ModernityBlog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Bigotry

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?

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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

Read The Comments Policy.

with 12 comments

In light of recent events in the Middle East, I would like to make clear the comments policy of this blog.

I don’t object to people who disagree with me, even witty insults are not a problem, but if you want to exercise your hatred against Israelis or Jews go somewhere else.

Of course, I fully realise that many people will reply “some of my best friends are….Jews” or “I don’t hate anyone except the ‘Zionists'”, in such eventualities I would ask you to acquire a degree of introspection.

Then ask yourself, would you use such inflammatory language against other nations, states or ethnicities?

If the answer is yes, then you are a xenophobic bigot and I’m not interested in your comments, whatever they would be.

If the answer is no, then you might reflect on why you have such a bias and why you might be projecting unconscious prejudice.

Either way, here is a copy of my comments policy:

The comments policy on this blog is fairly simple, if you are a racist, a racialist, one of their mates, or someone who writes like them, then you are not welcome here.

This blog implements a No Platform for Fascists policy.

So if you are hung up about the existence of Jews, Muslims, the Roma, immigrants, “foreigners”, the French, the Irish, etc and feel the need to express your petty hatreds and xenophobia, do it elsewhere.

For American readers, this blog does not implement political censorship, I welcome you expressing your opinions, but I just don’t like fascists or their buddies, and this blog is not covered by the First Amendment.

The blog owner reserves the right to determine what comments are fit and proper for his blog.

This is the older version of the comments policy, see the updates.

Apart from all of that enjoy!

Update 1: Just remembered, for the benefit of any truculent commenters I made a few similar posts, they might take the trouble to read them as well.

Anti-Muslim Bigots, Feck Off.

Feck Off Friends of David Irving.

Humour Watch: The Daily Mail.

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I wasn’t sure about this, until I saw it, rather funny, if you know what the Daily Mail is like:

Update 1: Two for the price of one, thanks to entdinglichung for pointing it out, the Irish chickens are busy too!!

Written by modernityblog

29/03/2010 at 23:06

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.

Rod Liddle’s Racism.

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Left Foot Forward has a piece on Rod Liddle’s racist outbursts, well, they are not that, mere outbursts or throw away comments. They were written and printed in the cold light of day:

“F*** off back to where you’re from, then, you Muslims. Anjem Choudray, who dreamed up the march, is one of those thick-as-mince gobby little chancers who could only possibly come from Britain — Welling, Kent, in this particular case. “

And Liddle might become the editor of the British Independent ? It beggars belief, what an obnoxious and moronic individual he is.

According to his entry on Wiki (best taken with a handful of salt) Liddle was once a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party.

Hmm.

Update 1: It seems that Liddle has form.

Update 2: Thanks to Five Chinese Crackers who pointed me towards Charlotte Gore’s Rod Liddle Has Shit For Brains.

Update 3: There’s a Facebook group on Liddle’s activities.

Update 4: Over at the Torygraph Toby Young, who seems to have the intellectual calibre of a dog biscuit, is pitching for a job from Liddle in a rather blatant fashion.

Written by modernityblog

12/01/2010 at 03:35

Sarkozy’s Debate.

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It seems that the President of France, Nicholas Sarkozy, wanted to start a debate on national identity but didn’t seem to consider how this topic could be used by nativists, the far right and anti-immigrant bigot, this story in the Times should be a lesson to us all:

“A gathering of citizens in the eastern French city of Troyes has demonstrated the explosive nature of the “great national identity debate” launched by President Nicolas Sarkozy in an effort, say critics, to shore up support on the right.

About 100 people were seated in a hall to discuss what it meant to be French, one of dozens of debates on the subject being held around the country during the next few weeks. Laurent Bacari, a young schoolteacher, got to his feet.

Various speakers from the far-right National Front had been complaining that immigrants supported foreign football teams and flew Algerian flags at their weddings. One claimed that many immigrants did not know the name of the French capital, let alone the words of the Marseillaise, the national anthem.

“When I listen to you lot,” said Bacari, a wiry figure with dark eyes, stubbly cheeks and black hair, “I’m ashamed to be French.” One of his neighbours stood up and began haranguing him. “We’re all proud to be French and if you aren’t you should leave,” he shouted.

Soon the two were screaming at each other as Christian Rouyer, the local police chief who had organised the gathering, tried to call them to order.

A policeman ploughed into the crowd to stop the fight. As Bacari was being escorted from the hall, a man at the back began to sing the Marseillaise at full volume. He was dragged out by another policeman, singing “to arms, citizens”. Others in the audience joined in the Marseillaise and another man was taken away by police.

No wonder Sarkozy has been accused of playing with fire: if such scenes can occur in peaceful champagne country, whose inhabitants seldom work themselves into a froth about anything, the government can only wonder how things will go in the battle-scarred banlieues.

By the end of last week the much-vaunted debate had turned into a conflagration raging out of control. A website set up to encourage discussion had become a forum for brutal immigrant-bashing. About a fifth of the entries had to be erased.

“They’re not publishable,” Sarkozy was reported to have complained to aides, adding that the state-organised town hall debates were suffering just as much from “xenophobic insults”.

Written by modernityblog

13/12/2009 at 22:13

Comic Bigotry

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Anti-Jewish bigotry is a live and well on the comic circuit, over in County Laois, Tommy Tiernan got started, the Irish Independent has more:

“There are some things we can always take for granted — the weather in Ireland will be horrible, Irish politicians will turn even the most ardent democrat into a raving anarchist and Tommy Tiernan, who stopped being funny a long time ago, will offend a bunch of people.

And, since Ken Sweeney’s story in the Sunday Tribune about Tiernan’s undeniably anti-Semitic diatribe at the Electric Picnic, he has managed to offend an entire race.

Responding to a question from the audience about accusations of anti-Semitism, the increasingly unhinged comic went off on a rant that would go down quite well with those who think the Nazis have been treated badly by history.

According to Tiernan: “These Jews, these f*cking c***s come up to me, Christ-killing bastards. F*cking six million? I would have got 10 or 12 million out of that, no problem. F*ck them. Two at a time, they would have gone. Hold hands, get in there. Leave us your teeth and your glasses.” “

Written by modernityblog

22/09/2009 at 12:32

Bigotry In The Press.

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The New Statesman was, at one point in time, considered almost obligatory reading for anyone interested in politics or current affairs in Britain, but has suffered more recently from some internal turmoil and staffing changes.

A rather predictable article has just been published called, “Does Israel “cause” anti-Semitism?”

The author makes it very clear that he thinks antisemitism is wrong, bravo, but then proceeds with a time honoured, or time worn argument, that antisemitism is actually related to the behaviour of Israelis:

“But I do find it both tragic and ironic that the state of Israel – created ostensibly to protect Jews from across the world from hatred, prejudice and violence – through its actions today, and through its self-proclaimed role as the leader and home of world Jewry, provokes such awful anti-Semitic attacks against diaspora Jews who have nothing to do with the actions of the IDF or the policies of Netanyahu, Olmert and Sharon. “

Astute readers will remember this argument being trotted out by every bigot under the sun in various guises, for example, “Jews wouldn’t get attacked if they didn’t act as they did”, etc.

It is not a very pretty or coherent argument for what would be Britain’s premier weekly political journal.

From the comments Dave Rich of CST rightly argues:

“Let me explain some of the basic dynamics of hate crime. The people who are primarily responsible for racist hate crimes are the racists who perpetrate them; the “cause” is their bigotry and hatred for a chosen ‘other’.

Different racists respond to different stimuli: so, for instance, when Prince Harry wore a Nazi uniform a few years ago, or when Ken Livingstone was censured for his “concentration camp” comments, those events also acted as triggers for short-term surges in antisemitic incidents, but the incidents they triggered were of a different nature, and seemingly from different types of perpetrators, than the incidents triggered by the Israel/Hamas war in Gaza in January of this year.

In all cases, though, there is a very big difference between the stimulus, or trigger, and the “cause”. You would not write an article lamenting that fact that Muslim immigration “caused” the recent arson attack on the Luton Islamic Centre, or any of the other Islamophobic attacks that have been in the news recently, and rightly so. Don’t make excuses for racists, and don’t use racism as an excuse to score political points. It’s demeaning and not something the NS, of all journals, should be doing.

Most people who watched events in Gaza, even most of those who got angry about what Israel did, did not then go out and attack or abuse Jews. There is no direct cause and effect between the two. That is why CST’s reports talk of the response to events in Gaza being the trigger for incidents, rather than simply the events in Gaza themselves. “

It is a shame that a periodical, such as the New Statesman, is reduced to regurgitating bigotry, and I finally remember why I ceased buying it.

Written by modernityblog

27/07/2009 at 20:38