Rev. Stephen Sizer is no novice in terms of racism.
Engage 2006: The Church is Moral; The People in the Shadows Are Not
My coverage, going back years.
The CST on Sizer.
Betsy Childs’ excellent The Master of Apologies.
Rev. Stephen Sizer is no novice in terms of racism.
Engage 2006: The Church is Moral; The People in the Shadows Are Not
My coverage, going back years.
The CST on Sizer.
Betsy Childs’ excellent The Master of Apologies.
Previously, I have pointed out how the Stop the War Coalition uses material from an active antisemite, Alison Weir (not the historian).
Also, they published a poem, which willingly referenced Gordon Duff, the proprietor of a hardcore antsemitic site, Veterans Today.
At the time I had thought that it was only an unfortunate mistake by the author, but now the train of thinking is apparent. Another tract from Heathcote Williams has appeared.
In a demented sermon masking itself as a poem Churchill is accused of provoking Hitler and starting World War II:
In ‘Human Smoke’ Nicholson Baker
Shows how complicit Churchill was
In provoking World War Two:
He bombed Berlin
Antifascists will remember how David Irving took a similar tack many years back.
Had I not seen such thinking and arguments before on the Extreme Right I might have been surprised, but shockingly Williams is not a neo-Nazi or an active antisemite.
Instead Williams is an old Etonian and apparently on the fringes of the British Far Left.
I was curious if Williams other works would reveal something of his thinking. I didn’t have to go far.
Williams has written a long, interminable, piece on the Middle East. It drips with contempt for Jews.
I was mistaken before to think that his use of material from an active antisemite was an aberration, an error, rather it is more a way of thinking amongst the Stop the War Coalition and its groupies.
So the desire to blame everyone, but Hitler and the Nazis for World War II is not confined to the Extreme Right. It has its advocates on the British Far Left.
That is why we must not forget history or allow such foul revisionist thinking to go unchallenged, whenever and wherever it comes from.
“God Promised Antisemitism to the Zionists
My reflections on the Campaign Against Antisemitism survey, by Aaron Dover
In order to say what some might consider the unsayable I first need to deconstruct some mythical terms so let me just wade into some taboo territory as though I don’t even see the no-entry signs.
What is anti-Semitism?
“Antisemitism” is a word and a political construct. It has been loaded with meaning and importance like no other word in the English language. This is no exaggeration, it is not meant as hyperbole, if you want evidence of this you need look no further than the UK National Curriculum. I had a look at the core curriculum for secondary school History, and have quoted a section of it below.
- challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day
In addition to studying the Holocaust, this could include:
the First World War and the Peace Settlement
the inter-war years: the Great Depression and the rise of dictators
the Second World War and the wartime leadership of Winston Churchill
the creation of the welfare state
Indian independence and end of Empire
social, cultural and technological change in post-war British society
Britain’s place in the world since 1945
Now take a look closely at it. It does not say that the Holocaust is a mandatory subject, but it is implied, which is interesting in itself; the optional subjects follow and are clearly marked as such. The Holocaust is the only mandatory subject in this area. Not just any holocaust; there are so many to choose from by now; with new ones happening frequently; this is the Holocaust and is a proper noun with a capital.
The most important things being said here are those that are unsaid. What is unsaid? The Holocaust is the important holocaust i.e. the Jewish one. The Holocaust is exceptional. Not just important; nobody is here to argue with that; but exceptional. The other ideas suggested are important, and many, many ideas that would never appear on that list at all are also very important. The Holocaust is unique, and all students must know about it, and laws in place that criminalise Holocaust denial ensure not just that the topic is covered, but that it will be covered with the broadly accepted narrative. Every child educated in UK schools will be told about the Holocaust and they will be told the same things you were told.
Other holocausts might match it in terms of any particular respect; the brutality of the methods; the nature of the target population; the body count; the ideals of the perpetrators; their propaganda; their moral failings; and so on. But irrespective of any of those things, the proper noun Holocaust retains an exceptional an unique position in the prevailing historical narrative of all Western society.
As a result, a fully-educated Brit will certainly know that Hitler was German, unless he skipped class a great deal and his parents and friends never mentioned it, but may well be unaware that the British royal family are too.
Once of the implications of this is that every child in the UK will learn about Jew-hatred, termed anti-Semitism. No child will be left behind on this subject. They may not hear about other racial prejudices, other holocausts, they may not know how they got what remains of a welfare state around them, but they will know about anti-Semitism and Holocaust. This then becomes the common currency in discussions as the high water mark of evil throughout history, and this is the explanation for the existence of Godwin’s law (or Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies).
The reason people reach for Nazi analogies so frequently is a result of it being this global common currency of an ultimate evil narrative. People wouldn’t write articles in the global press saying “so-and-so is behaving like Ceaucescu” the way they say so-and-so is behaving like Hitler. They know they would lose the majority of their readers on that remark, because no matter how nasty Ceaucescu is, he is just not as famous. Obviously there are countless other examples. This is quite simply because everyone knows about Hitler, and – crucially – everybody knows that everybody knows about Hitler. It’s a given. The Nazis are the one-stop-shop for evilness yardsticks.
The Nazi Holocaust of the Jews (and other victims of that same holocaust) therefore enjoys the same educational status as, say, basic maths. In the same way you expect people to be able to do a bit of arithmetic, you can be confident that they have covered these educational subjects. They will know that 6×7=42 and also that the Jews have always suffered persecution throughout their history and were brutally slaughtered at the hands of a maniacal German tyrant who we stopped. They will not necessarily have heard of Zionism, nor have any awareness of the Nakba in Palestine that followed the war. Nor, for that matter, will they necessarily have any knowledge of any holocaust in Armenia for example.
So it follows that you can go and do a survey of people’s views about attitude towards Jews, and that isn’t weird to anyone, because of the Holocaust. They will know the various tropes and stereotypes assoicated with antisemitism, if they were listening in class, the hook noses, the greed, the blood libels and so on. Therefore if you ask someone in a survey or focus group do you think people perceive Jews to be more interested in money than other people? What will happen is that they will recognise that this view is a view that was held by antisemites, such as the Nazis. You will also know that these tropes have persisted over the ages, because you were taught that. These are ideas about Jews that wax and wane across time and society but never vanish; that is what we are taught. So to enquire as to whether these tropes that you may have first heard about during Holocaust lessons are present today and to be asked if you agree with them is a fair question, if we accept the previous fact.
Hitler was a maniac. But he was not a maniac for his antisemitic views, because these were things he found already lying around him in German society to repurpose to his ends. The antisemitism was there, it is there now, it is here, it is all around us, always, like a field. The field is stronger and weaker in places, but nowhere in space and time is it absent.
A survey therefore is simply a way to measure the field strength at a specific location and time. The questions will reflect the set of tropes that we understand to comprise antisemitism. We don’t ask, in a survey; what do you think about Jews? Open questions are not suited to surveys. So instead we must create a survey based on a set of preconceptions of how to measure the antisemitism field. We ask people about their own feelings in respect of the attitudes we suspect they may hold. This method is fundamentally flawed if we seek an objective answer, because the questions are leading.
If I ask; do you think Jews are more interested in money than most people? I might also ask; do you think Jews are more interested in motorsports than most people? But I do not ask the latter. Of course, you can only ask a limited number of questions so you have to stay focused; and that means discarding anything which could be used as a control for any other questions you are asking. What if we asked that second question and 99% of people responded positively? Thinking “bloody Jews, all into bloody motorsports” would not be the kind of antisemitism we are probing for. It does not fit our preconceived opinion-fingerprint of an antisemite. That’s not to say a dedicated Hasbarist wouldn’t try to make capital of such a statement, but it isn’t one of the statements that sets off a buzzer.
What are these tropes? The stereotyped view of a Jew by an antisemite, we learn, is made up from a number of parts. The hook nose. The evil, the clasped hands, the leering girn, the rubbing of hands in glee at either massive financial gain or the death of Christian babies. That’s your antisemitic stereotype. There’s plenty more to it than that, it extends from this to encompass more. The blood libels, the Jew hungry for the blood of Christians; that’s a blood libel.
What do each of these tropes provide to the ever-eager antisemite hunters? A wealth of opportunity for allegations.
What is antisemitism? Antisemitism poses a very real and very present danger in the UK and Europe, and around the world. On that I will agree with CAAS and their ilk. That is by now one of the most politically powerful ilks in human history. That ilk has made it on the one hand compulsory to learn the Holocaust; but on the other hand has made it criminal to deny or belittle the Holocaust. It has achieved this dual success in many of the developed nations.
Antisemitism is a danger not to the purported victims of said antisemitism, but to the actual victims; those accused of it. Everyone lives the antisemitism minefield. It is not neccesary for me to spell out the consequences for anyone who falls foul of the various bodies of antisemite-hunters that span the globe. Socially, professionally, step on an antsemitism mine, and you’re toast. You could be anyone; you can be the President of the United States, you are in the same minefield. You can even be a Jew, in which case the antisemite-hunter reaches into the bag for a self-hater label instead, it’s not a great substitute but it’s all they’ve got to work with. I’m not going to go into the self-hating Jew mythology here, there are more worthwhile subjects to address.
How do we fight antisemitism? In terms of containing antisemitic sentiment, we gag people and ban things from being said, and we keep everyone in fear of stepping on an antisemitism mine by making examples of public figures on a frequent basis. If people keep seeing careers destroyed by a misplaced remark on Gaza or similar, others will not become too emboldened, even if they harbour such antisemitic thoughts, to vocalise them.
To fight antisemitism, do we also stop the large scale killing of Jews by a monstrous machine of fascist brutality? No. Why? Because we did that decades ago.
How do we fight Islamophobia? In terms of containing Islamophobic sentiment, not very well at all, that’s how. We could try to restrain the media from trying to link individual incidents to all Muslims, through their overt and covert propaganda. But we don’t.
To fight islamophobia, do we stop the large scale killing of Muslims by a monstrous machine of fascist brutality? No. Why? Because we are the machine. The Western killing machine has run on a fuel of islamophobic sentiment for over a century.
But the media are focused more on the rise of antisemitism, or a perception of a rise. A survey of this kind signals simply by the fact that it is done, let alone the results, that antisemitism is something we should fear. The minefield is something we should fear.
But the fear of antisemitism is unrelated to incidents of antisemitism. The fear-to-incident ratio has never been higher; the perception of antisemitism and fear of that antisemitism has been boosted as hard as possible by the scaremongers of CAAS. They don’t even care if their survey methodology is a joke. If they send out their survey so literally anyone can fill it in and question 1 is “are you Jewish” and question 2 is “are you British” and you fill it in from any web browser… and take the answers in good faith… allowing literally anyone to contribute to the results… well then you cannot be taking the methodology very seriously. But CAAS doesn’t need to, because they know with their network they can churn out the intended results infographic and get the whole world media singing their song. It’s a song of victimhood that’s had so many re-heatings and re-releases that even Bob Geldof would blush.
It’s a song about the poor Jews feeling scared. Not being actually murdered or gassed or blown to pieces but worrying that they might at some point. Whereas the Muslims victimhood song doesn’t even chart, when they are being massacred day in day out by our stormtroopers and hired guns.
The world is tired of the Jewish victimhood song, and tired of this victimhood being used as a weapon, as a means to bully people into observing Zionist taboos.
Antisemitism is a terrorist weapon. It is used to terrify the world into observing Zionist taboos through fear of losing social standing, being labeled a racist, being fired, exiled, diminished, hounded. This terror is being escalated by CAAS and all the other antisemite-hunters.
I’m Jewish; It takes Jewish privilege to be able to say this. It should not. But to actually question the dogma around antisemitism itself, is one of the ultimate taboos. It’s at the very foundations of the Zionist enterprise.
I don’t think there is any special exceptional Jew-hatred, a special antisemitism field existing all around us throughout time. People are really fucking pissed off with Israel though.
That’s why the public perception of antisemitism has to be cranked up now, because the gagging needs to be cranked up, because people are waking up smelling the bullshit and calling out Israel for its actions. Now that is the kind of antisemitism emergency that calls for a total propaganda war. Expect more assaults on free speech, the mines in the minefield are going to be increasingly sensitive. Expect increased casualties of public figures. Expect people to become more reticent about saying stuff; expect media and social media to clamp down on any anti-Israel sentiment.
Because otherwise, you know at this rate, we European Jews will all going to the gas soon. Yawn.”
Thanks to Engage for pointing out the misanthropic thinking at the heart of this sorry article.
It has been removed from JfJfp’s site, presumably they were seriously embarrassed by its embedded irrationality, but who knows?
Most literate adults (or at least those with access to the Internet) would probably know to avoid the opinions of David Duke.
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.”
Ron Stallworth’s blog and his insights make very necessary reading.
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.
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:
[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!]
I 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:
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:
A cursory glance across their page reveals other little snippets or links to neo-Nazi material:
This is a small sampling. There is probably much, much more racism further down the page.
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.
Xavier Toby’s piece on Huff Post rings true:
“Here’s one quick way to work out if someone’s racist.
If they say, “I’m not racist, but…”
Then they’re definitely racist.
Really, that phrase should be outlawed.
If it actually worked, nobody would ever again be sent to prison.
In court all they’d have to say is, “I’m not a murderer, but… I accidentally mistook my husband for a knife holder thirty-seven times.”
And the judge would say, “While all the evidence indicates that you’re guilty, you’ve used the “I’m not but” defence. Which we all know is infallible. Therefore, case dismissed. Off ya go tiger. Try not to do it again, ya cheeky scamp.”
The phrase should be, “I am a racist, and…”
“I am a racist AND I only watch Channel Nine.”
“I am a racist AND I don’t own any bed sheets without eyeholes in them.”
“I am a racist AND I only eat the white marshmallows.”
“I am a racist AND follow me on Twitter @whitesupremacisttoteslol69.”
Now just say you suspect a person of being racist, but they’ve cleverly avoiding using the phrase, “I’m not racist, but…”
It’s not uncommon; some racists can be surprisingly crafty.”
Twitter provides a very useful resource around this topic. Almost on a daily basis it is possible to find such talking points, however, they tend to be formed along the lines of “I’m not antisemitic, but…”.
The persistence of open antisemitism on Twitter and the apathy towards combating it, is astonishing. Storify has proven itself by allowing these few examples of overt racism to be documented with relative ease:
What comes through is a remarkably similar pattern to that highlighted by Xavier Toby. There is a denial of racism, a play on words and a negation of evidence. Anonymous would, in all probability, say “We are not antisemitic, but…”.
Nevertheless, they would fail to explain the racist content of the Anonymous Operations account or the lethargy shown by its 170,000+ followers. Equally, Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza Movement has already tried on those excuses:
”TWEET from the Free Gaza TWITTER account was posted several days ago that had a link to a lecture titled, “Zionists Ran the Holocaust and the Concentration Camps.” This TWEET did not come from Free Gaza, and does not represent FG’s position in any way whatsoever; in fact we condemn its content. It came from Greta’s private Facebook page and was to be shared with a group of people who were discussing propaganda and racism, and this link was an example of the terrible propaganda that could be spewed on websites. For some reason, Facebook connected our Free Gaza account to her personal Facebook account, and the link was posted. Greta has added, “I apologize that I did not watch the video before hitting SHARE on Facebook. I was in a rush to get to a book event and simply reposted. The fault is completely mine. Free Gaza had nothing to do with the post at all. “
But more worrying, it appears that Anonymous and the Free Gaza Movement have reached the stage where they no longer feel the compunction to apologise for racism emanating from their Twitter accounts. In the end, Xavier Toby was right when he said “some racists can be surprisingly crafty.”
Just started using Storify as a quick and easy platform for relaying exchanges on Twitter. It is not too bad, when it works. Storify seems to have an issue on Chromium with “This webpage has a redirect loop”. Hope it is a teething problem. Nevertheless, these particular stories may enlighten readers:
Richard Dawkins, Insensitivity And the English Defence League
A few observations, as I found a great similarity in these variations of racism:
The highlighted Anonymous accounts and their allies would probably claim that they are merely “anti-Zionists”, which could be true but they also have a strong line in disseminating antisemitism.
Whilst I do not believe that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, it is not coincidental that rantings involving antisemitic themes are found in proximity to anti-Zionism. Nor is it mere chance that many strident “anti-Islamists” around the periphery of English Defence League are found to have a connection to the British Far Right or worse.
Equally, when looking at the background to Richard Dawkins’ foolish mistake of re-tweeting from one EDL sympathiser, there were parallels between fanatical “anti-Zionists” and maniac “anti-Islamists”.
Both of these creeds as exercised by these extremists are, almost, inoculated against spotting racism.
Whereas “anti-Islamists” of this order rarely perceive any racism towards Muslims, their compatriots within the sphere of anti-Zionism find it incredibly hard, next to impossible, to spot modern antisemitism.
My research found that “anti-Islamists” had a catalogue of standard arguments which bore a striking similarity to those found on the Far Right. Naturally, few of these themes stood up to any serious scrutiny and had the stench of refried racism from the 1970s.
Studying the crossover on Twitter (an imperfect but readily available sampling) not all obsessive “anti-Islamists” were from the Right of the political spectrum. However, it became very apparent that those not imbued with Hard or Far Right thinking could not spot an EDL sympathiser amongst them, if their life depended on it.
Which is very troubling.
Elsewhere, mainstream anti-Zionists have yet to address with any intellectual competency the question of periodic outburst of antisemitism amongst supposed “anti-Zionists”. Greta Berlin’s eruption of racism was hardly coincidental and only one example.
In short, neither of these political trends can adequately explain the presence and persistence of hardened racism in their midst.
Bringing us back neatly to Professor Richard Dawkins. Predictably he went from general antagonistic statements against Islam to swift digs at Muslims in general. A past supporter of Dawkins, Tom Chivers at the Torygraph takes him to task:
“Treating all Muslims as featureless representatives of their religion (as Dawkins does when saying things like “Who the hell do these Muslims think they are? How has UCL come to this: cowardly capitulation to Muslims? Tried to segregate sexes in debate between @LKrauss1 and some Muslim or other”) is – well, it may not be directly racist, but it’s certainly not the sort of thing Martin Luther King would admire. The content of their character, and all that.
Because Dawkins has gone from criticising the religion itself to criticising Muslims, as a vast bloc. ” [My emphasis.]
The Guardian provides two reflective articles on Professor Dawkins’ unhealthy discharges:
Martin Robbins at the News Statesman argues:
” “Islam isn’t a race,” is the “I’m not racist, but. . .” of the Atheist movement, a tedious excuse for lazy thinking that is true enough to be banal while simultaneously wrong in any meaningful, real-world sense.
Yes, congratulations, you can read a dictionary. Well done.
But it’s possible for a statement to be both true and wrong. “Homeopathy worked for me” is one example (as is its inverse): it may genuinely make people feel better, emotionally or through the placebo effect; but it doesn’t work in any medical sense.”[My emphasis.]
Final thoughts, people need to decide seriously if they are against certain particular forms of racism and rather lazy or ambivalent on the rest?
Do you oppose racism towards Muslims? Do you apply the same standards when Jews are the target of racism? Etc
Are you universally opposed to racism or just selectively?
If the latter, then you are not really an antiracist/nonracist. Whatever else, that is not the company to keep.
Update 1: The Indy covers it too, Richard Dawkins Muslim jibe sparks Twitter backlash.
Nelson Jones makes some sharp points and I imagine this last one will fly over Professor Dawkins’ head:
“A final point. The United States may boast almost as many Nobel Prize winners as the rest of the world put together, but it is also home to millions of diehard creationists. What has Richard Dawkins to say about that?”
Update 2: Professor Dawkins has replied without the restrictions of Twitter and 140 characters. Yet predictably, Professor Dawkins’ arguments do not engage with any intelligent criticism of his previous stupidity:
Twitter’s 140 character limit always presents a tough challenge, but I tried to rise to it. Nobel Prizes are a pretty widely quoted, if not ideal, barometer of excellence in science.
I thought about comparing the numbers of Nobel Prizes won by Jews (more than 120) and Muslims (ten if you count Peace Prizes, half that if you don’t). This astonishing discrepancy is rendered the more dramatic when you consider the small size of the world’s Jewish population. However, I decided against tweeting that comparison because it might seem unduly provocative (many Muslim “community leaders” are quite outspoken in their hatred of Jews) and I sought a more neutral comparison as more suitable to the potentially inflammable medium of Twitter.
It is a remarkable fact that one Cambridge college, Trinity, has 32 Nobel Prizes to its credit. That’s three times as many as the entire Muslim world even if you count Peace Prizes, six times as many if you don’t. I dramatised the poverty of Muslim scientific achievement, and the contrast with their achievements in earlier centuries, in the following brief tweet: “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.” [My emphasis.]
Why pick on Muslims? You could arbitrarily pick on plenty of categories of people that have achieved far less than Trinity College, Cambridge
Again, fair point. Somebody mentioned redheads (neither he nor I have figures on redheaded scientific achievement but we get the point). I myself tweeted that Trinity Cambridge has more Nobel Prizes than any single country in the world except the USA, Britain (tautologically), Germany and France. You could well think there was something gratuitous in my picking on Muslims, were it not for the ubiquity of the two positive boasts with which I began. Redheads (and the other hypothetical categories we might mention) don’t boast of their large populations and don’t boast of their prowess in science.”
Update 3: Glad I am not the only atheist cheesed off, Richard Dawkins’ Anti-Muslim Tweets Spark Furor, Even Among Atheist Supporters:
“Even some of his admirers were disgusted, as Tom Chivers published a blog on the Telegraph titled, “Please be quiet, Richard Dawkins, I’m begging as a fan.” He makes the point that Dawkins has strayed from providing critiques of religious beliefs and practices grounded in logic to blindly attacking faiths as monolithic groups, manipulating facts to further an agenda.
The Atlantic published “A Short History of Richard Dawkins vs. The Internet” that thoroughly chronicles Dawkins’ long history of anti-Islamic speaking and writing, as well as his admiration for Geert Wilders, the notoriously far-right and anti-Muslim Dutch politician.”
This is worth reading on its own, A Short History of Richard Dawkins vs. The Internet.
Finding antisemitism on Twitter is easy, but it’s surprising how few attempt to stop it, as witnessed by the 170,000 plus followers of the Anonymous Operations account.
Remembering that wherever you find racism, sexism and the degradation of women is often not far behind.
My first storify looks briefly at the issues, Holocaust Denial at Anonymous.
Elsewhere, there is a nice tumblr account which tries to track this form of racism.
Finally, Oliver Hotham is blogging and always worth a read.
Lingering prejudice in Britain can bring out the worst in people. Such attitudes are not confined to thugs in the EDL or the BNP, rather are often found on the periphery of the Hard Right, spoken in polite tones and impeccable English.
More importantly, there is denial about racism towards ethnic minorities in Britain. Denial of the facts.
Recent examples of this form of negation were Douglas Murray’s extended rant in the Jewish Chronicle and Charles Moore’s piece. Sadiq Khan deals with it.
Notable in this trend was Andrew Gilligan’s hack journalism. It sought to deliberately play down racism in Britain and deny the evidence. Tim Fenton’s ably picks it apart, Gilligan’s Islamophobia Goof:
“…Gilligan to put out an article without him getting called out for a mixture of falsehood and misrepresentation. This is probably because falsehood and misrepresentation is exactly what he indulges in. And today he has been at it again, twisting the available facts to fit the Telegraph’s narrative, that the “Islamophobia Industry” is getting above itself.”[My emphasis.]
In all of these articles the conclusions were long decided upon, even before writing and the supposed evidence was shoehorned into place, each according to the authors’ particular bias.
It is all the more annoying when these slanted pieces are used as good coin.
The National Secular Society made such a mistake last week, using Gilligan’s suspect form of journalism, Muslims must be protected. Islam must not.
They should know better than use singular and questionable sources.
If the National Secular Society are truly interested in the welfare of Muslims and ethnic minorities in Britain then they should contact the groups monitoring prejudice against them, Tell MAMA.
Picking a single source, that has a clear bias against an antiracist organisation, was a sign of poor judgement by the National Secular Society. They should know better.
I would recommend that the National Secular Society and secularists read the [PDF] report: Anti-Muslim Hate Crime and the Far Right By Professor Nigel Copsey, Dr Janet Dack, Mark Littler and Dr Matthew Feldman.
Update 1:Tell MAMA’s response to the original article, National Secular Society & the ‘Money’ Shot Which Never Was!
“Furthermore, the flippant manner in which anti-Muslim prejudice is discarded, does a disservice to victims such as this woman, or this one. What is the worst element of all of these discussions, is that the victim’s voice is drowned out by figures, numbers and statistics. It would do the National Secular Society a world of good, if they simply took a few minutes out to listen to the stories of these Muslim women. For Amina, she is starting to put her life together against after 14 months of anguish. For Jamilah, the scars will never heal.”
[Editor’s note: I have taken the liberty of re-publishing an article by David Aaronovitch from 2005. There may be minor typos, if so they are my fault. It deserves to be read and re-read.]
I remember reading it at the time and thinking: surely no one can ignore this warning of collusion with antisemitism?
Yet the SWP did.
They actively colluded with and promoted an antisemite, Gilad Atzmon. They fended off any criticism, any questions or any reservations for some five years.
Collaboration with a racist was not an idle mistake by the SWP. It was a result of their political orientation, how the SWP see the world and in particular how they relate to Jews. It is a lesson which they still have not learnt.
(The material is the copyright of David Aaronovitch/The Times newspaper)
“June 28, 2005
How did the far Left manage to slip into bed with the Jew-hating Right?
WHEN I WAS YOUNG, smug centrists used to tell me that the extremes of Right and Left would, extended far enough, meet somewhere round the back. And I never quite believed it. But here’s a story that seems to suggest that it really can happen. Indulge me . . .
First a recapitulation. The Respect Party of George Galloway famously turned in the best performance by a far-Left party since the Communists won two seats in 1945. Respect itself is mostly though not entirely a front for the semi-Trotskyist organisation called the Socialist Workers’ Party, or SWP. SWP members made up just under half of Respect’s candidates, SWP activists form the party’s main cadre and it is the SWP that drives the strategy, tactics and political platform of Respect.
When I was at college, the local SWP used to drive around in minibuses looking for members of the far Right to beat up. In those days the party had an uncompromising attitude towards those it decided were racists and fascists, throwing politicians such as Sir Keith Joseph into an adjacent sub-category and trying to get them banned from making speeches.
Next week the SWP begins the annual festival at which members, supporters and friends are spoken at and sung to on topics revolutionary and progressive. Marxism 2005 features grizzled Trots from the 1970s, Tony Benn, George Galloway, a poet or two and, for the third year running, billed at No 13 on the speaker’s list, a chap called Gilad Atzmon.
And that’s where the trouble starts. Atzmon is a well-known jazz-musician, an Israeli-born Jew and as the SWP has previously described him also a deliverer of fearless tirades against Zionism. But the tirades have got him into trouble with more than just the Jewish community. A Palestinian musician told me a couple of years ago that she would no longer work with Atzmon because, in her opinion, he was an anti-Semite. He had, somewhere, crossed the line.
In 2003, for instance, Atzmon, who makes many speeches and runs a very substantial website, said this about the idea of a global Jewish plot: We must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously.
Why? Because American Jewry makes any debate on whether the Protocols of the Elders of Zionitic forgery are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world, by proxy. So far they are doing pretty well for themselves at least.
So, he’s a silly boy advancing slightly dangerous arguments (or fearless tirades). And we might take no notice. It’s just that Atzmon does get about a bit gigs, meetings, university debates, and yet one of his heroes is an author and activist, Israel Shamir.
According to Atzmon, Shamir is a very civil and peaceful man and probably is the sharpest critical voice of Jewish power’ and Zionist ideology.
I first came across Shamir after I’d made a programme for Channel 4 on anti-Semitism in Islamic countries. In it I’d pointed out how the blood libel, the slanderous accusation that Jews killed gentiles for the blood, had travelled from medieval Europe to the Middle East. But was it slander? Shamir, who claims to be a Russian Jew from Jaffa, wrote a long article in response arguing that the Jews probably were guilty of kidnapping Christian children and drinking their blood. I was more than amazed.
Shamir both buys the world plot and has some very strange allies. For as long, he wrote, as Richard Perle sits in the Pentagon, Elie Wiesel brandishes his Nobel Prize, Mort Zuckerman owns the USA Today, Gusinsky bosses over Russian TV, Soros commands multi-billions of funds and Dershowitz teaches at Harvard, we need the voices of (David) Duke, (Justin) Raimondo, (Pat) Buchanan, (Horst) Mahler, (Nick) Griffin and of other anti-bourgeois nationalists. For those who don’t know, Mahler is ex-Baader Meinhof turned neo-Nazi, David Duke is a former leader of Ku Klux Klan and Nick Griffin is our very own Welshpool Duce.
And despite warnings about his true identity as a Swedish fascist, Shamir sits on the 16-person board of advisers of the international pro-Palestinian campaign organisation, Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR), named after a Palestinian village destroyed and ethnically cleansed in 1948 by the Zionist terror groups, Irgun and the Stern gang. DYR organises events that many of the great and good of the pro-Palestinian movement attend.
As it happens the Jewish UK Director of DYR, Paul Eisen, is a fan of Shamir’s, describing him as a man who has no trouble whatsoever in calling a Jew a Jew . . .
And Eisen is of Atzmon and Shamir’s mind concerning Jewish power. Last year he expressed the view that Jewish influence in America was not over its muscle and sinew but over its blood and its brain . . . Lists abound (though you have to go to some pretty unpopular websites to find them) of Jews, prominent in financial and cultural life.
It seems to have been on one of these unpopular websites that Eisen made a fatal connection. He discovered the site of one Ernst Zundel.
Zundel, wrote Eisen, is a gentle, good-humoured man . . . Zundel understands people and . . . he understands history. Zundel, a German-born Canadian, is not just a modern saint, but also the distributor of the booklet, Did Six Million Really Die? And a co-publisher of the rather heroically titled, The Hitler We Loved and Why.
In an article published last December Eisen explained what he’d learnt from kindly Ernst. No one is able to show us, at Auschwitz or anywhere else, argued Eisen, even one of these chemical slaughterhouses. No one is capable of describing to us their exact appearance or workings. Neither a trace nor a hint of their existence is to be found . . . Nor would it be the first time that Jews have accepted and propagated stories, true, false or a mixture of both, of their suffering.
It was Eisen on the Holocaust that sent the balloon up for Atzmon at Marxism 2005. Because Atzmon firstly circulated Eisen’s Holocaust-denying article, then told critics defiantly that, my take on the subject is slightly different than Paul’s one. For me, Atzmon continued, cretinously, the Holocaust like any other historical narrative is a dynamic process of realisation and interpretation.
Not a few left-wing Jews who style themselves anti-Zionist have been horrified by the Atzmon-Eisen-Shamir business. And a couple of weeks ago they began to exert pressure on the SWP to disinvite the over-fearless tirader. But the SWP it of smash racism has refused. The party issued a statement. It was, it admitted, a bit worried about Atzmon, because: We think that some of the formulations on his website might encourage his readers to feel that he is blurring the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. But, it nevertheless concluded: We do not believe that Gilad should be banned’ from performing or speaking. No Platform’ is a principle that the Left has always reserved for fascists and organised racists.
There are a couple of questions left begging there. Are the readers, in the SWP’s usually magisterial and definite opinion, right to feel that the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is being blurred, or not? And is Atzmon being exempted from banishment because he is merely a disorganised racist?
Or is it that an influential section of the far Left has, in this instance and on this issue, completely and disgracefully lost its political and moral compass?
I have never had any time for Ann Coulter.
She is not funny, instead a bit sad and bitter. Her form of shockjockism, bigotry and obnoxiousness appeal only to the basest of prejudices.
I felt her attitudes were often governed by a political calculation, as to who to keeping with, rather than any principle.
So I am not surprised that she is tiptoeing towards antisemitism, which she will no doubt denied:
“Ann Coulter @AnnCoulter 11h
As Reagan aide James Baker (allegedly) said of another Dem voting bloc sought by Repubs: “F*** the Jews; they don’t vote for us anyway.”
Best kept as a public record, lest it vanishes when she realizes her mask has slipped.
This post is a public record, because I would expect that Rod Liddle’s open display of racism at the Spectator will soon be removed.
It is utterly senseless and disgusting.
Therefore, it is worthwhile recording Liddle’s racism and its appalling implications:
“I was slightly puzzled by the early media reports of the appalling murder in Woolwich and particularly the wrangling over whether or not this could be called ‘a terrorist attack’. Does it make much difference? Two black savages hacked a man to death while shouting Allahu Akbar; that’s really all you need to know, isn’t it? In a sense calling it an act of terrorism somehow dignifies the barbarism. The media will now go into crowd-control mode and tell us how all Muslims are as shocked by this attack as are the rest of us and how Islam is a peaceable religion. No, it isn’t.
All credit to the woman police officer who shot the scumbags, although I suspect we will soon have an inquest into why it took the ‘boyden’ (that’s ghetto slang for police, apparently, dear readers) took 20 minutes to arrive. “
It is like reading a commentary from a 1970’s National Front member: bigoted, stupid and openly racist.
Update 1: That page vanished but not before a screenshot was taken:
Update 2: At this time, I can’t see much of the media taking Liddle to task for his racism, but the Huff Post covers it, Rod Liddle’s ‘Two Black Savages’ Spectator Blog Draws Accusations Of Racism.
If any readers find good links on this issue please do leave a comment, I will try and update the post.
Update 3: I had forgotten about Liddle’s previous form in this area. Spectator to pay out £5,625 over Rod Liddle’s Stephen Lawrence article:
“The Spectator has been ordered to pay £5,625 in fines and compensation for breaching reporting restrictions over a Rod Liddle comment piece published during the trial of Stephen Lawrence’s killers.
Judge Howard Riddle ordered the publisher of the Spectator to pay a fine of £3,000, plus £2,000 in compensation for distress to Lawrence’s parents, in a hearing at Westminster magistrates’ court in central London on Thursday morning.
The Spectator pleaded guilty to breaching a court order with the Liddle article, published in November 2011 at a key moment in the trial.”
“•632 anti-Muslim hate incidents reported to ‘MAMA’ since March 2012,
• Muslim women increasingly targeted (58% of all incidents),
• Victims of incidents range from a five-year-old child to an 89-year-old pensioner,
• 2:1 ratio of female victims in Islamic clothing to men in Islamic clothing,
• 74% of incidents take place on-line,
• 6% of incidents involve attacks on mosques/property,
• 5% of victims are white converts to Islam,
• Three-quarters (75%) of perpetrators are male,
• Far Right BNP/EDL supporters linked to over half (54%) of all cases,
• 23 arrests, 18 prosecutions (cases pending),
• MAMA pursuing review of police decision not to charge EDL leader,
• Trend of rising Islamophobia, recorded by YouGov figures (7 March)”
Update 5: Liberal Conspiracy deals with Liddle’s half-hearted semi-apology, Rod Liddle apologises for ‘black savages’.
Update 6: If you have a strong stomach, the comment box on the revised article at the Spectator is overflowing with xenophobia, anti-Muslim racism and the odd bit of antisemitism, dressed up as “anti-Zionism” not pretty:
“allymax bruce jjjj • 4 days ago −
Most you describe is true, BUT, what you fail to realise /question, is that this is being functionsd by the Zionists. I’m not being anti-semetic in saying this; in-deed, closing down intelligent thought & discourse is the result of using that anti-semetic excuse! Moreover, most Jews living in Israel are against the Zionists; are they anti-semetic too? No, ofcourse not. Slurring intelligent thought & discourse as anti-semetic only further disenfranchises us, but more importantly, furthers what you fear is happening to us. If you want to to truly stop the rot by this political Establishment, then you must consider it is a Zionist enforcement.”
Update 7: This is rather good, Rod Liddle and the Economics of the Commentariat:
“While a pretty poisonous clutch of miserablists all told, I wouldn’t consider them racist. Dan and Brendan, definitely not. Mel, well, she has written plenty of things that could certainly be construed that way but as awful as they are, but she just about stays on the right side of the line. But Rodders is a different kettle of fish. There are only so many situations available for former liberals and lefties as they migrate to the lucrative uphills of remunerated bigotry. And though Rod has been on his journey for a while, he’s taken his own sweet time. I blame his penchant for footy forums. But the market for anti-Islam rants is a crowded one, so how to stand out among the swivel-eyed and hard-of-thinking? Well, why not dance pack and forth across the line. And so, of last week’s appalling murder in Woolwich, he writes “two black savages hacked a man to death while shouting Allahu Akbar; that’s really all you need to know, isn’t it?
It’s not so much a problem of Rod’s dinner party racism, but with the whole economy of media commentary.”
“Once you dig far enough and realise thru the Rothschild/Rockefella Ashkenazi-faux-jews and other pretend ‘Christian’ satanist-elitist families of the “Western World” (demon-strated quite clearly in the bible as “Synagogue of Satan” club ‘members’) that the West is dictatorially dominated by such eg all senior cabinet and top politicians are all so-called ‘Jews’ thoroughly misleading the vast majority (who are totally ignorant of this stitch-up) and making our lives hell.
Go back to Khazar history and you will find the same parasites who are in charge today as bankers and parasitical crony corporation owners stealing direct from the taxpayer and avoiding most or all taxes.”
Update 9: Musa Okwonga makes an excellent point:
“When bile such as “black savages” is sent unchecked into the atmosphere, it poisons the air. In this context, after all, “black savages” suggests that beneath the thin veneer of the apparently civilised Western-born black male lurks an irredeemably violent thug, and that all it takes is the right triggers to unleash him. That is precisely the same thinking upon which imperial attitudes were, and indeed still are, proudly based. “
We tend to think of anti-Jewish sentiment as coming from the Far Right, yet nowadays it is fairly common to find examples of it on liberal or left wing web sites. It is not overt or blunt as found amongst the extreme racists, but there are tell-tale signs: conspiracy theories and strange terminology.
I am not surprised that racists mount their pathetic hobbyhorses, rather that the non-racists who read that material at Liberal Conspiracy can’t see a problem or are willing to let it go unchallenged. If I were charitable I might conclude that most at Liberal Conspiracy don’t understand racism, and in particular anti-Jewish racism.
Shorter version: maligning Israelis and Jews gives the game away. Particularly if there is a pejorative reference to the “Chosen”, or consciously linking to Rense, a site which proffers conspiracy theories, anti-Jewish racism and approvingly advertises David Duke.
Even George Orwell spotted this form of usage in the post war period.
I thought Mehdi Hasan’s piece at Huff Post was very bold.
He didn’t have to write it, but made a concious choice to combat antisemitism. So commendable:
“To claim that your jail sentence for dangerous driving is the result of a Jewish plot is bigoted and stupid. The peer has since been suspended from the Labour Party and forced to stand down as a trustee of the Joseph Interfaith Foundation. I’m not sure how many “Jewish friends” he has left – if, that is, he had any to begin with.
Full disclosure: I know Lord Ahmed and have defended him in the past. In 2007, he flew out to Sudan to help free the schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons from the clutches of the odious Islamist regime in Khartoum. In 2009, an Appeal Court judge noted how the peer had “risked his life trying to flag down other vehicles to stop them colliding with… his car”. He is not a latter-day Goebbels. But herein lies the problem. There are thousands of Lord Ahmeds out there: mild-mannered and well-integrated British Muslims who nevertheless harbour deeply anti-Semitic views.”
I wish others would stand up to anti-Muslim bigotry with the same vigour.
To paraphrase someone else, you can’t combat antisemitism or anti-Muslim attitudes if you are hard on one but not the other.
You can’t be selectively antiracist.
Over at Engage, David Hirsh’s acid wit skewers the Palestine Solidarity Campaign with, “Israel Apartheid Week” – Don’t Buy from the Jews Week.
I looked in at the PSC’s site, to see if they had covered the recent death of Palestinians in Syria, but alas couldn’t find anything. Conceivably, just possibly, something is hidden beneath the mountain of vitriol aimed at Israelis, but I doubt it.
The PSC’s feed on Twitter was barren and bereft of any mention of Syria over the past month.
As Reuters reported a few weeks ago, some 10,000 Syrians have been killed since the start of 2013.
Still, the PSC were probably more interested in organising “Don’t buy from the Jews week” and must have missed what has been going on in Syria.
I think we know where the PSC’s priorities lie, all in all, David Hirsh was too kind to them.
Update 1: Liberal Conspiracy has surprisingly given Matt Hall the chance to put a persuasive argument, Pro-Palestinian activists are wrong to shut down debates by pro-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.
“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. “
Power and privilege affect people’s judgements. Proximity to it changes people, clouds their common sense.
Witness the sense of entitlement that Westminster MPs had, they genuinely could not understand the issue of their excessive expenses claims. These MPs lacked any insight into their own conduct and how others saw them.
So it is with David Ward MP.
Now Ward continues on his path of dog whistles, paranoia and is devoid of any self examination.
After his crass behaviour, an unapologetic interview at the Guardian was meant to clear the air and help him, but Ward made things worse:
“There is a huge operation out there, a machine almost, which is designed to protect the state of Israel from criticism. And that comes into play very, very quickly and focuses intensely on anyone who’s seen to criticise the state of Israel.”
“Instead of leaping to the conclusion that you are being silenced by a powerful lobby or that you were ‘just’ speaking truth to evil, I advise you to begin to demonstrate your understanding and empathy for all peoples – by the way, it is not just Jews and Palestinians who live in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. If you had done that and then voiced your concerns in a measured way, not on Holocaust Memorial Day, you may have found the reaction would have been different. “
I like Liberal Conspiracy. As a blog it has much to recommend it, there is a diversity of posters and a variety of topics.
Well, that’s what I like to think, however, some of its recent posts suggests an unhealthy concentration.
At Liberal Conspiracy within the space of a few days, there have been two, rather mean spirited and fairly questionable, posts.
One which seemed to categorically argue that nothing was wrong with Gerald Scarfe’s offensive cartoon.
Another takes a pop at the Jewish Chronicle’s editor, Stephen Pollard.
The former, I could, just with some effort, understand. There is a debate to be held on what constitutes racism towards Jews. There is a diversity of opinions on this lurid cartoon, but to argue emphatically that it couldn’t ever be seen as offensive to one particular ethnic minority is silly, in the extreme.
The fact the author of the posts doesn’t find such cartoons offensive doesn’t mean other people can’t, or see elements of the past in it, as Mark Gardner argued:
“Unfortunately for Jews – and for satirists – antisemites and antisemitism also have ‘a thing’ about blood; and especially about the allegation that Jews murder others (children in particular) in order to use their blood or organs for heinous purpose. It is a harsh fact that blood has long played a profoundly disturbing part in the history of antisemitism, and this has obvious consequences for Jews and antisemites today. The actual intentions of Gerald Scarfe and the Sunday Times count for very little within this broader context of history, and its contemporary emotional and racist impacts. “
But as I say, there is a debate to be held on these issues. I feel the way the Liberal Conspiracy brushed over, even the possibility, that this cartoon, content and timing could be seen as offensive, was intellectually loutish and distasteful.
Pollard And Cartoons.
[Up front: I am not a fan of Stephen Pollard, still less his time at the awful Daily Express.]
The other post is ostensibly on Stephen Pollard’s hypocrisy on offensive cartoons.
The post goes on to argue that Pollard is guilty of double standards, etc. Apparently, condoning the publication of the anti-Prophet cartoons but decrying ones when they are aimed at Jews. Some of the commentators point out the obvious difference between, right to publish and having the sense sometimes not to.
Pollard’s own arguments can be heard in this audio extract of the BBC Radio 4 Today programmme. They are more sophisticated than the post suggests.
Initially, I had put the odious tone of the post down to another spat between media types. It seems fairly common. The underlying argument is normally disregarded as an opportunity to settle scores.
Not very edifying, but such is the media. Then I began to ponder alternative possibilities, and I did not like them. To settle scores but with whom?
Hung Up on an ethnicity?
For quite some time I had noticed that the comment boxes at Liberal Conspiracy often became cluttered with nasty remarks, in one certain direction. Time and again, there were the stray arguments of the Far and Extreme Right. Most covered with euphemisms, but a well-worn animus was evident. Those common themes.
Yet I debated, was a persistent sub-plot at Liberal Conspiracy that I was missing? Not in the comments, but the articles and their focus.
Fortunately, there was a methodology which was developed many years back, to remove my or anyone else’s subjective judgement.
It is fairly simple.
You tally up the articles around a certain subject matter and then categorise them, negative or positive. If that result is balanced or within expected tolerances that is one thing. However, if the majority of the articles are hostile towards one or more particular ethnicity then there is an issue. The Over Coming Hate portal discusses these issues and its section, Fanning The Flames, provides a useful background on the media, racism and the issues. Teun A. van Dijk’s Racism and the Press is helpful in explaining some of the issues [PDF].
Gwen Sharp summarised one application of this approach, Who’s Reporting The News? An Analysis By Race And Ethnicity.
If I ever get the time I might apply those techniques to Liberal Conspiracy and see what patterns come out.
Personally, I would prefer if Liberal Conspiracy employed its usually politically sophisticated approach to this and related subjects.
Yet I am not sure that will happen where one particular ethnicity is concerned. Worrying.
Update 1: This is a fair summary of the arguments about Scarfe’s cartoon from the JLC:
- “Jews (and others) throughout the country reacted to this cartoon with a visceral disgust that is unprecedented in recent years. This was due to the gratuitous and offensive nature of the image, made worse by its use of blood and its being published by Britain’s leading Sunday newspaper on Holocaust Memorial Day.
- Blood has a long and ugly tradition within the history of anti-Semitism, premised upon the notorious medieval Blood Libel, with Jews being alleged to steal the blood of others for religious purposes. The use of blood, including on occasion the actual Blood Libel, persists in extreme Arab and Iranian anti-Israel propaganda. It is a profoundly disturbing example of the adaptation of anti-Semitism for modern day usage.
- These historical and contemporary contexts have racist impacts upon victims and proponents alike. This is why so many Jews were wounded by the cartoon, regardless of the initial motivations of Gerald Scarfe and the Sunday Times.
Update 3: Marc Goldberg looks more broadly at these issues, nevertheless argues:
“But what I hated was the timing of all this, for me an undercurrent of hostility which occasionally raises it’s head, the dark side of an England in which I was hard pressed to feel at home came into the light. The Holocaust Educational Trust has done sterling work in making sure that the tragic event that saw so many Jewish communities in Europe wiped out has become a part of the national consciousness but there has been a blowback effect, the likes of David Ward and Gerald Scarfe put this on centre stage and the people who rallied around Ward in particular, show off the extent to which this is a point of view that is bigger than him alone. “
Update 4: Mark Gardner in 2010 wrote:
“Anti-racists must condemn anti-Jewish racism as readily as they would any other type of racism. Anything less and they risk fostering the notion, seductive for a dangerous minority, that antisemitism in the name of anti-Israel hatred is somehow a legitimate form of political protest. On previous occasions when we have tried to discuss the issue of antisemitism on this forum, we have been accused of various things. First, that we are part of some global conspiracy to shut down criticism of Israel. Second, that the figures are fake and exaggerated. Third, that even though the figures are lies, they paradoxically prove that the escalation in antisemitic incidents is the fault of Israel and the fault of Jewish representative bodies. Indeed, the fault of everybody but antisemites.”
Update 5: For the moment, the final word will go to a poster at Liberal Conspiracy:
“32. Shatterface 10:53 pm, February 1, 2013
- attacking someone for hypocrisy is a weasely way of dodging the main issue which is the continual use of antisemitic tropes by British cartoonists.
- It’s perfectly possible to criticise the Israeli politics without falling back on stereotypes of big-nosed puppeteers using blood as an ingredient just as it is possible to comment on African politics without images of black people with bones through their noses cooking missionaries in a pot
- or, for that matter, portraying the English as football hooligans with the George Cross tattooed across their faces. ” [My emphasis.]
Update 6: Certainly, whatever your opinion of Liberal Conspiracy’s choice of topic, many of its posters have grotesque views:
“46. sara ann 12:27 pm, February 3, 2013
why is it wrong to not like Israel or Judaism?
we are encouraged not to like say iran, argentina, mali etc and certainly to dislike Islam .”
Update 7: Barely a week passes and Liberal Conspiracy are at it again.
A nonsensical and linguistically illiterate piece attempts to compare David Ward MP’s disparaging remarks with those of the Israeli Prime Minister, Why is there no backlash when Benjamin Netanyahu focuses on “the Jews”?
I suppose the simple answer is context.
Here is an easy example, suppose a tattooed neo-Nazi skinhead went around making disparaging remarks about ethnic minorities and then invokes the “N” word. Suppose that.
Would it be the same if an Afro-American rapper used that awful expression in the song? No, of course, not.
But that’s an argument often heard on the Far Right: that because ethnic minorities occasionally use the “N” word that therefore it is legitimate for the Far Right to use it. All nonsense but that’s how they argue.