Saturday, July 07, 2007

The dinner parties continue

Richard Littlejohn tells us:

Nick Cohen reveals in the film that he goes to dinner parties in Islington where remarks are made about Jews that no-one would ever dream of making against any other ethnic groups.

So why does he keep going? Why doesn't he walk out there and then?

35 Comments:

Anonymous Callan said...

Everyone seems to have responded "I didn't know you were Jewish". Littlejohn thinks this is significant. I think it is because he is such a tit that everyone assumed that he couldn't have been making a film about bigotry for disinterested reasons. I did think the stuff about the Nazis was the most disgusting bullshit given the other group who the Nazis attempted to exterminate were the gypsies whom Littlejohn loathes.

Incidentally I wonder how one empirically tests the notion that bigotry against certain groups is more acceptable than others. Apart from going to Islington dinner parties, making disparaging remarks about different ethnic groups and making a note of the responses.

7/07/2007 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

I think there's another reason, though I agree that Littlejohn is a tit. Documentaries on black communities are usually narrated by a black person (well, almost always Darcus Howe, but that's beside the point). If a tv channel wants to make a film about an ethnic group, they usually get a member of said group to present. Anything else can be seen as patronising.

Jews are clearly a special case, as there are so few of them who could research and present a tv programme. [/sarcasm] If there is this widespread anti-Semitism, I'd be a lot more convinced if, to pull a name at random from the beginning of the alphabet, David Aaronovitch were the reporter. Jews don't need Littlejohn as a champion. I just don't buy his "I'm a disinterested seeker after truth" line. You couldn't make it up, but he did.

7/07/2007 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

And another thing.

Q: But historically, anti-semitism has been from the far-right.

RL: Absolutely. My motivation for making this film started with the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street last year [when the East End stopped Mosley's Blackshirts from completing their march].


Indeed, the far-right was anti-Semitic, but anti-Semitism has never been exclusively of the far right. Should have quoted this yesterday - from Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion (splendid) p305. The following is Dawkins quoting another writer, NOT Dawkins own view.

And how will the New Republic treat the inferior races? How will it deal with the black? ... the yellow man? ... the Jew? those swarms of black, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people who do not come into the new needs of efficiency? Well, the world is a world, and not a charitable institution, and I take it they will have to go.

H.G. Wells 1902. He was a Fabian (and I think a very great writer and intellectual, when he wasn't being as daft as a brush, as here) and nothing like the a member of the far right. Ditto Dickens and literally thousands of others. This idea that the old left was never anti-semitic and has now become so is revisionist and, frankly, nuts.

7/07/2007 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Littlejohn: "You can argue the politics of the Middle East, that's a perfectly legitimate standpoint, but when it means making common cause with people like Hezbollah and Hamas, that's something different".

7/07/2007 02:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark B said...

"Nick Cohen reveals in the film that he goes to dinner parties in Islington where remarks are made about Jews that no-one would ever dream of making against any other ethnic groups."

Did Cohen reveal that he has heard dinner party guests referring to Jews as "hideous", or accusing them of having "ugly children", or referring to them as "swarthy faced foriegners?" Oh no, that was Littlejohn himself talking about Iraqis, mixed raced children born to Iraqi fathers and English mothers, and gypsies respectively. If Cohen really thinks that it's unimaginable that you would hear prejudical remarks about any ethnic group other than Jews, he should try attended some dinner parties with his new friend Littlejohn, I'm sure he'd be in for quite a eye-opener.

7/07/2007 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Terence said...

and the thing about Little-Johnson is that I don't think his anti-anti-semitism is in anyway genuine. He's simply chosen a cause that suits his world-view and politics. Had he lived in the 1930s I'm willing to hazard a guess that Muslims wouldn't have been the minority group he was targeting...

7/07/2007 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger Terence said...

oh, and by the way, being from the Southern Hemisphere and all, I'm kind of ignorant of these things but where is this Islington that you talk of? Is it somewhere in central asia (Islingstan?) the people sound hideously repressed (by parking wardens nonetheless) and I'm wondering how anyone has time to actually eat what with all the prejudice that flows at these so called 'dinner parties'.

Sure makes me glad I live in the free world.

7/07/2007 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

Why doesn't he walk out there and then?

Because the persecuted-conservative-at-the-braying-latte-liberal-dinner-party narrative is one of the most enduring boo-hoos of American wingnuttery.

Don't be taken in by their schtick - if it walks and talks like a wingnut, it's probably a wingnut.

7/08/2007 11:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worst than this, Radio 4 has repeated a short series on discrimination face by Americans! These oh so repressed people get really, really upset when their imperial slaves tell them to “fuck off”!

7/08/2007 07:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Cian said...

Is he right when he talks about the level of security needed by Jewish schools/synagogues? And who are they being protected from? I mean it could just be paranoia, with no justification. Attacks on Jewish targets seem to be very low in comparison to attacks on other groups (Gypsies say...). Whenever you hear about it, it mostly seems to be fairly minor property damage, or graveyard desecration (both of which could easily be kids). Unpleasant sure, but pretty minor compared to what other communities (certain Muslim ones included) have to contend with.

I mean I lived in Stamford Hill for five years where a large, very obviously Jewish, community (and one which is fairly hostile to outsiders) lived in parallel with a large Muslim community. No security, no serious tensions; consequently I'm a bit sceptical about some of these claims.

7/08/2007 09:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

I remember a Jewish friend recounting how, after September 11th, they'd redoubled the security patrols at his children's school, and how he was convinced it was only a matter of time before the other shoe dropped. I think there is a certain amount of catastrophist thinking around, although obviously it's hard to judge how a threat appears from outside the community.

7/08/2007 11:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

I live close to a Jewish primary school in Birmingham, which has quite a high proportion of Muslim pupils. I hadn't noticed it having to take particular security precautions, though an article about it in the Independent (here) says "there are watchful video cameras high up on the walls, plus two electronic gates to pass through".

The only anti-semitic attack I've heard of in this part of Birmingham was a couple of years ago, when a Jewish family had a swastika painted on their garage door. There certainly isn't any tension between Jewish and other residents (though it has to be said that the Jewish population of Birmingham is not large, which is why the number of non-Jewish pupils at the school is high).

7/09/2007 01:03:00 AM  
Anonymous bruschettaboy said...

There is some evidence that anti-Semitic attacks are on the rise in the UK, particularly last year during the Lebanon war - it's not just paranoia, although the attackers were almost always Arab or Asian teenagers rather than middle class readers of the Guardian. Security arrangements around Jewish schools and charities have been stepped up quite a lot - for example, to take a fabled local example to me, they took away two residents' parking spaces outside the Jewish Museum in order to protect against suicide bombers (presumably suicide bombers with residents' permits). But I don't think that fears of terrorism can be mapped very coherently on to general anti-Semitism. So I'd say that the problem is not nothing, but not the way that Littlejohn (and Nick Cohen) spin it. It's certainly true that Littlejohn's disgusting campaigns against the gypsies ought to be thrown right back up in his face.

[the thing about Little-Johnson is that I don't think his anti-anti-semitism is in anyway genuine.]

I think it is, but it doesn't come from the usual motives. He is and always has been a strong supporter of the State of Israel, on almost Empire Loyalist grounds, in that it's a state created by the British, and it's a bulwark of educated, white (or honorary-white), Western-identified people in a sea of scary Otherness. I often use the joke that ENGAGEonline is worried about anti-Semitism because it might lead to criticism of Israel, but AFAICT in the case of Littlejohn it's actually true.

7/09/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous bb said...

reading Littlejohn's summary in the Mail, his point appears to be that the rise of anti-Semitism is the work of the Left and the Islamists, rather as the Dada movement in art was championed by the surrealists and the spot-welders.

7/09/2007 09:46:00 AM  
Anonymous splinteredsunrise said...

Well, yeah. The idea of Littlejohn as self-appointed spokesman for a minority group sounds like C4 trying to be ironic to me. Next week, we can presumably expect Garry Bushell on the Irish.

AFAICT the Community Security Trust, when it reports rises in "violent antisemitism", is none too particular in distinguishing between things like assaults on Jewish people (rare) and minor property damage caused by teenage yobboes (much more common).

And I agree with Mark that Nick would get a shock going to dinner parties with Littlejohn. Maybe he could bring Tatchell and Hari with him...

7/09/2007 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous richard littledick said...

well the Community Security Trust has an obvious interest in exaggerating anti-Jewish incidents, since it's a profit-making company which makes its money through the propagation of fear of attack among Jewish people.

7/09/2007 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

hmmm I don't see any reason to downplay the importance of racially aggravated criminal damage - it must be bloody unpleasant for the victims. For what it's worth, I personally believe that it is highly likely that there's been an increase in anti-Semitism in the UK, because (as a matter of empirical social fact rather than anything else), Jewish people in Britain have almost certainly been made undeserving scapegoats for the actions of the State of Israel. Which of course doesn't get the S of I off the hook for bombing Lebanon, and I am surprised that so many people with blogs seem to think it might.

7/09/2007 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why doesn't he walk out there and then?

I suspect because it just didn't happen. No proof at all, of course, but does anyone really believe that Cohen has gone to parties (not just one), presumably with friends, where racist remarks (not just one) about Jews are made.

That this happened in Islington, that lazy code word for all that is trendy left/liberal sounds all a little too convenient.

Cohen, after all, has abook to sell and a flimsy thesis to maintain. It's not that I'm accusing Cohen of being a liar, it's just that he's a journalist who needs to project a 'unique view'.

7/09/2007 02:41:00 PM  
Anonymous splinteredsunrise said...

And, at the risk of blowing my own trumpet, an exclusive preview can be found here:

http://splinteredsunrise.wordpress.com/2007/07/09/the-splintered-sunrise-preview-tape/

7/09/2007 03:17:00 PM  
Anonymous rioja kid said...

yes, I saw that: very good stuff indeed.

I thought the points in the comments about CCOB were spot on too. Israel as a state has been the cause of the Right in Europe and the US since the 67 war.

7/09/2007 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

I note from Littlejohn's column (and elsewhere, but I noticed it there) that in order to not be an anti-Semite-masquerading-as-anti-Zionist, one has to sign up not only for the right to self-protection for the human beings living in Israel (no problem) and for the right of the State of Israel to be a state like any other (no problem) but also for its existence "as a specifically Jewish state" (hrrrrm well).

I'm not too keen on this attempt to claim that all one-state solutionists are de facto anti-Semites or wilfully blind or something. Quite apart from anything else, with or without a right of return, the current demographics of the Arab minority within Israel have them on a trajectory that could make them a majority in near-historical time, so any open-ended commitment to the "specifically Jewish identity" of the State of Israel would seem to commit one to something fairly appalling, if this is understood as to be important enough to defend against demographics as well as politics. If it's not important enough to warrant doing anything about the demographics, then all this crap about "the specifically Jewish state" is just a windy and misleading way of saying you're against a right of return.

7/09/2007 04:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark B said...

Didn't the EU try to enact some similar law, or are in the process of doing so, that states that anyone denying the right of the Jewish people to maintain their own state in Israel is to be regarded as officially guilty of anti-semitism? I could be wrong, but I do seem to remember reading this and being a bit taken aback. If I remember rightly the law further stipulated that the claim that the creation of a Jewish state in Israel is a racist undertaking is to be officially regarded as anti-semitic.

If Littlejohn's criteria are taken seriously, then Noam Chomsky is an anti-semite. I remember reading that he opposed the creation of Israel on the grounds that no state should be based upon what he feels are racial principles, and since he would not support a white state or a black state he says he could not support a Jewish state either, or he'd be applying double standards. I see nothing anti-semitic in opposing a Jewish state on such grounds, regardless of whether one agrees with the argument or not.

Regardless, the idea of Richard Littlejohn taking it upon himself to draw up some set of criteria to determine whether or not somebody should be regarded as harbouring racial prejudice is extraordinary. This is this man who whines about 'political correctness' and 'liberal conspiracies' if anyone points out to him that his statements about gypsies, arabs, homosexuals, asylum seekers, etc. may possibly be construed as prejudice. Littlejohn calls the Palestians 'The Pikeys of the Middle-East'. I wonder if someone called Israeli Jews 'The Pikeys of the Middle-East' Littlejohn would feel that this qualified as racism under his criteria. That Nick Cohen has lowered himself sufficently to be prepared to associate with this absurd hypocrite and bigoted crank is horrifying really.

7/09/2007 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger ModernityBlog said...

isn't strange, most of the people here probably consider themselves to be anti-racist?

and yet they seem to deny or dismiss instances of racism?

why is that?

wrong type the racism?

7/10/2007 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous richard littledick said...

You can oppose racism without accepting the deliberate misuse or exaggeration of racism to serve a dishonest political agenda, or indeed in order to make money as is the case with the Community Security Trust. Are you in the habit of accepting every accusation of racism and Islamophobia churned out by Islamophobia Watch?

7/10/2007 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous bruschettaboy said...

[and yet they seem to deny or dismiss instances of racism?]

(emphasis added)

Sorry, Modernityblog, this is Aaronovitch Watch, not Harry's Place, ENGAGEonline or for that matter, "Modernity Blog". You therefore don't get to use devices like "seems to". You need to be specific of who you're accusing, and what you're accusing them of. To forestall your next bright idea, by the way, be on notice that round here we are also quite keen on the distinction between "instances of racism" and "unspecific assertions that general categories of racism take place".

On that basis, do please continue.

7/10/2007 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger ModernityBlog said...

the accusation of racism is a red herring, the issue is physical atttacks on Jews and anti-Jewish racism

they are recorded as crimes, not as mere accusations

there is a big difference between the two, but most antiracists know that

7/10/2007 05:43:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

thanks for playing but no prize, Modernityblog.

1) I specifically asked you to say who you were accusing and what you were accusing them of. You didn't.

2) You are quite, quite wrong about the Community Security Trust's figures. They are not recorded as crimes. They are self-reported to the CST. The CST has status as a third-party reporting body to the police, but that doesn't mean that these are recorded as crimes (quite apart from anything else, the same incident could easily be reported by several different people). So "most anti-racists" don't "know" that the CST data is for recorded crimes, because it isn't.

3. Nobody has tried to "deny or dismiss" the CST data and I would like to see you try to back up the claim that they have. The nearest you will get is that "Richard Littledick" pointed out that the CST has an incentive to use an inclusive rather than exclusive definition.

4. But you need to back up a claim that was made about "most people here". Aaronovitch Watch has five editors, and there are at least another nine people represented in the comments (assuming all "anonymous" are the same person). That means you need to substantiate this accusation against 8 of the 14 people. I don't think you can.

5. You're out of your depth, aren't you?

7/10/2007 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger ModernityBlog said...

I am curious as to where this in depth knowledge of the CST comes from?

just how are you all seemingly so expert on the CST? and yet so quickly dismissive of the evidence of physical attacks on Jews?

what counter evidence do you have?

PS: I have highlighted some of the ambiguities on my blog

7/10/2007 06:20:00 PM  
Anonymous richard littledick said...

"I am curious as to where this in depth knowledge of the CST comes from?"
Well the methods employed by the CST were the subject of a Radio 4 documentary, which I would have assumed an expert on anti-semitism like yourself would have heard.
During that same programme Melanie Phillips asserted that Britain was experiencing a "tsunami" of anti-semitism and that anybody of Jewish appearance who ventured outside was likely to be attacked (asked to substantiate this, she cited a dinner party incident, needless to say). Now Melanie's statements probably go a bit far even for you, Modernity - but in that case you are seeking to downplay the incidence of anti-semitism, aren't you? And why would anybody want to do that, I wonder? Hmmm, etc etc

7/10/2007 07:30:00 PM  
Anonymous what's my name, fool? said...

I am curious as to where this in depth knowledge of the CST comes from?

from the methodology section of their report, fool. As I say, you're wildly out of your depth here.

just how are you all seemingly so expert on the CST?

it is hardly difficult to check how a report is compiled, fool.

and yet so quickly dismissive of the evidence of physical attacks on Jews?

SPECIFIC accusations only, please. This is the third time of asking. Innuendo is not tolerated here. Unless you begin to comply with this policy, expect your comments to start disappearing.

what counter evidence do you have?

That would depend clearly on what question I was being asked to answer, which is one of the reasons why we have the policy of "specific accusations only", detailed above.

PS: I have highlighted some of the ambiguities on my blog

how darling. Do let us know if anyone reads them.

7/10/2007 07:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Lobby Ludd said...

Modernityblog says, in relation to his claims of denials of racist attacks on Jews made on this blog:

"I am curious as to where this in depth knowledge of the CST comes from?

just how are you all seemingly so expert on the CST? and yet so quickly dismissive of the evidence of physical attacks on Jews?

what counter evidence do you have?

PS: I have highlighted some of the ambiguities on my blog"

Would Modernity care to be more explicit? I can find no highlighting of ambiguities in relation to the current discussion.

(As an aside, There is more than one 'Anonymous' posting here, since I posted only once as 'Anonymous'.)

Meanwhile Modernity cn you substantiate your claims re dismissal of claims of racism by most contributors to this discussion?

Just to help - no you can't.

7/10/2007 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger ModernityBlog said...

I'll try to spell it out because you haven't bothered to reread your own threads with any degree of objectivity

I'm not interested in Littlejohn, is a rightwing nutjob and ***irrespective*** of his views or statements, there have been physical attacks on Jews, attacks of synagogues and desecration's cemeteries, these are public records, they are not disputed, or at least I would have hoped so until I read this thread.

When the issue of racist attacks comes up, you can either accept that they occur.

Or you can be dismissive and bring up anecdotal evidence, whose purpose seems to be to play down the facts ("consequently I'm a bit sceptical about some of these claims.") or you could accuse people were being paranoid, as one commentor does.

its really **your** choice how you react to racist attacks,

and let's be honest, if it were **any other*** social/ethnic/religious group involved then the commenters here wouldn't be casting any doubt on it, but simply because it is anti-Jewish racism, there seems to be some doubt in people's minds, some questions, some suspicion, some innuendo, etc

So why not forget Littlejohn, he's irrelevant to the facts on the ground

why not investigate the topic of attacks on Jews and then see what the facts tell you, make up your own minds independently of Littejohn?

there is plenty of information, you all have access to google, so go-ahead, that is if you are serious about your commitment to anti racism, and only you will know that.

PS: I'm a little busy so won't commenting here for a while, altho I am happy to continue this issue on my blog

7/10/2007 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger ModernityBlog said...

I'll try to spell it out because you haven't bothered to reread your own threads with any degree of objectivity

I'm not interested in Littlejohn, is a rightwing nutjob and ***irrespective*** of his views or statements, there have been physical attacks on Jews, attacks of synagogues and desecration's cemeteries, these are public records, they are not disputed, or at least I would have hoped so until I read this thread.

When the issue of racist attacks comes up, you can either accept that they occur.

Or you can be dismissive and bring up anecdotal evidence, whose purpose seems to be to play down the facts ("consequently I'm a bit sceptical about some of these claims.") or you could accuse people were being paranoid, as one commentor does.

its really **your** choice how you react to racist attacks,

and let's be honest, if it were **any other*** social/ethnic/religious group involved then the commenters here wouldn't be casting any doubt on it, but simply because it is anti-Jewish racism, there seems to be some doubt in people's minds, some questions, some suspicion, some innuendo, etc

So why not forget Littlejohn, he's irrelevant to the facts on the ground

why not investigate the topic of attacks on Jews and then see what the facts tell you, make up your own minds independently of Littejohn?

there is plenty of information, you all have access to google, so go-ahead, that is if you are serious about your commitment to anti racism, and only you will know that.

PS: I'm a little busy so won't commenting here for a while, altho I am happy to continue this issue on my blog

7/10/2007 08:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark B said...

Johann Hari has written a piece on Littlejohn's documentary. He points out that Littlejohn writes for the Mail, a paper with a most impressive history of anti-semitism which nowadays features Littlejohn spinning much the same propaganda about asylum seekers and gypsies as their columnists in the 1930s used to write about Jews. Some people won't associate with the Mail even today because of it's anti-semitic, pro-Nazi campaign in the 30s but not principled anti-anti-semite Littlejohn. Aside from his comments about Rwanda and 'Pikey' Palestinians, Hari also reminds us that Littlejohn is still an enthusiastic champion of Tony Martin, who aside from deliberately murdering a gypsy after previously boasting that he would be delighted if a gypsy burgled his house so he could have the opportunity to kill one, has joined the BNP and called for all gypsies in Britain to be rounded up and gassed. Hari points out that since Channel 4 have employed Littlejohn to present a documentary bemoaning racial intolerance, we should expect them to shortly screen a documentary fronted by Peter Sutcliffe condemning the Ipswich prostitute murders (they might as well do - Littlejohn described the victims of those murders as "crack-addled whores" and "no great loss", I imagine Sutcliffe would probably say exactly the same thing almost word for word). Unfortunately, Johann neglects to mention Nick's involvement in Littlejohn's documentary, although I can imagine why that might be.

So Nick Cohen says the left aren't really 'left' anymore, a major reason for this being the company that some of them are prepared to keep, such as right-wing racist bigots who promote racist intolerance and whose views are totally incompatible with left-wing principles, provided they agree with them on one issue. Not at all like Nick, of course. He'd never associate with vile right-wing racist bigots, not even if they shared his agenda of smearing the left. Oh no, Nick would never do anything like that, that would be far too absurdly hypocritical. Who's left, eh?

7/11/2007 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Ditto Dickens and literally thousands of others

Ah we talking about Fagin here? If so can I refer you to Orwell's great essay? (Partly because I like to invoke Orwell on a regular basis, partly because it's one of the greatest essays in the language.)

7/12/2007 06:08:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home