Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Andrew Brown on links to Breivik

Interesting piece on links to Breivik. None of our immediately decent friends are mentioned, but people they've consorted with such as Douglas Murray and Gates of Vienna feature fairly prominently.

95 Comments:

Anonymous not really said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/07/2011 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

It is still more unfair to blame Melanie Phillips. Although she was cited by Breivik at length for an article claiming that the British elite had deliberately encouraged immigration in order to break down traditional society and she has written that "Bat Ye'or's scholarship is awesome and her analysis is as persuasive as it is terrifying", she has also argued, with nearly equal ferocity, against the "counter-jihad" belief that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim.

I like this, especially the use of "nearly" and the link to illustrate Phillips' first position, and the lack of one in support of the "nearly equal ferocity."

This is from said article.

Islam regards subject peoples as 'dhimmi', and Bat Ye'Or uses 'dhimmitude' to describe the status of servitude and enslavement in which Islam requires Jews and Christians alike to be kept.

That word "dhimmitude." It'll never catch on.

The result of this thought process is that Muslim aggression is simply denied. Thus, says Bat Ye'Or, the conflicts between Muslims and Christians have been blamed on the Crusades, ignoring the incessant Islamic wars from the seventh century onwards which extended from Armenia to Spain and the Mediterranean coast. Similarly, the conflict between Islam and the west is attributed to 19th century colonialism and Zionism.

My emphases. One doesn't have to ignore internecine ME conflict to notice that the Crusaders went from Northern Europe to Jerusalem and that 19th colonialism was real.

Anyway, I almost posted on MP's latest which takes teh crazy to a new level.

It has been suggested that this was yet another example of Nick Clegg forcing David Cameron to adopt a Left-wing position. Well, maybe.

What seems more plausible, however, is that with the Prime Minister’s antennae so finely tuned to the Guardian/BBC agenda, he simply took fright at the vitriol being hurled from the Left.

If so, this demonstrates once again the power of the campaigns of instantaneous demonisation and denunciation now employed to silence those who uphold a socially conservative position by tarring and feathering them as swivel-eyed bigots.

It is particularly instructive that the amendment’s co-sponsor, Frank Field, has not been subjected to the abuse being hurled at Nadine Dorries.


The Guardian/BBC agenda was being represented by Louise Mensch among others. Field gets his share of left-wing vitriol. He gets less than Dorries because he doesn't share her fondness for abuse.

9/08/2011 05:38:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Whilst we're busy tracking who links to whom, it might be of interest to two recent HP Sauce "cross posts" on Libya and Syria, both by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi from the American Spectator and both linking (approvingly) to Barry Rubin. Rubin, who also writes for the dreadful Pajamas Media and is an Islamism-obsessive, authored a piece in the Jerusalem post after the Norway massacre:

"One of the most sensitive aspects of the murderous terrorist attack in Norway by a right-wing gunman is this irony: The youth camp he attacked was engaged in what was essentially (though the campers didn’t see it that way, no doubt) a pro-terrorist program."

9/08/2011 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Powerbase has Rubin down as a Harry's Place contributor. Another occasional contributor to HP who also blogs at Pajamas Media is Ben Cohen.

I have a suspicion that Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is actually Harry's Place regular Abu Faris, though that would mean that the thread which originally went with this post:http://hurryupharry.org/2011/08/29/iraq-in-crisis/ which consisted almost entirely of the two of them, would represent the epitome of sock-puppet theatre.

9/08/2011 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

As it seems to be traditional to go off-topic about this point in a comments thread, let me follow tradition.

Latest Normblog profile:

Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > John Berger's Ways of Seeing. Although I repudiate his maniacal anti-Israelism, Berger destroyed forever the idea that images come to us unmediated by culture, class, gender, politics, etc.

Berger interviewed by the New Statesman:

I've only been actively concerned with Palestine as a writer for about seven years. But the crisis, the injustice, the suffering of the Palestinians, have coexisted alongside my whole life as a writer. The length of this injustice, the lack of recognition of it by the rest of the world, while Israel pursues its own logic, totally regardless of the views of the external world - all this I was not conscious of then, but I am now. I look back on the young man I was in Paris in 1948, with Jewish friends who were thinking of going to Israel. They all wore strident blue shirts, and they gave me one, and I wore it with pride. We had an idea of what a kibbutz was to be - an ideal of a co-operative, with a healthy link to the land, a collectivity, a questioning of individuality, all of which appealed to me.

That's "maniacal anti-Israelism"?

9/09/2011 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

By the way, if people must interest themselves in the opinions of ill-motivated halfwits, have any such had anything to say about Tony's PhD letter to Gaddafi fils? I have a strange desire to hear Denis McShane's view on the subject. Even Nick Cohen would do at a pinch.

9/09/2011 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Isn't:
that leads Judith Butler to assert that 'Hamas and Hezbollah are part of a Global Left'
also a misquotation?

While we're doing ill-motivated halfwits, the links took me to Richard Millett's blog:

Although he might hold some very extreme and totally reprehensible views, Guzovsky is no militant.

(Updated 9am on 7th September on researching Guzovsky and finding he is a member of the extremist Kahane organisation. Ray did not point this out in his report last night. Apologies for that.)

9/09/2011 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

I think you have to accept that 'left' means nothing to these people other than, perhaps, 'bastard(s)'.

I had a peek at pajamas media, and found this for example. "Hollywood’s lockstep leftist filmmakers have long busied themselves with a range of shameful enterprises." But perhaps there's a reason why no recent film has "depicted the wars themselves as good or noble endeavors".

"Global left" doesn't refer to any kind of grouping; it's just everyone around the world we hate. This is 'global left' expanded.

MacShane is on Twitter. You could ask him. (This goes for Norman Geras too.)

9/09/2011 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I might actually. But I'll probably say "that man over there told me to ask".

9/09/2011 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The word 'dhimmitude' intrigues me; it conjures up a picture of the sort of bloke down the pub who is actually quite bright but likes to project an attitude of being thick and boorish.

The other word is 'hasbarah', the Hebrew word for propaganda for Israel. It reminds me of that place in Norfolk, spelt Happisburgh but pronounced by the locals just like the Hebrew word above. Might they have devised a different word for propaganda had they known that this village has been steadily falling into the sea and will soon disappear without trace below the waves?

Dr Paul

9/09/2011 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

if people must interest themselves in the opinions of ill-motivated halfwits

Fair point, but this does seem to be almost the entire motivation of this blog.

9/09/2011 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

I Blame Women, Pajamas Media getsmuchworse. Via.

I wonder if The Rachel Corrie Mafia was nutty enough for Breivik?

Actually, after checking I see some distancing on the blogger's part, but did find this comment on one post:
Most rational people loathe the actions that Breivik accomplished, but deep inside of those of us who love Israel feel that all Beivik[sic] did was to eliminate 68 potential Norwegian anti semites.

Elder of Ziyon is one of the latest Normblog profilee's favoured blogs, though it isn't on his blogroll. I have a feeling it once was and wonder if it went with his Gates of Vienna purge.

9/09/2011 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Hisburuh rather than Hasbarah, surely?

9/09/2011 02:41:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Wikipedia gives:

"Happisburgh (pronounced /ˈheɪzbrə/ hayz-brə—first syllable like 'haze')"

but no English pronounciation clues for "Hasbara".

9/09/2011 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

I mentioned the Blair phd thing on the last thread... it would be good to know what nick Cohen thinks about that given his diatribes about the lse back in the day, and given his parroting of Blair as champion of universal human rights. equally aren't all these releases of classified docs quite similar to what the hated wiki leaks did?

oh and if you mosey on over to standpoint you can find another dreadful nick Cohen tv column. either he writes some of the private eye tv pieces or he's a plagiarist. this might just be my not especially liking mad men, but I actually preferred "the hour" - mm revels in the sexism and racism it's meant to be casually "exposing", highlights "issues" all the time in a really tedious way, and despite what Cohen thinks it's as preachy and judgmental as season 4 of the wire, ie very. sometimes I wonder if UK tv critics even watch the us shows they're so keen to tell us the UK can't possibly match. in Cohen's case I'm pretty confident I know the answer.

9/09/2011 03:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

ejh - good luck getting a reply from MacShane. I wrote several tweets asking him to either substantiate or correct his (repeated) references to anti-semitic protests at the Prom; not a dicky-bird.

9/09/2011 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I have achieved exactly the same degree of success as I expected, i.e. the same degree as you did.

9/09/2011 06:52:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Dr.Paul - I thought it was "JimmyChooed", what John Berger would call
"to be born, within a confined space, into the keeping of men, her own sense of being in herself supplanted by a sense of being appreciated as herself by another".

9/09/2011 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Standpump have also attempted a hatchet job on Seumas Milne

http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/overrated-september-11-seumas-milne-michael-mosbacher-guardian-china-communism-lenin-stalin

It is written by Michael Mosbacher who is the director of the Social Affairs Unit and managing editor of Standpoint.

Mosbacher sits on the 'Academic Advisory Council' of the Taxpayers Alliance.

He appears to be slightly to the left of Nick Cohen.

Mosbacher has this to say about Milne.

'...he naturally progressed to become business manager of a Communist Party publication, Straight Left, which claimed simply to be a weekly paper aimed at the "wider labour movement". It was in fact a faction within the CP aiming to keep it on a solidly Stalinist path. Its main comment piece was always signed Harry Steel, a nom de plume in homage of its heroes: Harry Pollitt, the party's Stalin-era General Secretary, and the Man of Steel himself.'

Straight Left's 'Harry Steel' was in real life Fergus Nicholson, but he had a young Stalinist disciple who would go on to adopt the title 'Harry Steele' in honour of his own political idols.

He would then use the name for his blog.

Yes, you've guessed. It's so obvious.

Harry's Place!

9/09/2011 09:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Asteri said...

You've got to love the current HP posts. Almost every one of their pet peeves are present, Palestine, Mel Gibson, EDL, Chomsky, Alexei Sayle, the 'Muslimz' and wikileaks, we just need another on SWP and we'd have the whole pack.

9/10/2011 12:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add to that list Happisburgh. Scene of the activities of one of the Victorians most bizarre serial murderers and, from memory, a Sherlock Holmes story.

johnf

9/10/2011 06:59:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

I love that 'overrated and underrated' feature in standpoint. always so unpredictable. Judith butler overrated, ayaan hirsi Ali underrated? gosh, way to challenge the preconceptions of your readership. allied to that the sense that they were written in about ten minutes. does anyone actually buy the mag?

also - am I the only one genuinely surprised by how many ultra-rich Hedge fund types are weirdo obsessives about teh far left? e in standpoint. always so unpredictable. Judith butler overrated, ayaan hirsi Ali underrated? gosh, way to challenge the preconceptions of your readership. allied to that the sense that they were written in about ten minutes. does anyone actually buy the mag?

also - am I the only one genuinely surprised by how many ultra-rich Hedge fund types are weirdo obsessives about teh far left?

9/10/2011 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

The attacks on the PSC at HP are clearly just part of the run-up to the party conference season.

(Unfortunately for the sane among us, of course, there are some odious twats involved in Palestine solidarity, and Seamas Milne is a self-important dickhead with few redeeming features who'd have gone nowhere without family connections. Neither of these are things you'd obsess about unless you had an ulterior motive though.)

9/10/2011 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

I like Milne: I don't think him self-important or odious, even if he's supported some things that I haven't, in common with everybody else on the left. His book on the miners' strike is very good regardless of who his father is.

9/10/2011 09:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

[Thanks for the Wikipedia info skidmarx over on SU - I expect it will get deleted as it doesn't look as though it follows guidelines. It's very poorly typed too!]

I enjoyed your 7.27 comment.

9/10/2011 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Welcome back Sarah.

Any progress on why Norman Geras promoted the Gates of Vienna blog?

Perhaps you might explain why you think "...'free Palestine' has some uneasy implications”.

Or are you too busy organising pro-Israel demonstrations alongside the EDL?

9/10/2011 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Photos of the joint EDL/Zionist federation demo can be seen here

http://www.demotix.com/news/817922/pro-israeli-counter-protest-against-boycott-bbc-proms-london

Check out this

'The Israeli counter-protesters and concert-goers were graced with the unexpected appearance of Neil Horan, the de-frocked Catholic priest, nicknamed "The Dancing Priest" or "The Grand Prix Priest", who achieved notoriety when on 20th July 2003 he ran out onto the 200 mph Hangar Straight in the middle of the British Grand Prix at Siverstone and ran up the middle of the track straight towards the oncoming racecars whilst waving a placard which read ""Read the Bible. The Bible is always right", for which he was arrested and imprisoned for two months.'

9/10/2011 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Didn't the same chap disrupt the Marathon at the Athens Olympics

9/10/2011 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Coventrian - I think it's often used in a 'from the river to the sea' context,by people seeking to impose a one state solution. I believe when I mentioned that the other day I was just expressing sympathy with people who found it troubling rather than making a big deal out of it. I did post this a while back.

http://hurryupharry.org/2011/05/15/liberty-if-it-means-anything-means-the-right-to-%E2%80%93-say-%E2%80%98free-palestine%E2%80%99-i-think-doesn%E2%80%99t-it/

I have already said as much as I want to say about Norman Geras in that particular context.

I have demonstrated against the EDL but never alongside them. (Though I suppose I'd just have to put up with it, if they chose to protest the same thing as me - in the same way I had to put up demonstrating some people on the anti-EDL side.)

9/10/2011 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Sarah has sympathy with those who find the concept of 'Free Palestine' troubling. She shouldn't. There is no excuse.

I know you don't want to discuss Norman Geras' promotion of the Gates of Vienna hate site, but I think you should. You've had plenty of time to look at the site and contact your comrade Norm to ask him why.

Instead you took the time on HP to promote a pro-Israel demo outside the Albert Hall which consisted of members of the Zionist Federation and the EDL. If you were there, you did demonstrate alongside them. You certainly encouraged others to.

Forgive me if I judge you by your actions - and the company you keep - rather than your words.

9/10/2011 01:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom T said...

'I know you don't want to discuss Norman Geras' promotion of the Gates of Vienna hate site, but I think you should. You've had plenty of time to look at the site and contact your comrade Norm to ask him why.'

A 'will-you-condemnathon', I believe this is called...

9/10/2011 01:43:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Or a will-you-emailanorm.

9/10/2011 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

I'm not asking Sarah to condemn anything. I want her to use her access to Norman Geras to find out why he promoted a hate site. As has been pointed out, Geras has just produced another profile which has a direct link to the very similar 'Elder of Ziyon' blog.

9/10/2011 02:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

I don't want to pass on questions to someone I like from people who don't like him. I'm sure he'd think it very peculiar - I would. Why don't you ask him yourselves? I wouldn't ask y'all to condemn a commenter here who had said something obviously offensive elsewhere.

I don't mind condemning Gates of Vienna - I've hardly looked at it but I'm sure I could do that easily. I'll take a look now.

9/10/2011 02:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Oh - and I didn't demonstrate outside the RAH - I would have been happy to do so, but I didn't.

Yes GoV seems hateful. I didn't stop long.

9/10/2011 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Since we're discussing forms of words, and what may be troubling about them, I was curious about the phrase "people seeking to impose a one state solution". I'm not sure what "impose" means here - does it mean "without Israel's explicit consent"?

(It can be taken that I think Israel was imposed on the Palestinians without their consent, should not have been, and should not have a veto on what sort of settlement emerges. As previously on AW I would object to one people being privileged over the other, which this would constitute.)

9/10/2011 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

So, Sarah would have been happy to demonstrate alongside the EDL. Box ticked.

Sarah has established it only takes a glance to know that Gates of Vienna is a hate site. The conclusion seems to be that Geras was knowingly promoting a hate site, but his friends can't be bothered to raise the issue with him. Box ticked.

Now Sarah is here, can I ask her if she supports the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes as recognised in international law and enshrined in UN resolutions 194 and 242?

Or does she apply a double standard by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation?

9/10/2011 03:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

I don't feel comfortable taking on the role of Israel advocate as I don't have a specialist knowledge of IR/law. I am mostly interested in issues to do with boycotts, and with extreme positions on both sides. I've blogged against racist attitudes towards Palestinians, and have posted articles on behalf of a Palestinian peace activist who (not surprisingly) is hostile to the occupation, checkpoints, and the fact he has been wrongfully imprisoned. I don't think that in supporting a two state solution (so not with unlimited right of return) I am being particularly eccentric or indeed partisan as that is the official position of Labour and Lib Dem friends of Palestine. I accept that, like many issue, this involves 'incompatible goods'.

9/10/2011 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I don't know if that answered anybody else's questions, but I'm pretty sure it didn't answer mine.

9/10/2011 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Geras's flirting with the horrible Gates of Vienna site is a matter of record. We know he wasn't averse to cutting off links to sites he disapproved of, because plenty of left-wing sites got deleted from his blogroll on grounds of moral perfidy over the years. Somehow he deemed sites like Gates of Vienna acceptable.

But I don't think it is fair to expect SarahAB, who is here under her own identity, to take him to task. I especially don't think it is fair for people posting anonymously to do this. Geras is responsible for his own actions.

9/10/2011 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Sarah AB writes:

'I don't feel comfortable taking on the role of Israel advocate as I don't have a specialist knowledge of IR/law.'

That didn't stop you from supporting a joint Zionist Federation/EDL picket. Plus you don't need to be a specialist to support universal human rights. As usual you prefer to duck the points put to you.

'I am mostly interested in issues to do with boycotts, and with extreme positions on both sides.'

As far as I can see you seem to have taken an extreme position on one side of one campaign. In fact you have little interest in the many other boycott campaigns against countries such as Burma.

You say are 'supporting a two state solution (so not with unlimited right of return)' So in fact you are denying Palestinian refugees their right to return to their homes. That seems to be quite extreme to me.

Perhaps you can explain why this is in contradiction to a two state solution and why you are singling out Palestinians - of all the refugees in the world - for denial of their human rights.

9/10/2011 05:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Thanks Captain Cabernet.

Coventrian - as far as I know there was no formal understanding between the ZF and the EDL at the Proms event - I'd be surprised if there was, and I didn't even know the EDL were there until now I don't think.

I am particularly aware of Israel boycotts because they are an issue in my union, which is how my interest started.

In my piece on Ahava I explain my slightly mixed feelings about that issue. There was no EDL presence.

http://hurryupharry.org/2011/07/30/outside-ahava/

9/10/2011 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Just so I know, are you proposing to answer my question about the meaning of "impose"? Fair enough if you aren't, I won't press you nor draw conclusions, but it didn't strike me as an unreasonable thing to ask.

9/10/2011 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

OK ejh - sorry - I don't think a one state solution should be imposed on Israel, no. There was a great deal of violence and injustice in and outside the immediate region in the decades leading up to 1948 - what happened to the Palestinians is just one aspect.

9/10/2011 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Uh huh.

Wasn't Israel pretty much imposed on hundreds of thousands of Palestinians though? And does it not continue to be, in an ever-advancing fashion?

So aren't you in fact insisting on making a special exception for one set of people, who must in fact be allowed to impose us another?

I'm not insisting one a one-state solution myself, by the way, though I'd much prefer it. But what I'm saying is that this is what you're doing, you're giving one side the right to impose but talking of imposition with regards to the other. And this is, in fact, advocacy, there's not really a better way to put it.

9/10/2011 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I mean it's so ingrained, it's one of these things that has become such a reflex that people don't even notice they're doing it.

9/10/2011 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

But if people are opposed to Israel and aren't equally critical of somewhere else, that's apparently so glaring a double-standard, we can talk of anti-Semitism. It's, I dunno, not projection as such, I don't really know what to call it.

9/10/2011 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

I think it is projection. Zionists support ethnic cleansing and segregation and they accuse the opponents of these things of racism/antisemitism. That's projection, isn't it?

What Sarah does mostly is evasion though she is not averse to projection, hence her support for the EUMC working definition of antisemitism.

9/11/2011 02:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

I agree it was imposed ejh - but that doesn't seem an adequate summing up given the wider context. (But it's a fully adequate summary from the perspective of the ordinary Palestinians affected.) In a sense I'm also attracted to the idea of a one state solution - I liked Bob from Brockley's take on that issue. But I liked it because it was predicated on the wishes of those in the region. But given the current and historical realities of antisemitism I can't blame Israelis for rejecting that option.

9/11/2011 08:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

it's a fully adequate summary from the perspective of the ordinary Palestinians affected

But we shouldn't take that perspective seriously, or draw the conclusions which would be unavoidable if we did, because of... "the wider context"? What does that mean here?

My views on this have shifted over the years. A friend of mine spent a year on a moshav some time in the 80s; he came back a liberal Zionist & duly converted me, with a bit of help from Amos Oz (In the land of Israel had just come out). When I say we were "liberal Zionists", I mean a perspective something like "OK, the illegal settlements should stop and we need to do something about equal citizenship and maybe think about some sort of right of return, but no denying the right of Israel to exist, OK?"

25 years later, look where we are. The settlements haven't stopped - they've grown year by year; there's no sign of anyone being willing to do anything about equal citizenship, let alone the right of return; and the Israeli political spectrum has shifted so far to the Right that Ariel Sharon would look like a peacenik if he woke up tomorrow (there's a satire waiting to be written). But every so often someone pops up and denies the right of Israel to exist (although it's generally someone powerless, irrelevant or both) and the liberal Zionists all denounce them.

Basically, I think I was sold a bill of goods.

9/11/2011 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

But given the current and historical realities of antisemitism I can't blame Israelis for rejecting that option.

And given the current and historical reality of Israel, why should Palestinians be expected to reject it, or consider that Israel is entitled to a veto over the future of the lands from which they were driven?

9/11/2011 08:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Aargh - I don't feel able to keep up the Zionist side on my own ejh (it would be doing it a disservice both on grounds of (lack of) expertise and commitment - but Jews have themselves been driven out of East Jerusalem in the past and the occupied territories (I believe), and certainly out of other countries in the region.

9/11/2011 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

So they have. And my understanding of the universiality of human rights is that this does not make it at all acceptable for the same to be done to other people in return, nor for this to be institutionalised by law.

That's basic.

9/11/2011 09:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Funny thing is, I remember my 80s Zionist-convert friend saying that a two-state solution couldn't possibly work in an area that small - specifically, he said it was ironic that the same Leftists who opposed bantustans in South Africa were advocating them in Israel/Palestine. These days two states seems to be the official position, precisely because the West Bank and Gaza have been reduced to bantustans.

"Expel your people from our land, settle your land with our people" - the vicious circle of dispossession is working just the same in the West Bank as it did in South Africa or in the US under Jackson. (There's also a twentieth-century precedent involving Poland.) But it's not really surprising, because it's the logic of the situation: a single democratic state would inevitably cease to be a single Jewish state. If the maintenance of a Jewish state is the first priority, the only questions are how much territory it should include (answer: as much as possible) and how many non-Jews (answer: as few as possible).

9/11/2011 09:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil, my own trajectory re Zionism is pretty much the same as yours, though in may case it came from spending a few weeks in Israel and the Golan in 1987.

Is the answer to q1 really "as much land as possible", though? It's not as it anything resembling strategic geographical depth is on offer to the Israeli state, save in the wildest and most barking fantasies of a very few of its supporters.

BTW, I think that 'Coventrian' should stop with the willyoucondemnthon already. First rule of AW: if it's wrong when they do it, it's wrong when we do it.

Chris Williams

9/11/2011 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Chris, please read my posts more carefully. What I have tried to do is demonstrate that it is Zionists like Norm and Sarah who flirt with the far right, single out Palestinians as a people without universal human rights and apply a double standard by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

Sarah writes, 'I am particularly aware of Israel boycotts because they are an issue in my union, which is how my interest started.'

It's my union too, which she seemed to have joined only to make a public fuss of resigning from and smearing.

http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/02/10/on-resignation-from-ucu-sarah-annes-brown/

I don't think anyone should be a member of a union and contribute to a site which has tried to label the union and many of its members as anti-semitic. Her application to rejoin the UCU should have been rejected.

Her specious arguments were take apart here.

http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2011/07/more-attempts-at-defending-working.html

9/11/2011 11:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

I think if one could feel confident about the one state solution being able to deliver genuine equality and human rights, at least *some* more Israelis might not be unwilling.

Coventrian - that's completely unfair. I was a member of the relevant academic unions (both AUT and (?)NATFE) at different times for several years. My membership lapsed as a College Teaching Officer at Cambridge because I didn't think they did enough for college employees. It was around that time - 5 years ago or so - that I became aware of the boycott issue. When I moved to my current job I was asked to rejoin. I explained my opposition to boycotts and said I would probably resign if that came up again in a big way. Then I resigned and later rejoined for reasons I've set out elsewhere. I feel I needed to remain aware of what was going on and to raise the subject at meetings BUT I also felt strongly that I need to participate in good faith with the vast majority of important stuff the union does, and I offered to become assisstant branch secretary recently. I have never hidden my views and have actively chosen to write in my own name about the issue on my blog and in the THE, not just on HP. My colleagues seem to be able to live with this, including one who is associated with BRICUP yet who has given me some helpful info about scholarships to pass on to the Palestinian contact I mentioned earlier.

9/11/2011 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I think if one could feel confident about the one state solution being able to deliver genuine equality and human rights, at least *some* more Israelis might not be unwilling.

But see Sarah, it shouldn't depend on whether the Israelis are willing or not, even if we assumed that what they're basically interested in is, or is compatible with, equality and human rights. It's whether any given solution actually respects the equality and human rights of all.

Whereas as it stands, it's just taken for granted that the human rights of the dispossessed Palestinians can just be written off, because the Israelis aren't happy to allow them these rights.

Whichever way you slice it, that's what you're doing. One set of people come first.

9/11/2011 01:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Is the answer to q1 really "as much land as possible", though?

I think it does tend to be, because tactics are easier than strategy. "Does this patch of land fall within the boundaries of the sustainable, defensible and peaceful Israel we are ultimately going to build?" is hard to answer. "Might it be useful to us in any way either to assert ownership over this patch of land or to deny it to people we regard as our sworn enemies?" is a bit easier. And it's not as if there's anyone who can stop them.

9/11/2011 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

Sarah - I don't see how you can complain of Coventrian being "completely unfair". The linked Engage article says pretty much what Coventrian says it does and your commitment to the union seems to revolve around where it stands on the question of Palestine.

What I find bizarre in the Engage post is that you claim not to have known anything about Israel and that you were solely concerned about singling Israel out but now you believe that Israel should have a special right to avoid the principle of universal human rights, so you believe and promote the belief that Israel should be singled out for privilege based on ethno-religious heritage. I'm not going to try to draw out of you an explanation of your support for a racist state and your promotion of its supporters' demonstrations but I think you ought to drop your bogus complaint that Israel is unduly singled out. Clearly, singling out is not an issue for you. You undermine the UCU because it supports a community whose human rights you believe should be abused until the abusers grow weary of their privileges.

9/11/2011 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

For my part - I really don't want it thought that I'm unaware either of a long history of anti-Semitism, or of the effective expulsion of Jewish people from other Middle East states. Or that they aren't very good reasons why Jewish people might want a Jewish state. But what I'm not prepared to do is elevate those considerations over the equally justified fears and concerns of Palestinian people, which, it seems to me, are dismissed on the basis that they can go and live in some other Arab state. (As if I'd be all right if I were permanently barred from living in the UK because I could go and live in the USA instead.)

I'm especially not prepared to have people, any people, accuse me of anti-Semitism, or hint at it, because I don't believe a state should be built on ethnic cleansing (here's some fresh cleansing just from today). That's what poisons Israel-Palestine discussions, and it always has, as long as I can remember them.

9/11/2011 03:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Levi - I was pressed to join by a union rep - fair enough, of course. I might not have joined, had I not been pressed, because I hadn't liked the boycott moves. As I had been a member for years in the past, and had let my membership lapse for quite different reasons, it is hardly fair to say I only joined in order to be able to resign.

9/11/2011 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous pinkie said...

Well put, ejh.

9/11/2011 09:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil: "And it's not as if there's anyone who can stop them."

Well Hezbollah seem to be half-decent at it. Can't stop Israeli stats nuclear blackmail of course, which is probably the point.

Chris Williams

9/11/2011 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

Sarah - you mean it's not entirely true. It was hardly completely unfair.

ejh and sarah - whilst there has been antisemitism and jews have been forced to leave various countries, there is no state whose existence is predicated on its expulsion of jews in the way that israel's is predicated on the expulsion of palestinians. also, whereas sarah supports the ethnic cleansing of the palestinians, or at least she has indicated that she wants the injustices that they have suffered to continue until israel decides otherwise, she doesn't appear to want injustices to be perpetrated or continued against anyone else.

9/12/2011 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

there is no state whose existence is predicated on its expulsion of jews in the way that israel's is predicated on the expulsion of palestinians.

No, but on the other hand given what happened in (say) Iraq or Libya, the distinction might be lost on the minds of the people who had to flee.

9/12/2011 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

I don't like to presume on how the victims of displacement feel but it is significant that the displacement of the Palestinians goes to the heart of Israel's existence whereas no state exists on the basis of the displacement of Jews. Also, the departure of Jews from Arab countries was by no means a straightforward case of ethnic cleansing as it was with the flight of Palestinians from Palestine.

Also the approaches of the Palestine national movement and the zionist movement towards the displacement of their constituents is very different. For the Palestinians, displacement was the most significant aspect of their defeat whereas for zionists the displacement of Jews contributed greatly to their victory. As it happens that may well make the Jewish victims of displacement feel more positively about their displacement though many have expressed anger at Israel's own role.

9/12/2011 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Also, the departure of Jews from Arab countries was by no means a straightforward case of ethnic cleansing as it was with the flight of Palestinians from Palestine.

Mmm. I'm not sure this is a very powerful argument. All these displacements were wholesale, rapid, gigantic in scope and facilitated by states, and if they differ a little in this way or that it's really not important or even helpful to try and establish this. (At least, not as a comparative, as opposed to establishing the historical truth of any event.)

9/12/2011 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

The departure of Jews from Arab countries took place mostly between 1951 and 1967/8. That is it only began in earnest when Israel had the wherewithal to receive the people.

Of course there were push factors including terror and harassment of Jews by Arabs and Arab authorities but there was also Israeli/zionist complicity.

Anyway, if the argument is that it is not nice to be forcibly displaced then I am not arguing against that. But I do think it is important to highlight the significant differences between Jews from various Arab countries being in Palestine and Arabs in Arab countries coming from Palestine.

9/12/2011 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Of course there were push factors including terror and harassment of Jews by Arabs and Arab authorities but there was also Israeli/zionist complicity

I don't think whole communities -thousands and thousands of people! - would have left if terror weren't the major factor, so I'm not really interested in the degree of Israeli/Zionist complicity, it strikes me as about as relevant interesting as the old Zionist claim about the Grand Mufti which Israelis and Zionists used to tell me in all seriousness during the Eighties.

You really don't want to get too involved in trying to establish a hierarchy of mass expulsions. Israel's built on them, I don't believe a state should be and for that reason I'm not in favour of Israel and sympathetic towards its boycotters. Other states may not be built on it, but the expelled Jewish communities surely have just as much right to return to where they came from as do the Palestinians expelled in 1948 and since. And if they're denied it, that's just as much of an issue as the fate of the Palestinian diaspora.

9/12/2011 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

Sarah, are you against academic boycots in all circumstances (or boycots - I confess to being a bit confused as to what kind you consider acceptable)? Would you have take this position vis S. Africa in the 80s, for example? If not, what's the difference?

I'm also struck by the fact that you seem to be supporting Israel reflexively, despite admitting to not knowing much about it. Might it not be better to just be agnostic in the circumstances, in case your ignorance means you're calling this one wrong?

9/12/2011 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

Without particularly wishing to disagree with you Justin, there was at least one operation by Mossad in Egypt (and I think two others, one in Iraq the other Syria, but I'd need to check) to stir up problems for Arab Jews, to try and force them emigrate to Israel. And for years Israel has tried to make things hot for Syrian and Iranian Jews in various ways.

I don't think this justifies in any way the expulsions, but the Israeli governments of the time were delighted. They wanted all the Jewish bodies they could get.

9/12/2011 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

"You really don't want to get too involved in trying to establish a hierarchy of mass expulsions. Israel's built on them,"

I don't.

"mass expulsions. Israel's built on them, I don't believe a state should be and for that reason I'm not in favour of Israel and sympathetic towards its boycotters."

I completely agree.

"Other states may not be built on it, but the expelled Jewish communities surely have just as much right to return to where they came from as do the Palestinians expelled in 1948 and since. And if they're denied it, that's just as much of an issue as the fate of the Palestinian diaspora."

I completely agree with that too though I think it's best to express the right of return as an individual right than a community one. The latter is open to all sorts of mischief.

I can't really see where we differ.

The only issue between you and me here seems to be the extent of historical detail.

Word verification is "amity". That's nice.

9/12/2011 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Cian - yeah, I know. But that doesn't explain why so many people ran, or why they all did. That's why I say it's not that interesting to me. In the same way, I never cared much what the Grand Mufti did or did not say, because it never stuck me as a particularly convincing explanation for such an exodus.

9/12/2011 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

ejh - I don't think you can say that the role of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was as significant to the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians as the role of Israel and the zionist movement has been to the departure of Jews from Arab countries.

Given that the aim of the zionist movement was the establishment of a state for the world's Jews and that they could not have that without ridding Palestine of most of its Palestinians, the significance of the Grand Mufti is zero. That is the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians would have happened with or without him.

Now, look at the two main zionist narratives regarding the "ethnic cleansing" of Jews from Arab countries. One is that there was spontaneous anger against Jews across the Arab world and Jews fled that anger. The other is that there was an organised campaign across the same space. The first begs the question, why did it take two years for Arab anger to reach such terrifying proportions for Jews? The second begs the question how come the Arab states can't seem to co-ordinate much else?

The fact is that Israel and the zionist movement have staked much in the form of money, personnel and reputation in trying to get Jews from Arab countries into Palestine. That has included terrorism against Jewish and other targets and financial inducements to Arab officials to harass Jews and to Jews to come to Israel. We can surely assume that the zionist movement would not deploy resources needlessly especially when zionism's main claim is that it is "good for Jews".

So there is much that is significant in the zionist role in the departure of Arab Jews from their various homelands and nothing that is significant about the Grand Mufti.

None of this should detract from the basic human rights of either Jews from across the Arab world or Arabs from Palestine and it seems that Sarah is the only contributor to the thread who wants justice denied in these cases.

9/12/2011 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We can surely assume that the zionist movement would not deploy resources needlessly especially when zionism's main claim is that it is "good for Jews"."

No, we can't. The clue's in the word 'movement', and the Zionist one was split enough that bits of it disagreed over which side to back in WW2. They weren't both right. Also (a) ascribing everything done regarding Jews and Arbs in the 1940s and 1950s to the actions of 'the Zionist movement' is a massive over-simplification, and (b) this particular teleological view of 'the Zionist movement' reminds me of some not-especially-different views about how Jewish people work together. And not in a good way.

Chris Williams

9/12/2011 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Levi9909 wrote:

"Given that the aim of the zionist movement was the establishment of a state for the world's Jews and that they could not have that without ridding Palestine of most of its Palestinians ...."

So Martin Buber wasn't a Zionist now?

9/12/2011 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

So there is much that is significant in the zionist role in the departure of Arab Jews from their various homelands and nothing that is significant about the Grand Mufti

I don't regard the role of either to reach the level of "significant".

You may also miss the point a tiny bit. When I first heard this Grand Mufti malarkey, back in the mid-Eighties, I had never heard of the chap. But it struck me immediately as extremely unlikely that people would flee their homes wholesale, hundreds of thousands of them, just because some tool in a beard told them to. It didn't make sense, unless we were to think of the Palestinians in completely different terms from the way we think of ourselves. Which I try and avoid.

Similarly, whatever the involvement of the Israeli secret service and their chums in any bomb explosions that occurred in, say, Iraq, I doubt that people would have fled the way they did - or, for that matter, have been expedited in their fleeing - if they had felt, and been, unthreatened other than for that explosion.

It may be that you want to argue such, that Israel's expulsion of the Arabs played a part in inflaming Arab anti-Semitism. No doubt it did. I'm sure that syndrome has happened many times (they have made our people into refugees, so we must make them into refugees too!) and one thinks, in recent European history, of various events in the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Perhaps such will happen in Spain, in a few years, and Catalans and Spaniards will start burning and bombing one another out of their homes, every last act of course in revenge for another one. My view is that in such circumstances I'm not interested in who did what to who first, and my further view is that in some circumstances, civilisation might depend on us not being interested.

Again, if we're writing the history of a particular event, different story. You're always looking for reasons, no matter how unpalatable or unacceptable they may be. But this really may be a situation where comparisons are odious.

9/12/2011 03:09:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

this particular teleological view of 'the Zionist movement' reminds me of some not-especially-different views about how Jewish people work together.
I think it's quite noticeably different, and the comparison may say more about you than about its target. And not in a good way.
[O/T I did wonder if the point you made in another place about the return of the security forces to Brazilian favelas may have been undermined by recent events
Also O/T, I bumped into my friend who'd actually been the secretary to the features editor at the NoTW, she lost her job there at the time of the move to Wapping, and is no longer in the SWP]

Captain Cabernet - the reasonable point that a Jewish state in Palestine could not be established without expulsions does not exclude the possibility that there are those who would see themselves as Zionist who would wish it were possible to do the one without the other.

9/12/2011 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

"Captain Cabernet - the reasonable point that a Jewish state in Palestine could not be established without expulsions does not exclude the possibility that there are those who would see themselves as Zionist who would wish it were possible to do the one without the other."

No, the point is that there were Zionists like Buber who thought that there should be a Jewish national homeland in Palestine and that this was achievable in the framework of a binational state.

9/12/2011 03:24:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Captain Cabernet - the key part of your quotation is "they could not have that", a claim is being made not about what some Zionists might have thought achievable, but what was achievable, and so no judgement was being made about whether it is possible to be a Zionist without wishing the expulsion of the Palestinians, but on whether it was possible to achieve the aim of a Jewish state without same.
This seems like a simple passage to evaluate, and I can't see why you choose to do so differently, but then freedom is the freedom to think differently.

9/12/2011 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Let's review shall we skidmarx -

Levi asserted the aim of establishing a Jewish state as a defining property of Zionism. I disagreed, pointing out that at least one prominent Zionist lacked that aim.

Your "do the one without the other" was precisely about Zionists wishing it to be possible to establish the state without the expulsions. I'm merely pointing out that some Zionists advocated neither a Jewish state nor explusions.

9/12/2011 04:10:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Captain - OK, I'll go a different way. If you look at the definition of zionism used in the OED,(no longer freely available, and I can't find the place I quoted it last year, so I'll have to do so from memory),it talks of belief in the establishment of a Jewish state. So, yes, on the dictionary definition, Buber would be excluded, but now I'm going to focus on the phrase "zionist movement", which seems like a reasonable term to describe Herzl and his descendants who did wish to establish a Jewish state, without being overly concerned that the term might always be applied to others, as from the context we can safely assume that others were not being implied.

9/12/2011 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

Captain Cabernet - I don't think there's any need to point to exceptions who self-describe as zionists whilst supporting so-called binationalism every time we speak of zionists. Even Sarah now seems to accept that zionism is the official ideology of the State of Israel including its insistence that Palestinian refugees cannot return.

However, even binational zionism such as it was intended that a state be specially for Jews whilst accepting but not promoting the continued presence of non-Jews. Anyway, Buber quickly came around to supporting the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and the exclusively Jewish nature of the Stste of Israel.

http://www.peacenews.info/issues/2446/244620.html

ejh - I wasn't aware that the story of the Grand Mufti involved him telling his compatriots to leave. I thought it was that he supported Hitler and therefore exemplified some inherent murderously antisemitic tendency on the part of the Arabs. I didn't realise you were referring to bogus stories as to why Arabs fled Palestine. I thought you were referring to the bogus justification as to why the zionists drove them out. It is still very different from the zionist role in the departure of Jews from Arab countries. In both cases the zionists (except for the insignificant minority who professed binationalism) got what they wanted.

I think it is important to stress that we support the right of return for all people but we shouldn't overlook the reasons why people left the places they did.

9/13/2011 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

They left because they were terrified, that seems to me to be the most important point.

Anyway, I'm off on a camping holiday to avoid the tension of following the last round of County Championship matches on Cricinfo. I do hope that by the time I'm back Middlesex have been promoted and this thread hasn't gone the way of most Israel/Palestine threads, i.e. five hundred posts of rancour. Toodle-pip.

9/13/2011 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

I'm puzzled, Levi, at why you think that the Uri Davis article, even if accurate regarding the Said's house story (which it probably isn't) sustains the claim that Buber supported the ethnic cleansing of Arabs.

9/13/2011 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

ejh - I'm not sure the entire departure of Jews from Arab countries was down to being terrified but where it was, the question of who sowed the terror is significant to many of us. We seem to be differing on a matter of taste.

Captain Cabernet - Martin Buber, in organisational terms, was a fringe figure in the zionist movement so whatever he claimed or did wasn't very significant but in the Davis article, which I have no reason doubt, he says that he came to accepts Israel as it was in the 1960s. That was a self-defining state for Jews from around the world and one that had a Jewish majority largely down to the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. He was either insincere in the first place or he changed his mind.

Some historians of the zionist colonisation of Palestine say that binationalism was a tactic. I don't think that's fair of all binationalists but I do think binationalism is still problematic. It does still seem to involve special status for Jews from around the world whilst Arabs of Palestine have to demonstrate that they were born there.

Buber's significance these days seems to be that he allows Israel apologists to muddy the waters.

I really think we can take it as read that when people speak of zionists in a political setting then what is meant is anyone who believes that there should be a state specifically for Jews. I can understand why academically people might want to get into the various orientations and antecedents of zionism but I don't see the point in discussing the politics of fringe figures of low or no political influence in either their own time or ours.

9/13/2011 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

off topic, but probably more on topic for this blog than most of the above:

Nick Cohen, Sunday:

Balls cannot address a changed world because he was as complicit as Gordon Brown was in the regulatory failures of the 2000s. Why he cannot say that he made a mistake and move on is beyond me. Modern Britain is forgiving – perhaps too forgiving – of public figures who hold up their hands and admit that they were wrong. Balls's inability to learn from the past has left the Liberal Democrats as the only political party campaigning for banking reform.

Ed Balls, Monday:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/sep/12/mps-shocked-ed-balls-says-sorry

Mr Cohen really has the midas touch eh? first 'why there aren't likely to be any riots', now this...

9/13/2011 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Right, so if I now say that Mrs Thatcher's policy on the coal mines shouldn't be reversed, that would make me a supporter of Thatcher's attack on the miners. Or something.

9/13/2011 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

A better analogy would be for you to go out and buy, lease or steal a privatised mine and then say that you support privatisation.

But, again, why talk about Buber when it wasn't him leading or influencing the zionist forces? I don't know why you're getting so carried away with this.

9/13/2011 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Yes, Levi, I must stop being a single issue obsessive ....

9/13/2011 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Yes, you should join a party with a broad range of policies and be accused of jumping on the bandwagon whenever you campaign on any particular issue.

Sarah AB statement of the week:
What’s the Spittoon done wrong?

9/13/2011 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Levi9909 said...

Captain Cabernet - I'm not suggesting you desist, I just wonder why you do it.

I must say it's a funny old thing that you began by suggesting that I hadn't gone into sufficient detail or breadth on zionist history and you've ended up complaining of obsessiveness. Still, I don't want to alienate my hosts here because I do enjoy all that "world of decency" stuff. In fact I posted your recent one on Norm to my own blog.

Skidders - I don't know anything about Spittoon but Sarah said of this blog that she doesn't know why Aaronovitch needs watching.

9/13/2011 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Speaking of Aaronovitch, he went very quiet on the twittersphere only to post this,

This is where I've been.... 3 weeks ago a routine op went badly wrong. Got pneumonia and lost a fortnight.

What with Hitchens going down with cancer, is Nick Cohen the next to suffer the curse of Decency?

9/14/2011 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

And even with the handicap of having Jamie Dalrymple in the side...

9/15/2011 08:59:00 PM  

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