Archive for September 1st, 2008
[Editor's note: I think that the racism and animus which has been exhibited on the UCU activists list should be exposed, so as a public service here's a guest post.
Just in case it wasn't clear enough, unlike HP, I can't be intimidated by libel or legal action, but should this blog be closed by aggressive threats then it will appears like a thousand buds, somewhere else. MB]
This is a guest post by anonymous.
From the distance of a few thousand miles I was amused to read recently on the aptly misnamed Socialist Unity site that the case for an academic boycott of Israel had been made and won. Apparently this was because posters on the activists’ list have ‘generally been patient, nuanced and well informed’. Some of these posters are said to have ‘long records of opposition to anti-Semitism, racism and fascism’. I’m sure that this must be true of several individuals. Indeed, I’m glad about that. But sadly it can not be true of all those who want to boycott Israeli academics.
I know that it is difficult to avoid mentioning Jenna Delich’s name, even after she turned litigious, emailing a reporter on the Jewish Chronicle: “If you or anyone else mention my name or anything to do with me anywhere in the media or a public place, I will sue.” What with Delich’s legal threats and Harry’s Place being temporarily taken down, it leaves the pro-boycott argument that the ‘Zionists’ shut down debate looking pretty thin. Not to mention that if the ‘Israelis’ supposedly control the media then they must be losing their touch.
Anyway, now that Delich is the internet equivalent of fish and chip paper (though she’ll find disposing of the stories a lot more difficult) it’s time to move on.
Enter Keith Hammond (Lecturer in Adult and Continuing Education at the University of Glasgow). Some of Hammond’s comments have appeared on Harry’s Place before. I would suggest that his contributions to the list have been neither patient, nuanced or well informed. Here’s some examples:
‘I am sooooo pro-Boycott’; ‘But here we gooooo’; ‘Pleaseeeeeeee …. Stop twisting my words in this hysterical way! It is obscene and completely OTT’; ‘Maybe a few walls around people who support the boycott or better still … herd us all into camps’; ‘I hope all this does not sound too Vanessa Redgrave’.
Hammond also specialises in personal attacks (no doubt his defenders will note the irony of this post). Here he is again.
‘This is a brilliant union and this online facility is brilliant – even if people like Eve do not like honest concerns being expressed’ [that's Eve Garrard, who has since resigned from the Union].
‘And then towards the end of your contribution [Eve] you really get a bit of wind behind your sails and say it is British academics you are thinking about because it “will drive Jewish members out of the union” … “which will no longer be a fit place or safe place for them”. Now that is downright false. Most people who battle for Palestine have outstanding anti-racist records AND YOU KNOW IT !!!!’
‘David’s concerns for equality are encouraging. But they are twisted – as so many of the contributions moving around his politics of denial … These people were clear; they did not twist things in this horrible way that has now become the standard for David’s statements.’
‘Lots of derangement on some of these postings. I just wonder what it is all about sometimes … Let the mad people rant on … The boycott just will not go away!’
‘Now doubt I am opening up a space for a whole battery of nutters to start writing to me or ringing me and leaving foul messages – which I am now getting used to’
‘Members might be interested in looking at the allegations made against the Union on Engage. The piece is headed: Why break UCU confidences now – David Hirsh.
See what you think? And this is what some people want to be admitted back onto Dan? Jenna [Delich]‘s case is totally different to this sort of persistent and intentional rubbish … I keep wondering if some people are well’
It’s also worth pointing out that ‘of course’ Hammond thinks ‘there are arguments to be made and a lot of listening to be done … But the arguments have to be made on the basis that they are right’.
Here’s the substance.
1) Hammond equates Nazi treatment of Jews with Israeli treatment of Palestinians:
‘the conditions in the Aida camp square with the conditions of the Warsaw ghetto’ (22 September 2007)
2) Hammond compares Israel with South Africa under apartheid
‘what was fascinating about [Mark] Regev’s statement was that it showed the language of Israel is gradually working towards an open embrace of the Apartheid vocabulary … I find this fascinating about Israel, they do not go in for any of the crazy waffle that defenders of Israel spew out on the DAN. It was fascinating (as well as horrible) and quietly disturbing. The team that Regev represents do not care a hoot about law! It really was instructive. It reminded me of Keith Joseph and Thatcher and those people. These Zionists are of another time.’
3) Hammond regards Israel as a militaristic, undemocratic country
‘The whole Israeli education system – from nursery to university – is embedded in the Israeli obsession with war as some sort of ‘defence’ against who knows what … The minute I tried to probe the fears of the Israelis I met the conversation moved into something that I can only describe as a dreadful mix of possibly real and totally unreal anxieties about Europe in the past, Biblical history, contemporary Judaism, work, land and the American dream … These conversations were a gush of insecure and often irrational stuff that I tried to understand. But I could not’ (19 September 2007)
‘Israel’s academics are totally at one with the occupation’ (22 September 2007)
‘the whole HE system in Israel that supports the military occupation of Palestine.’ (26 September 2007)
4) Hammond opposes what he sees as the influence of a Zionist lobby
‘It is all about scoring points for Israel and not looking at the situation out there. It is racist right down to its core. It is the aim of those supporting Palestinian academics to expose this rotten Zionist. Why is that so difficult to understand?’ (2 October 2007)
‘Issues of Palestine are now determining tenure issues in the States. Can we expect the Zionist lobby to go the same way here … Bread and butter issues cannot be neatly compartmentalised so that we have separate arrangements for what is “safe” (and does not threaten Zionism) and “not safe” (in what actively opposes Zionism).’ (4 October 2007)
‘I still fail to see how boycotting the institutions of a racist state on the grounds that they are racist could be covered by the RRA. Sure that Act was all about protecting people from racism – just like the boycott – and so how could there a conflict?’ (8 October 2007)
‘This protection of Israel at all costs approach is about doing exactly what it is doing right now. There is no clarity. It is like a madness.’ (24 November 2007)
‘Israel is only able to get away with its atrocities because it claims to be this universal victim that is completely outside of international condemnation.’
5) Hammond believes antisemitism is little more than a ‘tactic’ used by “Zionists” in bad faith to silence debate
‘[Canadian academics have started to move towards a boycott position] and so have a tiny group in Germany – the Germans have been held back with a historical guilt that has really crippled debate.’ (23 September 2007)
‘What is interesting however is that the same old tactics are employed. Israel claims to be a Jewish state THEREFORE anyone who criticises Israel is anti-Jewish but there are more and more Jewish people who are revolted by Israel’s racism. These people of course are supposed to be self haters’ (1 October 2007)
‘Everything put forward in good faith gets distorted by David H. and his team and it is obscene. It is not just about different plays on words, it is a whole campaign of denial that started in 1948′ (2 October 2007)
‘I am not going to bore anyone by reviewing the various episodes of the current hysteria about anti-********. I am tired of these manic postings’; ‘So how about some education on Zionism Marian? But there I go again. I keep forgetting myself. Sorry. I had forgotten Mearsheimer and Walt tried that one.’ (26 November 2007)
6) Hammond thinks that ‘No one should be scared off by this “anti-Semitism” stuff”. ‘Let the anti-Semitism slurs fly – it is not as though the tactic is new or unexpected.’
So it really came as no surprise when Hammond recently posted:
‘What your contributions always add up to is that Israel and its denial of Palestine and the Palestinians is not a unique case. There are many other situations in the world just like Israel? So your strategy is to show there is suffering and injustice all over the place and we academics not there boycott poor old Israel elsewhere. But you never actually succeed in this argument. Why? Could it really be that Israel constitutes a unique case? So you pick some feature of the Israeli situation and then say the logic is that there should thus be many boycotts? Or better still no boycott proposal at all! You allude to something along the lines that like cases should be treated alike? But Zionism is completely unique. Its denials are unique – Israel even denies that it is about an occupation and therefore not compelled to follow international law as it applies to occupations. I think you jump the gun if you will excuse the phrase. Zionism is a completely different to so many other cases of injustice. Nothing comes near to it. I am not going to spell out the nuts and bolts of the case – just go through all the UN documents that detail the situation. There is no NGO that has a remotely good word for Israel. Its treatment of the Palestinians and strategy of squeezing the Palestinians off their land with settlements and now the wall is beyond anything we have experienced to date … thank goodness.’ [Ed: my emphasis]
‘I want to reiterate that Zionism is particular project that has to be stopped. It is poison. Do you think this poison is acceptable? I know … You think all of us who oppose Zionism are misunderstood huh? I cannot believe you are so confused …’ (26 August 2008)
I’m reminded of Hitler’s ‘merciless opposition to the world-poisoner of all peoples’. He, however, did not call it ‘Zionism’ but ‘International Jewry’.
Still, at least so far Hammond has not brought up the French Revolution, Bolsheviks, Freemasons or Rotary Clubs. Unlike these guys.
Liam’s short post on Obama set me thinking. I’m an avid listener of American talk radio and there’s been a noticeable change in attitudes towards Obama in the last six months or so, since clearly achieving supremacy over Hillary Clinton as Democratic Presidential nominee.
Radio talk show hosts now knew who the target was, and adjusted their material accordingly. So every conceivable dubious story concerning Obama was dragged out and exercised, everything from Obama as a supposed closet Muslim to the activities of his wife. Obama’s every comment was scrutinised again for a chink in his armour, but largely what was found is irrelevant or incidental trivia. This was illustrated by commentary on Bill Bennett’s show last week which concentrated more on the temporary architecture erected for Obama’s speech, rather than critiquing the contents. Bennett is at the smarter end of talk radio hosts.
So everything including the kitchen sink is being thrown at Obama, and topically he’s not forgotten on the Extreme Right either.
Somewhat predictably instead of scary stories about Obama as a Muslim, yes, you’ve guessed it, the Extreme Right think ‘Obama = Zionist Puppet’ [Warning: the link is to an extreme right crank on Youtube, take care]
“Obama’s primary bank is Penny Pritzker (Zionist Russian-Ukranian Jew) who is one of the richest women in the USA. Pritzker is a treasurer for the “Real Estate Roundtable,” an AIPAC offshoot in Washington that lobbies for legislation to help commercial landlords.
Almost all members of this “Roundtable” are Zionist Jews.
Since the days of the Rothschilds, when powerful Jews team up to influence a nation, they form a cabal they call a “Roundtable” (their word, not mine). For example, the Jewish bankers that financed World War I and Bolshevism cooperated through an organization they called the “Roundtable.” [No, I won't be linking to that nasty site, I think they've had more than enough free traffic].
But you’ll see the common paranoid anti-Jewish racist pattern: politician, puppets, “international bankers”, Rothchilds and WW I.
If you scan those Hitler loving web sites then similar vile stuff is to be found (not that I recommend it unless you have a strong stomach, know what you already think and don’t take inspiration from the Extreme Right).
Still it sets you thinking what will happen if Obama becomes President? Will those KKK type sentiments miraculously appear on the UCU activists list? Or will such rancid notions come into the mainstream discourse?
Sadly nowadays anything is possible.
Postscript: Neo-Nazis try to assassinate Obama.