Tuesday miscellany: the Israel lobby, conspiracy theories and the left-right convergence

Two nuggets courtesy of Engage:

1. Jan Langehein of Jungle World spells out the Anti-German position for English readers in Shift magazine. Shift, now on issue 1, seems like an interesting venture, with a critical take on the "liberal hardcore" who hi-jacked the climate camp and the use of the anti-G8 movement by the far right. Looks like a similar kind of project to Three-Way Fight. [Actually, having just posted this, I notice that the Rob Augman piece on the G8 movement is the one I linked to a different version of, via Three-Way Fight, back in August.]

2. Frank Furedi on Walt and Mearsheimer: Is Israel the organ-grinder?
I have always loathed Furedi, as I've loathed all his fellow ex-RCPers, but I find myself agreeing with him a lot these days. However, after posting this, I read this by Will and thought twice about leaving it up...

Also, remaining on the theme of Israel lobby conspiracy theories, I was a bit disturbed to read Labour councillor Bob Piper, generally a sensible chap, indulge in this sort of bullshit.


Bob Piper said…

I did try to explain in the comments that this was not particularly aimed at Jews or Israelis.

I would find it equally worrying if our Prime Minister surrounded himself with fundraisers who supported Hamas (unlikely, I agree) Iranians, or Labour Friends of Searchlight, come to that.

As I said, I don't give much credence to conspiracy theories in general, but the history and bad blood between at least two of the people involved in the Labour Friends of Israel may well have spilled over into something else in this instance.
bob said…
Thank you for replying Bob, I appreciate it.

I understand your point about other lobbies, but I think it is wrong. I don't think that there is anything wrong with people giving money to the Labour Party who also want the Party to promote causes they believe in which are compatible with Labour policy. For example, I bet a large number of Labour donors contribute to environmental charities, but no-one would think of that as a conspiracy. People only smell conspiracy here, I believe, because they put together names like Abrahams, Mendelsohn and Levy and immediately think conspiracy, because our culture is so saturated with the idea of a pro-Israel conspiracy.

Furthermore, Labour Friends of Israel is an internal campaign group within the Party, not an external lobby group. It is a left-wing, pro-Labour organisation, supportive of Labour sister party in Israel (which has been in opposition for most of the post-1997 period), and made up of Labour Party activists. It is not some neocon front for Sharon and Olmert. There is nothing wrong with LFoI members being close to the government. If a number of donors were members of any other

I also don't understand how a conspiracy theory can take hold when two of the players - Mendelsohn and Abrahams - so clearly don't get on. A pretty dysfunctional conspiracy!

P.S. Am thinking of changing my blog name to "Bop From Brockley" as per the Liberal Conspiracy typo.

P.P.S. Will decide in the morning whether to change "bullshit" to a more temperate word.
Bob Piper said…
Bob, I've been called much worse than a bullshitter, so don't worry about that. I appreciate what you are saying, and of course the trade unions give money for exactly the same reason.

I think 'conspiracy' was an insensitive word to use, and I entirely accept what you say about the use of the terminology but I'm still a tad uneasy about people who give funds being quite so close to the levers of power... that's all... Bop!
ro.ber.lin said…
Hi Bob,
This is Rob Augman, whose article is published in the Shift magazine you posted about. I just came across your site somehow, and enjoy some of the content and links.
I was looking for an email address to write you but couldn't find one, so I'm posting here, and hoping you'll find it.
I wanted to let you and your readers know that you might find interest in the website I have up at www.contested-terrain.net. It's not a blog, but rather intended to be a resource page with a lot of similar subjects as you write about on your blog.
I hope you find time to check it out.