I've been busy and travelling lately, so quiet here. Writing this listening to intense rain and wind outside in dark South London.
I want to blog about the recent Jews and the left conference in New York, but for the moment read Noga's post and TNC's comment. Also at Noga's, this lovely Lorca re-post. While I'm doing my housekeeping, thanks to Snoopy for this kind recommendation of my Chomsky/Monbiot post:
Bob from Brockley has done another great post. Which by itself is not a scoop, since with Bob it's kinda habitual. This time it's a great and amazing post. It will shake the found... aw, what the heck - just go and read it. Hurry.Also on a housekeeping note, I need to shelve some of the links in my "awaiting shelving" section, some of which ought to be promoted to "comrades, friends and favourites". I thought about doing some filing, but felt defeated pretty quickly, but you should check out some of the things there.
For example, looking at Ben Cohen's pundicity, I notice he has not only written about Vidal Sassoon, but also Ed Miliband. And that reminded me I failed to get hold of the New Statesman's special Jewish issue a couple of weeks ago, so I tried to find it on-line but didn't have much luck. However, it did make me look at Rachel Shabi on Muslim-Jewish unity against the far right and Michael Rosen, "the accidental communist", on where he parted from Hitchens.
I realised I don't check in with BenSix anywhere near often enough. Read him on the totalistic belief system behind the blasphemy laws that are destroying free thought across the Mulim world. (See also here.) Or on the little British reaction to Ukrainian football racism.
He also pointed me to this thoughtful conservative reaction to my near-neighbour Kenan Malik's Montenegro lecture on multiculturalism. I'm going to have to print out Malik's other recent things, specifically parts 1 and 2 of another overlapping lecture on multiculturalim (I wish I could write and think half as well as he does), as well as Lloyd Newson's defence of DV8's Can We Talk About This.
David Shraub is another blogger too prolific for me to keep up. Here he is on the evolution of Alan Dershowitz, for example. He reminded me of David Hirsh's wonderful article on "Portia, Shylock and the exclusion of Israeli actors from the global cultural community", which I can't recommend highly enough.
David S also links to two extremely thought provoking pieces by Nancy Leong: a blog post asking "Is diversity for white people?" and a paper on racial capitalism.
Racial capitalism — the process of deriving social and economic value from racial identity — is a longstanding, common, and deeply problematic practice. ... The Article focuses on instances of racial capitalism in which white individuals and predominantly white institutions use non-white people to acquire social and economic value. Our affirmative action doctrine provides much of the impetus for this form of racial capitalism. That doctrine has fueled an intense legal and social preoccupation with the notion of diversity, which encourages white individuals and predominantly white institutions to engage in racial capitalism by using non-white people to acquire social and economic value. ... The process of racial capitalism requires commodification of racial identity, which degrades that identity by reducing it to another thing to be bought and sold. ... And the superficial value assigned to non-whiteness within a system of racial capitalism displaces measures that would lead to meaningful social reform.It's Complicated links to a very interesting article by Martha Gelhorn, who I've always hated as a Stalinist fellow traveller, and finishes by commenting on some winners of the award named after her: John Pilger, Robert Fisk, Julian Assange and Jonathan Cook. Talking of Israel, Souciant has a piece by Mitchell Plitnick on what the occupation has done to create "fertile ground for xenophobia". Here's what he says on the anti-migrant riots:
In today’s Israel, we can add economic stratification, thanks to years of neoliberal policies imported from the United States and Great Britain. Then we throw in the fact that Israel, with the most open and diverse economy in the region by far, is naturally going to attract those who flee their own countries, and we have a perfect recipe for the hatred that boiled over in Tel Aviv this past week.
The events in the Hatikva neighborhood in South Tel Aviv (an ironic name for a poor neighborhood; “hatikva” means “the hope”) are hardly unique to Israel, of course. The crowds were composed of the working class of Israel (the majority of whom are Mizrahim, Jews of Middle Eastern descent, Ethiopian Jews and other, non-European groups,) a class which is increasingly struggling to make ends meet and which sees its own position as being threatened by Sudanese and Eritrean refugees. These Israelis have watched their social safety net fray and tear, and their leaders make sure to keep that fact separate in their constituents’ minds from the massive amounts of shekels that are poured into the settlements.
In keeping with their xenophobic rhetoric, demagogic leaders of mainstream political parties incite against the migrants, using false crime statistics in order to scapegoat the Africans, calling them a “cancer.” This is just an Israeli version of a pattern of racial hatred that is very familiar to Europeans.
OK, that's more than enough for now.
[Image credit: London Incognito]