Why is the antisemitic European Commissioner still in his job?

Dave Rich, on the CST blog: here.

45 Responses to “Why is the antisemitic European Commissioner still in his job?”

  1. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    Had he said the same about Muslims, they would have sacked him.
    They just want to show, there is no Jewish world conspiracy.
    So this is evidence: antisemitism is part and parcel of European main stream.

  2. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    De Grucht still has his job for one of the three reasons that Frank Johnsson, Finnish Amnesty’s boss, still has his: either no one cares what is said about Jews, or their “apologies” are deemed adequate/appropriate/sufficient, or both are actually agreed with by those with authority to fire them.

    A fourth possibility occurs: no in authority cares any more about antisemitism. It’s a “so what” response.

  3. Absolute Observer Says:

    Catch-22. If he would have been dismissed, it would have been cited as an example of Jewish/Zionist power.

    And, Karl, with all due respect, I am not sure that the word “Muslim” contains the power or authority you imply. After all, more than one European PM has said some rather unpleasant things about Muslims and they were not reprimanded by European institutions.

    I think it important not to substitute one form of irrationality with another, and to imply that one group’s inability to has its demands met is mirrored by the belief in another group’s automatic granting of its wishes. After all, I couldn’t bear the thought of a Walt and Mearshimer tome titled, “the Muslim Lobby”!!
    Regards,
    AO

    btw what’s going on in Austria at the moment with the Jewish millionaire and the Haaretz story?

  4. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    @Absolute Observer@
    I did not imply a „Muslim World Conspiracy“
    but I don’t remember that a leading functionary of
    EU has said something similar about Muslims.
    And I remember how European politicians condemned those
    Danish cartoonists who dared to draw Cartoons.
    And Europe does not much about some Arab and Turkish TV stations broadcasting wild anti-Semitic incitation.

  5. academic Says:

    A propos about the sentence involving the word “Jews” getting edited out of a BBC report about the Taliban:

    Another example of how reference to Jews tends to get edited out of things (this time from a “Guardian holiday offer” for a tour of the “Holy Land”)

    http://www.guardianholidayoffers.co.uk/holiday/3255/jerusalem-galilee-and-the-dead-sea

    “….it has seen the clash of civilisations and religions since the dawn of history itself. The Canaanites, Alexander the Great, the Romans, the Saracens, the Crusaders, the Ottomans, the British: all have ruled here”

    ? not the Jews then ?

    “… [we will vist the] cliff-top fortress of Masada where the final battle of the first real revolt in the Roman Empire took place”

    ? by a nameless group of militants?

    etc. etc.

  6. Philip Says:

    I think the main reason he wasn’t sacked is that it’s very difficult for EU officials to be sacked.

    However, quite clearly he should be out of a job.

  7. Absolute Observer Says:

    But the boycott that you are interested in “thinking about” is premised exactly on the idea that underpins the commetns for which Philip thinks he should be sacked………that without “outside” pressure and punishment, Jews will never admit they are wrong about Israel; if they did, then there would be no need for such collective punishment.

    And what about his comments about Jewish Lobby, something you have defended time and time agai, both on your website and on Engage?

    Maybe, though, now that you have seen the conclusion of your thinking. which you think is unacceptable, you have made up your mind, either for or against racist discourse and practices as a means for justice in Israel and Palestine. Or, maybe you simply want to “discuss” it some more?

  8. Philip Says:

    I don’t think it’s Jews that needed to be persuaded that they are wrong about Israel. I mostly think it’s the US Congress and the Israeli government that needs to be persuaded about that.

    FYI, too, I don’t believe in the existence of a ‘Jewish lobby’ nor that Jews are irrational. The latter is a highly racist statement. I don’t think racism is a likely way for a just solution to the problem of the occupation.

    I’m rather disappointed at your response, frankly.

  9. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    @Philip@ Israel ended the occupation of the Gaza strip. Has life of the masses of Palestinians there improved?
    Do they have more liberties?
    Should we forget, what has led the majority of voters in Israel not to think anymore that occupation is the main problem?

  10. Absolute Observer Says:

    “I’m rather disappointed at your response, frankly.”

    Really. Philip?
    But these are the ideas that you play with, that you want to discuss.

    “I don’t believe in the existence of a ‘Jewish lobby’”
    That’s not true is it, Philip?

    You have argued on more than one occassion on Engage that the US govt.’s line on Israel is due to an “Israel Lobby” (see your own webpages) and that US political parties need to pander to Jews to ensure election. You thereby imply, 1. that Jews vote in national elections according to matters concerning Israel – itself highly libellous and 2. That since theu vote according to Israel, they are not out of line with the Israeli government.

    2. “that Jews are irrational”.
    Van Gurt did not say that, did he? He said Jews think they are “right” when it comes to Israel, that they are stubborn when it comes to Israel.
    People who play with the boycott cannot but agree with that statment. After all, if Jews were “rational” they would see it in their own best interests to make a peace deal. That they have not points to their “irrationality” and, therefore, external pressure – the boycott – to make them “rational actors”.

    These are the ideas behind the “Israel Lobby” that you cite in positive terms and defend.

    These are the ideas that underpin (and undermine) the calls ofr boycott of the Jewish state.

    You may not recognise yourself in them, but this is exactly the racist ideas that you are playing with, and in your case, in all good faith and with clean hands.

    • Philip Says:

      Absolute Observer, you really need to stop mis-representing my views. This might involve you reading what I have written more carefully. What you have described above does not represent my views.

      So yes, your response is disappointing. Disappointing because it mis-represents me and disappointing because instead of choosing to take common cause, you instead continue with your attempts to smear me.

      If you want to continue to smear me, can I suggest first that you read more carefully what I have written (perhaps even comment there if there are things that aren’t quite clear or you feel need clarification or correction) and secondly, stop doing so anonymously. I have had the good grace to be open about who I am, what I do, etc. If you wish to discredit me, perhaps you could have the good grace to at least tell me who my interlocutor is.

  11. Absolute Observer Says:

    Philip,
    Here we go. I point out the ideas that underpin ideas about the boycott and of the “Israel Lobby”, and you raise the question of smearing.
    How “disappointing”. Rather than responding in such a manner, and claiming “misrepresentation” you perhaps should explain what you mean.

    You cite this comment,
    “And please don’t blame this on Congress. Yes, Congress will pander to the lobby, oppose a tougher U.S. stance, and continue to supply Israel with generous economic and military handouts, but a determined president still has many ways of bringing pressure to bear on recalcitrant clients. The problem is that Obama refused to use any of them.”
    And follow it up with, “Read the post in full. It’s well worth it. ”
    And again,
    “Politicians from the Democratic Party are more reliant on Jewish supporters for both votes and money than their counterparts in the Republican Party. In their essay on the Israel Lobby, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, academics from Chicago and Harvard universities, explain why this is.
    “The Washington Post once estimated that Democratic presidential candidates ‘depend on Israel-leaning supporters to supply as much as 60 per cent of the money’. And because Israel-leaning voters have high turn-out rates and are concentrated in key states like California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania, presidential candidates go to great lengths not to antagonise them.”

    Now, these seem to ma precisely an endorsement of the now discredited “Israel Lobby” argument.
    And, what does “Israel-leaning” mean? How does one know that those who vote are “Israel-leaning” as opposed merely to Jews (and, as noted, the idea that Jewish American individuals vote according to a candidate’s position on Israel as opposed to everyday domestic issues is, to say the least, problematic).
    You, Philip, think this “analysis” is worth reading in full, because you, Philip, think that it is the case.
    So, how have what I have said about you been a “misrepresentation”, of not capturing your meaning? It seems perfectly clear to me.

    “Yes, Congress will pander to the lobby, oppose a tougher U.S. stance, and continue to supply Israel with generous economic and military handouts,”
    How is this a misrepresentation of your views? Does Congress “pander” to the Israel Lobby? Again, you seem to think it does.

    As to the boycott…………you said yourself that you are furstrated with the lack of progress and think that, maybe, boycotting Israel will put pressure on them for peace. Now, assuming that you are not calling for a boycott of the PLA or Hamas, it would seem that this “frustration” of yours cannot but rely upon Israeli (and from your comments about Jews in the USA) and Jewish intransigence (that is, Jewish “stubborness” and Jews’ belief in their being “right” when it comes to the ME.
    So, the question then is for you, why boycott Israel if not to force them to change their line, to foster a change int their “intransigence” (you obviously do not believe that they can be left alone to make such a decision, otherwise, why boycott them? – I note also that in a previous thread, you ignored the question of what it is that Israel has done/not doing that makes them the sole recepient of a populist boycott, and not other countries. So, why Israel?)

    Both these accusations are those made by a person who you believe should resign.

    So, rather than fall back on the claim that you are being “smeared” and that you are being “misrepresented”, perhaps you can tell people what you “really” mean.

    I am also not so sure why you are so very defensive. Earlier, in another thread, you called for a “discussion” of the boycott.

    I an others have shown how it is underpinned and undermined by racist assumptions – i.e of a Lobby and of Jewish “traits”. You have chosen not to answer these points and to make claims about you being smeared.

    I do not know you, Philip, I have no idea if you are an antisemite or not (I do, somehow, doubt that you are). However, the ideas you express, the views of others that you support tap into racist discourse. You seem not to accept that possibility. Strange for someone who claims to have an “open mind” on things pertaining to Israel and Palestine.

    So, rather than lash out at people who point to the dangers of your way of thinking, perhaps you would be wiser to consider and reflect on them, rather than the knee-jerk reaction you have so far exhibited.

    Perhaps now you will respond to the points made rather than repeat ad nauseum the shibboleth of being “smeared”.

    • Philip Says:

      Absolute Observer, if you want to discuss points that I have made on my blog (which incidentally you have mis-read once again – you make a number of astonishing leaps of imagination with apparently the sole intention of saying that I am making racist comments – for what reason I have no idea, perhaps it’s even by accident) I will be happy to do so. I will do it on my blog; not here. The discussion on this thread is about Mr de Gucht. I will be happy to discuss that here.

      Re the boycott – you think a boycott is racist I don’t. I presume that you’re also active in the anti-Burma boycott campaign and the anti-Nestle boycott campaigns pointing out the dangers of racism in those campaigns?

      I recognise that some of those pushing the boycott against Israel, especially the academic one, have slipped into racist ways, and often choose to associate with the wrong kind of people. I think that’s a shame, because they undermine themselves and the cause they claim to support. ll I have ever said is that the notion of a boycott is not in and of itself racist. Nobody has really ever taken me up on that theoretical question, which is a pity.

  12. Absolute Observer Says:

    “with apparently the sole intention of saying that I am making racist comments”
    Not at all. All I am saying – and what you find so hard to even begin to contemplate – is that may of your statements tap into antisemitic ways of thinking which, as I have repeated time and time again, underpins – and undermines – your statements despite your own subjective beliefs and anti-antisemitism.
    This taps into a larger question that we have discussed before. That antisemitism os not a subjective disposition (although, of course, it can be) but an objective political perspective that appears despite and against the wishes of the person making such statements.
    But, be that as it may,

    OK Philip.
    So you are not engaging with my comments.
    Fine.
    You refuse to believe that you yourself have tapped in to racist ways of thinking. That somehow you are, for whatecer reason, immune to such ways of thinking; so immune, in fact, that you refuse to even consider the possibility.
    Fine.

    Having been asked specific questions about Israel and its status as a Jewish state, which again (and again) you refuse to answer you adopt a relativist argument and bring up (again and again) Burma and a large corporation.

    Well. Philip, it’s not that easy. We are talking here about Israel, about the call to exclude Israelis and only Israelis from the world of culure, education and politics. Precisely the issue that you refuse to engage with specifically and in detail; a point that is evident in your constant refusal to say why Israel and only Israel should be subject to a populist call for a boycott. It is obvious that you cannot identify any difference between the calls to and nature of the boycott of Israel and Burma and Nestle with that of Israel – and resort instead to an empty, apolitical formalism. After all, in France, a law is in process that universally bans all clothing in public that hides the face. It applies to Christians, atheists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus. Now, according to your argument, since it applies to everyone it cannot be racist! Evident nonsense, since it is an expression of anti-Muslim racism, period. Likewise, you argue that since a boycott can be adopted against anyone it cannot be racist. This is the nature of this type of universalist argument. To make a claim for a boycott of Israel, a particular case has to be made (as with any country). Interestingly, it is that particular case that, not only have you not made, but evade every time you have been asked to offer your views. Leaving aside the antisemitic boycotts of the 20th century (including the one that began in 1948 and continues to this day whose reason is nothing other than the sheer presence of a Jewish state), boycotts are made against “excpetional states” (aparthied SA, the military junta and dictatorship in Burma and all its consequences). So, what is it about Israel and only Israel that makes it a particular object of such “exceptional” targetting. And, as I have argued, scratch the surface of such particularism and, as I have noted, one will come across, Jewish “stubborness (as if there are no other parties at play in the region):, Jewish lobbies (why else has the US not seen the light? – it must be a pandering to the Jews, or control by the Israel Lobby?) or that Jewish nationalism is, somehow, a unique evil amongst all nationalisms? (and yes, I know) that you oppose all state in general, but that only begs the question.

    It’s funny how you are prepared to reflect and consider so many different things concerning Israel and the world, but that the one thing you categorically refuse to even begin to consider is that you own thinking might not be immune from racist views of the world that you sincerely oppose.
    For someone who claims to be an antiracist, this is somewhat of a paradox.

    However, you have put up a brick wall, become defensive and abusive when confronted with these problems.

    I have said my bit. You don’t want to engage in a mature way.
    Fine.
    But please don’t expect me or anyone else to take your professions of “innocence” and “open-enquiry” seriously if you are unwilling to consider matters that go to the heart of the calls to isolate the Jewish state.

  13. Philip Says:

    You misread my intentions, Absolute Observer. I’m more than happy to discuss the issues surrounding what I’ve written on my blog. But you must post your comments there. The subject is not relevant to this thread. Yes, I suppose that is a bit pernickety, but it is not that I don’t want to engage, rather than I want to engage in a more appropriate forum.

    And incidentally, what you have been doing goes far beyond simply trying to point out mistakes and / or slips into antisemitism, as is shown by the tone of your comments and by some of the pejorative language you have used. It’s therefore a bit rich for you to claim that I won’t engage in a mature way, when actually, you have yourself been exposing your own immaturity.

    To discuss the boycott on this thread is also beyond the scope, but in order to show good will, and because this entire site is broadly about boycott, then I’m happy to go into a discussion.

    First, though, you say: ‘Having been asked specific questions about Israel and its status as a Jewish state, which again (and again) you refuse to answer you adopt a relativist argument and bring up (again and again) Burma and a large corporation.’ Can I ask what these specific questions are?

    Moving on to your other points. I agree that a formally non-racist policy can have racist impacts, though I think your French example is wrong (the policy affects a tiny proportion of French Muslims, so to say it is discriminatory against them seems wrong-headed—the policy is quite silly and unenforceable, but not racist). But I see your point. What I would say is that you therefore have to demonstrate what the racist effect of a boycott policy (in this instance) would be, if any. It’s no good simply mouthing off against it, and accusing all others who disagree of bad faith or worse. There is no inherent reason why a boycott should be racist in and of itself, even if, in particular cases, quite possibly in this one, racism does creep in. It’s an argument to be had, and not simply a case of right and wrong.

    With your argument that the case has to be made for a boycott of Israel, again, I agree, though I have a caveat. I think it’s unreasonable for you to say that if people focus their attention too much on one particular area / country / people-group, then it’s an indication of racism. Actually, there really is no way that a person, or even a country, can have such a wide-ranging world view. In reality, we all have pet causes, whether its aboriginal rights, abolition of the death penalty, preventing Islamic extremism or communism in Latin America. Some people will choose the Middle East and Israel as their focus. That’s for each and every person to choose. Some people (though I imagine a tiny minority) will become obsessed with the Middle East because of latent antisemitism. Fine, pick them up on it. But by no means can we assume that this is the case, and it must be demonstrated if we are to make the charge.

    You go on to say that a boycott can only be justified in extreme circumstances or ‘exceptional cases’. Let’s assume this is true. (Though, as an aside, this is problematic because it makes justice a form of relativism.) I think you’re too quick to assume that South Africa and Myanmar are exceptional cases, too quick to say that the case of Israel is not exceptional, and you don’t take into account that boycott is only one tool in the armoury for effecting change in the world.

    First, at the same time as we were boycotting South Africa, countless other countries were perpetrating atrocities around the world. Why did we boycott South Africa? Is Myanmar the worst offender today? Of course not, plenty of other countries are engaged in abuses at least the equal of Myanmar, yet there’s a popular boycott campaign. So it’s not the case that boycotts are targeted only at exceptional cases. Maybe they should be, but they haven’t been historically.

    Second, actually, the Israel / Palestine issue, in terms of length, intensity, etc., etc. is one of the most important issues of injustice in the world today. There is a case to be made that this is an exceptional circumstance. That’s due to the fact that it’s long-running, the racist connotations and overtones involved and also the fact that the parties seem to be unwilling to conform to internationally agreed laws and norms. I’m sure that a number of indicators might show that to be the case (viz. number of UN resolutions broken, number of agreements broken, number of people killed, economic effects, effects on other arenas, etc.) I’m not saying that this is a cut and dried case, which is why I advocate a discussion, but you need to acknowledge that your own case is highly contested.

    Third, in some cases a boycott is appropriate, in others other measures can be taken. Should we boycott Iran? No need, because governments have imposed sanctions. What about Sudan? Again, governments are making efforts to resolve that conflict impartially. Cuba? It’s under an economic blockade. North Korea? Ditto. A boycott is a civil society action that is undertaken when people feel that their political leaders are not doing what they feel is the right thing. In the case of Israel, I’m sure the boycotters would prefer it if Israel stopped receiving so much diplomatic, financial and military support. (If they don’t, then they certainly should.) That would probably be a darned sight more effective. The boycott is a tiny drop in the ocean, compared to that. It’s a question of reaching into the toolbox and finding the tools that you have and seeing which are most effective.

    Now, you might read this and still think the boycott is wrong. Fine, there’s definitely a case to be made. (And we haven’t even touched on the effectiveness of boycotts.) But the point is, these are discussions that can be had between people who are not trying to advance racist agendas. Have I said anything that you find objectionable because of its racism? I hope not. It’s time you dropped the racism thing with me.

  14. Citoyen Philippe Says:

    Il faut se rendre a l’evidence.
    Le vernis de l’anti sionisme craquelle et laisse apparaitre l’antisemitisme.
    Cette Union Europeenne est taraudee par des elements antisemites ou par d’autres comme Catherien ASHTON qui soutienne l’insoutenable Karel de Grucht

    Ne peut on pas parler de lobbies anti israeliens, anti sioniste et peut etre antisemites au sein de cette Union ?

    Plus l’Union tarde a prendre les mesures qui s’imposent a l’egard de Karel de Gucht et de Catherine ASHTON, plus cette Union perd en credibilite !

  15. Absolute Observer Says:

    “In the case of Israel, I’m sure the boycotters would prefer it if Israel stopped receiving so much diplomatic, financial and military support.”

    Actually, if you look at most of the boycott sites, you will find that most would prefer it if Israel did not exist (see, e.g. Mira’s comments on the lukewarm reception that the labelling issue received amongst the pro-boycott brigade. And, yes, I know, everyone you know is not like that!)

    Be that as it may.
    Since the criteria for boycotting Israel applies to the Palestinians as well length of time, racist connotations and disregard for international law) I am not sure I think that boycotting Israel and Palestinians is the way forward as you do. I think, to be honest, that is downright stupid.

    Likewise, to call for a boycott of Palestinians as a means of making other governments more amenable to ending the conflict is not that much of an idea either. After all, do you think it wiuld get Libya or Iran or Iraq or Saudi Arabia or Lebanon to recognise Israel and guarantee its existence as a state?

    However, “In the case of Israel, I’m sure the boycotters would prefer it if Israel stopped receiving so much diplomatic, financial and military support.”

    However, for you, the reason that, for example, the US is not acting in a way that you and “civil society” want is down to the acts of the Lobby (to whom Congress has to “pander”) and US Jews who, you think the US government has to keep sweet to be re-elected.

    So, of it wasn’t for the Lobby and for the narrow interests of US Jews, then there would be no need for a boycott. (That is what you say on your website and that is what you have said here on Engage before now.)

    This is precisely how your thinking on the boycott taps into, indeed, in your case, rests on antisemitic ways of thinking.

    • Philip Says:

      I am not sure I think that boycotting Israel and Palestinians is the way forward as you do. I think, to be honest, that is downright stupid.

      At last, you’re actually engaging with the issue substantively. Fair enough, you might well be right. I think the boycott of Myanmar is stupid, too. Which is why I visited the place. That’s because I think giving business to small businesses associated with tourism in one of the poorest countries in the world is a good idea, and because the more people in Myanmar to witness human rights abuses, the less likely they are to be committed. So long as you avoid regime-connected hotels / operators, etc. I think it’s quite positive to go.

      Now, the same may well be true of Israel. Indeed, I suspect that it is. But the key point is: it’s a discussion to be had between people who are not advancing racist agendas. As you say, some people would rather that Israel didn’t exist. Some people do this in a racist way. I condemn that.

      As I mentioned in my previous comment, the toolkit idea is important. Would a boycott of Palestine get Arab states to recognise Israel and stop being racist? Well, if it would work, then definitely. However, another thing to bear in mind is that the Arab states have offered to recognise Israel in the Arab Peace Initiative, which the Israeli government has not officially responded to. Now, again, the Initiative may not be perfect, etc. but it’s a start. Why would you boycott countries that are making positive steps towards engagement with Israel? (Iran is another case. Unfortunately the Iraq war has made confronting Iran very difficult, but I hope the sanctions work – there aren’t really any other options.)

      Now, I do think that there is an Israel Lobby (what do you think AIPAC, ADL, Campus Watch, etc. do?) in the US. I do not believe that US Jews (or from anywhere) have narrow interests. Please feel free to post your questions, criticisms, disagreements, etc. on my blog and we can discuss further.

  16. modernity Says:

    “The subject is not relevant to this thread. Yes, I suppose that is a bit pernickety, but it is not that I don’t want to engage, rather than I want to engage in a more appropriate forum.”

    Philip,

    Is this a new tack? Excellent.

    How long have you been discussing the issue of the Middle East, overall? 2+ years?

    I say that because in all the times that we exchanged views around these topics (and it seemed like ages), you demonstrated many of the characteristics as Absolute Observer argues in his/her post of September 22, 2010 at 11:51 am, which is an unwillingness to admit the bleeding obvious.

  17. Absolute Observer Says:

    After all this faffle and time-wasting, Philip at last evidences the point I made weeks ago above,

    That his way of thinking about Israel resembles that of the racist statements made by Van Gurght.

    As I said,
    “But the boycott that you are interested in “thinking about” is premised exactly on the idea that underpins the comments for which Philip thinks he should be sacked………that without “outside” pressure and punishment, Jews will never admit they are wrong about Israel; if they did, then there would be no need for such collective punishment.

    And what about his comments about Jewish Lobby, something you have defended time and time agai, both on your website and on Engage?”

    Philip concludes with the statement that,
    “Now, I do think that there is an Israel Lobby (what do you think AIPAC, ADL, Campus Watch, etc. do?) in the US. I do not believe that US Jews (or from anywhere) have narrow interests.” (but, of course, that is not what you said, is it? You said that to get elected US hopefuls have to tow a line on Israel because of Jewish voters, ergo, you believe, despite yourself, Jews have narrow views on Israel, otherwise, why would you believe candidates would have to tow the line.)

    No doubt, Philip would now like a “discussion” about the “Israel Lobby” too……………….and this is precisely what antisemites do.

    They take antisemitic ideas and imagery and claim that it as a legitimate point for “discussion”. We see this with Holocaust denial, with the claim Jews steal organs and with claims that a powerful Lobby determines US policy.

    And Philip has the audacity to say that his thinking on the boycott is immune from any taint of antisemitism!!

    Once again, scratch the surface of a boycotter, and look what one finds – the stench of racism.

    • Philip Says:

      Absolute Observer, if you are going to accuse me of reeking of the ‘stench of racism’ – odd use of language, especially given that you chastised me recently for using ‘smell’ on these discussion boards – then please have the good grace to tell me some more about yourself. Such ad hominem attacks are tiresome. Perhaps some personal accountability for your pejoratives will restrain your wilder tendencies. Feel free to outline why you think my statements are racist, but please try to control your tone and keep it civil.

      I do not believe in the existence of a Jewish Lobby and I do not believe that ‘Jews have narrow views on Israel’. If you want to imagine that you have a magic light with which you can see into my head rather than actually asking me what I think, fine. Spout away. Alternatively, you could post on my blog and / or answer the questions I asked you in my last comment.

      On to your actual points: my ‘way of thinking about Israel resembles that of the racist statements made by Van Gurght’. Let’s examine what he said:

      1. Jews are irrational
      2. There is a powerful Jewish Lobby

      As I have said repeatedly, I believe that both of these ideas are wrong. Indeed, racist. But in your attempts to smear me you keep bringing them up. In the same way that you raise the spectre of Holocaust denial and organ harvesting – to try to taint me by association to such ridiculous notions. What you are doing is being very slippery. Instead of dealing with what I actually write, you say I ‘resemble’ racists. And then you slip in words to what I have actually written and repeat them over and over, even though I didn’t use them. Then you draw links with other types and forms of racism. And before you know it, QED. Well, it’s quite transparent and it won’t work. I’m not someone who thinks I’m perfect and who refuses to consider that my words might be wrong, interpreted wrongly, or even inadvertently supporting causes that I have no intention of supporting. Quit with the obvious attempts to smear and grow up a little.

      The only person who is resembling someone else is you: and the person you resemble is Joseph McCarthy. So my response to you is, ‘have you not a shred of decency?’

    • Philip Says:

      And also, I can in no way be described as a ‘boycotter’ since I don’t even support the boycott.

  18. Absolute Observer Says:

    Van Gutcht,
    “Do not underestimate the Jewish lobby on Capitol Hill. That is the best organised lobby, you shouldn’t underestimate the grip it has on American politics – no matter whether it’s Republicans or Democrats.”

    Philip’s comment,
    “Now, I do think that there is an Israel Lobby (what do you think AIPAC, ADL, Campus Watch, etc. do?) in the US.”
    (I leave the contradiction inherent in this statement for all to see)

    Philip offers a gloss on this “belief” by approving an article that talks about how Congress “panders” to the Lobby. How, for anyone to be elected, has to make nice to Jewish voters.

    From Philip’s website,
    “The reason for his scepticism? A lack of political will in the White House:” then leads to the following chunk of the discredited Walt’s views, which includes the following,
    “And please don’t blame this on Congress. Yes, Congress will pander to the lobby, oppose a tougher U.S. stance, and continue to supply Israel with generous economic and military handouts………”

    Philip concludes his commentary on Walt’s post with the following comment,
    “Read the post [Walt’s] in full. It’s well worth it.”

    Elsewhere on Engage, Philip puts forward the “belief” that the presence of a number of Jews in five states determines all US election hopefuls attitude to Israel.

    It is evident from this endorsement of classic racism, that Philip “believes” exactly what Van Gurcht’s “believes” that,
    “Do not underestimate the Jewish lobby on Capitol Hill. That is the best organised lobby, you shouldn’t underestimate the grip it has on American politics – no matter whether it’s Republicans or Democrats.”

    Of course, I can understand Philip’s defensiveness that manifests itself in name-calling and smears (McCarthyite). Philip has been arguing one thing when the facts, indeed, his own words, say another.

    Only a couple of years ago, these views on Jewish power that Philip utilises were limited to the same lunatics that speak of Holocaust denial and blood libels.

    It is precisely because of people like Philip that this canard of classic antisemitism is now being cited by people who should know better and who think such beliefs are not antisemitism.

    Again, Philip refuses to see both where his ideas originate where they can lead, so certain is he of his clean hands.

    It is as a result of his inability to reflect on his own views that Philip is a purveyor of racism; that, Philip is responsible for making that racism part of the “legitimate” “discussion” on Israel and Palestine.

    So, keep calling me names Philip, keep demanding that you know who I am, keep telling me to post on your website; anything, anything, rather than recognise the type of ideas you are playing with.

    So, nothing ad hominem here. Everything I have said has been said by reference to Philip’s own words.

    No magic light necessary.

  19. Philip Says:

    So, once again you imply that I am on a par with Holocaust deniers and blood libelers. Nothing ad hominem there at all!. Get real and try to show some decency, please.

    Let me repeat: I do not believe in the existence of a Jewish lobby nor that Jews ‘determine’ the course of politics in the United States. You are always welcome to put your criticism on my blog. You can even tell me how such ideas are not a topic for legitimate discussion, if you like. In the absence of your doing so, you really ought to accept my own definitions of what it is I believe. After all, I’m the only one in my head. I guess the fact that you haven’t yet done so is because all you’re really trying to do is smear me.

    As I said, such attempts, in the absence of me knowing anything about you are really in bad faith. I don’t want to know your name, but how about you tell me your relation to Engage? Are you an academic, student, admin? What subject? What university?

    Yesterday I suggested that you share some similarities with the late Mr McCarthy. Your latest post reminds me of another Joseph from that era: Stalin. Or perhaps closer to home, Gordon Brown. Not too many other people would refer to a ‘discredited’ Stephen Walt (I presume you mean simply that you disagree with him?). Your comments are starting to read like a Private Eye message from our dear leader.

    So let me make two proposals: (1) Comment on my blog and stop trying to smear me here, and (2) Make common cause with me since we both think Mr Gucht should be out of a job.

  20. Absolute Observer Says:

    Philip says,

    “I do not believe in the existence of a Jewish lobby nor that Jews ‘determine’ the course of politics in the United States.”

    But, Philip, had just said,
    “Now, I do think that there is an Israel Lobby.”
    And on his website, thinks a statement that says Congress panders to the Lobby, “well worth reading”.

    As to just how discredited Walt Philip ought to try this for size.
    http://jfjfp.com/?p=12503

    But, of course, racist views of the world are so much more comforting than actually thinking about things in all their complexity. Saves so much time and effort, especially when a person’s at the end of their teather and simply cannot wait a moment longer.

    “In the absence of your doing so, you really ought to accept my own definitions of what it is I believe. After all, I’m the only one in my head. I guess the fact that you haven’t yet done so is because all you’re really trying to do is smear me.”

    Again and again and again Philip thinks that racism and antisemitism is “subjective” as if what he “thinks” is isolated from what he says.
    Again and again and again and again, I will point out that racist and antisemitic ways of thinking are not dependent on what one thinks they mean, but on modes of thought that objectively connect with antisemitic discourse. Philip’s belief in an Israel Lobby indicates precisely this point.

    So, far from smearing Philip the individual, I am merely pointing out how his ways of presenting matters concerning Israel and that underpins his reflections on the boycott touch upon a history of racism.

    Yet again, Philip refuses to accept that such connection is even possible since he is so sure in his head that he’s a good boy that he can only respond to such criticism by allegations that people are “smearing” him; thereby securing him from any possibility that his thoughts many, in fact, be tainted by racism.

    How I envy such arrogance.

    • Philip Says:

      And on it goes.

      Once again you talk about the ‘discredited’ Walt. Perhaps you mean the ‘discredited Waltist-Mearsheimerite claque’ that we might read about in a Soviet communique? Or Private Eye.

      Now, Stephen Maher is keen to discuss the substance of the lobby arguments. My understanding was that you don’t consider them worthy of discussion because of the racist ways of thinking that they tap into. Please enlighten me.

      Incidentally, you are saying I believe in a Jewish lobby. Actually, I think there is an Israel lobby. You may think these are one and the same, but they are not. I think this is where your confusion arises.

      Finally, it’s actually you who is taking a subjective approach to racism, not me. I believe that there are objective standards for what is racist, and I don’t believe that I have crossed any of those lines. Nor do I flirt with them. Looking for example at the EU definition (an objective standard, or an attempt at one) I believe that I am not in violation of any of its measures. Now, I understand that you may believe that I am. Indeed, perhaps a majority of people on Engage might agree with you. However, those are subjective interpretations. They may be right, but they are subjective. I could round up a group of people to tell you that they agree with me. Those would also be subjective interpretations. The point is, yes, I think subjectively (though attempting to apply objective standards) that I have not used racist ideas. You think, subjectively, that I have. One of us is right. I don’t for a minute assume that it’s me. Which is why I have been reading in order to try to understand where you are coming from. (I read, for example, David Hirsch’s long paper on the Yale website – I have a few questions about it, incidentally, where would be a good forum to discuss that?) But my inclination right now is that, since you are actually misrepresenting what I’ve said, it’s likely that you’re wrong on the substantive issue, too.

      And now, your relation to Engage is…? And your place of work / study is…?

  21. Absolute Observer Says:

    Philip writes,

    “Incidentally, you are saying I believe in a Jewish lobby. Actually, I think there is an Israel lobby. You may think these are one and the same, but they are not. I think this is where your confusion arises.”

    Incidentally?? Philip’s playing with racist ideas is hardly incidental; or has he been missing the point of the above “discussion”.

    I could have written this paragraph for Philip. It was only a matter of time that he would have to rely on the semantic difference between “Jewish” and “Israel”. It is the standard and predictable response of those who play with racist ideas.

    The rest of Philip’s post is mere sophistry and gobbledeook It is essentially meaningless.

    However, it does exhibit Philip’s complete inability to understand racism and antisemitism.

    He simply just doesn’t get it. And as long as he doesn’t get it, he will carry on being a purveyor of racism whilst believing himself “smeared” when people see it it for what it is.

    • Philip Says:

      Mere sophistry and gobbledeook (sic.). It is essentially meaningless.

      Does that mean you just don’t understand it?

      Just as you don’t understand that the difference between a lobby that lobbies on behalf of another country is different from a lobby made up of a group from one particular race. The Israel lobby is, I would hazard a guess, composed more of non-Jews than Jews. So the difference is more than semantic. It is substantive.

      Now, would you please get real. Stop acting like a caricature of a Private Eye feature. And would you please stop avoiding the questions I’ve put to you.

  22. Absolute Observer Says:

    Philip’s self-claimed belief in “The Israel Lobby” as well as his endorsement of those who proclaim the existence of such a Lobby intersect with these two definitions from the EUCM paper on antisemitism.

    “Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.”

    “Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”

    • Philip Says:

      At least you are now engaging in an objective assessment of the issue.

      But I think you’ll find that I don’t believe either of the two things above. I don’t believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own nations (in fact, as I have said, the lobby is made up in large part of non-Jews). And I certainly don’t believe that there is a Jewish conspiracy or Jewish control of media, government , etc. Do Jews, as voters, have an influence on government in the United States? Of course, as do Latinos, Armenians, Arabs and Italians. Do they control the government? It doesn’t look that way to me.

      So, can we please jettison the smear campaign and get with the programme, which is opposition to the mendacious comments made by Mr Gucht.

  23. Absolute Observer Says:

    Philip appears confused – again!

    HIs first point of confusion is his continuing reference to “the” Israel Lobby.

    Philip goes out of his way to defend “the” Israel Lobby thesis put forward by Walt and Mearsheimer.

    Their thesis is not only that there is an “Israel Lobby” (singular) but that it makes the US act against its own national interests. In so doing, their thinking falls foul of the EUCM clauses noted above.

    Now, however, Philip says this is not what he believes at all.

    Again, Philip says one thing, but appears to believe another.

    He believes in “the Israel Lobby” but says he doesn’t.

    One can only wonder which it is.

    Again, his reference to their being non-Jews in “the” Israel Lobby shows how little he understands about the nature of antisemitism, and why the concept of “the” Israel Lobby has so much purchase amongst people such as himself.

    • Philip Says:

      First, it doesn’t fall foul, because the Israel lobby is not an entity comprised entirely or even mostly of Jews. Second, the lobby thesis is talking about ‘interest’ in a rather narrow, academic way, namely, the pursuit of power.

      Now, there is comprehensive literature on lobbies, lobby groups and lobbying for all sorts of things, from gay marriage through oil exploration and retail to development aid and assistance. I presume that you don’t think that a belief in all these lobbies is racist? You need to explain how a belief in this particular lobby is racist. It’s not a given.

  24. Absolute Observer Says:

    “Does that mean you just don’t understand it?”

    This comment is typical of Philip’s arrogance and his inability to enter into the “discussion” that he claims he desires.

    Any comment that does not agree with what he says, or implies clarification is needed, is put down to his interlocutor. It is always their problem, never his.

    Nowhere is this more in evidence that in his defence of “the” Israel Lobby.

    Rather than thinking about what has been put to him, he goes on and on and on and on about being “smeared”.

    So much for Philip’s ability to meet his own demands for “discussion” – agree with him and if you don’t you are simply not understanding him or you are smearing him.

    • Philip Says:

      Quite the opposite. I have had discussions with plenty of people on this website, without them resorting to saying that I am being racist. You are the first to do so.

      The piece you cited by Stephen Maher – that was a discussion. That was a person engaging with evidence and coming to the conclusion that US foreign policy was explained by a kind of Marxist imperialism. Fair argument. Though I don’t see the evidence pointing that way. Still, it’s nice for someone to actually be making the argument about the evidence rather than trying to pin a ridiculous charge of racism on his interlocutors.

      So, if you want to have a discussion in the way the he seems to want to then I’m very happy to do so, but if you want to mindlessly repeat your allegations, then really, you just need to stop.

      And finally, stop avoiding questions. What is your relation to Engage. And what are your academic affiliations? And also, how old are you?

  25. Absolute Observer Says:

    “I have had discussions with plenty of people on this website, without them resorting to saying that I am being racist. You are the first to do so.”

    Maybe Philip hasn’t relied on racist arguments to make the point he has wanted to, unlike in the present case

    Evidently Philip has not read “the Israel Lobby” either that or he evidently has o understanding of what it says………that “the” Israel Lobby acts, and is effective, in misdirecting US national interests.

    I note also the way that Philip closes down “discussion” by smearing those who raise the question of antisemitism in relation to it by labelling it a “ridiculous charge of racism on his interlocutors”.

    Again, Philip refuses to even begin to think of how his arguments connect with established forms of antisemitism. Instead, he resorts against to the trope of the smear. Shameful

    • Philip Says:

      Seriously, if you’re just going to carry on like this, then please stop. You are just playing to the crowd, not addressing me in any meaningful way. Your comments are not even directed towards me, but rather to an audience. They read like Shakespearian asides.

      If you want to discuss, then please do. If you just want to make rhetorical points, then please don’t. If you want to accuse me of not having read certain articles, books, etc. then by all means do so. In this case you are wrong.

      So let me state again. I do not believe I have said or done anything antisemitic as defined by the standard set by the EU. Your case that I have rests on misrepresentations (why, I don’t know) of what I have said.

      Now, will you tell me your relation to Engage? And your academic affiliation. Are you affiliated with the University of Lancaster in any way?

  26. modernityblog Says:

    ” I have had discussions with plenty of people on this website, without them resorting to saying that I am being racist.”

    Phillip, you’re right.

    As I remember, from most of your exchanges at Engage (going back sometime) they seem to conclude with you being told to read more and think about the issues.

    I believe posters thought you had a habit of drawing crude or ill thought out conclusions.

    Little that you’ve written above would seem to dispel that notion.

    Might I recommend purchasing “Trials of the Diaspora by Anthony Julius”?

    Other posters at Engage might want to make suggestions for suitable inclusions in a booklist for you.

  27. Absolute Observer Says:

    “I do not believe I have said or done anything antisemitic as defined by the standard set by the EU.”

    Your endorsement of Walt and Mearsheimer, which you have not retracted, points to the opposite conclusion.

    And, as I have said, and as you refuse to understand, what you do or do not believe is hardly conclusive. (Please see several posts above).

    Now, on another matter.
    Having refused to answer your persistent hounding as to who I am and since you have become obsessed with who I am and may well think you know who I am, I am prepared to say the following to avoid any confusion with others that have at times posted on Engage (Following a search on Engage on “Lancaster University” I assume you mean “David M. Seymour”(http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=337).

    I have said elsewhere on Engage that I am not an academic, never have been and, all things being equal, is highly unlikely I ever will be!

    I am therefore not “affiliated with the University of Lancaster in any way” nor with any other university in the UK or elsewhere.

    I trust this is clear and brings an end to your incessant questioning that is, quite frankly bordering on intimidation.

    But, why should I be surprised that you resort to that tactic as well??

  28. Absolute Observer Says:

    Whilst I appreciate your need to divert from the matter at hand,
    p.5 of the Israel Lobby, want to play spot the difference ,Philip

    Having rejected all rational reasons what the US supports Israel,
    Walt and Mearsheimer state,

    “The real reason why Armerican politicians are so deferential is the political power of the Israel Lobby……..Democratics and Republicans alike fear the lobby’s clout. They all know that any politician who challenges its policies stand little chance of being elected. “,

    “You have argued on more than one occassion on Engage that the US govt.’s line on Israel is due to an “Israel Lobby” (see your own webpages) and that US political parties need to pander to Jews to ensure election”

    And
    “Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”

    “Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.”

  29. Absolute Observer Says:

    The Lobby and the Iraq War
    The neoconservatives were not the only part of the lobby pushing for war with Iraq p.241.

    Here, is the argument that the neocons (i.e government adviors) were all part of “the lobby”; that the Lobby and the goverment are all but indistinguishable in the reasons for the war in Iraq.

    “Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”

    And,
    Lindbergh’s de Moins speech,

    “The second major group I mentioned is the Jewish.

    It is not difficult to understand why Jewish people desire the overthrow of Nazi Germany. The persecution they suffered in Germany would be sufficient to make bitter enemies of any race.

    No person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany. But no person of honesty and vision can look on their pro-war policy here today without seeing the dangers involved in such a policy both for us and for them. Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way for they will be among the first to feel its consequences.

    Tolerance is a virtue that depends upon peace and strength. History shows that it cannot survive war and devastations. A few far-sighted Jewish people realize this and stand opposed to intervention. But the majority still do not.

    Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.

    I am not attacking either the Jewish or the British people. Both races, I admire. But I am saying that the leaders of both the British and the Jewish races, for reasons which are as understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war.

    We cannot blame them for looking out for what they believe to be their own interests, but we also must look out for ours. We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to destruction.”

    And
    “Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”

    Still not enough to make you thinks about your own “beliefs”?

  30. Absolute Observer Says:

    Oh well, off the front page now, so that’s that.

    Do try to listen next time, it will save an awful lot of time.


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