Monday 25 April 2016

Opposing racism

I have spent my life opposing racism. Until my dying day I will be opposed to racism in any form."

“I’ve fought extremism all my life”

I’ve always been a strong campaigner against racism and fascism in all its forms.
 Malia Bouattia.

All these people are spending their lives fighting racism and extremism, so there's nothing  to worry  about. Move along.

“In 2011 she claimed, for example, that Birmingham University had become something of a Zionist outpost” 
said Jo Coburn, introducing a short clip of Malia Bouattia addressing the NUS conference last week.
“I know that many of you will have seen my name dragged through the mud by right-wing media. You’ll have read that I’m a terrorist, that my politics is driven by hate. How wrong that is. I know too well the price of terrorism; the consequences of violence and oppression. I saw a country ripped apart by terror and was pushed into exile by (indecipherable) I know too well the damage done by racism and persecution I faced it every day.......and I will continue to fight  in all its forms whoever its target, whether it’s antisemitism Islamophobia, Xenophobia or any other bigoted idea and I’m so glad we passed a motion (indecipherable) 

said the newly elected president of the NUS in trembly voice, and towards the finale, a little stilted arm-waving.  
I’m not sure who from the right-wing press (the Telegraph?) accused her of being a terrorist but I suspect it was no-one. Someone might have impudently mentioned that she blocked a motion condemning ISIS, which might be Islamophobic.

I understand that she experienced “a hail of gunfire” as a child, but her by her own admission it doesn’t look as if she was exactly “pushed into exile”. 
 “It wasn’t the bombs and the bullets, it was the fear for our education that drove them to leave everything behind” “They taught me that education is key to liberation, that it would give me the power to change the world.” 

Not necessarily in a good way;

In the studio with Jo Coburn were Nadhim Zahawi MP (Con) and Chris Bryant MP (lab) and Jonty Leibowitz of Cambridge University.

Jo Coburn turned to Christy McMorrow, president of the Sheffield University Students' Union,  whose face appeared on a screen. He was speaking from Sheffield. 

Christy McMorrow
Why do you think Malia Bouattia called Birmingham University something of a Zionist outpost?”
said Jo Coburn
“Well obviously a lot of this ties up with campaigners for the rights of Palestinian self-determination and Palestinian liberation. Malia probably thought that on campus there was a lot of support for the state of Israel and in her campaigning for the rights of Palestinians and for Palestinian self-existence she found a lot of opposition, and I think that is where that came form. Perhaps the language could have been better.” 

“Zionism. That is used to explicitly mean right-wing Zionism or support for the current State of Israel. That’s not always accurate but I think Malia has already come forward and said she wants to talk to students”  
If Christy McMorrow is representative of your average student, as I suspect he is, I think the message is that he means well, but doesn’t have much of a clue. He knows next to nothing of the situation in the Middle East, besides the deafening racket made by Malia’s friends from the PSC and their ilk.

Jonty Leibowitz

Jonty Leibowitz; Cambridge University Society,  said:
“everyone knows that antisemitism isn’t anti Zionism and anti Zionism isn’t antisemitism....but sometimes they do conflate” 
Everyone doesn’t know that, though. Jonty is an unapologetic lefty, and sadly not a very impressive spokesperson for any Jewish student who happens to support the State of Israel, current, past or future. 

Nadhim Zahawi said:
 “if we mean by Zionist someone who wants to protect the State of Israel it should not be a negative [...] the implication there is that Zionism is a bad thing”  “Malia would be wise to dissociate herself from these comments.”

Chris Bryant tried to play down the Labour Party’s dalliance with antisemitism.
 “Antisemitism is always wrong. It was wrong when the Tory party was advocating it in the 30s, it’s wrong when people in the Labour party espouse antisemitic views - or near antisemitic views - today”

“And is this what this is?

“I’m not quite sure. It’s bordering on the edge, and that’s why i think she’d be wise to...”


“Look at different ways of expressing herself, because - look, I think we do bandy the word Zionist around so it almost sounds like a kind of pejorative term, and that’s the real danger here - I mean incidentally I think this applies to  how we treat Muslims in politics as well. [... ]Sadiq Khan[.........] 

“I count myself as a Labour friend of Israel and a Labour friend of Palestine in the Middle East and I want the two-state solution to succeed. It pains me that we are now in a situation where Israel, partly thanks to Netanyahu’s government, which I dislike 
(brief shot of Jonty nodding) 
and I think people on the left should be perfectly free to criticise Netanyahu’s government, that doesn’t make you antisemitic. My anxiety is that there seems so little prospect of peace.”

 The entire group, bar one, seemed to hold the view that Jewish students couldn’t be held responsible for the ‘current’, (extremely disagreeable) state of Israel, and we’re supposed to think that’s magnanimous, liberal thinking.
The only participant in that discussion who seemed to know what he was talking about was the least likely of the lot, even if it would be deemed racist of me to say so. 
(It was, of course Nadhim Zahawi MP.) 

 Chris Bryant is smug enough to describe himself as a friend of Israel. Superficial brownie points for that. But he blames PM Netanyahu, solely,  for the absence of peace. He’s proud of himself for uncoupling Jews from the Israeli government he dislikes so much, and thinks everyone should do likewise. Do not conflate the two, he warns. At the same time he thinks mentioning Sadiq Khan’s links with extremists is racist and we should not be ‘perfectly free ‘ to criticise him for such things.

In other words we’re free to criticise the Israeli government, but not, somehow the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas. We can’t criticise the real obstacle to peace in the Middle East.  We can’t mention the elephantine problem of antisemitism amongst the Muslim and Muslim-sympathising student bodies, let alone criticise it.


  1. The only thing - and I stress the only thing - preventing peace in the Middle East between Israel and its Arab neighbours is Islam's supremacist ideology which spreads hatred of Kaffirs generally but specifically in relation to Jews (it seems because they offered violent resistance to his totalitarian movement and rejected his theology). It's notable that the NUS President, none of the BBC Guests and the BBC journalists did not (and never ever do) refer to Kaffir-hatred. It is there in black and white in the Koran, it is preached every day from Mosque pulpits, it is embodied in Sharia law, it features prominently in Islamic media and it is a part of everday culture in Muslim lands. In other words, it is endemic among something like one billion people on the planet. And yet, and yet, our highly intelligent and perspicacious politicians and analysts in the media have never come across it! Or maybe they have and for some unfathomable reason don't think it is important that 1 billion plus people on the planet are taught through upbringing and education to have a visceral hatred of the other 5 billion.

  2. At least the BBC is covering this now. It's a vast improvement from how they used to avoid this stuff like the plague and even actively censor news like this. And it's nice to hear the BBC allowing someone to say that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism can be conflated. Even if it was said by what appears to be a stock pantomime caricature. Again, that was never allowed previously, and Beeboids would fight against it.

    The genie can't be put back in the bottle now. We'll see how the BBC handles this issue going forward.

    1. Well yes, in a sense good they are addressing the issue but, sorry, the more I have looked at the way the BBC operate, the more I have become cynical. I don't think the DG suddenly sat up in bed one morning and said "My God, we've been ignoring the growth of anti-semitism under the guise of anti-zionism." I trace this back to the Charlie Hebdo/Kosher Shop attacks in Paris. I think it was at that point that the BBC realised this was a threat to "the project" (that rather sentimental mix of multicultural, pro-migration, globalising, and secular pan-Europeanism). Although the Kosher shop attack did not get much publicity they realised the reaction of European Jewish communities to that horrible targetting was quite profound.

      I think - presumably through editorial discussions and, even more so, private discussions the line came down "We need to do more to distinguish between genuine anti-zionism and completely repugnant anti-semitism."

      But the "more" has strict limits. No exegesis on the Koran or Hadith for example. No MEMRI style exposure of anti-Jewish propaganda in the Arab media. And little exploration of what is taught in UK Mosques from Fife to Folkestone.

      Just trimming of the borders I would say - they think NUS presidents should definitely set an example in being good liberal social democrats of a kind the BBC approves of.

      As often happens in history, people who think they are in control are not actually in control. That is the BBC's fate. It is marching around trying to order reality to accord with its wishes, but it ain't.

    2. Clearly events have forced the BBC to allow discussion of the topic at last, rather than someone of integrity having an epiphany. They've been very slow to react, so editorial meetings have probably been torturous.

      I realize the BBC cannot go into the anti-Jewish propaganda or discussion of its existence even before 1948. That would not only bring accusations of pro-Zionist bias - the thing they fear most, above all else - but would also cause outrage amongst BBC staff who believe, as Tim Willcox does, that the hatred of and violence against Jews everywhere is perfectly understandable because of Israel's sins, nothing to do with Islam, and anything in Arab media is entirely justified. I am convinced that feeling is widespread at the BBC.

      I'm saying only that it's a welcome change that they're even allowing someone to say it on air at last.

  3. I saw the interview and among other things Christy McMorrow seemed to suggest that a socialist perspective was the default position for the NUS. He failed to directly answer any of the questions put to him. And what exactly is right wing Zionism?

  4. Few people appreciate Melanie Phillips comments in the Jerusalem Post that " ANTI-SEMITISM IS NOT merely one of many prejudices. It has unique features, the same ones that characterize the demonization of Israel. Both are irrational obsessions consisting entirely of grotesque lies and libels. Both accuse a group of people of a conspiracy of evil of cosmic proportions. Both accuse those people of committing abuses of which they are not only innocent, but are, in fact, the victims."

    Yesterday, an MP accused Philip Green of handing over the BHS pensioners like Judas for 30 pieces of silver and of course the BBC reported his statement. This analogy shows Green's actions as part of Jewish greed and disloyalty.

  5. We see the way the BBC is spinning this in Never Again: Fear and Faith in Paris (Executive Producer - Aqil Ahmed), broadcast this evening.

    It was really one long hymn to multiculturalism. Its solution to the problems of multiculturalism? More multiculturalism.

    The central thesis was that the more multicultural you are the less likely you are to suffer a terror attack. No real evidence was given for this, except it was implied there had been fewer attacks in the UK. True, perhaps, but I think if you looked at the number of interrupted terror plots (IIRC it's something like 500 since 2005) then I wouldn't be surprised if the UK is ahead of France. But the programme wasn't really about evidence - it was all assertion (mixed in with some isolated examples of happy co-operation between members of different faiths).

    The only slight ray of light was a reference to anti-Jewish passages in the Koran - a rare admission - but there might have been a subliminal message there.

    1. Ah, so the BBC and Labour started pushing for multiculturalism as a reaction to and recipe to prevent another 7/7? The girls of Rotherham and Rochdale, and Drummer Rigby's family will be pleased to hear it, I'm sure.

  6. I almost choked on my cornflakes this morning. I turned on the radio to hear Nick Robinson on Today, Radio 4 (about 20 mins from the end) admitting there was concern about BBC's biased coverage of the Referendum! A microsecond later I realised his concern was that it was giving too much coverage to the Leave campaign and not enough to the great and the good of the globalising elite when they order us to Remain. I then realised he was interviewing one of those who consider themselves incomparably great and good: Lord "Chris" Patten.

    There was absolutely no defendable rationale for this interview during the run up to the most important constitutional referendum ever held in the UK.

    Ostensibly it was about the Tory Party but its real purpose seemed to be to give Lord Patten lots of
    unchallenged air time to rubbish his opponents in the Tory Party who support independence for the UK, to propagandise on behalf of the Remain campaign, to defend the BBC and to suggest that the BBC was giving excessive coverage of the Leave campaign.

    Un-effing believable.

    This amounted to corruption. I can't believe that Patten (left wing Tory) is anything other than a close pal of Robinson (left wing Tory) and that this was intended to throw weights on to the Remain side of the scales. Note also the very chummy style of interviewing: "Is there anything you would like to add...?" style of interview from the 1950s.

    1. I'm filing this under 'Complaints From Both Sides'. The only reason there might be too much coverage of the Leave campaign is because the BBC spends so much time and effort attempting to dismiss and discredit it, and much less time debunking Leave claims.

      Craig's Newsnight numbers show Nick Robinson is giving credence to false claim for a start. And isn't Patten the recipient of a fat EU pension and has a vested interest, about which the BBC is required to give a 'health warning' according to their own guidelines?


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