ModernityBlog

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

The Pain of Palin And Gingrich.

with 12 comments

It can’t be easy to be a potential party nominee to the Presidency of the United States. Aside from the intrusion, the fact you need millions and millions to run and years spent climbing the greasy pole there are other obstacles in the way of ultimate power, emails and ex-aides.

A vast treasure trove of emails from Sarah Palin have just been released and I am sure that we will hear much more about her idiocy, parochialism and self-conceit.

The Guardian, Slate, ABC News, New York Times and Huff Post are excited by what these, presumably self-serving, emails will tell us about Sarah Palin.

I can’t help thinking it will be very little, although they will probably confirm that Palin hasn’t read the US Constitution and the questions that Katie Couric asked were just too easy!

Newt Gingrich isn’t having it easy either, as his political aides resign en masse, the Atlantic Wires explains:

“Will Rogers: quit as Gingrich’s Iowa political director on May 31 Where He Griped: Also the Register

“I’d say, ‘Oh, great. Thanks for inviting us. We’ll get this sent up to the Washington, D.C., folks.’ … And then I’d send it to the D.C. folks and it would be radio silence. A few days later, you’d ask again and you’d ask again and you wouldn’t hear anything back. At first I thought it was the staff. And then I came to find out it was the candidate.”

“I decided I wasn’t going to continue to spend 60, 70 hours a week away from my family while begging GOP activists and friends around the state to be involved in the campaign.”

But the really bitchy stuff remains, of course, off the record. It also focused on Gingrich’s wife, Callista, portraying her has a Yoko Ono dividing the team and encouraging her man to fritter away his genius. It was Callista, they say, who insisted on the couple’s two-week luxury Greek cruise, the last straw for many staffers.

“He does whatever she wants,” a source complained to Politico’s Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman.

“She insisted on the cruise,” a source told Politico’s Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns.

“It’s how much time that his wife thinks that he should spend on this… It’s not a hobby. This is a full-time, 80-hour-a-week job,” a staffer told The Daily Beast’s Peter J. Boyer.

“The problem was the wife. Aides to Newt Gingrich have resigned from his presidential campaign in protest of what they felt was a takeover by Callista Gingrich… The euphemism offered by departing staffers was they disagreed with Gingrich’s ‘strategy’ for the campaign. Indeed, they did disagree. But it was a strategy–a part-time campaign, in effect–that Gingrich’s wife favored,” In fact, the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes reports. “

How Newt Gingrich’s Campaign Imploded by Peter J. Boyer.

All most amusing, couldn’t happen to nicer people !

Update 1: One of the “almost” Palin quotes (really from Tina Fey, but you could imagine Palin saying it, “I can see Russia from my house):

The EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism.

with 4 comments

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.

with 2 comments

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]

In Visegrad 1992.

with 6 comments

Marko Attila Hoare’s blog has a harrowing piece on the 1992 massacre in Visegrad, Bosnia-Herzegovina, An Australian in Visegrad.

The Srebrenica Genocide Blog has more background:

“The entire Bosniak population of Višegrad was “ethnically cleansed” between May and July 1992. 3000 were murdered or disappeared, another 8000 were expelled. In the thirteen years since the war only a small percent have returned to their former home.”

US Scales Back Investigation of Right Wing Terrorism.

with 3 comments

The Southern Poverty Law Center has a disturbing piece, how the US Department For Homeland Security has scaled back its investigation into home grown right wing terrorism:

“The Southern Poverty Law Center this week urged the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reassess the resources it devotes to investigating non-Islamic domestic extremism. The request came as the SPLC published an interview with a former top DHS analyst who charged that the department effectively dismantled the unit he once headed following the political right’s unjustified criticism of a 2009 report on right-wing terrorism.

“The department’s work should never be compromised by misguided criticism from any quarter,” SPLC President Richard Cohen wrote in a letter sent this week to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Daryl Johnson, who headed the DHS unit responsible for analyzing security threats from non-Islamic domestic extremists, was the principal author of the April 7, 2009, report “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

The report was intended only for distribution to law enforcement agencies. But after it was leaked to the media, a firestorm erupted among conservative commentators who wrongly claimed it equated conservatives with terrorists. Within days, Napolitano had disowned it.

Daryl Johnson

Daryl Johnson

Johnson, who was interviewed for the upcoming summer issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, said that following the controversy, the DHS dismantled the intelligence team that studied the threat from right-wing extremists and that the department no longer produces its own analytical reports on that subject. When the 2009 report was written, there were six analysts in the unit, including Johnson. Today, he said, there is one.”

A Drunk And A Mosque.

leave a comment »

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.

with 2 comments

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.

with one comment

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

Wikipedia, Sarah Palin And Dodgy History.

with 2 comments

If you ever wanted an example of why Wikipedia is flawed, if occasionally informative then this Slate piece should do the job:

“This is a hell of a get by Charles Johnson. Starting on Sunday, as Sarah Palin kept explaining that her version of the Paul Revere “Midnight Ride” was historically accurate, Palin fans emerged on Wikipedia to “fix” the Revere biography. Palin’s taking heat for saying Revere “warned the British”? No problem: Just add the line in italics.

Revere did not shout the phrase later attributed to him (“The British are coming!”), largely because the mission depended on secrecy and the countryside was filled with British army patrols; also, most colonial residents at the time considered themselves British as they were all legally British subjects.

That revision is deleted with the explanation “content not backed by a reliable sources (it was sarah palin interview videos).” The people who keep cleaning this up are getting sort of bored now.

– I would strongly suggest locking this page until the Palin controversy blows over and her supporters lose interest in trying to rewrite the page to conform with her erroneous version of Revere’s ride.

– Wiki rules apply to Palin fans the same as anyone else; they are free to add material to the page as long as it is reliably sourced. IIRC, it does look like Palin’s supporters have a published source that partially agrees with her version of events, although the concept of relating Revere’s ride to gun control or 2nd Amendment rights is nonsense. However in her defense, I think Palin herself was using that as a metaphor – not a literal interpretation of this event. In any case,Palin doesn’t claim to be a professional historian so her words don’t belong on this page.

– If you mention Sarah Palin you’re doing it wrong. This article is about Paul Revere, a historical figure who died nearly two centuries before Sarah Palin came to prominence. She has absolutely nothing to do with the article. I would expect to see contemporary sources and theories proposed by modern historians, but Sarah Palin is neither here nor there.

– Sarah Palin is intent on destroying wikipedia, isn’t she? First we had huge wars over the blood libel article, now this. But Obama’s supporters do not support claim that there are 57 states! Amazing!

The original video, from Channel 7, really makes it look like Palin got a historical question she wasn’t expecting, and then flubbed it. The way she grits her teeth on the phrase “riding HIS HORSE THROUGH TOWN!” is agonizing, for all involved. And look, if someone asked me, on the spot, to explain exactly what happened during Paul Revere’s ride, I’d struggle a bit to access my elementary school memory banks. The twist, with Palin, is that she has a bona fide army of supporters who will sic themselves on anyone and anything that threatens to damage her image. One example: Last week I looked at the new CNN poll and made a mundane point about Herman Cain’s poll surge being more compelling than Palin’s narrow lead. This was interpreted in the Palinverse as “Exhibit A in the Stop Palin campaign.” “

Basically, Palin’s supporters wanted to change a Wikipedia entry to match the contents of one of her rants, then claim she was accurate as Wikipedia said so. Loopy.

Paid To Get Shot?

with 3 comments

I think anyone that follows the Middle East would appreciate how the despots and dictators in that region have manipulated, exploited and used the Palestinians as a political football, for their own purposes, but even I was surprised at this story in the Guardian:

“Israeli troops have clashed with protesters on the Syrian border for the second time in less than a month, with several dozen reported injured and claims that up to 20 had been killed.

The violence had been widely predicted after organisers called for a symbolic March on Israel to mark 44 years since the beginning of the six day war in 1967.

However, the clashes were smaller in scale than the last time pro-Palestinian activists confronted Israeli soldiers along borders with Syria, the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon.

The Syrian village of Majd al-Shams was again the focal point with an estimated 1,000 Syrians and Palestinians surging to within 20 metres of the fenced off border over six hours. They threw stones and molotov cocktails at Israeli troops as snipers fired rubber-coated bullets and live rounds at some activists,

One demonstrator who was wounded that day told the Guardian the Lebanese militia Hezbollah had given him $50 to turn up at the border and $900 to have his gunshot wounds treated by physicians. He said he had been planning to return to Maroun al-Ras yesterday until the rally was cancelled.

But as the Syrian government’s brutal crackdown on protests show, protesters are only allowed to gather when the state allows them. The Golan area of Syria is off-limits without state permission.

Leaders’ Judgment?

leave a comment »

I wanted to cover more of events in Syra and Yemen, but this piece in the New York Times is very relevant.

So I am not the only one with a low opinion of Binyamin Netanyahu:

“Journalists recalled that Mr. Dagan, who had refused contact with the media during his time in office, called a news briefing the last week of his tenure and laid out his concerns about an attack on Iran. But military censorship prevented his words from being reported.

“Dagan wanted to send a message to the Israeli public, but the censors stopped him,” Ronen Bergman of the newspaper Yediot Aharonot said by telephone. “So now that he is out of office he is going over the heads of the censors by speaking publicly.”

Mr. Dagan’s public and critical comments, at the age of 66 and after a long and widely admired career, have shaken the political establishment. The prime minister’s office declined requests for a response, although ministers have attacked Mr. Dagan. He has also found an echo among the nation’s commentators who have been ringing similar alarms.

“It’s not the Iranians or the Palestinians who are keeping Dagan awake at night but Israel’s leadership,” Ari Shavit asserted on the front page of the newspaper Haaretz on Friday.

“He does not trust the judgment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.”

It was Mr. Shavit who interviewed Mr. Dagan on stage at Tel Aviv University this week. And while Haaretz is the home of the country’s left wing, Mr. Shavit is more of a centrist.

“Dagan is really worried about September,” Mr. Shavit said in a telephone interview, referring to the month when the Palestinians are expected to ask the United Nations General Assembly to recognize their state within the 1967 border lines. The resolution is expected to pass and to bring new forms of international pressure on Israel. “He is afraid that Israel’s isolation will cause its leaders to take reckless action against Iran,” he said.

Nahum Barnea, a commentator for Yediot Aharonot, wrote on Friday that Mr. Dagan was not alone. Naming the other retired security chiefs and adding Amos Yadlin, who recently retired as chief of military intelligence, Mr. Barnea said that they shared Mr. Dagan’s criticism.

“This is not a military junta that has conspired against the elected leadership,” Mr. Barnea wrote. “These are people who, through their positions, were exposed to the state’s most closely guarded secrets and participated in the most intimate discussions with the prime minister and the defense minister. It is not so much that their opinion is important as civilians; their testimony is important as people who were there. And their testimony is troubling.”

This concern was backed by a former Mossad official, Gad Shimron, who spoke Friday on Israel Radio.

Mr. Shimron said: “I want everyone to pay attention to the fact that the three tribal elders, Ashkenazi, Diskin and Dagan, within a very short time, are all telling the people of Israel: take note, something is going on that we couldn’t talk about until now, and now we are talking about it. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and that is the decision-making process. The leadership makes fiery statements, we stepped on the brakes, we are no longer there and we don’t know what will happen. And that’s why we are saying this aloud.” “

Update 1: Letters From a Young Contrarian does a great job, The Arab Spring into Summer: Today’s Events.

Update 2: Not forgetting Left Foot Forward’s Arab Spring latest: Murder, civil war and motor racing.

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?

Liberal Conspiracy, Ben White And Racism.

leave a comment »

I use to read Liberal Conspiracy years back, however, its capricious moderation policy put me off. Still I recently saw that Ben White had been given a platform, again.

I was surprised, as White has had a wide range of disreputable political views, but more so when White invoked the name of the CST in his arguments.

In the discussions a member of the CST, Dave Rich, tries to correct White’s misrepresentations:

“Ben White’s research is as poor as his reasoning. The Working Definition is linked to from the CST website and quoted in our guide to combating antisemitism on campus. We use it as it was intended: as a rough guide to antisemitism, a starting for investigation. It is not the sole, definitive definition and was never intended to be: hence all the caveats about context etc.

I find the horror at the eumc’s consultation with Jewish groups laughable. Is the suggestion that it is wrong for a governmental body to consult with a particular minority when investigating prejudice against them? And if they found contradictory views, I guess they went with those views which carried more weight in that community.

The issue with UCU is not so much their rejection of eumc as their rejection of macpherson. In recent years large numbers of Jewish academics have complained about antisemitic bullying and harassment in the union and have been ignored, ridiculed and persecuted as a result. Many have resigned. You may disagree with their view of what is antisemitism, but this is their perception. The motion on eumce is just an attempt to formalise this, because the Union feels that any worries about antisemitism hamper their ability to campaign against Israel.

In reality, eumc does no such thing. NUS use the working definition, but just last month passed a very pro-Palestinian policy. However for people like Ben White, “criticism of Israel” is a euphemism to hide an anything-goes attitude to attacking Israel and its supporters. But then what do you expect from a man who says he can understand why people are antisemitic? ” [My emphasis.]

Later on, the thread becomes a bit of a car crash, but the discussion of EUMC has a relevance as Jhate shows in its latest post:

“In the Fars article, Toben presented Holocaust denial as a technique for depriving Israel of its “main tool of propaganda.” This is consistent with the approach taken by many Holocaust deniers in the Arab and Muslim world, who argue vociferously that they are not in favor of Nazis or against Jews; they are merely anti-Zionists. This point was made ad nauseum during the infamous 2006 Tehran Holocaust denial conference convened by President Ahmadinejad’s government, at which Toben was a delegate. [Toben wrote about his experiences at that conference here. He has visited Iran numerous times since then, including as recently as Feb. 2011.] “

That’s, how antisemites, Jew haters and Jew baiters will adjust their propaganda depending on their audience and try to seem more mainstream than they really are, which is where the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism comes in, as a helpful guide.

A copy can be found on the EUMC’s successor body, the Fundamental Rights Agency.

The FRA covers a lot of ground and whilst a few of their reports are a little dated they are worth a read.

Their earlier report on Muslims in the European Union: Discrimination and Islamophobia should be read by anyone genuinely interested in antiracism.

More of their reports are here.

The Massacre of Baghdad’s Jews.

leave a comment »

BBC Witness had a programme on the Farhud which took place on 1st June 1941, 70 years ago, listen to it here.

An MP3 is available to download.

Written by modernityblog

02/06/2011 at 02:59