world's problems can be solved only by an authoritarian regime]. Die Chinesen haben gezeigt, dass es geht. Auch vor Fidel Castro habe ich Respekt, allein schon, weil er den USA seit einem halben Jahrhundert die Stirn bietet.

[...]

Das kann man locker sagen – Ihre Thesen sind nazifreundlich und rassistisch.
Ich verurteile auch rassistische Gewalt, ich plädiere für einen defensiven Rassismus, für die Erhaltung der ethnischen Identität [I condemn racist violence, I advocate a defensive racism, for the preservation of ethnic identity. ].
Where would free speech and open debate stand in this authoritarian and racist society? Graf does not tell us.

19 comments:

adam said...

die weltwoche sais: "In der Freizeit ... und durchforstet russische Archive nach Beweisen für seine Thesen. Olga Stepanowna kümmert sich...
after about 10 years of dig in rus/ukr/blrus archives he didn't produce any doc yet, to backup "seine thesen"

Joachim Neander said...

"Preservation of ethnic identity" should not be called "racism." It is, e.g., a major aim of Israeli domestic politics and supported, as opinion polls show, by a vast majority of Jewish Israelis.

Jonathan Harrison said...

Graf uses the term "defensive racism" to describe his own beliefs, so the definition has come from him in this case.

Joachim Neander said...

In the quotation, Graf uses the expression "defensive racism," immediately defining it, after the comma, as the "preservation of ethnic identity." (This follows from the structure of the German language.)

So you can reproach him for using the word "racism." Not more, because, as he says, for him "defensive racism" means the "preserving of ethnic identity," which in the case of Israeli Jews (a majority in their country) or European Sinti and Roma (always a minority) is generally accepted as okay and not considered "racist." And should not the right to defend and preserve their ethnic identity apply to all ethnic groups?

As in the case of many such labels, I would be cautious not to overstretch the meaning of "racist" and use it as a "Totschlagargument" ( a "club" for silencing an opponent in a discussion).

Maybe Graf wants a racist society (as you see him), maybe he does not mean what he said in the above mentioned quotation. But to show this one should have better arguments, e.g. one or more quotations where he shows a depreciating attitude toward an ethnic or racial group.

Roberto said...

"Preservation of ethnic identity" should not be called "racism." It is, e.g., a major aim of Israeli domestic politics and supported, as opinion polls show, by a vast majority of Jewish Israelis.

What's the point of your statement? Do you claim if Israel practices this policy, advocated by Graf, this Graf's "defensive racism" would be right? That's it?

Roberto said...

"And should not the right to defend and preserve their ethnic identity apply to all ethnic groups?"

I think this is not correct. The point here is that you use the example of minority groups, who suffer racism in many countries, to justify racism from majority groups.

I don't like this idea of ​​"preservation of ethnic identity"(because societies are changing all the time, societies are mutants), but in many cases, if not most of them, this "preservation of ethnic identity" is caused by racism from majority groups against minority groups.

Roberto said...

"Maybe Graf wants a racist society (as you see him), maybe he does not mean what he said in the above mentioned quotation."

I agree with Jonathan, I think Graf wants a racist society, as the most of "revisionists" wants it too.

"But to show this one should have better arguments, e.g. one or more quotations where he shows a depreciating attitude toward an ethnic or racial group."

Jonathan has pointed out above: "Graf uses the term "defensive racism" to describe his own beliefs, so the definition has come from him in this case.". Translating, Graf defends a "defensive"(?) racism.

Racism can be understood as separation/segregation of people by the "race idea". It's not the only definition of racism but it's a good one.

Jonathan Harrison said...

Correct, I don't believe that racism has to mean a "depreciating attitude toward an ethnic or racial group"; it simply needs an argument for separation justified on the grounds of race. The American Deep South claimed to be based on "separate but equal" but nobody today would claim it was not racist.

"Preservation of ethnic identity" in Israel is racist if Israelis act on the basis that Jewishness is like a race.

Graf uses the term "German race", not German ethnicity. He uses it surely in the Hitlerite sense. For evidence of this, see his review of Avdeyev:

"But there is more. A correct understanding of race and racial differences is of tremendous importance because we thereby recognize certain extremely grave errors Western society has committed, and this understanding equips us to remedy them. The fallacious doctrine of racial equality, which has been promoted for decades by the followers of Franz Boas, has caused pernicious political consequences. It has made possible the catastrophe of forced racial integration in the USA, which has done immeasurable harm to both the white and the black populations, and it has paved the way for massive third-world immigration into Europe, North America and Australia. What is happening before our eyes in France is the handwriting on the wall. Race does matter, whether or not some people want us to see this."

http://majorityrights.com/index.php/weblog/comments/vladimir_avdeyev_race_scientist/

Jason Myers said...

Graf can attack him all he wants but Boas showed the futility of the racial concept, even using methods that deniers resort to regarding the Holocaust (i.e. focus on physical aspects). As Graf can't show what a 'race' is, he is simply talking out of his behind.

Joachim Neander said...

Roberto:
"I think this is not correct. The point here is that you use the example of minority groups, who suffer racism in many countries, to justify racism from majority groups."

No, I have never "justified racism from majority groups," and I will not justify any racism, be it from majority or minority groups. If racism is an evil per se, it is it independently from who expresses it.

For explaining the notion of "preserving one's ethnic identity," I took first the example of Israel, where Jewish Israelis (still) are a majority, but where a great number of them (together with their religious and political leaders) fear they once might become a minority in their own country, outnumbered by non-Jews.

On the occasion of "Jewish Identity Day," for the first time celebrated countrywide this year in February, the Knesset debated, among other things, the danger to Jewish identity through mixed marriages, or as MK Tzipi Hotovely from the ruling Likud party called them, "families of mixed race." Another member of the ruling coalition reminded the Knesset of Golda Meir's words, "that a Jew who marries a non-Jew joins the six million." As a recent opinion poll showed, 42 per cent of Jewish Israelis would oppose the marriage of their child with a non-Jew, and an additional 33 per cent said they would not oppose it, though it would bother them.

In addition, 78 per cent see the Jewishness of the State endangered by migrants and refugees, 55 per cent would not rent a flat to a non-Jew, and 43 per cent would fiercely oppose the building of a church or a mosque in their neighborhood. (Sources: ynetnews.com from Jan 4, Feb 8, and Mar 3, 2011. The polls include the majority of secular Israeli Jews.).

As I clearly said, I do not think this is "racist." It is just the desire of the Jews of Israel, secular or religious, to preserve their Jewish identity. Who would blame them for that?

Roberto Lucena said...

"No, I have never "justified racism from majority groups," and I will not justify any racism, be it from majority or minority groups. If racism is an evil per se, it is it independently from who expresses it."

Joachim, I didn't it, I asked a question: "What's the point of your statement? Do you claim if Israel practices this policy, advocated by Graf, this Graf's "defensive racism" would be right? That's it?", because it seemed that you were agreeing with Graf. Graf. But I've explained why I consider Graf's statements are racist.

Roberto Lucena said...

"For explaining the notion of "preserving one's ethnic identity," I took first the example of Israel, where Jewish Israelis (still) are a majority, but where a great number of them (together with their religious and political leaders) fear they once might become a minority in their own country, outnumbered by non-Jews."

And one day they'll become a minority in Israel, because the idea of jewish ethnicity in Israel is tied to a religious precept, while judaism isn't an expansionist religion or a state religion. I'm still opposed to this idea of ​​"preservation" because is something artificial and dating from the nineteenth century.

Roberto Lucena said...

"Another member of the ruling coalition reminded the Knesset of Golda Meir's words, "that a Jew who marries a non-Jew joins the six million." As a recent opinion poll showed, 42 per cent of Jewish Israelis would oppose the marriage of their child with a non-Jew, and an additional 33 per cent said they would not oppose it, though it would bother them."

And there has always been(and there'll be always) intermarriage between jews and non-jews. This is other reason for showing how this idea of "preservation" is silly.

Roberto Lucena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roberto Lucena said...

"As I clearly said, I do not think this is "racist.""

For us, I think(people who were born in multiethnic countries, Brazil, US, Canada etc), it's very difficult to find this idea of ​​"preserving" something good or important, except as provocative of racism and conflicts in society. The idea of nationality in US, Brazil(american countries in general) is linked to the birth in the country (as in France).

"It is just the desire of the Jews of Israel, secular or religious, to preserve their Jewish identity. Who would blame them for that?"

I still don't agree with this idea of ​​"preservation", people are free to decide whom they want to marry or not. It's not important if in Israel think so.

Joachim Neander said...

Roberto Lucena:
"it seemed that you were agreeing with Graf."

I did not agree with him. I only said - and I will stick to it - that the notion of "preserving one's ethnic identity" in itself is not "racist," otherwise one would have to call, for example, Israeli society "racist." This was done, some years ago, I do not remember the date, by a resolution of an international body, but it was fiercely rejected as antisemitic not only by Israel and world Jewry, but also by all Gentile friends of Israel. By the way, Jews do not see themselves as a religious community alone, they see themselves first and foremost as a people ("am Yisrael"), into which one is born by a Jewish mother. (Conversion of a Gentile to Judaism is possible, but very difficult and exceptional).

I expressed my doubts about Graf's attitude (two times "maybe ..."), and Jonathan, in a separate thread, gave proof that Graf, indeed, can - must - be called a racist. But from the isolated statement in the OP of this thread, it did not follow. That was all I wanted to say.

Re. the notion of "ethnic identity" - I can understand that you have problems with it (I, too), that you think it is outdated, 19th-century ideology. But one has to accept that it still is topical in the discussion, not only in Israel, but also in Europe, there with regard to minorities, which disputing their right to preserve their ethnic identity see as an expression of racism from the side of the majority (and/or other ethnic minorities), especially when attempts at preserving their ethnic identity clash with the laws of the country they live in or with the attempts of other minority groups to preserve their identity.

Roberto Lucena said...

"This was done, some years ago, I do not remember the date, by a resolution of an international body, but it was fiercely rejected as antisemitic not only by Israel and world Jewry, but also by all Gentile friends of Israel."

Was an UN resolution in the 70's who claimed that zionism was racism, made under pressure from arab oil producing countries?

"By the way, Jews do not see themselves as a religious community alone, they see themselves first and foremost as a people ("am Yisrael"), into which one is born by a Jewish mother. (Conversion of a Gentile to Judaism is possible, but very difficult and exceptional)."

Theoretically yes, but there are only two situations in the discussion, one that is defined as what would be a jew(ethnic) outside of Israel and another in which this takes place in Israel(although the jew who declares himself without following jewish religion is accepted as a jew in Israel, but this person has religious ties, parents etc). I was referring only to the religious precept that exits in Israel who causes a direct influence of religion on the issue of ethnicity and nationality.

There's only one way to do this "preservation of ethnic identity" mentioned by Graf, through control of a marriage and a State control directly interfering in these matters.

Roberto Lucena said...

"Re. the notion of "ethnic identity" - I can understand that you have problems with it (I, too), that you think it is outdated, 19th-century ideology. But one has to accept that it still is topical in the discussion, not only in Israel, but also in Europe, there with regard to minorities, which disputing their right to preserve their ethnic identity see as an expression of racism from the side of the majority (and/or other ethnic minorities), especially when attempts at preserving their ethnic identity clash with the laws of the country they live in or with the attempts of other minority groups to preserve their identity."

I agree with you that the discussion is current, and that's not an easy discussion, although the source of the problem to be old and sometimes to refer to something dated.

In Brazil and multiethnic countries there are discussions and conflicts about ethnicity too, although a part of this discussion today takes place on account of a debt of countries with their past (issues of slavery in the colonization, and troubles of racism with groups that emigrated in the nineteenth century when these ideas were high).

Roberto Lucena said...

A case from here(Brazil) that I can quote as an ethnic conflict in the country(although the government always try to sell the image of country of the "racial democracy", as if there weren't internal ethnic conflicts, even being low-intensity ones), it's from the people of italian or german colonies in the interior of the country(in the southern states) who are seen as racist groups for the rest of the country, due to this 'preservation' forced to keep the language original and customs(there are places in the south where these groups speek german or italian, despite the country's official language.), and trouble with endogamous or community marriages.