Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Atzmon dossier, continued

Note: this post is not aimed at Wikipedia editors and is not an incitement to edit the article, but merely a repository for deleted material, for the public record.

This post is only to preserve for the record some material deleted from the Gilad Atzmon wikipedia article.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Jewish Socialist versus the EUMC

The new issue of the reliably excellent Jewish Socialist magazine popped onto my doormat this morning and I browsed it as I ate my lunch. As always, I look forward to reading it from cover to cover, probably the only publication I can say that of.

The very first page, however, includes a short piece on Greens Engage which radically misrepresents the group. It is based on an interview with Joseph Healy, who claims, among other things that "Greens Engage have been using the controversial EUMC definition of antisemitism to make accusations against those in the Green party supporting justice for the Palestinians." In fact, Greens Engage members put forward a motion to a 2008 conference agreeing that "The EU's working definition of antisemitism shall be considered when determining what counts as antisemitism." (The same motion, incidentally, was unequivocally for a Palestinian right of self-determination, which seems like a good definition of supporting justice for Palestinians.) They did not, however, at this point, make any accusations about anyone based on the EUMC definition, and the definition only cropped up again some time later when a Green Party internal committee innocently stumbled upon it in drafting policy on antisemitic language, which then blew up into a new furore, as we know. I may be wrong, but I am not aware of any time that GE have made an accusation against anyone which quotes the definition.

There is also, on p.21, an article by Julia Bard on "the agendas being served by the Community Security Trust". This again (inaccurately I believe) invokes the EUMC WD: "Their definition of the threat is based on the discredited and highly contentious EU Monitoring Committee definition of antisemitism [which it isn't] and their equally contentious response to it [which means I have no idea what]." The main thrust of the argument, however, follows Geoffrey Alderman (a former friend of Jewish Socialist and now somewhat to the right of them) in seeing the CST as unrepresentative and adds that its funding structure echoes Cameron's Big Society, an interesting but not to me convincing point.

Anyways, apart from that, looks good. There's obituaries of Jayaben Desai, Miriam Karlin and Juliano Mer Khamis, a short piece on Tarabut, Moshe Machover, Afif Safieh and Amanda Sebetyen on the Arab spring, David Rosenberg on multiculturalism, the usual Spanish Civil war stuff, Ilana Cravitz on klezmer, Mike Gerber on boxing, Paul Collins on Victor Gollancz, J David Simons on Jewish Glasgow, David Landau on AFA (I will return to that one here when I've digested it), some muckraking on the hideous Israel Shamir, and lots more.

You may want to subscribe. Details below the fold.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Clash of isms

There are two common threads running through a lot of these links. One is the specific form of derangement that affects part of the Western left, with its cultic reverence for semi-exotic authoritarian thugs (Che Guevara, Hugo Chavez, the Tunisian Islamists, the Iranian theocracy) who pose as "anti-imperialist", as well as its equally cultic reverence for Western intellectual stars like Noam Chomsky and Slavoj Zizek whose opaque writings provide, for their initiates, a warrant for the most infantile of politics.

The second is the rising authoritarianism of the right, viciously racist towards Muslims, Roma, migrants and others. This authoritarian right is exemplified by the English Defence League in the UK, Pamela Geller in the US, Avigdor Lieberman and the settler movement in Israel. We can see its fruit in the rising tide of violence against Muslims (but also "Muslim-looking" non-Muslim Asians) and other minorities in the UK and Europe, as well as intensifying the war between Jews and Muslims in Israel/Palestine. (For this reason, it gives some comfort to read of the Israeli police arresting Rabbi Yaacov Yosef for inciting violence against Arabs.)

Islam and Islamism: An interview with an Egyptian Salafist in New Humanist. The British left's tolerance of extremism will do for us, argues Rob Marchant. Andrew Coates reports on Islamists attacking democrats in Tunisia (note, this is Ennahdha, the party led by Rashid Al-Ghannushi and often claimed to be "moderate" and democratic, not least by the Guardian, which has given a regular platform to his daughters). Andrew has other posts on the depressing rise of violent Islamism in Tunisia, including several on the travails of secularist heroine Nadia el Fani. Comrade Coates also points to the bizarre publication by "Socialist Unity" of some appalling Iran regime apologetics via Conflicts Forum. And Paul Stott bucks the Reagan revisionism - Ronnie did after all give us the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Note, a lot of these links relate one way or another to Palestinian Islamist leader Raed Salah. Adam Holland notes Mondoweiss sinking to a new low in Salah's defence.

Leftism: Principia Dialectica report from "Marxism" [sic] 2011.

Latin American radical chic: Reuben on Hari on Che. Radosh on Chomsky on Chavez.

Israel/Palestine: Eric Lee on not everyone in the labour movement being down with Hamas. Liam Hoare on Israel in a multipolar world, and on Yisrael Beiteinu as Israel's soviet party. Hitch on the Gaza flotilla activists. ("The little boats cannot make much difference to the welfare of Gaza either way, since the materials being shipped are in such negligible quantity. The chief significance of the enterprise is therefore symbolic. And the symbolism, when examined even cursorily, doesn't seem too adorable. The intended beneficiary of the stunt is a ruling group with close ties to two of the most retrograde dictatorships in the Middle East, each of which has recently been up to its elbows in the blood of its own civilians.")

The EDL and its friends: Loads of EDL news from Malatesta. Also Searchlight on the EDL/English Nationalist Alliance's supergrass Roger Firth. The Hucknall Dispatch on the EDL's Christopher Payne and his disgusting anti-Muslim racism. SPLC reports on Pamela Geller and her stumbling attempts to reconquer Europe from the Islamic hordes, including a tiff with the English Defence League, who turn out to be too right wing even for her. (Meanwhile, Jon Cruddas and Jonathan Rutherford call for a new left-wing patriotism as the response to the EDL.)

Roma rights: Ben Judah has a powerful article on the invisible Roma of Romania. Closer to home: Defend Dale Farm.

Women's rights: Sarah has a weekly round-up.

Slavoj Zizek:* I saw Alan Johnson of Democratiya/Dissent perform a superb critique of Zizek at a conference this year (paper here, html version here), which I strongly recommend. It builds on an earlier series of posts at Dissent on authoritarian Marxism: 123. And on a still earlier critique in Dissent which I've not read. On the other hand, I liked the second half of this 1999 text by Zizek, in which he criticises the misplaced Titoism of the anti-NATO Western left. I think the essay is worth re-reading now in light of what is going on in Libya.

Bob's beats
More ska, "Islam" by Prince Buster.

*Part of the Zizek paragraph is reposted from a comment.

Friday, July 01, 2011

This week's stuff

Or is it still the same week? Anyway, here we go.

Website of the week: Deterritorial Support Grouppppp, who rumbled Johan Hari. For what it's worth, I find Antonio Negri's writings overwrought, his influence on current politics ambivalent, his analysis of the multitude and Empire problematic, but find it objectionable that Hari should have contributed to the utterly discredited notion that Negri was any kind of Red Brigade terrorist.

Post of the week: Rosie Bell's list of good and bad hoaxes.

The toxic world of the academy: In the UK, Sarah Brown with More on the UCU and the EUMC Working Definition of antisemitism, David Hirsh on UCU's tipping point and on Eric Pickles' embarrassing intervention, and Colin Shindler on SOAS, the Tories and Arab money. In Canada, Anti-Semitism and a Classroom 'Jew Count' at University of Toronto's Social Work Faculty. In California, the Angry Arab of the Lenosphere attacks Zizek - and Carl replies eloquently.

Islamophobia and other racisms: Andrew Brown in the Graun on today's anti-Muslim racism, oddly titled "Islamophobia and antisemitism", even though that's not what it's really about. This is a little heavy and hard-going, but has some interesting material: Nira Yuval-Davis on The dark side of democracy: autochthony and the radical right in Europe.

The cheek of it: George Galloway calls Salman Rushdie a coward.

Angry White Men and the BNP: Matthew Goodwin's newish book on the BNP is reviewed by Anthony Painter here and by Patrick Hayes for Spiked. Goodwin is interviewed here, and has a thinkpiece at Policy Network.

Also: Howard Jacobson on Alice Walker in Gaza and Nathalie Rothschild on the flotilla riding on a wave of narcissism (h/t CC); Max Dunbar on housing, where politics becomes real; Carl Packman on Owen Jones on chavs; Kellie Strom on Iran; James Bloodworth on Bono; and Robyn Rosen on how the Israeli dog-stoning story went astray.

Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway: I do not necessarily agree with or endorse the texts I link to, and even less the sites they appear on. And that especially goes for Spiked.

Finally: Martin's book club, for a little light relief.

And some more South London music to close out the show.