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  • This isn’t the way to deal with anti-semitism


    by guest
    7th September, 2010 at 2:17 pm    

    guest post by Ben White

    Imagine a conference on racism featuring presentations by individuals who have supported, or even live in, colonies of segregated privilege in militarily-occupied territory. Sounds bizarre, but that’s exactly what happened two weeks ago, when Yale hosted ‘Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity’, a project of The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA).

    So at this kind of gathering, what explains the presence of British self-defined progressives and antiracism campaigners, given the concern that the conference’s focus, in the words of Indiana University professor Shaul Magid served “to affirm a right-leaning political ideology regarding Israel, viewing Israel as the front-line against a global attack on America.”

    Among the participants [PDF] presenting papers were Robert Fine from Warwick and David Hirsh of Goldsmiths. The latter is the co-founder of ‘Engage‘, which describes itself as an “anti-racist campaign against antisemitism” and “a resource that aims to help people counter the boycott Israel campaign”.

    Meanwhile, on the ‘Discourses of Antisemitism in Relation to the Middle East’ panel, we find a senior figure in the Community Security Trust (CST), an organisation which officially “provides defense and security services for the Jewish community in the UK” - and recently felt the need to clarify that they are not a “public relations outlet for Israel”.

    What agenda was being advanced at this conference? Philip Weiss highlighted how a paper on “The Central Role of Palestinian Antisemitism in Creating the Palestinian Identity” was presented by Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch and resident of Efrat settlement in the West Bank (he also featured in ‘Obsession’, a film that Jeffrey Goldberg described as the “work of hysterics“).

    The conference was criticised by the PLO’s Washington office, as well as by people, who felt that the “real tragedy” of the conference was a failure “to recognize that a successful and principled stand against anti-Semitism requires a principled stand against all kinds of racism, including anti-Muslim/anti-Arab bigotry in America and anti-Palestinian racism in Israel”.

    It was only last December that Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sponsored a conference in Jerusalem on “combating antisemitism”. This ‘anti-racist’ event was chaired by Avigdor Lieberman and a Likud MK who lives in a settlement. Participants in a working group targeting the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement included, again, David Hirsh, as well as individuals from UK groups like the Jewish Leadership Council and the Union of Jewish Students.

    This is a worrying trend for those genuinely challenging racism. As orthodox Jewish studies and philosophy professor Jerry Haber (a nom de plume) said of the Yale conference, the list of invitees and speakers made the conference look like it was “sponsored by the Zionist Organization of America”.

    Ironically, he noted, “a more insidious form of Jew-hatred is now being peddled by the right-wingers who demonize progressive Jewish and non-Jewish voices”. Most disturbing of all is the conclusion that such a conference, in Haber’s words, “Zionist-ized, politicized, and ultimately, trivialized, anti-Semitism”.


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    81 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. Allan Siegel

      Pickled Politics » This isn't the way to deal with anti-semitism http://t.co/9Mh3O0o


    2. Abraham Greenhouse

      Ben White: This isn’t the way to deal with anti-Semitism: http://ow.ly/2AKx6


    3. NewLeftProject

      Ben White: This isn’t the way to deal with anti-semitism http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/10008 #Yale #antisemitism #racism


    4. OldTrot

      "Pickled Politics » This isn’t the way to deal with anti-semitism" http://bit.ly/aCZWgH




    1. Rumbold — on 7th September, 2010 at 2:57 pm  

      Attacks on Jews because of their religion (as opposed to their connection with Israel) have risen over the past few years, so I am not sure why it is a problem that someone from the CST is attending. Jews do suffer anti-semitic attacks regularly in this country, so there is a need for them. As for the founders of Engage, I can’t see anything wrong with campaigning against a boycott (nor in supporting an economic one- this is a free market after all).

    2. Roger — on 7th September, 2010 at 3:20 pm  

      This is a worrying trend for those genuinely challenging racism.

      This is hilarious coming from a man who tours the country with the likes of Azzam Tamimi and has said “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are”.

    3. cjcjc — on 7th September, 2010 at 3:22 pm  

      Ben White - leading “understander” of anti-semitism.

      What exactly is the point of this post?
      Precisely what criticism are you making of Engage?
      That they don’t take your line?
      OMFG how very dare they!

    4. cjcjc — on 7th September, 2010 at 3:23 pm  

      Rumbold - attacks on Jews because of their Israel connection would hardly be better, would they?

    5. Dave Rich — on 7th September, 2010 at 3:24 pm  

      “This is a worrying trend for those genuinely challenging racism.”

      And seemingly even more worrying for you, who understands why people are antisemitic (http://www.counterpunch.org/white0617.html).

      As for what you write about CST - it is a pretty low and transparent tactic to quote us saying what we are not, in order to suggest to people that that is actually what we are. What if I wrote: “Ben White, who recently felt the need to clarify that he does not consider himself an antisemite”?

      For what it is worth, you are right: we are not a public relations outlet for Israel. Our work only concerns antisemitism and Jewish security in the UK. One of our members of staff was invited to attend a conference organised by one of the few academic institutes in the world that is dedicated to the study of antisemitism. Why do you object to that?

    6. Roger — on 7th September, 2010 at 3:37 pm  

      The conference was criticised by the PLO’s Washington office

      Ooh, that does it, yes, let’s all get in line behind the PLO. No antisemitism there, no sirree.

    7. Rumbold — on 7th September, 2010 at 3:40 pm  

      Cjcjc:

      No of course not, but I was trying to echo the CST’s point as attacks on Jews (because of issues unrealted tounrelated to Israel) have risen has well:

      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/7391

    8. Jerry Haber — on 7th September, 2010 at 4:12 pm  

      One can oppose anti-Semitism for reasons of tribalism, and one can oppose anti-Semitism for reasons of universal moral principles (like fighting racism and the like.)

      At the Yale Conference the vast majority of the participants were tribalists. The problem is not that it is wrong to be a tribalist. There should have been tribalists there. But nobody on the left who opposes anti-Semitism on grounds of universal moral principles appear to be there — unless there were also staunch Zionists (i.e., tribalists.)

      Since no non-Zionists or anti-Zionists were invited. The dogma that anti-zionism is ipso facto anti-Semitic was not challenged, as far as I know.

      Why was Brian Klug not invited, for example? Is he “treif” because he believes that the new anti-Semitism is motivated by anti-Zionism and not vice-versa.

      This was a gathering of the clan. When folks from “Engage” are the furthest left at a conference on anti-Semitism, you know that balance is skewed.

    9. Jerry Haber — on 7th September, 2010 at 4:13 pm  

      I am deeply sorry for the atrocious typing above.

    10. Roger — on 7th September, 2010 at 4:18 pm  

      Here you can see Mr White trying to spin Ahmadinejad out of trouble for his Holocaust denial:

      http://www.benwhite.org.uk/2006/01/10/history-myths-and-all-the-news-thats-fit-to-print/

      White is one very sick man. No surprise to find him on this blog.

    11. David Landy — on 7th September, 2010 at 4:24 pm  

      It reminds me - though it is somewhat worse - of the conference on race earlier this year in the supposedly liberal Ben- Gurion University in the Negev in Southern Israel. But that committed more a sin of ommission than commission.

      It was called ‘Jews/Color/Race’ and the conference managed to avoid talking about them pesky Arabs entirely. After all when you go to a heavily racialised state which continually discriminates against Arabs, what else would you want to talk about but discrimination against Jews, and issues of Jewish identity.

      Funny and tragic at the same time. And AFAIK, David Hirsch was due to speak there too. He has form.

    12. cjcjc — on 7th September, 2010 at 5:01 pm  

      @10 wow, that Ahmedinejad article really is a piece of work.

      Mr White should be very proud.

    13. M — on 7th September, 2010 at 5:27 pm  

      Great article. This conference sounds utterly absurd and I will never understand how people can attend, and even speak at, such events without breaking out into laughter. Still, we should probably be grateful for papers like “The Central Role of Palestinian Antisemitism in Creating the Palestinian Identity” - a few decades ago Palestinians didn’t exist. Now apparently they do, but only because they hate Jews.

      Jerry Haber’s points above regarding tribalism are also absolutely spot on - and by extension, I would argue that ‘tribalist’ events like these actually belittle the real issues, like anti-Semitism, they are supposed to be dealing with. In the same way that few people here, I assume, would take an Islamist-only conference on Islamophobia very seriously.

    14. Paul Moloney — on 7th September, 2010 at 5:39 pm  

      I swear I’m not making this up, but there’s a “Come to Israel” ad displayed on this article…

      P.

    15. Sarah AB — on 7th September, 2010 at 5:45 pm  

      Have any of the attenders at the conference been officially censured for hate speech I wonder?

      http://thecst.org.uk/blog/?p=1006

      David Hirsh always strikes me as someone with moderate views. Here he is on demolitions of Bedouin dwellings in Israel.

      http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2010/09/04/al-quds-day-%E2%80%93-is-it-for-you/

      “The demolition of these homes is horrible and I oppose it. I think that it is an example of institutional racism in Israel, of practices which discriminate against non-Jewish minorities. There is a right-wing coalition in power in Israel at the moment some of which came to power by making racist agitation against minorities. I oppose this government and most of its policies.”

      I’m not Jewish so I don’t think of myself as a Zionist although I’m against the UCU Israel boycott etc - but what is wrong with being a Zionist exactly? It’s not a very helpful word as it includes a spectrum of people with such divergent views.

    16. Roger — on 7th September, 2010 at 5:54 pm  

      Here, have a look at the conference company Ben White keeps.

      http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/27106/calls-destruction-israel-soas-lecture

    17. cjcjc — on 7th September, 2010 at 6:10 pm  

      On reflection the best way to deal with Mr White is to say

      “leave it…’e's not worth it…”

      Let him get his sick kicks from running around with Tamimi.

    18. Joseph W — on 7th September, 2010 at 6:30 pm  

      Surely a better way to deal with anti-Semitism is to quote from Holocaust deniers, and also to imply that blowing up synagogues is “freedom“.

      That must be it!

    19. M — on 7th September, 2010 at 6:37 pm  

      Wow, what a crushing debate-ending blow you just dealt there Roger. How will Ben ever recover from having “shared a platform” with someone who says Israel committs huge crimes and that people should not be intimdated by the lies of its acolytes? Deary me. I was wondering when someone would break out that kryptonite. Well done sir, well done.

    20. FlyingRodent — on 7th September, 2010 at 6:51 pm  

      well, the major problem with letting anti-racist movements be led by, uh, highly enthusiastic and excitable types such as david Hirsh* is that it slaps a huge pair of clown shoes onto the entire issue. That’s the last thing you want.

      Your movement leader should really try to stick to the core issue of racism, rather than inventing new and exciting forms of telepathic divination to hallucinate racism everywhere, for suspiciously partisan-looking reasons.

      For an example of what I mean, try this exchange between Hirsh and the decidedly non-Israel-hating Martin Shaw on the subject of Israel boycotts. (Apologies, pdf) http://tinyurl.com/2wrqfsc

      Like an oddball Haley Joel Osment, Hirsh sees anti-semitic people, all the time… He hyperventilates, speaks in tongues, invokes a busload of his pals and drones on at mind-numbing length… And Shaw slaps every argument down with LOLs to spare like Godzilla fighting Thora Hird, using a fraction of the word-count.

      which of those guys comes across as reasonable and credible, and which looks a bit unhinged and not a little dishonest? whose judgement would you be more inclined to trust?

      Rationality and proportion are all important. If you’re prone to kicking off and falsely comparing everyone to Nazis at politically convenient times - say, when certain nations you firmly support start flinging high explosives into highly-populated urban areas - your credibility goes down the pan. Nobody believes the statements of proven bullshitters.

      People can start to openly mock your pronouncements, even the accurate ones, thus further convincing you and your audience that you were right all along when really, you’ve just been getting more and more wrong.

      I’ll call this the Jacobson problem - if you find yourself comparing any event in modern Britain to Kristallnacht, you have fucked up your reasoning, bro. Back to the drawing board, because you’re doing more harm than good.

      *This isn’t just a problem for the Hirshes of the world, of course - there are plenty of clown shoes anti-Islam-baiting orgs as well, and various other issues. They’re just as bad, if not worse, for all the faults I’m talking about here.

    21. Joseph W — on 7th September, 2010 at 6:55 pm  

      Yeah but, is it really taking anti-Semitism seriously to call in an analyst who “understands” why some people are anti-Semitic?

    22. M — on 7th September, 2010 at 7:01 pm  

      Where is your evidence for this? It sounds so out of context I wouldn’t be surprised if the sentence was “I understand why some people are anti-Semitic, because some people are ignorant and racist fools, but we still have to work towards fighting racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and bigotry of all shapes and sizes every day of our lives.”

    23. FlyingRodent — on 7th September, 2010 at 7:08 pm  

      It’s an important article of faith for decents that the word “understand” is only ever a synonym for “cheerlead” and “condone”, and can never mean “comprehend in the mind as an abstract concept without implying approval”.

      I’ve no idea what context this a ful word was used this time, but strongly advise against bothering to mount a defence. Saying you “understand” anything other than allied bombing campaigns is tantamount to praying on genocide for these guys. If this strikes you as being a kind of mini-Jihad on reason itself, well, you might not be wrong.

    24. Joseph W — on 7th September, 2010 at 7:21 pm  

      But, when you go round quoting Holocaust deniers such as Garaudy, and then arguing that Holocaust deniers such as Ahmadinejad never denied the Holocaust, it does raise questions about one’s commitment to preventing anti-Semitism, and cast further doubt on the already dubious statement that “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite yet I can also understand why some are.”

    25. Morrissey — on 7th September, 2010 at 7:35 pm  

      I do not consider myself an anti-Chinese racist, yet I can also understand why some are.

      It is because China commits horrendous crimes against animals, controls the press and politicians in that inscrutable way of their, and then falsely cries racism when anybody points this out. Obviously, this is the major cause of real racism against the Chinese subspecies.

      I also acknowledge that there is some historic anti-Chinese racism in Britain’s shameful past, which probably is embedded in the collective consciousness of all Europeans, apart from me of course. Anti Chinese racism is wrong.

      That is why I will be speaking alongside Jim Davidson and the late Bernard Manning at next week’s 24 hour picket of Won Kees in Chinatown, where we will be unveiling our new banner:

      “Chinese People! Stop Eating Dogs!”

    26. Joseph W — on 7th September, 2010 at 7:37 pm  

      I’d like to take issue with something Ben White wrote:

      “Imagine a conference on racism featuring presentations by individuals who have supported, or even live in, colonies of segregated privilege in militarily-occupied territory”

      For Ben White, the whole of Israel is actually Palestinian land, therefore Tel Aviv is as much “the occupation” as East Jerusalem, and so every Israeli citizen is living in a colony.

      For Ben White, this means that no Israeli can be anti-racist. No Israeli can talk about racism as they are all living in a colony.

      Logically it means no Jews serious about fighting anti-Semitism may talk to Israelis about the problem of anti-Semitism, for if they do so, they are no longer genuinely concerned about racism.

    27. Sarah AB — on 7th September, 2010 at 8:02 pm  

      M and Flying Rodent - I thought your points (21 and 22) deserved consideration. I’ve looked up the original context.

      http://hurryupharry.org/2009/07/02/i-do-not-consider-myself-a-racist-but-i-understand-why-some-are/

      I don’t think the shorter quote was distorted by taking it out of its original context.

    28. Arif — on 7th September, 2010 at 8:44 pm  

      I think anti-racism is a principled stance. And a constant struggle to achieve on different levels.

      If someone is doing or saying something which seems racist on the one hand, while claiming to be anti-racist on the other, another anti-racist can draw it to their attention and have a discussion - perhaps a misunderstanding will be cleared up, or an apology will be given.

      But if either one of them assumes bad faith on the part of the other, then the discussion is likely to end up in some mess of defensiveness and counter-accusations.

      Here I think people are assuming bad faith on Ben’s part. And perhaps he reciprocates.

      The lesson for me is that if I assume bad faith on the part of other anti-racists, I better have a very good reason, and have at least tried opening a discussion in good faith beforehand with the ones I accuse if I can, before lobbing around accusations.

      Otherwise I have no place in an anti-racist movement. I would just be dividing and destroying it with my own paranoia.

      If someone in the conference is asked directly whether they would support a campaign for equal human, social, political, civil, movement, assembly and economic rights for Palestinians and Settlers in the occupied territories, for example, and they said no, then I’d be clear about their bad faith.

      If Ben is asked directly whether he would support the same and he also said no, then I’d be clear about his.

      Until then, I’ll assume that both sides are somewhere on a journey to try and overcome their fears to bring their practice in line with their anti-racist principles. And hope they’ll do me the same courtesy.

    29. Joseph W — on 7th September, 2010 at 8:47 pm  

      But Ben “started it” by assuming bad faith to David Hirsh and co. This is the point of my response - if Ben White is going to apply such standards to anti-racism, we should at least see how he fares up against the same standards.

    30. Arif — on 7th September, 2010 at 10:07 pm  

      So, Joseph, ask Ben to show the bad faith of the people in the Conference rather than ascribing it to him

    31. Joseph W — on 7th September, 2010 at 10:16 pm  

      But Ben White thinks that:

      1) All Israeli land is a colony and is really Palestine

      Fair enough, that’s his political position.

      However, he also thinks that:

      2) living in a colony is enough to make you someone untrustworthy.

      We see this in his first sentence.

      Here is my objection:

      Anti-Semitism is a problem for the world’s 18 million Jews. For better or worse, 6 million of these Jews live in Israel.

      That means Ben White cuts out 1/3 of Jews from being taken seriously as someone who speaks out against anti-Semitism, and the other 2/3rds aren’t allowed to speak alongside Israel’s Jews, because Israel’s Jews live in colonies.

      If Diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews talk together about anti-Semitism, that means the Diaspora Jews are really supporting colonies.

      To put it gently, this is a conspiracy theory at best.

      I can’t see how Ben White can offer any practical solutions to anti-Semitism whilst he protests about Jews living in different parts of the world talking about anti-Semitism.

    32. Sunny — on 7th September, 2010 at 10:20 pm  

      Since no non-Zionists or anti-Zionists were invited. The dogma that anti-zionism is ipso facto anti-Semitic was not challenged, as far as I know.

      Why was Brian Klug not invited, for example? Is he “treif” because he believes that the new anti-Semitism is motivated by anti-Zionism and not vice-versa.

      This is spot on.

      To put it gently, this is a conspiracy theory at best.

      Please take off that chip from your shoulder.

      Funny that though - coming from a guy who was only recently writing about supporting Patrick Sookhdeo.

      So it’s ok to call to support an anti-Muslim bigot is it Joseph? Let’s not question that shall we?

      Hypocrite.

    33. Joseph W — on 7th September, 2010 at 10:28 pm  

      To the extent that his charity provides political and financial support for Christians facing apostasy charges, and aid for Christians in the Third World, I think his Barnabas Fund is a terrific project.

      I agree though, it was a shame to learn that Sookhdeo’s spoken alongside Geert Wilders and Robert Spencer. No-one should do that. Wilders is a particularly cynical individual, and Spencer seems a very hostile person, both with unwelcome, reactionary and aggressive views.

      However, as I have already explained to you over a year ago:

      http://liberalconspiracy.org/2009/07/17/smearing-opponents-as-anti-semitic/#comment-54780

      Come on, Sunny, if you read my blog there’s plenty about the BNP’s vicar Robert West who wants the expulsion of Muslims first and foremost, Jobbik’s priest Lorant Hegedus Jr, LAS leader Alain Sorel’s pro-Serbian fascism, Forza Nuova’s Giulio Tam who calls for a new Crusade against Muslims, Roberto Fiore of the International Third Positionists who concocted Christian fascist theology which is now expressed as ‘keep Europe Christian, kick out the Muslims,’ Jobbik & Forza Nuova’s deliberate racism against Turkey in the EU, etc, etc.

      Guess you must have missed that.

      However - I definitely think that complaining about Jews from different countries talking together means that Ben White probably isn’t the person to solve anti-Semitism.

      Now factor in Ben White’s theology that as the Jews rejected Christ, the state of Israel cannot exist.

      Sunny, do you agree with Ben White’s theological take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

    34. Joseph W — on 7th September, 2010 at 10:40 pm  

      .

    35. FlyingRodent — on 7th September, 2010 at 11:11 pm  

      Hello? Is this thing on?

    36. Ben White — on 7th September, 2010 at 11:48 pm  

      Unsurprisingly, the post has attracted the usual smear tactics and attempts to distact attention from the content of the post. Nothing new there (http://liberalconspiracy.org/2009/07/17/smearing-opponents-as-anti-semitic/)

      Jerry, David, M, FlyingRodent - thanks.

      A main point of my post was to point out the problems in a conference/approach that, in the words of Jerry Haber, ““Zionist-ized, politicized, and ultimately, trivialized, anti-Semitism”. Plenty of comments in the thread have only provided further - and cruder - examples.

    37. Toby Esterhase — on 7th September, 2010 at 11:55 pm  

      Did Brian Klug offer a paper in response to the open call for papers?

      Would Brian Klug have risked the wrath of Ben White, who never ever engages with people who hold racist views?

      Would Brian Klug dare to attend an academic conference on antisemitism?

    38. FlyingRodent — on 8th September, 2010 at 12:03 am  

      Ben, it wouldn’t hurt your arguments if you chilled the fuck out either. I find your stuff pretty hard to defend against these bullshitters when you’re pimping pretty much an equal and opposite version of their turned-up-to-11, semi-hysterical panic attacks.

      Take a deep breath - in, now out. Yes, that’s it - in, out. Repeat, and try to use less capital Z’s.

    39. Brownie — on 8th September, 2010 at 12:56 am  

      I find your stuff pretty hard to defend

      When the “stuff” in question is like this post here, I’m not fucking surprised.

      Good result tonight, btw. Jim Baxter just did a 360 in his grave.

    40. Sunny — on 8th September, 2010 at 4:14 am  

      To the extent that his charity provides political and financial support for Christians facing apostasy charges, and aid for Christians in the Third World, I think his Barnabas Fund is a terrific project.

      Really - so you’d support some BNP funded charity that aims to help wounded soldiers for example, would you?

      Or perhaps you’d have more intelligence to give to a proper charity.

      I find it hilarious you come here to smear others while writing in support of a notorious bigot who has shared platforms with people who have been praising the English Defence League.

      To you it’s only a “shame” to learn that is it?

      Not indicative of his broader politics perhaps?

      Amusingly, you still defend Sookhdeo, and HArry’s Place keeps publishing posts by you and never acknowledged my points about Sookhdeo when made earlier.

      please don’t think you have any credibility on anti-racism Joseph W.

    41. Ben — on 8th September, 2010 at 5:04 am  

      “…a successful and principled stand against anti-Semitism requires a principled stand against all kinds of racism, including anti-Muslim/anti-Arab bigotry in America and anti-Palestinian racism in Israel…”

      This is stunning hypocrisy, coming as it does from the PLO. The West Bank Palestinian newspapers, TV and radio that are under control of the PLO are some of the most prolific originators and regurgitators of anti-Semitic hate propaganda operating in the world today. There is no comparable official Israeli campaign against Muslims or Arabs.

      As for anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry in America, FBI statistics clearly show that anti-Semitic hate crimes are several times more numerous, even though the liberal-left anti-Israeli US media tries to make people believe that anti-Muslim crime is the really serious problem.

    42. Sarah AB — on 8th September, 2010 at 6:46 am  

      Ben White - you link to this piece

      http://mondoweiss.net/2010/08/yale-conference-on-anti-semitism-targets-palestinian-identity-self-hating-jews-and-anyone-who-criticizes-israel.html

      which asserts that the conference “is dedicated to the idea that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.” That seems to be a distortion of the point that antisemitism sometimes manifests itself, or is enabled by, antizionism. The cross-contamination between the two is apparent from the case of Masuku which I linked to earlier - and in the subsequent complete refusal of the UCU to take seriously concerns that someone who had come out with the statement “all Jews are arrogant” had been invited to speak at a UCU event.

      https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/

      I don’t suppose I’d have cared for all the speakers at that conference but I don’t see that it is any worse for people from the CST or David Hirsh (who clearly does care about other forms of racism not just antisemitism although I don’t agree with every single point he has made about boycotts etc) to share a platform with them than it is for you to share one with Tamimi.

      http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/27149/police-investigate-azzam-tamimi-soas-talk

    43. Roger — on 8th September, 2010 at 7:14 am  

      writing in support of a notorious bigot

      Yes, this is exactly what Ben White does for Ahmadinejad, a disgusting Holocaust denier. In Sunny Hundal’s world this is to be ignored.

      While for White himself citation and criticism of his very own words is “smearing”.

      Pitiful.

    44. FlyingRodent — on 8th September, 2010 at 9:51 am  

      When the “stuff” in question is like this post here, I’m not fucking surprised.

      I’m not going to embrace the whole damn thing, but on the basic point - that a lot of anti-racist campaigning groups highlighting and opposing anti-semitism have been co-opted by ideological fruitcakes with raging boners for Israel, much to the detriment of anti-racist initiatives - it’s 100% correct. It’s not the only one, but that’s no excuse.

      If anyone wanted to contradict the post, then an epic comments thread that almost entirely ignores the issue and concentrates instead on pretending that the author cheers on a goose-stepping cavalcade of dusky-hued neo-Nazis is a fucking weird way to go about it.

      Shorterise half the comments here and you’d get Who are you saying makes bad-faith accusations of racism for political purposes, Jew-hater?

      Jim Baxter just did a 360 in his grave.

      Scotland - making minnows look like world-beaters is our profession.

    45. Ben White — on 8th September, 2010 at 11:34 am  

      Roger (and others) - as you’re interested in my “very own words” here are some more:

      “Ahmadinejad’s anti-semitism is morally despicable, intellectually vacuous, and of no benefit to the people he purports to be supporting (or rather, exploiting), the Palestinians.”
      http://liberalconspiracy.org/2009/07/17/smearing-opponents-as-anti-semitic/

      To see Jews in general as complicit in Israel’s crimes is “inexcusably hateful and stupid”.
      http://www.benwhite.org.uk/2009/02/06/why-justice-and-peace-are-the-needed-in-the-middle-east/

      “For many, this landmark powerfully symbolises the Jewish people’s ability to defy the power of hatred so destructively embodied in the Nazi Holocaust.”
      http://justpeace60.blogspot.com/

      “racism that targets Jews, like all forms of racism, must be condemned and resisted”
      ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide’

      But I’d hate this thread to be all about me, despite some sterling efforts to the contrary. So to return to the topic at hand, here’s another example of the phenomenon discussed in my post.

      At the end of June, ‘lawfare’ came to London in the form of a conference ran by the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (IAJLJ) under the title of ‘Democratic and Legal Norms in The Age of Terror’. The conference was co-hosted by the UK Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (UKAJLJ), “in cooperation” with SOAS’ Centre for Jewish Studies.

      The targets were universial jurisdiction, human rights accountability, etc. - participants included Israeli ambassador Prosor and NGO Monitor’s Steinberg.

      The first evening’s keynote speaker though was MP Dennis MacShane, and the topic? You guessed it - “the new anti-semitism”.

      http://www.intjewishlawyers.org/main/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=97&Itemid=55

    46. cjcjc — on 8th September, 2010 at 11:52 am  

      Any of your great wisdom rub off on Tamimi?

    47. Arif — on 8th September, 2010 at 12:24 pm  

      Ben, that conference you link to doesn’t go into much detail. Nothing wrong with discussing anti-semitism as a legal issue, is there? But I don’t know the full context.

      I’m interested that it does seem very concerned about “universalising human rights” - was this because they were in favour or opposed to the universalisation of human rights - what did they see as the problem? That they were or were not being universalised?

    48. damon — on 8th September, 2010 at 12:40 pm  

      It’s a pity this all has to get so complicated.
      I started off agreeing with Ben White’s opening post.
      And then I read of him speaking at this SOAS lecture alongside Azzam Tamimi.
      http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/27106/calls-destruction-israel-soas-lecture

      Azzam Tamimi is not a man who has much to say that’s worth listening to I’d have thought.

    49. Joseph W — on 8th September, 2010 at 12:50 pm  

      Except the Barnabas Fund is more than an extension of Sookhdeo’s personality. The organisation would be better run by someone with more of a clue about politics - if you’d like to offer some thoughts about how Christians can combat apostasy laws more sensibly I’d be very interested.

      One way to improve Christian theology is to remove the theology that as the Jews rejected Christ, the state of Israel cannot exist.

      I will ask again: Sunny, do you agree with Ben White’s theological take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

    50. Brownie — on 8th September, 2010 at 1:58 pm  

      The first evening’s keynote speaker though was MP Dennis MacShane, and the topic? You guessed it – “the new anti-semitism”.

      Ben White does a good impression of someone who would be surprised to find bagels in a Jewish bakery.

    51. Shachtman — on 8th September, 2010 at 3:05 pm  

      The problem is Ben that you only came up with the condemnation re antisemitism and Ahmadinejad after your sick views were highlighted and questioned. It’s good though that you were made to back-pedal.

    52. meatpie — on 8th September, 2010 at 5:01 pm  

      Jews are not hip anymore for a oxbridge ponce like white,Muslims are in this time.

    53. Roger — on 8th September, 2010 at 5:01 pm  

      At the end of June, ‘lawfare’ came to London

      What an utterly ridiculous statement. Plainly the conference discussion was about how to deal with legal harrasment by deranged Israel haters, not how to engage in it.

      You know, the kind of extremists you tour with.

      http://fosis.org.uk/events/calendar/details/82-fosis-palestine-conference-2010

      That event featured Ismail Patel, a strong supporter of Hamas and a fan of Holocaust deniers, and Daud “sink the Royal Navy” Abdullah as well as Azzam Tamimi.

      Here’s Patel roaring about good Jews and bad ones while he “salutes” Hamas.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCLNX9xyd6c

      You write pieces for his journals. Why?

      You see, this is why your pious “anti-racist” complaints about speakers at conferences are painfully hypocritical.

      I see you haven’t even bothered to answer Dave Rich’s comment.

    54. cjcjc — on 8th September, 2010 at 5:06 pm  

      Yeah, that reminds me, what happened to Daud Abdullah’s libel suit against Hazel Blears?

      Mr White does have such lovely friends.

    55. Sunny — on 9th September, 2010 at 3:14 am  

      Yeah, that reminds me, what happened to Daud Abdullah’s libel suit against Hazel Blears?

      No idea. But hey, what about IslamExpo’s suit against the Spectator and Pollard eh? I see Harry’s Place remained very quiet about that. Why - too afraid to admit their own smearing?

      I can’t take links to that blog seriously any more I’m afraid.

      if you’d like to offer some thoughts about how Christians can combat apostasy laws more sensibly I’d be very interested.

      apostasy laws should be challenged by all - not by notorious anti-Muslim bigots that you seem to like praising Joseph W.

    56. Lamia — on 9th September, 2010 at 4:41 am  

      Yuk. The ‘understander’ of anti-semitism Ben White, who has also previously maliciously insinuated that a planned attack on a synagogue was no such thing, spouts about… fighting racism. What a grubby hypocrite. Pity to see him given a platform here.

    57. Lamia — on 9th September, 2010 at 4:46 am  

      Here is his rancid, smirking post about the synagogue plot

      “A fully controlled threat to our freedoms
      A federal law enforcement official described the plot as “aspirational” — meaning that the suspects wanted to do something but had no weapons or explosives — and described the operation as a sting with a cooperator within the group.

      “It was fully controlled at all times,” a law enforcement official said.”

      http://www.benwhite.org.uk/blog/?p=976

      Who else have you got lined up to contribute? Ben’s friend and professional Jew-baiter - sorry, ‘anti-zionist’ - Gilad Atzmon? David Irving? Ahamadinejad?

    58. Roger — on 9th September, 2010 at 9:21 am  

      what about IslamExpo’s suit against the Spectator and Pollard eh?

      Whataboutery doesn’t come more blunt than this.

      Nice to see Sunny speaking up for lawfare. And IslamExpo. Who’s behind IslamExpo? Azzam Tamimi, Ismail Patel, Mohammad Sawalha of Hamas, and Anas al Tikriti, a professional promoter of extremists.

      Yep, just the kind of people “progressive” anti-racists should cheer on.

    59. Eric Clyne — on 9th September, 2010 at 11:42 am  

      Interesting Comments:

      Zionists and illegal settlers exploiting anti-Semitism. I was so shocked. It was so unexpected

      Muslim organisations with liberal fronts actually run by illiberal people. Wow! That is so totally shocking! Who could have thought that would ever happen?

      In the West, modern, liberal Jewish and Muslim organisations are being undermined by religious and political extremists who infiltrate, and provide finance.

      Penetration of modern organisations is made easier by failure to make explicit the commitment to principles of liberal modernity. This failure is caused by fear of worsening community fragmentation and factionalism.

      But fragmentation and factionalism must be accepted so that full expression is given to liberal, modern ideals and ideas. Modernity and Premodernity cannot coexist in one organisation. If it is Modern,then Premodernity must be vanquished.

      Can’t have it both ways.

    60. Arif — on 9th September, 2010 at 2:50 pm  

      Eric, I see where you are coming from, and in some senses I agree with you. But I feel you miss something about how change is often a process.

      Not everyone who eventually comes to a modern, premodern or postmodern position of one kind or another does so instananeously. It is likely that they would need to go through internal and external dialogues and learning experiences before coming to a new understanding. The terms of such discussions need to be negotiated, and they needn’t be negotiated for the benefit of people who are outside the discussion judging the participants.

      While you are sensitive to the potential for manipulation and misunderstanding within identity and faith-based organisations, you may not be so sensitive to how working together and talking to develop a broader common identity can bring greater open-mindedness and freedom for people to change their habits without excessive anxiety.

      Perhaps both kinds of organisation are necessary - broad and narrow - for people to have places to go for different kinds of learning.

    61. Joseph W — on 9th September, 2010 at 5:38 pm  

      apostasy laws should be challenged by all – not by notorious anti-Muslim bigots that you seem to like praising Joseph W.

      Sunny - would you do so then? I would be chuffed to bits if you would.

      Before you answer, I think you missed my first question.

      Do you agree with Ben White’s theological take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

      He thinks that Jews cannot have a state because their forefathers rejected Christ, you know…

    62. Sarah AB — on 9th September, 2010 at 5:45 pm  

      Eric - you imply that Zionists (not just settlers who might be seen as a kind of hard core subset of zionists I suppose) are automatically on the dark side, as it were, and that Zionism is incompatible with liberal modernity. I’d be interested to know how you define Zionist.

    63. Ed — on 9th September, 2010 at 7:09 pm  

      “He thinks that Jews cannot have a state because their forefathers rejected Christ, you know…”

      wow, does he really? can you post the quotations from him, joseph w?

    64. douglas clark — on 9th September, 2010 at 7:54 pm  

      Was Jesus Christ not a Jew? For some reason or another I always thought he was.

      Oh, Wikipedia agrees with me so that’s that then:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus

      There should be headlines and books about this. “Christians reject the religion of one of the Holy Trinity!”

    65. Joseph W — on 9th September, 2010 at 8:11 pm  

      Have a look at this Guardian piece that Ben White wrote:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/apr/11/theotherevangelicals

      In the 1990s, Don Wagner (one of the key figures behind EMEU) published Anxious for Armageddon, and the British author and scholar Colin Chapman wrote Whose Promised Land?, a title later reissued during the second intifada and considered a go-to text for western Christians seeking to get to grips with the conflict for the first time.

      More recently, US evangelical scholar Gary Burge has written Whose Land? Whose Promise?, which again combines theology with the experiences of Christian Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Another crucial British contribution has come from Stephen Sizer, who in three years has written two critical studies, Christian Zionism and Zion’s Christian Soldiers?

      Sizer, Chapman, Wagner and Burge all promote a theology that says, because Jesus has brought a new covenant to Israel and indeed the world, for Jews to continue to imagine “the kingdom” as a territory is an affront to the gospel.

      The prophets said that if Israel sins, God will take away their nationhood, and Jesus was the ultimate prophet whom Israel rejected, therefore God had to scatter them.

      Have a listen to this sermon from Sizer if you like, in which he calls Israel a “wicked vine” fit for the flames of Hell:
      http://www.cc-vw.org/audio/john15.mp3

      This is aside from Sizer and Wagner‘s questionable associations with Holocaust deniers, and those of Sizer and Burge’s ISCZ - although to be fair to Ben White here, he may not have known about at the time (although he surely does know now).

      Perhaps Ben White also missed the implication on p.251 of Sizer’s Zion Christian Soldiers that Israeli agents were complicit in 9/11.

      Then again, do consider Ben White’s own recommending of Holocaust denier, one Roger Garaudy.

      If White wanted to refer to a theology which opposes state violence, or opposes any form of nationalism, that’s one thing. Instead he bigged up the anti-Zionist theology which focuses on the Jewish response to Jesus’ messianic claims.

      I’m just wondering how “progressive” these views are - especially in the light of Fidel Castro’s apt words this week.

    66. Ed — on 9th September, 2010 at 10:51 pm  

      joseph w - you wrote clearly, “He thinks that Jews cannot have a state because their forefathers rejected Christ, you know…”

      i asked for quotations to show that this is what ben white thinks, to support your claim. But you haven’t provided any. Just two paragraphs from one article in which he is discussing other people you then have a problem with.

    67. Joseph W — on 9th September, 2010 at 11:23 pm  

      Ed - I suppose voicing one’s support for a theology in which the Jews cannot have a state because their forefathers rejected Christ is not technically proof that one thinks in this way - here I concede your point.

    68. Sarah AB — on 10th September, 2010 at 6:22 am  

      I would have thought the Guardian article was fine if it wasn’t for the further info Joseph W provides - it comes over as a piece about Christians who aren’t anti-zionist at all, just fairly mainstream, and who just don’t share the gung ho attitude and weird theology of some Christian Zionists.

    69. Deborah Maccoby — on 10th September, 2010 at 12:26 pm  

      Re the smears against Stephen Sizer, particularly on the Seismic Shock blog, I have copied below a letter from Sizer himself that was published in the Jewish Chronicle on February 5th this year, in response to this JC news item:

      http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/26540/blogger-questioned-anti-zionist-harassment

      I typed out the letter at the time, as the JC doesn’t put letters on its website. I think Sizer makes it clear here what his actual views are.

      Similarly, Ben White has made it clear that he rejects antisemitism and anti-Judaism.His book leaves open the question of a solution to the conflict, but makes it clear that he would be prepared to accept any solution that meant an end to occupation (he makes it clear that by occupation he means the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip) and an end to discrimination against the Palestinian citizens of Israel - ie he is willing to accept a two-state solution with equality and justice.

      Deborah Maccoby

      JC letter from Stephen Sizer (05.02.10)

      PASTOR EXPLAINS

      In the past 18 months, the blogger Seismic Shock (Joseph Weissman) has associated me with Holocaust deniers, white supremacists, antisemites, Islamists, terrorists, suicide bombers and the 7.7 bombers.

      I respect Judaism, repudiate antisemitism, encourage interfaith dialogue and defend Israel’s right to exist within secure borders. I want to see the Arab-Israeli conflict resolved peacefully and diplomatically with a secure Israel and viable independent Palestine - hardly controversial, except in some Zionist circles. I have written a couple of books on Christian Zionism and US fundamentalism, which I regard as a threat to the security of Israel as well as to Palestine.

      The police initially consulted me for advice (not the other way round) on extremist groups on the edge of the Christian community (Anti-Zionist pastor attacks ‘wicked’ blog, January 29). On their advice I approached the local police to investigate whether the articles posted on the SS blog constituted harassment and incitement to religious hatred.

      I receive anonymous phone calls and nasty emails on a regular basis. In the last year, we have had a violent break-in, computer and cameras stolen, my car has been vandalised and more recently broken into and possessions stolen.

      I understand that police investigations led to the identification of the individual. Apparently he agreed to remove certain material and apologised. More than a year ago, I offered to meet and talk through our differences. That offer remains open.

      (Revd Dr) Stephen Sizer

    70. Shrewsfan — on 13th September, 2010 at 4:18 pm  

      “Smears”, Deborah? But the fact is that Sizer has indeed “given interviews to, endorsed or forwarded material from American white supremacists and Holocaust deniers’.”

      See http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/if-i-was-stephen-sizer-christian-antizionist-james-mendelsohn/

      I look forward to you doing what Sizer himself all but declined to do, namely providing factual rebuttals to the abundant evidence produced in that article.

      As for Ben White, perhaps you can do what he has failed to do, namely explain why he cited Roger Garaudy in his book, why he decided to try to contextualise Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust Denial, and why he considered the arrest of people plotting to blow up a synagogue to be a “threat to our freedoms”.

      Failing that, you might candidly concede that, while JFJFP continues to be a fellow traveller with the likes of White, 99.99% of the Jewish community will never take you seriously.

    71. Deborah Maccoby — on 15th September, 2010 at 11:37 am  

      Shrewsfan, as Ed pointed out above, no-one has yet provided any evidence at all for Joseph W’s repeated claim that Ben White “thinks that Jews cannot have a state because their forefathers rejected Christ”. Joseph W’s argument is that Ben recommends Stephen Sizer’s books exposing Christian Zionism - and, Joseph W claims, Sizer thinks that “the Jews cannot have a state because their forefathers rejected Christ”. The evidence, from his letter to the JC, is that Sizer does not think this. Even if he did, Ben White could simply be referring readers to Sizer’s critique of Christian Zionism without agreeing with Sizer’s own theological views. But where is the evidence that Sizer actually does think this?

      Deborah

      Deborah

    72. Deborah Maccoby — on 15th September, 2010 at 11:51 am  

      PS Re Gary Burges, I’ve just found this review of his book. Please read the first paragraph, which demolishes Joseph W’s claims:

      http://www.calvinlsmith.com/2009/09/review-of-gary-burges-whose-land-whose.html

      Deborah

    73. Joseph W — on 15th September, 2010 at 8:28 pm  

      Yes, I will happily concede that Burge is far more coherent, moderate and rational than Sizer, Chapman or Wagner.

      Deborah, whilst you’re on that site, do also check out this piece:

      http://www.calvinlsmith.com/2009/11/stephen-sizer-as-anti-replacement.html

    74. Deborah Maccoby — on 16th September, 2010 at 11:43 am  

      Joseph W: now that I’ve looked into the views of Sizer and Burge, they do seem to be arguing (though evidently with qualifications) that the Jewish covenant with God has been abrogated and only those who believe in Christ are the true Israel and the true Chosen People. I agree with you that this is not a very progressive position - indeed, it is regressive and exclusionary (unlike the Methodist Report, which concludes that Jews do also have a valid covenant with God). Nonetheless, both Sizer and Burge make it clear that they do not think this means that “Jews cannot have a state”. They both defend the right of Israel to exist within secure borders. So - while you and I can agree on regarding their theological views as regrettable - surely you must concede that you are wrong about the conclusion that you are arguing they draw from those views.

      best wishes,

      Deborah

    75. Shrewsfan — on 17th September, 2010 at 3:44 pm  

      Deborah,
      The piece I linked to doesn’t comment on Sizer’s theological views - but I see you and Joseph have been dialoguing about that anyway. The piece I linked to does, on the other hand, provide abundant evidence of Sizer’s use of antisemitic sources and tropes in his writings, which rather weakens his claim that he repudiates antisemitism. Again: while you continue to be an apologist for the likes of White & Sizer, 99.99% of the Jewish community will decline to take you seriously.

    76. Joseph W — on 17th September, 2010 at 8:48 pm  

      Hi Deborah, yes I think I agree with you.

      Happy New Year,

      and nice to chat with you,

      Joe

    77. Deborah Maccoby — on 19th September, 2010 at 12:11 pm  

      Shrewfan, I don’t think forwarding emails constitutes antisemitism. It seems to show thoughtlessnessand unwariness and obviously Sizer should take more care in the material he forwards - read things through a bit more and think about the people he is forwarding emails from - but I don’t think any of this is convincing evidence of antisemitism.

      Shana Tova,

      Deborah

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