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

Posts Tagged ‘Ben White

Liberal Conspiracy, Ben White And Racism.

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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.

Ben White, Bigot Or Colonialist?

with 6 comments

Ben White will be well known to this blog’s readers and whilst normally I try to ignore that individual, I will make an exception in this case.

Ben White has a lot of form.

But what I find worrying, in this instance, is White’s underlying thinking as Seismic Shock ably illustrates:

Last year, White wrote for Comment is Free:

” […] the Palestinian Authority is also staffed with “native” West Bank leaders for whom business interests long since trumped fighting for national liberation. Then there are also the groupings created by individuals who have a loyal power base around them.”

White here criticises huge swathes of Palestinian society in a terribly unfair manner. Also I can’t help thinking that his use of the term “native” sounds horribly colonialist.

Having told us that he understands antisemitism (which might vex Israelis), and then criticised the “natives” in the West Bank (which might vex Palestinians), we have to wonder, is Ben White really the best person to be running political campaigns about the Middle East?

The more you read White’s new site, well, it just gets more and more confusing.

[My emphasis.]

I couldn’t have put it better.

Written by modernityblog

24/11/2010 at 14:29

Ahmadinejad’s Racism.

with one comment

Over the years some strange individuals in the West were arguing essentially that ‘Ahmadinejad is misunderstood, that he really wasn’t a racist’ and that his demagogic speeches were mistranslated.

These excuses became weaker and weaker as Ahmadinejad invited the creme de la creme of the world’s Holocaust denying sewer to Tehran, including the ex-Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke.

So now it will be all the more interesting to see how apologists, excusers and obfuscators in the West try to explain away the new Iranian web site, the truly disgusting [Warning: link to an extreme racist site.]

The preface of their Flash booklet starts with:

“This book tends to denounce the conspicuous lie of the “planned murder of 6 million Jews during the Second World War” allegedly called “Holocaust”.

The lie which is so obvious that there is no need for any further explanation.”

I found the rest to be indescribably wretched. Wiki has a small entry on it.

Update 1:

After a bit of digging around it seems that the site is registered to:

Shahbazi Ins.
Mohamad Mahdi Hemati

No 204, No 32 St., Janbazan e Sharghi St., Nabovvat Sq.
Tel. +98.9123789761
Fax. +98.2177209040

Creation Date: 10-Dec-2008
Expiration Date: 10-Dec-2010”

It goes through the DNS servers at, which is registered to:

mihannic sales department

No 167 farhad ave.
Tel. +98.5117688642
Fax. +98.5117625855

Creation Date: 12-Nov-2005
Expiration Date: 12-Nov-2013”

Written by modernityblog

12/08/2010 at 00:55

Ben White And Dr. Tamimi.

with 6 comments

A quick guest post from Anon:

“Ben White, having sought to ban Benny Morris is speaking alongside Azzam Tamimi giving A Brief History of Israel, on Tuesday, 09 February 2010, 19:00 – 21:00, Khalili Lecture Theatre, 10 Thornhaugh Street, London, WC1H 0XG at a SOAS Islamic Society event

Row over Cambridge University ‘hate speaker’

I take it Ben White is more happy with Tamimi’s plan to terrorise most Israeli Jews into leaving:

“First, there’s the demographics. The Israelis murder a father. But he has six to ten sons who replace him. Palestinians have large families, the Jews do not. And Israel is running out of Jews. They wanted to bring all the Jews of the world to Palestine. But no more Jews want to go to Palestine. Even the Russian Jews who came to Israel are still hoping to get to America. Now a large portion of Israelis have dual nationalities. Maybe a million Jews have dual Israeli-American citizenship. And a huge number of South African Jews hold two passports. They are ready to flee the Jewish state at any moment. They did not go there to live in constant conflict. For them, the Jewish state has become the most dangerous place in the world for a Jew. This will become increasingly apparent.

Essentialising negatively Zionism and Zionists, Israel and Israeli Jews (and this is one of his milder forays):

“is a constant reminder to the Palestinian people that the Zionist project is doomed. It’s a large—but cowardly—endeavor. The entire theft of a nation was a cowardly undertaking. What Jew can be proud of it? Already,” he adds, “we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the Zionist project.”

Never recognising any kind of Israel ever:

TIM SEBASTIAN: What – sit down with Hamas and Islamic Jihad?

DR AZZAM AL-TAMIMI: Yes, why not?

TIM SEBASTIAN: An organisation dedicated to their extinction – the Israelis should do that?

DR AZZAM AL-TAMIMI: They have to. They have no other option. When the British Government sat with the IRA and negotiated a peace agreement that’s the way forward.

This slogan ‘we don’t talk to terrorists’ is nonsense. They have to. They have to talk to … and the Palestinians are not terrorists. The Palestinians are the victims and if the Israelis want the way out they have no choice but to come and sit and talk without preconditions.

TIM SEBASTIAN: And you have no preconditions? Hamas has no preconditions? When I asked one of your spokesmen, Mahmoud al-Zahar a couple of years ago in Gaza and I asked him what it would take to stop the fighting he couldn’t give me a straight answer and in the end when I asked him a couple of times he said: I’m telling you frankly the attitude of Islam is not to accept a foreign state in this area. So he was ruling out the State of Israel in that area. You’re telling me he was wrong?

DR AZZAM AL-TAMIMI: No – if we want to stop the bloodshed …

TIM SEBASTIAN: Well you can you answer that question. No – this is important; this is an important issue here Dr al-Tamimi. What would it take to stop the fighting – the end of an Israeli State? Can Israel live side by side? Has Israel the right to exist?

DR AZZAM AL-TAMIMI: The current violence can be stopped without having to talk about the end of Israel.

TIM SEBASTIAN: Does Israel have the right to exist?

DR AZZAM AL-TAMIMI: No, as far as the Palestinian is concerned …


DR AZZAM AL-TAMIMI: No – of course not. Of course not.

TIM SEBASTIAN: So what’s there to talk about then? Isn’t that a precondition?

DR AZZAM AL-TAMIMI: No, no, no ..

TIM SEBASTIAN: You said sit down with no preconditions. That’s a precondition …

DR AZZAM AL-TAMIMI: You see, that’s blackmail. That’s blackmail.

TIM SEBASTIAN: What’s blackmail?

DR AZZAM AL-TAMIMI: This is what the Israelis and the American[s] are doing …

TIM SEBASTIAN: What’s blackmail?

DR AZZAM AL-TAMIMI: They say to us: Unless you recognise Israel’s right to be in your house on your land we will not talk to you. We say to them …

TIM SEBASTIAN: I didn’t say that. I said ‘right to exist’:

DR AZZAM AL-TAMIMI: Israel has no right to exist in my home, on my father’s land – has no right to exist. It may exist despite me. It may exist because it is powerful, because it is supported by the Unites States of America but I will never as a Palestinian, I will never give legitimacy to a state that is created on land robbed from my father, from my grandfather and from my mother.

As for Morris’ ‘Muslim penetration into Europe’, Tamimi does want to Islamisize Europe, albeit peacefully, and spread the lie that ‘Zionists’ want to ‘destroy their (Muslims’) existence in Europe’, and that they with their ‘machinery’ persuaded the majority of Swiss to ban minarets. Not to mention his (racist?) generalisations about Europeans.

When Tamimi calls Freysinger the new Hitler, and adduces Zionist collaboration with Hitler, Freysinger politely reminds him that the first Palestinian national leader (and of Tamimi’s father the resistance fighter) was Hitler’s ally in the final solution:

I’d observe that, for all his calling Palestinian society ‘sick’ (and I don’t see that White does anything substantially different with regard to Zionism and Israeli Jewish society), Morris does at least accept the principle of two states, unlike Tamini:

“Two states is the only solution with an element of justice,” Morris says. “But there are two other realistic solutions — one is that the Jews will kick out all the Arabs across the river, and the other is that the Arabs will throw the Jews into the sea. I’m not sure one of them won’t happen.”

That is also assumed in the other part to the quotation used by White but conspicuously omitted:

“True. But when one has to deal with a serial killer, it’s not so important to discover why he became a serial killer. What’s important is to imprison the murderer or to execute him.”

Explain the image: Who is the serial killer in the analogy?

What does that mean? What should we do tomorrow morning?

“We have to try to heal the Palestinians. Maybe over the years the establishment of a Palestinian state will help in the healing process. But in the meantime, until the medicine is found, they have to be contained so that they will not succeed in murdering us.”

To fence them in? To place them under closure?

“Something like a cage has to be built for them. I know that sounds terrible. It is really cruel. But there is no choice. There is a wild animal there that has to be locked up in one way or another.”

“The barbarians who want to take our lives. The people the Palestinian society sends to carry out the terrorist attacks, and in some way the Palestinian society itself as well. At the moment, that society is in the state of being a serial killer. It is a very sick society. It should be treated the way we treat individuals who are serial killers.”

What does that mean? What should we do tomorrow morning?

“We have to try to heal the Palestinians. Maybe over the years the establishment of a Palestinian state will help in the healing process. But in the meantime, until the medicine is found, they have to be contained so that they will not succeed in murdering us.”

To fence them in? To place them under closure?

“Something like a cage has to be built for them. I know that sounds terrible. It is really cruel. But there is no choice. There is a wild animal there that has to be locked up in one way or another.”

With regard to the second possibility adduced by Morris, Arabs’ driving Jews into the sea, Tamimi’s father was a fighter in the same national movement that sought the dispossession or elimination of Palestinian Jews. Just like the son does now.

Also, as a counterpoint to Morris’ ‘the Muslims are busy killing…in this part of the world’, Tamimi’s characterising Muslims as fighting imperialism, capitalism and America. That is also a form of essentialising Muslims and Islam as jihadis and jihad against America and the capitalist West (actually, of the 11 000 000 Muslims slain since 1948, most have been killed by other Muslims –you decide which is more accurate: Morris or Tamimi).

Update 1: A chunk of Morris’s statements were missing I have updated the post accordingly.

Update 2: Ops, it is Tuesday, not Monday. I have tidied up a few links, with the Hard Talk interview, you can see it for yourself.

Update 3: On JC’s blogs Richard Millett comments:

“As usual getting an appropriate answer was not so easy. But I asked Tamimi whether he wanted peace.

“I don’t want peace, I want justice,” he replied. Now isn’t that so telling. The whole world wants peace but Tamimi just wants justice.

Various parts of the political establishment suggest that we should talk to Hamas as it was democratically elected. But they make excuses for Hamas that even Hamas doesn’t ask for.

Tamimi is a self-declared representative of Hamas and if he says Hamas doesn’t want peace then who am I to argue with him? You heard it from the horses mouth.

Well, the whole world wants justice but it just isn’t going to happen.

Tamimi left the room to huge applause ringing in his ears while waving around the V sign to the room.”

Written by modernityblog

08/02/2010 at 18:21

Ben White, David Irving, An Israeli And Oxbridge Types.

with 30 comments

If you ever watch the Chariots of Fire film you will see an example of upper class English antisemitism, as John Gielgud’s character (the Master of Trinity) sneers at Harold Abraham’s use of a professional coach, and makes a few snide comments about “Hebrews”.

It’s not a big part of the film, but it does set the tone of how Jews have been seen by Oxbridge types over the years. Something to sneer at, something not quite “English” and it’s all done with impeccable accents and characteristic English understatement.

I can not say if that attitude is still prevalent amongst Oxbridge types, but the recent treatment of an Israeli historian suggests to me that might be the case.

Readers will remember how Oxford and Cambridge are famous for their debates, for inviting controversial figures and debating the issues of the day.

In 2007 the Hitler loving, David Irving, mainstay of the Holocaust denying circuit was down at Oxford. A year after that the dictator loving, George Galloway, was invited to speak at Trinity College, Cambridge.

There was no question of ever stopping Galloway from speaking, despite his fondness for Saddam Hussein, questionable performance on Big Brother and defence of the Iranians theocracy on his weekly PressTV show. No question whatsoever.

I am sure if we could look through the invitations sent out by the Oxbridge colleges then we might find any number of other unsavoury individuals, including Irving and Galloway, none of whom were stopped from giving their speeches.

None, that is, except an Israeli historian, Benny Morris.

There was a Facebook campaign to coercethe Cambridge University’s Israel Society and it seems to have worked, the event was cancelled. Whether or not there were any threats or intimidation I do not know, but I would not preclude it.

What I found rather interesting was the instigator of this open attack on freedom of speech, was not a firebrand graduate or a died-in-the-wool militant, rather it was our old friend, Ben White.

Readers will remember Ben White. He’s not very keen on Jews or Israelis having an opportunity to put their point of view, if it runs counter to his own.

Some may suggest that Ben White was being spiteful, inconsistent, non-Voltairian or just a small minded bigot.

I could not possibly comment, but when I see his name and remember his activities, I always think of Chariots of Fire.

Update 1:

From Facebook.

Sorry, if it wasn’t obvious but the creator of the Cambridge protests Islamophobia on campus was Ben White.

Update 2: Over at The Heathlander an interesting argument is posed:

“Firstly – and I apologise for spelling this out, but evidently some people have genuinely failed to grasp it – the right to “free speech” does not entail the right to a platform at the University of Cambridge to spout racist garbage. It certainly does not entail the right to invite an unabashed racist to speak at the University of Cambridge without provoking serious opposition from students who have to live with the consequences of an atmosphere poisoned by racism.

Strong points, except that’s already happened a few times and it is Jewish students that have to live with the outcome of anti-Jewish racism, which is a consequence of the continued obsession with Jewish nationalism, otherwise known as Zionism.

We shouldn’t forget that in 2006, the Cambridge Union debated the motion “This House believes that Zionism is a danger to the Jewish people”.

I somehow feel that the welfare of Jews was not the uppermost sentiment here.

Over at the Electronic Intifada Ben White gloated in a rather predictable fashion. [Warning, linked to cache copy]

Cambridge has one rule when it comes to Jews and another for everyone else.

There is not the slightest concern that these motions, attitudes and the constant drip drip of Anti-Zionism do stir up anti-Jewish racism and put Jewish students and staff in a very difficult situation. No, there is no concern for their well-being.

Update 3: The Cambridge tab hasn’t fully researched their article, otherwise they would see that the creator of the Facebook group was not Jamie Stern-Weiner, but Ben White, as the screen shot above clearly shows. I have no doubt that Jamie Stern-Weiner did a lot of the leg work, presumably under White’s direction.

Update 4: There’s an article on JC and the debacle at Cambridge. Apparently as a result of attacks on him Benny Morris has been invited to lecture at the Department of Political and International Studies, with an expected larger audience.

Update 5: I am grateful to Seismic Shock and James Mendelsohn for reminding me of how intolerant Ben White is, when he has the opportunity to control the freedom of speech/expression of others. This is a good summary of his attitudes.

Update 6: Cambridge was not particularly concerned with the sensitivities of Jews when they invited Jean Marie Le Pen in 2003, even though they were well aware of how abhorrent it was:

”The university’s Jewish Society said Mr Le Pen’s invite was “offensive to all minority students in Cambridge and a danger to student security”.”

It still went ahead so you might conclude that Cambridge is happy to invite and pander to a French neofascist, with a history of antisemitism, but not a world-renowned Israeli scholar and historian, who happens to be Jewish.

Update 7: One of my eagle eyed readers, zkharya, spotted, this in the Varsity Magazine:

“Renowned Israeli historian and Cambridge alumnus Professor Benny Morris has condemned the decision to cancel his talk after accusations of “Islamophobia” were made.

Speaking to Varsity yesterday, Morris said, “I believe that the attempt by several Cambridge students and a lecturer to prevent me lecturing in Cambridge is a violation of basic rights of free speech – just as preventing publication of cartoons depicting Jesus, Moses or Mohammad are violations of free speech.”

Morris also criticised the Israel Society for caving to pressure and cancelling the talk. He said, “I think the Israel Society’s bowing to Muslim-Arab pressures to cancel the lecture was a terrible mistake, evidence of weakness and a bad precedent.” “

Update 8: Jpost has an article too, it remarks on the double standards applied at Cambridge.

The Guardian And Ben White’s Substandard Journalism.

with 4 comments

How the Guardian has changed, from being a leading provincial newspaper to becoming a national periodical, a bastion of good liberal values. That’s what it was like once, but nowadays if you want to see what anti-Jewish racists are saying you don’t need to surreptitiously slip in to the back of a Far Right meeting held in a dingy Pub, or visit one of the many neo-Nazi forums on the Internet.

No, none of that is necessary.

Just pop along to Comment Is Free and watch how assorted racists, bigots and the deranged attack Jews and Israelis, courtesy of the Guardian’s on-line service.

Not only does the Guardian provide an outlet for the Far Right, neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers, it also commissions articles from various journalists who are renowned for having a certain chip on their shoulders, and Ben White is one of those, for sure.

Ben White has made much of his supposed expertise on the Middle East, and in particular Israel.

Nothing could be further from the truth, White only has to publish something for it to be picked apart by others.

So it is with his latest attempt, to malign Israelis and paint them as the worst possible inhabitants of the Middle East, and in that he failed.

Over at CiF Watch, Israelinurse has ripped apart White’s shoddy journalism.

I do wish the Guardian would return to its old values and stop being the home of anti-Jewish racism amongst the chattering classes.

Written by modernityblog

04/12/2009 at 14:04