University defends ‘racist’ Council member

"Antisemitism" is used to mean "a dishonest attempt to de-legitimize criticism of Israeli policy"

"Antisemitism" is used to mean "a dishonest attempt to de-legitimize criticism of Israeli policy"

The University of York has defended a University Council member who has been accused of anti-semitism by national and local Jewish groups. Andrew Collingwood, who also acts as a harassment advisor to students, posted a ‘fundamentally racist’ photo of a depiction of anti-semitic stereotypes on the networking site Facebook and has been defended by the University, which has stated that it “adheres strongly to the principle of freedom of speech”.

Read the rest of the story on York University’s Student website.

53 Responses to “University defends ‘racist’ Council member”

  1. Saul Says:

    Ah………..the Livingstone Formula……………

    “The photograph, taken during a protest in York against the war in Gaza shows what appears to be a Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni wearing a witches hat and holding a wand topped with the star of David. The witch is drawn to be saying ‘Anti-Semitic! Anti-Semitic! Anti-Semitic!’, while thinking ‘Oh, ****!! They No Longer Fear The Magic Word’”

    Do people actually realise how incredibly ironic it is to call that ‘antisemitism’?

    Do you realise that you are now doing EXACTLY what the photograph is describing? i.e. accusing every critic of Israel’s politics as being a racist?”

  2. zkharya Says:

    Collingwood removed the picture and apologised:

    “In response, Collingwood has stated “It was never my intention to cause any distress or incite race hatred. I do not personally share the views expressed in the picture.” He confirmed that he had been alerted by the University that the photograph “might be causing offence” before removing it immediately. ”

    I am not sure what else one can demand of him.

  3. zkharya Says:

    I’ve changed my mind.

    It was outrageous of Collingwood to post the photo, but at least he apologised. But for the University to defend him, a student race relations officer, for having done so in the first place on the grounds of “freedom of expression”, is worse.

  4. Saul Says:

    So, let’s replace the star of david with the feminist symbol, keep the witch, keep the text about magic words and replace it with “Rape, Rape, Rape”……………

    “What?”, I hear you say, “it is not the same.”
    “Why?” I ask,

    “Because Jews are powerful in a way women are not…………”you reply.

    “Ah” I reply, “Maybe so. But if that is the case then why can’t the Jews even manage to elicit a decent reponse from a UK university administrator that acknowledges even the possibility of a problem.”

    “That’s not the point”, you reply, “Jews always shout antisemitism when Israel is criticised”.

    “Oh”, I ask, “Can you tell me when and where this has happened?”

    “Oh come on,” you reply, “don’t be so clever…….everyone knows it happens, it’s all over the place!”…………………………..

    Powerful, my ass!

  5. Another Observer Says:

    “The guidelines describe racial harassment as ‘any behaviour, deliberate or otherwise, pertaining to race, colour, ethnic or national origin, which is unwanted by the recipient and creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading or offensive environment for employment, study or social life.’”

    Apart from this time………This time it is “fre speech” despite the fact,
    a.
    deliberate or otherwise,
    b.
    ethnic or national origin,
    c.
    [is] unwanted by the recipient
    d.
    creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading or offensive environment for employment, study or social life.

    Well that’s clear then. No case to answer!!

  6. Rosso Verde Says:

    Andrew may have made an Error of Judgement.

    This is McCarthyism

  7. David Says:

    Saul – it’s more than a little difficult to figure out what position you are taking on this…

  8. Saul Says:

    The comment I referred to above is not Andrew Collingwood’s but comes from the comments list on the page linked to. Andrew Collingwood apologised and took it down immediately. Howeover, issues remain…………

    A Harrasment Officer posts an overtly antisemitic image.

    He takes it down immediately and apologises.

    However, the question remains as to whether such an”error of judgement” invalidates his ability to carry out this particular aspect of his job-description (dealing with harrasment) at the present time.

    The fact that he does not recognise the content of this image would indicate that some awareness training is needed.

    If he has been given no training, then the University has been negligent.

    The University administration does not recognise even the possibility of a problem, but instead says that it is a matter of “free-speech”; a position that, as someone has shown, goes against its own guidelines.

    If Rosso Verde wishes to defend the University, fine.

    However, those who raise the issue of antisemitism, as with any other form of discriminatory behaviour, have every right to do so. They have every rright to do so, moreover, without having to answer to fatuous accusations of “McCarthyism”.

  9. Another Observer Says:

    my, my, my, so many “errors of judgement”
    links to neo-nazi sites, posting articles that claim “Zionists” have taken over the Labour Party; posting antisemitic pictures on Facebook.

    Let us assume our Red – Green commenter is correct and that all these are “errors of judgement”.

    If this is indeed the case, then the situation is worse than if it were the actions of three individual antisemites (and, indeed, should you ask the three individuals they would answer genuinely and sincerely that they are not – and why would I doubt them). It would appear that not only is antisemitism not recognised within this tendency of Palestinian Soidarity Movement, but is structural; that it acts “behind the backs” of the actors themselves. Indeed, that this tendencies’ antisemitism interpolates the individuals (as structuralists say) as antisemites.

    This is the problem – structural racism, structural antisemitism – and not the “odd bad apple”.

    As I said, far more worrying.

    And, one final point, since when has it been ok to portray women as witches?

    Is it the case that when it comes to Zionism and Zionists all the rules of a progressive politics are made to stand in abeyance?

    It would appear so.

  10. Pointing out antisemitism: artful « Greens Engage Says:

    […] a comment » According to student harassment advisor and Green Andrew Collingwood, who played with allegations of antisemitism as part of his political campaigning about […]

  11. Inna Says:

    I love this defense:

    “We respect absolutely the right of individuals to be free from harassment. The University does not take a position on political issues.”

    So, if the “honorable” prof were to post a similar picture of.. say.. Asians or Muslims would that also constitute speech about “political issues” in the University’s eyes? Or is it only racism against Jews that is to be considered a “political issue”?

    Regards,

    Inna

  12. MARK Says:

    It would be interestng to know more about the basic trainig (if any) given to race relations or “harrassment advisers”. I would expect at a minimum they would be made alive to the danger of attributing (or even appearing to attribute) non ethnic characteristics to ethnic groups – surely a part at least of the definition of racism. So while you can call people “black” or “jewish” you can’t say all blacks/ejws are x or y where x or y are non racial characteristics e.g. tending to be criminal or licentious.

    The cartoon surely transgresses that rule because it attributes a dishonest accusation (unfairly accusing others of antisemitism) to a group (the jews – see the star of David). Maybe it actually isn’t that clear but that is rather the point. Surely someone trained for Collingwood’s sort of post would be extra careful not to even run risks wth this sort of stuff.

    Its a little bit like the notorious New Statesman cover of some years back – the astonishing thing is that people who should have known better ever thought it even might have been acceptable.

  13. Rosso Verde Says:

    I understand directly from Andrew that he has had threatening emails and facebook messages following this mistake. Hence my McCarthyism reference.
    The cartoon is clearly one of Tzipi Livni and is I guess meant to refer to the Israeli government, not Jews in general, so I don’t find it anti semitic. That’s my difference with the “Engage” definition of anti-semitism, some people would call it more “crying wolf” but that’s far too simplistic.
    However it shows a lack of sensitivity and I wouldn’t have used it as I do understand that others may see this as anti-semitic and have a right not to feel threatened or abused by
    imagery they feel is racist. Secondly it does nothing to advance the Palestinian cause, which Andrew is an honest advocate for.

  14. Shmuel Says:

    Life would be so much easier if the Jews were a straightforward “race.” Then we wouldn’t need our own word to describe bigotry directed towards us. Such a “political” poster would never read “Racism, racism, racism…” (if made by a true liberal) because people seem to understand that one shouldn’t harp and nitpick on other races’ charges of racism, because well, that’s what racists do.

  15. David Hirsh Says:

    The claim is that the Israeli Jewish witch, speaking for the state of Israel, and on behalf of Jews, wants to use a malicious and false charge of antisemitism against anybody who raises legitimate criticism of Israel.

    The claim is also that reasonable people no longer fear being accused of antisemitism because they understand that Jews make the accusation not because they believe it, but in a dishonest attempt to cudgel people who stand up for Palestinian rights.

    These are both racist claims. You may reasonable say that this or that accusation of antisemitism is false. But the charge that Jews routinely and knowingly make false accusations of antisemitism is not true and it is a charge of Jewish conspiracy.

    The glee that decent antiracists should no longer fear a charge of antisemitism is extremely worrying. Of course such a charge may turn out to be a mis-judged charge but the idea that it should not make one stop and consider is not a good idea.

    The charge of “McCarthyism” here is a charge of Jewish conspiracy. I take it personally – that my own work is characterized as a malicious and false attempt to whitewash Israel’s human rights abuses. I take it personally that I am accused of “crying wolf”.

    If Andrew, and “Rosso Verde” cannot see the problem here then they should stop and think – and wonder what has happened to their antiracism radar – and why. And with what consequences.

    These “mistakes” happen often. They happen because decent antiracist people are increasingly saying the same things as antisemites.

    Here are a number of separate examples of decent antiracists “mistakenly” relying on antisemitic images, texts, tropes, websites, etc.

    Cushman pushes antisemtic conspiracy theory: https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/mike-cushmans-protocols-moment/

    The Jenna Delich affair, when the “antiracists” in UCU rallied around a colleague who had “mistakenly” encouraged union colleagues to read an antisemitic article on David Duke’s website: http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2064

    The American Association of University Teachers “mistakenly” included antisemitic material in the documentation of a conference: http://www.engageonline.org.uk/archives/index.php?id=19

    The Socialist Worker Party “mistakenly” forgot to mention the killing of Jews when it was explaining what the Holocaust was: http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2055

    Ilan Pappe “mistakenly” gave an interview to a neo-Nazi newspaper in Germany: http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1856

    John Wight, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign activist mistakenly linked to a far-right conspiracy site when making antisemitic accusations of Jewish conspiracy: http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1627

    These mistakes happen because what some people on the left think is the same as what antisemites think.

    Instead of getting angry and accusing antiracists of “McCarthyism” people should rather think about how they can campaign for peace between Israel and Palestine without repeating antisemitic tropes.

  16. Jacob Says:

    “However it shows a lack of sensitivity and I wouldn’t have used it as I do understand that others may see this as anti-semitic and have a right not to feel threatened or abused by imagery they feel is racist.”

    Rosso Verde,

    Your analysis is incomplete.

    First, because you are focusing only on the image while leaving out the comment that accompanies the image. The comment states clearly that the target isn’t just one Israeli politician but the Jewish people.
    Saying that “They no longer fear the magic word antisemitic” means that Jews have been using this “magic” word to scare people. Moreover the very fact Tsipi Livni is portrait as a witch associated her with the supposedly threatening “magic word” makes her image a metaphor for the Jewish people.

    Second, you say that Jews “have a right to feel threatened or abused.” Being or feeling threatened is not a right it’s a natural reaction to an abusive action. Rights are granted by law, natural reactions just are. Hence I found your comment a bit condescending.

    The cartoon was meant to be both insulting and threatening. This is what needs to be emphasized.

  17. David Hirsh Says:

    The point is that here, as is usually the case, the charge of antisemitism is not made in response to legitimate criticism of Israel.

    It is made in this case, in response to an antisemitic image.

    The charge of antisemitism is made regarding an antisemitic image.

    That isn’t McCarthyism.

    That is the legitimate business of a campaign against antisemitism.

  18. modernityblog Says:

    Rosso Verde,

    I wonder would you, or others have tried to contextualise and explain away this cartoon, if the object of the cartoon had been ANY OTHER ethnic or social minority?

    I somehow doubt it.

    Here’s four recommendations that you might pass on to Andrew Collingwood

    1. next time when faced with a rather iffy cartoon, don’t put it up, don’t get people to contextualise it, deflect or excuse such behaviour, and live with the consequence of your own stupidity

    2. familiarise yourself with racist imagery as it relates to Jews and other minorities, and try to see the connections

    3. start reading up on antisemitism and its various forms

    4. as a starter, read Steve Cohen’s work, http://www.engageonline.org.uk/ressources/funny/ its on-line, free and there is no reason not to read it.

  19. David Says:

    Tzipi Livni huh? And when did Ms. Livni make any false accusations of antisemitism to deflect criticism of Israel? Perhaps Rocco Verde could, therefore, point out the relevance of a cartoon of Ms.Livni. Or maybe the implication is that Jews as a group level these accusations, even though Tzipi Livni may not have done so personally?

    The only reference I could find has her stating her position quite straightforwardly:

    “I would like to make it clear: Israel is willing to accept criticism of its acts and decisions coming from the international community as long as this criticism relates to our actions and deeds – but not because of the fact that Israel is the homeland for the Jewish people.”

    Please explain? I guess you must be hiding your real name because you are scared of Facebook messages. Was that comment meant to be some sort of irony?

  20. Rosso Verde Says:

    Whether the intention is anti-semitic or not, being more sensitive to the issue of anti semitism would have prevented this happening, however Collingwood has had threatening emails etc, is this acceptable?…No.

    As for false accusations David says “the charge that Jews routinely and knowingly make false accusations of antisemitism…”
    Where did I make that claim? If I did then it would certainly be anti semitic.
    As well as being a witch, the woman in the cartoon is clearly Livni, so one can see it as an attack on the Israeli government rather than Jews in general. I agree that it can also be seen as anti semitic as well so I certainly wouldn’t have used it if I was in Collingwoods position.
    David you are clearly putting words into my mouth.

  21. Rosso Verde Says:

    Jacob, I for one don’t want Livni as a metaphor for me as a witch or otherwise!

  22. Bill Says:

    As a die-hard free speech supporter, I have to call shenanigans in its use here in defending Collingwood. Diversity czars at universities are rarely (and that “rarely” is charity) advocates of free speech. Indeed they are the universities second strongest censors, trailing behind the egos of administrators, but invariably the most sanctimonious. While I’m always happy to see pseudo civil society poseurs suddenly, albeit temporarily, discover free speech for provocative ideas when their rules are suddenly turned on them, I have to question their overall sincerity. Here, it’s like finding a picture of the head of the local temperance league bonging a beer and then going right back to wagging his or her fingers someone having a quiet nightly cocktail and calling it a night.

  23. Saul Says:

    Another Observer,
    The symbol of the witch and that of the Jew is not as distinct as you think.
    The idea of Jews possessing (demonic) power was common in the Middle Ages. This particular type of imagery disappeared, or, rather, was subsumed, under later, more modern expressions of antisemitism.

    What is interesting about this image, is that it harks back to precisely that obscure strata of anti-Jewish imagery in the context of a thoroughly modern issue involving Jews.

    As with previous articulations of antisemitism, the distinction between the archaic and the modern often blur. The message, though, is the same – Jews have supernatural power – in this case, the power to silence.

    The “glee” in neutralising this power that is evident in the picture is the glee of stripping Jews of that power and of bringing down a demon or devil.

  24. Rosso Verde Says:

    moderityblog –

    Thanks for the advice. For what its worth I am Jewish, so I take no lessons on what is or isn’t anti-semitic.
    I agreed that it was a mistake to put up the cartoon.
    I

  25. David Hirsh Says:

    “As for false accusations David says “the charge that Jews routinely and knowingly make false accusations of antisemitism…”
    Where did I make that claim?”

    The claim is made in the image which we are discussing.

    The image is a racist image.

    It was posted on a website by somebody who is responsible for advising people who are victims of racist harassment at York University.

    Instead of thanking the people who showed him that his own image was itself resonsible for racist harassment, he responded with some rubbish about people accusing him of racism in order to de-legitimize his criticism of Israel.

    But the image is not criticism of Israel.

    It is an antisemitic charge of conspiracy.

    Rosso Verde – of course it is possible for people to use a racist image without thinking it through properly.

    Think Ron Atkinson. Think Carol Thatcher. Think Andrew Collingwood.

    But it is the job of antiracists to educate and to be clear that this kind of use of racist images is not OK.

  26. Saul Says:

    Red-Green.

    It is completely unacceptable for people to receive hate mail, etc.

    The problem is this. This phenomenon is coming to be associated solely with Zionists and Jews (see George Minbot in the Guardian and others who begin their comments witn, “I know I’ll get emails……………”.

    Let me assure you that I know of many, many activists against antisemitism who have never declared whether they are Zionists or not receiving death-threats and other unpleasant stuff in their inbox and not in small quantities.

    So, yes, these types of things are universal. But, as is so often the case, it is often presented as if it were a specifically Jewish/Zionist “crime”.

    It is not.

  27. David Hirsh Says:

    Rosso Verde

    If you understand contemporary antisemitism then you understand that being Jewish does not make you immune.

    We all need to take lessons. To educate ourselves in the forms, the tropes, the histories and the language of racism – this includes antisemitism.

  28. Saul Says:

    “Thanks for the advice. For what its worth I am Jewish, so I take no lessons on what is or isn’t anti-semitic.”

    Critical reflection and understanding of antisemitism is not passed via the umbilical chord. Like all knowledge it is the product of study, etc..

    To believe otherwise is to imply that non-Jews all need lessons on antisemitism for the simple reason that they are not Jewish. Not only is this highly offensive, it is also empirically incorrect.

  29. Saul Says:

    Many today believe that the Holocaust was and is used by Zionists to “blackmail” the world into granting Israel to the Jews and for the continued silence [sic] over its actions.

    Placed in this context, the cartoon comes to be “legitimised” as “antizionist”. (Warning – a racist cartoon).

    Needless to say, it remains antisemitic……….and why?

    First, what was antisemitic cannot change its spots. What has changed is people’s views of “Jews”. Jewish power to hold the wortld to ransom is now becoming acceptable “political” point of view.

    Secondly, the idea that contextualises it – the Jews hold the world to blackmail – is itself antisemitic and so blocks the claim to (legitimate) “antizionism”.

    The picture discussed in this thread is the same.
    The claim that an Israeli politician has the mysticial power to silence the world with one word is antisemitic.
    It would be a meaningless reference for any other nation-state.
    The picture’s power only makes sense, then, only has meaning, when seen in a history of libels against Jews (i.e. “excessive” and malevolent power).

    That is why it is antisemitic and not “criticism” of Israel.

  30. NIMN Says:

    Mike Cushman speaks “as a Jew”……………..He argues that the Labour Party has been taken over by Jews and Zionists………there goes R-V’s theory that “as a Jew” he doesn’t need any lessons in antisemitism, or, rather, the understanding of antisemitism!

  31. Mira Vogel Says:

    Rosso (thanks for coming on here to talk about it) “For what its worth I am Jewish, so I take no lessons on what is or isn’t anti-semitic” – I don’t agree with this, although I wish it were true.

    Read this from Eamonn on Z-Word blog – a convincing challenge to a similar argument from Antony Lerman.

    “Roy Cohn, Joe McCarthy’s homophobic sidekick, was gay. From the existence of Cohn, and others like him, we might reasonably conclude, if we follow Lerman’s logic, that there is nothing necessarily anti-gay about people who express hatred and contempt for homosexuals. After all, Ray Cohn used to do that and he was one himself, so what’s the problem?

    Now, a political example. During the apartheid era in South Africa, there was never a shortage of Bantustan leaders and assorted black hirelings willing to tell foreign journalists how the system was great for black people and what a horrible bunch of communists the ANC were. If we were to apply Lerman’s logic to this case, we’d have to say that there was nothing necessarily racist about the apartheid regime because some black people were perfectly happy with it.

    I’ll throw in one final argument. In countries where the influence of religion causes women to suffer from gross and undeniable limitations on their human rights it’s quite common to hear women speak publicly in favor of the system that oppresses them. The existence of such women, if we follow Lerman’s logic, means that it would be impossible to describe the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland, for example, as being a form of oppression of women. After all, the system couldn’t have functioned without the direct intervention of nuns and the quiet support of lay women in the broader society.”

  32. David Says:

    Sorry, but that was a disgraceful comparison by McDonagh, which you have taken out of context, sort of.

    We all know that self-hatred is possible (although there is no evidence of that in the case at hand).

    However, McDonagh made these statements in trying to argue that ALL anti-Zionism is antisemitic. Yes, not some but quite specifically all!! Including Orthodox Jews. Not just Neturei Karta, but also the guy next door with the black kippah who believes that there shouldn’t be a Jewish state until the coming of the Messiah. As well as any secular Jews who may have any have doubts and “reject Zionism’s current form.”

    To compare principled religious Jews to closet case self-haters like Roy Cohn and paid-off Apartheid era Bantustan leaders is, quite frankly, disgusting. And I am surprised to see Mira quote the article approvingly.

  33. rosso verde Says:

    I understand that being Jewish doesn’t make one immune on anti semitism. I’m sure we’d all agree on Gilad Atzmon for example.
    As I said, if I had seen the cartoon and was in Andrew Collingwoods position I would have rejected the cartoon and this whole issue would not have arisen. That’s because I do “get” the fact that many people would find it offensive and anti-semitic.
    I just think that Ad Hominem attacks and threats towards Andrew Collingwood are unlikely to make him more sensitive towards the issue, but to push him and others into a more polarised view.
    After all as soon as the issue was raised the cartoon was removed – I do agree that the freedom of speech issue raised by the university is a red herring here!
    Saul of course I’m aware that activists against anti semitism have been abused and threatened – I’ve had abuse from both right wing pro and anti Israelis.

    Does anyone have examples of cartoons of Israeli politicians that could not be seen as anti semitic? – not a rhetotical question, I am interested to see!

  34. David Says:

    And by the way, Lerman never made any “similar argument.” He merely said that NOT ALL anti-Zionism is antisemitic, and used the example of some religious Jews as a case in point. Seems pretty open-and-shut to me.

    McDonagh then launches into his nasty and shameful diatribe.

  35. David Hirsh Says:

    Actually it is Andrew who made the ad hominem attack.

    He put up an image which claimed that Jews who raise the issue of antisemitism do so dishonestly and as part of a conspiracy to play the antisemitism card to protect Israel from criticism.

    Instead of engaging with the substance of any particular charge of antisemitism he claimed that people who make such charges are Zionist witches who are trying to close off freedom to criticize.

  36. Jacob Says:

    Rosso Verde Says: “Whether the intention is anti-semitic or not, being more sensitive to the issue of anti semitism would have prevented this happening, however Collingwood has had threatening emails etc, is this acceptable?…No.”

    This is a red herring.

    When people feel threatened they react, some inevitably will overreact. No one here endorsed threatening emails and your bringing them up is dishonest and has no bearing on either the meaning of the original cartoon or its threatening nature.

    You also keep insisting that because the cartoon exhibits the image of Livni that it’s an attack on the Israeli government and not on the Jewish people in general. But that too doesn’t hold much water:

    First she is not the Israeli government, not is she the Prime Minister. You can’t limit the meaning of an image that way.

    Secondly, using a Jewish face in an antisemitic cartoon is as old as modern antisemitism. It used to be the image of Rothschild. When cartoon in the 19c depicted Rothschild as a stand in for Jewish bankers they too would have claimed that they weren’t targeting the Jewish people. However, the antisemitic mobs of Paris and elsewhere didn’t see it that way.

    Finally, why do you think Orwell in 1984 offers us an image of an “Einstein” looking figure during the hate scenes in the novel? Think about that.

    A little knowledge of the history of antisemitism will help you understand people’s reactions and alas overreactions.

  37. zkharya Says:

    “He put up an image which claimed that Jews who raise the issue of antisemitism do so dishonestly and as part of a conspiracy to play the antisemitism card to protect Israel from criticism.”

    Yes. Because the image was not intended to merely represent Tzipi Livni (whom I have never heard or read address the subject of antisemitism, nor who has ever worn a witch’s costume, or brandished a wand), but an implied group, namely anyone, but especially Jews, I think, who remarks antisemitism in anti-Israeli or anti-Zionist discourse.

  38. Saul Says:

    “That’s because I do “get” the fact that many people would find it offensive and anti-semitic.”

    The fact that “many people would find it offensive” is irrelevant. It would be antisemitic if no-one found it offensive. It is objectively antisemitic, for the reasons I have given.

    Saying that It is the that Jews and Zionists scream antisemitism to silence “debate” is of the same family as saying that, Jews and Zionists control the media, that Jews and Zionists control the Labour Party; that Jews and Zionists use the Holocaust as a weapon to blackmail the “non-Jewish” world; that Jews and Zionists are the power behind Presidents and Prime Ministers; that Jews and Zionists control the stock market for thei own interests; that Jews an Zionists. kill Christian children to use their blood for making Passover matzo.

    I am afraid that it is far from clear that you “get” it.

    “I just think that Ad Hominem attacks and threats towards Andrew Collingwood are unlikely to make him more sensitive towards the issue, but to push him and others into a more polarised view.”

    Looking back on this thread I do not see one ad hominem attack on the individual concerned.

    But, as David Hirsh comments, Collingwood’s “error of judgement”, as you put it libelled not just Israel, not just Zionists, but Jews in general.

    Some people elsewhere may have done so; but rather than “pushing him and others” into a more polarised view, it many, or, rather should, make him pause for thought (see the Gary Younge article referred to elsewhere on this site cited by Linda Grant, where he says that whenever he is accused of antisemitism, he takes those accusations seriously and reflects on them). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/feb/25/race.uk

    Again, and how many times must it be said, Jews do not make people antisemitic; nor do accusations make people antisemitic. Antisemites make themselves antisemitic; their blaming their hostility of Jews onto the Jews is yet another articulation of their antisemitism as well as their attempt to escape the responsibility of their own choices.

  39. Mira Vogel Says:

    David, I got a lot out of that Eamonn I quoted – good examples against the belief that being a member of a certain social group immunises you from prejudice against that group. It was an out-of-context quote and that’s what I intended. There’s nothing wrong with quoting people out-of-context if you’re not abusing the quote to make it y support something it doesn’t support. Which I didn’t.

    Rosso, how would you have approached this so as to preserve AC’s anti-racist sensitivities? And does it scale up – this kind of stuff is coming quite thick and fast these days.

  40. MARK Says:

    Rosso says
    “I just think that Ad Hominem attacks and threats towards Andrew Collingwood are unlikely to make him more sensitive towards the issue, but to push him and others into a more polarised view.”

    Racism today is fiercely contested – not least on the left. I can think of no other circumstance in which it would be argued that by opposing racist messages one would push someone into a “more polarised view”

    Try a few examples for size.

    “The McPherson report on Stepehn Lawrence risks pushing the Met into more polarised institutional racism”

    I dont think so.

    “Opposing the BNP’s Islamophobia risks pushing it into more polarised anti Muslim positions”

    Uh uh. No.

    Somehow the argument is used vis a vis the Jews and only the Jews. I wonder why?

  41. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Yet again, both Collingwood and Rosso Verde are blaming the victims for the prejudice against them. This is an old tactic, even if used unconsciously or unwittingly, and one long-recognised by social scientists. In case you hadn’t noticed, AC & RV, it is never the victims’ fault that there is prejudice and discrimination against them. They are victims whatever they say, do or don’t say or do. As many others have already said on this thread and elsewhere, try substituting “women” or “blacks”, “asians” or “moslems” for “Jews”, with appropriate symbol(s), and see what happens.

    If you get a “good heavens, that’s misogynist/racist/islamaphobic” response, then it’s antisemitic when a “Jewish” symbol is used. And it’s hardly the Jews fault that this is so.

    And just because Andrew Collingwood didn’t intend it that way (being generous), doesn’t therefore make it _not_ antisemitic. 2 or 3 years ago, I had a long correspondence with The Guardian when they published a small (“pocket”) cartoon, on the letters page, of a Star of David superimposed over an outline map of Western Europe. I insisted that it was on a par with the “A Kosher Conspiracy?” front page of New Statesman or the notorious Independent cartoon of the US flag with the stars replaced by Stars of David. Despite my comment that, as a sociologist, I was well aware that the meaning attached to a symbol (or anything) by the user didn’t mean that that was the _only_ possible meaning, they insisted that this wasn’t their intention, so that was alright, then. If you and Collingwood don’t and can’t take this point (and _think_ before doing something like this), then you deserve all the opprobium you get – but not threats or other intimidation.

    I should note that it was at that point I ceased being a Guardian reader: if they were so self-righteous about their intentions, then they could certainly get along without my financial support. I just wonder whatever happened to their famed liberal values.

  42. Rosso Verde Says:

    Does anyone have examples of cartoons of Israeli politicians that could not be seen as anti semitic? – not a rhetotical question, I am interested to see!

  43. Lynne T Says:

    Red-Green:

    Israeli politics and politicians are lampooned daily, in the Israeli press and blogsites in particular and also in Jewish publications around the world. There are probably some examples to be found in non-Jewish publications too, but they may be harder to find as Israeli politics aren’t often the subject of editorial cartoons in, say, the Globe and Mail, the New York Times, or Le Figaro. If Israeli politicians or politics are the subject in non-Arab/Muslim media, they tend to be in the vein of Steve Bell’s infamous characterization of Ariel Sharon, or the darlings of the Iranian sponsored “Holocaust deniers’ cartoon fest”.

    Whether you have the capacity to discern the difference between a editorial cartoon criticizing Israeli politics or politicians fairly, or resorting to antisemetic tropes like the example above, however, is another matter.

  44. Mira Vogel Says:

    I think plenty, but for obvious reasons you’re no more likely to remember them than any other cartoons you come across day to day.

    Since we’re on Livni, search for her here.
    http://www.politicalcartoons.com/

    It’s easy not to be antisemitic – just the same as being a good cartoonist. Be specific, avoid stereotypes, avoid cliche (here the old references to ensnaring or enslaving the world, eating infants, having fangs, being literally bloodthirsty etc).

  45. Another Observer Says:

    Tell you what, RV, why don’t you dig around the web, etc. and produce a cartoon that you don’t think is antisemitic? After all, you claim to “get it” as much as those who have commented here.

  46. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Lynne, I think the cartoon in question (is it the one of Sharon eating a baby?) isn’t by Steve Bell, but by Dave Brown and was in the Independent (so no surprise there, then).

    Further, some constituency or other voted it the political cartoon of the year.

    I don’t think that Steve Bell, ferocious as he can be, is quite that naive or (even unwittingly) antisemitic. Though he may be anti-Zionist and he’s certainly critical of Israel when Israeli government action merits it.

  47. Inna Says:

    Actually, how do you know that’s Livni? When I saw it, I thought this was a cartoon of my aunt–or someone who looks a lot like her.

    So to me at least this was “clearly” a cartoon of a typical Jewish looking (Ashkenazi) woman who happens to look a lot like my aunt.

    Regards,

    Inna

  48. American Jew Says:

    Here is a recent cartoon mocking Israeli politicians.

  49. Mira Vogel Says:

    It makes much more sense (to draw it, photograph it and post it on Flickr) if it’s Livni.

  50. Another Observer Says:

    Could someone offer a translation to the cartoon posted above.

  51. Lynne T Says:

    Brian:

    thanks for the correct attribution.

  52. Israel and Palestine – who does the ‘solving’ « Greens Engage Says:

    […] some insight into a kind of pro-Palestinian and wider anti-war campaigning which many Greens have embraced but which Aled identifies as […]


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