Friday, March 13, 2009

Weekending

LoveRemembering: A beautiful post by Martin, on his mother. Harry Barnes also has a lovely piece about his mother.

Music etc

In times of war: Locust Avenue is up to 1915 - god he's good. || The path of love or the path of hate? Mira at Engage on PACBI's response to Mira Awad and Achinoam Nin's Eurovision entry. || Winter Music: TNC with some supercool music, including something from one of the best albums ever, by Brian Jackson and Gil Scott-Heron. || Sublime Frequencies: Syrian folk and pop across the river, from Under the Net. || Music for antisemites: Coming up soon is a guest post by Jogo on Gilad Atzmon. In the meantime, read David Adler. || Narcissism: Have you read my last two music posts yet? This one is on American music as interracial music; this one is on Yiddish beats.

PoliticsUses and abuses: Poumista on the right-wing appropriation of George Orwell and Norman Thomas. || Do you want death with that? Hak Mao on the IRA's war on Polish pizza deliverers. || Schadenfreude: Egyptians attack Galloway's convoy and daub vehicles with anti-Hamas slogans. || Narcissism 2: I've added links to my Miners' Strike post and my Steve Cohen appreciation. And I have just noticed that Dave O has stolen my "broken Britain" point in a more recent Miners' Strike post. (Not that I was being that original I guess...)

YiddishA battle for survival: recommended documentary series at BBC Radio 3. || For all the cat-lovers on my blogroll (why are there so many?): A Cat in the Ghetto.

Chas Freeman
The last couple of weeks have seen an interesting instance something I've frequently commented on in this blog: the strange alliance of left liberals with right-wing "realists". The Nation and others have been making much of the resignation of Obama intelligence appointment Charles W. Freeman, Jr. Why should they care? Freeman is a conservative in the GW Bush/Nixon/Kissinger mould. He was a defender of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, an apologist for the plutocratic/theocratic regime in Saudi Arabia, and a friend of various bloated Middle Eastern monarchs. The Nation and others, however, have peddled a conspiracy theory version of his resignation: pushed by the so-called Israel Lobby. Some sensible response from Snarksmith, Ben Cohen, the Post, James Kirchick, Plenty more at CC and Ignoblus. Oh, and the debate has passed over to this side of the Atlantic, via, of course, The Independent - see Mark G at Engage.

Racism
“Brian went and kicked Wendy Brown who’s a friend of Kate’s. This was understandable, as Kate had been flirting in an unseemly way with blokes down at the pub.” Rosie on Ken Loach on antisemitism.

Goldsmiths/New Cross
I seem to be getting a bit of traffic around the interrelated issues of the anti-Israel campaign at Cafe Crema and Goldsmiths. For anyone new to this blog, here's the key posts, in reverse chronological order: Crema: "Not anti-semitic, just anti-fascist"; Deptford Town Hall occupation; "Israel must lose"; NX history, Goldsmiths imperialism and Cafe Crema; Jennifer Jones; cool film at Crema; Disreputable Lib Dems in the Goldsmiths Politics department; Goldsmiths' Muslim chaplain; Yiddish anarchists at Crema; Prangsta and South London caffs.

33 comments:

Martin Meenagh said...

Thank you Bob. I hope all is well with you

Samantha said...

Sometimes during away games (basketball) we’d have to change in the opposing teams female locker room, which was usually fine since it didn’t take very long.  However, on this particular day some of my buddies called me over to one of the stalls.  Next to the stall on the wall, there was a small trash dispensor type thing. 

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

will you ask Cafe Crema why they are not boycotting Colombia too?

as:
1) one of the most militarise countries in the region
2) the Right Wing Uribe Govt
3) previous AUC death squads
4) restrictions of civil liberties
etc

ChrisCafeCrema said...

Cafe Crema is my cafe. In response to a couple of other postings: yes; Israel is fascist in terms of its treatment of the Palestinians. It is an occupying force which does not carry out its responsibilities under the Geneva Convention. I've spent time in the West Bank and seen it first-hand. Anybody else posting comments on this blog been there? Added to this, we all know that they keep a million and a half Palestinians in a prison-camp called Gaza and proceed to exterminate them at will (in the name of self-defense; the Germans also had to defend themselves against the French Resistance, and the Apartheid regime of South Africa against the ANC). We do not currently promote boycotts of other rightwing/militaristic regimes because, in most cases (a) you do not generally see their goods in the shops and (b)they do not have such a history of support from the British establishment. When the South Africa boycott was underway in the 1980s, did anyone complain that there were lots of other nasty regimes in the world that we should have been targeting?

bob said...

Thanks for your reply Chris. Am still thinking about my response. Don't know if you have also seen the comments on this thread: BobFromBrockley: Today's snippets

David Hirsh said...

Chris says, "I'm not antisemitic but..."

"Jews are as welcome here as anyone else..." [But...]

I teach at Goldsmiths and I go to Cafe Crema every now and then. Perhaps you'd recognize me.

I liked the atmosphere. I went there sometimes with students and sometimes with colleagues and sometimes alone.

I liked the coffee too.

I felt comfortable there.

But now I don't feel as though I'm welcome there anymore, in spite of the sign which says that Jews are welcome. Or perhaps because of that sign.

I'm not Israeli, I hold a British passport. Why? Because my grandparents on my father's side escaped from Eastern Europe to Britain (before the 1905 immigration Act tried to construct a British boycott of European Jews); and my mother escaped from Germany to Britain in 1938.

Lots of members of those 2 families never got out of Europe. Some who did went to Chile, some went to Israel, some went to the US.

What is my point? My point is that I am British and not Israeli only for contingent reasons. I am British and not Israeli or Chilean or American by chance.

My cousins, who are Israeli, are Israeli by chance. Because that is where they found refuge when they were defined, in Europe, as shit, as cockroaches, and hunted down.

And your distinction between boycotting Israeli goods and Israeli people is a cowardly one.

If an Israeli grows tomatoes, you won't buy her tomatoes for use in your Cafe. But if she turns up here wanting to spend her "fascist" shekels in your cafe, shekels which she earned by selling her tomatoes, then you will let her in.

You will exclude her tomatoes. But you would be too shy to exclude her. Why? Because you would feel that an exclusion of Israeli Jews would be antisemitic.

If you want to boycott Israeli goods then you will have to boycott me too.

And when my colleagues suggest lunch there or my students suggest coffee there, I guess I'll just mumble, or say I'm busy, and I won't be able to go with them because I am no longer part of the Cafe Crema community. I probably won't tell them the real reason for fear that they'll think I'm a paranoid Jew.

And when I walk past Cafe Crema twice a day, every day, on my way to and from work, I will be made to remember, even if I have forgotten, that there is the cafe where "Jews are welcome" and I will feel upset, excluded, and angry.

Do you understand, Chris? Every day when I walk past Cafe Crema I will see the cafe from which I feel excluded because I'm Jewish.

(By the way, Yes, I have spent time in the West Bank - I have been arguing and campaigning for an independent Palestinian state and for an end to the occupation for decades - but this has nothing to do with a campaign to exclude Israelis and/or their products from SE14)

Anonymous said...

"we all know that they keep a million and a half Palestinians in a prison-camp called Gaza and proceed to exterminate them at will."

"exteminate them at will" - and Chris claims to have been in the OT. After this comment, one wonders about the veracity of such a claim.

(After all, Mike Cushman of BRICUP saw Gaza as a thriving, but poor, modern metropolis with "luxury hotels and wi fi connection".

(It is the case also that SA did not "exterminate" Black Africans - but, hey, why let reality get in the way of gestural politics)

"they do not have such a history of support from the British establishment."

So, we can all expect a boycott of British goods as well then.

(Interesting of course that Britain has an "establishment", but apparently Israel lacks what the cafe owner thinks is an element of a functioning body politic)

Toby Esterhase said...

Are Gypsies and Irish welcome Chris?

Anonymous said...

Chris, I repost my comment from Chris, if you are reading this I would be grateful for a resposne.

Like David Hirsh, I too am a lecturer at Goldsmiths. So as a potential customer I think my question is relevant -

I hold dual nationality: Israeli and British.

I regard myself as Jewish, though I don’t believe in God.

Which parts of me would be as welcome in your cafe “as anyone else”?

Ariel H (History department)

TNC said...

"Added to this, we all know that they keep a million and a half Palestinians in a prison-camp called Gaza and proceed to exterminate them at will..."

If Israel was truly a "fascist regime" exterminating Palestinians "at will" as Chris thinks, a lot more Palestinians would be dead right now. That much should be obvious to anyone paying attention to the situation.

Mira Vogel said...

Chris, something to add about your boycott strategy.

You want to defend Palestinians. You express this by attacking Israel - a country which, as well as aggressing and oppressing Palestinians, is itself the target of hostility from Palestinians and from further afield. This is not a one-sided war, nor is Israel Palestinians' sole aggressor. Israel is not fascist, but Hamas is, both in its Charter and in practice with respect to political opponents and its minority groups. And yet with a singular intensity you go for Israel (and you go for the little guys whose herbs and oranges you see in the shops).

Surely you realise that the Israeli and Palestinian peace movements are struggling against their respective wreckers. Palestinians voted for Hamas and Israelis voted to the right. The poor democratic credentials of the surrounding states mean that those which have formal peace with Israel do not necessarily have popular peace. The interests each population perceives are diverging in ways incompatible with peace. Peace depends on reconciling these views and building trust. It depends on getting the Israeli public behind dismantling the settlements, it depends on getting Palestinian support for a secure Israel, and it depends on regional cooperation on trans-state issues such as water, waste, energy and climate change.

Your insistence that Jews are welcome clashes with your intense and singular loathing of Israel. I'm not sure what you read, but among other things I read

http://olahadasha.typepad.com/
http://yishaym.wordpress.com/
http://www.machsomwatch.org/en
http://www.gisha.org/
http://www.abrahamfund.org/main/siteNew/index.php
http://www.onevoicemovement.org/
http://➡.ws/ㅪ⇩
http://www.ipcri.org/
http://www.foeme.org/
http://www.bustan.org/

When organisations and people like these - working on the ground for rights, reconciliation and equitable political solutions - start asking me to boycott, then I'll give it serious consideration, because these are organisations whose values I support. But they aren't boycotters, and the reason is that they find boycotting counterproductive to the - often shared - interests of Palestinians and Israelis. Supporting boycott is incompatible with supporting the peace movement. Boycotting, if it were to work, would impose pressure on Israelis and play to the agenda of rejectionist organisations like Hamas and Hesbollah. We know Israelis respond to pressure in much the same way Palestinians respond to pressure. Boycotting helps the Israeli right because it is a distinctly Hamas way of entrenching conflict.

I think people who want to get involved in the future of Israelis or Palestinians should reject your call to boycott on those grounds.

I find it unnerving that you would feel comfortable flinging out assertions about Israel as you do with so little basis. David has explained pretty well why I feel like I'd be mugging myself to go to Cafe Crema now - being vegan exascerbates my sense of exclusion. But now you have started this campaign of aggression, rather than your earlier constructive campaign of promoting Palestinian products like Zaytoun, you can expect this kind of response - hurt, exclusion and a loss of respect for you.

ModernityBlog said...

so I'll repeat:

why ain't Cafe Creme boycotting Colombia coffee beans?

the human right record of Colombia is appalling and the death squads in the north of the country have killed 1000s of people and yet nothing from Cafe Creme?

I think the problem is, that Colombians won't take too kindly to being boycotted and might start trouble, whereas boycotting "Israelis" is simpler and less bothersome

Please Cafe Creme don't let your concern with human rights exclude Latin America or Colombia! At least try to be consistent.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Maybe it makes good business sense to have such a message adorning Crema's blackboard.

I notice that Chris did not go out of his way to explain his position. Instead he just threw out a collection of the cliche accusations about Israel. There is hardly any passion in his statement, nor any genuine good faith curiosity about how his message is received by those it is aimed at.

I do give him some credit for having some notion of historical record, manifest in his choice words: "Jews are as welcome here as anyone else." It appears he knows enough of this history to pick up just the right formation and sequence of words to deliver his ill-concealed wishes.

I wonder if he will exercise the courage of his convictions by answering some of the responses that thoughtful people have provided for him, with some knowledge and moral coherence.

For example, he ought to explain how a genocide takes place in Gaza. And he will have to preface that by supplying his definition of what a genocide is.

He should also explain the equivalence he suggests between the French Resistance and Hamas.I will expect a point by point analysis.

I would also like to know if, when he spent time in the West Bank, he went to visit Sderot or to have a look at the many Israeli Cafes, some of which were much like the one he owns, where suicide bombers shredded the patrons to pieces.

These are not concealed or manufactured events. They are known and recorded, in his own lifetime, in the recent few years. Why does he think he can get away with lies and defamation? Is it the popular thing to do these days?

Mira Vogel said...

People can eat where they feel comfortable, and I don't feel comfortable at Crema, but I want to pre-empt any boycott talk.

I think Chris’s fund-raising for Palestinians is admirable, running a vegan cafe is entirely positive, saying “Jews are as welcome as anybody else” has the opposite effect, and calling Israelis fascists is disgraceful.

I have absolutely nothing up my sleeve to change Chris’ mind. I have no intention of campaigning against a small veggie food business and would oppose anybody who did. There are way too few places like Crema around, as far as I’m concerned. Besides which Crema feels like part of my campus. My institution is already divided over Israel - I don’t want to see further battle lines drawn in Crema. I know how boycotts work - they work with stigma. Chris has shown us this in the way he talks about Israel. Enough of stigma. So I’d say absolutely - no to any boycott of Crema.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Boycott Cafe Crema? Absolutely not. If I had any organizing skills and lived in the vicinity, I would schedule a weekly meeting for all those opposed to the boycott right in his cafe, drinking his coffee, eating his sandwiches and leaving him a generous tip in recompense for his kind invitation and for whatever anguish he may suffer as a result of so many Jews feeling welcome in his cafe.

ChrisCafeCrema said...

Fair enough, I can now see that it was a mistake to write ‘Jews are as welcome here as anyone else’ in that it has been taken, by many people, in exactly the opposite way that it was intended (but perhaps I should have foreseen that – I apologise). Obviously, whilst writing anything about boycotting Israel (I’ll come to that in a bit) I wanted to also state what is obvious to me: that that doesn’t mean we’re anti-Semitic. I only felt that needed stating because certain people (such as Israeli politicians and pro-Israeli journalists) deliberately try to muddy the water by conflating anti-Israeli sentiment with anti-Semitism. I don’t care (and obviously generally don’t know) what community/religion/race/diaspora our customers come from – however in answer to the comment about taking fascist shekels, we would never knowingly serve a member of the BNP – and, in terms of individual Israelis, I don’t blame anyone for the misdeeds of their government, in the same way that I would hope that no one would hold me responsible for the misdeeds of British governments, past and present.

But we will continue to boycott Israel, and we certainly won’t hide the fact. All the time that we’ve been open, there have been stickers on the walls calling for a boycott. To me, it’s as legitimate as boycotting South Africa was in the 1980s [By the way, we don’t use Columbian coffee beans, we use Fairtrade Brazilian beans]. It doesn’t mean that I am a supporter of Hamas. It just means that I am more than a little frustrated with seeing absolutely no progress in favour of the Palestinian people, despite decades of handwringing by Western governments (and by progressive/leftwing Israelis). The walls, roadblocks, checkpoints and settlements continue to go up; the mass-killings, collective punishments, arbritrary arrests and incarcerations carry on, as the ineffectual UN resolutions continue to be passed.

I don’t see Hamas as being comparable to the WWII French Resistance, but I do see the Intifada in general as being so. It’s a popular uprising against a hated, and militarily far superior, occupying force. You cannot cite Palestinian suicide bombings and rocket attacks as being anywhere near the same league as what has been meted out by Israel; they don’t amount to 1 per cent of the total carnage and misery. Israel needs to think about why so much of the world is against it, in the same way that the USA has started to do in recent years (we boycotted them, too – and we had a notice up about it, but no complaints or counter-boycotts, as far as I’m aware - while Bush was in power; looks like it worked).

I am well aware of the Holocaust (my wife’s stepfather was in a concentration camp as a child) and the unjust treatment and displacement of Jews in general, in much of the world, for centuries. But these facts do not give Israel a licence to kill and oppress, or to steal land, anymore than the legacy of British colonialism gives Robert Mugabe excuses for his behaviour, despite what he might say.

And, Contentious Centrist, I’d like you to tell me exactly what my ‘ill-concealed wishes’ are, and why on earth I would feel ‘anguish …as a result of so many Jews feeling welcome in [my] cafe.’ The Jewish person who works at Café Crema certainly appears to feel welcome, and this doesn’t cause me much anguish. And this is not ‘gestural politics’. This is absolutely sincere.

Once again, to anyone I’ve offended, or made feel unwelcome, I apologise. However, the boycott remains. I’m genuinely sorry if this means we’ll lose certain customers; that’s obviously not our intention.

bob said...

Chris, thanks for your more considered response.

ModernityBlog said...

well Chris, if it isn't gesture politics and I appreciate that you don't have any Colombian coffee, do you advertise that too:

"We are boycotting Colombian products" etc

[for readers unfamiliar with London, a sizable Latino community exists in South London with a lot of Colombians around the area]

Please, Chris, try it, see how Colombians react :)

Anyway, Chris, as you say you are sincere and, of course, use the obligatory "some of my best friends..." line but why not boycott China too?

You will remember how China invaded Tibet in the 1950s?

how China occupies and controls Tibet?

how China rapes the Tibetan countryside for minerals

how China cruelly suppresses any Tibetan opposition?

etc

So Chris, why not boycott China? or would that be too inconvenient?

Well, what about China?

PS: if you are using Windows or an Intel machine you might want to boycott that too, Israelis had a hand in their development. Oh and mobile phone, medical equipment....etc

The Contentious Centrist said...

” Obviously, whilst writing anything about boycotting Israel (I’ll come to that in a bit) I wanted to also state what is obvious to me: that that doesn’t mean we’re anti-Semitic. I only felt that needed stating because certain people (such as Israeli politicians and pro-Israeli journalists) deliberately try to muddy the water by conflating anti-Israeli sentiment with anti-Semitism. “

Chris is not an antisemite. He is anti-Israeli. By his own words, he is “only” anti-Israeli, a bigotry that he thinks he can morally defend by making irresponsible and ill-informed accusations against Israel’s policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians.

So even though Chris doesn’t “blame anyone for the misdeeds of their government,” he sees no problem declaring himself “anti-Israeli”.

___________________________________________

I notice that Chris does not extend the same measure to his position about Hamas. He is not “a supporter of Hamas”. He is not anti-Hamas or, by the same earlier token, anti-Palestinian. Presumably Hamas, with its genocidal charter and its terrorist practices, does not meet the fascist test. While Israel, in responding to Hamas genocidal violence is fascist.

Why is Chris not anti-Hamas?

Chris states: ”You cannot cite Palestinian suicide bombings and rocket attacks as being anywhere near the same league as what has been meted out by Israel; they don’t amount to 1 per cent of the total carnage and misery.”

This statement deserves closer attention, because it provides an excuse for terrorism matched by a wickedly reckless lie:

First, Chris argues that Palestinian terrorism against innocent Israelis is justified. This is why Chris cannot bring himself to assert that he is anti-Hamas.

Secondly, Chris provides some hard data to illustrate his point (the “1%” thingy).

During the height of the intifada, more than a 1000 Israelis, that is, kids, old people, women, human beings, taking buses, going to the supermarket, sitting in a café, were shredded to pieces. (Graphic photos of the carnage are available on the Internet but if you want to see, you’ll have to search for them. Israeli media is not so helpful as al-Jazeera; it does not plaster them on its front pages and TV broadcasts.) If the carnage yielded by suicide bombings and rocket attacks amount to 1% of the “total carnage”, that would make the Palestinian death toll something like at least 100,000.

According to this chart, the entire death toll in the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1947 is 44-72 K Military + 50 K Civilian. That covers both Israeli and Arab victims in all the wars since 1947.

http://www.geocities.com/dtmcbride/hist/disasters-war.html

Perhaps Chris would like to trim his numbers to fit more closely the actual recorded truth?

And thirdly, Chris opines that Israel cannot justify its war against Hamas because -- according to Chris’ moral calculus-- not enough Jewish babies were killed. Since Hamas has been relatively unsuccessful recently in its attempts at exterminating Israeli Jews.

Chris, you are quite right. But it would be more helpful if you could provide a number: How many dead Israelis will it take before you will grant permission to Israel to try and stop these attacks?

________________

”I am well aware of the Holocaust (my wife’s stepfather was in a concentration camp as a child) and the unjust treatment and displacement of Jews in general, in much of the world, for centuries. “

In an earlier comment, here,

http://brockley.blogspot.com/2009/03/weekending.html?showComment=1237445940000#c4206173928801453049

Chris says about Israel:

“we all know that they keep a million and a half Palestinians in a prison-camp called Gaza and proceed to exterminate them at will”

I want you to note that Chris concedes that he has almost first-hand knowledge about the Holocaust, before he proceeds to describe historical Jewish suffering as: “unjust treatment and displacement”. But then he describes the war in Gaza between a deadly and implacable terrorist organization and Israel as a gradual extermination of a million and a half Palestinians.

In other words, while Jews suffered only unjust treatment and displacement, Palestinians are actually subjected to genocide. You see, it was not the Jews that were exterminated to the tune of 6 millions. It’s the Palestinians that are being exterminated by their hundreds of thousands.

_____________

“But we will continue to boycott Israel, and we certainly won’t hide the fact.”

Good. Visible and shrill half-boiled radicalists in possession of only fractions of what is a recorded and easily verified truth are safer when they declare themselves openly. As a guide once told me on a safari trip, “A visible lion is a safe lion”.

It is always advantageous to know EXACTLY what someone like Chris espouses.
_________________________

And this is the sort of knowledge and superior morality that inform the message that Chris of the Crema Vegan Café wrote on his blackboard:

"We do not use any Israeli products. We are not anti-semitic but anti-fascist. Jews are as welcome here as anyone else."

And Chris is a honourable man … He is no antisemite. He even has a receipt to prove it.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Bob: "Chris, thanks for your more considered response."

"thanks"??

"more considered response."???

ChrisCafeCrema said...

It's a small point, but I'd like to stop being slightly misquoted, and I've noticed that some contributors to this blog appreciate a good semi-colon. The sentence that keeps being brought up actually reads 'We are not anti-semitic; we are anti-fascist.'

Another small point: we're a vegetarian cafe, although we do have some vegan dishes.

Those people who complain that we're not also loudly boycotting Columbia or China: do you also complain that feminists aren't doing enough for animal rights? Or that the 'Free Tibet' people aren't making enough of a fuss about Zimbabwe? In my ideal life, I'd have the time and energy to espouse every good cause available, as well as to learn tap-dancing and to play the trombone; but I'm finding that just telling people that I'm boycotting one country is turning out to be fairly time-consuming.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"It's a small point, but I'd like to stop being slightly misquoted, and I've noticed that some contributors to this blog appreciate a good semi-colon. The sentence that keeps being brought up actually reads 'We are not anti-semitic; we are anti-fascist.'"

We once had a nice discussion about the role of the semicolon. Someone suggested it acts like a wink-nudge between two related statements.

"we are not anti-semitic" (wink wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean, say no more.. )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT3_UCm1A5I

The Contentious Centrist said...

"Another small point: we're a vegetarian cafe, although we do have some vegan dishes."

Your painstaking need to correct mistakes of perceptions and wrong information, Chris, does you credit. It is a bit annoying, isn't it, to be even slightly misrepresented, even when that misrepresentation entails no negative repercussions for one's good name and standing? The worst that could happen to your cafe from being thought a vegan cafe would be to attract more vegans, who surely would be at least as welcome as Jews are, no?

Unlike, for example, your lies and distortions in the representation of Israel, Israelis and Jewish history. These do carry a price tag.

Mira Vogel said...

Chris, you should go and read Engage too. http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/chris-of-cafe-crema-responds/.

I'm at a loss to explain how you can even convince yourself of what you have said here. And yet your views are typical of boycotters.

ModernityBlog said...

Chris, you wrote:

"Those people who complain that we're not also loudly boycotting Columbia or China: do you also complain that feminists aren't doing enough for animal rights? Or that the 'Free Tibet' people aren't making enough of a fuss about Zimbabwe? "

Chris, no one is complaining, merely asking you to substantiate your selection

Did you know that there are some 340 conflicts going on around the world?

and when you pick ONE, a specific one then people are entitled to ask why THAT particular one

then again Chris, if you haven't thought things through then I can understand your impatience with such questioning, as it requires you to think about the whats and wherefores of these issues

that can be hard

equally, if your decision is not based on a rational assesment then you might find it hard to say why Israel deserves to be boycotted, but not China or even Sudan

You will remember Sudan and Darfur? some 3 million displaced and 300,000 killed, and it is still going on,

for a long time China used it power in the UN to protect the Sudanese govt even though they were prime movers behind the violence in Darfur

So Chris, all I wonder is, can you rationally explain why boycott Israel and NOT China?

Mira said...

Mod, while Chris gives this question the consideration it deserves, here is a recklessly short and unlinked post of unconvincing reasons from Philip Weiss. He says he lays into Israel to spite his community. The rest are just made-up reasons. You wouldn't have thought that Jews had been singled out and shunned for centuries. No attempt to address the growing sense (which is played on by the Israeli fear-mongering right) that Israel is simply the Jew of the world, destined to be obsessively scrutinised and boycotted whatever it does.

http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/03/why-single-out-israelpalestine.html

The Contentious Centrist said...

"You will remember Sudan and Darfur? some 3 million displaced and 300,000 killed, and it is still going on,

for a long time China used it power in the UN to protect the Sudanese govt even though they were prime movers behind the violence in Darfur

So Chris, all I wonder is, can you rationally explain why boycott Israel and NOT China?"

I have a theory about it, which I'm going to state by quoting two Palestinians and one Qatari.

_______

The first is Mahmoud Darwish (I'm not explaining who he is because I assume Chris, who professes an intimacy with the Palestinian people, would know about him):


"Do you know why we Palestinians are famous? Because you are our enemy. The interest in us stems from the interest in the Jewish issue. The interest is in you, not in me. So we have the misfortune of having Israel as an enemy, because it enjoys unlimited support. And we have the good fortune of having Israel as our enemy, because the Jews are the center of attention. You’ve brought us defeat and renown.”
_______

The second is from Nizo, who is possibly the most loquacious Palestinian this side of the equator. He spares neither of the conflicting people. Here is what he says:

"In the meantime, what I do demand is a reformation of the PA, the removal of all the bahayem who line their pockets with the aid money. Dollars we were very lucky to receive in the first place. Wallah, African nations with more pressing needs are starving while we sit back, multiply, beg for handouts and get angry at the world when it doesn't go that extra step and wipe our asses for us."

________________

And here is Qatari Liberal and Former Dean of Islamic Law at the University of Qatar Dr. 'Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari:

"U.N. reports indicate that 300,000 people were killed in Darfur, and that two million fled their homes after their villages were destroyed by the Sudan-backed Arab Janjaweed militias. Who is for them? Who is for the widows? Who is for the orphans? Who is for the displaced?"

"These victims are all Muslims, and their only offense is that they are not Arab, the ethnicity of their rulers! If they find no support among those who are supposed to defend rights and help the weak, then to whom can they turn for shelter and protection? Is the international community to be accused if it intervenes to extend a helping hand?

"For five bloody years, the people of Darfur have been ruined and expelled, and the satellite television channels have broadcast horrific scenes that tormented the hearts of the world and make their consciences bleed - except for the Arab conscience, which was on vacation, and except for their [Arab] League, which remained comatose, and except for their media, which neglected to cover and broadcast the facts. "


""Where were these unions [in the case of] the mass graves, the massacres in Darfur, and the mass exterminations in Halabja and southern Iraq? Why do they raise their voices and display their heroism against America on the pretext of Abu Ghuraib and Guantanamo, while they hold their tongues on what is happening in the prisons and detention camps in their own countries, and on what happened to hundreds of people who have disappeared without a trace?"

_________

To conclude with Martin Amis, trenchant and scintillating:

"I know it’s a great tradition of the British left to support Palestine, but when you come up against this question, you can feel the intelligence and balance leaving the hall with a shriek, and people getting into this endocrinal state about Israel. I just don’t understand it. The Jews have a much, much worse history than the Palestinians, and in living memory. But there’s just no impulse of sympathy for that . . . I know we’re supposed to be grown up about it and not fling around accusations of anti-Semitism, but I don’t see any other explanation. It’s a secularised anti-Semitism"

Entdinglichung said...

btw ... there is another state which produces oranges and lemons in the region, occupying a territory (recognized as a sovereign state by ~ 50 countries) since 1976 with 200.000 out 500.000 of its inhabitants living as refugees abroad, mainly in refugee camps in the desert ... but it is my experience, that nearly nobody (outside Spain and Algeria) knows and cares about this conflict

ModernityBlog said...

Mira,

I think Chris of Cafe Creme has given up the ghost?

Shame really.

A said...

He's 'given up the ghost' - ie. gone to continue living his life instead of frothing online like you lot - because he's stated his case fully and eloquently, and there's only so much insinuation of antisemitism one person can handle after being so patient and careful to state his case reasonably to a bunch of apologists-for-fascism having their usual panting circle jerk on this blog.

Kelvin said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Joannah

http://myscones.com/

sheela said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Kaylee

http://www.craigslistpostingonline.info

Anonymous said...

Chris, You absolutely ARE anti-semitic. You also have no knowledge of the words genocide, terrorism, murder, or self-defense. I must have missed your concern when Jewish (not just Israeli) mothers and children were murdered in terrorist attacks in Israel, Argentina, and Mumbai. I'm sure you supported the London bombings as well due to the British Army's 'extermination' of the Iraqui people.

You are a vile, pathetic traitor and a disgrace of a human being.