BDS

George Galloway “I don’t debate with Israelis”

I had always thought the George Galloway was a skilful, if devious and often nauseating, politician, but a recent video clip suggests he is none too smart, when caught on the spur of the moment.

Galloway can be seen storming out of a students’ debate saying “I don’t debate with Israelis” and more:

I wonder what the reaction would have been if he’d been a fringe UKIPer saying “I don’t debate with the French”? Hmm.

Update 1: Oxford Student covers it too:

“Mahmood Naji, who runs Oxford Debates and selected Galloway to speak, said before the event: “I chose Galloway because he is probably the most vocal and well-known voice on this issue.

“Oxford is an establishment that should prize free speech and open dialogue more than any other. This is the kind of institution that will put extreme or controversial views up to academic scrutiny and then shoot them down accordingly.”

Galloway has been consistently outspoken in his views on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and in 2009 received a Palestinian passport from Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Hamas are considered a terrorist organisation by the US and the EU.

This was the second time this academic year that Galloway has visited Oxford. In October the former ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ contestant spoke at the Oxford Union, where he was met with protests by members of Oxford Feminist Network. These came after Galloway described allegations of rape facing Wikileaks leader Julian Assange as constituting “bad sexual etiquette”, but added “not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion”. These comments led to the NUS passing a motion adopting a ‘no platform’ policy towards the MP.”

Update 2: Liberal Conspiracy has a thread on it, which I imagine will soon be overflowing with toxic comments.

Update 3: Galloway’s employer, Press TV, is more than happy to promote neo-Nazi views.

In this instance from 2011, arguing that the racist forgery, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, has a point:

“And as for the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and its Protocol Number 7, its statement that, “the press, which with a few exceptions that may be disregarded, is already entirely in our hands,” is only partially true.

Yes, Press TV of Iran is one of the “few exceptions” to The Lobby’s control of global print and electronically transmitted news and analysis.

(more…)

London BDS, Racism And Press TV

London BDS & Jim Dean

Anti-Israeli boycott, disinvestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigners often claim they against antisemitism and racism, yet their actions tell another story.

London BDS as an unfortunate habit of using material from the racist, Press TV.

Recently, they praised an article by Jim W. Dean.

Astute readers will know that Dean is intimately connected to the terrible Veterans Today, not only that but any cursory reading of the article would ring alarm bells amongst any antiracist, where he argues:

“Real historians like David Irving were attacked for printing the forbidden truth and made examples of to cower the rest of the sheep. And yes, Jewish lobbies had their fingerprints all over the dirty deed. “

If London BDS and other Western pro-Palestinian activists wish to be more convincing than they should stop digesting the racist filth that Press TV puts out.

Anyone ignorant of David Irving should read Holocaust Denial on Trial and the Guardian’s special report.

The SPLC on Veterans Today.

Update 1: The PSC have put out a statement distancing themselves from the @LondonBDS account:

“Palestine Solidarity Campaign is shocked and disgusted that a twitter account @londonbds tweeted an article with clearly anti-Semitic content. We oppose all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

Anti-racism is a core value of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and the broader Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality. Palestinians face systematic discrimination and building opposition to all forms of racism is a key part of our campaigning.

Supporting Palestine is supporting an anti-racist struggle and we shall continue to make clear that there is no place for any form of racism in our movement.

PSC has been informed that this is not the twitter account of London BDS group, whose account is @londonbdsgroup, but an apparently lone individual. We have reported this to twitter as hate speech. “

All very laudable, however, the PSC is not adverse to the racist Press TV, as a matter of principle, any simple search shows that.

The rest of their statement is decidedly implausible, as anyone with access to Google can see.

Readers will remember how long it took the PSC to kick out a self-proclaimed Holocaust denier, Francis Clark-Lowes, from their ranks. Even then about 1/5 of the conference delegates did not think Holocaust denial was antisemitic and wanted to keep him as a member.

Moreover, the notorious Ben White saw no problem with the @LondonBDS as can be seen.

My bet is their next gambit will be “Some of our best friends are….”

David Hirsh On The Merchant Of Venice And Habima

Over at Engage, David Hirsh has scrutinized, picked apart and provided informed cultural analysis on Shakespeare’s Merchant Of Venice within the context of Habima, and some decidedly non-Shakespearean bigots

“When I see a production of the Merchant of Venice, it is always the audience which unsettles me. The play tells two stories which relate to each other. One is the story of Shylock, a Jewish money lender who is spat on, excluded, beaten up, and in the end mercilessly defeated and humiliated. The other is an apparently light-hearted story about an arrogant, rich, self-absorbed young woman, clever but not wise, pretty but not beautiful, and her antisemitic friends. Shakespeare inter-cuts the grueling detailed scenes of the bullying of Shylock, with the comedic story of Portia’s love-match with a loser who has already frittered away his large inheritance.

Shakespeare offers us an intimately observed depiction of antisemitic abuse, and each time the story reaches a new climax of horribleness, he then offers hackneyed and clichéd gags, to see if he can make us laugh. It is as if he is interested in finding out how quickly the audience forgets Shylock, off stage, and his tragedy. And the answer, in every production I’ve ever seen, is that the audience is happy and laughing at second rate clowning, within seconds. And I suspect that Shakespeare means the clowning and the love story to be second rate. He is doing something more interesting than entertaining us. He is playing with our emotions in order to show us something, to make us feel something.”

Ben White Indulges His Hatred Of Jews

Ben White is an anti-Israeli obsessive, who once said he could understand antisemitism.

Since then he and his apologists have indulged in a touch of backtracking, but every now and again his mask slips as with White’s recent tweet which caricatured Howard Jacobson:

“If you need another reason to support a
boycott of Habima, I present a massive
picture of Howard Jacobson’s face
https://twitter.com/SFV4I/status/206460553743446017/photo/1/large

Now you will appreciate that Ben White has nothing against Jews, in fact, some of his best friends are….

Yeah, right…

Update 1: Just in case the penny drops and White realises the racist implications of his tweet then seeks to remove the evidence:

The Habima Theatre Of Israel, For Want Of Rational Discussion

At the moment I am not much of a theatre goer but I thought this guest post at False Dichotomies asked relevant questions of those who support BDS:

“I tried to talk to the group making their brave stand next to me. I pointed some of the above out, by way of introduction. The women to my immediate left stared vacantly past me, possessed of her own righteousness. “What of the 5 million Palestinians who don’t have a voice”, she said to herself, as I attempted to find out what she knew of the siege of Nahr El-Bared by the Lebanese army in 2007 as compared with the Battle of Jenin in 2002 – whether, as people often wonder, Palestinian suffering counts when it is inflicted by the Lebanese, or Syrians, or Jordanians, or themselves – by anyone, in fact, but the Jews.

No reply.

Perhaps the best one of the night – and this is not saying much – came when a man stood up and pompously intoned “do the Palestinians not have eyes” and “if you prick us, do we not bleed” as he was taken out. Someone told him to piss off, to gales of laughter. As Shylock hesitated on stage, a voice cried out for him to carry on, “we’re all with you”. And, bar a lone woman shouting out that Israel was an apartheid state built on stolen Palestinian land in the street outside, that was it. To her, and all the others I saw in action tonight, I would ask the following questions.

Why are you unable, for the most part, to engage in rational discussion with people about the issues you protest? Why does the BDS movement appear to reject a solution that reflects the aspirations of both peoples for independence and self-determination?

Why is your “justice” so partial, so one-sided?

Why are you so palpably consumed by hatred?

Why do you never, ever, address the appalling treatment of the Palestinians by the countries in which they are left to rot in refugee camps? Why do you not recognise that it is impossible to turn the clock back to 1948? Why are you so obsessed with the need to self-aggrandize yourself in actions which merely make you look foolish and ignorant and do nothing to contribute to a better future for the people you purport to represent? ” [my emphasis.]

A View Of Anti-Zionists, The CST’s Take

The CST does the admirable job of providing security, assistance and help to the Jewish community in Britain.

But not only that, its annual reports detail the rise (and occasional dip) in antisemitism.

Further, the CST blog describes in detail instances of racism towards Jews and is a required reading for anyone seriously opposed to antisemitism.

Boycott Israel: Zionists are “the most hateful people imaginable”, their latest entry looks at the inflammatory and disparaging language which is invariably found within boycott Israelis type groupings:

“The website of the London branch of the boycott Israel movement (the people who intend to disrupt next week’s Israeli performances of The Merchant of Venice), carries an article stating that Zionists are

the most hateful people imaginable

The boycott Israel article also describes Zionism as:

a murderous, parasitic doctrine

Dehumanisation and demonisation are the basic building blocks of racism and racist violence. Zionism is a political choice, so anti-Zionism is not exactly racism.

Still, most Jews are Zionists; and Zionism is inextricably linked with Jews, Judaism and Jewish history. To be a Zionist in a post-Holocaust world is, for many Jews, simply the most basic issue of survival.

In 2010, JPR’s survey showed that 72% of British Jews self-categorise as “Zionist”.

If Zionists are “the most hateful people imaginable” then surely Zionists, as well as Israel, ought to be boycotted? Hell, Zionists probably deserve a good kicking also. After all, who ever complained when neo-Nazi skinheads get assaulted?

So, if you dehumanise and demonise Zionists there will be an antisemitic outcome.

Nobody asks Jewish victims a survey about Zionism before hitting them over the head, or trying to burn down their synagogue, or trying to murder children at a Jewish Primary school. (Indeed, this is why the anti-Zionist leftists have nothing to say about any of this, not even when it comes down to dead children.)”

[My emphasis on last part.]

Such rabble-rousing language amongst anti-Zionists is all too common and has filtered into the mainstream, evidenced by the content of Comment Is Free or the thinking behind BBC’s HARDtalk, as another CST post demonstrated:

“Jewish conspiracy theory is fundamental to antisemitism. It relies on the notion of Jewish wealth and power, working against the rest of society. It is commonly expressed as Jews controlling politicians and the media.

This does not render discussion of Jewish political and media influence illegitimate. It does, however, require discussion of them to be sensitive and careful. If one is not discussing a Jewish conspiracy, then a responsible journalist should say so, explicitly. For example, Peter Oborne knew the antisemitic risks in his Channel 4 programme, ‘Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby’. He explicitly stated that he had found no conspiracy, nor anything resembling one. (Sadly, the risks were made clear when many of those covering the programme made no such distinctions.)

Unfortunately, BBC’s flagship HARDtalk programme took no such care in its recent interview with the controversial Norman Finkelstein. On the contrary, the interview proceeded as if American foreign policy is beholden to Israel and that this can only be explained by “the Jewish lobby”.

Complaints to the BBC solicited the answer you would expect: this is HARDtalk, so we have to reflect the views of our guest, Norman Finkelstein, and we then robustly challenge those views.”

BDS Stigmatises Kosher Food

The conduct of BDS supporters in Birmingham leaves little doubt that racism is firmly embedded in their outlook.

They attacked the Kosher food section in a Tesco supermarket.

Anthony Cooper covers it with typical restraint.

This is not the first (or to be the last time) that BDS has been associated with anti-Jewish racism.

Readers will remember how the London BDS’s Twitter account talked of:

“Please write to Baroness Jenny Tonge to show your support. Israelificated Zionists controlled media trying to blame her.”

So they believe the media is controlled by “Israelificated Zionists” and they attack a Kosher section of a Tesco’s.

Rather telling of their attitudes. I wonder what excuses they will use to hide their racism and deflect criticism?

Transition: From Concerned to Jenny Tonge and Ken O’Keefe.

While studying the phenomena of support for Jenny Tonge I have been struck by a number of things:

1. The level of shared paranoia and slippage into conspiracy theories that occurs.

2. How many of her defenders subscribe to her conspiratorial views or paranoia about some supposedly all-powerful “Zionist” lobby.

3. How distasteful it is to see once cynical individuals don rose tinted glasses when dealing with Tonge’s comments.

Granted, my sampling was only every reference to Jenny Tonge on Twitter for a 12+ hour period and there might be other interpretations. Nevertheless, they do seem to illustrate much of the above.

Naturally, there is a degree of variation and intensity in those expressing support for Baroness Tonge.

It is rather like a sliding scale, comparatively moderate at one end, increasingly vociferous and extreme at the other.

We can see how, otherwise, decent people may feel some sympathy for Jenny Tonge, as her supporters portray her as a victim.

The reality is, of course, very different. Baroness Tonge merely resigned the party whip, not from the Liberal Democrats. She is still a member. In fact, she has more freedom to shout off her mouth.

But it is understandable that some take pity on her.

Slightly further down the scale you have the political activists who have a chip on their shoulder about Israelis, and some that even share Baroness Tonge’s obsession with the supposedly all powerful “Zionist” lobby.

Inching along the scale we find cranks, such as the London BDS, which make inflammatory and perplexing remarks:

“Please write to Baroness Jenny Tonge to show your support. Israelificated Zionists controlled media trying to…”

And:

“Lib-Dem and Labour Zionists purge Jenny Tonge « Red Scribblings”

On the surface comparatively moderate, however, digging deeper revealed a blog which proffers a strange mix of Holocaust denial, outright racism and stupidity.

All this might suggest that many people start off with understandable sympathy for the Palestinians, some migrate over time to Jenny Tonge’s stance and then possibly on to sharing Ken O’Keefe’s extremist views.

Readers will remember him ranting about 9/11 and Mossad, as the JC reported:

“Baroness Tonge was sitting next to Mr O’Keefe as he screamed at audience members, said Israel “must be destroyed” and claimed Mossad was “directly involved” in the September 11 terror attacks on the United States.”

That shared paranoia seemed almost infectious.

When questioned Tonge’s supporters are apt to respond with incredulity. They can’t see how their weird views could be seen differently from the outside. They show an almost complete lack of introspection.

That is the danger.

Starting off with good intentions, but after swimming around in this bizarre paranoid  dogma become obsessed with “Zionists” ending up like Ken O’Keefe, ranting on about Mossad and 9/11, almost foaming at the mouth.

Many people are concerned with these issues, but some succumb to Jenny Tonge’s polite racism and paranoia, and can become purblind to the implications of Ken O’Keefe’s views.

Frightening.

Dealing With Anti-Muslim Racism & More.

The advent of the MAMA project is most welcome.

Until now it has been hard to quantify the extent and level of racism which faces many Muslims in Britain. Years back when I tried to research the topic I found scattered information, incomplete police reporting and a serious lack of concrete information.

It is going to be a hard and depressing task, to correlate and document the level of racism faced by Muslims on a day-to-day basis in Britain, however, I hope that the MAMA project has the success that the Community Security trust does. Good luck to them.

James Bloodworth looks at a common British habit, When did looking down on others become the national pastime?

Report from Lhasa: February 18, 2012 makes difficult reading:

“Lhasa consists of approximately 1.2 million Chinese and approximately 200,000 Tibetans. The majority of these Tibetans live in an area which is now almost entirely enclosed by military compounds with walls between 10-16 feet; some with barbed wire. This isolation gives the impression of what the Warsaw Ghetto was like. Inside the “enclosed” area groups of armed soldiers, S.W.A.T. teams, and police patrol the streets 24 hours a day. Military drill songs can be heard throughout the day. S.W.A.T trucks and rows of 6 to 15 armored vehicles and tanks come through the area on a daily basis. Each vehicle has 3 to 4 soldiers at the opening turret, armed with assault rifles or machine guns aimed at the Tibetans.

All Tibetans must carry identification at all times. Tibetans residing in Lhasa are required to register with the police. There are approximately 134 new Police station checkpoints in Lhasa for random searches of pedestrians and vehicles. In addition to the military compounds in and around Lhasa, permanent military posts holding 1-10 armed soldiers have been established throughout the city. “

It could be just like Switzerland, that’s what Hirsh Goodman thinks.

Spiegel Online reminds us the Neo-Nazi Terrorist Threat Remains Real.

In local blog news, the Third Estate on How rich institutions, the big parties and the mass media have colonised the blogosphere.

Jeff Goldberg has a worrying piece, Iranian Scientist’s Wife Says Husband Sought Annihilation of Israel. The Fars News Agency has the original copy.

Norms of intervention.

Finally, Bradley Burston makes some excellent points:

“It’s Israel Apartheid Week 2012. Time for people who support Israel to tell the truth. Yes, the settlements are an obstacle to peace. Yes, the occupation, which exists to protect the settlements, is the opposite of democracy. Yes, the present government speaks of two states in theory alone.

In the democracy that was the United States in the year 1840, there were those who said that slavery was essential, irreversible, eternal, God’s will. And that people of color and women of all races should not, and therefore would not, be granted the freedoms and rights of full citizenship, that the only good Native American was a dead one.

And, at the same time, there were those who believed that democracy and equality would become law, however dreadful and protracted the process might be, and they were right.

It is 2012. America’s freedoms, its promises of opportunity and openness to immigrants and minorities, are still under attack, still being tested. The answer is not to dismantle America, but to strengthen its freedoms.

All Americans deserve democracy and self-determination. So do both of the native peoples of the Holy Land, Palestinians and Israelis alike. Just as in 1840 America, in this Holy Land there are people working on both sides, quietly, continually, toward that goal. Not freedom for one people at the expense of the other, but freedom and independence for both.

This is the lesson that BDS has yet to learn. And this is why BDS, and Israeli Apartheid Week, are failures. “