ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Racism

The Racist, Gilad Atzmon And Zero Books.

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Apparently, the racist Gilad Atzmon is about to have some of his disgusting ramblings published.

The publishers, Zero Books, are a small, relatively new enterprise started in 2009, not to be confused with Zero Press.

Atzmon’s work is very popular on the Far Right, so I had assumed that only active Jew haters would take the time and trouble to publish his filth, but that’s not the case.

Zero Books publish a strange mixture of Paganism, New Ageism and Christianity, with political material as a topping.

This is what they say about themselves, replete with elementary spelling mistakes.

It is not terribly clear who’s behind it, but if you’re interested in healing properties of stones and other such nonsense then Crystal Prescriptions will surely be of interest!

But back to the rational world.

Concerning this issue, there is a kerfuffle on various blogs as to why a publisher of Leftwing authors (and I use the term loosely) should be publishing a racist like Gilad Atzmon.

Many of these posts raise interesting questions, but as far as I can see they fail to analyse with any precision why this situation came about.

What would compel otherwise highly intelligent people (book publishers, etc) to print propaganda for a racist?

Could it be that they conceivably agree with his views? That they share some of his prejudices? And if so, why?

And whilst those questions are answered, it would be nice if these issues could be addressed:

Why, latterly, has anti-Jewish racism become so acceptable in Western societies?

What brought this terrible state of affairs about?

There needs to be clear analysis as to why the publishing of the racist Gilad Atzmon came about, not just the details of events, but a broader commentary is needed on why his views are deemed fit for publishing by the intelligentsia and what does that tell us about anti-Jewish sentiment in society?

More On Pam Geller

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More is coming out on Pam Geller and the recent tragedy in Norway:

“Pamela Geller, the reigning queen of anti-Muslim hysteria, has been feeling intensifying heat since Anders Breivik’s deadly rampage in Norway – and she’s not handling it well.

Geller was one of several prominent anti-Muslim activists cited by Breivik in the 1,500-word manifesto he posted on the Internet hours before his murderous bomb and shooting attack that left 77 Norwegians, mostly teenagers, dead. When news of the attack first broke, Geller published a post on her Atlas Shrugs website all but gloating that she had presaged Islamic violence in Scandinavia – only to discover, embarrassingly, that the attacker was not a jihadist Muslim but a Norwegian national who admired and studied her own rhetoric. Geller awkwardly backtracked, posting a rambling self-defense asserting that Breivik had only mentioned her by name once – while downplaying that he had cited her blog a dozen times, mentioned her co-founding partner of Stop Islamization of America, Robert Spencer, 64 times, and suggested that Spencer should win the Nobel Peace Prize. “

I am reminded that the CST got Geller’s number ages ago.

Update 1: Whenever I post around this topic my moderation queue invariably gets filled with the views of neo-Nazis, Far Rightists, anti-Muslim bigots and other cranks (yes, you know who you are…) wishing to push their racist agenda.

Again, I recommend that they read my comments policy and then sling their hooks.

Update 2: Anders Behring Breivik’s manifesto has been picked apart by the CST and here are a few extracts of their preliminary findings:

“Breivik’s basic narrative, therefore, is one of grievance, resistance to political oppression, conspiracy theory and self-defence of vital interests; and the desperation of the moment demands violence. This is a very common theme in justifications for all forms of terrorism. Moreover, the idea that immigration is a tool used by elites to destroy the white race has been common on the European far right for decades. What is different, and important, in Breivik’s politics is one word: culture.”

It is striking that, even as someone who describes himself as “pro-Israel”, Breivik believes that half of all Israeli Jews are enemies who, presumably, must be killed, imprisoned or punished in some other way; as are three-quarters of European and American Jews. Classical antisemitism constructs an image of a typical Jew which bears no relation to reality, but is simply a cipher for all that the antisemite hates and fears. Breivik’s categorisation of the different types of Jews (and Israel) fits this way of thinking perfectly.

Anti-Muslim Cranks And Anders Behring Breivik.

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Hatewatch has an insightful post on some anti-Muslim bigots and the recent events in Norway:

“The irony is, had Anders Behring Breivik merely posted his manifesto without killing at least 76 innocent children and adults in Norway, he probably would have emerged as a rising star among the anti-Muslim activists he so admired.

As it happened, America’s most fanatical anti-Muslim activists quickly retreated behind walls of denial upon discovering that the perpetrator of Friday’s stunning act of terror was committed not in the name of Islam, but in response to their own mission: Whipping up paranoia about Islam.

Breivik on Monday admitted responsibility for the attack, telling a court that he did it to “save Europe” from Islam. His 1,500-page manifesto, which he posted on the Internet shortly before launching the rampage, confirmed his motivation in no uncertain terms. But in the aftermath of the tragedy, the very people whose anti-Muslim polemics Breivik admired and studied were pathetically incapable of any introspection whatsoever regarding the influence their inflammatory anti-Muslim paranoia might have had on Breivik.

When the news first broke Friday, along with an early, unsubstantiated report that a Muslim terrorist group had claimed responsibility, Pamela Geller, executive director of the anti-Muslim hate group Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), prepared to indict all of Islam for the carnage.

Her first post, at 12:57 p.m. Friday was headlined, “Jihad in Norway?” Mocking her critics, she wrote, “But remember, jihad is not the problem. New York’s 911, London’s 7/7, Madrid’s 3/11, Bali, Mumbai, Beslan, Moscow … is not the problem. ‘Islamophobia’ is the problem. Repeat after me as you bury the dead, ‘Islamophobia is the problem, Islamophobia is the problem.’” “

Geller is exceedingly predictable and so despicable, nakedly exploiting the death of innocent Norwegians for her own political purposes.

The Respect Chair, Carole Swords And Racism.

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The CST takes the Respect Chair, Carole Swords to task for her racist “slip”.

Seismic Shock reminded us that she previously promoted a pro-Crusader article from Stuart Littlewood.

Why she would have wanted to associate with an obsessive racist like Littlewood I can’t say, but she could have at least looked him up on Google and taken the hint.

Littlewood writes for Veterans Today, a nasty conspiratorial and antisemitic on-line rag run by the crank and friend of the Far Right, Gordon Duff.

Who can forget Duff’s kind words about Ernst Zundel:

“The best known scholoar of holocaust theories is Dr. Thomas Dalton, author of
Debating the Holocaust; A New Look at Both Sides. Dalton discusses the history of
the “denialist” movement and efforts made to criminalize, not only politically
motivated efforts to change majority perceptions of the holocaust but also stifle
legitimate research into, not only the holocaust but a more accurate history of Europe
in the mid 20th Century. Most recently, Ernst Zundel, a German born researcher
who has questioned issues related to the holocaust was extradited from Canada and
imprisoned for years in Germany for “crimes” that, in America would be considered
not just “freedom of speech” but relatively modest historical enquiry. Zundel
questioned the number “six million” and, in doing so, was arrested and convicted of
an obscure law that creates a special class of truth when Jewish perception is
involved.

Zundel, and significant numbers of historians of varying credibility believe the
number of Jewish dead is being vastly over stated along with the methods of killing.
It is their contention that since there is no scientific evidence that gassing or
cremation facilities existed designed for masskilling, a major area of their research,
that numbers of dead should be reassessed. They insist that since camps such as
Auschwitz and Dachau are no longer considered “death camps” and that many other
camps listed disappeared “without any trace” according to their research, that the
number dead should be lowered by up to 80%. “

Is it merely coincidental that “anti-Zionists”, like Carole Swords, end up espousing racist ideas?

I suspect it is more a case of lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas!

UCU, This Will Not Be The Last.

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It is slow blogging from me for a while, but I would recommend that readers take a long hard look in at Engage.

Recently they have been superb, positively on steroids with a fine bevy of posts.

I would suggest that members of the University and College Union read and think about James Mendelsohn’s resignation letter to Sally Hunt, which I produce in full:

“Dear Sally

Thank you for your message.

I was happy to sign the petition of no confidence in the government’s HE policies and, like you, I have very serious concerns about the White Paper.

Regrettably, though, I am no longer able to join in UCU’s fight against the government’s measures. This is because I am no longer a member of UCU. Following the passing of Motion 70 at the most recent annual Congress, I felt that I had no choice but to resign. Not only does Motion 70 reject the most widely-used definition of anti-Semitism in the world, it fails to provide any alternative definition. The motives of those who proposed the motion are clear: they rightly understood that, according to the EUMC Working Definition, their obsessive campaign to single out Israeli academics for boycott year on year might indeed be anti-Semitic. Whether intentionally or otherwise, this has made UCU an even more uncomfortable place for Jewish members than it was previously. I can no longer contribute money to such an organisation in good conscience.

Please do not send me the same generic response you have sent to others who have resigned on these grounds. Sadly, your repeated claim that UCU abhors anti-Semitism is not borne out by the evidence; rather, the evidence points overwhelmingly in the other direction. For example, a union which truly abhorred anti-Semitism would have no truck with Bongani Masuku, whose statements were correctly defined as anti-Semitic hate speech by the South African Human Rights Commission. UCU, by contrast, invited Masuku to promote the boycott campaign. Does that sound to you like the mark of a union which abhors anti-Semitism?

Speaking on a more personal level, I sent you three emails on related issues in 2008, which are attached. I think you would agree that a trade union which abhorred anti-Semitism would take such emails from an ordinary member seriously. Regrettably, I never received a reply to any of them.

I no longer wish to contribute my money to an organisation which has a problem with institutionalised anti-Semitism. I am sure I will not be the last Jewish member who feels forced to resign, even at a time when trade union protection and solidarity are more important than ever. Once again -please do not send me your generic reply. All I would ask you is: do you realise that the boycott campaign is now weakening the union’s numbers and credibility, at a time when a strong union is needed more than ever? And do you ever lie awake at night wondering why, in the 21st century, Jewish members have left UCU in droves?

Yours sincerely

James Mendelsohn

Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Huddersfield ” [My emphasis.]

(H/T: Engage)

Read Before Attacking.

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Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch has a funny story about a rather dumb neo-Nazi.

Read and enjoy.

Written by modernityblog

14/07/2011 at 18:57

Another Member Resigns Over Institutional Racism In UCU.

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Over at Engage.

Blogs in June 2011.

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I thought I should see what others are doing:

Flesh is Grass has an important post on how the EDL managed to march, unescorted, from Redbridge to Dagenham.

Yaacov Lozowick has given up blogging. Pity, I didn’t agree with him, much, but he has a thoughtful way and articulates many intelligent ideas.

Johnny Guitar thinks about the Troubles, the Good Friday Agreement and the need for a South Africa-style truth commission, just not at the moment.

Weggis on the case against biofuels. Completely agree, it seems so questionable to use food stuff or related material as fuel for the internal combustion engine.

Harry Barnes on Sorting Out The Labour Party, which I think is very optimistic. In the short term they could ditch Ed Miliband, try to be a bit radical, really, seriously distance themselves from the skeleton of New Labour. Chance would be a fine thing.

In related news, I am not surprised that Ed Miliband is less popular than Iain Duncan Smith or William Hague, when they were in a similar position. Frankly, Miliband’s inarticulate, has the charisma of a saucer and he’s politically useless.

Jams looks at an evil cat, great photos.

Mark Gardner at the CST has a reflective post on the situation at UCU and its wider implications, From UCU to MEMO and “Israel’s British hirelings”.

Ten minutes hate on the ‘miracle villages’.

Chris Dillow considers Miliband’s power blindness.

Nick Lowles provides a photo and details of the EDL thugs racial attack in Dagenham.

Sorrel Moseley-Williams ponders Journalists’ Day in Argentina.

Not a blog, but worthwhile all the same. Searchlight on the BNP’s use of Facebook and Twitter.

Rosie looks at Fact and Fiction.

James Bloodworth has a couple of cracking posts, Will the Defence Secretary’s links with Sri Lanka compromise British calls for an enquiry? and Isn’t it time for an apology, Mr Chomsky?

Rebecca provides an update on the Gaza flotilla. Personally, I think the Israeli Government should allow them into Gaza with minimum fuss or hassle. I think Gazans should get as much as they can, after all living under Hamas must be terrible.

Jack of Kent looks at the arrest of blogger Jacqui Thompson and the many unanswered questions.

Greens Engage on Cynthia and Jello.

At Greater Surbiton, a guest post by David Pettigrew, Justice in Bosnia after Mladic.

Eric Reeves has a piece in the Washington Post, In Sudan, genocide anew?

Engage has an abundance of posts which should be read, just a small selection: Open antisemitism doesn’t harm your reputation, Sally Hunt pretends not to understand the term “institutional racism” and Richard Kuper on the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism (by Eve Garrard)

Enjoy!

Whisky, West Dunbartonshire Council And Fakes.

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In response to the symbolic boycott of Israeli products by West Dunbartonshire Council some people are organising a boycott of Scotch whisky.

It all seems to me a bit petty, given that West Dunbartonshire Council doesn’t actually import any Israeli products. Certainly, they use technology which is derived from Israeli know-how, that includes but isn’t limited to Intel chips, Microsoft XP software and Kinect.

However, the Council and the posturing Councillors are hardly going to inconvenience themselves by really boycotting Israeli technology, lest it proves too troubling, like giving up using Google (their key search algorithm was developed by an Israeli).

As for the retaliatory boycott, well I am not sure it makes the required point, but Drink Business Review explains:

“FJMC Executive Director Rabbi Simon’s boycott urge followed after Israeli-Anglo blogger and pro-settlement activist, Jameel Rashid publicized on his website a letter to several distilleries located within West Dunbartonshire.

In his letter he stated, the global counter boycott of Scottish whiskey products, distilled in the West Durbanshire council region, is beginning, and requested officers to cease the purchase of any goods that made or grown in Israel.

The West Dunbartonshire Council, while it has not responded publically to calls endorsing a boycott of locally manufactured spirits, has defended the decision which sparked the protest.

The council’s boycott only relates to goods ‘made or grown’ in Israel. The vast majority of mainstream books by Israeli authors are published in the UK, and are therefore not affected by this boycott. “

The intense interest in this issue has revealed an exceedingly unsavoury side to the instigator of the boycott, Councillor Jim Bollan.

Bollan seems perfectly comfortable contextualising the decapitation of a three-month old baby, as the JC reports:

“”Violence breeds violence. Have you any idea what may have motivated this man [Awad] to commit this crime? Could it have been because he may have seen Palestinian children slaughtered by the IDF?”

Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their children were murdered in the West Bank settlement in March. The youngest victim, three month old Hadas, was decapitated.

Responding to another pro-Israel activist, Mr Bollan declared: “Hamas was elected and are freedom fighters alongside the Palestinians fighting an illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel.”

Mickey Green of Scottish Friends of Israel said: “I’m not surprised he has sunk to this level. This is a man with pre-conceived ideas and a mental block to reason. He is functioning at a nasty, visceral level.

Judy reports that the fake Gay Girl in Damascus had form, as, er a “anti-Zionist” or something like that.

Marko at Greater Surbiton points out the Guardian’s complicity in this issue, The Guardian’s disgraceful treatment of Jelena Lecic.

Over at Though Cowards Flinch, Carl has a superb post on Chavez, anti-Zionism, and antisemitism. It is noticeable how the thread is almost monopolised by a particular “anti-Zionist”, who is keen to quibble and nitpick on these issues, but he can’t see any anti-racism. Well, not when it is aimed at Jews, that is.

Finally, Tim Marshall has a provocative post, The ‘Arab Spring’ And The Conspiracy Of Silence:

“Across the Middle East from the Arab leaders you can hear the sound…… of silence. A similar sound emanates from many Muslim ‘activists’.

Take the most glaring example – Bahrain. The allegation, backed by human rights groups, is that the Sunni ruled state opened fire with live rounds on peaceful protesters from the majority Shia population, killed large numbers of people, then followed up with a wave of arrests which resulted in widespread torture.

The response from Arab leaders? In the Gulf, the 6 nation Gulf Cooperation Council quickly sent troops to assist in the repression whilst most Western nations, aware of the US military fleet based in Bahrain did little to upset the old order. Elsewhere, the Jordanians, Egyptians, Syrians, Algerians et al – just kept quiet.

During the Egyptian upheaval the House Of Saud was quietly horrified at how quickly the Americans let the Generals get their way and remove Mubarak. In private they let Washington know their displeasure, but to have complained openly would have been to do what you don’t do in the Arab political world in public (and to a lesser extent in our own systems) which is to tell the truth.

Update 1: This is a thoughtful perspective on Tom MacMaster, the fake blogger, Understanding #amina.

The EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism.

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Having followed various discussions, it seems to me that many of those talking about the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism haven’t actually read it.

It’s not a complicated document, rather a simple A4 sheet, dating from 17th August 2005.

It is available as a PDF [downloadable here], but as a public service I am providing a copy of the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism in text format:

WORKING DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM

The purpose of this document is to provide a practical guide for identifying incidents, collecting data, and supporting the implementation and enforcement of legislation dealing with antisemitism.

Working definition: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.
Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

• Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
• Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
• Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
• Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
• Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
• Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:

• Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
• Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other
democratic nation.
• Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
• Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
• Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of antisemitic materials in some countries).
Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property—such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries—are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.
Antisemitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.”

UCU, A Political Vacuum And Racism.

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You might have supposed that University and College Union’s delegates at their recent Congress would have had a grasp of cause and effect (coming from the educational sector as they do), or at the very least, they should have had some sense of history, but apparently not.

When the UCU’s NEC brought forth a motion disregarding the EUMC’s working definition on antisemitism they seemed to think nothing would occur. That no one would respond. That people would not notice or care.

Because if they did appreciate the dialectic of politics, how their actions would cause immense offence and disquiet, then the UCU’s NEC would have known that consequences must surely follow from their actions.

If they knew that there would be a negative response, and as a result that trade unionism would be weakened and disparaged then the UCU’s NEC are culpable of bringing trade unionism into disrepute. They can’t have believed that this issue existed in a political vacuum. They knew what they were doing and how it would reap a detrimental reaction for trade unionism. The UCU’s NEC are, at the very least, guilty of endangering the continuation of trade unionism within further and higher education.

As the days and weeks pass that is what we are seeing. UCU members are leaving in disgust. UCU’s actions have been shown to be intellectually untenable and reprehensible in the extreme. Trade unionism and UCU has been brought into disrepute by UCU’s institutionalised racism.

Further, Universities may take action because of UCU’s inability to deal with anti-Jewish racism in its own organisation, I despair. The TES has more:

“The Board of Deputies of British Jews has written to vice-chancellors urging them to consider derecognising the University and College Union if it “refuses to address claims of institutional racism”.

The UCU has been criticised by Jewish groups after delegates at its recent congress voted to reject a working definition of anti-Semitism produced by the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia.

The UCU motion says that the working definition “confuses criticism of Israeli government policy and actions with genuine anti-Semitism” and “is being used to silence debate about Israel and Palestine on campus”.

The motion, proposed by the UCU’s national executive committee, says the union “will make no use of the definition (eg, in educating members or dealing with internal complaints)”.

The UCU has previously attracted criticism from Jewish groups for motions proposing an academic boycott of Israel, although no such motions were raised at this year’s congress.

Vivian Wineman, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, wrote to vice-chancellors on 1 June.

“Following these developments, and in light of UCU’s history of behaviour, we now believe it to be an institutionally racist organisation,” he writes.

Mr Wineman adds that since its formation in 2006, the UCU “has been obsessed with Jews and Israel”.

The boycott debate “has poisoned the atmosphere inside UCU and led to many Jewish members feeling harassed for their beliefs and identities”, he argues.

He adds: “If UCU refuses to address claims of institutional racism, then we would ask that you reconsider whether formal union recognition…is appropriate at all”. “

(H/T: Engage]

A Drunk And A Mosque.

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Another sign of open anti-Muslim bigotry, the Torygraph explains:

“Jamie Knowlson, 30, also draped slices of meaton railings outside the mosque as his victims prayed inside.

He was then caught on CCTV hurling abuse at worshippers after they confronted him over his act.

Islam teaches its followers to avoid pig meat as it makes them impure and unclean.

Knowlson initially told police the stunt was a drunken joke but later admitted that he was fully aware of the offence his actions would cause.

He pleaded guilty to causing racially or religiously aggravated harassment and could have been jailed for up to two years.

But he walked free from Bristol Crown Court with a suspended six-month prison sentence because he had returned to the mosque to apologise for his actions.

Sentencing, Her Honour Judge Carol Hagen said: ”It is difficult to imagine a more offensive incident.

”Not only the fixing of meat to railings but aggravated, in my view, that members of the mosque were inside praying at the time.”

The court heard that Knowlson, from Kingswood, Bristol, targeted the Al-Baseera mosque in the St Judes area of the city which is used by more than 2,000 Somali Muslims every week.

He crept to the mosque from nearby Redwood House homeless shelter on January 9 this year – putting ham in footwear and on railings outside the building as worshippers prayed.

CCTV footage showed him returning to the shelter, where he was confronted by the mosque’s caretaker Abdi Djmaa.

As Mr Djmaa returned to the mosque he heard shouts of ”the next visit will be harder”, ”bad meat” and ”girls” coming from the direction of the building.

David Hunter, prosecuting at Bristol Crown Court, said it had been a premeditated attack specifically targeted at the Muslim community.

Ian Halliday, defending, said: ”This was a brutal, misconceived, drunken prank. He returned to the mosque and offered his apologies in person.”

Knowlson sat in tears as he was handed a six-month suspended sentence and 150 hours of unpaid work.

A second man is due to stand trial in connection with the incident later this month.

After sentencing, Mubarak Mohamud, one of the three imams at the Al-Baseera mosque, claimed the inflammatory act had upset the Muslim community.

He said: ”There wasn’t anger, people were more upset and shocked.
”We don’t eat pork and we are banned by our faith from eating it, as it makes us impure when we are going to our prayers.

”We don’t hate the man – we just suppose he doesn’t know us.”
Knowlson refused to comment after leaving court.

A drunken reveller had urinated through the letter box of the same mosque a few years ago. “

Update 1: Any racists or thickarses tempted to comment on this post should first read my comments policy, then go else where.

Update 2: Readers might like to peruse this post as well, Site Of The Month: I’m Not Racist, But.

Written by modernityblog

07/06/2011 at 14:17

A Thin Skinned SNP Councillor, The Middle East And Boycotts.

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I was going to forward a good letter on West Dunbartonshire Council’s boycott of all Israeli products to the Council and Councillor Jonathan McColl, but alas they are blocking communications on Twitter.

They seem naive and thoughtless, to imagine that their actions would not receive a response, but worse than that they haven’t really adjusted their positions. Instead they have become truculent and defensive, which is a pity for the Scottish National Party, as it makes them look small-minded and parochial.

This letter from Pete Tobias‎ to Councillor Jonathan McColl of the SNP is well worth a read:

” June 1st 2011

Dear Councillor McColl,

I have just watched your video blog on YouTube and would like to apologise for the abuse that you and your fellow council members have received from members of the public who are responding inappropriately to your council’s decision to impose a (somewhat selective) ban on goods produced in Israel. I shall refrain from commenting on your interesting views how items such as mobile phones purchased in stores Glasgow owe nothing to Israeli technology, or how you seek to avoid any accident that might require you to receive medical treatment pioneered in the country you and your council seem to have singled out as the sole perpetrators of human rights abuses and atrocities.

Please allow me to be slightly more constructive and make some suggestions as to how you might restore the image of your council as a legitimate and sensible authority rather than appearing to be anti-semitic by focusing exclusively on the State of Israel for your ‘symbolic’ gesture.

Why not propose a motion at your next Council meeting condemning the violent and oppressive treatment of the Syrian people by their own government? And in case you think what is currently happening is an isolated incident, check this out: http://bit.ly/mBGcr9 . Worth a symbolic protest of some sort, don’t you think?

Or how about the Democratic Republic of Congo? www.savethecongo.org.uk. Darfur? Burma? Tibet? Sadly, the list of places in which human rights abuses are perpetrated by one group of people against another is a long and painful one.

As a rabbi, I have consistently found myself being vilified by my own community for comments that I have made criticising Israel’s actions. We are, after all, a people who are taught to think of ourselves as ‘poor we us’, as you so rightly observe, and how dare one of the Jewish people’s own leaders dare to add his voice to those who demand no less than Israel’s destruction? But when I do so, I try to balance my arguments (eg http://bit.ly/kLFUky , http://bit.ly/bYbSAI) – and I also recognise that there are other regimes in the world worthy of criticism.

That last point, I am afraid, is where your claim that West Dunbartonshire Council’s venture into international relations represents a genuine concern with human rights smacks of the anti-semitism that you seek to deny. Your council’s actions are unbalanced, are directed towards one individual country’s failings, but do not even try to take into account the numerous other human rights’ abuses that exist in our troubled world.

Councillor McColl, if you are genuinely concerned about human rights, and you genuinely want to demonstrate that West Dunbartonshire Council is similarly dedicated to such issues, might I suggest that you seek out one or two other causes to champion in your Council Chambers, some different human rights’ violations over which to make a ‘symbolic’ gesture? Otherwise, I am afraid, your protests that you are not behaving in an anti-semitic manner founder on the knee-jerk reaction your Council has made to one situation while ignoring numerous others.

I look forward very much to hearing that West Dunbartonshire Council has passed a resolution condemning the actions of the Syrian government, the Libyan government, the Egyptian government, the Burmese government, or any other cause of your choice. If you are unable or unwilling to do this, then I am afraid you are guilty as charged, and your position in singling out Israel is indefensible.

Yours sincerely,

Rabbi Pete Tobias”[My emphasis.]

Site Of The Month: I’m Not Racist, But.

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How often do you hear the expression “I’m not racist, but….” and you know what comes next, either a choice piece of bigotry or plain old fashion ignorance, that’s what happens.

The site, Not racist, but, bring all of those imbecilic, mindless and intended lumps of stupidity together.

Enjoy, or at least think about the issues.

Written by modernityblog

06/06/2011 at 23:34

A Question For Julian Assange At Hay on Wye.

with 8 comments

Julian Assange will be appearing at the Hay on Wye festival on Saturday 4 June 2011, 2.30pm, Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage.

Apparently, Assange is taking questions at hay@telegraph.co.uk.

Rosie has submitted a good one, it deserves an answer. Not sure if Assange will have the guts to reply on this particular topic:

“[To Julian Assange] What is your relationship with Israel Shamir? In a statement to Private Eye Wikileaks said that Israel Shamir has never been an “agent” of Wikileaks, and generally minimises your relationship.

Could you please explain then the recent article on the Swedish anti-fascist site Expo which stated that you had been in contact with him to recommend potential associates in Sweden for analysing the Wikileaks data.

In an interview with Agora Vox you have echoed his own view of himself that he is persecuted like Salman Rushdie and according to a Panorama programme you emailed him, going along with one of his aliases “Adam” and describing his work as “strong and compassionate”.

Do you still hold that view of Shamir and his writing?

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