Now, not being a follower of Harry's Place or Engage I don't know when this sorry saga began and I can't remember when I first became aware that there was a witch hunt in progress over an email that was posted to a private activists list of the Universities and Colleges Union, the site of quite a battle over what activists can or should do about 40 or 60 years of zionist occupation of Palestine, depending on your point of view.
What happened was that a woman called Jenna Delich posted a link to an article that wasn't the smartest but it read like a statement of accounts of Israeli murders of Palestinians against Israeli casualties from Palestinian resistance. Apparently Jenna googled an expression, "humanitarian disaster in Gaza" and it took her first to the David Duke website. Not being a native English speaker, and David Duke not being quite the celebrity the zionist movement and other racists would like him to be, she thought nothing of the site's ownership. She posted the link with the words "the facts speak for themselves". Well, buried among those facts was some puerile analysis that wonders how it is that Israel can pose as a victim with a score card of death tilted so heavily against the Palestinians. Answering his own wonderment, the writer of the piece, Joe Quinn, suggested that it was the ownership and control of the media by the Israeli state and he made a throwaway reference to Israeli oligarchs. Now I don't know if anyone pointed out that the analysis was unsound but a casual read of the piece doesn't set alarm bells ringing among non-initiates regarding antisemitism but someone definitely did say that the linked site was unacceptable given that it was the site of David Duke, one time Great Poobah of the Ku Klux Klan, kicked out for conduct unbecoming a neo-nazi. Realising her mistake, Jenna Delich apologised to the list and that could and should have been that.
But then things took a nasty turn. Here's Richard Seymour at Lenin's Tomb:
In due course - or rather with indecent haste - Harry's Place posted the comment that she had made, along with a crudely subtitled photograph of her with her name featured in white-on-black lettering. In the photograph's subtitle, a deliberately ambiguous wording is deployed: "Sheffield-based academic, Jenna Delich - links to far right websites associated with the Ku Klux Klan". This could be read as meaning that she has links to far right websites associated with the Ku Klux Klan, rather than that she has 'linked', once, to said websites. The ambiguity was, in all probability, intentional. They headed their post 'UCU and the David Duke Fan'. Thus, Harry's Place asserted, based on this single incident, that Jenna Delich was a 'fan' of a Nazi ideologist. Further to this, the post accused her of "viciousness against Jews", which it said the UCU union had refused to act against (ie, it had refused to suppress her speech).Now the strange thing here is that the email by Jenna Delich was leaked to Harry's Place but her apology and withdrawal appear not to have been because they didn't say anything about that, they simply ran a piece with her photo and text to imply, indeed, to say that she was some kind of neo-nazi.
Well, then someone advised Jenna that she should complain to the hosts of Harry's Place. It turned out that they have a rule that the blog could be pulled if it contained libellous material and so it was pulled. And so the Harry's Place attempt at silencing a critic, indeed all serious critics, of Israel succeeded for a few hours in silencing Harry's Place. As it happens I have just seen the funny side of this. What a schmock the lawyer David Toube (for it was he) turns out to be, yet again. He tried to shoot someone and shot himself in the foot. Then the libellous stuff was removed - only to be replaced in other sites - and the site was restored but not before some leftist sites who would normally be on HPs' hit list themselves, came out in "solidarity with Harry's Place".
In a nastier turn still, since we expect nasty from HP, Jenna was suspended from the UCU activists list and is still suspended. That is the champions of free speech at Harry's Place have had someone's free speech taken away from them at the activists list of the UCU. She posted a wrong-headed but not expressly antisemitic article from a neo-nazi site in error, apologised for the error and now, as things stand, she is denied the right to address the UCU activists list at all on any issue. HP can carry on smearing the critics of Israel though it might be careful not to be too overtly libellous.
I should point out here that HP have had their informant out a-hunting some more on the UCU activist list and - shock-horror - they have found another article sent in by Jenna four months ago. Another one where there might be coded antisemitism. This one was back in May this year. It slipped by HP's deep scroat that time around but this time around it's the final "proof" that HP needed. If deep scroat can't tell how can a beginner?
Anyway, now the Jewish Chronicle is on the case and what does it say? Here's the headline: Anti-Zionist lecturer posts KKK link. And here are a couple of chunks:
Jenna Delich, a business-studies tutor at The Sheffield College, was this week suspended by the University and College Union from participating in an email forum for union members after posting a link to an anti-Israel article on the website of David Duke, the American white supremacist.Covering for David Toube's identity by referring to him as David t, when David Toube has written for the Jewish Chronicle sets the dishonest tone for just about the whole article.
But a regular Harry Place blogger, who writes under the name David T, said his site had been taken down after its coverage of the incident, which criticised Ms Delich.
He said that the company which hosts Harry's Place on the web, Daily.co.uk, had not explained the decision to take down the site, beyond having received a complaint over allegedly "slanderous comments".
"After I asked them, they told me it was the Delich post," he said. He added that he had told Daily.co.uk the material in question was not defamatory.
Toube claims that the post was not defamatory. Then what happened to the headline UCU and the David Duke fan? Why was that headline removed from HP only to appear on sock puppet blogs around the web. It now appears on HP as the "David Duke link". Jenna Delich's photo has been removed from the original post, together with the accompanying text "links to far-right websites associated with the Ku Klux Klan."
And then there's Jon Pike:
a member of the union's national executive and founder of the Engage website which counters antisemitism and anti-Zionism, commented: "It is good that the UCU leadership has taken some action, however minimal, about the distribution of antisemitic material within the union."Jon Pike is notoriously stupid but he surpasses himself here. The material was not antisemitic and how minimal is an indefinite ban on someone? Does he want her shot? Of course not. He needs people to make honest mistakes as she did.
But he called for an inquiry to be set up into "institutional antisemitism" at the UCU, saying that "the problem has been there for months".Please stop people criticising Israel! Make them stop! If Arabs can't use a swimming pool at an Israeli uni we'll speak out but leave it to those of us who don't mind colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing, racist laws, relentless aggression, aerial bombardment of civilians, cluster bombing villages, luring children to be shot and so on and so forth.
The funny thing is, I don't even know if Jenna Delich is anti-zionist. I do know that David Toube is a lying bullying hypocrite and it saddens me to see so many bloggers falling for his crap about being the victim here. In fact come to think of it, how do perpetrators pass themselves off as victims? Whatever you do, don't ask Joe Quinn! Ask David Toube aka David t at Harry's Place. Ask him how the state whose ethnic identity he claims to oppose, passes itself off as a victim. His analysis might put paid to some of the bogus analyses out there that he pretends to be so concerned about.
UPDATE: I wrote all that a couple of days ago without looking at the Socialist Unity blog that had declared its "Solidarity with Harry's Place" presumably before all the facts were in. Well it now seems that whoever runs the SU blog now realises the mistake they made and they have now run a guest post supporting Jenna Delich against this increasingly orchestrated zionist witch hunt.