This is Jerry, so don’t blame OB for this post.
I’ve just returned from my protest against the awful anti-Israel, pro-Hizbullah march in London. Here are four pictures from the march.
Draw your own conclusions.
That’s my conclusion.
We are all Hizbullah ! I am so relieved the SWP will make a stand for me… I didn’t even have to ask them !
Stupid, tasteless, vulgar, wrongheaded, tactless, counterproductive, offensive? Yes.
Anti-Semitic? I don’t see that.
Perhaps it is tasteless. Though somehow, focusing on the peaceful protest against a western ally which is accused by a human rights group of disregard for civilian life and war crimes seems to me to demonstrate a certain lack of perspective. Then again, we all choose our own priorities – I don’t see the anti-semitism, myself, though it is hard to deny that the hatred runs deep on both sides of the conflict.
Peaceful protest is one thing; endorsing Hizbollah and Nazrallah is another.
“seems to me to demonstrate a certain lack of perspective.”
Yeah right, because I’m only capable of one perspective…
Yes, it’s nasty. But no, I also cannot see the anti-semitism.
It seems to me this epithet is just as much a rhetorical device, used to silence criticism, as is ‘islamophobia’ (or ‘anti-americanism’, for that matter).
“I also cannot see the anti-semitism.”
First off, I didn’t say that it was possible to *see* the anti-semitism (I was actually thinking about the march rather than those pictures when I wrote that title; and remember, I was there…).
Second, Nazrallah is anti-semitic:
“If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak, and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology, and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say ‘the Israeli’.?” (New Yorker, Oct. 14, 2002)
These people are carrying around placards celebrating the guy and the organisation he leads…
Whether the protesters are anti-semitic or not seems secondary to me. I’m with OB – I don’t like the support for Hizbullah and Nazrallah one bit. Gives me the willies.
I believe that the SWP were making a show of solidarity with Hizbullah and Nazrallah in spite of the fact that the organization and its leader are anti-Semitic, not because of the fact.
Wars make strange bedfellows. Everyone knows about the USSR and the US against Germany and Italy, to cite just the most obvious example.
For another perspective, I suggest you go here: http://leninology.blogspot.com/
I didn’t read every word, but I didn’t see/perceive/detect any anti-semitism here, either.
“It seems to me this epithet is just as much a rhetorical device, used to silence criticism, as is ‘islamophobia'”
It can be used to silence criticism, but it’s in other ways not parallel to ‘Islamophobia,’ because Islam is a religion whereas Semitic is not; Islam is a set of ideas while Semitism is not.
¡Gracias, Juan! I had no idea that the SWP were so f’d up. Hard to understand. I’m anti-zionist, considering the Israeli state to be akin to apartheid South Africa, but of course racism is absurd, and I want nothing to do with it.
Ah – yes, the SWP are very f’d up, Doug. It was a sad day when Galloway beat Oona King in that election.
“It can be used to silence criticism, but it’s in other ways not parallel to ‘Islamophobia,’ because Islam is a religion whereas Semitic is not; Islam is a set of ideas while Semitism is not.”
Well, since we’re quibbling with words this evening, notice that I did not say that Semitic is a religion (‘American’ isn’t, either (just so you know that I know that)); I said that the epithet ‘anti-semitic’ is often used as a rhetorical device to short-circuit criticism out-of-hand. Just like ‘islamophobic’ and ‘anti-american’ are. Do you disagree?
Anyway, I’m sure such a protest will have little effect outside the chattering classes, so I wouldn’t worry about it.
Having said that, yes – Nasrallah is anti-semitic and it’s reasonable to assume that many of the participants in the protest you protested against are as well.
If you are pro-Arab (one branch of teh Semitic peoples) and anti-jew (another branch of the semitic peoples, can you really be generically “antisemitic”? (Just being pedantic).
I am with Doug on this, quit eworried about Israeli policy and actions, while understanding their flawed rationale and effectiveness, and certainly not pro-Hezbollah.
I am curious as to what it really means when someone states that they are ‘anti-zionist’ (as Doug does). Are you advocating the annihilation of Israel as mad Ahmedinejad does?
Lenin’s tomb is a rather sick site and those who spill over from it, in my experience(and that does not include you Doug thus far), are pretty naked jew haters.
Nice choice of words – yet more short-circuitry? What about annihilation as of apartheid-RSA, Czechoslovakia, GDR, USSR? In other words political changes. What about a humanist politics? – it’s about time the word was put to good use.
It seems to me that anti zionist or anti war is just a more polite form of anti semetism,I would also argue that if someone is incapable of supporting Israel in the present conflict(bearing in mind the parties involved)that would also come close to anti semetism.Richard
“I believe that the SWP were making a show of solidarity with Hizbullah and Nazrallah in spite of the fact that the organization and its leader are anti-Semitic, not because of the fact.”
With respect Doug, your beliefs don’t appear to be based on knowing an awful lot (in this particular instance, I hasten to add).
The Hizbullah placards didn’t appear to have anything to do with the SWP. They were apparently the creation of: http://www.inminds.co.uk and http://www.ihrc.org
And the other thing, since some of you seem so keen on the idea that the allegation of anti-semitism is a rhetorical device designed to prevent further discussion, etc, I should say that it is also the case that to claim that the allegation of anti-semitism is a rhetrocial device designed to prevent further discussion can itself function as a rhetorical device designed to prevent further discussion (just like that ridiculous Godwin’s Law, which depressing numbers of people seem to think constitutes an argument).
The links between Hizbullah and Iran are not exactly secret, are they? Even without the Nasrallah quote JS brought, which is about as knee-jerk anti-Jewish as one can get, the words emanating from Tehran ought to give one pause before proclaiming on a banner that one identifies with Hizbullah. Surely one doesn’t have to be pro-Israel or in favour of any Israeli policies to understand that. The thing about that kind of demo is that it’s always very clear what one is against. One what is then for is something easier left unsaid, especially on a placard.
I think it is relevant to point out, for B&W regulars for whom questions of religious coercion are important, that however over-the-top one may consider Israel, as far as theocracies go, it is out of the running when compared with the other side.
mirax: “Are you advocating the annihilation of Israel as mad Ahmedinejad does?”
I consider the state of Israel a fait accompli. However flawed its beginnings, it ought to remain a state — but one which respects international law. I think it should recognize the 1967 borders and grant all of its citizens equal rights, regardless of ethnicity or religion. Is there anyone here who doesn’t think it’s absurd that someone born in Beverly Hills of a mother who can claim Jewish ancestry can easily acquire full rights of Israeli citizenship, but an Arab born in East Jerusalem can’t?
Richard: “I would also argue that if someone is incapable of supporting Israel in the present conflict(bearing in mind the parties involved)that would also come close to anti semetism.”
Either one thinks that Jews are inferior or evil or otherwise defective or one doesn’t. I don’t. Only twisted minds (or the very ignorant) think in such crude terms. I am also incapable of supporting the US in its present conflicts. Does that make me anti-American (even though I’m American)?
Jerry S: “With respect Doug, your beliefs don’t appear to be based on knowing an awful lot…”
“Either one thinks that Jews are inferior or evil or otherwise defective or one doesn’t.”
I actually think that this is too simplistic a view. If one gives support to groups that have that view, then it is at least arguable that one has to answer to the charge of anti-semitism (even if it is at one step removed).
That is (partly) what is so disturbing and distasteful about the alliances which the anti-war Left have established.
Ian, I said I didn’t disagree; that’s the first thing I said. But I wanted to say in addition that I think it’s misleading to group those terms together, because I think the word ‘Islamophobia’ is itself inherently misleading for at least two reasons; I don’t take the word ‘anti-semitism’ to be inherently misleading in that way (although to be sure it is a slightly inaccurate term for anti-Jewishness).
I agree that there is something very definitely anti-semitic about supporting a group which has anti-semitism as a basic platform, and I would never do such a thing.
I have been disabused of the notion that Hizbullah and the SWP are anti-zionist, but not anti-Jewish. I understand now that they are, regrettably, both.
PS Loved your and OB’s recent book.
(although to be sure it is a slightly
inaccurate term for anti-Jewishness)OB
I don’t believe what Christians and Muslims profess to believe, and I say so. I am likewise anti-Jewish; though it’s difficult saying so without the fear of being misunderstood. Whatever you think, feel, or say, Doug, however careful you try to be, you are going to be accused of Jew-hatred.
Shouldn’t secular-humanists be encouraging Palestinians to drop the idea of a two-state solution; the sooner they become incorporated into Israel, the sooner Israel-Palestine evolves into a non-sectarian state.
OB- Okay, maybe I flew off the handle a little.
The point I wanted to make was that because many people play fast and loose with it, the term ‘anti-semitism’ is losing some of its’ meaning and force.
I agree that Nasrallah and his followers and no doubt many people present at that protest are anti-semitic and they should of course be opposed on that basis.
Anti-semitism is an appropriate description of Nasrallah and his odious words, but it is not appropriate to automatically apply the term to criticism of Israel or Israeli policy, or label any critics who happen to be Jewish themselves as ‘self-hating’, either.
JS did not do this, and I was wrong to imply that he was doing this in my first comment.
>>I don’t believe what Christians and Muslims profess to believe, and I say so. I am likewise anti-Jewish; though it’s difficult saying so without the fear of being misunderstood.
Not at all Adam. If you mean the faith Judaism, as with Xtianity and Islam, it is easy enough to say so, as many atheist Jews do. Jewish-ishness is however more an ethno-cultural identity than a simple faith affiliation.
>>Shouldn’t secular-humanists be encouraging Palestinians to drop the idea of a two-state solution;
As a secular humanist, I understand the need for a predominantly jewish state because historically Jews have suffered as a minority under the heels of xtians and muslims who exist in much larger numbers. A jewish state seems to be the best guarantee of their safety at present.
What about the 57 muslim nations, Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia amongst them, belonging to the OIC? Are you asking for them to drop their oppressive sectarian identity as well?
Ian, sure, I agree about blanket use of ‘anti-semitism’ and also that JS wasn’t doing that. We don’t disagree then!
In a perfect world, it would be better not to have any states that are specifically any particular religion or ethnic group (or race or sexuality or gender or political tendency). But this isn’t a perfect world. But the idea does make me uneasy…
With reference to the anti semite anti zionist comment that I posted I dont think that any one would say that doug or others think jews infearior,if anything their form of anti semetism is worse than Mel Gibsons(he just hates jews)but Doug and others anti semetism is the type that only tolerates the jew if he plays the role of historical victim and woe betide him if he stands up for himself,Iwould also add that if you are incapable of supporting the U.S. in its fight against moslem facists you are probably anti American as well.Richard.
Doug, belatedly, glad to have been of service. I can get really fed up with Harry’s Place for paying so much attention to exposing the right-wing, pro-totalitariiiian and anti-jewish (to be precise) positions actually taken by the SWP. But, unfortunately, it is work that needs doing.
The SWP, like Hezbollah themselves, are trying to deceive us, trying to disguise their politics of hatred even as they go out and appeal to hatred to gather more haters around them.
Thanks for your sympathetic words.
I have some for you (specifically, two):
you went and protested against a demonstration, the purpose of which was to call for an end to Israel’s bombing of Lebanon? Well, I say bombing of Lebanon, deliberate bombing of Lebanese civilians would be more accurate.
why? were you hoping that there would be some posters there from nutty muslim groups so you could make a cheap point?
Yes Hizbollah are doing the same as Israel, but they’re losing the carnage battle 10 to 1. And they’re a terrorist group. Israel likes to bleat on about it’s victimhood, but they’re behaving like a bunch of terrorist murderers, which is why they are so routinely characterised thus and why there’s so little sympathy for them amongst vast swathes of the world.
i didn’t go on the demo, but my mum and cousin did, and according to them (they stayed at mine and I had a long chat with them afterwards), it wasn’t at all “Unedifying, Anti-Semitic, Wrong” (although, just like you, their view ought to be considered somewhat biased by dint of their actions). If it had been, they’d’ve left straight away, but they stayed to the end.
The camera might never lie, but selective choice of what to photograph and what to publish can ensure that it only tells a fraction of truth.
Doug I may well be delusional but my point is that 9/11 7/7 ect ect ect ect should tell us all Liberal,conservative ,black,white,jew, christian or athiest that it is pick a side time you seem unable or unwilling to do that.It seems simple to me on one side you have the free west with its many faults on the other side we have genosidal,racist,facist,homophobic,male supremersist,7th century barbarians. It seemed easy to me as a good liberal to choose my side you seem conflicted. Richard.
re Tom ditto oh dear
“deliberate bombing of Lebanese civilians”
The only people deliberately bombing civilians is Hizbollah. They bomb Israeli civilians deliberately and directly. Hizbullah bomb Lebanese civilians deliberately and by placing rocket launchers next to their houses, firing rockets and running off to call the journalists.
Let me say that again
Hizbullah place rocket launchers next to civilian buildings, fire rockets and run off to tell the journalists to come look at the civilian casualties.
The UN and Human Rights Watch have criticized Hizbullah for this sort of human rights violations. It is factual that Hizbullah do this sort of thing.
So, you got that wrong, Tom. Hizbollah are not doing the same as Israel. They are doing far worse. And what’s more, they started it. Hizbullah could disarm and disband their armed organization tomorrow and the fighting would end. You know good and well that if Israel left Lebanon tomorrow Hizbullah would dig itself deeper into southern Lebanon and take delivery of more and more Iranian missiles.
No, Tom. They are not the same thing at all, not at all.
Tom it troubles me that your parents would attend a rally with people that are so unashamedly anti semetic,maybe like you they are unwilling to draw any distingsion between good and evil.
It also troubles me that Doug does not try to refute my acusation that he is anti american and anti semite he just calls me names.
Doug, you anti-American, anti-Semite namecaller – answer man!
Unfortunately, all sides can have their hectoring, half-baked, semiliterate slimeballs – usually far too inconsiderate and arrogant to conform to conventional niceties.
Juan Golblado made an interesting point when he wrote “The only people deliberately bombing civilians is Hizbollah”.
I’m not convinced that’s an accurate description of what is going on. Israel is deliberately killing civilians because its targets are to be found among civilians. That it blames Hizbollah for hiding behind civilians after it has killed civilians shows as much. The killing is deliberate even if not the aim – the civilians are not the target, but knowing they are present and attacking in the foreknowledge that you will kill them is still deliberate.
The full question is more complicated. Israel has a deliberate policy of inflicting more damage on its enemies than is inflicted on it. This means that inevitably it will kill a lot of civilians – always more than its enemies will kill. So while the likes of Hizbollah kill a smaller number of civilians whom they have targetted, Israel kills a greater number of civilians as collateral damage with foreknowledge of their deaths.
Do a thought experiment. Suppose a target is in some built-up area full of hundreds of thousands civilians and the only weapon available that can do the job is a nuclear bomb. Is it legitimate to use the bomb to destroy the target and kill hundreds of thousands of civilians? What if it’s only tens of thousands? Or just thousands? Or merely hundreds?
Jerry – great argument. Really top drawer, exactly what I’d expect from an intelligent person working on a philosophical magazine such as yourself.
Granted, my second paragraph involved motive speculation, but I was asking a question. You haven’t answered it.
Love and Kisses
oops, sorry for the double posting above. I hit F5 while in the comments page.
Juan, Paul answered your point in much the same way that I would’ve.
In short, Israel are deliberately killing civilians. Also, their leaflet drops are pretty pointless when they’re bombing out the roads and also the people fleeing the bombing as instructed to do so.
Richard – Good & Evil?! Israel are good? Give me a break! Israel’s behaviour over the last few decades has been anything but good. They are part of the problem as well as part of the solution (as are all players in the middle east). If you see it as a question of good and evil, then you have missed a huge important part of the story there and evidently swallowed an awful lot of propaganda from one side and one side alone. You can’t claim the moral high ground when you’ve killed 500+ civilians in a month.
For your information, my mum heard about the demo on Radio 4 on Saturday morning and went along. She knew not who the organisers were, only what the expressed purpose of the demo was (ie an end to the bombing – she’s a pacifist and definitely not a hezbollah supporter). Does that satisfy you? Or would you like to impugne her motives some more?
Oh, and it was only one parent who went.
It troubles me that someone would go along to protest against a demo calling for an end to the bombing of Southern Lebanon (yes there were some in the crowd supporting hezbollah. That doesn’t mean they all were, nor that the purpose of the demo was to support them). A proportionate response by Israel to the killing of 2 soldiers and the kidnapping of one wouldn’t have attracted so much condemnation, but what Israel are doing is way over the top and many innocent civilians are being killed.
Sometimes – well often, really – life is just too short…
Love and kisses
OK, I admit it! I’m a Jew-hating anti-American, or is that an America-hating anti-Semite?
My penitence shall be to wear a red white and blue yarmulke whenever in public.
There! Not the demanded attempted refutation, but regretful grovelling admission – will that go at least part way to ease the complainer’s troubled soul?
Doug your penitence is very welcome and laudible with regard to Toms parent,my mother was a devout pacifist and always subscribed to a monthly magazine peace news I think it was called,I read it once and pointed out to my mother that it contained articles glorifying the P.L.O. and the A.N.C. I pointed out to her that these organizations used extreme violence to acheive their ends and she canceled her subsciption.I think Tom mother is selective about whos violence she condems as is Tom.By the way to end this long and tedious post,I dont realy think Doug is anti american or anti semetic but I do think he needs to pick his side,for all his faults G.W.B. sure beats Osama.
Great stuff! You really had me going there. And to think that some people say that satire is low-brow! The bad writing is priceless. It can’t be easy to write with just the right touch of semi-illiteracy.
We are ALL Hizbullah ! Now go to bed.
I must say, I have been looking for some weeks now for B&W to offer some kind of grown up debate about the current Israel/Lebanon/Hezbollah/Syria/Iran/USA/France (delete as appropriate) crisis and, now that I have found it, I must say I am kind of… disappointed?
Now, before anybody point it out, I realise that the point of this place is not to comment on ALL the news but still, I think I’ll go and have a look at Comment Is Free.
(That’s something I never thought I’d say. But still, if I can take Richard and his “your either wif US or aginst US” rhetoric with me, the sacrifice may be worthwhile…)
Oh lordy – grown up debate? Here? Wrong place to look. And you haven’t found it; this isn’t it. This is just about that demonstration and those signs.
No, no use looking here; I just think the obvious: it’s all horrible; better Israel shouldn’t kill all those civilians and smash Lebanon but also better Hizbollah shouldn’t use civilians as decoys, and better Hizbollah shouldn’t lob rockets into Israel, but better Israel shouldn’t have displaced the Palestinians in the first place, but where could they go, but that’s not the Palestinians’ fault, but but but –
Tremendously useful stuff. No no, look elsewhere for wisdom on this subject.
Doug you seem unable to address an argument without resorting to insult,unlike Jery(who has I think a degreee in philosphy I am a plumber) so if you want fullly literate comment he is your man.Tom I think it would be obvious to most people that my use of good was was used as a relative term when aplied to Israel ie Generaly speaking altough flawed Israel tries to be good,I used the term evil as an absolute term to aply to Hizbola,I think even doug got that.
Pardon my wif us rhetoric but on 9/11 after hacking out the throats of air stewadeses 19 facist maniacs drove aircraft fully loaded with women chidren and aviation fuel in to office blocks,it made me pick a side(because not to would have made me one of those awful liberals that cant tell the differance between good and evil).
And yes I said air stewadess not flight attendant(they were girls)
Nothing on the internet has made me laugh harder in a long time! You’re brilliant. You have a rare talent.
Please tell us who you really are.
I am Jerry S family plumber,I am flatered that you like my posts.Just in case my previous pick a side post is misinterperated by Tom I used the term good to aply to the U.S.A.(although like my nation and Israel it has many flaws)the term evil I used as absolute to describe the racist,facist,throat cutting vermin who carried out 9/11
Doug.now we are buddies lets gang up on Tom.
Tom I wasnt impuning your good mothers motives but I would say that decent people are being used by islamic facists and marxist facists to lend credibility to their protests,I think you should make your mum aware of this.
Richard, 9/11 wasn’t carried out against Israel and it wasn’t carried out by hezbollah. It was a different group of islamic terrorists. Hezbollah started out as a resistance organisation to the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in 1982 (which is not to say that they aren’t terrorist scumbags now). One of the reasons I’m against Israel’s attacks on the lebanese population now is because it will increase support for hezbollah. Israel are acting like a bunch of murderous idiots and it’s making things worse, hence my support for them stopping their monumental folly.
Good vs Evil has one meaning, baby. you can’t try to redefine it by saying it means the bad vs worse or good vs better, it means good vs evil and that’s that. On that subject, as far as I am concerned the US is far closer to evil than good, given its constant interventions in south america (to name but one continent), but that’s not to say that Osama isn’t worse. To use a facile analogy, it’s like watching Liverpool v Chelsea at football or Australia v South Africa at rugby – at times it’s tricky to know who you most want to lose and the best you can hope for is a pyrrhic victory by the lesser of two evils (which is the phrase which best describes US/Israel vs whichever terrorists they’re up against today) that leaves both sides weakened.
You really, really have swallowed the US rhetoric on this haven’t you. If you stop and actually think for a moment, you’ll realise that most people who oppose the US and Israel’s actions are doing so because it is blindingly obvious to us that they will be entirely counter-prouctive to their stated aims. Which is not to say that I believe that the US’s stated aims are their actual ones necessarily (eg Iraq: freedom and democracy when it’s clearly about territorial domination and oil).
Neither my mother nor I are selective in our violence condemnation, but if one side has killed 10 times as many as the other then, one could quite easily argue, that it deserves 10 times the condemnation.
Oh, and marxist fascists?! Do what mate?
You’re absolutely right, life is too short.
It’s certainly far too short to attempt to engage in discussion with a condescending [ ] like you.
All the best
OB, as I said, I am aware that’s not the reason for B&W. I just hoped that, since the question was finally aborded, something interesting could be said in a civilized way.
But I am afraid Tom illustrated my point about mature debate more forcefully, and more graphically, that I could hope or care to…
Yeah. There’s going to be some deleting going on here.
If there was any doubt at all about the deeply anti-semitic nature of some ‘anti-war’ protestors, all you have to do is wade through the outpouring of filth and invective that’s greeted Harold Evan’s CiF post on this very subject.
Indeed. I saw some of that yesterday – with, alas, very little surprise.
With respect Arnaud, I think it’s such a horrific debacle (Lebanon, not B&W) that peoples’ consciousness’ are generally pretty wired and fraught. I mean the whole thing’s so f@cking abysmal. The trouble with *any* comment board is that they have *all* the intellectual benefits and pitfalls of a Junior Common Room after several happy hours combined with the out and out mindless anger-to-anonymity ratio we see in road rage. Not at all conducive to productive commentary or idea exchange unfortunately. Some of it can be amusing though, but it’s pretty much gallows humour. The petulant name calling is just a tedious waste of skin cells and bandwidth.
Perhaps the best thing when a subject is so polarised and inflamed is to go read some books on it, become a bit expert and then you can scoff and sneer at the Guardian Commentariat and their peevish bottom feeders without having to post responses at all.
Two things, Nick:
1 – (stop me if I said that before) it’s not really the “raison d’etre” de B&W to comment on everything that happens, in the Middle East or anywhere else. Nonetheless there are aspects of the current crisis that fall within its remit. The rhetoric used by both sides for instance. I know I am going to stir a viper’s nest here but what is this “Israel’s right to exist” which is bandied around at the moment? What does it mean exactly when we are asked to defend it? Is it a moral or a legal right? Is it a religious right? Myself, I think it’s a pretty meaningless phrase. (As in: Israel exists, it’s there! I criticize it but I don’t want it to be nuked to oblivion. Deal with the situation.) But it’s used in a very perverse way by people who want to coerce us into approving by default of everything in and about Israel. That’s something that could be adressed in these comments. (That’s not a criticism of OB in any kind, BTW. More of what I have seen in this tread so far.)
2 – Yes, there is something here that polarize the opinion. We all have a tendency to fall back to our most instinctual reactions when the Middle East is concerned. Does that invalidate all exchange of opinions? The very possibility of an exchange of opinion? Or am I being too “grown up” here? Should we all follow Simon Jenkins’ opinion in today’s Guardian?
(He is right on one thing though, and you’ll probably agree with him: the level of comments, be it in the papers or on the net, is usually abysmal)
As for becoming an expert on the region, that would take half a lifetime and then what? Would I then be entitled to an opinion? Somebody like Robert Fisk for instance is not exactly regarded with kindness by everybody…
PS: I DO have a tendency to sneer a bit. Sorry about that and the previous cheap crack at Richard’s typos. I’ll watch myself in the future.
(I have a tendency to sneer a good deal myself, and it wasn’t your comments I was objecting to – just in case that wasn’t clear.)
Yeah – I have the same problem with the phrase “Israel’s right to exist”. I’ve never used it, myself, for precisely the reasons you indicate. I don’t want it to stop existing (though I’d quite like to see it change in some fundamental ways, like becoming a secular and non-ethnic state) but I’m not sure it does have an obvious ‘right’ to exist, not under the circumstances.
But…much as I like analyzing rhetoric, I suppose I’m not very keen to analyze the rhetoric on this issue, because it is so…fraught, and because I don’t know nearly enough about the subject. So I leave it to others.
It is very easy for people that live in an island nation surounded by freindly neibours,a hostile sea, that has the benifit of a close aliance with the most powerfull nation on earth,not to mention the fact of the nato aliance and also note that we have trident submarines carying misiles that can deliver instant armagetan to any potential foe! to pontificate about how tiny Israel a small nation of aprox 6 million people surounded by 300 million anti semites should behave(bearing in mind they have already been through one holocaust) I for one will cut them slack.ps as to my typos grammar ect I would prefer people addresed the points I raise rather than comment on my level of education.
Arnaud, no it doesn’t invalidate the exchange of opinions per se. And I realise that becoming ‘expert’ would take a long time. I just don’t think this particular media is appropriate in a real conflict environment; no-one learns anything. I agree that some of the stuff falls within B&W’s remit. Coercive disingenuous language is being used absolutely everywhere on the web and mainstream media, shamelesly and it’s not challenged as it should be on its qualities, but on a basic “yes I agree / no I don’t” reflex. It’s a bit like having the competitors in Big Brother decide national health policy and also watching them do it, then only being allowed to vote one of them out. There’s no point going for it here is there ? Whether I agree with Richard or Pat or not ?
Just to complete a thought there, the current joint policy of the Israeli Government and the Jewish Agency vis a vis refugee status for Jews in Germany could also be interpreted as a violation of the rest of the phrase I quoted from the Balfour Declaration: “…, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
I said it already: it was a cheap shot and crass to boot. Especially from me, for whom English is not the first language. That said, it’s one of the many weaknesses of my character that I only apologize once.
As for addressing the points you made: first I wouldn’t know which one (Israel as the US’s spearhead in its fight against Islamism or as an ultimately pacific nation only defending itself?) Second, that’s not why I came here, once again: if I want to see the two sides of this idiotic argument, I’ll have a look at the Guardian website.
But for the record: of course I do not begrudge Israel its right to defend itself. As I said above, Israel is there. Whatever you think of the creation of the state in 1947, Israel is now there and has been for 60 years. The world cannot, morally, legally or otherwise, write it off as a bad experiment. What I am saying, and I am not by far the only one, is that bombing everything that move north of your borders, including children and ambulances, is not the better way to achieve peace in the long term. Especially if the country you want to send “20 years backward” is the one that ever actually showed a viable way toward democracy and anti-sectarianism. But, once again, this (B&W) may not be the place…
The essence of democracy is not in the vote but in the debate.
Damn! I was sneering and now I am flippant! Still…
Nick it is very magnanimous of of youself others to grant Israel its right to exist.For my part(probably because of my blue collar Joe six pack mentality)I veiw Israel as our canary in the coal mine so it is in our best intrest to support them not constantly berate them.Tom marxist and facist are basicly the same(they only disagree about who should own industry)
Richard, you’re really funny, but it’s wearing a bit thin. Please come clean. Have some pity on these fools who are taking you seriously.
Let’s take Richard seriously. Are you equating Israel’s value as a coalmine canary with a “right” (of its own) to exist? How come there’s only one country this issue keeps being raised for? Are there no other countries around whose birth was accompanied by a refugee problem? Eve Garrard had a piece about a year ago (I think I saw it because OB linked to it on Normblog) in which she examined this whole business of the justifications for scrutinising Israel under a stronger microscope than is reserved for anyone else. Israel may be overreacting in Lebanon, but is anyone claiming attacks on civilians weren’t coming from that territory? Is Israel saying it’s moving into Lebanon for keeps as part of an annexation policy? I ask because I’m trying to remember whether there were lots of demos 16 years ago when Saddam moved into Kuwait (which wasn’t raining rockets down on Iraqi civilians and he did say he was taking it for keeps) which included vicious attacks on Iraqis as a race.
Richard – you got the wrong guy. I said squat about Israel, that was Arnaud’s post.
sorry Nick.What a suprise this mornings news is young British moslems wanting to self explode aboard air liners,Thank god that we have the moslem council of G.B. to explain to us that these are not true moslems and any way its all the fault of poverty,racism,Irael,George Bush and Tony Blair.What say you Tom?
Arnaud, I was being sneered at by Jerry for daring to ask him why he went to protest against a march that was calling for an end to Israel’s bombing of Lebanese civilians. He behaved like a condescending set of of square brackets and refused to say so, therefore that’s what I apparently called him.
If you post about doing something online, it’s reasonable that someone will ask you why you did that thing, no?
There was no debate, merely snideness from Jerry. I, unfortunately sunk to his level (those who consider square brackets to be an irredeemably naughty word would say i dipped beneath it). To use me as an example of dragging down mature debate is unfair and inappropriate.
I have no meaningful comment to make on the arrests this morning because I don’t know enough of the story.
Do you want me to say “terrorism is bad?” Fine. Almost always it is. Certainly religiously motivated terrorism like the 7th July 2005 bombs in London were A Bad Thing.
Do you think you have won some victory? I visit B&W in the hope of reading and very occasionally participating in intellignet conversation (hence my frustration with Jerry’s square brackety manner), not for 3rd-rate sub-politician point-scoring.
Personally, I’m not sure how much I believe that there is a genuine threat and that it’s not another M”I”5 or 6 cock-up or another government-instigated reponse to a non-existent threat to take our minds off of the bad news from Lebanon and Iraq (and whatever report is due to come out today criticising UK &/or US gov’ts). Perhaps I’m being overly cynical, but neither whitehall nor the oval office has shown any reticence in using the threat of terrorism to manipulate public opinion.
Oh, and perhaps you should have a look at America’s history of inolvement in a continent of your choice. I like to pick S. America because it’s the clearest example of America acting almost uniquely for bad. Just so you know (‘cos I reckon you won’t’ve picked up the nuances), my opinion is that the US is the lesser of two evils in comparisson with al qaeda and israel the lesser of two evils with regards hezbollah/hamas.
Unequivocal support of Israel will lead to them making more blunders, the like of which they are now, and thus further inflaming the problems in the middle-east. OB’s amusing critiques of the use of the word grievance (elsewhere on B&W) are very relevant in Britain, but less so in the middle east, where there is very good reason for people to feel aggrieved
Sorry Nick.about todays news I am shocked that young British moslem men would plot to self explode aboard air liners,Thank god the moslem council of G.B.will put our minds at rest by explaining that these were not true moslems and anyway its the fault of poverty,racism,Israel,George Bush and Tony Blair.For my part I am starting to believe that islam may not be a religion of peace.Does that make me a bigot Tom.
Arnaud, debate is indeed cool, but slinging insults around and generally behaving like a bunch of redfaced schoolkids yelling their fat little heads off chanting ‘fight fight fight’ is not. These posts fall in both camps, unfortunately. In retrospect, I may not be learning much but there’s some funny f@cking sh1t being said here. Tom – C@nt is neither funny nor illustrative. Sorry to pick specifically on you babe, but having been a memeber of the European ‘left’ since 79 I have witnessed the hijacking of well meaning liberals’ support by gangs of subversive, pernicious and shady single-issue b@astards so many times it’s not true… and the SWP are undeniably, utterly now cross-polonised with the Islamonazis. They organised the demo. Sad but true.
Bless you Tom I just new you would be able to somehow rationalize this and blame the U.S.excuse my double post but I was trying to add to this mornings post and made a pigs ear of it
Tom in defence of jerry(although he dosnt need my help)he may have found your all encompasing blame America,blame Irael for all the worlds problems a bit much to take,I mean nothing he could say is going to change your mind,unlike Doug who after his short pennace of 3 heil hitlers and the wearing of a red white and blue yamuka for a week,can probably join the new left.
Tom “another government-instigated reponse to a non-existent threat”. Name some precedents. Like 7/7 was made up ? Like 21/7 was made up ? Like Omagh ? Like Birmingham ?
You say there’s no terror threat, the govts making it up. Until there’s an attack. Then that’s the govt’s fault for alienating and provoking the hitherto non-existent bombers. Are these bombers Buddhists ? Shape-shifters ? Time-Lords ? On a Part-Time Jihad Day Release ? Sure the mercans and the isralis have done some bad shit, but to then buddy up with an enemy of theirs who would also gladly blow your balls through your head is a bit naive mate.
richard – why the hell are you asking me if that makes you a bigot? stick your straw men where the sun don’t shine. try reading what i’ve written. No religion is a religion of peace. They’re all about oppression of the masses. I dislike Islam more than just about any religion, largely because it is more about subjugation of women than the others. That doesn’t excuse Israel’s killing of civilians.
Also, I didn’t make any “all encompasing blame America,blame Irael for all the worlds problems” type statements. He’s supposed to be intelligent and erudite. I’m sure that he can defend himself.
I’m not going to defend myself against any more of your (wilful?) misinterpretations of what I’ve written. You clearly don’t (or don’t want to) understand what I’ve written, and it’s really not that intellectually demanding.
I’m starting to wonder whether you’re not actually Jerry trolling.
“I’m starting to wonder whether you’re not actually Jerry trolling.”
Why would I want to troll?
I will, of course, own up to being condescending. But the thing is – I really don’t want to have this argument (i.e., about Israel, the protest march, etc) because it is pointless (for all the reasons that other people on here have stated).
I think it is entirely legitimate that I shouldn’t wish to engage in argument. I actually meant it when I said that life is too short. I tried to indicate that I wasn’t referring to you specifically (by saying that it is often too short). I just have other things I’d rather be doing than arguing on the internet about something we’re never going to agree about.
Aye. I’m throwing the towel(head) in on this one.
Nick S – Square brackets wasn’t intended to be funny or illustrative. It was meant to be insulting and alliterative. There was no debate taking place between Jerry & I. I asked a question of a man who demonstrated against a demonstration and then posted about it on his website. A man who is a philophilosopher, who ought really to be able and willing to answer such a question. I was twice patronised instead of receiving anything that even approached an answer. I shouldn’t’ve stooped to the level of insulting him (though why you particularly object to square brackets rather than fuck is beyond me) and I was wrong.
Precedents for errors or manipulation you say? Tanks at Heathrow good enough for you? That bogus ‘al qaeda plot’ to bomb some tiny almost unheard of town in the US heartlands shortly before the last US presidential election? Forest Gate? Or if these aren’t enough or if you disagree with my interpretation of any of these, I’ve 4 words for you: weapons of mass destruction.
These governments are relying on us to forget their false positives (of which some are obviously deliberate, like the WMD).
I didn’t say it was definitely a fake, and I accepted that “I could be being overly cynical”, but there’s very little that either the Bush or Blair administrations have done to discourage cynicism.
I’ve at no point said or, as far as I can see, implied that any bombing by british muslim terrorists is “the govt’s fault for alienating and provoking the hitherto non-existent bombers”. Like almost everyone, I utterly abhor these attacks (although 7/7 did mean I had a couple of days off work, so it wasn’t all bad).
Discussions about Israel v Lebanon are utterly unrelated to jihidists nutters vs the british people.
Stewart – I agree with the tenor of your piece entirely. I apologise to all those who had to read an insult directed towards the saintly Jerry on their screen and who feel that I have sullied B&W. Next time I’ll learn to ignore being patronised.
Tom. You called JS a cnut, I believe that was the word that was removed and then replaced by brackets. Read my post again, you’ll see it. The rest is pretty wasted bandwidth anyhow, so I’m off, nothing personal.
Fair enough, sorry for the insult. It was unnecessary and wrong.
It seems odd though that if you don’t want to have a discussion about something to post about it on your blog page when you have other pages that you could’ve posted about it.
I’m not sure that we wouldn’t’ve agreed about it. For some reason the guys here seem to think that I’m some sort of Jihdi-huggin’ SWP-lovin’ kinda guy, when I’m anything but.
Still, I’ll get lost now and stop bothering you.
all the best
ps my previous post was almost completely written before i went off for a meeting and before Nick or Jerry’s posts, which I hadn’t read.
I appreciate and accept the apology.
“Discussions about Israel v Lebanon are utterly unrelated to jihidists nutters vs the british people.”
That, for example, is something one could discuss. To the extent that Hizbullah and British jihadis might claim an identical divine inspiration for some of their acts, maybe they’re not “utterly” unrelated. Would you agree that the most extreme supporters of both in the UK might be the same people?
As Stewart points out, this is a mess. Unfortunately it all took place while I was not online; if I had been, most of it would have been deleted. I can’t be online 24 hours a day. I almost said yesterday evening ‘let’s end this discussion now’ and I wish I had. All these comments wasted on pointless name-calling wrangling. As Stewart also points out or implies, this isn’t what I want on B&W.
Let’s end this discussion now.
Yes, you are a bullying bigot – you persistently insisted on accusing somebody of prejudice and Jew-hatred because of their declared disagreement with zionist policies. Following in the same post with whining about name calling.
Richard, cheers mate, I just got worried I was helping turn a library into a wrestling ring.
Richard. Fair question, mate. I have a friend, who I will only define as someone who works in Whitehall not a million corridors from the War Office and he tells me there have been no less than four July 7th scale incidents thwarted by our (UK) intelligence services in London this year alone. Four spectacularly horrid indiscriminate manglings of hundreds of utterly innocent lives in the heart of my sodding capital. Bungle (MCB ‘spokesman’)gets on the radio complaining that a disproportionate amount of ‘slamists have been picked up and questioned in the last year, and it’s not fair, that it’s ‘slamophobic, post colonially racist, the police are institutionally so-and-so etc, etc. The Grauniad, Independent, Radio 4, Jon Snow, Monbiot etc pick this and of bleating one-sided cr@p up and give it so many legs it would beat a millipede in a butt kicking contest. Then chaps such as yourself and I get called ignorant phobics when merely we point out the elephant in the room. Which clearly sucks. I personally admire Christopher Hitchens on this matter, who, pompous blowhard that he can be, describes with alacrity the intra-‘slamic conflict between hard-line Caliphatists on the one hand, and those who believe in that particular Abrahamic tradition but also embrace modernity, as the real issue here. This conflict began in the 1950s and the causes for it cannot be simply blamed on US or European foreign policy. In the struggle for expression, the hardliners attack enlightenment values as sinful and abhorrent. The liberal left merely adds their guilt to the equation and confuses correlation with causation. The sad fact is most of these UK busbombers are just delusional inadequates who can’t get their head round the fact that after university, they, like so many of the rest of us, will just have to bumble along on low-average incomes and muddle through. So they renounce the usual twentysomething time wasting and take to the shining path of self-atomisation.
This by the way, is no excuse for going into Iraq, which was clearly the dumbest move anyone made since Hitler copied Napoleon’s fork-in-the-eye strategy of taking the war to Moscow. Shame on Blair, get him out, and get the boys back I say.
By the way, I blame all the above kerfuffle yesterday on Adam Tjaavk , who clearly doesn’t take life seriously enough, just thinks he can joke around when people like me are being so very – very – serious, and needs to pull his socks up pronto. Sorry Adam, but those are the facts.
I said – let’s end this discussion now.
OB why end the dicusion we have all pledged to elevate it why quit when are so close to solving the middle east question.
Also its a bit much to have a fighting fashonable nonsence web site and moan when people come into that site and fight said twoddle.
I’m not moaning. I’m saying stop. I monitor these discussions; fighting fashionable nonsense has nothing whatever to do with allowing pointless comments to go on forever.
You must remeber that to us these pointles comments are pearls of great wisdom that the world desparately needs,anyway its probably better for my long suffering wife not to have to listen to me vent.I might add that you were still provoked into responding.
Sorry for my last post its your site and if it is bothering you I will stop posting I was unnecesarily rude in my last post and I am sorry I cant delete it but you can if you wish.In my defence I have been realy ticked over recent events and I have been using your site to vent(i forgot it was your site not mine)Richard.
Well that is why I said ‘stop,’ Richard. Thanks for the apology. I understand about wanting to vent, but that’s not ideal for civilized discussion. Flamey discussions are a dime a million on the web, I don’t want to have them here.
>I understand about wanting to vent, but that’s not ideal for civilized discussion.
I agree. Then I read the Jostein Gaarder anti-Israel rant this morning, a week late. It shook me.
It’s fairly easy to dismiss the worst of the CiF anti-zionist ranters as nutters. When Iran’s Ahmadinejad states he wants to wipe Israel off the map, there is no shortage of serious journalists or academics to explain away his overblown ‘rhetoric’. Then you have a serious writer like Gaarders weighing in with an ol’ style prophetic voice booming with outrage and condemnation in a text that can only be described as incendiary.
My point is that a lot of the emotion that is vested in the current ME conflict by people all around the globe seems bizarrely distorted out of proportion and is creating a dangerous mood in itself. I am profoundly disturbed that so much more of this emotion is bursting out in the mainstream media. To the extent that this is being driven by a new-risen, highly politicised pan-islamic identity as well as a fundamentalist christian apocalyptic vision is something even creepier.
Let’s also not forget the teeny difference between Gaarders and Ahmadinejad: the former can’t command anyone to take military action based on his opinions, whereas the latter can (and has been in the news over two issues above all others: his opinions on Israel and his insistence on obtaining nuclear capability).
Yes, but people who can’t command military action can still influence opinion both public and elite, so they are always worth disputing if they talk crap, especially if it’s dangerous crap.
Shifting it (or something
even more alliterative)
How extremely clever Nick, full marks! Sensing OB’s threatening blue-pencil swooping down at any moment and the remains appearing relatively innocuous, he the blamed must be mainly responsible. With nothing left to prove otherwise, he could be completely, partly, or not to blame at all.