Main menu:

Recent posts




To help keep HP running


Or make a one-off donation:

Jews denied entry to eugenics libel event at the University of Warwick

This is a cross-post by David Collier

Last night, at the University of Warwick, Faculty arranged a public talk that accused Israel of eugenics. Let us digest a simple truth. Like with most medical or technological innovations, Israel is a global powerhouse in fertility treatment. Every Israeli citizen, regardless of race, religion or colour, receives equal treatment. If you are Muslim and in need of IVF then no citizenship in the world, guarantees you the sort of world-class treatment that being an Israeli does. If you have doubts, talk to Prof. Foad Azem, I am sure he would be happy to convince you.

Eugenics is defined as ‘a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of a human population‘. Eugenics were most famously used as a justification for the racial policies of Nazi Germany. They are clearly associated with the Holocaust. False accusations of eugenics against Israel, places an accusing finger on the biggest victims of 20th century eugenic experiments – the Jews. The Jews are a people who lost one third of their number to genocide. You cannot spread these type of lies, which clearly fall under the IHRA definition of antisemitism, and then ignore complaints about your failure to protect Jewish students. There is something rotten in Warwick.

Do read the rest of David’s post here

Jordan Peterson vs Cathy Newman

Cathy Newman’s recent interview with Canadian Professor Jordan Peterson (I touched on his views in this post) has been much discussed on social media – you can watch it in full here. He does seem to attract a disproportionate amount of ire. Recently the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton refused to accept a booking for his book launch, for example.

I’ve only seen a couple of interviews with Peterson – so maybe I’m missing something – but I’m puzzled as to why he has quite such a toxic reputation. One problem is that his views are frequently exaggerated – in her recent interview Newman stated that Peterson insisted on misgendering transgender students. However (as I remembered from my earlier post) this is a misrepresentation of his position.

On balance, I agreed with those (including Douglas Murray) who criticised Cathy Newman’s interviewing tactics in this extended interview.  But I do find some of Peterson’s emphases slightly odd. In particular he seems exercised by women who want a male partner they can dominate (3:45ff).  I can’t say I recongize this as a specifically modern phenomenon. People of both sexes can be abusive or bullying (or nagging) and that’s always been the case.  Where there has been a shift is in the number of wives who earn more than their husbands, and the number of men who take the greater share of parenting responsibilities.  It might at least have been useful to point out that many men, certainly in the past, have also deliberately chosen a weak and compliant partner (as he suggests a minority of women do at 4:00), perhaps younger and less well educated.

In the gender pay gap discussion I think Peterson was correct to point out that the gap isn’t simply caused by discrimination. And Newman made a bad error in failing to engage with the point that women on average are more ‘agreeable’ (not a helpful trait when it comes to promotion) immediately pointing out that some women are not agreeable even though Peterson was explicitly drawing a generalisation (7:35).  But Cathy Newman had earlier invoked the BBC case, and here the problem does seem, at least in part, to be a failure to offer equal pay for equal work. And even where direct discrimination isn’t in question there are ways in which the pay gap may be narrowed without immediately descending into a cultural Marxist dystopia.  A simple example – the opportunity for flexible working could make a woman decide to remain full time after returning from maternity leave. More complex perhaps are issues of socialisation.  Even if it seems demonstrably true that women are more agreeable, less combative, more attracted to less remunerative careers (all issues raised by Peterson), it’s less clear just how hardwired such differences are.

It was interesting that Peterson mentioned Sweden (13: 50) as an example of a country which, while very egalitarian, revealed a marked degree of sexual dimorphism in the job market – women dominate nursing whereas nearly all engineers are men. This, he suggested, was what happened when you gave people the freedom to choose. But the gender pay gap in Sweden is very narrow. Does this mean that they reward (perceived) male and female skills more equally than in other countries? Or perhaps those two professions are outliers, with others attracting more equal ratios.  (And in fact Peterson’s figures don’t seem quite right.)

Returning to the interview, Newman puts words in Peterson’s mouth by saying he thinks ambitious women are miserable, then (15:50) unfairly asserts he wants to place  barriers in the way of individual ambitious women. (This was because he had expressed uneasiness about statistically equal outcomes, which he thinks could only be achieved through authoritarian means.)  She also wrongly (though perhaps understandably within the context of the conversation) accuses him of saying women are less intelligent than men (17:40). However she has since remained commendably good humoured in the wake of a good many derisory, and a few abusive, comments.

Jeff Flake on press freedom, the truth… and Trump

Retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, one of the most (traditionally) conservative members of Congress, speaks on the floor of the United States Senate.

He incorrectly attributes a certain quote to George Orwell, but his words are clearly heartfelt. They ring true and are worthy of attention.

The shortlisted Labour candidate who shared antisemitic memes

Michelle Harris has been shortlisted to stand as the Labour candidate in Amber Rudd’s (very marginal) seat of Hastings and Rye.  Her previous form with regard to antisemitism was revealed a few days ago by @GnasherJew, an account dedicated to exposing Labour antisemitism.  One particularly egregious moment came in 2014 when she shared a David Icke post referring to ‘Rothschild Zionist Israel’.  Here’s another example, also from 2014.

Most here would agree that the implicit parallel between the Nazis and Israelis is antisemitic. Her reference to Holocaust victims is also shocking in its moral vacuity: its meaningless characterisation of their deaths, its offensive presumption she can tell how they – all of them – would view a complex conflict, and her use of them as a weapon to attack Israelis.

Corbyn Ignores Iran, Attacks Israel

Jeremy Corbyn’s silence on the pro-democracy demonstrations in Iran is something that was commented on and forgotten about almost as quickly as the demonstrations were suppressed by the regime.

Naturally when Israel banned anti-Zionist organisations from the country Corbyn started commenting. According to Electronic Intifada his spokesman said the following;

“Jeremy is concerned by reports that activists campaigning for justice for Palestinians, against illegal settlements and the ongoing occupation have been barred from Israel,”

At the very least it’s a double standard. Since there are draconian reporting restrictions imposed on journalists in Iran and since they actually shut down the internet to stop word of the demonstrations getting out one would say that even labelling this a double standard is harsh on Israel.

Still it’s Corbyn, the man who served on the Iranian state’s mouthpiece several times from 2009-12. Amnesty International reported that the Islamic Regime hanged at least 1,314 during that period.

Ahed Tamimi is NO Malala

Cross-post by Noah Phillips

The famed blonde-haired girl, a symbolic youthful leader of the Palestinian resistance, 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, a West Bank resident, has been indicted on charges of assault following a viral video that surfaced of her yelling, kicking, and slapping two Israeli soldiers. The film presented the two soldiers remaining stoically still as they berated and shouted at by Ahed and a family member, yet the soldiers continuously refused engagement in any violent conflict. Reportedly, the Israelis stood on the front yard of the Tamimi property as Ahed–quite forcefully–attempted to remove them, which she asserts served as a justification for her violence.

And the Tamimi clan are certainly no strangers to violence with Israeli soldiers, noted by the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) among others as inciters of terrorism and violence against the state of Israel, so Ahed’s unprovoked actions on the video are not remotely surprising, nor unlike the Tamimis. The aunt of Ahed, Ahlam Tamimi, remains domiciled in Jordan following her orchestration of a fatal bombing at a Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem nearly two decades ago, an act for which she remains on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Ahed and family are shown on video embracing Ahlam at her wedding in Jordan–married to a known murderer of an Israeli Jew, I might add–evidencing their close relationship and likely, resembling political ideology. The Tamimis are allegedly a part of the “Pallywood” phenomenon, filming Israeli soldiers in the worst possible light as propaganda to advance the pro-Palestinian lobby.  On various occasions, the Tamimi family reached fame–or infamy–for their allegedly staged confrontation with Israeli soldiers, attempting to provoke a violent reaction from them.

In a spurious article published in Al Jazeera and the Huffington Post and circulated through various news outlets, the author, Shenila Khoja-Moolji,  attempts to draw a parallel between Ahed and Malala Yousafzai, the renowned 20-year-old Pakistani advocate for women’s education under Taliban rule and a recent Nobel laureate.  Moolji contends, “Ahed, like Malala, has a substantial history of standing up against injustices,” her reasoning as to why the global community must embrace them both in equal ways; meaning awarding Ahed a Nobel prize, international sympathy, and a profitable book deal.

The question raised is:  Should Ahed Tamimi receive the same media coverage and global esteem as Malala?

Firstly, any claim that the media has discriminated in providing minimal press coverage of Ahed’s indictment is a bold fallacy. For years, Ahed has been a “star” of numerous viral videos of her frequent confrontations with Israelis, earning praise from both Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, both of whom she was invited to meet. In her home village of Nabi Salih and throughout the West Bank, Ahed has become a quasi-celebrity as the powerful, youthful face in the Palestinian movement. A heavy ad campaign in recent weeks in London saw posters throughout the city adorning the slogan “FREE AHED TAMIMI.” A group of 40 protesters gathered in Union Square, New York City to demand the release of Ahed from Israeli authorities. Social media campaigns and petitions were rampant on the Internet in support of the release of Ahed. All this to show, the world has taken notice and action on behalf of Ahed.

Yet the exposure that Ahed has received and the global support for her actions are what is most troubling.

Ahed and Malala differ significantly in their forms of activism and opposition, and while both are fervently committed to their respective causes, the two young activists pursue change utilizing distinctive approaches.

Malala fought against Taliban subjugation of women with her powerful speeches, her messages, and above all: peaceful advocacy. She began her arduous and ongoing effort through her writings as a BBC blogger, detailing her situation to the world before garnering global sympathy and exposure. In her speech at the United Nations General Assembly on her 16th birthday, Malala emphasized her commitment to effecting lasting change in the human rights of women in Pakistan without promoting violence as a means to achieve change. “This is what my soul is telling me, be peaceful and love everyone,” she said in the speech. Malala called upon the world leaders to amend their policies “in favour of peace.” Only a teenager at the time, Malala had the remarkable foresight to see that improvements to a standard of living, even in the opposition of terrorists and in a nation with such traditional gender roles as Pakistan, are realistic outcomes not necessitating any forms of violence to achieve.

And in her protests against the Taliban, campaigning for access to women’s education in Pakistan, Malala adhered to a peaceful code of conduct:

“If you hit a Talib … then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat another with that much cruelty and that much harshly. You must fight others, but through peace and through dialogue and through education. Then I’ll tell him how important education is and that I even want education for your children as well. And I’ll tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you. Now do what you want.’”

The enduring commitment of Malala to her cause of women’s education is what makes her an activist, coupled with her lack of hatred and animosity, her peacefulness and compassion, makes her outstanding.

Starkly contrasting the employed style of peaceful advocacy by Malala, Ahed has gained notoriety among right-wing Israelis and fame among liberal and pro-Palestinian circles for her aggressive opposition to Israeli soldiers near Nabi Salih. At 13, she, in one of many incidents, approached an Israeli soldier and proceeded to shout and menace. She held her fists high and shoved him, and as he walked away from the conflict, Ahed can be seen following and blocking him, still berating and assaulting him despite his evident attempt to de-escalate.  Ahed is establishing a dangerous norm for Palestinian resistance, now apparently accepted by the international community: advocacy through violence.

However the two share one apparent similarity, not in their advocacy per se, but in their shared adversity. Malala was shot in the head in 2012 by the Tehrik-i-Taliban (the Pakistani faction of the Taliban) as a result of her outspokenness on female education, yet carried on in her advocacy, still perpetuating her pacifist philosophy. On the verge of death, Malala maintained her kindness towards others, including her detractors.  Ahed has faced hardships as well, with continued violence and faltering socio-economic conditions inside the West Bank.  On a personal level, Ahed’s 14 year-old cousin was shot recently with a rubber bullet and rushed into surgery during a protest in Nabi Salih. But unlike Malala, Ahed’s challenges and misfortunes appear to have spurred her actions of violence, extending the sequence of conflict.

It is tempting by media and political organizations to seize upon youthful activists as poster children for change.  To some extent, the images of Ahed Tamimi in the West Bank and Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan are both compelling to general audiences as they represent young women seeking to change power structures and status quo.  Yet it’s a mistake to consider Ahed and Malala similarly, as their methodologies of advocating their respective causes contrast widely.  Ultimately, Ahed’s deliberate provocation of violence and her inciting conflict truly undermines the legitimacy of her cause.

Big questions for Police Scotland

This is a cross-post from Large Blue Footballs

Last summer, the Edinburgh-based, then law student Sophie Stephenson gained notoriety after boasting on Twitter that she had gone out to dinner wearing a Hezbollah T-shirt.

At the time, Campaign Against Antisemitism reported Ms Stephenson to the police, alleging that she had committed a criminal offence under section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

That section reads as follows (emphasis added):

Section 13 – Uniform

(1) A person in a public place commits an offence if he—

(a) wears an item of clothing, or

(b) wears, carries or displays an article,

in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that he is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation.

(2) A constable in Scotland may arrest a person without a warrant if he has reasonable grounds to suspect that the person is guilty of an offence under this section.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to—

(a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months,

(b) a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or

(c) both.

Under Schedule 2 of the same Act, the military wing of Hezbollah is a “proscribed organisation”. The idea that Hezbollah has separate military and political “wings” is of course a fallacy, but, unlike some, Ms Stephenson did not even pretend to be supporting the political “wing” only. On the face of it, therefore, Ms Stephenson appears to have committed a criminal offence under section 13.

It has now emerged, however, that Ms Stephenson will not be prosecuted. This raises challenging questions for Police Scotland. There has been only one reported conviction under section 13: the 2004 case of Rankin v Murray which, coincidentally, also concerned events North of the border. Mr Rankin was convicted of the offence after passing through a port on the West Coast of Scotland wearing a ring which prominently displayed the initials ‘UVF’. This had prompted police to suspect he was a member or supporter of the proscribed Ulster Volunteer Force. The conviction was upheld on appeal. Lord Hamilton, one of the appeal judges, remarked (with a delightful Scottish turn of phrase) that

While the manner and circumstances of the offending in this case may… be at the least serious end of the spectrum of conduct against which s 13 strikes, it is not, in our view, outwith the range of the legislative intent.

The implications should be obvious. If wearing a ring emblazoned with the initials ‘UVF’ is “at the least serious end of the spectrum of conduct against which s. 13 strikes”, wearing a T-shirt which bears the Hezbollah emblem would appear to be at the other end of the spectrum and therefore all the more within “the range of the legislative intent”. It therefore seems surprising at best that Police Scotland have decided not to prosecute Ms Stephenson.

Police Scotland have not disclosed their reasons for declining to prosecute. There may of course be pertinent information of which we are not aware. For instance, it is unknown whether Ms Stephenson actually displayed the T-shirt “in a public place” or just wore it under a top and then paraded it on Twitter when she got home. Perhaps Police Scotland decided that the cost and difficulty of finding Ms Stephenson’s current whereabouts and prosecuting her outweighed the benefits of doing so.

The contrast between Rankin v Murray and the case of Sophie Stephenson nevertheless remains clear. In 2004, the Scottish police were prepared to arrest and prosecute a man who wore a ring bearing the initials of a group whose aims – while clearly reprehensible – were limited both in scope and in geography. In 2017-18, they have declined to take action against a woman who boasted of wearing a T-shirt displaying the emblem of a group whose leader is on record as desiring the death of every Jew on the planet. Whatever Police Scotland’s reasons, there appears to be an obvious and distressing double standard.

Alec adds:

Wots nu from the Police Service of Scotland (PSS)?

Trump and shitholes

Despite multiple reports otherwise, President Trump now denies he referred to Haiti and African countries as “shithole countries” while complaining about immigration from those countries.

The president had grown frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan deal over young immigrants known as ‘dreamers’ who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, according to several people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump had said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.

Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday.

Of course if you believe Trump’s denials of sexual misconduct toward all 19 women who have accused him, and you believe all his other lies, there’s no reason to disbelieve him now.

Mia Love is a Republican congresswoman from Utah and the daughter of Haitian immigrants. Here is what she tweeted:

The point, however, isn’t Trump’s choice of language. It isn’t even his description of entire countries as “shitholes,” as bad as that is. It’s Trump’s belief that simply because someone immigrates from a certain country, that makes him or her somehow less fit to become an American.

Exactly. A century and more ago, I’m sure many Americans regarded places like Belarus and Lithuania as shitholes. I’m glad that didn’t prevent my grandparents from immigrating to the US from there.

I’ll give the last word to conservative-in-internal-exile Bill Kristol:

But Trump would prefer Norwegian immigrants. I’m not sure how many Norwegians are clamoring to immigrate to Trump’s America, but let’s hope they don’t include the likes of Anders Behring Brevik.

Bringing Corbyn into Disrepute?

Today it was announced that Momentum’s youth wing has been shut down. The reasons offered by Momentum founder Jon Lansman were that;

“MYS (Momentum Youth and Students) currently has no validity within the structures of Momentum, and therefore no legitimacy to use Momentum’s name or logo. In addition, I wanted to note, with regret, that the MYS social media accounts have at times been used in ways which have brought Momentum into disrepute and which are inconsistent with Momentum’s code of ethics.”

Speaking of which let me introduce you to Graham Humaniel Hennessy. He is the administrator of a little pro Corbyn Facebook group (just shy of 20,000 members) called Jeremy Corbyn – True Socialism. He recently posted that a certain people “make the world tow the line through media influence and money.”

Isn’t he bringing the Labour Party and good old JC himself into disrepute? I won’t hold my breath waiting for an answer on this one;

Jackie Walker Stops Moisturising, Occupation Ends!!

In a bid to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and to bring an end to an intransigent conflict that has claimed the lives of thousands, Jackie Walker announced today that she will no longer be moisturising. In what some commentators are calling a ‘brave’ and ‘daring’ step taken my Mrs Walker, Revlon shares are reported to have plummeted this morning.

Reports have also been circulating that Ken Loach will no longer be conditioning his hair and Tony Greenstein’s preening routine is also facing drastic changes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called an emergency cabinet meeting and has given instructions to his generals to draw up contingency plans for a full scale withdrawal from the occupied territories.