Saturday, October 01, 2011

The enemy of my enemy, and all that

Here's an interesting one: Engage Online are giving space to Colin Meade, Lecturer at London Met and Milosevic defender. A google of "Colin Meade" and "Milosevic" shows a few interesting sites around the internet. Meade used to have a blog but it has been removed, but is linked to from places such as (hold your nose before clicking) this. Fortunately, the Internet Archive is our friend and Meade's writings on dhimmitude and the like are still available. Just the sort of association that HP Sauce would make a big deal out of, of course, if the personnel and issue were slightly changed.


Blogger levi9909 said...

I don't think Mathias Küntzel (Meade's co-writer of the Engage "exclusive") is too savoury a character either and Hirsh has criticised him in the past but only after saying that "Matthias Küntzel’s work should be more widely read and respected than it is".

Anyway, Gilbert Achcar (the target of the Meade/Küntzel piece) has replied here.

10/02/2011 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

I may not be as familiar with Old Nick as some here, but I think I may have heard it before that he can start from an interesting premise,"There is just one proper subject for a public inquiry: the cashless corruption Rupert Murdoch perfected", and then just fill up on bullshit, "Liberty is a workshy organisation","I know the people who have been agitating for this inquiry to be well-intentioned authoritarian liberals".

10/02/2011 12:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

If Negative Potential is right on Küntzel being part of the hard Anti-German fringe (and he seems to have backed that up with solid evidence), it's not surprising that he's made common cause with Meade. The hardcore anti-Germans called for unconditional support for Milošević's regime back in 1999.

It's also interesting to see that the main argument against him seems to be a) you're a communist and b) you haven't critically engaged with his comments.

The first is pretty much just standard redbaiting and isn't surprising. The second however, is interesting. Would it be legitimate to argue that we can't criticise Atzmon for antisemitism unless we refute his claims point by point? Or does that only apply to anti Muslim bigots?

10/02/2011 06:20:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

This seems to suggest that hardcore anti-Germans are a dying breed.

I'm tempted to say that there has been so much conflation of antisemitism with anti-Israel sentiment that the term has been devalued and does require more evidence before the label can be attached, but then I don't know if the charge of anti-Muslim bigotry should be casually applied either.
[I've undoubtedly done it at some point, but that doesn't mean I think it's good practice]

10/02/2011 06:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

Bahamas have posted articles in support of the EDL. So, in this case, even ignoring the hearsay I base the claim on, I think it's valid to see anyone who is sympathetic to them as highly suspect, to say the least.

(And seriously, in the case of Atzmon, what more evidence do you need? Racism is often coded in its subtler forms, that isn't a new development. And he isn't even coding it that carefully anymore).

10/02/2011 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

I like that Negative Potential. It's interesting that he had time for Engage at first whereas now he thinks they're either "completely guileless suckers" or "cynical racists".

Also, I was just looking at the thread and it's remarkable how quickly they degenerate from Israel advocacy to a more generalised red-baiting. And yet Hirsh has angrily denied being pro-Israel whereas he never seems to deny being some kind of leftist or even a trotskyist.

10/03/2011 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous bensix said...

I'd never heard of the Anti-Germans but they're bloody weird. I'm not sure English people would celebrate Bomber Harris.

10/03/2011 01:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The anti-Germans are total cranks. I'm sure that they must flog and scourge themselves each night for the original sin of having been born German. Oh the horror of it! They must pray at the shrine of Goldhagen each morning, and hope that the world will forgive them. They take liberal guilt to about the highest level of idiocy that one can take it.

Dr Paul

On a more serious matter, Decency hit against a real contradiction when it came to the Balkans. There we had Milošević, the devil incarnate, the New Hitler no less, the Serbs as the New Nazis, and yet the Goodies, the Bosnian Muslims, had real murderous jihadists amongst their ranks, and bin Laden himself was given a Bosnian passport.

Right-wing Zionists never had much of a problem with all this. Being tough, unsentimental types, they could happily include Milošević in their pantheon of Muslim-bashing heroes, blissfully uncaring about the sensibilities and tortured contradictions of the Decents.

Having said all that, I have read Achcar's books on the Holocaust and the Arab world, and I detect a certain -- how shall we put it? -- gentleness when dealing with the embarrassing matter of the Bosnian Muslim SS Division. He uses as a source a book by the arch-Bosnomaniac Stephen Schwartz, who is also eager to downplay this difficult matter.

10/03/2011 10:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Tec15 said...

The so called Bosnian Muslim SS Division despite being labelled a "Volunteer" unit was press-ganged and most of their members deserted at the first opportunity. They were really quite insignificant compared to the voluminous Croatian Ustaše and Serbian Chetnik collaboration with the Nazis.
Of course that doesn't' stop them from having an outsized importance in Zionist and neo-conservative propaganda organs as the ultimate evidence of Islamic perfidy and similarity to Nazism.

10/04/2011 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

This from the LRB (paywalled, sorry) seems relevant. There is the faint sound of shuffling feet when Mark Mazower discusses the Waffen-SS issue, but I'm more inclined to agree with him than not. Apart from anything else, in a Europe ruled by National Socialism the Waffen-SS could plausibly seem like an International Brigade against the menace of Communism; that was certainly how they recruited. It's pretty small potatoes next to Jasenovac, or next to Nedic's gas vans for that matter. (We could also mention Tito's endorsement of Ustasha military ranks for defectors to the Partisans, and if we were feeling particularly thorough we could mention the foibe. Nobody comes out of that war looking good, let me tell you.)

10/04/2011 10:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Martin Wisse said...

There were Waffen SS divisions and other units formed from volunteers (some more voluntary than others) from every part of Occupied Europe (with the exception of Poland for obvious reasons), so anybody who takes the existence of a Muslim division as proof of how they have always hated all Jews is a fool.

10/05/2011 08:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Asteri said...

Greece being the other exception.

"so anybody who takes the existence of a Muslim division as proof of how they have always hated all Jews is a fool"

Whilst I agree with this, I would say that the involvement of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in the Handzar SS doesn't help challenge that belief. Though it was motivated by hysteria over Jewish migration to the Mandate of Palestine and Balfour than from a historicly intrenched Muslim anti-Semitism.

10/05/2011 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Bill said...

The Mufti was indeed a creep, but the masses of the Palestinian people he purported to lead did not follow his support of the Nazis, which is a point Mufti obsessives always ignore.

10/05/2011 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

I think what everyone tends to forget is that, from the perspective of all these people, the Nazis had won. Pledging allegiance to the invader before they invade is treason; doing it after they've invaded is keeping your nose clean with the new boss.

10/05/2011 11:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Asteri said...

Indeed, I think most ivory tower decents regard 'I was only following orders' as an unacceptable excuse, even though none of them have ever been in a situation where the choice was obey orders or get shot.

10/05/2011 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

o/t - pottering around ont web,

Came across:

2. The future perfect can make simple assumptions regarding past events, where the English modal verb "must" would be used in conjunction with the past perfect:

Pierre n'est pas ici ; il aura oublié.
Pierre isn't here; he must have forgotten.

Luc est heureux ; il aura gagné.
Luc is happy; he must have won.

Which reminded me of 'will have', use of by N. Cohen, discussed some time ago.

As you were, carry on.

10/06/2011 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

kerching, but i really think david toube is losing the plot:

10/06/2011 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger flyingrodent said...

Cheeseboard: No more lulu than usual, I'd say.

I mean, the Palestinian Solidarity movement does contain many nutters and horrible racists. So too does Israel's amen corner, as HP Sauce so adequately demonstrates on a daily basis - Mad Eurabia theorists; bomb-em-all-and-let-god-sort-em-out advocates for total war on the Muslims for the crime of being Muslims; Paranoid Breivikist nutters who think their own governments are in league with terrorists and hear the call of jihad in every cough and fart, amd just plain old ethnic racists who hate more or less everyone.

I mean, let's just grant all that as true. What's the takeaway? What lessons are to be learned?

I see this situation and I think wow, what a horrible bunch of evil lunatics on both sides, let's cut those mentalists out of the conversation, shall we?

Lucy Lips looks at it and sees that the Palestinian cause is irredeemably tainted by the imminent emergence of a Fourth Reich.

Well. It's the same rule as usual for single-issue nutters - eyes on the prize, everyone - and if that means running a propaganda operation for the entertainment of a boobyhatch full of hateful lunatics, that's how it has to be.

10/06/2011 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT, but Mr Squared's blog has suddenly switched to invite-only mode. What do I have to do to obtain an invite?

10/07/2011 05:44:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

if that means running a propaganda operation for the entertainment of a boobyhatch full of hateful lunatics, that's how it has to be.

That's where the descent into weirdness lies for me - Toube either doesn't read anything from the site he runs, or alternatively is misreading it all. elsewhere on that thread:

We have a very clear line on conspiracising about Muslims and the appeal to, or invocation of, bigotry against Muslims.

well, the proof is in the pudding - where anyone dissenting from a left-wing stance on the merits of posts gets deleted, and racists get approved, in general... and

if you believe in equality before the law and the protection of human rights, you will not tolerate racism, bigotry or the promotion of hatred towards anybody. It is simple. It is the Golden Rule.

and yet yesterday we also have a post from that 'Davem' whose 'reports from Syria' were anti-Arab propaganda, pure and simple (calling Arabic an 'innately deceitful language' and expanding outwards to the people from there iirc).

Toube then castigates anyone who would associate with the EDL, and says 'we need a new 43 group' (why, i can't quite work it out, and what this would mean in pratice, equally so - presumably he means we need more blog posts on HP Sauce about how evil the PSC are).

But if you search the HP Sauce archives for 43 group, what do you get - a piece praising the group by Jonathan Hoffamn. The same Jonathan Hoffman who unrepentantly marched arm in arm with the EDL.

you couldn't make this shit up.

10/07/2011 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

organic cheeseboard's last comment didn't come through to here.

10/07/2011 08:44:00 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

I don't want to be so predictable, but they force me, don't they:

Sarah AB
7 October 2011, 7:24 am
By contrast, HP and similar sites have been quite willing to welcome the anti-Atzmon pieces by Seymour and Newman without focusing on other views they hold which are less welcome.

Oceania has always been at peace with Eurabia.

10/07/2011 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

It's come through now.

I can't be bothered with "Don't you dare touch me" Toube any more. As David T he wrote, "Is Gilad Atzmon a racist? Not in the narrow sense of being preoccupied by genetic differences between people, certainly..." Now, he seems convinced the answer is an unqualified 'yes'. Changing one's mind is fine; it just seems honest to say that when he met the man, his perception was different. Atzmon seems capable of very advanced levels of sophistry and self-deception: however, this barely distinguishes him for 99% of the internet.

And now he's saying:

I don’t know much about Bob Lambert’s own personal moral or political views, outside of Islamism.

I don't know anything about Bob Lambert's "own [sic] personal moral or political views" but I read this as calling him an 'Islamist' which seems a bit much. Especially as what I can make out of the post he links to (representative sample: This group of supporters of radical Islamism have finally crossed the Rubicon and they have potentially shot themselves in the foot...), Bob Lambert is accused of being sympathetic to Islamists for cynical reasons -- mostly because being so makes him an expert.

Don't have time for the rest of this now...

10/07/2011 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger flyingrodent said...

his group of supporters of radical Islamism have finally crossed the Rubicon and they have potentially shot themselves in the foot

Hark, do I hear the jackbooted approach of the fascist octopus? I wonder if it will sing for us.

BTW, I'm not entirely sure that Lucy Lips actually is David T. - "Habibi" seems a more likely candidate, by prose style if nothing else. Assuming it's not a pseudonym for multiple posters, I'm sure I can recall seeing LL pushing legal howlers that no half-decent lawyer, in any field, would.

10/07/2011 11:36:00 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

From another Engage post:

How is it “academic freedom” to endorse a racist book?
Probably the word "book" is key here.

10/07/2011 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

David Toube has also boasted about how he had a very racist friend at university.

I think it's the Toube connection, more than anything else, that puts the lie to Engage's claim to be anti-racist. Even in a liberal sense.

I'll accept they're non-racist, but that isn't the same thing.

Anyone from Antifa that went out drinking with an antisemite would be out on their fucking ear. But according to Engage, that's all fine and dandy and certainly doesn't invalidate HP as a legitimate arbiter of antisemitism.

Telling, to say the least.

10/07/2011 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

@ Waterloo Sunset - I thought you might like to know I've left a comment on the latest Contested Terrain thread suggesting the writer of the post is lying when he tries to suggest that Emma Goldman thought the Bolsheviks responsible for the perpetuation of anti-semitism, as can easily be seen by looking at either side of the passage from Living My Life quoted at [15].

Whether Engage fails to care about the racism of those on the right side of the Israel question is one point, but the main thing is that their entire method isn't to look for antisemitism and try and understand how it can be fought and prevented, but to look for anti-Israel activity, and see whether it can be made to look antisemitic. Someone has just said to Toube/Lips [I think FR's reasoning is faulty here]:

Resorting to this disgraceful whataboutery and craven and dishonest analogy, does your case (with which I obviously agree as it relates to antisemitism in the so-called pro-Palestinian camp) no favours at all.

But "disgraceful whataboutery and craven and dishonest analogy" is what HP does.

10/07/2011 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Pinkie said...

Perhaps off topic, but on the odd occasion that I have looked at Harry's thingy I noted that there has been expressed the need for a 'proper' anti-Fascist organisation. An organisation free of the notoriously anti-semitic SWP, or something or other.

I believe the latest 'call to action' was for a renewed '43 Group' (why the '62 Group' was ignored, I don't know.)

This 'politically clean' anti-fascist group never seems to get off the ground. Perhaps Harry and his mates are very busy right now. Perhaps Harry and his mates are no more than a blog with loopy commentators.

10/07/2011 08:33:00 PM  
Anonymous bensix said...

It amuses me how quickly people claim the mantle of "anti-fascist". I mean, who isn't? But I'm anti-cancer yet I wouldn't claim it as a meaningful descriptor until I was, say, a surgeon.

10/08/2011 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Skid

I think you're being a bit overdramatic to suggest that not quoting everything is dishonest. (Did you expect the reviewer to quote the whole book?)

It's worth noting that, while Goldman wasn't aware of it, there were pogroms carried about by members of the Red Army, especially in the Ukraine. (Although, to be clear, this wasn't sanctioned by the leadership and the Bolshevik High Command came down hard on it whenever they became aware of it).

Also, I think to concentrate on whether the antisemitism in the Red Army was "worse" than the rest of society is missing the point. Are you seriously arguing we should be using the Whites as our benchmark?

But the conclusion of the reviewer that "it is worth considering why the traditional left in Germany has read Goldman as a feminist and an anti-Bolshevist, but hardly as a Jew and as someone who was concerned about antisemitism in the political left." is nowhere near as extreme as you seem to think.

I certainly think that the question of antisemitism in Russia is a valid issue for examination, which the reviewer obviously isn't doing in any great detail. Whereas you seem to object to the issue even being raised.

(In passing, I will say a major reason for my lack of sympathy for you on this comes down to the fact that, actually Leninists smeared Makhno on these grounds for decades. And it wasn't just the Stalinists. And it was on evidence at least as flimsy as this).

@ Pinkie

I think that one's interesting. The '42 Group are, by this point, historical enough to be a 'safe' source of nostalgia, especially because they're only just post-war. Bringing up the '62 Group would raise too many questions about support for physical confrontation against fascists. And there's no way that the Harryites will be prepared to do anything like that, or to abandon their support for the state. So, nah, nothing will come of it. Harryite "anti-fascism" basically consists of calling everyone you don't like fascists (much like Rik from the Young Ones) and/or support for wars carried out by the state. It certainly doesn't include anything as dangerous as putting your own neck on the line.


Yeah, I'd agree. I'd see a big difference between someone who is against fascism on a theoretical level and those actually involved in anti-fascist work.

10/08/2011 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

The context of Toube's "43 Group" remark in the post linked by organic cheeseboard suggests that he is equating Palestine Solidarity with fascism. Whether he would go out and physically attack or try to break up PSC meetings, I don't know. But he is not referring to anti-fascist activism as generally understood.

10/09/2011 08:36:00 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

@Waterloo Sunset - No I don't expect the reviewer to quote the whole book, but it is grotesque to quote a passage to suggest that the Bolsheviks were part of the problem of anti-semitism when the (few) words on either side of it point to the exact opposite.I'm suggesting that Contested Terrain seems to be part of a project to suggest that there has always been something intrinsically anti-semitic about Leninism; and having read EG's autobiography a number of times I was fairly sure that she wasn't associated with such nonsense.
I'm not suggesting the Whites as a benchmark, I'm saying the Reds did what they could to fight anti-semitism, and that post skated over that obvious truth in order to try and enlist support for a historical narrative in which the left has always hated Jews.
I had a quick search for an anarchist/SWP argument about Makhno, but couldn't see anything in it about anti-semitism.
Fine to look at her actual concerns about anti-semitism, but to try and make out that the Leninism was responsible for such at its birth is just a lie.

10/09/2011 09:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Levi

Whether he would go out and physically attack or try to break up PSC meetings, I don't know

Course he wouldn't. He's a corporate lawyer. I know that's an ad hominem and all, but I think it's accurate in this case. It's online bluster.

That said, I did support the previous anti MFE/Abu Hamza demo. And, a few years ago, the leftist anti Al Quds day mobilisation. I'm not sure if that's something you'd see as valid. I'm pretty sure Skid doesn't. That said, it's obviously an entirely different case from claiming the PSC are fascist. That's just Rik from the Young Ones politics. I'd broadly agree with FlyingRodent's previous summary that the issue is some individuals within the PSC, as opposed to the organisation.

The question becomes, how do we isolate the "many nutters and horrible racists".

The former are entirely an internal problem. 9/11 truthers et al are a public relations issue.

The latter are the issue. I don't believe the PSC are a racist organisation. However, when we have a situation where some branches are hosting people like Atzmon, yep, that's a serious issue.

The question there from an anti-fascist perspective is how to counter in a way that doesn't risk strengthening the hand of people like Roy Bard/FTP, at the expense of people like you who are genuinely against anti-semitism.

There's no easy answer. But, in principle, I'd have no issue with targeting a branch that had Atzmon speaking. (Broadly, this is the same issue as it was when some right wing Tories decided it would be a jolly jape to invite the NF to speak. While the Tories aren't fascist and hence aren't an issue of anti-fascists, those who choose to promote the far right are a valid target).

10/09/2011 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Skid

Considering that some of the CT team have suggested that the difference between left and right antisemitism is that the former is contradictory because it "negates" a left critique, I think their position is more nuanced than you suggest.

I don't think you can say there was no issue with antisemitism with the Bolsheviks. (Even leaving aside the argument about whether it's fair to describe Stalin as such. I'm assuming that when you talk about "Leninists", you're talking specifically about the Trotsykist interpretation as opposed to the Stalinist one). The quoted piece makes clear Lenin & Trotsky weren't antisemites, it's talking about the Red Army who were the de facto military wing of the Bolsheviks. Although I'd acknowledge the antisemitism within its ranks was a reflection of the wider society at the time.

I said Leninists as opposed to the SWP. Actually, to give them their credit, the SWP have never repeated that particular smear against Makhno and have actually repudiated it in some articles. Obviously, I have major differences with them on their view of Makhno's insurrectionists, but they've always kept that 'legitimate' as far as I'm concerned- they argue about tactics as opposed to resorting to false claims. They haven't really faced up to the fact that Trotsky was one of the main instigators of that lie, but I guess that's understandable.

It's a bit historical now. It was extremely common in the past, but from what I can tell, the claim that Makhno was antisemitic is now so obviously untenable that the only people still repeating it are the Sparts. Who, obviously, are a law unto themselves.

10/09/2011 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger levi9909 said...


I should have said that I don't know if Toube is advocating breaking up PSC meetings. But then, didn't he disrupt an Amnesty International meeting once upon a time?

Denouncing PSC as fascist or racist isn't simply Young Ones politics (though there is an element of that), it is part of a campaign to have serious criticism of Israel outlawed altogether.

Re Contested Terrain, they might be careful not to make antisemitism out to be intrinsic to leftism but that is only because they want to pass themselves off as the *real* leftists. It's a bit like that anti-deutsch nonsense. I think you're far too credulous where these Israel advocates are concerned.

I'm not sure what your point is about Abu Hamza and al Quds day.

Flying Rodent

I'm fairly sure that Toube is both Habibi and Lucy Lips. It doesn't surprise me that he says things that you wouldn't expect a lawyer to say. I don't think there's a law that says corporate lawyers have to make sense even in their spare time and I used to be quite surprised at his sheer inability to make a case for what ever point he's trying to make.

10/10/2011 12:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks good:

10/10/2011 08:17:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeesboard said...

The context of Toube's "43 Group" remark in the post linked by organic cheeseboard suggests that he is equating Palestine Solidarity with fascism. Whether he would go out and physically attack or try to break up PSC meetings, I don't know. But he is not referring to anti-fascist activism as generally understood.

well yeh as someone above says, he's tried to 'break up' meetings in the past, but his tactic of turning up alone, shouting a lot and wandering about just made him look silly and rather belied the HP Sauce claim to upholding fredom of uttering uncomfortable truths -that dosn't mean shouting over people ad nauseam.

The 43 Group thing is just another attempt to pretend that whining about protesters on blogs is somehow equivalent to marching for a cause. The fact that the've started using 'the marching left' as a term of abuse says it all; if this all meant so much to them they'd get off their arses, but as far as I can see the only causes Toube has ever marched in favour of are a) the IDF bombing Gaza and b) wandering around Trafalgar Square claiming ot be 'blogging for Iranian democracy' when in actual fact he was blogging about how funny Seumas Milne's name is. There's also the weirdness of spending one's itme on a public demonstration, um, blogging...

I don't believe the PSC are a racist organisation. However, when we have a situation where some branches are hosting people like Atzmon, yep, that's a serious issue.

I'm with FR on this - there are clearly some nutters and antisemites attracted to the PSC cause and some branches don't seem to be very good at spotting them. However - the HP Sauce meme of 'The PSC is the EDL' doesn't really work. It's another one of those examples of HP Sauce trying to say something enough times and thus make it true. Though they've actually more or less given up on it now - the last Toube/LL piece was inreadable in its leaps in logic, etc.

Assuming it's not a pseudonym for multiple posters, I'm sure I can recall seeing LL pushing legal howlers that no half-decent lawyer, in any field, would.

iirc the correlation between Toube being threatened with a libel suit and the appearance of 'Lucy Lips' was pretty clear; LL also shares the Toube obsessions e.g. the Quakers which gives it away for me.

10/10/2011 09:12:00 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

there are clearly some nutters and antisemites attracted to the PSC cause and some branches don't seem to be very good at spotting them.

In most cases when alerted to the problem they seem to have removed offensive material from their websites and distanced themselves from the worst offenders. Perhaps HP has done them a service by cataloguing these imperfections, but I'll leave without further comment a link to Lucy Lips' latest:

Looking at Normblog, I noticed an argument that the word violence should be restricted to its literal meaning, and wondered if there was any possibility that the Professor might apply this to the difference between Israeli actions against Gaza and the rockets fired from there.

10/10/2011 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

The context of Toube's "43 Group" remark in the post linked by organic cheeseboard suggests that he is equating Palestine Solidarity with fascism. Whether he would go out and physically attack or try to break up PSC meetings, I don't know. But he is not referring to anti-fascist activism as generally understood.

Levi, I'm not sure that I agree with what I take to be the implication here. I'm really not sure that "anti-fascist activism" is served by breaking up meetings. Rather, it gives legitimacy to fascists. (I don't think Toube's attempt to break up a different meeting did much good, even though I find him more sympathetic than them. He just came across as boorish, domineering, and really rather egotistical.)

What I know of fascist grouplets suggests that they're naturally highly fissionable. Their members natural intolerance extends to fellow fascists.

I'm all for the prosecution of 'hate crimes'. I think certain fascists should be locked up because they're simply unbearable and violent bastards. But I think ever allowing them to claim victimhood (and I think this is a unifying theme across the nasty right -- the Tea Party, the BNP, several kinds of Zionist apologist, etc all claim that they're being sidelined or silenced or persecuted by Feminazi atheist libruls etc) is a huge tactical mistake. Let them film their meetings and put them on YouTube. It would take a brain of stone not to see that they're all twats.

10/10/2011 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

The latter are the issue. I don't believe the PSC are a racist organisation. However, when we have a situation where some branches are hosting people like Atzmon, yep, that's a serious issue.

It's not to me. Maybe I'm being a freedom of speech extremist here, but Atzmon can say what he likes. (I wouldn't invite Atzmon to speak, because I think he would alienate more people than he would even please, let alone convert.)

Ten years ago, I was at the march against the invasion of Afghanistan. (Then I changed my mind; then I changed my mind, again, etc.) I thought all the speakers were pretty poor [understatement]. I wasn't there for them.

I actually think that anyone willing to speak at a political gathering like that is suffering from delusions of grandeur.

It's not a serious issue. You don't like a speaker? Leave. Heckle. Change your mind and vote for the other guy. Why is 'the left' (including Harry's Place) so keen on closing down debate?

I don't deny that Atzmon talks some nonsense. But I've no desire to live in a Platonic Republic where anything possibly fictional is banned. I have, arguably naively, enough faith in the people that I beleive they can survive a diet of lies and distortions. Given our press, I bloody hope so.

Good argument sometimes drives out bad argument. Censorship never does. Censorship is the tool of frightened dictators. We've seen that in the old Iron Curtain countries. We've seen that in the Arab Spring.

Every time I read Melanie Phillips or certain Harry's Place comments, I understand the urge to censor. It must be resisted.

If we do not stand up for free speech, who will?

10/10/2011 04:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CC: "ever allowing them to claim victimhood is a huge tactical mistake."

Hmm . . . I disagree. Copsey's history of antifascism in Britain will explain why.

Chris Williams

10/10/2011 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

CC - My understanding of the 43 Group is that they used to break up fascist meetings. Toube claims that PSC are fascists and that we need a new 43 Group. My assumption was that he was calling for the breaking up of PSC meetings. I wasn't making my own statement as to the desirability or not of breaking up meetings. I was just trying to follow Toube's logic.

Regarding Toube's latest post on anti-zionist Jews, he was a signatory to the "Return statement" that took its title from being against Israel's Law of Return and for the Palestinians' right to return.

That is, he was once an anti-zionist Jew himself. We can all change our minds but nowadays he claims that those of us who seek the abolition of the State of Israel have genocidal intentions. Did he have genocidal intentions back in the day?

10/10/2011 08:48:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

off topic but Nick's after the New Sttesman AGAIN:

I'm amused by Nick's claim that he left the NS because he 'departed from left-wing orthodoxy' - isn't it well-documented that he left because he was being forced to take a pay cut?

From what I cna tell, this Hodges bloke quit because the NS was fed up of him using his blog as a stick to bash Ed Miliband with. A few posts, fair enough, but if you look at the blog there's more or less nothing but anti-Miliband stuff from beginning to end - and it's really shite to boot.

bonus points to nick for calling Paul Staines 'reliable'...

10/11/2011 08:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get the impression that Dan Hodges was given a blogspot at the Staggers to see if the Blairites had anything interesting to say; and they didn't.


10/11/2011 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Skid

Yes, that was an 'interesting' post. I don't think it's unreasonable to question the motivations of someone who claims to be against Atzmon, yet spends so much energy attacking those protesting against him. (A petty, but reasonable point is also "well, are you going to be there or are you going to stay hiding behind your keyboard?"). Because I can't believe that HP don't realise that attacking his critics at a time when they're organising against him is something Atzmon will approve of. Either they don't care or that's actually their intent. (It's noticeable that both HP and Atzmon see anti-Zionist Jews as one of their primary enemies. And that both attack them, at least partly, specifically because they are Jewish).

@ CC

Apart from anything else, it's a serious issue because it does the PSC no favours having a far right nutter like Atzmon on their platform. And there's no obligation to give a platform to everyone, even if you are a 'free speech extremist'. If you're organising an interior decorators conference, not inviting Fred West to speak isn't a free speech issue.

I'd generally disagree with your premise anyway. (With some reservations, I'd second Chris William's recommendation of Copsey. It's one of the very few academic texts that looks at anti-fascism as a movement in its own right. I'll also put in the obligatory plug for Beating the Fascists: The Untold Story of Anti-Fascist Action).

I'm against state bans (which technically are the only thing that actually qualifies as censorship), as I think they do allow fascists to present themselves as the radical opposition to the mainstream. But physical force anti-fascism is a different kettle of fish. Because the fascists try to present themselves as the 'hard men of action' compared to the 'weedy left'. Losing physical confrontations negates that narrative and I've seen no evidence that claiming victimhood is in any way an effective replacement. To give just one example, after frequently having their gigs smashed up, Blood & Honour have no reduced to a tiny rump organisation which holds secret gigs in the middle of nowhere. No opportunity or even intention to grow.

I'm against state bans

10/11/2011 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

I think Tony Greenstein has written very eloquently about Atzmon, and about Lauren Booth as well. However I find him a difficult person - it's not just a question of 'anti-zionism' - he seems quite nihilistic, eg as discussed in this thread.

10/11/2011 03:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Sarah

What's your view on TG's allegations regarding David T/Mikey Ezra?

Personally, I think he makes a very strong case.

10/11/2011 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

I'm not precisely sure what you mean, though I've been skimming back over the comments to try to remind myself. Also - I feel rather as I did when asked to quiz Norman Geras about something - I am uncomfortable (in this context) discussing people I see eye to eye with on most things.

I think the way Atzmon talks about Jewish antizionists is disgraceful. But this is quite an odd response.

"Of course Atzmon is antisemitic. I think a lot of people who steered clear of him, including yours truly, have been loath to say that because of the way this accusation has been weaponized by Zionists, and the desire not to give them any credibility."

10/11/2011 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Seems like a very sensible response - what's odd about it? He's saying that anti-Zionists are reluctant to go public in condemning anti-semitism in their ranks precisely because other people are loudly and persistently demanding that they condemn anti-semitism in their ranks, and using that demand as an attack on them. What's more, they know that denouncing Atzmon would only lead to the attack being redoubled: you've denounced him, why hasn't your friend denounced him? you've denounced him now, why didn't you denounce him last year? and the big one, you've denounced him, why haven't you denounced all the other people we regard as anti-semites in your movement?

10/11/2011 10:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

I'm not precisely sure what you mean, though I've been skimming back over the comments to try to remind myself.

Ok, to try and clarify how I see the situation (my view, not TG's):

The SWP were fucking stupid regarding Atzmon. I do think it calls into question their understanding of antisemitism, as I think it was clear at the time they hosted Atzmon he was an antisemite. And people like Michael Rosen were telling them that and they chose to ignore them. I also think it brings up questions about democratic centralism, certainly about how it operates in the SWP. There were people (Lenin for one) who I believe saw Atzmon for what he was, but the fact he was backed by Martin Smith meant they couldn't do anything. And, to the best of my knowledge (not being party to SWP internal matters), Martin Smith has never been disciplined for that, despite the fact a lot of prominent SWP members are now overtly disowning Atzmon.

That's what I see as the issue with the SWP. With Mikey/David T, the situation is very different. They stated they believed Atzmon was an antisemite and yet they chose to actively fraternise with him. As the David T quotes show, he actively defended Atzmon against charges of racism at precisely the time Atzmon was under fire. And, as the quotes in the post you link to show, Atzmon claims Mikey passed information about TG on to him. A claim Mikey has never denied.

So, if, as HP are now claiming, Atzmon is a Nazi (which I personally think is overly simplistic as an analysis), it means that both David T and Mikey are people who choose to associate with Nazis and in the latter case choose to pass on information to them. How is that different than passing stuff onto Redwatch precisely?

It's not the only incident either. HP chose to host posts by Terry Fitz at a time when Terry Fitz was already up in court on charges of racially aggravated harassment. Can you explain why we should take HP's claims of anti-racism seriously, when a pattern of prominent members knowingly working with racists is emerging?

lso - I feel rather as I did when asked to quiz Norman Geras about something - I am uncomfortable (in this context) discussing people I see eye to eye with on most things.

But a large part of HP's output consists precisely of criticising people for associations of this kind. Why do you believe it's unreasonable for us to hold their posters to the same standard? If what I'm saying is groundless, that would be easy enough to prove. I suspect the issue is that it isn't and you don't want to openly admit that the people you "see eye to eye with on most things" have been caught out fraternising with the far right.

I think the way Atzmon talks about Jewish antizionists is disgraceful.

And he is helped in that by the fact that, once again, when he's under pressure, HP have come to his aid by attacking his opponents. Whereas they only attack Atzmon when they can use it to attack other left groups, the most recent post was specifically prompted by the demonstration against Atzmon.

But this is quite an odd response.

I disagree with that quoted comment. And, to be fair, the follow up comment that

but that kind of circumlocution quite often has a price. Had people been less circumspect, the implosion of Mearsheimer might not have happened. It takes a unique kind of genius to cede the moral high ground to the denizens of Harry’s sewer, where every kind of bigotry is acceptable except antisemitism, or the concentration camp volunteer guard Jeffrey Goldberg.

suggests that Levi (I assume it's you Levi) also recognises it was a mistake.

But we were talking about Atzmon, HP and Tony G. And that has never been Tony's position on Atzmon. He's been against him from the start. He was criticising him at the same time David T and Mikey were going out drinking with him. So I don't see how a comment by someone entirely different in any way reflects on him.

10/11/2011 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

The quote wasn't from me. It was Gabriel Ash. If you search the word Atzmon on JSF you will see that I did do a lot of posts condemning him until I admitted to suffering from "Atzmon fatigue". Also I was criticising his antisemitism before he began attacking Jews against zionism though I didn't put much energy into it.

The idea that the SWP don't understand antisemitism is preposterous. They presumably thought they could turn Atzmon but they were wrong. They knew he was antisemitic all along. Their association with him was pure opportunism. It was disgraceful for sure but it didn't arise out of lack of understanding. The "democratic centralism" thing was an issue in that the leadership could completely ignore ordinary members, viz, Richard Seymour, James Meadway and China Mieville who all tried to persuade the leadership to ditch Atzmon but that merely firms up on the idea that the association with Atzmon had nothing to do with lack of understanding. Their statement denying that Atzmon was/is antisemitic was pure dishonesty on their part.

Having said all that, it is an inescapable fact that zionists have used the false allegation of antisemitism so much they have made it extremely difficult to convince people about the real thing when it does arise. If you look at a lot of criticisms of Atzmon from zionists they often condemn what they call, not his antisemitism but his "anti-zionism". I remember an open letter by Jim Denham in which he listed among Atzmon's offences a desire to "destroy your own country". Conflations like that are downright dishonest and compound the problem of trying to oppose antisemitic freeloaders in the Palestine solidarity movement.

I don't see the point of getting into a willyoucondemnathon with Sarah when it is clear she supports the colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and racist laws which form the core of the State of Israel's existence and she wants opposition to those things denounced as antisemitic. That's why she and people she sees "eye to eye with on most things" promote the EUMC working definition of antisemitism. It conflates antisemitism and anti-zionism. Sadly that enables supporters of the former to masquerade as supporters of the latter.

10/12/2011 12:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Waterloo Sunset - thanks for the clarification. I have absolutely no problem at all with you raising your points about David T and Michael Ezra - I had no problem with people raising the quite different point (to do with linking to a blog) about Norman Geras either. I just don't want to join in, either to defend or criticise them, when I see them as friends, and know some people here see them as enemies.

I had no involvement with HP, except as a reader (or just possibly an occasional guest poster?), at the time of the Terry Fitz case. My own impression, at the time, just based on following it casually, was that the emails mentioned were so extraordinary that they must have been faked to set him up. I don't mean I think that now.

Levi makes my views sound terribly extreme, but I just support a two state solution, without having strong feelings about the details. I don't have a visceral opposition to a one state solution, or to those who support it, I just think, on balance, it doesn't seem optimal.

Levi says people like me use antisemitism dishonestly, but it is inevitable that people will have different thresholds - I accept that people are sincere even if their barrier happens to be a bit lower or higher than my own. I think it was in that spirit that HP and other blogs welcomed Andy Newman and Richard Seymour's statements on Atzmon. I am sure Tony Greenstein is quite sincere too - but I still find too much of what he says objectionable and spiteful (eg about Mira Vogel) to feel unqualified sympathy for him - though I have once or twice nearly made some kind of supportive comment on his more recent Atzmon pieces - but I thought a) he probably wouldn't welcome it and b) it might actually be counterproductive. I have had some perfectly pleasant or at least civil exchanges with antizionists. I think it's fair enough that they want to use the idea of contaminating pro-Palestinian advocacy as part of their argument against Atzmon, as long as it's not the sole part - in fact, I agree with that too. I'm a bit torn, because I instinctively feel that of course they should be supported in their campaign against Atzmon, and obviously supported against his horrible antisemitism against some of them, but also very much dislike the way some of these antizionists have attacked very moderate Zionist (in fact Zionist is probably putting it a bit strongly) campaigners against antisemitism.

10/12/2011 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

Sarah, just about every zionist claims to want a two state solution and most of the people making that claim refuse, as you do, to give any details. You have admitted before now that the end result would mean continued injustice for the Palestinians, which presumably means no redress for Palestinians over the ethnic cleansing and the continuation of the situation where Jews have more right to and more rights in most of Palestine than non-Jews.

Supporting the EUMC working definition of antisemitism and writing in support of it, as you have, is not having a different threshold for antisemitism, it is redefining it altogether as anti-zionism and even criticism of the State of Israel. It is an attempt to prevent any serious criticism of the State of Israel. It is also antisemitic in itself since it essentialises Jews as zionists. In that respect your support for it suggests that your own threshold for antisemitism is lower than you realise.

Twice recently, zionists who claim to support the two state solution have had opportunities to prove that they support it. Once was over the sale of occupation goods by Ahava and the other time was over the recent Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN. Both times you supported the position of the Israeli government and mainstream zionist organisations. In the former case you even demonstrated with supporters of Ahava. In the latter you gave no reason for opposing the Palestinian bid for statehood save for the fact that you claimed to have read one Israeli and one Palestinian writing against the bid. Again you gave no details as to the arguments. It's highly doubtful that an Israeli and a Palestinian were making the same case unless the latter was Walid Shoebat or both were seeking the abolition of the State of Israel. Before the Israeli government had set out its position you wrote that Marko Attila Hoare had written a "balanced" piece in favour of recognition of Palestinian statehood and yet nowhere did he set out the case against the bid. So much for balance. It appears you were hedging pending an Israeli government decision on how to approach the bid. The Israeli government is generally reckoned to be the most extreme in Israel's history and you appear to support it.

I don't think anyone gets anything wrong in describing where you stand or what you support. They just provide details of where your logic leads or try to fill the enormous gaps that you leave. If that makes you look extreme it might be that portrayals of you are more accurate than the way you try to portray yourself.

10/12/2011 09:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Levi - I think any injustice to the Palestinians would be mirrored in injustice to Jews in relation to their own various countries of origin in the ME. And if the Palestinians had their own country they could apply their own stipulations about a right of return to it. I agree that Palestinians in Israel face discrimination, and clearly that's a bad thing.

Although I don't see why I should have strong opinions about the finer details of how a two state solution might pan out, I like the approach taken by Ray Hanania in his blueprint.

I don't agree with you about the EUMC WD, and I have argued more against its repudiation by the UCU than in spontaneous support of it in any case.

I certainly wasn't waiting to see what Israel's approach would be! I'm not going to argue with anyone who says the present Israeli government has some pretty extreme and unwelcome elements in it and is obstructive. Not that the other side is perfect of course.

Actually, for me, I think the easy course would have been to sign the petition - it seems an honourable position, and if my main aim was to prove my pro-Palestinian credentials it would have been a good step to take. But - even though I really respect Marko AH etc - I felt uneasy making even a token gesture which might lead to bad results for both Israelis and, particularly, Palestinians. (And I'd never have signed anything against it either.) I focused on the possibility of violence and not so much on the financial repercussions - but that's what Mahmoud Jabari emphasised (he's the Palestinian whose anxieties made me pause) and he was quite right to, as I posted here.

10/12/2011 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

Sarah - Are you suggesting that the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is justified by the subsequent departure of Jews from Arab states?

The thing is you support the perpetrators of injustice against the Palestinians whereas you do not support the perpetrators of injustice against Jews. At least you haven't claimed to until now if that's what you are doing. I think it's racist to suggest that members of identity groups can only be dealt with collectively. Human rights (such as the right to live in, leave and return to ones homeland) are individual rights. If someone throws me out of my home in the UK for being Jewish, it would bring me no comfort or redress to know that a non-Jew has been thrown out of their home in France.

You claim that it is antisemitic to oppose the perpetrators of injustice against the Palestinians. You claim to believe that it is antisemitic to describe Israel's ethnic cleansing and other oppression of Arabs as racist. That is not you being more sensitive to racism than me, or you raising or lowering the bar on what is or what is not antisemitism; it is you redefining antisemitism to suit your own support for racist war criminals.

You also claim that the working definition is a useful "tool against discrimination" without giving any examples of discrimination that have occurred without its use.

I'm not saying that you should have an opinion about the finer details of a two state solution. I was saying (implying anyway) that you have a penchant for saying things that appear to be deliberately meaningless. I also had in mind how you tend to tailor your views to those of other racists even when it means changing your mind from previous positions.

I saw Ray Hanania's piece and it is utter nonsense. He sets out points that are racist in parts and self-contradictory in others. It's here for anyone who wants to see it.

But his first point alone condemns it:
"I support two-states, one Israel and one Palestine. As far as I am concerned, I can recognize Israel’s “Jewish” character and Israelis should recognize Palestine’s “non-Jewish” character."

In order for that to work there would have to be a legal definition of who is and who is not a Jew for the purpose of basic citizenship rights. That ought to be unacceptable to liberal opinion but of course it is standard practice in Israel and used to determine where certain people can and can't live.

Regarding what you said about Marko Atilla Hoare's post, it was just another example of you using meaningless terminology; in that instance "balanced". Elsewhere you have described Douglas Murray as having "mellowed" without saying from what to what and Melanie Phillips as "mostly logical" without saying what she is logical about.

I read your piece on how the withdrawal of funding from the PA by the US Congress was a consequence of the PA's statehood bid. Looking on the bright side, it does give you another opportunity to blame the victims for being victims.

I am curious about those you consider to be your friends. Is it because you consider certain people to be your friends that you support their politics or is it their politics that makes you consider them friends?

10/13/2011 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger flyingrodent said...

Odd little column by Aaro today. The broad thrust is quite correct - basically, most people are peace loving and want to get on with it without lots of wars and mass death - but it contains a lot of little nods and winks that I find a bit odd. Here, let me do my usual highly-uncharitable-shorterised version...

...My teacher once read us The Second Coming by Yeats. It was well apocalyptic, bruv, and from that line "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" were spawned a bajillion newspaper columns arguing for extreme and idiotic policies under the guise of a transparently fraudulent centrism.

When I was a kid, I thought Yeats was a big square who didn't understand young people's passion. I thought, "Activism" was "the business of loudly and visibly caring", "Even if you were sometimes wrong. Even if you were often wrong". Implicit here is the idea that nowadays, I'm out of the loud, visible caring business, a contention which is debatable at best. The less said about being "often wrong" the better, I think.

Small groups of mad Islamists are fucking things up for everyone in Afghanistan and Pakistan with their violent religous lunacy. Mad Islamists in Iraq still occasionally "obliterate themselves and others in pursuit of incomprehensible (and now unreported) goals".

(Note: Ironically, after a decade of beating the media for its failure to report The Good News From Iraq - painting schools, that kind of thing - I am now poking sly jibes at the media for failing to report The Bad News From Iraq.

Even more ironically, the really important Bad News From Iraq is that it has one of the most corrupt governments on Earth; that it routinely disappears and tortures its citizens and shoots protestors, and that it has been quietly supporting the Assads' ultraviolent campaign against Syrians, because its commitment to democracy is considerably less convincing than we might have hoped. Obviously, I am not worried that Bad News about the Iraqi government is not being reported. I only want to hear Bad News if it looks bad for murderous Islamic lunatics)...

(Cont. below...)

10/13/2011 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

Jeez, I just tried to find the article and you have to pay for that stuff. Keep it coming, I ain't paying.

10/13/2011 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger flyingrodent said...

...This lunacy reminds me of that Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador. It's "a conspiracy of such absurdity that I would be inclined to dismiss it, except that some Iranian governing cliques do believe that such conspiracies can work (although usually only when Jews do the organising)".

(Translation for the Indecent - "The idea that the Iranians would pay an American to hire a Mexican drug cartel to whack a minor Saudi official in Washington for no sane reason at all is so obviously ridiculous that not even I can seriously pretend to believe it. On the other hand, the Iranians are anti-Semites, so they probably definitely did it. This bizarre slice of Decent Bokononism actually makes perfect sense, provided you just accept that the Iranians are mental and don't actually think about it logically at all.")

There follows a long spiel making the entirely fair point that nutters are nutters and that most people aren't interested in nutterdom, and would rather that the nutters went away. Examples: Iran, Tunisia, Egypt.

"While we were locked into our necessary but Lilliputian speculations about the unusual work-life imbalance of the Defence Secretary, people were dying in Cairo". Note here the passive-aggressive tone; the complete disinclination to establish any connection at all between Liam Fox's job and deaths in Egypt, and the usual Aaronovitchian implication that real problems only exist in foreign countries, whereas our domestic attempts to hold government officials to account for their actions are trivial, fatuous and farcical.

When those Egyptians attacked the Israeli embassy, it was really just a small crowd, and that surely means that most Egyptians are not angry at Israel at all. 70% of Egyptians support the peace treaty with Israel - in other words, most Egyptians are moderate.

Thus "Moderate" means "Not being angry about Israel". Isn't that very, very lucky.

Libya will soon be liberated. By "Liberated", I mean that Sirte and Bani Walid will be pounded into space dust with planes and artillery in exactly the kind of vicious urban combat that our "humanitarian intervention" was explicitly intended to prevent, even though there are tens of thousands of civilians trapped between the warring parties. But let's not talk about that. "Liberate" is the perfect word to describe what has been going on in Libya all this time, and I'm so fiercely interested in what's going on there right now that I've devoted five whole words to Libya in an opinion piece that's entirely about the fucking Arab Spring.

Let's close with a humorous anecdote about the Tunisian electorate, that's actually quite funny and heart-warming.

Like I say, it's a funny piece. When Aaro talks about small cliques of highly belligerent extremists who are hell-bent on plunging the rest of us into war and mayhem because of their Messianic certitude in their own noble aims, I can't help but think of other individuals who exhibit similar characteristics. These individuals might include certain persons who might be living in Britain and writing columns for the Times, for instance.

10/13/2011 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous belle le triste said...

(minor point of course, but aaro's teacher did quite a poor job explain yeats to the young DA -- nietzsche is many things but mild-mannered square is not one of them, and WBY was a nietzsche man first and last)

10/14/2011 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Douglas Murray, for HJS, has just been on Radio 4 news trying to defend Liam Fox and claim he's done on wrong. When the deputy editor of the Torygraph in the same item effectively says you're talking rubbish then, well, you're talking rubbish.

10/14/2011 09:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Brownie said...

Can you explain why we should take HP's claims of anti-racism seriously, when a pattern of prominent members knowingly working with racists is emerging?

Because this "pattern" doesn't exist except in the warped minds of desperados consumed by their own antipathy. That's why.

10/17/2011 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

So Waterloo Sunset, what have we learned? You can accuse HP or "working with racists" or being racists, but accusing them of a "pattern" is tantamount to an allegation of consistency and that just won't do.

10/17/2011 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Can I point out that HP contributer Sarah A B was asked if she supported the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes as recognised in international law and enshrined in UN resolutions 194 and 242?

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

She replied that she opposed the Palestinians' right of return and thus fell foul of the very EUMC ‘Working Definition of Antisemitism’ which she had promoted.

I wonder if Brownie 'singles out' Palestinians for denial of basic human rights and therefore holds Israel to a lower standard of behaviour.

10/17/2011 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous bensix said...

Read this and this and wonder how baffled he is now.

10/17/2011 09:42:00 PM  
Anonymous bensix said...

(Previous comment retracted.)

10/17/2011 09:43:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

I know he's not a Decent but he's certainly admired - in fact a friend - of some Decents. This piece on Douglas Murray mkes for interesting reading - seems that finally the message about him has hit home, and he's also finally 'recanted' his 'deport any muslim who opposed the Iraq war' views...

though i don't think this is the full story on why the Tory front bench is ignoring him - surely it's firmly related to the fact that the 'CSC' fed David Cameron dodgy info on Islamic schools when he was in opposition, with hilarious results at PMQs...?

10/18/2011 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

I'm a very late comer to this Decent malarkey. How do you distinguish Douglas Murray from a Decent?

10/18/2011 08:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Briefly, because "Decent" is shorthand for "Decent Left", and there's nothing Left about Douglas Murray.

-- Couscous Kid.

10/18/2011 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

Thanks for that but in policy terms what does a Decent support that Douglas Murray doesn't?

10/18/2011 08:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't help with that one, I'm afraid, as I don't know (and nor do I care to know) much about Murray's views on policy.


10/18/2011 08:59:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

There's no doubt that dougie Murray supports a whole lot of things that most Decents, and certainly not Aaro for instance, would touch with a bargepole. But he is chummy with a few, not least Nick Cohen (who's very nthusiastically promoted Murray in his 'Ratbiter' guise in Private Eye), and he's also been the employer of Edmund Standing and Alex Hitchens, two people beloved of HP Sauce, so he's sort of on topic for this blog; in fact one of the interesting things about Murray is how his hating a few of the same things they do have led some Decents to pal up with this far-right bigot (also see Chas Newkey Burden).

10/18/2011 09:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

As I've had to turn down various kind invitations to condemn recently here, I'll try to make up for it a bit by saying, again, that I thought Marko AH's article on DM was a good one.

10/18/2011 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harry's Place of course published a defence of Douglas Murray's revolting "Pim Fortuyn Memorial" speech, saying that in it Murray "argued for no special treatment for any minority, or majority. He advocated equal rights – and treatment – for all"

10/18/2011 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Sarah, you don't need to condemn anything, just explain why you believe that Palestinians do not deserve universal human rights and the protection of international law.

10/18/2011 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...


That was a classic Decency hunt though, largely called off when it became clear it wasn't the Guardian but a computer programme they were arguing with.

10/18/2011 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Why did no one tell me that Alan (not the ex-minister) Johnson is now employed by Adam Werrity's sugar daddies at BICOM?

'Also joining, to work on a number of special projects, is Professor Alan Johnson, the founder and editor of Democratiya, an online journal that merged with the US magazine Dissent in 2009 when Johnson joined Dissent’s editorial board. He is a founder member of Labour Friends of Iraq.'

Who is Alan joining?

'Two further new members of staff are also joining 14-strong BICOM. Luke Akehurst will start on 15 August as director of campaigns for ‘We Believe in Israel’, the ‘public advocacy network’ launched in May. He is currently a director in Weber Shandwick’s public affairs team.'


10/18/2011 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Matthew and Ben: I see from the Harry's Place post on the Times selling GA's book that it was summarised as being about the influence of "identity politics". But I thought identity politics was now ultra uncool on the right (or middling right or whatever the Decents are). So if, say, black identity politics or Muslim identity politics are wrong, why is it wrong to criticise Jewish identity politics?

CCK: in what sense is "Decency" used as shorthand for "Decent Left"? Decency (to me) clearly includes the H'S'JS (and 'Scoop' though a Democrat, was far-right) and Blairism. When was the last time Blair did anything remotely left-wing?

Given that Aaro seems to dislike the Labour Party when it deviates from Blairism, and given that Blairism has nothing to do with the traditions of the Labour Party, I don't even know if we can call Aaro 'left-wing' any more. (This goes for Rentoul, etc.)

10/18/2011 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...


BICOM’s former public affairs head was Nicki Cohen, who left in January.

Surely no relation?

10/18/2011 03:37:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

from what i can tell the 'special projects' that ATM is working on are a series of tedious 'just journalism' style attacks on the guardian. the professors i work with are a lot busier than to spend their days writing this kind of thing.

10/18/2011 03:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CCK: in what sense is "Decency" used as shorthand for "Decent Left"? Decency (to me) clearly includes the H'S'JS (and 'Scoop' though a Democrat, was far-right) and Blairism. When was the last time Blair did anything remotely left-wing?

Well, in the sense that use of the label "Decent" clearly derives from Michael Walzer's essay, "Can there be a decent left?". If over time some people (like you) have broadened to use of the term to cover neoconservatives more generally, then that's fine, I suppose, but it was originally deployed to cover a group who placed themselves on the left or centre-left (often for good reason), and I (at least) continue to use the term to pick out those people, rather than others.

Obviously there are very strong family resemblances between Decents and neoconservatives, strong agreement on certain issues. And it may be that over time the distinction weakens until it practically vanishes. I'm not sure that point has been reached, but perhaps some people think that it has.


10/18/2011 03:49:00 PM  
Anonymous bensix said...

So if, say, black identity politics or Muslim identity politics are wrong, why is it wrong to criticise Jewish identity politics?

I don't think it would be. But there's a difference between criticising Jewish identity politics per se and doing it in the a dishonest, demagogic and despiteful style of Atzmon.

10/18/2011 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

Re Decents, I didn't know until very recently about the "Decent left" article. I just thought that Decent left was a joke about people who describe themselves as leftist while supporting a basket of aggressively right wing policies. Even Douglas Murray calls himself something like the Grand Poobah of the Social Cohesion Lodge. I assumed that Social Cohesion bit of the title was a leftish noise for a rightist cause.

Sarah - you haven't simply turned down invitations to condemn, you've refused to answer honestly any questions arising from your own comments.

10/18/2011 04:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Rosie said...

Chardonnay Chap - I would be interested in a book on identity politics. There's a book called Mein Kampf which deals with identity politics and the writer of it was no mere keyboard theorist but actually put the theories into practice Atzmon has read this book and said it barely mentions Jews. So I would consider, that on the whole, he's an unreliable source on the subject.

10/18/2011 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

You think Harry's Place is a reliable source on the subject?

The biggest problem I find in exposing and condemning real cases of antisemitism is that Israel advocates have been conflating it with anti-zionism for so long many people for whom antisemitism hasn't been a feature of their continent's history are simply confused. The conflation of antisemitism and anti-zionism has also led to an unwitting or deliberate conflation of Jews, zionists and the State of Israel.

Harry's Place is a serial offender when it comes to smearing Israel's critics. Even their lead post right now does exactly that.

I saw that when I looked for David T's insane post on the "nadir of the anti-zionist Jews" in which he "argues" that all anti-zionist Jews are effectively the same as Gilad Atzmon.

If you're going to expose and condemn any form of racism it is probably best to avoid the supporters of the last of the colonial settler states.

Having said that, I found Chardonnay Chap's comment on HP and identity politics misplaced. I don't think HP does condemn identity politics per se. Rather they manipulate its principles to promote the idea that Jews are perfectly entitled to a state based on colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and segregationist laws and they falsely accuse opponents or even victims of this state as being antisemitic.

10/19/2011 08:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Waterloo Sunset said...

Because this "pattern" doesn't exist except in the warped minds of desperados consumed by their own antipathy. That's why.

So HP's working with racists on several occasions should be treated as isolated incidents? Well, if that helps you sleep at night.

While you're here Brownie, how did HP come to give guest posting rights to a man already up in court on racially aggravated charges?

You've previously suggested it's unfair if we judge HP by the commentators and should only judge them by the above the line stuff. So surely you applaud the fact I'm trying to do just that?

10/19/2011 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Rosie said...

You think Harry's Place is a reliable source on the subject?

You can download the audio file and listen to it.

10/20/2011 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

what could it say that would have me believing HP to be a reliable source on the subject of identity politics?

10/21/2011 01:12:00 AM  

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