April 27, 2014

Finally Abbas recognises Israel as Yad Vashem with an air force

Well Ha'aretz is excited about this new development:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas released a special message on Sunday in Arabic and in English on the occasion of Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, in which he decried the murder of Jews in the Holocaust as "the most heinous crime against humanity in modern history.
But what's it got to do with anything now?

Apparently it represents a bit of a turnaround for Abbas:
A number of senior Israeli officials, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, have declared over the past year that Abbas is anti-Semitic and a Holocaust denier. Their claims were based on Abbas' doctoral thesis from the University of Moscow, which asserted cooperation between elements in the Zionist Movement and Nazi Germany in the years before the Holocaust.

Abbas had since retracted these claims. In interviews he gave in recent years he maintained that he was not denying the Holocaust and that he recognizes the fact that six million Jews were killed during World War II.
They shouldn't do that conflation if they don't want people denying the holocaust.  So you see what they did?
Abbas' doctoral thesis from the University of Moscow.....asserted cooperation between elements in the Zionist Movement and Nazi Germany in the years before the Holocaust
Asserting the very well documented fact that the zionist movement, that is the mainstream of the zionist movement, collaborated with the nazis before and during the holocaust, and after, given that some zionists went on to testify for nazis at Nuremberg, is not the same as denying that the holocaust happened.

So what was Abbas's thesis?  That the holocaust didn't happen? or that it did happen and zionists collaborated?

What does it matter anyway what Abbas is forced to say now or what he used to say?  It seems like only yesterday that Ha'aretz was saying that "Israel should be more than Yad Vashem with an air force".  Apparently they don't believe their own position on this.

April 25, 2014

They've got Blair taped

I just got this video clip from The Guardian.   Here's The Guardian blurb:

Tony Blair warned of the growing threat of Islamic extremism in a speech to Bloomberg in London on the state of politics in the Middle East on Wednesday. Here, mashup artist Cassetteboy edits the former prime minister-turned-peace-envoy's speech and imagines what Blair was really trying to say
I've downloaded it to free it from the annoying advert at the beginning though I'm not sure it's gonna work:

Hmm, seems to have worked.

But for analysis of his actual speech This Sceptic Isle piece is probably more informative.

April 21, 2014

Does Bennett know where Abbas comes from?

I ask because Bayit Yehudi Chairman, Naftali Bennett, has said that Abbas can "go home".  Here's YNET:
Reaching the current threat to dismantle Palestinian self-rule, Bennett wrote: "Now they are saying: Give away Judea and Samaria, otherwise Abbas will go home. You know what? Let him go home."
Abbas actually comes from Safed in Upper Galilee.  Yup, it so happens that what Bennett calls Bayit Yehudi is also Bayit Abbas.  I hope all Palestinians can one day go home to towns like Safed.

April 20, 2014

Dershowitz and the truth: are they by no chance related?

Check this out in the New York Times.  It's various lawyers, academic, practising and both, commenting on the Pistorius case in South Africa.  They asked Alan Dershowitz for his take on the whole thing.  Of course, Dersh defends criminals for a living and for a hobby:
Mr. Dershowitz said....there are numerous ways to interpret Mr. Pistorius’s demeanor. One possibility is that he is telling the truth and is filled with horror and remorse at a genuine, horrific mistake. Another is that he is lying but is tormented by guilt, regret and the burden of having to stick to a fake story.

He could also be lying but have come to believe his account to be true. “I’ve had people who have really persuaded themselves that they didn’t do it, because they’ve been rehearsing and rehearsing and now it’s become part of their psyche,” Mr. Dershowitz said.
 See anyone you recognise there?

April 19, 2014

Foxman decides to oppose false allegations of antisemitism

And about time too but I am surprised at Abe Foxman, of all people, denouncing a practice that has earned him over half a million dollars a year for the whole of this century and a big chunk of the last one.

Let's have a closer look at this.  Here he is in USA Today:
The Jews of Donetsk, Ukraine, were greeted on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover with some deeply unsettling news. A flier apparently on the official letterhead of the self-proclaimed, separatist Donetsk People's Republic announced that all Jews must register with the government or face deportation and confiscation of their property.

While Ukrainian Jewish leaders recognized the flier as a political dirty trick, it caused widespread outrage here in the United States, where just about everyone — from Jewish community leaders to the State Department — was immediately struck by its echoes of the Nazi policies that led to the Holocaust in Europe.

And yet unfortunately, this was just the latest escalation in a series of political maneuvers in Ukraine where the anti-Semitism card has been repeatedly overplayed.

Manufactured incidents of anti-Semitism have been cynically used to discredit political opponents as anti-Semites, whether they are, or not. In recent years, some Ukrainian political operatives have spread rumors that opposing candidates are Jews, likewise whether they are, or not.

Last year, political operatives, presumably of deposed former President Viktor Yanukovych, sent a dozen young men to an opposition rally with T-shirts that read "Beat the Jews!" on one side, and "Svoboda," the name of the ultra-nationalist opposition party, on the other.

Both classical political anti-Semitism and the manufactured, manipulative version rely on a common assumption, that a significant number of Ukrainian citizens do not consider their Jewish compatriots to truly be part of the Ukrainian nation.

That attitude, unfortunately, continues to play a significant role in the Ukrainian nationalist movement. The Svoboda party has a history of anti-Semitism and venerates Stepan Bandera, a leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement of the 1930s and 1940s. Bandera allied with the Nazis during World War II when he thought it was in the interest of his movement and was complicit in mass killings of Jews and Poles by Ukrainian partisans.

When Jews are considered a natural part of the Ukrainian nation, anti-Semitism in Ukraine should wane and the temptation to use anti-Semitism in politics should follow.

And that will be a relief, because anti-Semitism is a big enough problem without having anyone with a political ax to grind add to it artificially.

A positive first step was taken in today's statement from the U.S., the European Union, Russia and Ukraine, with the firm, clear and direct condemnation of "all expressions of extremism … including anti-Semitism."

To change Ukraine's atmosphere of insecurity, political, civic and religious leaders in Ukraine and Russia must continue to reinforce this message.
I posted a couple of months ago that Foxman is retiring.  If the false allegations of antisemitism is being ditched then he really has nothing more to do.

April 18, 2014

FUCUps go for broke

I've only just seen this Engage piece by David Hirsh about a preliminary hearing on costs in the Fraser v University and College Union case.  The case was possibly the biggest disaster to befall the zionist movement in the UK since its inception with all of Fraser's claims of antisemitism against the union found to be "without merit".

Well next up came the question of costs.  Ronnie Fraser's lawyers argued at the costs hearing last year that the original tribunal had been so scathing that they had effectively decided the question of where they (the tibunal) stood on costs at the original hearing. In fairness, going from memory, the tribunal did say that the case was an enormous waste of money.  So the original tribunal recused (absented) itself and a new hearing was ordered.

Now Fraser's people are arguing that the delay should mean a decision in Fraser's favour.

The only report on this costs business is on Engage so see what you think:
It is possible for costs to be awarded against a claimant, but there are stringent conditions.  Firstly, the claimant must not only be wrong, his action must be “misconceived or otherwise unreasonable”.  And secondly the hearing for costs must be capable of being heard promptly and quickly, in summary form.

Lawyers for the UCU argued that both of these conditions could be satisfied.  They said that the new tribunal could have one day’s reading preparation for a costs hearing and the hearing itself would be heard in another day; the decision on costs could be based on the material already in the Snelson judgment.

Barristers for Ronnie Fraser and his original lawyers did not agree.  They argued that the pursuit of costs had already violated the requirement for promptness since this was the third hearing in over a year and since any costs hearing would have to look far beyond the Snelson judgment for evidence.  Proving that the case was “misconceived or otherwise unreasonable” would require a long and complex case.

The Snelson judgment had made findings of fact on the substantive issues: were the charges made by Fraser proven?

But now the new tribunal was being asked a set of new questions: were the charges made by Fraser “misconceived or otherwise unreasonable”?

Normally, a tribunal which had already decided upon substantive issues could apply the new, more stringent test, for costs, to the same body of evidence and argument.  But in this case there was a new tribunal.  The Snelson tribunal’s determinations as to the substantive issues would be accepted, but the Snelson tribunal’s determinations as to whether the case was “misconceived or otherwise unreasonable” could already be seen, by Snelson’s own admission, to appear prejudicial to a costs hearing.

Where the Snelson tribunal did what it was supposed to do, that is, judge the substantive case, it would be accepted.

But where the Snelson judgment over-reached itself, in a consideration of whether the case was “misconceived or otherwise unreasonable”, Fraser’s barristers argued, its findings could not be relied upon in the costs hearing.  This would mean that the costs hearing would have to make new judgments as to whether elements of the case were “misconceived or otherwise unreasonable”.  This couldn’t be done by a quick one day trial but would require a re-examination of evidence, the presentation of new evidence and perhaps new cross-examinations.

The new Judge will decide if a fair hearing on costs is possible, and whether it would be within the rules of the Employment Tribunal.

Third hearing in over a year? I think that must be counting the original hearing where Fraser's people are claiming the tribunal took a position on costs and the one where Fraser's people requested the recuse.  This means that Fraser's own interpretations and actions are now being used by Fraser to bolster his own case.  Ok I'm not a lawyer. I'm just saying how it looks to me.

By the way, here's the original judgment.

April 17, 2014

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network supports Palestinian Prisoners' Day at Passover

Passover, Haggadah and Action

Liberation Seders are part of a long tradition of recommiting ourselves to today's struggles for justice. In this spirit, we ask you to join US Palestinian Community Network in taking action below in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. 

Click here for a downloadable Liberation Seder Haggadah in single page format, or here for a Haggadah in booklet format.


Palestinian Prisoners Day Action: Demand Gates Foundation Divest from G4S

April 17 marks Palestinian Prisoners' Day, a day of international action and solidarity with the over 5,100 Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails. This year - the 40th anniversary of the liberation of Palestinian prisoner Mahmoud Hijazi in a prisoner exchange - Palestinian organizations are calling for action to demand that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation end its investments in G4S.
Addameer, the Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association in Palestine, and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee are calling upon organizers globally to take action. G4S, the global security corporation, is subject to an international boycott campaign because of its direct involvement in the imprisonment of Palestinians, including providing surveillance and security equipment and operations to multiple Israeli jails, detention centers and military courts holding Palestinian political prisoners where they are tortured and wrongfully detained.
The US Palestinian Community Network joins hundreds of Palestinian and international organizations in calling for an end to the Gates Foundation's investment in G4S. Numerous G4S contracts have already been brought to an end in response to the Palestinian call for boycott and community campaigns for justice around the world.
The Gates Foundation owns shares in G4S worth more than $170 million. The foundation claims it is “guided by the belief that every life has equal value” and that it uses its investments to fund projects that “help all people lead healthy, productive lives”. But through its holdings in G4S, it is legitimizing and profiting from Israel’s use of torture and mass incarceration.
This Palestinian Prisoners' Day, take action:
2) Share the G4S Divest campaign graphics on social media. Find them on Addameer's page.
3) Tell the Gates Foundation to divest via Twitter and Facebook. Tweet @gatesfoundation and use#StopG4S. Post a message on their Facebook page.
4) Watch and share G4S: Securing War Crimes.
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Updating The Jewish Chronicle

Hey this is a curious thing.

I posted earlier about a JC print edition article headed, Beth Din won't cater for Riba boycotters and I noted then that the article hadn't appeared in the on line edition.  Then within the last couple of hours, Frank Fisher posted a link to the on line article to the Just Peace UK list.  I clicked the link in the email but it took me to the JC's homepage so I googled, Beth Din won't cater for Riba boycotters.

Look what happened:
  1. Jewish Chronicle ‎- 5 hours ago
    A Beth Din has revealed that it will no longer cater kosher events at the headquarters of the British architecture institute which has adopted an ...
See that "5 hours ago"?

See what came up next:

More news for "Beth Din won't cater for Riba boycotters"

Jews sans frontieres: Beth Din Boycotts RIBA

10 hours ago - In today's print edition of the Jewish Chronicle there's a report that the Beth Din won't cater for Riba boycotters. It's not in the on line edition.
See? 10 hours ago.

Now follow the link to the JC:

Beth Din won’t cater for Riba boycotters

So why didn't google say, 3 days ago? And why couldn't I find Marcus Dysch's article when I posted my post 10 hours ago?

In the same post I mentioned,
Elsewhere in the paper but not on line there's a report of Ed Miliband's trip to the last of the colonial settler states and the fact that he wouldn't be drawn on whether he calls himself a zionist or not.
 See? Not on line again.  Well it is now.  Let's google again and look:
  1. Jewish Chronicle ‎- 2 hours ago
    More than three years since becoming Labour leader, last week Ed Miliband made his first official foreign trip — to Israel. He could hardly have ...
 2 hours ago?  And follow the link to the JC :

Ed connects — but still won’t say the Z-word

I don't what the JC's playing at but it looks like they're backdating their content.  Of course there could be a perfectly good technical or, given it's Pesach (Passover), religious reason but the JC has such form for dishonesty it's hard to know what's gone on or why.

Beth Din Boycotts RIBA

In today's print edition of the Jewish Chronicle there's a report that the Beth Din won't cater for Riba boycotters.  It's not in the on line edition.  It's by that Marcus Dysch chap so maybe the JC doesn't want it too permanently on the record.

Anyway, one of the authorities responsible for supervising kosher catering are refusing to make commitments to supervise offerings of food at future events at Riba because of Riba's support for the suspension of their Israeli counterparts from the Union of International Architects.  There are other kosher supervisors some of whom are anti-zionist so lets see how this turns out.

Elsewhere in the paper but not on line there's a report of Ed Miliband's trip to the last of the colonial settler states and the fact that he wouldn't be drawn on whether he calls himself a zionist or not.  But earlier this week he was happy to promote the zionist fiction that Israel is "the homeland for the Jewish people" during a meeting with Hebrew University of Jerusalem students on Thursday".   Now of course Ed Miliband is Jewish.  Suppose he becomes Prime Minister.  How much time could he spend in his "homeland" if he's the PM of another country altogether.  Aha, I know.  Outsourcing. The UK outsources its Prime Minister to Israel.

And one last piece from both the print and on line editions, Boy George is gonna be shaking his homonationalist bootie in the Holy Land for the gay pride shindig.  Cop this:
It looks like singer Boy George could soon be changing his lyrics to “Shawarma Chameleon”, following news that he is to open gay pride events in Israel this year.

Ah, sigh, vey iz mir .  Boycott busting, cultural appropriation. Is nothing sacred to these pop stars in the holy land?

What a difference a day makes...

Did you see Google's doodle?  It looks like this:

You can click on it if you're feeling lucky.or if you visit the real deal you can hover your mouse over it where you'll be told that today is the 63rd Anniversary of the Peak District National Park.

Well I thought the 63rd Anniversary of a park, national or otherwise was a little bit arbitrary or random a choice so I wondered what else may have happened on this day that might have been considered a priority to our doodlers.

It turns out there's a website called simply On-This-Day.com and they set out, through the years, all the events that happened, er, on this day.

There's some really random stuff and, sure, why wouldn't there be? For example, snooker was invented on 17th April 1875. In 1964 Jerrie Mock became the first woman to fly an airplane solo around the world. Apparently, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers "performed a bunt [sic] for his first major league hit".  That was in 1947.  I'll assume "bunt" wasn't a typo but I don't know what one is.

On political turf now, the first on the list, and one which could be said to have truly changed the world was in 1492, Christopher Columbus signed a contract with Spain to find a passage to Asia and the Indies. I'm guessing there are more significant days involving Columbus for the doodlers to get busy about.  I suppose the excommunication, on this day, in 1521 of Martin Luther from the Roman Catholic Church was fairly significant in terms of the Protestant/Catholic (old firm) thing.  But it has to pale up against the journey of Christopher Columbus.

A bit closer to the stuff of this blog is the fact that on this day in 1946 the last French troops left Syria.  A mere two years later Syria would try and fail to prevent the ethnic cleansing of the Palestnians.

Back in the USA, in 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court barred Muhammad Ali's request to be blocked from induction into the U.S. Army, a move which led to Ali receiving a 5 year jail sentence though he ended up serving no time.  But the risk he took was recognised by many black and white alike and opposition to the Vietnam war draft led in no small part to America losing that war.  Before that whole business sapped America's imperial confidence for a generation there was an event that with hindsight could have been the writing on the wall: the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961.

Also in the 60s in the Eastern bloc, Alexander Dubcek was ousted in 1969 marking the end of the Prague Spring and of "socialism with a human face".  Coincidentally on the same day in 1983, police in the Polish capital, Warsaw, "routed 1,000 Solidarity supporters".

So there you go, for no special reason I've just given you a smattering of events which took place on this day over the years between 1492 and now.  Well not now.  The last entry they have is 2002 and guess what.  They don't have an entry for the founding of the Peak District National Park but I think it's an American site.

Still it's interesting and sometimes fun to see what happened on a given day no matter what made you think of that given day and On-This-Day.com has separate pages for Birthdays and Music industry events so lots of food for doodling thought.

April 16, 2014

Orwellian Prizes

I've seen a few bloggers and twitterers claiming some inspiration from George Orwell.  It's usually the more brazenly dishonest who make the claim with a masthead quote (well paraphrase) like "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear" or a twitter pic with their twitter id thus:

Today I saw a quote from George Orwell in The Week magazine which they said had been in The Observer though I couldn't find it in the recent on line edition.  In addition to the twitterers and bloggers it got me thinking of the Orwell Prize and what a sick joke I think it is.  But anyway, here's the quote:
the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words
Does this remind you of anyone? I immediately thought of how one blogger often uses words like nativism [someone mentioned the rights of the Palestinians], conspiracism [someone accused the government of lying about this or that war], endemic [there might be a kernel of truth in a false allegation], systemic [shit happens].  Ok the words are getting shorter but their meaning is usually a lot bigger than that attributed to them by the writer.

So what's with these people who claim Orwell as their inspiration?  Is it freudian? Are they aware of their newspeak?  I don't know, I just wanted to run the quote and wonder if any disingenuous souls might have a pang of conscience about it.

April 15, 2014

Ayaan Nations?

Who is this Ayaan Hirsi Ali person?  I've been away for a little over a week and I've seen this former Somali former Muslim in various parts of the blogosphere, mostly in connection with an invitation/uninvitation from Brandeis University.

So where to turn when you have no clue about a bit of a news item?  Wikipedia of course.  First up I looked for Brandeis Uni.  Scrolling down I find the Hirsi Ali controversy.  Here's the opener:
In 2014, Brandeis courted controversy when first inviting, then after public pressure from amongst others the Council on American-Islamic Relations publicly uninviting Hirsi Ali, the outspoken campaigner against female genital mutilation, and withdrawing her nomination for an honorary degree. [32].
Now according to this Flying Rodent chap, who I keep quoting lately mostly because he wades through all manner of far-right but mainstream stuff so that you and I don't have to, this reported "outspoken[ness]... against female genital mutilation" is somewhat reductionistic.

He seems to be saying that Hirsi Ali makes the following claims:
- Muslims are inherently incapable of negotiating in good faith because of their religion, or that

- We should have a war on Islam generally and specifically not a war on Islamists or extremists and terrorists, or that

- Repressive, religiously-targeted laws intentionally aimed at one faith only are highly desirable
Me? I don't know what to think.  I just noticed that her first name looks a bit like Aryan and her politics look a tad Aryan too.

April 06, 2014

So what did happen to King's College London Students's Union's vote for BDS?

I'm asking because I don't know what's happened here.

Last week the Jewish Chronicle reported this:

Kings College London's student union votes for Israel boycott

Pretty clear, huh?

Let's see a chunk of the article, by Charlotte Oliver:
Students at Kings College London passed a controversial anti-Israel motion this week, despite strong opposition from Jews on campus.

The motion, which was passed by the student union, called for the university to boycott Israel and “raise awareness of the country’s apartheid policies”.

It also urged Kings to affiliate with the Palestine Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee.
Clearer still, yes?

Well now, in Friday's print edition there's an article headed, Students made to back down on Israel boyott [sic].  In all the excitement they typoed the word, "boycott".

The article, which I can't find on line, is by Marcus Dysch and gives some useful information like the vote was 348 for a boycott, 252 against but that "while the motion would stand as a record of the majority's view, it would not be acted on."[my emphasis]

It says that the "union president and chairman of trustees, Sebastiaan Debrouwere said there had been lengthy deliberation of the "legal implications"".  It went on, "He described the week since the vote as "testing and challenging"...

Now it starts getting weird.  He said, "I'm confident we can come together and get through these times as a stronger union".

Don't you think that's weird.  The union took a vote and a democratic decision was made and union bureaucrats have decided not to implement the decision.  How does that make the union stronger?

I suppose it's not weird at all that Israel advocates are described as "delighted" and one of them, from StandwithUs UK, said that it was a "double victory for Israel on campus" before going on to say, "students rose en masse for the first time in a long while to counter anti-Israel activities".

So what happened here?  Should I think the unthinkable and assume that this guy was telling the truth and that there was some emergency debate and the original democratic decision was democratically overturned or do I assume that what was democratically decided was bureaucratically undecided?

Frankly, I just don't know what to make of it and Marcus Dysch is the last person I'd want to ask for clarification.

UPDATE:  Whilst looking for info on this I see that it's been all over the twittersphere for a week.  You can find stuff by searching on twitter.com for @kclsu  boycott or @kclsu BDS.  The only shock now is that zionists are actually proud that they could overturn a democratic decision by purely bureaucratic means.  Students need to keep a much closer eye on their "representatives".

I also found the KCLSU statement about the whole shabby business here.

Good Faith in the Jewish Chronicle?

Wow! I'm surprised to see a very good letter in The Jewish Chronicle. Unfortunately they don't publish their letters on line.

In the interests of balance, for which the JC has never been renowned, the good letter followed two simply appalling ones, the first of which says that the BDS movement, "fails to recognise any rights of Jews to live within the pre-1967 boundaries of Israel".

Anyway, here's the good one, painstakingly copy-typed by me:

It is quite extraordinary that critics of some of the policies and actions of the state of Israel (Leader, Architects of Hate, March 21) still have to face accusations of antisemitism.

Surely it is not too difficult to understand the difference between an ethnic/religious group and a state.All states are open to criticism, and that includes Israel.  Indeed, the accusation of antisemitism is absurd: verging on defamation: 20% of Israelis are not Jewish, but many critics of Israeli actions are.

The distinction is so obvious that it is difficult to understand how the accusation can be made in good faith.

Prof David Pegg and Dr Monica Wusterman, St Paul's Square, York.
They're basically calling Stephen Pollard a liar so it was big of him to publish it. It would be bigger of him still if he stopped making these bad faith allegations in the first place.

April 05, 2014

NYT equates Israel intensifying occupation and reneging on past agreements with Palestinians, er, asking for stuff

See this in the New York Times:
Mr. Kerry is not about to give up on the process. But like Mr. Baker, he is dealing with two parties that are paralyzed by intransigence and fall back on provocations: Israel announcing new Jewish settlements and refusing to release Palestinian prisoners; the Palestinians, in response, applying to join international organizations and issuing a list of new demands.
Have I missed something here?  Israel has reneged on its commitment to release prisoners and announced more breaches of international law on racist colonial settlement.  In response the Palestinian Authority has asked for some stuff that the NYT doesn't see fit to print.  Could it be that whatever it was the Palestinians did couldn't possibly be held by reasonable observers to interfere with any peace process worthy of the name?

Robert Fine, BDS and the right of reply

I have written about this Robert Fine character before here.  He's a sociology professor at Warwick University in the UK. 

He had a piece in the European Sociological Association newsletter some time ago where he flagrantly misrepresented the EUMC working definition of antisemitism and likened its opponents to the racists who opposed the Race Relations Act back in the 1960s and 70s.

I was particularly angry and perplexed about how so dishonest an operator could get his dishonesty published without caveat or counter-argument.  Now, thanks to Ben White, I know.

See Middle East Monitor where Ben is writing about how Robert Fine was recently humiliated in a debate on BDS when his anti-BDS argument presumably contributed to the fact that the votes for and against BDS moved from 53-27 to 68-23.  Not only is Ben pointing up Fine's defeat, he is also pointing out how the Israel advocacy crowd are promoting Fine's argument in the absence of counter-argument:
This is not the first time that Fine has embarrassed himself with a disingenuous anti-boycott argument. In the Winter 2012 issue of the European Sociologist, the newsletter of the European Sociological Association (ESA), Fine repeated the same misrepresentations and omissions.

When I approached the editors about contributing a response piece, the offer was welcomed with open arms. My finalised, editor-approved piece was sent to Fine to give him the opportunity to comment -and then, silence. Months later, the editor informed me that "the editorial committee have chosen not to publish your contribution as it does not meet the standards accepted by our organisation". The co-chair of the ESA's Committee for Publications? Robert Fine.
So that's how he avoids counter-argument.  He co-chairs or advisorily edits the sites and publications that publish his disingenuous hasbara.

Or maybe not.  His losing argument has been posted in two parts to the Sociology@Warwick blog. (Part II here).  There is a comment space beneath the posts and I have tried posting one beneath each part thus:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Here’s Jonathan Rosenhead’s argument in favour of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the State of Israel:
Here is Ben White’s corrective to Robert Fine’s argument:
Here’s something by me on Robert Fine’s approach to these matters:
 Fine's piece on Sociology@Warwick was actually posted by,  or Alexander Smith, who tweets here, https://twitter.com/AlexTTSmith. Robert Fine appears to neither blog nor tweet. Mr Smith's tweets are protected but I have tried tweeting him to get him to approve my links to some counter-argument against Fine's stuff:

Let's see how it goes.  I ought to say, I don't even know if Mr Smith is the moderator but given Fine seems only to post in places where he can't be argued against I don't hold out much hope for even links to counter-argument to appear where he has chosen his own stuff to appear.

UPDATE (10:42 6 April 2014):  Sociology@Warwick  has now approved the comments linking to criticisms of Robert Fine's two parter.  I wonder if the European Sociological Association newsletter will ever do the same.  Anyway, many thanks to whoever tweets at @SocioWarwick.

April 02, 2014

Will Obama surrender Israeli spy? Maybe. Will Obama surrender to Israeli PM? Definitely

I'm really running out of words for the ludicrous nature of this so-called peace process supposedly between Israel and the Palestinians.  From the get-go Israel was allowed to hand pick it's negotiating partners and they opted to talk peace with people who they are not even at war with.  It's like Hitler talking peace with the Vichy regime.  Now they're negotiating as if they want peace with the USA and the USA is responding in kind.

You will have read that the release of this Israeli spy, or rather American spy for Israel, is now hovering above the table.  Apparently America might release this guy in return for Israel not making Obama look the complete ass it usually makes him look like in these situations.  Check out Daily Beast on it but I think the deal is if Obama releases Pollard Israel won't announce its new settlements so loudly.  Something like that.

But really, if the talks were between two opponents in a war then the concessions should be made by the parties to that war or the party that has anything to concede.  From Lavon through Liberty to Pollard, Israel often acts like it's at war with its biggest benefactor but what does America really get for this humiliating concession to Israel? if, of course, the concession is made...

April 01, 2014

Prick was ditched ages ago...

Apparently, The Jewish Chronicle hasn't called itself "the Organ of British Jewry" for some time.  Follow that link and you'll find a letter from 2004 saying the following:
It is axiomatic that this great institution, which once proudly proclaimed on its front-page banner that it stood as “The Organ of British Jewry,”
I don't have time now to follow other links that my search hauled up but I am curious to know when they ditched the "organ" thing.

Speaking of ditching organs, someone in my previous post noticed that Anthony Julius was ditched by The Jewish Chronicle ages, well months, ago as well.  See this:

An Extraordinary General Meeting of the JC on Tuesday night saw the appointment of a new board.

The majority shareholder, the Kessler Foundation, expressed its gratitude to the former board for its role in tackling a large deficit and breaking even.

Looking to the future development of the paper and JC brand, the Foundation decided that it wished to appoint Stephen Grabiner, who has extensive experience in media companies, to lead the JC board.

Following his appointment, Mr Grabiner will stand down from his existing role as a member of the Kessler Foundation.

Mr Grabiner paid tribute to the outgoing board: “When Anthony Julius, Lord Finkelstein, Paul Mann and Michael Marx joined the board, the paper was incurring unsustainable losses.

“Under their stewardship it has become a steady ship again. The intention now is to build on those foundations and take the JC to new heights.”
I missed it when it appeared back in October 2013 but did you notice that it was an extraordinary general meeting which saw Anthony Julius's ouster? Curiouser and curiouser....