August 27, 2014

When Dodgy Dave met Uncle Joe

I had a bit of a twitter exchange with David Aaronovitch the other day.  I went into it with some trepidation because I thought some troll might pop up to derail the thread, simply insult Dave's interlocutor or even come out as a zionist sympathiser having been anti-zionist in the past.  I even thought that Dave himself might be on good form but it was not to be.

It all started when I noticed an unremarkable tweet from @ejhchess to @Flying_Rodent:
From David Aaronovitch's "logical" tweet I saw Dave angrily challenging someone called i was id (@iwasid to "Find me a single thing either of us has said or written that supports right-wing racism anywhere. One."

Well as coincidence would have it I noticed something Dave had written only the day before for the Jewish Chronicle that I thought was racist so, with some trepidation (see above) I mentioned it in a tweet:

To which Dave replied:
To which I responded:
And another guy joined in:
 And Dave responded, warming to his subjectivity theme:

 At this point it started to look like he wasn't simply being slippery, he really didn't know what was racist about generalising about whole minority groups so I explained:
Now he did start to get slippery:
 Yes I did know it was about France but how does that change anything?

I also mentioned that his last tweet was a non sequitur but now tetchiness was setting in as a nerve seems to have been struck:

Wow! What was that all about?  How does using "surely" amount to Stalinism?  Reading back I wish I hadn't used the word surely because it should have been clear by then that he really didn't know that his generalisation was racist.  Also I if I didn't say "surely" I could have put the apostrophe in "countrys" making it "country's".  Still never mind, it was worth the bad grammer to see Aaro lose it like a complete idiot.

It must have been while I was tweeting something else that Aaro tweeted to a @rico_hands and me that "You retweeted this earlier: "The Zionist Jews own all the Media the Film Industry and are all Corrupt."  It didn't look like a comment I'd approve of and I said so and Aaro said it wasn't me, it was that Rico chap.  I know some people put all their addressees at the beginning of a tweet but if you're making an accusation you should only put the target of the accusation at the beginning and other addressees at the end.  Just a word on protocol because people can get the wrong idea. Anyway, I asked Aaro for a link and he told me it wasn't me that retweeted it.  So that was nice.

But I still responded to the stalinist thing:

 So now he tried to modify what he actually said:

 Now actually I don't think that's much better but is better in that it's not a generalisation.  But it is a rather bland assertion and it's devoid of any analysis as to what he means by antisemitism or any explanation as to why he thinks it's the case but anyway back I came still focused on the undeniably (though he did deny it) racist  generalisation:

 Noticing that Aaro's reference to antisemitism meant that he was alluding to Jews when he said "old ones", I asked then what he meant by "new minorities" but heard no more from him.

Now all the while this was going on I was surprised that no one came along to help Aaro dig himself out of the hole he had dug.  None came until that Gerasite/Unrepentant Jacobin chap, Jamie Palmer appeared with this little gem:

I just couldn't be bothered with him and I was truly feeling too sorry for Aaro to point that Jacobin's use of the word "also" meant that he was agreeing with me, that what Aaro had written was indeed a racist generalisation (also).  Aaro smartly ignored the "supportive" tweet too and he was promoting the young Gerasite only recently

But what of the statement itself?  "Ethnic hatred has become a basic element in the everyday life of Israeli youth".  Of itself, it isn't making a generalisation.  As it stands it could simply be a reference to the racist environment that Israeli youth inhabits.  I found its origin just now.  It's a Ha'aretz headline.

Of course, Ha'aretz is an Israeli newspaper.  Israelis are not a minority in Israel so the headline wasn't even about a minority.  So a great help Aaro's protégé turned out to be.  He confirmed my own point about Aaro's racist generalisation and lifted a Ha'aretz headline out of context.  I'm sure he'll go far but he and Aaro have to bear in mind that context is all.


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