Thursday, July 23, 2009

There's More To It

I did want to link to this Jerusalem Post broadside against Naomi Klein, specifically, her recent Ha'aretz interview. Now, I've already made my thoughts abundently clear on the matter, but I focused nearly exclusively on her apparent belief that protesting anti-Semitism is more "disturbing" than anti-Semitism itself. But there was a lot more to find despicable than that, and Noam Schimmel digs into it.

The claim that "[some Jews] even think we get one get-away-with-genocide-free-card," which is utterly risible, titles the article. But, related to my post, Schimmel also notes how Klein sloppily groups Jews together as a collective -- at Durban, "the Jewish students". Now, I stand by my claim that if Klein was seriously that distressed by the sight of protesters in clown outfits, she either has a severe undiagnosed case of coulrophobia or she needs a spine transplant, fast. But Schimmel accurately points out that, even if we do think she was justified in getting the vapors over protesters who had the temerity not dress in suits and ties, certainly not all the Jewish students wore the clown outfits, rendering her indiscriminate targeting of "the Jewish students" particularly hostile and bigoted (admittedly, she was just following the lead of the conference organizers). [further investigation seems to show that all the Jewish organizations kicked out were done so for cause -- i.e., for protesting. Klein's bigotry thus did not follow the UN, but was sui generis. I apologize to the UN for grouping them in with her.]

Naomi Klein is a servant of bigotry. I don't know what is in her own heart; whether she truly believes that she is treating the Jewish community in a fair and egalitarian manner, or whether she has convinced herself the ends justify the means. It doesn't matter. Either way, she is acting under the auspices of hate, and I will call her out on it until the day comes when she a) recants or b) is rendered totally irrelevant in her fanaticism.


Barry Deutsch said...

not all the Jewish students wore the clown outfits, rendering her indiscriminate targeting of "the Jewish students" particularly hostile and bigoted (admittedly, she was just following the lead of the conference organizers).

You've said this twice, but it seems like an entirely unsupported accusation. There were two Jewish student groups there protesting, the French group and the Euro group. Both groups protested (although only one in clown suits), both groups were booted. How is that indiscriminate?

It's clearly not the case that all Jewish NGOs were kicked out; it appears to be only these two, both of whom were breaking rules and protesting.

(BTW, I have no objection to breaking rules and protesting, and the clown protest in particular I thought was great, in part because it was narrowly targeted. But if you break the rules, it's fair to be kicked out fo rit.)

David Schraub said...

I'm genuinely confused by this comment. What is "unsupported"? We both agree that not all the Jewish students wore clown outfits. Klein explicitly refers to "Jewish students" as a totality, but the behavior she attacks as disrespectful is the clown garb. So either she is a) indiscriminately grouping the Jewish students who protested in the "bad way" with those who didn't or b) actually opposed to Jews protesting anti-Semitism, period (clown garb or no). Either way, my response to her is some variant on "fuck off."

Barry Deutsch said...

Whoops! My fault -- I was ridiculously unclear.

I'm talking about the accusation against the conference organizers, not about the accusation against Klein.

David Schraub said...

The AJC's report seems to indicate at the least that there was confusion as to whether the "sins" of the French group were being transposed onto everyone else, or whether the groups were revoked for their own purposes.

Of course, I do think the credentials committee could have revoked the Iranian delegation's credentials (the delegation was engaging in some hideous behavior of its own even apart from Ahmadinejad's speech, such as calling Elie Wiesel a "ZioNazi"). It would have taken some diplomatic chutzpah of the level we rarely see from the UN, but they could have done it.

Barry Deutsch said...

The AJC "report" (I'd call it a blog post) is supported only by a link to a short Jerusalem Post article. That article says that the European Union of Jewish Students "attempted to block the Iranian leader's appearance at a news conference."

So although the AJC report does imply that all Jewish groups were treated the same, their source doesn't support their claim, so I don't think you can fairly treat their claim as credible. (Although the JPost itself failed to distinguish clearly between the two points, but that's not the UN's fault.)

I also read about the kicked-out activists on the EUJS website, and they seemed to think they were kicked out for cause, not because they were mixed up with the French students. I think they'd know better than the AJC.

David Schraub said...

Well then I withdraw it. Klein was not following the UN's lead at all, instead engaging in sui generis bigotry. I'm sure we're all so proud of her.

Barry Deutsch said...

Whoops! The article I thought was by the Euro students group, was actually by the AP and reprinted on the EUJS website. According to that article, only four of the EUJS delegates were kicked out, which doesn't suggest that the UN was simply indiscriminately kicking out Jews:

"Of the 46 badges that were pulled this week for disruptive behavior, the vast majority were from individuals accredited through Jewish organizations. Notably, the French Union of Jewish Students lost 21 badges.

Credentials were stripped as well from four members of the European Union of Jewish Students and one B'nai Brith member. Between them, the French and European Jewish student groups had 370 members accredited"

It's impossible to tell for sure what happened, because none of the press accounts that I've found are specific. But I haven't seen anything to support your and AJC's claim.

Barry Deutsch said...

Sorry, I cross-posted with you.

I'm not defending Klein, right now; my internal jury is still out.

David Schraub said...

I know you're not: but the point of this post was to flambe Klein, not the UN -- I can do that in other posts :-).

I wonder if this article, which is ambiguously written, might have caused the confusion. To be clear, I think we've untangled it -- I'm just trying to figure out how the rumor got started in the first place. This sounds like something that just exaggerated in the hustle/bustle of a very chaotic conference.

David Schraub said...

Or better yet: Another student group, the European Union of Jewish Students, had learned April 21 that its accreditation was pulled after some members had yelled insults at Ahmadinejad from the gallery.

But the EUJS, which also has formal, permanent accreditation to the United Nations, protested that the entire group shouldn’t be punished for the actions of a few. EUJS Chairman Jonas Karpantschof said he told U.N. officials he would issue a news release if the accreditation weren’t reinstated, and it soon was.

So maybe that was it -- they pulled the accredition of the EUJS, then reinstated it and just yanked the actual protesters.