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.
“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?
My old political sparring partner, Bob from Brockley, has wide intellectual tastes, from anarchism to extraordinary musical endeavours and beyond.
But above all he is very charitable. He takes an interest in what ex-Socialist Workers Party members think and say. Notably the writings of Richard Seymour, one-time SWP intellectual and consummate blogger.
Bob gave space over to a fellow intellectual to examine Seymour’s views on the recent Paris attack.
I can’t say I always agree with Bob’s approach, but I admire his persistence in keeping an eye on (ex) SWPers.
I am not terribly interested in Seymour or (ex) SWPers as people, rather the ideas that they put forward and represent, critically when it comes to antisemitism. I think it is worth commenting because there is a wider importance to this issue, how such attitudes help create a social climate that is hostile towards Jews.
A few thoughts.
It is my view that (ex) SWPers often share many characteristics of 1960s Stalinists in their attitude toward Jews, either disdainful or oddly ambiguous.
I am not the first to come to this conclusion as the socialist Steve Cohen argued it years back.
[NB: I should point out for the sake of clarity and before any misunderstanding occurs that. I do not believe that the vast majority of (ex) SWPers are hardened antisemites, instead the evidence shows they are tolerant of those who are, which is the distinction I am making. I could add I have known some quite decent SWPers when I was an active trade unionist, but this is a discussion about their attitudes and where they lead, not them as individuals.]
My basic problem with SWPers and (ex) SWPers is, how it is very apparent they have learnt little or nothing from their encounters with antisemites or antisemitism.
To learn is normally to admit we don’t know something. Or to concede we might have made a mistake and don’t wish to repeat it. As far as I can see that has not happened with most leading (ex) SWPers. There are two obvious examples, the Stop the War Coalition and Gilad Atzmon.
Too close to antisemites
Further, if you investigate their site you will see only disdain for anything related to Jews (whatever guise that takes or whatever nickname is used). The Stop the War Coalition is run by a mix of ex-SWPers (Lindsey German, John Rees, etc), soft Stalinists and assorted types.
Whereas Gilad Atzmon is a prolific antisemite, despite once being an Israeli. For well over a dozen years Atzmon has had exceedingly questionable views concerning Jews. He never misses a chance to employ barely concealed antisemitic conspiracy theories or support those who do.
SWP hosted a racist
Yet you would be hard pushed to find any really significant critique from SWPers or (ex) SWPers of Atzmon.
That is despite the fact that the SWP supported and hosted this racist for years. Bob provides a great chronological guide, showing SWP’s support from 2004 to 2010.
And this is the disparity: how can people call themselves socialists, say they are opposed to antisemitism, yet allow their organisation to promote and aid an antisemite, Gilad Atzmon?
As far as I know, not a single SWPer resigned over their organisation’s support for that particular racist.
And intelligent people are compelled to ask why? Did their ingrained worship of Leninism override their antiracist principles? Was Atzmon’s racism really an issue for them? Did they grasp why they should oppose such an antisemite? Did it even register with them?
There are plenty of questions to ask, and whilst flippant answers may satisfy the intellectually barren (ex) SWPers, serious antiracists should not stop from questioning why it happened and what is to stop it happening again?
Atzmon is a litmus test as I previously wrote. The SWP and its members seriously failed that test, year after year.
SWPers and modern antisemitism
Any cursory examination of the Socialist Workers Party’s views around the topic of Jews reveal that the SWP have never had a sophisticated analysis of antisemitism. They fail to miss the most obvious signs.
But these are not thugs or ne’er-do-wells. The SWP leadership was over time replete with academics, educationalists and supposed antiracist activists. Whilst they may have been able to explain Marxist capital at great length SWPers couldn’t grasp the complexities of modern antisemitism.
It is not for want of intellectual gumption.
Instead it is how the (ex) SWPer’s view the world. It is a mechanical mindset, where Jews (whatever euphemism used), invariably, fall on one side and the (ex) SWPers and their allies are on the other.
That I find profoundly depressing, it is as if not one lesson has been learnt since their earlier collaboration with the racist Atzmon, even fewer questions have been asked.
In short, (ex) SWPers are really no wiser today than they were in 2009 when they continued to host Atzmon or in 2005 when the SWP issued a defence of him.
It is a truly lamentable situation for socialists to find themselves in, having a panoply of answers how to change the whole of the world for the better, yet not when the topic relates to Jews.
If you doubt my argument then at least consider the evidence or lack of it. On a weekly basis Jews are assaulted in Britain, yet with one small exception the main SWP publication, Socialist Worker, has never covered these incidents of physical antisemitism towards British Jews in any meaningful way.
A plain disregard
I feel that shows a plain and simple disregard for Jews. However, I am sure that (ex) SWPers will find suitable excuses to explain it away, but would they take such a tack if any other ethnic minority was involved? Probably not.
Briefly, I don’t believe that the majority of (ex) SWPers are active antisemites, rather their political indoctrination means that when they deal with any topic relating to Jews they have a certain blind spot. The Atzmon debacle and the Stop the War coalition use of an antisemite’s material demonstrate this. It is apparent that since the SWP’s chumminess with an active racist, Atzmon, its many members and ex-members have learnt next to nothing.
Why is that an issue?
Because the SWP’s ex-members run some large organisations and have influence beyond their numbers. In turn their unchanged attitudes towards Jews can lead to a climate of hostility and aid racists, even if that is not their intention.
But more importantly, the SWP are part and parcel of the negative mood facing Jews in Britain. They do not throw bricks at synagogues instead they rant on about “Zionists” ad nauseam and help to perpetuate antagonism towards British Jews.
If SWP members and ex-members couldn’t resign on the principle of opposing racism when it came to Atzmon, what use are they? Have they no embarrassment now? Have they learnt anything at all?
The evidence suggests not, and that should worry anyone seriously opposed to antisemitism.
A few reminders about Atzmon and the SWP:
2004: “Gilad Atzmon will speak and perform on Tuesday 13 July at the Marxism 2004 festival and conference in London. You can find out more about his life and work at his website…”
2004: Richard Seymour on Atzmon. His advice was ignored for the next seven years.
2005: “The SWP does not believe that Gilad Atzmon is a Holocaust denier or racist. However, while defending Gilad’s right to play and speak on public platforms that in no way means we endorse all of Gilad’s views. 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. In fact we have publicly challenged and argued against those of his ideas we disagree with.”
2005: “Gilad Atzmon is arguably the most outstanding artist to emerge on the British jazz scene in recent years. ”
2006: “Gilad declared, “I will be playing at the Cultures of Resistance concert because I support the Socialist Worker appeal.”
2007: “Readers of Socialist Review may know jazz musician Gilad Atzmon due to his Coltrane tour with Martin Smith and the Cultures of Resistance gig at this year’s Marxism.”
2007: “Gilad Atzmon is not racist” according to leading SWPers, Hannah Dee, Viv Smith and Lindsey German.
2007: Socialist Worker promoting: “A celebration of jazz musician Charlie Parker with Martin Smith and Gilad Atzmon. Includes launch of Gilad’s new album, Refuge ”
2008: “Gilad Atzmon celebrates Charlie Parker” [with Martin Smith]. Martin Smith was the SWP’s National Secretary and leading Central Committee member.
2009: “Disclaimer – I’ve never previously much liked Gilad Atzmon’s CDs. Live, he can be brilliant, with a bite and intensity that make him one of the best jazz artists working in Britain today. ”
2009: Atzmon hosted yet again at the SWP’s premier bookshop, Bookmarks.
2009: Atzmon argues “Throughout the centuries, Jewish bankers bought for themselves some real reputations of backers and financers of wars  and even one communist revolution ” A common neo-Nazi theme.
2012: Atzmon joins the neo-Nazi site, Veterans Today.
2013: My short piece, The death agony of the SWP
2014: Atzmon support for Holocaust Revisionists.
2015: Atzmon thinks the Paris shooting was a false flag. That is antisemite-speak for “Jews did it”.
As a matter of public record this is a poem published by the British Stop the War Coalition.
Astute readers will notice that it approvingly quotes from a neo-Nazi, Gordon Duff.
“JOAN RIVERS died in an endoscopy clinic
Where she was having her vocal chords examined.
Her voice had been getting raspier and raspier,
And recently she’d berated an interviewer
On leaving LAX, Los Angeles airport,
Who’d had the impudence to solicit her opinion
On the then current massacres in Gaza.
She turned on him angrily screaming
That she had “zero sympathy
For the civilians killed in Gaza”
Because “they had fair warning to get out, and they didn’t …
“So they deserve to die. They were told to get out.
“They didn’t get out. You don’t get out? you are an idiot.
“Hamas,” she continued, “was re-elected
By a lot of stupid people who don’t even own a pencil.
“At least the ones that were killed,” she added with a savage relish,
“Were the ones with very low I.Q.s.”
She then praised World War Two being ended by Hiroshima and Nagasaki
And she continued hoarsely shouting
At the interviewer who’d had the gall to ask her,
In view of her uncritical support for the Israeli State,
What were her feelings about the deaths of 1400 people:
“They started it. We now don’t count who’s dead.
“You’re dead, you deserve to be dead.”
In her snarling triumphalism
She was suggesting
That three hundred and seventy three children,
Killed by Israel’s ‘Protective Edge’,
Had brought their own deaths
“You’re dead, you deserve to be dead.”
However karma is also a bitch,
And shortly afterwards Rivers
Would lose her voice
And, worse still, upon her entering the endoscopy clinic
And being given an anaesthetic
She fell into a coma and died.
The friend of Nancy Reagan, the friend of Netanyahu,
And the friend and favoured wedding guest of Prince Charles,
She would dance attendance upon the rich and powerful
And make it clear that she held political opinions
That matched theirs. She’d play court jester
And then growl, “We must bomb the shit out of Iran”.
Her friend, the Prince, said that he was ‘deeply saddened’
By the comedian’s death
And, keen to identify himself with outpourings of showbiz grief,
He added that, “Joan Rivers was an extraordinary woman
“With an original and indefatigable spirit,
“An unstoppable sense of humour and an enormous zest for life.
“She will be hugely missed and utterly irreplaceable.”
In his dull insouciance the hapless Prince
Had overlooked the fact that his heroine,
Fawned upon in Hollywood as the ‘Duchess of Dirt’,
‘Queen Wise-Arse’, and the ‘Goddess of Snark’,
Had advised his future daughter-in-law, Kate Middleton,
‘If you ever want to go to Paris, fly, don’t take the tunnel.’
But perhaps he hadn’t really forgotten it –
Perhaps he’d perversely savoured Rivers’ sick reference
To his ex-wife’s untimely death…
And nor did Charles seem aware that,
Far from her being “irreplaceable”,
Much of Joan Rivers had been replaced by plastic.
Thanks to nearly three hundred operations
She’d become a smooth skinned gargoyle
Coated by a lustrous chemical sheen;
A reflective veneer on her tautened pink skin.
In 2010 she tweeted, “With all the plastic surgery I’ve had,
I’m worried when I die God won’t recognize me.”
The historian Alan Hart responded,
“If she was still alive today, I would say to her something like,
‘If he does recognize you, perhaps you should worry
About whether he will forgive you for saying
That, because they voted for Hamas,
The Palestinians of the Gaza Strip prison camp
Deserved what they were getting
When Israel was delivering them
More death and destruction.”
The commentator Gordon Duff had a less measured response:
“May a gaggle of flying blood monkeys escort her to the side of her creator”.
Others disobligingly wondered whether
Those disposing of her body would cremate her
Or would recycle her plastic corpse.
“I’ve had so much plastic surgery,” she’d declare,
“When I die they will donate my body to Tupperware.”
Although sadly, Tupperware might not think it served their brand –
Devoted to keeping food fresh in a hygienic fashion.
Most tragically of all, despite her surgery she was wistfully to confess,
“No man has ever, ever told me I’m beautiful.”
Maybe that was because there was an inner ugliness
That couldn’t be concealed by cosmetics:
The inner ugliness of a woman who’d often complain
How much she was inconvenienced by children on ‘planes
By saying “where is Casey Anthony when you need her?”
Casey Anthony being an infamous mother
Accused of killing her two-year-old daughter
By suffocating her with parcel tape;
Ugliest of all perhaps, Rivers took a hideous pride
In doing anything for money:
“For $500, I’ll write for Hitler,” she said.
There is now a new face in hell,
With its mouth made of collagen
And a voice that may mercifully be silent. “
Notice the link to the Daily Stormer, Stormfront’s regular neo-Nazi filth.
Update 2: I covered Gordon Duff’s Veterans Today previously.
Duff is rather keen on David Duke.
Not forgetting his admiration for the Holocaust denying, David Irving.
Update 3: A moment’s research on Gordon Duff would reveal his sick racist view, Veterans Today Editor Blames Newtown Tragedy on Israel.
Update 4: Heathcote Williams eventually managed to remove Duff’s contribution, but wasn’t too troubled to tackle antisemitism on Stop the War Coalition’s web site, ie. Alison Weir’s appalling article.
I can’t say I am surprised. Only a matter of time before another hardcore antisemite pops up on their site. Not that they will notice.
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!]
There is a new report covering the phenomenon of Islamophobia and social media.
“On International Human Rights Day, December 10th 2013, the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) have released a major new report into the growing problem of online hate targeting the Muslim community. The full report, titled ‘Islamophobia on the Internet: The growth of online hate targeting Muslims’, is available below as a free download.
The report examines anti-Muslim hate on Facebook and was produced by the Online Hate Prevention Institute, Australia’s only charity entirely dedicated to the growing problem of online hate. We thank the Islamic Council of Victoria, the peak body representing Victoria’s Muslim community, who we consulted regularly in the preparation of this report. The report follows previous major works by OHPI examining online hate against Indigenous Australians, the Jewish Community, and the ANZACs and Military Veterans.
This major work examines 50 anti-Muslim Facebook pages. The Facebook pages range from “The Islamic threat” which today passed the 113,000 supporter mark and continues to rapidly grow, to “Mohammad the PIG” which vanished after reaching 2000 supporters. From these 50 pages the report documents 349 images of anti-Muslim hate. These images represent 191 unique images and many repetitions as messages of hate move between the different pages.”
Read more here.
The link to the download is towards the end of the page and marked ‘Islamophobia on the Internet: The growth of online hate targeting Muslims by Andre Oboler.
Update 1: The Online Hate Prevention Institute has produced a number of fine and informative publications which can be found here.
History has shown that a climate of intolerance and anxiety leads to racial attacks.
The constant back-biting aimed at British Muslims in the media and on the Web has real and deadly consequences, the Guardian reports:
“Details of the assault on Imam Hafiz Salik, 60, have only just emerged. His son Ateeq Salik said his father was driving home last Saturday evening from his daughter’s house next to the Hull Mosque and Islamic Centre when two men and a woman tried to stop his car.
“They ran into the middle of the road and he had to do an emergency stop. He beeped the horn at them,” said the imam’s son. “One of the men lay down in the road right in front of the car. My father was confused and thought he was injured. Then the man slowly got up and went to the car and opened the door. My mum was sitting in the front and my youngest sister was in the back. He looked at all of them and he punched my father very hard in the face. It was a very forceful punch and my father’s face was covered in blood. Then the man walked away.” “[My emphasis.]
Update 1: The Hull Daily Mail has more.
We are often caught up with our own lives. Attempting to understand how others see the world is frequently near-on impossible, but we should try, particularly when it comes to societal racism.
Since 2001 increasing hatred and loathing has been directed towards Muslims. Political opportunists, such as the English Defence League, have tried to exploit the prevailing xenophobic climate in Britain and incite racial hatred.
Every day in Britain Muslims suffer racism. From verbal abuse to physical attacks. On-line animosity towards Muslims is stoked up daily by racists and semi-professional bigots. On-line activities have real world consequences as the site, EDL Criminals has shown time and again.
The real lives of real people in Britain are blighted by racism, yet these facts receive scant coverage in the Oxbridge dominated media. There are a few lines here or there, but little real investigation.
One academic report details how the Far Right and extremists exploit negative sentiment towards Muslims.
Another scholarly paper looked at the impact of racism towards Muslim women.
A Societal Issue and The Independent
A piece in the Independent seems to have grasp the headline of this issue but not the subtleties, as expressed above, and:
In society we need to admit that anti-Muslim prejudice is quite widespread. That such reports can lead to a flare up of on-line hate against Muslims and cause more problems.
We should accept that anti-Muslim prejudice has to be tackled.
It is wrong to blame whole or part of communities as it further exasperates extremism, increasing societal disconnect and isolation. Such an approach aids the extremists, be they the EDL or Al-Muhajiroun.
We need to take care on these issues, racism, whatever its forms should not be encouraged.
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.
The One Law for All campaign is run by seasoned political activists. That makes their inability to comprehend the question of amicability to neofascists, EDL supporters/sympathizers all the harder to understand.
Reminds me of the old adage “When in a hole, stop digging.”.
I will comment on it later on but in the interim I have taken the liberty of reposting Anne Marie Waters’ statement on the issue, lest it vanish:
“Anne Marie Waters October 8, 2013 at 10:44 pm:
Ok, before I start, I speak on my own behalf, not Maryam’s, or One Law for All, but I simply cannot let this go on without speaking out.
First of all, Pat Condell. Pat Condell is not a racist – he has been very clear on numerous occasions that his issue is with religion, not race. I second that. There are disturbing rape statistics in Scandinavia. This report from Norway discusses it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWWrpv-pbuc The girl interviewed tell us that her rapist told her that he could do whatever he liked to her because his religion says so. You will probably now call the Norwegian police racist, but I doubt that they are. The police woman in question was right that attitudes to women are relevant and we’ve got to have the courage to discuss them. These attitudes stem from religion, not race. BobFromBrockley you wrote: “It’s the language that is racist, not whatever factual basis may or may not exist for his claims”. So you’re unconcerned about the facts? Telling the truth is racist? I’m afraid not. What is racist though is raping Norwegian women because they are Norwegian. Raping “Aussie pigs” because they’re Aussies, is also racist http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/07/13/1026185124700.html
You might also be interested in the young rapist who escaped punishment here in Britain because he believed women “to be no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground”. He claimed he was taught this by Islam. Note please, he said this. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2268395/Adil-Rashid-Paedophile-claimed-Muslim-upbringing-meant-didnt-know-illegal-sex-girl-13.html)
At no point did Condell blame this on race, but on religion. And perhaps he’s got some reason to given the words of the rapists themselves. The idea that women are to blame for rape is not some lunatic fringe, but state policy in many Islamic states. Sorry if that is inconvenient but the truth often is. You are no doubt going to focus on who did the reporting of these words, and ignore the words, but that is something I can never do. Even the Daily Mail doesn’t get away with fabricating facts.
To suggest (and nobody is) that all Muslim men view women in this way is absurd and grossly offensive, but it is just as absurd to suggest that religious and cultural norms which imprison women for being rape victims has no impact whatsoever on the views of some of these men – especially when they believe that this comes from God. This cannot carry on. We owe it to the victims to be honest about this. And before you say it, no decent person is going to blame all Muslims, or all “immigrants”.. only people such as yourselves lump people in to groups like this. Most people don’t. But the motive matters and it must be addressed.
You might think facing the truth is “stirring up hatred” but I rather think it might be the rapes that are doing that. If the truth hurts, it is the truth that must change, not the fact that people are telling it.
Please try to understand the damage that this causes. Shouting racist at people for recognising reality is the reason that there are 1000s of girls in this country having their genitals butchered every year, are forced in to “marriages”, forced out of school and imprisoned in their homes. Police and social workers are terrified because people like you shout racist at them at every given opportunity – whether what they say is true or not. This is obscene and those who do it need to have a serious look at themselves.
In summary: standing back and doing nothing to protect young girls and women because of their skin colour – that is racism.
You have also demeaned the word racist and made it so that it is no longer taken as seriously as it should, and the result will inevitably be that people who suffer because of their colour of their skin will be ignored. You are having the opposite effect and leaving people to suffer – because of their skin colour, while calling everyone else racists.
SarahAB – I agree with you “there are different shades of opinion amongst EDL supporters”. Yes there are. I don’t like the EDL, I have never supported them and I wish they didn’t exist – but they do, and do you know why? Because people shouted “racist” at everyone who had a legitimate concern about Islam and drove everyone away – creating racial tension, doing nothing to solve anything and instead making it immeasurably worse. Government, police, social workers all ignored it – because they would be called racists if they did anything. This causes the problems you now complain of – this is why the EDL exists.
As for QueenLareefer, who the hell is anyone to tell her she’s a racist? Do you know her? I didn’t know she was EDL but I would have to get to know her before I make judgements on her – to understand what her reasons are. She’s an individual and deserves to be treated like one. The EDL has seriously nasty people in it yes, but many people turn to it because they feel they’ve got nowhere else to go. Where is she to turn to express herself? To the left? What if she loves her country as she clearly does? That makes her a racist to many on the left, especially if that country happens to be England. She will automatically be dismissed. No political party will entertain anyone who expresses a dislike of Islam and what if she doesn’t subscribe to left-wing beliefs? I know that some of you believe anyone who isn’t left-wing is a racist, but that is your problem. I happen to love this country too, as do many black and Asian Brits – what category do you put them in? What is your view on the nasty elements of the UAF? An organisation which has an avowed Islamist as its vice chair? (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/andrewgilligan/100140248/ken-livingstones-anti-fascist-group-appoints-fascist-as-vice-chair/) Do you condemn the UAF just as loudly? I didn’t think so.
People often feel they have nowhere to go when they dislike Islam, as they perfectly entitled to do. I don’t agree with every word Queen Lareefer says, but amazingly, as an adult, I can still respect her right to express herself without smearing her as a racist. She clearly has issues with Islam: she and I have that in common. I retweeted her today (and you can ‘presume’ all you like about what tweets of hers I saw or didn’t) because I support the view that we should move on and all anti-Islamists reject actual racists and work with Quilliam and others to defeat the real threat of Islamism. Serious kudos are due to Quilliam for this. We’ve got to stop alienating and pushing everyone away, we’ve got to identify racism for what it is – it’s about race, not religion. Opposition to Islamism is not some exclusive club and who the hell do people think they are to think they get to dictate who is or isn’t a racist?
As for paranoia which someone has thrown at me recently because of my website. 85 sharia tribunals and counting? Paranoia? Imams caught on camera marrying little girls. Paranoia? You might want to check out Undercover Mosque http://vimeo.com/19598947 and http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xr1al0_undercover-mosque-the-return_webcam Or are the cameras racist too?
Now I know you are inevitably going to call me a racist for all this, do your best. I really am past caring.
You can continue to focus on who follows who on twitter, and I will continue to focus on little girls and women being raped and mutilated. You have your priorities, I have mine.
[Editor’s note: I apologise to reader for the linkage to the appalling Daily Mail, etc but I wanted to give Ms. Waters the opportunity to fully air her views.]
Racism towards ethnic minorities in Britain is seriously under reported. It rarely receives the coverage that it deserves in the media. So CNN’s short clip on Tell MAMA is most welcome:
To report an incident of anti-Muslim racism contact Tell MAMA via:
I find if I make a mistake it is good to apologise, but there is a need to do it sincerely. Conversely, I find amongst most politicos, the university educated and with many men: a serious reluctance to ever admit they are wrong. No matter the overwhelming evidence.
One example is the MPs expenses scandal. Even at the very end, these rich, well-educated and privileged individuals could not admit they were wrong, openly. It was abundantly clear to everyone outside of Westminster that there had been serious wrongdoings on MPs expenses. To the bitter end some MPs would not say “Sorry, we did wrong.”
Despite being reassured by their leader that they will reply early next week I have yet to see even the slightest mea culpa.
In fact, Ms Waters seems to be digging her heels in, but I don’t wish this to be an acrimonious dispute.
I just want nonracists to ostracised neofascists, neo-Nazis, their friends, their allies, their water carriers and PR teams. To shun them, completely.
Surely, that is not too much to ask?
Notwithstanding how I outlined my disagreement on Storify, Ms Waters seems intent on misunderstanding my points. Therefore, I have taken the liberty of condensing a few tweets which described the issue as I see it (I fixed some typos):
“We’re often told by “anti-Islamists”/secularists/atheists that they have nothing inherently against Muslims, yet this doesn’t always stack up. If said individuals have nothing intrinsically against Muslims, then they shouldn’t be found exchanging pleasantries with racists/neofascists. This is a fairly simple point, & it applies widely that nonracists should not, cohabitate, aid or otherwise normalise racists/neofascists.
But we can see how the spokesperson of the One Law for All campaign is exceedingly friendly with EDL sympathisers/supporters. You might not unreasonably expect that nonracists should avoid any friendly contact with neofascists or their allies, based on the above. Because otherwise we may assume that they share similar views, in this case a loathing for Muslims, to varying degrees.
That point applies broadly, if we look at “anti-Zionists” we would hope not to find them anywhere near antisemitic material, but we do. We should hope that those who express strong views in relationship to Muslims or Jews, do not associated anyway with neofascists or neo-Nazis. Nevertheless, there is evidence that “anti-Zionists” have distributed antisemitic links over time, this is only one example.
Equally, supposed “secularists”, such as @AMDWaters are on very good terms with a few EDL supporters/sympathisers.
I hope the One Law for All Campaign make a serious effort to understand these points. These ideas are not complex for those committed to antiracism, or anyone literate.
Disclaimer: I am not a fan of Ed Miliband. I think that he is far too timid in his opposition to the Tories. I wish he would dispense with Liam Byrne’s services and adopt a stridently anti Tory agenda, but he won’t. Miliband is a rather moderate politician.
On a bad day I can be terribly cynical, but even I was astonished at the Daily Mail’s attack on Ralph Milliband.
Emily Maitlis is particularly great on Newsnight in examining the malicious, ill informed and scurrilous character assassination of Ralph Miliband, and by inference his son, Ed.
The Hacked Off campaign is good, if too brief.
Michael Newman hits the nail on the head:
“But, of course, Levy’s real target is not Ralph Miliband at all, but Ed, whom he accuses of being determined to bring about his father’s vision. Apart from being absurd, this is also ironic for, ever since my biography was published, I have constantly been asked to explain how both of Ralph’s sons became politicians in a party that he had often regarded as a barrier to the attainment of socialism. “[My emphasis.]
Even Lord Heseltine, who served under Thatcher, knows that the Daily Mail has crossed a line:
“Heseltine told The Daily Politics on BBC2: “This is carrying politics to an extent that is just demeaning, frankly. The headline isn’t justified. It is completely out of context. As everybody knows the guy fought for this country and we now live in a totally different world to the clash between communism and fascism.”
Just a simple reminder of who the Daily Mail boss, Viscount Rothermere, liked. He is the man in the middle.
This is what Rothermere wrote in September 1933:
“It is Germany’s good fortune to have found a leader who can combine for the public good all the most
vigorous elements in the country. President von Hindenburg and the Crown Prince form, with Herr Hitler, the keystone of the national structure.
The world’s greatest need today is realism. Hitler is a realist. He has saved his country from the ineffectual leadership of hesitating, half-hearted politicians. He has infused into its national life the conquerable spirit of triumphant youth.”
So when faced with the evil that Hitler represented, what did the Daily Mail proprietor, Rothermere do?
He applauded it.
Update 1: Daily Mail widens attack on Ed Miliband.
Update 2: Stephen Fry gives his tuppence worth:
“But there’s form here. The Mail still can’t quite live with the shame that it has always, always been historically wrong about everything – large and small – from Picasso to equal pay for women. Because it has always been against progress, the liberalising of attitudes, modern art and strangers (whether by race, gender or sexuality). Of course they’ll leap on a Stephen Lawrence bandwagon once the seeds of their decades of anti-immigration racism (read a 1960s or 1970s Daily Mail) have been sown, but deep down they have always come from the same place and had the same instinct for the lowest, most mean-spirited, hypocritical, spiteful and philistine elements of our island nation.
Most notoriously of all, they loved Adolf Hitler when he came to power, and as the Czech crisis arose they were the appeasement newspaper. And woe-betide any liberal-minded anti-fascist who warned that the man was unstable and that consistently satisfying his vanity, greed and ambition was only storing up trouble. The whole liberal left, not to mention Winston Churchill, were mocked and scorned for their instinctive distrust of Hitler. The Daily Mail knew better.” [My emphasis.]
Update 3: This Buzzfeed is superb. The Best Of The Internet Vs. The Daily Mail.
Update 4: Where is Paul Dacre? is funny.
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.”
Norman Tebbit’s claim to fame is a stupid comment concerning a bicycle. That was over 30 years ago and time has not improved Tebbit’s judgement.
Whilst most professional political commentators and academics would fairly and squarely place the English Defence League in the Far Right slot, Tebbit disagrees.
Normally, I would not even trouble to argue with a Tory, a waste of time.
Still, Tebbit might want to view this clip and explain away the convergence of neo-Nazis and the English Defence League.
Tell MAMA puts a solid case, Are the EDL a Far Right Group asks Lord Tebbit – on Many Occasions.
Update 1: EDL Review is a very useful resource. It is a site which exposes the thugs and criminals in the English Defence League.
As an atheist, secularist and rationalist I should be within the ideal catchment area for the Rationalist Association.
I should be, but I am not.
Having read their recent contributions to the discussion over Richard Dawkins’s conflating Islam with Muslims as a bloc, and studiously avoiding the issue of why he retweeted material from an EDL sympathiser I am less than impressed at their rationality.
I don’t mind a polemic. But to be oblivious of racism in Britain, not to understand the nature of the English Defence League and to reflectively defend Richard Dawkins is not rational, even for the Rationalist Association.
Daniel Trilling’s moderate piece on how we need to get beyond Richard Dawkins has set the cat among the pigeons and brought out some rather irrational rationalists.
Update 1: A reminder of what a self-confess Dawkins fan said:
“Because Dawkins has gone from criticising the religion itself to criticising Muslims, as a vast bloc. They’re not individuals with names, they’re “these Muslims” or “some Muslim or other”, undifferentiated, without personhood. They haven’t managed to get very many Nobel prizes, presumably because they’re stupid, or brainwashed into zombiehood by their religion.
Yes, it’s only a “fact”, but in different contexts, the same fact can have different meanings. For instance, would Dawkins have tweeted another fact, which is that Trinity also has twice as many Nobel prizes as all black people put together? It’s just as true, but presumably he doesn’t believe that it’s because black people aren’t as clever. Yet he is willing to make the equivalent inference about Muslims, without further evidence.“[My emphasis.]
Update 2: I was probably a bit harsh, not all at the Rationalist Association are purblind to racism.
Paul Sims wrote a good piece in 2011, Demonising Muslims: When does criticism of religion cross the line into racism?
“Whatever the debates over terminology, it seems clear that there is a serious problem with anti-Muslim prejudice in Britain and, indeed, beyond. “All across Europe we have seen right-wing extremists moving more and more to using attacks on Islam as a way of using fear to win people to their cause,” says Sam Tarry, a campaign organiser at the anti-fascist organisation Hope Not Hate. Of the extremist groups tracked by Tarry and his colleagues the most high-profile in recent years has been the English Defence League, which emerged in the aftermath of a protest in 2009 against homecoming troops in Luton by the extremists of Islam4UK, the now-proscribed group led by Anjem Choudary. Drawing on pre-existing networks of right-wing extremists and football hooligans, the EDL positioned itself specifically in opposition to what it called “militant Islam” and organised street demonstrations in towns with large Muslim populations, drawing attendances of up to 2,000 by the spring of last year.
While EDL leaders maintain that their concern is with Islamic extremism, Tarry says their marches target a far broader section of society. “They’ve actually hardened their position over the last two years,” he explains. “Now they are pretty much saying they are against Islam itself as a religion, that it’s evil, that it’s incompatible with the West, and this feeds into a whole other set of arguments that they make about the general Islamification of Britain.” Hope Not Hate estimate that the demonstrations, which have frequently descended into violence, have cost the taxpayer as much as £25 million in policing and have caused serious damage to community relations. “I was there in Leicester [in October 2010] when they managed to break through police lines,” says Tarry. “Around 500 managed to rampage through the city centre and attack a halal fast food restaurant, smashing windows and storming it. In terms of victimising a particular community in this way, we haven’t really seen this kind of behaviour since the days of the National Front.” “
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.”