Gilad Atzmon praises ex-KKKer David Duke

Most literate adults (or at least those with access to the Internet) would probably know to avoid the opinions of David Duke.

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Duke, ex-Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, convicted fraudster and semiprofessional antisemite is hardly a reputable source.

Yet the “activist” Gilad Atzmon has a high opinion of Duke:

“…

Now there is something very interesting and it’s again the first time I’m saying it. The left is devastated by David Duke for instance. He was in the KKK when he was young. But here is something quite amazing: I read him and I was shocked to find out that this guy knows more about Jewish identity than I do! How could a supposedly ‘racist’ Gentile who probably never entered a synagogue knows more than I do about Judaism? The reason is in fact very simple : he is a proud white man. He’s interested in nationalism, in the culture of his own people, so he understands things that I am not even allowed to think about. Believe it or not, even as a Jew, I wasn’t allowed to think of myself as a racist. I was a racist, maybe I am still one, but I was not allowed to acknowledge it. Once he acknowledges the he’s talking about white people’s rights, in a way he thinks like Avigdor Lieberma ! But in fact, he is way better than Liberman. David Duke is a humanist because he says, «I want to celebrate my right and you should celebrate your rights» whether you are Muslim or black or whatever. He believes that all people should celebrate their rights, this is his current philosophy. Avidgor Liberman is not a humanist, because he wants to celebrate his rights at the expense of other people.”

Duke hasn’t, really, changed his views over the years, just polished them and tried to drag in the gullible or those seriously hung-up on the existence of Jews.

Bird of a feather flock together?

(H/T: Adam Holland)

Update 1: The SPLC on Former Klan Leader David Duke Expelled From Italy@

“No one wants David Duke.

The former Klansman, Holocaust denier and founder of a series of hate groups was expelled from Italy in early December after a court there deemed him “socially dangerous” for allegedly planning to create a pan-European neo-Nazi group. Duke, who has fled or been expelled from several countries before, was kicked out of Italy this time after a court upheld a finding that he had entered the country on false pretenses by using his middle name, Ernest, in place of his first.”

Update 2: Not forgetting Huff Post Crime’s coverage, David Duke Arrested In Germany, Ex-Klan Leader Faces Deportation:

“Since his release from prison, Duke has traveled and lectured widely, including a 2006 appearance at a Holocaust denial conference in Tehran, Iran. The conference featured numerous speeches denouncing the Holocaust as a “myth.” At the conference, Duke voiced support for discredited, fringe scholars imprisoned in Europe for denying the use of gas chambers against Jews during the Holocaust.

In the United States, Duke continues to speak regularly at gatherings of prominent right-wing groups and writes for Stormfront, a leading white-supremacist website.”

Update 3: Well worth a read, Ron Stallworth, Police Sergeant, Chronicles His Experience As Undercover KKK Member, particularly the slideshow “A day in the life of the KKK”

Ron Stallworth’s blog and his insights make very necessary reading.
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Update 4: the SPLC looks at a new David Duke project, Anti-Semitism Illustrated: David Duke Working on New ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’:

“White supremacist David Duke has a new book coming out, of sorts – a repackaged and “illustrated” version of the notorious anti-Semitic hoax, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” But unlike previous editions of the text – all of which attempted to claim that the book was a genuine transcript of a gathering of wealthy Jews who conspired to bring about the enslavement of Western civilization – Duke is taking a different tack.

“The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” Duke now claims, is in fact a work of fiction – which means, he says, that the hoax issue is moot. Instead, as he explains in his promotional video for the book, the text is like all “great literature” – a work of art whose value lies in the greater truths it supposedly reveals about the world. ”

In all likelihood Gilad Atzmon will be endorsing that too!

Update 4: Last year the CST blog exposed Atzmon and some of his friends, Truth Movement – “Stupidest People on the Planet”??

Update 5: The SPLC takes on “Dr. Duke”:

“Former Klansman David Duke has made much of his academic credentials of late. On his website, he repeatedly refers to himself as “Dr.” David Duke, a reference to the supposed Ph.D. he “earned” in 2005 at an anti-Semitic Ukrainian institution described as a “diploma mill” by the State Department. Around the white supremacist world, excited accolades to Duke’s scholarship abound.

As the closest thing the radical right has to an intellectual today, Duke claims to uphold the high standards of academia. His website brims with criticisms of plagiarism — although they come, naturally, in the form of repeated attacks on civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who is characterized as a “world-class plagiarist.” Plagiarism, Duke’s site adds piously, is “theft,” a rip-off that the site suggests amounts to “a serious felony.”

Duke, meanwhile, continues to boast of his “Ph.D” — his website, for instance, is now headlined, “The Official Website of Representative David Duke, PhD,” although he hasn’t been a Louisiana state representative for 17 years. As to the Ph.D., well, what Duke actually got at the Ukraine’s Interregional Academy of Personnel Management is a “Kandidat Nauk” degree, which ranks below a full doctorate. It was awarded to Duke for a thesis entitled, “Zionism as a Form of Ethnic Supremacism” and was the second degree given Duke by the university, which had earlier handed the former Klan boss an honorary degree.

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Jeremy Bowen, BDS and Obvious Questions

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Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East Editor recently stated:

I feel there are many serious questions that need to be asked about BDS and racism.

I have covered them many times before, but this handy Tumblr draws them together:

Twitter, Storify and how to spot a bigot.

[The above image was taken from one of the numerous antisemitic web sites that support BDS.

How do I know it was antisemitic? Because it rants on about 9/11, blaming Jews, and promotes Holocaust denial. That is how!]

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Stop The War: Parroting The Arguments Of A Thuggish Putin

The premier antiwar movement in Britain, the Stop the War Coalition, are in a bit of a bind.

They owe their existence to campaigning against the invasion of Iraq. They actively campaign on the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Yet for years they were silent on Assad’s slaughter of Syrian civilians. For the first years of the Assad dictatorship campaign of mass murder not a word of criticism was heard from Britain’s Stop the War Coalition.

They were always very quick to criticise British and US governments, but could barely mumble a single scornful word against Assad.

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Nevertheless, this time around they have learnt their lesson.

So instead of shuffling their feet and talking about anything else they have issued a statement on the crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s military involvement in the Crimea.

It is a pitiful piece, that could have been written by one of Putin’s trusted advisers. It is basically soft propaganda for the Russian regime, full of disjointed arguments and non sequiturs

The Economist has thankfully fisked it:

8) The historical divisions within Ukraine are complex and difficult to overcome. But it is clear that many Russian speakers, there and in the Crimea, do not oppose Russia. These countries have the right to independence, but the nature of that independence is clearly highly contested. There is also the reality of potential civil war between east and west Ukraine. The very deep divisions will only be exacerbated by war.

This comment is perhaps the easiest to rebut: Ms German is mistaking the Ukrainian protest movement for the aggressors in the current crisis. The new government in no way threatens Russian-speakers in the Crimea. Moscow, not Kiev, is the preeminent belligerent thus far.

9) Those who demand anti-war activity here in Britain against Russia are ignoring the history and the present reality in Ukraine and Crimea. The B52 liberals only oppose wars when their own rulers do so, and support the ones carried out by our governments. The job of any anti-war movement is to oppose its own government’s role in these wars, and to explain what that government and its allies are up to.

Ms German does not enlighten us on how, precisely, the British government is guilty of “war” against Ukraine or Russia. She also fails to explain why the “job” of an “anti-war” movement is to attack its own passive government while parroting the arguments of a thuggish, illiberal power threatening its neighbour with invasion.

10) The crisis in Ukraine has much to do with the situation in Syria, where major powers are intervening in the civil war. The defeat for intervention last year has infuriated the neocons. They are determined to start new wars. After the US failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, the neocons are looking for a defeat of Russia over Ukraine, and by extension, China too. The situation is developing into a new cold war. The rivalry between the west and Russia threatens to explode into a much larger war than has been seen for many years.

Again, Ms German conveniently ignores interventions in Syria by those “major powers” that she finds more palatable than the US or Britain—Iran and Russia. That, and her comment about China, suggests a preference for illiberal non-Western powers over liberal Western ones. It is an oddly one-sided comparison: she delights in listing Western flaws (real and imagined) while unquestioningly accepting anti-Western dogma. For one who leads an organisation committed to “stopping the war”, it is a fatal error.”

Update 1:I have commented on Russia’s role in Syria before.

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Refugees From Assad’s Campaign of Murder

The level of ambivalence found in the West towards the mass death of Syrian civilians is truly grotesque.

In March 2014 it will be the three year anniversary of the conflict, which started with peaceful protests and continues with the Syrian government dropping barrel bombs.

Nearly three whole years of slaughter. A point to ponder.

This map shows only one aspect of the conflict, mass refugees.

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We need to be under no illusion that the cause of suffering in Syria is placed squarely at the feet of the Assad government and their allies, Russia, China and Iran. The latter countries have fuelled the conflict from the outset and propped up Syria’s murderous dictatorship.

What I find most galling in the West is the denial of basic facts about the Assad regime. Westerners seem to have an infinite amount of concern about the Middle East until it affects real people.

Hussein Ibish, one of the most intelligent Middle East commentators, re-enforces that point by asking “Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk are being starved to death by the Syrian regime. Does anyone care?”

Please do read it:

“There isn’t much the Palestinian people haven’t suffered. But the use of enforced starvation against them by the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad at the Yarmouk refugee camp breaks new ground in cruelty. Hundreds are said to be facing imminent death by starvation, lack of water and medical care, and the loss, for almost a year now, of all heat and electricity.

The crucial thing is not simply that Assad and his allies – Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia – must be held fully and completely responsible for this outrage. It must also be noted that the international community and the Arab world are not doing enough to respond to it, practically or politically. They have done virtually nothing as Yarmouk’s pre-war population of 250,000 has shrunk in the past three years to 18,000 famished, cowering, and shivering souls.

Those who still worship at the altar of the false idol of “resistance” and see Assad, Iran, Hezbollah, and their allies as the embodiment of the Arab cause are not simply disingenuous or delusional propagandists. Their thinking – not even, but especially, if it is sincere – is profoundly sick.”

I have covered Syria elsewhere.

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Islamophobia And Social Media

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There is a new report covering the phenomenon of Islamophobia and social media.

It comes from the superb Online Hate Prevention Institute and leading scholar in the field, Dr Andre Oboler.

“On International Human Rights Day, December 10th 2013, the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) have released a major new report into the growing problem of online hate targeting the Muslim community. The full report, titled ‘Islamophobia on the Internet: The growth of online hate targeting Muslims’, is available below as a free download.

The report examines anti-Muslim hate on Facebook and was produced by the Online Hate Prevention Institute, Australia’s only charity entirely dedicated to the growing problem of online hate. We thank the Islamic Council of Victoria, the peak body representing Victoria’s Muslim community, who we consulted regularly in the preparation of this report. The report follows previous major works by OHPI examining online hate against Indigenous Australians, the Jewish Community, and the ANZACs and Military Veterans.

This major work examines 50 anti-Muslim Facebook pages. The Facebook pages range from “The Islamic threat” which today passed the 113,000 supporter mark and continues to rapidly grow, to “Mohammad the PIG” which vanished after reaching 2000 supporters. From these 50 pages the report documents 349 images of anti-Muslim hate. These images represent 191 unique images and many repetitions as messages of hate move between the different pages.”

Read more here.

The link to the download is towards the end of the page and marked ‘Islamophobia on the Internet: The growth of online hate targeting Muslims by Andre Oboler.

Update 1: The Online Hate Prevention Institute has produced a number of fine and informative publications which can be found here.

Not forgetting their briefings and opinion pieces.

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Racial Attack Against An Imam In Hull

History has shown that a climate of intolerance and anxiety leads to racial attacks.
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The constant back-biting aimed at British Muslims in the media and on the Web has real and deadly consequences, the Guardian reports:

“Details of the assault on Imam Hafiz Salik, 60, have only just emerged. His son Ateeq Salik said his father was driving home last Saturday evening from his daughter’s house next to the Hull Mosque and Islamic Centre when two men and a woman tried to stop his car.

“They ran into the middle of the road and he had to do an emergency stop. He beeped the horn at them,” said the imam’s son. “One of the men lay down in the road right in front of the car. My father was confused and thought he was injured. Then the man slowly got up and went to the car and opened the door. My mum was sitting in the front and my youngest sister was in the back. He looked at all of them and he punched my father very hard in the face. It was a very forceful punch and my father’s face was covered in blood. Then the man walked away.” “[My emphasis.]

Update 1: The Hull Daily Mail has more.

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Fake Quotes And Nelson Mandela

As I commented elsewhere, even before Nelson Mandela’s body was cold various cynical operators were trying to expropriate his memory.

As distasteful as that is, it is to be expected. Political activists have axes to grind and often very little self-awareness.

They cannot understand when they are being tasteless, silly or cynical. That applies across the political spectrum from the Left to the extremes of the Right.

However, there are no excuses for using fake quotes.

These are very common in the arena of debate on the Middle East.

Regrettably, the speaker and personality Mohammed Ansar has allowed himself to be manipulated in this area.
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Mohammed Ansar may have had the best of intentions. But it is incredibly sloppy for anyone in the lime-light, with access to Google. Public figures and organisations on Twitter need to take extra care.

We know this is fake because the original author, Arjan El Fassed, admits it.

Even the Electronic Intifada site acknowledges that fact:

Editor’s note, 28 June 2013: This article was written by Arjan El Fassed in 2001 in the satirical style then being employed by Thomas Friedman, of writing mock letters from one world leader to another. Although it carries El Fassed’s byline, it has been repeatedly mistaken for an actual letter from Mandela. It is not. It is a piece of satire. El Fassed has written this history of the piece and how it subsequently was mistaken for a real letter, on his personal blog.” [My emphasis.]

My own view is, by all means criticise any government for their actions or deeds, but don’t get pulled into demonisation or use fake quotes. In the age of Google there is no excuse.

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Madiba

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Muslims, The Media And Poor Reporting

We are often caught up with our own lives. Attempting to understand how others see the world is frequently near-on impossible, but we should try, particularly when it comes to societal racism.

Daily Racism

Since 2001 increasing hatred and loathing has been directed towards Muslims. Political opportunists, such as the English Defence League, have tried to exploit the prevailing xenophobic climate in Britain and incite racial hatred.

Every day in Britain Muslims suffer racism. From verbal abuse to physical attacks. On-line animosity towards Muslims is stoked up daily by racists and semi-professional bigots. On-line activities have real world consequences as the site, EDL Criminals has shown time and again.

The real lives of real people in Britain are blighted by racism, yet these facts receive scant coverage in the Oxbridge dominated media. There are a few lines here or there, but little real investigation.

Factual Reports
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However, there is no shortage of informed commentary on Islamophobia or its negative consequences:

One academic report details how the Far Right and extremists exploit negative sentiment towards Muslims.

Another scholarly paper looked at the impact of racism towards Muslim women.

HMG report

The new government report on extremism has been welcomed by Tell MAMA, but highlights the complexities of these issues (I paraphrase):

  • It is very important to have a subtle approach to this topic and a dire need to tackle extremists who promote hatred towards communities.
  • Greater use of pastoral care should be made in prisons, etc, helping people in the most vulnerable of positions and playing a role in countering extremism.
  • On-line extremism is an unfortunate reality and in the Internet age we have to acknowledge this fact.
  • Extremism is often stoked up by international events, e.g in Syria or Middle East. We must ensure that whole communities, British Muslims, etc. are not blamed, labelled or isolated as a result.
  • Getting the balance is tricky, previous Governments talking tough simply fuelled isolation and helped extremist groups, like Al-Muhajiroun.
  • The new position by HMG is far more informed and nuanced, it should be welcomed.

A Societal Issue and The Independent

A piece in the Independent seems to have grasp the headline of this issue but not the subtleties, as expressed above, and:

In society we need to admit that anti-Muslim prejudice is quite widespread. That such reports can lead to a flare up of on-line hate against Muslims and cause more problems.

We should accept that anti-Muslim prejudice has to be tackled.

It is wrong to blame whole or part of communities as it further exasperates extremism, increasing societal disconnect and isolation. Such an approach aids the extremists, be they the EDL or Al-Muhajiroun.

We need to take care on these issues, racism, whatever its forms should not be encouraged.

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Over at Tumblr Too!

I am trying a little experiment out at Tumblr.
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I find Twitter fascinating, but 140 characters is terribly challenging, even with the greatest of effort. So I am going to use Tumblr for the odd thought that can’t be compressed into Twitter-speak or does not deserve a full blog post here.

Obviously, other alternatives exist such as TwitLonger, but I felt Tumblr offered more.

I shall continue using Storify as its interface with Twitter is excellent, if occasionally slow.

Please do expect plenty of typos, poor grammar and an abundance of misspellings on my Tumblr account, Longer Soupy.

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World Socialist Web Site: Doing PR for Assad

Cherry picking is not just confined to fruit.
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It is incredibly popular amongst politicos. Such an approach can be seen from the World Socialist Web Site’s defence of the Assad government on the Houla massacre.

A copy is left below as a public record, as the original was recently removed!


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung confirms: Houla massacre committed by Syrian “rebels”

By
Clara Weiss

16 June 2012

On June 13, journalist Rainer Hermann confirmed his earlier report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung refuting the official version of the Houla massacre in Syria.

The media have almost unanimously described the May 25 events in Houla as an atrocity committed by the Syrian government, relying almost exclusively on reports from the so-called “rebels.” Western powers have used the massacre as a pretext to whip up pro-war sentiment and intensify their pressure on the Assad regime. The US and UK reacted to the massacre by withdrawing diplomats from Syria.

In his June 7 report, Hermann asserted that the victims of the massacre in Taldou, a village in the Houla region, were members of the Alawite und Shi’ite minorities and that the killers were not troops loyal to the Assad regime, but forces aligned with the Sunni-based sectarian Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Although the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is one of the most prominent German-language newspapers and Hermann a well-known journalist, the report has largely been ignored by the German and international media and criticized in a few reports.

In his new article June 13, Hermann defends his reporting and adds further details about the massacre. This report has also been met largely with silence.

The Houla plains region, Hermann writes, “is burdened by a long history of sectarian tensions. … Of the names of the civilians killed, 84 are known. These are the fathers, mothers and 49 children of the Al Sayyid family and two branches of the Abdarrazzaq family. … Additionally killed in Taldou were relatives of the … member of parliament Abdalmuti Mashlab.”

Hermann goes on to describe what happened: “The family members were targeted and killed with only one exception. No neighbour was injured. One had to have knowledge of the place to carry out these well-planned executions”.

Hermann then quotes 11-year-old Ali, the only member of the Al Sayyid family to survive the bloodbath: “Those responsible had shaved heads and long beards”. In Hermann’s opinion, this points to “fanatical jihadists” and not the Shabiha militia.

The version of the event advanced in the global media, in particularly lurid fashion by Britain’s Observer and Der Spiegel, the German news magazine, blames the Shabiha militias, regarded as assault detachments of the Assad regime. These articles rely on the testimony of a Major Jihad Raslan, said to have first served in Assad’s army, who then deserted because he was so appalled by the “events in Houla”. Hermann’s article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung exposes these reports as a bunch of lies.

Hermann reconstructs the sequence of events as follows: “After the Friday prayers on May 25, more than 700 armed people led by Abdurrazzaq Tlass and Yahya Yusuf, forming three groups from Rastan, Kafr Laha and Akraba, attacked three army checkpoints around Taldou. The numerically superior rebels and the (mostly also Sunni) soldiers fought bloody battles in which two dozen soldiers, mostly conscripts, were killed. During and after the fighting the rebels, supported by residents of Taldou, wiped out the Al Sayyid and Abdarrazzaq families. They had refused to join the opposition”.

In his article, Hermann refers to earlier reports by other journalists and nuns from the Jacob Monastery in Qara. Nuns had described to Dutch journalist Martin Jannsen how the “rebels” piled the bodies of dead soldiers and civilians in front of the mosque and told UN observers their version of the alleged massacre in front of cameras from “rebel”-friendly television channels.

The nun Agnès-Maryam had already described the escalation of sectarian violence around Homs in an open letter toward the end of April. She warned of a step-by-step liquidation of all minorities by the Sunni “rebels” and described the displacement of Christians and Alawites from their homes and the rape of young girls who had been given to the “rebels” as spoils of war.

Herman also refers to Russian journalist Marat Musin, who works for the Anna news agency and was in Houla on May 25 and 26, thus becoming an eyewitness to the events as well as a reporter. So far, Musin seems to have given the most detailed description of what took place. His version coincides with Hermann’s and that of the nuns on all decisive points.

These reports and the latest article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung confirm that Syria is being ravaged by a civil war deliberately promoted by Western powers to destabilize the country and prepare it for regime-change. The rebels do not speak for the majority of the population. They are made up of former members of the regime, soldiers, mercenaries, terrorists and secret agents pursuing a reactionary political agenda, many of them using the support by the West to settle old scores and carry out sectarian conflicts.

International news media are supporting the war preparations of US imperialism and its allies in an unprecedented campaign of agitation and propaganda. That is why Hermann’s article and the well-documented reports of other journalists and eyewitnesses are mostly being hushed up.

Human Rights Watch on Syria:

“On May 25, at least 108 residents of Houla near Homs were also killed, most shot at close range. According to survivors and local activists, it was pro-government armed men who were responsible for the executions. In late August, residents from the Damascus suburbs of Daraya and Moadamiya also described finding hundreds of bodies following ground operations there. Some of the victims appeared to have been executed by government forces.”

I have covered Syria many times before.

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Wikimedia Foundation and Antisemitism

jw1I chanced upon this discussion on Jimmy Wales’ page. It is best to read it in full.

I think a fair summary is, one particular Wikimedia Foundation employee was an admirer of Adolf Hitler and alarm bells didn’t ring with his employer.

Or maybe they did? His contract was subsequently ended. However, the lingering impression is, many connected to Wikimedia can’t simply understand what the fuss is about.

Perhaps they should read Wikipedia’s page on World War II casualties and ponder the role of a certain Austrian corporal?

I am reproducing it here in full as a public record, just in case it gets “accidentally” deleted:
Continue reading

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Norman Geras. Not an obituary.

I think I first heard Professor Emeritus Norman Geras talk about 8-9 years ago. It was some event at Senate House. I had read his blog for some time and wanted to hear him in person.

He was impressive, intellectually.

That is the word for him, but moreover connected to humanity.
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I often disagreed with Norm. My last email exchange with him could have been much better. My fault entirely. He never made a point of highlighting his illness. Norm kept writing intelligently to the very last.

This is not an obituary for Norm, but praise of his intellectual prowess, kindness and deep connection to civilisation in all its various forms.

I can make no better recommendation than to suggest reading his blog from the first post onwards. Think about the point he is trying to convey. Disagree with it and then have a rethink.

Norm enriched humanity, and what better tribute is there?

Norm Geras on Blogger, from July 2003.

Norm Geras on Typepad, from 31st December 2003.

I shall be adding to this post over the next few days. Readers, please do leave links to any material on Norm that I have missed.

Update 1: Pioneering blogger Norman Geras dies of prostate cancer aged 70.

Norman Geras in the Guardian.

John Rentoul on Norman Geras: 1943-2013.

Norman Geras at New Left Review.

Update 2: The superb Norm Fest site has been set up by Damian Counsell.

Update 3: Engage has produced a small tribute, Norm 1943-2013.

Update 4: Choosing one or two particular posts from Norm is incredibly difficult. He was consistently outstanding, but these two should strike a bell with thinking antiracists:

On resigning from the union.

David Ward MP, innocent.

Update 5: Norman Geras: For Human Nature by Colin Talbot.

Martin In The Margins is good, R.I.P. Norman Geras (1943 – 2013).
Continue reading

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Labour, Letters And Clear Water

Both Paul Bernal and Sunny Hundal have written open letters to Rachel Reeves. First, the ex-Labour Party member expresses what many of us feel:

“This is a rare chance for you – I do hope you haven’t already thrown it away. Ed Miliband’s speech at conference was very well received, and seemed to pretty seriously rattle the Tories. They, in response, revealed some of their nastiest aspects at their conference. The Lib Dems are still in chaos. With the departure of Liam Byrne, you had a chance to change the game. It was a chance get onto the front foot, and set the agenda – as Ed Miliband did so well with the energy price freeze policy. Did you notice how well that resonated with people? And how the promise to repeal the Bedroom Tax resonated with people? Did you ask yourself why? One of the key reasons is that it put clear water between Labour and the Tories. It showed that Labour understood peoples’ problems, and actually seemed to care about them. It showed that Labour was no longer going to just be a slightly milder version of the Tories…. or so we thought.
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Through your interview, you’ve reversed all that. You may well have lost all the goodwill gained by the Party Conference. I do hope that’s not the case, and I hope you’ll be willing to reconsider your approach. Personally, I live in Cambridge, which is a marginal seat, currently held by the Lib Dems, and I would have thought that you want my vote. Right now, with an approach like this, I don’t think I can give it to you. After Ed Miliband’s speech I was even considering rejoining the Labour Party – after a long gap – and putting a good deal of energy into supporting the campaign. I’d still like to do that, but with an approach like this, I really can’t see a way. [My emphasis.] “

Sunny puts it in an more moderate way:

“The conventional wisdom within Labour is that the party is seen as ‘soft’ on people who claim social security and too forgiving of people who abuse the system. You will know that poorer people are usually harsher towards others on benefits and want tough sanctions on abusers of the system. You will have seen polling that suggests Labour needs to neutralise that image or else people may be tempted to vote for the Conservatives in 2015. Hence you wanted to sound tough in your interview with the Observer on Sunday.

This talk of Labour ‘walking into a welfare trap’ set by the Tories has itself become a problem: we keep returning to the safe ground of ‘tough’ rhetoric, without convincing messages or policies that favour Labour in the long term. It is time to bring some fresh thinking to this debate and I hope you won’t shy away from doing so.”

Update 1: George Eaton argues EU study shreds the myth of “benefit tourism”.

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Rebranding British Neofascism And The EDL

There has been much talk of Tommy Robinson (AKA Stephen Lennon) leaving the EDL. Some believe it is just a put on, whilst others believe his “conversion” is genuine. My own view is that it is merely a rebranding of British neofascism, which has constantly tried to gain ground in the wider world by dumping its unsavoury elements.

This approach has been a constant since the 1950s and Tyndall running around in Nazi gear.
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It is conceivable there maybe the odd occasion when an active hardcore racist or neofascist gives up their prior beliefs, and that is to be welcomed. However, when that happens there is normally a severe break with the past. A severing of old ties and clear breakage with former repulsive opinions.

I notice that has not occurred with Lennon. But rather than express my own skepticism I think many others do it better.

Alex Andreou’s Don’t be fooled by Tommy Robinson’s political sleight-of-hand is superb:

“There is a pattern of behaviour here. Robinson is doing what leaders of far-right movements have always done and continue to do. Like shyster businessmen, they set up one firm that serves their goals, then declare it insolvent and set up another one with a different name – each time creaming the profit of press coverage and a small shift of the political landscape.

This is exactly the modus operandi of such factions. From the British Union of Fascists to the British People’s party, the Action party, the National Front, the Flag Group, the New National Front, the BNP and the EDL, the far-right throbs and expands, blooms, then folds into itself and subdivides like an amorphous but sentient blob from a 1950s B movie. It reinvents itself constantly until it finds the marketable packaging, charismatic personnel, economic conditions and public mood within which it can thrive. In the process it creates new and unusual vacant spaces in our political consciousness that existing or newly formed parties scramble to fill. The entire manoeuvre is designed to inexorably drag the Overton window to the right, making the intolerable, accepted and the intolerant, acceptable.”

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Occupy Wall Street And Open Racism

The Occupy Wall Street movement is not a single organisation, however, that does not excuse the presence of plain and simple antisemitism on related Facebook pages.

This is one example:

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A cursory glance across their page reveals other little snippets or links to neo-Nazi material:

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The bottom part links to the IHR, infamous Holocaust deniers & wandering antisemites, the other leads to Jew Watch, a hard core antisemitic site run by a neo-Nazi.

This is a small sampling. There is probably much, much more racism further down the page.

Their presence on Facebook is attached this site and the OccupyWallSt Twitter account.

Scary, but their main page has 623,988 likes!

Update 1: New posters should read the Comments Policy and re-read!

Update 2: We should not forget that racism comes in many shapes and intensities, so it is with this Occupy Wall Street Facebook page.

These dog whistles of racism often include a photograph or cartoon which conveys a secondary message.

The one below is suggestive that President Obama is subservient to Jews.

That is a common theme found on many neo-Nazi/hardcore antisemitic web sites. Now it is a point that this Occupy Wall Street Facebook page echoes, more racism by the day.

Update 3: There is an almost hourly link which connects to odd bits of antisemitism or makes sweeping generalizations on this Facebook page. I suggest readers and OWS supporters study that page and learn to spot this form of racism along with its motifs.

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The One Law for All Campaign Does Not Even Understand The Question

The One Law for All campaign is run by seasoned political activists. That makes their inability to comprehend the question of amicability to neofascists, EDL supporters/sympathizers all the harder to understand.

Reminds me of the old adage “When in a hole, stop digging.”.

I will comment on it later on but in the interim I have taken the liberty of reposting Anne Marie Waters’ statement on the issue, lest it vanish:

“Anne Marie Waters October 8, 2013 at 10:44 pm:

Ok, before I start, I speak on my own behalf, not Maryam’s, or One Law for All, but I simply cannot let this go on without speaking out.

First of all, Pat Condell. Pat Condell is not a racist – he has been very clear on numerous occasions that his issue is with religion, not race. I second that. There are disturbing rape statistics in Scandinavia. This report from Norway discusses it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWWrpv-pbuc The girl interviewed tell us that her rapist told her that he could do whatever he liked to her because his religion says so. You will probably now call the Norwegian police racist, but I doubt that they are. The police woman in question was right that attitudes to women are relevant and we’ve got to have the courage to discuss them. These attitudes stem from religion, not race. BobFromBrockley you wrote: “It’s the language that is racist, not whatever factual basis may or may not exist for his claims”. So you’re unconcerned about the facts? Telling the truth is racist? I’m afraid not. What is racist though is raping Norwegian women because they are Norwegian. Raping “Aussie pigs” because they’re Aussies, is also racist http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/07/13/1026185124700.html

You might also be interested in the young rapist who escaped punishment here in Britain because he believed women “to be no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground”. He claimed he was taught this by Islam. Note please, he said this. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2268395/Adil-Rashid-Paedophile-claimed-Muslim-upbringing-meant-didnt-know-illegal-sex-girl-13.html)

At no point did Condell blame this on race, but on religion. And perhaps he’s got some reason to given the words of the rapists themselves. The idea that women are to blame for rape is not some lunatic fringe, but state policy in many Islamic states. Sorry if that is inconvenient but the truth often is. You are no doubt going to focus on who did the reporting of these words, and ignore the words, but that is something I can never do. Even the Daily Mail doesn’t get away with fabricating facts.

To suggest (and nobody is) that all Muslim men view women in this way is absurd and grossly offensive, but it is just as absurd to suggest that religious and cultural norms which imprison women for being rape victims has no impact whatsoever on the views of some of these men – especially when they believe that this comes from God. This cannot carry on. We owe it to the victims to be honest about this. And before you say it, no decent person is going to blame all Muslims, or all “immigrants”.. only people such as yourselves lump people in to groups like this. Most people don’t. But the motive matters and it must be addressed.

You might think facing the truth is “stirring up hatred” but I rather think it might be the rapes that are doing that. If the truth hurts, it is the truth that must change, not the fact that people are telling it.

Please try to understand the damage that this causes. Shouting racist at people for recognising reality is the reason that there are 1000s of girls in this country having their genitals butchered every year, are forced in to “marriages”, forced out of school and imprisoned in their homes. Police and social workers are terrified because people like you shout racist at them at every given opportunity – whether what they say is true or not. This is obscene and those who do it need to have a serious look at themselves.

In summary: standing back and doing nothing to protect young girls and women because of their skin colour – that is racism.

You have also demeaned the word racist and made it so that it is no longer taken as seriously as it should, and the result will inevitably be that people who suffer because of their colour of their skin will be ignored. You are having the opposite effect and leaving people to suffer – because of their skin colour, while calling everyone else racists.

SarahAB – I agree with you “there are different shades of opinion amongst EDL supporters”. Yes there are. I don’t like the EDL, I have never supported them and I wish they didn’t exist – but they do, and do you know why? Because people shouted “racist” at everyone who had a legitimate concern about Islam and drove everyone away – creating racial tension, doing nothing to solve anything and instead making it immeasurably worse. Government, police, social workers all ignored it – because they would be called racists if they did anything. This causes the problems you now complain of – this is why the EDL exists.

As for QueenLareefer, who the hell is anyone to tell her she’s a racist? Do you know her? I didn’t know she was EDL but I would have to get to know her before I make judgements on her – to understand what her reasons are. She’s an individual and deserves to be treated like one. The EDL has seriously nasty people in it yes, but many people turn to it because they feel they’ve got nowhere else to go. Where is she to turn to express herself? To the left? What if she loves her country as she clearly does? That makes her a racist to many on the left, especially if that country happens to be England. She will automatically be dismissed. No political party will entertain anyone who expresses a dislike of Islam and what if she doesn’t subscribe to left-wing beliefs? I know that some of you believe anyone who isn’t left-wing is a racist, but that is your problem. I happen to love this country too, as do many black and Asian Brits – what category do you put them in? What is your view on the nasty elements of the UAF? An organisation which has an avowed Islamist as its vice chair? (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/andrewgilligan/100140248/ken-livingstones-anti-fascist-group-appoints-fascist-as-vice-chair/) Do you condemn the UAF just as loudly? I didn’t think so.

People often feel they have nowhere to go when they dislike Islam, as they perfectly entitled to do. I don’t agree with every word Queen Lareefer says, but amazingly, as an adult, I can still respect her right to express herself without smearing her as a racist. She clearly has issues with Islam: she and I have that in common. I retweeted her today (and you can ‘presume’ all you like about what tweets of hers I saw or didn’t) because I support the view that we should move on and all anti-Islamists reject actual racists and work with Quilliam and others to defeat the real threat of Islamism. Serious kudos are due to Quilliam for this. We’ve got to stop alienating and pushing everyone away, we’ve got to identify racism for what it is – it’s about race, not religion. Opposition to Islamism is not some exclusive club and who the hell do people think they are to think they get to dictate who is or isn’t a racist?

As for paranoia which someone has thrown at me recently because of my website. 85 sharia tribunals and counting? Paranoia? Imams caught on camera marrying little girls. Paranoia? You might want to check out Undercover Mosque http://vimeo.com/19598947 and http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xr1al0_undercover-mosque-the-return_webcam Or are the cameras racist too?

Now I know you are inevitably going to call me a racist for all this, do your best. I really am past caring.

You can continue to focus on who follows who on twitter, and I will continue to focus on little girls and women being raped and mutilated. You have your priorities, I have mine.

[Editor's note: I apologise to reader for the linkage to the appalling Daily Mail, etc but I wanted to give Ms. Waters the opportunity to fully air her views.]

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Tell MAMA on CNN

Racism towards ethnic minorities in Britain is seriously under reported. It rarely receives the coverage that it deserves in the media. So CNN’s short clip on Tell MAMA is most welcome:

To report an incident of anti-Muslim racism contact Tell MAMA via:

  • Phone TELL MAMA on 0800 456 1226
  • Text TELL MAMA on 01157070007
  • Email TELL MAMA at info@tellmamauk.org
  • Tweet TELL MAMA @tellmamauk
  • Message TELL MAMA on Facebook at TellMamaUK
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Lack of Commonsense At One Law for All Campaign

I find if I make a mistake it is good to apologise, but there is a need to do it sincerely. Conversely, I find amongst most politicos, the university educated and with many men: a serious reluctance to ever admit they are wrong. No matter the overwhelming evidence.
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One example is the MPs expenses scandal. Even at the very end, these rich, well-educated and privileged individuals could not admit they were wrong, openly. It was abundantly clear to everyone outside of Westminster that there had been serious wrongdoings on MPs expenses. To the bitter end some MPs would not say “Sorry, we did wrong.”

That seems to be the problem with the One Law for All campaign, or least their spokesperson Anne Marie Waters.

Despite being reassured by their leader that they will reply early next week I have yet to see even the slightest mea culpa.

In fact, Ms Waters seems to be digging her heels in, but I don’t wish this to be an acrimonious dispute.

I just want nonracists to ostracised neofascists, neo-Nazis, their friends, their allies, their water carriers and PR teams. To shun them, completely.

Surely, that is not too much to ask?
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Notwithstanding how I outlined my disagreement on Storify, Ms Waters seems intent on misunderstanding my points. Therefore, I have taken the liberty of condensing a few tweets which described the issue as I see it (I fixed some typos):

“We’re often told by “anti-Islamists”/secularists/atheists that they have nothing inherently against Muslims, yet this doesn’t always stack up. If said individuals have nothing intrinsically against Muslims, then they shouldn’t be found exchanging pleasantries with racists/neofascists. This is a fairly simple point, & it applies widely that nonracists should not, cohabitate, aid or otherwise normalise racists/neofascists.

But we can see how the spokesperson of the One Law for All campaign is exceedingly friendly with EDL sympathisers/supporters. You might not unreasonably expect that nonracists should avoid any friendly contact with neofascists or their allies, based on the above. Because otherwise we may assume that they share similar views, in this case a loathing for Muslims, to varying degrees.

That point applies broadly, if we look at “anti-Zionists” we would hope not to find them anywhere near antisemitic material, but we do. We should hope that those who express strong views in relationship to Muslims or Jews, do not associated anyway with neofascists or neo-Nazis. Nevertheless, there is evidence that “anti-Zionists” have distributed antisemitic links over time, this is only one example.

Equally, supposed “secularists”, such as @AMDWaters are on very good terms with a few EDL supporters/sympathisers.

I would personally prefer if that were not the case, but the evidence in their timelines, is proof enough, look yourself: @AMDWaters @freegazaorg

I hope the One Law for All Campaign make a serious effort to understand these points. These ideas are not complex for those committed to antiracism, or anyone literate.

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The Daily Mail And Hitler

Disclaimer: I am not a fan of Ed Miliband. I think that he is far too timid in his opposition to the Tories. I wish he would dispense with Liam Byrne’s services and adopt a stridently anti Tory agenda, but he won’t. Miliband is a rather moderate politician.

On a bad day I can be terribly cynical, but even I was astonished at the Daily Mail’s attack on Ralph Milliband.

Emily Maitlis is particularly great on Newsnight in examining the malicious, ill informed and scurrilous character assassination of Ralph Miliband, and by inference his son, Ed.

The Hacked Off campaign is good, if too brief.

Michael Newman hits the nail on the head:

“But, of course, Levy’s real target is not Ralph Miliband at all, but Ed, whom he accuses of being determined to bring about his father’s vision. Apart from being absurd, this is also ironic for, ever since my biography was published, I have constantly been asked to explain how both of Ralph’s sons became politicians in a party that he had often regarded as a barrier to the attainment of socialism. “[My emphasis.]

Even Lord Heseltine, who served under Thatcher, knows that the Daily Mail has crossed a line:

“Heseltine told The Daily Politics on BBC2: “This is carrying politics to an extent that is just demeaning, frankly. The headline isn’t justified. It is completely out of context. As everybody knows the guy fought for this country and we now live in a totally different world to the clash between communism and fascism.”

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Just a simple reminder of who the Daily Mail boss, Viscount Rothermere, liked. He is the man in the middle.

This is what Rothermere wrote in September 1933:

“It is Germany’s good fortune to have found a leader who can combine for the public good all the most
vigorous elements in the country. President von Hindenburg and the Crown Prince form, with Herr Hitler, the keystone of the national structure.

The world’s greatest need today is realism. Hitler is a realist. He has saved his country from the ineffectual leadership of hesitating, half-hearted politicians. He has infused into its national life the conquerable spirit of triumphant youth.”

So when faced with the evil that Hitler represented, what did the Daily Mail proprietor, Rothermere do?

He applauded it.

That tells you all you need to know about the Daily Mail. Not much has changed.
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Update 1: Daily Mail widens attack on Ed Miliband.

Update 2: Stephen Fry gives his tuppence worth:

“But there’s form here. The Mail still can’t quite live with the shame that it has always, always been historically wrong about everything – large and small – from Picasso to equal pay for women. Because it has always been against progress, the liberalising of attitudes, modern art and strangers (whether by race, gender or sexuality). Of course they’ll leap on a Stephen Lawrence bandwagon once the seeds of their decades of anti-immigration racism (read a 1960s or 1970s Daily Mail) have been sown, but deep down they have always come from the same place and had the same instinct for the lowest, most mean-spirited, hypocritical, spiteful and philistine elements of our island nation.

Most notoriously of all, they loved Adolf Hitler when he came to power, and as the Czech crisis arose they were the appeasement newspaper. And woe-betide any liberal-minded anti-fascist who warned that the man was unstable and that consistently satisfying his vanity, greed and ambition was only storing up trouble. The whole liberal left, not to mention Winston Churchill, were mocked and scorned for their instinctive distrust of Hitler. The Daily Mail knew better.” [My emphasis.]

Update 3: This Buzzfeed is superb. The Best Of The Internet Vs. The Daily Mail.

Update 4: Where is Paul Dacre? is funny.

Update 5: Channel 4 on The mythical power of the Daily Mail.
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