Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mooching

A blog recommendation: Letters from a Young Contrarian. An intelligent, youthful London-based blogger with a political perspective that is not off the shelf.

Islam: Interesting article I missed a few weeks back on British Muslim women fighting back. And from BenSix on what they are fighting back against.

Class War is dead, long live the class war: Anarchists argue about Islamism (interesting comment thread about Class War); The Free Association reflects on Class War's legacy.

Fascism and anti-fascism: Andy Carrington fighting the EDL on-line; EDL and BNP work together in Barking; EDL in Liverpool; Infidels vs Reds; Are all BNP members paedophiles?; Unsentimental thoughts about anti-fascism; Racism and liberalism in the anti-fascist movement; Manchester AFA has had a relaunch, and its website has some interesting stuff, e.g. on Stieg Larsson, and on 1930s Manchester.

Local news: I recently posted about Ladywell Fields - well, there will be an event there at the weekend to celebrate the renovation.Other local matters: SolFed versus Office Angels; The library campaign goes to Downing Street, while Crofton Park goes "social enterprise"; Council cuts bring an end to the Blackheath kite festival and the Pink Floyd-founded Schoolhouse Education facility, but Brockley Max survives; Sarf London pubs die, but some are re-born. Local history: A Tahitian in Deptford. Also: the treasures of Deptford market, from this wonderful site. Also new to me local blogs: Deptford Allotments, and The Creekside Hermit.

Some links on the proposed UCU boycott of the EUMC working definition of antisemitism: David Hirsh, Mark Gardner, Modernity, Eve Garrard. There are also more Israel boycott motions - see here.

AlsoDave Osler on Blue Labour; Phil Dickens in conversation with a homeless ex-soldier; Reuben BR tells you if you are a smug metropolitan liberal; Roland D on LaRouche and Ron Paul; George Readings on the left's promotion of Islamist extremism; Tim Flatman on the new threat of war in Abyei, South SudanTom Gross's video dispatches from Syria, via Scotfella; Ari asks what next for BDS; Sarah AB on racism in the Czech republic; False Dichotomies on Palestinian non-violence; Modernity on the West Dunbartonshire book boycott; Ben Dror Yemeni on the Arab apartheid; Lush soap says no one is illegal.

Elsewheres: Stuart's democratic left round-up.

66 comments:

jams o donnell said...

Wow I didn't realise the extent of Lush's ethical campaigns. Kudos to the Constantines

skidmarx said...

Residents of Lewisham have been trying to prevent the closure of 5 libraries

bob said...

Jams, Yes, I was surprised to see them endorse such a non-mainstream campaign, and then to see how many other campaigns they'd worked on. I'm not usually into the whole corporate social responsibility/ethical consumer type thing, but I was impressed.

Skid, thanks for that. I watched the Newsnight thing last night, and wondered if Lewisham, Croydon and Swindon had as many luvvies as Kensal Rise our campaign would get a bit more profile too. (Not that I want Kensal Rise library to close either, and Alan Bennett was both sharp and lovely as always.) I think the latest in Lewisham is that two of the closed libraries have no immediate future, and the other 3 will eventually re-open as pseudo-libraries run by a "social enterprise" specialising in computers, altho I can't see how they will generate enough revenue to keep the library function going. Meanwhile, all 5 of them are sitting there locked up full of books that no-one can read. Thanks also for Alan Gibbs' website, which is a treasure trove on the library issue.

Levi9909 said...

I seem to remember Bob saying he had all sorts of issues with the working definition of antisemitism a la EUMC/FRA. And yet the only links provided for the UCU motion 70 opposing the WD are from Israel advocacy blogs, two of which (CST and Engage) claim the WD to be THE definition of antisemitism.

Of course the WD will only be promoted by Israel advocates because it is clearly aimed at preventing criticism of the State of Israel.

skidmarx said...

The EUMC definition came up on an HP thread , though I can't see how Sarah AB can justify calling the UCU motion chilling (at 24 May 2011, 9:29 pm until they wipe the thread):
http://hurryupharry.org/2011/05/24/palestinian-advocacy-should-stop/

I noted on the Engage thread various attempts to portray the UCU as undemocratic (and anti-working class), then when I read te front page of the JC I note that a couple of organisations had asked Aaron Porter and the NUS exec to over-turn the NUS vote, which would seem a little contradictory.

It doesn't seem that contrarian to have a commentless picture of Obama, the Duke of Edinburgh and yeomen of the guard. I wonder if he's one of those "teenage internet libertarians" the Socialist Fogey complaned about.

Flesh said...

On the kite festival

“Staff have been reduced and the safe and successful delivery of the event is no longer viable.”

The idea that this has to be funded to go ahead is a bit of a mystery. Surely people can bring their kites, their bikes, some food, to a given place at a given time. Fairlop Fair has been doing it for centuries - no funding.
http://barkingside21.blogspot.com/2009/06/fairlop-fair.html

Lush - yep, a lot of what they sell is really weird and unnecessary and they put a hell of a lot of matter down the drain, but because so much of it is vegan and solid form and so unpackaged, and because of this kind of campaign, I'm mostly cleaned and softened by Lush products.

Flesh said...

http://barkingside21.blogspot.com/2011/05/informal-affair.html

Levi9909 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bob said...

Re the kite festival, yes, I see what you mean! I've been to that festival a few times, and can't recall it being heavily staffed by council officers. I thought the Cameroon government was all about getting rid of 'elf 'n' safety authoritarianism and letting it all hang out, however dangerously?

(And, obviously, if a council has to cut something, kite and bike festivals should be among the first things to go. Especially as that's one of the most monocultural and middle class municipal festivals I've been to.)

--

I can't be bothered to re-hash an argument we've had at length already about the EUMC, but just wanted to paste what cllr Darren Johnson said, for the sake of the record:

I voted for the official conference motion like others. However, my understanding was that the Regional Council's decision to adopt the EUMC definition proved controversial as it was thought by some to stifle legitimate criticism of Israeli policy. This was debated at a meeting of the London Green Party at which I was present. I was persuaded of the case that this definition was problematic. There was then a further vote at the London meeting on whether a separate statement on anti-semitism was needed at all. The proposers argued that a separate statement was not necessary because antisemitism was covered by our general policies on racism. I did not support this view and was the only person in the room to vote against. The fact that there is such unhappiness expressed on this website shows exactly why a clear unequivocal statement on antisemitism is needed and why the national conference was correct in voting to commission one.

And also for the sake of the record, I haven't read the JC article, but I would be opposed to a union president overturning any policy mandated by a democratic vote, altho to be clear the NUS policy is a policy agreed by the exec, whereas the UCU motions are to be voted on by congress.

Flesh said...

Looking at the Inveresk Street pic - I have this far-fetched dream that the violent anti-fascist factions, which Inveresk's source notes are narrowly constituted, stop fantasising about protecting people and instead reign themselves in to build a street response that could conceivably include pregnant women, older people, children, people with impairments.

That would be an acceptable contrast with police recommendations, as currently in Flintshire (though to their credit not in Bradford or Leicester, I think), that people stay away from the forthcoming EDL rally.

But if violence becomes a modus operandi, that probably will clear the streets.

Flesh said...

And (sorry I'm a bit hyperactive tonight - work avoidance) David Hirsh puts it so well when he says:

"UCU will now oppose all bigotry except for one particular category: racism which can be said to resemble criticism of Israel. UCU will oppose racist and religious antisemitism, but political antisemitism will be protected under the new policy."

(And though the vote isn't done and dusted yet, DH is probably right to talk about it as a foregone conclusion.)

This unpicking of anti-racism in a trade union is hard to watch.

bob said...

Flesh, I welcome your hyperactivity, and wish I had time to reply properly, which I will soon!

brocklydave said...

You got to feel sorry for these anti-zionists.
So worried about diluting their anti-zionist beliefs they can,t find a WD for antisemitism.
But its no coincidence a WD cant be found ,simply put its because the ideas and history of anti-zionism are all wrapped up with anti-semetism.
Those Arab countries surrounding Palestine had listend to nazi propoganda during the war.
So the arab responce to zionism was based on their responce to Zionism claim to be a solution to anti-semetism .
This meant anti-zionists had three main responces.
1/anti-semitsm is a european disease ,why should the Palestinians end up paying for it.
2/anti-semetism is exagerated and what has happend to palestinians is the same or worse than whats happend to jews in the so called holocaust.
3/anti-semetism is fully justified ,jews control most things.


So when John Hamilton of people before profit interrupted the rabbi at the holocaust memorial event to equate gaza with the holocaust.He was only following those anti-zionists before him.
They thought that downgrading or belittling the holocaust was a way of undermining the case for zionism.

After all why does Iran hold a conference to deny the holocaust ,if not to try and undermine zionism.
I regard holocaust belittling or denial as anti-semetic. anti-zionists even use arguments and evidence from western based neo nazi revisionists to make their case.
Unfortunately those on the left who are anti-zionist are often unable to divorce themselves from anti-semetic ideas that other anti-zionists bring to the table .

Levi9909 said...
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Sarah AB said...

Levi9909 - I'm not sure what you want a response to - why I didn't wipe the thread as skidmarx suggests? I don't remember it being particularly problematic. I tried, as I generally do, to engage with comments on that thread so I don't see why you suggest I am slow/unwilling to respond generally.

To clarify, that post was a response to a piece called 'Israel advocacy should stop'. Whereas that lived up to its title, mine didn't really.

One thing I don't understand about the UCU and the definition - is there any sense in which the UCU is currently required to consult it, or committed to it?

I was commenting about this on Greens Engage, but will make the same point again - all 'isms' and phobias are complex and involve 'tropes'. There was a discussion on HP yesterday as to whether someone had used a homophobic trope in referring to Peter Tatchell having 'lavender smelling farts' (or something)- he protested that this was a favourite expression of his so it wasn't homophobic, certainly not intentionally. I have never seen a similar definition for Islamophobia but it might reasonably note that expressing strong disapproval of halal slaughter *could* be part of an Islamophobic profile. On the other hand, if you are a longstanding campaigner on animal welfare it might reasonably be claimed that to accuse you of 'Islamophobia' would be shutting down debate. If you happily eat foie gras or eat battery chickens - then your opposition to halal might be a bit suspect. The same debates would need to be had over some of the points in the definition.

Could someone give a specific instance of debate being closed down by the working definition? It certainly didn't stop the UCU hosting Bongani Masuku or make it acknowledge that as an error.

As a member of the UCU, seeing what's happening at the moment in HE, I have to say I don't think many members would think this should be a priority for the union. To put it mildly.

bob said...

I am not going to allow this blog to become a platform for excusing Holocaust denial and have therefore decided to delete a comment above. I am not going to argue about it. Apologists for Holocaust denial can have their free speech in other platforms.

I have also deleted a comment that includes a gratuitous insult against the integrity of someone who on comment threads seems to me to be one of the most fair-minded, open-minded, civil members of this internet community. Although the insult was not obscene or especially offensive I see no reason to allow a climate here where people like her are abused while people I fundamentally disagree with can say what they like.

On the EUMC definition, I for one would not want to see it “adopted” by my union. But I see no reason not to use it as an aide in educational contexts or workplace disputes. To resolve that allegations of antisemitism are always in advance to be ruled out as in bad faith is unambiguously racist. To mandate the union to disassociate itself from the EUMC any public discussion on the matter is, to me, indeed chilling. Both the EUMC and the Runnymede Trust have attempted to develop a working definition of Islamophobia; few Muslim or anti-racist activists find either one perfect. The Macpherson definition of a racist incident is so broad as to be highly problematic. None of them should be “adopted” by a union, but all might be useful in educational or conflict resolution situations, and it is impossible to imagine union officers being mandated to denounce these definitions every single time Islamophobia or institutional racism is mentioned.

Levi9909 said...

Bob - my comment about why Iran hosted the holocaust denial conference was not excusing it. I thought it was an outrage but it was in response to Islam being ridiculed in the western media. It didn't simply happen out of the blue in the way brockleydave seemed to be suggesting.

Here is my comment again in full. I'll be grateful if you leave it in tact and at least refrain from such despicable libel:

Bob - your posting what that councillor actually said doesn't differ significantly from what I said he said. I'm sure you don't want to rehash the arguments but you seemed to post a lot of disingenuous tosh in favour of the WD approvingly.

Flesh - There is nothing about rejecting the EUMC bogus definition of antisemitism that suggests that antisemitism will not be opposed. What Dr Hirsh and now you are saying might carry more weight if the UCU had policies purporting to be anti-racist with regard to other named communities whilst protecting named states from criticism. They don't and so the adoption of the EUMC WD would be inconsistent. The rejection of it, so as to facilitate anti-racist activism against the State of Israel, is consistent with the UCU's position on racism in general.

The EUMC working definition is not an attempt at opposing antisemitism, it is an attempt at stifling criticism of the State of Israel.

Brocklydave - the Iran conference on the holocaust aka the holocaust denial conference was a response to Islam being ridiculed in the western media. Ahmadenejad does seem to claim that Israel's existence is due to western sympathy over the holocaust and he seems to have that much in common with you. The idea that states base their foreign policies on who they feel most sorry for is absurd.

Your generalisations about an "Arab response" to zionism are as racist as the zionist project itself. Forget what you read in The Arab Mind. The zionist project involves the displacement of non-Jews from the area of the zionist state. I am sure many zionist leaders said that there was no precedent in history for a people being displaced from their homeland voluntarily.

Levi9909 said...

Sarah AB - in this instance I was referring to your description of the UCU motion against the EUMC WD as "chilling". My comment was based on your failing to explain your allegation that I had "distorted" the EUMC WD and your failure to explain how calling one guy with a Jewish name a nazi amounted to an antisemitic trope.

Regarding specific examples of where debate has been closed down, The Guardian Cif appears to be using the element of the WD about comparing Israel to the nazis. A "community standards" monitor claimed that my saying this:

"The only trappings of nazism that Israel lacks are the fuhrer principle and the gas chambers, but it is cutting back on liberties within the 67 boundaries and what difference does it make what method it uses in its periodic culls of those it sees as racially inferior."

amounted to "hate speech". It was in response to someone under this Cif piece by Gilbert Achcar - http://tinyurl.com/2wm2ggm - accusing Achcar of antisemitism.

I don't think the UCU motion 70 has been proposed because of use of the WD in or by the UCU. It appears to be a response to its adoption by certain students' unions and possibly elsewhere.

I tried in vain to find what precisely this Bongani Masuku chap actually said and looking at Harry's Place and Engage hasn't helped. The Israel advocacy site, Fair Play only contains the ruling and not the speech so perhaps you could tell us what it was he said.

contd

Levi9909 said...

As regards the problems faced in HE that shouldn't be a bar to expressions of international solidarity. Also, by the terms of the WD historians and political scientists could find themselves being falsely accused of antisemitism if the WD were to gain traction.

Both Engage and the self-styled "All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism" say they want the WD to inform the law in EU countries. That doesn't quite tally with the idea of the WD as "an aide in educational contexts or workplace disputes".

To oppose the WD is not to make an a priori assumption of bad faith in all allegations of antisemitism. It is simply to note that the examples the WD gives of antisemitism with regard to Israel are mostly bogus and actually antisemitic in themselves.

Finally, according to various reports in the Jewish Chronicle, the WD has been adopted by Birmingham University Guild of Students, to vet speakers at campus events because one speaker had likened Gaza to a concentration camp and likened Israel's conduct towards Gaza to the nazis. There was nothing antisemitic about what the guy said but now it appears that people with form for claiming Israel to be an apartheid state can be banned as can people calling for the right of return for Palestinians. As it happens, logically Bob could find himself being accused of antisemitism for claiming to support the one state solution which of course would deny to the Jewish people "their right to self-determination".

skidmarx said...
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skidmarx said...
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brocklydave said...

levi 9909
calling me a racist because you disagree with my belief in the 3 strands of arab response to zionism and anti-semetism is wrong and lazy.
you would do far better trying to find evidence that my views are wrong if you can
Please bear in mind though this that Hilal Kashans survey at the university of Beirut in 1999 came up with the following result.
1600 lebanese,syrian,jordanian and Palestinian were interviewed.

82.3% felt no empathy for jews.
53% said the holocaust never took place .


Even the so called moderate Mahmoud Abbas who believes the number of jewish victims of the nazis did not exceed 896.000 .

the problems in Israel/palestine would be easier to sort out if both sides developed empathy with each other .

It is very hard to produce a wd on anti-semetism that won,t silence many anti-zionists.

Thats the fault of the anti-zionists who can,t disentangle their viewpoints on Israel from anti-semitism provided by arab anti-semites ,islamists, western neo nazis, soviet communist and the far left.

lastly why would western ridicule of islam ,produce a holocaust denial confrence ?
i would say it was a crude unsubtle attempt for Iran to take leadership of the Arab world by leading the fight against zionism by using anti-semetism.

Levi9909 said...

brocklydave - I don't want to go round in circles with you. Gilad Atzmon used a survey of Jews that had something like 77% of respondents claiming to be zionists to denounce all self-identifying Jews as zionists. That was racist too.

I don't know why the Iranian president was so stupid as to organise a holocaust denial conference in response to some cartoons in a Danish newspaper but that is what happened. He cannot have been seeking leadership of the Arab world because he is not an Arab and Iran is not an Arab country. I am sure he wants to attain a powerful position in the region but the holocaust denial stuff doesn't appear to be linked to that. If it is he is even more stupid than I imagined.

I agree about the empathy thing but Israel is engaged in a violent racist campaign against the natives and neighbours of Palestine and it is carrying it on in the name of the Jewish people as a whole whom it claims to represent. Not much empathy on either side but engaging in essentialising condemnation of the victims and the compatriots isn't going to help anymore than Israel's violence will help.

Anyway, the working definition might be fine as far as holocaust denial goes. The problems are around the bits defending Israel from criticism. All the arguments about context are a sham. In fact, go ahead and present one and I'm pretty sure I can show how it's a weak and bogus argument.

Flesh said...

Brocklydave - Amnon Be'eri Sulitzeanu from The Abraham Fund recently wrote an article in Haaretz that Palestinians may be adopting holocaust denial and minimisation for politically-motivated reasons - because of disempowerment. Holding the Holocaust to ransom.

I think this is a terrible response, and a betrayal of the next generation. Israeli government responded by increasing the curriculum Holocaust content. How confusing must it be to be a Palestinian school-kid?

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/defiance-not-denial-1.358759

(And Brocklydave, it shouldn't need saying but I think the moderator might be otherwise occupied - like the Abraham Fund, you're not racist. You're another civil, courteous, lucid commenter on anti-Zionism being attacked for political reasons.)

I have a lot to say about the EUMC, but I'd like to take it somewhere where I can control the inevitable vexatious charges of racism and bad faith (Bob's admirably activist approach to moderating notwithstanding - he is after all a solo blogger with a day-job).

Flesh said...

"In fact, go ahead and present one and I'm pretty sure I can show how it's a weak and bogus argument."

Hope everybody recognises this as baiting.

skidmarx said...

I'm more inclined to regard this as baiting:
I have a lot to say about the EUMC, but I'd like to take it somewhere where I can control the inevitable vexatious charges of racism and bad faith.

And to be saying:"My ideas on using the EUMC as a silencing technique won't stand up to scrutiny unless a silencing technique is pre-applied to anti-Zionists.

Sam said...

"I tried in vain to find what precisely this Bongani Masuku chap actually said and looking at Harry's Place and Engage hasn't helped." How hard did you look?

http://engageonline.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/saks-findings_-1.pdf

I have been an AUT and UCU member, two different local associations, for a very long time, and in the last five years no topic not of direct relevance to higher education has had anywhere near as much discussion time in branch or national congress as Israel, by a country mile. There is no way that that debate has been stifled, or that anyone has tried to stifle debate, on Israel.

Also, I might have missed it, but where do Engage "claim the WD to be THE definition of antisemitism" let alone "want the WD to inform the law in EU countries"??

skidmarx said...

On a quick look, I did find this statement about the WD:
Israel is not a “Jewish state”, nor does it “label itself” as one
http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2235

Do I have to reference the Israeli position on negotiations, Israeli law, Obama's statements etc. before this is admitted t be bogus?

Sarah AB said...

[Thanks Bob]

Levi - I did say the decision was chilling but can't track down why you say this bit I quote below - scanned this thread and the HP one but can't remember any exchange on quite these lines.

"My comment was based on your failing to explain your allegation that I had "distorted" the EUMC WD and your failure to explain how calling one guy with a Jewish name a nazi amounted to an antisemitic trope."

But I would have said most examples of Israel being compared with Nazis were dodgy and gratuitous. I agree that it's worth debate. For example, if one naturally uses the phrase 'little Hitler' of an autocratic leader, should one avoid using it of an Israeli leader - a slightly silly expression might then appear rather charged and offensive. But it's obviously marginal - in the same way words like 'hysterical' are marginal in the context of sexism. I know people were very shocked by a cartoon of Sharon eating babies - but what is obviously an antisemitc trope to some might not have been so to the cartoonist or (at that time) to me.

Flesh said...

Skidmarx:

And to be saying: "My ideas on using the EUMC as a silencing technique won't stand up to scrutiny unless a silencing technique is pre-applied to anti-Zionists".

Oh no, not at all. For me, moderation is not a decision primarily based on politics, it's always to do with the approach of the commenter, whether they are sincere or playing games, or practising technique, whether they are inquiring or arguing from an entrenched position, whether they hope to persuade somebody and change somebody's mind, or whether instead they seem to want remove somebody's dignity, whether they are building or destroying. Then there is a whole other layer of considerations which influence how much leeway I think I should give them.

I don't want my blog to be a site where I host views which are both contemptuous and rigid - which contribute to a racist discourse, for example - and leave it to other commenters to slug it out on every discussion thread. So I pre-moderate - but the price is very high - no community can grow under those circumstances.

Clearly if you are a solo blogger like Bob who has a blog with a community and a bright, warm, supple politics in the comments under your posts, you need to allow free exchange at the time and pace of your readers' choosing - and this is incompatible with pre-moderation.

At the same time, if you become important enough, you will attract the attention of your political adversaries. This has happened to me fleetingly - some EDL types came to my blog to discuss my high street. Sometimes this will lead to very fruitful conversations. Sometimes it will come in the form of rage, personal attack, or strategic attempts at undermining and colonising a blog. Sometimes something in between.

So, to trail off somewhat, it's not at all straightforward what should be done about harmful comments.

Flesh said...

In acknowledgement of Sarah's comment, I should also add to my list of considerations, "whether they make empty assertions and contemptuously impose a burden of fact-checking on their readers".

@sarah "I agree that it's worth debate."

To quote Eve Garrard on Gaza/Ghetto comparisons in a shortish post which begins by actually setting out a systematic comparison, and concludes:

"It is, in fact, a poisonous smear, which derives its repellent quality partly from its exploitation of the terrible history of the Nazis and the Jews. It's hard to know why some people feel the need to paint the swastika on to the foreheads of the Jews of Israel in this way, to covertly suggest that the Nazis have been reincarnated as Israeli Jews and that Israel is the new Third Reich. I think it's unlikely that all boycotters share these views, but insofar as they do, their position is morally polluted by this new version of a very old stereotype, that Jews are secretly planning to kill millions of innocent people."

So, it is possible to err into antisemitic comparison. But once enlightened, to defend it is antisemitic.

I'd go further - I think comparisons between Israelis and Nazis are either deliberately or inadvertantly part of a general Holocaust trivialisation effort to delegitimise Israel (as Brocklydave points out, and as the Abraham Fund piece mentioned in my response him seems to accept).

Flesh said...

I'm hoping the long comment I left on comments policies in response to Skid is in Blogger's infamous spam queue. Just noticed it's not there...

It was basically saying that moderation of comments should ideally be based more on how people engage and less on their political position, that if you want to grow a community you can't pre-moderate, and that if you become important, you will attract the attention of people your blog threatens and who will attempt to change your blog's politics. If the attempts include degradation, that is also incompatible with a community.

Rock and hard place.

Sarah AB said...

Flesh - yes, most of the time such parallels seem like malicious sneers - and I think most people can recognize and acknowledge the difference between such examples and an isolated thoughtless remark. (Though it's the former that perhaps make the latter more likely to happen.)

Waterloo Sunset said...

I'd go further - I think comparisons between Israelis and Nazis are either deliberately or inadvertantly part of a general Holocaust trivialisation effort to delegitimise Israel

I'd see it as something different in most cases. It's part of a general pattern of people using Nazi analogies (and to a lesser extent the term "fascist") for anybody who they strongly disagree with politically. Without either the willingness or the ability

It's a trend I heavily dislike, but I seem to be fighting a losing battle on this one.

It's definitely an abuse, because it trivalises the Holocaust. But that as much applies to "Hamas are acting just like the Nazis" as it does to "Israel is acting just like the Nazis". In both cases, it's an example of someone using the Holocaust as a rhetorical device, as opposed to arguing against a group and/or its policies in an honest way.

One obvious issue with the argument that it is always done with antisemitic intent if used in relation to Israel is that use of Holocaust analogies is pretty common in political discourse in Israel, especially from the Israeli right.

Equally, can you honestly say you've never heard the word "Kapo" thrown about in the UK against Jews the speaker disagrees with? I certainly have.

And, if people seriously want to tackle this issue, I'd suggest they should do so among people they consider political allies first- it will give them a lot more credibility when they move on to use the same arguments against people they are politically opposed to.

This is one of those issues where I think both anti-zionists and zionists fall into the same trap of insisting on treating Israel as entirely unique compared to any other nationstate.

brocklydave said...

Flesh
Thanks for the support ,but i,m rather immune to being called racist.It shows a lack of an argument on Levi,s part.
Normally elsewhere its the far right accusing me of being anti-white for opposing their racism and islamaphobia.
It is interesting that my brief mention of the main strands of arab anti-zionism was called racist but not challenged by levi.

Levi
why compare Atzmon to me i,m not saying all Arabs are anything .I,m just mentioning different anti-zionist thought .
As for Iran Ahmenadinajad may not be arab ( he may have jewish ancestors) but that dosen,t stop him wanting to advance Iran,s status in the Arab world.

Flesh said...

Makes sense, Waterloo - I was too narrow. Spurious Holocaust analogies - from the left to delegitimise Israel, and from the right, to attack Jews who they feel are not sufficiently militant in defence of Israel - are antisemitic either way. The EUMC definition comprehends both.

skidmarx said...

What would seem obvious about Holocaust/Nazi comparisons is that they are used by those who think these are abominable things, and will therefore self-define as anti-fascists rather than as fascists. To go back to what Sarah AB said "dodgy" is a fairly ambiguous term, "gratuitous" may fit according to your outlook, but this seems a long way from defining such a rhetorical device as anti-semitism. And yes, I've been called a Nazi, or a Strasserite, or "red-brown" on thread after thread of yours at HP, and see no reason why that should be any less offensive than it would be if directed against a pro-Israeli, yet it is tolerated without question.

The Contentious Centrist said...

What's "mooching", Bob?

Flesh said...

And yes, I've been called a Nazi, or a Strasserite, or "red-brown" on thread after thread of yours at HP, and see no reason why that should be any less offensive than it would be if directed against a pro-Israeli, yet it is tolerated without question"

Yes, it is offencive. It instrumentalises the Holocaust as a gold standard of evil, sticks it on you, and then tries to drop the argument. For some people, it is an underhand tactic of argument, and for other people it is maybe just picked up. Elie Wiesel didn't distinguish between left and right when he said he couldn't use the word Holocaust any more.

But I don't think all Holocaust analogies are the same. Some are calculated to cut deep as well as invalidating. I think it's different when used deliberately against Jews, and more often than not pretty obviously politically-motivated when used against the state which was set up in response to it.

What strikes me is that the EUMC WD comprehends Nazi comparisons from the pro-Israel extremes as well as the anti-Israel ones.

(On your Harry's Place tribulations, if Sarah were here she might point out that she and other Harry's Place bloggers often find themselves at odds with their commenters, and have opted to vapourise their contributions after one week.)

Flesh said...

Waterloo "This is one of those issues where I think both anti-zionists and zionists fall into the same trap of insisting on treating Israel as entirely unique compared to any other nationstate."

It is easy to fall into trap of opposing singular anti-Zionists on their own terms. But I think you've fallen into a trap of seeing this as something between anti-Zionists and Zionists. I'm not sure it is - all I know is that it's important to oppose antisemitism, and that includes the kind of Jews-first anti-nationalism you see in UCU. Then there are the Steve Cohens of this world who realise that if you're anti-nationalist who takes a particular interest in Israel, you'd damn well better pay attention to tackling antisemitism - and not only on your own terms, but on the terms of people who feel that it's touched them.

http://www.engageonline.org.uk/ressources/funny/

I'm also wary of the idea that all nation states are the same. I'd like to entertain the idea that you judge a society (or a universalist politics) by how well it can deal with anomalies.

An unsatisfactory note on which to leave but that's me done now. Purged. Head down for 6 weeks - see you after.

Levi9909 said...

Sam - I need to copy here the various things that Bongani Masuku is said to have said just to show what has been defined as hate speech:

“COSATU has got members here even on this campus; we can make sure
that for that side it will be hell”

“COSATU is with you, we will do everything to make sure that whether its at Wits University, whether its at Orange Grove, anyone who does not support equality and dignity, who does not support the rights of other people must face the consequences even if it means that we will do something that may necessarily cause what is regarded as harm…”
“…The following things are going to apply: any South African family who
sends its son or daughter to be part of the Israeli Defence Force must not blame us if something happens to them with immediate effect…”

“…as we struggle to liberate Palestine from the racists, fascists and Zionists who belong to the era of their Friend Hitler! We must not apologise, every Zionist must be made to drink the bitter medicine they are feeding our brothers and sisters in Palestine. We must target them, expose them and do all that is needed to subject them to perpetual suffering until they withdraw from the land of others and stop their savage attacks on human dignity…”
“… all who have not accepted or woken up to the reality that we now live in a democratic South Africa where racism or promotion of it is a crime, are free to leave the country. I repeat whether Jew or whomsoever does so, must not just be encouraged but forced to leave, for such a crime is so heinous it can’t be tolerated…”.

“…all those who deny that occupation is wrong must be encouraged to leave South Africa before they infect our society with much more racism…"

----
Actually I had seen all those things before but I had assumed that "hate speech" amounted to racism, sexism or homophobia. Apparently in South Africa it applies to speaking angrily or threateningly about an ideology or state and its supporters. That's a broader definition of hate speech than I have been used to and I think Waterloo Sunset's comments about anti-fascism would also fall foul of such a definition. But is that it Sam? Was there nothing directed, eg, against Jews as Jews? If so, show me. If not, what's all the fuss about?

Regarding Engage referring to the EUMC working definition as THE definition of antisemitism, they (or he) even do it in the title of this post:
http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/instead-of-adressing-its-antisemitism-ucu-proposes-to-change-the-definition-of-antisemitism/

which is, Instead of adressing its antisemitism, UCU proposes to change the definition of antisemitism.

I presume by "the definition of antisemitism" Engage means the EUMC working definition of antisemitism.

Sarah AB said...

I agree with WS about kapos - also another word I had to look up a few weeks ago (sayanim) which was being used by really unpleasant anti-zionists against Jewish anti-zionists with concerns about antisemitism. That's not Nazi related, as far as I know. Good examples of really offensive Israel/Nazi analogies are some of Latuff's cartoons. Lots of examples easily found via google images.

I think Masuku's words were very threatening and clearly targeted at SA Jews. He also said 'Jews are arrogant' in (I think) a blog comment.

Shouldn't a union that is aware it has made people worried about a/s not be particularly careful not to invite such a person to their boycott seminar?

bob said...

Sorry I have been off-line for over 24 hours, since which time another small storm seems to have brewed. I will read everything now and delete anything offensive, and maybe throw in my two pennies. I notice a re-posting verbatim of something I deleted, possibly for good reason (I haven't checked yet) but this is a warning that if people don't respect me as a host I will consider just automatically deleting things. Apologies to Flesh for getting caught in the spam queue for no apparent reason.

Sam said...

I wrote: 'Also, I might have missed it, but where do Engage "claim the WD to be THE definition of antisemitism" let alone "want the WD to inform the law in EU countries"??'

After several paragraphs of cutting and pasting this and that and arguing the toss, Levi, ever a diligent digger, manages to comes up with this:
'they (or he) even do it in the title of this post:
http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/instead-of-adressing-its-antisemitism-ucu-proposes-to-change-the-definition-of-antisemitism/

which is, Instead of adressing its antisemitism, UCU proposes to change the definition of antisemitism.

I presume by "the definition of antisemitism" Engage means the EUMC working definition of antisemitism.'


Is that the best you can do Levi? You infer that because one Engage poster uses the words "change the definition" in a title, to describe a motion in which the UCU wants to formally set in place a definition of antisemitism which excludes the EUMC definition, that they therefore think that the EUMC should have some kind of sacred legal status and be the one and only definition of antisemitism. How pathetic.

The fact is, the EUMC has not been used once within the EUMC or within any student union or in any other context to stifle debate, let alone to criminalise hate speech. The UCU can invite and host a speaker who has been condemned by the most important civil rights agency in South Africa for hate speech, and made zero response to complaints about this, and you claim the EUMC is being used to stifle debate.

The fact is, the only stifling of legitimate criticism has been done by the anti-Israel movement and its disciples in the UCU who attempt to stifle criticisms of antisemitism by crying Israel.

In this short comment thread, you have thrown accusations of racism around at several people, you have lied about Engage's position, you have justified Holocaust denial as some kind of response to something done by some Danes, pasted in a deleted comment reiterating this disgusting claim, claimed that pointing out that many Arabs are racist is the same as saying all Jews are Zionists, pasted in a comment that even the Guardian can see as racist, and described incitement to violence against South African Jews is just angry words.

bob said...

I'm trying to make my way through the comments, but they are so dense and full of an odd mixture of lies and fascinating issues that it is hard to know how to proceed. I would like to have a serious conversation about the best way to approach complicated issues like the use of "Strasserite" and "kapo" as insults, what is the difference between "dodgy" and "antisemitic" and so on, but I fear that, as Modernity warned, my blog is no longer a place where interesting and diverse people can have a civil and interesting debate. But let's give it a go.

Starting with the issue of the Holocaust denial conference.

Dave wrote: "They [anti-Zionists] thought that downgrading or belittling the holocaust was a way of undermining the case for zionism.

After all why does Iran hold a conference to deny the holocaust, if not to try and undermine zionism. I regard holocaust belittling or denial as anti-semetic. anti-zionists even use arguments and evidence from western based neo nazi revisionists to make their case."


Levi characterises Dave as saying the conference "simply happen[ed] out of the blue". That is not what he is saying at all. He is saying quite clearly that it comes out of an engagement with anti-Zionism, in a space created in which political Islam, neo-Nazi politics and anti-Zionism share themes and ideas, borrow weapons from each other.

In what possible sense is it appropriate to respond to Dave's claim with this:
"The Iran conference on the holocaust aka the holocaust denial conference was a response to Islam being ridiculed in the western media"
First, if you think something is outrageous, you don't use language which looks like excuse and apology, at least not without saying that you think it is outrageous. Second, it's simply false, because Ahmedinijad peddled Holocaust denial long before the MoToons controversy. Third, even if it were true it would be so illogical as to not be worth saying, given that the cartoons were in a Danish paper and had nothing to do with the Holocaust.

I will let it go this time, because the thread would make no sense if I deleted it again, but if you re-paste what I delete again I will simply just delete every single comment you make. I am not a public service broadcaster, or even Comment is Free; this is my house and I set the rules. There are a billion blogs out there you can use, so if you don't like my rules just move away.

bob said...

Regarding specific examples of where debate has been closed down, The Guardian Cif appears to be using the element of the WD about comparing Israel to the nazis. A "community standards" monitor claimed that my saying this:

"The only trappings of nazism that Israel lacks are the fuhrer principle and the gas chambers, but it is cutting back on liberties within the 67 boundaries and what difference does it make what method it uses in its periodic culls of those it sees as racially inferior."


First, the relevance of this example is dependent on the idea that the CiF moderator has read and been influenced by the EUMC WD. Obviously, the Guardian does not use the WD as part of its policy, because if it did it would look very different, and CiFWatch would not exist. The strongest you could claim is that the EUMC WD being out there has managed to promote the idea that calling Israel Nazi is antisemitic, but even that is not very likely, given that anti-racists have been arguing that at least since the Perdition saga.

Second, I think the deleted CiF comment is indeed grossly offensive, whether or not it is antisemitic. It is offensive because it belittles the horror of the Nazi genocide. The gas chambers, as you well know, were not the only part of the mass destruction of the Jews and Gypsies. The Nazi regime was also the ghettos, Jedwabne, the Einsatzgruppen, Tykocin, Babi Yar, Ponary, Ninth Fort, etc etc. You are saying that Israel is effectively all these things.

This is complicit with Holocaust denial, who of course now rarely claim that the Holocaust didn't happen at all, but rather that the gas chambers are a myth or that there were mass deaths but these were not part of systematic feuhrer-directed genocide.

And it is particularly offensive, as you well know, because the Holocaust was a crime against humanity but one inflicted primarily on the bodies of Jews, so the comparison of a genocidal state to the only country which happens to be Jewish hurts deeply. That is, it is offensive because it is an exaggerated claim made precisely TO CAUSE OFFENCE.

bob said...

Levi is correct to say that the UCU NEC's immediate motivation in boycotting the EUMC WD is not that it has been used in the UCU but rather that is adopted by the NUS and some SUs.

The most controversial case is the Birmingham Guild. I believe that the Guild formally adopted the WD in spring 2010. Mike Prysner spoke at Birmigham, at the invitation of the Friends of Palestine Society, in January (i.e. the EUMC policy did not stop him speaking). He was invited to speak on Holocaust memorial day. I am not sure if the event actually clashed with the union's Holocaust memorial activities, and can't find how the event was billed. To me, and under the EUMC WD remember context matters, it would make some difference how this event was framed in relation to the remembrance day.

At the event, Prysner said:
"Gaza, quite literally, is one massive concentration camp... Palestinians are denied rights in Israel like Jews were denied rights in Germany. They're killed with impunity, they're massacred with impunity. I think you can very much draw an equal sign between what the Nazis did to the Jews and what is done to the people of Palestine."

Again, I find this offensive. There is simply no comparison. So why is a comparison being made?

As the president of the Friends of Palestine Society himself rightly said: "associating the actions of the Israeli state with the history of Nazi Germany, or its iconography, is neither useful nor respectful to the sensitivities of sections of the student body." It is a false claim, made gratuitously, to cause offence.

I have read that the Guild investigated, but have not seen a report saying what if any censure was made. They then re-affirmed the EUMC policy, resolving that if speakers came who then made racist, homophobic or sexist statements, an investigation would be made by the Guild. I have not seen the text of the resolution, and don't know if it is true that they will vet speakers in advance. I very much doubt it. I don't think this can be claimed as an instance of debate stifling. I would need a lot more evidence to be convinced of that.

bob said...

Then Levi makes a series of exaggerated claims of who might fall foul of some imaginary EUMC WD police force, e.g. "As it happens, logically Bob could find himself being accused of antisemitism for claiming to support the one state solution which of course would deny to the Jewish people "their right to self-determination"." These claims are absurd for two reasons. One, because if there was an EUMC WD police force in the union or elsewhere (and the Guild at Birmingham is the rather laughable nearest thing there is to such a body), then they would read the WD and know that context makes a difference and see that it was bleeding obvious that my one state arguments are not antisemitic and nor would any of the other ridiculous examples quoted.

Second, the UCU motion is not about getting rid of some EUMC WD police force, because the WD has never been used in the UCU. Rather, they are precluding in advance any reference to the WD as bad faith Israel advocacy. There is a world of difference between the two things.

I'm tiring now, and should get to work, but I've only managed to read half the thread.

bob said...

I'd like to talk about the kapo and Strasserite issues, but I've run out of steam. I also just read Sam's comment, and this strengthens my resolve to start deleting.

On mooching, it's the present participle of the verb mooch of course. I was referring to my mooching around the web to bring back the gems I offered you in this post, although actually it is not really an accurate description as I was not acting either in a lazy or listless manner (but rather snatching time), nor was I free-loading off the web (or maybe I was).

Levi9909 said...

Bob - I think you are now looking for small excuses to delete dissenting comment. Whatever Brocklydave is now saying his general tendency is to essentialise Arabs as violent and antisemitic in order to justify Israel's structure and actions. And whilst he is on safe ground accusing a despicable regimes like Ahmadinejad's of antisemitism he also recently went ape about The Promise minisoap in much the same way. In fairness I have only seen two episodes so far but neither support his claim that the only representations of Jews are negative.

You have falsely accused me of justifying holocaust denial (as has Sam, no doubt responding to your own dog whistle) when my only comment was to set out why the specific instance of holocaust denial in Tehran took place. You have also said before now that you will delete comments calling people liars and yet Sam falsely accusing me of lying about Engage has been allowed to stand. I'd rather you didn't delete it but I don't think you can establish a general standard on deletions because of your own prejudices in favour Israel advocates regardless of what they are saying. You also have a tendency towards bizarre ad hominem defences of the commentators you favour when it appears by their own statements, they get out of their depth, usually defending Israel.

Sam - Dr David Hirsh is not simply one poster at Engage. At various times it seems that he is Engage. He is certainly the main poster on the site. Anyway, both Dr Hirsh and Mark Gardner in his CST blog are promoting the EUMC WD as THE definition of antisemitism. And it didn't take much or even any digging to find the example. Hirsh and the self-appointed All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Anti-Semitism have both argued for the incorparation of the WD into European state laws.

I have no need to lie about Engage or anything else.

contd

Levi9909 said...

Rejecting the EUMC WD does not stifle allegations of antisemitism whether they are true or false. The UCU motion is simply saying that UCU will not use the EUMC WD for guidance in these matters.

I've just been emailed another instance of the EUMC WD being promoted as THE definition of antisemitism. It's in the Jewish Chronicle:
http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/49502/fightback-definition-antisemitism
"In a tough statement, a spokesman for the Board, the JLC and the CST said: "After several years of promoting discriminatory boycotts and ignoring the resignation of dozens of Jewish members, UCU has never taken claims of antisemitism in the union seriously. Now, in a final insult to its Jewish members, UCU is cynically redefining the meaning of 'antisemitism' so it never has to face up to its own deep-rooted prejudices and problems."

Sarah AB - it looks like you're engaging in slippage. "Threatening" isn't antisemitic and nor is "referring to Jews" unless the "threatening" is of Jews in general or the "referring to Jews" is some negative generalisation, neither of which is evidenced in the complaint. Your claim about something you "think" Makusu said is just that, a claim. You need to provide evidence or you risk trivialising the accusation of antisemitism. But then I'm probably locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Flesh - I do not simply bait people. I seek clarification and evidence for points that they make. I seem to attract a lot of insults and baseless allegations here or baiting one might say. Yours was just another example though I'm sure Bob can explain what you meant.

bob said...

1. I didn't say (did I?) that I will delete comments where people call people liars. I said please stop calling people liars, and I deleted a comment that gratuitously and baselessly slurred the integrity of one of the most honest people I have encountered in a comment thread, because I don't see why my place should be a vehicle for one or two individuals to insult people I respect. I don't have a consistent policy, but I am not the BBC or the Guardian. At home, we ask people to take their shoes off before coming on to the carpet, but I usually don't say a word when my dad keeps his shoes on. I repeat: this is my house, if you don't like it get out.

2. There's a whole lot of issues I would be keen if I had time to discuss with civil, rational, thoughtful anti-racist people about the blurry lines between offensive, threatening, dodgy, antisemitic etc. I think that what Makusu is absolutely outrageous. The violence of the language is appalling. He is saying that defending Israel is a crime that needs to be paid for with death. And there is an unpleasant slippage between Israel/Zionist/Jew, and certainly between the state of Israel and S African Zionists.

Even if someone could make a defence of it not being antisemitic, I can't understand how anyone can argue is (a) that someone who has said that sort of thing is an appropriate person for a union to invite and pay to come to the UK to talk to its members about this issue, and (b) that a union should have such contempt both for South Africa that it can't even be bothered to find out what the HRC is. This is totally beyond justification.

His "jews are arrogant" claim is detailed here: http://dsadevil.blogspot.com/2009/02/conveying-jews-message-in-south-africa.html
Full text here:
http://supernatural.blogs.com/weblog/email-correspondence-with-cosatus-bongani-masuku.html
Recommended: http://openshuhadastreet.org/?p=187

3. Once again you have repeated your assertion that Engage want the EUMC WD to be law, without providing any evidence, despite going on and on about how other people need to provide you with evidence on this and evidence on that.

And, as if it prooves anything, you bizarrely use some JC quote about the BOD/CST/JLC (none of which Engage is affiliated to) using the same sort of wording, but not even showing THEY think it should be considered "the" definitive definition or should be written into law. In fact, haven't CST explicitly said they don't call for it to be written into law? And, in fact, the JC article mentions they want the Macpherson def to be emphasised, which is already used by police AND stronger than the WD.

4. I have lots of thoughts about WS's and Flesh's interesting statements, and wish I had time to write them out, and regret devoting time instead to this comment. Apologies to my friends for this happening once again.

bob said...

Actually, sorry to pop back to quick, but the Masuku incident is actually a good example of why the EUMC WD has some strong advantages. Look at this statement by Masuku:

"If the offices of the Zionist Federation and that loud-mouthed Rabbi and his SABJD were in town we would have marched there."

The CST, in recording antisemitic incidents, follow the WD in one way, in paying attention to context. Thus a statement about Israel made at the Zionist Federation offices in one thing, while the same statement made "to that loud-mouthed Rabbi" or to the representative body of South African Jews is completely another. In the first case, a very high standard would be needed to identify the content as antisemitic. In the second case, the fact that Israel criticism is misdirected at South African Jews AS JEWS makes it in itself antisemitic.

By forcing the union to disassociate itself from the WD and banning its use in educational contexts means that the UCU is completely un-equipped to even make a judgement call, and this can only open a space for antisemitism.

skidmarx said...

Preumably "the Rabbi and his SABJD" had made statements in support of Israel, in which case why can this not be seen as being directed against them as zionists, not as Jews? This seems like the same sort of slippage as claiming as anti-semitic the interjection of "Gaza" to the Rabbi's list at Lewisham Holocaust Memorial Day. When Zionists also happen to be rabbis, or have a dominant position in Jewish organisation, that shouldn't make them immune to criticism (or interjections).

Levi9909 said...

Very quickly, a reference to a specific person, ie "that rabbi" and a specific organisation (SABJD)is not addressed to Jews in general. However the links that you give regarding Jews being arrogant and COSATU addressing Jews are clearly antisemitic but these didn't form part of the SABJD complaint as far as I could see.

We're in a Kurt Mimmo situation where the evidence originally offered for antisemitism wasn't antisemitic. Perhaps the SABJD needs a lesson in what constitutes antisemitism. If Masuku didn't apologise and make amends then he is definitely an inappropriate person to be inviting to address UCU.

My presentation of yet more zionists presenting the working definition of antisemitism as THE definition of antisemitism was simply pointing out there are many groups and individuals presenting the WD as THE definition and they are taking it up with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission which of course has legal status.

I can't be bothered to look through Engage for whatever Hirsh has had to say on how the law should deal with antisemitism. If he doesn't think the WD should inform the law that's fine but I think you're wrong. Remember, antisemitism is a form of racism and incitement to racism is against the law. If Engage doesn't want the WD to inform the law then they can't believe antisemitism to be a form of racism or they can't believe that racist incitement should be illegal. Hmm, you've inadvertently pointed up the cleft stick that they're in. If it's law it gets forensically and parliamentarily examined and presumably exposed and thrown out. If it's not, then how seriously is it being taken?

The McPherson principles are entirely inappropriate here given that they refer to marginalised communities but of course the McPherson principles should inform law enforcement with regard to victims of racism. The promoters of the WD seem to want antisemitism to be anything a Jew claims it to be. I can't see how else they want the McPherson principles applied in the case of Jews.

I don't know why you have to go so ape about these things.

Levi9909 said...

woops, not Kurt Mimmo, Kurt Nimmo

skidmarx said...

Slightly off-topic, but modernityblog seems to have actually spotted something of significance, but on his blog it's buried among other shit (I would offer an extend critique, but can't be arsed to speak ill of the departed unnecessarily)and it's much more easily seen at That Place:
http://hurryupharry.org/2011/05/27/press-tv-and-the-protocols/

Sarah AB said...

Levi - I'd compare Masuku's comments, perhaps, to the kind of comments which might be made by some EDL leader saying he was going to target Muslims until they mended their ways, invoking crimes by non-british Muslims as the excuse, threatened harm to those who didn't explicitly renounce their views, say they'd be hounded out of the country, made these statements to a furious group who might not bother to find out a Muslim's views before beating him up, - and who then organised his followers to go on a march in a Muslim area, maybe burn a Koran and/or feature a flag offensively mixing Islamic symbols with a pig. (I am not sure from skimming the below whether a flag was burned or not - but note that they marched to a Jewish area - NOT the Israeli embassy)

http://supernatural.blogs.com/weblog/2009/02/cosatu-and-psc-march-photo-album.html

I would have no problems describing such actions as Islamophobic - I think you set the bar very high for a/s.

davebrockly said...

levi
I have never said arabs are essentialy anything.
All i said was there were three main strands of thought of arab anti-zionists .
So far all i have had is alot of hot air and accusations of racism but no argument to say i was wrong.
yes you are right watch all the episodes before you comment regard the promise . Forget the politics regard Israel and examine how the Promise is portraying jews.
Skid
the reason why i bought up the example of John Hamilton again was because i wanted to show how easy it was for current anti zionists to fall into the same rhetoric that has been used historically by other anti-zionists.
The attempt to compare whatever Israel has done to the holocaust is to undermine zionism ,however it belittles the holocaust and is anti-semetic.
To justify interrupting a respected elderly religious figure who invites people of all persuasion to a multi faith service ,because he might be a zionist is pathetic .

Levi9909 said...

Sarah - with respect, I find your comment superfluous given that I have acknowledged that to target Jews in general for lectures on acceptable opinion or behaviour is antisemitic and I have acknowledged that claiming "Jews are arrogant" is antisemitic. However, the SABJD, as far as I could see, made no such complaints within its complaint. Nor did I see it saying anything about marching on a Jewish area.

Brocklydave - I can barely understand a word you're saying. Sorry.

skidmarx said...

This seems like a very sensible post on anti-semitism and cartoons.

bob said...

If Masuku didn't apologise and make amends then he is definitely an inappropriate person to be inviting to address UCU.
Surely he's obviously not appropriate full stop? I'm not saying throw him in prison or anything, but apologising is not enough to make him appropriate to pay his airfare to talk to us. It's what I think folks today call a no-brainer.

Levi9909 said...

Bob - Rendering a person's comments or behaviour unforgivable in any circumstances might be considered a no brainer but not in the sense you mean it.

Also, given the absence of antisemitism from the actual complaint by the SABJD I don't know what information the UCU had to hand when they invited him and paid for him to come.

But it is an important issue that there was nothing in the SABJD's complaint that amounted to antisemitism and yet that is the thing that is hauled up to say that, inter alia, the invitation was inappropriate. It's also worrying that the South African authorities seem to list as hate speech angry speech directed at political persuasions or behaviours. In the UK and US hate speech is taken to mean negative essentialism directed at an identity group - gays, women, ethnic groups, religions, etc - not identifications of choice such as political persuasions or behaviours.

bob said...

Just got around to reading Levi's last comment. I'm not going to argue about whether or not his comments about Jews are antisemitic, as to me they seem obviously so.

Instead these points:

Rendering a person's comments or behaviour unforgivable in any circumstances might be considered a no brainer but not in the sense you mean it.

I am not actually sure what you are replying to, as I didn't say Masuko couldn't be forgiven under any circumstance. Masuki that repeatedly used violently threatening language, led anti-Israel marches to Jewish areas, responded to criticisms by upping the temperature and calling Jews arrogant. It doesn't matter whether or not these were cited in the SAHRC report. These facts were in the public domain.

And they render him inappropriate as a guest of the British trade union movement. A few years ago having any grounding in trade unionism or anti-racism would make this obvious, but intensified anti-Zionism has rendered that sort of discourse acceptable and defended it by claiming those who denounce it are always in bad faith.

Also, given the absence of antisemitism from the actual complaint by the SABJD I don't know what information the UCU had to hand when they invited him and paid for him to come.

Again, it is not relevant what facts they had when they invited him. My beef is not of the initial invitation. My beef is of the response to criticism. They said that evidence against him including the SAHRC ruling was just stuff flying around the internet. They didn't bother to find out. Why? Because they assumed bad faith on the part of accusers. That assumption of bad faith is what people like me get upset about; the a proiri dismissal of antisemitism as an issue.

Levi9909 said...

Ok, I hear what you're saying but it is still disturbing that the "hate speech" ruling appears to have been made on the basis of speech that didn't amount to most definitions of hate speech with regard to identity groups. There was no essentialism about Jews and no mention (I don't think) of a march on a Jewish area to issue threats and denunciations.

Andy Carrington said...

Thank you for mooching on my blog, Bob. Done some mooching, myself, on here. Very interesting. Keep up the fight.

Would you like to exchange links?

Regards,

Andy.