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Monday, July 4. 2011
This post may seem to some as “inside baseball” but it illustrates a wider issue of being diligently informed for civil discourse and for effectiveness in supporting a cause, while not shirking from calling out those -- even allies -- who dangerously undermine that cause.
Europe has a deeper and historic anti-Semitism than in the US, and its Jews are proportionately and politically weaker than in the US. In this sense, European Jews may be more dependent on the efforts of non-Jews to defend themselves and Israel. This defense – here or there -- is based on the increasing realization, among Jews and gentiles, that it is part of a wider defense of the West, its culture and security against Islamist jihadists. Europe has also been more accomodationist toward Islamist offenses and offenders, partly out of post-WWII pacifism and retreat from global responsibilities and partly from it placing its energy and trade interests paramount. Both the US and Europe have activist Leftist and pro-Palestinian communities, but in the US they are far more marginalized in both public opinion and government policy, and there is lower tolerance for them. In Europe, allies are harder to come by, which can lead to infiltration by some who are anti-Islamist jihad but anti-Semitic, and slower reaction.
There is a blog dispute between blog friends, Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs blog and "Baron Bodissey and Dymphna" at Gates Of Vienna (GOV) blog, about the infiltration by some anti-Semites tarnishing of anti-jihadist English Defense League. Geller, an early supporter of the EDL, says she "did not want to write" her post exposing anti-Semitism infiltration within EDL but is required to go there as "I cannot and will not sanction anti-Semitic infiltration." Accordingly, subject to EDL leadership's promised purge of such elements, she has distanced herself from the EDL. The GOV bloggers have reacted with an Open Letter in which they criticize Geller as over-reacting. Geller's reply, in her typical fashion, minces few words:
Geller updates: "I stand by my concern about the increasing antisemitism in the ranks of the admins at the EDL. We have no intention of breaking with the EDL if they purge these antisemitic elements. If they do not, they will be finished as a force for good in England. I was immediately reassured that these rogue elements would be routed out. End of story."
Except it isn't the "end of story."
Geller continues to lambaste the GOV bloggers as "bottomfeeders" who "just bang keyboards." Geller has certainly been a leader of actually organizing successful counter-jihadist and counter anti-Semitic events and campaigns. Geller intimates the GOV bloggers are more concerned with Christianist beliefs than countering anti-Semitism.
I think this dispute is sad. I am saddened by any dispute between allies as I am by excess harshness in language. It is my disposition to be restrained in expressing my strong beliefs, to keep to the point and engage readers in calmer discussion. To me, this is very important to defending civil and effective discourse. And, at the same time, one cannot avoid calling out those who oppose or stray disastrously from core matters of concern. EDL and GOV have strayed, sad to say. EDL has recognized this. GOV should.
The head of the EDL has admitted that there are anti-Semitic infiltrators, and he has promised to remove them. That should definitively end any criticism of Pamela Geller as over-reacting. Any who continue to are missing the key point of Jews and Israel as the canaries in the defense of the West. Combatting anti-Semitism and defending Israel from slurs is essential, above attachment to a political party, friends or conflicting agendas. And, we are not so far gone that civil discourse be relegated.
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Bruce, Pamela Geller overreacting? Why, whoever heard of such a thing.
Seriously, sir, I would be very wary of regarding either Geller or Gates of Vienna as allies. Sometimes they each may advocate or agitate on an issue of fairness, but both have frequently exhibited some ugly and unreasonable behaviors of their own.
In any case, successful defense of liberty and tolerance and standing up for the Jewish people should be a process of addition and multiplication, not division and subtraction.
There are better champions and allies who don't tarnish their causes.
I, too, would rather add and multiply, not divide or subtract. Both blogs sometimes come close to the edge, and do much good. That is why I felt moved to write about this saddening blogger dispute, and feel it illustrates a wider point about informed civil discussion and effectiveness. I did in my post criticize excess harshness of language and GOV being stubbornly wrong on this particular issue. The issues, however, are too important to ignore.
I really regret blog wars on the right. The thing that bothered me most, and made me take a stand against GOV, is the really rancid comments directed at Pamela and Robert. If it were my blog those comments would be edited, since lies and slanders are not free speech.
Bruce, I'm all in favor of civility, and regret as much as anyone the current incivility between Geller and GoV. More important, however, is whether Geller's basic charge against EDL is true: Have they been playing footsie with Jew-haters? If that is true, it's a fact far more important than whether Geller used ad hominems against GoV.
Pamela says she had been growing concerned for months about the failure of EDL to police its ranks. She says there are "pages and pages" of objectionable stuff. So her decision to go public with her concerns apparently wasn't hasty.
By no means did I say Pam's reaction is hasty, and I quoted her hesitation about going public but finally its necessity, with which I concured.
At the same time, I think that the dispute could and should be conducted in civil language, not just for propriety but for effectiveness.
In truth, GOV has a long ,long history of the interblog vendettas.
It's sort of what they do for attention from time to time.
It has to do with the psychological composition of the main bloggers and they've been shown, many times, to countenance comments that get fairly rancid as long as they support the GOV point of view.
It's their nature and nothing can be done to ameliorate it. As a consequence they are, sadly, not to be depended upon.
Just what we need. Another right side blog war. Fjordman had a long thread about no longer allowing comments on his posts at GoV, and that thread became so nasty, I quit reading it. It's their blog, let 'em do what they want.
As for anti-Semites in the EDL, it would surprise me greatly that there aren't more openly antisemitic members, since it is England we are talking about. Orwell wrote a piece on British antisemitism:
To be honest, I would think antisemitic attitudes are almost the norm in Europe, even among the anti-Islamists hoping to save Europe's culture, such as it currently is. Europe, which used its technological advances of the 20th century to exterminate an entire race of people. People who contributed greatly to those technological and cultural advances. What can you say about them, but that they are suicidal.
With the collectivist mindset most people in Europe have, can it be spared from becoming a vassal state of the Caliphate?
When they hate Israel and America more than the vampires in their banlieus, something is really wrong with the culture.
The EDL can purge, purge, purge, and be as pure as the wind-driven snow, but they have no power. No influence. They are easily herded into cul-de-sacs by the police who infiltrate their groups whenever they go out to protest.
During WWII the Chinese Communists and the Nationalists put aside their differences to oppose Japan. Churchill (paraphrasing) said he would get into bed with the devil if he would fight Hitler.
If Geller wants an ideologically pure opposition to the Islamization of the West, then she is going to get steamrolled.
We need everybody. The fact of the matter is that neo-Nazis are politically insignificant and they have killed and ethnically cleansed far fewer Jews in the last 60 years than Muslims. It's best to fight one opponent at a time. Anyway, I don't know how you keep those people out without an expensive and time consuming vetting process.
Bruce, I am sorry if this makes me look like a Jew hating Nazi, I am not. However I see one threat as very real and the other being miniscule.
At the end of the day I doubt rather Geller or GoV or the EDL matter all that much. They are all pretty insignificant compared to the tide of events. It is a tempest in a teapot.
1) Despite Jews being more marginal, and the more endemic anti-Semitism - Britain, France, Ireland, and other European nations have elected Jewish Prime Ministers and other high officers. America hasn't done that yet.
2) I've read GOV for quite some time, and began tapering off as I saw more and more questionable content - both editorial and comments.
Most recently there was a most revealing chain of anti-Semitic comments, and a rather pathetic post (mirroring similar posts by Islamists) claiming that "ethnic" Westerners are responsible for all the world's technological progress.
3) GOV's content and comments underscore a fundamental issue that must be resolved: the conflict between "ethnic" European identity and "political" European identity.
When we talk about "defending the West against Islam" - are we talking about:
Rule of law, equality of mankind, individual rights, limited government, democracy -
- or are we talking about:
Europe for Europeans, towelheads go home (which obviously leads towards anti-Semitism)...
A lot of the folks writing and commenting on GOV focus on this "ethnic" angle - which is problematic, as seen in the preoccupation with "Joos".
I understand native Europeans' frustration with the multi-culti BS - but a focus on restoring ethnic purity contradicts the values that the rest of us are defending when we defend the West.
I would like to add to Ben David's excellent observation.
We Christians have an unfortunate amount of experience in witnessing people who might essentially agree nonetheless becoming so furiously angry at each other that schisms and persecutions break out. My impression is that there are indeed two separate battles going on, but everyone pretends there is only one. There is an ideological battle which everyone acknowledges, with one or more sides jockeying for its version of purity to prevail.
Beneath this is a tribal/cultural/ethnic/class conflict. It is as primitive as it sounds, and good people try and rise above it, but these things are hard-wired into us, and recede only with effort and risk. At base, the idea "you will sell out my people at the end if the pressure is too great" rummages around in the back of the brain.
I do not say that the ideological conflict is a sham, nor that there is never true alliance. All of us, in fact, had ancestral tribes who fought, stole from, and raped our other ancestral tribes. Those conflicts are buried and unimportant now, so alliance can be real and permanent. But that primitive side is still there. I sense this in Geller, and perhaps even more at GOV. Both have signaled to the other that they will fight side-by-side, but never back-to-back.
We are certainly seeing it in Peoria, Philly, Chicago and other urban graveyards.
I've heard the term Gates of Vienna more than once in relation to a blogwar. Funny that. One would think that it would be different people involved, but no. It seems there's a pattern here.
"During WWII the Chinese Communists and the Nationalists put aside their differences to oppose Japan. "
And Mao was able to use that to exile the Nationalists that fought and won the war, to Taiwan while Mao controlled the mainland and killed anyone that disagreed with the Cult of Mao.
Mission accomplished, as the communists say.
"We need everybody."
Not really. What we need is to make people who want to fight Islam, fight Islam, and leave everybody Islam is attacking alone. Somebody that fights Islam and the West at the same time, not going to work as an ally.
Leftism has given rise once again to tribal survival by making America as factionalistic as any pagan nation 2 thousand years ago.
And they speak about unifying the world...
Yeah right, when everyone they don't like is dead and buried, they can unify the world all right. But right now, class warfare and deliberately pitting race against race, class against class, rich against poor, America against brown people, that's certainly going to generate "unity" all right. Race war unity for each side involved.
The leftwing fifth columnists are already organized and united against the rest of the world with Islam. That much is for sure. But you are right Ymarskar, we should unite with everyone else that Islam is against, including Buddhists, Sikhs, Bahais and others that Islam is waging war on.