Tuesday, 27 November 2012

10 Years of Harry's Place

According to their archive, yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the - take your pick - celebrated/notorious Harry's Place. Whatever you think of the line it pushes, Harry's Place has played its important part in the evolution of British political blogging - even if only to inspire opponents to take to the field against it.

But before writing about Harry's Place proper, I have a confession to make. Just as Spike Milligan spoke about his part in Hitler's downfall, I played a similarly minor, supporting role in the circumstances surrounding the foundation of Harry's Place.

10 years ago found me moderating the well-loved UK Left Network discussion list. I was also a paper member of and keyboard warrior for the cpgb/Weekly Worker. For the 18 months or so before the foundation of HP, the list would tear itself apart in convulsion after convulsion. At the heart of many a storm was a mysterious journo styling himself as 'Harry Steele', which was a providential name from the internecine squabbles of British communism. 'Harry' took umbrage at the peculiar sect he believed was hijacking the original Communist Party of Great Britain's good name. Or maybe he didn't and was only in it for the lulz. No one was ever really able to tell.

Anyway, at that time political debate was usually conducted solely within the tired frames common to us all as "revolutionaries" of one stripe or another. It was a matter of trading colourful insults, point-scoring, and defending the integrity of one's sect or particular interpretation of Trotskyism (and, in a few cases, Stalinism). Because Harry was quite good at trolling cpgb and Socialist Alliance supporters, I was understandably keen at getting shot of him - and managed to ban him on three or four occasions.

Shortly after the last time I booted him, 'Harry' set up a short-lived Weekly Worker spoof blog by the name of Sectarian Worker. It was very funny and brilliantly lampooned the pomposity of toy town bolshevism (very much like today's Proletarian Democracy, in fact). However, I do remember one day clicking the link through to something called 'Harry's Place'. It wasn't funny like SW, it was just Harry under another nom de plume scratching out a few opinions. I clearly remember thinking at the time that this "blogging" thing would never catch on. But I have occasionally mused since that if I'd moderated the UKLN with a rod of iron instead of a soggy breadstick, and had stamped on the sterile sectarian culture instead of fostering it, who knows if things would have turned out differently?

As one of the first UK-based political blogs, Harry's Place has always occupied something of a strange space in the online world. Probably because of the author's love affair with all things American, HP has long been an explicitly Antlanticist blog, with one leg on the East Coast and another in London. This is reflected in its collective political stance, if you can call it that. HP feels more like a US Democrat than a Labourist blog, though it does tend to support the latter come election time.

It was this strange space that is probably responsible for HP later becoming one of the few places on the liberal-left you could find supporters for Bush and Blair's invasion of Iraq. HP contributors and others were, in their opinion, appalled by what they saw as left apologism for Islamist terror and "anti-imperialist" dictators. Chief among the "stoppers" were George Galloway, the SWP, and anyone they regarded as useful idiots for totalitarianism among the liberal commentariat. HP also played a role in the promulgation of the so-called Euston Manifesto, a group for whom democracy and human rights was under threat by a de facto political alliance between the (revolutionary) Western left and Middle Eastern Islamic fundamentalism.

Over time, its conditional support for the War on Terror was displaced by a critical, but unconditional defence of Israel. As this Socialist Unity piece from last year demonstrates, HP's contributors were not afraid of fighting dirty. And at least on one occasion the site has been on the receiving end of a writ for their "muscular style".

Their coverage of Israel and Palestine has frequently crossed the line into apologism for the Israeli state's activities, in my opinion. On occasion, I've found their "anti-Islamism" distasteful and bordering on the Islamophobic. Both of these characteristics of HP have earned undying animosity from some quarters, and placed the site on the 'beyond the pale' list for many. But despite this, HP have made one very positive contribution: the calling out of anti-semitism.

While I think HP is all too willing to brand critics of Israel as anti-semites, the flip-side of this is their unceasing attacks on what their sometimes friends in the Alliance for Workers' Liberty call 'left anti-semitism'. This is the lazy, careless, and idiotic use of phrases, arguments, and deeds that are or could be construed as anti-semitic. For example, this, this, this and this. While HP is extremely critical and hostile towards left opponents of Israeli policies (and especially those who would like to see Israel disestablished), it absolutely underlines the need for those active in Palestinian solidarity campaigns to ensure anti-semitism has no place in their movement. 

So, there you have it. That's Harry's Place. Often hysterical. Frequently annoying. Always irascible. And fomenting outrage since 2002. Here's to another 10 years.

25 comments:

Phil said...

Another way of reading your last point would be to say that they start from the assumption that anti-Zionism is anti-semitism - just as they and many others start from the assumption that appealing to the Muslim vote is reactionary - and then look for evidence. Sometimes they find something that will stand up; usually they don't, but they use the smear regardless. This tends if anything to discredit the concept of "left anti-semitism", since it's so obviously being over-used and used for an ulterior motive.

Michael said...

I would to thank the original poster for the time taken with his post.

Phil in comment above. I think your statement that Harry's Place, "start from the assumption that anti-Zionism is anti-semitism...and then look for evidence," is unfair.

As someone who writes for Harry's Place, and speaking for myself, I am very aware of anti-Zionism that is not antisemitism. I do accept that there are possibly people below the line in the comments section of HP that make that lazy equation, but I have not seen any above the line posts that do that. It is a shame that you make your statement without linking to anything as evidence.

A Marxist anti-Zionist analysis that I was most used to was that Israel was a tool of American imperialism. This idea was one touted by, for example, the SWP's John Rose in his mid 1980s pamphlet, Israel: The Hijack State. There are many in so-called "anti-Zionist" circles who now say that Israel/Zionists controls America and/or Britain.

This idea, as an example, was mentioned on the University College Union's activist list where one member referred to the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, as "Israel's man in Number Ten". Now, someone can argue all they want that this type of thing is anti-Zionism, but any understanding of the history of antisemitism would know that there is a consistent theme: the all powerful Jew that uses its power secretively to control the world for its own benefit at the expense of gentiles. This was the theme of the notorious antisemitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and a theme that continues to this day by far-right wing neo-Nazis. Replacing the word Jew with Zionist doesn't simply turn something that was anti-Semitic into something that is anti-Zionist. This is where Harry's Place has been more consistent. Another example, also from the UCU activist list was Jenna Delich, who, in her "anti-Zionism," decided to link to the right wing and former Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke. Then there is John Wight, a contributor to the so-called Socialist Unity site, who, in his "anti-Zionism" linked to a Holocaust Denial site and used the phrase "international Jewry," a term mainly used in the neo-Nazi movement.

Sadly, there are countless more examples. In my opinion, it is not that Harry's Place try to conflate anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, it is that many so-called anti-Zionists couldn't care less if they use classic antisemitic argument and then scream loudly but inaccurately that "Zionists denounce any critcism of Israel as anti-Semitic."

Roy said...

In regard to what Phil wrote, I for one don’t think that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism. Defining exactly what constitutes the new anti-Semitism is in itself a complicated matter, and even more complicated is what we should denounce and what not. For example, is apathy and Indifference towards cases of clear anti-Semitism and/or suspected anti-Semitism should be considered as a manifestation of passive/mild anti-Semitism?

Surely, most anti-racists, if asked this question would answer yes - Indifference towards anti-Semitism (and any racism for that matter) should be denounced.
Yet, when it comes to the anti-Zionism camp, there is a clear Indifference towards anti-Semitism. Just a few examples from many that exist:

- Using the term "Israeli firster" - For the life of me I can't figure out why someone who is not an anti-Semite would use a figure of speech which has such anti-Semitic connotations. Countless of prominent figures from the anti-Zionist camp have defended the use of the term, and while I won't get into the specifics of their varied arguments, I would only say that it is just without any logic for a non-racist to insist using that phrase (opposed of just coming up with a new phrase which has no anti-Semitic origins), regardless if it's underlying meaning has any merit or not. Just try to come up with a scenario of someone trying to start using the word Niger again without being denounced across the anti-Racist camp.
- Defending Gilad Atzmon or defending someone who defended Gilad Atzmon - I won't get into explaining this. Either you believe Atzmon is a clear anti-Semite (and then you understand what I'm talking about) or you do not (and it that case it doesn’t matter).
- Rich variety of theories about Zionist control over governments/media - regardless of the real power Zionists and their lobbies can exert on governments and the media, there are many other entities in the world who have at least the same kind of influence, if not more, over governments and media. Yet, it is only the anti-Zionist camp who is obsessed about "Zionist control". Maybe it is just a coincidence that the same kind of obsession was (and is) directed towards Jews by anti-Semites.
- Claiming that if something (an argument or a person) is anti-Zionist; it can't be anti-Semitic - self-explanatory. Not only it is an illogical claim, it is claimed across the board of the anti-Zionist camp.
- Rejecting the UN definition of anti-Semitism - self-explanatory. If you can't criticize Israel without violating the definition, maybe it says something about your opinions.
- Saying that you understand how some people are anti-Semitic (in regard too Israeli actions) - very common in the anti-Zionist camp. The last time I checked, it is fairly basic fundamental of the anti-Racist movement that racists are the ones who are solely responsible for their own racism and not some external force. Certainly, the object of the racist is never the reason of the racist being racist, regardless of the object behavior (the racist uses the object behavior as an excuse. He won't stop being a racist because the object stopped behaving in such manner).
- In regard to the last point, accepting anti-Semites in the anti-Zionist camp - more and more is see articles by anti-Zionists who say that they know that they rub shoulders with anti-Semites in their anti-Zionist activity but give a plethora of excuses why it is ok (from "anti-Semitism is benign today" to "when I stumble upon anti-Semitic remark, I try to explain it to that person"). If you don’t understand why it is a very bad development, then you have a problem yourself.

Roy said...

Continued:
The above list is by far not complete, but it is indicative.
And this is the real problem with anti-Zionism. Of course you could be anti-Zionist and not an anti-Semite. I'm even willing to give the benefit of the doubt that most anti-Zionists are not anti-Semites.
But the fact of the matter is that there is a clear disinterest in anti-Semitism across the anti-Zionist camp and it manifests itself by accepting anti-Semites, making excuses for anti-Semites, using anti-Semitic language, progressing anti-Semitic ideas and attacking everyone who raises concern about the above examples (and many more) for being a rabid Zionist or a mouthpiece of the Israeli government or trying to deflect criticism of Israel.

Considering the above, it doesn’t really matter if most anti-Zionists are anti-Semites or not, what is clear is that they enable anti-Semitism and fail completely as the guardians against racism (do I need to remind anyone we are talking about those who consider their selves as anti-Racists??).

Ernie Christ said...

Roy,

Thank you for the excellent analysis above. It's possibly the clearest and most articulate rebuff to the "antizionist" mantra "antizionism is not antisemitism" that I've stumbled across.

Have you offered it to HP for publication?

"there is a clear disinterest in anti-Semitism across the anti-Zionist camp and it manifests itself by accepting anti-Semites, making excuses for anti-Semites, using anti-Semitic language, progressing anti-Semitic ideas and attacking everyone who raises concern about the above examples (and many more) for being a rabid Zionist or a mouthpiece of the Israeli government or trying to deflect criticism of Israel."

...beautifully put.

Your comments deserve a wider audience.

Chris said...

Dr Phil said,

“I played a similarly minor, supporting role in the circumstances surrounding the foundation of Harry's Place.”

You will have to hope that god is feeling merciful when your time comes!

“But despite this, HP have made one very positive contribution: the calling out of anti-semitism.”

This could actually be seen as a negative. I remember Richard Littlejohn doing a TV programme about anti Semitism but it was obviously with the subtext that people need to beware Muslims and opponents of Israel. I suspect this is what Harry’s place agenda is and therefore it isn’t a positive contribution to eradicate anti Semitism but a very negative one to apologise for a whole series of crimes and racist positions.

Also the commenters on Harry’s place are extreme in their opinions of Muslims, bordering on far right. You can’t exactly judge a blog by its comment box but it can tell you much.

Ray said,

“For example, is apathy and Indifference towards cases of clear anti-Semitism and/or suspected anti-Semitism should be considered as a manifestation of passive/mild anti-Semitism?”

This is the classic straw man of the Israeli apologist isn’t it? I know of no one on the left who doesn’t take anti Semitism seriously. The holocaust happened in living memory for god’s sake! I have never heard the term Israeli firster btw. Most on the left denounce Atzmon.

“it is fairly basic fundamental of the anti-Racist movement that racists are the ones who are solely responsible for their own racism and not some external force”

Total poppycock, no human lives in isolation. All racism is caused by external forces, no one is born racist!!!! If they were you would give up being anti racist!!!! Engles said that communism holds no one responsible for anything!

On Zionism being a tool of American imperialism, look at the facts. Israeli is the largest recipient of US aid! It has been armed to the teeth by the US Empire. How can anyone credibly deny this?

Anonymous said...

"On occasion, I've found their "anti-Islamism" distasteful and bordering on the Islamophobic."

This is a meaningless smear, HP has denounced real anti-Muslim bigots (Spencer, Geller and so on). Saying that a blog borders on bigotry is meaningless and a safe smear tactic since it relieves you of the burden of actually proving your claim. I find it hilarious how leftists will dismiss well documented anti-Semitism as "criticism of Israel" but then condemn critics of theocrats as anti-Muslim.

Roy said...

Hi Chris.

Well, this is a prime example of how superficial actors in the I/P conflict operate (on both sides of the ideological spectrum, left and right).
To count the times I witnessed the false accusation of using a "Straw Man Argument" being used is impossible to count (again, on both sides). as if it's some kind of a free "get out of jail" card that can be used to avoid dealing with the content of the argument.
First off, I would point out that the suggestion that I'm an "Israeli apologist" is baseless. besides the inference of me believing that Israel has a right to exist, like any other nation on the globe, I have said absolutely nothing about my positions regarding Israel and the conflict. If this makes me an "Israeli apologist", so be it. also, the assumption that opposing anti-Zionism makes you automatically pro-Israeli is false at the core.

Regardless, let me address the "Straw Man Argument" accusation.
As far as my knowledge takes me, a "Straw Man Argument" is taking an argument or position made by X, presenting a watered down and superficial and/or distorted version of that argument and then rebuffing the superficial and distorted argument as if I rebuffed the original and more substantive argument of X.

Well, let's examine what happened.
Phil claimed that Harry's Place contributors “start from the assumption that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism”.
On the other hand, I argued that it doesn’t really matter if anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism or not, because, even if anti-Zionists are not anti-Semitic, they have the tendency of being indifferent to anti-Semitism (which is naturally attracted to the Jewish state) sometimes even defending anti-Semitism and thus enabling it, making the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism irrelevant (I don’t really care if person X practices Rape or if he just defends person Y for practicing rape. They are both indefensible).

How is this a "Straw Man Argument" is beyond me, but maybe you could enlighten us Chris.

Roy said...

After I cleared the air, I can address your other assertions.
The fact that you never heard the term “Israeli Firster” can only be attributed to your own ignorance. It was a big thing not a while ago and it still being used to this day by anti-Zionists. It's origins are of Nazi propaganda.
Also, about the issue of Atzmon. I never said he was accepted by the left as a whole (if he was, we all would be living in a very troubling times indeed). Fortune has it that the left as a group, so is the right, are fairly reasonable bunch and they don’t endorse full blown racists.
What I did say is that some in the anti-Zionist camp (which is a small group which claims to be on the left) are defending and/or endorsing Gilad Atzmon and if not, at the very least they defend those who endorse him (like Mearsheimer).

In regard to your claim that it is a “total poppycock” (I have to admit that it's the first time I heard this phrase. It's nice) that racists are to be solely blamed for their own racism, let me ask you this:
The Muslim world is rife with intolerance, homophobia, misogyny, anti-Semitism, honor killing, religious killings etc.
Are you basically saying that those in the west who are racist towards Muslims (whether western or not) are justified in their racism because there are other Muslims who do horrible things?
I for one believe that you can be worried about Muslim extremism (or any extremism for that matter) without being a racist and that the racists, while of course not born racists, are still responsible for their own racism.

"On Zionism being a tool of American imperialism, look at the facts. Israeli is the largest recipient of US aid! It has been armed to the teeth by the US Empire. How can anyone credibly deny this?” I can only say that before jumping to the conclusion that Zionism is being used as a tool of imperialism, I would first exhaust the possibility that the fact that Israel is the largest recipient of US aid is possibly due to the fact that Israel enjoys the support of more then 60% of the American population. But it's anyone guess, I guess.

Phil said...

Phil claimed that Harry's Place contributors “start from the assumption that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism”.
On the other hand, I argued that it doesn’t really matter if anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism or not, because, even if anti-Zionists are not anti-Semitic, they have the tendency of being indifferent to anti-Semitism (which is naturally attracted to the Jewish state) sometimes even defending anti-Semitism and thus enabling it, making the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism irrelevant


OK then, put it your way: you start from the assumption that the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is irrelevant. Either way, this starting assumption makes your denunciations of anti-Semitism among anti-Zionists completely useless to anyone who doesn't share this assumption, because it rules out of court the possibility of identifying racism as an error among a minority of anti-Zionists. Instead, it seems as if what's going on is an attack on anti-Zionism which happens to take the rhetorical form of opposition to anti-Semitism.

Michael said...

Chris says:

"I know of no one on the left who doesn’t take anti Semitism seriously."

He isn't looking very hard is he? I guess he also has no knowledge of Stalin's antisemitism that was totally defended by CPs around the world.I can dig up quotes from numerous leftists that would be antisemitic. One is reminded of the Labour MP Tam Dalyell who, in 2003, used the all powerful Jewish image, by arguing that Tony Blair was surrounded by a sinister "cabal" of Jewish advisors. Then there is Marxist anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein, who is an apologist for antisemitism. Consider Asghar Bukhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACUK) who donated money to Holocaust Denier and Hitler worshipper, David Irving. When he was exposed for this, Tony Greenstein went to his website and apologised for him, saying it was just a mistake!
Is that taking anti-Semitism seriously?

Chris adds, " Most on the left denounce Atzmon," but he completely ignores the fact that one of the biggest leftist parties, if not the biggest, the SWP, repeatedly hosted Atzmon at its annual Marxism conference and this was despite Harry's Place, among others, repeatedly and continually denouncing them for it. Atzmon, is of course a man who thinks it is perfectly rational to firebomb a synagogue.

Chris accepts the idea that "Zionism" is "a tool of American imperialism." For this purpose I will ignore how wrong this analysis is, because I wish to focus on a different one ignored by Chris - and that is the point I made earlier: many on the left seem to now argue that American and Britain are puppets of Israel or Zionism. Does Chris want it both ways too? Does he want to argue that Zionism is a tool of American Imperialism and that America is a tool of the Zionists? If so, he will have a job. But inconsistencies on the left are nothing new. The latter view that Zionists/Jews/Israel controls America /Britain/ the press / the global banking system etc was historically viewed as antisemitism even by people on the left. Now, however, cartoons with such imagery appear in the Guardian. Perhaps Chris wants to defend that cartoon at the same time as claiming Israel is a tool of American imperialism!

Roy said...

No Phil, I don’t “START” from that assumption. It will be as saying that Darwin at the end of his life “STARTED” from the assumption that evolution exists (not that in any way I compare myself with the genius of Darwin..).
At the early 20's of my life, which were just a little bit of over a decade ago, I would have never imagined that in my lifetime I would see explicit anti-Semitism raising it's head and penetrate slowly into the mainstream. In fact I really had a problem, back then, understanding how intelligent people could be fooled by the grotesque allure of anti-Semitism and how it could take hold on so many people, as it happened at the first half of the last century. Today I understand this process all to well, and it's actually fascinating (although scary). If you want, we can debate about it.

I didn’t start from the assumption that the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is irrelevant and then looked for evidence, as you claim. The events which took place in the last decade led me to believe that.
Also, I didn’t just claim that “ the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is irrelevant” and just left it with that. Although I cant give here a complete summery of all the reasons why I believe what I believe, nevertheless I did give here an ample amount of reasons why, which you chose to completely not deal with.
If anyone is assuming anything, it is you assuming that I and Harry's Place contributors are putting the cart before the horse, as you put forth nothing to support your claim. You also assume that the problem of indifference towards anti-Semitism is negligible in the anti-Zionist camp, but again, with nothing to support it.

darren redstar said...

"Here's to another ten years!" The kiss of death, HP has been down since Sunday.

julaybib said...

HP is a nasty blog. It permits Islamophobic comment that is by any measure completely unacceptable, and together with its content, I would describe it as a blog devoted to demonizing Islam and Muslims. I hope it doesn't last another 10 minutes.

darren redstar said...

Julaybub, you should believe less of the lefty demonisation and try reading HP instead. The blog takes a light touch to supervising its comments, but does take a stern attitude towards open anti Muslim comments, unlike many of the obstensively lefty sites that alibi and ignore blatant anti semitism in both comment and posts.
hP can be hateful at times, especially some of its latest tranche of US contributors who are woefully ignorant of the European and UK left. But it stands head and shoulders above such sites as the dreadful socialist unity.

Chris said...

Ray,

It is a straw man because it isn’t bloody true, or is a deliberate exaggeration. One leftist is interpreted to have said something insensitive to anti Semitism and therefore the entire left is portrayed as being soft on Anti Semitism. This is how the Israeli apologists work and if I were a betting man I would have a few quid on you. It is a thoroughly poisonous and dishonest way to debate. And it is catching on!

On Israeli firster I admit ignorance. It was obviously a big thing that passed me by. Sorry.

Saying that racism is caused by external forces is different from saying it is justified. But, it does affect the way you go about tackling the problem. If you believe that people are solely responsible for their own actions then you don’t go to the root causes of problems. It is a very post modern and superficial view in my opinion. All forms of racism and prejudice are caused by external forces in my opinion, if you believe otherwise, as you do, then you are saying racism is in the genes or something. And if you believe that then only some form of Eugenics can solve the problem. And haven’t we been down that road before?

Michael,

I think your comments re Greenstein are scandalous. People like you should never be allowed to set the moral line when it comes to anti Zionism and solidarity with Palestinians.

The US and Britain are not puppets of Zionism but domestically the US president does not appear willing to openly criticise Israel, even when it behaves in the most abhorrent way. Some think this is because of the ‘Zionist lobby’ in the US. I tend to think it is more due to geo political reasons. I.e. Israel serves imperialism (at least for now). I also think ideologically the right are more attracted to Israel. The reason for this is so obvious I need not explain it. To interpret this as you do, by saying the left now claim the US is a puppet of Israel is a very crude (let us be kind) slant on things. You are clearly someone whose brain has been perverted by years of imperialist apology. Take a cold shower and re-asses things would be my advice.

On HP itself, it does attract the worst Islamophobes, now I could accept this if it operated a no touch comments policy but if it operates a light touch policy then someone is allowing these vile comments to stand and for anyone even remotely involved in left politics, this is unforgiveable.

Ernie Christ said...

Michael's comments about Greenstein are perfectly reasonable. Greenstein is an apologist for the Hamas and the Iranian government and is willing to excuse antisemitism at every turn - just read his hateful, ranting blog.

Harry's Place does indeed attract some nasty comments, from both sides of the fence. Rabid antisemites such as Laura Stuart (of Nazi site deLiberation) have as much space to comment there as any "Islamophobe". The articles themselves certainly don't demonize muslims - unfortunately there is a tendency on the "left" to view any negative comments about Islamists as "Islamophobia" even when said "Islamophobia" is directed at someone who advocates slaughtering Jews and homosexuals and relegating women to the status of slaves. Try mentioning someone like Yusef Al-Qaradawi or Raed Salah or even Hamas leaders in a negative light on Socialist Unity and see how quickly you get deleted (having been of course swiftly accused of "Islamophobia").

Anyway HP seems to have disappeared - it's been down for six days - so maybe you've got your wish!

Anonymous said...

I think you have to make a distinction between Harrys Place and the comments left there.

Admittedly the commentators tend to be of the 'right wing old man' variety, the critical accumilation off which is usally a death knell to any Forum or blog.

The tone of the comments tend to be pro Republican and fiercely Pro Israel, the first isnt my cup of Tea party and the second , whilst an extreme end of the position I occupy is something I can understand as a reaction to the vile Anti Israeli attitude that has become a form of equally ill informed pseudo racism on the Far left.

The writers tend to be balanced with Pro and anti attitudes and have in the past put a great deal of work into combatting the far right as well as islamist attitudes.

And Gene is just the perfect emetic to a comments section full of Republican supporters!

Ralph said...

Good post, thanks. Harry's Place is the best political blog in the UK, imo, and is partly responsible for keeping some of us from wholly losing faith in and allegiance to left politics. It's true that the comments aren't always wholesome, but try reading comments on any newspaper articles, Guardian included. Judge the site on its authored articles,, not on whether a few numpties post their scrawlings in response.

Andrew Coates said...

Harry's Place is a goad, and reading it pricks. If it's stuff about America doesn't interest me in the slightest, HP does publish stuff much of the left tries to sweep under the carpet.

Most of us, myself included, are never going to agree with them about Israel.

But...

I am a European left socialist. I had a furious public row with HP following stuff on Hitch 22 (hundreds of comments. But they've re-published our stuff (with permission), that is left, articles on the descent of CounterPunch into publishing Shamir Israel and others of his ilk.

I like HP as often as I dislike it (the comments tend to the latter).

If you can't accept contradiction you can always set up another dull-as-ditchwater Socialist Unity.

Waterloo Sunset said...

"The writers tend to be balanced with Pro and anti attitudes"

What, even Lucy Lips and Libby T? Hardly.

And, y'know, Terry Fitz. Liberty, if it means anything, means the right to give above the line posting rights to racists.

Michael said...

Chris says this:

"To interpret this as you do, by saying the left now claim the US is a puppet of Israel is a very crude (let us be kind) slant on things. You are clearly someone whose brain has been perverted by years of imperialist apology. Take a cold shower and re-asses things would be my advice."


Perhaps Chris can therefore explain this cartoon. One doesn't need to be a genius to realise that is exactly what the cartoon was doing: portraying, in this case Britain, as a puppet of Israel. There are similar analogies abound with America instead of Britain.

On the subject of a perverted brain, it seems that it is not me, but Chris has the problem. I notice he completely ignored my comments about apologising for someone funding David Irving, or would Chris also make a similar apology?

Phil said...

The Steve Bell cartoon is a classic - and timely - reminder of the carelessness some liberal and left critics display when it comes to Israel.

Btw, glad to see things are back in order, Michael. I was starting to attract a fair few numbers trying to divine what had happened to HP while it was off the air.

DocMartyn said...

I post over at HP and am a working class Thatcherite/Republican.
The major difference between HP and other left-wing sites is that HP does not delete posts which come under Wildes:-
'Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing'.
On most other left-wing sites the public schoolboy's get outraged at convincing arguments and delete/ban.
Andy 'the USSR has no plans to invade Western Europe' Newman and Richard 'even Saif Gadaffi got a Ph.D. before me' Seymour hate to be shown up to be middle class hypocrites they are.

Richard Armbach said...

Quit with the bullshit it's just a racist cesspit.