First, class warrior Tony Greenstein demonstrates a bit of good old-fashioned academic elitism by describing Democratiya's editor as "a lecturer in an obscure Merseyside college", as if we should only take seriously the political views of Oxbridge careerists. As Tony himself might say, "Elitism doesn't die it just takes on the jaded colours of 'left' [anti-]Zionism."
On possibly the most badly formatted blog I've seen this week, he cuts and pastes the entire debate between Martin Shaw and David Hirsh on the relationship between antisemitism and an Israel boycott. Surely a link would have done? But that might open up the danger of anti-Zionists actually reading any of the rest of the issue.
Second, Martin Sullivan of IslamophobiaWatch utterly misses the point of Max Dunbar's excellent review of Caroline Fourest’s book on Tariq Ramadan. Dunbar points out that, far from being a figure of reform, Ramadan can be identified with a "fear of women"... morbid obsession with what lovers do behind closed doors... paranoid conspiracism regarding external forces... the desire to impose an impossible past upon the rest of us... [a] wish for Islamic education in schools,... approval of the fundamentalist regimes of Iran and Sudan, [and] apologia for Hamas and the jihadis in Iraq". Dunbar asks "Why is this man regarded any more favourably than Pat Robertson or Stephen Green’s Christian Voice?" Sullivan claims:
This sort of thing does our job for us. As we've remarked in the past, those who promote the view that Professor Ramadan represents some sort of fundamentalist threat to Western society discredit themselves more effectively than we ever could.However, Sullivan does not explain why Ramadan's violent misogyny and jihadi politics deserve a place in our public sphere. Dunbar's answer to his Pat Robertson question sums up the IslamophobiaWatch project:
The racism of low expectations; the tendency to think of people in terms of monolithic blocs, defined entirely by race or religion, instead of individuals with a diverse range of competing identities; the anaemic machismo of street politics and prejudice; the creepy servility to unashamed power; and the vicarious thrill of being able to ‘contextualise’ fanaticism and misogyny.Sullivan also criticises Tom Gallagher for, among other things, quoting Munira Mirza. It is not clear why this is automatically bad: because she is a former member of the RCP, or because she is an apostate from Islam?
Finally, the ur-text of the Indecentists is, of course, the snidey Bruschetta Boy of AaronovitchWatch, replete with not-quite-amusing ad hominem attacks on most of the authors (but letting Ben Gidley and Martin Shaw off the hook, as slightly less Decent than the other contributors). The Boy seems to have read most of the issue, for which we have to feel sorry for him, as it can't have been much fun. Having saved you from having to go through the same torture, he declines to add a link.
Some Decentist blog links: