Ben Cohen - BDS is hate speech:
A few years ago, the British anti-Semitism scholar David Hirsh remarked that while Israel was the ostensible target of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, first in the firing line were diaspora Jews. This shouldn’t be surprising if you consider it carefully—Jewish organizations are typically called on by the media to defend Israel, particularly during times of conflict, and many individual Jews have faced ostracism within their own professional communities for speaking in support of Israel and against the boycott.
So, when I learned the news that the highest appeals court in France had upheld fines imposed on anti-Israel activists for “inciting hate or discrimination” during a demonstration promoting the boycott, I was reminded immediately of David’s insight. For what the French court decision demonstrates—and too many people in the Jewish community, especially in Israel, still don’t properly understand this—is that BDS is essentially a domestic form of anti-Semitism that attacks local Jews through the demonizing of the Jewish state. The only way for Jews to remove this stain is through publicly dissociating themselves from, and loudly condemning, the State of Israel. Quarantining Israel in order to eliminate it may be the stated goal of BDS, but its immediate and often only impact is upon those Jews in the vicinity of the movement’s propaganda activities.
Read it all.
There has been, in fact, a clumsy revival of labels designed to entirely remove intellectual agency from any member of a minority community who dares to think differently, to break from the in-group, and to reject the tribal nature of Regressive-Left identity politics. Insults such as “House Muslim,” with its sly allusion to the N-word, “Uncle Tom,” “Coconut,” “Sell-Out,” and “Muslim Validator” are commonly hurled at liberal Muslims today who attempt to reconcile their multiple identities with liberal universalism, without simply being angry all the time.
These terms are racist. They imply a lack of intellectual agency; that the brown person who thinks differently is incapable of thinking for himself or herself, but instead can only mimic the thoughts of a white person. In assuming that one’s racial identity predefines how one should and can think, those on the Regressive-Left who throw these terms around are engaging in nothing but racial profiling. They hurl these insults only to censor, silence, shame and shut down debate, simply because an audacious brown person is not saying what they want her to say.
Indeed, here is the real Good Muslim/Bad Muslim game. For these anti-racist racists seek to hold out the “good Muslim” as the angry, shouting, anti-establishment and belligerent type, a bit like their pet Rottweiler. To be calm, rational and skeptical is somehow inauthentic. As if reason and inquiry is not the domain of traditional Muslim culture. Only the most divisive, militant and aggressive can ever win in this downward spiral of a “Not X Enough” game.
Is burning the only solution for the Jews? Host Dr. Muhammad Khaled and his guest, Islamic history professor Yusri Ahmad Zidan, had a serious discussion about this on the Al-Rahma Egyptian TV channel last week, and decided that, yes, it probably was:
“The history of the Jews has been black since the dawn of time,” Khaled suggests. “Nebuchadnezzar burned them, the Crusaders burned them, and even Hitler and Nazism burned them. Is burning the only solution for the Jews?”
“So it seems. So it seems,” Zidan replies.
From the Times of Israel:
According to MEMRI, Al-Rahma TV went on air in 2007, with apparent funding from Saudi Arabia. The channel “regularly broadcasts blatantly anti-Semitic messages, including calls to annihilate the Jews,” MEMRI says. It depicts Jews “as the offspring of apes and pigs,” and refers to them as Muslims’ worst enemies, second only to Satan.
Is there more to be said about Jeremy Corbyn? Well yes - as long as he's leader of the Labour Party, there's always more to be said about Jeremy Corbyn.
If Labour is ever to clamber out of its cage on the fringe of politics, it will have to convince the 250,000 supporters who voted for Jeremy Corbyn to turn from far-leftists into social democrats. The necessity of persuading them that they made a terrible mistake is so obvious to Labour MPs that they barely need to talk about it.
In case it is not obvious to you, let me spell it out. Corbyn exacerbates every fault that kept Labour from power in 2015, and then adds some new ones, just for fun. To the failure to convince the voters that Labour can be trusted with control of the borders and the management of public money and the economy, Corbyn and his comrades bring their support for the nationalist and imperialist Putin regime, the theocratic Iranian regime, and the women-, Jew- and gay- haters of radical Islam. Corbyn’s Labour will ask a Britain it seems to despise to give it power. Britain will never do so, and every Labour politician I have spoken to accepts that the Labour party will have to destroy Corbyn before Corbyn destroys the Labour party.
A palace coup is not impossible. The party conference has to endorse Labour’s leader annually. In normal times, the endorsement is a formality. These are not normal times, however, and if the parliamentary party puts forward just one candidate, and refuses to nominate Corbyn or a supporter of Corbyn, the members would have to accept the replacement.
Tony Blair’s former adviser John McTernan has been arguing for weeks that MPs should put the interests of Labour voters before Labour members and dump Corbyn in 2016. The left would go wild; Labour members would scream that MPs were backstabbing bastards who had overridden party democracy. But so what? Politicians are meant to be backstabbing bastards. There are moments of crisis when their party and their country’s interests demand backstabbing bastards. If today’s Labour MPs can’t bring themselves to be backstabbing bastards, they should step aside and make way for proper politicians who can....
Corbyn supporters’ screams of ‘Tory!’ at all who disagree with them — their gobbiness and on occasion their gobbing too — suggest it is delusional for Labour MPs to hope that one day they will agree to abandon their hero. On the left at the moment, if you don’t accept Corbyn’s intrinsic goodness and dismiss reports of his alliances with the Russian nationalist right and Islamist religious right as ‘smears’, then you are making a public declaration of your own wickedness.
‘I’m a very low-rung academic in the humanities, and I have learnt the art of holding my tongue 24 hours a day,’ writes a correspondent reporting in from the core Corbyn heartland of higher education. ‘It’s like Invasion of the Body Snatchers here. If I could get out of academia, I would. It’s almost as if they prefer having Tories to shout at than a Labour government to be disappointed in.’...
The careers of Corbyn and his advisers have been dominated by opposition to Anglo-American wars, and support for the IRA, Chavista Venezuela, Iran, radical Islam and every Russian dictator from Brezhnev to Putin. They have not been interested in domestic politics, and have no idea how to change it.
Corbyn’s shadow chancellor supported George Osborne’s fiscal responsibility charter, only to U-turn when the poor fool finally realised it would stop him opposing austerity. The strongest stand against the government’s cut to tax credits has not come from Corbyn’s supposedly left-wing Labour, but from the supposedly compromised Liberal Democrats.
Several shadow ministers told me that Corbyn’s support would shrink as members realised that he was hopeless at opposing the government. In the long run, his own incompetence would do for him, they said.
Whether Labour has the luxury of waiting years for its members to realise that Corbyn is not the fighter they thought him to be was not a question they either posed or answered. In the long run we are all dead, said Lord Keynes. For Labour, it may be sooner than that.
There's no one quite like John Fahey to capture that sheer delight in the sounds of a steel-string acoustic guitar. At the start it's like he's just glorying in the guitar's full-bodied resonance. And then he starts playing...
From 1969, when he's all fresh-faced, before his hair and beard took over. Not to mention the drink...
The Jewish Chronicle:
Veteran Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman has accused Israel of fabricating the recent knife attacks in the country and claimed the Conservative Party has been influenced by “Jewish money”.
Speaking at a Palestine Return Centre event in Parliament on Tuesday, Sir Gerald said that the British government had become more pro-Israel in recent years.
He said: “It’s Jewish money, Jewish donations to the Conservative Party – as in the general election in May – support from the Jewish Chronicle, all of those things, bias the Conservatives.
“There is now a big group of Conservative members of parliament who are pro-Israel whatever government does and they are not interested in what Israel, in what the Israeli government does.
“They’re not interested in the fact that Palestinians are living a repressed life, and are liable to be shot at any time. In the last few days alone the Israelis have murdered 52 Palestinians and nobody pays attention and this government doesn’t care.”
Sir Gerald, Father of the House of Commons, then told the audience of 45 people that the Israeli government had made up the recent spate of violent attacks in order to allow it to “execute Palestinians”.
The Manchester Gorton MP said “a friend of mine who lives in East Jerusalem” had emailed him with the accusations about Israel fabricating the attacks.
Sir Gerald then read from the letter: “More than half the stabbing claims were definitely fabricated. The other half, some were true, the others there was no way to tell since they executed Palestinians and no one asked questions.
“Not only that, they got to the point of executing Arab-looking people and in the past few days they killed two Jewish Israelis and an Eritrean just because they looked Arab.
“They fabricated a stabbing story to justify the killings before they found out they were not Palestinians.”
Here's the original report from David Collier, who attended the event:
Jewish money buying MP’s. MP’s not serving the government but serving Israel, and Israeli Jews walking around having bought the British MP’s silence, using innocent Palestinians as target practice. This man is an MP. And he thinks he can say all this because he is Jewish? The term kept repeating in my head. Not pro-Zionist money, not hidden behind some artificial smokescreen, but good old ‘Jewish money’; ‘Jewish money’ being used to buy silence, so good old Israeli Jews get to kill people ‘at any time’.
Having delivered those sickening comments, Kaufman made a few more comments about the Israelis not ‘understanding morality’, that it isn’t just the fault of the Israeli government but the Israeli people too and swiftly left the building, others got up to speak and soon the Q&A started...
It gets worse.
Don't hold your breath.
Here's Aidan Foster-Carter:
Roll up! Roll up! The circus has come to town for one week only! It’s almost two years since this show was last seen - and who knows when the next one will be? You mustn’t miss this.
So switch channels (be sure to have a hanky handy) and join the millions of vicarious voyeurs of the hottest, most heart-tugging show on TV. The concept is just brilliant. I bet the folks at Endemol, global brand leader in reality television, wish they had dreamed up this one.
Here’s the formula. Pick a small country. Arbitrarily cut it in half. Have the two sides fight a horrible war. Wait many decades to let grief fester. Then bring families who got separated in the chaos of division and war together again. Only not really or properly, just for a lousy three days. Thrust cameras into their faces, to capture the tears and wails as they meet - and again when all too soon they part, never to be allowed any contact ever again. That’s it. Show over.
Does this showbiz analogy offend you, dear reader? With all respect, it is the reality - above all, the reality TV aspect - that is offensive. The spectacle we have witnessed this past week at Mount Kumgang, as often before - if also, in another sense, nowhere near often enough - is, let’s face it, grotesque. This is a travesty of what reunions of separated families should be.
Like much else in North-South relations, family reunions have proceeded at a snail’s pace and with no cumulative progress. Indeed they have arguably gone backwards rather than forwards.
When reunions began, people visited the other side and got a glimpse of real life there - albeit a limited one. But unless home was Seoul or Pyongyang, no one got to visit the hometowns whose memory they held dear in their hearts, let alone honor ancestors at the family graves. Real reunions should be in hometowns, as a matter of course and a fundamental human right.
Here’s a quiz. When were those first reunions? No prizes if you said 2000. Though Sunshine Policy myth-makers pretend nothing happened before Kim Dae-jung, in truth the credit goes to the much-reviled Chun Doo Hwan. A brief inter-Korean thaw in 1985 saw family reunions held in the two Korean capitals for a fortunate few. But fifteen long years passed, and many of those separated passed away, before the next reunions took place, also in Pyongyang and Seoul.
Thereafter they happened more often: that was the good news. The bad news was that North Korea didn’t want its citizens seeing how the other half lived. The North insisted that future reunions be held in the artificial bubble of the Hyundai-built Mount Kumgang tourist resort, and demanded the South construct a special reunion center there. Seoul dutifully complied.
That set the pattern we have seen since, twenty times in total now. Each side chooses its lucky 100. The South does this transparently, by a lottery among the 66,000-odd survivors from the original 126,000 applicants (almost half, tragically, have died since the reunions began). How North Korea selects its own favored few is unknown, but no doubt loyalty is a prerequisite.
Everything about this program grates. TV cameras should be banned for a start. The precious three days are all too short. Families deserve full privacy for such an emotional encounter.
Whose idea was it anyway to turn reunions into a quasi-reality TV show? Did the North insist on this to ensure its subjects loyally thank their leaders for their supposedly carefree life? Or is it southern media who demand the right to milk this desperate mix of joy and grief? Is the publicity meant to serve some wider national purpose, or is it just as exploitative as it feels?
If either Korean government had an ounce of compassion, they would not do it this way. Or at least, only once or twice. The Mount Kumgang spectacle should at most have been a first step leading to something better at two levels: both for Korea and for the families involved.
For the families, it is abominably cruel that they get to meet just once. Any normal reunion of persons long separated would mark a new beginning. Modern telecoms make it easy to phone and Skype. Why can’t newly reunited families, not to mention the many more who haven’t yet had the chance to meet, keep in touch in that way? No doubt the Northern regime is the main culprit, but the South’s National Security Law is an obstacle too. Either way, it is an indefensible mockery.
As with the families, so for the nation. Does the Mount Kumgang show bring President Park Geun Hye’s dream of reunification, or the reconciliation many of us would settle for, any nearer? I fail to see how.