May 03, 2008

It was Engage wot won it for Boris Johnson

Doctor David Hirsh of Engage seems to be saying that Ken Livingstone, London Mayor for 8 years, lost Thursday's contest on account of what he claims is his antisemitism:
London has a Conservative mayor. The Labour candidate was a bigot and Londoners refused to vote for him again. Labour should have given us a better candidate around whom we could unite
I'm fairly sure that Ken Livingstone has been a casualty of a nationwide abandonment and turning away from Labour. In fact, far from Labour selecting the wrong candidate, it was Ken who opportunistically selected the wrong party. As before, he should have gone it alone and he should never have even considered rejoining the party that led the UK into wars on Afghanistan and Iraq and offers uncritical support to the racist war criminals of the State of Israel. But let the "left wing" David Hirsh take the credit for the Tory victory.

Just below their ludicrous post on the mayoral elections there's Hirsh hounding the Guardian's Seumas Milne to admit that he was wrong to say that Hamas are distancing themselves from their Charter with various antisemitic pronouncements in it. See the post itself here. Clearly Hirsh feels that there is some unfinished business between the two of them for in the post we see this:
So will Seumas Milne will now admit that he was wrong when he repeated his claim? He wrote:
"More telling still is his perverse and contemptible claim that I was "apologizing for, and denying, racism against Jews". I was of course doing the opposite. As I said in my earlier post, the Hamas charter of 1988 was a "reactionary, anti-Jewish document", but it has been repeatedly disavowed in recent years by Hamas leaders, specifically in relation to the anti-Jewish tropes."
Is Seumas Milne capable of admitting that he was wrong about Hamas? Is Seumas Milne capable of admitting that Hamas is indeed an unambiguously antisemitic organization?
I don't understand why Hirsh can't just make his assertions without alleging a lack of good faith on the part of those he picks on. Hirsh is wildly dishonest. He resorts to sock puppets to support his own and his partners articles and ludicrous petitions like the Euston Manifesto. He misrepresents what people have written and he promotes quite nasty racists himself, eg Richard Littlejohn, just as long as they are pro-Jewish or more particularly pro-Israel racists and then he pretends that he has done no such thing. I'll return to that.

I don't believe that Milne has anything to admit to. Jews have made total war against the Palestinians. Jewish voices against this total war are excluded from mainstream Jewish and mainstream media discourse. Of course people on the receiving end of Jewish violence, ethnic cleansing and discrimination will make the occasional pronouncement against Jews. It's a trivialisation of antisemitism to fail to distinguish between the generalised lashing out of the oppressed and a clearly thought out position that has Jews in general as essentially bad people. It is even worse to suggest that the statements of Hamas somehow justify the massive violence that Israel has deployed against the Palestinians. And yet Hirsh, to cover for Israel even calls Hamas "genocidal" while Israel starves the Gaza population. In his response to Milne on Cif, Hirsh said that Israel had withdrawn from Gaza, as if the blockade, the "diet", the wall in the sea, the aerial supremacy (is that word allowed?) and bombardment, count for nothing. Even his thinking Engagenik colleague, John Strawson, isn't having any of that. See yesterday's Jewish Chronicle:
As a signatory of the Jews for Justice for Palestinians advertisement on Gaza, I must correct Eylon Levy’s assertion that “Israel has no legal obligation for provide Gaza with anything...as it unilaterally withdraw in 2005” (Letters, April 25). As a matter of fact Israel neither withdrew in 2005, nor indeed suggested that withdrawal was its intention.

Under the disengagement plan issued by the Cabinet on June 6, 2004, the future status of Gaza is dealt with in section B (3) entitled “security situation following the relocation”. Paragraph (1) reads: “The state of Israel will guard and monitor the external land perimeter of the Gaza Strip, will continue to maintain exclusive authority in Gaza airspace and will continue to exercise security activity in the sea off the coast of the Gaza strip.”

Thus the military control of Gaza that began in June 1967 continued after what Israel called variously “disengagement” or “relocation” from Gaza. As a consequence the occupation of Gaza continues and Israel remains obliged by the relevant provisions of the Hague and Geneva Conventions for the welfare of the civilian population under occupation.

It is in Israel’s hands to end this situation immediately by unconditionally withdrawing from all the territory it occupied in 1967.

John Strawson, University of East London, Stratford High Street, London E15
Will Hirsh admit that he was wrong then, to have said this?
Milne is right that Israel should do more to make a just peace with Palestine than it has done so far, but the idea that the rockets would stop after Israel withdraws from occupied territory is evidently moonshine, given that the rocket attacks come from territory from which Israel has recently withdrawn.
Now, I'm on thin ice here because, whilst an anonymous commenter here likes to say I am obsessed with Engage, I don't actually hang on Hirsh/Green/Shachtman's every word so he may have admitted to it and I just missed it. Until someone points out his retraction of such an egregious zionist lie I'll have to run with the idea that Hirsh has not withdrawn his statement that Israel has withdrawn from Gaza. But I can't help remembering how Hirsh swings his airbrush with gay abandon rather than admit to any wrongdoing or sometimes after a partial admission amounts to carrying on digging when he should perhaps have stopped.

I mentioned his support for Richard Littlejohn earlier. This is how Hirsh puffed his puff for Littlejohn, born again fighter against racism:
I'm just about to publicize Littlejohn's TV documentary about antisemitism and link to an interview with him and I'm wondering how to do it. Maybe this is the end of my credibility, as someone on the left, as a sociologist, as a human being? Maybe this one act signifies my final defeat?
One of many, I'd say. In fact this post after Engage's open support for Alan Dershowitz, repeated in the comments here so I don't know how Hirsh could still claim any left wing credentials by then. Anyway the comments drew some criticism by even those who could tolerate Dershowitz and had Hirsh claiming that Littlejohn was now more anti-racist than certain leftists he could, and did, name. Now in fairness Hirsh ran a post following the promotion of Littlejohn, saying that he (Hirsh) had been wrong in certain, possibly all, aspects of it but that "I didn’t mean to give the impression – and I didn’t say – that Littlejohn is more of an antiracist than they are." But that was precisely what he did say:
But diasporist, my point was, how come this right wing sleaze is now suddenly more of an anti-racist than you are? At least than Livingstone is, than the SWP is, than Alexei Sayle is, than UCU is than UNISON is, than T&G? How come?

What has happened to antiracist politics when even Richard Littlejohn is to the left of all those that I mention? I never said he was good, I said he was a clearer opponent of anti-Jewish racism than a whole layer of "antiracists".
So Hirsh did a post promoting Littlejohn, he was justly condemned for it, even by some Israel apologists, he then admitted to being wrong but denied being as wrong as he actually was. He lied to do so by denying having made a claim that he definitely had made. So he then rather dishonestly deleted all posting about Littlejohn and the comments too. This is a man who has clear issues about owning up to being wrong and yet he can badger Seumas Milne to do what Hirsh will engage in serial dishonesty to avoid doing.

Oh, and did I mention that time Hirsh dragged his own children into some of his zionist apologetics? He got told off by Likudniks for that one. Yet again he courageously and morally admitted to being wrong before deciding that the best thing to do would be to change the post, disappear the offending passage, disappear the complaints about the offending passage and of course, disappear the admission of any wrong-doing on his part.

I've now noticed another post that has Hirsh deep in denial. Cop this £100 challenge from Hirsh:
If anybody can catch me linking to Nazi websites by mistake, or being feted by antisemites, or other racists, I'll give them £100. It doesn't happen to me because what I write doesn't have any connection to what antisemites write. - DH
But what about "other racists" Doctor? Littlejohn, for example? Of course, he didn't link to Littlejohn, he just, er, feted him. But of course being feted by Hirsh wasn't the challenge. He's cleverer than I thought. No £100 for me this time round. Ah well....

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