Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Evict the lot? Ben Atar eviction: a cosmopolitan response

Recommended: History is made at night: Ben Atar eviction: a cosmopolitan response


The Contentious Centrist said...

"..in Israel, as in many other countries, dance scenes have been a means for the assertion of a confident queer culture in the face of intense conservative/religious fundamentalist opposition – no mean feat in a region of the world where gay men can still face execution in some countries"

An inscrutable statement. Gay culture is pretty well thriving in Israel and whatever opposition to it probably emanates from another marginal and "queer" minority, the ultraorthodox of Jerusalem. Even their objection is more likely aimed at the extravagant exhibitionism of Queer culture, like Gay pride parades.

This is another example of the rhetorical fallacy of fetishization of balance. Levelling down Israel's secular and laissez faire values in order to make it more compatible with the authoritarian puritanical regimes that surround it.

The reported responses to the squatters' eviction is indeed indicative of the fact that criticism of Israel has gone antisemitic and respectable. At least on the part of those on the left who pretend that they don't do antisemitism. I've visited some blogs of that ilk, and I must say, the levels of sanctimonious self-delusion in this regard would put Tartuff to shame.

bob said...

Inscutable? Fetishization of balance? I read the paragraph as rejecting the fetishization of balance. Religious ultra-conservatism and its intolerance of queer culture is a feature of all nations, but probably no more than amongst Israel's neighbours, where "gay men still face execution". In other words, Israel is a beacon of relative tolerance in an authoritarian puritanical region of the world - even if its tolerant enough for some!

I love the idea of the haredim as a queer minority! Do you know the work of the Boyarin brothers? They'd like that.

The New Centrist said...

The entire Indymedia project is poisoned beyond use.

bob said...

Poisoned beyond use? I wouldn't go that far, but it certainly gets harder and harder to get through the chaff to the wheat, and it is disturbing how neatly neo-nazi themes mesh with putatively libertarian positions there.

bob said...

Just say NC's comment at History is Made... saying that Indymedia is an anti-Semitic website, and this goes far beyond the comments. I wrote:

Far beyond the comments? Well, some antisemitic items are published there, by crackpots, along with other crackpot material (conspiracy theory, support for "anti-imperialist" despots, etc), but that is hardly the editorial policy or intrinsic to the project. I think it is unfair to call it "an anti-Semitic site".

Noga said...

".. some antisemitic items are published there, by crackpots, along with other crackpot material"

A distinction without a difference. The final outcome is the same. A media outlet is not obligated to make its pages available to antisemitic ravings. When it does, I have to ask, why? Would it also make available space for KKK tales?

I hardly ever visit Indymedia but I went to check after reading NC's comment. It is definitely anti Zionist. When I stumbled across an article about Gilad Atzmon, illustrated by the cartoonist
Ben Heine (who participates in the 2006 Teheran Holocaust cartoon contest) it became clear that its editorial policies transcend mere antiZionism into far more, der Sturmer-type ravings.

Here is an example of Heine's work:


I'm afraid as far as the proliferation of antisemitism is concerned the time for nuanced distinctions is more or less over. The loathing, hatred, defamation of Israel expressed in classic anti-Jewish villification can no longer be shielded by the claim of "legitimate criticism". If you advocate for Atzmon's views or publish Heine's cartoons then you share in their glory.

The New Centrist said...

I remember the great hope a lot of libertarian-leftists had with the IMC networks when they first started (including myself when I was still on the left). Some of my friends helped to start the project.

However, in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 the IMCs became major distributors of anti-Semitic propaganda under the guise of "anti-Zionism" and "anti-neocon" sentiments. Again, this went far beyond comments left by lame-brains.

Basically, the vast majority of the editors at the IMCs buy into the stale worldview of the New Left. The world is divided simplistically into "colonizers" and "colonized" with the former being bad guys and the latter good.

A lot of it has to do with power. In the libertarian-leftist mind, power itself is something bad. When Jews lacked power, they were good guys. I haven't had a chance to check out Ruth Wisse's book on the this topic but I hope to do so soon.

"This recurring tendency of Jews, both as individuals and as communities, to pay greater attention to their own moral performance than to the necessities of survival—a tendency Wisse characterizes as “moral solipsism”—is what animates her fascinating, subtle, and immensely learned study. Why, historically, did Jews feel such ambivalence about the acquisition and exercise of political power when they did not have it and were defenseless in the face of their oppressors? And why does that ambivalence persist today, when they do have political power and the measure of safety such power affords?"

bob said...

Transpontine comments (at History is Made...):

"I think it's difficult to be precise about what Indymedia is or isn't since the model is of a more or less open access news publishing project serving an assumed movement. In this sense it functions as a mirror of that 'movement' reflecting all its contradictions and weaknesses -and perhaps showing that a movement that is based on a loosely defined opposition to the status quo without much critical analysis will attract some very dubious people and ideas. Someone once said of anarchists (was it Debord?) that since they tolerate each other they will tolerate anything - in this case including conspiracy nonsense and the barely disguised antisemitic baggage that invariably follows in its wake."


I agree with Transpontine here. Indymedia is so heterogeneous that it is hard to say that it is antisemitic or that it is anything - just as is it wrong to say that, say, the British mainstream media is antisemitic, even though it publishes plenty of fairly antisemitic stuff, because the mainstream media is not one thing.

The manichean worldview of "anti-imperialism" is certainly a significant feature of Indymedia, but it jostles up against all sorts of other, very different, perspectives, some more and some less sensible.