Bigotry at Liberal Conspiracy Goes Unchallenged

Liberal Conspiracy is an interesting and frequently informative blog, however, its occasional forays into commentary on the Middle East often allow racist or bigoted comments to go unnoticed or unchallenged.

That is what happened recently.

Unrelated to the topic, one of the posters started comparing the number of Jewish MPs & the number of British Jews.

As the CST pointed out last year:

The concept of “Jewish entitlement”, whereby Jews (or other minority groups) are limited to a certain number of seats in Parliament according to their numbers, is entirely alien to British democracy. Candidates are supposed to appeal for votes on the basis of their policies rather than assuming “entitlement” because of their religion or ethnicity; and for a party to select candidates on the basis of their religion or ethnicity would almost certainly be illegal.”

There are, broadly, three themes to consider: the roots of this remark, the blog’s comments policy and the wider applicability of this line of reasoning.

Snap 2013-01-25 at 00.50.20

Firstly, it is a very common feature found on the Far and Extreme Right.

Stormfront, the neo-Nazi forum, covered this in January 2012, for the obvious reason that to the hardcore antisemite “one Jew is one Jew too many”.

Antisemitism is predicated on conspiracy theories, of secretive power and supposed manipulation, etc. which underlies the comment.

This is ingrained into the antisemite’s consciousness and an obvious tell-tale sign of their thinking. Anyone remotely familiar with antiracism should have familiarised themselves with these particular tropes, which is why it is exceedingly annoying to find it at Liberal Conspiracy, a left-wing antiracist blog.

The comment (#9) itself is cut and paste from an article by the racist, Stuart Littlewood from May 2010. The essence of the comment is common currency across anti-Jewish and racist web sites as any simple search of Google would show.

Secondly, this is all the more egregious as Liberal Conspiracy prides itself on having a tight comments policy aimed at fostering constructive debate.” [My emphasis.]

I can only assume that moderators at Liberal Conspiracy can’t see the implication of the comment or understand its antecedents.

I had tried to illuminate this issue to those running Liberal Conspiracy, but it seems that the comments policy varies considerably in implementation, although they say:

“We believe in free speech but not your right to abuse our space.
Abusive, sarcastic or silly comments may be deleted.
Misogynist, racist, homophobic and xenophobic comments will be deleted.”

Thirdly, such interjections and conceits are a mainstay of racists. The particular target may vary, but the argument is similar, running along the lines of “there are too many …….[fill in ethnicity] here” or “why are so …….[fill in ethnicity] doing this job”.

In Britain that applies, whether or not the target is Polish immigrants**, Afro-Caribbean nurses or other ethnic minorities.

In short, I think that Liberal Conspiracy is right to provide critiques on the Middle East and related matters, but they should be conscious of how anti-Jewish racism is fostered. They should educate themselves in the various figures of speech and arguments use by the Far/Extreme Right. Their comments policy should be implemented in an even-handed but intelligent manner. Its moderators should be aware, more broadly, of these racist arguments and where they lead.

Finally, ignorance of this type of racism is no excuse, particularly at Liberal Conspiracy.

PS: **Apologies for linking to the Daily Mail, but the atrocious comments connected with the article illustrate my point.


5 thoughts on “Bigotry at Liberal Conspiracy Goes Unchallenged

  1. Sarah AB 25/01/2013 / 07:07

    They allow some terrible comments to stay up from people with eg anti-Muslim views. See comment 37 from Ana here.

    I think sometimes people just can’t be bothered to engage with such people because it’s wearisome – not because they are soft on these matters.

    On I/P there have been horrible comments from Israel’s supporters over on Lib Con – see those by Neil Craig here – the last comment on the thread is me asking for it to be deleted.

    Clearly there are different perspectives on how liberal a comments policy should be – but I don’t think LC has a special problem with a/s.

  2. soupyone 25/01/2013 / 12:09

    “but I don’t think LC has a special problem with a/s.”

    That isn’t my point.

    But perhaps you could explain, in some detail, why we find themes which come from neo-Nazi web sites in such threads and why the moderators are clearly oblivious to them?

  3. Sarah AB 25/01/2013 / 19:19

    No, not really, except to say that these topics attract those with extreme views and that Liberal Conspiracy doesn’t seem to delete much, and should perhaps update their comments policy to reflect that. I can’t think off hand of any complaints against them for special biases in deletion patterns.

  4. soupyone 25/01/2013 / 20:04

    LC are politically sophisticated, therefore should be aware of how these topics attract racists, particularly those who don’t like Jews.

    If it were another ethnic minority, where such a trope was brought up I have no doubt the comment would be deleted or at least receive a rebuke from the moderators.

    Instead it simply flies above everyone head and such racism becomes normalised, not a desirable outcome and one that political activists could anticipate, if they were serious.

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