1. Airforce Amazons: Against a false choice
Kellie appreciates David Miliband's acknowledgement that situations like the Congo do not pose the choice of political or military intervention, but require multiple solutions. (Also, follow the link to this striking map which I managed to miss at Jeff's place.)
2. Baggage Reclaim: No Music Day
Like me, Richard managed to abuse No Music Day this year. I managed last year, but this year I utterly failed. In fact, I recall starting the day at work with Calexico, and in the late afternoon I was in charge of music at a party (among other things: "Enjoy Yourself" by the Specials and "Reggae Merengue" by Tommy McCook & the Supersonics (as sampled by Lily Allen)).
3. Christopher Hitchens: The new anti-Semitism?
Both Will and Noga led me to this interesting review essay a propos of Denis MacShane. Sample:
“You catch it on the edge of a remark”, as Harold Isaacs phrases it in Chariots of Fire. I have felt myself “catching” it quite a few times of late, as when chaps from the BBC insisted despite repeated correction on saying Paul “Vulfovitz” with a special emphasis, instead of pronouncing the name correctly the first time round, as the BBC used to train people to do.Eammon McD takes issue here with Hitchens' disagreement with the hardcore new antisemitism line (as espoused by, in his example, Abe Foxman). Eammon argues that "The idea that opposition to the existence of Israel can’t be classed as antisemitic doesn’t stand up to a little serious thought." I am completely with Hitchens on this. My position is summed by David in the comments thread: "Why does a Leftist who adopts coherent and consistent positions opposed to Zionism and other forms of nationalism have to be an antisemite...?" (my italics) Opposition to Israel's right to exist antisemitic if and when (and only if and when) it denies the right to national self-determination to Jews alone. For example, if you believe in an Arab state (or an Irish state etc) but not a Jewish state, you're objectively antisemitic. If, however, you are against the idea of ethnically exclusive states in general, you may be right or wrong, but you are not being antisemitic.
Where Eammon is right (a point Flesh is Grass regularly makes) is to distinguish (if I may paraphrase) between being antisemitic and doing antisemitic: one need not be "an antisemite" (indeed, one may be a Jew) in order to say or believe something that is antisemitic in content.
4. Daniel: The sad truth about Nazis
Depressing mages from Europe and Hebron. The first illustrates MacShane's argument all too well. The second illustrates something at least as bad.
5. Eamonn McDonagh: More Speaking Out
Eamonn skewers Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's ridiculous claim that the West doesn't pay enough attention to Gaza compared to other situations.
6. The Fat Man: Tripe and bollocks
...are absolutely delicious. One of my abiding memories is of eating fried goats' testicles with a deaf mute Greek goatherd on the island of Tilos, whilst he gesticulated about what it would do for my libido. But what does this have to do with the credit crunch?Just read the rest!
7. Flesh is Grass: Not forgetting the Saudi hunger strikers
A great post, which starts with Arthur Koestler, moves through a critique of the defenders of totalitarianism who pose as human rights advocates, and finishes with an inspiring rallying call for solidarity with some very brave people.
6. George Szirtes: Domain 1, 2, 3
I visited the Poetry Library at the Royal Festival Hall at the weekend, for the first time. What a wonderful place. I took the opportunity to spend some time with George Szirtes' wonderful poetry, and then with Charles Simic's new volume. So, back on line today, I visited George's blog, and read three beautiful micro-essays on his mother.
7. Ignoblus: On the power of complaining 1 & 2
Two incisive posts on a topic that is depressingly close to home for me in my place of work, where complaining about the demonisation of Israel/Jews is all too great a part of my week to week life.