baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
But to actually get down into this point: an idea I've come across a number of times recently, and which I think makes a great deal of sense, is that many people - white and Muslim alike - are motivated far more strongly by a hatred of Israel than they are by any particular love of, or solidarity with, Palestinians. The disparate Palestinian death tolls in Syria and the occupied territories over the last seven years, and the relative amount of outrage over each in the Muslim world and among anti-imperialist circles in Western countries, is a case in point (as if there were anything special or particularly worthy about Palestinians compared to the countless other ethnic and cultural groups being brutalized by this state or that jihadi group throughout the MENA region, which there clearly isn't.)

Palestinians don't care about Palestinian death tolls? And they're not allowed to hate the Israeli government, because...? I suppose the people floating this 'idea' are totally in touch with their own motives?!

The thing that is special about Palestinians in the occupied territories is that they are being brutalised by a state that the West supports, endorses and arms, and makes only very weak criticisms of at best. As far as I'm aware, Britain is at war with Assad (although he is still killing people with weapons supplied by British firms, of course), and was at war with Islamic State, so the pressure that it can bring to bear in that case is somewhat different in nature.

It's not so much that they can't be 'trusted', it's more a case of 'why would you listen to a group who are so clearly for one side, and even more importantly against the other side, if you weren't already in full agreement with them?'.

So no-one who objects to the activities of the Israeli government can legitimately have any view on issues around anti-Semitism, in your opinion.
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Palestinians don't care about Palestinian death tolls? And they're not allowed to hate the Israeli government, because...? I suppose the people floating this 'idea' are totally in touch with their own motives?!

You're reading things I haven't written. Of course they are "allowed" to hate the Israeli government - it would be stupid to suggest otherwise. My point is that when diaspora Palestinians are sharing propaganda that defends a given Arab state when that state has killed far more of their own people than Israel has in recent years, I think it is reasonable to inquire into what exactly is going on.

The thing that is special about Palestinians in the occupied territories is that they are being brutalised by a state that the West supports, endorses and arms, and makes only very weak criticisms of at best. As far as I'm aware, Britain is at war with Assad (although he is still killing people with weapons supplied by British firms, of course), and was at war with Islamic State, so the pressure that it can bring to bear in that case is somewhat different in nature.

The USA funds the Palestinian Authority too, remember, and Saudi Arabia is, supposedly, a member in good standing of 'the international community' (i.e. trades with, and cooperates militarily with, the USA and its allies rather than Russia or China and their allies). And of course they're involved in an extremely brutal and dirty war in Yemen, everyone knows that. You do sometimes hear criticism of the Saudis but it doesn't excite nearly as much interest as Israel does, as far as I can see.

And the idea that the UK is 'at war with Assad' in any meaningful way is laughable. There were a handful of desultory strikes against some of his facilities a couple of months ago. That's it. It has done absolutely no meaningful damage to his offensive capabilities and after a few days' respite the slaughter carried on as if nothing had happened.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
We've got no nearer answering my original point really, have we? Palestinians can express valid opinions on issues of anti-Semitism, seeing as they can distinguish Jewish people from the Israeli government as well as anyone else can (or can't). I'm guessing you now agree that your original comment re Electronic Intifada was misplaced, given that you haven't answered the issue.

Of course the support of some Palestinians for Assad is completely misplaced, but it's a different issue. And no doubt has a lot to do with the human impetus to want to take sides (in this case presumably seeing an Assad collapse as a victory that will enhance Israel and ultimately lead to greater misery for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories; leading to ignoring Assad's slaughter of Palestinian refugees in Syria) and then to justify that stance by whatever means necessary even if it seems completely untenable. I'd need to know more about relations between Palestinians in the OT and Palestinians in Syria to understand it further

My other point was to do with the West having leverage to change things in Israel and Saudi Arabia, since it supports them (and I disagree, Saudi Arabia is very frequently criticised by all kinds of people). It can't of course change Syrian policy in this way. Nothing to do with the paucity of strikes against Assad.
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Now you're obfuscating. You were talking about the Electronic Intifada magazine, and how any magazine named after a Palestinian uprising can't be trusted to be objective about anti-Semitism.

Why not?

Alright, to answer your original question. I mentioned that piece that came up in the context specifically of the Labour party's current internal struggles and PR woes, rather than just anti-Semitism in general. If you want to talk about obfuscation, consider the following points:

* First, the idea that Labour even has a "hard right". Labour is a left-wing party, and its right wing, such as it is, is centrist - not rightist, in any absolute sense, and certainly not "hard right". This fallacy is a consequence of the worldview that centres opposition to the USA and Israel as the definition of 'left-wing', i.e. Good, and the opposite of 'right-wing', or Evil. (Making Hamas pretty much the last word in progressive politics.)

* Then there's the idea that the anti-Semitism accusations are about Israel and only Israel, which is blatantly false. Most of those that have made the news have nothing whatsoever to do with Israel - rather, it's been a rehashing of well-worn anti-Semitic tropes about Jews being to blame for the transatlantic slave trade, having orchestrated WWII, having faked or exaggerated the Holocaust or simply 'running the world'.

* Putting these two points together, we're now in the bizarre position where some leftists, or people who consider themselves as such, at any rate, think that calling people out for reproducing precisely the racist tropes that form part of the ideological bedrock of Nazism and neo-Nazism is "right wing".

* And once again there's that phrase "witch hunt". Which I think can be dismissed on the basis that witches - in the literal sense of malevolent women with magical powers conferred on them by Satan - don't exist, whereas anti-Semites do. Or, to look at it another way, don't whinge about witch-hunts when a bunch of your mates have green warty skin, a penchant for pointy hats and cauldrons and a black cat called something like Samael or Beelzebub.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
Alright, to answer your original question. I mentioned that piece that came up in the context specifically of the Labour party's current internal struggles and PR woes, rather than just anti-Semitism in general. If you want to talk about obfuscation, consider the following points:

* First, the idea that Labour even has a "hard right". Labour is a left-wing party, and its right wing, such as it is, is centrist - not rightist, in any absolute sense, and certainly not "hard right". This fallacy is a consequence of the worldview that centres opposition to the USA and Israel as the definition of 'left-wing', i.e. Good, and the opposite of 'right-wing', or Evil. (Making Hamas pretty much the last word in progressive politics.)

I think it's a shame that you won't simply admit you were wrong about your comments on the Electronic Intifada.

I don't accept that the Labour Party is, or always has been, a left wing party. It's quite clearly a lash up of socialists, social democrats, neoliberals and all sorts of other things.

These things are not left wing:

Deregulating the City of London

Invading Iraq

Selling off council estates across London

Opening Yarls Wood

The Partition of India

The war in Malaya

Ramsay MacDonald saying "Strikes for increased wages…not only are not socialism ... mislead the spirit and the policy of socialism"

David Blunkett saying "refugee children are swamping schools and should be taught separately"

Tuition fees.

ID Cards

Prosecuting thousands of people for not paying the poll tax.

James Callaghan supporting indefinite internment without trial of IRA suspects.

Academy Schools.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
* First, the idea that Labour even has a "hard right". Labour is a left-wing party, and its right wing, such as it is, is centrist - not rightist, in any absolute sense, and certainly not "hard right".

Don't have time to answer in full, but this is just wrong (in economic terms rather than social terms). Certain economic policies of so-called 'centre-left'-governed parties that arose in the UK and US during the 1990s, quite clearly demonstrate that - they're pure neoliberalism, and thus on the right of any reasonably constituted array of possible political options.

Tl;dr: the Overton Window!
 
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DannyL

Wild Horses
You could add PFI to that toxic list. That whole kind of "third way"/pro-market positioning is profoundly not left wing and shows a victory for the Right (which is pretty much what Thatcher said IIRC). It's weird, exposure to Corbynite kinda pushes me more to the centre then I get these flashbacks....

Interesting to think about that list in terms of it being Labour Party history - you could see the whole Corbyn project of recpaturing the party and returning it to it's roots as completely ignoring these contradictions and it's history. "Ramsey McDonald? Report for re-education, comrade".
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
There was a Will Hutton/Andrew Adonis piece in the papers at the weekend about how to get people on board to resist Brexit and their grand plan featured ID cards so "everyone would know what they're entitled to". No way that will end up a tool of authoritarian racism in practice.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I think it's a shame that you won't simply admit you were wrong about your comments on the Electronic Intifada.

I don't accept that the Labour Party is, or always has been, a left wing party. It's quite clearly a lash up of socialists, social democrats, neoliberals and all sorts of other things.

These things are not left wing:

Deregulating the City of London

Invading Iraq

Selling off council estates across London

Opening Yarls Wood

The Partition of India

The war in Malaya

Ramsay MacDonald saying "Strikes for increased wages…not only are not socialism ... mislead the spirit and the policy of socialism"

David Blunkett saying "refugee children are swamping schools and should be taught separately"

Tuition fees.

ID Cards

Prosecuting thousands of people for not paying the poll tax.

James Callaghan supporting indefinite internment without trial of IRA suspects.

Academy Schools.

Blair turned Labour into a neoliberal party, for sure, but there's still a huge gulf between that and UKIP or the loony-bin side of the Tory party, which is how I understand the term "hard right".

And is it not possible to oppose all those things you've listed *and* to oppose Israeli land grabs and atrocities *and* to accept that anti-Semitism is a serious problem and that criticising people for spreading neo-Nazi propaganda is not a "right-wing witch hunt"? I mean, it doesn't seem to me that those things should be mutually exclusive. Perhaps they are for some occult reason I can't understand.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
Blair turned Labour into a neoliberal party, for sure, but there's still a huge gulf between that and UKIP or the loony-bin side of the Tory party, which is how I understand the term "hard right".

Neoliberals in the Tory, Libdems, Labour Party = hard right.

UKIP includes hard right neolibs and nationalist Tories but also far right people (like the former BNP members who kept cropping up to embarrass them).

In fact New Labour and softer elements of UKIP do actually converge around things like the infamous "controls on immigration" mug.

Norman Tebbit would be an interesting example of someone who flirts with the far right but is hard right in my book. Same as with Jacob Rees Mogg going to the dinner with the Traditional Britain Group, who have a policy of black Britons being repatriated to "their natural homelands".

There doesn't seem much point in discussing anti-semitism with you if you continue to maintain that people (like Electronic Intifada) who criticise Israel can't be trusted.
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Don't have time to answer in full, but this is just wrong (in economic terms rather than social terms). Certain economic policies of so-called 'centre-left'-governed parties that arose in the UK and US during the 1990s, quite clearly demonstrate that - they're pure neoliberalism, and thus on the right of any reasonably constituted array of possible political options.

Tl;dr: the Overton Window!

Well this just demonstrates the total inadequacy of a single axis for categorising political parties, doesn't it? I agree Labour under Blair and Brown was neoliberal but we're talking about a social issue here, so it makes more sense to concentrate on the social rather than economic axis. And on that front, in terms that are directly relevant to a discussion of culture, religion, race and racism, Labour is not and has never been "hard right".
 

john eden

male pale and stale
Well this just demonstrates the total inadequacy of a single axis for categorising political parties, doesn't it? I agree Labour under Blair and Brown was neoliberal but we're talking about a social issue here, so it makes more sense to concentrate on the social rather than economic axis. And on that front, in terms that are directly relevant to a discussion of culture, religion, race and racism, Labour is not and has never been "hard right".

Yarls Wood and internment in Northern Ireland are not social issues in your book?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
In fact New Labour and softer elements of UKIP do actually converge around things like the infamous "controls on immigration" mug.

And New New Labour, or New Old Labour or whatever Corbyn represents, is in fundamental agreement with UKIP and the right wing of the Tory party on the biggest issue of the age, so where does that get us?
 

john eden

male pale and stale
And New New Labour, or New Old Labour or whatever Corbyn represents, is in fundamental agreement with UKIP and the right wing of the Tory party on the biggest issue of the age, so where does that get us?

Which is what?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Yarls Wood and internment in Northern Ireland are not social issues in your book?

Of course they are. Tony Blair negotiated with Republican leaders in a way that was unprecedented for a UK PM and released convicted terrorists early as part of concessions to bring about a peace process which, though rickety, has largely held since then. Can you imagine a Tory or (god forbid) UKIP prime minister doing that?
 

john eden

male pale and stale
Of course they are. Tony Blair negotiated with Republican leaders in a way that was unprecedented for a UK PM and released convicted terrorists early as part of concessions to bring about a peace process which, though rickety, has largely held since then. Can you imagine a Tory or (god forbid) UKIP prime minister doing that?

I can imagine John Major starting this process off behind the scenes, yes.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
So UKIP, the Conservatives and the Labour Party all have exactly the same position on Brexit now?

Corbyn isn't identical with the Labour party, is he? He is well known as a long-standing critic of the EU and of the EEC before that. He notionally 'campaigned' for staying in the EU (after supporting the decision to hold a referendum in the first place) about as half-heartedly as he could without provoking open rebellion from the pro-EU majority of Labour MPs, and then used the whip to force the party to vote for triggering Article 50 the morning the result announced, without a single amendment.
 
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