Category Archives: Radicalism

The Problem With J Street

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[Imaged swiped from the Sultan]

J Street was ostensibly formed to be a critical, pro-Israel voice in the Jewish community. This critical voice was something the organizers and supporters of J Street thought was missing in contemporary discourse, in particular around the peace process and the building of settlements in the so-called “occupied territories” aka Judea and Samaria. However, since its formation, J Street has emerged as a lobbying arm for the Obama administration and consistently taken positions that are against the security interests of Israel.

James Kirchick writing in the Forward notes:

Both Obama and J Street have fixated upon the subject of settlements. Both seem to believe that a settlement freeze holds the key to unlocking Middle East — if not global — peace. In their analysis, only American pressure can lead to a solution, as the Israelis are too hidebound and paranoid to understand what is in their own best interest. (Indeed, Obama reportedly told the assembled Jewish leaders that Israel needs “to engage in serious self-reflection” — something at which our president, as the author of not one but two memoirs, can claim not inconsiderable expertise.)

Who keeps preventing the full flowering of the necessary American leadership? In the J Street narrative, it’s establishment Jewish organizations, which distort American foreign policy by shielding Israel from pressure that would otherwise lead to peace. And who better to counter the influence of the so-called “Israel Lobby” than other Jews? J Street and the constellation of far-left “pro-Israel” organizations put a kosher stamp of approval on Obama’s bizarre hectoring and moral equivalence.

To this end, J Street seems to spend almost all of its resources bashing supporters of Israel. Those who disagree with the organization’s positions are routinely denounced as “right-wing” or “extremist.” Rather than draw attention to the murderous antisemitism, terrorism and impending nuclear-armed theocracy that Israel must confront, J Street prefers to churn out countless blog posts, press releases and op-eds denouncing the people who it believes are the real impediments to peace: stalwart defenders of Israel like Pastor John Hagee, Senator Joe Lieberman and former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

Moshe Kapinski (Israpundit) is even more critical:

Throughout Jewish history the embattled people of Israel have developed conditions and neuroses very similar to victims of abuse. At times, they have begun to blame themselves for the hatred that they have experienced hurled against them. At other times, they have begun to assume that if they would adopt more universal ideals and become more connected to the greater whole they would cease to be persecuted. As a result of such a desire they have eschewed uniqueness and national identity for the safe anonymity of “sameness”.

There is nothing inherently wrong in looking for commonality and initiating bridge building. In fact, the building of bridges of understanding between peoples is one of the critical goals of mankind’s destiny and purpose. Yet, the collapse of identity and the slipping into the morass of blandness and anonymity has become a disaster, and an ever-present danger for the Jewish people.

There is an even darker side to the phenomenon. Throughout history, some of the greatest enemies of the Jewish people have been Jews who so wanted to identify with the world that the result was a deep hatred within themselves for Judaism and Jewish destiny. Some of the greatest persecutors of the Jewish people have been people of Jewish descent.

How sad and how true. I recently finished Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin’s Why the Jews: The Reasons for Antisemitism. It is a bit general but the authors make some important points, especially regarding the role of radical left-wing Jews (what the authors call “non-Jewish Jews”) in promoting antisemitism. They write:

How is one to explain Jews who devote their lives to hurting Jews–such as professors Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and other radical Jews? The question demands an answer. Among no group in the world are there so many individuals who so single-mindedly attempt to damage the group into which they were born…

How does one explain all these radical Jews–a group that in terms of self-loathing may be unique in the world?

These Jews themselves have an answer–they are morally enlightened, while the bulk of Jewry is morally benighted. They see Israel as Nazi-like because they have the moral clarity that the rest of us lack.

As I mentioned in a comment at Bob’s, there have always been Jews willing to sell their people out. Sadly, there probably always will. It is part and parcel of our history and I don’t see it stopping any time soon. Not when people on the left continually present the Palestinians as victims (and therefore worthy of solidarity) and Israelis as imperialists, occupiers and European settlers. I am heartened most Israelis have finally recognized the extent of this nonsense on the left, even if far lefty Jews like J-Street and their supporters continue to believe it.

Read more:

James Kirchick on J Street’s lies

Sultan Knish: What is J Street?

Polish Anti-Authoritaran Leszek Kolakowski Passes On

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Leszek Kolakowski

“Freedom is always vulnerable and its cause never safe”–Leszek Kolakowski

Polish anti-authoritarian historian and theorist Leszek Kolakowski has passed away on Friday, June 17, at the age of 81. Kolakowski was Senior Research Fellow Emeritus at All Souls College, Oxford. The Library of Congress awarded him the first John W. Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Human Sciences.

If you are unfamiliar with the man, he was a supporter of Solidarity and penned the magnificent three-volume Main Currents of Marxism: Its Rise, Growth and Dissolution (1976-78), one of the best texts I have ever read on the subject. Kolakowski argued that the barbarity of Stalinism and other communist states were no aberation from Marxism but the logical conclusion of the application of Marx’s concepts. Some of his other works are The Individual and Infinity (1958), The Philosophy of Existence, the Defeat of Existence (1965), Husserl and the Search for Certitude (1975), If There is no God (1982), Metaphysical Horror (1988).

The Library of Congress website notes:

The relationships between freedom and belief, examined in many different contexts, have been lifelong themes of his scholarly work, and are displayed fully in a wide range of essays written in a non-technical language and accessible to a wide range of readers. In his, “The Death of Utopia Reconsidered” (1983), he explains his view of philosophy:

The cultural role of philosophy is not to deliver the truth but to build the spirit of truth, and this means never to let the inquisitive energy of mind go to sleep, never to stop questioning what appears to be obvious and definitive, always to defy the seemingly intact resources of common sense, always to suspect that there might be “another side” in what we take for granted, and never to allow us to forget that there are questions that lie beyond the legitimate horizon of science and are nonetheless crucially important to the survival of humanity as we know it.

What Kolakowski exemplifies and defends is the treatment of every individual as a rational and freely acting subject, aware that there is a spiritual side of life, able to have faith, yet eschewing absolute certainty of either an empirical or transcendental sort. It is the essence of a vibrant human culture to honor the universality of human rights while welcoming conflict of values, and repeated self- questioning, with what he calls “an inconsistent scepticism:”

I do not believe that human culture can ever reach a perfect synthesis of its diversified and incompatible components. Its very richness is supported by this very incompatibility of its ingredients. And it is the conflict of values, rather than their harmony, that keeps our culture alive.

Check out this conversation between Kolakowski and Danny Postel from Daedlus (excerpt):

dp: Your less than euphoric feelings about the Western Left were strongly colored by your year in Berkeley in 1969–1970. Tzvetan Todorov describes a similar experience, of fleeing a Communist country–in his case, Bulgaria–only to find himself in a heavily Communist intellectual milieu in Paris. What was Berkeley like for you?

lk: I found the so-called student movement simply barbaric. There are of
course ignorant young people at all times and in all places. But in Berkeley their ignorance was elevated to the level of the highest wisdom. They wanted to ‘revolutionize’ the university in such a way that they wouldn’t have to learn anything. They had all sorts of silly proposals. For instance, they wanted professors to be appointed by students, and students to be examined by other students. I remember one leaflet issued by the black student movement asserting that the libraries contained nothing but “irrelevant
white knowledge.”

[read it all here]

Read more:

The Death of Utopia Reconsidered” (Tanner Lectures on Human Values, Australian National University, June 22, 1982)

How to be a Conservative-Liberal-Socialist

Roger Kimball’s obit at Pajamas Media

Another obit at Inside Higher Ed

And one more from Democracy Digest

More added via Martin in the Margins and Poumista:

Andrew Murphy at Harry’s Place

Hitchens

Michael Weiss (Snarksmith)

Nick Cohen at Standpoint

Remembering the Victims of 7-7-05

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Names of the 52 victims (h/t The New Current):

James Adams, 32
Samantha Badham, 36
Lee Baisden, 34
Phil Beer, 22
Ania Brandt, 43
Michael Stanley Brewster, 52
Ciaran Cassidy, 22
Benedetta Ciaccia, 30
Rachelle Chung For Yuen, 27
Elizabeth Daplyn, 26
Jon Downey, 34
Richard James Ellery, 21
Anthony Fatayi-Williams, 25
David Foulkes, 22
Arthur Edlin Frederick, 60
Karolina Gluck, 29
Jamie Gordon, 30
Richard Gray, 41
Gamze Gunoral, 24
Lee Harris, 30
Giles Hart, 55
Marie Joanne Hartley, 34
Miriam Hyman, 32
Slimane Ihab, 19
Ojara Ikeagwu, 55
Shahara Aqhter Islam, 20
Neetu Jain, 36
Emily Jenkins, 24
Adrian Johnson, 37
Helen Jones, 28
Susan Levy, 50
Sam Ly, 28
Shelley Mather, 26
Michael Matsushita, 37
James Stuart Mayes, 28
Anne Moffat, 48
Colin Morley, 52
Behnaz Mozzaka, 47
Jenny Nicholson, 24
Michelle Otto, 46
Shynuja Parathasangary, 30
Philip Stuart Russell, 28
Anat Rosenberg, 29
Atique Sharifi, 24
Christian Small, 28
Fiona Stevenson, 29
Monika Suchoka, 25
Carrie Taylor, 24
Mala Trivedi, 51
Laura Webb, 29
William Wise, 54
Gladys Wundowa, 50

Here are a variety of posts:

I Still Remember 7 July

Jawa Report

Jams (The Poor Mouth)

Normblog

Financial Times

The Independent

May Day Mayhem in San Francisco

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The forces of social revolution attacked luxury stores in San Francisco’s Union Square to celebrate International Workers Day. This is from SF-IMC:

This action carried no demands. Its choice of geography and timing speak for themselves. It is safe to say that it inflicted the most property destruction San Francisco has seen in a very long time in an area usually deemed to be off limits to street actions and demonstrations. There were no arrests and upwards of $50,000 worth of damage was unleashed in a controlled and methodical manner that required intense cooperation among participants.

As to how this benefits workers or anyone besides the vandals seeking a cheap thrill is unclear. They did provide this comment:

Like fishermen turned pirates off the horn of Africa who have hijacked a primary artery of global capital as they defend their lives and communities, mass coordinated anti capitalist attacks across Greece that illustrate how an anarchist initiated insurrection can bring a state to its knees, or crews of friends taking over the streets of downtown Oakland in resistance to police violence, the May Day mutiny in San Francisco has revealed weak points for us to take note of and exploit. The illusion of an invincible corporate state able to crush or undermine all its enemies has been shattered. The forces of repression have no real defense against our evolving rebellions.

Yes, by attacking Prada, Armani, and other expensive stores, these crusty black-bloc vandals have “the system” quaking in its very boots. I’m sure.

While the event has been covered in the local news, the national media has been largely silent. Less than a month ago the Tea Party protesters were presented as raving right-wing lunatics by the NYT and others. Yet the Tea Parties–acknowledging their incendiary rhetoric and the involvement of a variety of unsavory elements–were peaceful. Weeks later, you have radical leftists running through the streets of SF busting windows and acting the fool and the msm says “ho hum, nothing to report here.”

On a more positive note, Bob from Brockley has a roundup of May Day events in the UK. Here is a roundup of global May Day demonstrations from the BBC.

Jewish Voice for Peace: Standing up for Darfur is “Hateful”

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[h/t Blue Truth]

Just when you thought the people at the tragicomically misnamed “Jewish Voice for Peace” couldn’t stoop any lower into the gutter, they have decided to embarrass themselves with a rant breathtaking in its ignorance. Cecilie Surasky, posting on their house organ Muzzlewatch , decided that a group of Jewish students and Darfurian refugees demonstrating in Geneva against the farcical UN human rights conference were actually “being used as part of a hateful effort” by “scary right wing group StandWithUs“. She goes on to deplore that there was tension between African and Arab delegates over Darfur (not that there would be any good reason to have tension over the wholesale slaughter of Africans by an Islamic regime). She must have been paying close attention to all those conspiracy websites that blame the evil Zionists for the conspiracy to save Darfur.

[read it all]

ISM Activist Tristan Anderson Critically Injured

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I have been reading on the IMCs and in the mainstream media about Tristan Anderson, an International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist from the SF Bay Area who was hit in the head by a high-velocity tear gas canister while attending a protest in Ni’lin.

When I first read about his injuries in the NYT, the paper noted his previous stint as a tree-sitter at the University of California, Berkeley. The SF Chronicle published a similar story. As I dug deeper I discovered Mr. Anderson had much wider activist experience, including protests in Mexico and South America as well as the “Battle of Seattle.” Given my own history I wondered if I had met Tristan in the past, maybe at a demonstration or meeting the two of us had attended. I am fairly certain friends in the Bay Area know him and are concerned about his condition and hope he makes a speedy recovery.

YNet reports:

An American national was seriously injured Friday during a rally against the separation fence being built in the West Bank village of Naalin, apparently after being hit by a tear gas canister.

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) identified the man injured as Tristan Anderson, 37, of California. He was rushed to the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer for medical treatment.

The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Office confirmed the report, adding that the incident was being looked into. The army also said that some 400 left wing Israeli, Palestinian and foreign activists had arrived at the area while violating a closed military area order, and that some of them, who were veiled, had hurled stones at the security forces, who responded with crowd dispersal means.

Anarchists Against the Wall notes:

The impact of the projectile caused numerous condensed fractures to Anderson’s forehead and right eye socket. During the operation, part of his right frontal lobe had to be removed, as it was penetrated by bone fragments. A brain fluid leakage was sealed using a tendon from his thigh, and both his right eye and skin suffered extensive damage. The long term scope of all of Tristan’s injuries is yet unknown.

I could not help but notice numerous mainstream media reports of the ISM as a “pro-Palestinian” organization but mention nothing of the group’s anti-Zionism or the recklessness of its confrontations with the IDF. If you did not know any better you would think they represent the second coming of the Civil Rights Movement. However, the ISM is a known supporter of Palestinian terrorism and the vast majority of ISM activists are aware of this support when they volunteer.

Alex Stein (False Dichotmies) who has been to similar demonstrations in the past had this to say:

I can testify to the heavy-handed tactics employed by the IDF, tactics that are not employed when it comes to dealing with settler demonstrations…Most of the forty protesters were drawn from the anarchist movement, a fact reflected in their incendiary slogans, in which the IDF was frequently referred to as a “terrorist organisation”. While I do not share the politics of Anarchists against the Wall,  it’s a shame that other groups (Peace Now, Meretz etc) weren’t represented.

Regarding the settlers, how many times have their demonstrations resulted in the deaths of Israeli soldiers or civilians? If the answer is none, that might explain why the IDF is not as heavy-handed as when they are dealing with demos organized by Fatah, Hamas, or the ISM. As to why less radical groups avoid these gatherings, perhaps they are all too aware of the ISM’s tactics.

Here is comment from the Anderson family posted on Indybay:

We are deeply grateful for the love and support pouring in from Tristan’s friends and fellow activists around the world. It is moving to see how many people care for Tristan and are moved by his work championing social justice issues. We are proud of Tristan’s fierce courage, adventurous spirit, and his many travels to all corners of the globe.

Fierce courage? How about reckless stupidity? I can empathize with the family’s pain but not their failure to look honestly at what led to their son’s injury. Mr. Anderson willingly placed himself in the middle of a combat zone.

As I commented at Roland’s and Noga’s blogs (with some editing):

When Tristan and other ISM volunteers placed themselves in the mix with people throwing stones at the IDF, they knew they were asking for trouble. They knew these disturbances can escalate rapidly. But they volunteered to put themselves in harms way.

Some see this as valorous. I see it as lacking judgment.

I am sad Anderson was injured but activists need to be aware what happens when they play with folks security. They think they have the right to go to countries that are experiencing intense conflicts and expect special treatment. But the situation in Israel is not the same as that of UC Berkeley or UC Santa Cruz or the streets of Seattle.

Israel is very serious about security. Facing daily terrorist threats will do that. When American and European activists go overseas and align themselves with Israel’s enemies they need to think very carefully about what they are doing and why they are doing it.

Is it really in the name of peace or in order to reinforce their own delusional radical politics?

ism-ak

[ISM volunteers]

Anarchists vs. Maoists at SF Book Fair

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Ah, it’s that time of year again. Time for the San Francisco Anarchist Book Fair! A place to learn of the glories of social revolution, listen to tales of human autonomy, consensus and self-management and bask in the pungent smell of patchouli oil and sweat.

It is generally an uneventful event. Book sales do not tend to attract an aggressive crowd. But this year’s fair was marked by confrontation, a struggle between anarchists and Maoists. No incendiary devices were exchanged, no bottles thrown, no brawls occurred.

The fair takes place at the fairground building in Golden Gate Park. Every time I went to the event there was some Stalinist, Maoist or other communist group with a literature table outside of the building.  Most attendees ignored them.

This year members of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) attempted to enter the building to sell their literature. This created quite a scene. The RCP was told they had five minutes to leave the building or they would be removed. After five minutes had passed they were shown the door.

The RCP proceeded to set up their table outside the facility. Soon thereafter members of the Modesto Anarchist Crew (MAC) dumped a five gallon bucket of water on the table, drenching the RCP’s books and other propaganda.

This has created (or more properly, exasperated) a rift in the SF activist scene with some supporting the action and others decrying it as “sectarian” and “counterrevolutionary.”

Statement from RCP/Revolution Books:

Revolution Books, a communist bookstore in Berkeley, was forced to leave the anarchist book fair and told they could set up outside by the organizers. After setting up their table, someone poured a bucket of water on their books, fliers, and newspapers, destroying hundreds of dollars of literature. We denounce this act and call on the organizers of the anarchist book fair to do the same. This sort of attack is repressive and reactionary and is the complete opposite of the culture of discussion, debate, and dissent that we need in order to create a vibrant, liberated society

Here are some comments from two posts at Indybay:

Never Trust a Bolshevik:

I can’t believe this is even an issue at this point. Anyone with any knowledge of history knows the disaster which comes from making common cause with Bolsheviks. Against the wishes of Makhno, the officers of the Makhnovshchina chose to trust the Bolshies and it got them machinegunned en masse at the Crimean “peace talks.” The CNT made common cause with the Bolsheviks and Durruti ended up face-down with a bullet in the back of his head.

“A” writes:

I know some of the Maoists personally. They’ve never pushed any political agenda or ideals onto me. In fact, one of the organizers is at nearly every protest/rally there is in the Bay Area, spreading a consciousness of change and revolution, but NEVER promoting any particular agenda. It shouldn’t matter what agenda you want AFTER the revolution; the point is that we have the same enemy. I’ve never seen any anarchist show such determination in organizing or participating in Bay Area events, especially Oscar Grant rallies.

Miles replies:

Read some fucking history, specifically about the followers of Lenin, Stalin and Mao and their relationships to anarchists and other anti-state revolutionaries, and then come cry to us about our common enemy and explain how “revolutionary” those butchers are. Fuck you crybabies. If you’re ashamed to call yourself an anarchist after a minor skirmish like that where nobody got hurt or maimed or killed, who needs you on our side? What’s going to happen to your thin skin when the shooting starts? Get lost and take your wishy washy hippy liberal shit with you on the way out. The fact is that the followers of Lenin (and company) denounce us no matter what we do or don’t do, and when they’re not busy denouncing us they frame us, jail us, torture us, maim us and when that stops amusing them, they murder us. It’s factual history, not some bullshit neo-McCarthyist paranoia. No tolerance for our enemies, whether they wrap themselves in a red white and blue flag or a plain old red flag.

Sometimes I miss the Bay Area.

Rachel Shabi and “Israel’s humiliating discrimination against Arab Jews”

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[H/t to Point of No ReturnZWord and TNR]

This is a guest post by Point of No Return at ZWord:

The Daily Telegraph, Britain’s centre-right mass-circulation newspaper, today carries a review of Rachel Shabi’s new book – unpromisingly titled ‘Israel’s humiliating discrimination against Arab Jews’ – about the discrimination faced in Israel by Jews from Arab countries, Not the Enemy.

The reviewer calls the book ‘eye-opening’, ’sobering’ and ‘disturbing and important’. He seems to nod in horrified agreement at Shabi’s catalogue of humilations inflicted on Mizrahi Jews by Ashkenazim (European) Jews. They were made to feel ‘excluded’ and ‘inferior.’

What’s more, Ms Shabi must know what she is writing about: she is after all the descendant of Iraqi Jews herself.

But this is no ordinary reviewer. This is Gerald Jacobs, literary editor of the Jewish Chronicle.

He hardly attempts to challenge Shabi’s narrative that the Mizrahi migration to Israel was ‘imposed by Zionist pressure and even acts of sabotage’ (Ah yes, those Zionist bombs).

One would have expected of a man in Jacobs’ shoes to know that, as I have already pointed out, Israeli popular culture is today dominated by Mizrahi influences. The stories of discrimination belong in the 1950s. Intermarriage is rife, and Mizrahim have reached the highest echelons of power. Jacobs does not even sniff a whiff of tendentiousness in Shabi’s anti-Zionism and her downplaying of Arab antisemitism – curiously it largely seems to begin in 1948 – nor does he question her spurious assumption that Jews from the Middle East are really Arabs.

If this is what we can expect from an editor of the leading organ of British Jewry, Lord help us.

Shabi is part of small group of post-Zionist Mizrahi intellectuals who want to reclaim the non-European aspect their identity. I think this is a positive thing. But some of these post-Zionists have a tendency to borrow analytical frameworks from Marxists and others who view Ashkenazim and Zionists in general as imperialists and colonialists. In this narrative, the Mizrahim are indigenous people who have been victimized by Zionism, just like the Palestinians. In other words, Mizrahi Jews and Palestinians are people of color and Ashkenazis are whitey. Shabi and her political allies, in turn, are part pf the global resistance against the forces of global empire. It is a very tired and played out perspective which is why I won’t be spending time reading the book.

However, to claim there is no discrimination against Mizrahim in Israel is not accurate. Most of my Israeli friends are Mizrahi and they see elite positions in universities, the armed forces and politics continue to be dominated by Ashkenazim and that Mizrahi families are generally less well off than Ashkenazi families. They see institutional inequality in Israel that is not as pronounced as that experienced by African Americans in the United States but still similar. Yes, they see their faces reflected in popular culture and entertainment but to a much lesser extent in the sciences, engineering, law, medicine, finance and politics.

Take a look at the Katamonim neighborhood in Jerusalem or Yeroham and other development towns in the Negev. What is the ratio of Jews from Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Ethiopia, etc. compared to those from Europe? From my experience (I realize this is totally anecdotal) most Ashkenazim avoid those places.

This is not meant to diss Ashkenazi Jews–I love my peeps–but one of the perennial downfalls of the Jewish people is our lack of unity. Acknowledging that these tensions exist is only the first step. The next step is addressing the inequality, perhaps above all in education. To provide one example, the Kedma School is doing some great work to assist Mizrahi students in achieving their bagrut:

Before Kedma was founded, only 10% of high school-age children from the Katamonim area completed high school with a bagrut certificate, and many students dropped out of school altogether. Ten years later, in 2003-2004, the percent of 12th-grade Kedma students who completed a full bagrut certificate was higher than the national average: 57% finished with a full bagrut certificate, and 30% were missing only one or two exams to complete the bagrut (click here to view a comparative chart). The first senior class graduated in 2000, and today there are 150 students in grades 7 through 12 who study at Kedma.

I agree with Noga (The Contentious Centrist) when she writes:

Imagine, that Jews can actually be like any other people, have their prejudices and cultural biases and seek to feel that they are better than their neigbours! Wow!

Yet when I look at what is going down in the world today I see a real need for Jewish unity. Not only between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi but between secular and religious and across all the other boundaries that keep the Jewish people divided.

OK, rant over.

Campus Protest Roundup

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[To the barricades!]

A roundup regarding the protests and occupations taking place at colleges and universities in the UK, US and Canada. Many of the protests focused on Israel and developing scholarships for Palestinian students. Some added demands specific to their institution. For example, students at NYU demanded the Bobst library opened to the public:

Bob from Brockley on Goldsmiths and the politics of Anti-Zionism.

Insider Higher Ed has a bit regarding Gaza Protests in the UK and US.

Roland Dodds (But I am a Liberal!) on the End of the Take Back NYU! (TBNYU!) occupation:

Throughout the whole video, the “activists” keep reminding the university security that they are on camera, and that it will reflect poorly on them in the future. I figure most folks will view the footage as a wonderful illustration of just how brainless these self proclaimed “student leaders” are, and not an indictment on any security personnel.

Ned Resnikoff (Campus Progress, “How Not to Protest”) opines:

The TBNYU! protest was one of the strangest farces in NYU’s 178-year history. By the end of the 40-hour occupation, only 10 protesters remained, which NYU security* unceremoniously removed from the building. Each one was suspended and kicked out of campus housing, and NYU did not meet a single one of the group’s demands. Nevertheless, the official TBNYU! blog, with characteristic detachment from reality, insisted that the occupation had “made a difference.”

Which relates to one of my comments at Roland’s:

You can already read on rad left sites like the IMCs that the protests– even if they did not achieve their demands–were a “success.” As I’ve stated many times here and elsewhere, a large measure of what drives radical activism in the U.S. is not the achievement of demands/goals (political or other) but the validation of an individual’s identity and radical ideology. In other words, it is more about how protesting makes them feel then actually achieving anything concrete. You know, “demand the impossible,” and all that.

Noga (Contentious Centrist): Two Posts on Anti-Semitism at York University.

More on the situation at York here and on anti-Israel activities at Carleton University here.

ADDED:

Bob provided some more links in the comments.

Elder of Zion on Israel Apartheid Week

ZWord on Israel Apartheid Week

You Gotta’ Be Kidding Me

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What a crazy, upside down world we live in. The Iranian government wants an apology from Hollywood for “insults and accusations against the Iranian nation.”

The L.A. Times reports:

A delegation of Hollywood actors and producers that arrived in Tehran over the weekend to meet with their counterparts has also been met by sharp government criticism.

A top Iranian cultural official Sunday demanded that the group from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, including academy President Sid Ganis and film stars Annette Bening and Alfre Woodard, apologize for Hollywood’s “insults and libel” against the Islamic Republic.

I haven’t seen The Wrestler but apparently Mickey Rourke’s character tears an Iranian flag and fights against a villain named “The Ayatollah.” They are also upset about the movie 300 for depicting Persians as “bloodthirsty and cretinous.” Haven’t seen that one either.

Need I remind readers this is the same regime that has been burning, stomping and mutilating American flags while denigrating us as the “Great Satan” for three decades. It is all more than a bit ironic.

This should be just the sort of catalyst that connects conservative talk-radio hosts and Hollywood liberals together. I know it won’t happen. But it should.

Films that upset the regime (the Guardian):

The Wrestler Caused offence when its main character, Mickey Rourke, smashed a pole carrying Iran’s national flag across his knee. It also featured a wrestler called the Ayatollah – apparently after Iran’s religious rulers – who wore a skimpy leotard in the country’s colours.

The Stoning of Soraya M A woman is stoned to death under Iran’s sharia law after being convicted of adultery.

Alexander The 2004 biopic about Alexander the Great, directed by Oliver Stone, was criticised for its sympathetic portrayal of the ancient Macedonian king, whom Iranians blame for the destruction of Persepolis in 330BC.

Body of Lies A 2008 Ridley Scott film in which Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani’s hair is shown.

300 Upset Iran by portraying ancient Persians as bloodthirsty and violent.

Not Without My Daughter A 1991 film depicting the escape of a real-life American, Betty Mahmoody, from Iran. The government condemned it as projecting a negative image and banned the book on which it is based.

Added:

Simply Jews: Mahmoud the Mad vs. 300

Contentious Centrist: Thucydides and Herodotus were Zionist stooges