What's this blog about?

As a result of a combination of factors, culminating in the shameful UCU boycott-in-waiting of Israel, I've grown alienated & silenced, working here in one of the UK's finest universities all the while feeling like a Boycotted British Academic, alone in facing some dilemmas of the moment. In this generally chilling environment, it's hard to speak out and be heard, and hear others...and I find myself writing this blog.

What's it about? At present, it seems to me like a rather tortured articulation of the state of being silenced & mute, beyond words; struggling for the right even to use them, for a voice which can still be heard. When it started, all those successive boycott motions ago, I'd hoped it would function as a blog forum of support & solidarity amongst academics similarly-situated to BBA, to help us break through the boycott movement's silencing strategies. That hope remains notwithstanding this silence... Perhaps it lives in trying to articulate beyond the filter of these coping mechanisms of old (denial, avoidance, withdrawal); by way of this labour of finding the words, this voice...
[A forum of sorts has also arisen in the blog's comments, in which others have adopted the BBA moniker in case of need (e.g.
and here exposing the racist hate speech which masquerades as UCU solidarity activism).]

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Parade as Charade

When it comes to marching, you can count on UCU. Joining up with a parade? You can be sure UCU will be there, making a big show of its much vaunted anti-fascist and anti-racist credentials, credulity-stretching as they are in view of this experience with the boycott.

For when it comes to translating all this parading into practical action, when it comes to fulfilling its executive functions according to pledges made and declarations proclaimed at marches such as these, where's UCU? Which side is it on, when we look beyond all this, to the concrete and the detail of its work and activities?

If we take how UCU is handling the boycott issue as our barometer -- and, after all, UCU has distinguished itself for little else, tragically, since its inception, this being the core issue which has dominated, indeed paralyzed, its activism to date -- what we find is that it all turns out to be a bit of a charade really, for when UCU marches, it is effectively in fact marching against itself. Different name, for sure, but don't be confused about the underlying politics because even if the boycotters are too sloppy to see it, and even more so if they do see it, make no mistake: this isn't different in any relevant regard when it comes to fighting fascism, with many now noting the "fusion between far-left and far-right forces" these days (e.g.).

Yet while it marches against one of these forces, UCU is, on the basis of how it is acting in relation to the boycott issue, all the while busy performing and instantiating that fusion, and in the process thereby becoming very close essentially to the thing against which it marches.

Parading? Marching? Sure! But respecting the laws which have been put in place to guard against fascism & racism? Nah, silly, that's just ziocons desperately deploying the tools of empire to stifle criticism and debate (by which they apparently mean the sort of hate-fest & demonization on display in the comments which this blog's whistleblowers have appended to the earlier hydra post) and to hinder acts of solidarity (translation: the sort of pathetic gestures the BDS movement stages, which function and operate, in classic scapegoat style, so as to distract attention away from the problems which more immediately implicate the civic responsibilities of these gesturers (a phenomenon previously captured here, which uses the example of art to represent a phenomenon which I've discovered the boycotters to display in phenomenal quantities)).

No amount of marching can mask, nor will parade upon parade paper over the uncomfortable truth about what UCU represents today: far from helping in the fight against fascism, UCU must now be considered a significant target in that fight, given this policy it insists on endorsing, year after injurious year, in breach of the very laws which have been put in place to rid us of this scourge.


Anonymous said...

Does "Parade" rhyme with "Charade"?

Noga said...

According to the on-line dictionary, yes (with one exception):

/pəˈreɪd/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[puh-reyd]

/ʃəˈreɪd; especially Brit. ʃəˈrɑd/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[shuh-reyd; especially Brit. shuh-rahd]

Noga said...

And there is such a poetic device as a "Visual Rhyme": A rhyme that only looks similar, but sounds different. This type of rhyme can be used more to make a visual pattern than to make a aural rhyme.

Boycotted British Academic said...

Thanks Noga. I am forever impressed with your patience in argument and your attention to language...

Anonymous said...

Like those who have given up on this list because they feel the brunt of both real and possibly imagined antisemitic attacks, I can no longer take the comments that imply that it is impossible for me to venture an opinion without risking the label of antisemitic. I don't believe I am, but there is no where to find out if any bits of me actually are, since no one allows the freedom to discuss things.
au revoir,


Matt, please remove me from the list and never, ever reinstate me even if I grovel...

Dorothy Wright
Wed, 23 Jul 2008 11:55:58 +0500

We are all, or nearly all, opposed to anti-semitism and would support
UCU activity to counter this as all other kinds of racism. The trouble is that the knee-jerk response of anti-boycotters to allege or imply anti-Semitism among boycott supporters, as Dorothy points out, does tend
to undermine the credibility of the term. Like the boy who cried 'wolf'.

Jonathan Rosenhead
Wed, 23 Jul 2008 14:48:37 +0500

I do not consider criticism of Israeli athrocities and crimes against humanity to have anything to do with anti-semitism. I strongly believe that any such politics does deserve all sorts of boycott including the academic one. And the calls for boycott canot in any way be interpreted as something that is to do with anti-semitism. Trying to do so is nothing but an attempt to silence anyone who dares criticise Israel and do something using peaceful political means to stop the Israeli athrocities, and is definitely something I canot accept.

It is one's democratic right to express their views and opinions. That is something anyone who (supposedly) lives in a democratic society is fully entitled to.

Fri, 25 Jul 2008 00:49:43 +0500

Haim, you are making very valid points as you always do! But just to add a little question to your last two sentences: perhaps we should start by asking if some ready to recognise any racism and inequality other than anti-semitism?

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 21:38:49 +0500

I'm sorry but your position is untenable. How can you argue that the "never-naturalised" Palestinians cannot go home when Israel has a right of return for all Jews - the vast majority of whom have never lived in the Middle East! That position is discriminatory.

And actually many Palestinians talk of living in peace with Jews and Christians and atheists - all together in one state. It is the dream of many people I have met in the West Bank.

No-one in UCU is trying to "force" a solution but I am afraid the current position in Israel IS only held by force - hence the Wall and the Israeli army incursions. It is that use of force which many of us are trying to curb.

Karen Evans
Wed, 6 Aug 2008 10:22:14 +0500

The inexorable move towards the full incorporation of the Ocuppied Territories was never clearer, and if the two state solution is not possible, it is the Israelis who made it so, not the Palestinians. I
have written about this elsewhere, and one such piece is at:


There was never a real readiness in Israeli government circles to allow a real state for the Palestinians - any such state would mean the vacating of
the settlements - all of them, to give back to the Palestinians even 22% of their own country. No such move was ever made. The retreat from Gaza by Sharon was a tactical move - a way of holding on to the rest of the territory. This must be clear to all, even to Mira. The problem is not that Mira does not understand this, I am sure; the problem is that she does not
see it as a problem...for her, the aim of a Jewish State justifies the
means, any means. It does not for me. I also feel that what this Jewish State called Israel has done to Israeli Jews, let alone Palestinians, is not acceptable, neither is it necessary any more. I had to fight in three wars
before I was 26; great, isn't it? All those wars were the result of Israeli designs and policies. As all Arab states have turned to Israel few years ago, and suggested the two state solution as one they all support, and this
move was rejected by Israel, we can have no doubt that Israel did not, does not, and will not accept a solution which gives Palestinians back 22% of their own country. Now if you were a Palestinian, what would you do? If that solution does not exist, and after 41 years it must be clear enough, then what other option are there? There are only two I can see: either Israel gets rid of all Palestinians, as many argue within it, by a continued process of settlement, expulsion, appropriation and displacement - in other words, ethnic cleansing - or a single democratic, secular state is declared in the whole of Palestine.
There is no other option I can see, and I have spent the last four decades being active towards peace in this region.
The first option is what is now taking place, and what is supported by the
words and actions of Mira and her friends. The second option is supported by
very few people outside Palestine; it is badly understood, presented as the
'cancellation' or decimation of Israel, and is the boggy-man to frighten
little children with...
If the reality of living together in a democratic state is so frightening to
Mira, what is she doing in Britain? Why would she not live in a Jewish
State, since she has the unjust right to reside there by Israeli
legislation, while Palestinians who have originated there cannot? Is the
division of Northern Ireland into two entities a better solution than the
one currently being built? Was Apartheid a better solution than a
democratic, unitary South Africa, with all its imperfections? Does she
prefer the decade of destruction in the Balkans to the state that was
Yugoslavia once? And in Yugoslavia there was not even the clarity of a an
occupied land, and of colonialism, which exist in Palestine. Is it not
interesting that Jews can live quite peacefully (so I hear) in Germany,
where the murderers of six million Jews have originated and worked out their
schemes, but would not live peacefully with Palestinians, whom they
themselves have dispossessed, occupied and terrorised for generations?
If Mira wants to help the two nations in Palestine to have a future, maybe
she can start with a moral judgment about the occupation and its iniquities,
or is this too much to expect?

My own Jewishness is not separate from my humanity in a way that some
people's might be.

Haim Bresheeth
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2008 11:50:42 +0500

Here are three examples of "easy words":

1) "The UCU is a democratic organisation."

'Calls for an indicative ballot on the question of boycotting Israel have been voted down at SFC and by
Congress. The vast majority of ordinary members are not able to determine the policy of the union.'

Such assertions are unfounded as in this case one cannot say that the vast majority isn't for boycotting Israel. Such claims are unfounded and unsubstantiated.

2) "The UCU stands up for academic freedom"

'But we encourage our members to threaten other academics with such exclusion,
and we host a campaign (BRICUP) that promotes "silent" and "personal"
exclusions from the academic community. You can see this clearly from the response that Haim Bheshreeth cites,
to the petition of Israeli academics in support of Palestinian academic freedom. '

One cannot say that either. Isn't it democratic to oppose undemocratic and murderous regimes (like the one in Israel), and to seek peaceful political means to express that opposition as well as support to the victims of it (i.e. Palestinians)?

'If we were consistent supporters of academic freedom, we would oppose political tests as a precondition for entry into the academic community. We don't oppose such tests, and so we are not consistent supporters of
academic freedom.'

As I already stated above, UCU is fostering the spirit of democracy by strongly opposing murderous and undemocratic regimes that do not allow any freedom (let alone academic) to the victims of such regimes (in this case the Palestinans). By opposing such regimes I see our Union actually supporting academic freedom (and the development of it where it has been stiffled and denied for such a long time as is the case with Palestinians).

'3) "The UCU fights discrimination."

No, we don't, not consistently. We propose, encourage, and licence acts of discrimination with respect to Israelis. Our policy on Israel/Palestine is hamstrung because it probably breaches the Race Relations Act. '

Yes, it does fight discrimination by opposing the Israeli actions that have been discriminating against an entire nation for decades. I believe that we have been down the 'Race Relations Act and Employment Law' avenue, and by now know that what we have been doing here (i.e. criticising the actions of Israel, and proposing peaceful political means of opposing such a regime) has nothing to do with any legislation.

Thu, 07 Aug 2008 20:15:29 +0500

Below is another example of how not to discuss the issues. There are some
standard ploys, which members of this list must be well acquainted with by
now, I reckon, but I thought it would be good to round up the whole list. I
am sure I will miss some, but then members will be able to add those. So
here goes:

Ploy No. 1
Israel is a Jewish state, and if you attack or criticise it, it is an attack
on Jews as Jews, so it is antisemitic, and we should lock such people up who
practice such evil
Ploy No. 2
The world is full of real misery, from Tibet to Timbuktu, so why discuss
this particular corner? Have you already resolved the problems of Darfur?
Have you fed the hungry? Have you saved the whales? Come back when you have
done all that...
Ploy No. 3
Israel is the size of Wales/Kent/Manhattan/ fill in your choice. Therefor,
it should not be high on the discussion stakes. First, let us discuss China.
Makes sense, doesn't it?
Ploy No. 4
How can you possibly criticise Jews after the Holocaust?
Ploy No. 5
Anyway, there is no occupation in Palestine, as God has promised this land
to us, so what are you talking about?
Ploy No. 6
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East/World/universe. It is
surrounded by blood-thirsty and backwards neighbours, etc
Ploy No. 7
This is an advanced ploy; instead of discussing the Palestinians, let us
discuss the Israelis: The Israelis only attacked in 1967, because if they
didn't, then the Arabs may have attacked first, so this was self-defense and
does not count.
Ploy No. 8
We have no one in the Middle East/Palestine/ the world we can talk to.
Nobody but us wants peace, and this is why we have to fight them all.
Ploy No. 9
The left (as we all know) is antisemitic by nature, which explains why it
never supports Israeli exploits
Ploy No. 10
The Arabs have many states, and the Jews only one, so why don't they take
the Palestinians and stick them somewhere, and shut up? If they like them so
much, surely they would have offered them all flats in Zamalek a long time

I invite the members on the list to add the missing ploys, numbering them
accordingly. This will mean that in the future, all an anti-boycotter will
need to do is write along the following lines:

In answering the famous antisemite, UCU member X (please insert name of your
choice) I am quoting ploys, 3, 6 and 10. Check mate!

Members will recognise the great value of such a system: it is concise,
logical, does not tire the readership, and it refutes the antisemites
elegantly! Have fun, friends, start using USPA - the Ultimate System of
Palestine Avoidance!

Haim Bresheeth
Fri, 08 Aug 2008 20:04:27 +0500

I would have thought that you, as someone with an academic address, would
not misunderstand things so abjectly. As far as I know, Haim is a Jew who
at one time lived in and supported Israel (even by putting his body on the
line). However, he now thinks that it is right to separate his Jewishness
from his humanity, which means that his greater identity (humanity) comes
first, and his ethnicity (jewishness) comes after that. This is not the same
as saying that Jewishness and humanity are incompatible! I don't see this
separation as a problem, I'm a human first and an English person some way
after that. Granted, we don't have the holocaust in our history, but that
is not a history that is relevant to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in
that the people who suffer here and now at the hands of the Israelis are not
the ones that perpetrated it. Jews who critisise Israel deserve respect for
those opinions and not the calumny of anti-semitism.

Brian Collier
Fri, 8 Aug 2008 22:59:20 +0500

Many thanks for Harry adding three new ploys:

Ploy 11: Why is Israel singled out for discussion, when there are other
countries we could discuss?
Ploy 12: Why is a British Trade Union discussing things which are nothing to
do with pay and conditions?
Ploy 13: Why discuss issues which only obsessive people wish to discuss?
Obsessive people are the ones who wish to discuss issues I wish to avoid.

Harry is ready to discuss Palestine. Good! Who exactly is stopping you,
Harry? Why not start by discussing the simple questions I posed the list?
That surely would be a change from adding ploys to the list...

Thanks Harry, for enriching the list. Please send some more!

Haim Bresheeth
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2008 13:57:08 +0500

Oh please! To say that "Jewishness is separate from humanity" is not to say that Jews are not human. Furthermore, "Jewishness is separate from humanity" is very different to "MY Jewishness is separate from MY humanity."

A clear and unbiased interpretation of this quotation would mean that it is possible to subjugate one's Jewishness to serve some humane puprpose. Equally true is that it is possible to subjugate one's humanity to serve what one might perceive as one's Jewishness. Thus, in order to defend the state of Israel, some people have no objections to besieging Gaza, cutting off electricity supplies and so on. Other people are capable of saying, "Well, no. I am Jewish, but the interests of humanity are stronger. I do not wish to lend my support to these inhumane actions."

Perhaps Haim would have left less room for semantic gymnastics if he had written, "My Jewishness is separable from my humanity."

Why do we bicker on about the allegedly-insignificant conflict between Israel and the Palestinians? Primarily because it interests us. Secondarily because it is not at all insignificant. Thirdly, I imagine, because it is also a proxy war against the US Empire and its allies. If people think that the list should concern itself with other things, then they are welcome to raise those other things. I imagine that if the list members are interested, they will respond.

I am not anti-Jewish. Some of my best friends may be Jewish...I couldn't really say, and it is that insignificant to me. I am an anti-Zionist; an anti-fascist; an anti-racist etc. All of these are separable from my humanity. I oppose the actions of the state of Israel because I do not believe that any state has the right to unilaterally annex a country; nor torture and assassinate its civilians; nor enact a programme of state-sponsored assassination; nor deny basic human rights to innocents; and a long etcetera. I have a great deal of admiration and respect for those Israelis and those Jews throughout the world who share my view that state oppression of anyone is unacceptable.

Diarmuid Fogarty
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 15:48:56 +0500


'If yes, can you tell me which other countries which had these types of things happening you supported boyotting? Or is it just israel?'

It is not about Keith or boycotting other countries. The discussion thread has been about Israel, so I can't see why we should not keep it focused or shift the focus of our discussion to somethiing different.

'Regards from one who has been hauled off buses, stopped for ID etc because of his community in a place nearer to home than Israel/Palestine.'

As someone who has experienced war aimed at destrying my people just for what they are I am ableto understand how you must have felt. But, does this mean that we should ignore what's happening in other parts of the world away from where we live? Or is that we should abandon any criticism of the murderous and genocidal politics of Israel? I would not expect anyone who has experienced something like what's been happening to Palestinians to support it.

And frankly I am appaled to think that there might be those who expect anyone to support killing of people (innocent civilians whose only guilt in this case is because they are Palestinians), occupaying land, and all that the world has been shamefully witnessing happening to Palestinians for the past 60 years.

20 August 2008 20:47 +0500

I believe that I have said numerous times how I feel about the issue of boycotting Israel. You have rightly said that there were 2 poples there, one more powerful than the other. In fact, by sheer coincidence I was watching a programme last night (Discovery channel) on Israeli Commandos. And the commentator said that Israel was a country born in a war and is maintained by the threat of war! What a world do we live in where some are supporting something that was born by force to be maintained by a constant threat of force?!
We all know who started the war 60 years ago, and why. So, indeed we do have two peoples there, and the (far more) powerful/armed one has chased the other one out of their homes and their land and has been doing everything since to make sure they do not return. We all know that the Palestinians live in a sort of an open prison (ro perhaps ghettos is a better expression?). Imagine your children trying to go to school, and each time you see them off you can's tell if you if it was the last time you saw them. I wonder if anyone arguing against the boycott of Israel tried to walk in their shoes (being chased out of your property, and your life and the lives of your family have been threatened on a daily basis) would be able to really understand how one must feel living there?

As for the boycott, it's evident that I have been supporting it along with a large number of others. And, as I said earlier (quite awhile ago) it is not because they are Israelis but because a number of them have been siding with the murderous and genocidal politics of Israel, or are at least indifferent to the crimes their government have being committing for decades over an entire nation (Palestinians). I see the boycott as a form of a political pressure on those who can do something (and stop supporting such a horrible politics) to do it. And so do a number of Israelis (like Haim Bresheet, Finkelstein, a number of Jewish Rabbis etc.).
As for you proposal to boycott the other side (i.e. Palestinian academics) for supporting violence, I am afraid that I have to say that all I have come across so far is their pleas for peace and an end to occupation. Anyway, what kind of a use of force can they support when Palestinians have no arms? Unless they have been supporting throwing stones at Israeli tanks so we need to boycott them for that?
Talking of fairness and balance of forces! I'd call for Israel to be disarmed to be brought to an even keel with Palestinians which would end the violence and give peace a chance. Or so the Western powers claimed in one very recent war when one sovereign poeple were denied weapons (to defend themselves) saying 'More weapons, more blood'. Or are we talking double standards yet again?

Thu, 21 Aug 2008 09:34:56 +0500

Now I am here in Palestine and there is a military occupation ! I show
my passport at least five or six times a day to the military here.
Sometimes we are hawled of buses and questioned for simply going a few
miles up the road. What all this means is students have to go through
several checkpoints like Hawara a couple of times each day as they go to
and from University. They never know whether they are going to make it
to class or get home home at the end of class. Parents never know if
they are going to see their children at the end of the day. Do you know
what that is like David ? The best that can happen to these students is
that they stand in line under the hot sun at the checkpoint for a couple
of hours and then have the same old sneers from Israeli soldiers ...
Now in these circumstances what can meaningful dialogue be about except
ending the occupation and all that goes with it ... Is that so
challenging ? Please tell me because I am here in the middle of this
occupation and I am telling you that this will end ! So what should I
sign to get this huh ?

Keith Hammond
20 August 2008 18:30 +0500

Evidently Stephen can maintain his idyllic view of the harmonious
relations between Jerusalem's various communities by turning a blind eye
to the patrolling soldiers, the frequent flying checkpoints and the
realities which Keith mentions. However, his blinkered vision is belied
by reports such as these:


John R. Porter
Thu, 21 Aug 2008 14:10:26 +0500


In support to your link this may be a long but also an interesting reading:


No comment necessary. The facts are speaking for themselves.

Thu, 21 Aug 2008 15:55:02 +0500

I think the facts that speak from themselves are that a supposed
anti-racist is circulating material from white supremacist and former Ku
Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. This should have no place within UCU.


Hello Jenna,

I'm happy to accept your explanation and apology. Unfortunately, Josh has hastened to draw the worst possible
conclusions, without first giving you a chance to explain yourself.

John Porter
Fri, 22 Aug 2008 10:54:40 +0500

Hello John,

I didn't realise who David Duke was nor did I hear of him. I just looked
at the article not the website where it appeared. Apologies for picking
up that website as I personallly am strongly against any racists,
anti-semitists and the likes of them. I just found the article quite
powerful, and none are saying that Joe Quinn (the author of the article)
is a racist or anti-semitist, and the article is quite interesting. So,
perhaps we should focus on the article itself and not where it appeared
(if we look at it in a broader sense, the website itself appeard on
Google and so did the article)? Anyone can put anything on their
website. That's how some of us ended up being quoted and commented on on
Hydra website awhile ago.

Sincere apologies once again though for picking the wrong website, but
it's the article that I found interesting as it gives some amazing facts
and it was not written by David Duke (who, I most certainly agree, has
no place in UCU but is the author of the website and not the article).

21 August 2008 20:39 +0500

Hello Jenna,

The article, by one Joe Quinn, seems fairly accurate, but David Duke, on
whose Web site it appears, is a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan
and a rabid racist and anti Semite. His ostensible support for Palestine
is clearly motivated by anti Semitism and is definitely not to be

John R. Porter
08/21/08 4:40 PM +0500

'Given that the offending posting by Delich quoting the ultra racist site of David Duke was made in response to my posting, your acceptance of her apology is on behalf of yourself and certainly not me and no doubt many others on this site. I am deeply and personally offended that a contribution from Delich showing that she consults racist sites and then has the audacity to quote articles found on them in a debate on a trade union site in response to a posting from a Jewish member, which from previous discussions she and long standing members of this list are perfectly aware is the case.. '

Twist to fit again?! I am PERSONALLY AND DEEPLY offended by such attempts and claims. First of all, my post was NOT in repsonse to a Jewish member but to John Porter.

I DO NOT know who Dave Duke is, as I am not interested in any kind of racists and fascists and the likes of them. I don't like to even read about them. That explains why I don't know who he is (I really do not want to know him or know of him and the likes of him).
I personally have always been speaking from a humanitarian level and have been interested in articles that are publishing facts on humanitarian disaster that's been going on there for decades, and is now worse than ever.

As for quoting the article that was found on David Duke's website, apart from not knowing who he was (otherwise I would not have posted it), and the fact that he wasn't the author of the article I'd like to draw a parallel by saying that our quotes were found on HYDRA site. So, some had the audacity to quote us without our consent. The same happened with the article that had been ripped off another website (as N. R Clark stated in his post of yesterday). The way I come across things is by simply typing 'killing in West Bank and Gaza' and similar NOT by going on particular website to consult them.
As John Porter said, the article itself is fairly accurate. So, instead of attacking me or John and being offensive to us, perhaps it'd be worth offering facts that would prove the article wrong / incorrect.

' Yet again such a level of profound ignorance from somebody who posts to this site on a regular basis is hard to comprehend. '

Is it so difficult to comprehend that someone who is not interested in racists and fascists do not even read about them. So, why would you keep insisting that I do something I never would (i.e. learn who Dave Duke or the likes of him are).? I am aware of a number of the likes of Duke who were butchering my people in the very recent history, and reading about more of them in the world would be too painful for me. You have picked on me and offended me too many times (on and off the DAN list) that I'd past caring to mention. But with another one of your insiults - accusing me of something that's completely untrue (i.e. consulting racist/facist website) is extremely offensive for me- in my view such an individual is not worth my further consideration.

Fri 22/08/2008 12:27 +0500

I have known Jenna for over 15 years, since she first arrived in this
country as a refugee from a horrendous war in her homeland.

I do not believe that Jenna is racist, nor that she would knowingly hang
out on a website of a (former?) leading member of the Ku Klux Klan.

I agree that there is a lesson here for us all about checking the material
we use, but this isn't always easy and straightforward because there are a
very large number of organisations out there and an even larger number of
individuals and web sites that represent them, overtly or covertly. No-one
will know the background of every individual or web site they come across.

Lesley Kane
Fri, 22 Aug 2008 13:32:00 +0500

It is clear then Jenna has made a serious error and she has owned up to
that and apologised so why are people still trying to beat her up about
this (that's a rhetorical question).

I have taught sessions on web searching, web use and how to establish
the provence and authenticity of information. This has made me
crucially aware of how difficult it is to set out rules, or even
guidelines, for avoiding errors. One example I use is about MMR - many
of the most difficult issues (other than political ones) come in health
information. The most basic rules is that items from high qulaity peer
reviewed sites are ones we are inclined to trust - and of course the
Wakefield article that caused all the trouble was in the Lancet, as
prestigious and authoritative as they come.

This is not about whether Jenna is a racist or an anti-semite it is
about trying to shoot the messanger. If I were to be inclined to use
biblical references I might start talking about people without sin
casting the first stone.

Mike Cushman
Fri, 22 Aug 2008 13:56:36 +0500

In your determination to be 'deeply and personally offended', you've
misstated the facts. As the sequence of e-mails below shows clearly,
Jenna's posting referring to Duke's Web site was addressed to me by name
and was a response, not to your original e-mail, but to my reply to it,
including references (which you have so far ignored) painting a rather
less benign picture of life in Jerusalem than the one you seek to
convey. Her subsequent explanation and apology was likewise addressed to
me and was a response to my e-mail pointing out Duke's vile racism and
anti Semitism. I'm therefore perfecty entitled to accept it and it
should be clear that I do so on my own behalf. I realise full well that
you and other Zionists will eagerly seize any opportunity to tar anti
Zionists with the brush of anti Semitism and that no explanation or
apology will satisfy you.

Most of your accusations (e.g. that Jenna 'consults racist sites') have
been answered by Jenna herself and I shall say no more about them, but I
must respond to some of your remarks towards the end of your e-mail.

I did not seek 'to justify what she did'; I merely accepted her
explanation that she 'didn't realise who David Duke was'. You appear to
believe that she is lying and sympathises with Duke and the KKK; this is
an outrageous and quite unwarranted imputation.

My only comment about the posting by Josh was that he (like you) had
'hastened to draw the worst possible conclusions'. There's nothing
'snide' about that; it's a fair and justified comment.

'Those who read, post or accept as fact articles which appear on
racist and anti semitic websites must be viewed with the utmost
suspicion and are unworthy of further consideration'

Your final paragraph is truly preposterous. First, it's clearly possible
that indisputably factual material from another source might appear on a
racist or anti Semitic Web site (and before you object, I'm not saying
that this applies to the article by Joe Quinn which Jenna referred to).
More importantly, it should also be clear that members of this list may,
on occasion, have perfectly good reasons for reading material on such
sites. Do you really think you have the right to tell us what we are
allowed to read?

John R. Porter
Fri, 22 Aug 2008 14:27:44 +0500

ModernityBlog said...

Harry's Place has been attacked, and is functioning from a backup blog, http://jennadelich.blogspot.com/

Your support in this matter would be appreciated.

Boycotted British Academic said...

Thanks Mod. I was just writing a post about this and decided it was too long winded so saved as draft and then spotted your comment on here. I'll edit the draft post down a bit and publish soon. Please let me know how I can support beyond this. I am totally scandalized about what the UCU is doing - it's unbelievable that this sort of bullying is seeping out of the confines, frightening as they are, of UCU. I'm happy to support in any way I can...

ModernityBlog said...


I think this issue needs to be publicised, as widely as possible, to spell out the implications for bloggers and freedom of speech

first HP, who next?

Cheers, MB :)