Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Euston Manifesto, a reminder .....

We hold the fundamental human rights codified in the Universal Declaration to be precisely universal, and binding on all states and political movements, indeed on everyone. Violations of these rights are equally to be condemned whoever is responsible for them and regardless of cultural context.

Here's the Harry's Place thread on the Goldstone report.

Any betting on Professor Norm's reaction? Or Michael Walzer's?

26 Comments:

Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

even by their standards, that copy and pasted piece is atrociously poor quality.

Its dissenting source is from a self-confessedly partisan pressure group ffs - and z word is also an offshoot of another partisan pressure group. all the links provided are to really quite dodgy sources for 'neutral' information.

If they're going to take issue with 'bias' these are not the best places to be loking for analysis.

9/16/2009 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

I shouldn't even have looked. The really sad thing (after the rubbish which H'sP will publish as a 'guest post') is David T's comment about a woman who once taught him.

She was mine - we used to get on rather well. She also once hired me to teach Property and Trusts.
I had no idea what sort of person she was at the time.


I nearly wrote a post during a recent drought where I was going to say that I thought David T was basically a small d decent person. But bloody hell, how can you judge someone you know and 'get on [with] rather well' by something that they wrote you didn't like? It's really very like the purges; Harry's Place is just a platform to denounce your former friends and colleagues.

Mind you, I've got no idea who he's talking about. He replied to another comment which read "Also, I wonder if Chinken was Joseph Brown’s professor?" But whoever she is, she's not mentioned anywhere in the report.

9/16/2009 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Isn't the HP Sauce banner quote even more wickedly appropriate than ever in relation to Goldstone's report!

9/16/2009 03:48:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

too true about the banner. I've always thought it was really not a good idea to have that plastered up over a McCarthyite website which seems to be an enduring case study in refusing to see two sides of an argument.

I don't think Toube is small d decent - he might well be fairly amiable in the flesh, but that doesn't excuse the myriad examples of his acting like a boorish oaf online. and in his 'Lucy Lips' persona he writes some utterly abhorrent things.

Chinkin was one of the 4 people who wrote the report, I think, and in January she wrote a letter to the times calling the Israeli bombardment of Gaza a 'war crime'. That's the 'sort of person she is' - someone who holds fairly uncontroversial views which Toube disagrees with - and since she teaches law she should know her stuff; though it undoubtedly gives the 'UN are innately biased' people who work for pro-IDF NGOs ammunition. She is another Human Rights expert on the HP Sauce blacklist.

Incidentally, amateur psychology time, but David Toube has taught at universities and I can't help thinking that some sort of bad experience during that time might exaplin his baffling obsession with the UCU and with student politics generally.

9/16/2009 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

OC you're almost certainly right. It's a fault that a 6.5MB PDF file doesn't have room to name its authors. If it does, I can't see them.

Speaking for myself, rather than AW, I'd really prefer if we didn't wander off into psychology. It's too much "I have a reasoned argument; you have psychological issues; he is a moonbat." That's the sort of argument that we're against here. I know I seem to be criticizing commenters here, but IMO what went wrong with Harry's Place is that they didn't set standards, and the trolls took over. The other thing about Harry's Place is that I'm sure all their posters are competitive and they actually try to get more comments than each other. (I know I feel this way sometimes.) Perhaps quite unintentionally, they write posts which will inflame the Morgoths and the Mavens. Let's not be like them.

9/16/2009 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

While I agree to a sizeable extent about psychology - I think that certainly when it comes to individuals, it nearly always involves drawing very large conclusions from very sketchy evidence - there are elements of monster-creation and getting-back-at-one's past in Decency that can't entirely avoid some degree of musing as to their origins and formation.

Ah, incidentally, did you know you wrote "I'd really prefer if we didn't wander off into psychology" and then "perhaps quite unintentionally"? As I say, keeping out of that territory can be hard...

9/16/2009 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

Indeed. AWers may recall that in that magnificent pamphlet on political correctness, The Retreat of Reason, one of the ten strategies Anthony Browne recommended for purging yourself of any tendencies towards PC was learning not to psychologise your opponents -- in a text which psychologised PC types again and again and again. (It was guilt, mostly, if memory serves.)

9/16/2009 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Yes, Justin. I did notice that I did that. But not until after I'd published it. And deleting and rewriting would have been an even worse thing to do. But I'd still rather that we at least try to stick to evidence rather than empty speculation.

I agree that it's very tempting to wonder about the roots of Decency, but I think we're ad argumentam rather than ad hominem guys. If we stick to that, we'll commit Anthony Browne type hypocrisies less often.

Sometimes I think the smartest thing I've ever said was 'Snark comes back at you' (in my Normblog profile). Criticise someone else, and you often find the same fault in yourself being pointed out. Not that has ever really stopped me of course.

9/16/2009 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

What sparked this BTW, was the comment by "Ann On" in the previous thread which attacked Johann Hari at some length for something which he hasn't done yet and therefore exists only in Ann On's imagination. This really crosses some sort of line, especially as AO then cotrasts Hari unfavourably with George Monbiot in what is a purely fictional comparison. I'm sure there are grounds for preferring Monbiot to Hari but invented scenarios don't convince me, and I doubt they convince anyone.

9/16/2009 05:40:00 PM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

OT, but I've just got my Private Eye. Turn to page 27. Holy piss.

9/16/2009 07:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Just thought it worth pointing out that the Z-word guy's main argument seems to be that Israel couldn't have been making war against the people of Gaza, because they didn't kill enough. In other words, the only situation in which we can say civilians were targeted is a war of extermination.

9/16/2009 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

"Just thought it worth pointing out that the Z-word guy's main argument seems to be that Israel couldn't have been making war against the people of Gaza, because they didn't kill enough."

Exactly.

This quote is particularly fatuous:

"In a war apparently directed against civilians, one would expect that the number of non-combatant fatalities would be astronomical."

This is Dr Strangelove territory.

The argument goes - that there can be no basis for questioning the legality of the Israeli operations as they do not amount to text book casualty rates in the targeting of civilians. (Aside from the legality of the war anyway!)

Surely there is some stomach churning unethical number crunching going on at the very base of this overall piece.

9/16/2009 09:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said "Holy piss" when you received Private Eye two weeks ago, Mr Splinty. I hope this isn't going to become a habit.

Guano

9/16/2009 10:45:00 PM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

I'm afraid Nick is having that effect on me these days. But I was still startled to see him take over the book review section to bore on again about this litigious sheikh. Oh, and Judge Eady as well. And for such a long article, bearing in mind that the Eye has been obsessed with the late sheikh for ages, there seems to be very little solid fact at the core of it, but rather a lot of smoke-blowing.

Yes, on reflection, I stand by my initial reaction.

9/17/2009 12:52:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

I'd really prefer if we didn't wander off into psychology. It's too much "I have a reasoned argument; you have psychological issues; he is a moonbat."

Yes, I think you're right, and I do try to avoid it. apologies, and feel free to delete earlier post if you'd like. Though - this is not to disagree really - Decency seems to have so much irrationality at its heart (especially for a movement that styles itself as entirely rational) that it's hard to avoid looking for other reasons.

That takes us onto the Gaza report stuff, I guess:

The argument goes - that there can be no basis for questioning the legality of the Israeli operations as they do not amount to text book casualty rates in the targeting of civilians. (Aside from the legality of the war anyway!)

The Z Word piece is a rehash of that unpleasant argument that was going on at the time of the war itself (the IDF are so ACES that if they wanted to kill civilians they'd kill loads more and THUS any killings are the fault entirely of 'the Palestinians'), it doesn't actually add anything and the obvious bogusness of that argument is totally avoided. As usual there's an awful lot of huffing and puffing (vast swathes of the report by the British general, which to reiterate was commissioned by a pro-IDF thinktank) and very little more than the kind of troll-ish comments you see all over the blogosphere.

This is why I think that Israel really is a big deal for the HP Sauce side of decency, because there's no way they'd publish this kind of tripe if it was justifying the killing of over 500 civilians by another state (in fact Toube claims to be close to tears when typing pieces about innocent Iranians being killed, and this sits very awkwardly with that). There's also some very unpleasant anti-Palestinian racism in the comments boxes that's going totally unchallenged. Am guessing it was like this during the Gaza war, i tried to avoid it at that point, having undertaken a brief exchange with Toube on Liberal Conspiracy where he used the argument that 'since Hamas lies occasionally about IDF actions, the IDF never do anything wrong and deserve our total support'.

What I find so odd about this strand of IDF apologism in general is that it makes people so thoroughly unhinged - they end up believing in and even perpetuating propaganda, they end up endorsing the killing of civilians, etc etc. an emotional response maybe but there are more than two sides in the arguments over Gaza - you don't actually have to be either pro-Israel or pro-Hamas. Too many people (in general, not just in the world of decency) seem ready to excuse anything the IDF does and I do think that's problematic.

Postal strikes mean that my Eye has not appeared yet but I'm truly sick of this litigious sheikh stuff. Like MMR, the more they flog these issues the less solid they seem - surely a reader will have made up their mind about it by now? That's one thing that frustrates me about the Eye - so much of the content is filler where the same issues are waffled on about without any new information. It does frustrate me when the books section is handed over to someone with almost no interest in reading, too.

9/17/2009 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

So what happened to the Euston Manifesto then? I remember all the publicity it got at the Guardian, CiF, and New Statesman. But that was way back. I can't imagine that many of the Euston Group, certainly not the HP crowd, would associate with those publications now.

9/18/2009 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Organic Cheeseboard, well, I can confirm. I used to follow HP quite closely during the invasion of Lebanon, and then Gaza. Very pro-Israel, with occasional critical noises. But the comments were far worse, particularly over Gaza. Really awful stuff at times.

9/18/2009 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

Very pro-Israel, with occasional critical noises. But the comments were far worse...

I don't think this does justice to the astonishing depths of mendacity they reached, especially during the 2006 Lebanon War. It would be more accurate to say that almost everyone at HP - posters and commenters - suddenly morphed into miniature Joe McCarthys in cheerleader uniforms. It was, without a doubt, one of the most disgraceful displays I've ever seen in blogging, a medium notorious for being based on bullshit, smear campaigns and partisan hackery.

Every time David T. runs one of his LOL, conspiracist 9/11 troofers are daft posts, it's worth posting some links to the various International Red Cross/teh librul media are conspiring with Hezbollah to make Israel look bad posts he ran during the conflict.

Plus, "pro-Israel with occasional critical noises" doesn't really cut it either. I think "100% rah-rah propaganda for one side plus endless, malicious attacks on anyone and everyone who dared dissent from the line that War (x) is the most moral and humane war EVAR in the history of the human race". The fact that they occasionally stopped to observe that hey, blasting civilians to smithereens is bad, but it's all the evil terrorisses' fault in the first place, doesn't make their behaviour any less reprehensible in my book.

9/18/2009 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

hear hear FR, can't add much to that. Aside from their entering into one of the dodgiest sides of the pro-IDF blogosphere - the pre-empting of reports which criticise Israel as inherently untrustworthy - usually based on, er, some comments by a bloke on a blog. The joshua Brown example is perhaps the worst - he has lost his job because of internet smears that were perpetuated by HP Sauce. Playing with people's livelihoods in this partisan way is reprehensible.

This, again, is why I think it's such a big deal for Decency as it's where Decency loses its way as (er) a coherent set of beliefs, as the Euston quote above makes clear. Euston was really all about special pleading. You can't claim to believe in universal human rights and yet publish denial after denial of quantifiable, empirical evidence of IDF war crimes based on what some bloke on a blog said about one of the people who investigated.

Toube has now taken up the meme that the whole thing was a fit-up from the start. The UN survey's remit was oddly worded, granted, but it's no reason to deny the claims therein since they're based on yer actual evidence. most of it seems to be debunked because 'teh Arabs are untrustworthy and teh Israelis never lie'. recent posts are chock-full of racism against palestinians, not countered by anyone on the site, by the way, if that Decent racism post is still in the pipeline.

This is a central problem with their approach to, well, everything - rather than being open to contrasting viewpoints, they try as hard as they can to ignore facts based on their own prejudices about the people from whose mouths they come.

9/18/2009 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

...if that Decent racism post is still in the pipeline...

I suspect we'll see that one round about the same time we see the Decents' Principled Protests Against The Far Right And The Jihadisses. BB is surely just fucking with us.

You can't claim to believe in universal human rights and yet publish denial after denial of quantifiable, empirical evidence of IDF war crimes...

In fairness, I think it's far more about us vs. them than it is about Israel itself for most of them, Charles Nukey-Nukey-Burden being an obvious exception. It was the same kind of thing with Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, IIRC - sure, these Departures From Universal Principles are bad, but some Jihadisses blew up a hospital, so how can Abu Ghraib be bad? etc. etc.

The I/P conflict just gives them a chance to jump on their high horses with some seriously black and white issues. After all, Hamas actually are horrible bastards, and there actually are a lot of people online trying to pretend that they aren't. So if Hamas are horrible bastards, how can the Israelis be guilty of deliberately targetting civilian infrastructure? and so on and so forth.

I don't doubt there's a fair bit of Orwell's transferred nationalism going on here, but I think that the DL genuinely see all of these issues as one great Gary Cooper vs. the Black Hats struggle. That's why they see nothing wrong with harrassing anyone suggesting that bombing everything within three miles of the Black Hats' ranch might be a bad idea, and launching smear campaigns designed to get them fired. If the issue is black vs. white, anyone giving aid and comfort to black deserves whatever they get.

9/18/2009 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Flying Rodent

Well yes, I agree. I was just being succinct. Also, I don't really don't want bring back my bad memories; that is, muggins here wasting enormous chunks of time arguing with them.

9/18/2009 02:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

I don't think this does justice to the astonishing depths of mendacity they reached, especially during the 2006 Lebanon War. It would be more accurate to say that almost everyone at HP - posters and commenters - suddenly morphed into miniature Joe McCarthys in cheerleader uniforms. It was, without a doubt, one of the most disgraceful displays I've ever seen in blogging, a medium notorious for being based on bullshit, smear campaigns and partisan hackery.

I agree with that. Up to the Lebanon war it was just about possible to argue that HP was principled and well-intentioned, if a trifle misguided. After that it was obvious that they had become just another gang of sectarians, and a year or so later they had morphed into full-on culture warriors.

9/18/2009 03:48:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

By the way, on Lockerbie...

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n18/peir01_.html

9/18/2009 07:43:00 PM  
Anonymous saucy jack said...

I would not wish to be accused of amateur psychologising, but "Lucy Lips" is also the name of a transvestite cabaret performer operating out of northern Italy (please don't ask how I know this).
On the Decents and Israel, I think the country plays a similar role to that played by Albania in relation to the remnants of Maoism in the late 1970s and the 1980s - ie they know nothing whatsoever about the actually existing country and don't really care, but are prepared to believe everything its leaders say as it represents the last buttress of their crumblng ideological fantasies.

9/20/2009 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Jack, I was never quite sure whether or not this Indy story about Stephen Pollard was on topic for this site or not. Good fun, even so.

9/20/2009 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

In fairness, I think it's far more about us vs. them than it is about Israel itself for most of them, Charles Nukey-Nukey-Burden being an obvious exception.

Of course - the whole raison d'etre for Decency is to distinguish the decents from the "indecent" left who have "betrayed the traditional principles of the left". The Euston Manifesto is full of references to those indecent leftists and of course there's "What's Left" and Andrew Anthony's effort.

One of the problems with this is that while adopting a puritanical attitude towards the rest of the left they have been less than fussy about the kind of friends they have attracted on the right, so you get the likes of Nukey Nukey, Morgoth etc. in the comments boxes at HP, Nick singing the praises of David Horowitz, the willingness to make common cause with assorted neo-cons.

9/21/2009 11:59:00 AM  

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