“Zionists called people fascists”

June 28, 2007 at 11:23 pm (Free Speech, Jim D, Uncategorized)

The ‘Socialist Unity’ site (to which we link – on the right), has just closed down its comments facility. They say it is because the comments from Gilad Atzmon and his supporter, Mary (“The Cutter”) Rizzo  are libellous. They probably are: they are certainly anti-semitic.

But the authors of the “Socialist Unity” blog go on: because, they claim, in the past, and on other blogs,  “AWL members and other Zionists used abusive language, including calling people fascists and very offensive swear words”…this, apparently diverted the debate from “how we can show solidarity with the Palestinians”,  into “instead being about Israeli security and allegations of anti-semitism”.

I have only one thing to say to the author of that load of rubbish: Tell me where I (or anyone else in the AWL) have EVER called a pro-Palestinian a “fascist”, simply for being pro-Palestinian, and I’ll donate £100 to your favourite cause.

I wanted to issue this challenge on your own blog, Andy, but you’ve closed down the comments.

47 Comments

  1. modernityblog said,

    I wonder if Andy Newman would care to give some examples?

  2. Will said,

    They are a fucking joke.

    What a bunch of pussies and ares (greek god of war) wipes.

    Newman is a fucking total tosspot. Hew’s like some Victorian madam who hides the legs of tables. What a cunt.

    These people aren’t social beings. They are automatons.

    Thick.

  3. Andy Newman said,

    Jim Denham said: Sorry: I goyt carried away; “may like to say that Israel ‘is the same’ as Israel”, should, of course read “Israel ‘is the same’ as apartheid South Africa”. Btw: I am reliably informed that ‘resistor’ is a fascist. Seriously.

    http://www.davidosler.com/2007/06/should_unions_boycott_israel.html#comment-15158

    Jim Denham said: I’ll try to be more well behaved, and diplomatic towards the IGNORANT ANTI SEMITIC SCUM in future.

    http://www.davidosler.com/2007/06/should_unions_boycott_israel.html#comment-15042

  4. twp77 said,

    I’ve noticed a tendency towards shutting off comments and shutting down debate on a few lefty blogs now. One of the reasons I like Shiraz is because I know that I can say what I like in any way I choose to articulate it without fear of being shut down.

    AN’s argument about fearing “libel” is utter bollocks. I’ve been running a message board for Strummer fans for 6 years now and this debate has happened time and again. People have threatened to sue me or other board members for libel and I’ve told them to go ahead. Of course no one ever has.

    There’s one problem with the internet – the servers are usually hosted in the US where unlike Britain it is next to impossible for someone to sue for libel anyway. Additionally you would first have to prove that you had a right to sue for libel in cyberspace, on a US server for an opinion posted in a comments box. Highly unlikely in all cases.

    So AN or anyone else should not shut down a debate because the topic and what is being said makes him feel uncomfortable using the excuse of “libel”. People will judge others by their opinions – let them stand or fall by their own words.

  5. Andy Newman said,

    BTW.

    The comments have not been generally closed, only on two specific threads. The comments were not closed to exclude the likes of Jim Denham and Will, who are welcome to post – although we may moderate personal abuse.

    They were closed due to a sustained campaign of anti-semitic slurs by Gilad Atzmon using the psedonym yochaved, and actionable libels. These were specific libellous comments aledging that a particular comrade had engaged in some fraudulent crime. And a libel action by that comrade is being pursued against Atzmon.

    We did not want to host anti-semitism, and we cannot host libel, which is why we closed comments on these threads.

  6. Will said,

    Seems fair enough to me that Andy.

    However you are far to prissy when it comes to people ‘having a go’ if you get my drift.

  7. Will said,

    Oh — and the links you’ve supplied don’t meet Jim’s challenge at all.

  8. Andy Newman said,

    TWP – I have some expereince of this as we took legal advice when the SWP threatened to sue the Socialist Unity Network for printing an article by Liz and Mike over the forged cheque issue.

    Our counsel’s advice was that a libel action against the site’s editor was legally possible, and our defence would have been that the allegations by Liz and Mike were a) true, and b) it was in the public interest to publish them. Of course I am sure that TWP knows better than our barrister. (Gilad Atzmon himself pursued Sue Blackwell for libel, and the issue of jurisdictioon (her site is hosted in Belgium) was not a defence.)

    I am surprised that you all feel so confident to comment without knowing what the specific libellous allegations were against the comrade, particularly as they were made by an anti-Semite against a Jew.

  9. Louise said,

    Firstly, it is precisely the offensive and horrible language thrown around (see Will’s comment above) with words like “cunt”. Why does anyone have to resort to that kind of language and am I the only person who finds it demeaning as a woman!

    Secondly, when a debate is reduced to personal abuse and words like “fascist scum” are thrown around with little thought to actually what these words mean.You are cutting off debate and actually words like “fascist” have their true political meaning removed. It is sloppy political thinking. Have a debate by all means but don’t reduce it to name calling bu using offensive words. I do find it intimidating as it lacks respect and yes, before Will accuses me of being a “victorian madam” who blushes easily at bad words, I do think we should think a bit before we engage our brain cells when typing comments.

    Finally, I think Andy was correct to close the comments as it was also spiralling out of control regarding the debate as it was reduced to personal abuse and insults. That is not political debate and if you want to resort to it try another forum but count me out!

  10. Andy Newman said,

    And Will

    Personally it doesn’t bother me, you can call me what you like.

    i do think that it can create an intimidatory atmosphere though, and on our SU blog we discourage it for that reason.

    On your own blogs, feel free to use whatever language you like.

  11. Andy Newman said,

    yeah – what Loiuse said.

  12. Andy Newman said,

    TWP has really annoyed me.

    We are not talking about a general threat of libel, but a specific one. So when TWP says: “So AN or anyone else should not shut down a debate because the topic and what is being said makes him feel uncomfortable using the excuse of “libel”. People will judge others by their opinions – let them stand or fall by their own words.”

    Das ist ja ein Witz!

    Yes I was “uncomfortable” with Jews being accused of “blood rituals”, and Jewish culture being mocked and demeaned.

    But you cannot “let [people] stand or fall by their own words” when specific libellous alegations have been made, and the victim of the slurs has notified you that they are taking libel action.

    Legally – to continue to publich them makes you also potentially actionable, but in any event why should we tolerate an anti-Semite libelling a Jew on a forum that we control?

    our server is located in the Uk anyway!

  13. Jim Denham said,

    Any,
    I called “resistor” a fascist because I am relaibly informed that he is just that: *not* because of his views on Israel/Palestine.
    If “resistor” objects to being so described (he has not done so yet, to the best of my knowledge), he is free to do so.
    But, I repeat, my desription of him as a “fascist” has nothing to do with the Palestininain question.
    As to calling people who actively promote and support the boycott of Israel “anti-semitic”: yes, that’s my opinion. Being anti-semitic is not synonymous with being a fascist: plenty of people on the “left” are clearly anti-semitic, as my recent regular reading of the Morning Star (and my knowledge of individual Stalinists and SWP’ers) has confirmed.
    I have no objection to you closing down your comments in order to keep anti-semites like Atzmon away from your blog, Andy. My objection was to your suggestion that the AWL calls people “fascists” just because they support the Palestinian cause. By that logic we’d have to call ouselves fascists.
    I think my £100 is safe, Andy,

  14. twp77 said,

    AN – You take yourself and your blog far too seriously. This is the internet – not a public meeting – not your living room. If people are having a raging debate and names are called and people get offended that’s all part of the way things happen. Once you start to claim that you are banning comments or omitting them because you personally consider them offensive you cross a line into banning comments based on personal perception. I may find things offensive that you don’t and vice versa. It is this criteria that becomes a problem and ends up shutting down debate and free speech. I understand banning a repeatedly racist commentator but what you have done in this discussion is stopped everyone from contributing to the discussion AND taken pot shots at Jim and others without allowing them the right to respond on your blog. Can you see the problem with that?

    Further, if you honestly believe that someone can sue you for libel for posting on the internet (and I mean you personally believe that – not a barrister in whose interest it is to make money out of legal action) then by all means continue to hide from debate for fear of being sued. I will continue to say what I wish and let others do the same libel suits be damned! Leftists should be made of sterner stuff!

  15. modernityblog said,

    Spot on TWP

  16. modernityblog said,

    oh Andy, your server is located in Germany not the UK, as far as I can tell

  17. Andy Newman said,

    Modernity, the server for the blog is hosted in the UK.

    When I post comments it goes through the proxy server by whoich I access my work, and is sometimes in the USA and sometimes Germany. This is not the server where the blog is hosted.

    TWP – we were offered free legal representation, so your cheap point is wrong.

    Atzmon’s libel proceedings against Sue Blackwell were settled out of court, but no-one suggested that the disputed item was only published on the web prevented it being actionable. It is true that the current case law is sparse, but libel is a real issue. I understand Sue had to pay out £1000.

    It was not my original intention to deny people the right to reply to the “blogs, libel and trolls” post, but the comments which were submitted were unacceptable – and as you haven’t read them and I have I don’t see how you can judge.

    If you read through the thread of comments that originally started this:

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=554

    You will see that we offered considerable lassitude, however it was clear that everything that needed to be said had been said, and it was getting worse.

  18. Andy Newman said,

    And TWP – it is not me who is “hiding from debate”

    I do not see how debate is served by

    i) libellous accusations against comrades alledging specific financial fraud
    ii) sustained anti-semitism

  19. twp77 said,

    You know AN – it’s funny that you took the comments down and then tell me I have no right to comment because I don’t know what was written! Are you taking the piss?

    And I personally don’t care if you paid or not for legal representation. That’s not the point. The point is whether or not you are afraid of being sued and it’s quite clear to me that you’d rather stifle debate than take that risk. Ok it’s your blog. But we also have a right to tell you that we think you’re denying people the right to speak by doing so.

  20. twp77 said,

    AN I already addressed the point about the racist postings – that wasn’t mine or Jim’s point and you know it. As for the libel, who cares what someone says about someone else on a comments section of a blog!

  21. modernityblog said,

    AN,

    I’ll take your word for that, kundenserver.de looks like it is in Germany but if you say so.

    funny though, for people that would aim to beat capitalism into the ground and lead us all to a socialist revolution to be scared off by the British libel laws

    incidentally, Sue Blackwell is threatening to use those same libel laws against Engage, see http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1197

    no irony there?

  22. Louise said,

    Modernity: The blog is indeed based in the UK.

    TWP: I don’t think Andy is taking the piss. The comments were removed as they were objectionable and offensive. My take on this is that it’s debate and that’s what it is about not offensive and insulting crap that was being written. We weren’t stifling debate but what the hell does offensive remarks have to do with a serious political debate. It isn’t debate. I prefer to be able to debate free of insult and offence. Surely as socialists we have a duty to be make the atmosphere safe and yes, lively with differing opinions and heated debates but those comments were personalised abuse. We weren’t stopping any debate it was just spiralling out of control, uncomradely and pretty damn sour.

    When you say leftists should be made of sterner stuff, what exactly does that mean? Where comrades have to read personalised abuse and attacks on screen there for all to see and read. At least in a public meeting you are psyched up reading comments like these in the sanctity of your own home or even workplace can be distressing. All I am saying is that people shouldn’t have to put up with this and we are in no way stifling debate. Debate should be able treating people equally and respect. Sorry, but that’s how I see it.

  23. Andy Newman said,

    Look I cannot be bothered with this any more.

    TWP – racism is entirely your point, beacsue I didn’t close the comments to stop you or Will or Jim commenting, I closed it becasue it was being filled up with anti-Semitic abuse, not from one but from several people. Nor have I generally closed the comments on the SU blog, only on the threads where anti-semitism was a problem. Had I known that i would be closing comments i might well not have includsed criticism of the AWL in the post, but at that stage comments were open, and I cannot be arsed to change it now.

    Some 6000 unique visits were made to the thread where libels were made before I deleted the libellous comments in question.

    It is not up to me, but to the comrades libelled whether they find it serious, and given the nature of the allegations and the fact that a named and well known comrade was the target, then damage to reputation could well have been serious.

    Certainly more people read it, and the defamation was more serious than the libel action that Alex callinicos paid out more than £10000 for on for a book published about Bosnia.

    Modernity you are just being ignorant. When the SWP threatened to sue the SUN over the Liz and MIke article we stood up to them, and they were serious about suing us.

    I am not going to stand up for the right for an anti-semite to libel a Jewish socialist to the point of continuing to publish a libel that I have been notified about by the victim!

  24. Andy Newman said,

    TWP – you totaly misunderstand the situation The point is whether or not you are afraid of being sued and it’s quite clear to me that you’d rather stifle debate than take that risk.

    I am not worried about being sued for libel. It is Atzmon who is being sued.

    BUt – I am not willing to knowingly publish libels from an anti-Semite agaist a jewish socialist.

    And if an action is made against Atzmon then I am not prepared to support Atmoan against the victim of his libel, which I would be doing if I didn’t delete the comments.

    With regard to closing the comments on these two threads – i don’t see it as the job of socialists to provide a platform for Anti-semitic abuse. If that is against “free speech” then so be it.

  25. modernityblog said,

    Louise,

    Thanks, if you need to put any thing remotely considered to be libelous, please pass it over to me, I will gladly any host any such material.

    I am not unduly worried about being sued by that nutcase Atzmon or Sue Blackwell.

    accepting what has been said about that particular thread, and I only read the first 10 or so comments before it vanished, doesn’t strike you strange that most of the people in that particular thread would consider themselves to be on the Left?

    that being the case, you have some prime examples of how infectious antisemitism is

    strange eh?

    I’d recommend everyone take the time to read Steve Cohen’s That’s Funny You Don’t Look Anti-Semitic, An anti-racist analysis of left anti-semitism (it is free and online)

    http://www.engageonline.org.uk/ressources/funny/

    Steve Cohen was/is a member of the Jewish Socialist Group

  26. twp77 said,

    AN – If you didn’t intend to stop the debate then why not give Jim the right of reply on SUN’s blog about what you wrote in the original post? Surely you won’t have a problem with that?

  27. twp77 said,

    Louise,

    I understand you point but again what is “offensive” particularly when it comes to what words one uses is wholly subjective. What’s wrong with people being able to post a fuck or a cunt now and again? I really could care less. It’s not the words that matter, it’s the argument. If someone writes a bunch of incoherent shite with little content then it quickly becomes clear to anyone reading that they have no argument.

    But if one were to go around saying this phrase is ok and that phrase is not – it just ends up diluting political points and discouraging discussion. If you want to tell people not to swear on your site – fine – but I think it is rather extreme.

  28. modernityblog said,

    AN wrote:

    “This does seem to be a potential problem with blogs, and for example Dave Osler’s blog recently hosted a long running argument about the proposed academic boycott where AWL members and other Zionists used abusive language, including calling people fascists and very offensive swear words. ”

    AN, aside from Jim’s comments, were you greatly offended by any other abusive language and swear words at Dave Osler’s blog?

  29. Andy Newman said,

    TWP – I don’t want to reopen comments to that thread, but if Jim Denham wants to write a brief rebuttal I will happily append it to the original post.

  30. Andy Newman said,

    Modernity

    I know it would have been out of character, but i think Will may also have been abusive in that thread.

  31. modernityblog said,

    Andy Newman wrote:

    but i think Will may also have been abusive in that thread.

    but Will is often abusive to everyone, including the people at Shariz Socialist, HP and even me, so why is

  32. modernityblog said,

    Ops try again,

    Andy Newman wrote:

    but i think Will may also have been abusive in that thread.

    but Will is often abusive to everyone, including the people at Shariz Socialist, HP and even me, so why is that significant?

    it seems that you’re making a more generalised point about how nasty “Zionists” are,

    so apart from Jim Denham and Will, was anyone else offensive or used swear words at Dave Oslers?

  33. Southpawpunch said,

    To correct claims above, it’s indisputable that people can be sued for libel for what they post on the web.

    Martin Sorrell, CE of WPP, recently collected a settlement of £150,000 damages for libel and invasion of privacy in the UK High Court after allegations about him were posted on a blog (based in Italy?). http://www.abcmoney.co.uk/news/28200747329.htm

    Where the blog is hosted will be irrelevant and libel law is a lot fiercer in the UK than in the US.

    I’ve dealt with two legal approaches threatening same for content on my site. I haven’t removed the text – I can back it up – and whilst I think it unlikely that action will follow, I do think it conceivable that someone may be able to use a No-Win, No Fee arrangement to sue at some point.

    On a more general point, I think there is a malaise creeping over UK left blogs. I find it very hard to read the (right-wing) rubbish at e.g. Harry’s Place but the comments are near impenetrable – hundreds of remarks that read like a play with the usual characters indulging in prescripted ritual abuse of each other.

    My conclusion is that there are a lot of people not worth bothering with in this incestuous world – I hope to find better sites to work with.

    ‘Dave’s part’ shows signs of going the same way and the plague of fake and multiple names (as opposed to using a consistent pseudonym) is just a cowardly abuse.

    I don’t get many comments on my blog (I suspect the owners of Harry’s Place wish they got a lot less) but I wouldn’t hesitate to delete stuff that makes allegations about people with no backup. It’s just too easy to write rubbish on a website like ‘Jim Denham is Lord Lucan’.

    And when someone makes up something which is very faintly possible e.g. ‘an anti Zionist is also a proven anti Semite (as some are, of course) who did X’, it’s not ‘openness’ and a correct ‘anti-censorious’ attitude to allow such gunk to remain posted.

    Instead I would demand that the person back up the allegation or I will remove it. The fact checkers employed by the US media aren’t there just to protect them from being sued, they are also there to maintain the credibility of the paper.

    Imagine if a paper’s gossip column just published every titbit that each PR person whispered to them. It might be interesting to read that Paris Hilton is being considered for canonisation by the Catholic church or that Tony Blair is being fasttracked for the Nobel Peace Prize but if your paper reported that you would quickly see them as being as believable as the Daily Sport.

    So to allow such rubbish on your site is just crap journalism that allows you to be used to spread lies and will turn your blog into a joke.

  34. Andy Newman said,

    I completelly agree with SPP

    I very rarely get to say that!

  35. twp77 said,

    AN wrote: “TWP – I don’t want to reopen comments to that thread, but if Jim Denham wants to write a brief rebuttal I will happily append it to the original post.”

    That’s fair enough Andy. Jim – do you want to take him up on that?

  36. modernityblog said,

    andy,

    well?? so apart from Jim Denham and Will, was anyone else offensive or used swear words at Dave Oslers?

    ain’t it really a storm in a teacup?

  37. Jim Denham said,

    Mod’s right: and anyway, I can’t be arsed. Actually, I can’t FUCKING WELL be arsed.
    But here are some limericks by Robert Conquest, just for Andy:
    A usage that’s seldom got right
    Is when to say shit and when shite,
    And many a chap
    Will fall back on crap,
    Which is vulgar, evasive, and trite.
    There was a young fellow called Shit,
    A name he disliked quite a bit,
    So he changed it to Shite,
    A step in the right
    Direction, one has to admit.
    That snobbish surrealist, Garsall,
    Once did himself up in a parcel;
    He addressed it ‘Lord Garsall,
    The Keep, Garsall Castle’
    And mailed it first-class up his arsehole.
    There was a lockmaker of Lyme,
    Whose balls had a very sweet chime,
    And when HE set his cock
    For seven o’clock,
    It always got up dead on time.
    Finally, my favourite:
    AT THE ZOO
    There was plenty of good-natured chaff
    When I popped in to fuck the giraffe,
    And the PRZS
    Could hardly suppress
    A dry professorial laugh.
    When I came back to roger the gnu
    I was scarcely delayed coming through,
    and the staff – most polite –
    cried, “please stay overnight”,
    it’s a priviledge granted to few.

  38. resistor said,

    Denham called me a fascist because I challenged him to say why he denied Palestinian refugees (described as ‘ex-pats’ by Denham) the right to return to their homes.

    For the record I am a member of the Labour Party (Tribunite) and have been for thirty years. I was once physically assaulted by a real fascist for wearing an anti-Nazi League badge. Unlike Denham I have a consistent record of opposition to racism, fascism, imperialism, colonialism and zionism.

    Perhaps Denham could inform us who his ‘reliable’ sources really are?

  39. modernityblog said,

    resistor wrote:

    For the record I am a member of the Labour Party (Tribunite) and have been for thirty years.

    have you really ?

    why then you do appear to rant like a jew baiting loon on HP and other blogs? could it be your alter ego? or you after a few drinkies?

  40. Jim Denham said,

    “resister”: holding a Labour party memnership card doesn’t make anyone immune from ther charge of being a fascist: Oswald Mosley was a prominent member of the Labour Party for many years – and was regarded as being on the “left” of the Party.
    More recently, I have encountered a person called Peter Marriner who was a prominent figure in Birmingham Labour Party, whilst – in fact – being a laeding member of the National Front.
    “resistors”‘s anti-semitic rants on various websites, leads me to believe that he is not simply some sort of SWp/Stalinist anti-semitic pseudo-leftist, but is much more sinister than that. This view is confirmed by others. But, of course, I’m not about to divulge who they are.
    If I’m wrong about you, “resistor”, contact me to discuss it.

  41. resistor said,

    ‘why then you do appear to rant like a jew baiting loon on HP and other blogs?’

    evidence please

    “resistors”’s anti-semitic rants on various websites’

    evidence please

    As for Denham’s, ‘This view is confirmed by others. But, of course, I’m not about to divulge who they are. If I’m wrong about you, “resistor”, contact me to discuss it.’

    How convenient. Is one ‘other’ Harry Steele? Who named himself in honour of Pollitt and Stalin?

    Well Jim, you are as wrng about me as everything else. I have contacted you and asked you why you deny the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, but you refused to debate with me, instead resorting to a smear campaign. You have libeled me as an anti-semite and a fascist – which I have to say – is like being called ugly by a frog.

    And who is WJ Phillips? Is it a made up name?

    Finally, please do not accuse me of being a Trotskyist, I am no worshiper of the butcher of Kronstadt and the author of ‘The militarisation of labour’

  42. Will said,

    Delete the fash please.

  43. voltaires_priest said,

    Firstly, it is precisely the offensive and horrible language thrown around (see Will’s comment above) with words like “cunt”. Why does anyone have to resort to that kind of language and am I the only person who finds it demeaning as a woman!

    I refer you to my previous comments on the subject of the word cunt – search the blog and you’ll find them. Frankly no, I don’t think radical left-wingers should be reiterating conservative objections to “the c word” under a feminist gloss.

  44. paul maleski said,

    Count for nothing–Andy Newman is a sniveller.
    There is nothing wrong with being being a grovelling nobody, like Andy Newman, as it tends to extend your wretched life expectancy by a few miserable years. But unless, the so called left has the guts to challenge jewish intellectualism head on, humanity is doomed.The Icelandic race took on the jewish thieving banks on and won: True Viking spirit. Say no to toxic zionism, unwanted multiculturalism and a big yes to civilized national socialism.

  45. charliethechulo said,

    Above: the authentic voice of antisemitism.

  46. paul maleski said,

    Around 90% of so called jews are not Semites. Yet another myth! They are Slakhtals.

  47. Rosie said,

    Above: the authentic voice of antisemitism.

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