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  • Ken Livingston

    Hi Mike! I was wondering what is your view regarding Ken Livingston. Do you think he's a fitting mayor to a city such as London?

    It seems to me that his anti-Israeli views, coupled with his belittling of the Holocaust and his endorsement of the anti-Semite (and terror supporter to boot), Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi, help fuel the demonisation of Israel, which seems to be one of the major driving forces of anti-Semitism in Europe (partially replacing some of the more "classical" religious and social reasons). Unfortunately, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in England rose last year by over 40%, reaching its highest level ever.

    Some of Livingston's "pearls of wisdom" can be found here:

    http://www.adl.org/special_reports/l...ivingstone.asp

    Oren

  • #2
    Phew, I didn't know that Ken Livingstone was anti-semitic, though I'd agree his choice of phrasing wasn't the best for any politician. He certainly showed no evident anti-semiticism during the bulk of his career.
    He's not the first person to compare a Jew to a Nazi, of course. A Jewish writer in The Nation compared my dear friend Andrea Dworkin to a Nazi because of her feminist views. ADL didn't defend her, which is why I'm always wary of what the ADL, which chooses who it attacks and who it defends, has to say. My guess is that Livingstone would feel equally defensive of Jews he saw as 'underdogs', just as he currently sees British Muslims as underdogs in the current political atmosphere I'm not defending his remarks, of course, but they were said in heat to a right-wing journalist who doesn't exactly represent a newspaper with a philo-semitic record and who used the remarks in an ongoing attack on someone his paper sees as a lefty. Livingstone's dignified remarks after the transport bombings in London impressed many people and in other areas he has worked as a conscientious public servant. Many of his colleagues, of course, are Jewish, as are many of his appointees. Being pro-Palestinian, as many Israelis also are, doesn't make a person anti-Israeli. Which might not be a subtlety the ADL recognises... :)

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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    • #3
      Reads the Website...charming Man.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
        Phew, I didn't know that Ken Livingstone was anti-semitic, though I'd agree his choice of phrasing wasn't the best for any politician. He certainly showed no evident anti-semiticism during the bulk of his career.
        He's not the first person to compare a Jew to a Nazi, of course. A Jewish writer in The Nation compared my dear friend Andrea Dworkin to a Nazi because of her feminist views. ADL didn't defend her, which is why I'm always wary of what the ADL, which chooses who it attacks and who it defends, has to say. My guess is that Livingstone would feel equally defensive of Jews he saw as 'underdogs', just as he currently sees British Muslims as underdogs in the current political atmosphere I'm not defending his remarks, of course, but they were said in heat to a right-wing journalist who doesn't exactly represent a newspaper with a philo-semitic record and who used the remarks in an ongoing attack on someone his paper sees as a lefty. Livingstone's dignified remarks after the transport bombings in London impressed many people and in other areas he has worked as a conscientious public servant. Many of his colleagues, of course, are Jewish, as are many of his appointees. Being pro-Palestinian, as many Israelis also are, doesn't make a person anti-Israeli. Which might not be a subtlety the ADL recognises... :)

        Extreme right-wing Israelis took the liberty of comparing Rabin to a Nazi, spreading posters of him in S.S. uniforms, as well as naming Sharon one just recently, as part of a vocal campaign to halt the disengagement program. The peaceful resettlement of Jewish settlers from Gaza was compared by them to deportation to concentration camps, and one right-wing Knesset member even wondered why Israel judged Eichmann if now it commits similar crimes itself. There seems to be people with foolish remarks (and foolish people) everywhere.

        Criticising Israel is perfectly ok, but care should be taken that such criticism does not encourage anti-Semitism. The same, of course, should be said about criticising Islamic countries; no Mulsims should be hurt as a result. It is one thing to find the rationale behind crimes like suicide bombings (it was Ehud Barak who said that had he been a Palestinian he would have probably joined the Hamas!) and another to justify them. Some people claim that while in the past anti-Semitism took the form of denying the rights of Jews as individuals, it is now geared towards denying the rights of Jews as a collective (i.e. having their own independent state). It's many times hard to discern which criticism is legitimate and which one has alternate motives behind it.

        On a lighter note, has Linda enjoyed The Da Vinci Code? I found it an entertaining book. I'm still trying to swallow Umberto Eco's Baudolino, which seems to offer some more accurate historical background :) Oh, and I'm on chapter 3 of The White Wolf's Son. The first shipment from Amazon never arrived, so they had to send a replacement. Which reminds me that the bookplate that was sent to me from you last year through the benevolent father of Oona von B never reached me either :( Magyar Posta....

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        • #5
          This might interest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_anti-Semitism
          According to this definition, many are the left are guilty of anti-Semitism. There is certainly a need for great care when discussing Israel/Palestine: 'Nazi' comparisons occur far too frequently, as do statements that more or less justify or even glorify suicide bombings. Although (not so) Red Ken has not done this, he has certainly been willing to give a platform to people who do.

          Of course, left wing anti-Semitism is nothing new. I was shocked to learn that Proudhon wished to exterminate all Jews (a fact unmentioned by any of the anarchist books I ever read...) and not even Marx, despite being Jewish himself, was above above having a good old antiSemitic rant...
          \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mikey_C
            This might interest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_anti-Semitism
            According to this definition, many are the left are guilty of anti-Semitism. There is certainly a need for great care when discussing Israel/Palestine: 'Nazi' comparisons occur far too frequently, as do statements that more or less justify or even glorify suicide bombings. Although (not so) Red Ken has not done this, he has certainly been willing to give a platform to people who do.

            Of course, left wing anti-Semitism is nothing new. I was shocked to learn that Proudhon wished to exterminate all Jews (a fact unmentioned by any of the anarchist books I ever read...) and not even Marx, despite being Jewish himself, was above above having a good old antiSemitic rant...
            Thanks for the link Mikey_C! I found it excellent. It touched many of the points discussed above, not even failing to mention Ken Livingstone or to criticise the ADL for having some double standards (from the mouth of Noam Chomsky). I believe the recent EUMC definition of the "new anti-Semitism" is important and quite precise.

            It's worth to note that Karl Marx's family had converted to Christianity before he was born.

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            • #7
              Equilibrating criticism of Israeli goverment policy with anti-Semitism is as heinous and ignorant a leap of analysis as identifying 'German' with 'Nazi' or 'Al Qaeda' with 'Muslim'. Cheap.

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              • #8
                Using the word 'Nazi' without careful thought is another thing I don't like. It became almost a convention to label someone you disagreed with a Nazi or a fascist for a while. We all know that Israel, being a democracy, has a wide range of opinion expressed there and it's pretty depressing when someone who believes Palestinians have a right to a nation is called anti-semitic. Strictly, of course, all people from the region are semites -- Arabs as well as Jews and Christians. I do feel sorry, incidentally, for people encouraged by one Israeli government to settle in Palestinian lands only to be thrown out by another government. The anger should be directed into the ballot box, of course. Even though I have a feeling that they wouldn't vote for MY preferred candidates or party.

                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Perdix
                  Equilibrating criticism of Israeli goverment policy with anti-Semitism is as heinous and ignorant a leap of analysis as identifying 'German' with 'Nazi' or 'Al Qaeda' with 'Muslim'. Cheap.
                  I do not think anybody here or in any of the links provided here tried to equate these two.

                  The EUMC states that "Criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic".

                  However, it also states that things like denying Jews the right for self-determination (by claiming that the State of Israel is a racist endeavour), using Nazi symbols to attack Israel, holding Jews jointly responsible for Israeli policy, applying double standards when dealing with Israel, and so on, are manifestations of anti-Semitism.

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                  • #10
                    I agree. I also do think overt anti-semitism is getting worse in places like the Mid-West of the US, where criticism of Israeli policies quickly turns into anti-Jewish sentiments. Anti-Moslem rhetoric is also getting stronger in France, for instance. All of it needs to be curbed and resisted.

                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                      Using the word 'Nazi' without careful thought is another thing I don't like. It became almost a convention to label someone you disagreed with a Nazi or a fascist for a while. We all know that Israel, being a democracy, has a wide range of opinion expressed there and it's pretty depressing when someone who believes Palestinians have a right to a nation is called anti-semitic. Strictly, of course, all people from the region are semites -- Arabs as well as Jews and Christians. I do feel sorry, incidentally, for people encouraged by one Israeli government to settle in Palestinian lands only to be thrown out by another government. The anger should be directed into the ballot box, of course. Even though I have a feeling that they wouldn't vote for MY preferred candidates or party.
                      I can imagine people that moved there following financial incentives (as opposed to some kind of ideology) actually ending up voting for the Labour party!

                      The upcoming weeks in Israeli politics should be fascinating. There seems to be no escape from holding the elections earlier than scheduled with the Likud probably splitting into two separate parties. Some predict that a new centre party might be formed, with Sharon heading it. The Israeli left is stilll in shambles with no real fresh worthy leadership; Peres seems to be the candidate that will run against Sharon (or Netanyahu...), as Barak just withdrew his candidacy for Labour leadership this week (the polls didn't favour him), stepping behind Peres.

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                      • #13
                        I updated my profile with a new email and tested it successfully. I'm not sure why the old one didn't work. Might be because of T-Online starting to migrate emails to their domain (they've recently acquired the Hungarian telephone company including its Internet subsidiary), although they promised the old emails would continue working for 2 more years. I did get notifications from the website to that email (including one for this post). Probably just a temporal outage. Please let me know if you still have problems. It's much appreciated :clap:

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                        • #14
                          I was making a general philosophical point brought on by the subject, Oren! Not directing it at the forum or the links!

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                          • #15
                            Thanks for the clarification, Perdix :)

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