January 26, 2014

Uppity Rodent?

I've just revisited the blog of "racism expert" Ben Gidley, aka Bob from Brockley where Flying Rodent is on cracking form exposing and denouncing the racism implicit and certainly the bullying inherent in such terminology as "as-a-Jew" etc.

The Rodent copies and pastes the bits he is commenting on so he reads BfB so you don't have to:
flyingrodent said...
...there is the way that the Western anti-Israel left, both its "as a Jew" strain and its gentile majority...

I've tried and failed to see any difference between this whole "As a Jew" thing and either "Uncle Tom" or "House Negro".

All seem to imply shameful subservience at best, and certainly some kind of fucked-up ethnoreligious treason. The entire "As a Jew" idea appears to dictate precisely what Jewish people should and shouldn't think or behave, implying that people who think otherwise to you are somehow traitorous or otherwise disgusting. The historical echoes here are crystal clear.

Quite why this usage has caught on uncritically among certain foreign policy enthusiasts is mystifying to me, since it appears to be a rehabilitation of a particularly nasty ethnic slur that had thankfully fallen from common usage.

(By the way, I've seen this defended by folk saying things like "Oh, but these awful fucking AsaJews actually exist and blah blah blah", apparently in the belief that this renders the insult harmless fun. I'll anticipate this by pointing out that it doesn't).
Again you don't need to see the whole of Gidley's response though I should point out it's actually more slippery than Flying Rodent seems to notice:

flyingrodent said...
First, I am not 100% sure that the terms "Uncle Tom" and "House Negro" are necessarily racist

Neither am I, but it should be entirely obvious that they're fucking horrible slurs to be chucking at people, for reasons that are surely too obvious to require demonstration.

The terms "self-hating Jew" and the appalling "kapo" carry something of the same meaning as those terms, and I guess I find them very offensive but not necessarily racist.

These terms all mean the same thing, and it's not a coincidence that the people most fond of using them tend also to be horrendous human beings who have exceptionally nasty opinions on all manner of issues.

Rather, the term is used of those who make a big deal of their Jewishness in prefacing their anti-Zionism.

This isn't right. It seems to me that some Jewish people who think the Israelis generally look like a bunch of hard-right belligerent mentalists determined to thwart a Palestinian state at all costs believe that, if they preface their acknowledgement of this obvious and undeniable reality by noting their shared religious background, they might immunise themselves against utterly fraudulent accusations of racism.

As demonstrated here however, they're wrong about that, because of some bizarre coalescing consensus among gung-ho bombs-away Israel fans that Jews generally should all be Decent war enthusiasts like you are, and that those who disagree are basically immoral.

I suggest that this newfound habit of labelling these people as Uncle Toms for disagreeing with your Likud Are Boiling-With-Hate Mental But Hey-Ho, Shit Kind Of Happens And That mentality is unjust, unfair and suspiciously convenient.

There's also an issue of positioning themselves as the Good Jews, the Exceptional Jews, as Arendt put it

I'm surprised you raise Arendt in this context. She had some very, very harsh words for the Commie Israel enthusiasts of the fifties and sixties, so God knows what she'd make of the extreme rightists that run the place these days.

I half-share those issues with "certain foreign policy enthusiasts" (nice euphemism).

There's no need for the "nice euphemism". I'm all over the internet under this name basically telling everyone how much I dislike your* politics, which I constantly describe as hopelessly insane sectarian horseshit mingled with wowserist magical thinking, allied with a very alarming form of extreme militarism and wearing a very unconvincing cloak of humanitarianism.

This has squarely nothing to do with anyone's ethnoreligious background and everything to do with the fact that I think you're a bunch of lunatics who push highly toxic politics in the service of an extremely belligerent ideology that has had significant and hideous real-world effects.

None of which is nice to say to strangers, but you know, I didn't call you fascist apologists for psychotic violence or any of the terms that you tend to dole out to your political enemies, even though most of your political enemies are entirely imaginary and your own attitude to creative violence is significantly more enthusiastic than mine.

*You collectively as bullshitting war-fans, not you individually.
 Now Rodent deserves some bonus points for the Hannah Arendt stuff.  Gidley is very fond of describing her as one of his intellectual heroes and I never know why.  Certainly she has been accused of intellectual dishonesty and pretentiousness which certainly gives her Venn diagram an overlap with Bob's but she has also exposed zionist collaboration with the nazis and been accused of self-hatred for her trouble.  But she did self-describe as a zionist though I'm not sure she ever defined it and she did hold that it was only right and proper to try Eichmann in Jerusalem in spite of his crimes being against humanity not just Jews and certainly not just zionists with whom he collaborated.

But I digress.

At this point Sarah Annes Brown of Harry's Place pops up with a largely irrelevant comment. Is Tom Hickey Jewish?  But the Rodent addresses the first part of her comment all the same:
flyingrodent said...
You refer to people who think "the Israelis generally look like a bunch of hard-right belligerent mentalists determined to thwart a Palestinian state at all costs" as though this was a reasonable summary of the situation.

Not only is this "a reasonable summary of the situation", it is the situation. Many will say "Well, it's more complicated than that" but at the brass tacks of practicality, taking all of the partisan blah out of it, it is not more complicated than that.

this seems to me the mirror image of those who assert that the Palestinians are all antisemitic brutes who ought to go and live in Jordan.

And how many divisions have they? None, is the answer - twats of that type have nothing but internet waffle backing them up, numerous as they are.

For real, the current situation is that the Israelis are going to intentionally steal as much shit as they can in a deliberate policy of fucking over the Palestinians with the quiet yet total support of the world's only superpower, and folk who don't like it are going to make some sad faces and whinge, but nothing more.

This is the whole issue in a nutshell, and all the woe-is-us nonsense that fills the web to bursting point is just that - woe-is-us nonsense, existing for no other purpose than to muddy a perfectly straightforward and easily-comprehensible scenario.

Given that's my opinion on the matter, you can imagine why I'm not keen on slurs like the one we're discussing here. People should be able to describe bald facts without having to fend off insults that wouldn't look out of place in a Tarantino movie about slaves.

(Although if I'm being honest, I actually think this one is tame by comparison with Professor Norm's old habit of referring to "Pet Azzajews", which he used to chuck at Jewish people who addressed simple undeniable facts of this type. The fact that nobody smelt a rat there tells me that a lot of people who make a very big noise about rat-smelling wouldn't smell a rat if a rat was sitting on thier upper lip slapping on rat-scented aftershave).
Actually when I started this, that last comment wasn't there and I'm not sure I agree with or follow all of it but that Blackadderesque last bit was worth a copy.

Anyway, Flying Rodent tweets here and blogs here.

UPDATE (14:55) : The thread continues with a false allegation of antisemitism against Flying Rodent by one nutty Contentious Centrist who claims the rat allusion is a metaphor for Jew.  And now FR has responded by calling her (for it is she) a conman not woman.  Now let's look forward to accusations of sexism instead of the usual antisemitism....


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