Tag Archives: Pamela Geller

Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 49): a slight return

It seems my suspicions were correct. Apart from being an EDL supporter, Ms Chetrit/Shitrit (it’s a Sephardic name in case you were wondering) is also chummy with Pamela Geller of the infamous Atlas Shrugs website.

Hat tip @NemesisRepublic for these screen shots.

The first bemoans Geller being barred from a synagogue. Notice the UKIP icon in the corner of her profile photo. Interesting? No?

Chetrit2

The second adopts the “if you aren’t with me, you’re with them” line that was much adored by George W Bush.

Chetrit1

I think Kennite owes us all an apology for using the testimony of an EDL supporter as evidence. But I know that won’t happen any time soon. Gilligan has previously used the words of Daniel Pipes to support his ‘arguments’.

Geller publishes Kennite’s article in  full on her website.

She introduces the article by telling us:

I am very proud of Ms Chetrit, a twitter friend, she helped bring these jackals down.

Nowhere Towers will be watching both of them.

Once again we find that:

@MrsShitrit’s tweets are protected.

Only confirmed followers have access to @MrsShitrit’s Tweets and complete profile. Click the “Follow” button to send a follow request.

How long before this one joins the chorus of fakers with the “My account was hacked” cliché?

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Filed under Ideologies, Media, propaganda, Racism

CiFWatch: imagined slights, smears and closing down debate

No, not that Cif!

I originally wrote this blog last August in the aftermath of the worst rioting this country has seen in a generation. I discovered CiF Watch while trawling the net for some information about a Guardian article that I’d read about the first night of rioting in Tottenham.

All, if not most, right-wing self-appointed moral guardians (excuse the pun) and  media ‘watchdogs’ imagine slights where there are none. A good case in point is a site that calls itself “CiF Watch”, which claims that it is,

dedicated to monitoring antisemitism and combating the assault on Israel’s legitimacy in the Guardian newspaper’s ‘Comment is Free’ blog.

I’ve seen plenty of anti-Semitic comments on the Telegraph blogs. I wonder if they’ve seen them too? Probably. But they’re not interested in the Torygraph because they’re on the same side… ostensibly. CiF Watch is a virtual [right wing] vigilante group that patrols the Internet looking for people to misrepresent or rough up… whichever takes their fancy.

In this particular blog, they single out an article by Paul Lewis, who described the scene in Tottenham and who debunked the myth that it was just black kids on the street. I’ve noticed that he’s amended the article (which does not appear in Comment is Free), perhaps under pressure from CiF Watch. It’s likely that they got upset by the suggestion that some Chasidim (as well as many blacks, Turks, Asians and so forth) were onlookers (they would do well to look that word up in the dictionary) and they think that by saying such a thing automatically makes Lewis ‘anti-Semitic’. We’re dealing with a school-kid analysis here, dear readers. I daresay the Chasidim who live in Tottenham and Stamford Hill know the local issues a damned sight better than the bourgeois smear artists of CiF Watch. It’s their “manor”, to use a common Londonism.

CiF Watch deny that they are trying to shut down debate but as this passage tells us, they’re not telling the truth,

By labelling something antisemitic are you not shutting down debate on what is perhaps a legitimate subject of debate?

Absolutely not. We support vigorous and open debate about Jewish related issues, including issues of controversy, as long as such debate does not violate the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism.

In particular, it bears emphasizing that we support open and honest debate about the Israel-Arab conflict including harsh criticism of Israel as long as the criticism of Israel is similar to that leveled against any other nation of the world.

The last paragraph is the kicker. In other words, there will be no discussion of Israel unless it is to give unequivocal praise.

CiF Watch has linked to my blog. This commenter called “yvetta bagel” says,

Some creep makes the most of this, repeating the Guardian crap to score cheap points against Melanie Phillips: https://buddyhell.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/the-tottenham-riots-the-racists-of-fleet-street-and-their-friends/

Such was her haste to rush and label me a “creep” that “yvetta bagel” failed to spot the update. No matter. At any rate, Morality Mel  makes some pretty nasty remarks that I often find to be  borderline racist.  Not just borderline racist but anti-gay too. But these people aren’t capable of reason or ,heaven forfend, understanding and tolerance. Nor do other ethnic groups matter much to them, such is their deeply ingrained sense of ethno-supremacy. They’d rather make an ideologically-weighted extrapolation from a decontextualized word or phrase.  Why? Because it’s easy. It’s the lazy way do do things. It makes you look morally superior to your enemies but, in the end it’s no better than self-congratulation.

These people aren’t too concerned with exposing anti-Semitism either, they’re more interested in closing down any discourse that runs counter to a pro-Zionist position. It’s a position that would make a Manichean green with envy: for in their minds, and in spite of what they say, anti-Zionism always equals anti-Semitism. It’s an easy a leap to make. You can read how they define anti-Semitism here but this passage is key.

Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

The rest is fair enough and I would suggest that it was done to render their mission appealing to outside eyes.   CiF Watch, being right wing (they would deny it), no doubt regards Palestinian people as dreck. They won’t say it in so many words, but they’ll no doubt claim that there is no such thing as a Palestinian. Nowhere Towers has heard this before. It’s a way to further dehumanize an already dehumanized people. What could be more dehumanizing than to declare that an entire people are quite literally no more? For CiF Watch, history is viewed rather selectively.

Funny how they failed to see this blog. Isn’t it?

The racist Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs applauds them,

Bless these folks for documenting the vile Jew hatred that The Guardian happily hosts. That “publication” is a sewer for the worst kind of incitement to violence.

Well, cyber warriors have documented it all. And will do it daily. Evil unmasked! We love that.

“Evil unmasked”, Geller shouts. Evil. It’s such a value-loaded word. It’s so easy to use. Handy stuff for those who aren’t great at making real arguments. It’s the speech of demagogues. Oh yeah and if you’re reading this, CiF Watch, I called Geller a “racist”.

Here’s a broken link to the site.

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2009/08/cif-watch-a-very-good-blog-indeed.html

You will understand that I don’t want this blog to be  infested with a  load of  racist knuckledraggers and swivel-eyed conspiraloons, the latter of which are often deeply anti-Semitic. Be careful of the company you keep, eh?

Many of the other blogs on CiF Watch are completely unrelated to their stated mission. Take this blog, for example. It seems to me that this blog alone indicates support for this Tory-led government’s policies. Are they on close terms with the Conservative Friends of Israel? More than likely.

Powerbase has a stub on CiF Watch. I reckon further investigation is likely to reveal that CiF Watch is closely connected to a host of other right-wing groups – many of which are on the other side of the Atlantic. Groups like blacklisters Campus Watch, for example, and other self-styled ‘grassroots’ movements.

You can imagine how our chums feel about  Neturei Karta.  Uh huh.

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Filed under Ideologies, Internet, Media

Ron Paul, right libertarians and their questionable attitudes to difference

Ron Paul, right libertarian, racist, anti-Semite and conspiracy theorist

A lot of right libertarians love to talk about freedom. They love to tell us how their ‘libertarianism’ will make us happier. “Greed is natural and greed is good” is the motto by which they live their lives. They also love to talk about how they want to abolish institutions that work to promote greater understanding and equality. The suggestion put forth by the right libertarian is that the ‘invisible hand’ of the ‘free market’ will eliminate racism. It’s not only laughable. It’s a myth. Especially when so many right libertarians harbour deep-seated prejudices.

Scratch the surface of some of these ‘libertarians’ and you’ll often find some questionable attitudes to difference underneath. Their attitudes are almost always shrouded in economic dogma and masked by cold, matter-of-fact business-speak. For example the lunch counter protests in the South were retroactively opposed on the grounds of “trespass”. They also argue that businesses should be permitted to refuse someone on the basis of skin colour.  It is for these reasons that soi-disant libertarians claimed to oppose the civil rights movement. Ron Paul, whose soubriquet is “Dr No”, has earned a reputation among right libertarians as “principled”. He is often lauded on The Telegraph’s blogs and hailed elsewhere as a true ‘libertarian’. A commenter on Hannan’s blog says,

Ron Paul seems to be ignored by the British media.   In the U.S. he also gets a raw deal. A recent CNN poll had him rated at
0%.  It turned out that they had polled just 50 people.

This reads like a lament but the commenter does not connect the lament with lived experience. Furthermore this commenter wilfully ignores Paul’s racist and anti-Semitic remarks. In 2008 CNN reported that,

A series of newsletters in the name of GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul contain several racist remarks — including one that says order was restored to Los Angeles after the 1992 riots when blacks went “to pick up their welfare checks.”

Hannan is a self-declared admirer of Paul, whom he describes as an “honest principled patriot” (see the comments).  There’s no mention of his racism and that is no surprise.  It’s much easier to elide something as inconvenient as Paul’s racism and talk movingly about his ‘honesty’. We’ll return to Hannan later.  Paul may deny it but there are still many doubts over his protestations of innocence. Is it because he doth protest too much? CNN again,

The controversial newsletters include rants against the Israeli lobby, gays, AIDS victims and Martin Luther King Jr. — described as a “pro-Communist philanderer.” One newsletter, from June 1992, right after the LA riots, says “order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.”

It’s just a joke… yeah, sure it is.

In May 2011, capitolhillblue wrote,

Twice-failed Presidential wannabe Ron Paul’s racism is never far from the surface and reappeared Friday when he admitted to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that he would not have voted for the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 if he had been in Congress at the time.

News One, a black website tells us that Paul is closely associated with the extreme right-wing  John Birch Society,

Despite its nefarious history, Ron Paul has been a longtime supporter and friend of the John Birch Society, speaking as they keynote speaker at their 50th anniversary and holding  rallies with them. Like The John Birch society, Paul has become a magnet for Neo-Nazis who support him online on sites like Stormfront. Paul even has a picture with the Internets most notorious Neo-Nazis, Don Black and his son Derrek, the founders of Stormfront. Paul also famously refused to give back a donation from Don Black.

In fact, here is Paul addressing the John Birch Society in August 2009.


Outside the Beltway attempts to defend Paul and, by extension, the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Much of the piece is guilt by association. Kirchick notes Paul’s long association with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a respected libertarian think tank, and points out that other people associated with the organization are Confederate sympathizers and the like.

The Ludwig von Mises Institute is at the intellectual forefront of the neo-Confederate movement. It produces reams of  libertarian justifications for slavery, while also perpetuating the myth of the Southern states-as-victim. The Civil War, they argue had nothing to do with slavery. It was all about states rights. In other words, and in the mind of the neo-Confederate, the war was about the right for individual states to continue the practice of slavery as well as “tariffs”. In essence, the LvMI rewrites history to suit a particular ideological agenda. Their neo-Misean narrative is intended to lend intellectual gravitas to what is, actually, a Dixiecratic vision. This article is fairly typical.

Immediately following that clause in the Confederate Constitution is a clause that has no parallel in the U.S. Constitution. It affirms strong support for free trade and opposition to protectionism: “but no bounties shall be granted from the Treasury; nor shall any duties or taxes on importation from foreign nations be laid to promote or foster any branch of industry.”

The LvMI believes its strict economic discourse is unassailable. The suggestion is that economics is a neutral ‘science’ that speaks for itself. LvMI’s ‘scholar’ Thomas Di Lorenzo is part of the vanguard in the historical revisionism of the Confederate States of America. Here he says,

Legal scholar Gene Healy has made a powerful argument in favor of abolishing the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. When a fair vote was taken on it in 1865, in the aftermath of the War for Southern Independence, it was rejected by the Southern states and all the border states. Failing to secure the necessary three-fourths of the states, the Republican party, which controlled Congress, passed the Reconstruction Act of 1867 which placed the entire South under military rule

The Fourteenth Amendment is the one that contains what is known as the Citizen Clause. This  granted all persons born or naturalized in the United States, regardless of their skin colour, the right to citizenship (The Indians were mysteriously excluded). Prior to this, black people – free and slave – were not considered to be citizens. The amendment is referred to as a “Reconstruction” amendment  and was enacted partly in response to the Black Codes of the southern states, which were passed in the wake of the Thirteenth Amendment – which ended slavery –  and forbade blacks from voting and holding public office.  In this article, Di Lorenzo muddies the waters by introducing the straw man of northern racism. He splits hairs over the Constitution which is, in the mind of the neo-Confederate, an evil document that stole their freedoms away.

The Fourteenth Amendment has had precisely the effect that its nineteenth-century Republican party supporters intended it to have: it has greatly centralized power in Washington, D.C., and has subjected Americans to the kind of judicial tyranny that Thomas Jefferson warned about when he described federal judges as those who would be “constantly working underground to undermine the foundations of our confederated fabric.” It’s time for all Americans to reexamine the official history of the “Civil War” and its aftermath as taught by paid government propagandists in the “public” schools for the past 135 years.

Di Lorenzo presents what appears prima facie to be a reasonable request to examine the history of the Civil War in new light but why stop there? Why not re-examine the Civil War against the backdrop of the entire history of the United States as Howard Zinn has done with The People’s History of the United States? The answer to that question is because Di Lorenzo and the LvMI have a vested interest in isolating the Civil War from the rest of US history. But notice how he uses quotation marks around the words “Civil War”.

Di Lorenzo’s main body of work orbits the dead star of Abraham Lincoln, whom he and the LvMI regards as a tyrant and a bully. Those of us who are familiar with a broader sweep of history already understand how historical figures are cosmetically-enhanced to offer a media-friendly image of flawed men and women. It happened then and is happening now.  Lincoln is not unique.  Yet Di Lorenzo labours under the illusion that he and the neo-Confederate movement are the only people to possess such knowledge.  And Jefferson Davis? Not a word about him and his poor grasp of military tactics or his slipshod presidency.  The Claremont Institute produced a review of Di Lorenzo’s The Real Lincoln in which it says,

As the title suggests, The Real Lincoln purports to go beyond the mountains of revisionist historiography to reveal Lincoln’s genuine principles and purposes. According to DiLorenzo, these had nothing to do with the perpetuation of free government and the problem of slavery: The “real” Lincoln did not care a whit about the “peculiar institution.” At the core of the “real” Lincoln’s ambition was an unqualified and unwavering commitment to mercantilism, or socialism as DiLorenzo sometimes intimates. Lincoln would stop at nothing to impose the “Whig economic system” upon America, and any opinion he voiced regarding slavery was merely instrumental in advancing this end. Lincoln’s “cause,” in the words of DiLorenzo, was “centralized government and the pursuit of empire.” According to DiLorenzo, Lincoln said this “over and over again,” although DiLorenzo does not trouble himself to produce a shred of evidence for this assertion.
If the “real” Lincoln needed to resort to war to advance his cause, he was happy to do it: “Lincoln decided that he had to wage war on the South,” because only military might would destroy “the constitutional logjam behind which the old Whig economic policy agenda had languished.” In the end, writes DiLorenzo, “[Lincoln] wanted war” and “was not about to let the Constitution stand in his way.” Lincoln was devoted to undermining the Constitution in the name of tariffs and internal improvement schemes. In its place Lincoln hoped to build a centralized mercantilist-socialist state, with himself at the helm.

Here, Di Lorenzo has written a smear job on his most critical foe, the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The League of the South recently published its “Declaration of Cultural Secession” advocating a society that advances what it calls the virtues of “Celtic culture,” defined on its Web site as “the permanent things that order and sustain life: faith, family, tradition, community, and private property; loyalty, courage, and honour.” The SPLC lied about and defamed the League of the South by spreading the falsehood on its own Web site that by “Celtic culture” the League of the South means, and I quote, “white people.” Apparently the SPLC believes that only white people embrace family, tradition, community, private property, courage, etc.

Notice the wilful misrepresentation at the end of the paragraph. Di Lorenzo, who is supposed to be some sort of academic, writes in a prose style that’s reminiscent of a petulant correspondent who writes regular letters of complaint to local newspapers. Here he writes of Obama,

It only took the Obama administration a couple of weeks to prove that the national leadership of the Democratic Party is guided by totalitarian-minded socialists who seek to create an omnipotent government. The U.S. government is now controlled by people who have been dreaming of living out their utopian socialist fantasies ever since the fantasies were brought to their attention in college decades ago by their Mao/Castro/Che Guevara poster-hanging, capitalism-hating, communistic professors.

Right libertarians will often use words like “socialist” , “totalitarian” or “America-hating” to describe Obama. Some will question his birth (see the amusingly self-styled ‘Birther’ movement)  and claim that he wasn’t born in the US. It’s merely a way of transferring one’s racism over to a narrative about ‘patriotism’.

Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs also identifies herself as a ‘libertarian’ but her website tells us an altogether different story. Atlas Shrugs is often cited by the Islamophobes of the EDL and Stop the Islamisation of Europe. Even the mass murderer, Anders Behring Breivik, cited it. Geller even wrote a few apologies for Breivik’s actions. She described the summer camp on the island of Utoya as an “indoctrination center” that was full of “jihadists”. She even tried to claim that those who had attended the summer camp weren’t “pure Norwegian”. Recently, she edited her blog to remove a blatantly racist caption.

Writing for the Mellon-Scaife WorldNetDaily, she wrote of Barack Obama,

After reading Barack Obama’s speech at the 100th anniversary of the founding of the NAACP Thursday, there is no getting around it: The man is a racist. He is not a unifier, a healer, or a leader – he divides, incites, destroys. He foments animus and anger. The speech proves, yet again, that he does not (nor does he want to) represent all Americans. He is the most racist, divisive official we have ever elected to any high office, let alone the most powerful office in the world.

Did you see how she inverted the entire argument about racism by claiming that Obama is a ‘racist’? She can’t use the word she wants to use: nigger. It’s a distortion.  Like the rest of the ‘birthers’ that she associates herself with, she repeats the worn out canard that Obama is really a Muslim in Christian clothing.
Of course, no Obama speech would be complete without the advancement of Islamic supremacism. He got applause for claiming that “Muslim Americans [are] viewed with suspicion simply because they kneel down to pray to their God.” He made no mention of public Christian prayer (which can get you fired these days).
Every single headline calls Terreblanche a “white supremacist,” alluding to his position in the waning days of the apartheid government, thirty-odd years ago. But the real story here is not that Terreblanche was a “white supremacist” — if he really was (and I know how the left loves to throw around those labels). Whether he was or not, the man was brutally murdered, and I had to go through ten newspaper accounts to find out how he was murdered. The liberal media had to dehumanize him first. And not one newspaper account speaks of Black supremacism — yet that is the really important story in South Africa today. All I see in South Africa is Black supremacism. Terreblanche may have been a white supremacist, but he’s the dead one.
This demonstrates how Geller is disconnected from history . There is no mention of apartheid and the conditions in which South African blacks, Asians and ‘coloureds’ had to suffer. As far as Geller is concerned, all blacks are violent genocidally-inclined criminals
The genocide of Boers taking place in South Africa is never spoken of
What “genocide”? I wonder if she has ever been to South Africa. The fact-free Geller makes it up as she goes along. She clearly overlooks the Afrikaner Weerstandbeweging (AWB) and its veneration of Nazism. For a someone who is supposed to be Jewish, it’s a very odd position to take. Perhaps she’s insane?

In Britain, right libertarians also offer lip service to anti-racism. I say “lip service” because while they claim to be against racism, they will call for certain institutions to be abolished and will excuse an employer’s racism by declaring it a matter of ‘business’.

In 2009, Hannan wrote this

Barack Obama has an exotic background, and it would be odd if some people weren’t unsettled by it. During the campaign, he made a virtue of his unusual upbringing. He was at once from the middle of the country (Kansas) and from its remotest edge (Hawaii). He was both black and white. He was a Protestant brought up among Muslims. He seemed to have family on every continent. Like St Paul, he made a virtue of being all things to all men.

Was he playing to his gallery of US right libertarians? No doubt about it.

They complain that he has no mandate for the policy of tax, spend and borrow. And they’re right. Look, I supported the fellow, and I still wish him well. But to seek to close down debate with the racism card is pretty low.

Well, I hardly think anyone is “playing the racism card” and even if they are, then they may actually have a valid point.  Indeed, it’s easy for someone who isn’t black to make excuses for the tone of language used by Obama’s right wing critics.  Like many so-called libertarians, Hannan swats aside any idea that racism may be lurking behind the rhetoric used by the likes of the ‘Birthers’ for example. Incidentally, Hannan later wrote that he was “wrong” about Obama.

Now, I am not accusing Hannan of being a racist. He may be many things but I don’t think he’s necessarily a racist. However his use of the word “exotic” when describing Obama was wrong-headed. The word “exotic” is often applied without much thought and is used to describe someone of a different skin tone. My own background, for instance, is probably more mixed than Obama’s. But why has Hannan overlooked Ron Paul’s racist outbursts? Because he has the right credentials: he’s a small stater. But what Hannan fails to mention is Paul’s love of conspiracy theories. Paul has appeared on Alex Jones radio show to talk about the ‘New World Order’ and the 9/11 ‘Truth’ movement. When people speak about such things, you can’t guarantee that anti-Semitism and racism are following closely behind. The libertarian right are rather fond of conspiracy theories.

Hannan is a member of The Freedom Association, a right wing pressure group that was founded by Ross and Norris McWhirter, who had previously been involved in the Economic League, which worked to blacklist trade unionists and others whom it deemed to be subversive. The McWhirters were also associated with Lady Jane Birdwood, an eccentric right-winger who was closely associated with Britain’s fascists in the 1980’s.

The McWhirters were close personal and political friends. In the mid-1970s she joined forces with Ross McWhirter to produce the far-right magazine Majority. But it was to be a short-lived venture as the project was terminated after Ross McWhirter was killed by the IRA in 1975. Although she fought bitterly to keep the publication going, the trustees opposed such a move.

TFA’s darkest hour came when it supported the rebel English cricket tour of apartheid South Africa. In 1976, upset at the deselection of turncoat Reg Prentice,  TFA  secretly funded Julian Lewis (now Conservative MP for The New Forest) to pose as a Labour moderate in order for him to take control of the Newham North East constituency Labour Party . Prentice later  joined the Tories and became their MP for Daventry. He was elevated to the House of Lords in 1992.

The recent riots in England have sent the right libertarians scurrying to pen articles attacking black youths, whom have been variously described as “feral”. There is an implication here that black people are genetically pre-disposed to criminality. When television historian and Tudorist, David Starkey blamed the riots on the way people spoke, he unwittingly cast himself in the role of a rather posh Alf Garnett. He deliberately inflamed the situation by quoting Enoch Powell’s infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech. Yet, the Telegraph’s arch-libertarians were quick to defend Starkey claiming that he wasn’t “a racist” and that he was right to single out black youths because of the way they spoke and the music they listened to.  They also defended his weird thesis that “whites have become black”.

Toby Young (known as Hon Tobes on this blog) produced this apology, while hiding behind the Oxford Dictionary definition of racism.

To begin with, Starkey wasn’t talking about black culture in general, but, as he was anxious to point out, a “particular form” of black culture, i.e. “the violent, destructive, nihilistic, gangster culture” associated with Jamaican gangs and American rap music. Had he been talking about these qualities as if they were synonymous with African-Caribbean culture per se, or condemning that culture in its totality, then he would have been guilty of racism. But he wasn’t. He was quite specifically condemning a sub-culture associated with a small minority of people of African-Caribbean heritage. (Admittedly, he could have made this clearer.) Rather than being racist, he was merely trotting out the conventional wisdom of the hour, namely, that gang culture is to blame for the riots. The Prime Minister made the same point in the House of Commons on Thursday. (I wrote a blog post on Thursday in which I pointed out the shortcomings of this analysis.)

Tobes, completely and wilfully unaware of 1950’s R&B, rock n roll and death metal rushed to the conclusion that only gangsta rap is a dangerous and corrosive musical form because it celebrates a “violent, destructive, nihilistic, gangster culture”. Perhaps Hon Tobes would like to consider the example of Little Walter’s Boom Boom…Out Go the Lights? Then there’s Marilyn Manson, who has been banned from a number of states as well as Australia because of his image and lyrics. It’s pretty obvious that Tobes also blissfully ignorant of the swaggering misogyny of heavy metal too – the majority of which is played by white musicians.
He then went on to make an almost equally controversial observation about the Labour MP for Tottenham. “Listen to David Lammy, an archetypical successful black man,” he said. “If you turned the screen off so you were listening to him on radio you’d think he was white.”

Owen Jones leapt on this: “You said David Lammy when you heard him sounded white and what you meant by that is that white people equals respectable.”

But I don’t think that is what Starkey meant. Rather, he was simply reiterating the point that he wasn’t condemning African-Caribbean men per se. On the contrary, he was condemning a particular sub-culture, one that may have originated in parts of the African-Caribbean community, but which has now been taken up by some white people as well. Condemning a sub-culture that’s associated with certain people of a particular race, but is embraced by blacks and whites, may be provocative, but it isn’t racist.

But would Hon Tobes be able to identify racism without the aid of the OED? Unlikely. He adds this,

No doubt there’ll be people who take issue with this analysis.

The only problem for Tobes is that his use of the word ‘analysis’ is misleading. This is an apology and a very poor one at that.

Delingpole tried to claim that if  “Starkey is racist, then so is everyone else”. But that doesn’t let him off the hook.

The part of the programme which seems to have most got the Left’s goat is the one where David Starkey says that “the whites have become black.” But again, the cultural point he is making is indisputable. Listen to how many white kids (and Asian kids) choose to speak in black street patois; note the extent to which hip hop and grime garage and their offshoots have penetrated the white mainstream; check out how many white kids like to roll like pimps or perps with their Calvins pulled up to their midriffs and their jean waistbands sagging below their buttocks.

This is a posh, middle-class white man speaking in an RP accent. Remember, Delingpole is not only a self-styled climate change sceptic, he’s a batshit mad libertarian who rejects peer-reviewed evidence. Like others of his ilk, he clings fast to conspiracy theories. But people like Young and Delingpole can only see culture in one-dimensional terms. For them, there is a ‘black’ culture as well as a ‘white’ culture. One culture contains an aberrant popular form and the other doesn’t. It’s simple.  The cultural cross-fertilization that occurred as a result of immigration is neither here nor there. In fact, it is seen as a corrupting influence and there is no evidence to the contrary that can change their views. After all, wasn’t Grand Theft Auto accused of encouraging people to commit the crimes depicted in the game?

Right libertarians prefer to see things in black and white. The world is a complicated place that is full of complex issues. Yet, these people only want easy answers – hence their love of conspiracy theories. The racists among them lack the honesty to admit to their prejudices. For them, it’s simply a matter of individual rights and if those individual rights include the right to discriminate on the basis of skin colour then it’s simply a matter of ‘business’ and not racism.

The line here seems to be “I’m not a racist, but…”

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Filed under History, History & Memory, Human rights, Neoliberalism, Popular music, racism, riots, Society & culture

Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 30)

Within days of Anders Behring Breivik’s attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utøya, Kennite wrote this article for the Telegraph,

I wouldn’t suggest that anyone was actually pleased by the horror in Norway. But within hours of the gunman being identified as white, certain British Islamists and their sympathisers were behaving as if they had caught a lucky break.

So what is he saying here? Surely those who identify with Breivik’s notions of ‘cultural Marxism’ are no doubt pleased. It’s patently misleading to say otherwise.  Gilligan also appears to be suggesting that we “ignore the extreme right, it’s the Muslims we need to worry about”.  Regardless of who they are or what they do, Kennite gives all Muslims the broad brush treatment. He is indiscriminate. Those who work to promote tolerance are also similarly attacked. He doesn’t use the word “Dhimmi” but doesn’t mind much if his commenters use it.  One such person is Robert  Lambert of Exeter University, whom Kennite reports as saying, “Nationalists pose a bigger threat than al-Qaeda”. Gilligan adds,

The Islamist threat, he said, was “minimal” by comparison. Ibrahim Hewitt, the head of a charity called Interpal, wrote that “the new Right is on the rise across the West” thanks to “the collusion of Western governments”.

Any group or academic school that researches Islam or its relations with other religions is wrong in Kennite’s mind. Furthermore, most security commentators agree that Al-Qaeda is not the threat that it once was. Here, Kennite says,

Clearly, the number killed by Anders Behring Breivik is greater than in any single Islamist terror attack in the UK; and equally clearly, the murderer was motivated by hatred of Muslims. This cannot, however, have been his main motive, or he surely would have taken his assault rifle to an Oslo mosque, rather than an island of white teenagers. To even suggest equivalence between years of Islamist terror and the far Right, based on a single, awful case, is deeply dangerous and false.

Who said anything about “equivalence” but I would put it to him that terrorism and spree killings are abhorrent no matter who carries them out. What he seems to be suggesting is that ‘Islamist’ terrorism is somehow worse than any other form. It’s the way he reminds us how Breivik didn’t attack a Mosque but instead killed – and notice how he says this – “white teenagers” not only misses the point but indicates a fundamental dishonesty at the heart of his writing. If Muslims aren’t part of a race, then why mention these “white” teenagers at all? In fact, one of the youths who was murdered by Breivik was

Ismail Haji Ahmed, 20, was a talented dancer who had appeared on Norway’s Got Talent, using the name Isma Brown.

Ismail was dark-skinned and a Muslim.

While nobody should deny that there is anti-Muslim hatred in Britain, and it’s disgraceful, nearly all the available evidence shows that it is not “rising” but diminishing.

Naturally, Gilligan offers no evidence for his assertion that Islamophobic attacks are on the decline. Furthermore  who or what is the source for this earth-shattering  information? Daniel Pipes? Pamela Geller?

The Tory chairmanship, once home of Norman “Cricket Test” Tebbit, is held by a Muslim woman. The number of Muslim MPs doubled at the last election, some elected for entirely non-Muslim seats (Bromsgrove, Gillingham, Stratford-upon-Avon) with no backlash whatsoever. Continental moves to ban minarets and the niqab have gained no political traction at all in Britain.

The current Tory chair is Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who is often lambasted on the pages of the Torygraph. Only last week, this blog from Nile ‘Moonie’ Gardiner appeared.

If she does make an exit from Millbank to Islamabad, Baroness Warsi will leave behind a remarkably undistinguished track record, peppered with a series of distinctly un-conservative outbursts, which were frequently at odds with the views of her own prime minister. Only time will tell if she proves more successful in the realm of international diplomacy. One thing is certain though: her contribution to the cause of British conservatism has been practically non-existent.

“Islamabad”?  Yes, I wondered why he said that too. She’s from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, why wouldn’t she want to go back there or live in Chelsea for that matter?  Back to the article,

The English Defence League, although vile, shows the British far Right’s weakness, not its strength. Two years ago, haters of Muslims had at least a semi-credible political party, the BNP, with serious hopes of winning one or more councils. Now the BNP has lost nearly all of its councillors, it has effectively collapsed, and the anti-Muslim Right has been reduced from political office to a street rabble.

This is misleading and dishonest. Kennite claims the far-right’s strength has diminished  because of the EDL’s increased profile and the decline in the BNP’s fortunes. It wasn’t that long ago when the Daily Star openly encouraged the EDL to organize itself as  a political party.  But  Gilligoon also tries to put some distance between himself and his fans from the EDL.  But it’s all for show. His thinking is muddled, he doesn’t know whether he wants to offer praise to the EDL or condemn them.

Over the past decade, half a dozen or so white British Right-wingers have been convicted of possessing explosives and other weapons. But all were loners not acting in concert with any group. Breivik appears, for now, to be the same. Links to a global fascist conspiracy have so far proved elusive.

No one has ever suggested that there was a “global fascist conspiracy” but there are plenty of neo-Nazi, fascist and openly racist parties on the continent and some of them are in government. Italy’s MSI party, for example, is in coalition with Berlusconi’s Forza Italia. Belgium’s Vlaams Belang is gaining support and Geert Wilders PVV has 24 seats in the Dutch House of Representatives. Should we just ignore them? Gilligoon doesn’t say as much but that’s the message that Nowhere Towers is receiving. It’s almost as if the 1930’s never happened. Then, Jews were being scapegoated for the social and economic problems in many European nations, including Britain. The lessons of the past clearly have not been learnt and now, we have a situation where some lazy journalists happily and irresponsibly churn out scare story after scare story abut “Islamic extremists” and “Muslim terrorists”. Gilligan thinks he’s found a rich seam of stories, but he’s extracted them from a fool’s goldmine.

Kennite popped out two blog posts yesterday. This one tells us that “East London Mosque has bagged itself a Bishop”. Notice how he suggests that Tower Hamlets is some sort of nest of vipers.

The Islamists of East London, led by their flagship the East London Mosque, have been loudly condemning a proposed march by the English Defence League through Tower Hamlets on September 3. Actually, of course, they are thrilled.

Pray, tell us Kennite, why are they thrilled?

The EDL is wrong in so many ways – look at this video for how one of its previous marches, in Leicester, ended – but not least because they hand their supposed enemies, Muslim radicals, the perfect way to build support and legitimacy. The Islamists’ attempts to blame the EDL for the Norway massacre are perhaps a bit of a stretch – but who could dispute that the EDL are a racist rabble? Who could possibly object to campaigning against them?

That’s a bit of a stretch. Once again, he’s seems to be spending a lot of time on Mars. Did he not hear that Breivik had met and marched with the EDL as recently as March of this year?

The mosque has duly placed itself at the head of a campaign to resist the march – called, with beautiful irony, “One Tower Hamlets – No Place for Hate.” I think they must mean “No Place for Hate – Apart From The East London Mosque.”

He doesn’t miss an opportunity to take a cheap swipe at his opponent, does he? Say, wasn’t this blog supposed to be about a “bishop” being “bagged”? Not until the fourth paragraph from the end is the bishop in question actually mentioned. On the way, we are treated to the usual piss and vinegar about Ken Livingstone.

And there are those Ken Livingstone/ Lee Jasper creations, One Society Many Cultures and Unite Against Fascism (Jasper’s typically measured intervention in the Norway killings story yesterday was to compare Boris Johnson to Anders Behring Breivik.)

So who is this “bishop”?

The new bishop of Stepney, Rt Rev Adrian Newman, will speak at a “No Place for Hate” pre-rally at the East London Mosque on Friday, his first public engagement since taking office.

So what’s bugging you, Kennite?

The Bishop is the mosque’s most important recruit so far to what appears to be its new strategy of legitimisation. After they were thoroughly exposed by this newspaper and Channel 4, the mosque and IFE have realised that they can no longer simply rely on lies and empty threats of legal action to see off their critics.

This reeks of paranoia. He even manages to get in a pre-emptive threat.

I say the Church is untainted – but if it starts mixing with people like Azad Ali that won’t last long. There are plenty of far more representative Muslim groups to work with.

I thought you hated all Muslim groups. Aren’t they all “extremists”?

By all means protest against racism, bishop. But don’t do it through the East London Mosque – you’re in danger of making yourself look ridiculous.

Not half as ridiculous as you look, Andy baby.

UPDATE: 19/3/12

It seems that Bob Lambert is another former police spy.

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Filed under Islamophobia, Journalism, Media, racism, Society & culture, Yellow journalism

A walk through the kingdom of the blind: political romanticism and naïveté

Yesterday I had to laugh at the headline of Hannan’s blog, “Now Tea Partiers are accused of being in league with the British far right”. There’s an old saying that probably has its origins in the Bible, “There are none so blind as those who will not see”.  So in love is Dan with the Tea Party’s supposed ‘grassroots’ appeal that he has allowed himself to be swayed by the rhetoric of this movement. But has he really been swayed or does he genuinely believe the noise that comes from the likes of Glenn Beck and Pamela Geller? I suspect it’s a combination of both. Only a hopeless romantic would regard the Tea Party movement as truly grassroots. Only a hopeless romantic would see the Tea Party as ‘defenders of liberty’. He says,

Take three minutes to watch this CNN report, filmed in Britain, about the Tea Party being “infiltrated by the far Right”. The story is built around the visit by one Tea Partier, a loopy sounding rabbi, to an English Defence League rally. No doubt, in an organisation as large and dispersed as the Tea Party, you will also find supporters who are members of the League Against Cruel Sports, the Freemasons, and the Church of Scientology. As the French say, Et alors?

Non, comme le français dirais: tu me prends pour merde? Is he seriously telling us that the Tea Party hasn’t been infiltrated by extreme right wing groups?  If Dan had been paying attention he’d have noticed a number of stories about the Tea Party’s links with the English Defence League over the course of the last six to eight months. Of course none of those stories have appeared in the Telegraph because the paper has made up its mind about the Tea Party: they’re just a load of misunderstood patriots. He cites the “loopy sounding rabbi” (Nachum Shifren prefers to be referred to as the “Surfing Rabbi” (sic)) as the only example of a link (a word that he vehemently contests) between the two groups. But I do agree that the rabbi is rather loopy.

I wonder what Mad Dan has to say about Andrew Neil’s documentary Tea Party America on BBC2 on Monday night? You can view the documentary here. Like most who write for the Torygraph, he’d probably tell you it’s ‘biased’ even though Neil is a dyed in the wool, true blue Tory. One thing that stood out for me were the numbers of them who displayed an alarming lack of engagement with historical materialism. The myth of the America of the Founding Fathers is accepted over the realities of poverty, slavery, indentured servitude, disease and the lack of the democratic franchise for non-property-owning males. “We want to go back to the smaller government of the Founding Fathers” say many of them. Many of them will claim that they want to ‘protect the Constitution’ and will then add ‘the Bill of Rights’ to that. But I suspect that few of them have actually read the Constitution. Furthermore, the Constitution was written over 200 years ago. France, the other revolutionary republic has had 5 constitutions. each republic had its own constitution which was supposed to be an improvement on the one that went before it. By contrast the US has had one republic and one constitution in roughly the same period of time. In the US, the Constitution is regarded by some as holy writ; its words are set in stone. Truth be told, the US badly needs a new constitution; the political institutions of the country are ossified beyond belief.

Now that Tea Party-backed candidates are in the House of Representatives the Republicans have control. This can only lead to gridlock in Congress as Obama tries to push through his legislation. We can expect  [Ayn] Rand Paul to stand on the steps of Congress and make Newt Gingrich-like pronouncements about ‘freedom’ and ‘smaller’ government. Say hello to 2 years of inertia.

One thing that I find so breathtakingly bizarre are the many self-described Tea Partiers who have some form of disability or congenital health complaint who claim that they “don’t need any government help with healthcare” or “To hell with your socialized medicine (sic)”. Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas. You can find a good example of this cognitive dissonance here.

Now that the election is over, I’m also hoping that we hear no more from this ill-informed rabble but I think I’m indulging in a little wishful thinking. When Barry Goldwater lost the 1965 election his supporters didn’t just shrink away; they formed think tanks and shadowy lobby groups and fought a rearguard action. We can probably expect more of the same from this lot. The fight is not over.

Finally, the rank and file of the Tea Party; the ordinary people who followed the movement don’t realize that they’ve had the wool pulled over their eyes by FreedomWorks, the Koch Brothers and the Cato Institute who used the movement to pursue their own agenda. Of course, telling the average Tea Partier that they were hijacked by larger interests is only likely to be met with insults and abuse. They aren’t that big on counter-argument.

Some people simply hate change. A lot of people think nothing of the future and others want to live in a romanticized past when everything had its place and things were certain. But that is a narrative and the Tea Party’s ahistorical narrative is now part of the mainstream.

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Filed under Society, Tea party, United States