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Devon Malcolm

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3 hours ago, Carbomb said:

This is one point where I disagree, because what you appear to be implying is that said people are referring to Jews.

I can't speak for any other left-wingers, but I would venture to surmise that many of them share similar views to my own, which is that the aforementioned shady cabal has¬†never¬†meant "Jews" and always meant the right-wing, imperialist, capitalist establishment. I know Rupert Murdoch isn't Jewish, nor has any American president ever been, nor all but one British prime minister either, nor Dick Cheney, DonaldÔĽŅ Rumsfeld, the Rockefellers, and they are just as much at the forefront, if not more so, of what I consider to be the probÔĽŅlem as much as any Jewish magnate, or any magnate of any other ethnicity. Murdoch in particular.ÔĽŅ

We're sort of in the middle of two points here - I think what you're talking about is where a lot of the unwitting antisemitism (or, more generously, that which can be perhaps incorrectly read as antisemitism) of the Left can come from; a rejection of moneyed, powerful interests goes hand-in-hand with left wing politics.

Unfortunately, it also treads dangerously close to the realms of antisemitism when you're not careful about your rhetoric - antisemitism is built on the notion of the Jews as unpatriotic, corrupt financiers, with a controlling stake in the global financial sector, and in the media. So when people talk of accusations of antisemitism being a smear campaign by a shady, moneyed cabal controlling the media, they're speaking the language of antisemitism (not for nothing, incidentally, that the word 'cabal' is itself of Hebrew origin, derived from the kabbalah - the very way we talk about secretive powerful groups is coloured by an assumption of Jewishness). 

Whether the intention was antisemitic or not, one has to be aware of the reading of it, and willing to engage with the criticism. And fundamentally I think "the Left" has an issue with freezing up when confronted with that kind of criticism - we're not racist, because we're the good guys, so if we're being accused of it there must be something untoward going on.

But you only need to spend five minutes reading the replies on Twitter to any thread about antisemitism to see people (nominally on the Left) making allegations about the influence of powerful Israeli lobbies, and how it's all a smear campaign, all made up to attack Corbyn, or whoever they're defending today. 

To discredit an accusation of racism by blaming the victim of racism isn't necessarily uncommon - "playing the race card" has been an accusation to shut down racial discourse for years - but what's perhaps unique to antisemitism is the notion that the target race are the ones holding the power to create and propagate the allegations, rather than simply exploiting them. One of the reasons I disagree with your equating antisemitism with all other forms of racism is that I feel antisemitism is largely unique in how it operates, in that rather than (generally) seeing the target race as inferior, criminal, or animalistic, antisemitism actually projects an intelligence and a power on to the Jewish people. 

Now, when it comes to this in relation to Corbyn specifically, I tend to shy away from the characterisation of Corbyn's followers as cult-like, but it's difficult to disagree with it when, to some of them, every criticism is seen as a concerted effort to undermine him, rather than taken on its merit. It wanders into the realms of conspiracy, and as someone who used to obsessively read up on conspiracy theories, you soon learn that - sooner or later - if you drill down far enough, you'll hit on "The Jews Did It". 

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Here's where my problem with this argument begins. It is highly arguable as to who conflated Jews with Israel and extreme Zionism in the first place, and for what purpose. I personally would argue that right-wing Zionists did, for several reasons:

1. To silence any criticism of Israeli government actions by denouncing them as antisemitic.

This is a point I'll partially agree with, but with several caveats. 

There are right wing Zionists who use the notion of antisemitism to shut down criticism of the government. Similarly, there are right wing politicians, journalists and whatnot who would use allegations of antisemitism as a cudgel with which to beat Corbyn.

However, I would add the caveat that this can be overstated, and genuine concerns of antisemitism are at least as likely to be ignored or handwaved away with "I'm not antisemitic, I'm just anti-Zionist". The two aren't mutually exclusive, and being anti-Israel isn't a Get Out Of Jail Free card for antisemitism. I have seen far more instances of people using "anti-Zionist" to shut down genuine concerns about antisemitism than I have people using allegations of antisemitism to shut down criticism of Israel. And, again, this notion relies on the idea of "Zionists" as a powerful lobby group capable of manipulating discourse in their favour. 

On anti-Zionism often being functionally indistinct from antisemitism, I'll refer back to the example of the comment on the Rabbi's article in the local paper. Similarly if you read the replies to any Tweet or any thread about antisemitism or Jewishness, you will find that one of, if not the, first reply will be invariably someone demanding a reaction about Palestine (by way of example, see this Tweet I picked at random from David Schneider - https://twitter.com/davidschneider/status/1137358186514661376).
To equate the state of Israel with the Jewish people anywhere in the world is antisemitic in the same sense that asking all Muslims to answer for the actions of ISIS is Islamophobic, or expecting all black people anywhere in the world to have a justification for the actions of the Zimbabwean government would be blatantly racist, yet countless people on the Left, every single day, are doing this to Jewish people who have never so much as set foot in Israel, and not only denying that their actions are antisemitic, but compounding their antisemitism by painting themselves as the victim of a Jewish conspiracy to silence criticism of Israel. 

None of what I've said precludes criticism of the Netanyahu government, nor does it prevent anyone from defending the rights of the Palestinian people. But to equate all Jews with the actions of the Israeli government is antisemitic. To act as if the actions of the Israeli government aren't the actions of an authoritarian regime but instead something inherently Israeli in nature is antisemitic. More controversially, I would say that to act as if Israel is unique amongst countries in having no right to self-governance, I would argue that was antisemitic also.


This is already a massive post, and those comments of yours I haven't addressed are because I largely agree with them, I just think it's important to spell out why the Left are accused of antisemitism, to recognise that there is a problem of antisemitism on the Left, and that to blame it on conspiracy and smear campaigns is only making things worse by trafficking in the language of antisemitism. Again, I'd make the distinction between antisemitism and racism again here, because this carries a world of language and nuance unique to this one prejudice.

 

Apologies if not everything I said here made sense - I studied the machinations of the far-right a lot at university, and when it comes to the specificity of prejudice I tend to sort of jump from point to point, forgetting if I've necessarily joined the dots.

Edited by BomberPat

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1 hour ago, BomberPat said:

We're sort of in the middle of two points here - I think what you're talking about is where a lot of the unwitting antisemitism (or, more generously, that which can be perhaps incorrectly read as antisemitism) of the Left can come from; a rejection of moneyed, powerful interests goes hand-in-hand with left wing politics.

Unfortunately, it also treads dangerously close to the realms of antisemitism when you're not careful about your rhetoric - antisemitism is built on the notion of the Jews as unpatriotic, corrupt financiers, with a controlling stake in the global financial sector, and in the media. So when people talk of accusations of antisemitism being a smear campaign by a shady, moneyed cabal controlling the media, they're speaking the language of antisemitism (not for nothing, incidentally, that the word 'cabal' is itself of Hebrew origin, derived from the kabbalah - the very way we talk about secretive powerful groups is coloured by an assumption of Jewishness). 

Yes, that's very true. Given that I made a point earlier about semiotics and the psycho-semantic nature of language, I should've been more careful using that term.

It's because I recognise that we do need to be careful that I agree that there is a problem in the modern Left movement with failing to deal with anti-Jewish racism in the way it used to, and the way it goes after anti-BME racism, misogyny, and homophobia. 

Bear in mind that (assuming you're of similar age to myself) we grew up during the Blair/Bush/Afghanistan/Iraq years, so for me, when I use any term to imply conspiracy and corruption, it's usually in reference to the likes of Halliburton, the Carlyle Group, Murdoch et al., so I sometimes forget that that's not what others might be hearing; hence I take your point.

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Whether the intention was antisemitic or not, one has to be aware of the reading of it, and willing to engage with the criticism. And fundamentally I think "the Left" has an issue with freezing up when confronted with that kind of criticism - we're not racist, because we're the good guys, so if we're being accused of it there must be something untoward going on.

But you only need to spend five minutes reading the replies on Twitter to any thread about antisemitism to see people (nominally on the Left) making allegations about the influence of powerful Israeli lobbies, and how it's all a smear campaign, all made up to attack Corbyn, or whoever they're defending today. 

That is true, but the Israeli government does have the backing of the US and the West in general; I've said it before on here, but I believe it's because those governments, their establishment organisations, and their politicians see it as an outpost of Western influence in the Middle East. 

As a result, we end up with the aforementioned "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" bullshit that many of the old Left still fall for. I still think that, for the most part, that was the good-intention-paved road that took people like George Galloway down to the abhorrent hell where he now resides (although he's still a misogynist shit as well).

I can't claim to have stuck by all my principles perfectly or even well (that is for others to decide on observation), but I would like to believe that tarring Jews as being an organised, shady conspiracy who run the world is something I have never done, because

1. I know that for a long time the anti-establishment, socialist, and anarchist left was driven by Jewish intellectuals

2. If the world really was run by Jews, there'd have been more Jewish presidents, prime ministers, etc., and, more importantly, a lot fewer of them would've been murdered.

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To discredit an accusation of racism by blaming the victim of racism isn't necessarily uncommon - "playing the race card" has been an accusation to shut down racial discourse for years - but what's perhaps unique to antisemitism is the notion that the target race are the ones holding the power to create and propagate the allegations, rather than simply exploiting them.

One of the reasons I disagree with your equating antisemitism with all other forms of racism is that I feel antisemitism is largely unique in how it operates, in that rather than (generally) seeing the target race as inferior, criminal, or animalistic, antisemitism actually projects an intelligence and a power on to the Jewish people. 

I have heard that disagreement before from quite a few people, but I still maintain my position, for the simple reason that all forms of racism have different qualities, whether it's claiming that all South Asians run cornershops or all black men have big penises or all Irishmen are drunks, etc.

In real terms, differentiation shouldn't happen, because to differentiate them serves no purpose except to say that it is either worse or less bad than another form of racism, which I personally will never accept. It's all abhorrent, and we should treat all of it with the same level of contempt.

I would argue that the mechanics of the differentiation you mention actually does portray the target race as inferior, because the implication is that they're only able to exert any kind of influence via insidious machinations, corruption, and greed, all qualities that supposedly "decent" people eschew.

And let's not forget that the "Jewish conspiracy" is a comparatively modern perception of the Jewry around the world; for centuries before the 20th, they were treated abominably and at best were barely tolerated (like when the oh-so-noble Christians, who were above usury and all that, needed someone to lend them money, etc.); if they were unlucky, they were expelled from the countries they inhabited at the whim of whomever it was in power. For nearly two millennia they were an ethnic political football, used frequently as scapegoats for everything wrong with any Western Christian country.

Either way, I believe that one of the ways to avoid the problem of conflation we've been discussing is to simply say "racism is racism is racism". Doesn't matter what the target ethnicity is, doesn't matter how it's done - the moment someone attempts to attribute any kind of general behaviour to an ethnic group on the basis of their ethnicity, we need to say "NO".

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Now, when it comes to this in relation to Corbyn specifically, I tend to shy away from the characterisation of Corbyn's followers as cult-like, but it's difficult to disagree with it when, to some of them, every criticism is seen as a concerted effort to undermine him, rather than taken on its merit. It wanders into the realms of conspiracy, and as someone who used to obsessively read up on conspiracy theories, you soon learn that - sooner or later - if you drill down far enough, you'll hit on "The Jews Did It". 

Oh, no doubt at all. I've read and heard that enough times, and I have no truck with it. Both the Left and the Right are at it, but unlike the Right, I do expect better from the Left. 

Corbyn's following has in quite a few places indeed become quite cult-like, with many refusing point-blank to recognise where he should've done better, but, by the same token, I do believe there has been cultivated a similar reflex action by the right; the moment you have notable Jewish figures like Michael Rosen saying they don't believe he's an actual antisemite, what do we hear? "You're a self-hating Jew", "you're Corbyn's useful Jew", "you're a bad Jew", etc. It's the right stacking the deck again.

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This is a point I'll partially agree with, but with several caveats. 

There are right wing Zionists who use the notion of antisemitism to shut down criticism of the government. Similarly, there are right wing politicians, journalists and whatnot who would use allegations of antisemitism as a cudgel with which to beat Corbyn.

However, I would add the caveat that this can be overstated, and genuine concerns of antisemitism are at least as likely to be ignored or handwaved away with "I'm not antisemitic, I'm just anti-Zionist". The two aren't mutually exclusive, and being anti-Israel isn't a Get Out Of Jail Free card for antisemitism. I have seen far more instances of people using "anti-Zionist" to shut down genuine concerns about antisemitism than I have people using allegations of antisemitism to shut down criticism of Israel. And, again, this notion relies on the idea of "Zionists" as a powerful lobby group capable of manipulating discourse in their favour. 

On anti-Zionism often being functionally indistinct from antisemitism, I'll refer back to the example of the comment on the Rabbi's article in the local paper. Similarly if you read the replies to any Tweet or any thread about antisemitism or Jewishness, you will find that one of, if not the, first reply will be invariably someone demanding a reaction about Palestine (by way of example, see this Tweet I picked at random from David Schneider - https://twitter.com/davidschneider/status/1137358186514661376).
To equate the state of Israel with the Jewish people anywhere in the world is antisemitic in the same sense that asking all Muslims to answer for the actions of ISIS is Islamophobic, or expecting all black people anywhere in the world to have a justification for the actions of the Zimbabwean government would be blatantly racist, yet countless people on the Left, every single day, are doing this to Jewish people who have never so much as set foot in Israel, and not only denying that their actions are antisemitic, but compounding their antisemitism by painting themselves as the victim of a Jewish conspiracy to silence criticism of Israel. 

These are all points I agree with, which is why I say I view the Venn diagram as several distinct circles, and only the ones that fall under "right-wing, supremacist conservative" are the ones that draw my ire. Not even all of the "Israeli government" section, as there are plenty of excellent Israeli politicians fighting for peace and equality in Israel for everyone who don't support ethnic supremacism.

One thing I try not to engage in is whataboutery regarding Palestine whenever the discussion regarding anti-Jewish racism comes up, because, as you say, people should not be expected to answer for the actions of the Israeli government because they're Jewish - they should only be expected to answer for them if they're actually in the Israeli government.

And like I said in the previous post, I don't equate the Israeli government with Jews, because there have been so many Jews who've campaigned and fought against the actions of the Israeli government. 

I guess where we might diverge is just how much one is happening more than the other. Personally, I believe there's a lot more right-wing-engineered machinations going on to try and smear and cripple left-wing movements whenever they appear, and silence criticism of the Israeli government, via accusations of anti-Jewish racism than there are actual left-wing people engaging in it.

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None of what I've said precludes criticism of the Netanyahu government, nor does it prevent anyone from defending the rights of the Palestinian people. But to equate all Jews with the actions of the Israeli government is antisemitic. To act as if the actions of the Israeli government aren't the actions of an authoritarian regime but instead something inherently Israeli in nature is antisemitic. More controversially, I would say that to act as if Israel is unique amongst countries in having no right to self-governance, I would argue that was antisemitic also.

Indeed. The first point, like I say, I don't believe I've ever done. The second, I've definitely never done - this will be seen as controversial, but I believe that the actions of the Israeli government are the actions of a typical, imperialistic, European white government. 

As to the third, I've never quite understood where the "having no right to self-governance" thing comes from. Most times I've heard it, it's usually in response to the censure of the Israeli government's illegal settlements and the general treatment of the Palestinians, and nobody I know has ever said Israel has no right to self-governance. Given how much the West has meddled in the Middle East, I'd say it's an accusation that rings particularly hollow. The "Why Single Out Israel?" thing particularly annoys me (not saying you specifically are doing that), as there has been plenty of criticism aimed at Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Russia, Sudan, North Korea, etc. for their bad behaviour, and the assumption that somebody is criticising Israel and has only ever criticised Israel for its atrocities betrays a level of dishonesty on the part of the person asking.

From my own personal perspective, I would argue that the general Western media narrative as regards Israel is actually based on racism, because it seems they're perfectly willing to condemn atrocities committed by countries run by dark-skinned people, but when it's Israel, they usually can't leap to its defence quickly enough. There's all sorts of pearl-clutching going on about the Rohingya in Myanmar, because what the government is doing to them is fucking evil, and nobody's too quick to point out that there are a lot of Islamist terrorists amongst their number. But you have kids being shot through the head in Palestine and the first thing you hear is "Oh, but it's Hamas' fault - they hide amongst civilians".

But again: to re-iterate, I agree that none of this should ever excuse the aggression that so many on the Left have recently displayed towards ordinary Jewish people, whether in this country or any other. We need to do better, not just in our own behaviour, but in pointing it out in others who claim to be our comrades, and letting them know they're letting themselves down.

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This is already a massive post, and those comments of yours I haven't addressed are because I largely agree with them, I just think it's important to spell out why the Left are accused of antisemitism, to recognise that there is a problem of antisemitism on the Left, and that to blame it on conspiracy and smear campaigns is only making things worse by trafficking in the language of antisemitism. Again, I'd make the distinction between antisemitism and racism again here, because this carries a world of language and nuance unique to this one prejudice.

 

Apologies if not everything I said here made sense - I studied the machinations of the far-right a lot at university, and when it comes to the specificity of prejudice I tend to sort of jump from point to point, forgetting if I've necessarily joined the dots.

I appreciate the time you've taken with your post, and I do agree with you for the most part. Where we differ, I feel, is more of a matter of finer points and degrees, but on the whole I think you and I share similar sentiments.

Edited by Carbomb

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On 6/7/2019 at 4:20 PM, Loki said:

And so it has always been with Farage - he never speaks to a large enough cross-section of the voting public to get elected (or someone else elected) to Parliament.

Farage has no intention of getting elected to Parliament though, does he? He's an agitator, a fringe-heckler, a rabble-rouser. That's what he does, he's not a bread & butter politician who's concerned with mundane shit like education, pensions and what happens if teachers go on strike.

He's very much an acquired taste, and he specialises in soundbites, photo opportunities and drinking bitter. If he was to get elected to Parliament he'd actually be responsible for coming up with solutions, and that simply wouldn't do. 

Farage is to politics what pro wrestlers are to real fighting. They look the part, they're larger than life, and talk a good game, but they're not going out there to do anything other than go through their repertoire, cut a promo and send their fans home happy.

Nige knows the score, and he's too smart to do anything other than stay in his lane. Leave the ulcer-inducing, life-shortening job of real high-level politics to the mugs. He'll stick to showing up in the EU Parliament to mock the foreigners, annoying everyone on QT now & then and pick up his wedge from the very Parliament that he claims to oppose.

The cunt has it well sussed.

e52fd1d9-3c14-44fc-9c15-c7a05c3bfabc-ori

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1 hour ago, David said:

Farage has no intention of getting elected to Parliament though, does he?

He's stood as an MP 5 times, that suggests he'd rather like to be elected doesn't it?  He'd love to be in Westminster, claiming his expenses, having his nice cheap food and booze and making arse-faced speeches from the back benches just like in the EU parliament.  Problem is, no bugger wants him.

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1 minute ago, Loki said:

He's stood as an MP 5 times, that suggests he'd rather like to be elected doesn't it?  He'd love to be in Westminster, claiming his expenses, having his nice cheap food and booze and making arse-faced speeches from the back benches just like in the EU parliament.  Problem is, no bugger wants him.

I don't actually think he does to be honest. Not now, anyway. 

As I said, being an actual MP means being held to account, and that wouldn't work for him. He spends a lot of his time fucking about over in America where he's got a growing audience, and I think he enjoys being the rabble-rouser and "man of the people" who "tells it straight," and that wouldn't work if he was being held to the same level of accountability as those he throws accusations at.

I honestly think he stands for Parliament safe in the knowledge that he's got next to no chance of winning. His entire character is built on the EU and immigration. If he was at all serious about politics he'd have at least made a fist of putting together some form of rational manifesto, but he really hasn't. UKIP was a vehicle to promote the Farage brand, and Brexit UK or whatever they're called are the exact same.

He reminds me of Trump to a certain extent in that he may enjoy the publicity and attention that running for some form of office provides, but he has no intention of actually winning. 

Like I said, he's happy enough in the European Parliament heckling the buttoned-down foreigners, getting his free lunches and his decent wedge while popping up now & then on QT to promote himself. Why go through doing all that front & centre in the British Parliament with everyone scrutinising him, when he can do it in Brussel's where no one really gives a flying fuck?

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1 hour ago, Loki said:

He'sÔĽŅ stood as an MP ÔĽŅ5 times, that sÔĽŅuggests ÔĽŅhe'd ÔĽŅratherÔĽŅ like to be elected doesn't iÔĽŅtÔĽŅÔĽŅ?ÔĽŅÔĽŅ

Don't sell the pigs desire to get its snout in the trough short. He has stood for the Westminster parliament 7 times. 5 General Elections and 2 By-Elections. 

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Not to panic, but on the current polls, Farage would be leader of the largest party but not be able to form a government, which would instead almost certainly be Corbyn as PM in some sort of Lib Dem/SNP deal where he agreed a second referendum.

If you think "Farage is always on Question Time" is bad, can you imagine the fucker being Leader of the Opposition and doing PMQs every week bleating on about how he won the election and both it and Brexit have been stolen from him.

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11 hours ago, Chest Rockwell said:

Does it though?

For him it does. You don't think, if he somehow got elected, that he'd be under scrutiny? 

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I'm sure there are those that would scrutinise his every move. But I don't think it'll do anything except generate noise. I don't think there's anything that would come out of it that would stick to him or cause him any real trouble that would outweigh the compensation.

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45 minutes ago, Chest Rockwell said:

I'm sure there are those that would scrutinise his every move. But I don't think it'll do anything except generate noise. I don't think there's anything that would come out of it that would stick to him or cause him any real trouble that would outweigh the compensation.

From the bits & bobs I've heard from people Farage is already compensated far above anything that a MP's wage would provide. If anything, there's probably a good chance that he'd have to clean up his financial situation a bit before stepping into such a spotlight.

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That's way too vague for me to be able to sensibly address and I don't have any knowledge at all of his dealings and finances and current compensation to comment.

My line of thinking is rooted in the fact that I believe, from what I know of his character, that he believes that being an MP would be a net benefit to his bullshit gravy train and that he'll continue to never have to do any work (or believes that what he is currently doing actually is work). Much like his mate Trump, I'm pretty sure he thinks he's smart enough to spin a few more plates than he currently has on the go. I can't say if he's right or not..

Edited by Chest Rockwell

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YouGov has published a poll of "Voting inention" should a General Election be called now. The results are quite alarming with the Brexit Party getting the most votes at 26%.

If these numbers were to actually happen, I couldn't even begin to work out what paliament would look like and who would be Prime Minister. You'd assume the Lib Dems and Labour would create a colition, but they'd still have a small minority. Even if the Greens joined, they'd still be short of an overall majority.

https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2019/06/14/voting-intention-brex-26-lib-dem-22-lab-19-con-17-

Edited by scratchdj

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