JPR regains its senses.

Jonathan Boyd is acting director of JPR, the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in London.

Read Jonathan’s piece “Antisemitism and the reported world” on CIF.

Credibility deficit

Ben Cohen’s Jerusalem Post op ed, along with this response to Dispatches from Kosher Conspiracy Mag, reminded me of Jon Pike speaking nearly two years ago about the ‘Livingstone manoeuvre’:

“… testimonial injustice occurs when “prejudice on the hearer’s part causes him to give the speaker less credibility than he would otherwise have given.” (Fricker p 4) The speaker sustains such a testimonial injustice if and only if she receives a credibility deficit owing to identity prejudice in the hearer; so the central case of testimonial injustice is identity-prejudicial credibility deficit. (Fricker 27)

To fix these ideas, think of the black person who is disbelieved by the police, the woman whose charge of rape is disbelieved, and rejected by a jury, and the person whose accent causes their knowledge claims to be disbelieved, and preventing them form getting an elite academic post.

What sort of injustices are these?

Identity-prejudicial credibility deficit is strongly evident in sexist and misogynist attitudes to women who are victims of rape. Because of the adversarial nature of the judicial system, the prosecutorial role of the police, and because of misogynistic attitudes on the part of juries, it seems very likely that women are victims of testimonial injustice in this way: women are not believed. Why not? The misogynist story is familiar: the woman who cried rape had, in fact, had consenting sex with her alleged attacker, but then regretted it, and attempted to get out of difficulty by making a false accusation of rape. This is the sort of thought entertained by, it seems, very many juries.

The next point in the argument is straightforwardly concessive. One, sometimes, probably, a few people do aim to deflect criticism of Israel, by making false allegations of anti-Semitism. Two, sometimes, probably, a few women do try to get out of exculpate their own behaviour, by making false accusations of rape. It’s not plausible to say neither of these things ever happen.

But what is, and what should be, the general attitude of those on the left to such phenomena? What is the case is this: we are attuned to the idea that we ought to listen carefully and sympathetically to women who make charges of rape. We ought to listen to the victims, attend to their concerns, establish an environment in which they can safely articulate their narrative. And we maintain this general stance in the knowledge that, yes, perhaps in a very few cases, the charge may be false.

But the attitude of the anti-Zionist left towards those who make charges of anti-semitism is the opposite. The raising of concern about anti-semitism gets you the Livingstone manoeuvre. This is the general stance, which does not sit carefully with, but fully draws on the idea that, yes, perhaps in a vey few cases the charge may be ill-intentioned and false. The general stance on the left is to attribute a credibility deficit here.”

The rest is here.

Moshe Postone to speak at Ideas for Freedom winter 2009.

Moshe Postone will be speaking on “anti-semitism and the left” at the AWL’s Ideas for Freedom discussion weekend.

The weekend will take place on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 November, Birkbeck College, Malet St, London WC1.

For more details check out the Workers’ Liberty website.

Racing 4 Peace

Racing 4 Peace is a joint project by a Palestinian and an Israeli racing driver.

From the Racing 4 Peace website :

Aric is an Israeli racing driver, Rasheed is a Palestinian racing driver, they met in a Go-Kart race in Mini Israel – Latrun race track , then Aric invited Rasheed to join him racing with the Formula Vee car he had designed and built in Israel, by sending the car to the UK and competing in the British Formula Vee championship, Rasheed accepted the invitation.

Rasheed and Aric’s mission is to send a peaceful message to the middle east, not by telling people what to do, but by collaborating together, working together and giving a good example that Israelis and Palestinians can achieve a lot more by working together and not against each other, by that also inspiring many other people on both side to take action and collaborate together. Mainly sending positive energies to the middle-east.

Please help them to raise the money needed to race in the 2010 British Formula Vee racing series.

No reason to boycott Israel, says director Wim Wenders.

This is a guest post by journalist Michael Green.

World renowned German film director, Wim Wenders, has spoken out against the proposed cultural boycott of Israel and pledged his support for Israeli filmmakers.

“I’ve seen a lot of Israeli movies I’ve liked over the last few years. I can’t think of a reason to boycott them,” said Wenders.

The director made the comments during a visit to Jerusalem to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sam Speigel Film School, reports the Jerusalem Post (Monday 16 November 2009). He praised Israeli cinema, including Waltz with Bashir and European Film Academy Award-nominated, Ajami, which he described as a “fantastic first film.”

Wenders also blasted British director, Ken Loach, who has promoted a boycott of all things Israeli and believes that “nothing has been a greater instigator of antisemitism than the self-proclaimed Jewish state itself.” (Really Ken, nothing…?) “…Loach is a strange man and cannot be taken seriously,” reported Haaretz.

Wenders, whose body of work includes the acclaimed Wings of Desire, The American Friend and Paris, Texas, knows a thing or two about boycotts already. He broke the blockade on Fidel Castro’s Cuba to make the enormously successful documentary, Buena Vista Social Club, which brought together ageing musicians for a final tour.

“Cultural boycotts – in general they don’t work. Boycotts often achieve the opposite. Take Cuba – boycotting Cuba really secured Castro’s rule for the next 20 years.”