Pox Britannica

Howard Jacobson’s concluding paragraph:

Given how hard it is to distinguish Jew from Israeli in all this, the mantra “It is not anti-Semitic to be critical of Israel” looks increasingly disingenuous. But there is no challenging it, not even with such eminently reasonable responses as, “That surely depends on the criticism,” or “Calling into question an entire nation’s right to exist is not exactly ‘criticism.'” Nor is the distinction between Israeli and Jew much respected where the graffitists and the baby bullies of the schoolyard do their work. But, in the end, it is frankly immaterial how much of this is Jewhating or not. The inordinacy of English Israel-loathing–ascribing to a country the same disproportionate responsibility for the world’s ills that was once ascribed to a people–is toxic enough in itself. The language of extremism has a malarious dynamic of its own, passing effortlessly from the mischievous to the unwary, and from there into the bloodstream of society. And that’s what one can smell here. Infection.

Find out how he comes to this conclusion, in The New Republic.

Boycotted British Academic is Finding Her Voice

Good things

On Harry’s Place, Gene. An orchestra from Jenin performs for Holocaust survivors. A new project initiated by prominent figures in Europe and the Muslim world will combat Holocaust denial and emphasise good Muslim-Jewish relations.

UPDATE: Commenters below link to news items reporting that the orchestra from Jenin has been disbanded by the Palestinian Authority as a direct consequence of the performance. More from Ben Cohen.

“Adnan Hindi of the Jenin camp called the Holocaust a “political issue” and accused conductor Wafa Younis of unknowingly dragging the children into a political dispute.”

The lines are being drawn –  it’s peace-makers like Wafa Younis against war-makers like Adnan Hindi. And the Holocaust is used as a bargaining chip again.

South African Jewish Board of Deputies make formal complaint against COSATU

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies have issued a press statement indicating that they have laid a formal complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission against Cosatu’s International Relations secretary Bongani Masuku.

Masuku has been featured extensively on this blog for his crazed outbursts against South African Jews who support Israel. Amongst other things, he has called on Israel-supporting Jews to leave South Africa (said in an email to me) and threatened students at Wits University that he (and Cosatu I assume, as he was representing them at the talk) would make their lives “hell”.

More on It’s Almost Supernatural.

The Livingstone Formulation

I’m doing some work on the use of the Livingstone Formulation.  I’m collecting examples.  If anyone knows of examples that I’ve missed, please quote in the comments box with links or references.  I’m particularly interested in its use in academic and high profile public discourse.  I’ve got instances from, in no particular order:

Judith Butler, Ken Livingstone, Stephen Sizer, Jenny Tonge, Tam Dalyell, UCU, UCU mark II, Jacqueline Rose, Richard Ingrams, BBC website (on David Miliband), Anatol Lieven, Tony Judt, Antony Lerman, Mearsheimer and Walt, Charles Linbergh, Norman Finkelstein, David Duke, Nick Griffin, Caroline Lucas, Johan Hari, Bruce Kent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, BBC website (US withdrawal from Durban Review), Martin Shaw twice Caryl Churchill, Paul Oestreicher, Tariq Ali, Kare Willoch, Ken Loach, Fintan O’Toole, Michael Neumann.

There are two elements to the Livingstone Formulation.  Firstly a conflation of something which is arguably, at least, connected to antisemitism into “criticism” and secondly an accusation (usually implied) that the “critic” is being characterized as antisemitic knowingly and in bad faith by the Jews or by the ‘Israel lobby’ (usually implied)  in order to try to de-legitimize criticism of Israel.

All help gratefully received.

Reconciliation and understanding, not boycotts and exclusions

In the NY Times.

President Abbas’ Foreign Minister Urges Europe to Shun Hamas

From Reuters:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Western-backed government warned European states on Monday against easing a boycott of Hamas Islamists, saying it could put unity talks at risk.

Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said he relayed that message last week to European leaders during talks in Brussels.

Egyptian efforts to reconcile Abbas’s secular Fatah faction, which holds sway in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, have so far been unsuccessful.

The talks, held in Cairo, were adjourned last week without agreement on the shape or agenda of a proposed unity government that would oversee the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip after Israel’s offensive, as well as prepare for new elections.

Negotiations are expected to resume but big differences remain, including over demands by Fatah that Hamas agree to abide by interim peace agreements signed with Israel. Hamas has refused to make such a commitment.

See Reuters for the rest of the story.

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