Monday, September 18, 2006


One hurdle out the way, another to go.

Halfway through sorting out *stuff*.

Let's just say the past four years haven't been in vain.

Now to sort out work shenanigans.

Back on Friday.

PS You'll notice things only go a tad crazy when I'm too busy to blog (or attend Darfur rallies).

PPS Would now be a bad time to publish a quote about "pigs and monkeys" out of context? If people are going to get upset and start killing nuns over the words of 14th Century Byzantine Emperors, why not pull for the Big Daddy and get the supposed words of God out in the open?

I notice the usual suspects (see HP comments around March 06) aren't asking for the press not to reprint what the Pope said for fear of "poking a stick". Not this time. After their hysteria about the Danish cartoons I'd have thought they would, at least for consistency. Hypocrites.

As any fule kno: Jihad is the crunk of Islam.

Rationalists: there's work to be done. Christ.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


True to form, Chomsky's chum Norman Finkelstein reacts in predictable fashion to the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism in the UK.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm snowed under at the moment so don't have time to give the article the thorough fisking it deserves. Perhaps one of the heavyweights over here could do the honours?

Here's my two-penneth for starters.

Disclaimer: Muscular Liberals is not responsible for any damage to any computer equipment as a result of visitors reading the following - you have been warned...

He begins:
A central thesis of my book Beyond Chutzpah is that whenever Israel faces a public relations debacle its apologists sound the alarm that a "new anti-Semitism" is upon us. So, predictably, just after Israel faced another image problem due to its murderous destruction of Lebanon, a British all-party parliamentary group led by notorious Israel-firster Denis MacShane MP (Labor) released yet another report alleging a resurgence of anti-Semitism.

An All Party Parliamentary Report that was started last year was published to deliberately coincide with the ending of hostilities of a war begun by Hezbollah and finished by international pressure, to draw attention away from the results of Israel's actions in Lebanon? This Zionist Lobby is more powerful than I thought.

Quite how the All Party group knew in advance when the war would end is a mystery, unless Finkelstein is suggesting that the Zionist Lobby told the group to hold off and wait for a nod and a wink before publishing.

As Malachi who tipped me off on the article writes:
On this basis it sounds like MacShane and his committee were better informed than the Israeli cabinet!

In summary, Finkelstein appears to be saying
  • End of Israel's war with Hezbollah
  • Report on antisemitism in the UK
  • What are the odds of those two things occurring in the same month?
  • It's a conspiracy!!!
No doubt he'd have said the same had the Report been published during the war or even before it. That's the beauty of conspiracy theories - one size fits all.

The man is beyond parody.

More on conspiracy theory loons here, courtesy of David T at HP.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I've never bothered with Premiership Fantasy Football - blogging and whatnot already takes up far too much of my time.

But last year Doughnut Boy Andy suggested I have a go at the UEFA Champions League equivalent. No transfers to worry about until the knock-out stages and the system takes care of injuries and bans for you automatically if you can't be bothered.

Well worth a go.

Any readers who are up for it are welcome to set themselves up a team, drop me a line and I'll sort out a league.

From start to finish it took me about 30 minutes to sort out. Bear in mind that last year I came either 6th or 7th out of 8 teams, so the competition's not too hot. Something to do with me starting a week late and blowing my cash on what seemed to be a cheap Dennis Bergkamp, forgetting that, like Mr T, he doesn't do the plane thing. That was the away games gone then. Dang.

If you're up for it, start here but be quick - the matches start tonight...


Assuming the role of The Thunderer, Oliver Kamm doesn't mince his words in today's Times - Far From Rocket Scientists:
If the Greenham women’s influence on disarmament was nil, their political effect was marginally greater. With other protesters, they tied the Labour Party to an electorally suicidal anti-nuclear policy for a decade, and debased feminism by associating it with bizarrely traditional sexual stereotypes. Whereas in 1914 the suffragettes Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst had urged a “women’s right to serve”, the Greenham campaigners emphasised women’s virtues as nurturers and listeners.

Brian Walden on ITV asked one campaigner how a Soviet military assault should be countered. Her answer — “through love” — replaced what should have been ethical reflection with mawkish anti-intellectualism.

The Greenham women undoubtedly paid a personal price and endured public derision for their stand. Both were of their own making, and the second is well worth reviving.

Monday, September 11, 2006



Remember this lot, who organised the Iran Freedom Concert back in March to highlight the Iranian government's human rights abuses and to express solidarity with Iranian students?

Well it looks like they,The HAMSA and both the Harvard College Democrats and Republicans did themselves proud yesterday, organising a rally protesting against Mohammed Khatami's visit to Harvard.

Reports and more photos here and here, courtesy of Technicalities and Publius Pundit respectively. (Hat tip: Big Glenn.)

Nice one.

Update: Another report here, courtesy of Miss Kelly.

The Boston Herald has a report of the meeting itself, complete with bald-faced lying from Khatami over Iran's support for Hezbollah:
Khatami faced several pointed questions about Iran’s support for the anti-Israel Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which the United States has branded a terrorist organization.

“You’ve said you love Hezbollah,” asked a Harvard senior. “Do you still feel that way today?”

Khatami denied Iran had given aid to Hezbollah and painted the terror group as “a symbol of Lebanese resistance.”

“If we support Hezbollah, it is only spiritual support,” he insisted.
There's no mention of just how long his nose was by this point.

The editor, Jules Rittenden's reply is a good one - "Time to send message to Iran".


Sunday, September 10, 2006


Just finished watching "The Path to 9/11" and despite the arguments going on about its accuracy (Hint to those getting hot under the collar: it's a dramatisation, not a documentary - a little bit like that other big film about 9/11 which you didn't seem to object to at the time...), I thought it was rather good.

Apart from the blatant stereotyping of all East End Londoners as terrorists, that is.

I mean, you leave this guy for five minutes to mind your stall on the market:

and the next thing you know, he's running some bomb factory in the Philippines:

As if East Londoners know anything about making bombs.


He might not have been the most prolific Cif commentator, but it looks like Noam Chomsky has thrown in the towel and left the Guardian's blog.

This Cif thread which contained the remarkably revealing comment from katie182:
I was not always antisemitic but my views are changing!
appears to have been deleted (hat tip Barbara). It followed Chomsky's article: "Their View of the World is Through a Bombsight".

Perhaps the Guardian have been doing some spring-cleaning and purging their site of some of the more obnoxious threads? Judging by what remains on the rest of the blog, I doubt it. It seems it's only Uncle Choms' two articles that have disappeared from the face of the net.

Either way, now it doesn't even show up in Google's Cache and I can't find it using the WayBack machine either.

Good job I saved the lot.


Up to my ears in stuff to do and sadly writing Blogger posts comes somewhere towards the lower end of the list. Things are likely to be this way for a couple of weeks, so bear with me while I try to do my best to convince the Earth to rotate a little slower. I'll happily consider alternative approaches for squeezing more than 24 hours out of a day - to be honest I'm not having too much luck with my current tactic.

More for my own benefit than anyone else's, here's a round-up of the report from the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism in the UK (with several hat tips to Malachi).

For those without the time to spend perusing all 59 pages, the nice people at Engage have kindly summarised the whole thing over here.

(If you want the Full Monty, it's here, but it might take a little while for dial-uppers to download - you have been warned.)

In between all of last week's in-fighting, the PM's office issued the following statement on September 7th:
We condemn racism including anti-semitism in all its forms.

We believe the Government has a strong record in combating hate crime including anti-semitism and we will continue to work with the Jewish Community to address the issue.

We have co-operated in full with the cross party enquiry and we welcome publication of their report which we will give proper consideration before providing a more detailed response.
All very well and good. Let's see what that amounts to. Perhaps being a little harsher on Party members inviting extremists over for tea?

Norm has links to a fair bit of print coverage, so I'll point you in his direction rather than paste any more links than I have (not that I've ever mucked up my links, *ahem*).

For a short time you'll be able to hear a couple of debates on Radio 4's Today Programme that followed the report's publication: one between Steven Rose and Shalom Lappin, the other between Inayat Bunglawala and Iain Duncan Smith (RealPlayer required).

Norm has an interesting take on Steven Rose's stance in the first debate:
Rose agrees that it [antisemitism] is increasing. However, with only a few minutes to say his piece on the subject, how does he focus the responsibility for it? Not on those who attack Jews or hold prejudicial attitudes towards them. No, on the actions of the Israeli government; and then, when challenged by Humphrys with the observation that the government of Israel is not the same thing as Jewish people at large, on the 'Israel lobby' - who treat Judaism and Zionism, he says, Judaism and support for Israel, as identical, thereby making 'a rod for their own backs'.

Leave aside the elision there from the 'Israel lobby' to all those people on the receiving end of anti-Jewish hostility - like schoolchildren in Manchester. But if there's growing anti-Semitism it's due to a confusion perpetrated by Jews (those who don't agree with Steven Rose's views on Israel). On the resurgence of an age-old form of hatred, not one single word about any other source of it, and not one word of criticism or blame for anybody other than Jews. It's poisonous stuff.

How does an educated man come to be able to speak publicly like this? I can't pretend to know the answer, having no personal acquaintance with him. But here's a hypothesis. The clue could just lie in his reference to members of the aforesaid 'Israel lobby' attacking him as a 'self-hating Jew'. It's not a category I've ever been fond of or found useful, but that's by the by. What the remark suggests is that Rose might think the question concerning a rise in anti-Semitism is about him: about the arguments he's had and what's been said against him. It's a strikingly repellent kind of self-love, in fact, to go on radio to talk about a rather pressing problem, one that affects the lives and the sense of security of many people, and be unable to see that problem except through the lens of your own positioning in a nexus of argument and counter-argument.
David Hirsh also takes issue with Rose's comments:
Rose himself conflates "Israel Lobby" with "Jews" by arguing that "they" build a rod for thier own backs. The "Lobby" builds the rod but it is Jews in general ("their own backs") that get hit by it. So the "Lobby" has already become, in the way that Rose uses the term, a code-word for of Jews-in-general.

Rose does not think it important to discuss who is doing the hitting with this rod that "the lobby" has built for "their own backs". He is not interested in the responsibility of antisemites for antisemitism, or in the responsibility of Jews for opposing and confronting the antisemites.

Of course, this kind of thinking wasn't restricted to one dodgy academic on the Today Programme: the usual places were full of similar arguments.

He writes:
What we did is what Parliament exists to do. We examined a problem. We heard witnesses. We read submissions. One MP, the West Midlands Labour MP, Bruce George told one witness : "You are describing a Britain that my constituents do not know exists."

Precisely. There is a tiny slice of Britain - less than a quarter of a per cent of the population - who feel the quality of their lives, their right to their religion, their sense of history, the causes they support is being denied to them because they were born Jews, not Catholics, or Anglicans, or Muslims or Hindus.

I understand all the anger that people may feel about what happens overseas. Many hate America. But we do not throw bricks through schools for Americans in London or seek to desecrate the graves of Americans in Britain. My constituents of Kashmiri origin feel passionately about the behaviour of India in Kashmir. But this does not lead them to attack British Indians, or jostle a British Indian citizen who wears the marks of faith or community.
And yet, despite his plea:
I know what the comments below this short blog will be before they are posted. Can I just respectfully ask Cif readers to hold back a while and read our report.
it took less than an hour before someone with their finger on the pulse managed to completely misinterpret the report, remarking:
Looks to me worryingly like part of a campaign to make any criticism of Zionism or Israel a crime.
Regular commenter Berchmans wrote the following classic:
The present outbreak of anti semitism is a direct result of Israel slaughtering the Lebanese and the frustration caused by the refusal of the Jewish community to be at the forefront of condemnation of this.
This kind of thinking has become all too common, as the report points out.

Firstly, it should be noted that the same commenter has in the past (rightly) taken the position that British Muslims should not be held accountable for actions perpetrated by extremists in the name of their religion. Quite why the same should not hold for British Jews is not made clear. There are a couple of possible explanations for this kind of woolly thinking, neither of which are particular pleasant.

His qualifier later in the thread gives us a hint:
ISRAEL is the cause of the present wave of ANTISEMITISM.
If only he were in a minority of one on those boards. Kudos to those who have the time to spend addressing such prejudice on Cif on a regular basis - it must get rather tiring having to take on the same arguments day after day after day.

Internet polls tend not to be the most accurate devices known to man, so it's probably best not to read too much into the results of a poll from the BBC's Jeremy Vine show, but here they are anyway:
Do You Think Anti-Semitism Is On The Rise In Britain?
  • Yes 17%

  • No 83%
Total votes: 1455
Phew - that's all right then.

The final word goes to Hak:
The committee seems to have overlooked the 'fact' that it's Jews who 'cause' anti-Semitism. I heard an example of this form of 'analysis' from the lips of a journalist in the newsroom of a large public broadcaster:
You're asking for it really. If you didn't have security guards outside your schools and synagogues - like you think you're special or something - you wouldn't get attacked.
This admixture of 'classic' anti-Semitism with tall poppy syndrome - the idea that Jews have 'tickets on themselves' - may constitute an entirely Australian variant of the oldest hatred.
Presumably the aforementioned journalist is now out of a job. After all, we know who runs the media, right?

Monday, September 04, 2006


Spotted one interesting name amongst the fourteen terror suspects arrested over the weekend. From the Times:
A former henchman of Abu Hamza al-Masri is among the 14 men arrested in London on suspicion of involvement in terrorist recruiting.

Abu Abdullah, 42, assumed the leadership of the Supporters of Shariah group when Abu Hamza, the former imam of Finsbury Park mosque, was arrested in May 2004.

He is banned from almost every mosque in Britain but continues to preach an inflammatory message in private “study circles” and has attended camps in the grounds of the Jameah Islamiyah school.

Mr Abdullah, a father of four who is from a Turkish Cypriot family but was born in Britain, is a former youth football coach. He was often seen by Abu Hamza’s side when the cleric preached on the streets of Finsbury Park. Last month The Sunday Times reported comments by Mr Abdullah in which he described the July 7 bombers as “my honourable brothers in Islam” and said that suicide bombing was “halal”, meaning permissible under Islamic law.

He added: “The martyr that goes about his enemies is going to shield his people. He doesn’t have weapons of mass destruction, he only has household chemicals . . . The West is escalating their killing of Muslims. We have a right to defend ourselves. If I had the means to go back there [Afghanistan] and kill an American or British soldier I would love to do so.”
Of course he would. Just like Azzam Tamimi wants to go to Palestine to be a suicide bomber.

Check this CNN interview with the brazen Abdullah and consider why the police might have been keeping an eye on him:

I'm not sure what to make of the commenter who states:
This man should be stoned to death for defiling Islam. Insha'allah
Not the most helpful solution, that.

For more on Abu Abdullah, there's this PBS interview from 2004 in which he states:
And a quick quote -- I'd like to put this as well for a message to my brothers and sisters around the world that calls themselves moderates. I urge them to read the Quran and understand instead of passing a judgment without reading the Quran, because Allah mentioned jihad in the Quran 26 times, and Allah mentioned quital 79 times. Quital is fighting by a physical fighting -- 79 times.
Nice bloke.