Monday, August 11, 2008

Webby bloggy linky things

1. Well, it's that time of year again. The time when we announce the top green blogs, which for those of you who don't know was a cunning device I invented to inadvertently offend other Green Bloggers. Well, the history is slightly more complex than that, you can always check out the 2006 and 2007 lists for more details.

Of the top twenty green blogs only half were in the list last year - which means there are a whole swathe of new entrants. Most of those that fell out of the list did so because they started to post less often in a more competitive environment - if that isn't a bit too business speaky.

I'm always surprised at who gets in and who doesn't, and it certainly is not a list of my favourite blogs - although that does not detract from those who make it - each and everyone deserves their place in my view. This year I've enlisted the help of previous winners to help judge the finalists and there will, as always, be the people's choice awards which will be a poll open for a month and which, for the first time, you can place on your own blog to help guard against any latent bias inherent in the readership of this blog.

The announcement comes later in the week - watch this space.

2. The latest carnival of socialism post is up over at A Very Public Sociologist, really good stuff. Next time it's my turn, so let me know the best left posts you spot over the next couple of weeks and I'll try to include them all.

3. You may well have noticed that the poll has now closed on the great boycott vote and I am formally obliged to boycott Israeli goods and MacDonalds from this day forth.

Full results are as follows (the mathematically gifted among you will notice the total comes to more than 100% - this is because people could vote for more than one option);

Israeli goods
Do not boycott anything
Kettle Crisps

I was surprised at how poorly Coke did in the poll and aviation gave me pause for thought - it seems that although many of us believe we should be reducing the amount of flights we are taking it seems that the idea of cutting them out altogether has little purchase - or possibly seems a little unrealistic.

I'll be posting more fully on Israel soon but in the meantime thanks everyone who took part - it's been a very interesting experiment and very useful to find out which boycotts seem to have the most purchase.


Raphael said...

Hi Jim

Israel has a fairly well-developed High Tech sector, see for example here:

and here

It is very unlikely that your computer is "Israel-free". It is also very unlikely the on-line tools that you use are so. Are you going to switch it off? If not, what sort of % of Israeli products will you tolerate and what resources will you to determine what you should boycott or not? - looks like it is going to be a tough job -

Any thoughts on the fact that Israel is the only country on your list?

Best wishes

Raphael said...

Could you also comment on the symbolic power - the link between food and blood - of the image showing the orange dripping in blood in the linked post?

Mira said...

Re your #3, I can't work out whether it's a serious decision on your part JimJay - I find it odd that you slip it into a post on webby-bloggy-link-things. On the other hand, your failure to put up endpoints or criteria for lifting your boycott does suggest it's something far more trivial - maybe you aren't taking it so seriously after all. Maybe you're having a bit of fun?

Let me ask the pertinent questions anyway.

I'd be interested to hear precisely how you think that your boycott will effect change in a) The Hamas Covenant's recommendations to kill Jews, b) The Palestinian and Arab rejectionists who are trying to undermine the basis for Israel's existence, and c) increasing solidarity with the currently weakened Israeli left, which tends to be further undermined by boycott and is not calling for boycott, d) an end to the currently suppressed intifada.

Because without changes in these departments, withdrawing from the Occupied Territories, evacuating the settlements and developing joint policies on resources won't bring peace.

Out of all the other things that are wrong with this boycott, I note that you haven't broached the area of endpoints or criteria for lifting the boycott. This trivialises it further.

And in the unlikely event that your boycott takes off I hope that there is none of the customary outrage if Israel is forced into military industry or into allegiances with other countries you and your fellow-boycotters have turned your back on.

Anonymous said...

Webpage of J-BIG - Jews for boycotting Israeli goods.

Raphael said...

any chance you could explain exactly why you think that it is important that there are some Jews who support this campaign?

Jim Jay said...

Mira: it is a serious decision on my part and I wasn't going to allow anything on the list that I thought was unjustifiable - I know some people thought the poll mechanism meant I didn't take it seriously but in fact it's a way of seeing what kind of support different campaigns have - for instance I was very surprised that coke got such a low level of "support"

I wanted to take part in a boycott that exists. So boycotting France over its behaviour in Africa is justifiable - but I'd be the only person doing it (as far as I'm aware) and whilst I threw the options open so people could have added countries to the potential list (China for instance?) and I know there are targetted boycotts of Turkey's tourism industry for instance bycotting Israeli goods clearly has the highest profile of "national" boycotts.

I'll be devoting a proper post to this (which wont take the jokey tone of the McDonalds piece in case that was worrying you) so wont go into everything here, but onbviously will stay open for all discussion.

Endpoints is really useful and I'll endevour to make this clear in the post that deals with this (sometime this week hopefully)

"in the unlikely event that your boycott takes off" The boycott exists - I am simply joining it.

Lastly, I thought the Jews for boycotting Israel link was a bit creepy - but obviously there are many Jews who want to make it clear that Israel does not speak for them and they are right in that the Israeli state is a political entity not a religious one with ownership over Jews who are in no way responsible for its actions.

Mike Marqusee's latest book was a good example of a thoughtful exploration of his Jewish identity and how the Jewish community (in the US) reacted to the creation of Israel.

Jim Jay said...

Oh - one last thing I forgot to include in this re: blood and food

I'd never thought about this before (around this image) - thanks for bringing it up!

Whilst I'm 90% sure there was no conscious intent to draw from that symbolic well (more likely they were looking to the recent no blood for oil images and slogans) you're absolutely right that there is a parallel here.

Thanks for raising it R

Raphael said...

Thanks for thanking me, etc... But the point, when discussing the (potential) racist nature of comments and or symbols, is not the intent, but the effect. This is emphasized in this excellent blog, and in particular the &2
Worth reading the comments too.

In other words, it should be a (major?) preoccupation of the boycotters not to promote antisemitism. That this is not the case is an under statement. See here for example about what is currently happening in what is still (for how much longer I'm not sure), my Union:

Or this about the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign:

I take it that you are not switching off your computer, then...

Jim Jay said...

What I'm saying is that if the intent is not anti-semitic (which I think is almost certainly the case, although I'll keep my mind open on that) then it has been an error of judgement - precisely because of this blood and food connection.

Whilst the image is striking and effective there is a problem with it and it should not be used. Anti-semitism cannot be part of the campaign for justice in the region.

Seeing as I just agreed with you on the symbol and you already know I oppose anti-semitism in the movement it seems an odd approach to continue to try to win those positions with me when I already hold them.

Of course we disagree on other areas, for sure.

The boycott is against the purchase of Israeli goods - I will do my best not to give financial support to an economy that could only be built on the immiseration of the Palestinian people. Using my computer which I already own does not do that.

Mira said...

Thanks Jim.

"The boycott exists - I am simply joining it".

Influential as you are, this is different from the boycott taking off. As Raphael points out, and as you can see if you visit dodgy sites like Inminds and look at the many lists of companies that Israel boycotters should avoid (featured in this satirical vid), you'll have a job making more than an empty gesture. You'd have to get insanely into it. Put it this way, it will help with localism.

One more thing on the subject of JBIG. The half of the world's Jews who are not Israeli citizens are under *no* obligation "to make it clear that Israel doesn't speak for them". I can't help thinking that people who take Israeli politicians seriously when they try to are doing so principally for their own political reasons.

Identity politics is a lamentable dead end. It sets up different standards for different ethnic / religious / cultural groups, and within those groups sets up hierarchies between those who define themselves as virtuous and right-minded (in this case the 'good' Jews) and the bad morally degenerate ones they seek to distance themselves from. J-BIG, JfJfP, JAZ, IJV, J-BIG etc simply find Israel and most Jews a liability to their own social standing. This means that they feel compelled to do their work for Palestinians and/or against Israel ostentatiously "as Jews" - saving their rep. I see these activities partly as a pre-emptive response to fear of antisemitism. It is sad - and makes things harder in the long-run.

Re blood and food - we have to get away from intent (it's important but impossible to gauge) and instead consider the impact of what people say and what they show. Israel isn't founded on bloodshed, but the bleeding orange (the jaffa, the now obsolete symbol of the Israeli economy) is working to convince us to boycott on the basis that it is. In the context of building for the *selective* punishment of Israel for the sins cheerfully pursued by much of the wider world, the bloody orange is a variation of the blood libel. This has been pointed out to J-BIG, but they defiantly choose to keep it - at which point you have to entertain the idea that it's a provocation.

You promise your rationale later in which you will answer my questions about the Jew-hate of Hamas, the intifada, and the negationists. I find this order of ceremonies bodes ill. Nevertheless I look forward to your attempt to dissociate yourself from the double standards, selective punishment, aimlessness and irrelevance of your fellow-boycotters.

OK, that's all.

Raphael said...

Hi Jim

You write
Seeing as I just agreed with you on the symbol and you already know I oppose anti-semitism in the movement it seems an odd approach to continue to try to win those positions with me when I already hold them.

It is great to see that we agree on some essential key points here.

The reason I insist on these though is not to convince you. If you/the Green Party, join a campaign, support it, and advertise it, then, you/the Green party, have to take some political responsability for it; that includes making sure that the campaign in question is not furthering antisemitic ways of thinking.

Where are the Green Party press releases, or simply condemnation, of the kind of events mentioned above?

Look back at your 2006 post, the one with the Orange, look for such critique, none is there.

I have no doubt about you. We have never met, but through discussions here, or off-line, I am sure you seriously intend to fight antisemitism. The question I am asking I suppose is, how is it possible to reconcile support for the boycott campaign (ressource sites like the Scottish PSC and inminds) and a fight against antisemitism - not in your head, but in terms of practical political campaigning.

Best wishes

Green Gordon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Green Gordon said...

I voted for coke and kettle chips (though Nestle would probably be higher, and Bacardi a bit lower) anyway that spoils my night out.

Re boycotting Israel, it's not something I would do, with its essential polarity and tendency for both sides of the argument getting rather heated. Like most international situations it rarely does people any favours to choose sides when they could be working on diplomatic solutions.

Green Gordon said...

p.s. I'm a little confused by the food/blood symbolism. Could someone explain what's being got at?

Jim Jay said...

Mira: I haven't argued that Jews are obliged to disassociate themselves from Israel - I simply said that some want to and do. That's perfectly reasonable of them if they so desire and Mike's book is an interesting example of that.

That's very clear from what I said and I find your consistent inability to represent arguments you disagree with honestly utterly tedious.

R: the previous post on Israeli boycott was written during the invasion of Lebanon and I did write in the post that "there seems few boycotts more apporpriate at the current time than that of Israeli goods" (new emphasis) and so was intended as a specific response to that war. I doubt there's any post I've written on any subject that covers every possible thing there is to say on it, I'm sure my reader(s) are thankful for it.

Other discussions I've had have sometimes included the weaknesses and problems among the Palestinian solidarity movement and sometimes not. I'm not actually obliged to constantly point out the weaknesses of those who happen to agree with me on one thing - just as I don't expect you to constantly point out the serious problems of some of those who oppose a boycott.

I think the question of how we deal with anti-semitism in the solidarity movement is an important one in this context - but it's probably most effectively done from within that movement rather than from a place that some might mistake as support for the worst policies of the Israeli state.

Gordon: I've fetched you a quick link on blood libel from wikipedia - obviously there will be much better pieces but was the first thing to come to hand.

Jim Jay said...

Actually that's not a particularly useful link now I look at it properly.

This one looks better

Essentiually it revolves around the myth that Jews committed human sacrifice and baked Christian blood into their bread.

Raphael said...

On the blood libel, a rather extensive article here:

Jim, I'll stick with Mira on this one; you wrote: "I haven't argued that Jews are obliged to disassociate themselves from Israel - I simply said that some want to and do."

Read again, Mira did not say that you did. If you read the kind of personal attacks she has been the victim of on UCU list, you will understand why she makes this point.

You did not make this argument, but it is one which is commonly made in the boycott movement, in its most vulgar form, by prof XXX,
"'My own Jewishness is not separate from my humanity in a way that some
people's might be.' " (link above for the context)

and the "some" have better to demonstrate that they are good Jews...

I have experienced similar things in the Green Party. During the discussion of the academic boycott, I have been explicitly exposed to this test. Pro-boycott posters have asked me repeatedly to show that I was a good Jew before they could take me seriously. Here is one example from a pro-boycott poster on the International list (Aug 8, 2007): "Relatively few Israeli academics stand up for Palestinians or criticise their government in those terms. I would like to number you among those who do stand up but I cannot as yet if your position remains only as you have described it so far." What is particularly remarkable about this example is that it came after months during which I had asked, without success, to be simply recognized as an antiracist GP member instead of being called an "Israeli academic speaking on behalf of Israel" (btw, for those who do not quite follow, I am not Israeli).

I am not quite convinced with your response to my question about political responsability.

I very much agree with you on this:
"I'm not actually obliged to constantly point out the weaknesses of those who happen to agree with me on one thing - just as I don't expect you to constantly point out the serious problems of some of those who oppose a boycott."

But... the point I am making is quite different.

We, i.e. the Green Party, have joined a political campaign for the boycott of Israel. Being part of a political campaign is quite different from making an argument.

This quote: "Congestion of our towns and cities must be eased by the provision of greater incentives to use rail and bus transport instead of private cars." comes from... the BNP website. I am not expecting you or anyone else to reject all the BNP crap each time you support rail transport. But it would be disingenuous and absurd for anyone to claim that by supporting better transport policies you are contributing to the legitimization of a racist campaign.

By contrast, I, and others, argue that the Boycott movement, is furthering and legitimizing antisemitic ways of thinking. As soon as our GP conference voted in favor of the boycott, it was posted, e.g. on the site of the Scottish PSC. We contribute to the legitimization of the Scottish PSC discourse. And we host fringes of the PSC at every conference (Scottish PSC is part of the PSC).

You write:
"I think the question of how we deal with anti-semitism in the solidarity movement is an important one in this context - but it's probably most effectively done from within that movement rather than from a place that some might mistake as support for the worst policies of the Israeli state."

But are we doing so? Are we, i.e. the Green Party, fighting against antisemitism in the PSC, etc? We are not.

Even inside the Green Party, we do not take antisemitism seriously:

Boycott is not (necessarily) solidarity. It can even work against solidarity and mutual understanding (could provide many example but I am already way too long, see Engage website). Compare the UCU academic boycott and this work by Palestinian and Israeli Unions:

What is the prospect of an anti-antisemitic PSC after this:

Raphael (sorry if the end is a bit confused, have to go...)

Mira said...

JimJay - "That's very clear from what I said and I find your consistent inability to represent arguments you disagree with honestly utterly tedious."

Read what I said again - if I meant you, I'd have said you. Actually I was thinking about the person who's been laying into me on the UCU activist list on just this subject when I said wrote what I wrote on Israel not speaking for Jews - You weren't to know - but you jumped to conclusions. You misrepresented *me*. No harm done - - I dare say you didn't mean to. Easy to do though, hey? I will also try to leave nothing to the imagination next time.

Pippa said...

National boycotts can be effective. They certainly were in South Africa. No doubt the end of the cold war was a very important factor in making the ANC look like a more acceptable negotiating partner. But the boycott and sanctions were important because white South Africans consider(ed) themselves part of the 'civilised west' and so opprobrium from these countries was felt painfully. (I'm not sure, but suspect this may also be true for Israelis?) It was one of the reasons that talking to the ANC became an acceptable option. (It was business leaders who broke ranks with the government first and did so).

Anyhow, the comparison isn't entirely analagous, but I'm not sure you can say that joining such a boycott is necessarily 'double standards, selective punishment, aimlessness and irrelevance'.

Mira said...

Pippa, I'm not a historian of boycotts. I think it's incumbent on you, making those claims for the South African boycott, to produce evidence that it worked. I'd be very surprised if we had it to thank for the emancipation of South Africans. What was the mechanism?

You compare the situation in South Africa. But where are the legal examples of an Israeli racial supremacist ideology - i.e. something separate from Israeli existential fears and its existence as a 'bolt-hole' - insurance for Jewish minorities in the world whose long history of dispossession and expulsion is frequently forgotten by boycotters?

(I am pretty sure there are Israeli security excuses, as well as justifiable Israeli security fears. But damned if I know what they are).

One example may be the checkpoints. Without them I understand there would still be an intifada. With them the Palestinian economy is blighted. So the Peres Center for peace with Danish sponsorship produced a report with a rationale for taking down the ones most crucial to the Palestinian economy and replacing them with other security measures.

In a nutshell, ending South African apartheid with majority rule was a simple aim. Nobody said they wanted to wipe out anybody else or anybody's state. The boycott of Israel, on the other hand, is a noddy response to something very complicated.

Jim Jay said...

R - Mira argued in response to me that Jews were not obliged to... blah. Something I had not argued. It is not good enough to say someone else, somewhere else had argued something different - even though those people and arguments had not been mentioned at any point - Mira is consistently incapable of engaging with arguments in an honest way.

To pretend she was responding to comments elsewhere is dishonest as she would have responded there, not here. Until Mira argues in a more principled way she may as well push off frankly.

I'm more than happy to engage with people who have very different views from mine, but that debate cannot bear fruit if it is a simple repitition of dogma, or accusations of guilt by association. I think you have been a very useful person to have this discussion with (from my point of view anyway), I feel the time I spent on Mira to be utterly wasted and she gets no more of it.

I wont use Mira's failings as a stick to beat you with because you are different people, but Mira will use the arguments of others (with whom I do not agree) to make stupid unfounded accusations against myself. And then she'l pretend she was talking to someone who wasn't even here.

I'm going to attempt to deal with some of the other points you raise in the forthcoming post that will deal exclusively with the boycott. Obviously I'm giving it some thought so it wont be posted today.

Mira said...

Read what I said again. There's no grounds for your attack.

You are hoping to disassociate yourself from some real nasty fellow-boycotters. I'd say if you want to be thought of as different, then be different.

Anonymous said...

As it has been pointed out there are Jews and non Jews on both sides in this debate, I just hope we can avoid the name calling (from both sides) that often seems to cloud this discussion.

Bristol East GP

Pippa said...

Mira, I am a historian of 20th century South Africa but not particularly of the end of apartheid (my PhD is about what was going on in the prisons). As I said, the end of the cold war was key, but sanctions and boycott were important as well. A good general history of modern South Africa will tell you this. I can’t remember off the top of my head (and at work!) what a good one would be, but William Beinart’s is probably good. If you really like I can dig around and find you a good text. It’s not empirical but I remember growing up in Australia and being told by my mother not to tell people we were from South Africa because it was considered shameful (and this was painful to her). I don’t think that was an uncommon feeling for white South Africans in the 1980s and speaking to my relatives know that they considered the sports boycott in particular to be painful and it’s end one of the best things about the new South Africa (!).

I think you’re oversimplifying things to say that what was demanded by the liberation movements was simply majority rule. Most wanted far more than that, and the failure to do more than give people the vote and create a black middle class is a big part of the simmering unrest that breaks out in xenophobic violence. I also suspect that you think the ANC were supported in their call for sanctions and boycott but that they compare favourably with Palestinian groups? The anti apartheid movement (AAM) was explicit in its support of both the ANC and the PAC. The PAC’s programme was of ‘Africa for the Africans’ and many among them hoped to drive white South Africans (and often Indians) out of the country come liberation (as opposed to the ANC’s vision of South Africa as a home for all who were born there). I guess what I’m saying is that the AAM and South African boycott are not as clean and easy compared to the situation in Israel and Palestine as you make out. You might not believe it, but I think they were effective (along with other factors).

Raphael said...


Can you please explain exactly why you think it is important that: "there are Jews and non Jews on both sides in this debate"?

I think it is an important to answer this question in order to clarify the discussion.


Anonymous said...


Well I'll try. Identity is important to a lot of people.
I have been called a "self hating Jew" for my support of the Boycott campaign and I do see myself as culturally Jewish.
Equally there are some anti-semitic elements involved with certain campaigns and it is important that they are confronted for what they are.
I hope that answers things clearly.


Green Gordon said...

Why is it important for Jim to disassociate himself from nasty boyotters?

Raphael said...

Thanks Nick. I agree with you on this:
Equally there are some anti-semitic elements involved with certain campaigns and it is important that they are confronted for what they are.

I don't like the word "self-hating" Jew and it is not one I would employ. But the idea that someone's discourse cannot be antisemitic because he/she is Jewish is both demonstrably false and a standard response to attempts to examine/confront antisemitism in the boycott campaign.

In that sense, J-BIG etc, who have the right, as anyone else, to criticize Israel, play a particular role in the campaign.

I realize that this is not what you where saying in the first place. But it is often the case that the insistence that some Jews support the boycott campaign is there to deflect critical examination.

Raphael said...

Green Gordon

It is important because Jim opposes antisemitism. The boycott campaign is tainted with antisemitism (see the numerous examples on the Engage website).

As mentioned by Jim in one of the first comment in this long thread, a boycott of a country, by an isolated person, does not make any sense. It only has a signification if it is part of a wider organized campaign which has well-defined political aims and endpoint.

In the case of the Israel boycott campaign, however, there is no general agreement on what these aims and endpoint are. A proportion of the boycotters, e.g. do not support the peace process, they will not stop boycotting short of the destruction of the Jewish state that they consider as an illegitimate "entity". Some would mention "end of human rights abuse" as an end point, yet others "respect of UN resolution". The boycott campaign is a loose aggregate of various groups which include respectable individuals but also frankly disgusting antisemitic websites. The various members of the boycott campaign agree only on one thing: that it is necessary to boycott Israel.

Antiracist supporters of the boycott campaign have a particular political responsability to confront antisemitism because their support for the boycott brings legitimacy to those supporters of the boycott who do articulate their hostility to Israel in antisemitic terms. They need to ensure that their language, the symbols they use, and the attitude of their fellow boycotters do not contribute to the normalization of antisemitic discourse.

Anonymous said...

Equally people have to oppose and resist anti Palestinian racism in Israel and in the pro Israeli community! these things wash both ways.

Green Gordon said...

I understand the logic that separates criticism of a chosen political belief from criticism of people's genealogy (i.e. Jewish people don't need to prove anything, although boycotters might) but there's still a lot of confusing hypothetical questions.

Could this action be construed as racist (i.e. anti-Semitic) if the whole conflict wasn't about ethnoreligiosity? Could it be applied say to Russia vs Georgia? Would there be difficulty of perceived solidarity with groups that simply hate Russia (or Georgia) if the aims of those groups was the same?

If Jim should outline what his goals and endpoints are, can you outline, where the line exists, that the necessity of ending a humanitarian crisis would outweigh possibilities of perceived antisemitism? Fair enough if you're against the idea of boycotts across the board, but I don't think they should be discounted (nor should the idea that not all boycotts aim to effect political change, but are also about people's own concerns over where their money is spent.

My worries about the situation are not entirely based on the goals/ideology of hezbollah/hamas, but on the realities of what is happening on the ground. Both adhoc suicide bombings, and more organised incursions/attacks.

It's not surprising that the groups involved are racist, that comes out of conflict, and if the situation was peaceful, I'm sure there'd still be a lot of racists/nationalists as it's a convenient means of populist political motivation.

Anyway, there remains the point that if you live in Israel, one would assume you support the survival of Israel as a nation-state. It's a political choice regardless of your religion/ethnicity. A lot of people would say there was baggage attached to that, too. Is it fair to assume that anti-boycotters support the existence of the State of Israel, and therefore have the responsibility to confront anti-Palestinian racism because support of the State of Israel brings legitimacy to the actions of the State of Israel, or people who support those actions.

I'm not necessarily arguing that it does, but it should go both ways...

(this coming from my point of view as not anti-Semitic and with a good friend who (worryingly to me) spent about 3 or 4 years in the IDF and the vague insights that that has brought)

ModernityBlog said...

well if Jim is going to boycott Israel, that will make him FEEL good, and that surely is the point of gesture politics, to feel good.

won't hurt the Israelis but it will be interesting to see if he boycotts the product of Israeli labour, all of that wonderful technology (not only PCs, but routers (the things that managed those IP packets flying around the we)), mobile phones, camera, TVs, chips inside things, etc

personally, if you were to balance out things, there is a stronger case were boycotting all English things, legacy of colonialism, Empire, missionaries, slavery, brutality and mass murder in Ireland, land clearance in Scotland, etc but if you feel that's too much I would understand, a bit too close to home?

and I didn't even say "Iraq"!

Jim, please do keep a diary of items you've boycotted (avocados, etc), don't forget medical treatments, or drugs partly developed in Israel or by Israelis, and remember to avoid certain books, they might have been proof read by Israelis, damn damn damn, so much to boycott and so little time to do it in!

oh and web sites, no sneaking at news from Middle East via Israeli web sites or news agencies, so switch off the radio and TV when Israelis are on it.

those "Israelis" get everywhere!

ModernityBlog said...

and of course, Jim you'll have to boycott all sports events involving Israelis, football, etc, directly or indirectly

can't have you cheating, can we?

Richard said...

Jim , the orange dripping with blood has been around now for several years. It's been pointed out that it portrays an antisemitic image and yet it is still being used in the boycott of Israel campaign. I've seen several boycotters wearing a sticker of the image and it's still being used on boycott material. I think that there is a problem , i think that the problem is that even though it has been pointed out that it uses blood libel imagery (in intent if not in effect) that it is still being used.

Nick - you say you have been called a self-hating Jew. Can i ask you who called you a self-hating Jew. Can we have names ? Was it an organisation ? Was it a Jewish or a zionist organisation ? Was it just some anonymous individual on a website. Who did those that called you a self-hating Jew represent ?

Anonymous said...


This happened at university back in the early 1990's, student politics is known for quite nasty and infantile comments. No actual organisation used it just some individuals in UJS (Union of Jewish Students)as a non-zionist I was not made to feel welcome in UJS at all. I guess this might have left me a bit touchy on the subject!
I certainly haven't come across people using this language in the Green Party.


Raphael said...

Green Gordon, Nick,

Either the boycott is a consumerist feel good attitude, or, it is an organized political campaign. In the first case, well, there is no need to worry about political responsability; but there is also no need to publish it on the web.

What about the political responsability of those opposed to the boycott? Does it, like Nick claims, "wash both ways"?

For this to be the case, you would have to demonstrate how opposing the campaign to exclude Israelis, and only Israelis, from the cultural and academic life, may eventually results in increased racism against the Palestinians. I don't think there is a serious argument in favour of this, except if you argue that the only "solution" is the destruction of Israel, and but then, you should state clearly that this is the aim of the boycott.

So, I don't think that supporting the rights of Palestinians (or opposing racism against the Palestinians) comes out as a political responsability linked to the opposition to the boycott.

However, it certainly comes out, independently of the boycott/antiboycott issue, out of a humanist and leftwing perspective on the Middle-East. The main organization against the boycott is Engage and it has a lot to say about solidarity with the Palestinians, and about initiatives which suport both people's right to self-determination as well as increasing dialog.

Engagement not boycott
Co-existence groups in Israel/Palestine. Alex Stein

Have also a look at OneVoice

The thing is that it is hard to support OneVoice and the boycott at the same time:

Richard said...

Hi Nick. Thanks for your answer.

Well i had my fair share of arguments with right wingers in UJS (as did left-wingers in UJS). But the people who i argued with didn't represent anybody except themselves. I do however remember a speaker from PSC telling me that if i liked Jewish culture so much, that i should go and live in New York. I also remember a SWSS organiser defending two SWSS comrades who had been calling me a "fucking Jewish bastard" (they didn't realise they were overheard by somebody in the Labour Club).
There seems to be quite a lot of double standards when Jews enter the debate. All of a sudden hardened politicos become intimidated by some powerful zionist lobby - a lobby which in effect is no different to green ink letter writers that take part in all forms of politics.

I'm glad you feell comfortable in The Green Party. LAst month i took a workshop at the Assoc of Green Councilors Conference in Norwich. I was invited by a Green Councilor to speak from Engage. I also felt very comfortable. But i do know some Jewish members in the Green Party who feel uncomfortable,(eg when arguing against the boycott being accused of working for the Israelis). That's why i think it's important that The Green Party has good policy on antisemitism so that if there are any antisemites or there is any antisemitic rhetoric in thje Green Party that it is quickly stamped on. I'm sure that any antisemitism in The Green Party would be from a minute number of people but it's important there are stopgaps in place. It's also important that people look at the facts , look at what happens and don't simply dismiss accusations of antisemitism as deflection from current abuses by The Israeli Governement.

Anonymous said...

Accusing people on the anti -boycott side of working for the Israelis is a little paranoid.

Anonymous said...

Sorry didnt mean to be anon, that was me.