Monday, July 09, 2007

Richard Littlejohn: Open Season on the Jews?

It's started. The latest in Channel 4's Faith and Belief Series. Debate here. Clearly my Uni contemporary John Mann MP is a major witness at the start. And Manchester has seen the largest rise in anti-semitic incidents.

Michael Todd is an impressive Chief Constable. When I met him I gave him a gift of a Manchester Against Racism pin badge and the suggestion that he roll something out into his Force. Even recently they've been caught out a few times. Being racist.

Littlejohn goes and looks at King David HS and sees the security measures, and hears about the evacuation practices. He visits the Jewish Cemetary which has seen nine serious attacks in the last ten years. There is a phenomenal generalisation from a few Asian hotheads to a supposed "widely held anti-semitism" in the community at large.

Littlejohn's "professionalism" has started to unravel.

Cable Street is next. Then Littlejohn is shown a Nick Griffin pamphlet from 1999 which closely echoes an old fascist pamphlet from 1939. And also a BNP writers' guide cautioning against blatant anti-semitism.

Littlejohn suggests the BNP don't need to do "anti-semitism" as their worst enemies, the Islamicists, are doing it for them.

Blood libels, Protocols, and Arabic translations of Mein Kampf at news kiosks in London.

He's on to MPAUK now. I've been over to their website today. Lorna Fitzsimons is up next. MPAUK activists produced leaflets against her saying, incorrectly, she was Jewish. Littlejohn repeats MPAUK claims that LS lost - because of this (withdrawn) attack - by a few hundred votes. Sloppy. Very sloppy.

Now he's going on to an attack, again generalised, on "the Left". And we get Nick Cohen characterising lefties as "Waddling through the streets ... we are all Hezbollah now ... supporting an organisation which despises everything they stand for."

I would certainly never carry such a placard. And I certainly understand why people don't wish to be in the same march or at the same rally as this stuff and so they stay home. The greatest mistake of StWC and Respect lies in hollowing out a broad anti-war movement with the extreme lunacies of their extremist elements.

Speaking of which Galloway talks of apartheid in Israel. Littlejohn jeers at the NUJ for calling for a boycott of the only state in the Middle East with a "free press". And quickly we're on to the UCU and their boycott.

Littlejohn wanders the high street finding door after door closed to the most thorough adherents to the boycott credo.

Rather like those that always claimed a bit of smoke would inevitably lead to being a smack addict Littlejohn's latest witness suggests an inevitability of escalation from criticising Israel to becoming anti-semitic.

Peter Wilby's New Statesman cover is up for grabs. John Mann is back briefly. And Peter Wilby again. Now Islington. And now he calls on Nick Cohen "of the left" who tells of a torrent of anti-semitism when he first cautioned in favour of the War.

Ken Livingstone MP. Some half arsed coverage of the Finegold situation.

Littlejohn and Cohen are of course right to point out that the We Are All Hezbollah Now line is damned stupid.

But that's not to say that Israel was in the clear to strafe (which translates as punish) Lebanese civilians is it?

NIck Ferrari invited Littlejohn onto his show on LBC. Various anecdotes which Littlejohn bizarely takes as proving his own anecdotes.Next Jeremy, a young student, calls for an Exodus from the UK.

The idea that leading British Jews speaking out against the actions of the State of Israel would help things is advanced. But I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Tony Greenstein is on. He says in no uncertain terms that he expects that the British Jewish establishment should be prepared to slam or at least criticise Israel.

Littlejohn claims to now understand Anti-semitism. He finds it is a new stick to beat lefties (and immigrants, particularly muslims) with more like. This programme was no doubt well-intended. But is has added nothing to the sum of our knowledge.

All Littlejohn's current prejudices are on display.

And it has been guilty of the most appalling generalisations and of the old "anecdotal evidence" meme. And it didn't really hang together as a programme either. All over the place.

This has been a live commentary. May come back with a more considered analysis later. Then again I'm not sure Littlejohn's little-minded effort is worth it? Shobna Gulati - not a journalist - on next is going to be far more interesting, I know it.


Anonymous said...

A lot wide of the mark mate. Littlejohn has unearthed the left's dirty little anti-semitic secret that all too often trades as anti-Zionism.

Shame about Greenstein being on. This is the guy who moved the boycott motion at unison conference, and who represents about 1% of Jews.

Chris Paul said...

What are you on about? Good to see you're hiding your identity.

Makes you a miserable troll that does.

I'm prepared to put my name to what I made of this ridiculous oevr-hyped, badly written, badly presented, badly produced little programme.

Anecdote upon anecdote and of course generalisation upon generalisation.

Of course there is anti-semitism in elements of the left. Of course there is anti-semitism in elements of the right. Of course there is anti-semitism in various other quarters. The mainstream media included.

But Littlejohn has had an opportunity and a budget and actually unearthed NOTHING. But this was a very crappy hour of TV. Don't you think?

What is your problem with Greenstein? Or more specifically with the points he and others were making about ways forward?

What is your way forward?

Anonymous said...

I can't post my identity for reasons i've emailed you with. Anyway, what exactly makes me a "troll"?

Sure Littlejohn's piece wasn't brilliant, but you'd have to have you head in the sand not to notice the drive by sections of the left against "Zionism". The so-called boycott motions passed by the TandG, Unision, UCU and NUJ conferences are witness to that. As for Greenstein, and I don't use this phrase too often, he's a headcase, who as far as i know doesn't support Israel's right to exist.

And what about the "we are all hezbelah now chants", and the lash up between the anti-ward movement and Islamicists?

Chris Paul said...

Listen pal! I think we agree on some if not most of this. And that if you read my post, written as Littlejohn's road crash played out in slow motion, you would understand that.

I have no time for the Hezbollah placards and chants or for their tactics or eventual aims.

But I have no time for the punitive bombing of civilians either. Or for building in occupied territories. Or this that and the other.

The tie up between SWP and some elements of MAB is at least theoretically troublesome. In practice the elements who take part are not Islamicist lunatics, in my experience.

But as I say I think that Respect and StWC have hollowed out the antiwar movement with silly mistakes, impatience and ultraism.

Greenstein worries me a bit too - for quite different reasons than yourself I suppose.

You are a troll in the sense that you are an anonymous poster in a public forum trying to wind people up, so far just me so that's OK.

I don't support the pickets at M&S in Manchester. I don't support the intifada now or propaganda blather that goes with that.

I have not been involved in any boycott decision, I think the NUJ (of which I am a renewing member) are crazy to align like this while they won't join a mainstream political party as that would be :
"Too political".

But having said all that I have reaped a whirlwind of hate for trying to present a properly formed and properly passed resolution in one organisation.

This concerned twinning/friendship links, it concerned building in the occupied territories, and it concerned the endorsement of that building by a Labour representative.

It was shouted and routed out. i was accused of being an anti-semite, a racist, a Trotskyite, a denier of Israel's right to exist, and so on and so forth. I was also sent to Coventry by the attacker - so far for 27 months. This person has also tried to attack me in other ways.

In other words I know first hand the difference between criticizing Israel and being anti-semitic. And I understand how easy it is for those offended by even the slightest criticism of Israel to shout "foul" (to foully shout?) and if we allow it to completely close down the debate.

I'll check my email with interest.

But admit it: as a TV journalist Littlejohn sucks.

Anonymous said...

The film had flaws.
But one anti-semitic incident is one to many.
The left has to be absolutely unequivocal about this and not shift the debate to the standard of reporting.
We must stand shoulder to shoulder with the children of King David's against anyone who would attack them.
And if I had been a delegate to the NUJ conference I would probably have SUPPORTED the Israel boycott.
(Well I would have voted with my branch's mandate - but you know what I mean.)

Anonymous said...

My point was that sections of the left are fanning the flames of anti-semitism and it's getting worse, and that it's a big deal. I wasn't suggesting you supported it in anyway.

As for the troll thing, if having a different point of you counts as winding you up, well c'est la vie "pal".

Chris Paul said...

Miles: The film was tosh. Nothing new or insightful. Except I didn't know the extent of the security measures at KD. Then again I did have some discussion with someone from the reform synagogue at Jackson's Row and know the premium on security there.

If you can explain why NUJ is right to affiliate to a campaign such as this but not to a mainstream party I'm all ears. Does not compute whether one supports a boycott in this case or not.

There are at least two problems with the film:
- Standard of reporting and following from that
- The bias and generalisations of the content

The suggestion that I am deflecting in any way from the problem is really offensive. Seriously.

Don't think it did anyone any favours. Miserable.

Anon: No you haven't wound me up in the slightest, au contraire peut etre; but that's what trolls do and anonymous blog posters are a right old pain, most of the time.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with Mr Paul. Littlejohn is a dangerous lunatic. Now he thinks he understands anti-semitism he is a worse lunatic for it. the programme was all over the place. Crap TV.

Anonymous said...

Amazed at Littlejohn's hypocrisy given his disgusting track record. See Johann Hari's article

As for the anti-semitism of the left. It is true that there are far-left elements who cross the line eg putting swastikas on the Israel flag. However, going on then say the left in general is anti-semitic is a disgrace. Very often the criticism of "left" anti-semitism tends to be mixed up with what is actually criticism of Israel (as with Littlejohn yesterday). For example, I criticised (quite mildly) Israel's attack on Lebanon last year and was accused of anti-semitism.
All the best
Matthew Stiles

Chris Paul said...

Cheers Matthew

Anonymous said...

Soory to be another anaon, but didn't you love the irony of Nick Cohen sounding off about the left allying itself with racists and homophobes in a cosy chat with Richars 'The Palestinians are the pikeys of the Middle east' Littlejohn.

Chris Paul said...

Yep, this was not lost on me. But rejoice! Now this twerp understands the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

I learned about the rise in anti-Jewish attacks in Greater Manchester from the film.
Which is very bad and we must acknowledge that.
Re NUJ the union does what it's members decide. No other explanation necessary.
There was a ballot for a political fund - defeated. I voted yes.
We can't affiliate to a party without a political fund.
Union conference voted to support a boycott of Israeli goods - not to affiliate to anything.
Affiliation needs to be agreed by ballot of all members.
We have recently voted by ballot to affiliate to National Pensioners Convention, No2ID campaign, Cuba Solidarity Campaign.
And against affiliation to CND.
I voted yes for all.
It's democracy bro.