- Holland's Cassandra (on Ayaan Hirsi Ali)
- Chomsky ad nauseum (cartoon added is from This Modern World)
- Iranian Jews in yellow (also followed up here)
- Judeosphere v Israel lobby theory
- Bono is a pajero (actually, not updated, but it's got more writing by me in it than any other recent post, and immediately got obscured behind the really long NATFHE post)
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
(Previous quizzes: Who is your inner humanitarian celebrity?, Are you George Galloway?, What kind of anarchist are you anyway?, Is your world view exactly the opposite of what you think?, Are you middle class?, Love America or leave it?, What on earth is going on in the world today?)
Following up my previous post, here's more on the yellow star hoax.
Monday, May 22, 2006
FrontPage magazine.com :: Holland's Cassandra by Robert Spencer
I find this really interesting. Ayaan Hirsi Ali lied in order to get refeugee status - completely understandable, when you want to get the hell away from somewhere characterised by bloodshed and poverty and find a home in a nice, dare I say civilised country like the Netherlands. Who defends her now? Not the left, who endless march for the rights of refugees and illegal immigrants, but the right, who tend to want to keep em all out. Strange times we live in.
(Hat tip: Jogo)
P.S. Thanks to Daniel for correct weblink - the one on my links list needs updating. The picture above is from her site, a still from Theo van Gogh's film Submission.)
"That story on Iranian Jews needing to wear yellow identifying marks? Untrue as Adloyada and Harry’s Place both report. I’m not normally a fan of the conspiracy theory (believing rather in the cock-up explanation of history) but Lenin’s Tomb has some further interesting questions. Yeah, yeah, I know, Lenin? WTF? But seriously, why on earth was such an outrageous story run?"
(Congrats to Daniel, by the way, for making the Tim Worstall grade - I can only dream of that.)
UPDATE: On the Iran dress code issue, more at Kos, Cole, & Obsolete. Worth noting that although the story isn't true, the truth is not nice: there is new legislation on women wearing 'un-Islamic' garb. Obsolete says:
'The law is meant to further restrict women's clothing, and what is regarded as "un-Islamic" dress. Already police have been ordered to crackdown on those who wear their headscarves with too much hair showing, or on men with "outlandish" hairstyles. Apparently dog-walking is also considered a no-no.' [emphasis added -B]
Zunes makes an important point that many leftists (as well as many conservative anti-anti-Zionists who have used Walt and Mearsheimer as a weapon to beat the anti-Zionist left with) have missed, which is that Walt and Meersheimer are of the Cold War right, the Kissenger realist-conservative right. Anyway, read it.
Bruce Thorton weighs in (via Jogo)
Friday, May 19, 2006
I don't know what I can add, so I'll post this from the Jewish Labor Committee [hyperlinks added]:
As you probably know, the 65,000-member UK union, the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE), has had a resolution proposed for consideration that deals with an academic boycott policy against Israeli academic institutions ... to be voted on at the end of May. NATFHE is about to merge with the UK's Association of University [Teachers] (AUT) which last year passed an academic boycott of several Israeli institutions. The resolution was later rescinded by the AUT in face of stiff opposition.
While the AUT boycott was targeted and binding for its members, the NATFHE boycott encourages its members to “boycott those that do not publicly dissociate themselves” with Israeli governmental policies that the union deems harmful to Palestinians. The NATFHE boycott, like that of AUT, is being pushed by a small group of anti-Israel activists.
NATFHE’s call for a boycott against Israeli academics is being met with serious objection around the world. Britain’s Ambassador to Israel, Simon McDonald has said the British government believes that academic boycotts are not productive and that “far more can be obtained through dialogue and academic cooperation.” Also in Britain, David Hirsh, [Lecturer] at Goldsmiths College, continues to serve as a leader in the academic field fighting anti-Israel policies in higher education. He is the editor of Engage Online ( http://www.engageonline.org.uk/ ) which has extensive material on the situation.
Yesterday, the Jewish Labor Committee, where I work, sent out a letter that you might be able to use, together with information on http://www.engageonline.org.uk , in preparing your own letter. Please see below. I'm sure that there are some academics with which you are in contact that can write something appropriate for the situation, or you might wish to write one of your own.
>> Arieh - JLC letter, below:
Mr. Paul Mackney
The National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education
NATFHE Head Office
27 Britannia Street, London WC1X 9JP
Via fax: 020-7837-4403 [from USA - 011-44-20-7837-4403]
Dear Brother Mackney:
We are writing to express our concern about Resolution 198C, titled “ACADEMIC RESPONSIBILITY,” which is scheduled for a vote at your organization’s annual conference being held May 27 to 29.
Resolution 198C talks about “ensuring equity and non-discrimination in contacts with Israeli educational institutions or individuals,” a worthy goal of and organization such as yours, committed to defending the interests of lecturers, trainers, researchers and managers working in further and higher education. As we read it, however, the resolution is designed to accomplish precisely the opposite ? namely, sanctioning inequitable and discriminatory behavior toward Israeli academics, students and others associated with Israeli educational institutions.
It is our understanding that the Constitution of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education states in Section 2.4 that among the organization’s aims is the following:
“To oppose actively all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination whether on the grounds of sex, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, colour, class, caring responsibilities, marital status, sexuality, disability, age or other status or personal characteristic. ?”
Clearly, however, the proposed resolution calls for discrimination against Israeli academics, students and others associated with Israeli educational institutions unless they specifically and publicly disassociate themselves from “continuing Israeli apartheid policies, including construction of the exclusion wall, and discriminatory educational practices.” Instead of advancing academic responsibility, as its name implies, the resolution would, in effect, create a blacklist on which all Israelis associated with Israeli academic institutions are placed. Such an outcome would impede academic freedom and freedom of expression, two principles that should be of paramount importance to any association of teachers in higher education.
It is ironic that the resolution following the one under discussion is titled “BULLYING IN THE WORKPLACE.” During the past decade, Israel has been the only country whose academics have been targeted by resolutions of the sort now being considered by NATFHE. But it is neither fair nor appropriate to make Israelis jump through hoops before they are off a boycott list ? and certainly not fair or appropriate while massive violations of human rights and workers rights are taking place in a range of other countries and communities. If Resolution 198C doesn’t represent a classic case of “bullying,” like those others before it, then it comes very close.
It is troubling, to say the least, that while Resolution 198C does not ask for NATFHE to call for a boycott of Israeli academics, students and others associated with Israeli educational institutions, it clearly implies that it would be “appropriate” for individual NATFHE members to engage in such a boycott. Such wording not only appears to be disingenuous, but calls into question the very motives of those who proposed the resolution.
We believe it is appropriate for NATFHE to express its collective judgment on the conditions confronting academics, students, working people in general and communities and societies as a whole. Indeed, your organization should reflect and publicly express the considered opinion of its members. We also oppose “litmus tests” to determine whether or not the political beliefs of individuals are sufficiently pure as to warrant their being removed from a boycott list.
Thus, we hope that NATFHE members consider Resolution 198C and conclude, as we have, that such a proposal counters the association’s own bylaws and core beliefs. Simply put, targeting Israelis based solely on where they live and work is contrary to generally accepted norms of academic freedom, and more to the point, violates basic principles of trade union solidarity and fundamental democratic values.
cc: Edward J. McElroy, Jr., President
American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
Tags: academic boycott, Israel, Palestine, Zionism, Anti-Zionism, academic, boycott, trade union, trade unionism, labour, labor
Thursday, May 18, 2006
He jumped from music to political activism and then advertising - Bono's latest career move is into the editor's seat of British daily newspaper The Independent.Lots of good stuff putting Africa's issues at the top of the agenda. But cut to the end:
There's a feature on mobile phones in Africa, but then you might also notice an article about the RED phone which raises a few questions about the lines between political campaigning, advertising and corporate profit. The RED phone is part of Bono's campaign to enlist global business in the fight against HIV/AIDS. So if you pay $280 for a new RED phone, $19 plus 5 percent of call revenues will go to the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria. And the other $261? I'd rather not give the companies extra advertising by mentioning them here.The Alertnet blog took up the issue the next day, linking to a great piece in the Telegraph Newsblog, nicely entitled "putting journalistic integrity in the red":
If you don't have time to read the whole thing, here's the final coup de grace:
Reading the finished newspaper this morning, I have to say that it looks worse than a mere publicity stunt; it's a sales pitch for Red, the organisation set up by Bono and others to provide money for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria..As Red's website points out, it is not a charity but a "commercial initiative" and as such it is associated with some pretty high profile brands... the Independent has sold out its editorial to push Bono's aims and, by extension, his commercial partners.
It looks to me like the big winners are, in order, Bono's ego, Bono's corporate sponsors, Bono's op-ed writing mates and, just possibly, the charities these forces are backing.So far, I haven't seen anyone making te connection between Bono's corporate buddies and the deaths in the Congo caused by the voracious mineral mining needs of the mobile phone industry. This is from, ironically, an Independent article (cited here):
The trade in coltan, a rare mineral used in computers and mobile phones, had social effects “akin to slavery”, the panel said. But no Western government had investigated the companies alleged to have links with such abuses. Some, including ones from the UK, US, Belgium and Germany, had lobbied to have their companies' names cleared from the “list of shame”.(See also here, here, here, here.)
Back to AlertNet:
Moving on to another commercial partnership, the car company which has built its image around safety is teaming up with a group of humanitarian agencies who focus on road safety in the aid world. Volvo is planning to help the Fleet Forum analyse traffic accidents and make recommendations for action. It all sounds logical - Volvo has been conducting accident research since 1969 - but you can't help wondering if someone at the company is hoping this might be a way into the aid vehicle market. Most of the aid world's ubiquitous white four-wheel drives seem to be Toyotas or the hilariously named Mitsubishi Pajero. Ask a Spanish-speaker what "pajero" means.Pajero, for those not in the know, means wanker, "from paja meaning ‘wank’ (literally, ‘straw’), in the expression hacerse una paja, (literally ‘to do oneself a straw’)" (ref).
A comment by Himalayan Bamboo on a Winds of Change blog post about Afghanistan's "Toyota Taliban" says:
Same s**t here in Nepal. The 4WD Mitsubishi Pajero even gave name to a political/aid-people clas: PAJEROBAD (Rule of the Pajero). The Nepalis are good at this: already in 1991 they enriched the world's vocabulary with DEMOCRAZY.
My blood boils when I see the HUGE white SUVs driving by (living on a road to Nagarkot, popular resort E of KTM), with diff. logos: WFP, UNDP, UNICEF (yeah, the children' fond: the car full of children, yeah, the bureaucrats' own!). I always suspected 90% of the foreign aid doesn't get past Ring Road. I was wrong - there is a new study by a nepali researcher: it's only 80%!!!
Abolish and rebuild UN, so the price of admission is democracy, we cannot sit in the same Assembly with canibals and butchers.
(See also my previous posts on this sort of thing: Live8/G8/Black Bloc, and Coldplay, Gwyneth Paltrow, the glitz-based community and the axis of edginess (these are probably two of the better posts on this blog, if I may say so.))
U2, Music, AIDS, Poverty, Live8, Entertainment, Media, Politics, News, Current Affairs
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Friday, May 12, 2006
An interesting conversation (via Jogo)
Paulie has not lost his mind. And I have to rethink my use of the word "liberal"...
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Women, the Iraqi Constitution & the Politics of EmpireOther links: Reawakening Secularism in Iraq | International Humanist and Ethical Union, IRIN | Women's shelter to open in protected Baghdad location
A seminar organised by the Xenos Research Group, Department of Sociology
4.00pm – 6.00pm, Wednesday 17 May 2006
Room 141, Main Building,
Goldsmiths College, Lewisham Way, London SE14 6NW
Among the legal and political disputes surrounding the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq - disputes concerning among other things US imperialism and UK involvement, the nature of the military resistance, and the importance of oil - comparatively little attention has been paid to the impact of the war and its aftermath on Iraqi society, and in particular on women. This workshop aims to redress this neglect and to take the situation of women in Iraq as a focus in its own right, as well as a prism through which to reconsider debates around the war. In particular, we wish to consider the manner in which the social and political space for women has been violently curtailed both by a 'democratic' constitution that defines their civil status in patriarchal and ethno-religious terms, and by an ongoing military conflict that functions as a vehicle for extreme forms of misogyny and oppression.
Iraqi Women's Struggle Against the Occupation and Political Islam
Houzan Mahmoud, Organisation for Women's Freedom in Iraq
Civility and Solidarity
Alejandro Colás, School of Politics and Sociology, Birkbeck College, University of London
If you wish to attend please contact Alberto Toscano: email@example.com
About Xenos – theory and research about contemporary geosocial and geopolitical conflicts
The main aim of Xenos is to develop in a multidisciplinary way new approaches to thinking about and researching the geosocial and geopolitical conflicts we see today. This includes transnational and sub-national conflicts and wars based on ethnic and civic nationalism, religious authoritarianism and transnational political violence. For more information on Xenos seminars, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Alberto Toscano (email@example.com) or Chetan Bhatt (firstname.lastname@example.org). To become a member of the Xenos open discussion list, e-mail: email@example.com and include the phrase 'subscribe xenos-l' in the body of your email.
Xenos, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths College, University of London, Lewisham Way, London SE14 6NW, 0207 919 7171. firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/xenos
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
This is absolutely fantastic
The journal is a positive sign that some parts of the anarchist movement has broken with the nineteenth century fundamentalist form of secularism that has scarred it.
But also a worrying sign that - like sections of the mainstream left - the vacuum has been filled by a postmodernist relativism that all too often descends into a position of fellow travelling and apologetics for Islamoafascism.
Links: Herald, Independent (subscribers only), A Big Stick 1 & 2, Dorian Moore.
If you want to take action:
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR OWN MP OR THE HOME OFFICE AND ASK WHY ERNESTO LEAL (REFERENCE L306526) HAS BEEN ARRESTED AND IS BEING DEPORTED.
The Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate - UK Immigration Service, Criminal Casework Team, 14th Floor, Lunar House, Croydon CR9 2BY Tel: 0208 196 0942 Fax: 0208 196 0930
Monday, May 08, 2006
2. Daniel Davies' fellow Camden resident (not Islington, as I said before), another Daniel, analyses the Muslim vote in the borough.
3. My protest vote didn't have any impact on local politics. Since the election, I've been thinking of a few good things that the Labour regime has done for Lewisham. Most of these have involved the environment - e.g. dealing well with abandoned vehicles, excellent recycling work. Environment was, of course, cllr Andrew Brown's portfolio, so sad to see him get voted out. Just read, at the blog of another now-ex-councillor, that Andrew's blog has been cited as a good example of Labour engagement with the 'Web 2.0'.
4. Lots of (Labour) post-election stuff at Take Back the Voice.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Shocking to see Respect gained so much in TH. Sad to see Michael Keith - a decent, honourable, good man - lose his seat. Not exactly a landslide though. Interesting that the Tories did well in Tower Hamlets - gaining in the docklands wards where white working class people live alongside single gentrifiers and City types.
Apart from in the East End and Birmingham, they didn't do that well A few respectable votes, mostly embarassing ones.
Horrible to see the relatively strong BNP result. That's what happens when the politicians of all stripes play the race card for decades while Labour continues to shit on the white working class. BNP comment from rantus, Brownie, Mutant Mushroom, EC1.
Other blog links: LabanTall (including mention of the IWCA, for whom I have a soft spot), Bewildering, Shuggie, david t (who calls Respect Britain's 'other populist racist and communalist party', along with the BNP).
Keywords: local elections, council elections, local council, councillors, 4 May 2006, New Labour, Blair, fascists
Bill from Barnsley called to say his highlight of the election is "smarmy New Labour apparatchik and Bullock hatchet man Gavin Moore" lost his seat in Blackheath. But this good news is balanced for me by the sad news that my fellow blogger Andrew Brown lost his seat in the same ward. (Tiny consolation: Andrew got the best Labour vote, Gavin the worst. Andrew appears to be giving up blogging, seeing it as "redundant" now, which is sad, but obviously there's more to life than blogging.) The Lib Dems took Blackheath, their candidates getting around 200 more each than the Labour candidates.
Bill is also pissed off Sam and Crada kept their seats in Evelyn, altho Heidi got loads more votes than they did, probably due to people reading his post yesterday. Bill says: "It looks like Labour could stand a two-legged horse in Evelyn and still get elected."
The Greens took all the Brockley seats. Toby Abse, foolishly standing against them, got 111, better than I expected.
The Socialists managed to keep their two councillors in Telegraph Hill, but unfortunately didn't get the third, Jess Leech, although she did very well. I understand the Socialists didn't expect her to win, but needed their voters not to give a third vote to a Labour candidate and thus deny Ian and Chris seats.
The Tories only gained one seat.
File under: uk politricks, sarf london
Thursday, May 04, 2006
If you haven't voted yet today, read this!
The trouble with living in somewhere like Labour Lewisham - or Labour Greenwich, or Conservative Wandsworth - is that the ruling party is so embedded in power that the politics is very unhealthy. The solidity - up to now - of Labour voting in most of Lewisham is so strong that the leading group don't need to bother. Among councillors, this breeds ineffectiveness, cronyism, careerism, yes-men, lazyness and vanity. (For local examples of all of these features, cf Crada Onuegbu and Sam Owolabi-Oluyole, both Evelyn ward.) For the executive, it breeds arrogance and contempt for the citizenry. (Locally, cf the Ladywell pool, school closure and Convoys issues.)
In Southwark, by contrast, the council is contested, between the Liberal Democrats and Labour. As a working class person and lifelong Labour supporter, I don't like the growth of the Lib Dems - especially in light of the way they have, I believe, manipulated racism (and homophobia) in Downham, in Rotherhithe and Bermondsey and in Tower Hamlets. But Southwark, I think, has healthier politics than Lewisham or Greenwich because of the contest between parties. There have been openings for progressive politics and for the voluntary and community sector, for example.
The move of the Lib Dems up from the white suburbs of Southern Lewisham into more middle class central Lewisham, following the pattern set in the inner North London boroughs but locally fuelled by the Bullock regime's idiocy over the pool/school issue, is likely to be boosted with these elections. That is bad in some ways, but might make for healthier politics in the long run.
My advice is to vote for your Labour candidate if and only if you believe them to be independent-minded, have integrity, and care about their local constituents' local interests. (Examples in Lewisham include Heidi Alexander (Evelyn, Lewisham's most attractive female councillor), Andrew Brown (Blackheath, probably Lewisham's most attractive male councillor) and Rosie Fooks (Brockley candidate).
Otherwise, give the ruling party a challenge by voting for one of the left, Green or independent candidates. (Locally, the Greens are a viable option in Brockley and perhaps Ladywell. The Socialists are obviously a viable option in Telgraph Hill.)
Where you can't afford the luxury of doing this is where the fascist BNP or the fellow travelling Respect are strong. In Tower Hamlets, for example, Respect have carved up the wards between Bengali areas (Islamic Forum Europe candidates) and white working class areas (SWP candidates) and have been fighting hard - and dirty. Here, as in places like Barking where the BNP represent a serious challenge, a Labour vote is imperative.
[Nb: hyperlinks are Bob's. Opinions may or may not be.]
Keywords: local elections, council elections, local council, councillors, 4 May 2006, New Labour, Blair, fascists
Here's a few blog links for the election.
Lewisham: Adam has a good selection of local election material, archived in the Politics section. Cllr Andrew sums up his campaign. The Man from Catford has yet to decide.
The rest of London: Daniel, up in Islington (North London), doesn't think much of the mainstream parties and is voting independent.
National interest: Drinksoaked Eric has a good post on that Tory fool Norman Tebbit thinking the BNP are left-wing. Meanwhile, David T at HP passes on news of the BNP and Britain's other far right party, Galloway's Respect, both committing breaches of electoral law. Hana, an East London resident, lives in the Respect heartland. Read her great post, and this one from Diamond Geezer, which she cites.
Keywords: local elections, council elections, local council, councillors, 4 May 2006, New Labour, Blair, fascists
This is a link to a classic drum n bass track on mp3 by DJ Zinc. Like Remarc's Sound Murderer and Incredible by General Levy, it captures for me the sound of summer in Brockley in the mid-1990s.
Previous: Songs of the South via BfB and via SLitW.
See also: Lewisham News on Dangermouse in SE14.
Keywords: free downloads, download free music, downloading drum & bass, drum and bass, jungle
Returning to an occassional theme on this blog (see, e.g. Let's Bomb Texas 1 & 2; Rednecks/Bluenecks; An American Drama; Black Rednecks), the above is a sixpack of Mp3s to download of the kind of country music I love: Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Don Williams, etc. Be sure to click part 1 too.
Keywords: Nashville, Austin, rebel country, country and western, country & wester, downloading free musicn
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Casino Avenue reports on crap canvassing in Charlton and Tory grins in Eltham North and Peninsula
Councillor Alyson McGarrigle appears to have absolutely no politics, honestly.
If I lived in Telegraph Hill or Brockley itself (rather than neighbouring Crofton Park), I'd be backing the Socialist Green Unity Coalition - or rather, excellent local councillors Chris Flood and Ian Page, plus Jessica Leech, a woman known for her integrity as an activist in Deptford (Socialist Party candidates) and Toby Abse, loveable if wacky leftie.
Can I stomach voting for Steve 'Bloke' Bullock as Mayor, after all the crap decisions he's made re swimming pools, schools, Convoys, etc? But can I stomach a Lib Dem or Tory mayor as a result of not voting for him? I'm going to vote independent first choice, and hold my nose and go Bullock second preference.
Make sure George Galloway's fascist-Trot alliance doesn't get in - vote Labour (early, but not often). Especially if you live in Shadwell. (Blog links: Justify This, Make My Vote Count.)
Keywords: local elections, council elections, local council, councillors, 4 May 2006, New Labour, Blair
I'm pleased to be on the blogroll of this intelligent Middle East commentary blog. I'll be checking it out properly and reporting back in due course!