This and that
I've been reading a lot on the interweb about The Promise, and thought I'd bring back some of the things I've read: reviews by Tom Jennings and Trouble Sleeping, and critiques by Ariadne and Richard Millett and (in French) Bruno Halioula. I've also been reading about some of the histories The Promise touched on those it didn't touch on - the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, the Hadassah convoy massacre, Britain's small war in Palestine, the 1947 riots across the UK, the 1947 Cheetham Hill riots. I also read Linda Grant's migration story, which touches on this period and on the 1947 riots (and if you haven't read her When I Lived in Modern Times, which is set in Palestine in this period, you should).
These are the final words of the Tom Jennings review:
Doubtless unintended by Kosminsky, and naturally unnoticed by critics, her blundering around sundry hotspots ignoring the interests or opinions of locals in favour of private desires – dotted with periodic fits of humanitarian impulse and seizures of moral outrage – uncannily mirrors the structure of single issue hobbyism and ‘struggle tourism’ as well as official news coverage and its respectable reception. So, despairing at horrors endured by distant others, comfortable Western handwringers move onto newly fashionable concerns – never taking seriously, sustaining, or prioritising above self-satisfaction the grassroots perspectives and efforts which have meaningful potential either at home or overseas.So, in that spirit, here are a few news items from Israel/Palestine that might have slipped beneath the radar: Syrian Border Violence May Hold Message for Israel, Palestinian workers risk life to seek work opportunities in Israel, Foreign caregivers: New law would make us slaves, Israel railway workers wildcat strike ignited by arrest, beating of union leaders, Dispossession and Exploitation: Israel's Policy in the Jordan Valley & Northern Dead Sea, Egyptian police wound 350 ‘Nakba Day’ protesters, Jordan police say 25 hurt in Nakba clashes, Israel to hand over Palestinian tax revenues. Analysis: CAMERA debunking of Nakba day coverage and some perspective from It's Complicated. Comment: Eric Lee and Gary Kent on a neglected part of the Arab spring and Michael Totten on Nakba Day’s Deadly Political Theater. Oh, and I often don't agree with Juan Cole, but he is spot on when he says this: "Syria’s protests about the Israeli rush to use live ammunition on protesters would have carried more weight had the protest issued from quarters not engaged in a similar deployment of live ammunition on… protesters." However, it seems to me that the policies of the current Israeli government, including the use of what appeared to me to be excessive force at its borders on Nakba day, is, as Cole puts it, literally self-defeating; a radical change of direction is long overdue, if not too late.
Another of my obsessions, Israel Shamir, Counterpunch's favourite Holocaust denier.There's a new two-part piece by Will Yakowitz in The Tablet well worth reading: 1, 2. It includes Norman Finkelstein's denunciation of Shamir as a maniac, a fascinating interview with the maniac, and concludes with this:
In the early 2000s, Shamir was nothing but a marginal anti-Semite and a prolific writer. But at that time one could write him off as a lunatic, or a self-loathing-Jew, or just a weirdo. But now, with Assange’s backing, Shamir has become a legitimate source of news and facts with a legitimate platform that is hard to ignore. His ideas may be heretical, mad, coming too fast to digest, but the Age of Assange has made Shamir less eccentric, more central—a dangerous man.Sticking with left antisemitism, Mark Gardner of the CST has a post at Arguing the World called "Routledge’s Journal of Contemporary Leftist Anti-Semitism", about a disgraceful review by former UN official, Frederic F. Clairmont, of an appalling book by moonbat antisemite James Petras, published in a mainstream journal on whose editorial board Noam Chomsky sits. Petras, who we've looked at a few times here, is also an exemplar in Alan Johnson's very sharp critique of the pro-tyrant left.
And on some completely different topics: A Jay Adler: Kenya, Conservatives and Colonialism; A Very Public Sociologist: Election analysis from Stoke; Joe Flynn: ‘Counterfire’ and the retreat from class politics; Dave Osler: The need for a reality-based left; Carl Packman: Belarus: May we now forget the Stalinist apologists; Third Estate: Ninth Week of the Syrian Spring; Libcom: International Statement of Solidarity with Cuban Anti-Authoritarians: You Are Not Alone; Jeffrey Goldberg: Kissinger versus Hillary Clinton; Waterloo Sunset: A respectful shout-out to the CST; Robin Simcox: Amnesty International's dubious company.
More links from the New Appeal to Reason and Martin in the Margins.