Does Steve Bell think antisemitism is a joke?

February 6, 2013 at 9:39 am (anti-semitism, Art and design, conspiracy theories, Guardian, media, Murdoch, Steve Bell)

Steve Bell’s ‘If’ strip in the Graun has recently been concerning itself with imagery about Murdoch, Netanyahu and a glove puppet, plus references to a so-called  “Aunty Semitic” “Trope.” Guardian readers who are unaware of the background to this will have been mystified as to the meaning of it all – but then that’s not unusual with a Bell cartoon. Regular readers of Shiraz should be aware of what lies behind it: a Bell cartoon back in November was was widely criticised for reproducing the long-standing antisemitic “trope” (ie: “stereotype”; in this case, that of the puppet-master, as widely used in Nazi and contemporary Middle Eastern propaganda). Eventually, the Guardian‘s reader’s editor agreed (to a very limited degree) with the criticism. Bell refused acknowledge even the possibility that his cartoon was ill-judged and seems to have been smarting ever since.

Steve Bell's If ... 05.02.2013

The issue re-emerged again in January, when an anti-Netanyahu cartoon by Gerald Scarfe appeared in the Sunday Times. Critics claimed that the cartoon evoked the ‘blood libel’ and was all the more unfortunate because it appeared on Holocaust Memorial Day. Scarfe almost immediately apologised for the timing of the cartoon’s publication and Murdoch himself then issued an unreserved apology.
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Bell defended the Scarfe cartoon  (and, by implication, his own ‘puppet master’ image) in an intemperate rant on the Radio 4 Today programme. Shiraz covered the matter here.
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The present theme of the ‘If’ strip would appear to be Bell’s riposte to those who’ve criticised him. At best it’s petulent and childish. At worst, it suggests someone who feels that antisemitism is a suitable subject for humour.
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Let’s bend over backwards to be charitable to Bell, accepting that his original ‘puppet master’ cartoon was not consciously antisemitic (ie that he, as a leading cartoonist, was unaware of the existence of that particular “trope”): even so, can you imagine a good liberal-left Guardianista simply dismissing complaints of racism – let alone mocking them – under any other circumstances? Of course not. The only explanation that makes sense is that Steve Bell thinks that virtually all claims of antisemitism are made in bad faith by people who have a hidden political agenda. In other words, they’re part of a conspiracy.
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In the course of his Today programme rant, Bell said this:
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“Extraneous notions like blood libel are
dropped in and sensitivities are talked up .. the very word
‘antisemitic’ becomes devalued…
“.. they throw it around with such abandon. If there really is
antisemitism it’s actually getting ignored…”
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You have to wonder what exactly Steve Bell would recognise as “real” antisemitism?
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Mr Bell: you need to take a long, hard look at yourself.

201 Comments

  1. flyingrodent said,

    The only explanation that makes sense is that Steve Bell thinks that virtually all claims of antisemitism are made in bad faith by people who have a hidden political agenda. In other words, they’re part of a conspiracy.

    You’re groping towards reality here, but I’d add that from these cartoons, the only claims of antisemitism Bell can be said to think are made “in bad faith” are the ones that have been slung at him and at Gerald Scarfe.

    And to be fair, the vast majority of those claims were made in brazen bad faith, by people of various political, ethnic and religious backgrounds who all happen to share several extremely overt and transparent political agendas.

    But let’s not allow that to taint this achievement – Bell is, indeed, laughing at cheap bullshit-artists who argue in bad faith, and not at antisemitism itself.

    Not that this will do him much good with said bullshit-artists, of course, especially since Bell himself appears to be a pretty sizeable arse when it comes to accepting criticism.

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Rodent: “Bell is, indeed, laughing at cheap bullshit-artists who argue in bad faith, and not at antisemitism itself”:

    I’d be more willing to accept this if there was any evidence of Bell *ever* challenging antisemitism, instead of attacking (often in quite intemperate terms, using conspiracy theories) those who raise it, however tentatively, as an issue.

    As I said. it’s quite inconcievable that a Guardianitsa would deal with any other charge of racism (even one they disagreed with) in such a dismissive fashion.

    Bell quite clearly has a problem with the issue.

  3. Mike Killingworth said,

    [2] What evidence do you have for your third para, JD? Of course you have every right to assume that any cartoon you can’t understand (and I don’t have a clue what Bell’s on about, either) is in league with the Protocols of the Elders of you-know-where.

    Since I don’t wish to misunderstand your position, may I take it that you consider that the suffering of European Jews in the last century gives present-day Isrraelis rights that others don’t have?

  4. flyingrodent said,

    I’d be more willing to accept this if there was any evidence of Bell *ever* challenging antisemitism, instead of attacking (often in quite intemperate terms, using conspiracy theories)…

    I don’t know about this “conspiracy” stuff, Jimbo.

    The Guardian and every other major paper in the land are on the end of letter-writing, blog-hammering, email-spamming outrage from just about every minor interest group in the country, practically every day of the week. They get it from almost the full spectrum of races and religions – Muslims, Jews, Christians of most sects; from white guys to black women and every skin-tone inbetween; from nationalists; from feminists, gay rights folk, Europhobes, homophobes, Scientologists, 9/11 Truthers… Hell, even from Rangers fans. Stan Collymore got a taste of what happens when you incur their wrath, just the other night.

    All of these people fire Tweets and blogs and letters; they co-ordinate their efforts in pursuit of practical goals for a variety of motivations, none of which are secret; in fact, they’re quite often embarrassingly obvious.

    Are all of these people “conspiring” when they combine to pressurise a media group or a public individual? Am I indulging in “conspiracy theory” when I observe that this phenomenon is very obviously real?

    Because I have to tell you, the average Twitter-Storm gets a lot of press, these days.

    And surely this goes double for modern Israel-fandom, which observably doesn’t spring purely from the UK’s Jewish folk. Surely you’re aware that the outrage avalanches come from a mixture of perfectly ordinary Jewish people, along with a mixed barrelload of political cranks, racial obsessives, Counterjihad mentalists, angry Tories, ex-Commies and so on?

    So, how come Steve Bell is a “conspiracy theorist” for bringing up a well-studied and patently obvious modern phenomenon?

    it’s quite inconcievable that a Guardianitsa would deal with any other charge of racism (even one they disagreed with) in such a dismissive fashion.

    Well, let’s just assume that this is true, for the sake of argument. Like I say, I think cartoonists would do well to stay away from the type of imagery that Bell has used, even though I think the hurricane-of-instant-Nazi-accusation tactic that’s been used against him is ridiculous and insane. I also think Bell has responded like a bawbag, although I’m not innocent of that charge myself on occasion.

    I suggest that Bell will get away with giving his critics the finger because almost all of his critics behave in such a ridiculously over-the-top fashion that most political publications treat them like they would any other Godwinning interest group in the country, i.e. by humouring their wild passions or basically dicking them off.

    Now. What does that tell us about the effectiveness of the hurricane-of-instant-Nazi-accusation tactic? Does it help the public to understand the issues being raised? Is it advancing the cause of anti-racism?

    (Sorry about the length of the post, there. I try to make these things as clear as I can, to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding).

  5. Jim Denham said,

    Mike K: “may I take it that you consider that the suffering of European Jews in the last century gives present-day Isrraelis rights that others don’t have?”

    No Mike, I don’t.

    PS: what’s your question about the “third paragraph”?

    • Mike Killingworth said,

      Now I have to say, quite simply, that I don’t understand your position at all. And I certainly don’t understand what you think is socialist about it/

  6. Bevin's lovechild said,

    People, please think about the words “precise” and “concise”. Jake Thackray has a line “..will never use three or four words when a couple of thousand will easily do!” This applies to a lot of comments (and postings) hich are probably quite interesting but go on and on and…Size does not matter, Bigger is not always best.

  7. Frank said,

    Some of the most aggressive and organised campaigning is done by anti-zionist lobby. It’s a same though hardly surprising that they haven’t been put under the same amount of scrutiny as the pro-Israeli lobby.

  8. Frank said,

    Typos. I’ll try again.

    Some of the most aggressive and organised campaigning is done by the anti-zionist lobby. It’s a shame though hardly surprising that they haven’t been put under the same amount of scrutiny as the pro-Israeli lobby.

  9. Jim Denham said,

    Mike K: “Now I have to say, quite simply, that I don’t understand your position at all. And I certainly don’t understand what you think is socialist about it”:

    Mike, my position is quite simple: Jews should be treated exactly the same as anyone else. That includes their national ambitions (ie “Zionism”) and their rights to a distinct culture, homeland, language, etc, etc, as outlned by Lenin and the Bolsheviks on nationalism.

    They are also, as a people and a nation, liable to criticism and ridicule in the same way as anyone else.

    This isn’t even necessarily “socialist”, just consistent, democratic and fair.

    The only extent to which their “particular” suffering in the last Century is of relevence is with regard to sensitivity, good manners, and always having an awareness of history and how it effects people’s feelings.

    I ask again: what were you on about with regard to the “third paragraph”?

    • Mike Killingworth said,

      I suppose, as a point of grammar, saying that something is “inconceivable” is expressing an opinion and as such does not require evidence. And my opinions are (1) that there is such a thing as “disapora culture” which romanticises culture and language – I have a Liverpool-born friend who has lived there all his life and would no more live in Dublin than he would in Cape Town and for the same reason – neither are “Irish” enough for him. [tbc]

      • Mike Killingworth said,

        [2] I don’t make a fetish out of Lenin’s writings and if I did I would apply them as much to the Palestinians as to anyone else. You might do better to argue that “Palestinian” is a construct and the true nationality is Arab, but I suspect that even you daren’t pull that one…

  10. Jim Denham said,

    Rodent,I’ve only just noticed this, from you:

    “[T]he vast majority of those claims were made in brazen bad faith, by people of various political, ethnic and religious backgrounds who all happen to share several extremely overt and transparent political agendas.”

    Would you care to specify who are, and give some examples of, these people you claim “all happen to share several extremely overt and transparent political agendas”?

  11. flyingrodent said,

    Would you care to specify who are, and give some examples of, these people you claim “all happen to share several extremely overt and transparent political agendas”?

    Given I’ve pretty much just comprehensively refuted one of your main points here – the one about “conspiracy theories” – and you haven’t contested it at all, I might wait and see what your response to that is before we move on to a topic that you clearly find much more congenial, eh?

  12. Jim Denham said,

    Rodent: “Given I’ve pretty much just comprehensively refuted one of your main points here – the one about “conspiracy theories” ”

    Errr…how and where have you done that, Rodent? I have seen no “refutation” of the fact of Bell’s recourse to stuff about the “Zionist lobby” etc which he is on record as referring to (eg in his Today programme ‘debate’ with Stephen Pollard) as *the* explanation for the objections to his and Scarfe’s cartoons.

    Now, having dealt with that, let’s move on to my question to you, ie: Would you care to specify who are, and give some examples of, these people you claim “all happen to share several extremely overt and transparent political agendas”?

    • flyingrodent said,

      I have seen no “refutation” of the fact of Bell’s recourse to stuff about the “Zionist lobby” etc which he is on record as referring to (eg in his Today programme ‘debate’ with Stephen Pollard) as *the* explanation for the objections to his and Scarfe’s cartoons.

      Sure, Bell raised the dreaded “Zionist lobby” during the interview, but I’m not sure he said it was the explanation for all its woes. He actually made a fairly off-topic comment about attitudes towards the creation of Israel, IIRC.

      But it won’t do to just say well, if you say “Zionist lobby”, you’re a psychotic racist conspiracy theorist. I said earlier – and you very noticeably ignored it – that the entire UK is seething with pressure groups and great mobs of internet volunteers who bombard fuck out of anyone they perceive as going against their political interests.

      One of your commenters here says that the “anti-Zionist lobby” is a powerful force in the UK, and do you know what? He/she is right! There really are lots of lobbyists and interest groups and junket-happy MPs who apply pressure on behalf of what they perceive as the Palestinians’ interests.

      They’re never done bombarding folk with emails or choking up comments threads or kicking hell out of public figures and so on. All it takes is one dumbass to make a comment they don’t like, and they get the full industrial firebombing treatment.

      And do you know what? The same is true of the various pro-Israeli groups in the UK. The second some numbnuts MP says “The Jews”* when he means “Israel”, half the hacks and activists and online shitheads in the country go berserk and dash off a bajillion opinion pieces and blogs and emails.

      Now, this is just a fact, and all it takes to recognise it is a) a half-open mind and b) the most tenuous grasp on how media and politics interact in this country.

      What you’re doing – throwing your hands up and speaking in tongues about conspiracies whenever anyone addresses a provable, unfalsifiable fact – is what we might call “Politically convenient bullshit”.

      So. While I’m happy to concede that Steve Bell may indeed believe that the world is remotely controlled by Hebraic space lizards using mind control beams from geostationary satellites…

      I would suggest that it’s fair to assume that he is probably talking about the self-same pro-Israel shit-delivery system that also exists in mirror image for the Palestinians.

      If you want to plump for the Jewish space lizards theory of modern political lobbying well, be my guest. But it’s politically convenient bullshit, and both of us know it, don’t we?

  13. Jim Denham said,

    Mike: I precisely *would* and *do* apply Lenin’s position on national rights to the Palestinians. Their rights co-exist (or *should* co-exist) alongside those of the Israeli Jews (as should their nation).What, exactly, is your issue with that?

    • Mike Killingworth said,

      The issue, Jim, was famously described by Gore Vidal, in his novel “Lincoln” where he had old Abe say, in response to being asked what the problem was, replied: “the oldest problem in the world – I’ve got three apples and two sons, and each wants two”. If you say that both Israelis and Palestinians should have the right to define the boundaries of their respective states (which seems reasonable) then there is a disputed territory comprising some or even all of those lands and in such situations there is simply no court of appeal except violence. That is why neither side can ask to be treated “like anyone else” because in general boundaries are settled and agreed by both parties (think England and Wales, or the USA and Canada.) In this case they patently are not.

      • Jim Denham said,

        Thanks Mike: you’ve just very succinctly outined the fundamental case for a two-states compromise based upon pre-1967 borders.

  14. modernity's ghost said,

    Jim,

    Why do you bother arguing with flyingrodent?

    If you say black he would say white.

    He’s a middle-class contrarian and with no interest in antiracism.

    He’s an ignoramus where theory, images and motifs of anti-Jewish racism are concerned.

    Frankly, if the Guardian replicated a Der Sturmer cartoon but put Steve Bell’s name on it, then flyingrodent would probably tried to defend that.

    You are pissing in the wind trying to make contrarians with little understanding, interest or character admit the bleeding obvious.

    Jim, good work but ultimately futile.

  15. Timon for Tea said,

    Rodent, your ‘refutation’ of the conspiracy argument only makes sense if you hold that all those other angry groups that you mention, the ‘white guys to black women and every skin-tone inbetween; … nationalists; … feminists, gay rights folk, Europhobes, homophobes, Scientologists, 9/11 Truthers… Hell, even … Rangers fans’ make their complaints in bad faith for political reasons. But I don’t think you do claim that. Truthers and Rangers fans may be bonkers, but we don’t think they are just pretending to be insulted, outraged or angry when they write to the papers, do we? Rangers fans don’t collude in a secretive ‘lobby’ to pretend they feel injured in order to suppress all critical comentary of Rangers, do they/ And nobody, not even you, suggests they do. It is only the Jews who are accused of that, which is why the accusation is a conspiracy theory. If Bell just thinks the complaints are nonsense, he should say so. But he implies something far more sinister.

    • flyingrodent said,

      I don’t think you do claim that. Truthers and Rangers fans may be bonkers, but we don’t think they are just pretending to be insulted, outraged or angry when they write to the papers, do we?

      What? Of course they are!

      Dear God, you’ve just watched anti-gay marriage Tories take a terrific (and richly merited) monstering in the press. Their opinions have been openly ridiculed; their objections shot down as feeble cover for plain prejudice, their motives derided and their every attempt at covering their naked ideological ballsacks utterly dismissed as laughable, outmoded horseshit.

      And now, much like you’re doing here, these Tory throwbacks are gathered on websites, bitching and greeting about how nobody takes them seriously, and how everybody else gets a fair hearing except them, and how all the awful liberals are mean to them.

      Nobody would dare be this mean to (Whoever the fuck the bugbear of the day is), they cry. And they’re hilariously wrong about that, of course.

      And seriously, Rangers fans? Nobody believes they’re serious about their many and myriad pity-parties; nobody believes they’re arguing honestly and frankly, and the only people who give a damn what they think about anything are themselves and anyone unfortunate enough to end up impaled on the great rhino horn of their displeasure.

      I mean, what universe do you live in here? This stuff happens all the time, to people from just about every corner of the political and ideological spectrum.

      What is it with modern culture that leads more or less everyone to believe that they, and only they, are getting a tougher time than everyone else? You hear it from pretty much everyone these days, all races, colours, creeds and political perspectives… and the issue of whether it’s true or not isn’t even a passing concern, when the boo-hoo-woe-is-me stuff starts.

      • Mike Killingworth said,

        Why? Because there is – as yet – no disgrace in wrongly claiming victimhood. And those who had their childhood removed by J***y S*v**** and his like will say – please please keep it that way.

      • Jim Denham said,

        Having got all that bizarre rubbish off your chest, perhaps you’d care to answer my repeated question , Mr Rodent – ie: when you wrote:

        “[T]he vast majority of those claims were made in brazen bad faith, by people of various political, ethnic and religious backgrounds who all happen to share several extremely overt and transparent political agendas.”

        …Would you care to specify who these are, and give some examples of, these people you claim “all happen to share several extremely overt and transparent political agendas”?

  16. Bevin's lovechild said,

    I’m new here so please be patient. Have I got this right ? It’s ok to hate Israel for it’s extreme right wing govt policies. It’s ok to hate Israel for its deplorable atitude to it’s neighbours. It’s ok to hate Israel … BUT if you are a cartoonist (with or without a bias towards to the left) then we’ll applaud you for highlighting injustices BUTdo not lampoon Israel. Anti-Israel = anti-semitism. Yes ?

    • Shalom said,

      It’s okay to “hate Israel” if you’re a psychotic racist arsehole, yes, by all means.

      “Extreme right wing”? “Deplorable attitude to its neighbours”? Perfect descriptions of all Arab governments, well done. But what about Israel?

  17. Clive said,

    It’s okay to ‘hate Israel’ – if you mean its government; it’s not okay to equate ‘Israel’ with ‘Jews’, including by using the ‘tropes’ (ie motifs and themes) of anti-semitic discourse.

    It seems to me not okay, either, to suggest that people could only possibly be concerned about anti-semitic ‘tropes’ if they want to see Israel slaughter Palestinians.

    If most of those who deny that this or that instance is anti-semitic were prepared to accept that other instances *are*, I’d be prepared to accept *their* good faith. But the fact is, from experience, that most people on the left who call themselves anti-Zionist refuse in all cases – or any but the most extreme – to accept that anti-semitism is even a risk. Many seem to think – witness that recent exchange involving Roland Rance and Steve Headley – that to accept *anything* which purports to be anti-Zionist is actually anti-semitic is to concede everything to ‘Zionism’.

  18. Timon for Tea said,

    “I’m new here so please be patient. Have I got this right ? It’s ok to hate Israel for …”

    Personally I think it is stupid to ‘hate Israel’ in just the same was as it is stupid to ‘hate’ Scotland, France, or Swaziland, unless you just mean you don’t much like going there. But if you must hate Israel, hate away. It is ‘OK’ in the sense that nobody will care one way or the other. Just don’t make antisemitic remarks, jokes or cartoons or people will point out you are a racist. Why is this so hard?

    • Shalom said,

      Beautifully put.

  19. Mike Killingworth said,

    [13] The “pre-1967 borders” compromise may well be the best of a bad job, but what interests m more is how long it took to drag it out of you, JD. I don’t think you can have a blog which is both Zionist and socialist (perhaps you could before 1967, there might be an interesting post in that somewhere) – perhaps I should go away and read more Amos Oz or someone who has a better handle on the case than a long-dead Russian.

    • Shalom said,

      “I don’t think you can have a blog which is both Zionist and socialist”…

      …of course you can, ffs…

      • Mike Killingworth said,

        That fits the level of debate hereabouts, I suppose. I wish I knew how to unsubscribe to this place…

  20. Malte Brigge said,

    There is a wonderful painting by Paul Klee entitled ‘Twittering Machine’. You people should take a ‘good hard look’ at it! Walter Benjamin said so and he was never wrong.

  21. Jim Denham said,

    Mike K (19): “The “pre-1967 borders” compromise may well be the best of a bad job, but what interests m more is how long it took to drag it out of you, JD”

    JD replies: Bloody hell, Mike! I’ve been banging on about two states for years (as has the AWL, of which I’m a member). If I haven’t mentioned it just lately, it’s only because I assumed everyone was bored with my continual advocacy of it.

  22. Daniel young said,

    Mike are you a apologist for war.

  23. flyingrodent said,

    Having got all that bizarre rubbish off your chest… Would you care to specify who these are, and give some examples of, these people you claim “all happen to share several extremely overt and transparent political agendas”?

    Bizarre, perhaps; rubbish, no doubt, but the one thing that all of my points on this thread have in this common is that all of them have gone utterly unaddressed by you, the post’s author. Which is odd, since it’s you I’m responding to.

    Given that, I’m not really inclined to help you out here, but I’ll give you this as a preview – when I’m talking about people with overt agendas, I’m probably referring to some mixture of “You and your mates plus a wide variety of opinion columnists, public figures and internet lunatics, making lots of noise, on a voluntary basis”.

    Since this is basically the main constituency of any minority interest group in the modern era, it should be a fairly uncontroversial contention.

  24. Jim Denham said,

    ““You and your mates plus a wide variety of opinion columnists, public figures and internet lunatics, making lots of noise, on a voluntary basis”.

    Ah! Steve Bell on The You-Know-Whos, eh Mr Rodent?

    Thanks for helping out there, despite your inclination not to.

    I think we now understand very clearly where you’re coming from.

    • flyingrodent said,

      Steve Bell on The You-Know-Whos, eh Mr Rodent?… I think we now understand very clearly where you’re coming from.

      Apologies Jim, I didn’t realise you were posting from your school computer. It actually explains why you can’t find time to do anything other than stick your fingers in your ears, because teacher keeps dragging you back to the sandpit or making you do finger-painting instead.

      I’d hope at least some of your readers recognise that this is a really simple, stark and uncontroversial* issue, here – how political pressure groups and their supporters operate; how said pressure groups are composed of political co-thinkers with overtly political goals; how straightforward issues are intentionally politicised out of all recognition; how all of this is open and transparent and not in any way conspiratorial.

      Hell, I even gave you the example of lobbying on behalf of the Palestinians, an activity that’s almost exclusively carried out by non-Palestinians in Britain, to put this in a context that’s easier for someone of your See Spot Run level of learning ability to grasp.

      And your response to all of this is: La, la, la, I’m not listening.

      I mean, it’s your blog – go nuts, if that’s what you like doing. I’m just saying that your comedy clown act here is heavily backing up my points, and making yours look ever weaker and wankier.

      *The issue is uncontroversial. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of people working very hard to make it as controversial as possible, for entirely political reasons.

  25. Timon for Tea said,

    “how political pressure groups and their supporters operate; ”

    Rodent, it might help if you would give us the name of the ‘political pressure group’ you have in mind, and an address would help if you can be bothered. So far we have just been talking about individuals who have complained about anti-Jewish racism. Or are you suggesting that those individuals are secretly part of a a political pressure group? What do we call that sort of secret political organisation again?

  26. flyingrodent said,

    Rodent, it might help if you would give us the name of the ‘political pressure group’ you have in mind, and an address would help if you can be bothered… are you suggesting that those individuals are secretly part of a a political pressure group?

    I’m finding it extremely hard to believe that anyone could even skimread my comments on this thread and still believe that I’m talking about some cultish Supreme Knights Templar Of Everlasting, World-Dominating Fuck conspiracy, or even any kind of loosely-organised group that has an actual, physical address.

    In fact, I’m having such a hard time believing it, that I don’t believe it. I think my meaning is SO GLARINGLY OBVIOUS and has been repeated so many times, that all statements and questions to the effect that I could be positing a Behind-The-Scenes Ethnoreligious Illuminati Tentacle-Porn Cabal are either vexatious and/or bullshit.

  27. Timon for Tea said,

    ” I think my meaning is SO GLARINGLY OBVIOUS”

    I am inclined to agree. And your prevarications and refusal to clarify your vague claims about ‘political pressure groups’ that are in some unexplained way behind accusations of anti-Jewish racism in the media, are only adding to the glare.

  28. flyingrodent said,

    I am inclined to agree. And your prevarications and refusal to clarify your vague claims about ‘political pressure groups’ that are in some unexplained way behind accusations of anti-Jewish racism in the media, are only adding to the glare.

    Or, “I am holding you accountable for my stubborn refusal to treat you as if you were a rational human being making a straightforward argument, and am openly assuming that that it is merely cover for an insane theory about how Cthulu Will Eat Us All”.

    This mode of argument is exactly what I’m talking about, you know – “Prove to me that when you talk about perfect normal and observable political behaviour, you don’t actually mean that the government is a secret Cthulu cult dedicated to the destruction of humanity. Prove it conclusively! Prove it IMMEDIATELY!”.

    And it doesn’t matter what the response from the interlocutor is – it could be anything. Whatever it is, you can guarantee it won’t be enough to save him from suspicion and innuendo.

    Change the topic to tax evasion or Donald Rumsfeld, and it’s no different to arguing with Rangers fans or 9/11 Truthers. The outcome has been pre-decided, long before the conversation even starts.

  29. Timon for Tea said,

    “Prove to me that when you talk about perfect normal and observable political behaviour, you don’t actually mean …”

    But this is precisely what is in dispute. What you claim is ‘normal and observable’ some of us think is a fantasy. Your refusal to defend your claims in any way are grounds for suspicion that your motives aren’t what you say they are. Why do you think it is ‘obvious’ that accusations of antisemitism against the Guardian are made in bad faith for political motives as part of a broad but secret or unstated political formation? Because I don’t think that is obvious. I think it more likely that people make accusations of racism because they believe they are true (they may be wrong, of course). And that is the most natural explanation and the one that Occam says we should prefer too. You are making the exceptional claim, not me, and you refuse to defend or explain.

  30. flyingrodent said,

    Your refusal to defend your claims in any way are grounds for suspicion that your motives aren’t what you say they are.

    I was refraining from naming names because absolutely nobody has even bothered to deny the point being made about how public lobbying works in Britain, while demanding answers themselves.

    Nonetheless, let’s give it a quick bash: Whenever some Israel-related controversy hits the news, you can be sure that the pro-Israel angle will be identified and amplified by a large number of writers, bloggers and activists. Off the top of my head, I’d say the most dependable would be guys like Stephen Pollard, Howard Jacobson, Douglas Murray et al; bloggers like those at Harry’s Place, Jim himself, Professor Norm and many hundreds or thousands of internet/letter-writing/Twittering volunteers.

    All will voluntarily give up their time to push the pro-Israel line as inventively and repetitively as possible. Many of these people are Jewish and many are not, but they all share a general political agreement on Israel’s essential awesomeness, the awfulness of the left and the necessity of endless bombing by the US and Britain.

    The analogue on the pro-Palestinian side is near exact, in that you can be sure the pro-Palestinian angle will be identified and amplified by a large number of writers, bloggers and activists – most notably, guys like George Galloway, Seumas Milne and Noam Chomsky et al; bloggers like Lenin at Lenin’s Tomb, the guy at Jews Sans Frontiers, and many hundreds or thousands of internet/letter-writing/Twittering volunteers.

    All voluntarily give up their time to push the pro-Palestine line as inventively and repetitively as possible. Many are Jewish and many are not, but they all share a general political agreement on Palestine’s essential victimhood, the awfulness of the right and the necessity of stopping relentless bombing by the US and Britain.

    Now, I appreciate that many people think there’s a huge difference between these two, but there is not. Both are terrible bullshitters, when they see political advantage in bullshitting.

    They have more in common with each other in their behaviour than differences, and more in common than differences with Rangers fans, gay-marriage protestors, 9/11 Truthers, gay rights protestors, homophobes, Europhobes and every other damn minority interest group in the country. You could reel off a list of Milnes and Pollards, Lenins and Jimbos for any of these groups.

    Sometimes these groups are genuinely outraged; other times, they’re opportunistic and yet others, they’re talking shit for political advantage, because talking shit for political advantage is what voluntary political activists and opinion-formers do. It’s kind of the whole point.

    And all of this is known as “normal British politics”. Just because it happens to be a section of normal British politics that you have sympathy for, that doesn’t mean it’s any different to any other part.

    See?

    • Shalom said,

      “…guys like George Galloway, Seumas Milne and Noam Chomsky et al; bloggers like Lenin at Lenin’s Tomb, the guy at Jews Sans Frontiers”

      …what a parade of idiotic and worthless Islamofascist scum.

  31. Timon for Tea said,

    Really? You claim that Stephen Pollard. Norman Geras, Howard Jacobson and Harry’s Place constitute a ‘lobby’? Not simply a disparate group of people with some similar views? So what grouping does not constitute a ‘lobby’? Is it fair to describe you and Steve Bell as a ‘lobby’ or is another person needed? And, what is the political advantage that this Geras-Pollard-Jacobsen-Harrys Place ‘lobby’ is seeking when it makes what you apparently claim are its bad faith accusations of antisemitism? At least two of the tiny group you mention have been critical of Israel on many occasions and don’t seem at all dazzled by its ‘awesomeness’, so its not clear what they are trying to achieve (unless they are even more cunning than they are reputed to be).

    Or are you just retreating to the position of saying you disagree with the politics of some of the people who most commonly make a stand against (real or imagined) antisemitism?

  32. flyingrodent said,

    You claim that Stephen Pollard. Norman Geras, Howard Jacobson and Harry’s Place constitute a ‘lobby’?

    I’ve no particular preference on what such people should be called, though
    I’ve always thought groups of barely-connected political enthusiasts of this type should be called a “shit-delivery system”, since that’s exactly they do – they deliver several tons of shit to the doorsteps of anyone whom they perceive as harming their pet political causes.

    So, we would have the Rangers Shit-Delivery System, which drops regular piles of shit at the doors of the Daily Record and the SFA; the Palestinian SDS, which does the same for the Israeli embassy and op-ed writers; the Israeli one, which beshits the doors of the BBC and the Guardian; the 9/11 one, which… And so on and so forth.

    The aims of these campaigns vary but they’re generally either a) “Getting the truth out/correcting bias and/or errors or b) Just plain monstering people so badly that they’ll think twice before opening their yaps again.

    *folk who share the same message boards and can generally be found freaking out about the same things

  33. flyingrodent said,

    You claim that Stephen Pollard. Norman Geras, Howard Jacobson and Harry’s Place constitute a ‘lobby’? Not simply a disparate group of people with some similar views?

    And while I’m at it – I’ve repeatedly referred to these guys, and the various wallopers who make up all the other aggro campaigns in Britain, as some variation on “a disparate group of people with some similar views”.

    That’s why I’ve repeatedly mentioned their political similarities and stressed their individual differences again and again.

    Maybe you could draw some conclusions about your own approach to this thread? Because it’s quite an achievement, to have read it and not picked up on one of the most prominent and emphasised arguments on it.

  34. Timon for Tea said,

    “they deliver several tons of shit to the doorsteps of anyone whom they perceive as harming their pet political causes.”

    By writing comments on blogs or articles in the New Statesman? I think you need to lie down.

    What exactly distinguishes what you are doing on here from what you call a ‘shit delivery system’? Is it simply that you are sure you are right and others are wrong? Or perhaps you do consider yourself a shit delivery system?

  35. Timon for Tea said,

    “Maybe you could draw some conclusions about your own approach to this thread? Because it’s quite an achievement, to have read it and not picked up on one of the most prominent and emphasised arguments on it.”

    You manage to make your points pretty obscure, partly because you use so many words for such a small amount of content, and maybe partly because obscurity suits you. You seemed to be arguing that it is sensible to talk about a ‘lobby’ of some kind, and then afterwards you elide into talking about ‘campaigns’ rather than lobbies and now you seem to simply be saying that there are some individuals on the internet that you disagree with on the subjects of antisemitism and Israel (people you feel quite passionately about for one reason or another). But really, if that is the whole of your point, why the fuss? We can agree that these people you name probably are sincere in what they say but they may be wrong. Bell is wrong to imply that they are part of some organised misinformation operation.

  36. flyingrodent said,

    By writing comments on blogs or articles in the New Statesman?

    What? Yes, by writing comments on blogs or articles in the New Statesmen.

    Also, by writing to their MPs; launching email campaigns against media organisations; going to public demonstrations; bombarding individuals with angry Tweets and by offering up black sacrifices to the Elder Gods of Cthrawl*.

    This is what the Countryside Alliance and their fans do; what windfarm nutters do; what climate change mentalists do; what absolutely everyone who wants to exert political pressure does and all of it sounds pretty tame, until it’s your employer getting bombarded and its your email inbox filling up with radges who say they hope you die in a car crash.

    I mean, what? This is modern politics, foundation learning class. No adult human being who pays attention to the news has any excuse for missing this, surely?

    What exactly distinguishes what you are doing on here from what you call a ‘shit delivery system’?

    In microcosm? Nothing. But there would need to be about another seven hundred of me all angrily making the same points to anyone whose ear I could grab, to make it the same phenomenon, and I don’t usually agree with anyone.

    *One of those contentions is false and was put in to catch you out. Can you see which one?

  37. Timon for Tea said,

    “What? Yes, by writing comments on blogs or articles in the New Statesmen.”

    You equate writing a blog comment with ‘delivering tons of shit to someone’s doorstep’? And you don’t see how hysterical that sounds?

    And you don’t think any distinction should be made between writing a critical article on a blog and sending death threats by email? They are all ‘part of the same thing’? But hang on, you do make a distinction. You exempt Steve Bell, for example. You don’t think it would be fair to lump his cartoon in with, say, people vandalising synagogues as part of one ‘shit delivery system’ do you? But who gets to choose where these systematic lines get drawn? I can see a clear difference, but I don’t see how your paranoid version of political realities does.

  38. flyingrodent said,

    You equate writing a blog comment with ‘delivering tons of shit to someone’s doorstep’? And you don’t see how hysterical that sounds?

    For the love of…

    I trust most 21st century readers to recognise that the word “shit” can be used as a euphemism for “hassle”.

    Frequently however, I forget that there are many, many people who are very willing to pretend that they don’t understand simple things like this, because they confuse “pretending not to understand things” with “making a valid point”.

    The same goes for the stuff about death threats and vandalising synagogues.

  39. Timon for Tea said,

    “I trust most 21st century readers to recognise that the word “shit” can be used as a euphemism for “hassle”.”

    My point stands. I didn’t suppose you meant the tons of shit were being delivered literally, but I still think the idea that writing a comment on your blog about a public event equates to ‘delivering a ton of shit to someone’s doorstep’ in any sense. The equivalence is just silly.

    As to: ‘they confuse “pretending not to understand things” with “making a valid point”.’ well, tu quoque.

  40. flyingrodent said,

    My point stands. I didn’t suppose you meant the tons of shit were being delivered literally, but I still think the idea that writing a comment on your blog about a public event equates to ‘delivering a ton of shit to someone’s doorstep’ in any sense. The equivalence is just silly.

    Well, be sure to remember how insignificant it all is, if you ever step on the toes of – say – Plaid Cymru, and their supporters send your boss four thousand emails demanding that you be sacked, and deluge you personally with raging bile via every mode of communication you use.

    (“Step on their toes”, by the way, is a figure of speech used to mean “annoy”. I’m just spelling that out, in case you thought it was some kind of accusation of anti-Welsh animus or an attempt at subterfuge).

  41. Timon for Tea said,

    “Well, be sure to remember how insignificant it all is, if you ever step on the toes of – say – Plaid Cymru, and their supporters send your boss four thousand emails demanding that you be sacked,”

    But sending 4,000 emails demanding you be sacked and writing a blog article are not the same thing at all. They are not even the same sort of thing. That is my point. I don’t understand why you think they are similar Lumping them together is silly at best (dishonest at worst). And you exempt yourself (I am just one voice!) so why not make the same exemption for others?

    Is there an actual case involving Plaid Cymru, by the way? I didn’t hear about that one.

  42. Clive said,

    In so far as I have the faintest idea what this argument has come to be about –

    flyingrodent appears to be equating anyone who complains about anti-semitism as being the ‘pro-Israel’ lobby.

    Therein, precisely, lies the problem.

  43. Timon for Tea said,

    I think that is right Clive, although he slips around when you try to hold him to a clear position, lots of vapourings about Cthulhu and attempts at Brookerish facetiousness but no clarity.

  44. flyingrodent said,

    But sending 4,000 emails demanding you be sacked and writing a blog article are not the same thing at all. They are not even the same sort of thing. That is my point.

    (Suspecting wind-up, since no sane human being could be this obtuse accidentally)

    I’m not talking about one person sending four thousand emails. I’m talking about lots and lots of people all sending one email each, FOR EXAMPLE, after finding out about issues from just a few people who write blogs or newspaper articles and so on and so forth. From the one – many.

    Thus, one email or one blog post or one letter or one Tweet becomes part of a greater avalanche of outrage, the combined force of which is exponentially more powerful than that of its constituent parts.

    Put bluntly, this is not a difficult concept to understand and it shouldn’t be necessary to explain this to any mentally competent adult.

    Is there an actual case involving Plaid Cymru, by the way? I didn’t hear about that one.

    (Blank, slack-jawed stare)

    There probably is but, as you can plainly see, I was picking them at random, as a single demonstrative example of a single minority interest group from the many, many minority interest groups in the UK… Of which, Israel fans are but one.

    I mean, you’re trolling here, right? On a wind-up? It’s the only explanation I can think of.

    I’ve always got time for these interminable exchanges but in ten years online, I’ve never come across anyone who had to be grabbed by the collar and forced to look at the Wiki page on “figures of speech” quite so many times.

  45. Timon for Tea said,

    “I’m not talking about one person sending four thousand emails.”

    It doesn’t matter, the point is the same: sending an email demanding someone be sacked is not the same thing as, or even the same sort of thing as writing a blog post, so lumping them together makes no sense unless they are part of a coordinated effort which in the case of antisemitism and the people you cited you no longer seem to be claiming is the case. It all just becomes an exercise in guilt by association or smearing unless, after all, you are suggesting some sort of organised activity, either open (lobby) or hidden (conspiracy).

    “There probably is but, as you can plainly see …”

    In other words, there probably isn’t. And ‘figure of speech’ does not mean what you think it means.

  46. flyingrodent said,

    flyingrodent appears to be equating anyone who complains about anti-semitism as being the ‘pro-Israel’ lobby.

    Stop right there. Jim said that because Bell said a “Zionist lobby” existed, he was – and I paraphrase – a mental conspiracy theorist racist.

    In response, I’ve demonstrated that this is clearly an unjustified conclusion, since this “lobby” a) does exist and b) is in fact no different to any other minority interest group in the country.

    While it’s true that there certainly are conspiracy theorists who think that the world is ruled by Benjamin Netanyahu from his space-house on Saturn, there is as yet no justification for believing that Steve Bell is one of those people.

    And so, that would mean that your point about “anyone who complains about antisemitism” would be what is known as “made up nonsense” or, as noted above, “politically convenient bullshit”.

    • Clive said,

      First – ‘Zionist lobby’ is a phrase with a different social significance to, say, ‘electricians’ lobby’, and often *is* linked to notions of conspiracy.

      Of course there’s a ‘Zionist lobby’ in the business-as-usual, harmless, -same-as-everyone-else way; but people rarely think those other lobbies can determine, for instance, US foreign policy. If someone responds to being criticised for anti-semitism by complaining about the Zionist lobby only a cretin or someone born yesterday could think they mean some harmless, neutral body, like an organisation of electricians. To respond by saying ‘oh everyone’s a lobby’ is just pathetic.

      Second, you said – after listing your various people who had a dodgy agenda for complaining about anti-semitism: “All will voluntarily give up their time to push the pro-Israel line”.

      Since this “all” included Jim and I would imagine includes, say, me – you are indeed conflating concern about anti-semitism with the ‘pro-Israel line’.

      • flyingrodent said,

        If someone responds to being criticised for anti-semitism by complaining about the Zionist lobby only a cretin or someone born yesterday could think they mean some harmless, neutral body, like an organisation of electricians.

        You and I both know that “Zionist lobby” can mean either “actually-existing people voluntarily pushing the pro-Israel line for political reasons” or it can mean “Lunatics who think Alan Dershowitz can hynotise the Queen with his Satanic Jew-beams”.

        This being the case, automatically assuming the latter is referred to when your political foes use the term is both uncharitable and highly convenient, isn’t it? Perhaps Bell meant the “actually-existing” type? I mean, maybe he wears SS underwear. I don’t know the guy personally, but it’s worth considering that he wasn’t on about the Queen-hypnosis, especially since he brought it up tangentially and didn’t accuse it of having a go at him personally.

        “All will voluntarily give up their time to push the pro-Israel line”.

        If that gave the impression that I think everyone who complains about antisemitism is pushing pro-Israel political bullshit all the time, then that’s certainly not what I meant and it’s not the point I’m making. I’d like to think it’s pretty clear that I’m saying the issue can be and frequently is highly-politicised, which seems to me to be fair comment and fairly difficult to deny.

  47. Timon for Tea said,

    “In response, I’ve demonstrated that this is clearly an unjustified conclusion, since this “lobby” a) does exist and b) is in fact no different to any other minority interest group in the country.”

    You haven’t demonstrated anything. You have made a series of increasingly unconnected assertions. If the ‘lobby’ exists, lets hear who is in it and where it can be found, just like we can for other lobby groups. If you are claiming it is secret or hidden, you are claiming a conspiracy. if you are just choosing to call ‘lobby’ any group of individuals that hold similar opinions, you are saying nothing at all, why bother? Does everyone who writes a letter to JK Rowling constitute a ‘lobby’? It’s daft.

  48. Clive said,

    I have skimmed this exchange – god knows why – in an effort to make sense of it. It would be hard, flyingrodent, to imagine anyone skirting around what’s at issue – with the Bell cartoon – so circuitously.

    Even leaving aside the original cartoon, this one – making a joke out of ‘anti-semitic tropes’ is either a) saying there are no such things as ‘anti-semitic tropes’ or b) saying that all people who complain about them are really complaining about something else, namely any and every criticism of Israel.

    Since racism isn’t funny, if it’s saying a) it’s not funny and pretty offensive. If it’s saying b) it is gibberish and offensive.

    If something is anti-semitic it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever what the alleged ‘agenda’ is of the critic. Something doesn’t cease to be racist because the person who identifies it as racist is horrid.

    Whether or not his original cartoon was anti-semitic also has no bearing on the content of this one, actually. But the attitude expressed in this one – whether a) or b) – is strong evidence for the claim in the first one.

    The issue of people lobbying for the causes that particularly concern them, whether they write lots of emails and what have you, is so utterly irrelevant to the discussion I can’t believe I just wasted several minutes of my life reading gibberish posts about them.

  49. flyingrodent said,

    The issue of people lobbying for the causes that particularly concern them… is so utterly irrelevant to the discussion I can’t believe I just wasted several minutes of my life reading gibberish posts about them.

    Well yes, it is irrelevant, isn’t it? That’s probably why I initially tried to avoid it but of course, both Jim and Timon demanded a precise itinerary of such groups; to be told their identities and addresses, what size shoes they wear and which side they dress to.

    That’s doubly ironic, since Jim and Timon share so many characteristics – their utter befuddlement in the face of simple metaphors and total incomprehension of abstract concepts, for instance – that they’re almost certainly the same person.

    If it’s a long thread well, again, speak to the proprietor. It’s him who insists on pretending to have the comprehension skills of an acid-tripping eight-year-old in a toyshop, after all.

  50. flyingrodent said,

    if you are just choosing to call ‘lobby’ any group of individuals that hold similar opinions, you are saying nothing at all…

    Here you go, for instance. It’s not like this issue has been dodged, is it?

    Jesus. If you can’t even admit that pro-Israel types in Britain sometimes voluntarily act in concert by bigging up the same issues, how are you going to deal with the big stateside lobbying groups like AIPAC or CAIR, the NRA, big pharma or agriculture? What about links between campaign donations, arms companies and military aid to US-allied nations?

    I mean, I stayed off all the big international stuff and focused on just getting you to admit that there are, like, some guys… And that these guys have pretty pro-Israel political opinions and sometimes, they all like, get together and agree that some shit is bad and that, and write about it and send some emails and stuff.

    If you can’t even acknowledge the basis of popular political action in the modern era, then concepts like “Christian Zionism has a limited but recognisable influence upon American foreign policy” must blow your fucking mind.

    Seriously, it amazes me that anyone can walk around this Earth in such a state of childlike innocence without their brains exploding inside their skulls and spinal fluid squirting out of their eyes. Astonishing stuff.

  51. Timon for Tea said,

    “Jesus. If you can’t even admit that pro-Israel types in Britain sometimes voluntarily act in concert by bigging up the same issues”

    I don’t know if they do or not, but I see no evidence of it. I think what usually happens is people act individually in response to things in the news.n Or is that what you mean ‘in concert’ The same as a lot of people watching Delia Smith are acting ‘in concert’.

    “how are you going to deal with the big stateside lobbying groups like AIPAC or CAIR, the NRA, big pharma or agriculture?”

    Thankfully I don’t have to deal with them, but I can easily recognise that they are lobbies, because that is what lobby groups look like, they have postal addresses, stated aims, staffs, websites and that sort of thing, and they, of course get up to all sorts of nefarious stuff. But the biggest mischief they cause is in encouraging the paranoia prone to imagine that every expression of opinion they don’t like is a secret lobby.

    “What about links between campaign donations, arms companies and military aid to US-allied nations?”

    Again, we can all agree on this stuff, because we can point to it and don’t have to make unsupported claims. Why you and Steve bell confuse that sort of thing with two or three people writing blogs about antisemitism, I don’t know. It is so implausible that I find it very difficult to imagine you are making the confusion in good faith.

  52. flyingrodent said,

    I think what usually happens is people act individually in response to things in the news.

    Yes. Do you understand that, if all of those individuals then individually respond to things in the news – through writing or emailing or other forms of awareness-raising – that this would in fact constitute a form of concerted political action, even though these people remained individuals and were not under the control of a central hive-mind?

    Why you and Steve bell confuse that sort of thing with two or three people writing blogs about antisemitism, I don’t know. It is so implausible that I find it very difficult to imagine you are making the confusion in good faith.

    Oh, we’re back to Steve Bell? That’s where I started, before you demanded this detour, Jim. Good. Right.

    Steve Bell, very clearly, is not laughing at anti-semitism; he’s laughing at his critics. Now, it’s a damn shame that his critics have trouble distinguishing the two, but it’s not exactly surprising. Most of them do take themselves very, very seriously indeed.

    Additionally, I do not think that “everyone who writes blogs about antisemitism” constitutes a secret conspiracy. I do, however, think that issues like the furore over the Bell cartoon and the Scarfe cartoon are little more than opportunities for people who have political hobbyhorses that go far beyond anti-racism to put the boot into their political enemies.

    Bell thinks so too, although he’s being a huge dick about it. That’s why he quoted Rupert Murdoch making a racially-whiffy comment about how the “Jewish-owned press” should act.

    Because Bell is pointing out – it’s very noticeable that said “anti-racists” are considerably more enraged when a cartoonist draws some blood on a trowel than they are when the most powerful media tycoon in world history says it’s weird that Jews don’t all support Israel’s wars.

    And you don’t even have to agree that Bell is making a good point – I don’t think it’s much good myself, but that is plainly the point that he’s making.

    See?

  53. Clive said,

    “Steve Bell, very clearly, is not laughing at anti-semitism; he’s laughing at his critics.”

    Good grief. If the charge was ‘racist tropes’ and he made fun of ‘racist tropes’, you might well say he was making fun of the word ‘tropes’ or something – but to anyone not wilfully avoiding what’s at issue, he would be ridiculing the idea there was such a thing as racism.

    Of course this issue is political. What kind of non-political racism is there?

    But the assumption – by you and apparently by Bell and by so many other people – that the precise politics of ho-ho-silly critics can be *deduced* from their concern about anti-semitism -and is necessarily ‘pro-Israel’, and nobody could possibly be concerned about anti-semitism *unless* they are ‘pro-Israel’ – is precisely what’s so utterly toxic.

    (I didn’t, for myself, think the original cartoon was anti-semitic. This new one is so dreadful I think I’ve changed my mind).

  54. flyingrodent said,

    but to anyone not wilfully avoiding what’s at issue, he would be ridiculing the idea there was such a thing as racism.

    I suggest to you that, however it may appear to you, Bell doesn’t think he’s ridiculing the idea that racism exists. Plainly, he thinks that his critics are bullshitters and that the tropes in question are just a stick to beat him and Scarfe with, for depicting Netanyahu in a manner they don’t like. Rupert Murdoch’s intervention isn’t likely to have discouraged that opinion, given his usual behaviour.

    Now, I personally realise that there are people who are genuinely offended by all this and find it disgraceful, which is why I keep saying things like “Bell is being a dick” and “Bell has responded like a bawbag” and so on. If I wasn’t aware of this, I wouldn’t say these things.

    On the other hand, we have to be brutally honest here and admit that the vast majority of feedback Bell will have got will have come from the type of lunatic who spends their time hanging about at JihadWatch and Harry’s Place, looking for things to be offended by. Such people exist all over the political spectrum and they tend to hugely outnumber reasonable human beings in situations like this. I’m sure you’ll agree that this is the case, since it’s pretty undeniable.

    Which does add strength to my belief that he’s having a go at those people, and not laughing at the concept of racism itself, I would’ve thought.

    But like I say, who knows? Maybe he really is just as cloth-eared and malicious as you think.

    the assumption – by you and apparently by Bell and by so many other people – that the precise politics of ho-ho-silly critics can be *deduced* from their concern about anti-semitism -and is necessarily ‘pro-Israel’, and nobody could possibly be concerned about anti-semitism *unless* they are ‘pro-Israel’ – is precisely what’s so utterly toxic.

    Both toxic and thankfully fictional on my part, but I can’t read Bell’s mind.

    Nonetheless, it is worth noting the relative levels of outrage over Bell’s cartoons. The original Bibi puppet one was nearly an international incident, while the supposedly much worse strips this week have passed with only a few grumpy “God, what an arse” moans.

    Which suggests three possibilities to me – a) That all of the original complainants have just decided to give up on the issue as a hopeless cause (unlikely), or b) that most of them are realising that their case isn’t quite as rock-solid as it might have been made out to be or c) that they can’t take being the butt of the joke. You can combine a) and c), if you want to make it sound really bad.

    Of course, it’s also worth noting that the original puppet one came out during a full military shooting match, whereas this one doesn’t. And I think we both know that the second the Israeli warplanes are in the air, the volunteer propaganda army are out looking for distractions – preferably ones that make the lefties look really, really bad, since it’s usually only lefties that bother to object.

    That’s another undeniable one, by the way.

  55. Jim Denham said,

    Rodent : “Which suggests three possibilities to me – a) That all of the original complainants have just decided to give up on the issue as a hopeless cause (unlikely), or b) that most of them are realising that their case isn’t quite as rock-solid as it might have been made out to be or c) that they can’t take being the butt of the joke. You can combine a) and c), if you want to make it sound really bad.”

    Of those possibilities, my guess is that ‘a’ is nearest the mark: most people who care about the issue and were at least worried by Bell’s original cartoon (me, for instance) felt the matter of antisemtic “tropes” needed to be drawn to Bell’s attention, even if (like me) they were at that stage inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    His bone-headed and pig-ignorant response at the time and, more recently, to the Scarfe business, suggests that he’s a lost cause and beyond reasoned argument. The latest ‘If’ cartoons merely confirm this. And, by the way, I find them far more objectionable (for reasons explained in the main post and also in comments from Clive) than the original “puppet-master” cartoon.

    To be honest, I find most of Rodent’s comments simply incomprehensible and his “logic” a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

  56. Red Skippy said,

    Some people might think it odd there is so much antisemitism in Scotland when there are so few Jews. What could be the source of such pathological animus? But you hear it repeatedly.

  57. Red Skippy said,

    And before you protest that you are not just-another-Scottish-antisemite, It must be pointed out that arguing that antisemitism does not exist appears to be your sole topic of interest in these parts.

  58. Frank said,

    Timon for Tea / Clive. Flying Rodent using conspiracy theory to attack people who are concerned about anti-semitism. He accuses people of acting in bad faith, that they are really concerned about defending the actions of the Israeli government.

    His views are the traditipnal views of the far right. You’ve taken him to pieces and he’s now reduced to waffling and slipping all over the place. I wouldn’t waste any more time as you can’t convince a conspiracy theorist and most readers of the comments will see him for what he is. Job done, now best to ignore him.

  59. modernity's ghost said,

    Jim,

    Well, all very interesting. Clive’s contributions were typically patient and reasoned, but I preferred Red Skippy’s:

    ” that arguing that antisemitism does not exist appears to be your sole topic of interest in these parts.”

    Is more succinct and concurs with my original assessment.

  60. Red Skippy said,

    PS, it doesn’t do to fetishise Lenin on the ‘National Question’, or many other for that matter, as these writings are concerned with events in another time and another place (interestingly both Lenin and Trotsky referred to Jews as a ‘nationality’ like other nationalities which made up the population of the former Russian Empire). Luxemburg’s approach to the ‘National Question’ was more internationalist and less likely to lead dafties along the road of class collaboration and thirdworldism in the name of ‘national liberation’

  61. flyingrodent said,

    Skippy: Some people might think it odd there is so much antisemitism in Scotland when there are so few Jews.

    Well, some people think it odd that there’s so much antisemitism in French Guyana or Guam or Burkina Faso, despite there being very, very little actual – and not ludicrously exaggerated – antisemitism there.

    Which is another way of saying – there are so few antisemitic hate crimes in Scotland that one guy with a racist grudge could theoretically be responsible for them all, and it would take him about two weeks of the year to carry them all out. Which does not suggest a nation with a deep, underlying race problem to me.

    Check this out, Skip – You are being lied to, for political gain, by some fairly transparent fraudsters. Feel free to thank me for setting you straight on this score. The truth shall set you free etc.

    Frank: Timon for Tea / Clive. Flying Rodent using conspiracy theory

    Stop right there. The conspiracy theory angle has been utterly refuted and continuing to pimp it is hilarious and deranged.

    Clive’s contributions were typically patient and reasoned, but I preferred Red Skippy’s….

    No wonder. You are kind of a running joke in the “deliberately getting all arsey about supposedly middle class bruschetta-eating chardonnay sipping racists” stakes.

    Why not nip over to, say, Liberal Conspiracy, and spend a few hours trying to distract their wacky commenters with irrelevant horseshit? You’ve got a talent in that department.

  62. flyingrodent said,

    Jim: Of those possibilities, my guess is that ‘a’ is nearest the mark and so on

    I like this, Jim. It smacks of agreeing to disagree, which is about as good as I’ve ever got out of you.

    Kudos for not denying your multiple identities, either. That would’ve been pretty dull.

  63. Clive said,

    On the point that Bell is making fun of his critics for being bullshitters, rather than saying anti-semitism doesn’t exist…

    His critics *could only be* bullshitters if you think anti-semitism doesn’t exist, of if you think concern about anti-semitism is only cover for the ‘pro-Israel line’ – otherwise what are they bullshitting about?

  64. flyingrodent said,

    His critics *could only be* bullshitters if you think anti-semitism doesn’t exist, of if you think concern about anti-semitism is only cover for the ‘pro-Israel line’ – otherwise what are they bullshitting about?

    Well, look – I believe crime is a very real and pressing concern, but I’m also aware that politicians use fear of crime for advantage, to pick just one of a bajillion examples. Now, apply that principle to the type of wackos, cranks and chancers you meet on the internet, especially on a ludicrously overblown subject like Israel-Palestine.

    And you don’t even have to accept that Bell is right in order to accept that’s genuinely what he thinks. He could be horribly wrong and misguided, and still honestly believe he’s dealing with bullshitters, without also being a Nazi.

  65. modernity's ghost said,

    Jim,

    You have to admire flyingrodent’s shiftiness.

    He is an intelligent man, so with each contradiction as it is placed before him, he gently shifts the debate, as above when he says “I believe crime is a very real and pressing concern”

    He doesn’t disavow the existence of antisemitism, but you’d be hard put to pin him down as to what it is, where and when.

    He’s not interested in it. This is just a game to him, to argue the contrary.

    Like a middle-class debating society, where the issues are relatively unimportant, but the practitioners get to show off.

    That’s flyingrodent’s approach to anti-Jewish racism.

    He’s a misanthrope, a smart one, but with little understanding of racism, in terms of social discourse, themes or how ideas permeate down to become violent, but not all anti-Jewish racism is violent, etc

    He simply can’t see the complexities, it doesn’t connect to him, for all of his intelligence.

    Jim, but I still can’t see the fascination for arguing with flyingrodent.

  66. flyingrodent said,

    Jim, You have to admire flyingrodent’s shiftiness.

    It’s a feature of how mental anything to do with these topics have become that nobody can ever just be wrong or misguided.

    Nope, they also have to be shifty, or secretly racist, or wilfully contrary, or totally middle class ‘n’ shit, or showing off, or misanthropic and so on. Plain wrong just isn’t bad enough; it doesn’t leave anyone covered in muck.

    Consider – even if you reject everything I’m saying here, it’s still perfectly possible to accept that Steve Bell is just childish, or obnoxious, or pig-headed or any combination. Those would be pretty fair accusations, I think.

    But no, that won’t cut it – not culpable enough. And so, he has to be a race-baiting loony. Nothing less will do.

    • Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) said,

      flying fuckkwitt. you are wrong in everything you say. you are a scottish cunt. and shud fuck off. thank you. fuck you very much.
      x

  67. Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) said,

    the scotch lobby make me sick with their special pleading and shit. the worst culprits are those celtic footbaaaal tossers. giving it all with their oooooo we are under the proddy cosh and that, are yi fuck yi tossers. catholic peedoe priests are your main concern but oh noes blame it on the facist rangers fans who live in backwoods inbredd lanarkshire weaver towns. scotchmen – their lobby makes me sick. to the stomachc.

  68. Jim Denham said,

    Rodent: I presume that when you write, “Kudos for not denying your multiple identities, either. That would’ve been pretty dull” … that’s a reference to your previous claim (#49) that I am ‘Timon for Tea.’

    A word of advice, Rodent: do not assume that just because people don’t reply to each and every point you raise, that the reason is because they cannot reply, agree with what you say, or have been won over by your arguments.

    Sometimes (as in this case), it’s because what you’d written was simply patent nonsense and I couldn’t be bothered to waste my time correcting you.

    As a matter of straight fact, I am *not* ‘Timon for Tea’ and haven’t the faintest idea who he or she is.

    To think that my failure to correct you on this minor point was some kind of admission that you were right, is indeed …”pretty dull.”

  69. Jimmy Glesga said,

    Jelly has a point. Every now and again when a new scandal in the Scottish Pape church (run by Italians, Irish and Poles) is about to break news they go on the attack about how hard done to they are. They even want a Catholic monarch presumably to be in charge of the Protestant Church of England. Daft as the Islamists they are.

  70. Red Skippy said,

    The slippery and disingenuous rodent complains about ‘lying’ – you are being lied to, for political gain, by some fairly transparent fraudsters

    No that won’t do at all. My experience of antisemitism in Scotland is personal. So either I walk around in an SS uniform with a big flashing sign saying ‘express you Judenhass here’ or there is a not insignificant proportion of Scots who apparently hold me personally responsible for the death of ‘your Lord’, which animus is not expressed within the context of any discussion about Israel*, but rather as a general heartfelt wish that Jews, aka ‘the fucking Jews’ should be killed. However in the rodent universe this does not constitute antisemitism, which is only ‘real’ when the first synagogue is burnt to the ground and people forced to wear yellow stars**. I have always put it down to the particularly backward expressions of religious sentiment (the Scottish Taliban and the Kiddie Fiddlers and the shameful and embarrassing ‘sectarian’ antics) as well as (or combined with) The influence of Stalinism. You have to asknyourself, why, in all of the UK is the most antipathy and animus to be found here?

    * where my views tend towards a single multi-ethnic, poly-confessional state, particularly as the point where two states based on the pre 1967 borders was a political reality has long passed, althoughnreally Imwould prefer no borders and no states.

    ** Yellow stars: Want to protest against Tory austerity? What is your position on Israel? Want to demonstrate for the rights of asylum seekers? What is your position on Israel? And so it goes on…

  71. flyingrodent said,

    Tell me more about these awful backward Pape kiddie-fiddling Taliban Scotch Commie whiners who are planning to overthrow the Queen, lads.

    Don’t hold back now. It might be illuminating on the general topic of prejudice and loony conspiracism.

  72. Red Skippy said,

    Redirect much? Rodent sweeps hundred of years of Scottish history under the rug and declares it doesn’t exist. There is no sectarianism in Scotland. There were no Covenanters, there is no Wee Free, there are no annual fascist marches, no one scrambling to kiss the Pope’s ring and make excuses for rapist priests, neither fundamentalist Protestants nor fundamentalist Catholics have ever sought to meddle in the political process, and Stalinism has never had a surprisingly deathlike grip on the Scottish labour movement, outliving its influence on similar organisations in the rest of the UK and elsewhere.

    None of this is even remotely controversial you lying, obfuscating antisemitic piece of shit.

  73. flyingrodent said,

    Redirect much? Rodent sweeps hundred of years of Scottish history under the rug and declares it doesn’t exist. There is no sectarianism in Scotland. There were no Covenanters, there is no Wee Free, there are no annual fascist marches, no one scrambling to kiss the Pope’s ring and make excuses for rapist priests, neither fundamentalist Protestants nor fundamentalist Catholics have ever sought to meddle in the political process, and Stalinism has never had a surprisingly deathlike grip on the Scottish labour movement, outliving its influence on similar organisations in the rest of the UK and elsewhere.

    You forgot that the Scots were also a massive chunk of the foot soldiers of the empire; that we had some of the worst witch-hunting persecution of women; that we persecuted, murdered or exiled the Highlanders; got up to all kinds of horrors in Ireland and made up a significant chunk of the population of the Confederacy, amongst a ton of shameful shit you haven’t covered.

    Do keep it up though, and be sure to chuck in totally unsupported accusations of lying and racism as well. A blazing, scenery-chewing rage-rant about the inherent villainy of an entire people just isn’t the same without being topped off with an accusation of racism, is it?

  74. Jim Denham said,

    A Drunk Man Looks at the Israeli Flag
    By Stan Crooke

    “Cupar Racism Verdict Hands Weapon to Zionists” proclaimed the headline in ‘Scottish Socialist Voice’ (SSV), paper of the Scottish Socialist Party. The verdict, brought by Cupar Sheriff Charles Macnair, claimed the article, “hands a major victory to the Zionist lobby.”

    The two defendants in the case – the second defendant had a “not proven” verdict returned against him – were both drunk at the time of the incident at the centre of the case.

    According to SSV, this drunkenness was exploited by the Zionist lobby: “What is clear is that given that [the two defendants] were both inebriated, their action presented an opportunity to the Zionist lobby which they duly grasped.”

    In fact, the article continued, no-one should be led astray by the fact that the two defendants had been drunk: “Despite efforts to spin this case as a drunken escapade by hooligans, it actually forms part of the ongoing Zionist campaign to criminalise opponents of Israel.”

    Chanan Reitblat, whose complaint had triggered the hearing, was defined in the article as “a hard-line Zionist” and “an ultra-Zionist”. According to the article: “There can be no doubt that he (Reitblat) is a willing instrument in the ongoing Zionist drive to marginalise Israeli policies of occupation, bombing and repression.”

    (Presumably, the author meant to refer to an alleged Zionist drive to marginalise critics of Israeli policies. But the overall incoherence of the article makes it impossible to separate out the substantive incoherence from the incoherence arising out of typing mistakes.)

    Scottish Jews for a Just Peace (SJJP) are also much troubled by the verdict. An SJJP statement explained: “It would appear that Paul Donnachie’s protest was directed not against Chanon Reitblat as a Jew or indeed as a person, but against the political view he espoused.”

    According to a letter from Dundee-based SJJP member Sarah Glynn, published in Fife’s “The Courier” newspaper, the verdict had “moved us a step closer to an Orwellian police state.”

    Following the sentencing of Donnachie, Glynn told Reitblat’s family that their actions were “scandalous” and that “as Jews, you should be ashamed. This is devastating.” Just for good measure, she also told a rabbi who had given support to Reitblatt that he was “destroying Judaism.”

    The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), of course, was outraged by the verdict. How dare a Scottish court suggest that one of its members should be guilty of racially aggravated conduct!

    “Same Old Song: US Supporter of Israeli Apartheid Dishonestly Claims to be Victim of Racism” reads the headline of one of the many articles on the SPSC website in defence of Donnachie. (Reitblat is an American who was studying in Scotland at the time of the incident which triggered the case.)

    “Zionist Jew Reitblat,” explains another article on the SPSC website, is “a supporter of colonialism, ethnic cleansing and burning Palestinian civilians with white phosphorous.”

    “This American citizen,” explains the SPSC, “suffers from the familiar ‘Israel syndrome’: simultaneously arrogant and prone to violence, whilst at the same time claiming to be terrified for his safety.”

    Reitblat, the SPSC continues, was “almost certainly egged on by his Zionist comrades” to complain about the incident at the core of the case.

    “What is behind the case?” asks an SPSC leaflet, helpfully providing the answer: “As pressure mounts on Israel … so Israel resorts to its last line of defence and claims criticisms of its actions are racist.”

    The SPSC has praised its member’s defence speech in court, in which he argued that his actions were a political statement about Israel rather than an attack on Reitblat as an individual: “The citizens of a country cannot be held responsible for the actions of a state.”

    And this from the campaign which advocates a boycott of anyone or anything associated with Israel – football players, academics, Starbucks, cricketers, oranges, film-makers, Lloyds Bank, scientists, dates, musicians, Eden Springs Water, trade unionists … etc., etc!!!

    The court hearing which has given rise to such self-righteous indignation amongst Scotland’s ‘anti-Zionists’ heard conflicting evidence about the incident at the core of the case. There are also inconsistencies in media coverage of the case. But the basic events are not in dispute.

    It is not disputed that Donnachie and another student turned up at Reitblat’s flat in a St. Andrews University hall of residence at half one in the morning of 12th March. Donnachie and his friend had been drinking heavily. They wanted to check up on Reitblat’s flatmate, who had also been drinking heavily and had gone to bed earlier.

    (In the quaint language of the SPSC, Donnachie and his friend had “overindulged in ales” and went to check up of their third drinking companion, who had “retired earlier that evening, somewhat the worse for wear.”)

    It is not disputed that on entering the flat Donnachie saw an Israeli flag pinned to the wall, a present to Reitblat from his brother, who had served in the Israel Defence Forces. Donnachie put his hand down his trousers, rubbed his genitals, and then either wiped his hand on the flag or rubbed the flag with one of his pubic hairs.

    (This incident is dismissed by the SPSC as “a gesture apparently common among St. Andrews undergraduates.” Testifying in court, Donnachie blamed the flag for his behaviour: “By displaying a flag of Israel you are making a controversial statement which invites criticism.”)

    It is likewise not disputed that Donnachie then said that Israel was a terrorist state and the flag was a terrorist flag.

    (Or, as the SPSC puts it: “Donnachie saw the Israeli flag and, as many opponents of Israeli crimes would do, for a few pints had not broken his moral compass, pointed out that Israel is a terrorist state committing unspeakable crimes against Palestinian people.”)

    It is further not disputed – although the SPSC makes no mention of it – that after the incident in Reitblat’s room Donnachie posted a number of Facebook comments.

    Some of the comments were bog-standard ‘anti-imperialism’ (“Fuck the IDF” and “Victory to the Intifada”). But one was clearly directed at Reitblat as an individual: “There is a Zionist in my hall (of residence).”

    Other aspects of what occurred are less clear.

    According to one BBC report, for example, after leaving Reitblat’s flat Donnachie and his friend wandered the corridors of the hall of residence shouting “Nazi, fascist, terrorist.” But this is not mentioned in other coverage of the incident.

    Crucially, there is also a dispute about whether Donnachie said to Reitblat, after having referred to Israel as a terrorist state and its flag as a terrorist flag, that he (Reitblat) was a terrorist. Reitblat said that Donnachie said this. Donnachie denied it.

    The Sheriff found that Donnachie had called Reitblat a terrorist, and that he had done so because of Reitblat’s perceived “membership of Israel” i.e. Reitblat’s perceived identification with “terrorist” Israel was sufficient, in Donnachie’s head, to justify calling him a terrorist.

    In the Sheriff’s words, Donnachie “displayed malice toward Mr. Reitblatt because of his presumed membership of Israel. … The part of your behaviour that I found to be most serious was that you described Mr. Reitblat as a terrorist. That is the direct equivalent of suggesting all Muslims are terrorists.”

    The penalty imposed on Donnachie was 150 hours community service and a payment of £300 compensation to Reitblat.

    While Reitblat was booed by SPSC members after the trial and had to be escorted to his family’s car by the police, Donnachie commented: “I understand that Mr. Reitblat is a very rich individual, and my concern is that this money I am being forced to pay will ultimately go to Zionist organisations.”

    Alternatively, other reports quote him as having said: “Mr Reitblat was an American studying over here so he’s from a rich family – I hope he gives the compensation to a good cause and doesn’t just fund his own greed.”

    According to Donnachie’s lawyer, his client is “extremely remorseful.”

    Whatever the trial may say about Donnachie as an individual, and whatever his chances of success on appeal – when appeal judges will scrutinise whether there was an evidential basis for the Sheriff’s conclusions – the most striking political aspect to the trial is the response of Scotland’s ‘anti-Zionists’ fraternity.

    There is no readiness by ‘anti-Zionists’ to acknowledge that Reitblat might have genuinely found the behaviour of Donnachie and his friend to be offensive – being drunk and disorderly in his flat at half one in the morning, abusing his personal property, urinating in his sink, and targeting him in a Facebook comment – and that this triggered his complaint.

    Instead, Reitblat’s complaint is portrayed as one made in bad faith: Reitblat was “almost certainly egged on” by Zionists and was doubtlessly their “willing instrument”.

    Rather than focus on Donnachie’s action – the subject-matter of the complaint – the ‘anti-Zionists’ turn their attention to Reitblat himself. He is “a hard-line Zionist” and “an ultra-Zionist”. He is “a US supporter of Israeli apartheid” who supports “colonialism, ethnic cleansing and burning Palestinians.”

    In a particularly incoherent passage the SPSC even puts Reitblat, a 21-year-old student spending a semester at a Scottish university, on the same level as Bush, Blair and various other embodiments of evil incarnate:

    “Against the likes of Bush, Blair, the pro-Buddhist junta in Burma, the Hindu chauvinist BJP in India, the brutal Saudi regime and its corrupt Ulema, and Zionist Jew Reitblat, we can do no better than commend the words of the courageous American, Father Berrigan … ….”

    Reitblat is dismissed as a liar – “he dishonestly claims to be a victim of racism” – and his complaint is really part of a Zionist campaign to gag and criminalise their opponents:

    “The legislation put in place to fight the scourge of racism continues to be abused in an attempt to stifle criticism of Israel and stifle its supporters. … Israel resorts to its last line of defence and claims criticisms of its actions are racist.”

    Nor is there any acknowledgement by ‘anti-Zionists’ that identification with Israel formed part of Reitblat’s personal beliefs and identity as a Jew. (In a press release Reitblat wrote: “I am Jewish and had an Israeli flag on my bulletin board above my head. … Israel is an important part of my religious belief.”)

    Instead, an SPSC statement claims that during the incident of 12th March, “no-one’s ‘Jewishness’ was remotely impugned.” (The inverted commas around Jewishness are in the original.)

    A 2010 survey of British Jews found that over 70% self-defined as Zionist, and for over 80% Israel was important or central to their Jewish identity. But in the strange, and deeply unpleasant, political universe inhabited by the SPSC, it is the likes of the SPSC, not Jews, who determine what constitutes Jewishness (or ‘Jewishness’).

    Suppose, for a moment, that a Black person complained of abuse and that there was at least a perceived racist element to that abuse.

    Would anti-racists, as Donnachie and his friends in the SPSC believe themselves to be, instinctively respond by claiming that the Black person was really a tool of other Black people and had raised the complaint in order to stifle criticism of the alleged crimes of those other Black people?

    Would anti-racists attack the politics of the Black complainant – as if some kind of political purity test has to be passed before a person can complain about racism – and insist that they, not Black people, should define what it means to be Black?

    Just asking such questions is to answer them.

    But, as the ‘anti-Zionist’ indignation at the verdict passed on one of their number demonstrates, other factors come into play when the complainant is a Jew.

    NB To appreciate the wittiness of the headline, readers should be aware of Hugh McDiarmid’s epic poem “A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle.”

  75. flyingrodent said,

    Yes – amazingly, Scotland is not a lunatic-free zone, much as many countries are plagued by fannies and nutters. What do you think that proves, Jim?

    And are you just going to let all the stuff about Pape Scotch Taliban with designs on the monarchy go by without comment? Because those are some pretty surprising sentiments to find in the middle of an extended lecture on anti-racism.

  76. Jim Denham said,

    Tell you what, Rodent: you give me at least a rough idea of where you’re coming from politically, and what you consider to be *real* (as opposed to spurious) antisemitism…

    …and I’ll tell you what I think about “Pape Scotch Taliban with designs on the monarchy” (btw: who actually has used those words?)

    Deal?

  77. Red Skippy said,

    Jelly’s point — substituting ‘Scotch’ for ‘zionist’ was well made, if too subtle for the likes of a moron such as Rodent, who deliberately twists words and always acts in bad faith. I invoked both the Scottish Taliban/Covenanters/fascist Orange marchers and their Catholic opponents because they are equally vile. Even if you examine religions on their own terms, Christianity and its various sects are particularly primitive, and in the furthest outpost of Northwestern Europe, the wars of religion are not yet over.

    Thanks to Rodent for bringing up Scotland’s role in capitalism, imperialism, slavery and the Confederacy, although these are not relevant to the point I was making – that a history of religious fucknuttery and Stalinism has contributed to pronounced antisemitism.

    • Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) said,

      Flying Fuckface really is a thick morAN. Utter crankkPOtt who can’t reied. Not unlike most scotchmen in fakT.

  78. Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head said,

    whenever flying RAt turns up here it is always werth skimming the dung he depositted here http://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/911-hitchens-on-chickens-coming-home-to-roost/ and the excellent responses from various other coomNETaytOrs.

  79. flyingrodent said,

    I invoked both the Scottish Taliban/Covenanters/fascist Orange marchers and their Catholic opponents because they are equally vile. Even if you examine religions on their own terms, Christianity and its various sects are particularly primitive, and in the furthest outpost of Northwestern Europe, the wars of religion are not yet over.

    Uh-huh. So, right: Scotland – one of the most Godless nations on the entire planet, by the way – is seething with racist hate because half the population are craven, grovelling Papist god-botherers just waiting to have their brains washed with the most hateful Popery imagineable, while the other are glowering Orange-marching militants, and all of them are Commies. You can tell, because sometimes people get stabbed after football matches. This intolerence towards each other, blended with the nation’s love of Stalin – Stalin, for fuck’s sake – makes Scotland more susceptible to racism against a vanishingly small and barely visible religious minority.

    Which thus means Scotland is, like, totally antisemitic to the core and produces a tsunami of racial hatred that the police can’t detect; that goes unreported in the criminal courts, where I myself worked for years, and that I have seen no evidence of whatsoever in thirty-five years, despite living and working in three different major cities. And the reason I can’t detect it is that I am, like, racist and shit.

    Okay. Thanks for that particular contribution to this discussion on racism and rationality, geezer. I’ll file it right next to the Germans are naturally inclined towards authoritarianism and rap music has produced a culture of idleness in young black men, where it belongs.

    Now, I suggest that any objective, half-sane human being reading this exchange is going to conclude that one of us has mental and whiffy ideas about the inherent villainy of entire groups of people, and that it’s you.

    • Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head said,

      thicko. but at least he is being kept busy.

  80. modernity's ghost said,

    The problem is, that basically flyingrodent doesn’t really acknowledge the existence of antisemitism.

    I suppose for him (and will we ever know? as he’s reluctant to clarify his views, in between ducking and diving) that it ceased to exist around 1945.

    But even then, as a wider intellectual question which Red Skippy touched upon, why did antisemitism persist in certain countries and at certain times?

    Many scholars have attributed this to animus within Christian teachings and this could be seen periodically around Easter when certain Christians went on the rampage looking for “Christ killers”.

    We know that the Churches acknowledge this intellectually with their changes in the 1960s, yet I imagine that flyingrodent is oblivious to that.

    Red Skippy’s subtle point was why the persistency of animus towards Jews in Scotland?

    What intellectual, cultural and social drivers are there? And why Scotland more than other parts of the United Kingdom?

    I am guessing, but as smart as flyingrodent is, he won’t have a clue about the questions, let alone approaching an answer.

  81. flyingrodent said,

    why Scotland more than other parts of the United Kingdom? I am guessing, but as smart as flyingrodent is, he won’t have a clue about the questions, let alone approaching an answer.

    Well Mod, nothing that even vaguely resembles a reason for believing that antisemitism is more prevalent in Scotland than it is elsewhere in the UK has been produced here*, so you’ll wait a long time for an explanation of what appears to be a wholly-fantastical trend.

    I mean, here we go – I say you’re wrong, and that the south of England is way more antisemitic than Scotland, then chuck you a few articles on individual racist assaults and vandalism. Have you heard the stuff football fans shout at Spurs players?

    Now, explain to me in detail why the south is so much more antisemitic than the rest of the UK, Mod. What cultural trends drive this outrageous burning hatred?

    To which the appropriate response would be “There’s no reason to believe that’s true. You made that up, Mr Rodent, and you’re basing your unsupported, overblown claim on a couple of individual news reports”.

    And indeed, I am.

    *Nor will any be produced, since the proposition is plainly not supported by any evidence at all, barring anecdata and anonymous, highly suspect assertion about the credulity of Catholics and the intolerance of Protestants, and the hilariously insane idea that the country has been and is choked to the brim with Stalin fanboys.

  82. Jim Denham said,

    It certainly seems to be the case that Stalinism survives in the Scottish labour movement to a degree that (thankfully) is not the case south of the border. Also (which may or may not be connected), the Scottish PSC is much more openly antisemitic than the English or Welsh groups.

    http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2012/06/19/bit-anti-jewish

  83. modernity's ghost said,

    Jim,

    Can’t you see the futility of arguing with flyingrodent?

    I make a very obvious point about Christianity in the history of antisemitism, and he simply doesn’t get it, he ventures on to talk about the south of England.

    No matter what you say to flying rodent, he’ll find a deflection, an irrelevance or feign ignorance.

    And this is the issue, these discussions need intellectual subtlety and common ground to be meaningful.

    So when you have someone like flyingrodent who sneers, ducks the obvious and plainly doesn’t understand the first thing about racism in social discourse then you are stuck.

    Jim, so such exchanges ultimately go nowhere and end up as shouting matches, which is fairly pointless,if you are rational.

  84. Jim Denham said,

    I think it serves a very useful purpose, Mod.

  85. flyingrodent said,

    It certainly seems to be the case that Stalinism survives in the Scottish labour movement to a degree that (thankfully) is not the case south of the border. Also (which may or may not be connected), the Scottish PSC is much more openly antisemitic than the English or Welsh groups.

    Well, let’s assume that this is 100% correct. Even if it is, the phenomenon you’re describing here isn’t much above a three men and a dog political organisation*.

    If a political micro-group is the sum total of evidence that Scotland has a more significant problem with antisemitism than the rest of the UK, then that’s very weak indeed. It also falls far short of Skippy’s description of a nation of raging bigots spewing hatred and carrying on the wars of religion, to put it very, very mildly.

    And even assuming that the Scottish PSC – an organisation I know little about and care about even less – are at Goebbels level of hatemongering, what reason is there to imagine that this is tied to, say, early-mid twentieth century Catholicism, or any of the other wild theories?

    Because I can’t help but find it ironic that a post about ethnoreligious racism and conspiracy theory has somehow wound up focusing on the innate eviltude of the Scots, and how it’s partially caused by the greater eviltude of the Catholic Church.

    I suspect that may just have something to do with my being Scottish and a Celtic supporter, including the traditional assumption that a Celtic supporter must also be Catholic.

    Isn’t that odd, that it’s descended to a level not far above that’s what I’d expect a despicable Papist Scotch like you to say, since you’re basically despicable as a people?

    I mean, it does suggest some whiffy opinions and loopy theories on somebody’s part. Perhaps somebody’s been reading too many old Ian Paisley speeches, or something.

    *One that – and this isn’t much of a surprise – coincidentally appears to be made up of your major political foes, who you never liked in the first place.

    • Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head said,

      what a thick tosser flying fuckface is. utter cretin.

  86. Jim Denham said,

    Purpose demonstrated and method proven effective, I think, Mod.

  87. levi9909 said,

    Jim and Mod, Flying Rodent has acknowledged that antisemitism exists at least a couple of times in this thread when he drew attention to Rupert Murdoch’s antisemitic tweet. The two of you are so eager to accuse anti-racists of antisemitism you don’t notice it on the part of your allies. It may even be that you two don;t know what it is.

    I’ve got to say that whilst I expect bogus allegations of antisemitism from both of you, the unselfconsciousness of your anti-Scottish and anti-Catholic bigotry is something I hadn’t expected.

    New low? Nope, same low, different targets.

    • Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head said,

      on noes. not the antisemite with a blergghh who has a fixation each and everyday with trawling the internet for posts abowt zionaziis where he can then deposit antisemitic dribblings of arse trumpet green ink fucksock cuernt bollox.

  88. Jim Denham said,

    Mr Elf (aka ‘levi9909′), you thick idiot and moronic “left” antisemite, read this:
    ***************

    Jelly’s point — substituting ‘Scotch’ for ‘zionist’ was well made, if too subtle for the likes of a moron such as Rodent, who deliberately twists words and always acts in bad faith. I invoked both the Scottish Taliban/Covenanters/fascist Orange marchers and their Catholic opponents because they are equally vile. Even if you examine religions on their own terms, Christianity and its various sects are particularly primitive, and in the furthest outpost of Northwestern Europe, the wars of religion are not yet over.

    Thanks to Rodent for bringing up Scotland’s role in capitalism, imperialism, slavery and the Confederacy, although these are not relevant to the point I was making – that a history of religious fucknuttery and Stalinism has contributed to pronounced antisemitism…

    ***********************************
    ..then have a think…
    …mind you, thought isn’t a strong suit for you “left” antisemites, is it?

    • flyingrodent said,

      Seriously Jim?

      You think that, in a discussion about whether a cartoon is racist or not, it’s fine to respond to people who say “No, I don’t think so” by pimping wildly exaggerated national and religious stereotypes?

      What an intriguing form of anti-racism this is.

      • Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head said,

        you really are a stupid fuckking dipshit aren’t you flying Fuckkface. an utter fruitcake as well. scotcHman lobby, scotchonazi pissant.

  89. levi9909 said,

    Calm down Jim and deal with the point about your friend Murdoch’s antisemitism.
    It’s just all your other friends seem to have missed that as well.

  90. Jim Denham said,

    “deal with the point about your friend Murdoch’s antisemitism.”

    My friend Murdoch?

    You’re just a fucking liar and a sick joke, as well as an antisemite, Mr Elf.

  91. levi9909 said,

    Oh sorry Jim, Murdoch’s not your friend. He just supports imperialism and zionism as much as you and Mod do.

    Now stop dodging and deal with the substantive point about Murdoch’a antisemitism and Flying Rodent’s mention of it.

    Thanks

  92. Jim Denham said,

    What “substantive point”, Mr Elf?

    I don’t recall writing anything about Murdoch. And your suggestion that I support him in any way whatsoever is a lie. You are a fucking filthy liar as well as being an antisemite, Mr Elf.

  93. levi9909 said,

    You already referred to it Jim when you quoted me saying, ““deal with the point about your friend Murdoch’s antisemitism.”

    Remember? You feigned anger over the “friend” bit but the “substantive” bit was the “antisemitism” bit.

    It’s ok Jim, don’t worry. I know you don’t mind antisemitism if it’s in the good cause of colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing and you don’t mind racism is if it’s against Arabs and you don’t mind sectarianism if it’s for the Union. But don’t let this last paragraph distract you from the “substantive” point about Murdoch’s antisemitism and the fact that both Flying Rodent and Steve Bell condemned it whilst you and Moddy didn’t seem to even notice it.

    Night night Jim.

  94. modernity's ghost said,

    Jim,

    The problem with this is that 1) they are often not very rational 2) end up being slanging matches 3) it generates more heat than light.

    1. There is something deeply Leninist/Trotskyist which seeks to engage in debate when clearly their interlocutors argue in bad faith, and it will all end acrimoniously.

    Rational people don’t do that. You can’t discuss a complex issue such as racism where there is no common ground.

    You can have what is called a ‘polemic’ amongst parts of the Far Left, but that’s really an excuse not to communicate terribly well, as individuals shout past each other and ignore each other’s lines of argument. We know where that leads, oblivion, political oblivion.

    2. If the purpose is to have a slanging match then carry on, but externally it looks very bad, even when your interlocutor is a shifty individual, such as flyingrodent, what is generated is not terribly readable or, generally, pertinent to the issues.

    Rational people do not consciously make a choice to have a slanging match.

    3. Even if you can follow through the disjointed points which are made (and I would freely concedes some are amusing in this instance), there is no summary. There is no summing up of the points and which are critical, which not. Thus, the heat generated by the debate is lost.

    Also, there is something ultimately futile arguing with idiots, like Elf. They only succeed in bringing you down to their level, which in his case is rather apolitical and childish.

    That’s why you should be more discerning, Jim.

    However, I do appreciate as a Trot you can’t be too choosy, but it doesn’t look very good from the outside.

    • levi9909 said,

      Slanging match?

      It’s that unselfconsciousness again. Each comment by Mod or Jim has involved some name calling and always on a false premise.

      I take it you’re both passing on Murdoch’s antisemitism then. Ok, fine, I expected that but note you’ve both treated him more like a friend than a foe.

  95. Jim Denham said,

    “It’s ok Jim, don’t worry. I know you don’t mind antisemitism if it’s in the good cause of colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing and you don’t mind racism is if it’s against Arabs and you don’t mind sectarianism if it’s for the Union”:

    Mr Elf, you are a fucking liar and I’ve had enough of your sick, moronic and antisemitic shite. Go away and stay away, you horrible piece of toss.

    Good night.

  96. sovietgoonboy said,

    What have you got against the Scots, Jim? Did they spill your pint?

    • Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head said,

      it is ‘the scoTCH” dumbarse.

      • levi9909 said,

        Hey Jelly, make yourself useful and call Mod and Jim on where they stand on Murdoch’s antisemitism. They seem to like you. Less challenging for them I suppose.

  97. Red Skippy said,

    I thought I could smell something. According to Elf’s twisted narrative, it wasn’t the SS but Zionists who perpetrated the Holocaust. The Nazis didn’t invade Poland, it was Zionists. Their cunning schemes are all laid bare in that book … what’s it called? Oh yes, Mein Kampf.

    Nationalism is essentially racist and zionism is no more or less racist than any other form of nationalism. Boycott Israeli institutions if for all I care — I don’t ‘support’ any notional state entity — however it’s only consistent to boycott British institutions for their collusion in the institutionalised apartheid of immigration controls.

    As my late comrade Steve Cohen wrote:

    Like all accusations of Blood Libel the idea that the Zionists were a party to engineering the holocaust is a lie. Simply that. A lie. But then Jews are used to being assailed with lies – not least in respect to the holocaust. What about the lie that Jews went like sheep to their slaughter? Kind of misses out on the fact that until 1944 the only civilian uprisings against the Nazis took place in the ghettos – of which the Warsaw ghetto uprising was only the biggest. [....] However the assertion that Zionists were actively instrumental in the genocide is the biggest lie since the lies spread by Nazis about the Jews and these were the biggest lies popularised since medieval Europe. Actually if there were added together all anti-semitic lies of the last thousand years they probably could not equate to the accusation that the Zionists wanted/wishes/willed the destruction of six million of their compatriots in order to realise their own political project. It is insane. And it is promulgated openly by people on the left who in my opinion are politically insane [...T]he idea that Zionism, or all Zionists, or the majority of Zionists, or all the Zionist leadership, or the majority of the Zionist leadership, collaborated with the Nazis is pathologically, clinically, crazy. It is crazy because many of the leading ghetto fighters were, like it or lump it, Zionists. And they were operating under their various leaderships (most of whom hated each other – but again that is the nature of the beast) of left and Right. I’ve no idea of respective numbers, Zionists, non-Zionists,anti-Zionists. Who cares? The issue lies not numbers. So Abba Kovner who died in 1987 was a famous Israeli poet. He was a Kibbutznik, a member of the Israeli left (MAPAM) and the Youth movement Hashomer Hatzir (Young Guard). He was also a leading partisan in the Vilna ghetto and then when that struggle was lost in the woods outside Vilna. And after the war he and his comrades returned to the killing fields in order to exact vengeance on those Nazis they could find who were responsible for the holocaust. Hardly a great advert for the thesis that Zionists co-operated with Nazis in the holocaust. In the Warsaw ghetto uprising the main resistance force, the ZOB (Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa or Jewish Fighting Organization or Yidische Kampf Organizatzion) was a united front of mainly left wing Zionists such as Hashomer Hatzair and Poelai Zion and anti-zionist Bundists. However there was also another group of heroic fighters not associated with the ZOB for ideological reasons. These were organised within the ZZW (Zydowski Zwiazek Wojskowy or Jewish Military Union). The ZZW was in essence the armed (anti fascist) defence squad of the most extreme Right-wing of the zionist movement – the self styled Revisionists which post-war found expression in the Irgun (which was responsible in part for the notorious April 1948 massacre in the Palestinian village of Dir Yassin) and later spawned Menachem Begin as Israeli prime Minister in 1977. The fact that the Revisionists would not have hesitated to have attacked/imprisoned/ murdered those of us taking place in this disputation is irrelevant to the present argument. What is relevant is that they fought the Nazis within Nazi controlled Europe. And of course no-one knows, no-one will ever know (because it is hard enough to get into the heads of the living let alone the dead), the number of zionists not affiliated to any organisation who participated in the numerous ghetto uprisings in the numerous ghettos. And Zionist participation in all these uprisings exposes yet another lie – the lie that Zionism views anti-semitism as some form of historical inevitability, rather like disease but a disease to which only Jews are prone, which cannot be resisted but must be accommodated to via the creation of a Jewish homeland which can then operate literally as a cordon sanitaire.. In fact given the historic longevity of anti Semitism, given that Jews are often isolated in opposing it, it often incorrectly has the appearance of inevitability. However the resistance by Zionists to the Nazis exposes as a nonsense the notion that inherent within zionism as a political philosophy is the irresistibility of Jew-hatred. I guess what Nazism shows is that Jews can’t do it (defeat anti-semitism) on their own. But at least don’t eradicate from history their brave attempt to try.

    • levi9909 said,

      I’m sure Moddy and Jim are pleased with this ludicrous intervention but it’s way off topic.

      Just for the record, I have never blamed zionists for the holocaust, I blame the nazis for it. Also, I have never said that the nazis didn’t invade Poland, they did.

      The rest of what you say has some truth in it but ignores a lot of truth too.

      I am not surprised you describe the late self-described “Anti-Zionist Zionist”, Steve Cohen, as a comrade but even he wouldn’t stoop to making such false allegations against identified individuals, but then you don’t identify yourself so you can, and do, say anything.

      Regarding the appropriateness or not of calling Israel an apartheid state, by your reasoning it was inappropriate to call South Africa an apartheid state back in the day. As it happens, I’m not too keen on calling Israel an apartheid state because it ignores the recent, current and on-going ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians without which Israel wouldn’t and couldn’t exist. So I suppose calling Israel “aparheid” is a way of being polite.

      Anyway, just to remind our host, Jim, and his sidekick, Moddy, the topic was Bell, Scarfe and Murdoch.

      Flying Rodent and I are saying that allegations of antisemitism against Bell are false though FR seems to accept they are, at their worst, debatable. Allegations against Scarfe have been dropped because he said he didn’t know it was Holocaust Memorial Day.

      That leaves the allegation against Murdoch yet to be answered. So Jim. Moddy, Jelly and Skippy instead of going ape and throwing more false allegations around, not to mention the national and sectarian bigotry,, go check out Murdoch’s tweets of 18th November and consider whether or not they were antisemitic. Also, you might like to consider the silence of the various hasbara bloggers and journos when unambiguous antisemitism comes from their own side as it so often does.

  98. Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head said,

    that elf charachter is repulsive. nasty piece of werk. shud be hanged from a lampost upside down then have eyes poked out with blunt rusty spoons. until dead.

  99. Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,

    Mark Elf – the well known crackpott antisemite…just for the record like

  100. Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,

    Scotchmen lobbyists are out of control. scotchmen. all of them in that scotchland – scotchland shud be driven into the sea.

  101. Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,

    A Cuba solidarity event in Glasgow attended… “Israel apartheed, zionazis, sighn petition against jews err zionists having the gall to keep on breathing, buy this anti-zionist t shirt” stall. all cuernts and demented fuckwitts. Elf the liberal antisemite scum needs to be killed. Fuck all of the sock fuckking scum.

    Thank you.

  102. Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,

    “I’m pro-Palestinian,” said Mr. Zizek, “but I don’t think it’s the worst situation in the world. Any man in Congo would sell his mother into slavery to move to the West Bank.

    “But I like Israel. Israel is the most atheist state in the world. I like them for that. But at the same time as a majority does not believe in God, they assert that God gave them the right to the land.”

    He said he was looking forward to a trip to Jenin next spring and had recently met with a group of Palestinians he would be visiting there. “They’re not Islamic fundamentalists. They’re normal people like us. We started exchanging dirty jokes. They told me one. ‘Why do Iraqi women not sleep with American soldiers? Because they always talk about pulling out but never do.’

    • levi9909 said,

      I don’t know where Zizek got his info but according to Ha’aretz from Jan 27, 2012:

      http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/survey-record-number-of-israeli-jews-believe-in-god-1.409386

      Record number of Israeli Jews believe in God
      First comprehensive study in a decade also shows that 70 percent of Israelis believe the Jews are the ‘Chosen People.’

      Also, re Congo, throughout the whole time that South Africa was an apartheid state, there were worse human rights abuses in other African states. Many Africans did go to live in South Africa from elsewhere in spite of apartheid. But racism was the essence of its existence so it attracted more opposition than other states. This is the same with Israel. Racism lies at the heart of its existence. That is why it lacks legitimacy.

  103. Jim Denham said,

    Mr Elf: the post was *not* about Murdoch, but first and foremost, about Bell; the only Murdochian involvement is entirely incidental, because of the Scarfe cartoon.

    Your obsessing about Murdoch appears to be a deliberate attempt to derail the discussion into a separate and secondary issue: presumably because you and your antisemitic chums have no serious answers to our charges against Bell and his apologists.

    It goes without saying (and any regular reader of this blog will know) that I and everyone associated with ‘Shiraz’ hate Murdoch and think he’s scum. And you, Mr Elf are a fucking liar for calling me his “friend.”

    • levi9909 said,

      Jim, these are the tags for the post:
      (anti-semitism, Art and design, conspiracy theories, Guardian, media, Murdoch, Steve Bell)

      Of course the post was mostly false allegations against Steve Bell but
      Murdoch got an honourable mention from you for his unnecessary apology for Scarfe’s cartoon. Scarfe too got an honourable mention. Murdoch also appears to get a free pass from you for his antisemitism. Calling him your friend was fair comment, not a lie at all. And anyway, the substantive point which you keep dodging still remains.

      Why do you give Murdoch a free pass for the following tweet:

      Why Is Jewish owned press so consistently anti- Israel in every crisis?
      — Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) November 18, 2012
      ?

      I’ve noticed that this is your MO Jim. You avoid valid questions by focusing on some throwaway word or other and keep on screeching liar at people.

      It’s very childish

      You could simply state the obvious and say that Murdoch’s tweet was antisemitic. But then you might have to wonder why not one zionist or hasbarista has called him on it.

      • Red said,

        “Of course the post was mostly false allegations against Steve Bell”

        Oh indeed, false allegations of anti-semitism against Steve Bell. Par for the course round here,

        He takes the piss mercilessly out of those false allegations.

        Auntie Seumitism indeed. I think he got the idea from Atzmon’s old blog ‘Auntie Ziona against Auntie Simone’ which also took the piss merclessly out of such things.

        Full of zany, and very Jewish humour, it has unfortunately lost its domain and vanished. There are still traces of it to be found on the web though.

      • levi9909 said,

        By having Murdoch botch the term “antisemitism” Bell seems to have been referring to the fact that whilst Murdoch made an antisemitic tweet:

        Why Is Jewish owned press so consistently anti- Israel in every crisis?
        — Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) November 18, 2012

        when he “apologise[d] unreservedly” he indicated that he didn’t know what was antisemitic about it:

        “,Jewish owned press” have been sternly criticised, suggesting link to Jewish reporters.Don’t see this, but apologise unreservedly.
        — Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) November 18, 2012

        I further think that Bell’s use of the glove puppet, Sooty, was based on the fact that the first of his cartoons to attract complaints of antisemitism contained glove puppets together with the fact that at least twice the Sun newspaper has used the word “Sooty” on its front page to refer to black people.

        In other words, people have complained of Bell being antisemitic whilst giving Murdoch a free pass and that this is through either sheer hypocrisy or ignorance or a combination of the two.

  104. Jim Denham said,

    You lying twerp, Mr Elf!

    You ask (rhetorically)

    “Why do you give Murdoch a free pass for the following tweet:

    Why Is Jewish owned press so consistently anti- Israel in every crisis?
    — Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) November 18, 2012?”

    I don’t give Murdoch a “free pass” on that or anything else. That tweet was not the subject of the original post and I don’t find it very interesting except as a side-issue.

    My position on Murdoch is clear and (I think) pretty widely-known.

    Your own position on antisemitism, converesly, is far from clear.

    PS: as well as “Murdoch”, another tag on the original article was “Guardian”: do you want to argue that I also gave the Graun a “free pass” by not discussing its editorial line on the Middle East, etc?

    Grow up, and stop telling lies Mr Elf.

    • levi9909 said,

      Scroll back up the thread and most of the comments from you, Jelly, Skippy and Mod don’t address the core issue of the post so “side issue” isn’t an excuse to dodge this question which you’ve just managed to do yet again.

      Your position on Murdoch’s antisemitism is not at all clear. It can’t be. You seem to think it’s not enough of an issue because it’s not interesting. Calling somebody scum doesn’t clarify what you think about a person or why. It is simply name calling.

      I’m against all forms of racism. You support zionism and ignore antisemitism when it suits you.

      But anyway, you’ve decided not to comment on the antisemitism of the world’s most powerful media baron and the best friend Israel has in the mainstream media.

      Ok, thanks for that.

  105. Jim Denham said,

    “Scroll back up the thread and most of the comments from you, Jelly, Skippy and Mod don’t address the core issue of the post so “side issue” isn’t an excuse to dodge this question which you’ve just managed to do yet again.”

    Now you’re not even making sense, Mr Elf.

    Go back to your own unsavoury cess-pit and continue to give aid and comfort to antisemites everywhere, with the minor exception of Gilad Atzmon and his friends, who it seems are to embarassing for even you to excuse.

  106. Help with semantics said,

    “Scroll back up the thread”
    That means put the cursor over the bar on the right hand side, or the arrow above it, and move the text on the screen down so that you can read previous comments.
    “and most of the comments from you, Jelly, Skippy and Mod don’t address the core issue of the post”
    When Flying Rodent addressed the post you went ‘La, la, la, I’m not listening.’ And then said he was racist because he was a Scottish Catholic [sic]. Jelly, obviously, is just a cuernt.
    “so “side issue” isn’t an excuse to dodge this question which you’ve just managed to do yet again.” ”
    So as you’ve been so casual about keeping to the point, then why can’t you address a question which seems relevant as the post is tagged ‘Murdoch': He made what seems like a clearly antisemitic remark about the Jewish-owned press, which if it had come from anyone on the left would have provoked a flood of posts from you, and other pro-Israel bloggers. Why is it only the left that you spend your time attacking? Both you and the other pro-Israel bloggers.

  107. Jim Denham said,

    “Both you and the other pro-Israel bloggers”: “pro Israel” says it all. You imbecile.

    How is it that anything to do with the Middle East, Israel and/or antisemitism, brings all the obsessives, Jew-haters and conspiracy-theorists (not to mention people who simply seem impervious to facts, logic or reason) out of the woodwork?

    P.S: Help with semantics: who is the *other* “pro-Israel bloggers” (sic)?

    • Help with semantics said,

      who is the *other* “pro-Israel bloggers”
      who are the *other* “pro-Israel bloggers”

      • Jim Denham said,

        Help with semantics : you wrote “Both you and the other pro-Israel bloggers” (my emphasis).

      • Help with semantics said,

        Help with semantics : you wrote “Both you and the other pro-Israel bloggers”
        I did. If you need help with grammar, you’ll notice that ‘bloggers’ is plural, so takes the plural form of the verb ‘to be’.
        And before that:
        [Murdoch] made what seems like a clearly antisemitic remark about the Jewish-owned press, which if it had come from anyone on the left would have provoked a flood of posts from you, and other pro-Israel bloggers. Why is it only the left that you spend your time attacking?

      • Jim Denham said,

        Oh gawd: I’m not sure why I bother…but “Help,” the operative words are “*Both* you and the other…” geddit?

        In future I’ll charge for lessons in basic English.

      • Help with semantics said,

        In future I’ll charge for lessons in basic English.
        You would have to find someone who struggles more with comprehending in than thou first.

        (i)What I said:
        Both you and the other pro-Israel bloggers.
        No need for any form of the verb ‘to be’. Simply clarifies that the ‘you’, in the previous sentence, should be taken to mean you and other pro-Israel bloggers.

        (ii)What you said:
        who is the *other* “pro-Israel bloggers” (sic)?
        Again, the singularity of the verb form doesn’t match the plural noun.

        (iii)What you said next:
        the operative words are “*Both* you and the other…”
        You don’t think a verb is a necessary operator in a sentence? No wonder what you say doesn’t go anywhere.
        Lets put a verb into this sentence and see what happens:
        Both you and the other pro-Israel bloggers is spending all your time attacking the left rather than the right.
        No, that’s not right.
        Both you and the other pro-Israel bloggers are spending all your time attacking the left rather than the right.
        That’s better

      • Help with semantics said,

        My apologies the second and third lines should read:
        You would have to find someone who struggles more with comprehending English than thee first.

  108. Clive said,

    Do I get this right? Someone – rodent? – at some point wants to know what Jim thinks about Murdoch. Since it is so glaringly obvious what he thinks about Murdoch (both in general and regarding anti-semitism) he doesn’t specifically respond to the question, and this then becomes evidence that Jim – and by implication anyone else who finds Bell’s cartoon unsavoury – doesn’t care about anti-semitism if it comes from Murdoch, because we are his friends and share his global agenda….

    This is the stuff of satire.

  109. modernity's ghost said,

    Jim,

    I hate to tell you so, Elf was just trolling (making outrageous claims just to provoke), best ignored.

    But like flyingrodent, Elf can’t deal with the substantive issue of racism and has to go on about Murdoch, to deflect the discussion.

    Now, Elf’s not very bright, because if he were he would understand that trade union activists do not like Murdoch.

    I don’t know Jim’s opinion on this. Never seen it, but I can guess.

    So Elf is not left in any doubt:

    I consider Rupert Murdoch one of the worst news proprietors to have existed. He’s an enemy of trade unions, an opportunist conservative with principles lower than the gutter (see his sucking up to the Beijing dictators).I despise everything he stands for, everything.

    I am not surprised he indulges in racism. Nor am I surprised that people tried to kiss his arse, given the power he wields via his newspapers.

    The activities of Murdoch’s newspapers are appalling and utterly reprehensible. I’m sure that Murdoch and his son were informed about the phone hacking but are largely teflon.

    If Murdoch was on fire I wouldn’t piss on him to put it out, he is lower than vermin in my view.

    PS: I don’t believe that Mark Elf is an antisemite. Elf is incredibly, monumentally and inexhaustibly stupid. Elf has more neurosis than grains of sand on a beach, but he’s not, in my view, an antisemite

    PPS: Just in case I didn’t make it clear, I loath Rupert Murdoch with a passion, he is repulsive morally, intellectually and any other facet you can think of.

    PPPS: I imagine that Elf wouldn’t have understood any of that, but still I abhor Murdoch, his very existence.

    PPPPS: My bet (and I am just guessing) is that Jim’s view of Murdoch is stronger than mine.

    • levi9909 said,

      Clive – “Since it is so glaringly obvious what he (Jim) thinks about Murdoch (both in general and regarding anti-semitism) he doesn’t specifically respond to the question, ”

      Actually Jim said that he wasn’t responding because Murdoch wasn’t the subject of the post. Your loyalty to Jim is touching but your mind-reading skills are totally fucked. The problem with saying that Murdoch wasn’t the subject of the post was that Murdoch got an honourable mention for his “unreserved apology” for Scarfe’s unproblematic cartoon. Clearly Jim was satisfied that Murdoch was tendering an apology in good faith rather than bullying and humiliating his staff in the cause of zionism.

      Now I accept that as a trade unionist Jim has to claim to hate Murdoch. He may even actually hate Murdoch but he mentioned him favourably in the post and he has failed to condemn the antisemitism of his tweet about the “Jewish-owned press”.

      Moddy has spent two days thinking up a way to distance himself and Jim from Murdoch which would include referring to Murdoch’s presumed racism but without getting into the specifics of his antisemitic tweet. I suspect that’s because both Moddy and Jim have a lot of form for denouncing those Jews who fall short of their expectations by refusing to support the racist war criminals of the State of Israel and they very possibly don’t know what was antisemitic about the tweet.

      Clearly Jim and Moddy are more concerned about the anti-racism of the left than the antisemitism of the right as long as the latter is in support of zionism.

  110. Jim Denham said,

    Mr Elf to Clive: “your mind-reading skills are totally fucked.” No mind reading is required to reach Clive’s conclusion: the the ability to read at all; that and being able to think. The latter ability seems to be beyond you, Mr Elf.

    Get back to what you do best: giving aid and comfort to antisemites everywhere.

    • levi9909 said,

      Well Clive might be a good reader but he obviously missed your excuse for not identifying or condemning Murdoch’s antisemitism and Murdoch’s failure to understand what he had even done. He also must have missed the bit where you appear to be approving of Murdoch because you wrote in your post:

      Scarfe almost immediately apologised for the timing of the cartoon’s publication and Murdoch himself then issued an unreserved apology. You even provide a link to the apology.

      So I’m sure it’s true that you usually hate Murdoch and to call him your friend only applies to where he is on zionism and antisemitism, ie roughly where you are. The thing is, when he did his usual thing and humiliated and bullied his editor and cartoonist you seemed to support him.

      That’s another thing Clive missed. Perhaps you need to be a good misreader to understand where you are regarding Murdoch, Jim.

      So, Scarfe and Murdoch confessed and apologised for non-existent sins and you absolved them.

      Bell refuses to even accept that he sinned and mocked those who said that he had. He also mocked the false accusers for not noticing or complaining when Murdoch committed the sin that Bell’s critics falsely accused him of and so you called in the Inquisition..

      I hear there’s a vacancy at the Vatican. You should go for it, Jim. Communion Shiraz anyone?

  111. Boleyn Ali said,

    “This is the stuff of satire.”

    No, this is the bread and butter of “political blogging” and comments boxes.

  112. Red Skippy said,

    111. Boleyn Ali

    Nelson’s! Feet off the floor everybody.

  113. modernity's ghost said,

    Jim,

    As I said, Elf is too stupid for words.

    If you said “I believe in ……………” said it 50 times, then Elf’ would come back and say “No, you don’t, instead you believe…….” [fill in the blanks, any subject will do.]

    Elf’s an expert troll [writing provocative posts] but can’t understand that on your blog he doesn’t dominate the subject and he doesn’t dictate the form of the debate.

    Still less does Elf have anything relevant to say when it comes to the wider issue of anti-Jewish racism, or how that relates to the social discourses in Christian countries.

    Elf will often ask an irrelevant question, go on about it until the leaves fall from the trees and global warming is felt in Scotland, yet when you answer it he will ignore your answer, as if it didn’t matter in the first place, and carry on regardless.

    His point concerning Murdoch is just that, an irrelevance.

    Jim, Elf’s a thick authoritarian, best not let him bait you.

  114. Boleyn Ali said,

    Isnt it.

  115. Boleyn Ali said,

    Confused now, how can an Elf be a Troll – have you not read Tolkien?

    • Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,

      • Boleyn Ali said,

        Is that an Elf in that video?

  116. Red Skippy said,

    Isn’t it? I did enjoy the part where Elf defended the criminal gang which has been preaching damnation, crusade and pogrom against us for 2000 years.

    I don’t hold individual catholics responsible for catholic antisemitism, although in my experience, catholic antisemites hold me personally liable for the death of the so called Jesus. Guilty of, and eternally punished for, the ‘murder’ of an individual who never actually existed, who is merely another retelling of the Osiris/Pan/Mithras/yaddayaddayadda myth, it’s one of the cruel jokes of history.

    @rodent – I have no idea what football team you follow — why not St Mirren or Stenhousemuir? — and could care less. I had to go to Scotland for someone to say directly, to my face, that my ancestors should have been exterminated and/or that I should be killed. And I’m the bigot? I should have stabbed myself in the neck on the spot to prove my antiracist credentials.

    If nothing else it helped disabuse me of any subconscious romantic ideas inculcated in me in the Scottish diaspora. I am not, and never will be Scottish. Now I live somewhere where nobody gives a shit about religion, or even if you have one or not, or where you mother is from.

  117. modernity's ghost said,

    I had missed Elf’s silly remark:

    “I’ve got to say that whilst I expect bogus allegations of antisemitism from both of you, the unselfconsciousness of your anti-Scottish and anti-Catholic bigotry is something I hadn’t expected.”

    I suppose it just goes to prove what I originally said, Elf is staggeringly slow-witted as he does not understand how Christianity indoctrinated generations for 2000 years, led to numerous atrocities in its name and is probably the root of societal antisemitism.

    Further, that ElF won’t understand why the sectarian mindset which exists in parts of Scotland (and its very well documented, etc) has been such a negative force.

    Moreover, he wouldn’t realise the objections to aspects of a society, its discourse, negative cultural aspects and pandering to superstitious beliefs to not make one “anti-Scottish” any more than commenting on the backward nature of the Catholic Church makes you a heretic with worthy for burning at the stake.

    But alas Elf does not possess a very subtle intellect (or even part thereof) to understand these complexities.

    And just to be perfectly clear, as an atheist, I reserve the right to criticise organisations or anyone who believes in sky spirits, holy water, the abuse of children or the preeminence of one particular superstition over rationality.

    I do not favour going back to the past where religious organisations held sway overpopulations, pushed reactionary beliefs, tortured people, limited social progress, enforced bondage on half the population and more, fought every minor social advance tooth and nail, etc etc

    I have no doubt Elf will deliberately misinterpret, misunderstand and generally find my views incomprehensible, but that’s down to his own witlessness, not something I can help with.

    PS: Incidentally, I had the various Protestant sects more in mind when I made my comments, as they tended to be particularly backward in certain areas. Not that Elf will know which.

  118. modernity's ghost said,

    Just in case Elf starts up again,

    I am very much against organised religion, religious cults, religious sects, the abuse of children by religious groupings whoever they are, wherever they are.

    The concentration of power is part and parcel of organised religion is a major problem in terms of indoctrination, regressive thinking, the abuse of women and children.

    I am most certainly against sexual harassment even if it’s done by the ex-Israeli President, a Zen Buddhist Master or a yoga teacher.

    http://www.inquisitr.com/521200/zen-buddhist-master-105-accused-of-sexual-harassment/

  119. modernity's ghost said,

    PS: I am against it even when done by a leading SWP member and abetted by his comrades as finding him guiltless, but please don’t accuse me of Comradeceltaphobia!

    [The second link to avoid the spam filters:]

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/health/nutrition/yoga-fans-sexual-flames-and-predictably-plenty-of-scandal.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    • levi9909 said,

      Nothing to see here.

      • Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,

        utter lunatic. like all antisemites.

  120. modernity's ghost said,

    Jim,

    I think the broader problem is the inability of many to understand antisemitism.

    Its complex topic and despite flyingrodent’s obvious intelligence, he can’t really get to grip with it.

    Flyingrodent doesn’t understand the part played by social discourse and history.

    Further neither he, nor Elf, understand the role played by Christianity in the creation and maintenance of racism towards Jews.

    Its a bit like someone wanting to debate the pros and cons of the offside rule in soccer, yet not knowing what a football is.

    • levi9909 said,

      Mod you are simply trolling as you have been throughout the whole thread.. Look at yourself and your allies on the thread. Your accusation against me of trolling was pure projection.

      Regarding understanding antisemitism, Flying Rodent and I were the only ones to pick up on a genuinely antisemitic tweet by Rupert Murdoch. Neither of you will comment on the only clear case of antisemitism mentioned in the Steve Bell cartoons above and in this thread. You prefer to hurl false allegations of antisemitism around and accuse others of failing to understand what you yourself don’t understand or deliberately misunderstand.

      The Christian culture which may or may not inform modern and current antisemitism is a complete red herring except you are using the Christian history of some societies to essentialise this generation as antisemitic. This means that whenever someone from a Christian society criticises Israel or zionism or zionists, all you have to say is that they would say that because they are born or at least bred antisemitic.

      You’re so transparent it’s beyond satire. It’s a pity really because in all the years I’ve seen you barking (in both senses) on the threads I have seen you make two reasonable comments but in both cases Israel wasn’t involved. You’ve clearly got a blind spot there. I don’t know if you’re overcompensating for a Christian background but your projection, your lies and your own racism and sectarianism aren’t that much of a departure from the nasty ideology of the churches.

      • Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,

        crank

  121. modernity's ghost said,

    It is true I am exceedingly rude, but then isn’t everyone?

    Elf wrote:

    “The Christian culture which may or may not inform modern and current antisemitism is a complete red herring”

    My point relating to the Christian culture was germane as it was trying to explain why particularly in Scotland there is such a “sentiment”.

    Now you can agree with that sentiment or not, but you can’t deny its slightly different or that it does exist.

    And that’s an interesting question if you are of the mind to ponder it.

    Why is there such a strong anti-Israeli sentiment in Scotland?

    Did it just fall out of the sky?

    Did it waft across from Europe?

    Hardly.

    Or does it come from the social, religious and political development in Scotland?

    That’s my general point.

    But I fully accept that thick anti-Zionists aren’t really interested in racism, its origins, its antecedents and why it dominates in certain cultures and not so much in others.

    I think that’s where we came in, wasn’t it?

    • levi9909 said,

      Moddy, you are just pushing the thread way off topic because you can’t sustain your (and Jim’s) position regarding Bell, Scarfe and Murdoch. But here goes…

      You know I don’t need any lectures on the medieval Christian antecedents of modern antisemitism.but it ought be noted that countries with the worst histories of antisemitism are often very pro-Israel as are many of the explicitly racist/fascist parties of Europe. Even the Board of Deputies of British Jews had to admit that the BNP’s website was “the most zionist on the net”. Now I’m not going to accuse you of ignorance for not knowing that because I am guessing you do know that. You just prefer to ignore that because it doesn’t support your “argument”. And your argument is simply a way of pseudo-intellectualising your nasty sectarian sniping at Flying Rodent because with a couple of well aimed one liners he exposes you (and Jim) as being a couple of lying racist wankers.

      Anyway, if sympathy with the Palestinians is more widespread in Scotland than in England it is far more likely that Scots are identifying with an oppressed nation. It’s the same with Ireland and with many other former colonies. And you have clearly implied in spite of your disclaimer that Scotland has a stronger Palestine solidarity movement (or in your words more antisemitism”) than the rest of the UK.

      Moddy, you might have to one day admit that the reason Israel has lots of enemies, critics and opponents is because it is a nasty colonial settler state which has no right to exist, a bit like apartheid South Africa, and Rhodesia.

      Oh and another thing, if you’re going to judge people who support the Palestinian cause by reference to the religion of their ancestors you might take a look at the Torah and the Talmud and consider how they inform the conduct and beliefs of today’s Jews, Gilad Atzmon’s very big on that sort of thing but then most people, including me, seem to agree that he is a racist.

      Rather than trying to be clever you might want to return to screeching “ban the witch”. It worked on the talentless Mr Gidley, maybe it will work here.

  122. flyingrodent said,

    Why is there such a strong anti-Israeli sentiment in Scotland?

    As has been repeatedly pointed out to you, you actually have to give me some kind of evidence to suggest that this is the case.

    Responding to requests for evidence by detailing the various lunacies of the major religions and so on is totally beside the point. You’re trying to divine the cause of a phenomenon that you can’t even prove exists, and asking me to join in on your speculation. It’s not that I’m failing to understand your points. It’s that your points are irrelevant, if they’re supporting a wonky conclusion.

    Note well here – this is not to deny that there is antisemitism in Scotland (there is, as there is in many parts of the world), or that there are small political groups with weird and wacky ideas on Israel and Zionism.

    Nonetheless, if I’m failing to acknowledge your explanation for why, it’s most definitely because you haven’t even nearly demonstrated that you’re talking about an existing trend.

    (Also worth noting again at this point that the only reason the issue of racism in Scotland has been raised is because I’m Scottish. Quite why anyone thinks my nationality is relevant, I’m not sure, but it certainly looks quite odd when you get responses of the “You would say that, people from your country are all bastards” genus on a thread that’s supposedly about bigotry).

  123. modernity's ghost said,

    I have made the point above and before but it’s worthwhile repeating:

    You can’t discuss a complex issue where there is no common ground.

    If someone is wilfully ignorant or chooses, deliberately, not to see facts (be it climate change, a problem with guns in America or racism in Britain, etc), then it’s highly unlikely that anything you write will change their mind.

    That is precisely what this thread has demonstrated, the futility in arguing with belligerent contrarians, like Flyingrodent.

    He will always contest the issue, either semantics, definitions or simply say he doesn’t see the evidence.

    Hypothetically, if you then posted in six links with mountains of evidence he would simply say ” it is not relevant, can’t see the issue”.

    Flyingrodent is a misanthropic contrarian. He will always argue the contrary case, thus there is no common ground or reason to suppose that he would respond to, er, reason.

    Again, these issues are involved and multi-faceted, requiring a degree of subtlety and sensitivity, so discussing them is often hard, fraught with problems of interpretation, agreeing the basic facts, etc extrapolating from them, even when the two parties are reasonably versed on the topic and discuss things conscientiously.

    But when you have deliberate bad faith and wilful ignorance, as with flyingrodent, then no meaningful discussion is possible.

    Certainly, if you want a slanging match then he’s your man, but anything else is like trying to excavate a quarry using a twisted spoon, futile in the extreme.

  124. flyingrodent said,

    Flyingrodent is a misanthropic contrarian. He will always argue the contrary case, thus there is no common ground or reason to suppose that he would respond to, er, reason.

    My flaws are many and varied. Nonetheless, if you’re right and Scotland is clearly and demonstrably more racist than other parts of the UK, then you won’t have any trouble proving it, will you?

    If someone is wilfully ignorant or chooses, deliberately, not to see facts (be it climate change, a problem with guns in America or racism in Britain, etc), then it’s highly unlikely that anything you write will change their mind.

    Once again – you’re saying Scotland has a noticeably greater antisemitism problem than the rest of the UK. You are choosing not to back this up with any evidence, and relying on anecdote and assertion. That’s your fault, not mine.

    Well, I’ve lived and worked in Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow, plus a smattering of small towns, for more than thirty five years and I’ve seen absolutely nothing to justify this charge. Nothing at all.

    Now, I appreciate you’d like me to respond to this by saying Oh yes, it’s terrible that we’re so very much more racist, even though there is no evidence that this is the case. Let’s examine the historical causes of all this awful prejudice.

    I don’t think so. If you told me Scotland had a greater problem with greenfly or male pattern baldness, I’d say “Show me evidence to back that up before I accept it as a fact”. This is no different – show me some evidence, then there will be reasonable grounds for discussing the issue.

    But no. Instead, you wail, rend your garments, call down the vengeance of heaven, gnash your teeth, speak in tongues, howl into the night sky and so on, because your pronouncements aren’t automatically accepted as correct, just because you say they are.

    There’s a word for this type of behaviour, and that word is “bullshit”.

  125. modernity's ghost said,

    For the benefit of readers, not the semi-literate poster, I wrote:

    “Why is there such a strong anti-Israeli sentiment in Scotland?”

    I did not say :”Once again – you’re saying Scotland has a noticeably greater antisemitism problem than the rest of the UK. ”

    I even put the original point in bold and still he couldn’t get it.

    If he can’t understand a single sentence then there’s no hope for flyingrodent to grasp the complexities of these issues.

    Then again he is not really interested in it.

    Even a single sentence stopped him, amazing.

  126. flyingrodent said,

    “Why is there such a strong anti-Israeli sentiment in Scotland?”

    For the love of… Right, give us a reason to believe that then.

    Stronger anti-Israeli sentiment in Scotland than in London, or Liverpool, or Cardiff, or Birmingham.

    Crack on, I’m all ears.

  127. Jim Denham said,

    Elf’s standard MO: “Over there!”

  128. modernity's ghost said,

    As I said:

    “But when you have deliberate bad faith and wilful ignorance, as with flyingrodent, then no meaningful discussion is possible.”

    I suspect most readers got what I wrote at t 6:50 pm, even if flyrodent didn’t.

  129. flyingrodent said,

    So that’ll be “No, I haven’t got any kind of evidence” then.

    Bluntly, I suspect most people would spot that you’re utterly full of shit and wind and little else.

  130. modernity's ghost said,

    Oh what did I write:

    “He will always contest the issue, either semantics, definitions or simply say he doesn’t see the evidence.

    Hypothetically, if you then posted in six links with mountains of evidence he would simply say ” it is not relevant, can’t see the issue”.

    Flyingrodent is a misanthropic contrarian. He will always argue the contrary case, thus there is no common ground or reason to suppose that he would respond to, er, reason.”

    I imagine that flyingrodent could learn to use Google and inform himself on the situation if he really wanted to, but he doesn’t.

    He’s a windup merchant.

    So why, logically, would someone putting the effort to convince a contrarian, an awkward bastard, of something that he’d never agree to, ever, by virtue of his nature?

    I made this very point to Jim, sometime back & this thread only convinces me more.

  131. flyingrodent said,

    Hypothetically, if you then posted in six links with mountains of evidence he would simply say ” it is not relevant, can’t see the issue”.

    To be fair, this is probably true, largely because the full limit of the links and evidence you could call upon relates to the behaviour of one Glaswegian micro-sect and possibly a couple of random nutters, which not even the lamest alarmist could use to support the statements you’ve made.

    Which is fair enough. If you make a massive generalisation then back it up with evidence that flimsy, other folk are entirely correct to reject it.

    But still, you’ve got a fun mode of argument here: Make wildly overblown generalisations, then spend days on end complaining that folk who don’t accept them are psychologically incapable of seeing the essential truth of your pronouncements, because they’re basically dishonest.

    It’s hilariously bullshitty and feeble, of course, but fun nonetheless.

  132. modernity's ghost said,

    “Oh and another thing, if you’re going to judge people who support the Palestinian cause by reference to the religion of their ancestors”

    Honest, Elf is as thick as shit.

    For the third time, I said anti-Israeli sentiment.

    Had I wish to say pro-Palestinian, that’s what I would have written.

    In fact, it fairly clear that many in the West aren’t really pro Palestinian.

    And the reason why many are more anti-Israeli and not really pro-Palestinian is evidenced by:

    1) the treatment of Palestinians in refugee camps outside of West Bank & Gaza, that gains very little coverage
    2) the almost silence on how Assad has stared up sectarian hatred amongst Palestinians & lack of criticism of this.
    3) plus the killing of Palestinians by Assad regime, and almost no coverage in Britain.

    In my view, it is anti-Israeli sentiment not pro-Palestinian.

    My point concerning religion was on the wider social discourse and how that engenders certain opinions in a society. this is evidenced in the debate in churches towards sexuality and women’s rights, but not only that there is an undercurrent which is existed within Christianity for 2000 years and sadly hasn’t vanished.

    PS: Just before shit-for-brains Elf asks:

    I think, the Israeli government’s treatment of the Palestinians had been appalling. Their human rights had been abused left right and centre. I could qualify by saying Hamas indiscriminately kills Palestinians, after torturing them. Or that Arab governments keep Palestinians in an almost permanent state of poverty because it suits them. Or that many Westerners are only concerned about Palestinians in relationship to Israel and don’t give a fig if other government’s treat them poorly. But that’s all aside. The Netanyahu government is an awful, terrible right-wing government and their policies towards the Palestinians miserable and unnecessary.

    But in the West, the plight of the Palestinians is used as a proxy to attack Israelis and its fairly clear that genuine concern for the Palestinians is in short supply, which can be seen when it comes to non-Israeli treatment of Palestinians, as it gets minimal coverage.

    • levi9909 said,

      Stressing anti-Israel over supporting the Palesitnian cause is just playing games. To assert that the former takes precedence over the latter you would have to establish why the Palestinian cause only became widely supported in the west during the 1970s, especially if you’re claiming, as you seem to be, that it is some kind of replacement for or continuation of Christian antisemitism. You might also want to explain why states, parties and movements with the worst histories of antisemitism seem to be most supportive of the State of Israel.

      The Netanyahu government is an awful, terrible right-wing government and their policies towards the Palestinians miserable and unnecessary.

      Goodness, you’ve accidentally returned to the topic.

      Netanyahu’s treatment of the Palestinians in Gaza in November last year was supported by Hague and Blair, hence Steve Bell’s depiction of them as glove puppets of Netanyahu, not of Jews in general.

      Without the support of western governments, Israel couldn’t do what it does to the Palestinians as “awful” and “terrible” as it is.

      Also, Netanyahu’s treatment of the Palestinians is necessary if Israel is to remain a state specially for Jews. This is what makes Israel stand out like a sore thumb and which has been explained to you many times.. And of course, other serial human rights abusers don’t get the support from the western establishment that Israel gets.

      Israel’s existence is predicated on its human rights abuses. It’s not just this or that government. Netanyahu’s is no worse than any other Israeli government in that respect. Labour zionists have always been more vicious in practice and hypocritical in behaviour than Likud. Labour initiated the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and the settlement project in the occupied territories. And it expanded settlements more than Likud until recently. Of course, you don’t say what it is you find “awful” and “terrible” about Netanyahu.

      The old apartheid regime of South Africa wasn’t always as bad as other African regimes at the time in terms of human rights abuses. But its existence was predicated on racist rule. Its opponents were not anti-white, just anti-racist.

      I can’t believe that a routine smear of an Israel critic has generated this many comments but just to recap.

      Steve Bell has been falsely accused of antisemitism by the usual brigade of zionists. He has responded by ridiculing his critics who either didn’t notice or at least didn’t criticise Murdoch for his antisemitism. Not only that, in spite of Murdoch not knowing what he had done wrong when he denounced the “Jewish-owned press” he still weighed in to bully and humiliate his editor and cartoonist when the cartoonist caricatured Netanyahu. Significantly Murdoch didn’t claim that Scarfe’s cartoon was antisemitic, just “grotesque and offensive”. The Sun newspaper has also used the word “Sooty” on its front page to refer to black people. I think if you pull all these things together you might get some idea of what Steve Bell was trying to say in his cartoons.

      So Jim and Mod claim Steve Bell is antisemitic or doesn’t know what antisemitism is or thinks antisemitism itself is a joke, They don’t like Murdoch or Netanyahu but Jim accepts that Murdoch apologised in good faith for Scarfe and he is happy with Scarfe’s apology about the time his cartoon appeared. But let’s be clear, Jim and Mod don’t usually like Murdoch. He is not their friend. They don’t like Netanyahu either, they are just insanely and dishonestly protective towards the illegitimate entity he rules and are extremely hostile to its critics, opponents and victims. That’s if we accept that false allegations of antisemitism amount to extreme hostility. But maybe they think antisemitism is a joke.

      I think that covers everything.

  133. Jim Denham said,

    Mr Elf writes: “Even the Board of Deputies of British Jews had to admit that the BNP’s website was “the most zionist on the net”.”

    My response: Ah! Now we’re getting to Mr Elf’s true position: “Zionists” are more or less the same as Nazis, and certainly in cahoots with them. You *do* believe that, don’t you, Mr Elf?

    • levi9909 said,

      What I’m saying is what I said. It’s a fact that antisemitic and racist parties in Europe tend to be the most supportive of zionism and the State of Israel, whereas principled anti-racists tend to be the most critical of Israel. I’m saying that as a counterpoint to Moddy’s assertion that anti-Israel activism or commentary is somehow an inheritor of an antisemitic past. It’s not.

      Now you can do another post about how zionism is nothing like nazism and maybe I’ll comment on that but this thread’s unwieldy enough.

      Back to this post, I think I summed it up correctly here:

      Steve Bell has been falsely accused of antisemitism by the usual brigade of zionists. He has responded by ridiculing his critics who either didn’t notice or at least didn’t criticise Murdoch for his antisemitism. Not only that, in spite of Murdoch not knowing what he had done wrong when he denounced the “Jewish-owned press” he still weighed in to bully and humiliate his editor and cartoonist when the cartoonist caricatured Netanyahu. Significantly Murdoch didn’t claim that Scarfe’s cartoon was antisemitic, just “grotesque and offensive”. The Sun newspaper has also used the word “Sooty” on its front page to refer to black people. I think if you pull all these things together you might get some idea of what Steve Bell was trying to say in his cartoons.

      I’m sure there’s nothing more to say on this post.

  134. modernity's ghost said,

    Jim,

    I think Elf’s latest contributions show your readers the problem of arguing with anti-Zionists, such as he.

    Nothing sinks in.

    I made a very specific reference, to buttress my arguments, to Syria.

    Yet Elf is incapable of acknowledging the slaughter in Syria and what it tells us about attitudes towards the Middle East.

    Some 70,000 Syrians have been killed but barely a whimper in the Western media.

    However, had seven people (7) been injured by the Israelis I am sure the Guardian and numerous other publications would splash that across their columns.

    That’s, the disparity in the West, how when a dictator slaughters tens of thousands, make millions into refugees and injures 100,000s there’s a bit of coverage, but not much.

    Should Israelis be involved in anything, questionable, nasty or damaging then it will be plastered across the press and ‘anti-Zionists’ drone on about it for ages.

    Again, the awful slaughter in Syria demonstrates that, in the West, there is very little genuine interest in the Middle East.

    There is little scrutiny on the role of Russia and China in aiding the barbarism perpetuated by the Assad regime.

    There is no meaningful critique of the role of Assad, his supporters and the arming of his regime.

    It’s been going on for two years, 70,000+ killed and yet in the West there is scant interest.

    So that is why I am arguing that much of the sentiment found in the West is anti-Israeli, there is little positive in western attitudes, the terrible situation in Syria shows us that.

    • Shalom said,

      Elf is a sick joke, luckily without influence or popular support. Ignore, ignore, ignore…

  135. flyingrodent said,

    Again, the awful slaughter in Syria demonstrates that, in the West, there is very little genuine interest in the Middle East. There is little scrutiny on the role of Russia and China in aiding the barbarism perpetuated by the Assad regime. There is no meaningful critique of the role of Assad, his supporters and the arming of his regime… Some 70,000 Syrians have been killed but barely a whimper in the Western media.

    Part of my job is keeping a close eye on the UK media, so I can confirm that this is utter, arse-extracted, hilarious bullshit. Given the number of journos who have risked their lives to report from Syria this year, it’s also an offensively crass bit of propaganda.

    The Syrian War has been front-page news for more than a year right across all of the British broadsheets, from Telegraph to Guardian, and headline news in broadcasts; Channel Four News hacks in particular have risked life and limb to bring back some excellent reporting, but ITV and the BBC have been excellent also.

    Russia and China’s behaviour have been repeatedly denounced in both articles and opinion pieces and nobody could come away with the impression that Assad and his supporters are anything but a shower of bastards.

    Have a Google for these things, Mod. It’s utterly impossible to deny that the UK media has done outstanding and very risky work to bring events in Syria to public attention. Have a check, now!

    Or don’t you do that, before you issue wild and idiotic generalisations that fall apart in seconds when anyone bothers to investigate?

  136. modernity's ghost said,

    Flyingrodent’s appeal to his own authority is marvellous.

    Were it not a fallacy.

    The “I know better than you” school of argumentation is silly.

    Even he could probably acknowledge that, had he an ounce of insight into his own behaviour, but alas no.

    PS: Smart readers will notice how he’s slightly shifted the debate, to the UK media, away from my original point!

  137. flyingrodent said,

    That’s, the disparity in the West, how when a dictator slaughters tens of thousands, make millions into refugees and injures 100,000s there’s a bit of coverage, but not much.

    If you’re going to come out with cretinous statements like this, expect to get laughed at. If you then attempt to row away from them and off towards some nebulous leftist treachery, expect double.

  138. modernity's ghost said,

    Readers will notice the arrogance which flyingrodent embodies is somewhat weakened by his inability to read or represent my arguments with any honesty.

    Now flyingrodent is an educated man, but pray to his habits of using fallacies, kettle logic and misrepresentation.

    Above I made a simple point about “strong anti-Israeli sentiment ” and flyingrodent, despite being an almost professional reader, couldn’t read it with any accuracy.

    So if flyingrodent can’t read what I write, a few paragraphs there, rather simple, then I would doubt his ability to read, understand and comprehend what’s going on in the British media with any clarity.

  139. flyingrodent said,

    Feeble.

  140. Jim Denham said,

    Mr Elf avoids the issue I raised about his conflation of “Zionism” with Nazism with the following cop-out: “Now you can do another post about how zionism is nothing like nazism and maybe I’ll comment on that but this thread’s unwieldy enough.”

    Ah! More evasion and wriggling…

    Btw: who made this thread “unwieldy” (by bringing in extaneous matters like Murdoch) in the first place?

    P.S: Mr Elf’s reply, though typically evasive, *does* confirm the suspicion that he thinks “Zionism” and Nazism are, indeed, closely ralated (or, at least, that the question’s open to serious debate); he writes:

    “Now you can do another post about how zionism is nothing like nazism and maybe I’ll comment on that but …”

    • Shalom said,

      His site is full of the sort of filth which equates Jews with Nazis. He is a sick antisemite and deranged conspiracy theorist. best ignored/scorned/deleted.

    • levi9909 said,

      Murdoch wasn’t extraneous to the post. He is included in the cartoon and you mention him favourably in the post. I don’t mind comparing zionists to nazis but it is you and Mod who keep changing the subject because you can’t sustain your argument.

      I see Moddy has introduced another change of subject to try to keep the ball up in the air. I don’t know why I should have mentioned Syria when the post is about Steve Bell and Jim has at least pretended to want to stay on topic. Not only that of course but Moddy has only just brought up Syria in desperation at losing an argument.

      But anyway, Moddy’s had it explained a million times why western activists focus more on a western colonial project than a third world dictatorship. The same applies to Israel now as applied to South Africa back in the day. Not the worst of human rights abusers at any given time but a serial human rights abuser whose existence is predicated on its human rights abuses. Syria could respect human rights and Assad would be gone but Syria would still be Syria. If Israel abandoned ethnic cleansing and colonial settlement its days would be numbered.

      There are other examples of activist bias towards causes where the west seems to be more involved than others. The Chile and Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign were always bigger than any campaigns over Paraguay or Argentina presumably because of the obviousness of western involvement in Allende’s overthrow and American support for the Contras.

      People choose their causes for an array of reasons. There’s no reason to assume there’s a sinister motive unless you have an agenda of your own.

      Now me and Flying Rodent have been falsely accused of antisemitism, of trolling, of ignorance, dishonesty, and of stupidness when the only thing we can be justly accused of is wasting far too much time on a couple of willfully dishonest supporters of the racist war criminals of the State of Israel who will look for any motive for supporting their victims other than the fact that the State of Israel is a comprehensively illegitimate entity which simply has no right to exist.

      Woops, that’s my view only. I don’t know where Flying Rodent stands on it.

  141. modernity's ghost said,

    Jim,

    Best not let Elf dictate the terms of any discussion, as he goes off half-cocked in any direction.

    But if you are so inclined why not ask Elf:

    does he think Carlos Latuff (well known cartoonist) has produced any racist or questionable material? If so, when?

  142. Shalom said,

    Elf loves Latuff – probably uses his cartoons as masturbatory material.

  143. Jim Denham said,

    Prof Norm on “tropes” over at Normblog:

    http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2013/02/why-are-some-insidious-tropes-more-equal-than-others.html

    Why are some insidious tropes more equal than others?

    I’ve already said my bit on those Steve Bell and Gerald Scarfe cartoons. But I cannot pass up the opportunity offered by a column of Hadley Freeman’s to put on display the way in which legitimate worries about the use of traditional anti-Semitic themes and imagery get swept aside.

    Freeman is of the view, articulated in just two stray sentences, that the Scarfe cartoon was anti-Netanyahu rather than anti-Semitic. ‘Griping’ about it, as she puts this, does little to combat anti-Semitism. The interesting thing is that this opinion of hers is stuck inside a piece devoted to taking a critical view of sexism in the media. Sexism includes not only ‘viciously misogynistic elements’ but also ‘more insidious tropes’. Such as? Such as ‘describing any female celebrity as “flaunting her legs/curves/body”‘; or as describing an ‘unmarried, unmothered woman over 30… as “brave” for which read: pitiable, for which read: tragic’. OK, you’ll know how that works – demeaning or otherwise prejudicial stereotypes.

    But for some reason, unexplained, while Freeman can see that the application to a particular woman of a general theme involves more than a comment on that woman, because it mobilizes a prejudice about women, she can’t see, or doesn’t want to, how showing a Jewish politician using the blood of Palestinians to cement a wall recalls a tradition of anti-Jewish hatred, associated with the ‘blood libel’, in which Jews take the blood of others for their own dubious purposes. Of course, Scarfe may only have had Netanyahu, and not Jews, in mind. There’s no reason not to believe his own assurances on that score. But it isn’t only about his mind, it’s about – to repeat Freeman’s own term – insidious tropes.

    So, why are some insidious tropes more equal than others? Because some you consent to see, and others you don’t. These less equal others are denied entry into the republic of tropes that are acknowledged to have a malign history. It’s the Caryl Churchill two-step: she wasn’t meaning all Jews, just some Jews. It is the strange fate of anti-Jewish tropes in some quarters today to have cast off all their generality and to be only ever about THIS.

  144. modernity's ghost said,

    “But anyway, Moddy’s had it explained a million times why western activists focus more on a western colonial project than a third world dictatorship. The same applies to Israel now as applied to South Africa back in the day. Not the worst of human rights abusers at any given time but a serial human rights abuser whose existence is predicated on its human rights abuses. Syria could respect human rights and Assad would be gone but Syria would still be Syria. If Israel abandoned ethnic cleansing and colonial settlement its days would be numbered.”

    Elf is rehearsing a tired argument which was weak when it was trotted out 5-6 years ago.

    I am not particularly asking the question, why Israel and why not other countries?

    My point is much more specific, and I don’t expect that Elf will make the effort to address this, but readers might want to ponder what it tells us about Western attitudes.

    If Western activists were truly, honestly and genuinely concerned about Palestinians then they would be concerned about them, no matter the country, no matter the circumstance.

    For example, so if the Royal family in Bahrain was abusing Palestinians then it would be only right for pro-Palestinian activists in the West to highlight it and demonstrate against such activities.

    Likewise, if Palestinians in Oman were being killed by the State, then it would be understandable if Western pro-Palestinian activists demonstrated outside the Omani embassy.

    For to care about Palestinians means not being restricted by national borders or rather bourgeois constraints. It means treating the issue internationally.

    And that’s the rub.

    Rarely does that happen. If Israel’s government does something against the Palestinians, its news in the West, demonstrations organised, pickets of cultural events, Israeli academics are boycotted, column inches of newspapers are concerned, furious letters are written, etc etc

    But should another Middle Eastern government kill hundreds of Palestinians, then there is barely a murmur amongst Western pro- Palestinian supporters.

    If Palestinians are treated like dirt in other countries, there is no demonstration by pro-Palestinian supporters in the West. Nada.

    That’s what I find strange.

    Again, if Westerners were genuinely worried about Palestinians then national borders would not constrain that concern, but that hasn’t occurred in any significant way in the last two years.

    All rather telling, if you are troubled to think about it.

  145. Jim Denham said,

    Mr Elf: “I don’t mind comparing zionists to nazis ”

    Enough said.

    For ever.

  146. Shalom said,

    The Elf scumbag has written a typically revolting and disingenuous post on his foul hate page about this very discussion.

    Is there no end to the man’s vanity and self-importance?

    Elf, you disgust me.

  147. modernity's ghost said,

    I just wonder when the next racist incident or cartoon occurs what excuses flyingrodent or Elf will use.

    You know that will happen.

    Anyone with a sense of history can think back and remember what happened in the early years of Ahmadinejad’s presidency. Various westerners were falling over themselves to excuse his racism.

    That they became increasingly threadbare when Ahmadinejad invited neo-Nazis to Tehran.

    A similar symptom is seen in the West. Whenever some questionable piece of anti-Jewish racism pops up, you can count on it being sanitised, explained away and ignored by the usual suspects.

  148. Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,

    http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/sartre/1949/israel.htm

    The Birth of Israel

    Source: Michel Contat and Michel Rybalka, Les Écrits de Sartre. Parsi, Gallimard, 1970. Originally in “Hillel” no. 7, June 1949;
    Translated: for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor, 2008;
    CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2008.

    I have always wanted the Jewish problem to find a definitive solution within the framework of humanity, and still do, but since no social evolution can avoid the stage of national independence, we must rejoice that an autonomous Israeli state has legitimated the hopes and combats of Jews throughout the world. And since the Jewish problem is a particularly alarming expression of the contradictions tearing at contemporary society, the formation of the Palestinian state must be considered one of the most important events of our era, one of the few that allows us today to preserve hope. For the Jews, it is the crowning of their sufferings and their heroic struggle; for all of us it signifies a concrete progress towards a humanity where man will be the future of man.

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