Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Solidarity with Harry's Place

Never in a million years did I think such a title would appear on this blog, especially considering the "history" me and "Harry" had way, way back in the early years of the UK Left Network. But now I feel compelled to stand with Harry's Place.

Why?

HP is under attack - and not for the first time. The (hopefully) temporary stand-in while HP is off the air takes up the story:
Harry's Place may be removed (or rather have it's DNS disabled) after a 'complaint' to the company that our domain name is registered with. We assume after threats were made on the weekend that this 'complaint' originates from Jenna Delich or her supporters. Though we have not yet seen the complaint submitted, we assume it runs along the lines that pointing out that Ms Delich linked to the website of a known neo-Nazi figure and former Ku Klux Klan leader is defamatory. This is extraordinary since Ms Delich has not denied that she circulated links to David Dukes website. There would be no point since the evidence is in the public domain. Nevertheless, a malicious complaint has been made to the company hosting our DNS.
More background is available courtesy of Modernity Blog here, here and here.

Personally, I have very little time for the politics peddled on HP. Warmed over social democracy plus humanitarian imperialism plus trenchant Zionism do not suit my radical palate. But they have as much right to push their rubbish politics as any other blogger, regardless of how distasteful they can be at times. So down with the complaints, the writs and the threats of court action, and away with those of censorious intent. If you're stupid enough to make the kind of mistake Jenna Delich did, then you should take the blowback on the chin, not scrabble around for a lawyer's letter.

In the immortal words of the HP masthead: "Liberty, if it means anything, is the right to tell people what they don't want to hear".

34 comments:

Neil said...

JD made an error of judgement linking to David Duke's site. If she had the humility to stick her hands up and say "I cocked up" then this could all go away. To do as she is doing and saying, to paraphrase, "I had not heard of David Duke, but, anyway the article is really good" just compounds the error.

HP are making an anti-semitic mountain out of someone's ignorance and lack of humility. Similarly JD is blowing up an attack on her error of judgement to such a size that the bubble of hubris will burst in her face.

Cheers

bob said...

How can an academic (even if in a completely un-related field), who considers themselves an activist, who has an interest in Israel, really not know who David Duke is? And what was she doing on the site in the first place? It's more than an error of judgment, and, while HP are making a mountain of it, I don't think they are wrong to do so.

thinkingdifference said...

interesting case, thx. there's little qualitative work done on hate speech on the internet, especially on blogs.

ModernityBlog said...

Phil,

thanks for having the courage of your convictions on this issue, I hope that others will see the wider implications for all bloggers.

It means that ANY blog can be taken down for any factually accurate comment, even blogs that you like or don't like.

Phil BC said...

Mod, when you've got litigious attacks on the blogosphere on a frequent basis it is important to stand with those blogs who are on the receiving end.

ModernityBlog said...

Phil, completely agree, that is my own view, but it is a bit, er..radical...

you won't find that many on the Left who'll share that view, watch out you'll take some stick for such a principled stance

PS: I haven't forgotten the blogroll, but my minds losing it and I need a rest :)

andy newman said...

Phil

Would you cross post this to SU blog as well.

It is a worrying development, and I feel we should show solidarity.

complexsystemofpipes said...

Neil is absolutely right. Having read the article, I can see how it would be an easy mistake to make. Duke only really reveals himself as a raving White supremacist on the "about" page.

Of course an apology would be the right way to rectify the mistake, and getting HP closed down, while tempting, is clearly not acceptable. Besides, when in a hole, the thing you don't want to do is keep digging. But still, this is quite obviously gonna backfire on her, massively, without be adding any wood to her bonfire.

beakerkin said...

Actually in the long run silencing
critics will cause more publicity.
This is only round one in something much larger.

Renegade Eye said...

Harry's Place is a blog, where the discussion is on a high level.

I'm on.



The piece of garbage Beakerkin threatened to spam my blog. I didn't expect to see him here.

Exile said...

It was this posting that alerted me to the HP problem, and I agree with every point that you made, save one.

Jenna Delich did not make a mistake and she has every right to be outraged. What she did was link to an article by a Joe Quinn which had been reprinted on the David Duke site. To claim as HP did that this meant that she was in some way a supporter of DD is something that only the HP smear machine could think up.

As I have blogged at my own place, now we have others coming in saying that she "cites David Duke" and that is clearly not the case. The fact that they can say it suggests to me that the smear machine did its job - the rest is up to their stooges.

Phil BC said...

Exile, what really matters to me is that either Jenna Delich or someone acting on her behalf has threatened legal action, action that could possibly see a popular blog closed. If the action is successful how long will it be before other blogs come under attack?

James Hamilton said...

Exile, there are three questions for Delich to answer:
1. What was she doing on David Duke's site in the first place?
2. Why didn't she link to Joe Quinn's article where it was originally presented? Why link to the Duke copy?
3. Having had the situation pointed out to her, in a factually accurate manner, did she not, as has been suggested to her, simply back off?

As for your point about what other sites are saying, that's not really germane to HP's dilemma, unless you really do believe that it's a case of websites operating deliberately in concert, and I sincerely hope that you don't believe that. If you do, you still have to account for the wave of sites normally opposed to HP who are offering them full support this week.

John Meredith said...

"What she did was link to an article by a Joe Quinn which had been reprinted on the David Duke site.2

She linked to David Duke, a notorious anti-semite (perhaps the best-known racist in the world?), in support of her 'anti-zionist' position. To remark on this is entirely reasonable. Harry's Place allowed that it might be a mistake in one sense, but, quite reasonably, wondered how come she was using well-known racist websites for research and how it could be that a professional academic could be so cavalier about her sources. But as AVPS points out, this is really beside the point. Harry's Place made a factual statement about Delich and telling the truth should not get you censored. Anybody who cares at all about free speech, regardless of their feelings about Delich, has a duty to support HP in this.

John Meredith said...

Blimey, it seems that even the UCU has, belatedly, come to see the seriousness of Delich's unfortunate 'mistake' of turning to the Ku Klux Klan for resarch matyerial on 'zionism' and she has been permanently banned from posting on the members' list. Hurrah for that. A pity that some people still seem determined to make excuses for her, though, and to blame Harry's Place for publicising her actions.

bob said...

It was me who mistakenly wrote that she "cites David Duke". I should have said "cites David Duke's website", which I've now changed it to. However, this is what I wrote in the next paragraph:
"It is worth noting that the article to which Jenna Delich linked is not by David Duke. It is by one Joe Quinn and originally appeared on a 9/11 Truth Cult site called sott.net. It would not have reflected well on Jenna D if she had found the article there, but she didn't; she found it on a Ku Klux Klan site, which reflects on her rather worse."

HP did NOT say she was a Duke supporter. They said nothing more than that she links to Duke's site, and that no other website links to the Duke version of the article, so she must have got it from his site, not from anywhere else.

In other words, she made a mistake, a big one. Either she is remarkably stupid (in which case, as complexsystem and others say, she should have stopped digging deeper into that hole), or has very dodgy politics, and no-one on the left should be extending any solidarity to her.

ejh said...

Well, just a slight caveat or two.

HP write:

Though we have not yet seen the complaint submitted

Might there not be some purpose in knowing what the basis of somebody's complaint is before deciding that it is without merit?

I'm not denying that there is a question of principle here: I disagree with the practice of attacking blogs through their ISPs, just as I disagree with the similar practice of sueing distributors and stockists of publications rather than the publications themselves. This, I am fairly sure, is an option that should not exist.

But I do think that people have the right to take action when people think they've been traduced: and legal remedies are extremely expensive, such as to be effectively out of reach for most people.

I'm not familiar with the individual who's acted against HP: but basically, I think that if the consider themselves offended in a legal sense, and they have the capacity to sue, they should do so. But if they do not possess that capacity, and their case is without sufficient merit, surely the HP site is likely to be reinstated in reasonably short order?

I'm not saying I like it, or I agree with it: I don't. But I wonder what other remedies are available to the person of limited means when they feel themselves traduced by an internet publication? I don't think it will do simply to say "they should simply answr the accusations", since that is not the way the law of defamation works, not least because it would be a liars' charter. I can tell as many lies as I like about you, provided you can answer them? That's not good law. And it's an easy thing to tell somebody else they should do, but a substantially less easy thing to do if it's you on the receiving end.

So what I'm saying is, while in principle - and quite likely in this case - I don't like this sort of thing, I'm not going to condemn it out of hand without being a lot more sure what the basis of the complaint actually is. And I'd like to hear a little more about what the aggrieved should actually do, rather than just grin and bear it. Which wouldn't, in their place, be my inclination.

John Meredith said...

"And I'd like to hear a little more about what the aggrieved should actually do, rather than just grin and bear it. Which wouldn't, in their place, be my inclination."

In this case,I think 'grin and bear it' is exactly what she should do. If you link to racist material, even if you do it unwittingly, you should bear the brunt of criticism and think of it as a valuable lesson. The UCU list moderators have come to the same conclusion and permanently banned Delich from posting.

ejh said...

John, that's in all probability a perfectly reasonable position to take. If I don't necesarily agree with it as yet, it's because, as I say above, in the absence of knowing what the specific complaint actually says, I feel myself a little short of information that would enable me to be sure that the complaint was ill-founded.

complexsystemofpipes said...

On no, not the 'X has Y questions to answer' thing again. But FWIW:

1. What was she doing on David Duke's site in the first place?
2. Why didn't she link to Joe Quinn's article where it was originally presented? Why link to the Duke copy?


She made it clear from the start that she had found the article through Google. Since it was the article was all about the racist violence inherent in the colonial project that is zionism, we can probably afford to assume that her search string wasn't 'KKK white-supremacy "jewish conspiracy runs the world"'.

3. Having had the situation pointed out to her, in a factually accurate manner, did she not, as has been suggested to her, simply back off?

Bit disingenuous there aren't you? Yes, she should have backed off, and should still do so. But please, it was 'pointed out in a factually accurate manner' of spreading rumours that she "got her info from neo-Nazi websites" (rather than from Google), of instantly denouncing her as a jew-hater who should lose her job. To be fair, it's got to be easy to lose your cool faced with that.

John Meredith said...

"But please, it was 'pointed out in a factually accurate manner' of spreading rumours that she "got her info from neo-Nazi websites" "

She did get her info from a neo-nazi website. Why tie yourself in a knot to try to explain this away. What on earth does 'she got her information from google' mean? She got it from David Duke's website. What kind of academic takes info wholesale from the internet without checking the source? This 'defence' is laughable, even leaving aside that her defenders do not seem to think there is anything odd in the fact that Delich's 'anti-zionism' is indistinguishable from David Duke, ex-Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan's 'anti-zionism'.

Paul Moloney said...

Am I the only person who can see the ad for a lovely little tomecalled "Jewish Supremacy" on the page that Delich sent around? God bless my eyesight; despite my specs, it must be better than most people, including Jenna's. Or perhaps misread it as "Zionist Supremacy"?

P.

Mark Gardner said...

So, not content with simply being bystanders for antisemites, we now see elements of the left actively collaborating with antisemites "when the facts speak for themselves". I suppose that makes sense given the trajectory of these things in recent years.

Why not also advise people to buy the David Duke book "Jewish Supremacism" that is advertised alongside the article. Just tippex out the word Jew and replace it with Zionist, that would make it all kosher wouldn't it?

Welcome to the place that over the top anti-Zionism leads to, welcome to antisemitism.

Renegade Eye said...

I wrote a solidarity statement, and linked it to AVPS and Modernity Blog.

After we get HP back up, we can resolve this issue right.

Anonymous said...

Quinn's article is antisemitic. It is the content that counts as much as the form.

Unless of course people really believe that Israel blew up the twin towers.

That Israel has blocked the truth of this "fact". That Israel does so by controlling the US government and intelligence services ans the "mainstream" media.

That one will be labeled an antisemite if you say so.

That all the above is simply "criticism" of Israel.

Delich and others called these fantasies "powerful", "fairly accurate" and "interesting".

Waterloo Sunset said...

She made it clear from the start that she had found the article "getting information from through Google. Since it was the article was all about the racist violence inherent in the colonial project that is zionism, we can probably afford to assume that her search string wasn't 'KKK white-supremacy "jewish conspiracy runs the world"'.

Yeah, so? If she'd also used Google to check out David Duke, looked round the rest of the site, or even just the rest of the page. Why precisely am I supposed to have sympathy here? We're talking about a bloody academic. So while there would be no excuse for not at least doing some vague checking of sources anyway, there is even less here.

And that's the real problem for Delich's defenders. The only real defense of her here is that she's a fucking moron. And, if anything, that should be even more of an issue for pro-Palestinian activists. Declich is a liability, because of how obviously stupid she is.

But please, it was 'pointed out in a factually accurate manner' of spreading rumours that she "got her info from neo-Nazi websites" (rather than from Google), of instantly denouncing her as a jew-hater who should lose her job. To be fair, it's got to be easy to lose your cool faced with that.

Speaking of checking sources, you do realise that back-up copies of the post in question are easy enough to find? I don't see any accusations that she's a "jew-hater" nor claims that she should lose her job. Can you cite some? I'm sure you can see the irony if Declich's supporters are now resorting to outright lies, while bleating about supposed libel.

Libel that hasn't been committed. It's pefectly valid to point out that she "got her info from neo-Nazi websites" (rather than from Google)". Google's a search engine. She didn't get the info from there. Merely the link to the information. I know judges are archaic, but I suspect most of them aren't quite that out of touch. They accused her of linking to a Neo-Nazi Website. Statement of fact. They also say that "Similarly, a woman who thinks of herself as an anti-racist can read a piece by an ‘Israel dun 911′ nutter, on a Nazi’s website, and find nothing to fault in its content". While there's some editorialising there, it's still based firmly on the facts.

What, specifically, are the untrue comments you believe have been made here?

And that's what this comes down to. You can believe that Harry's Place were using this incident for their own political purposes. (They were). You don't have to like Harry's Place, or any of the people involved in it, personally or politically. (I don't think most people who've seen me give my opinions on HP previously have me down as a supporter). But that's irrelevant. Because they're being attacked for telling the truth. Not only is that wrong on its own merits, it has ramifications for the entire blogosphere. And in this case, they're in the right. (As opposed to being on the right, as is more normal) The fact she linked to Duke's site is her fault, not there's. They didn't hack her computer and post a link to a Neo-Nazi site for her. And she and her supporters should take responsibility for that enormous mistake, as opposed to trying to stifle discussion of it through underhanded methods. At least that way she'd just be stupid, as opposed to stupid and cowardly.

ModernityBlog said...

Phil,

sterling work, I said you'd take stick, but yours has been a highly principled position, does you credit.

Cheers,

Exile said...

Phil & James Hamilton,

I am sorry for not replying to you both earlier. I am not usually that cavalier with people.

I agree with both of you on the attack that was mounted against HP. I posted in support yesterday.

Now that the buggers are back on-line I have given out another posting, which I hope closes the matter since having to support HP does tend to leave me feeling in need of a bath.

Turning to the three questions from James Hamilton, who knows? What matters is the text that she was sending around, not where it was published. It is that article that should be criticised, and what HP did was try to smear the sender as a way of closing down a debate. In that sense they are similar in outlook to Jenna D. who paid them back in their own debased coinage.

Finally, I did not make any point at all about other sites. The point was about individuals - the same type of individuals who are now sending this wretched women death threats.

Phil BC said...

Death threats and nuisance phone calls should be condemned out of hand.

But unfortunately this looks as though it's going to run for a while longer yet. After getting service restored yesterday evening, Harry's Place is down once again.

Phil BC said...

My bad, it's back - just my office comp not being up to speed.

ModernityBlog said...

Phil,

if you’ll indulge me another plug, my simple guide for UCU Activists and others - How To Avoid Re-posting from Neo-Nazi, Ku Klux Klan or White Power Web Sites.

http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2008/08/25/for-ucu-activists-how-to-avoid-re-posting-from-neo-nazi-ku-klux-klan-or-white-power-web-sites/

it is free!

cyregray said...

I think the whole event is kinda nonsensical. It really strikes me that her one mistake, linking the article from some racist website, instead of the original - has completely turned the debate upside down.

Last time I checked it was about boycotting Israeli institutions not about one woman. I think Joe Quinn (author of the original article in question) made a great summation and explication

ModernityBlog said...

Quinn is an obvious Jew hater, you only need to see thru his veiled references to get the point:

read more Quinn’s filth:

“Not exactly the result the Mossad had hoped for when they perpetrated the Madrid bombings. I suppose sometimes things just don’t go the way you plan them. The abortive Madrid bombings are unlikely however to be the end of Israeli attempts to bring the Spanish people into line with the psychopathic world view of the American and Israeli governments. The Mossad, and their international banker handlers, are not the type to just walk away from failure. When one tactic fails to satisfy, there are other ways and means.”

http://www.sott.net/articles/show/133429-Madrid+Bombings+Redux+-+What+Really+Happened

So let’s conduct some literary criticism and analysis.

Modern day anti-Jewish racists don’t always use an explicit “Jew” when they wish to attack their foe.

Rather they will cloak their intent in words like “Zionist”, ”Cosmopolitan” or “Mossad”, it’s not a very sophisticated way of deflecting blame from their comments, just a euphemism

Quinn’s use of “international banker” is a dead give away, the vicious racial stereo type of Jews as Bankers, money lenders is well known enough and shouldn’t need restating, but here are a few examples:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/ford.html

http://www.adl.org/special_reports/control_of_fed/print.asp

Phil BC said...

Quinn's an anti-semite, he's just an anti-semite who's a little more savvy than crude racists like David Duke and his ilk. The Palestinian solidarity movement needs allies like these scum as much as I need a dose of syphilis.