November 29, 2013

See the Light This Saturday!

Here's an event this Saturday 30 November 2013
Jewish Socialist Group Event
Saturday 30th Nov, 7.15pm, Harry Rice Hall, 72-74 Hargrave Park, N19 5JN
Light up your life and celebrate Chanukah with the JSG and friends. Magical time guaranteed as our special guest is socialist conjuror Ian Saville who will take the lid off the mysteries of high finance when he performs his “Free Money Magic Show” that was a roaring success at Edinburgh this year. Chanukah gelt with a difference!
Please bring some vegetarian food to share(and some drink if you can)
All welcome – entrance by donation.

Not sure if smoked salmon counts as vegetarian food. Probably safest to assume it doesn't.

I got a whole load of other info in the JSG mailout.  See these:
Saturday 30th November: Left Unity Founding Conference 10am-5pm. Details:

Saturday 30th November: International Anti War Conference, 10am-5pm. Organised by STWC. Details:

Sunday 1st December: “The Radical Jewish East End”. Last guided walk of the year led by JSG member David Rosenberg. From 11am-1pm. Fee: £8/5. Book online:

Tuesday 24th December: Traditional Jewish Xmas Eve at Hampstead Comedy Club compered by JSG member Ivor Dembina with Sol Bernstein, Lewis Schaffer and Mark Maier. Early show 7.30pm/late show 9.30pm. Details and booking:

Saturday 18th January, 12 noon – 2pm Protest Vigil: Cast lead Five years On: We will not forget. Opposite the Israeli Embassy, Kensington High Street, W8 5NP. Called by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Palestinian Forum in Britain, British Muslim Initiative, Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

 This is the Jewish Socialist Group website but it could do with a bit of an update.

November 28, 2013

BBC aims weapon of mass destraction at the Prawer Plan

I was amazed yesterday when I heard a BBC Radio 4 announcer announce an interview with Amal Elsana Alh’jooj.  I'm not sure how long the recording will be on the net but you can hear it certainly for a while here

Obviously the big news for many of us regarding the Negev, the Bedouin and the State of Israel is the Prawer Plan so my amazement was based on the fact that the beeb was going to give its listeners a Bedouin perspective on the plan to ethnically cleanse between 40 k and 70 k Bedouin Arabs from their land in the Negev.

Here is Adalah.Org on the plan:
On 24 June 2013, the Israeli Knesset approved the discriminatory Prawer-Begin Bill, with 43 votes for and 40 votes against, for the mass expulsion of the Arab Bedouin community in the Naqab (Negev) desert in the south of Israel. If fully implemented, the Prawer-Begin Plan will result in the destruction of 35 "unrecognized"Arab Bedouin villages, the forced displacement of up to 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel, and the dispossession of their historical lands in the Naqab. Despite the Arab Bedouin community's complete rejection of the plan and strong disapproval from the international community and human rights groups, the Prawer Plan is happening now.
The Prawer-Begin Bill is an unacceptable proposition that entrenches the state’s historic injustice against its Bedouin citizens. Adalah and our NGO partners have been challenging the Prawer Plan before courts, government authorities and the international community, but we need your help to stop what would be the largest single act of forced displacement of Arab citizens of Israel since the 1950s!
Now this is big news for most of us but alas, not for the BBC.  Amal Elsana Alh'jooj spoke about inequality, exclusion, segregation, expulsion but all on a personal level with regard to her own dealings with her own community or the informal, rather than formal, segregation between Jews and Arabs.

Oh I'm sure her work is valuable and important but the BBC here seems to have deliberately distracted attention from a core issue regarding the State of Israel and its native non-Jewish population.  They are under a permanent threat of ethnic cleansing and of course the reason Arabs are a minority within Israel's pre-1967 borders is because of a recent, current and, as we see, on-going ethnic cleansing campaign.  And of course one of the reasons they get away with it is because of the help and encouragement they get from mainstream media organisations like the BBC.

Anyway, give the BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour programme a listen and see what I mean.

November 27, 2013

Jewish woman pays $140 a day for Israel's Theocracy

Here's a bizarre story that highlights something I hadn't known about "the only democracy in the Middle East".  Here's Ha'aretz:
An Israeli rabbinical court has handed down a precedent-setting ruling that requires a mother to circumcise her son, against her will, or pay a fine of NIS 500 ($140) for every day he remains uncircumcised.

“The baby was born with a medical problem, so we couldn’t circumcise him on the eighth day as is customary,” said Elinor, the boy’s mother. “As time went on, I started reading about what actually happens in circumcision, and I realized that I couldn’t do that to my son. He’s perfect just as he is.”

The mother said that the baby’s father had a part in the decision, but when the couple began to discuss their divorce in the rabbinical court, he unexpectedly decided to insist that their son be circumcised.

Israel's rabbinical courts are part of the country's justice system and have legal jurisdiction over matters of religion, including marriage and divorce, when it comes to the country's Jewish citizens. [My emphasis]
Good for Jews? I don't think so but I wonder if Israel grants the same powers to the clergy of other religions.

Check this out on Ha'aretz's paywall.

November 26, 2013

When Norman Geras met David Ward MP

I know I keep referring back to that Flying Rodent post, A Requiem for a Blog but some of the comments have been so worth a read they are worth posting in their own right.

Here's a chap called Phil drawing attention to Norman Geras condemning David Ward MP over that business about Auschwitz and Israel.
Phil said...
For anyone still checking back here, here's a "deliberate calumny against the Jews" (in Norm's words) from 2013:

"Having visited Auschwitz twice - once with my family and once with local schools - I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza."

And here's Norm from 2002:

"It is a tragedy of its own kind that from the people which had suffered so much in Nazi Europe, and during a long history of persecution before that, should have emerged what is today an oppressor state. To guard against misunderstanding: I am not talking of the separate tragedy of the Palestinians which is a consequence of this fact ... I am referring specifically to the Jewish dimension: that out of this people, with all its own historical experience of injustice, should have come so grave an injustice towards another people."

Funny old world.

 What a difference 11 years made....

November 25, 2013

A Doctor Writes on Alliance for Workers Liberty on "Antisemitism"

I've just revisited this racist article by the Alliance for Workers Liberty's leader, Sean Matgamna as re-presented on the Shiraz Socialist blog of Jim DenhamIn my post before last I highlighted a gem of a comment from a Harry's Place regular accusing Denham of using marxism to justify racism in the same way as some use the same pseudo-intellectual kit to support Atzmon.  Well revisiting the SS post I followed through to another leftist turned zionist, Andrew Coates and found another comment which lays the above the line post to waste.  This one is from Dr Paul, (Paul Flewers not to be confused with Crystal Methodist, Paul Flowers)
The AWL is quite inconsistent in respect of Islamism. It did indeed warn against the dangers of Islamism in Tunisia and Egypt, yet cheered on the opposition to Gadaffi in Libya, despite the fact that there were quite a few Islamists prominent in the opposition, and al Qaeda elements to boot, and they are now in the government, including a certain Mr Belhadj, not so long ago a leader of the jihadist Libyan Islamist Fighting Group. Why the silence? Similarly, in the Yugoslav collapse, the AWL said nothing about the presence of jihadists in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Kosovo. As for Afghanistan, it’s often stated that the AWL (or whatever it called itself then) supported the jihadists against the Soviet Union, but as I don’t have proof to hand, I’ll wait for others to clarify this.
As for anti-Semitism, I have been personally accused of that by an AWL member; not, as might be expected, by an inexperienced young cadre over-enthusiastically projecting the party line in an exaggerated, ill-learnt manner, but by the ganzer-macher himself, Sean Matgamna. Why? Because I feel that the best solution to the Israel/Palestine crisis is a single state in which all the inhabitants have full and equal rights, that one can be ethnically and/or religiously a Jew, a Christian or Muslim or Arab, or whatever. This, he mumbled to me in his inimitable manner, was ‘an anti-Semitic position’.
This — a call for racial and religious equality and genuine democracy — might be considered a little unlikely to occur in the near future (but then so is socialism, and the AWL doesn’t stop promoting it on those grounds), but only by the most abstruse logic — or the most tortuous form of ‘dialectics’ — could it be considered as based upon racial discrimination, particularly as it is predicated upon the demand for national/ethnical equality between Arabs and Jews. Moreover, this casual throwing around of accusations of anti-Semitism — that is, hatred of Jews — in response to a political position such as this makes it less easy to combat real anti-Semitism whenever it raises its head, as it trivialises a very serious question.
As for the AWL’s presence in the labour movement, it has broadly speaking been the most positive aspect of its activities over the years. It was its trade-union work which attracted me to the group 35 years back; other aspects, in particular its attitude towards the Labour Party, put me off it. It is in respect of other issues, less directly connected to the working class, where the less positive aspects of its politics are evident.
This comment was followed with another little gem attacking Coates's assertion that the AWL has "real roots in the Labour movement":
“with real roots in the labour movement”
On what fucking planet? This noxious cult doesn’t even exist outside of London and Yorkshire, so its real roots are by definition somewhat truncated. The AWL ex-member interviewed in the WW had been a member for 3 years, not a couple of months, and the story he tells together with the evidence of the email exchanges will be familiar to anyone who has encountered this sect – bullying, suppression of any real dissent and an appeal to sect loyalist groupthink, and crude scatological insults. And talk about a few words being taken out of context is pretty rich from a group which has been doing precisely that in order to smear people as anti-semites for years (with AWLers of the Denham stripe, even words taken out of context are not necessary, since he is capable of divining what people are “secretly” or “objectively” thinking, often the very opposite of what they actually say).,
 Yup, that's certainly the Jim Denham I know.  I'll have to dig some old stuff if only for its entertainment value.

But, in fairness, less look at Andrew Coates's less than ingenuous response to Dr Paul:
Well, for what it’s worth, I did not agree with them at all on the Yugoslav collapse, and while I agree with the ‘two-state’ solution to Palestine I would not go into detail about the Israel-Palestinian dispute because it is like walking into a burning pit.
If you tot up every political dispute, all you get (as with us all on the left) plenty of disagreements/agreements on a host of issues.
More fundamentally personally I do not come from, to say the least, their strand of Canon-Trotskyism.
Sean Matgamna is, as they say, “controversial”, but then there’s plenty of people in that category.
But on this one I was impressed by Solidarity’s coverage of the Arab Spring and a serious approach to Islamism.

Marko Attila Hoare has a more detailed recollection of where Andrew Coates stood on the "Yugoslav collapse" and my recollection of Andrew Coates playing fast and loose with allegations of antisemitism hardly distances him from the "burning pit" of discussions of Palestine.

Anyway, it's mostly gossip but Dr Paul's comment was the kind of gem that leaves you wondering what the AWL actually exists for.

November 23, 2013

Stop the Jewish National Fund

From the BDS Movement Website


On 24th of June, the Israeli Knesset approved the Prawer-Begin plan, which if implemented will result in the destruction of more than 35 unrecognized villages in Al-Naqab and the forced expulsion and confinement of more than 70,000 Palestinian Bedouins. The Prawer plan is the largest Israeli land-grab since 1948. It epitomizes the nature of Israel’s policy; Israeli-Jewish demographic expansion and Palestinian-Arab demographic containment.

The International community has repeatedly called on Israel to halt the implementation of the Prawer Plan due to its discriminatory nature and the severe infringement it causes on the rights of Palestinian Bedouins in Al-Naqab. The UN committee on the elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Israel to withdraw the proposed legislation of the Prawer Plan. Also, in 2012, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on Israel to stop the Prawer plan and its policies of forced displacement and dispossession.

Injustice, humiliation and forced displacement are a recurring theme in Palestine’s history. This is lesson that we as a group of youth take to the heart. We will oppose, resist and work against the continuous assault that our communities, across Palestine face. Therefore, we launched the “Prawer will not pass” campaign with an eye to preventing this plan to be yet another chapter in Palestine’s long and tragic history.

Opposing the Prawer Plan is to oppose ethnic cleansing, displacement and confinement in the 21st century.
Join us by organizing marches, protests, sending letters to those with positions of influence in your country or community, by doing whatever you can, in order to force Israel to stop the Prawer plan.
Join us on the 30th of Nov. in saying “Prawer shall not Pass”.

For more information, please contact us on:


This call is available in other languages from

Check PDF Fact Sheet:

- See more at:

November 20, 2013

Harry's Placer Calls AWL on Guru's Racism

Here's a remarkable comment from Sarah Annes Brown of Harry's Place and a few other zionist sites.  She's criticising Sean Matgamna for a racist screed from 2002 reposted recently on the Shiraz Socialist blog of Jim Denham.

Denham doesn't actually post the most explicitly racist part of Matgamna's piece, which is here, but Sarah, who did a bit of digging, quotes it in her comment:

Sarah AB said,
Jim – some of the analysis may be reasonable, whether or not one agrees with it. But this seems different:
“Like desert tribes of primitive Muslim simplicity and purity enviously eyeing a rich and decadent walled city and sharpening their knives, or country folk in former Yugoslavia eyeing a city like Dubrovnik, so, now, much of the Islamic world looks with envy, covetousness, religious self-righteousness and active hostility on the rich, decadent, infidel-ridden, sexually sinful advanced capitalist societies.
Neither covert Western encouragement, nor neo-con manipulation, is the fundamental root of the luxuriantly thriving Islamic fundamentalism.
The existence of large Muslim minorities in Europe is making political Islam a force well beyond the traditionally Muslim world: the Islam which failed outside the walls of Vienna over 300 years ago is now a force in the great cities of Europe.”
There’s a nasty snark in the first sentence which implies a low view of Muslims generally, appearing to imply almost praise for the ‘simplicity’ of these tribes and then making it clear they are bloodthirsty savages (unlike other people in the Dark Ages/Middle Ages). There are problems with political Islam, sure, but this language is tendentious. Also in the last sentence the enemy is not ‘political Islam’ – just Islam – and this becomes a continuation of a clash which notes dates back to at least 1683, an existential clash with Islam, rather than a clash between one particular manifestation of Islam which has arisen due to a range of social and political factors as Matgamna seemed at first to be arguing.
Now that is good.  But it gets better when Jim tries to pull rank on the non-Marxist Sarah:
Jim Denham said,
I honestly don’t see any “nasty snark” there, Sarah. I realise you don’t share all the “leftist” criticisms of Sean’s piece, and also that you’re not a Marxist (so, for instance the fact that much of Sean’s terminology derives from Engels, won’t cut any ice with you),but the following strikes me as a pretty devastating riposte to “leftist” critics of Sean’s piece:
Now Sarah responds in a way that would get a regular opponent banned:

Sarah AB said,

Hi Jim – don’t you think there’s a disjunct between ‘simplicity and purity’ and ‘sharpening their knives’? I can’t say I find that article deals satisfactorily with my first objection or, I think, at all with my second (the Vienna one). I do indeed find the invocation of Engels a perverse kind of appeal to authority. A bit like citing Marx to excuse Atzmon.
 Wow!  What's that rule again?  I think Sarah just bravely broke Godwin's Law but there's nothing wrong with that.

Of course there's a quick reversion to type when Jim denies invoking Engels as an authority and Sarah denies having accused Jim of that anyway.  But those old one-two comments were well worth posting.  Now she's made me late for the gym but at least she's confirmed I'm not too old to like surprises.

November 18, 2013

Denis MacShane does the Decent Thing and Pleads Guilty

Denis MacShameless has done the decent thing and pleaded guilty to being the dodgiest character ever.  Hmm, maybe not quite that.  Let's have a look at The Guardian:

The former Labour minister Denis MacShane has pleaded guilty to making nearly £13,000 of bogus expenses claims.

The ex-MP admitted false accounting by putting in fake receipts for £12,900 for "research and translation" services.

He used the money to fund trips to Europe, including one to judge a literary competition in Paris.
Sentencing was adjourned until 19 December and he was granted unconditional bail
Mr Justice Sweeney told MacShane "all sentencing options remain open".
I ought to say here that as much as I don't like Denis MacShane, it is very cruel to leave him stewing over whether or not he'll go to prison but then, as a zionist he approves of far greater cruelties.

BTW, I got that pic from google.

November 16, 2013

A bit of Brecht...

I did enjoy that Between the Hammer and the Anvil post on thread about Norman Geras's passing or more specifically on the passing of his blog, Normblog.  Someone, Chris Y left the following comment:
chris y said...
Back in the early 80s, when I (and Bertram) first knew Geras, he was an important revolutionary intellectual - yeah, OK, big fish, small pond - who was instrumental in mainstreaming the work of Rosa Luxemburg among the British left, but was also active in any number of more immediate areas. Definitely one of the good guys.

What happened to him between his leaving NLR and the Iraq war, I have no idea. It came as a real shock to many people who had admired his work and seemed like a complete change of character. I at least found it deeply distressing, although of course there were no excuses to be made for his later positions.

I saw many friends
And the friend I loved most
Among them helplessly sunk
Into the swamp
I pass by daily.
And a drowning was not over in a single morning.
This made it more terrible.
And the memory of our long talks about the swamp
Which already held so many powerless.
Now I watched him leaning back
Covered with leeches in the shimmering,
Softly moving slime,
Upon the sinking face
The ghastly blissful smile.

It could well be a lament for a friend with similar ideals to yourself who then goes on to embrace precisely what you both used to oppose, ie, the swamp.  Apparently it's actually a lament for the self-destructive lifestyle of the actor, Peter Lorre.

Fathom This! Addressing the Hasbara Shortage

See this banner ad:

"Fathom fills a real gap"!? I didn't know there was a hasbara shortage. Obviously I was wrong...again.

November 15, 2013

I was right, Zionists are using the Recuse Excuse for their FUCU Disaster

No sooner had I predicted that the zionists wold use the original FUCU judges absenting themselves from the costs decision as an excuse to make out that the whole FUCU judgment was wrong, we see two examples of zionists doing just that.

Now, to be honest, Dr David Hirsh of the zionist Engage website gave me the tip-off in this post.  He started factually enough:
Fraser’s lawyers argued that the tribunal should recuse itself from hearing the case relating to costs because the tribunal had already expressed a clear opinion in its judgment not only on the substantive issue of harassment, but also on the issue of costs; for this reason, it had prejudiced its ability to be seen to be impartial in the hearing over costs....

The tribunal decided to recuse itself in this case.  The judge said that he did not accept that their judgment had already articulated a view on the question of costs, but he admitted that a reasonable outside observer may come to the conclusion that it had.
So, it's all about costs and whether or not the Tribunal had made it known where it stood on the ussue.

Now Hirsh gets a bit slippery:
In this sense at least, the tribunal admitted that it had over-reached itself in its substantive judgment.

If UCU continues its bid to punish Ronnie Fraser, its case for costs may now be heard by a fresh tribunal.  However, it is not clear what evidence the UCU can adduce to show that Fraser’s claim was vexatious, since the evidence upon which it is relying is the relevant section from the judgment in which the tribunal appeared to prejudice the hearing on costs.

Now let's look at the parts of the judgment where the costs award against Fraser (and co) might be applicable:
177 The result is that the proceedings are dismissed in their totality. The Claimant has put before us one claim which, on initial examination, appeared arguable on its merits. Closer scrutiny, however, showed it to be clearly unsustainable. And, being hopelessly out of time, it is outside our jurisdiction in any event. The other nine claims are wholly unfounded and many are also defeated by the jurisdic tional time bar.
Now the Tribunal did agree to the hearing so that could be a point in Fraser's favour but then again on hearing the case it found one of its ten claims was out of time and out of its jurisdiction and the other nine are "wholly unfounded".

Now the bits that could be said to touch on costs:
180 What makes this litigation doubly regrettable is its gargantuan scale. Given the case management history, the preparations of the parties and the sensitivity of the subject-matter, we thought (rightly or wrongly) that it was proper to permit the evidence to take the course mapped out for it, provided that the hearing did not overrun its allocation. But we reminded ourselves frequently that, despite appearances, we were not conducting a public inquiry into anti-Semitism but considering a legal claim for unlawful harassment. Viewed in that way, a hearing with a host of witnesses, a 20-day allocation and a trial bundle of 23 volumes can only be seen as manifestly excessive and disproportionate. The Employment Tribunals are a hard-pressed public service and it is not right that their limited resources should be squandered as they have been in this case. Nor, if (contrary to our view) it was proper to face them with any claim at all, should the Respondents have been put to the trouble and expense of defending proceedings of this order or any thing like it.
Now they seem to be complaining more about the cost to the Tribunal than to the UCU but there is a little word of sympathy for the union having to go to the "trouble and expense of defending proceedings".

Now, it could be that whoever hears the costs issue will not want to dissuade future complainants from er, complaining but clearly the only issue the original Tribunal can be challenged on and is being challenged on is the word or two it uttered touching on costs.

And yet here's Sarah Annes Brown of Harry's Place (who sensibly remove their wacky comments after a week):

SarahAB Mod  Discredited Andrew

I have no confidence in their findings. This is not because they ruled against Ronnie but because of the way they did so.

I won't replicate the whole thread here but here's Discredited Andrew helping you guess what other comments looked like:
Discredited Andrew  SarahAB

Are you really going to clutch at that straw?
Another of the findings was that the claim that Jews were booed and jeered at in conferences was false. They spent a whole day listening to recordings of conference debates. You're into some weird conspiratorial territory if you are going to deny that any dishonest accusations were made.
Well now the Jewish Chronicle have put a marker down on the Recuse ExcuseHere's the JC's Simon Rocker from this morning's print edition (also on line, see link):
A battle over the legal costs relating to a defeated claim of antisemitic harassment is set to continue after a tribunal withdrew from deciding the issue.
The University College Union is trying to recover costs — understood to be around £600,000 — following the action brought against it by the director of the Academic Friends of Israel, Ronnie Fraser, who said its policy on Israel amounted to harassment.
The same tribunal, headed by Judge Anthony Snelson, which had rejected Mr Fraser’s claim in April was due to hear the case for costs.
But lawyers for Mr Fraser and for the solicitors who represented him in the harassment case, Mishcon de Reya, argued that the tribunal had been so scathing in their original ruling that they could not fairly settle the question.
The tribunal had dismissed Mr Fraser’s claim as “a sorry saga” and “an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means”.

The UCU will now have to go to a new tribunal. Judge Snelson said: “We must recuse ourselves and a cost application should be listed before another tribunal.”
I think Simon Rocker must be deliberately missing the point here.  It wasn't the scathing nature of the FUCU judgment that was problematic for a costs hearing but the fact that the judgment could be perceived as having touched on costs.  Rocker doesn't even mention that.

So the FUCUps are using the Recuse Excuse. Remember you heard it here first.

November 11, 2013

Enrage Online?

We just picked up another follower on Twitter. They're called @Enrage_Online and they self-describe thus:
A non-Zionist, anti-racist force within the labour movement, we oppose
the oppression of Palestinians nearly as much
as we oppose doing anything about it.
And here's their first tweet:

Seeing that was a nice start to my working day.

November 10, 2013

Disgraced former MP Denis MacShane's Islamist Lobby Thesis

I've just seen from this Electronic Intifada post by Ben White that shamed former MP, Denis MacShameless has joined the zionist cacophony over the EU Fundamental Rights Agency's ditching of the so-called Working Definition of Antisemitism.  Here's MacShameless:

This is interesting because I remember the BBC Trust writing the following explanation to me:
the so-called “working definition of anti-semitism” referred to in the finding and cited by the complainant was published on the website of the EU Monitoring Committee for Racism and Xenophobia in 2005. This body was replaced by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (the FRA) in 2007. A press officer at the FRA has explained that this was a discussion paper and was never adopted by the EU as a working definition, although it has been on the FRA website until recently when it was removed during a clear out of “non-official” documents. The link to the FRA site provided by the complainant in his appeal no longer works.
So is the discredited former MP saying that the FRA spokesperson is lying?  I think we should be told but I'm guessing we won't be.  I know what I'll do, I'll ask MacShameless for his evidence.  Don't bother watching this space because, unless he's drunk, he won't answer.

November 09, 2013

Does Recuse offer Excuse?

Another day another FUCU post.

I've reported before that the University and College Union is seeking costs from the complainant in the case of Fraser v UCU.  According to Dr David Hirsh of the zionist Engage site, the costs are £580,000.

Lawyers for complainant, Ronnie Fraser, argued that the tribunal itself should not hear the costs claim because they so indicated their disapproval of the complaints in their judgment that they had already prejudiced the outcome should they hear the case.  The original trio who heard the case agreed to recuse, ie, absent themselves from the case.

Here's Hirsh:

The tribunal decided to recuse itself in this case.  The judge said that he did not accept that their judgment had already articulated a view on the question of costs, but he admitted that a reasonable outside observer may come to the conclusion that it had.

In this sense at least, the tribunal admitted that it had over-reached itself in its substantive judgment.
I know how hasbaristas work.  In future all the facts of the case will be cast to the wind in favour of the idea that "the tribunal admitted that it had over-reached itself in its substantive judgment".  This will be their excuse no matter what eventually is decided on costs.

The section of the judgment the complainants are relying on is as follows:

180 What makes this litigation doubly regrettable is its gargantuan scale. Given the case management history, the preparations of the parties and the sensitivity of the subject-matter, we thought (rightly or wrongly) that it was proper to permit the evidence to take the course mapped out for it, provided that the hearing did not overrun its allocation. But we reminded ourselves frequently that, despite appearances, we were not conducting a public inquiry into anti-Semitism but considering a legal claim for unlawful harassment. Viewed in that way, a hearing with a host of witnesses, a 20-day allocation and a trial bundle of 23 volumes can only be seen as manifestly excessive and disproportionate. The Employment Tribunals are a hard-pressed public service and it is not right that their limited resources should be squandered as they have been in this case. Nor, if (contrary to our view) it was proper to face them with any claim at all, should the Respondents have been put to the trouble and expense of defending proceedings of this order or any thing like it.
Read it over.  Hirsh says,
it is not clear what evidence the UCU can adduce to show that Fraser’s claim was vexatious, since the evidence upon which it is relying is the relevant section from the judgment in which the tribunal appeared to prejudice the hearing on costs.
 Now I don't want to leave a hostage to fortune (and what a fortune?) here but isn't that the whole point?  A tremendous amount of expense has been gone to in order to hear and defend a case that was wholly without merit.  Doesn't that in itself make the case vexatious?

But the zionists are in this for a reason.  If the UCU are saddled with the costs they will have still won the case, in spite of what Hirsh says, on the substantive points.  But that, as Asa Winstanly of Electronic Intifada has said, could deter other unions from taking a stance of international solidarity for the Palestinians.  If, on the other hand, the UCU wins its claim, then the zionists will still try to claim some kind of victory on the grounds of the nonsense Hirsh had come out with, that the tribunal somehow, over-reached itself.

Oh by the way, still no sign of Anthony Julius unless anyone knows otherwise...

The Strange Case of Mario Offenberg

A friend of mine had heard about a film made by an Israeli chap called Mario Offenberg which had won an award from the Palestine Liberation Organisation back  in the 1970s.  Offenberg had been involved with the Israeli trotskyist group, Matzpen and had penned an article against zionism with veteran marxist academic, Moshe Machover.  But the more my friend looked for this guy the more weird the details were that emerged.  His old muckers from Matzpen knew nothing of him and there were some lurid tales swirling around cyberspace.

Here's what I have found on line (well actually in a book) by a Ruth Gay called Safe Among the Germans: Liberated Jews After World War II.  I can't figure out how to copy and paste from google books so I found the extract I'm looking for here.

Now at some point in the late seventies Mario Offenberg fell off of the leftist radar and re-emerged ten years later reinvented as a religious Jew.  It is at this point that his story overlaps in a big way with the resurrection of an East German Jewish community, Adass Israel (Jisroel).  Now here's the extract:
In 1939 all the Adass Israel property was confiscated by the Nazi government, and then after 1945 these holdings became the property of the successor government, the German Democratic Republic. In time the GDR turned the synagogue's property over to the Berlin Jew­ish Gemeinde (East), though this was largely a paper transaction, be­cause the community had no use for what remained ofthese facilities. In fact, the old Adass Israel synagogue was remodeled into offices for a variety of GDR businesses, and the hospital was converted for use as the headquarters of the Deutsche Reichsbahn—the German railroad.

For four decades after the end of the war the community seemed to be extinguished, remembered only by its widely dispersed former members. The reemergence of a legally recognized Adass Israel in the last years before the collapse of the gdr owed its existence to the will of two men with wildly divergent purposes: Erich Honecker, the head of the state, and Mario Offenberg, a descendant of an Adass Israel family, who had grown up in Israel but moved to West Berlin to complete his education. How Offenberg became the beneficiary of Honecker's ambitions, assuming the leadership of a phantom Gemeinde, richly supported by the GDR, still remains in many ways unexplained.

In 1975 Offenberg completed his studies at the Free University in Berlin and presented his doctoral dissertation, titled "Communism in Palestine: Nation and Class in the Anticolonial Revolution." The anti-Zionist thesis proposed a union of Arabs and Jews against imperial­ism. For the next three years, Offenberg worked as a documentary filmmaker, screening his films about the conflict between Arabs and Jews in Israel at Leipzig film festivals. In 1977 the Palestine Liberation Organization gave him an award for his documentary The Struggle for Land, or Palestine in Israel.6"

A decade later a very different Mario Offenberg appeared in East Berlin, now intent on reviving Adass Israel. Whatever old Adassian-ers still survived in East Berlin were well hidden. The result was that Mario Offenberg and his father, Ari, constituted the entire resident Gemeinde. But this was a crucial moment, for a portion of the old Adass Israel cemetery in Wittlicher Strasse was in danger of being used for a new building for the STASI. Although the cemetery was nominally in the hands of the Jewish Gemeinde (East), it had been neglected since 1974, when its single caretaker retired.

Because the rear portion of the cemetery was not fenced in and the rest of the walls were crumbling, it had become easy prey for vandals. It was this seemingly unused rear portion that the Gemeinde in December 1982 sold to the Ministry for State Security, which planned to build offices and apartments there.

In November 1985 Mario Offenberg claimed that during the war this area had been used for illegal Jewish burials and was therefore hallowed ground. His trump card in approaching Honecker, however, was the news that he had invited Adassianers from all over the world to come to a reunion in Berlin in June 1986. What Honecker did not want at this point was the report abroad of a neglected and vandalized Jewish cemetery.

What happened next was astonishing. In January 1986, by Honecker's order, the best resources in Berlin were galvanized to work on the cemetery. During a hard winter the craftsmen even brought in special warming devices to make possible the fine restoration work on the stone. By June the walls had been rebuilt, the gravestones righted, the brush cleared. When one hundred Adassianers arrived from abroad to visit their family graves, they saw only a well-tended ceme­tery, which was solemnly rededicated in their presence.7

68 During this visit the surviving Adassianers and their descendants formed a new Society for the Advancement of Adass Israel in Berlin, whose pur­pose was the reestablishment of the Gemeinde and the reclamation of all its property.69 They also gave Mario Offenberg their proxies au­thorizing him to continue his work.

But neither the West Berlin city government nor the Gemeinde in the West was willing to recognize the legitimacy of the Offenbergs or to acknowledge that their Adass Israel was the successor to the Gemeinde extinguished by the Nazis in 1939. After Offenberg's first brilliant coup in restoring the Wittlicher Strasse cemetery, the East German regime became more cautious about offering support. The Offenbergs retained a lawyer, Lothar de Maziere, to present their cause to the government. There was division, however, at the highest levels. While State Secretary Klaus Gysi wanted to recognize the new Adass Israel as the successor to the prewar Gemeinde, the Central Committee of the Party was unwilling to restore the "People's" prop­erty to private hands. In addition, the heads of the established Gemeinden, both East and West—Peter Kirchner and Heinz Galin-ski, respectively—made no secret of their view that Offenberg was an interloper and that the property of the old Adass Israel should not be turned over to his committee.

 But all the principals were overtaken by history. On November 9, 1989, the Berlin wall fell and a new provisional government came into power in East Germany. By a great stroke of fortune, the new minister for religious affairs was none other than Lothar de Maziere. With a friend in a high place in the government, things began to go rather better for the Offenbergs.

On December 14,1989 the Council of Min­isters of the newly formed government voted to restore all rights to the Adass Israel Gemeinde and offered it all necessary government help.70  The following March, the council voted to support the Adass Israel Gemeinde with a budget of 810,000 marks for the year, including salaries for fifteen employees—among them three caretakers for the cemetery, a librarian, a Hebrew teacher, a rabbi, and a kosher slaugh­terer.  Mario Offenberg retained the position of executive director.

At this point two of the rooms in the old Artilleriestrasse com­plex (renamed Tucholskystrasse by the GDR) had been cleared and placed at the disposal of the new Gemeinde.  Eventually the entire building was returned to Adass Israel, which reestablished the syna­gogue, restored the ritual bath, and began to build its communal life, hoping to attract Orthodox Jews from both East and West. The most significant source of new members were the Russian Jews who began arriving in increasing numbers as a consequence of the rising anti-Semitism and governmental chaos at home.

When the East German government in the spring of1990 passed a resolution "to offer asylum to persecuted Jews," it encouraged them to pack up and leave. By February 1991 some four thousand had taken advantage of this offer.71

72 Actively seeking out the newcomers, by the end of 1990 Adass Israel claimed two hundred members, most of them Russian immigrants.73 As newcomers to the West, they needed an introduction into two cul­tures: the new German world in which they hoped to live and the old Jewish tradition, which many were discovering for the first time. Whether they would remain with the rigors of Orthodoxy as prac­ticed by Adass Israel once they were established in Germany was something that would be resolved in the future.

Whether the current Adass Israel is finally determined to be the legal successor to the institution founded in 1869, there is no doubt that the modern congregation is of a very different order from the original, which was composed of scholars and those committed to the wholehearted practice of Orthodox Judaism; the new congrega­tion is largely made up of those trying to find their way, and of new­comers to Judaism, learning its basic precepts.

The strained relations of Adass Israel with the Gemeinde of Berlin were resolved only in 1997......
Apologies for the haphazard footnote numbers.  I've no idea where the actual footnotes are but by all means follow the link above or check out the actual book.

Now that book was first published in 2002 but the plot seems to have thickened some time after 1997.  See this article on the FringeGroups website about "what amounts to a sham synagogue":
In the meantime, this new Adass Jisroel continues to exist, at least on paper.  No rabbi is mentioned on its website.  It runs what it calls a kosher restaurant, but when I visited this establishment last month there was no Jewish personnel to be found in it.  All inquiries are to be directed to its office, I was told.  But this office, when I tried to visit it, just happened to be closed, as it also happened to be closed when others tried to visit it.  AJ is said to have a synagogue, but attendance there is allowed only by appointment.  The large AJ cemetery, which was given to Offenberg by the GDR government, cannot be visited except by appointment;  people I know tried to make such appointment but were told that 6:30 in the morning is the one and only time for which an appointment can be considered.

Last year there were press stories that the Berlin government is demanding proper accounting of the funds that it has channelled to Offenberg, as required by law, but apparently refused by Dr. O.  Then the story was quietly dropped.  When I was in Berlin now, I met with a reporter from one of the Jewish papers (who, of course, was not Jewish himself).  I was interviewed most courteously, and a most courteous account of my visit was published.  But there was not a word about the main interest that I expressed in the interview, viz. Adass Jisroel.  The reporter later told me why this was red-pencilled by his editor:  let sleeping dogs lie.

UPDATE, March 26, 2012:  It now seems that a new court judgment has recognized the fraudulent nature of Offenberg's operation, and that this so-called synagogue may well be forced to shut down.
Following the last link to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency site we find:
An investigation found that the congregation had claimed government subsidies for nonexistent personnel and for a fleet of cars without submitting a drivers’ log. Synagogue director Mario Offenberg and his wife also reportedly charged the state for their annual business-class flight to Spain, claiming they were visiting the local Jewish community.

Tagesspiegel reported that the Berlin Senate told the court it doubted that Adass Yisroel actually had any members other than Offenberg.

So Israeli becomes Trot, Trot gets religion, religious ex-Trot is accused of fraud on a super-chutzpahdich scale of which you can also read more in Ha'aretz and presumably elsewhere.

I suppose I could have simply said that at the outset and spared you the details so I know I got completely carried away there with what I found to be a fascinating story which has been available on line for a long time. 

All I really wanted to know is what happened to the movie, The Struggle for Land, or Palestine in Israel?  Are there any surviving copies?  Is it on video, DVD or what?  Ok, I wouldn't mind knowing what happened to Mario Offenberg but I really would like to locate the documentary.  Any offers?  Let me know.


Wiesenthal Centre hunts for the dodgy definition

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC) has just discovered that the bogus definition of antisemitism produced by its kindred spirits at the American Jewish Committee has gone missing from the European Union's Fundamental Rights Agency's website.
In a letter to European Union Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Catherine Ashton of Upholland (pictured), the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed shock, “To read on ‘Electronic Intifada’ website that the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) – now renamed the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) – 2004 ‘Working Definition of Anti-Semitism’ has been removed from the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) website.”
Zionists are right to be concerned about the ditching of their misdefinition of antisemitism because it is clearly aimed at insulating the State of Israel from criticism, in particular anti-zionist criticism.  Here's a reminder of its examples of how antisemitism manifests itself with regard to The State of Israel after taking "overall context" into account:
• Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, for example by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.

• Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

• Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (for example claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis.

• Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

• Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

The EUMC Definition goes on to state that criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

Now, I don't know when the bogus definition was removed from the FRA's website but I discovered by way of a complaint I made to the BBC Trust which had misrepresented the working definition as being the EU's.  The BBC Trust wrote to me saying that they had amended a decision they had published so as to not be saying that the working definition was the EU's but that a complainant had said that it was.  The SWC has morphed the amendment into a reversal of the decision:
The letter noted, “The BBC Trust, in addressing a complaint, had upheld the definition, in characterizing as anti-Semitic, a broadcaster’s critique of comments on Israel made by a Member of the UK Parliament. The Trust has now, apparently, reversed its ruling following the Definition’s removal
Now that is plain wrong.  The complaint the BBC Trust dealt with was upheld.  The report was simply amended, that's all.

They do manage to get a quote from the BBC Trust's letter to me right:
A press officer at the FRA has explained that this was a discussion paper and was never adopted by the EU as a working definition, although it has been on the FRA website until recently when it was removed during a clear-out of non-official documents. The link to the FRA site provided by the complainant in his appeal no longer works.
Then it starts getting a bit weird:
 Samuels argued that:
—  the EUMC carried the name 'European Union' in its title and all its published decisions are therefore official documents of the EU
— the FRA, as the successor to the EUMC, carries responsibility for the documents of its predecessor as part of its DNA”
The bogus definition of antisemitism was said by the press officer to be a discussion paper.  The SWC even reports this correctly.  So how did it morph in the same report from a "discussion paper" to a "decision"?

And weirder still:
The Centre therefore called on EU Baroness Ashton to:
launch an investigation into the disappearance of the Working Definition and the coincidental change in the FRA website address
— return this important document to the current FRA website
— ensure that the appropriate EU bodies endorse the Working Definition in its entirety

Now it might well be of interest to know who was responsible for the removal of the dodgy definition but surely it would be of more interest to know how and why it got onto the website in the first place since it was described as a "discussion document" but with no facility for discussion nor report of any discussions.

But then we see a clue as to its provenance:
Samuels recalled the “… hard work in negotiating the document and the delay in its publication. Nevertheless, its acceptance and dissemination represented an achievement for the EU in the struggle against anti-Semitism. Indeed, its removal is even more disconcerting just as the FRA is about to issue a further study of the worrying rise in anti-Jewish attacks across Europe.”
So who conducted these negotiations?  What were their negotiating positions? I was going to link to a web page that showed clearly the genealogy of the bogus definition, in particular the insertion of the "overall context" proviso which may well have been the result of negotiations to make sure the bogus definition wasn't too obviously aimed at protecting Israel but access is now "forbidden".  No surprise there...

I first saw the SWC complaint on Tony Greenstein's blog.

November 05, 2013

Geras Obit Improves after Decent Interval

For all I enjoyed Flying Rodent's obit of Norman Geras in its own right and as a corrective to some of the downright mad tributes from the old curmudgeon's supporters there was a bit I thought was very good that I hadn't understood at all.

See this:
Few of us get to see our paths to Utopia paved to our specifications in the way that Professor Norm did
 Now I thought that was a reference to Norm's passing and to the tributes that poured in.  So did someone calling themselves, Utopian:
Could you elaborate on what you mean by this:

'Few of us get to see our paths to Utopia paved to our specifications in the way that Professor Norm did'.

You seem to have been quite a keen Normblog reader and therefore you were presumably aware that Geras was an atheist. So this seems a strange way to describe someone's premature death from a horrendous illness, leaving behind much-loved family and friends. Or do you think that Geras would have considered it a price worth paying for the sake of some nice broadsheet obits?

I noticed one of your twitter friends commenting on how 'small d-decent' (ho ho ho) it was of you to wait a whole two weeks before laying into Geras, so I just wondered whether he/she had overlooked that particular sentence, which personally I found quite offensive, and imagine Geras's family and friends may have found even more so. 
Well this Phil chap realised that Utopian (and I) had got the wrong end of the stick:
this seems a strange way to describe someone's premature death from a horrendous illness

Probably because it quite plainly isn't. Run along and find something else to get outraged about.
Well I wasn't outraged.  I thought it was rather good but Flying Rodent explained himself for the outraged or the just not so bright:
Could you elaborate on what you mean by this:

'Few of us get to see our paths to Utopia paved to our specifications in the way that Professor Norm did'.

Gladly - I meant that, while many of us may harbour grand schemes for the betterment of humanity, few of us will even get to see them being adopted by a political party that has a chance of implementing them.

Professor Norm, however, saw much of his grand plan adopted by the most powerful people on Earth, not least by the President and government of the USA, who hurled bajillions of dollars, immense effort and the most awe-inspiring military machine in human history at the enterprise.

I can see why some folk might mistake the concept of "Utopia" for a religious reference, but that's not the intention.
Hmm, even better than when I misunderstood it and I liked it then...

November 04, 2013

Rogues Rant against Brian Klug

I saw this in the print edition of the Jewish Chronicle:

 A group of activists is protesting at the choice of British academic Brian Klug to speak at a conference on antisemitism in Berlin.

The 17 critics claim Mr Klug denies the existence of a "new antisemitism".
Now look at the rogues' gallery challenging Brian Klug and his right to attend a conference on antisemitism.  Here's a taste but remember there are 17 of them:
The dossier includes statements by Prof. Elhanan Yakira, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, Prof. Efraim Karsh, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Dr. Denis MacShane, Prof. Norman Simms, Sam Westrop, Ben Cohen, Isi Leibler, Prof. Neil Kressel, Dr. Guenther Jikeli, Richard Millet, among others
What no Dr Hirsh? Well no but don't worry, for entertainment value, Jonathan Hoffman is in there and you've seen that Denis MacShameless is on the list so check out the whole thing.

November 03, 2013

At last! A sensible obituary for Professor Norman Geras

When I started this blog, if I wanted to blog something but didn't have time I would put a marker on it by posting something like, "I'll return to this later" and used to do just that.  Now I rarely if ever do.  So when I posted on the absurdity of the tributes to Professor Norman Geras it was short, referenced one of his dodgy entries and I said I'd return later and then I forgot all about it.

Well now Flying Rodent (Between the Hammer and the Anvil) has done a rather good obit which he calls Requiem for a Blog, (note, not a Blogger).  I've seen some complain that this Flying Rodent chap tends to express himself very strongly whilst venting a six of one/half dozen of the other non-position on most things.  This obit exemplifies the former but not, thankfully, so much of the latter.

So at the start we see the Rodent commenting on the ludicrous tributes thus:
I'd say that the one point they all share is entirely accurate - that Normblog was one of the great pioneers of the blogging game.

Try as I might, I can't imagine blogs without the Professor, much as I can't picture modern opinion thinkery without Chris Hitchens.  More than any other I can think of, Normblog really should be seen as the archetype of the form.
The form being blogging, not pro-war, pro-Israel, "the left left me not me them" form, blogging itself.  All Geras's friends accord to him a pioneering and pivotal role in blogging which he simply didn't deserve.  At which point it's useful to point out that Geras had to ask a real founder of the form, Chris Bertram, how to get his (Geras's) blog off the ground.  Here's Bertram in his post on the tenth anniversary of Crooked Timber:
 That first email also invited two other people: Matthew Yglesias and Norman Geras. Yglesias (a Harvard undergrad) was a rising star in the blogosphere but had yet to morph into his current superstar incarnation. Geras I knew because we’d once been on the editorial committee of New Left Review together and he’d recently phoned me up for advice on starting to blog.
Actually Bertram goes on to relate the story of how Geras, mercifully, never got to be one of the Crooked Timber above the liners:
That provided us with the first crisis in the (pre)history of Crooked Timber. (Actually, I think, our only real crisis within the group.) At the time, we were either just before or at the start of the Iraq war and some of us were hesitating about which line to take. Geras used the opportunity of the shared emails to bombard everyone with pro-war articles and, after he had circulated a particularly egregious bit of warmongering concern-trolling from Johann Hari, Daniel snapped. If Geras were in, then Daniel would be out. But Geras, facing a bit more scepticism than he wanted, was already sensing that the group wasn’t for him. So we were able to keep Daniel for Crooked Timber. Geras went off to promote so-called “humanitarian intervention” at a solo-blog. He’s been doing that in his characteristic style for a decade; I think we got the better part of the bargain.
Anyway, having got his obligatory "half a dozen of the other" stuff out of the way at the outset Flying Rodent goes on to list some characteristics of the Normblog style:
I think you can split Normblog's political blogging into a few distinct categories:

- Finger-waggy, history-heavy lectures upon the virtue of the current political settlement, usually prompted by some no-mark calling for a non-specific revolution, the jailing of public figures etc.  The prime example here was the Prof's response to the financial crisis, which IIRC was to ignore the globe-spanning corruption and destruction and the resultant austerity catastrophes, in favour of ticking off the only popular protest movement that emerged from the ruins.  Marxism certainly isn't my specialist subject, but Normblog's decision to focus on hectoring of a bunch of nameless hipsters and students suggests that I know even less than I thought I did.

- Sensible-sounding calls for men of violence to do insane and wildly dangerous things.  Generally along the lines of "I read about the suffering of the oppressed people of Abroadistan today.  All decent people would agree that it's now necessary to (antiseptic-sounding euphemism for killing lots of motherfuckers) after which (Cough, cough, mumble) ...Freedom and human rights throughout the region".  Worryingly vague on the specifics, but rock solid on "first principles", which was always a bit of an obvious dodge around practical reality.

- Reminders that e.g. The Taliban are cruel and vicious, presented in tones that suggest that only the author and his mates were aware of this.

- Assertions that democracies can indulge in all manner of violent and lunatic behaviours, because the mere act of people choosing which version of the Thatcherite consensus they wish to rule confers some form of law-swerving legitimacy. Usually deployed in a stentorian lesson on how Americans shooting fuck out of people for no sane reason is an entirely different phenomenon from other foreigners shooting fuck out of people for no sane reason.

- A tiresome and annoying pretence that some minor opinion columnist must logically be saying a thing which he or she patently has not said. The best example is the Prof's ten-year habit of kidding on that he couldn't grasp the meaning of the word "understand", a word he regularly portrayed as meaning "condone and encourage (violent incident (x))", rather than, you know, "comprehend". This one was odd at first, and only became more embarrassing and annoying with repetition, much like a non-stop, decade-long rendition of The Welly Boot Song would.

- Requests for others to engage with the author's ideas, usually accompanied by implications that we hadn't given a matter as much deep thought as the Prof had, or that we were unaware of our biases.  The classic is "I can see it from here, so maybe something is blocking your view of it... Maybe if you came over here, you'd see it". Basically a series of repeated requests for vastly more intellectual charity than the author was ever willing to grant anyone else.

- Lengthy "thought experiments" of the "You hear your neighbour beating his wife and  grab  your trusty rocket-launcher" genus. I imagine that even Normblog's most avid readers would acknowledge that the sole function of these whimsical scenarios were to simplify complex matters well past the point of bathos, with the aim of justifying whatever wacky suggestions couldn't be argued for in their own terms. Of course, the answer "let's ignore that scenario because it's preposterously reductive and self-serving" was merely a symptom of the speaker's unwillingness to engage.

- And of course, the huffy complaints that people the Prof had spent years barracking and denouncing refused to credit his good intentions - roughly, "Why oh why oh why won't these godawful bastards admit that there were good reasons for supporting the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq?".  A reader who got their news from Normblog alone would swiftly conclude that this shameful reluctance to afford charity to the madcap ideas of Professors Emeritii of Politics was one of the major injustices of the era.
There's also some good detailed stuff on Norm (and co's) mo like the shrill denunciations of this or that obscure academic before this corrective appears:
It's for this reason that I say that Normblog was the apex of the form - an era of violent right-wing monsters rampaging like beasts across the planet, while a bunch of  white academics argued in fiery tones that the biggest issue of the age was some conveniently abstract demon like "relativism", or some similar nonsense.
Hmm, so the earlier undue compliment was actually a put-down.  Good for Rodent.  And spot on identifying the use of "relativism" as a "conveniently abstract demon".

My title suggests there has only been one decent honest obituary for Geras and that that was from this Flying Rodent chap.  Re-reading Chris Bertram's post above, I now think that Bertram's was a worthy if premature obituary, premature because Geras was still alive when it was written.