ModernityBlog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Colonial mindset

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.

Fire Or Bigots, Which Is Important?

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The Wire: Just Journalism’s daily updated blog covers something that struck me too.

I have been reading the Guardian again (after a lapse of some 20 plus years), trying to follow the Wikileaks stories and very interesting they are, whilst doing this worthy enterprise I was compelled to read the rest of the newspaper and in parts it’s not too bad.

However, a story covering the forest fires in Israel was another issue.

Given similar prominence on the same page, was an article which detailed how some idiots, some bigots in an Israeli city don’t like rooms being rented out to Israeli-Arabs by a Holocaust survivor.

It is interesting in one way that it shows the dynamic of Israeli society and how the bigotry was rejected by many Israelis themselves, but rather telling as yet another example of the Guardian’s negative coverage of Israel and Israelis.

I think it’s very wrong for some idiotic and moronic Israelis to argue that Israeli Arabs shouldn’t be given rooms, but it’s not exactly headlined stuff.

At least when compared to a forest fire where more then 40 people have been killed.

If your intent was to demonise Israelis and prove that they were racists, to the core, then you might find such a story interesting, then again you might also ask why Israelis and Jews can’t even set foot in many Arab countries, for fear of being killed, a slightly graver issue, but not one that the Guardian wishes to cover.

I think it shows you the Guardian’s warped sense of proportion that an article detailing forest fires and the resultant deaths are given side-by-side with this story of animosity towards Israeli-Arabs, which many Israeli organisations are making a very conscious effort to fight.

Sadly, the Guardian’s intense scrutiny of the Middle East doesn’t venture much beyond Israel, or to be equally critical of the other 22 countries nearby, I wonder why?

Written by modernityblog

04/12/2010 at 02:23

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

Meretz UK

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Meretz UK is organising a number of talks and one of them is particularly topical:

“Sunday, 21 March – 19.30 Hagai van der Horst: Looking into anti-Jewish and anti-Arab racisms in The Guardian and The Independent.

According to Hagai van der Horst anti-Jewish and anti-Arab racisms exists in some of Britain’s finest liberal newspapers. Furthermore, these two racisms, evident in The Guardian and in The Independent, can be viewed as in polar opposition to one another:

1. Hatred towards ‘the Jew’ is often portrayed as the religious and all powerful internal enemy.
2. Hatred towards ‘the Arab’ is often portrayed as the political and weak external enemy.

Recent press coverage will be shown to demonstrate this, including amongst other things, footage about the Peace Talks, the 2006 Israel – Lebanon war, the Palestinian Authority elections, and reports on the Holocaust and the Naqba. A must see informative talk, for anyone interested in the Middle East and the British Liberal tradition. Don’t miss it! Hagai van der Horst is currently completing his PhD research at SOAS (University of London).”

Here’s more.

I do hope that Meretz UK will record the event, either as an MP3 or a video clip.

(H/T: Bob from Brockley)