Friday, April 29, 2005

George and Oona 4

Defending George:
LENIN'S TOMB: smearing Galloway
Footnote: Shot by both sides: Political violence (or Labour lie)

The response:
Harry's Place: Attack Update

Previous George & Oona
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Chomsky, Shahak and co

From Jogo, this is the webpage of Werner Cohn, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of British Columbia. it includes dossiers on Noam Chomsky (updated here and here), Israel Shahak and the Trotskyist movement. Well worth browsing.

Previous Chomsky: An encounter with Mr X, Fisking Chomsky
Previous Jogo: Izzy-Pal, Jogo blog, The Pope and Stalin, the lessons for multiculturalism
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Jogo writes:
The Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands ought to end.

The Wall ought to come down.

But those goals need to be talked about and worked towards within a vision sort of like this.

Absent such an envisioned and articulated (and shared-by-many) context, to speak merely of "ending" the occupation, or to say that it's "immoral," is to me the height of florking stupidity, I don't care how many Western intellectuals hold to these ideas. I don't understand how anyone with even a dim understanding of realpolitik can talk like that.

People speak as if the conflict between Pal and Izzy were analogous to a bad person having taken something from somebody and he should give it back. Is that ridiculous, or what?

Previous Iz-Pal: Rachel Corrie and Rachel Levy, THE AUT - KEEP UP THE PRESSURE, Hamas and the Pope, Hamas the uber-communitarians, Israel is among the holocaust deniers, Dutch Zionist football hooligans
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Jogo blog

Some links from Jogo:

Jews' Views

Battle of the Schwartzes

Life and death

New from Horowitz. Jogo says: "Looks interesting. Interesting, too, that both Michael Novak and Stanley Fish speak well of it." [Previous Horoblog ]

Previous Jogoblog

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Justice for Linda Walker

Justice for Linda Walker

Latin America

Shot by both sides says:
Go and read this spectacularly ignorant article on Latin America. Key lessons: democracy and being-opposed-to-the-USA are incompatible; democracy and socialism are incompatible; and the USA has every right to tell Latin Americans what they ought to be doing.

The final quote is also a classic of sorts: "South America's a nightmare of repression. The Bush administration has prescribed democracy as the cure". Right, now remind me who was responsible for the repression in the first place...? says:
The Democracy Center completely takes apart the Washington Post’s editorial on how Bolivia is being taken over by “a radical movement opposed to foreign investment and free-market capitalism”.
"The Post says, “The insurgents, who claim to represent the country’s indigenous population, drove one democratically elected president from office 18 months ago; now they are working on his successor, Carlos Mesa…”

Fact: The popular demands in October of 2003 were all about stopping President Gonzalo Sànchez de Lozada’s gas export deal, which people didn’t trust would deliver for Bolivians. The demand for his resignation didn’t come until the President’s repression against the protests resulted in fifty-three deaths and the call for his resignation came not just from the so-called “radicals” but from mainstream leaders in the church, the legal community and academia."
This is a grotesque distortion of the truth from one of America’s most influential newspapers.

The communiques of SubComandante Marcos.

ZNet Bolivia Marxism and Indigenism in Bolivia: A Dialectic of Dialogue and Conflict

Election blog 3

Oona & George 3:

Blood & Treasure: socialist worker envy

Dead Men Left: Impending election fraud: bogus officials taking polling cards

Evening Standard article on postal vote fraud in Bethnal Green

Jerusalem Post on the East End battle

Lib Dems are Tories in yellow...
Dead Men Left: Liberal Democrats: yellow Tories

...but might be better than Labour

Pessimistic Leftist: More cultish nonsense

Update: Orgies on the Liberal tourbus?

Previous:Social justice versus liberal ideology (Election blog 2), Election blog 1, Who Should I Vote For?, George v Oona
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Social justice versus liberal ideology (Election blog 2)

Polly Toynbee says Hold your nose and vote Labour, then continues that those defecting from Labour don't care about social justice.
"Poverty and equality are low on the agenda even on the left. Deep in email debate with angry Labour voters threatening not to vote for the party this time, I find it is the war and terror legislation they care about most, not poverty. Time and again they dismiss social justice as a second-order question. All ideological fervour is expended on liberty, very little on equality. If even the left is relatively uninterested in (and grossly uninformed about) Labour's social programmes that really can change lives, Blair and Brown are not alone to blame for public indifference. Where is the pressure on them to come from? I cannot help arguing fiercely with Labour supporters who own homes in reasonable areas and want to vote Liberal Democrat although the Lib Dems have equality and poverty nowhere in their plans. They would take a bit more from the richest but they would squander the money to woo the better-off in seats that they might win (the poor will already go free to university and poorer old people already get free personal care). But for many Labour voters the war appears to take priority; it is a kind of decadence that makes distant things easier to feel passionately about than the messiness of difficult social policy at home."
This is an important point. Time and again these days, I come across leftists, mostly comfortably off, for whom foreign policy concerns, driven by anti-American and anti-Israeli prejudice and by liberal ideology, take precedence over the hard work of fighting poverty and injustice. So, we have the AUT failing to fight the casualisation of academic labour and instead investing time in dismantling Israeli higher education. We have the Social Forum movement easing off on its commitment to global justice in order to spend its time focusing on the narrower issues of American engagements. And we have Labour voters switching to the Liberal Democrats, who have no agenda on poverty, in order to complain about the legality of the war, including supposed socialists like Tariq Ali.

Previous post: Election blog
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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

My name is...

From Honest Reporting, via DZ:
You may have seen that a play called "My Name is Rachel Corrie" has opened at the Royal Court Theatre in London [see review from The Guardian]. My intention is not to be dismissive of her death. However, I am distressed that the deaths of other Rachels, together with the deaths of so many other Israelis, have been dismissed within the anti-Israel narrative promoted by the theatrical establishment and sections of the media that are focussing on this play. Somehow I doubt that the Royal Court will be staging a play to commemorate them.

My Name is Rachel Levy

Mar 29, 2002 - Rachel Levy, 17, of Jerusalem, was one of two people killed when a female suicide bomber blew herself up in the Kiryat Yovel supermarket in Jerusalem.

On Friday afternoon, Rachel's mother, Avigail, asked her to go to the supermarket to buy some things for the Shabbat meals. A 16-year-old female Palestinian suicide bomber, wearing a belt of explosives around her waist, walked into the supermarket in Jerusalem's Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood Friday afternoon and blew herself up. Haim Smadar, the security guard, prevented the bomber from going deep inside the store. Rachel Levy, who was near the entrance, was killed; 28 people were injured.

Rachel Levy was a senior at the Sieff High School. Fellow pupils from her photography class at school said that she was an excellent pupil, and that an exhibition of Rachel's photographs is being held at her school. "She was a charming girl, allways smiling and pleasant. simply a wonderful person," said a relative. "She loved books, music, and sports," said her mother.

Rachel's cousin, Rafi Levy, was killed in a terrorist shooting attack at a roadblock near Ofra a month ago.

Rachel Levy was buried in Jerusalem. She is survived by her parents, Amos and Avigail, and her two brothers: Guy, 23, and Kobi, 7


Previous: THE AUT - KEEP UP THE PRESSURE, Hamas and the Pope, Hamas the uber-communitarians, Israel is among the holocaust deniers, Dutch Zionist football hooligans, Ken's anti-semitism
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Election blog

I was prompted to write this by listening to Brian Sedgemore on the radio this morning. I think his resignation is deeply dishonourable. He was pretty recently reselected on good faith by Labour Party members in his constituency to represent them. Everything he complains about to do with New Labour (rightly or wrongly) was as true then as it is now. He should have made the jump long ago if he had any moral integrity.

Oliver Kamm on Tory inconsistencies.

Hitch is pro-Labour, despite his "sickly piety... and his liberal authoritarianism, on matters such as smoking and fox-hunting".///Anthony Cox has produced a nice alternative pro-Labour sticker [found via Harry].

Grudgingly pro-Labour:
Crooked Timber: Cheap talk

a General Theory of Rubbish says: "The pathetic Liberals are nothing but Tories without their kicking boots on and act as Tories whenever they gain any power. There potential for any radicalism is non-existent. I'm not wasting any time on them. Fuck them."///Oliver Kamm trashs Brian Sedgemore.

Red Pepper's Election Blues: Around the Left (Links, for example, to the IWCA and the Socialist Party).

Oona v George:
Oliver Kamm: Who is The most conservative voice in this election?///Daily Telegraph: Police move in for the battle of Bethnal Green.
///Narcissistic adopted East Ender Tracey Emin won't be voting for Labour's Oona.

Previous: BobFromBrockley: Who Should I Vote For?, BobFromBrockley: George v Oona
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Iraq and the left

Thoughtful article by John Lloyd in the FT on a trade union delegation to Iraq.

Previous: 55% against the war, Hard to be a leftist Jew these days, The best Eid ever, Confounding the perverse hopes & expectations of the Bush-hating Left, Whose side are you on?


David Hirsh writes:
Many are angry that AUT has now taken the first steps on the road to boycotting Israeli thinkers, teachers, artists and musicians on the premise that are responsible for the actions of the Israeli government.

It is crucial that we do not to leave AUT in anger and disgust. If we seize the moment, we can build a campaign that can reverse the boycott policy in AUT. People must not resign, they must fight. And the people who have been fighting for a long time, and feel isolated and angry, will not be isolated now. A whole new layer of people are ready to join them in the fight against the boycott.

On this issue, debate can change minds. The argument that 'Israel is apartheid and so we must boycott it' is seductive to people who don't know much about the issues and who want to 'do something'. But the commitment of the people who have been thus seduced is weak. So debate, education and organisation have a strong chance of success.

Many AUT members will be worried about union democracy; others about academic freedom; many will be worried by the whiff of antisemitism; many members are fed up with Sharon but don't know how to oppose him and the boycotters at the same time. This is the moment for a campaign. And I think we can win. Read the following carefully (from John Pike, Open University).

The AUT council at Eastbourne voted to boycott two Israeli Universities without a proper debate: no speakers were taken against the resolutions for a boycott moved by Birmingham or against the resolution calling for the circulation of the call for a boycott, proposed by the OU. Lack of time prevented any debate on this matter, which divided the Council down the middle. This should offend all AUT members, regardless of their position on the substantive issue. For this reason we want there to be a special council of the AUT properly to discuss this issue.

Under the rules of the AUT there is provision for a special meeting of Council. Rule 10.3.1 (in full) states that 'The president may summon a special meeting of council. A special meeting of Council must be convened within 35 days if a request specifying the business to be transacted is received from 25 council members

All members of the AUT should contact their representative members of council. You can generally find out who they are from the local branch page of the AUT website at

Please cut and paste the first statement below and ask council members to sign it. Please let me know of any successes at and send me signatures as they come in. I'll keep count and post updates to the Engage website.

To the President of the Association of University Teachers

As members of the Council of the Association of University Teachers, we request a special meeting of the Council of the AUT under rule 10.3.1 in order to have a full debate on proposals to boycott Israeli Universities.

We also ask ordinary members of the AUT to add their names -- email is fine for this one - to the following statement which will be circulated to all members of the National executive committee, all of who are members of Council.

To members of the National Executive of the AUT

As members of the AUT concerned by the absence of a debate on the resolutions to boycott Israeli Universities, we ask that you support the request for a Special Council meeting to have a full debate on these proposals

Jon Pike (Open) AUT membership number 58097

Best Wishes

David Hirsh

Sociology Department
Goldsmiths College
London SE14 6NW

Bloglinks: Watching the Boycott with Solomonia, Isblog on Boycott/Counter-boycott, Oliver Kamm: Those AUT boycotters
Previous post
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Monday, April 25, 2005

Sarf London

As a welcome to all those who are curious about the name of my blogspot or who have reached me from London Bloggers, this is a little round-up of South London blogs I've visited lately.

Bertha the Earthtruck: A Guided Tour of Victory Square

The Life of the Sp00ngirl (from New Cross, wants to Make Poverty History)

Jews sans frontieres: a rare Southside Jew

Transpontine: South London history with a radical edge.

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Who Should I Vote For?

I had a go at Who Should You Vote For? It turned out I should vote Lib Dem, or maybe Green or Labour, but probably not UKIP and definately not Tory. I was disturbed that I ought to be voting Lib Dem, as I hate them...(Thanks to Tim for the link.)

Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for?

Your actual outcome:

Labour 24
Conservative -53

Liberal Democrat 64
UK Independence Party -8

Green 42

You should vote: Liberal Democrat

The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

Previous: George v Oona, What is democracy?, Ken's anti-semitism, 55% against the war
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AUT yet again

Paleojudaica has an excellent round-up of coverage on the AUT boycott.

Atlas Blogged asks: anti-semitism or yet another example of academics closing the door to real discussion?

David Aaronovitch has a good article about is in the Observer. Jews sans frontieres defends her, and posts her reply.

Mideast Files unpicks the thinking of some of the pro-boycott activists.

Israellycool sees this as just another example of British idoicy, adding it to a list including Jenny Tonge's proudest moment.

If you're an AUT member, maybe you should switch off your computer now.

Conspiracy theory: was the timing of the conference, on the eve of peysakh, designed to exclude Jewish voters?

Bob says: divest Sudan instead.

Last boycott update
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You need to know what is going on in Darfur. Please look at some of these links:
Reuters AlertNet - Sudan conflict

Coalition for Darfur

Passion of the Present

Peysach blog 2

The Head Heeb: The Passover jailbreak of 1795.

Tinkerty Tonk likes 'em fluffy.

Vilaine Fille again, on Exodus.

[NSFW!] Not very kosher: JeW*SCHooL brings some passover porn from Suicide Girls and Orthodox Anarchist brings us sedar-masochism, with a haggadah for the leather community.

A Current Window on the Maxwell House Passover conspiracy - my home is a victim of this too!

Purbanchal: Indian Passover for lost tribe.

[Previous Passover post]

Antonio Téllez Solà

(Updating this post.)

Thanks to the anonymous reader who let me know that the Kate Sharpley Library has now published a fuller obituary of Antonio Téllez Solà here.
Antonio Téllez, one of the leading figures in the younger generation that fought alongside the Libertarian Movement, has died. He died in Perpignan, the French border town where he settled in his enforced exile in France, a town that knows so much about anarchists' attempts and schemes to overthrow Franco and put paid to his oppressive rule. Along with people like Octavio Alberola, Eduardo Pons Prades and others, Téllez belonged to the legendary breed of libertarian resisters who taught us practically and through their research that there were some folk who refused to surrender. It was largely through their quiet efforts and hush-hush attempts to undermine the dictatorship that we can today speak with some justification of the recovery of historical memory. They showed us the way. Antonio Téllez Solá was born in Tarragona in 1921 and was barely 16 when he immersed himself in the fight against fascism. Having enlisted in the Republican Army, he saw action on various fronts up until February 1939 when, with thousands of other anti-Francoist fighters, he was forced to cross the border into France. At the age of 18, with the vigour of a youth moulded in the image of the exemplary effort and selflessness he had witnessed on the battle-field, he endured the policy that the French authorities enforced on the vanquished, winding up in one of the many concentration camps set up to "welcome" a people who had held Nazi-fascism at bay for three years. On French soil, and with the advent of Allied forces imminent, he, like other leading members of the Libertarian Movement, like Cipriano Mera or Juanel, he joined the resistance and helped liberate the town of Rodez.

Read more.
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Friday, April 22, 2005

Boycott update 2

David Hirsh writes:
The conduct of the debate was described as follows:

The motions were proposed as a block , with a series of speeches proposing them in very hostile language. The chair then moved straight to a vote
without any opposing debate - the claim was on the grounds of time. The votes were passed with small majorities.
The person who gave this account had intended to speak against, was surprised and upset by the conduct and said it seemed very undemocratic.

The first thing we need to do is to demand that the argument against the boycott is circulated alongside the argument for the boycott. Does anybody know how to do this? Perhaps we should all Email Sally Hunt at AUT and ask her to do this.

A number of people have already said that they are preparing to tear up their AUT cards in anger. The pro-boycotters intend this decision to be the first step on the road to a total boycott of Israeli academia. Don't tear up your AUT card. Encourage your colleagues to join AUT. And we'll have a fight to reverse this decision. And we'll win it. Most academics and most AUT members will oppose this ill-judged decision.

Avrom Sherr says: WE should set up as many connections with the boycotted universities as possible, remain members of the AUT and tell them to sack us from the Union.

New blog link: lgf: British Academic Antisemitism
Last boycott update

Friends of Cuban Libraries

Friends of Cuban Libraries (reached via The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind)

Previous Cuba: Louis Michel's cigar, Che vs the librarians.
Bloglink: CafePress Watch

Boycott update

David Hirsh writes:
The pro-boycott campaign has won the important votes at today's council meeting.

This from the AUT website:

"AUT Council today decided to boycott Haifa University and the Bar-Ilan University.

The executive committee will issue guidance to AUT members on these decisions.

Council delegates also referred a call to boycott the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the executive committee will investigate the background to this and will report in due course.

Council delegates also agreed to circulate to all local associations a statement from Palestinian organisations calling for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions. "

The pro-boycott campaign was trying to win AUT to a boycott of three universities as a tactical manoueuvre, since it did not think that it could win a total boycott.

Haifa University is to be boycotted because Ilan Pappe, who is an anti-Zionist academic there, says that he has come under attack from the university which has thereby infringed his academic freedom. The story is long, involved and complex. But Pappe remains in his job, in spite of the fact that his views are extremely unpopular in Israeli society. Let us hope that the university continues to respect his tenure, as it is now doing.

Bar-Ilan University is to be boycotted because it gives legitimacy to the 'College of Judea and Samaria', which is a settler college in the West Bank.

The Hebrew University is under threat of boycott because it has built a new dorm block on a disputed piece of land.

It is clear that these stories relating to these three universities are excuses for the boycott rather than reasons - the pro-boycotters actually want to boycott all of Israeli academia and are not actually concerned with these particular incidents.

The AUT has agreed to circulate detailed calls for a full academic boycotts of Israel.
To many, this circulation of a calls for boycott will be indistinguishable from an actual AUT policy of boycott.

Blog link: More from Mystical Politics
Previous: BobFromBrockley: The Academic Boycott 4
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The Lefty Directory: directory of leftist blogs

JRants: feeds from Jewish blogs

The Truth Laid Bear: The Blogosphere Ecosystem


Strangely Enough

Fascinating article by Scott McLemee in Inside Higher Ed:
"Over the past few days, an essay by Paul Maliszewski in the latest issue of Bookforum has stirred up a discussion that has been sometimes passionate, if seldom particularly well-informed.

In it, Maliszewski, who teaches creative writing at George Washington University, takes a close look at a lecture that Michael Chabon has given several times in which the Pulitzer-winning novelist recounts his childhood friendship with C.B. Colby, the author of Strangely Enough! and similar works of paranormal hokum, and also (Chabon says) the author of a Holocaust memoir called The Book of Hell, published under his real name, Joseph Adler. Only that, too, was a pseudonum. In fact, “Adler” was Jakob Fischer – a Nazi journalist who, after the war, concealed his identity, even to the extent of having a concentration-camp serial number tattooed on his arm."
Read on...

Also worth reading in the new Bookforum: Paul Berman on Daniel Bell and the class of '68.

Note: I've updated Communist Legacy 3 to include Scott McLemee's comments.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

AUT again

Mystical Politics on the boycott

The Academic Boycott 4

David Hirsh writes:
Dear All,

This email goes out to everyone who signed the statement in yesterday's Guardian opposing the boycott of Israel, as well as those who wanted to sign but were too late, as well as those who expressed support but were not academics, as well as those who expressed qualified support.

If people haven't yet seen the final result, it is here. I am proud of the way that the three letters look on the page of the Guardian - I think that together, they make a strong case, and together they allowed everyone who opposes the proposed boycott to have their voice heard.

It also seems to have had some effect already - see today's leader in the Guardian.

So I want to say thank you very much to all of you for your support, help and encouragement.

Please have a look at this on Harry's place, which is my attempt to counter the argument that the pro-boycotters published in today's Guardian .

Please present our arguments to your own AUT delegates to the meeting this week.

A number of you have said that it might be useful to have a dayschool or a conference on the issue of the academic boycott. This might also address the issue of how to make positive links with Israeli and Palestinian academics and institutions. It might also address issues of antisemitism in British academia. I would be interested to hear people's views on this possibility. Who volunteers to organise it?

Just one apology - the Guardian agreed to print the statement late on Monday - and asked me to provide them with an edited version and choose five names 'ten minutes ago'. I hope people think the edited version did reflect the longer statement. But my picking of names was arbitrary, and I regret that I did not pick two or three of the eminent women academics who supported the statement. How do journalists do it? We have 5 months to write something - they have 5 minutes.

Best Wishes and Thanks

Previous: #3, #2, #1


In a Normblog profile, Akaky Akakyevich Bashmachkin gives this advice to bloggers:
"Post pictures of naked women."

I've so far failed to work out how to upload pictures (see here, here and here for examples), so this is instead:
Previous: Jordan is Jewish - and so is Beyonce Knowles, Playgirl editor is a Republican, Frum Teens, Lap dancers in shul

The AUT boycott 3

Etgar Keret (via normblog): "Those who propose an academic boycott of Israel make frequent reference to the boycott of South African universities - a "precedent" that is utterly different; South African universities were themselves active participants in promoting racist policies, whereas Israeli institutions of higher learning are in fact one of the few remaining bastions of the liberal left."

Eve Garrard at normblog: three good reasons to oppose the boycott

Previous: #2, #1

Quick links 2

New Pope: nisht gut
Brand new!!! Whiskey Bar: The Good German
Low rent rat: Fox news shits on new pope

Yet Again with the (old) Pope

Stalin revival
Captain's Quarters: "A measure of the degradation of the Russians under Vladimir Putin is the new resurgence of nostalgia for their former genocidal dictator, Joseph Stalin."

Monday, April 18, 2005

Quick links


Welcome new referrer: Rabbi Y. Klavan. Sample sentence: "Rabbi Yehoshua Klavan was born to Binyomin and Rachel Klavan in Yanishok, Lithuania on Sunday August 24th 1884, Rosh Chodesh Elul 5644. He was born into a family of prominent scholars."

Yet Again with the Pope

More bloglinks: Oliver Kamm: A papal legacy: ["
Timothy Garton Ash in The Guardian gives the most thoughtful commentary I have seen in the UK press on the political impact of John Paul’s papacy. Evidently apprehensive at gaining a reputation for being informed and thoughtful, the newspaper also runs a litany of complaint by Terry Eagleton, an early and impressionable exponent (under the auspices of the radical-Catholic Slant magazine) of the Christian-Marxist dialogue of the 1960s, who has apparently never come to terms with its futility."]
Via Adam Kotsko
: Zizek on the Pope's Failures, Roland Boer on Terry Eagleton and the Vicissitudes of Christology and First Things on Eagleton's Catholicism.
Keywords: Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul, Cardinal Ratzinger

(Previous post: Again with the Pope.)

Carnival of the Un-Capitalists
Majikthise is hosting the current Carnival of the Un-Capitalists. Highlight: The Right to Eat Enchiladas at Freiheit und Wissen, who also has some weighty posts on Ward Churchill.

Oliver Kamm says: Don't give Louis Michel a cigar. (Previous post: Che and the librarians.)

Efraim Karsh of the New Republic on Juan Cole and Eric the Unred on Tariq Ramadan.

Human Rights in Syria
Normblog on the thousands of political prisoners in Syria. (And they say we should be boycotting Israeli academics!)

Mugabe and Mbeki
From Normblog, Tony Parkinson on the teflon tyrant.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Academic boycott of Israel 2

Keith at Metal Jew writes:
"Dear Sir/Madam
I am writing to you regarding the upcoming AUT vote on the proposal to begin a partial boycott of Israeli academic institutions. I strongly oppose this move and would be grateful if you could take my views into account in your voting on this matter.
For the record, I am a British Jewish sociologist with a number of links to Israeli academia. I am also heavily critical of the policies on the Israeli government and I am involved in Jews for Justice for Palestinians. I oppose the boycott for the following reasons:
1) Israeli universities are centres of criticism in Israel. They are the sources of dissent against the Israeli government. They are sources of cosmopolitanism and dialogue. Israeli academics draw strength from international contacts. If Israeli universities are isolated from the world, this sources of diversity and dissent will be weakened. This will strengthen those in Israel who wish to isolate Israel and who seek to stifle dissent. In other words, the boycott would be a gift to the Israeli right.
2) Whilst I do not believe that universities can be considered independently from their host societies, there is a merit in the ideal of the free market in ideas. If an idea is good, then it should be considered and debated regardless of where it comes from. If an Israeli academic were to come up with a life-saving medical treatment, whose interests would it serve if this were ignored?
3) The idea that academics who oppose the Israeli government's policies will be exempted from the boycott does not improve matters. The idea that academics should be made to sign pledges of ideological good behaviour to have access to the world is faintly fascistic. Who is to monitor such pledges? Frankly, if I was an Israeli academic I would never consent to this sort of thing even if I agreed with the sentiments. It is against freedom of conscience.
4) Israel is a world centre of Jewish studies. If Israel were cut off from the rest of the world academically, where would it leave those of us who research Jewish issues and depend on Israeli academics for support?
5) Israel is responsible for many bad things, but it is not the worse regime in the world. I do not see why there is no boycott proposed against other oppressive societies.
6) Those of us Jews who are on the left are constantly criticised from within the Jewish community for being 'self-hating Jews' and for siding with anti-semites. The boycott will make life even more difficult for us.
I would be grateful if you could take my views into account."

Blog links:
Eric the Unread: A tale of two scientists
Eric the Unread: NUS and anti-semitism update
Harry's Place: NUS's failure to confront

Previous: Statement on the AUT and the academic boycott

The AUT and the academic boycott

David Hirsh writes:
Dear All,

A new proposal for an academic boycott of Israel is going to be discussed at the AUT conference next week.

I propose to send this statement to the Guardian for publication on or slightly before 20 April, when the matter is being discussed at the conference.

I would ask people to email me, David Hirsh, if they would like their name to be added to the list of people who support this statement.

I would ask people who do support it to forward it on to departmental lists and any academic contacts that they have who might be interested.

I am hoping to add a long list of names to this statement. Time is short, however, if we are to have it published before the conference, so I will set a deadline of 17.00 Monday 18 April. Please email me before then to have your name added.

David Hirsh
Sociology Department
Goldsmiths College
The statement:
We oppose Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and we support the right of the Palestinian people to an independent state alongside Israel. We think, however, that proposals by some members of the Association of University Teachers for a boycott of Israeli academia would be counter-productive.

The campaign for the academic boycott treats all academics as though they were responsible for government policy ? which they are not. The latest proposal contains a clause which is intended to get round this problem by excluding from the boycott "conscientious Israeli academics and intellectuals opposed to their state's colonial and racist policies". This would mean that Israeli academics would first have to affirm their ‘anti-Zionist’ credentials before being allowed to function as members of the global academic community.

But there is no agreed definition of the word ‘Zionism’. Some people define it as a form of racism. Others understand it as a Jewish national liberation movement. Others consider themselves Zionists if they support the right of Israel not to be conquered.

We oppose the proposal that academics should be subjected a political test. Does anybody suggest that American physicists should be excluded from the academic community if they do not repudiate Guantanamo Bay? Does anybody suggest that Chinese historians should be excluded if they oppose democracy? Does anybody suggest that Muslim mathematicians should be excluded unless they publicly repudiate the attacks of September 11? These kinds of demands would destroy the principles of openness, free speech and community that should define academia.

But the current proposal to make a distinction between good Israelis and bad Israelis is a tactical move: the boycott campaign really wants a total boycott of Israeli academia.

Last year there was a call by the religious right in Israel to boycott Israeli academics who had signed a statement in support of Israeli pilots who were refusing to bomb targets in the occupied territories. A government minister spoke in favour of a ban on the books of these academics. How would we support Israeli academics that come under such attacks if there is a boycott on links with Israeli academia?

Who should be teaching Israeli students? Do we demand that Israeli academics that are against the occupation should leave Israel and teach somewhere else? Do we demand that Arab students who are studying at Israeli universities should leave, rather than fight for equal rights?

We should be making more links, not fewer, with the Israeli academics who are doing good work and who are resisting the racist culture of the Israeli right. Formally, this question is dealt with by the good Israeli / bad Israeli formulation of the latest proposal, but this would create more problems than it addresses.

What effect would this boycott have on UK academics ? and particularly Jewish academics? It would put UK Jewish academics under pressure to declare themselves ‘anti-Zionist’. And what will happen to those who refuse?

Alan Johnson, Reader, Social Science, Edge Hill College of Higher Education

Anne Summers, Leverhulme Network Co-ordinator, The Women's Library, London Metropolitan University

Ben Gidley, Research Fellow, Centre for Urban and Community Research,
Goldsmiths College, University of London

Camila Bassi, Lecturer, Geography, Sheffield Hallam University

Caroline Knowles, Reader, Sociology, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Catherine Dodds , Research Fellow, Sigma Research, University of

Charles Asher Small, Research Affiliate, Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University

Chris Rumford, Senior Lecturer, Political Sociology, Royal Holloway, University of London

Daniel Chernilo, Lecturer, Social Science, University Alberto Hurtado, Chile

David Hirsh, Lecturer, Sociology, Goldsmiths College, University of London

David Lawrence, Hon Lecturer, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

David Seymour, Lecturer, Law, Lancaster University

Gideon Calder, Senior Lecturer in Ethics and Social Theory, University of Wales, Newport

Ian Gordon, Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics

Jane Liddell-King, Approved University Teacher, English, Cambridge University

John Solomos, Professor, Head of Department, Sociology, City University, London

Jon Pike, Senior Lecturer, Philosophy, Open University

Mario Di Paolantonio, Visiting Fellow, Sociology, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Michael Freeman, Professor, Faculty of Laws, University College London

Michael Storper, Professor of Economic Geography, London School of economics

Robert Fine, Professor, Head of Department, Sociology, Warwick University

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Obituary: Antonio Téllez Solá

From the Kate Sharpley library:
The collective members of the Kate Sharpley Library are sad to report the death of Antonio Téllez Solá 1921-2005, anarchist militant and historian. Téllez fought in both the Spanish Civil War and the French maquis during the Second World War. He was involved in clandestine organisation in Spain after 1945. He was also a comrade of many of the legendary anarchist fighters against Franco, people like Francisco Sabaté Llopart and José Luis Facerias.

Having turned to journalism to earn his living in exile, he began a career as a prolific author in the "Fight for History", rescuing the story of the anti-Franco resistance from oblivion of amnesia. As well as biographies of Sabaté and Facerias, he produced books on Francisco Ponzán Vidal (the "Anarchist Pimpernel"), The MIL and Puig Antich and numerous articles for the libertarian press.

Téllez himself said, in an introduction to "The Anarchist Resistance to Franco: Biographical Notes", "Any small selection of names among hundreds of thousands of victims is arbitrary.... [But] with the presentation of some names, with their physical image, we would like to remember all those who fell in the struggle against tyranny, in defence of Freedom."

Previous fighters for freedom: Pinochet's Disappeared, Makhno's peasant army, Louise Michel and of the gerat Elisee Reclus, Hunter S Thompson, Alina Pienkowska and Jacek Kuron

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Countdown to Passover:

Vilaine Fille introduces the month of Nissan, with some good links.

Yehoshua's Jewish Blog: on a Chabad tip.

Zackary Sholem Berger is buying matza from Streit's.

Blog recommendations

Mystical Politics has some interesting posts about Dutch multiculturalism, Darfur, and diversity within Judaic tradition.

Butterflies and Wheels is enjoyably politically incorrect.

A Gauche has an interesting take on some intellectual issues and a nice, simple format.

Adam Kotsko can be a good read.

Peaktalk is nicely designed. Currently featuring Hotel Rwanda, Dutch Holocaust complicity, and Dutch multiculturalism.

Everything I Know Is Wrong is a good conservative blog.

Motomama is possibly the only female Jewish biker punk blog out there.

Previous: Geek Style, Referrals

Again with the Pope

Hamas extends condolences over death of Pope John Paul II:
The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, Sunday extended condolences to Christians worldwide over the death of Pope John Paul II, hoping that the Catholic Church would continue to support the Palestinian people and their national cause.

The Movement’s media bureau, in a statement on the occasion, extended heartfelt condolences to Palestinian and Arab Christians and the Catholics in general over the passing away of the Pope.

It noted that the Pope was at the helm of the Catholic Church for over two thirds of his life during which he adopted numerous distinctive positions and defended peoples’ rights.

The statement hoped that the Catholic Church would continue to urge its followers to defend the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland and holy shrines in face of “the incessant Zionist aggressions that targeted the Palestinian people, Muslims and Christians alike, and their Islamic and Christian holy shrines.”
Nicholas Kristof, on the other hand, attacks him in the NYT (via Mystical Politics)

Keywords: Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul, Cardinal Ratzinger
Previous on Hamas: Hamas thugs
Previous on the Pope: The Pope and Stalin, The Pope and Stalin 2


From Jerusalem Post, via Little Green Footballs:
Hamas has begun operating a “vice and virtue commando” in the Gaza Strip to safeguard Islamic values, Palestinian security officials and residents told The Jerusalem Post.

The new force, called the Anti-Corruption Unit, is believed to be behind the gruesome murder over the weekend of Yusra al-Azzami, a 22-year-old university student from the northern Gaza Strip. Her “crime” was that she was seen in public with her fiance.
Despite horrific crimes like this, sections of the left, led in the UK by the SWP, support Hamas as a leading part of 'resistance'.

Update: Cosmic X: Why Was Yusra al-Azzami Murdered?


The Pro-Hamas left:
Campo Antiimperialista
Socialist Review
Palestine Information Center

The Anti-Hamas left:

Weekly Worker
Worker's Liberty
Socialist World
Nick Cohen

Monday, April 11, 2005

Trees for the Disappeared

From Ecomemoria:
Lambeth Road receives ‘trees’ in memory of Chile’s ‘disappeared’ victims.

This ceremony, the second to take place in London, counted with the presence of Jeremy Corbyn MP and Simon Hughes MP, who were more than happy to be closing their elective terms by planting new seed in the capital. Trees for Cities and Southwark Council, in co-operation with ‘ecomemoria’ planted 9 London Plane trees in Lambeth Road were approx 120 people gathered to participate in commemorating the lives of 9 ‘disappeared’ victims of the Chilean military dictatorship (1973-1990).

The project ‘ecomemoria’ has planted 93 trees to date across 6 countries allowing relatives of victims a new form of claiming space. Not only are we all to bare witness to the existence of these victims, who were presumably wiped out by the coup, but the public is reminded through the ceremonial process of sowing new life -with spade and shovel in hand -, that together we can breath life back into memory. Wendy Bell, sister of one of the ‘disappeared’ victims Ernesto Torres, gave an emotional outpour:

“…on my return from a recent visit to Chile [October 1998], I found that it was not only our loved ones who had been made to ‘disappear’.”

Ms. Bell spoke of the catharsis experienced when former dictator and Head of State Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London, 16 October 1998. His arrest sparked a campaign to support extradition proceedings to Spain where he was to be put on trial for torture and murder indictments. At the protest in London, exiled Chileans alongside portraits of victims of the military dictatorship lined Parliament Square until his return to Chile, 3 March 2000, where he has yet to give evidence in court.

Ms. Bell explained how amongst the victims’ faces at Parliament Square “…I came across my brother’s face for the first time in a long time. …Precisely because my brother was adopted, I know that it is not the blood flowing through our veins which connects us. We are all affected collectively whether we have a ‘disappeared’ relative of not”.

Jacko Sarmiento, representing his ‘disappeared’ brother Hernán, said “There are values, taken from us in 1973, that should be redistributed to us. Just like the Nazis lied and justice came and found them, the Chilean people need a process where someone is named as accountable for assassinating so and so, or which ever crime they committed. This is not about compensation by the State, but about accountability on behalf of the guilty – whether they be civilians who kept quiet or military who gave orders”.

At the ceremony, lasting approx. an hour, passers by stopped to watch as the second generation of exiled Chileans unveiled the plaques accompanying each tree. Jeremy Corbyn MP lamented that although this was a beautiful event “we should not have to be here today”, reminding us that human atrocities should be a thing of the past.

Whilst the families of the 9 victims now have somewhere to go and visit their loved ones, the public is also invited by ecomemoria to get to know who they were and can still be, as their story unfolds in the new trees lining Lambeth Road. The 9 trees begin at the Junction between St George’s Circus and Lambeth Road, and stretch by the Bus waiting bay to the entrance of St George’s Catholic Church.

Ecomemoria -
Memoriaviva -

Previous: Stalin's victims, Making Place, Gujarat genocide, Child Slavery, Why have nearly 3 million Colombians fled home?, Colombian paramilitaries

An encounter with Mr X

Via Jogo, Fred Halliday's eulogy for George Kennan in openDemocracy:
it is clear that Kennan’s prescient argument about the cold war, its causes, course and outcome – the dominant struggle of the second half of the 20th century – was vindicated to a degree greater than that of any other writer on the subject. The vindication is in two directions: against establishment figures like John Foster Dulles and Ronald Reagan, who sought victory through military confrontation with the USSR, and against radicals like C Wright Mills, Noam Chomsky and many intellectuals associated with the 1980s “peace movement” in Europe, who argued that the cold war was an imaginary or confected conflict designed primarily by the elites of both sides to subdue their own domains.

George Kennan himself saw the cold war as an “unnecessary, fearfully expensive and disoriented process”. But his belief that it was a real conflict, for all the rhetoric and exaggeration involved, proved correct.
The vindication here is not just Kennan’s but Lenin’s. In perhaps the only prescient remark the first Bolshevik leader ever made, he criticised the voluntaristic dreams of his followers by insisting that two conditions were needed for a successful revolution: the ruled could not go on being ruled in the old way, and the rulers could not go on ruling in the old way. This, to a remarkable degree, describes what happened in east-central Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1980s: there was some resistance from below, above all in the form of Solidarity in Poland, but to a great extent it was the loss of faith and dynamism of the communist rulers, not the resistance of the people, that led to the final collapse of 1989-1991.

Fifteen years on, the Lübeck analogy offers a highly relevant lesson for the current global struggle involving Islamist political radicalism. As Sunni militants inflame Iraq and hit at targets far to the west, the forces of Islamic revolution are dying in the countries where they first took power: Iran, Afghanistan, and Sudan. The architects of the “war on terror” could still learn from George Kennan.

Previous: Reagan and Solidarnosc, Communist Legacy 2, That Bleeding Heart Wolfowitz, Regime change from below

The Pope and Stalin 2

Updating my previous post. Jogo's reply to Bob's comments are at

Some other comments

Andrew Sullivan writes:
Last night on Hardball, I said what I think needs to be said. Under John Paul II (and his predecessors), the Roman Catholic church presided over the rape and molestation of thousands of children and teenagers. Under John Paul II, the church at first did all it could to protect its own and to impugn and threaten the victims of this abuse. Rome never acknowledged, let alone take responsibility for, the scale of the moral betrayal. I was staggered to see Cardinal Bernard Law holding press conferences in Rome this week, and appearing on television next to the man who announced the Pope's death. But that was the central reaction of the late Pope to this scandal: he sided with the perpetrators, because they were integral to his maintenance of power.

When you hear about this Pope's compassion, his concern for the victims of society, his love of children, it's important to recall that when it came to walking the walk in his own life and with his own responsibility, he walked away. He all but ignored his church's violation of the most basic morality - that you don't use the prestige of the church to rape innocent children. Here was a man who lectured American married couples that they could not take the pill, who told committed gay couples that they were part of an "ideology of evil," but acquiesced and covered up the rape of minors. When truth met power, John Paul II chose truth. When truth met his power, John Paul II defended his own prerogatives at the expense of the innocent. Many have forgotten. That's not an option for the victims of this clerical criminality. [beliefnet: Weblog of Andrew Sullivan, via Body and Soul: The fundie pope and the whining bishops.]

Theologian Hans Kung writes:
Outwardly Pope John Paul II, who has been actively involved in battling war and suppression, is a beacon of hope for those who long for freedom. Internally, however, his anti-reformist tenure has plunged the Roman Catholic church into an epochal credibility crisis. [Der Speigel: Crisis in the Catholic Church:]
Johan Hari writes:
In time, the world will see that John Paul II claimed just as many victims as his now-notorious predecessor. They will see his contemporary defenders to be as base as those who fed the myth of a holy and benign Pius. There were three scandals in John Paul II's papacy, and the stench from them far outweighs the small compensations of his opposition to capital punishment, or his support for Solidarity and fair trade.

The first was his approach to South America, where he showed himself to be soft on fascism. He described Chile's fascist dictator General Augusto Pinochet and his wife as 'an exemplary Christian couple', despite knowing they had mounted an anti-democratic coup and murdered tens of thousands of socialists and democrats. When the dictator was finally about to be brought to justice for his crimes against humanity after being intercepted here in Britain, the Pope called for his release. His reasoning? He offered the realpolitik rationale that Pinochet's crimes were committed when he was head of state and he therefore enjoyed sovereign immunity.

He also cut a deal with the Reagan administration where he pledged to support tacitly their attempt to topple the democratically elected Sandinista government with armed fascist guerillas, according to Bob Woodward's authoritative biography. John Paul II never saw the difference between the poisonous authoritarian socialism practised by the Soviet Union and the democratic, decent socialism promoted by the Sandinistas and Salvador Allende; to him, they were equally atheist and had to be destroyed. The notion - promoted by Catholic apologists like Cristina Odone and Mary Kenny over the past week - that he was a one-man clerical Amnesty International dedicated to human rights across the world looks like a cruel joke after this knowledge.

Indeed, even the Pope's much-feted opposition to Soviet tyranny was based primarily on this hatred of atheism rather than any love of democracy. In his recent book, Memory and Identity, the Pope railed against all existing democracies, saying the West is sunk in 'nihilism' and that 'democratic parliaments are the carriers'. This is not the gospel of a champion of democracy - one of the many fatuous garlands tossed onto his coffin. [Johann Hari: History will judge the Pope far more harshly than the adoring crowds in Rome]
Keywords: Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul, Cardinal Ratzinger

Alternative history of Stalinism

Via RA-L, notice of a new publication:
Skirda, Alexandre. Nestor Makhno: Anarchy's Cossack. The Struggle for Free Soviets in the Ukraine, 1917-1921.

Here come the Anarchist Cossacks, led by a remarkable strategist, the Ukrainian Nestor Makhno, fighting against the White Army and crushed by the Soviet Army. This popular peasant movement- 300,000 men according to a report in 1920 - is a poignant moment in the Soviet revolution.

The author, Alexandre Skirda, is a respected historian who will leave no one indifferent. He has consulted a large number of primary sources, including Viktor Belash’ “Memoirs”, an important document that completes Makhno’s and Arshinov’s own works, as well as many other papers in several countries.

The analysis of this exceptional moment of anarchist history is accompanied by a discussion of other historians’ interpretations and distortions. The present edition includes some texts from the Makhnovists and an updated bibliography.

It is not exagerated to say that this book ought to be available in any serious library, because it will remain an indispensable reference in the study of the Russian Revolution, guerilla history, the critique of Stalinist interpretations and, of course, a rediscovery of anarchism as a mass movement.

Publication details: xi, 414 p. Illustrated. ISBN 1-902593-68-5 paperback £13
Published by AK Press, PO Box 12766, Edinburgh, EH8 9YE
and Kate Sharpley Library, BM Hurricane, London, WC1N 3XX

Buy from Word Power/AK Press

For more, see:
RA Forum > MAKHNO, Nestor Ivanovic (1889-1934). A Bibliography

Previous: Communist Legacy 2, Brian Morris on academics and scholars, Karl Marx on Bureaucracy, George Orwell on socialism, Authoritarian Leninists against real human emancipation, Bem Gelada, Anarchist Thought, Stalinism in Cuba, Communards
File under: /

Communist Legacy 3

An unpdate to previous posts on David Horowitz and AV Lannon (Communist Legacy and Communist Legacy 2):

Please don't shoot us says to Horowitz:
“I don’t want to argue with you, but I’m pretty sure there is no witch-hunting, either stated or implied, in Lannon’s tone. Realistically, whether you attributed it or not, the article was, apparently, copyrighted by his organization, and it does seem that he has every right to object to the fact that you reposted it in your publication. He never accuses you of being a non-believer, only saying that he disagrees with much that you endorse (not to mention the obvious non-objectivity of you publication), and doesn’t want his article used in the context of your magazine. Your response had, in my own opinion, a much stronger tone of witch-hunting, and was somewhat inappropriate in its aim, which was his character, as opposed to his argument (which is a tactic you claim to abhor, do you not?).

Subsequently, it seems you broke copyright laws, then blamed him for being upset, and told him to grow up. He was right, you were wrong, and I think he deserves the apology he asked for.

Update: For more on Horowitz's (Stalinist?) tactics, see Michael Berube's blog.

Update 2
: Scott McLemee says:
It is extremely long -- hence a weariness to the retina -- but Michael Berube's item about professional liar David "Vyshinksy" Horowitz is of great interest.
It occurs to me that tossing off a reference to Vyshinsky like that is not such a good idea. You never know if some non-Trot young 'uns might come by, and have no idea....So here's Horowitz's personal role model doing what came naturally. Slandering, making shit up, condemning folks to death.
Not that D. Ho (as someone at Berube's site dubbed him) actually gets to condemn anybody to death.
Still, he can dream. And they are such exciting dreams!
That said...Kids, don't throw pies at the man. Behave yourselves. Give the pie to a hungry person, or something, and throw words at him instead.
Call him out on his fabrications. Ask him if his middle name is Vyshinsky. That sort of thing. It'll piss him off more than the pie ever would.
You might even be the person to make his head explode. And if that happens, everybody wins.