How NOT to combat “antisemitism”

6 Jan

Below is a Facebook exchange, I think self explanatory, from a few days ago. Let me say right out I never set eyes on any of its three participants, though last week Ian Jenkins sent a friend request after I’d linked a comment to a steel city post. As I always do, I checked his FB history – and was happy to accept so clear thinking an individual whose views fall well within my ‘sphere of acceptability’.1

I’m posting the exchange, happened upon just now, because the manner of engagement of one participant exemplifies in microcosm – by her use of smear, non sequitur, ad hominem, dodging of valid questions and breathtaking victimhood – what is so wrong and corrosive about Israel’s propaganda war, waged on those who stand with a Palestinian people the Western world – or to be precise its rulers – chose long ago to throw under a bus.

More positively, I’m also posting because the patience and dignity of Mr Jenkins serve as model to which we might all aspire in adversarial exchanges, be they online or off.

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Note: for all its irrational subjectivity, Kathy Gray’s assertion – if I feel I’ve been bullied then I have been – echoes a depressingly widespread sentiment in our brave new world of identity politics totalitarianism. That totalitarianism has other faces. I am not transphobic but do find ludicrous – and to the extent it is given time of day, frightening – any assertion that if I identify as a woman, so trifling a detail as possessing a penis shouldn’t stand in the way of my right to use women’s changing rooms and showers.

But I digress …

(Ian’s FB image showed until recently an Afro Caribbean man. I can’t speak for Kathy – who for all her faults doesn’t strike me as racist – but I assume that’s because he is one.2)

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Barely a million miles away, most who read my posts on Gilad Atzmon and the cowardice (at best) of Islington Town Council will be thrilled to learn that Santa Claus showed up for the gig instead …

… or as the Islington Gazette put it:

Ho, ho and thrice ho!

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  1. I should clarify. I don’t make agreement with me a criterion for accepting or making FB friend requests. I have learned, however, that some people stand so far from my own worldview as to make discussion a waste of time for them and me both.
  2. I assumed wrong. A few hours after I’d posted, Ian Jenkins told me he is white – and that avatar none other than the Godfather of Soul, one James Brown.

15 Replies to “How NOT to combat “antisemitism”

  1. I had the slightly paranoid thought reading this exchange that “Kathy Gray” might be salaried to do this and is working from a script, like a telemarketer

    • Well if I were a savvy Zionist I might wonder whether “Kathy” is pro-Palestinian and false-flagging to bring Zionism into disrepute!

  2. this “kathy” comes across as a robot, just coming up with formula responses that divert from the issues at stake. I wouldn’t have engaged to the extent Ian does. I don’t think “she” is exactly typical of some of the equally hysterical, but at least kind of comprehensible, arguments from zionists. If she is real and genuinely suffering from a mental health issue then I would not engage over FB as I am not sure that is the kindest thing to do.

    • Thanks Sue. If this person has mental health issues I’ll be mortified to have posted this. I don’t know how to make such a call though, and beyond the fact we can never be sure what is going on with social media – even “Kathy’s” gender – I’m inclined to take her at face value. I’ve been on the receiving end of similarly irrational abuse re Brexit (from fellow Remain voters) and Trump (from ‘liberals’ convinced HRC was the better choice and willing to rain vitriol on all who begged to differ) and while we can never rule out genuine illness, it’s not – rightly or wrongly – the first call I’d make. The presumption of sanity, we might say!

      Me, I think Ian showed restraint. And Kathy does so exemplify what he was referring to in his original post …

      … hey, just thought of summat! You don’t suppose Ian set it up do you? That ‘Ian’ and ‘Kathy’ are one and the same? Only kidding – I think.

        • I know Ian! And think you know I know. I was making a wider point, through jest. In any case, as mog notes, the exchange is useful as succinct example of all the cynical (or stupid) attacks on anti-zionists as antisemitic. So many screamers, and in so short an exchange

  3. Normally would say that these exchanges are so tedious to read that I simply ignore them, tune them out.
    However, this was such a typical example and one that shows the pattern with clarity (as deliniated by Jenkins at the end) that it is actually quite useful.
    This ‘playing the victim’ is something that has been adopted widely by those attacking (non-identitarian) Left politics.
    There is something profound behind the whole thing.

    • I agree with all you say, mog. KG’s stance exemplifies with rare focus the debate tactics of many who target the Left. It’s not just Israel. I’ve been called ‘human excrement’ for failing to see Libya wrecker HRC as a manifestly superior person who’d have made a better president than idiot Trump. I’ve seen similar vilifaction, from Remain voters who believe – Greece and TTIP already forgotten – the EU stands for internationalism, of those who voted Leave in the Brexit Referendum. So regardless of who “Kathy Gray” might be, the interesting thing is the arguments she uses, not the person.

      Ta for the Foucault link (amended to open as a separate window and embed in your text). He’s the only postmodernist I have any time for.

  4. Things continue to degenerate.
    Celebrity TV personality and bizarro political commentator, Rachel Riley’s claims that Noam Chomsky is ‘antisemitic’. Check out her affilliations….
    QI host and celebrity ‘brainbox’, Stephen Fry wades in to support her after people object to the ridiculous smear.
    https://twitter.com/stephenfry/status/1082723683389456384
    Soon, anyone on the Left who doesn’t want to remain in the EU will be branded a Jew hating racist fanatic.
    Mark my words.
    ‘Strange times’ doesn’t really cover it.

    • Wow! Like a stopped clock, right twice a day, the clever but ridiculous Julie Burchill hits the nail on the head from time to time. “Stephen Fry”, she once said, “is a stuoid person’s idea of an intelligent man”.

      • I think Fry epitomises a certain cultural framing of ‘intelligence’ that I have grown up with, perhaps summed up by words like, ‘knowledgeable’, ‘erudite’, ‘articulate’.
        What I think the West has lost sight of is wisdom – that can only come as a result of self reflection. Fry is not wise.
        This is another of Atzmon’s points : that the Athenian tradition of discourse and free thought is being replaced in our culture by an attitude of prescriptive and inscribed ‘law’ – to which we either subscribe/ submit, or, face exclusion and excommunication.
        Galloway steps in to defend Chomsky’s defamed reputation on twitter. Riley responds by calling him ‘antisemitic scum’.
        It is the end of the debate. Either bow down before zionist power unquestioningly and/ or accept that any exchange is permanently over with these people (who happen to be most of the Establishment).

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