Friday, August 19, 2011

Some Cheap Laughs

Harry's Place seems to be trolling its own commenters. The current masthead must refer to this post where almost all the comments are hostile. (Although this (real) pic of Geller and Spencer is more sinister.) Now, will they accept that they've created an oasis for loons? (Nope.)

And this is a rather wonderfully percipient post on H'S'JS signatory Michael Gove. As is this (though I suspect this is partly a set-up; I can't believe he's that daft.

Update 1/9/11 We've now over 200 comments. Blogger doesn't seem to display them all on one page. So you need to go to the 'post a comment' page and then click on the 'Newer' link.

This is a hassle. On the other hand, it may also discourage further contributions.

240 Comments:

Anonymous skidmarx said...

I see Sarah AB makes one correction of Ernie Christ, but then allows this remark, directed at her specifically, to go through without comment:
SWP and Respect enthusiastically support Hamas and want a single Islamist state next to a sea full of dead Jews.
That's a lie, that's a really nasty lie, and allowing that to be the common sense of HP is what encourages this sort of remark:
Dictionary definition of bigot: An obsessive and intolerant adherent of a particular doctrine or creed.
Sounds like a Muslim to me.

8/19/2011 04:22:00 PM  
Anonymous tony collins said...

This one sums it up for me.

This quote from Namazie, “While it claims its aim is to eliminate Hamas military targets, the purpose of its vicious air campaign is to create terror in the region with the greatest possible destruction and death toll among Palestinians in order to impose its hegemony and power in defiance of all calls and cries of humanity to stop the massacre and to lift the economic blockade on the innocent people of Gaza.”

...is described as "borderline anti-semitism".

8/20/2011 03:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

skidmarx - I've been on holiday and have not been following any HP threads very diligently. There was nothing to stop you objecting to either of those comments on the thread itself.

I believe the masthead is a reference to this.

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/08/rebutting-the-accomplices.html

8/20/2011 08:41:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Sarah AB - not a convincing excuse in the slightest when:

i)the comments I mentioned were directed at you

ii)you comment later on the same thread

iii)when you've agreed in the past with such lies about the Left and showed no understanding of how offensive you were being.

iv)when I only have to correct errors of fact to have an HP abuseathon unleashed,I don't quite see the point to objecting there to what will simply be aimed at me for doing so. And that's a pretty poor excuse for allowing such garbage to stand uncorrected on a site you are part of.

I was thinking of mentioning to Tony Collins that it seems to have been a rule on this site not to have general arguments about Israel/Palestine, because they don't tend to to add anything that hasn't been said elsewhere.. But just as Nick Cohen in "What's Left" took the accusations of Zionism on his writing in favour of the Iraq War as proof of anti-semitism, you seem to follow the HP line that rejection of a racially exclusivist state in Palestine is grounds for accusing anyone making such a rejection of racism, though if challenged you may try and support the accusation with some muddled thinking about racism of low expectations or institutional racism.
It's a lie, it's a really nasty lie. There will be people on this site who think the far left is an irrelevance, and probably a somewhat crazy one at that, but I'm fairly sure that they would agree that what unites the far left is that they are well-meaning: none of the far left got into their current politics out of a hatred of any race, and if they are active in support of the Palestinians, it is because they object to their oppression, not because they have anything in the slightest against Jews as a group.
But then your campaign against the UCU is based on the same lie, so I don't expect any dawn of understanding to envelop you any time soon.

8/21/2011 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

We could put it down to acceptable commentor's hyperbole?

8/21/2011 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Well, yes, I think I would see this as a case of hyperbole – I genuinely don’t think I noticed, or at least processed, the dead Jews comment at the time, and I don’t suppose EC seriously thought most members of the SWP/Respect have such genocidal wishes. (I would probably have brushed over, in a similar way, any hyperbolic claim that ghastly Geller and co would be happy to see seas of dead Muslims.)

By contrast I thought his assertion that Maryam Namazie’s article was antisemitic was seriously intended – and sufficiently unfrivolous to be engaged with. Please note that I invoked the EUMC working definition of antisemitism, the one repudiated by the UCU, when arguing that it wasn’t antisemitic – though it might be unfair, over the top.

Although I (and Ernie too I assume) don’t think those on the far left are generally consciously/personally antisemitic, certainly not violently so, I do think they (particularly in the context of Palestinian advocacy) too often demonstrate an indifference or insensitivity to antisemitism, as well as an indifference to the wishes and fears of Israelis, and an insensitivity to the wider political, historical realities of the situation – and what establishing a one state solution would actually mean. Really. This isn’t to say that I think all those who aspire to a one state solution are antisemitic – indeed I may find their views understandable or sympathetic. In fact I have no *personal* views on the matter at all.

The Stephen Gash comment was completely unacceptable and I definitely did note it immediately. However – and do look at the whole thing – I did not think it needed a comment, as he does such an excellent job of undermining himself without further help!

“@Sarah AB
Actually Sarah it is people using expressions like “wingnut” that are unhelpful. Also the inappropriate and inaccurate use of words like bigot.
Dictionary definition of bigot: An obsessive and intolerant adherent of a particular doctrine or creed.
Sounds like a Muslim to me.”

8/21/2011 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

what establishing a one state solution would actually mean

What would it actually mean?

8/21/2011 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

"I don’t suppose EC seriously thought most members of the SWP/Respect have such genocidal wishes"

EC wasn't making a statement about "most members", but about the position of those two parties (the important part being "single Islamist state"). Which is, as skidmarx says, a really nasty lie.

8/22/2011 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

It could be argued, I suppose, that "they want X" is an acceptably hyperbolic way of saying "they want Y, which I believe would lead to X". Certainly that's how a lot of political polemic works. The thing is, I don't believe anyone sincerely believes that Ronald Reagan really wanted to start WWIII, or that George Osborne really wants to see paupers starving: we can generally see the line where polemical overstatement ends and statements of fact begin. I'm not sure that HP can any more, they've been scaremongering so long - which involves deliberately blurring that line. Thus an argument about implicit tolerance of attitudes bordering on anti-semitism turns into a direct assertion of actual anti-semitism, and it can be stated (without challenge) that "the SWP ... want a single Islamist state next to a sea full of dead Jews".

Just as a thought-experiment, suppose that somebody had called Ernie C. on that comment - not in a hostile spirit, simply a reality check: "I know what you're saying, but I don't believe that's literally true & don't think you do either." Does anyone think that would have gone down well?

8/22/2011 11:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Phil - I agree with your evaluation - in that I think it was indeed a statement that was more about unintended consequences than evil intent.

I do sometimes challenge people about whether they really mean what they say - results mixed but not hostile. I don't just do it on HP - definitely done it recently on Pickled Politics - good tempered response.

8/23/2011 07:19:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

surely it's a problem with the main style of HP Sauce postings, which is to hammer home a fairly questionable idea until it becomes 'accepted fact' for that site and its readers, while remaining, to the uninitiated, fairly strange and illogical. It's the denunciatory equivalent of an injoke.

It's a habit that I think HP Sauce adopted from Private Eye, which does the same sort of thing, but PE manages, most of the time, to keep the uninitiated onside, chiefly because it's run by professionals. When you combine that with a totally tedious obsesion - and it is an embarrassing obsession - with incredibly small far-left sects - you get what is effectively a bubble, where things like 'the SWP wants a sea full of dead Jews' makes total sense, and the WRP response to Gadaffi apparently falling is worth posting on, before anything else about Libya, even as the author admits elsewhere he has no idea about Libyan politics. But clearly tehmarchin'left are clueless on it!!!!!!!11!!

on moderation:

However – and do look at the whole thing – I did not think it needed a comment, as he does such an excellent job of undermining himself without further help!

to give sarah the benefit of the doubt (though i wouldn't extend this as far as anyone else who contributes to HP Sauce), I can understand this approach to moderation. however it is still really telling that anyone who seems to be coming at issues from a left-wing (moderate) standpoint, or from a standpoint of equivocation with regards to midle eastern affairs, or anyone who doesn't believe that 'Trots are evil', gets it in the neck, called all manner of horrific names by HP writers, while utter bigots get allowed off the hook because 'their comments damn themselves'. this isn't even close to being even-handed.

8/23/2011 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

But what would "establishing a one state solution...actually mean"?

8/23/2011 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

It could be argued, I suppose, that "they want X" is an acceptably hyperbolic way of saying "they want Y, which I believe would lead to X"?

This is what that Orwell quote says, which I was hoping Mr Chap could dig put for us.

8/23/2011 07:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

organic - I don't want to be given the benefit of the doubt at the expense of other HP writers! (Some) HP writers and commenters *do* defend the left, at the same time pointing out the bad influences on the left - and the blog covers extremists of various kinds, not just far left ones. I'd welcome more commenters from the left. I see *myself* as moderately left wing and equivocal about the ME. I think this is *fully* compatible with sharing the broad concerns of HP - but of course sometimes commenters take these much further than I - or other HP writers - do.

8/23/2011 08:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

ejh - sorry, I'm not sure if this answers your question but given the nature of the other regimes in the region, the nature of Hamas, the sometimes rather horrifying views of a not insignificant number of Palestinians - eg many supported murder of Fogel family - I can understand why Israelis aren't attracted to a one state solution. I think it's one thing to say that a completely democratic state for all would be great - but it seems reasonable that many Israelis should be dubious. I realize this is a slightly sideways point, but the fact that many Arab Israelis would rather live in Israel than a prospective Palestinian state is telling.

8/23/2011 08:35:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

with all due respect, a fair few of us have tried to provide comments 'from the left' in the past, but there's only so many times one can be told by David 'Lucy Lips' Toube to 'fuck off back to medialens' (a website I'd never heard of) before thinking that maybe there's little point.

The website's writers might consider themselves left-wing (though I'd really have to argue that both Edmund Standing and Michael Ezra are not - the former would probably agree, too), but the policies of witch-hunting and denunciation have left it with very little, politically, in common with even 'left foot forward' or that sort of thing. That's wht's led to the comments boxes being full of fans of Pamela Geller and Douglas Murray - ffs one of the principal contributors to HP, Edmund Standing, has worked for douglas Murray in the past and is now trying to lecture HP readers on the importance of not palling up with anti-muslim bigots.

That's part of the broader problem with the site - the idea that my enemy's enemy is my friend (and my biggest enemies are obscure far-left sects). It's led to people like Chas Newkey Burden being embraced while Conor Foley and Mehdi Hasan get eviscerated ad fucking nauseam.

8/23/2011 08:37:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

given the nature of the other regimes in the region, the nature of Hamas, the sometimes rather horrifying views of a not insignificant number of Palestinians - eg many supported murder of Fogel family - I can understand why Israelis aren't attracted to a one state solution

so can i - but the fact remains that even if one suggests that the rate of government-encouraged settlement activity in the West Bank renders it ultimately inevitable (an opinion which is hard to counter, and which is, if not exactly greeted with happines, nonetheless widespread in Palestine), one is called genocidal (or the like) by, among others David Toube and 'Alan A'...

also - given our desire to be equivocal - it might be worth seeing it from the eyes of a Palestinian who views a country where someone like Lieberman is one of the most popular politicians in the country, and where the current PM is the son of a 'greater israel'-believing terrorist sympathiser (damning when it's Tariq Ramadan, less so when it's Bibi?). This shit goes both ways.

but you didn't answer ejh's question...

8/23/2011 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

I'm not sure if this answers your question

I'm afraid I'm very sure that it didn't. Your original comment didn't refer to anybody's concerns or fears, it said "what establishing a one state solution would [my emphasis - ejh] actually mean". Which, I think, we can take as meaning something that is certain or at least highly probable.

So what are you expecting? Mass terror and expulsions on the 1948 model? Something even worse? Something not so bad?

(And what comparative weight do you give to, say, widespread Israeli attitudes towards Arabs - and for that matter, Arab deaths - under the present dispensation?)

8/23/2011 08:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

ejh - just going to answer your question quickly - I don't *know* what it would look like. But there are clearly Palestinians who wouldn't object to violence/expulsion. I can also quite see why Palestians would feel alienated or alarmed by elements within Israel.

organic - I can't really comment on your experiences but I've participated in good discussions on HP with those who are somewhat to my left, and where there has been a genuine exchange of ideas with the possibility of adjusting one's views.

It's interesting you mention Mehdi Hassan - why shouldn't he be pulled up for his 'kaffir' moment in the same way DM should for his comments about Muslims?

8/23/2011 09:04:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Because that 'kaffir' moment was clearly manipulated by people with a grudge against him to make what he was doing - reading from the koran and interpreting it iirc - look much worse than it was (Sunny hundal wrote a pretty convincing defence at the time iirc).

HP Sauce has had a grudge against him which predates the posting of that video, by the way, ever since he tore posts by Brett Lock to shreds (whither Brett Lock, btw?) - and arguably the grudge goes as far back as Martin Bright being sacked for consistently libelling people (or in the Decent version of event,s being sacked for criticising ken livingstone).

It isn't in any way comparable to what Douglas Murray has said about Muslims, and which he has never retracted - yet an HP Sauce contributor who is now telling us that we shouldn't associate with anti-Muslim bigots clearly felt happy enough with Murray to work for him several times.

I don't *know* what it would look like. But there are clearly Palestinians who wouldn't object to violence/expulsion.

presumably because many of them had been expelled from their ancestral homes in the 1940s and then saw their new homes stolen by settlers? Just saying, is all.

The fact is that Israel's despicable policy of rampant settlement in the West Bank is goign to lead, in the medium to long term, to one state. There probably will be violence when that happens but it'll come from both sides - and the princpal reason why one state is more or less inevitable is because of the Israeli policy of expansion and settlement.

8/23/2011 09:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Ernie Christ said...

In response to Skidmarx:

Firstly, it isn't a "nasty lie" or indeed any sort of a lie. If the SWP and Respect are not enthusiastic supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah, why do they keep chanting, on their marches, "We are all now Hamas" and "We are all now Hezbollah"? There's plenty of video footage if you go to youtube, and anyway I've seen these vile, nitimidating, anti-semitic marches and know precisely what is chanted on them.
Take a look at the Hamas charter - you will find that they have every intention of wiping out Jews. Why lie about it? If you support such a thing then admit it.

Oh, and your next quote - "Dictionary definition of bigot: An obsessive and intolerant adherent of a particular doctrine or creed.
Sounds like a Muslim to me."

You imply that I wrote that. I didn't, as you well know. Don't you dare pretend those are my views.

Sarah AB, you say you hadn't noticed the "sea of dead Jews" remark - what would you have written had you noticed? I'd be interested to see what reasoning you use to refute it.

Thanks

Ernie Christ

8/23/2011 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Ernie Christ said...

Oh, and what do you mean "directed at her specifically"? In what way was that comment directed at Sarah, rather than at the SWP/Respect?

8/23/2011 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Well, there goes the neighbourhood.

8/23/2011 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

organic - quite understand Palestinian resentment, but 1948 was part of a complex sequence of events in which violence was committed on both sides and I think some wanted to stop land being sold to Jews / Jewish immigration. I have no particular quarrel with your views on settlements, though, again, I don't think all problems in the region are Israel's fault.

Ernie - I don't think skidmarx does imply - or certainly doesn't mean to imply - you said that. I think if I'd properly registered your point I might have said it was over the top - but as a commenter said earlier, and as you would say more forcefully, there is *something* in say, although people may not always realize the full implications of the slogans they chant etc. But it's more a case of people not bothering to think through the consequences of their policies and allegiance, and an indifference to antisemitism, than an actual desire to see people, Jewish or otherwise, die.

8/23/2011 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

But it's more a case of people not bothering to think through the consequences of their policies and allegiance

Heh, very good

8/23/2011 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

ernie - Skidmarx meant your comment was addressed to me - which I believe was the case - rather than that you thought I was implicated in the observation!

ejh - look, if ernie's completely and utterly wrong, as opposed to just highly hyperbolic, why don't you just try to correct his misapprehensions?

8/23/2011 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Another view would be that when the people who have been driven out by force and terror are perceived as the threat, and the people who did this andcontinue to do it are perceived as the victims, then there may be a problem of perspective involved. Or indeed a problem of allegiances.

8/23/2011 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

look, if ernie's completely and utterly wrong, as opposed to just highly hyperbolic, why don't you just try to correct his misapprehensions?

For how many years do you think I should devote myself to that task?

8/23/2011 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Ernie Christ said...

ejh - thanks for the warm welcome. It isn't a very pleasant neighbourhood and I doubt many will be sad to see it tainted by the likes of me. But don't worry, I'll only hang around for as long as my comments on a totally unrelated site are being discussed (by someone who frequently comments on HP but obviously didn't fancy confronting me on their thread) - I think that's fair enough, don't you?

"But it's more a case of people not bothering to think through the consequences of their policies and allegiance" - well, yes. Up to a point. For those on the marches under 25. But face it, the intentions of Hamas and Hezbollah are not exactly a secret. They are quite happy to let the world knopw that they wish to annihilate Jews (come on, prove me otherwise skidmarx and friends, I'm sure you've got a lot of evidence to show that they were only joking about massacring Jews and are really humane people).
Those in high positions in SWP and Respect have to answer to charges of anti semitism, they can't just be dismissed I'm afraid. The Hamas charter says they want to exterminate Jews and SWP/Respect support Hamas - if there's some subtelty or nuance I've missed here which means those who support Jew-murdering organisations are not actually in favour of Jew murder, I'd like to ehar it please.

8/23/2011 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Ernie Christ said...

ejh - "For how many years do you think I should devote myself to that task?"

Just another couple of minutesd? Long enough to write a quick paragraph?

8/23/2011 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

If an internet discussion resembles a pub conversation, this would be the point where a wise landlord would suggest people take it outside. From experience.

Word verification: "catism". Yes! Get in!

8/23/2011 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

organic - I was initially quite receptive to Sunny H's attempt to defend MH - I thought it was quite likely the case that his words might have been misunderstood, taken out of context. But I ended up feeling completely unconvinced.

ejh - I still think that is a very one sided view of the actual complex situation - and I don't tend to pick quarrels, in any case, with people making normal criticisms of Israel's policies about settlements, occupation, treatment of prisoners or whatever - even where I think such points, though fair in themselves, are being made from a rather one-sided perspective.

8/23/2011 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Ernie Christ said...

What, is that it? "It's a lie, a nasty lie" and "I'm not going to discuss this as I've said it all before"?

Well boys, you really put me in my place there. guess I'll have to rethink my entire opinion of the British "Left".

Thanks for the education.

8/23/2011 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/7696

Here's the PP thread in question.

8/23/2011 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Ernie - it might be noted that the SWP are not typical of the left and that whatever their many failings they have now realized that Gilad Atzmon is antisemitic. Do Respect and the SWP have an official line on Hamas? I don't know. I remember I once, with quite friendly intentions, said, here, that I thought there was an important distinction between those who were pretty fiercely critical of Israel *and* Hamas and those who allowed their hatred of Israel to blind them to how awful Hamas was. But people didn't seem terribly anxious to put themselves in the first category. I was genuinely quite surprised by that.

8/23/2011 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

I don't tend to pick quarrels, in any case, with people making normal criticisms of Israel's policies about settlements, occupation, treatment of prisoners or whatever - even where I think such points, though fair in themselves, are being made from a rather one-sided perspective.

For sure, but the problem goes beyond criticism of these policies to questions about the nature of the Israeli state, because it seems to me impossible to properly address the policies - and for that matter the question of how the problems arising from 1948 might be resolved - without asking whether the nature of that state might be the major problem.

And while it's surely legimimate to raise all sorts of fears that Israelis might reasonably (or unreasonably) have, it seems to me quite wrong if those fears are privileged over those of the Palestinians, or if those fears are used to avoid asking questions about the nature of Israel. At best it serves as a kind of permanent fobbing-off, and deploying the charge of anti-Semitism (or blindness thereto) as a weapon to prevent what is, in fact, a very necessary discussion.

8/23/2011 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

those who allowed their hatred of Israel to blind them to how awful Hamas was. But people didn't seem terribly anxious to put themselves in the first category. I was genuinely quite surprised by that.

It's possible that people found your second category a touch on the tendentious side.

8/23/2011 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

We could put it the other way round for instance: that many people allow their hatred of Hamas to blind them to how awful Israel is. Tendentious too, perhaps.

8/23/2011 11:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Ernie Christ said...

Sarah, perhaps the SWP have radically altered their policies without my noticing. The last I saw they were carrying banners stating "Two state solution = no state solution" and chanting in favour of Hamas. As for the disgusting Atzmon, yes, some of the SWP eventually decided he was too far into blatant Nazi territory even for them. However their website published a weasling defence of him and stated that the SWP "only denies a platform to organised racists", a term which, for them, does not include Atzmon. There were a handful of members who roundly condemned him but that wasn't the official party line...or am I wrong? If you've seen something I haven't then fair enough, I'm quite happy to reassess.

If you say the SWP are not typical of the current left then I'm quite willing to admit that you're more familiar with the various organisations than I am and you may be correct. Howver here in London they are by far the most visible and vocal of all anti-Israel organisations. So forgive me if I give them too much importance.

8/23/2011 11:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Ernie Christ said...

"deploying the charge of anti-Semitism (or blindness thereto) as a weapon to prevent what is, in fact, a very necessary discussion."

Yeah, that's right, every time you raise legitimate concerns about the Palestinian people, we Jews just shout "Anti Semitism!" Yeah, criticism of Nazi parties like Hamas are just a smokescreen to allow Israel to carry on with its policy of genocide...etc etc et fucking c...

Ugh.

8/23/2011 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Quod erat demonstrandum.

8/23/2011 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheesboard said...

oh dear. i think it's fair to say mr Christ hasn't exactly raised the level of debate on this thread. Funny how, separated from HP Sauce, this style of debting just looks so silly.

I remember I once, with quite friendly intentions, said, here, that I thought there was an important distinction between those who were pretty fiercely critical of Israel *and* Hamas and those who allowed their hatred of Israel to blind them to how awful Hamas was. But people didn't seem terribly anxious to put themselves in the first category. I was genuinely quite surprised by that.

possibly because this 'two categories' thing is ridiculously reductive and serves pretty much no purpose other than as another decent/indcent, will-you-condemn, will-you-define-yourself-as-x-or-else-you-are-surely-y 'debating tool'?

playground stuff, just like Mr Christ's hissy fit above - witness:

the SWP are not typical of the current left

they're not.

your sleight of hand is here:

Howver here in London they are by far the most visible and vocal of all anti-Israel organisations

not quite sure where we stopped talking about 'the left' and started talking about 'anti-Israel organisations'. They're ot one and the same. Somewhere in the non-existent sentences between those two is where your qualifiers lie, i guess.

8/23/2011 11:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Ernie Christ said...

So neither ejh nor organic cheeseboard are remotely concerned about the anti semitism of "left wing" organisations then. OK. Fine. But don't pretend that there is any way of separating these organisations from their anti-Israel/pro-Hamas campaigning (you will continue no doubt to pretend that support for HAMAS is not anti semitic...to most people, a laughable notion). Whenever you see SWP on the streets of London it is in their capacity as an anti-Israel group and not anything else. Ditto "Respect". Why pretend otherwise?

"not quite sure where we stopped talking about 'the left' and started talking about 'anti-Israel organisations'. They're ot one and the same. Somewhere in the non-existent sentences between those two is where your qualifiers lie, i guess."
I wish that were true...

8/23/2011 11:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Ernie Christ said...

o"h dear. i think it's fair to say mr Christ hasn't exactly raised the level of debate on this thread. Funny how, separated from HP Sauce, this style of debting just looks so silly."

(stifles chuckle) are you really labouring under the delusion that before my arrival this was some sort of meeting place for intellectuals? It's a bit like a sixth form common room with middle class kids in che guevara t-shirts discussing which socialist splinter movement has the best dope...

OK, sorry kiddies, I'll leave you to it now. As I said, I only lowered myself to get involved 'cause I saw my name had been mentioned. I'll let you get back to your defence of Nazis. ttfn

8/23/2011 11:48:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

thanks, you won't be missed.

8/23/2011 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Unlike this (er)

8/23/2011 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheesboard said...

I prefer this version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3w1TzLR2tYc

8/23/2011 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Just because antisemitism is often invoked mistakenly, doesn't mean that those who (I think) are being oversensitive are being dishonest. The same is true of those who see Islamophobia where I don't (I mean sometimes I do of course!) Also very often those invoking antisemitism - are dead right. I am happy to accept that there is a corollary to my suggestion that sometimes hatred of Israel might blind people to things Hamas does wrong. I'd put it like this - a perception that Israel is subjected to criticism which is disproportionate and sometimes (not always) antisemitic might lead to a tendency to overcompensate. ejh - I have no wish to privilege Israelis, or Jewish Israelis perhaps I should say, over Palestinians. I don't think supporting a two state solution is doing that. organic - I really don't see why my question was so difficult or unfair - anyway, I'm often asked to condemn things - it's not a decent prerogative!

8/23/2011 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

anyway I've seen these vile, nitimidating, anti-semitic marches and know precisely what is chanted on them.

Speak good Arabic do you? How's your Lebanese dialect?

8/23/2011 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I have no wish to privilege Israelis, or Jewish Israelis perhaps I should say, over Palestinians. I don't think supporting a two state solution is doing that.

Well not necessarily, but Israel does do that, explicitly, and it's difficult to see how opposition to a single state doesn't involve, on several levels, treating one set of people's fears, experiences and requirements very differently to another's. (I mean what's wrong with a single state that treats all its citizens the same? What's wrong with the return of refugees? Unless, of course, there's privilege.)

a perception that Israel is subjected to criticism which is disproportionate and sometimes (not always) antisemitic might lead to a tendency to overcompensate

It might, though might suggest instead that the wish is often father to the perception, and that belief that criticism of Israel derives from anti-Semitism might lead to a tendency to conflate the two.

8/23/2011 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

ejh - I don't think there is *anything* wrong with such a state - I was rather pleased (sorry if I said this earlier, can't remember now) when, in a thread following a post I'd done on Palestinians, someone who I'd describe as a Zionist said maybe a single state would be a good, positive thing in the future even though he wouldn't support it now. Same WRT Bob from Brockley when he blogged about how Israelis themselves might be moving towards support for such a state - I'm not sure that's *true*, but it's a nice utopian thought. But I don't think that should be imposed on Israel any more than I think Palestinians should be required to get absorbed into Jordan, or (in the case of Gaza) into Egypt.

8/23/2011 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Yes, I think a belief that criticism of Israel stems from antisemitism leads some people to claim that fair criticism is antisemitic. But I also think that a fair amount of criticism of Israel is antisemitic (to very different degrees and not always deliberately) and that too many don't engage with that.

8/23/2011 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

I still think that is a very one sided view of the actual complex situation

In my experience when people use the word 'complex' to describe a political situation, its a way of not discussing a situation while pretending that they've thought about it very deeply.

What's so complex about Israel/Palestine? Of all the conflicts I've studied, it seems like one of the simpler ones. It started off with a pretty transparent attempt to disposses the Palestinians of the land they lived on (certainly the Zionist settlers were under no illusions about what they were doing), in part by abusing the remenants of the absentee landlord system setup by the Ottomans, when that didn't work the Zionists used violence and terror (tried to blow up my granddad, they did), culminating in the Naqba (yes the Palestinians resisted, sometimes with violence. I believe guns were fired in the Warsaw ghetto also).

Then in 1967 Israel invaded Egypt (yes one can pretend otherwise, just as one can choose to believe that the US was defending itself against Grenada, or El Salvador) and Syria (I will just about give them Jordan as I'm feeling generous, and it was opportunistic) and illegally seized and occupied the West Bank, Gaza and Golan heights (the last being unambiguously illegal under international law).

An occupation that was fairly unpleasant, and that involved stealing land and water from Palestinians, finally led to the peaceful resistance of the first intifada. When this was met with pretty extreme violence, the Palestinians themselves turned to violence (oh what a wicked people that would respond to violence with violence).

Meanwhile in 1982, Sharon invaded Lebanon with the intent of annexing the south. The brutality of the occupation led to the creation of Hezbollah in the south, the Israelis have nobody to blame but themselves for that (or Hamas, for that matter). The occupation also led to mass slaughter of Palestinians in the refugee camps. And a lot of other war crimes.

And so on, and on and on.

So where's the complexity that I'm missing.

8/23/2011 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

But I don't think that should be imposed on Israel any more than I think Palestinians should be required to get absorbed into Jordan, or (in the case of Gaza) into Egypt.

But implicit here is that the Palestinians should be forced to give up on the idea of a single state. There's a bias there, even if you don't realise it.

8/23/2011 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I think that's the point. There's not just an Israel there, and they're being asked to accommodate other people. There's an Israel from which many other people were deliberately driven, as a condition of its creation, and one that wishes that state of affairs not only to continue, but to be accepted, enshrined and extended.

And of course that's not the whole story, in the sense that it doesn't contain every element that's pertinent to the history of Israel, but if we're to regard human rights as universal then we really don't need any more than that to observe that Israel doesn't have a right to resist either the return of the expelled people or the establishment of legal and genuine equality between peoples. You can't say "no, no equal rights" or "no, no Arab majority, because we think then the Arabs will come for us and wipe us out". But that's the argument which is deployed, and I've not described it particularly pejoratively.

Put more simply, you can have Israel as deliberately constituted, or you can have universal human rights, but not both. An awful lot of breath and electricity gets expended in avoiding this obvious point.

8/23/2011 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Perhaps Sarah Ab should have another word with fellow UCU-hater Norman Geras.

http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2009/09/the-normblog-profile-313-sarah-annes-brown.html

http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2011/01/writers-choice-293-sarah-annes-brown.html

She could ask him why he linked to to the Islamophobic blog Gates of Vienna. And why he was in such a rush to remove the link after the Norway shooting.

Perhaps she could advise him to remove this,

http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2005/07/the_normblog_pr_1.html

if he wanted to cover his tracks.

'July 08, 2005

The normblog profile 94: Dymphna

Dymphna blogs at Gates of Vienna and The Neighborhood of God.'

In fact 'Dymphna' runs Gates of Vienna with her husband, Edward S. May "Baron Bodissey".

http://www.powerbase.info/index.php/Gates_of_Vienna

8/23/2011 03:41:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

I see that HP is engaging in another of its vendettas against completely inconsequential individuals - today sees the sixth piece about Jody McIntyre in the space of a couple of weeks.

8/24/2011 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

HP Sauce has had a grudge against him which predates the posting of that video, by the way, ever since he tore posts by Brett Lock to shreds (whither Brett Lock, btw?) - and arguably the grudge goes as far back as Martin Bright being sacked for consistently libelling people (or in the Decent version of event,s being sacked for criticising ken livingstone).

I find the attacks on Lee Jasper even more dubious from HP.

Now, I have a lot of criticisms of Jasper. Some of which go back years to internal antifascist stuff.

However, when you have a case of someone who has had racial abuse hurled at them, by an above the line commentator at your blog (and Brownie is always telling us we should judge HP by the above the line stuff, not the comments box), whom you took on as a commentator while he was up on charges of racially aggravated harrassment, at that point you should probably shut the fuck up.

The fact that HP, as a collective, spent their time after that defending themselves/covering their arses with hasty deletions, as opposed to apologising for the fact that one of their above the line posters had racially abused Lee Jasper in the strongest of terms, tells me everything I need to know about how genuine HP's commitment to antiracism is.

8/24/2011 02:55:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

I don't necessarily doubt that they're theoretically committed to antiracism - it's just that the modus operandi is 'my enemy's enemy is my friend', meaning they're happy to have posting by people with deeply dubious ideas / track records as long as they're attackign the right people - witness, for instance, 'Israelinurse', a settler in the illegally-occupied Golan Heights, being given posting rights, and thus the Tery Fitz debacle.

This latest vendetta against a young woman over, well, nothing really, is especially distasteful. Bonus points to everyone on there for trusting Edmund Standing as an authority on race relations and young people's slang... What's increasingly clear from HP Sauce is that it's almost entirely run and populated by people who haven't the faintest idea about the working classes and especially about young people.

8/24/2011 04:03:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Oh and just on Lee Jasper - I'm not entirely sure what he's done to upset them so much, but he's truly despised, to the point of mania, by one and all on there. I can't help wondering if it all goes back to similar antifascist stuff, since objectively it doesn't really make much sense to fixate so much on him. Then again, little HP activity makes much objective sense - witness, as mentioned above, the myriad postings about Jody McIntyre...

8/24/2011 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

I wonder if the Lee Jasper stuff was inspired by this. But see this also.

I particularly liked the post about the placard with a bomb and a Star of David on it: it was the wrong SoD apparently; not the Israeli flag one, but a generic Jewish one and was anti-Semitic. Of course.

I still quite like Gene and Sarah though.

8/24/2011 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Gene were a bit after my time.

8/24/2011 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

What's increasingly clear from HP Sauce is that it's almost entirely run and populated by people who haven't the faintest idea about the working classes and especially about young people.

It's not ignorance about young people - it's open hatred and contempt. See also, the endless pearl-clutching over "trendy lefties" and so on. It's been obvious about the entire Decent project from 2003 onwards, like a walking mid-life crisis; it's more apparant now because Standing lacks the self-awareness to realise how fogeyish and curmudgeonly he sounds.

8/24/2011 07:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

Oh and just on Lee Jasper - I'm not entirely sure what he's done to upset them so much, but he's truly despised, to the point of mania, by one and all on there. I can't help wondering if it all goes back to similar antifascist stuff, since objectively it doesn't really make much sense to fixate so much on him.

Highly unlikely. This was disputes between Jasper and Anti Fascist Action, so this is criticisms from his left, as opposed to his right. In particular, the two main disputes were a) the fact that Jasper is a firm believer in black leadership of any antifascist campaigning and b) some serious issues we had with his tactics, in particular we blamed him for handing the BNP the streets at one point through some really bad organisation and stewarding. I can't see the HP types having had any dog in that particular fight.

I think it's something else. It's because he's a close political ally of Livingstone which makes him 'fair game' in their eyes. Also, I think it's actually because of the Fitz shitstorm. I do think there's an element of them concentrating on Jasper precisely because they looked bad previously. As a collective, they really are that petty and spiteful in my eyes.

8/24/2011 09:20:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Ah right - thanks, that's all very interesting.

I think it's something else. It's because he's a close political ally of Livingstone which makes him 'fair game' in their eyes.

yeh I guess it probably is this - of course, their beef with livingstone itself is not based on principled anti-extremism but on his standing against the Blair candidate, and winning, in the first London Mayoral election. It's also pretty tellling that the constant Jasper sniping from Gilligan hasn't seemingly resulted in anything concrete being proven, hence the 'alleged' in the post by that chancer bloke.

It's odd, though, just how much ire Lee Jasper inspires in people - Michael Gove even started yelling about him on Newsnight the other week.

Also, I think it's actually because of the Fitz shitstorm. I do think there's an element of them concentrating on Jasper precisely because they looked bad previously. As a collective, they really are that petty and spiteful in my eyes.

There's certainly an element of this, too - witness, as I mentioned above, their beef with Mehdi Hasan which is based mainly on him making Brett Lock look like an idiot (not hard, but still).

I particularly liked the post about the placard with a bomb and a Star of David on it: it was the wrong SoD apparently; not the Israeli flag one, but a generic Jewish one and was anti-Semitic. Of course.

Indeed. Though, of course, *nobody* on HP had actually accused her of antisemitism...

I find the Jody MacIntyre obsession most baffling. Gene, the other day, said that we shouldn't trust the news specifically in relation to Libya - and HP promptly have an entire post ridiculing Jody MacIntyre for making the same point.

It's not ignorance about young people - it's open hatred and contempt. See also, the endless pearl-clutching over "trendy lefties" and so on. It's been obvious about the entire Decent project from 2003 onwards, like a walking mid-life crisis; it's more apparant now because Standing lacks the self-awareness to realise how fogeyish and curmudgeonly he sounds.

I still don't really understand what Edmund Standing is doing writing for HP Sauce. The majority of other posters pay lip service to left-wing politics - he genuinely hates all lefties per se. Mind you, his fogeyism 'i can confirm that this young lady genuinely wants to be a black gangsta because I lived in Tottenham a while back' is pretty fucking funny.

The extent to which 'middle class' is a term of abuse on a site which is now run by a professor, a senior corporate lawyer, and a hedge-fund manager, would be amusing if it wasn't so depressing.

Also as a note, they seem to have a problem with this random young woman disliking M&S for political reasons. Can't help wondering what'd happen if one did an HP archive search for 'Lush'...

8/25/2011 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

Gene were a bit after my time.

Sarah put out some good stuff, though.

8/25/2011 08:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

The whole insistence about HP being a left blog is just a bit bizarre at this point.

It was arguably true in the early days of the blog. At that point, while they obviously defined themselves by their support for humanitarian intervention overseas, they were generally sympathetic to stuff like domestic industrial struggles.

If you compare that to both the kind of analysis they were putting out about the riots, or most of the posts on the public sector strike, I think it's pretty clear that they've shifted to the right since those days.

Let's look at who could still be considered on the left, even tentatively.

Gene is, certainly in American terms. He's probably the closest to the blog's original stance of the remaining team. He posts mostly about US stuff though, which is understandable. And, in global terms, he's not that left.

Sarah AB, probably, at least in the sense of being part of the liberal left.

I think Brownie is genuine in terms of being the traditional Labourite he presents himself as. But I can't remember the last time I saw a post by him and he's commentating below the line less and less. In fact, he's pretty openly despairing of the state of the HP comments box at this point.

So, of the regular posters, one is a US democrat and posts about that, one is a liberal and pretty centrist and the other one isn't properly active any more.

After that, I get a bit stuck. I guess HP could point to James Bloodworth. But, as a Trot, he so obviously isn't reflective of the wider blog politically. And gets attacked by the commentators accordingly. Besides, if you get into guest posters, there's a lot more to the right than you find to the left of the main 'team'.

So I don't actually find the inclusion of Edmund Standing that jarring. Because I don't see any meaningful evidence that he's actually to the right of Lucy Lips or Alec Macph or Joseph W.

And Michael Ezra. Michael is the most amusing because he claims to be left wing, despite the fact the main issues that get him animated are:

1. 1950's style anti-communism.

2. A laissez-faire approach to the financial industry.

3. Wanting to have sex with Laurie Penny. (Which frankly crossed the line into "really fucking creepy" quite some time ago).

None of those are traditionally left wing concerns, to say the least. Although I suppose Michael may claim that wanting to fuck left wingers makes him one too.

8/25/2011 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

I can't be the only one to observe that HP is becoming more and more like the Daily Telegraph by the day. The commenters, at least, are exactly the same.

8/25/2011 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

I believe Margaret Thatcher wanted to fuck left-wingers.

8/25/2011 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

But I can't remember the last time I saw a post by him

Me neither

8/25/2011 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Ernie Christ said...

This is hilarious - six days on and you're still slating Harry's PLace! So sorry, I know I said I'd leave you alone, but I couldn't resist a quick peek. Is this what your blog is for then? Wanking on about another political blog which you don't like? For six days? Extraordinary.

Incidentally, I found this comment particularly amusing:

"I don't necessarily doubt that they're theoretically committed to antiracism - it's just that the modus operandi is 'my enemy's enemy is my friend', meaning they're happy to have posting by people with deeply dubious ideas / track records as long as they're attackign the right people - witness, for instance, 'Israelinurse', a settler in the illegally-occupied Golan Heights"

...so. Firstly, a blog which excuses the SWP, Respect and by extension HAMAS, on the grounds that despite their obvious enthusiasm for violent bigotry they share your racism towards Israelis, accuses another blog of adopting the maxim "my enemy's enemy is my friend". Irony lost on you?

Secondly, you accuse HP of failing to live up to its claim as an anti-racist blog and then suggest that someone shouldn't be allowed to comment because they live in the Golan Heights???
Leaving aside the history of Jews in Syria (I know, I know, you couldn't give a red fuck that they were murdered and hounded out, and there's no justification for Jews living in Syrian land because, well, they're Jews, and the fact that they lived in Syria for so long before they were massacred or fled to Israel is irrelevant) don't you think your declaration that HP should ban anyone from that part of the world from commenting is rather hateful and disgusting?
No, of course you don't. OK, get back to blathering on about someone else's blog which just happens to be more popular than your own sordid little hate-fest.
Cheers xx

8/25/2011 02:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Eric Buddha said...

Ernie, how about you pop off and find some other poor sods to accuse of genocide, eh? No-one's likely to rise to your bait here.

8/25/2011 02:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

I know fully well that Ernie is going to avoid addressing any of these points directly (like he's done with all the posts so far) but I'm still waiting for Tropico: Pirate Cove to be released, so hey.

This is hilarious - six days on and you're still slating Harry's PLace! So sorry, I know I said I'd leave you alone, but I couldn't resist a quick peek. Is this what your blog is for then? Wanking on about another political blog which you don't like? For six days? Extraordinary.

Yes, you're right. I suggest that this blog is given over to posting up Facebook and Twitter from people you don't like instead.

..so. Firstly, a blog which excuses the SWP, Respect and by extension HAMAS, on the grounds that despite their obvious enthusiasm for violent bigotry they share your racism towards Israelis, accuses another blog of adopting the maxim "my enemy's enemy is my friend". Irony lost on you?

Um, I'm not sure anybody on here is a SWP/Respect supporter, apart from possibly Skidmarx. My view on Hamas is pretty wellknown, as it happens. I often use the term "cunts".

Is this going to be one of those weeks where I get accused of being both a virulent zionist and being a virulent antizionist again? I like it when that happens, though it's best when it happens on the same thread.

And you're deliberately avoiding the question of Terry Fitz. So let me break this down for you, in a decent stylee.

Do you condemn Harry's Place for posting a racist? Or do you think calling a black person you disagree with a n***** is an acceptable form of political discourse?

which just happens to be more popular

The Da Vinci Code is the bestest book in the world! That's why it's sold so many copies.

You know, if you're going to portray yourself as 'above it all' on this blog, it would be more convincing if you didn't keep running away from direct points in favour of arguments with the points that exist in your head.

Also, going "I'm not going to post again" and then posting again makes you look like a fourteen year old doing a MySpace flounce.

8/25/2011 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I've failed to locate any suitable EastEnders clips on YouTube, so in lieu of same:

"Leave 'im, 'e isn't worth it."

(Really. The point at which internet halfwits say "oh all right, you've got me now" never comes.)

8/25/2011 03:28:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

indeed, don't feed the troll.

Wanting to have sex with Laurie Penny. (Which frankly crossed the line into "really fucking creepy" quite some time ago).

don't forget that other girl whose cause he championed, the 17 year old who didn't get expenses, and when people criticised Mr Ezra for picking a relal shit example for his crusade to make all work experience paid at minimum wage, he told us we were all 'jealous because she got into Oxford'... nd then his crusade to demonstrate that hedge funds are the gretest thing ever, an opinion that's unconnected, aparently, to his job as... the head of a hedge fund.

fuck knows who decided it was a good idea to make Mr Ezra a core member of the HP pack. presumably it was David 'lucy lips' toube?

8/25/2011 03:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Andre Preview said...

Ernie, you appear to have difficulty reading. This blog doesn't carry advertisements, but perhaps you should have gone to SpecSavers? OC complained of "Israelinurse's" "posting rights."

Harry's Place is hiding (has deleted?) older comments threads, but Israelinurse seems to have form for telling people to shut up based on where they live and for how long they've lived there. Her opinions were, IIRC, somewhat immoderate.

Firstly, a blog which excuses the SWP, Respect ...

"excuses"?? from or of what? What are the charges?...

...and by extension HAMAS, ...

Do explain this "by extension"...

on the grounds that despite their obvious enthusiasm for violent bigotry they share your racism towards Israelis

Evidence?

8/25/2011 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

(beats head on ground repeatedly)

8/25/2011 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

I'm still waiting for Sarah to comment on her mate Norm's cosy relationship with the Gates of Vienna blog which provided so much of the idological ammunition for Anders Behring Breivik.

(This guilt by association game is such fun to play, why leave it all to the HP saucers?)

8/25/2011 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Proverbs 26:4 my favoured text in this situation.

(Bonus points for anybody who can guess where I first saw it. "The Bible" is not the answer.)

8/25/2011 04:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

OK - I don't really wish to speculate about Norman Geras's precise thinking about this. I could say that I agree with him about most things, nd think his stance on Islamophobia always seems sound -

http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2009/11/minaret-ban.html

http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2011/07/facing-down-the-ban.html

I've hardly looked at Gates of Vienna - I'm sure I'd find it highly objectionable.

8/25/2011 05:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Larry T said...

I'd imagine Norman Geras' precise thinking went something like: "How marvellous! Another blog devoted to pointing out how the left is in bed with islamic extremists!" followed some time later by "Oh fuck. Well let's hope no-one noticed".


[I know fully well that Ernie is going to avoid addressing any of these points directly]

Personally I hope that Ernie is going to avoid addressing anything at all.

8/25/2011 08:53:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Another favourite of the pro-Israel crowd,Carol Gould, whinges here about immigrants:
One of my neighbours is incensed that I, a local taxpayer who has frequented Clifton Road for 34 years, could be ejected from a cafe by someone who was not born here and has been given the privilege of working in this country. Having been berated and bullied over the years by every nationality known to man in London and beyond -- be they bus drivers or conductors, restaurant or shop staff -- I often wonder how it is that people are allowed to work here and then promptly set about bullying the natives.
Again, if it had been Jody McIntyre, described by my stalker on HP whom Sarah AB often finds occasion to agree with as "a sack of shit on wheels"[Waterloo Sunset - I think he's a bloke], HP would never let us hear the last of it.

8/25/2011 09:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

(Really. The point at which internet halfwits say "oh all right, you've got me now" never comes.)

This assumes that the point of debating trolls is to persuade them to change their view, rather than influence third-parties.

8/25/2011 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

This assumes that the point of debating trolls is to persuade them to change their view, rather than influence third-parties

No, it assumes that there's no point in debating with trolls.

I'm well aware that debate in general tends to take place for the benefit of third parties, rathe than in the hope that protagonist A or B will convince the other. But in order for that process to take place I think there has to be an interesting, perhaps illuminating discussion informed by a degree of mutual respect. Not the sort of shrieking and making the same aggressive point over and over again that characterises a lot of websites, and which generally does not characterise this one.

8/25/2011 10:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

I think that if one side is shrieking or whatever, and the other isn't, then that can have an impact. I believe that Nick Griffin didn't come across well on QT either.

But what I was thinking of, was that maybe allegations like "you all support Hamas and want to see dead Jews", should either be moderated out (and I'm not a big fan of that), or calming pointed out as being false as Waterloo Sunset has done. Because otherwise, to an outsider, "you all like Hamas" followed by silence on that issue might not look so good.

Then there's the wider concept of third-parties. What happens when fourth millennium archaeologists discover the only written evidence left of our civilization to be a piece of papyrus with fragments from comment threads involving Ernie here?

8/25/2011 10:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Sure - sometimes the threads are long and one skims to get back to the fight/interesting exchange one is having with one person in particular so it's easy to be inconsistent or negligent about inappropriate comments - on a Latuff thread now some people are encouraging precision usefully - eg pointing out that Latuff, while (I think) deeply objectionable, is not a Nazi.

skdimarx - I *think* I deleted that comment about JM - I deleted a couple, certainly. The name Carole Gould rings a vague bell but she's no favourite of mine - I don't mean that I've a settled negative opinion of her, I simply don't know anything about her. I can't imagine anyone endorsing Geoffrey Aldeman enthusiastically being someone I'd find hugely congenial. (Based on the couple of things by GA I've read - maybe he's ok sometimes.)

8/26/2011 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

Waterloo Sunset - If you are accused of being both zionist and anti-zionist it might be because you don't understand either and yet you comment on both. A case in point is your description of Sarah as a liberal. She is actually a supporter of a state based on recent, current and on-going colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and segregationist laws. That's illiberal at best. Her latest dodge is to describe the historical and current situation in Palestine as "complex" and to refuse to answer (Cian) when asked what complexity anti-zionists are missing. Of course if this was a more pro-zionist site, she would be falsely accusing anti-zionists of dishonesty and on her own blog she falsely accuses anti-zionists of antisemitism by way of the EUMC working definition of antisemitism.

But really WS, to be so casual about the State of Israel as you are is bound to impact adversely on anti-fascist unity when you consider the most obvious and numerous victims of zionism have an awful lot in common with the main targets of fascism in the UK and the fact that zionists do and have done much of what fascists have done and continue to advocate. You really need to get your head around the subject and stop imagining zionism and anti-zionism to be "two sides of the same coin".

Re Harry's Place, their support for the racist war criminals of the State of Israel should damn them out of hand without any consideration of the specific wrongs that you have noticed. It may have contributed to the leeway they granted to Terry FitzPatrick given they probably assumed as a keen supporter of Israel he would have learned to at least talk the talk of a progressive worldview. In other words, they wanted Sarah but they got Alf Garnett. The support for Israel also explains their cosying up with Atzmon and taking his side against Tony Greenstein. Clearly for the zionists at HP, antisemitism is preferable to consistent anti-racism but then zionism and antisemitism really are two sides of the same coin.

The big question with HP is why they want to call themselves left wing at all. I think that has to do with a neo-con attempt at eradicating or at least rubbishing genuine opposition.

8/26/2011 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

But what I was thinking of, was that maybe allegations like "you all support Hamas and want to see dead Jews", should either be moderated out (and I'm not a big fan of that), or calming pointed out as being false as Waterloo Sunset has done. Because otherwise, to an outsider, "you all like Hamas" followed by silence on that issue might not look so good.

For sure, and when something actually starts it's worth saying a couple of things in order to get them on the record. Thing is though, unless you have an absolutely killer rejoinder and - by some miracle - the fuckwit concerned dissolves into air on hearing the magic words, then that strategy runs out of steam fairly swiftly.

I'm reminded that Andy Newman once claimed to me, in re: the polemics (to use a kind word) on Socialist Unity, that they were all about "clarification". Things were established by means of a process of argument, even if that argument was "sharp" (to employ a commonly-used euphemism).

Which is, I'm sure, quite true in theory, but balderdash in practice, since in fact you get hundreds of postings of people all screaming at one another, and screaming things that they've screamed many times before. You know, after a while everybody knows the claims and the responses and the events that are going to be made reference to. As a ritual, which it was it is, it's actually interesting in its way, it might well repay study. But it's just not remotely interesting to be there, not elast because you work out, after a while, that many people are there for the screaming and denouncing. They're really going to get 'em this time!

Big rule of the internet: the bad drives out the good if it's allowed to. Reason is that it's not like a meeting where the chair could say "well thank you very much sir or madam, but you've had your say", the loudmouths absolutely insist on taking over and spoiling everything. You can try and have a conversation around them, but not very successfully - and why let them have their way?

(I have to say I am a big fan of moderating out. Absolutely the most effective way of dealing with internet trolls. Of course it can be overused, but my word it does tend to discourage them fro mreturning. Zap!)

8/26/2011 08:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Larry T said...

cosying up with Atzmon

That seems an astonishing allegation. Last time I clicked over to HP - which was admittedly (thankfully) some time ago - almost every other post was about Atzmon's dreadfulness.

8/26/2011 09:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

Levi, not everything is reducible to a reducto ab israelum, despite your seeming belief otherwise.

Seriously, you need to find a second hobby. Frisbee is cool.

8/26/2011 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

Last time I clicked over to HP - which was admittedly (thankfully) some time ago - almost every other post was about Atzmon's dreadfulness.

David T and Mikey Ezra went out drinking with him a few years ago. Levi is of the view that was because of Israel, but Levi is of the view that using up all the milk in the fridge is about Israel.

In my opinion, it's more because David T sees anti-racism as a bit of an ironic game. And Mikey is just into collecting extremists like other people collect stamps.

8/26/2011 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

Waterloo Sunset - something zionism and my hobbies have in common is that you know very little about either. You don't need to know about the latter but your ignorant comments on the former (and there are many of those) put you on the side of racist war criminals and their supporters and they presumably undermine any credibility you might want among Muslims (et al) wanting to fight fascism.

I know not everything comes down to Israel but if people support racism as obvious as Israel's then it's silly expecting them to be politically sound, even liberal, on other issues though, as I said, most people do expect zionists to talk the pc talk and some people are clearly fooled by it.

I don't think your reasoning over the axis of evil, Toube/Mikey/Atzmon takes on board all that happened back in the day or the fact that Atzmon is useful to HP as an embarrassment to anti-zionists. I think that second bit is an aspect of your lack of understanding.

8/26/2011 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

*Rolls eyes*

Antifascism doesn't need to take a position on Israel, it needs to be agnostic.

The logical conclusion of your position here would be that you'd have excluded the 43 group from antifascist activity, which would have been utterly farcial.

Seriously Levi, can you give me at least some vague idea of your antifascist track record here (nothing incriminating, obviously), so I know if this is at least something we have a vaguely common language on?

On Atzmon, issue is, he's not really been an embarassment to a lot of antizionists. I know you (and Tony G) have been sound on the issue, but you can't deny that hasn't been universal across the board. There's been support for him, or at least refusal to take action, as well.

8/26/2011 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

waterloo sunset - i didn't say antifascism has to take a position on zionism or israel. i am saying that you always do take a position on zionism and it is an essentially pro-zionist position. you don't abstain on discussions, you intervene and start describing supporters of ethnic cleansing as "liberals". i could say it insults liberals but really it exculpates zionists.

your question about track record on fighting fascism isn't serious. you are copping out of the fact that a relatively simple issue like colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing and solidarity with its victims stumps you so much.

you said that you get accused of zionism and anti-zionism. i'm saying it's because you understand neither and given your oft repeated interventions that mention zionism you ought to learn about it to avoid these little faux pas because they can be unduly divisive. they also tend to be just plain wrong.

8/26/2011 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Thank God it's Friday.

8/26/2011 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

how did you know i work on weekends, ejh?

hmm...

8/26/2011 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

i didn't say antifascism has to take a position on zionism or israel.

Well, you said

to be so casual about the State of Israel as you are is bound to impact adversely on anti-fascist unity

Which is calling for antifascism to take a position on Israel, no?

i am saying that you always do take a position on zionism and it is an essentially pro-zionist position. you don't abstain on discussions, you intervene and start describing supporters of ethnic cleansing as "liberals".

That'd be the reducto ab Israelum I was talking about. In essence, the difference between us is this.

You believe that somebody's political position is, at the least, heavily connected to the position they take on Israel. I think it's broader than that. Thanks for showing what I meant before about how I keep getting accused of being both pro and anti zionist at the same time though. In essence, it's because I insist on treating the issue of class struggle in relation to Israel the same as I treat the issue unrelated to Israel. Whereas, for both you and the Zionists, Israel is a special category where normal analysis must be abandoned.

your question about track record on fighting fascism isn't serious. you are copping out of the fact that a relatively simple issue like colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing and solidarity with its victims stumps you so much.

It's funny how questions you don't like are invariably not serious. And it's entirely relevant if you're going to start trying to argue for specific tactical considerations. Unless you have some background in the area, it's purely theoretical, as opposed to based on praxis. I value the latter a lot more, hence my question.

you said that you get accused of zionism and anti-zionism. i'm saying it's because you understand neither and given your oft repeated interventions that mention zionism you ought to learn about it to avoid these little faux pas because they can be unduly divisive. they also tend to be just plain wrong.

Out of interest, do you see any practical difference on this subject between divisive and "plain wrong" and disagreeing with you?

(Sorry ejh. Levi seems to have taken it on himself to follow me round the blogosphere to complain that I don't accept his analysis. Repeatedly. On every discussion I'm involved in. Bless him).

8/26/2011 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Sarah AB said... OK - I don't really wish to speculate about Norman Geras's precise thinking about this.

No need to speculate Sarah, just get in contact with him and ask.

I could say that I agree with him about most things, (a)nd think his stance on Islamophobia always seems sound -

I'd judge Geras by his actions rather than his words. Why did he link to and promote a virulently Islamophobic site.

I've hardly looked at Gates of Vienna - I'm sure I'd find it highly objectionable.

You might, but Norman Geras clearly thought otherwise. Try entering "Geras" in their search box and you'll find a lot of praise for the Blessed Norm. This one is a gem.

http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2006/09/i-never-thought-id-live-to-be-million.html

'We owe a big debt of gratitude to the people who helped give us a leg up. We couldn’t have made it to a million hits without encouragement (and links) from Wretchard, Roger Simon, Charles Johnson, and Norm Geras. We owe a special thanks to Fjordman, whose guest-posts have brought in many readers we wouldn’t otherwise have had, and who introduced us to all our delightful Scandinavian commenters.'

As we know, one of the readers introduced to Gates of Vienna was Andres Behring Breivk.

So Sarah, drop Norm a line and find out what so attracted him to the virulently Islamophobic Gates of Vienna.

8/26/2011 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

yeah, that was wrong of me, you are not simply casual, you are cavalier. you bring up the subject and then make it out to be something very different from what it is. so it is not so much a case of you not taking a position but of taking an unsound position. it would be better if you didn't take a position.

the reductio stuff is nonsense because i know there are many explicitly political players who have nothing to say or do with regard to Israel. if someone supports Israel though, they support ethnic cleansing and so where they stand on other issues should take that into account. if they condemn ethnic cleansing elsewhere they are hypocrites. and if they deny it on the part of Israel they are liars.

you haven't understood the class nature of imperialism or support for israel or solidarity with those oppressed by both. i think this is neo-liberalism's greatest ideological victory. it makes flagrant oppression, resistance and solidarity look like simply a matter of opinion like supporting spurs or arsenal.

i don't like questions like "what are you doing?" or "what did you do?" precisely because they are not serious. if i told you i got beaten up in Lewisham in the seventies or i was arrested in barkingside or brighton what difference would it make?

there are many people who disagree with me who persuade me of their position but yours is just plain wrong. you have said many times that you believe zionism and anti-zionism to be two sides of the same coin and it hasn't simply meant the way people relate to it in the west (though that would be bad enough) and you reserve most of your criticism for anti-zionists. you also seem to offer supportive comment to at least two israel advocacy blogs. i don't know that from following you. i know that from reading them.

i wouldn't know how to follow someone around the blogosphere. i was following this thread from just before chardonnay chap made a comment. i was actually quite interested in ejh and cian questioning sarah and you gave me the excuse to firm up on cian's question about the "complexity" thing which i don't suppose we will ever see an answer to.

also, i don't do a whole lot in the way of analysis. but i do know bad analysis when i see it and yours is bad - hopeless and harmful in fact.

8/26/2011 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

you also seem to offer supportive comment to at least two israel advocacy blogs.

That would be Bob's (whose come down tentatively on the side of a one state solution) and Contested Terrain (no staters)?

I think you've just proven conclusively that your definition of "Israel advocacy" is actually "anybody who does not share my view that Israel is a unique theological evil". I use theological deliberately. I think this discussion is a bit pointless with you, because this is a matter of faith for you, as opposed to primarily political. It's a bit like arguing with the Pope about immaculate conception.

8/26/2011 01:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Levi - I am not supportive of everything Israel does or has done, or all its current policies or its government. I find the views of those on the left (in Israel) more congenial. To pick up the point about complexity - two books I've read: Adam Lebor's City of Oranges and Crossing Qalandiyah by Norris and Anabtawi capture the complexity well I think. There are lots of issues where I can come to a conclusion and stick with it, but with I/P I can read a long and complex discussion on the internet and continue to feel torn and uncertain. It seems impossible to take the whole context in at once. There are different ways of looking at it, depending on what you select and from what angle. Thus, to be very specific, if I reflect on the fact that a Palestinian who fled in 1948 cannot return to Israel whereas I, because my husband has a Jewish grandparent (only recently found out, rather odd) can in theory, I think, move there - yes, that seems most unjust. But that's just one aspect - I don't think supporting a two state solution is so egregious - it's the position taken by both Labour and Lib Dem Friends of Palestine I believe.

"Of course if this was a more pro-zionist site, she would be falsely accusing anti-zionists of dishonesty"

In fact, Levi, I have been trying, mildly, to defend antizionists on a site which is a bit more zionist than this one! (More in comments than post itself.)

http://hurryupharry.org/2011/08/24/troping-bigotry/

I accept that it is perfectly fair to bring up the Gates of Vienna issue, but I simply don't want to bother Norman Geras about this.

8/26/2011 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

bob is an israel advocate and he is a contributor to contested terrain which is even more openly pro-israel than the blog he runs on his own. bob did once say that he supports a one state solution. i think he has since backtracked on his earlier position and he of course has denied that israel is based on ethnic cleansing. perhaps you will say that atzmon isn't antisemitic because he says he isn't. no, of course you wouldn't do that because all your credulity gets used up on israel advocates.

it's fair to say that bob will say anything just to suit the thread but he has said plenty to indicate a pro-zionist position complete with false allegations of antisemitism against anti-zionists and repeated support for a bogus working definition of antisemitism that clearly conflates jewishness with zionism and the state of israel and therefore conflates antisemitism and anti-zionism.

my anti-zionist position is consistent with my anti-racism more generally and it is based on reality and evidence, not faith. you have said nothing to indicate that you understand the subject at all. of course, the discussion is pointless if you insist on writing knowingly about something you don't know anything about.

8/26/2011 01:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

I have a theory about Bob and one state. I think it was a kind of test - I don't think he *really* thought so many young Israelis supported that option that it would soon become the majority wish in Israel. I think the subtext was more 'but if the clear majority of Israelis wanted a one state solution then - that would be fine, surely'?

8/26/2011 02:10:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Waterloo Sunset - who lives in a house like this?:

Bob from Brockley - It was striking to see the way that many of my allies in the battle against the clear and present threat posed by militant Islam reacted almost with morbid glee at the first reports of the massacre
I see that you comment there that he must have been careless in his choice of words, where if you look just at the comrades section of his blogroll, you can see a succession of Zionists. And as was mentioned to me on the weekend, anyone who does ChomskyWatching really isn't worthy of having their head examined.

Contested Terrain - So, suddenly Israel isn’t a story anymore?
Antizionist Sliminess
I think they speak for themselves.

Off-topic,(and perhaps should be taken elsewhere), your piece on the riots was far less thoughtful that Ian Bonehead's, and that's a rare achievement. Did you even read Richard Seymour's pieces before calling him an uncritical cheerleader of the rioters?
Oh, and it is now longer since I left the SWP than the length of my life before I joined it (neither of which I regret). As for Mr.George's Respect, I did "demonise" them once.

It did occur to me that when Sarah AB continually claims that the EUMC "definition" of antisemitism is all about context, it is never in the context of the Palestinians being oppressed, and the Israelis doing the oppressing.
First you didn't want to speculate about Normprof and the Gates of Vienna, now you don't want to bother him with it. Are you worried what you might discover.
The contrast for your enthusiasm for insisting that the blogosphere condemn Qaradawi (of course an HP trojan horse for attacking Ken Livingstone) suggests that you have the possessors of splinters and beams muddled, and should put your own house in order before you criticise others.Can I expect a post on Carol Gould's racism imminently?

8/26/2011 03:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Skid

I'm happy to argue about the riots, but I think you're right it's best argued about elsewhere. The original post seems the obvious choice? (I assume you don't have any issue commenting on my blog as you've done so before)?

8/26/2011 03:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

And Levi, you've just proven my point. For you, "pro Israel" is the same thing as "disagrees with Levi's analysis of Israel".

If that isn't the case, list the objective factors needed for someone to qualify as such in your book.

8/26/2011 03:57:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

WS - yes, yes, though I didn't do so before because I wasn't that fussed. No, I don't have any issue.

I'd also tend to dispute that there's any such thing as the white working class (there are obviously honky horny handed sons of toil, but once they identify by their skin colour they are not identifying with their class, or the class they were born into), but that again may be a discussion for elsewhere, if I can be arsed to have it. And that you can as well.

Getting back somewhat to the issue at hand, I do wonder why you seem to see a clear difference between the Islamophobia and general anti-left condemnathon madness you identify at HP (along with most of the commenters here.N.B. "Madness" used as general term, rather than indication of specific diagnosis of psychiatric condition), while you seem to be quite friendly with those such as Bob From Brockley and Modernityblog who seem to do much the same Decent Thing, with perhaps a little more subtlety (perhaps), and of course without the same size of baying crowd. What's the difference?
If you do think that Zionism and anti-Zionism are equal and opposite, why don't you look through the anti arguments on this thread and tell us what their flaws are. And perhaps explain, again, why you can be so friendly with "I'm no Zionist, but"s, but are so tetchy with an anti-zionist like Levi9909.

8/26/2011 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Why am I so unsurprised by Sarah AB's lack of curiosity about Norman Geras' promotion of Gates of Vienna. But when I read this...

http://www.adjb.net/sab/index.php?m=03&y=09&entry=entry090326-172309

'I’m a great fan of questionnaires and quizzes of all kinds so I quickly sent off my response to Norman Geras’ call for entries in his Normblog Posterity Collection Poll.'

So her non-response to my question, 'What attracted Norman Geras to the virulently Islamophobic Gates of Vienna?' disproves this. She is clearly no fan of any questionnaire or quiz which exposes the creepy associations of the pro-war ex-left.

I see Sarah still has Normblog on her blogroll, but she cares little what is found there. To think, until recently, she was only two clicks from fascism.

8/26/2011 04:39:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

I see now Sarah AB is now approvingly linking to Richard Millett's blog, which seems to be one place those commenters considered too racist for HP end up:
I can’t stand the UK anymore, this is not an environment for a Jew to live in – I was in the IT sector at one time, but that has become so Islamified that I can’t do it anymore
was just the first example I came to.
Is there a pro-Israel racist Sarah AB dislikes as much as she dislikes the entirety of the far left?

8/26/2011 04:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Skid

I'd also tend to dispute that there's any such thing as the white working class (there are obviously honky horny handed sons of toil, but once they identify by their skin colour they are not identifying with their class, or the class they were born into), but that again may be a discussion for elsewhere, if I can be arsed to have it. And that you can as well.

Possibly not a very long discussion as I broadly agree with what you've just said there. I certainly believe there's a definable working class culture, but by definition it's multiracial. Where we may differ is I'd also say the same about concepts of "black working class culture" etc. I think we need to classify (I know that's not a word) racial issues, whereas we've seen a process of racialising class issues over the past 20 years or so.

Getting back somewhat to the issue at hand, I do wonder why you seem to see a clear difference between the Islamophobia and general anti-left condemnathon madness you identify at HP (along with most of the commenters here.N.B. "Madness" used as general term, rather than indication of specific diagnosis of psychiatric condition), while you seem to be quite friendly with those such as Bob From Brockley and Modernityblog who seem to do much the same Decent Thing, with perhaps a little more subtlety (perhaps), and of course without the same size of baying crowd. What's the difference?

That's a valid point and one that leads to quite an interesting discussion. In essence, you've got to remember that I'm actually pretty critical of the traditional left myself- it's couched in the terms that Red Action used to specialise in as a general rule. So, with HP, it's partly about tone, partly about it being part of a wider rightwing worldview and partly about how flawed their arguments actually are. It's like, I have serious criticisms of the SWP (a fair bit of which probably stems from my AFA days). But going "Mao killed people so the SWP want to kill you" is not an argument that deserves anything other than harsh mockery. And I think they have to take responsibility for their comments box and they refuse to.

Because, actually, at least some of HP's hate figures (Lee Jasper, Ken Livingstone etc.) are ones I also have serious issues with. But HP brings out my inner Spiked contrarian and I find myself wanting to defend anybody they dislike.

On Islamaphobia, I think this one is a serious political/ideological difference. I do think there is an issue with sections of the left having made concessions to far right Islamists, which I don't think you see as an issue. And I do think you can separate those Islamists from Muslims as a whole for criticism, which you seem to disagree with or at least think it's an irrelevant distraction. Therefore, it makes sense you'd have a problem with Bob where I don't.

If you do think that Zionism and anti-Zionism are equal and opposite, why don't you look through the anti arguments on this thread and tell us what their flaws are.

Ok. Both see Israel as a litmus test politically and give it far more importance than it should have in my book. Both suspend any idea of diverse class struggle in Israel in favour of seeing Israel as a monolithic bloc. Both see Israel as a unique case where the normal analysis you'd apply to other countries don't apply. And both are essentially nationalist perspectives. That's probably enough to be getting on with.

And perhaps explain, again, why you can be so friendly with "I'm no Zionist, but"s, but are so tetchy with an anti-zionist like Levi9909

You've noticed I'm less "tetchy" with you, yeah? In fact, I can honestly say, I'm pretty sure that Levi's the only antizionist I'm this snarky at.

8/26/2011 04:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

Honestly, it's because Levi's insistence on shoehorning the issue of Israel into any discussion bores me. And because I find him pompous and self-righteous. Traits which always make me want to troll like a bastard and willpower was never my strong point. And, quite honestly, I get the feeling that I irritate him in a very similar way. Clash of personalities.

So, yeah, a lot of it is that "the personal is political", as the feminists used to say in an entirely different context. I'd be perfectly happy for us to just ignore each other, as the fact it's so personalised makes me think we're just going to grate each other up the wrong way and not actually achieve anything. But he doesn't seem to want to, in which case I'm not fussed either way.

To use an analogy, your views of Andy Newman. How much is political and how much is because you think the bloke's a cock?

8/26/2011 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

In my case, more the latter.

8/26/2011 04:59:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

You've noticed I'm less "tetchy" with you, yeah?
Oh, I can be remarkably unobservant sometimes.

your views of Andy Newman. How much is political and how much is because you think the bloke's a cock?
I think a fair balance, though to be fair to him his blog was at the centre of the Respect split in which he was desperate for his side to win, so there was always a temptation to respond to any threat that the other side had better arguments with underhand tactics.
Of course it's easier to be polite now that he's not in Respect and has unbanned me from his blog.

And both are essentially nationalist perspectives
One is support for national oppression, and one is opposition to that. To dress up Palestinian solidarity work as adoption of a nationalist perspective has struck me as one of the less intelligent arguments propagated by supporters of Israel.

Bob from Brockley would post three or four approving links to Zionist-friendly posts on other websites, and Levi9909 would then comment on them. It seems obvious to me which came first, the chicken or the egg.

I do think there is an issue with sections of the left having made concessions to far right Islamists, which I don't think you see as an issue.
I'd tend to dispute the "far right" characterisation certainly, as it seems wrong to use the same categories for the representatives of the oppressed, or even those wildly unrepresentative of the oppressed. As Malcolm X, quoted by John Pilger recently, said:
"If you're not careful the newspapers will have you hating the oppressed and loving the people doing the oppressing."
I do think there are problems in the way that Respect became essentially a cross-class mostly Muslim organisation after the split (and that after claiming much bullshit on the part of the SWP, those in the post-split Respect were responsible for more bullshit on this and other issues).
As for Hamas and Hezbollah, they are David against a monstrously armed Goliath, and however much I disapprove of many of their social policies I think it is the epitome of arrogance for Westerners to wish to choose the Palestinians representatives for them.

I hope that answers some of your questions, or raises interesting ones.

8/26/2011 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

It seems obvious to me which came first, the chicken or the egg.

The egg, obviously. At whatever stage of development the first creature emerged which we would recognise as a chicken, we can be sure that it emerged from an egg. Yes?

8/26/2011 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Hearty agreement with skidmarx's last. (I could quibble with bits of it, but why spoil the moment?)

8/26/2011 05:55:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

In evolutionary terms, very probably, as it is extremely unlikely that a modern chicken first emerged in some other way than out of an egg.
Though just as the answer to "Antidisestablishmentarianism is often said to be the longest English word, how do you spell it?" can be "I.T.",in that sentence the chicken comes first.

8/26/2011 05:59:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

@Phil - thanks, I did hope to put that as uncontentiously as possible, without erroneously suggesting that my view of the events had significantly changed.
One point my my view has changed a bit is over Viva Palestina, which did at the time seem to be a way of recovering Respect's domestic momentum, where now I can see that it has done valuable work helping Gazans and publicising their plight. Obviously the (I would add "sickening" here, but why bother?) campaign on HP and elsewhere against Gazans and anyone who might help them aided that process.

8/26/2011 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

waterloo sunset

"And Levi, you've just proven my point. For you, "pro Israel" is the same thing as "disagrees with Levi's analysis of Israel"."

That's utter crap. You don't offer any analysis except to say that zionism and anti-zionism are two sides of the same coin.

as it happens, chomsky and finkelstein both support the two state settlement but i wouldn't describe either as pro-israel.

i think what separates the zionist from the non- and anti-zionist positions is where people stand on campaign points against israel. finkelstein and chomsky both offer detailed criticisms of israel and america's support for israel. they also expose many of the falsehoods in bogus histories and commentaries on the situation. for this they are vilified at every possible turn and finkelstein had his career ruined over it.

that nonsense about self-righteousness can be applied to anyone who holds any opinion. you make out that your 6 of one half a dozen of the other take on zionism and it's victims derives from some superior take on the class struggle. i could say that is self-righteous but that would be irrelevant. it's because you don't know the issues or possibly you think that anarchy would be an easier sell if you stayed neutral on ethnic cleansing war criminals and their supporters.

and, as you know, it wasn't me who introduced zionism to this thread. it rarely is me except on my own blog of course.

Sarah - your settlement privilege in palestine is indeed one aspect of the problem. your right to benefit from ethnic cleansing is another and your right to live on jewish only land (ie segregation)is still another. but you've simply repeated that there is complexity without saying what that complexity amounts to and why the palestinians should be exiled in perpetuity over it. don't forget you support a definition of antisemitism that claims it is antisemitic to oppose the "right of the jewish people to self-determination" (something like that). so you actually support the idea of a state specially for jews without any consideration of any complexity or context for that matter.

i'm not surprised that you defend anti-zionists on some other blog but balance doesn't consist of comments on post-it notes on either side of a scales. it's the content of the comment that counts.

8/26/2011 10:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

WRT self-determination, I find it interesting to look at this document which refers to the Palestinians' 'inalienable right to self determination', and to 'Arab land'.

http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/news/3125-stuttgart-declaration

skidmarx - It's partly because I have no fears about what I'd find out that I don't want to ask Norman Geras about this. You can always ask him yourself.

I linked to Richard Millett to convey a point of information. My provisional opinion of the blog, which I don't visit that often, is summed up on this thread - as is my opinion of Aaro Watch, I note!

http://brockley.blogspot.com/2011/06/im-not-racist-but-further-thoughts-on.html

8/27/2011 08:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

I should say that my criticisms of Richard Millet's blog are essentially to do with the comments - I haven't actively noticed anything objectionable in the posts - though there may be.

8/27/2011 08:10:00 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Sarah AB - you're going to have to be a little more specific about the Stuttgart Declaration before what you say conveys any meaning whatsoever.

It's partly because I have no fears about what I'd find out that I don't want to ask Norman Geras about this
Because you have a huge fear of wasting the great man's time with questions you already know the answer to? Then perhaps you could tell us what those answers are.

Your comment on Richard Millett and other things: it's another indication of your double standards. Indecentists turn up on HP to sneer? Yes let's ignore the constant sneering at much greater volume of the indiginous commentariat, let alone the accusations of antisemitism which come in a constant torrent. Jesus Christ, on an earleir thread here you excused your agreement with one piece of abuse on HP because you didn't want to be the target of abuse, how dare you make such a criticism until the HP comments boxes are nothing like the sewer they are now? The answer is that you have a double standard, maybe you don't see it or maybe you know exactly what you are doing.

On Richard Millett's blog, I was going to make the point that it would only be reasonable to say that the comments box is of no concern if there was no comment box.[If those who run HP don't want to keep throwing up their hands and pretending that there's nothing they can do about the comment boxes there, maybe getting rid of them would be one thing they could do] But I took a look at the first post I came to:
"These were the words spoken by Lauren Booth (Tony Blair’s half-sister-in-law) at the Al Quds Day terror rally"
Bit of a stupid piece of abuse,but let's move on:
"the head of Hizbollah has said that Jews are descended from pigs and apes and that if all the Jews in the world gathered in Israel it would save Hizbollah the trouble of going after them elsewhere."
A former hostage in Lebanon thinks these are fabrications(I assume they're are oft repeated on HP as well, but I really can't be bothered to check).
"I felt that the rhetoric and placards were nothing short of incitement to racial hatred and violence, not just against Israel and its citizens, but against the many Israeli tourists and residents in the UK as well as British Jews, and non-Jews, who wish to express support for Israel."
Because Richard Millett loves to impute motives to anti-Zionists that they would discredit them, and have no basis in what they think or say. I can see how this one is very similar to much of what you have to say about the UCU.

From a couple of posts down:
"But what goes along with the calling for boycotts is a demonisation of settlers, which contributes to continued Palestinian violence against them."
What a topsy-turvy world, in which it is not the well-armed settlers who regularly kill and constantly threaten the Palestinians whose land they have stolen.[Generally ignoring the demonisation]

I think that's about as much of that as I can stand to analyse. I did briefly scroll down to the praise for HP's attacks on Jody McIntyre, but someone else can talk about that if they want.

I'll maybe ask once more, when can we expect an HP post inviting us to condemn Carol Gould for her anti-immigrant comments?
[And obviously you've left a lot of other unanswered questions on this thread]

8/27/2011 09:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

I don't want to do a post on Carol Gould because I hadn't, at least not in any meaningful way, heard of her before. I see she gets grumbled at on the same Engage thread you linked to before. I agree that her remarks were bad-tempered and bigoted. I have blogged about Melanie Phillips' offensive remarks on HP, so I am clearly not uncritical of people just because they are 'Zionist'.

8/27/2011 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

These were the words spoken by Lauren Booth (Tony Blair’s half-sister-in-law

Claim to fame: my brother-in-law lives in Lauren Booth's old house.

Sorry, do carry on.

8/27/2011 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Or rather - look, I'm not much of a believer in demands to condemn, or wahat people ahve not talked about, rather than what they've actually said. But at the same time it's not unreasonable to observe that whatabouttery is pretty much the whole content of defences of Israel these days, it's very rare indeed to see Israel defended or supported without reference to what its critics are supposedly not complaining about. (And hence it's K to impute anti-Semitism to them, or if not directly then to hint at it, and then people who do it wonder why the discussion is so rancorous.)

So, you know, some back. If we're to be asked to put Hamas completely beyond the pale, for thsor that good reason, then we can't have misunderstood settlers. I mean we can't have the Hamas Charter being assumed to represent an actually-existing desire to drive the Jews into the sea, and yet the actually-existing drving of the Palestians from their own land carries no such weight. We can't have Hamas being irredeemably violent and racist, and yet the settlers are to be viweed more idulgently than gthat. And we can't have Hamas being diplomatically persona non grata, and yet my native country hosts, in South Kensington, the embassy of a country which through violence and terror has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their land and homes, in order to take that land and those homes, and continues as a matter of principle and policy to do so.

Otherwise what we've got is a plain and morally appalling double standard being deployed by people whose sole argument is that their opponents are operating on a double standard.

If we may not have Hamas, nor its diplomatic representatives, then nor may we have the settlers, nor the diplomatic representatives of the state that backs them.

8/27/2011 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

I see she gets grumbled at on the same Engage thread you linked to before.
Like:
Take my hat of to you and Jonathan Freedland for exposing yourself to the baying mob, Carol.
and
you have my greatest sympathy and well-wishes, and I do understand that the audience was absolutely horrible. I was not trying to make a character judgement on you, but express my frustration with your arguments, but I obviously blurred that line and that’s on me.
Holds onion up to eye.

8/27/2011 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous bensix said...

Carol Gould spoke at my university last year. I was ready for an argument but she ended up speaking on the miserable quality of British television drama. Outside of "Radiohead are better than Coldplay" or "brussel sprouts aren't too palatable" she couldn't have chosen a claim I was more likely to agree on.

8/27/2011 11:26:00 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Perhaps it would have been appropriate if I'd said cry me a fucking river.
Also, this seems to be making some similar arguments against Gould as have been made on this thread.

8/27/2011 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

You're right about sprouts. Of Radiohead I know little and of Coldplay less.

8/27/2011 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Skid

One is support for national oppression, and one is opposition to that. To dress up Palestinian solidarity work as adoption of a nationalist perspective has struck me as one of the less intelligent arguments propagated by supporters of Israel.

Palestinian solidarity work != antizionism though. I argue that it's a nationalist perspective because, as you say, it sees the situation in terms of "national oppression". In other words, it sees it primarily as oppression of a Palestinian nation, as opposed to seeing Palestinians as a people who are being oppressed. And the solution it proposes is also based round the concept of the nationstate.

I'd tend to dispute the "far right" characterisation certainly, as it seems wrong to use the same categories for the representatives of the oppressed, or even those wildly unrepresentative of the oppressed.

I'd see far right as a description of a political/social ideology, not as the offshoot of capitalism some analysis sees it as. And, traditionally, the footsoldiers of the fascists have always been working class. (To quote Mensi). Being economically oppressed doesn't stop them being far right. In fact, in terms of the Islamists, I'd question if they're meaningfully oppressed at all; this isn't a movement which gets its support from working class Muslims, its adherents are generally from privileged backgrounds. That's why they show little to no interest in issues like housing, employment etc. And, in fact, in areas where they operate, they are more problematic for Muslims then for non-Muslims. (With a few exceptions like their homophobia).

As for Hamas and Hezbollah, they are David against a monstrously armed Goliath, and however much I disapprove of many of their social policies I think it is the epitome of arrogance for Westerners to wish to choose the Palestinians representatives for them.

Is the role of revolutionaries to try to influence events in a way that fits our politics, or simply to reflect events back at people? Besides, Hamas are directly oppressive to Palestinians, especially when it comes to attempts at independent working class organisation. Finally, if you're going to look at what the Palestinians are calling for, as your primary concern, polling does show that most Palestinians are wanting a two state solution. They certainly aren't calling for the incorporation of the current Israeli population into a wider state in the area. Yet that is what many antizionists prefer. Again, I don't mind people pushing their own analysis, but you can't only play the "unconditional support for Palestinian opinion card" when it suits you.

I hope that answers some of your questions,

8/27/2011 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Skidmarx linked to this,

http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2006/09/nasrallah-said-what.html

where Charles Glass debunks some classic Zionist propaganda. I couldn't help noticing this,

'One of the sites running the first quote is Normblog.'

Perhaps it would be better for Sarah AB if she didn't rely on Norman 'Gates of Vienna' Geras when making her arguments.

I've given Sarah plenty of time to establish why Norman Geras actively promoted the Gates of Vienna hate site. She seems to me to be suspiciously incurious.

8/27/2011 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Mensi? Mensi?

I'm sure you and I both read Sounds in the late Seventies, but there's kids on here.

8/27/2011 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Levi

That's utter crap. You don't offer any analysis except to say that zionism and anti-zionism are two sides of the same coin.

Not true. I specifically said (so analysis) that your view is that Israel is uniquely bad and anybody who disagrees is either a) pro Israel b) unserious c) not understanding the question d) lying.

as it happens, chomsky and finkelstein both support the two state settlement but i wouldn't describe either as pro-israel.

i think what separates the zionist from the non- and anti-zionist positions is where people stand on campaign points against israel.

So how would you differentiate "non" and "anti" zionists, or would you not? Because what you seem to be arguing is that the reason that Chomsky and Finkelstein are ok in your book, is because they share the focus of your campaigning. That's the only reason I can think of. Because I defy you to find even one supportive quote from me in favour of the Israeli state.

that nonsense about self-righteousness can be applied to anyone who holds any opinion.

You left out "pompous". Seriously, me thinking you're a cock is an entirely subjective personal judgement. It's not something that we're going to be able to come to agreement on, or anything where objective evidence can be assembled. If it makes you feel better, I don't mind if you find me a cock as well?

you make out that your 6 of one half a dozen of the other take on zionism and it's victims derives from some superior take on the class struggle.

Nah, it comes from having a class struggle perspective at all. Besides, I don't do that. The "six of one, half a dozen of the other" I take doesn't say that about everyday Palestinians. (It also differentiates between the Israeli ruling class and the Israeli people as a whole, which is where one of our disagreements may lie). It says that about the Palestinian ruling class in waiting (Hamas), but mostly, as I've previously made clear, I'm talking about the Western leftists that make up the antizionist movement over here. And, to break it to you, you are not personally oppressed by the Israeli state, Levi. That kind of "Lady Bountiful" approach to other people's struggles is another thing I dislike about a lot of antizionists, for the record.

or possibly you think that anarchy would be an easier sell if you stayed neutral on ethnic cleansing war criminals and their supporters.

Um, yeah. Actually, hard as though this may be to believe for you, most working class people really don't give that much of a shit about Israel either way. It's not a primary concern and isn't going to help me "sell" anarchy whatever my view is. In the UK, Israel focused campaigning is mostly a hobby for a small fringe, bit like Morris Dancing.

Actually, my position isn't that hard to understand. If I take your view that Israel is uniquely bad, it lets all other nationstates off the hook. Equally, if I go with your view that the Israeli ruling class are bad because they're Israeli, as opposed to because they're ruling class, it implies that I see the other ruling classes as objectively preferable.

8/27/2011 12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

and, as you know, it wasn't me who introduced zionism to this thread. it rarely is me except on my own blog of course.

Yes, but you took a single throwaway comment about how I get accused of being pro Israel by the likes of you and anti Israel by the likes of Ernie Christ. Whatever your views on why that is, it happening is a simple statement of fact. And that was the only line you picked up, in a long post, which was part of a long thread. I can sorta understand you arguing that your focus on Israel to the exclusion of any other debates/issues is justifable. I honestly can't fathom how you can argue that isn't the approach you take.

(And yeah, your blog is different. People write about what interests them and this is obviously the primary issue that animates you, so you understandably focus on it. It would make no more sense to criticise you for it then it would to attack me for writing loads about the BNP/EDL)

8/27/2011 12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

I'm sure you and I both read Sounds in the late Seventies, but there's kids on here.

Showing your age I'm afraid. ;-) I didn't read music mags until the early 90's. (I was a greebo. Had rubbish hair and cycling shorts and everything).

8/27/2011 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

In other words, it sees it primarily as oppression of a Palestinian nation, as opposed to seeing Palestinians as a people who are being oppressed.
Certainly not words that I'd choose. The argument is garbage. Just because I can see that it is not not just working-class Palestinians that are oppressed because their entire country has been stolen from them does not mean I'm responding in a nationalist manner, any more than support for the resistance to Nazi occupation in WWII necessarily made those that did so a nationalist.
And the solution it proposes is also based round the concept of the nationstate.
More nonsense. The problem is the racism inherent in a "Jewish" state in Palestine, ending that racism doesn't employ support for any particular form of nation state. It certainly is fairly rubbish if you allow your anarchist opposition to all states to alibi the apartheid one that is Israel.
economically oppressed
People are economically exploited.
in terms of the Islamists, I'd question if they're meaningfully oppressed at all; this isn't a movement which gets its support from working class Muslims
Just as blacks and women from all classes have been oppressed, although there are more opportunities to ameliorate it for the more privileged, so it is with Muslims. Just to make the point really crudely, do you really think EDL members check to see if the person they are attacking is working class before they call him a Paki and beat him up?
You're also vague here on who these Islamists are. Before it was the ones the SWP had supposedly got far too much time for.
And, in fact, in areas where they operate, they are more problematic for Muslims then for non-Muslims
Whoever they are, why are Muslims listening more to them than they are to you then?
Is the role of revolutionaries to try to influence events in a way that fits our politics, or simply to reflect events back at people? Besides
Suggesting that you've made some point when you haven't. I'd probably go for the former.
Hamas are directly oppressive to Palestinians,
Not the way Israel is. Why do you think that so many voted for Hamas at the last election, and none voted for any Israeli movement? The answer that the latter weren't standing isn't good enough, and the idea that they like oppression borders on the racist. Incidentally, there's a lot of reason to be sceptical that any support for two states is because it is an actively desired solution, rather than a resignation that the "international community" will never insist on justice for the refugees (but with 45.2% unemployment in Gaza, why should you care about those that aren't workers?).Find me an opinion poll where most Palestinians say that they oppose the right of return for refugees and you might have a point.

8/27/2011 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

waterloo – this is looking like trolling on your part. i can't believe so straight forward a subject is so elusive to you.


But anyway, the essence of the state of israel is that it exists on the basis of colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and racist laws. anti-zionism is opposition to that.

hamas does not exist on the basis of oppression of palestinians even if it is sometimes, often or now always oppressive and anyway, hamas is not the be all and end all of anti-zionism. also, hamas did not embark on its armed struggle against israel until 1987 or 88. the ethnic cleansing of the palestinians began in earnest in 1947 and has continued by various means since. and of course hamas is not the only element of the palestinian ruling class. you are falling for and promoting demonology. you must surely see that with or without hamas, non-jews still have to be displaced from the area where a state specially for jews is to be situated.

there are clearly many forms of anti-zionism but the one with which i am most familiar is a basic liberal demand that there be one state for all of its people. this is not the other side of the same coin as a state for the world's jews based on the ethnic cleansing and other oppression of the non-jewish population.

you falsely accused me of shoehorning the question of israel into all threads and i rarely do that if ever and this thread was no exception. israel was already being discussed from the first comment in the thread. your, dare i say, self-righteous complaint that you get accused of zionism and anti-zionism was an appropriate case for a challenge since "i get flak from both sides" is something a lot of wankers say to show how right they are and its invariably bollocks especially given the israel advocate blogs you do support.

you have said that i call anyone who disagrees with me pro-israel or zionist or somesuch and i have given you two major examples of where that is definitely not the case. like the "self-righteousness" chestnut, it's an irrelevance. what counts is the argument and your approach is clearly more favourable to zionists than to anti-zionists.

just some examples, bob from brockley, contested terrain and modernityblog are all israel advocate blogs and you are far more friendly to them than you are to anti-zionists. their position is full blown support for ethnic cleansing war criminals, usually by smearing the critics (or denying the ethnic cleansing) but it doesn't bother you at all. israel's opponents are "frothing", "self-righteous", lacking in "class consciousness" and all sorts of other offences. it is fair to describe that as at least logically pro-israel even if it's not deliberate. you seem to have a glaring lack of self-awareness.

8/27/2011 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

re non and anti-zionist, i would say that non-zionists do not take a position as to whether a state should be specially for jews or not, anti-zionists say that a state should not be specially for jews and zionists (now that sarah is using the word herself) are people who say there should be a state specially for jews. the zionist position is of course indefensible by reference to humanist values which is why zionists tend to duck and dive their way through discussions and are by way of a bogus definition of antisemitism trying to outlaw criticism of israel.

you don't know what most working class people think nor what they would think if they were given accurate information about the nature of the situation in palestine and how, eg, the UK government helps to maintain an unjust situation. there have been many instances of injustice even to animals that have caused outrage throughout the country. south africa's apartheid system and rhodesia's minority rule were strenuously opposed by the trade union movement in this country. if people could just be brought to understand that the oppression of the palestinians is actually worse than straight segregation, given the ethnic cleansing, there could be the same kind of movement here as the anti-apartheid movement. there are also issues around the purpose israel serves more generally. i think there are important elements of the ruling class that benefit greatly from the constant provocation of muslims and the support for israel is a part of that. laws in the west have become increasingly repressive using islamic "terrorism" as an excuse. these laws can be and are used against anti-war activists and trade unionists in various situations. there are sound class reasons for workers to oppose zionism. there are no sound reasons to support it and yet some of your online friends make out that there are and all you do is condemn their critics.

of course israel serves other purposes which is why the ruling classes throughout the west go to such extraordinary lengths to support it in clear breach of their own professed values on the universality of human rights and the rule of international law.

the establishment bias in favour of israel is bound to have a knock on into domestic community relations so i think there are many reasons why it is a good thing for as many people as can be mustered to oppose zionism which is essentially racist. anti-racism is not the other side of the same coin as racism.

8/27/2011 01:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

Certainly not words that I'd choose. The argument is garbage. Just because I can see that it is not not just working-class Palestinians that are oppressed because their entire country has been stolen from them does not mean I'm responding in a nationalist manner, any more than support for the resistance to Nazi occupation in WWII necessarily made those that did so a nationalist.

How is an argument based on concepts of land ownership not a nationalist perspective? And, with the latter, surely it depends on what that support was based on? If it was based on support for Churchill, then yeah, that would have been nationalist.

More nonsense. The problem is the racism inherent in a "Jewish" state in Palestine, ending that racism doesn't employ support for any particular form of nation state. It certainly is fairly rubbish if you allow your anarchist opposition to all states to alibi the apartheid one that is Israel.

Only focusing on the abolition of Israel, while supporting the concept of one state in the region (which is what most antizionists do), is a specific position on a nationstate.

People are economically exploited.

They're both. Oppression of the working class doesn't just take place in the workplace. In particular, it takes place in the community. (Lack of services etc.)

Just as blacks and women from all classes have been oppressed, although there are more opportunities to ameliorate it for the more privileged, so it is with Muslims. Just to make the point really crudely, do you really think EDL members check to see if the person they are attacking is working class before they call him a Paki and beat him up?

How frequently do the EDL even come across non working class Muslims, considering those are the areas they try and march through? To put the counterpoint equally crudly, in what meaningful way is a female CEO oppressed in terms of the wider society? I'll accept that they're possibly discriminated against within their class, but overall they're still very much at the top of society.

You're also vague here on who these Islamists are. Before it was the ones the SWP had supposedly got far too much time for.

The Muslim Brotherhood and their offshoots. "We are all Hezbollah". The groups that Tony Cliff described as "clerical fascists".

Whoever they are, why are Muslims listening more to them than they are to you then?

Two separate questions. The first is why Muslims aren't listening to anarchists. And that's because the left (including anarchists) currently have no influence or organic links with the working class, Muslim or otherwise. That's an incredibly stark issue and is why the left, as a whole, are irrelevant. The second is why Muslims are listening to groups like Muslims Against Crusades. And I don't believe they are. And to argue otherwise, is actually to give comfort to the far right argument that these unrepresentative groups are somehow reflective of Muslims as a whole.

Not the way Israel is. Why do you think that so many voted for Hamas at the last election, and none voted for any Israeli movement? The answer that the latter weren't standing isn't good enough, and the idea that they like oppression borders on the racist.

Widespread Fatah corruption and the current weakness of any left alternative in the region. And the occupation, which I've never denied oppresses Palestinians.

But this is one of those examples of how different rules are applied by leftists abroad than at home. You wouldn't argue that the BNP were the legitimate representives of Oldham when they were voted in. Despite the fact Oldham is one of the most economically deprived areas in the country. There's something very dubious about arguing that the British working class deserve better, but as far as the Palestinians are concerned we'll work with what we've got.

8/27/2011 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

Incidentally, there's a lot of reason to be sceptical that any support for two states is because it is an actively desired solution, rather than a resignation that the "international community" will never insist on justice for the refugees

Oh, absolutely. But that just shows that trying to base your position on the 'Palestinian street' isn't going to work, because like any people, you have different and contradictory views coming out.

(but with 45.2% unemployment in Gaza, why should you care about those that aren't workers?)

I consider the unemployed to be part of the working class. (See my previous comment about how I don't just see class in economic terms). It's the Palestinian bourgeois I don't care about.

If you do, why not incorporate that into antizionist sloganeering for the sake of honesty? "All power to the Palestinian bourgeois" "For the domestic ruling class" "Allow the Palestinian bourgeois to oppress the workers as effectively as their Western counterparts". That kind of thing.

8/27/2011 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

But anyway, the essence of the state of israel is that it exists on the basis of colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and racist laws. anti-zionism is opposition to that.

That's the essence of states, period. (Hence the existence of immigration laws, which by definition based on the exclusion of the 'other'). So, if you're going to oppose Israel on that basis, why do you not apply that across the board?

hamas does not exist on the basis of oppression of palestinians even if it is sometimes, often or now always oppressive and anyway, hamas is not the be all and end all of anti-zionism.

But if it is, as you say, "sometimes, often or now always oppressive", surely it's reasonable to assume it will play that role in any Palestinian state and needs opposing accordingly?

and of course hamas is not the only element of the palestinian ruling class.

Obviously. They're just on the ascendency currently. To be clear, my opposition to Hamas in no way means support for other ruling class factions. To give you an idea of the kind of Palestinian resistance I'm happy to support- http://gazaybo.wordpress.com/manifesto-0-1/

you must surely see that with or without hamas, non-jews still have to be displaced from the area where a state specially for jews is to be situated.

Indeed. Hence I call for the basic right of everybody in the area (and indeed everywhere), Israeli or Palestinian, to be allowed to live where they want. Is that a call you actually disagree with?

there are clearly many forms of anti-zionism but the one with which i am most familiar is a basic liberal demand that there be one state for all of its people. this is not the other side of the same coin as a state for the world's jews based on the ethnic cleansing and other oppression of the non-jewish population.

Which is quite clearly a nationalist demand, so I don't quite understand why Skid objects to me describing it as such. And who is specifically calling for the oppression of the non-Jewish population here? Thing is, I don't see how "two states for two people" is any less a basic liberal demand, even if I don't agree with that either. Both positions are essentially compatible with a wider liberal ideology.

ust some examples, bob from brockley, contested terrain and modernityblog are all israel advocate blogs and you are far more friendly to them than you are to anti-zionists.

Using your own definition of non-zionist, both of the first two blogs qualify. Which is what makes me suggest you are actually using a different definition, even if you don't realise it. (It's somewhat odd to hear that you have me pegged as a good mate of Modernity. From what I recall, I've pretty much only discussed anti-fascism, specifically the EDL, with him recently. And I'll happily chat about that with anti-zionists, or anybody else who's interested in the subject).

you don't know what most working class people think nor what they would think if they were given accurate information about the nature of the situation in palestine

To rephrase an earlier question from Skid, why do you think they aren't listening to you, if the subject is as obvious as you seem to believe?

i think there are important elements of the ruling class that benefit greatly from the constant provocation of muslims and the support for israel is a part of that.

I think it's simpler than that. The Israeli state is important for the Western ruling class in geopolitical terms, as a friendly state in the area and they support it accordingly. But as I don't support the Israeli state, opposition to it isn't the issue. I support independent working class struggle in both Israel and Palestine. On that, we may even not disagree too strongly. I don't believe the national question negates the importance of supporting that struggle in both places. That's the core of my problem with your perspective.

8/27/2011 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

"That's the essence of states, period. (Hence the existence of immigration laws, which by definition based on the exclusion of the 'other')."

Keeping people out is not the same as throwing people out. Israel would not exist were it not for its recent, current and on-going displacement of the Palestinians. That has happened in the past but Israel is the only existing state whose current existence is predicated on that triad of political impairments.

Criticising or opposing Hamas does not mean supporting Israel's ethnic cleansing, its colonial settlement or its racist laws. And supporting the Palestinians' right to return and to equality is not supporting hamas.

" I call for the basic right of everybody in the area (and indeed everywhere), Israeli or Palestinian, to be allowed to live where they want. Is that a call you actually disagree with?"

nope, it is a view zionists disagree with because they hold that the palestinians should be denied the right to live in most if not all of palestine and they believe that there must always be a nationally viable number of jews living in most of palestine and mostly in jewish only areas.

"Which is quite clearly a nationalist demand"

You're confusing statism with nationalism. If the right of all people from Palestine to live there as equals under the law is nationalist then the right of jews to ethnically cleanse non-jews is either not nationalist, because jews are not a nation, or it is simply a different and worse kind of nationalism. much like nazism is worse than liberal democracy.

"Using your own definition of non-zionist, both of the first two blogs (brockley and contested terrain) qualify"

no they don't. they are israel advocates and bob has said that to deny the jewish people the right to self-determination is "outrageous". he is also an ardent and extremely dishonest supporter of the EUMC working definition of antisemitism. you can't just accept what people claim to believe. you have to probe a little. contested terrain exists solely for israel advocacy by way of the antisemitism smear and nearly all of bob's interventions and links on the subject are overtly pro-israel.

"why do you think they aren't listening to you, if the subject is as obvious as you seem to believe?"

i'm an ordinary joe, not the mainsteam media. fucking stupid question from someone who tends to side with blogs that simply want to emulate the mainstream media though come down hard on the most liberal elements if they stray to far from zionism and neo-conservatism as happens with bob from brockley, contested terrain and modernity blog.

"I don't believe the national question negates the importance of supporting that struggle in both places. That's the core of my problem with your perspective."

The privileging of workers from one ethno-religious group over others clearly impacts adversely on the cause of workers' unity. This has been seen in many struggles from South Africa to Northern Ireland but it's only the racist war criminals of Israel whose apologists invoke leftist and even anarchist arguments for their egregious politics.

8/27/2011 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

This computer's not working, the URL says Aaro Watch but I'm getting Urban75

8/27/2011 07:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does that mean that David Starkers is right?

8/27/2011 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

This piece from May has the HJS, Israel and the Gates of Vienna, so there may be some cheap laughs to be obtained. I got there from the website of the British Israel Coalition, which helpfully informed me of the existence of the Delegitimisation Network whose "Islamist extremist, anti-Israeli, far-Left and far-Right groups" seem similar to what WS is saying about anti-zionists, and also links to Richard Millett’s blog.

I'll just try one more time with the nationalism thing. Supporting the right of people to be free of national oppression as well as the exploitation and oppression of their own ruling class is not nationalism, any more than Karl Marx supported the Union in the American Civil War because he was a lover of the American state; it was because the war was about slavery. When Lenin argued that Russians should support the right of Poland to independence, it wasn't because he was a Polish nationalist, it was because he didn't want to give Polish nationalism an excuse to maintain a hold over Polish workers.
One last thing, during the Gaza war I saw British non-Muslim workers who got there news from reading the Metro incredibly angry over Israel's conduct. There has been a considerable shift, perhaps one that goes back and forth, but I think we do see a population in the UK far more amenable to the idea that the Palestinian struggle for justice is more important than focusing on the terible hold of Islamists over them and other Muslims.

8/27/2011 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Sarah: No the Israel-Palestine conflict isn't any more complicated, any more than the background to the South African conflict was particularly complicated. Hell, the civil rights struggles in US south during the 60s were more complex.

I suppose you could argue that finding a solution is complicated, but that's largely because of the power imbalance, Israeli intransigence and the fact that only country which can force a resolution (the US) is heavily biased towards Israel. As it is, the '67 border solution is biased in Israel's favour. The only reason that it wasn't adopted years ago is entirely down to Israel; they don't want it.

8/28/2011 05:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Levi

To try and draw some of your starting points together, what specifically would you call for within Israel/Palestine? What's the minimum and what's the ideal, unless they're the same thing?

Criticising or opposing Hamas does not mean supporting Israel's ethnic cleansing, its colonial settlement or its racist laws. And supporting the Palestinians' right to return and to equality is not supporting hamas.

Well, yeah. Surely that's not a million miles away from my position that we should be equally opposed to both the policies of the Israeli state and the Palestinian state in waiting? The only real difference I can see there is possibly one of emphasis.

nope, it is a view zionists disagree with

Well, yeah, hence I'm not a Zionist. It's not a demand most antizionists are making either, no? It's mostly confined to the ultraleft and other 'no borders' types.

You're confusing statism with nationalism.

In the modern world, the two terms are pretty much interchangable in how they're used. I'm suggesting it's nationalist because it's couched in terms of the modern concept of the nationstate. (I accept there's some antizionists who don't phrase things in those terms, but my experience suggests that's a very small minority. Unless you have reason to believe otherwise? It mostly seems to be from groups and individuals that either describe themselves as anti-nationalists or as internationalists, not as antizionists. I'm thinking of the ICC, the Anarchist Federation etc.)

no they don't. they are israel advocates and bob has said that to deny the jewish people the right to self-determination is "outrageous".

Self-determination is a very broad term which means many different things to different people. Broadly, I'd say I support it across the board, but I merely mean that I support personal autonomy for everyone.

he is also an ardent and extremely dishonest supporter of the EUMC working definition of antisemitism.

I have serious differences with the EUMC working definition (mostly because I have big issues with the concept of "institutional racism, or at least how it's generally implemented). But I don't see how you can claim that anyone not opposed to the definition is de facto an Israel advocate.

contested terrain exists solely for israel advocacy by way of the antisemitism smear

Can you back that up with specific posts you disagree with please? And are you seriously querying that there's an issue with antisemitism in some parts of the antizionist movement? Because I'd the refusal to act against Atzmon strongly suggests otherwise. As does the whole Freethepeeps/Indymedia shitstorm. Obviously, these may be people you don't identify with at all politically and, indeed, in the case of Atzmon have a record of opposing. But it isn't something that's been made up by your political opponents either.

8/28/2011 10:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

i'm an ordinary joe, not the mainsteam media. fucking stupid question

As I pointed out, this is a reworking of a question Skid asked me. And, frankly, antizionists have a much easier time getting a voice in sections of the media than anarchists. So I have trouble feeling ultra sympathetic to your indignation.

The privileging of workers from one ethno-religious group over others clearly impacts adversely on the cause of workers' unity.

But that's not what I'm arguing should be done. I'm arguing that we should support both Palestinian and Israeli workers involved in struggle, without making holding the correct position on zionism/antizionism a precondition for solidarity. In fact, what I'm arguing is the exact opposite of what you criticise here.

The obvious analogy here would be the Lindsey dispute. Some argued that the expression of "British Jobs for British workers" by sections of the workforce meant we should ignore the strike entirely. That was the wrong approach and just highlighted their irrelevance to everyday class struggle. Far better to build practical solidarity in the here and now. That way, people might actually listen to you about the future.

8/28/2011 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

waterloo - i've had a quick skim of your comments and one that stood out was about self-determination, personal autonomy and bob's support for the bogus working definition.

when bob said that it is outrageous to deny the jewish people their right to self-determination it was in the context of the working definition saying that it "could be" antisemitic to deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination by saying that the state of israel is a racist endeavour. nothing to do with personal autonomy, everything to do with collective privilege for jews within a territory containing many non-jews and formerly containing a majority of non-jews who have now been ethnically cleansed under a campaign that is on-going.

it doesn't surprise me that you have issues with the working definition on account of something it doesn't even say but it's the section that clearly seeks to forbid criticism of israel that bob supports (as does sarah). he even recently wrote that ben white should be barred from the liberal conspiracy site because he breaches the provisions of that zionist written bogus definition.

also, you want links to contested terrain. what did you miss from skidders' links further up the thread? it doesn't take much to see the israel advocacy. if you can't see it from a random glance then you have decided not to see it.

bob contributes to at least two blogs. the bob blog claimed once to support the one state solution. the contested terrain blog claims to support a no state solution. sarah indicated earlier that bob's one state position is acceptable to her because he clearly didn't mean it but the one state position clearly contradicts the no state position. so how does bob square this circle of one state and no state? easy, one state for jews and no state for palestinians.

apols for not dealing with your whole thing in detail but i'm not quite as obsessive as you keep saying i am.

@ cian, did sarah actually explain her complex question? i can't see that she did.

8/28/2011 11:28:00 PM  
Anonymous hellblazer said...

AARGH. HULK WANT CAPITAL LETTERS FOR DEMARCATION PURPOSES.

8/29/2011 12:43:00 AM  
Anonymous e e cummings said...

i like lower case for artistic reasons

8/29/2011 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

Sarah did not explain her complex, except to refer to "City of Oranges" (quite interesting as family autobiography, but pretty shallow analysis) and Crossing Qalandiyah which wasn't even attempting to analyse the situation, but merely to present both sides, and get them to engage. Worthy, possibly the only way at this point to get things moving (though I'm very skeptical), but hardly a primer on the actual situation. Imagine a similar book written by an Afrikaaner and an ANC activist.

8/29/2011 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Cian said...

I must have missed the part of the Anarchists Rulebook where anarchists could go into other countries and tell the working class who to vote for. Thankfully now Waterloo Sunset has pointed out the error my ways, I now know different. The white revolutionary's burden is indeed a heavy one.

Newsflash for you. Hamas would be greatly weakened if there wasn't an Israeli occupation going on. Something for you to place in your anarchist pipe of peace.

The irony of this statement is quite gorgeous:
And, to break it to you, you are not personally oppressed by the Israeli state, Levi. That kind of "Lady Bountiful" approach to other people's struggles is another thing I dislike about a lot of antizionists, for the record.

or the confused positioning here:
Um, yeah. Actually, hard as though this may be to believe for you, most working class people really don't give that much of a shit about Israel either way. It's not a primary concern and isn't going to help me "sell" anarchy whatever my view is. In the UK, Israel focused campaigning is mostly a hobby for a small fringe, bit like Morris Dancing.

but one about which you have strong enough beliefs apparently to the point of telling the Palestinians who they should be supporting. So where exactly is the Vanguard of the British Working class here?

The only decent class analysis I've ever seen of the fairly vile Israeli state (that's vile from a class and political economy perspective) has come from anti-Zionist Jews. Its probably a self-hating anti-semitic thing.

8/29/2011 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

oh ta. it's just the way you repeated the lack of complexity thing i thought i'd missed a comment that you may have got by email but didn't appear in the thread

i don't know of any other issue or ideology where partisans go to such extraordinary lengths to explain away their partisanship or to deny it altogether.

i also know of no other ideological project whose adherents so consistently misrepresent the nature of the ideology, the arguments of the opponents and the status of the victims. it might be my own myopia but i don't think it is.

sarah's resort to the complexity thing is borne of the fact that she could no longer deny the victimisation of the palestinians that is intrinsic to the zionist project. that could have been progress on the subject but then she seeks to justify abject injustice by reference to a complexity that only zionists can know or understand.

8/29/2011 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Ralph:

Apologies for butting in, but with regard to the first comment about the SWP/Respect and anti-semitism, Oliver Kamm documented this extensively over several years, and provided plenty of references and evidence: http://bit.ly/o3sbxx
Kamm argues that the SWP/Respect are a fascist party, no better than the BNP. I agree with him, although in some regards they seem even more despicable, if that is possible.

8/29/2011 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Ah, a silly person.

8/29/2011 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Maybe it's Ralph out of The Simpsons.

8/29/2011 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

jesus, i didn't even notice waterloo sunset lecturing me on what oppresses me. as it happens the claim of the state of israel to represent all of the world's jews does oppress me. i don't like their claim on me. i find it insulting, frightening and dangerous. insulting because it implicates me in its intrinsic war criminality, frightening because opposition by jews (and others) leads to vilification, threats, assaults and even worse things (by other jews) and dangerous because the identification of all jews with the state of israel can lead to, at best, disdain towards jews by the immediate victims of zionism and their sympathisers and also dangerous because where jews have been forced to leave one country to seek a better life in another, if either or both states are allied to israel or (pre-state) the zionist movement then they try and have tried to redirect jews to israel/palestine. this has happened to jews leaving the soviet union and former soviet union and it even happened to jews during the nazi era when the shenanigans of the zionist movement led to many jews being unable to relocate from germany to countries other than palestine. in many cases, unable or unwilling to go to palestine, jews were trapped under nazi occupation with tragic results.

of course, being jewish i can embrace zionism and benefit from privileged settlement rights and ethnic cleansing and instead of morris dancing i could shoot palestinians with impunity (waterloo's neutrality would posit that as no different from frisbee) but to suggest that would make the israeli state less oppressive to me i suspect would amount to false consciousness. certainly i could enjoy no peace.

i don't generally say about how i fit into all this personally because, like the question about my role against fascism in the uk, it's irrelevant to what's being discussed.

i think rather than get into why a person feels the way they do or what their role was in hitler or john tyndall's downfall, not to mention the ludicrous personal sniping, it's better simply to deal with the facts and the issues as they arise.

8/29/2011 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Is your Caps lock broken?

8/29/2011 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

if you mean me, no, i started doing just lower case to be quicker. then someone made something of it so i continued the same way so as not to draw attention unduly. It didn't work.

anyway it's not the lock it's the shift for capitals as punctuation.

cor, we cover the issues here.

8/29/2011 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Will said...

that Levi9909 person...a bit of an obessive ...no?

8/29/2011 01:45:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

I haven't noticed him offer obeisance to anybody, Will. Do you have a constructive contribution or ...a bit of a troll...no?

An earlier comment of mine appears to have disappeared into the spam filter, though I may just have repeated a link to an HJS person's article that would have been on here a couple of threads ago, and some general arguments about Israel/Palestine that don't tend to to add anything that hasn't been said elsewhere, so I wasn't that upset about its disappearance.

8/29/2011 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Asteri said...

oh dear, I really shouldn't of looked at Ralphs link. There is something reminiscent of James Mason in full villain mode about Kamm.

8/29/2011 02:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Ralph


Asteri, there may well be, but I fail to see the relevance to the substance of Kamm's meticulously documented evidence that the SWP / Respect have consistently supported or excused anti-semites and thuggish regimes. In the same way that we hold our noses when the BNP are in town, the SWP are worthy of similar contempt

8/29/2011 02:29:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

From Nick Cohen's letter to Kamm:
You are right about the 1930s and the similarities between Lenin and Mussolini.
Wasn't one of them dictator of Italy and the other had been dead for six years?

Having read the linked Kamm article, I now see that the 1930s and the similarities were two separate points,but here's what Kamm actually says on the latter:
Furet goes furthest in identifying the important influence of Lenin on Mussolini and Hitler
Aside from the lack of detail, obviously the direction of influence is wrong to properly indict Lenin, and when I read Mein Kampf(no, still not a big fan, it was in my school library) all that railing against Bolshevism and World Jewry must have been a cover.
There are numerous cases of Leninist and pre-Leninist organisations and theorists extending support to fascism
Only all that Kamm can cite is one bloke who may have been praised by Lenin for his earlier work [citation needed] but then became a biological determinist.

Quotes from Kamm's "Fascism and the Left" and "Fascism and the Left:Nick Cohen Responds".

8/29/2011 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Ralph

I linked to many Kamm pieces, not one. SWP are motivated by antipathy to the West, which unfortunately has meant that they ally themselves with cranks and racists,both here and in the Middle East. There are numerous examples of this on Kamm's site.

8/29/2011 03:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Asteri said...

@Ralph

Not being English and not being around in this country during its heyday I'm pretty much oblivious to the SWP (apart from seeing its members at protests I've attended), as far as i'm aware their a small Trotskyist group motivated by "antipathy to the West". Kamm's a journalist for what used to be "thee paper" motivated by antipathy those who have antipathy to the West, I'd be more concerned by the behaviour of the latter.

8/29/2011 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Sorry Ralph, but relying on Oliver Kamm as a source and accusing others of 'allying with cranks' will only bring you into ridicule.

I wish BBC Radio 3 would repeat the debate on Brecht between Oliver Kamm and and the playwright Tony Kushner. Kushner's astonishment at Kamm's ignorance of the subject at hand was hilarious.

Are you Ralph Malph from Happy Days?

8/29/2011 04:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Ralph

Asteri, I note you make no comment on the SWP's allies and causes. You also imply that the reason for this is that you dislike Kamm. That evokes the SWP's apparent modus operandi: 'my enemy's enemy is my friend (even if my enemy's enemy is a racist)'. I refer you back to Kamm's documentation.

Coventrian, Can you show where/how Kamm is wrong? I understand you don't like him - fine, I have no opinion on him, one way or the other. But that's not the point.

8/29/2011 05:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Asteri said...

I know little about the SWP and care even less, but if were going to talk about Kamm and his evidence lets just remind ourselves of this pompous, philistine article on German avant-garde music, were its proven he hasn't even read his own primary source.

http://unspeak.net/the-dominance-of-western-music/

He is the "cargo-cult academic" (© Cian, 2007).

8/29/2011 07:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Ralph

Asteri, I wonder if you would also be happy saying that you "know little about", say, the BNP or EDL and "care even less". Perhaps. But some might think that these idiots on the fringe cause quite a lot of tension and trouble, and that therefore we should know about who they are and how they operate. The SWP are not very different to these groups, and therefore it might be a good idea to be aware of their tactics, friends, and ideologies, so that they can be combated. Burying one's head in the sand doesn't cut it.

8/29/2011 07:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Asteri said...

"some might think that these idiots on the fringe cause quite a lot of tension and trouble"

Do they? if HP and Shiraz socialist weren't so obsessed with them I doubt I would be aware of the EDL, likewise SWP and the BNP really haven't affected my day to day life. Rabble-rousers crave mass exposure and the media that claims to hate them so insists on giving it to them.

8/29/2011 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

The SWP are not very different to these groups

Really. So you're saying that the SWP go round beating people up and associating with violent, racist, thugs. Any evidence for this?

Oliver Kamm is a pompous ass, who can't write and has repeatedly misrepresented his sources.

8/29/2011 08:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Asteri said...

he's also a mind-numbing bore to boot.

8/29/2011 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Sorry to interrupt, but there's a far more urgent question for Ralph than anything about the SWP.

Ralph - is Paul Mason as bad or worse than the BNP? We've been trying to clarify this on here, but without any expert outside assistance. Can you help us out, or would you be able to check it with Ollie for us?

8/29/2011 08:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Ralph

Asteri, the fact that you would not be aware of the BNP/ SWP /EDL were it not for other bloggers writing about them doesn't get us anywhere much. On the other hand I agree with you that they are all a bunch of extremist 'rabble rousers', or trouble-makers. That was the point I was trying to make, and indeed it is Kamm's (and other's) argument.

cian, well the SWP certainly associate with, encourage, and sympathise with violent racist thugs. For evidence, I refer you to the link above. It's not just Kamm who has pointed this out. As I said originally, Kamm has documemted this extensively. Trying to defend the SWP by saying that the BNP are worse doesn't work. Claiming that the person who made the argument is pompous also doesn't work. Like I said before, if Kamm is wrong, please say why. If he's not I'd be interested to hear why anyone on the left would want to defend the SWP.

8/29/2011 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

But Paul Mason, Ralph. What about Paul Mason?

8/29/2011 09:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Asteri said...

@Ralph

I was aware of the BNP outside of the blogsphere (the Question Time thing was the last time I paid them any attention). I cant say I was aware of the EDL until I read about them online. I spoke to an SWP member in Muswell Hill broadway in about 2005 and again in Brixton on an anti-cuts protest this year, thats the extent of my contact with them. If they are as risible as Kamm claimes I didn't see much evidence of it in those two 5 min exchanges, but if so then fine, I just cant be bothered to investigate the issue.

8/29/2011 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Actually Kamm's a troll on a high level himself, when you think about it. Everything he does is essentially a wind-up, albeit quite a nasty one.

8/29/2011 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

Did someone try to say "obsessive"?

It reminded me of a comment by Michael Rosen to an article by Nick Cohen headed Our absurd obsession with Israel is laid bare

Here's Michael Rosen:

Hey, don't worry about it. There is now a special job for people who are obsessed with people they claim are obsessed about Israel. Hey, they say, look at those crazy, dangerous bastards who are obsessed with Israel, we're watching out for them night and day, day and night, minute by minute, we know what their real aim is, we're building a picture of them, that Jeremy Bowen - he's one of them, that Guardian newspaper - that's another of them, they're all obsessed, obsessed, obsessed, we're keeping a track on their obsession with an utterly un-obsessed interest...

tinyurl.com/3dcm9dr

8/29/2011 10:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Asteri said...

"Actually Kamm's a troll on a high level himself, when you think about it. Everything he does is essentially a wind-up, albeit quite a nasty one."

well, not that I'm cranky but i'll never forgive him for his mothers association to Asterix and Hergé. My childhood memory's ruined and their image tainted forever by his association.

8/29/2011 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Ralph:

I have no particular interest in the SWP either, but am interested in their being, according to your principal as reported by you, "no better than the BNP". Really?

The BNP -- read the Policies section of their website, if you have the stomach -- target some of the weakest, most vulnerable in this society for vilification, abuse, intimidation, sometimes violence. They demonise people on the basis of their skin colour, national origin, or more recently, on the basis of their religion (and skin colour/origin). They falsely seek to persuade some groups of the poor and marginalised to blame other similar groups for their condition, and to hate them for it.

From their site (with apologies): "unrestricted, uncontrolled immigration is leading to higher crime rates, demand for more housing (driving prices out of the reach of young people), severe extra strain on the environment, traffic congestion, longer hospital waiting lists, lower educational standards, higher income taxes, lower wages, higher unemployment, loss of British identity, a breakdown in community spirit, more restrictive policing, higher council taxes, a shortage of council homes, higher levels of stress and unhappiness and a more atomised society."

Plenty of other pearls of nearly delusional xenophobic paranoia in this particular oyster.

A mainstay of their policy is to seek to create conditions in which members of the demonised groups would be 'persuaded' to accept "generous grants" permanently to leave the country. They won 5.2% of the 2008 London mayoral vote, a possibly less inflated 2% in the 2010 national elections, have two seats in the European Parliament and a handful of council seats.

I know next to nothing about the SWP, but you report that they "are motivated by antipathy to the West, which unfortunately has meant that they ally themselves with cranks and racists,both here and in the Middle East."

Let me unpack some bits of this statement by presuming, for example, that the reference to "the West" here means, paradigmatically, certain foreign policy (mis)adventures of certain governments; I take it you are not suggesting that SWP members have a general policy of antipathy towards the music, film, architecture, medicine, technology, or food created by those in Western Europe or North America simply on the basis that it was created in 'the West'.

So, is antipathy to "the West", understood as antipathy to certain policies of certain governments, the same as or no better than creating hatred against the weak and the vulnerable? Having and provoking antipathy towards others on the basis of colour, national origin, or religion, as bad as having antipathy towards the policies of certain government? Really?

Is "allying with" cranks and racists no better than being cranks and racists? I am not even sure what being allied with amounts to here? Is it really no better than encouraging and sometimes engaging in intimidation and violence towards members of marginalised groups? No better than seeking 'voluntary' removal of poor and vulnerable people from this country on the basis of colour, religion, or origin? (In general, the rich and powerful would be unlikely to be tempted by even "generous" grants, and might have the resources sufficiently to withstand being intimidated by the racist atmosphere in which such grant-making could occur not to contemplate leaving their home.)

The BNP only ever attract a small proportion of the vote and only have a handful of elected representatives, but have the SWP's allegedly malign policies attracted even that amount of support or influence?

The point is not to seek to "defend" the SWP; I do not know whether or not they need and/or deserve defending. The question is: how morally obtuse would one have to be in order to declare that they are "no better than the BNP", in any morally salient respect, and then to seek to defend this?

RJM

8/29/2011 11:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Ralph

RJM, A quick reply, apologies for this. As you say you know very little of the SWP, I fail to see how you can really add anything to the conversation. You seem to be speculating on the basis of little or no knowledge. However, I don't disagree that the BNP are nasty thugs. So, in my view are the SWP, albeit rather more clever ones. It is odd that we on the left seem very eager (rightly so) to find out the truth about the BNP and their allies, but can be quite content, as demonstrated in your and other comments on this blog, to turn a blind eye to groups like the SWP, who, contra to your assertions, have exerted considerable influence in various pilitical causes. Please read some of the material I linked to, or do your own digging, if you want evidence of this. As to whether supporting racist thugs isn't as bad as being racist thugs, does this really need a response? I'm not happy cheering on either, personally.

8/30/2011 12:56:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

Ralph, I don't want to burst your bubble here but you are not first person on this thread to claim to be "on the left" while asserting that would-be and actual ethnic cleansers and their victims and opponents are two sides of the same coin.

Rather than linking to what someone who is clearly not "on the left" has to say about the SWP, why don't you say what it is about the policies or programme of the SWP that you feel means they are simply a cleverer version of the BNP?

8/30/2011 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Or why not not, so that we can avoid this site going the way of Socialist Unity or HP? It's already as goddammed tedious a thread as I've seen on here without inviting any more windy statements, challenges, accusations, misrepresenttions, accusations of misrepresentations, rebuttals, making of obviously exaggerated statements, claims of bad faith, quoting-huge-chunks-of-the-previous-post-in-italics and general going-over-of-territory-people-have-gone-over-a-thousand-times-before.

Ralph - you're a troll and a bore. Nobody believes the SWP are fascists and nobody thinks of Kamm as somebody who makes an honest accounting of other people's views. Nobody has expressed any interest in finding out his views on this, despite repeated invitations from you to do so, so why not give it a rest eh?

Similarly, while I'm sure thre Levi/Waterloo debate has been illuminating enough for the two people involved, unless anybody can show that it's going anywhere, or is likely to be resolved, is there a purpose to its continuation?

Christ, we're 2500 years on from Plato and all we're able to do with the faculty of discussion is turn it into a competition to have the last word.

Gaaaah.

8/30/2011 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

Christ, we're 2500 years on from Plato and all we're able to do with the faculty of discussion is turn it into a competition to have the last word.

That looked calculated to get the last word. Well done ejh!

Er, except re the "Levi/Waterloo debate", it wasn't just "two people involved". it was five, including "the two people" you say were "involved" plus cian, skidmarx and sarah. waterloo sunset and sarah seem to have got bored before you, ejh, unless your not noticing the other three was because you were already bored but just didn't like to say.

8/30/2011 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Yeah, but it was like the two of you were Hamlet and the rest of us were Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

8/30/2011 07:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Alex said...

Far better to build practical solidarity in the here and now

And so your solution to the Palestinian question is the withering away of the state? This is practical solidarity?

Anarchists oppose the nation state, but while it exists (and I see no reason that this will change in the near future), surely you can see that some nation states are more preferable to others? The "personal autonomy for everyone" that you desire is all well and good, but surely democratic autonomy is better than nothing?

Or are you indifferent towards e.g. South American nation states as they are today versus subjugation by the Spanish and Portuguese Empires?

8/30/2011 07:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi all - I took in the first hundred or so comments then zoned out. The only thing worth saying in response to them is that I appear to be on nearly exactly the same page as Waterloo Sunset, almost certainly because I have a background in the same kind of political activity as WS.

Chris Williams

8/30/2011 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

Skidders lost a comment earlier but i got it emailed. it was this:

This piece* from May has the HJS, Israel and the Gates of Vienna, so there may be some cheap laughs to be obtained. I got there from the website of the British Israel Coalition, which helpfully informed me of the existence of the Delegitimisation Network whose "Islamist extremist, anti-Israeli, far-Left and far-Right groups" seem similar to what WS is saying about anti-zionists, and also links to Richard Millett’s blog.

I'll just try one more time with the nationalism thing. Supporting the right of people to be free of national oppression as well as the exploitation and oppression of their own ruling class is not nationalism, any more than Karl Marx supported the Union in the American Civil War because he was a lover of the American state; it was because the war was about slavery. When Lenin argued that Russians should support the right of Poland to independence, it wasn't because he was a Polish nationalist, it was because he didn't want to give Polish nationalism an excuse to maintain a hold over Polish workers.
One last thing, during the Gaza war I saw British non-Muslim workers who got there news from reading the Metro incredibly angry over Israel's conduct. There has been a considerable shift, perhaps one that goes back and forth, but I think we do see a population in the UK far more amenable to the idea that the Palestinian struggle for justice is more important than focusing on the terible hold of Islamists over them and other Muslims.

* tinyurl.com/4x2rt23


I post it now because it was one post that actually mentioned "some cheap laughs" as per the post and i thought when i saw it that it could have ended the thread (3 days ago) where the post began. It also, now, dovetails with Alex's comment.

8/30/2011 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Ralph


ejh, if you're not interested, that's your business. I repeat, however, that it seems strange to me that we spend time worrying about how to combat extremism from the right (which I agree we *do* need to worry about), but turn a blind eye to that purporting to be of/from the left.

I am surprised, to put it mildly, at what looks like complacency about the antics of the SWP and their ilk. There's no point me documenting what others have rehearsed at considerable length - not just Kamm (although no-one here has yet said he's wrong), but Nick Cohen, Shiraz and others. The many pages are there for anyone to read. I would have respect for a position which said 'we know who they are and what they do/believe and there's nothing for us to worry about', even if I disagreed with it. But to say this on the basis of little or no knowledge is unconvincing and troubling.

8/30/2011 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

Ralph, the reason no one here gives two shits about the antics of the SWP, is that the SWP has negligible salience in popular culture and politics. SWP are the fringe of a fringe.

Meanwhile, the BNP's views are promulgated by nearly every prominent media organ of the Establishment.

8/30/2011 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Ralph:

What Alex said.

Which is also what I said at greater length upthread, which you appear to have missed while telling me to go away.

I have looked at some of the material on the link you provided. It is not even remotely similar to those bits of the BNP nastiness I had rather redundantly identified. The worst I have found is some rather limited evidence of what we might call the fringe activist's equivalent of "acceptable blogger's hyperbole" (copyright Sarah AB).

If you still want to persist with treating everyone here to your little obsession, spell out, in your own words and without further genuflection towards your guru, what you take to be the relevant similarities between SWP and BNP.

RJM

8/30/2011 03:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Ralph

RJM, I hardly think giving an approving platform to, for instance, the likes of Atzmon, is "acceptable blogger's hyperbole". While they may have mumblingly backtracked slightly on their uncritical approval for this unpleasant character following the outcry, do we really think that this represents a volte-face in their attitudes to engaging with the pressing issue of Israel-Palestine?

The left should and do speak to the Middle East, but the increasing problem of being labelled anti-semitic for criticising Israeli policy, emerges in part because we are seen as not being enraged by those who claim to be on our side, or indifferent to them hijacking progressive causes.

Why do this supposedly 'left' group consistently tolerate (or worse, support) allegiances with various enemies of Israel who espouse anti-semitism, homophobia, misogyny? Does that not make them a friend to fascists? Shouldn't that bother us a lot, given that they claim to be speaking from the same position we are? Doesn't our silence speak volumes to those who are anti-progressive?

Even accepting that you are right and the BNP are 'worse', does not, in my book, mean that we need not care about other rabble rousers.

As a footnote, it's been interesting, and illustrative, to track the apparent hostility to a critique of the extremist left here.

It's true that these groups are idiots, and thankfully often in-fighting idiots at that (see HP today on another extremist example, this time from the RCG: http://bit.ly/pcNGmy). It's just that I am not sure that they cause no harm. I hope they are, and I hope you are right that I'm wasting my time giving them any consideration. I do wonder what motivates your annoyed tone, though. I can't imagine that you would employ it if a poster was (rightly) pointing out, for instance, that the EDL were a nasty bunch with allies who espoused vile beliefs.

8/30/2011 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

Having personally met more than my fair share of both BNP nutters - one with a swastika tattooed on his knuckle and another with one tattooed on the skin of his right cheekbone, no less - as well as a few far left types, I can tell you that Ralph is making some basic errors.

I've never had call to be worried that Rosie Kane or Colin Fox* were about to glass some innocent punter in the face for nothing, for instance, and I've never seen any lefty group being arrested en masse by four vanfuls of coppers for trashing a boozer and smashing fuck out of a bunch of students, which I saw with my own eyes in 2003.

Ralph might have you believe that this kind of thing is similar to the kind of constantly updated political repositioning on various foreign policy issues that yer SWPs et al get up to. It isn't, thus, Ralph doesn't know his arse from a hole in the ground.

That is, if you couldn't already tell that from the rote repetition of some of OK's most tiresome talking points as if they were a blinding revelation. Continuing to footstamp and insist it just is is a dead giveaway for received wisdom, especially when the only evolving points appear to be cribbed from the original source. Let's just say he's not about to advance the sum total of human knowledge any time soon.

*People who I've met because they were punting fliers on the street in Edinburgh, and not because they're my bestest mates ever, before we restart the never-ending Commie-baiting.

8/30/2011 05:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Asteri said...

@Ralph

As usual HP obsesses over a minuscule Communist group and an anti-Zionist of no influence or relevance. A convenient distraction from this...

http://www.channel4.com/news/us-government-infected-guatemalans-with-syphilis

8/30/2011 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

There's no point me documenting what others have rehearsed at considerable length

Indeed. So don't.

Troll of the concern variety, this one.

8/30/2011 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Ralph,
As you say you know very little of the SWP, I fail to see how you can really add anything to the conversation.

Okay. I do. I have friends who are members, and know people who I really dislike who are members, and have had many dealings with them over the years. I also really dislike their politics and strategies, and think they lost the plot in the whole Respect debacle.

Nonetheless, I consider anyone who would compare them to the BNP to a moral idiot, with the political sophistication of a kindergarten student.

Oh and the reason that none of us are interested in your Oliver Kamm material, is that the man is a liar, and has been repeatedly shown to be a liar. Produce a credible authority, or fuck off.

8/30/2011 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Ralph Malph, if you're concerned by fascism and racism, why don't you go back to Harry's Place and ask your friends why they're soft on the Italian far right in the shape of Gianfranco Fini...

http://hurryupharry.org/2005/03/17/fascism-real-and-imagined/

...and why they employed Terry Fitzpatrick as their 'East End Correspondent' when he was facing charges of carrying out a campaign of racial harassment. Fitzpatrick was later found guilty.

http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=6419

Perhaps it was because Fitzpatrick liked to boast about the time he violently assaulted Chris Harman of the SWP.

http://www.swadhinata.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=173&Itemid=205

8/30/2011 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

The only thing worth saying in response to them is that I appear to be on nearly exactly the same page as Waterloo Sunset, almost certainly because I have a background in the same kind of political activity as WS.

What is that page exactly, as I'm a bit baffled by it. It seems extremely purist to me, but given I respect your opinion, I'm guessing I must be missing something. Obviously if you don't fancy answering in this thread I do understand....

8/30/2011 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I can't deny that I'm not nterribly interested in mr Fitzpatrick, but just on the off-chance, does anybody know if he supports Southampton? (He probably doesn´t. But I do actually have a reason for asking.)

8/30/2011 09:26:00 PM  

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