Saturday, 30 April 2016

"Extreme right-wing UKIP" - BBC Turkish

DB has come across a tweet from the BBC's Turkish feed . It concerns UKIP:

DB is quite right about that. In every translation I've tried, the phrase "aşırı sağcı UKIP" means "extreme right-wing UKIP" ('aşırı' being the word that translates as 'extreme'). 

Why is the BBC telling its Turkish audience that UKIP is "extreme right-wing"?

Any Answers?

Today's Any Answers was wholly given over to the Labour anti-Semitism row. 

Anita Anand is another of those BBC types who pronounces anti-Semitic “anti-Semetic” (see Sue earlier). She did it throughout the programme.

She also didn't seem to have much of a clue what 'BDS' involved either, apparently thinking it's all about 'no platforming'. (This arose when Israel-bashing BDS campaigner Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi rang in and took centre stage).

Those defending Israel got the worse end of the stick from the ever-interventionist Anita, but there was a fair spread of opinion and some of the contributions were well worth listening to (especially the octogenarian Shirley Murgraff from Hackney). 

Naturally, there were plenty of 'eyebrow-raising' moments too. Mine shot up Mars-wards at Andy from Edinburgh complaining: 
We don't do that with any other country. When we criticise Italy we're not anti-Catholic. So what's wrong with criticising Israel but we're not anti-Semitic? 
His point (if you followed it!) bangs up straight against an obvious counter-point (though it clearly wasn't obvious enough for Anita to have made it!):

"We" don't criticise Italy, do "we"? "We" do criticise Israel however. And "we" have a very bad habit of only criticising Israel. And that's what makes "us" strongly appear to be anti-Semitic.

'Far-right' or 'right-wing'?

When it began covering the violence outside Alternative for Germany's conference in Stuttgart its online headline ran as follows:

Germany AfD meeting: Clashes before far-right conference

and the opening paragraph of its report ran as follows:
Hundreds of left-wing demonstrators have tried to block people entering a far-right party conference in the German city of Stuttgart.
After about four hours though (according to NewsSniffer), the headline was changed to:

Germany AfD meeting: Clashes before right-wing conference 

and the opening paragraph became:
Hundreds of left-wing demonstrators have tried to block people entering a right-wing party conference in the German city of Stuttgart.
Maybe a different editor took over. 

That editor (or someone else) also added that the 'left-wing demonstrators' were "carrying sticks and iron bars and burning tyres".


A snapshot from this morning's BBC Breakfast paper review, featuring Nazir Afzal, former Chief Prosecutor here in the North West:
Naga Munchetty: Something we've been talking about this week. we're talking about this morning as well - and something all the papers have picked up on. Jeremy Corbyn has announced changes to recognising anti-Semitism, if there is any, in the Labour Party, and this focus in The Times
Nazir Afzal: Naga, I suspect when I was growing up - I'm older than you - in the 60s and 70s, racism and the like was so overt. Now it's much more subtle. But I think we've got complacent. You know, when I saw Ken Livingstone in the disabled toilet with journalists shouting questions about Hitler about him, I thought 'This is all surreal'. But let's not forget the important issue. The important issue is that racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, is very real to those who are suffering it, day in and day out, in this country. And I sense, maybe, now we're going to be taking it a bit more seriously than we have done. We've got complacent. We thought, 'We're doing it really well. We're handling these cases really well. We're dealing with people who may have offended in some way, shape or form'. But my sense is that this was necessary for us - not just for the Labour Party - across the board - for people to start taking this issue much more seriously. 
Naga Munchetty: When you say 'take an issue much more seriously', what do you mean? Ken Livingstone has been suspended. Do you think he should be sacked?
Nazir Afzal: That's a matter for the Labour Party. I'm no long... 
Naga Munchetty: In a sense of taking it seriously though? 
Nazir Afzal: 'Taking it seriously' is suspending it, investigating it, and seeing if people learn. I'll give you a good example. Naz Shah was, earlier in the week...She posted something on Facebook three or four years ago. She apologised in parliament. She really means that she will act differently. Hopefully she will be a voice now for change around those who don't want to believe in equality across races, etc. So there is good that can come out of something like this. My sense is that something good has to come out of it because the Labour Party's not the only organisation that's got problems in this area.

Just thought I'd share...

I agree with Chris...

I`ve been going to Tolpuddle now for many years as an ex-Lefty who finds out quite a lot about what they`ll be up to in the coming year.
When I first started going , there would always be a Christian Socialist group down from the East Midlands with their Methodist tracts, on the main route to the festival-good natured arguments alright, how do you square Communism with Christianity…Marx or Methodism etc? But they`d been coming for years, were good union activist types, often retiring soon.
There would also always be a Friends of Israel group with the Israeli flag in the field nearby-manned usually by Jewish Socialists who would not be religious, but were proud of the Socialist Kibbutzim aspect of Zionism as they had fought long and hard for…ex Cable Street types, but plenty Labour friends too, who`d stayed on kibbutzes, who liked the socialist egalitarian activities of that communal, international brotherhood idea that flowered in Israel after 1948.
In short, Judeo-Christian values made up not the Labour DNA..but were the double helix that much else could be related to.
Again, in the case of Israel: some open hostility from the Gulag grannies and Stalin suckups-with increasingly nasty PLO types with the rise of Yasser Arafat, and (I`m sad to say) the Rock Against Racism/Anti-Nazi League types who saw a chance to wave the PLO flag, flog a few crap olives-and blame Jews in the USA for pretty much all their inadequacies and weirdities.
Have not seen a Christian presence now since 2006, and the Israel flag went before that.
Now the monoculture is wishy washy Jesus creeps who hide behind the cream teas…whilst the likes of Bob Crow(PBUH) can mug around like Buster Bloodvessel and shout down those of us(i.e me and a few brave souls)who scorn King Billy Bragg in public…the brownshirts get very upset,and the boozing hours in the hot sun come to the boil…usually on their fat tattooed necks, mind!
My point-to hear the BBC News tell me that Corbyn will “conduct an independent enquiry” is lies and bollox….a “clear the streets and put out the red tape” idea as used at Falkirk, mid-Staffs and the like.
Unless they`re Friends of Israel-they are ALL anti-Semites, they blame Israel and the Jews for everything that the USA can`t be pinned for.
Muslims will say what they still fear to say-but , as we now see, Corbyns election has given them permission to come out from under their stones…and so a few Jewesses/gays can be killed sometime soon with them.
They want the Muslim vote and this will bring the votes in-they can only agree with Islam over Israel in the open, so they make hay with their anti-Semitism.
Naz Shah was one of their “enquiry members on the PREVIOUS ongoing independent enquiry” until she self-detonated on Thursday.
So piss off Beeb-one of the few things that nearly all Labours liars and Corbyns c*nts CAN agree on is the fact they don`t like Jews, and Israel needs tipping into the sea without their water wings.
What ELSE unites the Left and Islam, terrorism with victim grooming of the camel stool?
Watch last nights Newsnight to see how academic anti-Semitism works-some “self identifying Palestinian” from a Sunni-funded Yuni in the west country slivers and weaves over Maitless fair questionning…an anti-Semite who is(as ever) the victim of Israel-and when the current “hoo-haa” is over, she`ll be up to her usual taqqiyya stuff…the BBC seem to seek her opinion, the Saudis will fund it, and she`ll be the victim.
As for all those Israelis getting stabbed every week?…anybody ELSE heard the BBC mention them? I`ve not.
AND watch for this one-the number of times that Israel gets collaterally smeared in the course of this storm (as in, Israels pretty crap and needs to be condemned for NEARLY everything that Ken and Jeremy say, if not actually get put back on trains to Drancy or Westerbork) is doing enormous damage-anti-Israeli tropes get lobbed in with every discussion, and it`s becoming a constant given of a backdrop-which will make the next stage of Muslim takeover of Labour even MORE of a struggle to fight.

Friday, 29 April 2016

"What Israel did"

Most of the chief T.V. anchors that find themselves hosting discussions on this topic are out of their depth, therefore incapable of getting anywhere near the heart of the matter.
They’re jacks of all trades, and when tackling a specialised and vitally important subject such as antisemitism, distinctly lacking in mastery.  
It doesn't help matters that the interviewees on both sides of the divide are mostly plucked from the left, no doubt through left-leaning commissioning editors.

Where are the Muslim voices? What are their opinions on antisemitism? Which BBC anchor-person is putting them under forensic interrogation?  Let’s hear something straight from the horse’s mouth.

Jeremy Corbyn has employed a well-known antisemite, Seumas Milne as a strategist. Where are the penetrating questions about that?

There is one predominant thread that seems to run throughout all the T.V. coverage, be it by interviewer or interviewee, and that is the so-called importance of separating ‘criticism of Israel’ from antisemitism. Some go so far as insisting that ‘anti-Zionism isn’t necessarily antisemitism, and should be assumed ‘not’, unless otherwise stated.

Without any understanding of what Zionism is, debating this subject meaningfully is difficult, if not completely pointless, but without any understanding of the history of the Middle East, ‘criticism of Israel‘ reduces layers of complexity to a crude, blunt and dangerous instrument.

 Just before the first question (about antisemitism in the Labour Party) was brought to an unusually premature finish by a nervous Dimbleby, a Q.T. audience member illustrated this kind of thing. Referring to the recent NUS controversy, she put her hand up to say: 
  “I’ve seen antisemitism used as a political tool [..] antisemitism is not the same as disagreeing with what Israel did. It’s not the same thing.” 

What Israel did

“What Israel did.” “What Israel does to the Palestinians”  This sort of expression is all that’s needed to get the ignorant mob clapping and cheering and nodding with moral superiority.

Sky News brought George Galloway in to the studio. The anchor was totally out of his depth, so  not only did he allow a predictable stream of racist venom to penetrate the consciousness  of hundreds of viewers, Sky quite unnecessarily helped revive a waning public profile that should have been left to die a natural death. Who knows, it might revitalise his "0% success rate" campaign for London Mayor.

People have been expressing all manner of racist bile, too. No wonder the unleashing of this monster has raised concerns for Britain’s Jews.  One moment there were sighs of relief that at long last this issue was being openly discussed, next minute there were fears that this was one Pandora of a box that should never have been meddled with. It’s the backlash. Which brings up all sorts of parallels, legitimate and illegitimate. Let’s address the knotty subject of ‘tarring with the same brush’.

We have Sir Philip Green, who has recently come under scrutiny for dumping a massive pension debt onto someone (or group) that lacks the wherewithal to honour it, impliedly following a pattern set by the late Sir Robert Maxwell.

This article entitled “The Demonisation of Philip Green” in the Financial Times (£) says “the demonisation is ugly and disproportionate.” However, many of the btl commenters are not so sure. They don’t like Philip Green, and you can’t help wondering if there is more behind this sentiment than meets the eye.

The OMG Daily Mail has gone to town with a luridly vilifying piece which attacks the  Green family and all who sail in her. Not to mention that yacht. I must say the yacht is a thing to behold. It literally screams vulgarity. “Look at me, I’m the embodiment of greed, bad taste and a massive waste of £100m that could have re- floated the NHS single-handedly.” 
Yep. The Greens are not doing the image of British Jewry a lot of good. But, and it’s a big but. Is there truly a comparison with that, and, say,  ‘tarring the whole Muslim community with the evildoings of ISIS?’ 
You mustn’t tar all Muslims with the same brush, even though “the UK Muslim community” have stated that while they support a whole tranche of anti-democratic, illiberal beliefs, they do not support Islamic State, and some still claim Islamic State is nothing to do with Islam. 

The theory that Jews are considerably richer than yow is definitely flawed. It’s a myth.  I have no idea whether or not the bulk of the Jewish community hanker after super-yachts, or whether, given half a chance, they would offload huge debts without a care in the world. Trevor Phillips should organise a poll;  I can only assure you that I, for one do not and would not.  But, there is a palpable tendency to insinuate that the perceived greed of one man and his family exemplifies a racial characteristic. (No-one seems to do the same thing when someone Jewish like Green provides employment by running successful businesses.)  

The backlash is as inevitable as the continuing, ever-present antisemitism. Nothing will change unless the BBC and the other mainstream channels address the issues head-on with some balanced and thorough information, concerning both the history and the current situation surrounding the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. Truthful reporting of Arab incitement would be a good start. 

As it is, George Galloway and Ken Livingstone are given plenty of space to implant the implausible idea that Hitler collaborated with Zionists and supported Zionism. This is one interpretation of events leading up to WWll adopted by certain Judeophobic writers and authors - some of them Jews  themselves. These writings are popular with a particular kind of audience; reviews and comments related to these publications show which kind of person the notion appeals to.

I expect the BBC will lose interest in this topic (don’t forget John Whittingdale; don’t forget the migrant crisis.) (What? forgotten already?) And I get the sense that it’s already ebbing away, just leaving behind a nasty, scummy stench.

It seems Ken intends to “prove” the accuracy of his  argument because everything he said about Jewish people "was true".

He says Labour should reinstate him.  “I will be presenting the academic book about that to the Labour Party inquiry,” he said.” I understand it’s all there in a book by an American Marxist-Trotskyist writer author named Lenni Brenner.

He may as well quote David Irving to prove something or other about the Holocaust.

“It is inconceivable that Hitler could have wanted to move Jews to Israel, because there was no such place in 1932.Using the word "Israel" when what is meant was "the British mandate of Palestine" has the unfortunate consequence of stripping away the actual historical context and putting the words "Hitler" and "Israel" in the same sentence.Hitler was not a supporter of Zionism.He believed, on the contrary, that Zionism was one of many deliberately deceptive labels that Jews placed upon what he believed to be their endless striving for global power and the extermination of the human species.”

James O'Brien, Ken Livingstone and 'supporters of Israel'

Occasional Newsnight presenter James O'Brien is 'allowed' to have opinions on his LBC show. and he's rarely shy about expressing them - even if they're total tripe. 

Here he is on the subject of Ken Livingstone today squarely laying the blame for Ken's political and moral downfall on, yes, supporters of Israel

These supporters of Israel have "manipulated" Ken, JO'B says.

Poor Ken's had to put up, "daily", with their 'frustrating' 'world view' and his disgust with them finally got the better of him.

Such supporters of Israel share the same 'radicalised' mindset as terrorists, JO'B says. They think "the power and purity of their cause" (support for Israel) means "they are allowed to do absolutely anything" (including 'manipulating' Ken Livingstone it appears).

They defend everything Israel does, including "people sit(ting) on sofas on the Golan Heights to watch the explosions unfold in the Gaza (Strip)..." [any sense of Israel's geography clearly not being among JO'B's strong points].

People like Ken "don't know where to turn" (poor lambs!) because of these unpleasant supporters of Israel, and their "very, very loud" contributions.

For JO'B then, Ken Livingstone is more sinned against than sinning. And it's those supporters of Israel who are the guilty party here.

And thus - with the help of some smears, a few straw men and occasional displays of ignorance - did occasional Newsnight presenter James O'Brien stick up for Ken today.


Lest any 'people like Ken' are reading and think I'm 'manipulating' what James O'Brien said, here it is in full:

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Hitler was a Zionist

Today the BBC finds itself in the most unusual situation it has ever been catapulted into. It has been propelled onstage, in front of an expectant audience, but doesn’t know what for. Rabbit in headlights. 

If there was one occasion for popcorn, this is it. It’s an explosion in slow motion.  

Well, it started rumbling quietly last night when “Two Jewish Peers” were dragged on to Newsnight to discuss Naz Shah and antisemitism in the Labour party, and to ensure that ‘legitimate criticism of Israel’ continues to be ‘nothing to do with antisemitism’.

Lord Levy is already tainted by association (with Tony Blair) so anything he says will be filed under Mandy Rice Davies. Rabbi Julia Neuburger was assertive, but Evan helped the item to come and go with little impact.

This morning the Today programme continued the theme, carefully separating “opposition to Israel’s policies” from “antisemitism”. 
Two other Left-leaning Jews, David Baddiel and Rabbi Laura Janner- Klausner were interviewed on the topic. 
David Baddiel is too much of a luvvie to queer his pitch by saying anything pro Israel, so his variation on the theme: “It’s not antisemitic to criticise the policies of Israeli’s current government” went even further. He has decided that you can even be anti-Zionist  without being antisemitic. How silly is that?  (Very)

Laura J-K is a friend of Naz Shah (an actual friend, not one of your Corby-style  “friends”) and she gave her the benefit of the doubt, accepted her apology and welcomed her promise to ‘learn more.‘ 

By the Daily Politics things had started to hot up. Ken Livingstone appeared, and so did John Mann. 
We were starting to see footage of a confrontation. A heated confrontation. Ken Livingstone with a small a rucksack on his back and a large mobile at his ear, hurrying up a flight of stairs, hotly pursued by John Mann and someone from the media wielding a bloody great camera.

John Mann was calling Ken a Nazi apologist, and telling him to read Mein Kampf. Ken has never seen any sign of antisemitism in the Labour party, but he said that Hitler was a Zionist before he went a bit mad and decided to slaughter six million Jews. (As you do when you go a bit mad) (He should know)

As the day wore on there were more interviews with Ken and Anita McVeigh, Jonathan Sacerdoti and a rather irritable Ben Brown, and an impassioned Owen Jones, who said Ken should be chucked out of the party. He reiterated that we must be careful not to confuse hatred of Jews with opposition to Israel. 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought being anti-Zionist was pretty antisemitic, since Zionism only means that Jews should have their own state much like every other group/race/culture/ethnicity. If you think not, you’re very likely a racist. 

It always baffles me that no sooner had we, as a society all but rejected religiosity - at least the crippling, repressive inhuman manifestation of it - than we indulgently accepted the one religion that most embodies all the negative aspects of what we’ve just divested ourselves from. Then we not only overlooked its blatantly obvious shortcomings, but accepted its religiously-based claims to holy lands and holy places, whilst rejecting and condemning similar claims made by religious Jews.  And the irony of that is compounded by the fact that historical evidence bears out the claims of the latter rather than the former.

There’s something bigger than an elephant in this room. It’s the antisemitism within Islam, which is at the heart of the Israel Palestine conflict, and in the hearts of Muslim MPs like Naz Shah and Muslim sycophants like GG. 

The BBC has never seen any sign of it, clearly.

I am quite keen on the idea that Naz Shah takes up John Mann’s suggestion, that she goes to Israel and learns something about the ‘other side.’ 
It would be a good idea if every single one of those CAABU-funded propaganda tours that have seduced so many of our MPs were compulsorily matched with an educational tour organised by their political counterparts in Israel, particularly if it included a compulsory presentation by PMW. 

As the story rumbles on, this will be stale. We’ll just have to wait and see how it pans out. 

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Naz Shah!

Naz Shah. What can I say? 

The Daily Politics tackled this issue. They were baffled. Where does it all come from, they wondered, not once mentioning the Muslims.

“How are these things not picked up during the selection process? asked Liam Fox.

Andrew Neil said:
 What’s going through someone’s mind when you post “Let’s not forget that everything Hitler did was legal”

“I don’t know - some of the things you see on social media...” said Lisa Nandy.

“It’s like something from the Ku Klux Klan” continued Neil. “Adolf Eichmann suggested in 1940 that all Jews should be deported from Germany and he wanted to send them to Madagascar

Jo Coburn read out this rather impressive apology from the Jewish News

I am sorry.
For someone who knows the scourge of oppression and racism all too well, it is important that I make an unequivocal apology for statements and ideas that I have foolishly endorsed in the past. 
The manner and tone of what I wrote in haste is not excusable. With the understanding of the issues I have now I would never have posted them. I have to own up to the fact that ignorance is not a defence. 
The language I used was wrong. It is hurtful. What’s important is the impact these posts have had on other people. I understand that referring to Israel and Hitler as I did is deeply offensive to Jewish people for which I apologise. 
When the “Gaza-Israel” conflict happened I played an active role in highlighting the plight of the Palestinian people, attended demonstrations to stop the bombing and called for equality in media reporting of the issues. 
Feelings were running high across the world and Bradford was no different. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I’m shocked myself at the language I used in some instances during the Gaza-Israel conflict. 
For this I apologise. 
Since winning the seat of Bradford West I have made conscious efforts in areas around integration, building bridges and community development, in particular around Muslim and Jewish relations. Indeed one of my very first visits was to my local synagogue. 
 Only last week I was learning and sharing over an interfaith Passover seder with Reform Movement Senior Rabbi Janner-Klausner, Vice Chair of Conservatives Friends Of Israel Andrew Percy MP and  others at the rabbi’s home. We all read from the Haggadah and learnt more  about Passover. 
I have been asked to consider joining the APPG, (All Party Parliamentary Group) on British Jews because of the work I’m doing locally, which includes building relations through my local synagogue. 
If politicians put their hands up when they get something wrong it would help to restore faith in politics. I hope that by writing to those who I have hurt, I am practicing as I preach and calling myself out. 
For those that I have caused hurt to, particularly the Jewish community, my constituents, friends and family, I sincerely hope my intentions and actions from here on in will win back your trust and faith in me. 
For my part I promise to have open and honest  conversations about such issues  and invite others to do that with me. 
Naz ShahLabour Party Member of Parliament for Bradford West

Later, in Daily Politics: Still puzzling over where this problem came from:

Andrew Neil:
For most of my adult life antisemitism was predominantly the preserve of the far-right -  it’s what the National Front was all about. Marine Le Pen’s father was a Holocaust denier and it was always on the far-right of British politics that had that lingering antisemitism that was still there and when it rose up it was slapped down. Why is this now coming from elements of the left? 
On the democratic left - they fought antisemitism. that’s why so many Jews joined the Labour party in the 1930s. Why has it now become - in a small element of the left - such an issue?But why?

Liam Fox
 It has always been associated In recent times with the far-right, but there is a far left element in this. In fact I was speaking in the US recently and I was quoting  Karl Marx - it was written in 1840 and he said ‘The essence of Judaism and the root of the Jewish soul was expediency and self-interest, the God of Israel is Mammon who expresses himself in a lust for money - Judaism is the embodiment of antisocial attitudes. There is an element in the left that has always taken these views. it needs to be stamped out whether it comes from right or left, it is fundamentally wrong and it degrades our society.

Laura Kuenssberg:
I think David Cameron ratcheted up the pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to act further on Naz Shah. He said it was quite extraordinary that she still had the whip. Now I do think that we should be watching this space through the course of the day. There has been, and it’s certainly the first time since I’ve been reporting on politics, ....the first time that we’ve seen this bubble up as a problem.  
Where the leader of a party has been accused of not acting swiftly enough when these things pop up - and I - like you - can’t unpick the reasons why it’s become an issue now. And the Labour leadership has tried - you quoted John McDonnell saying ‘out, out,out’ -that will be what we do,”  but when these things bubble up and out,out, out is not the immediate response, it does leave the door open to people questioning why things aren’t happening quickly enough.

It has just been announced that Naz Shah has been suspended from the Labour Party.

Triggered by radio 4

Lots of people listen to the radio while they work. They can take their minds off the here-and-now and lose themselves in whatever the BBC streams into their brain. They’re aiming for a kind of mindlessness. (the opposite of mindfulness.)

Anyway, I wasn’t exactly working while I listened to radio 4 for an hour or so yesterday morning, but I felt I was being bullied. Jane Garvey and some other voices were speaking to me, confiding in me almost  conspiratorially, as if I were their friend. They were telling me what I should think, and to demur would be objectionable.  

Before Woman’s Hour we heard episode 2 of ‘book of the week’.  “Journalist Lynsey Hanley's personal exploration of the experience of class in Britain over the past four decades.” 
“Through the lens of her upbringing in Chelmsley Wood” 
said the announcer. 

I heard a nostalgic account of a 70s childhood peppered with brand names and sentimental references to pop songs, read out in a Brum accent by the author.

What unfolded was an essay based on inverted snobbery - a paean to retro, working class family values, Caitlin Moran style -  or was it a party political broadcast on behalf of Arthur Scargill and the National Union of mineworkers.

“Oh! for the days of the moiners‘ stroike, when poor misunderstood Arthur Scargill was unfairly vilified by the Tory press” said Lynsey Hanley (or words to that effect.)
She casually tags “Thatcher” with ‘destructive’ in that divisive fashion where everything is seen in terms of ‘them and us‘. 
The passage where the author and her friend look back with amused incredulity at his middle class family’s values clearly illustrates this:
A different 80s, the one that made sense to the people in power. “The 80s were like Shangri-la to my family” he said. “They were checking their share prices on teletext on their new tellies. They all thought Scargill was a loooonatic, and Thatcher was a saviour and miners were eeevil because they punched policemen. It just didn’t make any sense because my family were made up of really kind generous people and so when they had these incredibly harsh opinions I just didn’t understand it. It seemed out of character.”

She's emoting odious middle-class materialists basking in the fruits of their tawdry capitalist endeavours and not even realising that there was anything incredibly harsh about their selfish values! 

Of course the book may pan out in all manner of directions, but I only heard that one episode and that’s the only episode to which I allude. For now, I’ll just assume Jeremy Corbyn’s 70s revival  has caught on and is permeating the BBC’s zeitgeist.

(I must say that the sentimental concept of ‘good’ austerity sits oddly next to Jeremy Corbyn’s zealous anti-austerity manifesto.) 

Next up, as they say, was Woman’s Hour, and a discussion about Beyoncé who has become involved in the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. 

Black Lives Matter

It transpired that Piers Morgan has committed the sin of writing that he preferred Beyoncé before the transformation. Her journey into black politics, at a time when she allegedly said she wanted to be known as a performer, not a ‘black’ performer. 

Jane Garvey took great pains to assure us that she was no fan of Piers Morgan. Piers Morgan is beyond the pale, and it’s understood that this is so.
Then Jane Garvey and two black-identifying experts on Beyoncé laughed scornfully at Piers Morgan for having had the temerity to critique Beyoncé. Then they said they thought it was okay that Beyoncé had blonde hair extensions - though they didn’t seem entirely convinced. (The implication being that this might be interpreted as cultural appropriation, i.e., hypocrisy.)

Jane Garvey was equally deferential to her next guest, an Alaskan woman novelist whose book has the intriguing title ‘The smell of other people’s houses”. Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock she was called. (I toyed with the idea of calling myself Bonnie-Sue, but decided against)

They discussed Alaska, and the strange and inexplicable fact that the rate of teenage suicides in Alaska are nine times higher than in the rest of the states. Then they mentioned  Alaska’s proximity to Russia, and the influence of Russian culture that existed there in the past. Then Jane Garvey said “You can’t talk about Alaska without mentioning Sarah Palin” and they laughed disparagingly at the thought of Sarah Palin. “She once said she could see Russia from her bedroom, I think.” ventured Jane Garvey. They hooted with derision.

Even though I am a not a huge fan of Piers Morgan, Sarah Palin, or for that matter Mrs T., I was triggered and my safe space was violated.

"The greatest broadcaster in the world" in action

That exchange on this morning's Today 02:39.15:

Nick Robinson: A last word on an organisation that you used to be in charge of...You were chairman of this organisation, of course, which you generously called "the greatest broadcaster in the world", the BBC. There are people on your side of the argument, who are in favour of remaining in the EU, who - to paraphrase them - say the BBC's bending over backwards to produce balance in this argument and doing so in a way that does not produce the facts. 
Lord Patten: Well, I think the BBC has an extremely difficult job. It's having to cover this referendum with the shadow of a charter review and Mr. Whittingdale hanging over it. I think that may make people excessively deferential when trying to produce balance. You have the governor of the Bank of England on or the IMF chief, so you feel obliged to put up some Conservative backbencher who nobody's ever heard of on the other side of the argument, and it does occasionally raise eyebrows. But I think I would prefer the BBC to be being criticised for being so balanced, excessively balanced, than for them doing anything else. It's a very great broadcaster which is dedicated to telling the truth - and that's an unusual thing in the world of the media. 
Nick Robinson: Lord Patten, Chris Patten, thank you very much indeed.

Never Again, Fear and Faith in Paris

I meant to watch “Never Again. Fear and Faith in Paris” last night, but unfortunately  I fell asleep.  

It started promisingly. The first part included rather sympathetic treatment of the current wave of antisemitism in France, seen from the perspective of French Jews.

Mother and daughter. Fearful in Paris

Professor Andrew Hussey, author of “The French Intifada” was featured as the film’s resident expert.

I hadn’t heard of Prof. Hussey so I searched for a few reviews of his book. The Guardian’s critic David A Bell, didn’t seem too keen. For example, here:

“.........Hussey has written so carelessly, and in so needlessly inflammatory a manner. He repeatedly makes large, highly questionable generalisations without anything resembling evidence. "For most French people," he asserts, "Tunisians … had the same supposed racial and cultural defects of all North Africans, ranging from stupidity, criminality and a taste for violence." Most French people? How does he know?

and also here:

More serious a problem is his inflammatory style when discussing violence. It is unfortunate, to say the least, that when he describes violence committed by the French, he mostly gives quick, summary accounts, but when he turns to violence committed by Muslims, he cannot resist lurid detail.

One passage seemed out of kilter with the default Guardianista view:
So focused is Hussey on the legacy of colonialism that he pays little systematic attention to what is, in fact, one of the book's most striking and disturbing themes: Muslim antisemitism. As he notes, hatred of Jews now runs deep in Muslim populations, including in France and North Africa. In France, the worst examples of individual violence committed by alienated Muslim youth have been against Jews, notably the torture and killing of the mobile phone salesman Ilan Halimi outside Paris in 2006, and the shooting of four Jews, including three children, in front of a Hebrew school in Toulouse in 2012.

However, Bell continues in a more predictable fashion:
The role of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the formation of contemporary Muslim identities, and the way that Jews have come to stand, in much of the Muslim world, for the worst tendencies of the "west", and even of modernity, deserve more analysis than Hussey provides.

So, although this particular critique largely follows the Guardian’s default position, it deviates a little, actually mentioning “Muslim antisemitism” but swiftly reverts to type in implying that this is primarily attributable to “Israel”. 

The Telegraph’s review by Rupert Edis makes no mention of antisemitism whatsoever. Although the term 'Intifada' is usually associated with violent Palestinian uprisings against Israelis, here the “French” intifada is interpreted solely as an uprising against French society by Muslim immigrants, (mostly) from Algeria. 

Hussey blames France’s tortured relations with “its” Arabs on its colonial history in the Maghreb, which started in earnest with the invasion of Algeria in 1830.”
The Telegraph critic describes Hussey as a regular contributor to the Guardian and the New Statesman.
With this provocatively titled book, he joins the increasing number of respected authors from the liberal Left who are shocked at some of the effects of mass non-European immigration on Western European countries and cultures.”

So, that’s sort of where Prof Hussey is coming from. I imagine his views have influenced the filmmakers.

At the start of this film, Hussey addresses antisemitism, as does the female narrator, who pronounces antisemitic “anti-semetic” throughout. Emetic: (“causes vomiting”.)
We’re told that many French Jews have left France for Israel; others came to London, initially intending to return to their beloved France, but due to ever increasing antisemitism, currently plan to stay in the UK.

“Antisemitism used to come from the far right, but now it’s coming from a different group, a small minority of French Muslims” 
said the narrator. 

The footage turned to images of impoverished suburban neighbourhoods, the Banlieues, mostly populated by Muslim immigrants, There are ‘no jobs’ and no hope.
“Radical Islam offers you a way out” 
says Hussey. 
The film now appears to be accusing French secularism of driving Muslims towards extremism. Antisemitism within Islam is mentioned in passing, but played down, as in this passage:
 “Muslim extremists recruiting in the suburbs often use derogatory passages from the Koran” 
says the narrator, 
“out of context, most Muslims would say, to further their own anti-semetic (sic) ideology” 

Professor Andrew Hussey

“It’s conflation of the Israel-Palestine conflict, but it’s also conflation of that old historical shibboleth - the conspiracy theory - that the Jews control everything.” 
says Hussey 
“They need someone to blame”.

In London, Jonathan Sacerdoti recounts incidents of anti-Jew ‘hate’. 

"Unlike French schools", the narrator continues, "UK schools teach children about religion, all faiths, to improve understanding. " (This could not happen in France because of its secularism.)

To illustrate the correct approach to multiculturalism and diversity - you couldn’t make it up - we’re off to Bradford. 
Bradford has worked hard to promote interfaith understanding. A class of Muslim children are shown visiting a Hindu temple. 
“They’re learning about diversity” says the Hindu lady. 
Prof. Hussey suggests the answer to this difficult problem lies in interfaith understanding, though he realises this hasn’t quite worked so far.

In Bradford Jewish numbers have dwindled down to nearly nothing, we learn, but we’re reassured by the fact that some Muslims have donated funds to repair the synagogue roof, and even better, a prominent Muslim is on the synagogue council. 

The blurb on the website mentions Lassana Bathily, 
We hear from the families most affected and explore the reasons behind the rise in anti-Semitism. With insight from those who live in the notorious Paris suburbs, often accused of being a breeding ground for anti-Semitism, and from Lassana Bathily, a Muslim from the suburbs who saved Jewish lives during the kosher supermarket attack in 2015. “  
which puts a somewhat positive spin on the fact that Bathily didn’t actually assist the terrorists, as the filmmakers might (patronisingly) assume your average black Muslim would be culturally inclined to do.

A rosy picture of Bradford, and a moving picture of antisemitism in France which studiously avoids the core issue. The antisemitism that is part and parcel of Islam.

Sea of doom

Dateline London's Alex Deane on Laura K:

Great minds...

Monday, 25 April 2016

Opposing racism

I have spent my life opposing racism. Until my dying day I will be opposed to racism in any form."

“I’ve fought extremism all my life”

I’ve always been a strong campaigner against racism and fascism in all its forms.
 Malia Bouattia.

All these people are spending their lives fighting racism and extremism, so there's nothing  to worry  about. Move along.

“In 2011 she claimed, for example, that Birmingham University had become something of a Zionist outpost” 
said Jo Coburn, introducing a short clip of Malia Bouattia addressing the NUS conference last week.
“I know that many of you will have seen my name dragged through the mud by right-wing media. You’ll have read that I’m a terrorist, that my politics is driven by hate. How wrong that is. I know too well the price of terrorism; the consequences of violence and oppression. I saw a country ripped apart by terror and was pushed into exile by (indecipherable) I know too well the damage done by racism and persecution I faced it every day.......and I will continue to fight  in all its forms whoever its target, whether it’s antisemitism Islamophobia, Xenophobia or any other bigoted idea and I’m so glad we passed a motion (indecipherable) 

said the newly elected president of the NUS in trembly voice, and towards the finale, a little stilted arm-waving.  
I’m not sure who from the right-wing press (the Telegraph?) accused her of being a terrorist but I suspect it was no-one. Someone might have impudently mentioned that she blocked a motion condemning ISIS, which might be Islamophobic.

I understand that she experienced “a hail of gunfire” as a child, but her by her own admission it doesn’t look as if she was exactly “pushed into exile”. 
 “It wasn’t the bombs and the bullets, it was the fear for our education that drove them to leave everything behind” “They taught me that education is key to liberation, that it would give me the power to change the world.” 

Not necessarily in a good way;

In the studio with Jo Coburn were Nadhim Zahawi MP (Con) and Chris Bryant MP (lab) and Jonty Leibowitz of Cambridge University.

Jo Coburn turned to Christy McMorrow, president of the Sheffield University Students' Union,  whose face appeared on a screen. He was speaking from Sheffield. 

Christy McMorrow
Why do you think Malia Bouattia called Birmingham University something of a Zionist outpost?”
said Jo Coburn
“Well obviously a lot of this ties up with campaigners for the rights of Palestinian self-determination and Palestinian liberation. Malia probably thought that on campus there was a lot of support for the state of Israel and in her campaigning for the rights of Palestinians and for Palestinian self-existence she found a lot of opposition, and I think that is where that came form. Perhaps the language could have been better.” 

“Zionism. That is used to explicitly mean right-wing Zionism or support for the current State of Israel. That’s not always accurate but I think Malia has already come forward and said she wants to talk to students”  
If Christy McMorrow is representative of your average student, as I suspect he is, I think the message is that he means well, but doesn’t have much of a clue. He knows next to nothing of the situation in the Middle East, besides the deafening racket made by Malia’s friends from the PSC and their ilk.

Jonty Leibowitz

Jonty Leibowitz; Cambridge University Society,  said:
“everyone knows that antisemitism isn’t anti Zionism and anti Zionism isn’t antisemitism....but sometimes they do conflate” 
Everyone doesn’t know that, though. Jonty is an unapologetic lefty, and sadly not a very impressive spokesperson for any Jewish student who happens to support the State of Israel, current, past or future. 

Nadhim Zahawi said:
 “if we mean by Zionist someone who wants to protect the State of Israel it should not be a negative [...] the implication there is that Zionism is a bad thing”  “Malia would be wise to dissociate herself from these comments.”

Chris Bryant tried to play down the Labour Party’s dalliance with antisemitism.
 “Antisemitism is always wrong. It was wrong when the Tory party was advocating it in the 30s, it’s wrong when people in the Labour party espouse antisemitic views - or near antisemitic views - today”

“And is this what this is?

“I’m not quite sure. It’s bordering on the edge, and that’s why i think she’d be wise to...”


“Look at different ways of expressing herself, because - look, I think we do bandy the word Zionist around so it almost sounds like a kind of pejorative term, and that’s the real danger here - I mean incidentally I think this applies to  how we treat Muslims in politics as well. [... ]Sadiq Khan[.........] 

“I count myself as a Labour friend of Israel and a Labour friend of Palestine in the Middle East and I want the two-state solution to succeed. It pains me that we are now in a situation where Israel, partly thanks to Netanyahu’s government, which I dislike 
(brief shot of Jonty nodding) 
and I think people on the left should be perfectly free to criticise Netanyahu’s government, that doesn’t make you antisemitic. My anxiety is that there seems so little prospect of peace.”

 The entire group, bar one, seemed to hold the view that Jewish students couldn’t be held responsible for the ‘current’, (extremely disagreeable) state of Israel, and we’re supposed to think that’s magnanimous, liberal thinking.
The only participant in that discussion who seemed to know what he was talking about was the least likely of the lot, even if it would be deemed racist of me to say so. 
(It was, of course Nadhim Zahawi MP.) 

 Chris Bryant is smug enough to describe himself as a friend of Israel. Superficial brownie points for that. But he blames PM Netanyahu, solely,  for the absence of peace. He’s proud of himself for uncoupling Jews from the Israeli government he dislikes so much, and thinks everyone should do likewise. Do not conflate the two, he warns. At the same time he thinks mentioning Sadiq Khan’s links with extremists is racist and we should not be ‘perfectly free ‘ to criticise him for such things.

In other words we’re free to criticise the Israeli government, but not, somehow the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas. We can’t criticise the real obstacle to peace in the Middle East.  We can’t mention the elephantine problem of antisemitism amongst the Muslim and Muslim-sympathising student bodies, let alone criticise it.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

"None other than Margaret Thatcher"

To quote David P. from an earlier comments section about Nick Robinson's Europe: Them or Us, Part Two:
I'm finally watching this now, and I see that this episode's theme is "It's Thatcher's Fault!" A whole lot of energy placing blame squarely on her shoulders, and painting her in a rather bad light. Nobody said it outright, but the subtext was that Thatcher handled it all badly and was a bit of a hypocrite. Nice touch showing Nigel Lawson describing one speech as xenophobic. It possibly even caused her downfall. 
I find it curious that Robinson's approach is to convince Right-wingers that the EU is not only something conservatives can support (Churchill introduced the vision, what's your problem?), but the two main reasons it might not be as beneficial as possible for Britain are: It's the fault of Little Englanders that Britain wasn't in from the beginning, and Thatcher is to blame for eroding national sovereignty, so conservatives can't really complain about Socialist Europe. Never mind that Eurocrat after Eurocrat featured kept saying that the money paid into the EU isn't really Britain's money, it's theirs.
That was very much my impression too. And to show why, here's Nick Robinson's commentary in full - from Mrs. Thatcher's arrival in power to the signing of the Single European Act, with all the "It's Thatcher's Fault!" bits highlighted:
So, who was it who would sign up to the changes which transform the Common Market? None other than Margaret Thatcher. Now seen as the Euro-sceptic's pin-up, she was staunchly pro-European when she first came to power.  
Dublin was Mrs Thatcher's first big summit. She arrived with a demand for what became known as Mrs Thatcher's Billion, the gap between what Britain paid in and what we got out. Broadly speaking, for every £2 we contribute, we get £1 back. That leaves us with a net contribution of £1,000 million next year to the community, and rising in the future. Some saw this as a sort of late entry fee for joining the European club after its rules had been drawn up. Mrs Thatcher complained that Britain, along with Germany, was footing the bill for everyone else. Her fellow leaders didn't much like being lectured by the new girl.  
The response of the European smoothies was far from diplomatic. The summit went from bad to worse. 
The leaders gathered for a glum photo call. Dublin had set the tone. From then on, year after year, summit after summit, the budget row rumbled on. Again and again, Mrs Thatcher would insist that Britain should get our money back. Eventually, five years later, in Fontainebleau, she swung that famous handbag and did get a rebate of some of her billion, but at what cost? 
It was not, though, an idea from the French or the Germans that would turn Margaret Thatcher against Europe. It was, ironically, an idea that emerged from her very own handbag. She wanted to make it easier for companies to do business across Europe, to turn the Common Market into a single market. The problem was, that would involve watering down the power of governments to block, or veto, proposals they didn't like. The grand ambition of a Europe without frontiers had become logjammed. Countries were looking after their own, protecting their industries not respecting the rules. At national borders, cash was king. 
Margaret Thatcher's ambition was not just to do away with coffee money, but to lift all other barriers to free trade.  
The man in charge of securing the powers Brussels needed to enforce and police the single market was the European Commission's new president, Jacques Delors, a French socialist. For Delors, a single market was just as much about the rights of workers as business - the message he would take to Thatcher's enemies in the trade unions.  
But it was another Delors plan that would outrage Mrs Thatcher's supporters. He wanted to revive the idea of a single European currency. (Sun headline: Up Yours Delors) Ironically, he'd been backed by her to be the top man in Brussels, but theirs was a relationship which quickly soured. After one summit in London, she wouldn't let him get a word in edgeways.  
To keep Delors and his grand schemes under control, Thatcher sent one of her own Cabinet to Brussels. Arthur Cockfield was a former taxman. Thatcher thought he was a pen pusher, who would be prepared to do her bidding, but Cockfield went native, backing his new boss, Jacques Delors, instead. He explained to Thatcher that the single market meant harmonising VAT. 
Delors's plans where the most significant changes to the European Community ever made. Back then, there were only ten members at the table. Now, there are almost three times that number. But what they, what she, agreed in Luxembourg, didn't just expand what Europe did, it limited any country's veto power to block it by expanding so-called majority voting.  
She swallowed hard and signed up, but how would she persuade her MPs to do the same? Simple - brief reporters that nothing much had changed at all.  
The law enacting the transfer of so many powers from Westminster to Brussels, the Single European Act, was rushed through the Commons at top speed. The debates lasted just a few days, many MPs scarcely knew what they were voting on.  
For decades, opponents of Britain's membership of the European club have claimed that it involves sacrificing our sovereignty, giving away the power of Parliament to decide what's right for us. Over just six nights, it was the House of Commons itself which voted to surrender the British veto on proposals coming from Brussels on a wide swathe of policy. And whose lead were they following? Margaret Thatcher's.


Christopher Booker, at the Sunday Telegraph, argues that Mrs. Thatcher was deceived and that the evidence for this has emerged since the series this series was so closely based on: 1996's The Poisoned Chalice. He contends that Nick Robinson & Co. ignored that here.

And he also argues that Nick Robinson & Co. also misused The Poisoned Chalice by omitting a vital interview (and watching it for myself, yes, that bit did get dropped).

Here's Mr. Booker:
The second treaty, already planned in the mid-Eighties, was that signed six years later at Maastricht, transforming the European Community into the “European Union”, with its own currency, foreign and defence policies and, again, much more. Not only did Robinson say nothing of all this, but he tellingly omitted a remarkable interview in The Poisoned Chalice with Jacques Delors, who recalled how, on becoming president of the European Commission in 1985, he proposed “three themes: a common defence policy, a single currency, a change to the institutions which would lead to political integration”

As with the first episode of this much-admired series, where the much-liked Nick Robinson & Co. presented Churchill as 'the Father of a United Europe, history does seem to have been re-written somewhat here to make Mrs. Thatcher 'the Mother of the European Union'.

Quite why this has been done I'm not sure, unless it really is to try and convince Conservative-voting types to get behind the EU because the EU is a fundamentally Churchillian/Thatcherite invention.

Is that what's going on here?