ModernityBlog

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

Posts Tagged ‘The Guardian

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 Guardian’s Oxbridge Elite, Press TV And The Kirk.

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Firstly, thanks to Engage for pointing me towards Ben Gidley’s piece at Dissent, The Politics of Defining Racism: The Case of Anti-Semitism in the University and College Union. Clearly, Dr. Gidley is very knowledgeable on this topic and a pleasure to read, here’s a snippet:

“Racism is mercurial. It mutates over time. Pseudoscientific racial theories are now spouted only by marginal cranks. Notions that different races are different species have come and gone; eugenics has come and gone; words like “Aryan” and “Semitic” are starting to sound quaint. The period since the 1980s has seen the rise of cultural racism, or racism that focuses on cultural differences rather than biological ones.”

In class related matters, the Guardian asked its staff, who’d been educated at Oxbridge and had it helped them in their career. Hmm, not a hard question to answer. Next, they’ll be saying old Etonians dominate the British establishment.

The New York Times on Ratko Mladić, chocolates and genocide. I expect that Ed Herman and Diana Johnstone will be up in arms shortly. Balkan Witness has a good page on Herman and other’s denial. NPR is worth a read.

Time has an informative piece on the psychology of dictators, and I suspect that its findings apply more broadly than many would care to admit.

Political Betting looks at political leadership and finds that Ed Miliband has a lower rating than William Hague (when he was Tory leader, briefly), good graph.
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No Comment On Antisemitism At The Guardian?

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Today’s Guardian has a good piece by Jonathan Freedland on antisemitism:

“We may want to believe it went away, but it never did. Not even in the late 1940s, immediately after the revelations of the Holocaust confirmed the murderous place where antisemitic discourse could lead. There were still English literary critics around in those years to refer to the Jews as “Shylocks”, still crime novels with the conniving Jew as the arch-villain. We may want to see the likes of Galliano as relics from another era or as mere eccentrics, but they are expressing a set of attitudes that remain deep in the soil and which have never been fully shaken off. They can appear in the most respected institutions, voiced by the most respectable people. Even when they seem to be dozing, they are never quite dead.”

Yet curiously the Guardian has not enabled comments on this particular article.

It is their right, they can do what they please, but I can’t help wondering if they were fearful of another deluge of antisemitic comments which are frequently found within the pages of the online Guardian and Comment Is Free.

Written by modernityblog

03/03/2011 at 15:34

Racism, Hamas And The Guardian.

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The Guardian’s coverage of Hamas’s racism is often problematic, but it’s not necessarily for the content rather than the downplaying of Hamas’s racism.

As *if* it is incidental to their beliefs.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as the Hamas Covenant shows, oozing from it you will find bigotry and racism towards Jews, conspiracy theories, etc, the lot.

Next, if you were going to report Hamas’s attitude towards the new UN curriculum then you might at least include their initial reaction in 2009:

“”The refugee camps committees categorically refuse to let our children be taught this lie created by the Jews and intensified by their media,” the committees’ letter said. “First of all, [the Holocaust] is not a fact, and secondly, those who added it to the curriculum intended to mess with our children’s emotions.”

Why not mention Khaled Meshaal’s Holocaust revisionism?

Meshaal is a major Hamas leader and his thinking is central to Hamas’s outlook on the world. On the 31st of March 2008, Khaled Meshaal tells a Sky interviewer:

“KM: We don’t want to harm any religion in the world. We don’t deny the holocaust.
But, we believe the Zionists have exaggerated the numbers to get sympathy from other nations. But, there is Palestinian suffering caused by Israel.”

So, the Guardian, if you are going to comment on Hamas’s racism, please at least make an effort.

Update 1: From last year, In The Age of The Internet: More Racism At The Guardian.

Written by modernityblog

28/02/2011 at 16:20

Words Matter.

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Thanks to Bob for directing me towards a piece on the JC by Jennifer Lipman, here’s the concluding bit:

“Why cause a fuss.

Here’s why. Let’s look at where Mr Greenslade made the comment – in a blogpost condemning the intolerance and bigotry of the EDL.

An informed reader might well have recognised the wider point – that Jewish people, given the history of the last century, should be at the frontline in the fight against fascism.

It’s an important and logical argument. But here’s the thing. As the famous quote goes: “Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.”

History teaches us as Jews not only to stand up in the battle against bigotry, but also that bigots don’t always read newspaper articles in an informed way.

The generations of ordinary people who hated the Jews did so not least because of the ugly and cheap stereotypes peddled by respected writers and commentators.

They learnt intolerance from the politicians – in Tsarist Russia to Nazi Germany and beyond – who blamed public woes on Jewish conspiracies, from the caricaturists who saw in Jews an easy target, and from journalists who didn’t recognize, or didn’t care to recognise, the power of their words.

Words matter. As Greenslade knows (and blogs about regularly), especially online they have a life beyond themselves.

A throwaway headline in the Daily Star can become another tool in the EDL’s war-chest, regardless of what the story actually was.

A news article about a “Muslim’s” actions – when religion is of little relevance to the story – is fodder for the bigot’s cause.

And an unnecessary line about Jews having “negative views” about Muslims, from an informed and respected writer, is yet another piece of evidence for the antisemitic extremist as to why he hates Jews.
Words always matter. “

Written by modernityblog

11/02/2011 at 21:23

In The Age of The Internet: More Racism At The Guardian.

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The Internet should aid research, it should enable people to be better informed, particularly those in the West, where it is more widespread.

Yet it is still possible to find educated journalists, with access to the Internet, who don’t know the basics.

Instead of Googling Carlos Latuff and realising that he has a propensity for publishing racist cartoons against Jews and Israelis, instead of doing that the Guardian decides to push his work.

Rather than familiarising themselves with Carlos Latuff’s racism, the Guardian becomes complicit.

Readers will remember that Carlos Latuff is notorious for his participation in the Iranian regime’s International Holocaust Cartoon Contest.

Fire Or Bigots, Which Is Important?

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The Wire: Just Journalism’s daily updated blog covers something that struck me too.

I have been reading the Guardian again (after a lapse of some 20 plus years), trying to follow the Wikileaks stories and very interesting they are, whilst doing this worthy enterprise I was compelled to read the rest of the newspaper and in parts it’s not too bad.

However, a story covering the forest fires in Israel was another issue.

Given similar prominence on the same page, was an article which detailed how some idiots, some bigots in an Israeli city don’t like rooms being rented out to Israeli-Arabs by a Holocaust survivor.

It is interesting in one way that it shows the dynamic of Israeli society and how the bigotry was rejected by many Israelis themselves, but rather telling as yet another example of the Guardian’s negative coverage of Israel and Israelis.

I think it’s very wrong for some idiotic and moronic Israelis to argue that Israeli Arabs shouldn’t be given rooms, but it’s not exactly headlined stuff.

At least when compared to a forest fire where more then 40 people have been killed.

If your intent was to demonise Israelis and prove that they were racists, to the core, then you might find such a story interesting, then again you might also ask why Israelis and Jews can’t even set foot in many Arab countries, for fear of being killed, a slightly graver issue, but not one that the Guardian wishes to cover.

I think it shows you the Guardian’s warped sense of proportion that an article detailing forest fires and the resultant deaths are given side-by-side with this story of animosity towards Israeli-Arabs, which many Israeli organisations are making a very conscious effort to fight.

Sadly, the Guardian’s intense scrutiny of the Middle East doesn’t venture much beyond Israel, or to be equally critical of the other 22 countries nearby, I wonder why?

Written by modernityblog

04/12/2010 at 02:23

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