ModernityBlog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Non-policy

The Greens, Entryism And Shouting Contests.

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Sometimes issues on the Internet take on a life of their own. A few weeks back I dropped a comment on the Daily (Maybe), a very popular Green Party blog.

I didn’t see eye to eye with my host, Jim, and left it at that.

Readers will remember I have been following the issue of the Green Party and anti-Jewish racism for sometime.

Then suddenly I get follow-up emails from that thread, which springs to life as if shot by a bolt of lightning.

Sadly, the resultant exchanges shed no light on the issue of the Green Party and antisemitism, but they do tell you something about the characters involved.

One particular vigorous figure is Deborah Fink.

Ms. Fink is a comparatively new convert to all things green, which normally wouldn’t be a problem except she has brought along her past political baggage.

Ms. Fink was a once prominent member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, that was until she made a statement that:

“Israel does not deserve to be called ‘The Jewish state.’ It should be called ‘The Satanic state.’ I really don’t see the point [of] doing anything else other than boycott it in every possible way.”

JfJfP didn’t like it too much either:

“But Dan Judelson, elected last month as JfJfP chair, told the JC that Ms Fink’s remarks were “incompatible” with her responsibilities within the group — which include the role of recruitment officer.

The matter would be discussed at its monthly meeting on Sunday.

“Deborah Fink is not a member of the newly elected executive committee of JfJfP,” he stated. “As such, she speaks only for herself.” He said she had confirmed that she had posted the remarks online.”

All of that is moderate, compared to her attacks on other Greens in the comment thread at the Daily (Maybe):

“Actually Alan, I have not put a complaint in against you, so don’t like, but I am now considering it. Someone else was going to put in a complaint against you but I don’t know if s/he has done so yet or how far it has progressed.”

She makes a veiled threat to the blog’s host, Jim:

“What worries me most about this, is that Jim is a member of the executive. Time for him to step down, I think.”

From the thread we learn that Ms. Fink joined the Greens on a “whim” and states openly “My main issue is Palestine…”.

She attacks long standing Greens in an aggressive fashion, only having been a Green, herself, since early 2010.

Additionally, you can see Ms. Fink bad mouthing the Green Party and its members on a public bulletin board, JustPeaceUK :

“Basically, a handful of members, otherwise known as Greens engage, had complained about ‘anti-Semitism’ in the party, so to try and address their concerns, a working group was set up. This was before I joined. I’m not quite sure why the committee was disbanded but i think it was because Greens engage kept calling one member anti-Semitic. i can imagine that they weren’t getting anywhere.

From what I heard, Greens engage used to bully people on email lists into
silence on Israel/Palestine, by constantly accusing them of anti-Semitism, but that this all stopped once I joined the party! O yes, they’ve had a taste of their own medicine! They won’t dare argue with me. I’ve been exposing their arguments and agenda so that others won’t get taken in by them, and saying what non Jews on the lists would liked to have said, but didn’t dare.

So, this article is mostly nonsense and actually, they had no business publishing it when it wasn’t from official sources. I didn’t respond as i did not want to blow the whole thing up. “

She seems to do a bit of plotting too:

“I discussed this with them and the possibility of my writing in ‘As-a-Jew’ but we decided it was best to leave it– a response would have drawn more attention to it and possibly escalated it. However, I’m looking into taking action against these infiltrators. They’ve all gone quiet now, by the way…”

Ms. Fink’s divisive attitudes brought the JfJfP into disrepute and she left, so all in all it is not very promising for the Greens, if she doesn’t get her way she’ll probably leave as quickly as she joined, on a whim.

Small wonder Toby Green resigned.

The Green Party Conference And Racism.

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Weggis asks some difficult questions of his own party:

“The situation is quite simple: anyone who raises the issue of anti-Semitism within the party is immediately labeled a “Zio” or an “apologist for Israel” and accused of trying to stifle criticism of Israel. The fact that these people are also critics of Israel and empathise with the Palestinian cause does not register on their barometer. They are blind to any evidence that contradicts their obsession. Debate, or rational discourse, has become a pointless and futile exercise.

If the Green Party cannot see, understand or deal with it’s own problems what chance have they of resolving anybody else’s?

This post might help explain the background to the issues, Institutionalised Antisemitism In The Green Party, A Longstanding Member Resigns.

Institutionalised Antisemitism In The Green Party, A Longstanding Member Resigns.

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Bob has a tremendously hard-hitting guest post by Toby Green.

Green had a 10-year membership of the Green Party in England and Wales but has resigned over its institutionalised antisemitism.

Green is exceedingly knowledgeable on this topic, as he was the chair of a working group within the Green Party to draw up a policy on antisemitism.

Readers will remember how political manoeuvrings within the Greens killed off that comprehensive policy statement against antisemitism.

Some of his points are arguable, but they are legitimate positions to hold and he has considerable experience of the internal workings of the Greens. It is a fascinating post.

I particularly liked these parts:

“To be fair, after all of this, the party did recognise that there was an issue. A report commissioned by the Green Party Regional Council (GPRC – a powerful decision-making body in the decentralisd power structure of the party), and written by two non-Jewish members, said that these were examples of a toleration of low-level anti-semitism, and that therefore a working party on anti-semitism was recommended to be established. Although kicked into the long grass at first, it started work when a senior figure recommended an article by a known holocaust denier on his blog. But the working party was quickly an impossibility. I should know: I was the chair, a position I only adopted when no one else was prepared to. Replies to very calm, polite emails asking for input came there none. Ever. Weeks would go by without any discussion, and if I as chair then asked for input this was always slack. One member only ever sent one email to the group. Eventually, a crisis came when a new GP member posted emails to a list confirming that the epithet of “squealing zionist” was justified. Since this was one of the phrases criticised in the original report to the GPRC, I brought this to the attention of the group – at which point one member resigned.

Far from it. After four years of this charade, it has become clear that the Green Party is institutionally anti-semitic. Its institutions have not dealt with clear evidence of anti-semitism. They show no evidence of wanting to, and indeed now seem to have decided to target perceived “problem” members of the party who have raised this issue. This is fundamentally a political decision: the Green party has decided that it is increasingly a hard left party, allied with enemies of Western capitalism. Rightly, it thinks that Islamophobia is one of the more dangerous phenomena to have arisen since 9/11, and in reaction against this it turns a blind eye to discrimination against perceived enemies of Islamic peoples, Israel, and the Jews. This is a classic case of projection: horrified at their own government´s attitudes towards Islamic countries, and wanting no part in it, this mentality projects this violence onto a scapegoat – Israel and Jews. “

Update 1: Some of these previous posts might shed some light on this dark and murky issue.

Green Party’s Regional Council.

Smoke-filled Rooms, Antisemitism and The Greens.

The Greens And Racism.

At Engage, Antisemitism in the Green Party ‘best kept under the surface’

Smoke-filled Rooms, Antisemitism and The Greens.

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Years back students of history or politics will remember how the term, smoke-filled rooms was coined.

It meant how political decision-making was conducted behind closed doors, where Joe (or Josephine) Public were excluded, whilst political wheelers and dealers decided things.

It is something that newer political parties try to argue that they are against.

They try to argue that they represent a new form of politics, more transparent, more open, involving people, ordinary people, not just politicos in (non-smoke-filled) rooms deciding what is what, or as one political leader put it:

“[We have] promoted a new style of politics emphasising transparency,accountability and consensual ways of working…”

That’s what such parties would have you believe, but the reality is more prosaic. This is ably illustrated by the Green Party’s discussions on antisemitism.

Within the past few weeks a Green Party decision-making committee has decided that there should be no Green Party policy on antisemitism.

That is despite a Green Party conference decision to implement one.

A policy paper was even drawn up, it was not perfect, but a good start and it at least showed that the Green Party was serious about antisemitism.

Then, it was withdrawn for “corrections”, or some such nonsense.

Whilst in the background those opposed, to any firm Green party policy on antisemitism, worked their manoeuvres emulating those smoke-filled rooms of old.

Low and behold in January 2011, when the topic came up again it was decided to shelve any concrete policy on antisemitism by the Greens.

Which I suppose shows that politics rarely ever changes, in spite of all the fine words.

It also means that the Greens will have to work very hard to convince non-members that they are serious about anti-racism and their opposition to antisemitism.

We’ve been here before. Hugh Muir was right first time out.

Update 1: The issue of antisemitism has some history in and around the Green party so it’s helpful to remember some of the previous posts:

The Green Party and antisemitism – Eve Garrard

Isca Stieglitz: Green Party and anti-semitism?

On the connection between anti-Israel sentiment and antisemitism

Update 2: Not all Greens are happy with this situation, as one points out at the Daily (Maybe):

“We now have a situation where GPRC have officially accepted that there is a problem but have resolved to do absolutely eff all about it.”