McCain camp try anti-semitic card


by Sunny
30th October, 2008 at 11:38 pm    

Joe Klein at Time blog:

Here we have the McCain campaign’s execrable Michael Goldfarb slinging around accusations of anti-semitism–a favorite pastime, as we’ve seen this year, among Jewish neoconservatives. I’ve never met Rashid Khalidi, but he is (a) Palestinian and therefore (b) a semite, so the charge of anti-semitism is fatuous. Khalidi is also a respected academic, the sort of person who is involved in foundation work that John McCain, for one, was willing to support financially. I’d say that if we have a bigot here, it’s Mr. Goldfarb who, if he’s intent on calling people antisemitic–or any other epithet–should be required to provide chapter and verse, which he does not do on CNN.

Typical trick for right-wing and for McCain.

Sid updates:

Here is Michael Goldfarb, communications director for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, using the insinuations of “I think we all know Obama is an Angry Black Man/Secret Muslim/Terrorist” again. Notice too the robust use of the race card. Unfortunately for Goldfarb, who advocates religious-identity politics and Jewish bloc voting, not very successfully.


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  1. digitalcntrl — on 31st October, 2008 at 3:47 am  

    My opinion is that Obama is shoe in at this point, the rights antics notwithstanding. McCain was once a great man whose standing has been tarnished by selling himself out to the rabble on the right.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41yS81RXKIs

    The real battle is if the Democrats can secure a 60 seat majority in the Senate. This would create a filibuster proof majority that would legislation to be passed w/o needing to have the republicans agree.

  2. David T — on 31st October, 2008 at 9:55 am  

    A couple of points:

    I’ve never met Rashid Khalidi, but he is (a) Palestinian and therefore (b) a semite, so the charge of anti-semitism is fatuous

    This is a fatuous argument.

    1. The word “semite” refers not to an ethnicity, but to a group of languages, including both Arabic and Hebrew. There is no such thing as a “semitic people”. There are people who speak semitic languages.

    2. The term “anti-semitic” was coined by a German author, Wilhelm Marr (no relation to Johnny), who wrote a pamphlet in the 19th century entitled:

    “The Victory of the Jewish Spirit over the Germanic Spirit.”

    Marr’s purpose was to encourage hatred of German Jews. Anti-semitism was what Marr believed Germans should feel for Jews. Marr didn’t hate “semitic languages” or “people who spoke semitic languages”. He wasn’t agitating against people who spoke Akkadian, Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, Ge’ez, Maltese, Phoenician, Tigre and Tigrinya. He was specifically whipping up hatred against Jews.

    Therefore, to argue that a Palestinian could not be anti-semitic betrays a failure to understand what the word “anti-semitism” means. It also is, on its face absurd. If you held to this argument, then Gilad Atzmon and Hamas could not be considered “anti-semitic”.

  3. bananabrain — on 31st October, 2008 at 10:24 am  

    what david t just said. the term “semite” has no meaning. the term “semitic” is from ethnolinguistics and its misapplication to other fields is simply an indication of ignorance.

    nonetheless, i do agree that the argument this guy goldfarb is making is a) desperate b) ridiculous and c) an utter misunderstanding of what anti-semitism actually means. way to cry wolf.

    as for your argument that this is a “typical right-wing trick”, are you seriously suggesting, sunny, that left-wingers don’t, for example, play the “racist”, “imperialism”, “corruption” or “sexism” cards when it suits them to do so? mendacious misrepresentation is hardly the exclusive preserve of the right-wing; i think you’re letting election fever go to your head.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  4. David T — on 31st October, 2008 at 10:31 am  

    I, for one, would be outraged if a person I regarded as my comrade started to claim that a Labour government had it in for “brown people”, and that one should therefore vote Tory.

    I mean, that would be truely the worst type of scaremongering, race-card playing, gutter politics, wouldn’t it?

  5. bananabrain — on 31st October, 2008 at 11:56 am  

    precisely.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  6. Sid — on 31st October, 2008 at 11:56 am  

    It’s not unusual to hear about ultra-right jewish supporters of Mccain play the paranoic anti-muslim card. They’ve done it throughout this campaign. The Obsession DVD, for example, was funded by the Clarion Fund which is based at the same New York address as Aish Hatorah, a self-described “apolitical” group dedicated to educating Jews about their heritage.

    Thankfully, the most effective exposers of these tactics have been liberal jewish groups, individuals and activists.

  7. bananabrain — on 31st October, 2008 at 12:07 pm  

    It’s not unusual to hear about ultra-right jewish supporters of Mccain play the paranoic anti-muslim card.

    yes, it’s the same tired old “is X good for the jews?” obsession. it’s so blinkered, it does my head in.

    i’m interested to hear that aish (which is highly active in the UK) is taking partisan political positions in the US. thank you for pointing this out, sid; i cordially detest aish and all the “outreach” organisations, which are our own versions of, say, the “alpha course” or the various saudi-funded exporters of wahhabism and are basically fundamentalists masquerading as people who want to bring young jews back to their “heritage”. naturally, it is religiously very right-wing, but i’m sorry to hear they think that that justifies them getting into bed with actual political parties. yuck.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  8. Sid — on 31st October, 2008 at 12:20 pm  

    Wilhelm Marr (no relation to Johnny)

    Otherwise if he were, we’d have great songs such as:

    This Charming Superman
    Stormtroopers of the World Unite
    Nazism Begins At Home
    Eva Take a Bow

  9. Sid — on 31st October, 2008 at 12:24 pm  

    Some Girls Are Blonder Than Others
    I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish
    Jewish Girlfriend in a Coma
    Gestern Abend träumte ich, dass jemand mich liebte

  10. bananabrain — on 31st October, 2008 at 12:29 pm  

    and:

    What Difference Does It Make If You’re Aryan?
    How Soon Is Now To Get Rid Of The Jews?
    Kosher Meat Is Murder

    johnny marr, what a genius guitar player….

    hehe

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  11. David T — on 31st October, 2008 at 12:30 pm  

    Gestern Abend träumte ich, dass jemand mich liebte

    Have you come across Perrecy, the Ukelele playing German Morrissey tribute act?

    http://www.myspace.com/perrecy07

  12. David T — on 31st October, 2008 at 12:32 pm  

    By the way, have you done the Neo Nazis for Obama thing in Esquire yet?

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2008/10/31/neo-nazis-for-obama/

  13. David T — on 31st October, 2008 at 12:34 pm  

    PS: I’ve got a Morrissey t-shirt I wore to see the man in Tel Aviv a couple of months ago.

    On the front, in Hebrew is says:

    “Moz-iach”

    On the back, also in Hebrew, it says:

    “Every Day Is Like Saturday”

    Geddit?

  14. Sid — on 31st October, 2008 at 12:36 pm  

    Perrecy. What a find.

  15. Sid — on 31st October, 2008 at 12:57 pm  

    Panic in the Streets of München
    That Jew Isn’t Funny Anymore
    Herr Goebbels’ Sister
    Auschwitz Here We Come

  16. bananabrain — on 31st October, 2008 at 1:06 pm  

    oh deary me, we’ve hit a rich vein. we need to stop before someone (avi cohen and refresh spring to mind) think we’re accusing the smiths of being anti-semitic.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  17. bananabrain — on 31st October, 2008 at 1:07 pm  

    david t:

    wouldn’t “morrishiach” have made more sense?

    hehe

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  18. billy — on 31st October, 2008 at 1:11 pm  

    David T, do you ever feel embarassed by the bigoted and generalising nature of many of the comments that appear in your blog? Just wondering, like.

  19. Refresh — on 31st October, 2008 at 1:14 pm  

    B’brain, not morrissey but in isolation you, sid, David T could very well be seen as anti-semitic.

  20. Sid — on 31st October, 2008 at 1:24 pm  

    “Last night an anti-semite saved my life”

    Am I antisemitic if I like Gilad Atzmon’s music? I heard him on Radio 3 and he was great. I wouldn’t think so, I love Morrissey and he hates pakis.

  21. fugstar — on 31st October, 2008 at 1:27 pm  

    2#
    If the antisemetic term is such a value loaded, exclusivist term, only for the protection of the Jew, the israeli interest and the denigration of the muslim or the arab. It’s usefullness in the general moral vernacular is limited. I suggest its exposure (already being done) and its withdrawal (hard when its always bandied about).

  22. billy — on 31st October, 2008 at 1:39 pm  

    So fugstar, you think that the application of racist prejudice against a Jewish individual using the classical stereotypes and values of anti-semitic caricature is actually an action in favour of ‘the israeli interest’ and is in fact not an act of hatred against Jews but by some chameleon like inversion and conspiracy, an assertion of hatred against ‘the muslim or the arab’?

    Yeah alright, so I believe that Jews are clannish, self interested misers, with a racial propensity to cruelty and conspiracy against gentiles, and when they get home from work with their hook noses, they all change into black hassidic clothes and speak with nasal twangs and discuss their gold. But what I am actually doing is promoting israeli values and denigrating the muslim and the arab, yeah right, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

    You are so clever fugstar, honestly lad, you’re a fucking genius.

  23. Refresh — on 31st October, 2008 at 1:58 pm  

    I think he may be saying that poor and false use of the term has reduced its value to the detriment of the original cause.

    I too wonder if there is genius there.

  24. bananabrain — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:03 pm  

    refresh: did you *see* my comment at #16? besides, if anyone thinks i’m anti-semitic, i suspect they haven’t read very much.

    Am I antisemitic if I like Gilad Atzmon’s music? I heard him on Radio 3 and he was great.

    he is, by all accounts, a very good jazz musician. however, everyone who has ever heard him speak thinks he’s a complete lunatic who is so far off the map that he has a post code somewhere in the bermuda triangle. besides, i wouldn’t call him an anti-semite (although he is a ludicrously extreme anti-zionist) – the issue would be that as an admirer, you would be in highly unpleasant company bearing in mind some of his other admirers.

    further it is not anti-semitic (in my opinion) to like the music of, say, wagner. i refuse to get into this game of vetting everyone for anti-semitism before i decide whether it is permissible to like their music, art, literature, dancing, cookery or whatever. i’m sure the nazis made great beer, too. let’s not be stupid about this. practically everyone disliked jews until relatively recently. if you boycotted all of them, you wouldn’t be able to read anything at all.

    fugstar:

    actually, i cordially dislike the term “anti-semitism”, for precisely the reason that it is imprecise and prone to misinterpretation even by jews, viz this chap joe klein. i suggest that there are far more accurate alternatives, which cannot be construed as having any linguistic or other semiotic associations with muslims or arabs:

    “jew-hatred”

    and

    “judeophobia” (which, incidentally, matches islamophobia rather well)

    i encourage you to use them instead of “anti-semitism” when you are next standing up against bigotry.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  25. Sid — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:05 pm  

    You are so clever fugstar, honestly lad, you’re a fucking genius.

    You and Refresh are the only two people to think so. Only Refresh with a lot less irony.

  26. billy — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:12 pm  

    That’s not what he’s saying at all Refresh, you seeker-of-genius. He’s specifically saying that the use of the term ‘anti-semitism’ is a loaded conspiracy against ‘the muslim and the arab’. Quite clear and simple really.

  27. Refresh — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:14 pm  

    ‘refresh: did you *see* my comment at #16?’

    I did.

    ‘You and Refresh are the only two people to think so. Only Refresh with a lot less irony.’

    Interestingly, B’brain pretty much makes the same point by asking not to use anti-semitic when tackling bigotry. Its been devalued. And I would agree.

  28. David T — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:15 pm  

    “David T, do you ever feel embarassed by the bigoted and generalising nature of many of the comments that appear in your blog? Just wondering, like.”

    Yes. You’ve got to keep arguing with them though. You can’t just pretend they don’t exist.

  29. Refresh — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:18 pm  

    The genius, if its there, is in his use of language.

  30. Sid — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:18 pm  

    Interestingly, B’brain pretty much makes the same point by asking not to use anti-semitic when tackling bigotry. Its been devalued. And I would agree.

    You do tend to agree with fugstar, it has been noticed. I’m not sure whether B’brain’s point was an endorsement of fugstar’s though.

  31. Refresh — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:22 pm  

    ‘it has been noticed’

    You are scary.

    ‘I’m not sure whether B’brain’s point was an endorsement of fugstar’s though.’

    No, I didn’t think it was in the broader sense. But on the term, which is what fugstar was referring to he does.

  32. billy — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:22 pm  

    Interestingly, B’brain pretty much makes the same point by asking not to use anti-semitic when tackling bigotry. Its been devalued.

    He views it as an imprecision. Fugstar views it specifically as a conspiratorial term employed against ‘the muslim and the arab’, and in promotion of ‘the israeli interest’. If there is cause to refer to an racist prejudice or caricature against a Jewish individual in those terms, it takes a conspiracy minded paranoiac to declare that it instantly becomes an aggression ‘against the muslim and the arab’.

  33. Sid — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:23 pm  

    You are scary.

    You are transparent.

  34. billy — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:24 pm  

    The genius, if its there, is in his use of language.

    Crikey, you’re an easily impressed chap, aren’t you?

  35. billy — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:25 pm  

    Yes. You’ve got to keep arguing with them though. You can’t just pretend they don’t exist.

    That’s nice to know. I was under the impression that you were on the same level as many of your commenters.

  36. Refresh — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:27 pm  

    Billy, you raise a very interesting debate. By the way I agree with the differentiation you describe. The question of paranoia and conspiracy is up for grabs.

  37. Refresh — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:29 pm  

    ‘Crikey, you’re an easily impressed chap, aren’t you?’

    I am. Its his cryptic style. Probably comes from his attempt to compress his thoughts in the least number of screen pixels. A bit like using WinZIP.

    Fascinating to read.

  38. Refresh — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:30 pm  

    ‘That’s nice to know. I was under the impression that you were on the same level as many of your commenters.’

    I think you may be too easily convinced.

  39. Sid — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:31 pm  

    Fascinating to read.

    This is also known as vicarious endorsement.

  40. David T — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:39 pm  

    Well put it this way. There are people like Refresh on this site. Then there are people like Sid. I judge this site by what Sunny et al choose to print, not by the comments you get under the line.

  41. Refresh — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:42 pm  

    Sid’s not THAT bad.

  42. bananabrain — on 31st October, 2008 at 2:48 pm  

    Interestingly, B’brain pretty much makes the same point by asking not to use anti-semitic when tackling bigotry. Its been devalued.

    specifically, it’s been devalued by people using it to claim that arabs can’t be anti-semitic, because they are themselves “semitic”. it’s a debating tactic.

    I’m not sure whether B’brain’s point was an endorsement of fugstar’s though.

    no indeed. my point was to show that there are two perfectly good words which can be used istead without being hijacked by the muslim-as-colonialised-victim-of-the-jew trope, as he seems to prefer to be able to do. the sooner we replace the word “anti-semitism” with “jew-hatred”, the sooner we talk about what something actually is rather than what you can make it mean to further your political agenda.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  43. David T — on 31st October, 2008 at 3:11 pm  

    badum-tish!

  44. douglas clark — on 31st October, 2008 at 4:23 pm  

    David T,

    Well put it this way. There are people like Refresh on this site. Then there are people like Sid. I judge this site by what Sunny et al choose to print, not by the comments you get under the line.

    You really ought to re-think that.

    On many levels.

    However, let’s tackle one:

    There is a frankly elitist attitude entrying into blogging.

    You, for instance, only ever post “under the line” here. Does that mean you are just trolling, or what? Of course it doesn’t.

    Look, on both your site and here you and Sid comment both above and below the line. Am I supposed to assume some sort of schizophrenia that you both share? Or that, in some way, when you enter the comments bit you are in some way different from your editorials? Well, no, it doesn’t wash.

    Bananabrain has never, to my knowledge, bothered with editorial pieces, but frankly his comments on threads tend to be thought provoking, to the point and likely to change minds. He is not singing to the choir.

    This affectation that you have, that your naughty little squirrels have not been wound up by your very own editorials is kind of knocked into a cocked hat by this:

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2008/10/30/this-government-cannot-be-trusted-on-islamism/

    If anyone is following this rant, then look at the comments,

    from the wonderfully named Virgil Xenephon:

    Amen, David T,. amen. But Morgoth is right, all too many people–no need to name names–have been suicidially naive
    about this whole subject for far too long. Rather late in the day, but better late than never…..hopefully. The problem is, once recognized for the mortal danger that this movement represents, will society at large have the courage to gird up its loins for the already present struggle and the stamina to stay the course against a movement that, unless every copy of the Koran on earth is destroyed, will always have on hand the seeds with which to germinate the poison in the distant future no matter how successful present-day efforts are to tamp it down.

    I’d expect that no-one here is quite as rabid as that. That sort of comment would last five seconds on here.

    And what have you said in reply? Sweet fuck all. What have you done about it. Sweet fuck all.

    David T, there are times I think you are a disgrace.

    So don’t come on here as some sort of pretendy liberal when you don’t even bother to answer nut jobs on your very own site.

  45. MaidMarian — on 31st October, 2008 at 5:22 pm  

    Apologies for going back to the thrust of the article, but the first comment is about right.

    On paper McCain, and his ‘maverick’ reputation, should bave been a pretty strong candidate – stronger at least than the average Republican. As it turned out he has been quite substantially weaker than the average republican.

    Obama will almost certainly win – but the Democrats should remember that McCain (or at least his campaign) really has made it easier than it really should have been.

    The first comment also rightly identifies that the Senate vote takes on great importance. The American system gives a significant advantage to an incumbent candidate and a senate majority would allow this to be maximised.

    For all the talk about being different, Obama right now will want what every first-term candidate wants – a second term. Best of luck to him.

  46. douglas clark — on 31st October, 2008 at 5:26 pm  

    Sorry Maidmarian, David T has to answer, under the line. But he can’t. Can he?

  47. David T — on 31st October, 2008 at 5:29 pm  

    1. I keep an open comments policy. I have a job, and I don’t spend my time patrolling my comments threads.

    2. What I believe, I write on my website.

    3. Sites which do routinely remove comments because they don’t agree with what the commenter says, soon degenerate into discussions of why comments were removed, and why certain other comments were not removed.

    4. It is open to anybody to come onto my site and challenge anything that anybody else has said. I would actively encourage more people to come along and take on Virgil Xenephon.

  48. David T — on 31st October, 2008 at 5:41 pm  

    “wound up by your very own editorials ”

    FOSIS is an organisation which, as a matter of fact, is directly linked to Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood. It puts on speaker meetings with extreme and inflamatory speakers, including Azzam “Kaboom” Tamimi.

    It is absolutely correct to criticise the Goverment for partnering with such an organisation.

    I do not think – and nor do most Muslims in this country think – that Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood represents them or their interests. I do not think either, that the Quran inevitably finds expression in the jihadism of Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood. I say this repeatedly.

    I would be hugely grateful if you would come along and explain to the likes of Virgin Xenophon, and the Government, that merely because a student group like FOSIS promotes Hamas, that doesn’t mean that all Muslims should be treated as Hamas supporters.

  49. douglas clark — on 31st October, 2008 at 6:12 pm  

    David T,

    @ 47, Question?

    Why is an idiot like Virgil Xenephon allowed to say what he to say on your site?

    It is perfectly reasonable, is it not, for a complete tit to have your web site as a forum.

  50. David T — on 31st October, 2008 at 6:14 pm  

    Because I don’t require people to register for my site, because attempt to block people don’t work, because every time I have removed comments, the comments thread turns into a discussion of when you should and shouldn’t remove comments, because I trust smart people to be able to take on and win arguments against bigots, and because I think it is good practice for people to hear and respond to the arguments of those the oppose.

  51. fugstar — on 31st October, 2008 at 6:20 pm  

    “..it takes a conspiracy minded paranoiac to declare that it instantly becomes an aggression ‘against the muslim and the arab’.”

    that is some hearty leg spin. Be careful. Its not mcain im talking about but my poisonous cousins and others who assume the language to pursue their own interests. Just observe the skewed use of it on these pages where every few stories brings it up. it is loopy.

    As a european term it has no business being weaponised and used to include muslim or arab attitudes to jews and israel, which have a history, logic and dynamic of their own.

    Bananaman, yes, best stay clear of buzz words and technocrat-speak that nobody inparticular invented. What is wrong with simple use of virtues and vices. Who needs to bring the might of world wars, wrong historical european government policies into these matters?

  52. fugstar — on 31st October, 2008 at 6:26 pm  

    “i encourage you to use them instead of “anti-semitism” when you are next standing up against bigotry.”

    i dont actually see jew hatred in my day to day life, but thanks for the personal policy recomendation.

    bigotry is another word i have a problem with…

  53. douglas clark — on 31st October, 2008 at 6:28 pm  

    David T,

    Fair enough. You say this:

    Because I don’t require people to register for my site,

    But that does not allow you to let folk say this:

    “Amen, David T,. amen. But Morgoth is right, all too many people–no need to name names–have been suicidially naive
    about this whole subject for far too long. Rather late in the day, but better late than never…..hopefully. The problem is, once recognized for the mortal danger that this movement represents, will society at large have the courage to gird up its loins for the already present struggle and the stamina to stay the course against a movement that, unless every copy of the Koran on earth is destroyed, will always have on hand the seeds with which to germinate the poison in the distant future no matter how successful present-day efforts are to tamp it down.”

    Well, does it?

  54. billy — on 31st October, 2008 at 6:37 pm  

    As a european term it has no business being weaponised and used to include muslim or arab attitudes to jews and israel, which have a history, logic and dynamic of their own.

    When the same caricatures and racist tropes are recited pitch perfectly it belongs where it belongs. Turning this into a further condition of ‘arab and muslim’ oppression is crass and squalid. Usage of the term might even bring some self awareness to the Islamic discourse where it is drenched in anti-semitic hatred of a casual and embedded kind.

  55. Don — on 31st October, 2008 at 8:25 pm  

    Hey, somebody, we need a weekend open thread. It hasn’t been the same since Katy left.

  56. douglas clark — on 31st October, 2008 at 8:27 pm  

    Billy,

    It takes a moron like David T to argue the opposite. But, there you go, an idiot, a fool, a caricature of a human being…

    What do you expect?

  57. douglas clark — on 31st October, 2008 at 8:29 pm  

    Don,

    No we don’t. We need David T to admit he is an idiot.

  58. Don — on 31st October, 2008 at 8:52 pm  

    Douglas,

    I respectfully disagree.

  59. Ravi Naik — on 31st October, 2008 at 9:24 pm  

    On paper McCain, and his ‘maverick’ reputation, should bave been a pretty strong candidate…
    Obama will almost certainly win – but the Democrats should remember that McCain (or at least his campaign) really has made it easier than it really should have been.”

    I totally disagree with your assessment. I guess Obama makes it look easy, but I would give him the credit.

    The fact is that Obama has been working *really* hard for the last two years to build one of the most impressive campaigns in modern US history. He had to because the odds were heavily against him: largely unknown, short time in Washington, black, funny name with Hussein as his middle name. He is also very charismatic, connects with people, talks with voters as adults, and manages to talk about complex issues in a simple and concise way.

    McCain was simply the strongest candidate the Republicans could offer. He was just not a match for Obama despite his political “handicap” (being quite young, not known, non-white with a funny name), and what we are witnessing is desperation in the final act of the election.

    In other words, McCain is weak because Obama is a formidable candidate, not the other way around.

  60. Katy Newton — on 31st October, 2008 at 10:00 pm  

    Douglas – I hate it when people disagree with me, but it doesn’t make them stupid. David T believes in an open comments policy and you don’t. That doesn’t make him a moron or an idiot.

  61. MaidMarian — on 31st October, 2008 at 11:48 pm  

    Ravi Naik (59) – I don’t disagree. Obama has run a tight campaign and it is one that is likely to be rewarded. I have no doubt that he and those around him have worked very hard.

    What I am getting at is that McCain has not run a good campaign. This is to take nothing away from Obama (rereading my comment I should have made that point far more clearly, apologies). What I am saying is that he has undoubtedly benefited from the Republicans being in the eye of the storm of the economic crisis and the low quality campaign McCain has cobbled together.

    A better campaign would have played Palin to her obvious strengths, would never have let the candidate say that the fundamentals of the US economy are strong two days after Lehmans and would have been far more cautious on foreign policy in a post-Iraq world.

    I am also less convinced that Obama’s ‘handicaps’ are quite as severe as you make out, but that is your opinion and I respect it.

    Obama may be a formidable candidate, but the most formidable opposition he has run into so far has been Clinton. McCain is weak because of misjudgments he and those around him have made.

    I do not doubt for a moment Obama has done extremely well, but circumstance has played a big part.

  62. Leon — on 31st October, 2008 at 11:59 pm  

    I mean, that would be truely the worst type of scaremongering, race-card playing, gutter politics, wouldn’t it?

    The worst? Seriously?

    DT you must have lived an exceptionally sheltered life to think that Sunny writing a piece like that is the worst type of ‘scaremongering, race-card playing, gutter politics’! :D

  63. Ravi Naik — on 1st November, 2008 at 12:14 am  

    I agree that David T is not an idiot for having an “open comment” policy, and I seem to agree with his article – but Douglas has a point here in my view. I believe a line needs to be drawn somewhere, and if your readers need to debate on whether every copy of the Koran needs to be destroyed in this planet, then that reflects badly on your blog. I mean, do you really want to keep such messages to promote a rational debate? Of course, moderating comments mean you might lose a few readers to extremist sites… ah well, it is a matter of what you think is more important.

  64. douglas clark — on 1st November, 2008 at 1:50 am  

    I don’t think David T is an idiot for having an “open comment” policy. I think he is an idiot for assuming that folk that comment on threads here, like, oh I don’t know, Katy Newton, billy, Don, Ravi Naik and the rest of us are any the lesser folk than the people that write above the line.

    So, whilst I respectfully disagree with what you are saying here, I think what you have to say, is in general, as worthwhile as the somewhat arrogant idea that because David T writes his own posts he is a better man or woman than either thee or me.

    And the fact that the comments on his blog, which he doesn’t even attempt to moderate, see 44, are like a crack house for lunatics, suggests that he is quite happy preaching to the crazy gang. A crazy gang that take his reasonably thought out, though completely OTT conspiracy theories, and make it into aggressive nonsense. David T shouts ‘fire’ and the lunatics shout ‘bomb’. It has always been so on Harrys Place.

  65. douglas clark — on 1st November, 2008 at 1:57 am  

    Don @ 58,

    And I respectfully disagree with you too.

    Try that on Harry’s Place.

  66. Refresh — on 1st November, 2008 at 2:12 am  

    Douglas

    ‘A crazy gang that take his reasonably thought out, though completely OTT conspiracy theories, and make it into aggressive nonsense. David T shouts ‘fire’ and the lunatics shout ‘bomb’. It has always been so on Harrys Place.’

    Bravo!

    Always.

    HP is a beacon for paid-up members of SANE.

  67. Sunny — on 1st November, 2008 at 2:38 am  

    I, for one, would be outraged if a person I regarded as my comrade started to claim that a Labour government had it in for “brown people”, and that one should therefore vote Tory.

    would you? clearly you didn’t bother reading the piece properly then David. Try that next time, before playing the race card thanks

  68. douglas clark — on 1st November, 2008 at 2:59 am  

    Refresh,

    Yup. But we are supposed to take David T as a serious commentator, when he is nothing of the sort. He is a Melanie Philips, braying to a mob.

    David T knows everything there is to know about Muslim extremists. I would never argue with David about that, because David has everything negative to say about them on a fucking database, either in his head or down on paper. That is known as keeping your powder dry. It is also known as vindictive shite.

    I do wonder why David T bothers. Any reasonable person would see muslim extremists as political idiots. But David has to say it, again and again. He is incapable of giving equal publicity to Muslim moderates.

    His site, see here:

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2008/10/30/this-government-cannot-be-trusted-on-islamism/

    has a single point of view. Which he would be dead affronted if it were to be expressed about Jews.

    So, who is more moral? The line that Sunny has taken, which I obviously subscribe to, or the more aggressive line of David T?

    You decide.

  69. shariq — on 1st November, 2008 at 2:59 am  

    Douglas, you are right that comments below the line are integral to the value of the blog. I’m just not sure that David T was implying otherwise.

    BananaBrain, I totally agree with your comment about how semitic people can still be anti-semites. Of course its still important to remember that Khalidi isn’t one.

  70. fugstar — on 1st November, 2008 at 3:00 am  

    “Usage of the term might even bring some self awareness to the Islamic discourse where it is drenched in anti-semitic hatred of a casual and embedded kind.”

    i guess then that its a really important fact for you to establish to yourself, and that you tap low lying viens. jews are not at the centre of our social cosmology.

  71. Refresh — on 1st November, 2008 at 3:14 am  

    Avraham Burg gets it.

    Extract:

    ‘Perhaps unsurprisingly, given Burg’s paternal origins, Israel’s multidimensional relationship with Germany, past and present, looms large in this book. In a notably striking – and for many Israelis highly provocative – passage, Burg points out that Israel actually reached – arguably “too soon” – a “hasty reconciliation” with Germany after the Second World War, before saying:

    “We will never forgive the Arabs for they are allegedly just like the Nazis, worse than the Germans. We have displaced our anger and revenge from one people to another, from an old foe to a new adversary, and so we allow ourselves to live comfortably with the heirs of the German enemy – representing convenience, wealth and high quality, while treating the Palestinians as whipping boys to release our aggression, anger and hysteria, of which we have plenty.” ‘

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/avraham-burg-israels-new-prophet-979732.html

  72. Refresh — on 1st November, 2008 at 3:17 am  

    Douglas,

    What can I say? My first ever engagement with David T was quite scathing, way back.

    And that was when I thought he was reasonableness personified, open to debate.

  73. douglas clark — on 1st November, 2008 at 3:55 am  

    shariq,

    Douglas, you are right that comments below the line are integral to the value of the blog. I’m just not sure that David T was implying otherwise.

    Well, what was this all about?

    Well put it this way. There are people like Refresh on this site. Then there are people like Sid. I judge this site by what Sunny et al choose to print, not by the comments you get under the line.

    You write, below the line, don’t you? And I tend to think you add a lot to most threads. So, why do you think what you think? Why are you not as worthy as what David T has to say above the line on his own blog, or below the line here? This is the egotism on the part of David T, He writes commentary, or some such, and we plebs respond to his mighty words. Err, no. He is just as much of a commentator as you or I.

    On this blog, he is amongst equals. On his own, he is “Primus inter pares”, at least in his own head..

    Anyway let Davis T’s fan come here. I quote:

    It is open to anybody to come onto my site and challenge anything that anybody else has said. I would actively encourage more people to come along and take on Virgil Xenephon.

    No. The idiots have taken over your asylum. Let Virgil come here in order to get beat up.

    Bet he, or she, doesn’t….

  74. Refresh — on 1st November, 2008 at 4:16 am  

    No Douglas, No.

    I recall the last time that happened, DavidT routed the asylum to one of Sunny’s pieces (a presumed comradely act), only to lead to hand to hand combat with fascist hordes. I must admit it was a delight to see the whites of their eyes and the fear, when they realised that whilst DavidT ‘presumed’ a kindred spirit in PP; the below-the-line crowd showed PPs true mettle.

    That said, it did leave some dregs which took months to get the message. Do we want that again?

  75. douglas clark — on 1st November, 2008 at 4:40 am  

    Refresh,

    That said, it did leave some dregs which took months to get the message. Do we want that again?

    No, we don’t. But that is what David T enjoys, is it not?

    He is aggressive is he not? And I am an aggressive secularist, am I not?

  76. Refresh — on 1st November, 2008 at 12:16 pm  

    ‘He is aggressive is he not? And I am an aggressive secularist, am I not?’

    He’s aggressive and methodical.

    And you are angry, and rightly so.

    Me? I am just hopeful the tide will turn.

  77. Katy Newton — on 1st November, 2008 at 2:01 pm  

    I didn’t think that David T was saying that he was superior to anyone else, at all. I thought he was just saying that he should be judged by what he posts rather than by the commenters that his posts attract. But I’m also wondering why this thread has drifted from the post that started it into a critique of Harry’s Place. Don’t we have anything better to do than bitch about HP all the time?

  78. douglas clark — on 1st November, 2008 at 2:42 pm  

    Katy,

    That is not the point, is it? You don’t write here very often, and yet I, for one, consider your contributions worthwhile,when you do. I am saying that David T thinks himself more worthy than you. I am arguing that folk like us, below the line people, ought to be seen as the equals of above the line folk.

    I think, correct me if I am wrong, that you are reasonable, that you would not see Virgil Xenephon as someone you’d agree with.

    Yet, the very daft David T allows it. And, if my arithmetic is right, revels in it.

    That is the issue with David T. He allows posts that take his views to the extreme. Whilst his fan club debase any contrary arguement.

    That is his tail, if you will.

  79. Anas — on 1st November, 2008 at 4:13 pm  

    Here’s an interesting piece discussing Mr T’s habit of using the anti-semite card — along with the many other nasty + underhand tactics in his armoury — to attack those critical of Israel:

    http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2008/10/david-toube-of-harrys-place-liar-racist.html

  80. Anas — on 1st November, 2008 at 4:16 pm  

    BTW, when are the hours gonna get adjusted on the times on the posts on the thread?

  81. douglas clark — on 1st November, 2008 at 5:50 pm  

    Well, that seems to be game, set and match, ré David Taube. What have you to say for yourself David T?

  82. douglas clark — on 1st November, 2008 at 6:01 pm  

    Below the line, obviously…

  83. Leon — on 1st November, 2008 at 8:50 pm  

    Well anyway, anyone fancy dragging this thread somewhere near the topic at hand?

  84. Don — on 1st November, 2008 at 9:06 pm  

    I do believe the campaign has moved on to new areas of disreputable.

    Apparently the First Ammendment means you can’t critisise Sarah Palin. Sure does, you bettcha.

    Oh, and associating with atheists is something you have to go on telly to justify.

    But it will probably have gotten worse by the time I finish typing.

  85. Rumbold — on 1st November, 2008 at 9:31 pm  

    Douglas:

    With respect, you have misunderstood what David T was saying. You criticised him for allowing certain comments on his site, and he responded by saying that he judges a site on the articles, not the comments. It wasn’t a declaration of superiority, just a recognition of the limits of editorial control. The commentators are every bit as important as the writers on a blog (probably more in fact- if I had to choose between being a writer and a commentator here, I would go for the latter).

    To turn the question around: do you judge the BBC website on some of the comments left in the ‘Have your say’ section?

  86. Sid — on 1st November, 2008 at 9:58 pm  

    I’ve updated Sunny’s post with a video of Michael Goldfarb playing the race card and ending looking ridiculously smug and stupid at the same time.

  87. Leon — on 1st November, 2008 at 10:02 pm  

    Rumbold, please leave it the derail has gone on long enough. This is a good thread without all the DT stuff.

    Good update Sid.

  88. Me — on 1st November, 2008 at 10:04 pm  

    “David T, do you ever feel embarassed by the bigoted and generalising nature of many of the comments that appear in your blog? Just wondering, like.”

    Yes. You’ve got to keep arguing with them though. You can’t just pretend they don’t exist.

    ———————————————–
    Hilarious – David T and Harrys place continally post negative stories about Muslims then wonder why extreme almost genocidal islamophobes show up.

    Check out HP if you dont believe me

  89. Anas — on 1st November, 2008 at 10:16 pm  

    The Goldfarb clip is brilliant. The guy’s a star in the making.

  90. Andy — on 1st November, 2008 at 10:38 pm  

    David T’s first comment is laughable. Some jews find the idea that racism against other races (especially the lowlife Arabs) is as bad and unacceptable as racism against them as intolerable.

    Its a kind of anti-racist racism

  91. douglas clark — on 1st November, 2008 at 11:28 pm  

    Rumbold @85,

    David T comes onto this site, speeling stuff like this:

    Well put it this way. There are people like Refresh on this site. Then there are people like Sid. I judge this site by what Sunny et al choose to print, not by the comments you get under the line.

    Which he uses an an excuse for allowing comments such as this:

    “Amen, David T,. amen. But Morgoth is right, all too many people–no need to name names–have been suicidially naive
    about this whole subject for far too long. Rather late in the day, but better late than never…..hopefully. The problem is, once recognized for the mortal danger that this movement represents, will society at large have the courage to gird up its loins for the already present struggle and the stamina to stay the course against a movement that, unless every copy of the Koran on earth is destroyed, will always have on hand the seeds with which to germinate the poison in the distant future no matter how successful present-day efforts are to tamp it down.”

    That seems to me to be hate speech, yet David T allows it on his site. Frankly, that is beyond the pale.

    Just my opinion, right enough. As you probably know, I have enormous respect for you, I don’t, however, share your favourable views on David T. Nor his complete failure to even respond to the drivel that Virgil Xenophon writes. David T’s silence says a lot about David T. His lack of interest in his very own threads, suggest to me, sir, that, he is a wind up artist.

  92. douglas clark — on 1st November, 2008 at 11:40 pm  

    Rumbold,

    Pickled Politics is far far better than Harry’s Place. We, sir, are grown ups. They are not.

  93. Katy Newton — on 2nd November, 2008 at 12:05 am  

    Nothing says “grown up” like persisting with an irrelevant line of commentary after the moderator’s told you he wants it to stop…

  94. Leon — on 2nd November, 2008 at 12:14 am  

    Indeed. Anymore of this derail and it’s comments closed for this thread.

  95. douglas clark — on 2nd November, 2008 at 12:26 am  

    Katy and Leon,

    Fair enough. Though it isn’t irrelevant and the derailing is not down to me, it is down to David T.

    Love and respect.

  96. Refresh — on 2nd November, 2008 at 3:16 am  

    Its not irrelevant, the link provided by Anas was worthwhile and is self-explanatory.

  97. Anas — on 2nd November, 2008 at 3:37 pm  

    Au contraire Goldfarb, Obama passes the kishke test with flying colours:

    http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=2093

  98. sonia — on 3rd November, 2008 at 2:19 pm  

    good point from david t on 50

  99. bananabrain — on 3rd November, 2008 at 5:42 pm  

    douglas:

    Bananabrain has never, to my knowledge, bothered with editorial pieces, but frankly his comments on threads tend to be thought provoking, to the point and likely to change minds. He is not singing to the choir.

    you’re very kind. i tend to do my editorial elsewhere, in my real-life persona, who can’t always say the sort of things in public that bananabrain says, as real-life me has corporate responsibilities which have little to do with religion or politics (except by accident). the closest bananabrain really gets to editorial is in the stuff i do with my moderator hat on over at http://www.interfaith.org (previously comparative-religion.com)

    for what it’s worth, i think you have david t wrong, as per katy’s comment at #60. i think his post #47 explains things pretty well. and rumbold’s comment #85 about judging the bbc by its talkback comments is extremely to the point. what we are kind of touching on here is an emerging standard for editorial which includes talkbacks. to what extent can one be responsible for how people react to how you editorialise? unfortunately, people seem to be struggling here with the conflict between their commitment to liberty in the form of free speech and their need to frame it in such a way as to be able to criticise people that they see as making inflammatory remarks. in other words, how to make it OK for sunny to bitch out people with whom he disagrees, but at the same time remain able to criticise melanie phillips for doing the same. the question is this: how do you differentiate your avowedly principled need to challenge the status quo from others’ allegedly unprincipled need to do exactly the same thing? it reminds me a little bit of the bit in terry pratchett where commander vimes is initially impressed by the idea of ephebian democracy, but gets put off it by the realisation that there is no way that *he* can get the vote which does not also prevent corporal nobbs having one as well. i think i may be forced to conclude that either you are pro-free speech or you aren’t.

    another possible solution is to conclude that insofar as blogs are unregulated, the code of conduct for “below the line” comment is entirely at the discretion of the site owner. that is pretty much what we do at interfaith.org; the site owner sets the policy and the moderators (who are, nonetheless, able to influence policy informally) enforce it. moderation here at pickled politics is done on an informal basis, so you can’t refer people to a code of conduct. HP also does not (i believe) have a code of conduct. what is source for the goose is, i would suggest, source for the gander and, i would further suggest, that complaining about david t’s policy on a different site is rather a waste of time. as he puts it, you are better off directly addressing the opinions you object to. so, therefore, the answer is to have a CoC, but then people have to commit to enforcing it (which involves time commitment) and even then it isn’t exactly 100% foolproof. as for responding to complete idiots, sometimes it just isn’t worth the trouble. you should see some of the nutters we get on interfaith.org, self-declared prophets, all sorts. sometimes we take the mick and sometimes we flame (albeit without any swearing) and sometimes we bin or ban. but then, at least we’re sticking to a CoC. as for the likes of this “virgil xenophon” character, bigoted imbeciles are as common on the right as they are on the left. who has time to set all these splenetic nincompoops to rights? not me, that’s for sure; i’d be at it all day. i can barely be arsed to argue about israel/palestine on this site and most people here are at least vaguely reasonable about it here most of the time.

    @refresh:

    i met avraham burg recently and, while he is spot-on morally speaking, he doesn’t appear to have a practical programme, so he ends up merely as an oppositionalist. in this sense, it is easier to be a “prophet” than a “king”, insofar as you don’t have to be accountable, or deliver anything, it is enough to criticise. of course, i also think what he says needs to be said really, really loudly, but he does go for some rather convenient soundbites at times, being a politician, as he readily admits when picked up on it.

    I recall the last time that happened, DavidT routed the asylum to one of Sunny’s pieces (a presumed comradely act), only to lead to hand to hand combat with fascist hordes. I must admit it was a delight to see the whites of their eyes and the fear, when they realised that whilst DavidT ‘presumed’ a kindred spirit in PP; the below-the-line crowd showed PPs true mettle.

    perhaps this is really the point (agreeing with refresh twice in the space of a week, holy mary) that HP and PP together are actually stronger; not that i’m suggesting they should merge, i just think that they’re more similar than one might think.

    @”andy”:

    Some jews find the idea that racism against other races (especially the lowlife Arabs) is as bad and unacceptable as racism against them as intolerable. Its a kind of anti-racist racism

    you mean jews insist on being the most oppressed group? perhaps some do. that some jews can be racist? undoubtedly. however, i don’t think this is especially a) relevant or b) descriptive of david t. it seems more to be a rather transparent attempt to construct a basis from which jews can be securely pilloried. but, hey, maybe that’s me insisting on being oppressed, hard to know, ain’t it?

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  100. Refresh — on 3rd November, 2008 at 6:03 pm  

    Bananabrain,

    ‘that HP and PP together are actually stronger; not that i’m suggesting they should merge, i just think that they’re more similar than one might think.’

    Not in the least. I’d hate to think there was any similarity other than sharing the same technology by way of a PC, and perhaps a qwerty keyboard.

    PP if anything was always seen as a stepping stone away from the rabid Jihadwatch, whereas HP swings both ways. With greater enthusiasm one way than the other.

    I note that HP have finally removed Mad Mel from their links, and its high time PP dropped HP.

    Sunny is much smarter than to let that blot remain for much longer.

  101. Refresh — on 3rd November, 2008 at 6:08 pm  

    As for Avraham Burg, surely its about time Israel did find a moral compass as Burg insists they have to.

  102. bananabrain — on 3rd November, 2008 at 6:52 pm  

    refresh:

    israel has plenty of moral compasses. they don’t all point the right way and they don’t all say things in the same way and at the same time. burg just happens to be one that you feel agrees with you (and i’m not sure he actually does agree with you) so you’re fixating on him. in reality, he’s hardly the messiah.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  103. Refresh — on 3rd November, 2008 at 7:01 pm  

    Bananabrain, I am sure we don’t agree 100%. We are all at a stage where everyone has to look beyond received wisdom, and if Burg is that for Israel I would be happier. Maybe even Livini might be looking to Burg. Lets watch that space.

  104. Refresh — on 3rd November, 2008 at 11:24 pm  

    Anas your #97 is relevant, but this probably trumps it:

    ‘Professor Hobsbawm, who spent his youth watching Hitler’s rise in Berlin, has a warning for those who think this will help the Left in any recognizable form. “In the 1930s, the net political effect of the Depression was to enormously strengthen the Right,” he said.

    America was the great exception, as it may prove to be again. I for one will take the enlightened “socialism” of Barack Obama any day over the Hegelian broth nearing the boil in Europe.’

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/3366575/Revenge-of-the-Left-across-the-world.html

    *Sorry, another piece from the telegraph.

  105. Leon — on 3rd November, 2008 at 11:40 pm  

    HP and PP together are actually stronger; not that i’m suggesting they should merge, i just think that they’re more similar than one might think.

    In what way?

  106. fugstar — on 4th November, 2008 at 12:26 pm  
  107. bananabrain — on 4th November, 2008 at 1:58 pm  

    well, both are interested in democracy, liberty and threats to our way of life, they’re just biased about where they think those threats come from and where their comfort zone is. HP by its nature tends to give libertarians and “conservatives” an easier ride and presumes more goodwill from those sectors, whereas PP by its nature does the same for anyone “progressive” or who might have, i suppose you might call it “cultural disablers” by virtue of an accent or skin colour. it seems to me that the major difference is that HP has an open comments policy and is therefore more prone to domination by swivel-eyed, foaming obsessives than PP, which is extremely self-critical and concerned with the below-the-line process and therefore more prone to domination by politically-correct student-union types. neither bias constitutes an invalidation of the purpose of the sites, or so it seems to me. i’m just seeing the bigger picture. incidentally, the reason i post here rather than at HP is that i think the quality of below-the-line people here is somewhat higher due to the active moderation.

    fugstar: i have long thought that everyone in the middle east spends far too much time accusing each other (including people nominally on their own side) of being nazis, with the net result that the label itself is devalued and the understanding of what the holocaust actually was is virtually non-existent. as far as i’m concerned, without concentration camps, gas chambers and a policy of ethnic extermination we just aren’t even in the same ontology, which is just as well.

    incidentally, for this reason, the israeli haaretz newspaper, in its below-the-line talkback, does not permit posters to call each other nazis. i think it’s a good rule.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  108. billy — on 4th November, 2008 at 2:57 pm  

    I just asked bananabrain a question about how he feels about the racists that infest Harry’s Place and then read his subsequent post above. Where he answered more or less what I had asked anyway. So I edited it down. HP does good work on the soft soaping of religious extremists by some white leftists. That’s the best it does.

  109. billy — on 4th November, 2008 at 3:04 pm  

    (continued…..)

    But they also pander to their bigoted constituency in some ways, in some of the knee-jerk Daily Mailesque editorials they write.

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