Friday, August 29, 2008

Harry's Place, racist websites and the lefty blog response

I haven't been around much the last few days, so this is my catch up on the the issue of Harry's Place and Jenna Delich.

I'm not going to say much as others have already written at length on this, instead I'll highlight some posts .

First off Jim, as usual, calmly addresses the issue:

We basically come from very different places and usually when I read HP it's with one long tut on the go.

However, that does not mean I think it should be closed down. Particularly for mentioning an uncontested fact - that a UCU union member posted a link to an article on the website of David Duke, who's politics are down the line racist.

... I can imagine someone scan reading the piece and, not knowing who David Duke was, forwarding the link. Although, having said that, they would have to be pretty unobservant not to cast their eye to the right of the screen, to the array of links and banners which do rather give the game away. Thankfully being unobservant is not yet a crime.

However, if I'd posted a link to a vile and genuinely dangerous racist, when it was pointed out to me I'd go "oh my good Lord" take down the link and apologise to everyone. In fact exactly that happened to me once - I linked to a BNP members blog. The piece itself was innocuous (it was on some local bit of news I think) but I hadn't bothered checking out the rest of the blog so I got a horrible surprise when someone said "Jim, why are you linking to fascists?"

It's one thing to link to abhorrent material (after all I've even done so in this post, it can be impossible to avoid if you're to allow the reader to judge for themselves) but it's quite another to kick up a fuss when someone highlights the fact that you did so. It's alright to make a mistake, it really is, who's perfect after all? But if you react to that mistake by refusing to correct what you've done and instead closing down the opposition - well, don't expect to feel the love.

Tactically she's clearly made one of the stupidest decisions of her life because her name will now be associated forever with posting a link to one of the world's leading racists and thinking it's everyone else who has the problem. Let's bring Harry's Place back on line.

Now I have my differences with Andy, but he has argued strongly on SU that its pretty hard not to a) know who David Duke is b) even if you didn't the website is pretty clearly written by someone with racist white supremacist views (the guy was in the KKK ffs ). Andy takes apart the idea that someone might miss the 'clues' about the nature of the site :

So it is immediately obvious to anyone who visits it with a remotely critical outlook that this is a far right, anti-Semitic and racist web-site

What is remarkable is why so few left activists are prepared to challenge this, rather than making excuses for it.

It is incumbent upon the left and the Palestinian solidarity movement to both be aware of the conscious effort of far-right Anti-Semites to infiltrate the movement , and also to vigorously oppose and exclude these anti-Semites. Association with the likes of David Duke is extremely damaging for the Palestinian movement.

By linking to this article, that gave credence to anti-Semitic myths of Jewish conspiracy, and that was hosted by a notorious and obvious neo-Nazi she was at least exhibiting an indifference to anti-Semitism. We have already seen such tolerance of Anti-Semitism in the debates over IndyMedia’s moderation policy, and socialists providing a platform for the anti-Semitic Gilad Atzmon.

For those that still have trouble noticing a far right site when its bleeding obvious Mod has a guide.

For some rational thoughts on the subject of Israel and Palestine pop over to Dave's.

Other posts to have a look at include Phil and Shiraz.

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