Blogging backlog

I’ve been too busy with my day job and the parallel threads on the Green Party here and here to do proper blogging this week, so here is my backlog of links, relatively un-digested.


I can't remember the last time I heard some UK news that gave me pleasure, so it was nice to wake up this morning to the news that the Lib Dems were pushed back to sixth place in the Barnsley by-election with 4% of the vote. I think the Lib Dems will be of interest only to historians after the next general election. Not so nice to see UKIP get over 12% of the vote and come second in a parliamentary election. Not so nice either to see the BNP outperform the Lib Dems and get 6% of the vote, although they have passed their high tide mark in Barnsley, with a 3% drop in their share.

Our absurd obsession with Israel

I very much enjoyed Nick Cohen’s article in the Observer on Sunday about the Middle Eastern revolts and what they reveal about the Western left. He makes (much more succinctly and lucidly than me) similar observations to ones I made here, including the noting of the contrast between Held and Halliday at LSE. I have started writing a post about the issue of the Israel obsession of the anti-anti-Zionist left.

Talking of our absurd obsession, any Channel 4 viewers have an opinion on The Promise they'd like to share? Apart from David Miller at Engage, everything I've read so far has been hysterical denunciation by kneejerk Israel defenders or anti-Zionists saying it was actually too pro-Zionist. The Hebron scenes rang true for me, but the Gaza scenes seemed totally preposterous, as did Len's presence at Deir Yassin.

Dallying with dictators

Jonathan Freedland has an excellent article on the West’s bipolar disorder when it comes to Arab tyrants. Inter alia, he mentions the appalling apologetics of the London School of Economics establishment, including Baron Anthony Giddens’ 2007 belief that Libya would become the Norway of the region without regime change (see also Andrew Coates) and Howard Davies’ bizarre equation between Gaddafi and George Soros. It turns out that Saif Gaddafi’s LSE PhD (lauded by Lord Desai and acknowledging David Held) is at least partly based on plagiarism. I think LSE founder Beatrice Webb, who whitewashed Stalin’s dictatorship, would be proud. [UPDATE: I wrote that last night and was glad to see hear this morning that Davies has resigned, my second schadenfreude moment. Also read Stephen Pollard on British universities and blood money. Update 2: Just read Jim's post on same topic, which links to more from Nick Cohen. See also Marko on why hostile democracies are better than friendly dictatorships.]

Here's another bizarre Libya story:  the BNP activist who recruited celebs to a Gaddafi support group on Facebook.

Resisting dictators

Raven on Dr Nawal El Saadawi, Egyptian feminist. And TerryGlavin on resistance in Gaza.


To add: a “Greens” section to the blogroll, to include: Jim Jepps’ Daily (Maybe), Sue Luxton and Ute Michel’s Green Ladywell (read more about Sue here), Barkingside 21, Richard Lawson’s Mabinogogiblog, Peter Cranie, Dean Walton's Green Blog, Adrian Windisch’s Green Reading, Weggis, Greens Engage, Isca Stieglitz, Jessica Goldfinch for House of Lords, Matt Sellwood of Hackney’s Anglo-Buddhist Combine, Gordon’s Green Feed, and Greenwich Darryl’s 853. Most of these are already on my blogroll or among my regular reads, but I thought I’d put them in one place.

Closer to home

I spent part of my weekend before last at the Carnival Against Cuts in Lewisham. My son made the front page of the News Shopper, his first brush with fame. Babs from Brockley says it'll be my fault if the boy ends up in court for throwing fire extinguishers. Here’s reportage from Lewisham Anti Cuts Alliance, and from Transpontine and Sue Luxton. Dave Hill reports on some of London’s other front lines. Also read his Labour Councils, 'Tory cuts' and the Left, and Darryl on Greenwich’s cuts.

Big society, broken society, muscular liberalism

I very much enjoyed Sam Leith’s “You can’t force Britishness on everyone, Dave”, as channelled by Flesh is Grass, responding to Cameron replaying the death of multiculturalism. I also enjoyed James Bloodworth’s reporting on Cameron’s sometimes friends the Alinsky-ite Citizens UK.

Anti-fascism and the right to revolution

J Christian Adams in PJ Media has a powerful piece marking the anniversary of the executions of Sophie Scholl and the other White Rose resistors to Nazism. It is, in a sense, a conservative, Christian defence of militant anti-fascism and of revolution. More on this in a future post, hopefully.

Showbiz news

I think Winston Pickett has got it about right on Charlie Sheen and John Galliano. 


skidmarx said…
Michael Rosen's comment on Nick Cohen was good:
Hey, don't worry about it. There is now a special job for people who are obsessed with people they claim are obsessed about Israel. Hey, they say, look at those crazy, dangerous bastards who are obsessed with Israel, we're watching out for them night and day, day and night, minute by minute, we know what their real aim is, we're building a picture of them, that Jeremy Bowen - he's one of them, that Guardian newspaper - that's another of them, they're all obsessed, obsessed, obsessed, we're keeping a track on their obsession with an utterly un-obsessed interest...

" I have started writing a post about the issue of the Israel obsession of the anti-anti-Zionist left."
Interesting, did you mean to put both "antis" in there.

I liked The Promise, I thought the Erin character a bit irritating in her ignorance at times, it dis try to present both sides though the Israeli narrative may have been a little more caricatured, the return to the village now occupied by Israelis with the Palestinians forced to live up the hill was the sort of truth which was bound to send zionists batshit (though I understand that in the West Bank it is the settlers on all the hills).
Andrew Coates said…
I watched the Promise and found the Erin character more than ordinarily irritating.

But then as Bob could have added to his observations on Nick Cohen's column, not everyone is as obsessed with Israel and the Middle East to have noticed much in the way of factual innacuracies - though the Gaza suicide bomber's home stuck out even to this non-obsessed person.

One point worth noting: David Held is the author of Cosmopolitan Democracy, whose idealistic version (distortion) of Kant exceeded the bounds of sense.

To see him implicated in the LSE scandal over Gaddafi is quite astonishing, as, regardless of one's disgreements, he did come across as a decent person.
flyingrodent said…
I reviewed the Promise here - summary, not bad, could've been better, too po-faced. I do love that the reviewers that you're talking about so often manage to analyse its merits without mentioning the acting, the script, direction etc.

And on Nick C.'s OMG shameful obsession post - you have to admit, it's pretty funny that he's accusing people of trying to make absolutely everything about Israel... In a column that's supposedly about Libya!

Really, it's an utterly childish and comical piece, from an utterly childish and comical geezer.
flyingrodent said…
Bugger, forgot the link. Voila ici
bob said…
On David Held: I find his liberal version of cosmopolitan citizenship idealistic and self-contradictory but have had no previous reason to doubt his credibility, so wouldn't want to gloat at his shame, the way I'd like to gloat at Giddens' shame.

On The Promise, I found the divided Arab village scene that Skid refers to completely plausible, and the Hebron part more or less plausible, but the Gaza part totally implausible. I will go and read the Flying one's review now.
Dear Bob,
i don't know your e-mail address, but would you consider this as guest post for International Women's Day?

No worries if not. Thanks,
Waterloo Sunset said…
I very much enjoyed Nick Cohen’s article in the Observer on Sunday about the Middle Eastern revolts and what they reveal about the Western left.

Wow, that's an impressive shoehorning of Israel into an article allegedly about the revolts in the Middle East.

I have started writing a post about the issue of the Israel obsession of the anti-anti-Zionist left.

Great minds think alike. I'm currently considering whether to try and launch a "shut the fuck up about Israel" month in the blogosphere.

As a rule of thumb, although more about blogging than newspaper commentary, I've come to the following conclusions.

1. Israel/Palestine focused blogs should really get a by on this charge, as should bloggers who just like posting about Israel/Palestine. That's no different than my focus on anti-fascism really, even if it bores me sometimes. (It doesn't mean they aren't obssessives, just that it's not proof they are).

2. People who actually live in the area don't count. Think globally, act locally.

3. Subjects with an Israel/Palestine dimension, even if that isn't the official focus, are understandable as well- in a discussion about whether and when anti-zionism shades into antisemitism I think it's understandable that the issue may be brought up in the normal course of discussion.

4. The telling sign from bloggers is not posts about Israel, but posts that aren't, yet insist on bringing Israel in any way, no matter how tentative the link is. An obvious example would be the recent revolution in Egypt. If a blogger made a post supposedly about the situation that was actually about Israel (whether that was seeing the revolution as some kind of anti-zio vanguard or seeing it solely in terms of the regional interests of Israel is irrelevant here), then you've got yourself a prime example of an obsessive.

5. A similar rule applies to commentators, although it's even easier to spot. If a post is made that doesn't mention Israel/Palestine once, yet they still bring it up in their comments, you've got an obsessive. Without exception, other than the caveat from point 2.

Types 4 and 5 are best understood as pathological, as opposed to political. We're dealing with a sociological subculture (despite the pretensions of certain anti-zios, they aren't cool enough to count as a proper counterculture), which is closer to truthers and birthers than it is anything else.

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