ModernityBlog

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

Author Archive

Thanks And Good Bye.

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For many complex reasons, which I won’t go into, this blog is closing.

It has been around years and I have learnt so much in the process.

I would like to thank my many fine readers, engaging posters and even the nauseating trolls.

I might in the future, time permitting, be found commenting on any one of these delightful blogs:

Engage
Greens Engage
Weggis
Adam Holland
Airforce Amazons
Jhate
Jack of Kent
Martin In The Margins
Max Dunbar
Obliged to Offend
Rosie Bell
The Poor Mouth

I would also recommend popping along to read The CST blog, Norm’s, Srebrenica Genocide Blog and Greater Surbiton.

Not forgetting Searchlight and the HOPE not hate blog.

Hasta pronto!

Written by modernityblog

17/08/2011 at 00:21

Posted in Uncategorized

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Meanwhile In Israel.

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People across the Middle East are annoyed at their rulers and Israelis are no exception, Dissent explains why:

“WHAT IS happening in Israel? As usual, no one expected, no one predicted, the massive uprising of Israel’s young people—joined last Saturday night by large numbers, amazing numbers, of their parents and grandparents. What started as a demand for affordable housing has turned into something much bigger. I can only watch, and cheer, and try to figure out what’s going on. Here are four “takes” on the uprising.
…”

Update 1: I had, naturally, assumed that the Guardian coverage of these events, which started about three weeks, would be given the expected negative spin, but the coverage is fairly good, that is in between non-stories and piffle like this, Israeli spy claims over Christchurch earthquake and Israeli orchestra to perform Wagner in Germany at Bayreuth opera festival.

All the same rather surprising, given the Guardian’s clear anti-Israeli bias.

Israelis set up tent cities in protest at housing costs.

Israelis take to tents in housing protest – in pictures.

Government alarm at citizens’ revolt as tent protests spread.

Update 2: Lisa Goldman had been following things and saw this:

Update 3: According to the JC, Netanyahu forms panel to tackle tent city unrest.

Politicians across the world are so similar, major problems, form a committee, fob people off. I can’t see that working with younger Israelis.

Written by modernityblog

09/08/2011 at 02:17

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?

Wiki, Losing Contributors

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Saw this and thought it worth a read:

“Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that is written entirely by volunteers and allows anyone to edit its entries, is losing contributors, its founder complained Thursday.

Speaking with The Associated Press on the sidelines of the website’s annual conference, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said the nonprofit company that runs the site is scrambling to simplify editing procedures in an attempt to retain volunteers.

“We are not replenishing our ranks,” said Wales. “It is not a crisis, but I consider it to be important.”

Administrators of the Internet’s fifth most visited website are working to simplify the way users can contribute and edit material. “A lot of it is convoluted,” Wales said. “A lot of editorial guidelines … are impenetrable to new users.”

Wikipedia has more than 3 million entries but has been marred by subjective entries and pranks. Even so, Wikipedia cites studies that compare the website’s accuracy favorably to more conventional encyclopedias, while other studies give it lower marks.

Despite Wikipedia’s wide-reaching popularity, Wales said the typical profile of a contributor is “a 26-year-old geeky male” who moves on to other ventures, gets married and leaves the website. Other contributors leave because, 10 years after the website was launched, there are fewer new entries to add, he said. “

The comments at Slashdot are probably nearer the truth.

Written by modernityblog

06/08/2011 at 00:51

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.

Greater Surbiton And Douglas Murray.

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Greater Surbiton has a superb post on Douglas Murray:

“Murray has spoken in defence of the English Defence League, a fascist, Islamophobic organisation of street thugs, and of Robert Spencer, proprietor of the anti-Muslim hate-site ‘Jihadwatch‘ (see the video at the start of this post). With some nuance, arguably, but unambiguously enough to be described as a ‘ringing defence’ by Spencer, who writes ‘At a recent conference… devoted to attempting to smear many anti-jihad forces, including the English Defense League and our own Stop Islamization of America, as neofascists, the extraordinarily eloquent English writer Douglas Murray offers this ringing defense (of me also, for which I am grateful) and denunciation of the Left’s guilt-by-association tactics.’ Murray praises Spencer as a ‘brilliant scholar’. Yet Spencer is a promoter of Srebrenica genocide denial. The EDL has also promoted Murray’s defence of it on their website.”

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.

Norway, Recognising The Threat.

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There is a regrettable tendency, when multiple atrocities like that which occurred in Norway recently, for pundits to go off half cocked. To push their agenda on top of a tragedy, or make unnecessarily crude political points on the back of the deaths of others.

That’s part of the reason that I deliberately chose not to post on these events.

I wanted the dust to settle and for a better understanding of what actually happened to come out.

I am still reluctant to comment but I think the CST’s contribution is pertinent and deserves a wider airing:

The appalling and tragic events in Norway on Friday have served as an horrific reminder that Europe’s far right is capable of producing terrorists, who are just as willing to kill in large numbers as any jihadi terrorist group.

Previously, most attempts by neo-Nazis or other adherents of far right ideologies to perpetrate terrorist attacks have failed for logistical reasons, but there are enough examples that succeeded – for example, David Copeland here in the UK, or the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in the United States – to dispel any complacency. The growing list of prosecutions and convictions in Britain of would-be terrorists from the far right in recent years shows that this is a real and growing problem.”

The point that they make that political violence is intrinsic to the Far Right needs greater acceptance amongst the media and political classes, who will often gloss over this issue without any real understanding of its implications.

Written by modernityblog

24/07/2011 at 15:13

Britain Can Be Sued For Torture.

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I covered this months ago, finally and thankfully the case went the way of the Kenyans, as BBC News reports with typical English understatement:

“Four elderly Kenyans have been told they can sue the Foreign Office for their alleged torture by British colonial authorities 50 years ago.

The High Court said the group could seek damages over their treatment during the 1950s and 60s.

Mr Justice McCombe said the claimants had an “arguable case” and it would be “dishonourable” to block the action.

Ministers say the UK government is not responsible for the actions of the colonial administration.

The decision means that the government will have to defend accusations of torture, murder, sexual assault and other alleged abuses at a full damages trial in 2012.

The four Kenyans, Ndiku Mutwiwa Mutua, Paulo Muoka Nzili, Wambugu Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara, all in their 70s and 80s, say ministers in London approved systematic abuse in special camps. A fifth claimant has died since the action began.

The High Court heard that Mr Mutua and Mr Nzili had been castrated, Mr Nyingi was beaten unconscious in an incident in which 11 men were clubbed to death, and Mrs Mara had been subjected to appalling sexual abuse.”

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

Bastille Day.

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Enjoy:

Written by modernityblog

14/07/2011 at 07:48

One For Aficionados.

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Some sage once remarked that it was both time consuming and intellectually tiring when you have to explain the nature of antisemitic myths, time after time.

The CST’s latest post American Nazi “Prophecy” and Dr Daud Abdullah: Deja Vu? reminded me of the “Franklin prophecy” which I ran across years and years back.

Like many other twisted pieces of antisemitism it sticks in the mind.

Why, I can’t say, as I tend to forget even elementary facts nowadays and I have a short-term memory that a Goldfish would be proud of, or supposedly so.

Yet along with all of the nonsense concerning the Federal Reserve, I do remember the “Franklin prophecy”, as a nasty fake, a piece of antisemitic propaganda. Peculiar how the mind works?

But what is surprising is that it still in usage nowadays, read more at the CST.

Unrest In The Middle East.

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The Associated Press has a summary of unrest in the Middle East:

“SYRIA

Syria’s vice president calls for a transition to democracy in a country ruled for four decades by an authoritarian family dynasty, crediting mass protests with forcing the regime to consider reforms while also warning against further demonstrations. Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa was speaking at a national dialogue. Key opposition figures driving the four-month-old uprising boycott the meeting, refusing to talk until a deadly crackdown on protesters ends.

EGYPT

Army troops firing in the air clash with stone-throwing protesters in the strategic city of Suez after crowds block a key highway to push for faster reform efforts, including probes of alleged abuses during the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. Suez has been hit by days of unrest over calls for swifter action against Mubarak-era officials. In Cairo, protesters block access to the Egyptian capital’s largest government building and threaten to expand sit-ins to other sites.
…”

Elsewhere the Torygraph reports:

“In scenes that would have been remarkable before four months of protests and violent suppression, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad allowed public criticism to be aired at a televised conference and promised “multi-party democracy” in response.

“The bullets are still being fired in Homs and Hama,” said one participant, the writer Tayyeb Tizini, of two major cities that have seen repeated demonstrations. “Laying the foundations for a civil society requires the dismantling of the police state.

“That’s an absolute prerequisite, because otherwise the police state will sabotage all our efforts.” He also called for the freeing of “thousands” of political prisoners, some who he said had been in prison for years.

But the convention was boycotted by many more leading dissidents and opposition figures with links to the street protests, calling its final purpose into question. “I thought 1,500 people died for more than a dialogue between the regime and itself,” one activist wrote on Twitter. “