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Comments about Leave Jenna Delich alone - David Hirsh :

Noga posted on August 28, 2008 at 05:40:13 PM
This is very gracious of you and I doubt it will be reciprocated. And I agree that it is better to leave her be. She can take this opportunity to learn something very important or she she can view herself as the victim of a witch hunt. Whichever way she chooses, it's entirely her responsibility.  
TheGrandMufti posted on August 28, 2008 at 06:18:55 PM
I thinks she is very much the problem.  Bit player or not, her rhetoric got her exactly where she is now.  To give her a pass is to ignore the problem.
Bill posted on August 28, 2008 at 08:22:27 PM

One problem is that misplaced  (and unreciprocated) collegiality on this demands that we acknowledge antisemitism without the existence of antisemites.  I have a big problem with that.  Racism isn’t carried and spread in the water or by mosquito bites.  It’s carried and spread by racists.   The UCU clearly has an antisemitism problem -- because they are enabling antisemites to sell their kool-aid on the activist list and people "susceptible" to antisemitism (read: they just like the taste) are gladly drinking it of their own free will and passing the bottle for their pals to swig.

Delich's case has her reading and distributing material from a site that includes sidebar links about "Jewish Supremacy," "Race and Crime," "Black Population Welfare Bomb", and my favorite: "Whatever happened to Eugenics".  Even a lowly university functionary should know that something’s up. No reasonable person can look at this page and think that it comes from anyone of sober mind unless they were already blinded by what they now hope is a "forgivable" bigotry since the article  was demonizing Israel, and not pondering how "Russia is Key to White Survival".  She wasn't looking for a examples of post impressionist art and wound up on a porn site.   She was looking for hate literature to demonize Israel.  And apparently any literature would do.  For a scholarly instution, or an organization that values scholarship, that is one very serious problem.

By all means we should hold the UCU and the activist list accountable for creating and celebrating the environment that enables, excuses and normalizes this misconduct in the academy.  But I'd prefer to not infantalize or even pity their "victims."  I'll save it for people who are the targets of antisemtic boycott campaigns.
Jester posted on August 28, 2008 at 09:54:39 PM
"The fact that Sue Blackwell and Mike Cushman have failed to see the significance of the incident in terms of what it demonstrates about the relationship between antisemitism and the boycott campaign is remarkable."

Oh, come now. They know exactly what the "significance" is. That's why they are so concerned to sweep it under the carpet or (as they no doubt will if they haven't already) turn from defence into attack.

The irony is, of course, the more they defend the indefensible, the more they show their attachment to racist ideas, the more they attract the rump of the left (those willing to use antisemitism). And, not last but far from least, the more they are betraying the very people who they think they are "supporting".

To expect them to "understand the significance" after all these years is, I am afraid, pie in the sky.
701 posted on August 28, 2008 at 10:01:00 PM
Of course Backwell and Cushman support Delich.
Blackwell has made the same "mistake" as Delich on her own website (linking to a holocaust denial website). And, as the past few days has shown, Cushman has no priciples other than a vile obsession with Israel.
David Hirsh posted on August 28, 2008 at 10:20:46 PM
David T Comments on Harry's Place:

A couple of points:

1. We would all have moved on from Delich, and would be focussing on the more important issues - the convergence between Left and Right rhetoric and analysis and the failures of UCU, generally - were it not for the cretinous act of trying to take this website down.

2. Delich may have decided to keep quiet for a bit, to avoid fuelling this further. It is a pity that this was the form the apology took:

   "I didn’t realise who David Duke was nor did I hear of him. I just looked at the article not the website where it appeared. Apologies for picking up that website as I personallly am strongly against any racists, anti-semitists and the likes of them. I just found the article quite powerful, and none are saying that Joe Quinn (the author of the article) is a racist or anti-semitist, and the article is quite interesting. So, perhaps we should focus on the article itself and not where it appeared (if we look at it in a broader sense, the website itself appeard on Google and so did the article)? Anyone can put anything on their website… Sincere apologies once again though for picking the wrong website, but it’s the article that I found interesting as it gives some amazing facts and it was not written by David Duke (who, I most certainly agree, has no place in UCU but is the author of the website and not the article)."

What can you say?

First, Quinn is the far right Jew hating conspiracy nut par excellence. We’re going to do a piece on him shortly, which will set out his views in full.

Secondly, the article states:

   “Yet the Israeli government does a very good job of convincing the whole world that it is the victim in the conflict. How can this be? Israeli control of the press? Could that ubiquitous “conspiracy theory” actually be closer to a conspiracy fact?”


   “To the Israeli oligarchs, the death of Palestinian civilians is “superb”, and they feel nothing when they kill women and children. What more can I say - either someone does something about these sick pyschopaths, or they, and their kind in Washington and around the world, will destroy us all.”

Not knowing who Duke was is a fair enough excuse.

But continuing to endorse the article as ‘interesting’ and containing ‘amazing facts’, such as ‘Israeli’ control of the Press and Washington, even after she was aware that endorsing and circulating the article was improper, shows that we called this right.

What is even more amazing, is that some people who claim to be anti-racists are repeating precisely this line on Quinn and the article.

These people are not anti-racist at all. The very best you can say about them is that they’re wholly blind to the clearest, hoariest example of racism: at least when it is aimed at Jews.
David Hirsh posted on August 28, 2008 at 10:22:36 PM
More from David T:

And one other thing.

The correct response to the last three or so years of vicious conduct on the UCU list was to argue the case internally, try to change UCU politically, and seek to encourage the UCU to control these extremists, who have hijacked their union.

Well, Engage has been doing that. And precisely where has it got them? Things have gone from bad to worse.

So, exactly what are we supposed to do? As the Assistant Commander in the Met said to Tariq Ghaffur, should we just “shut up”, then??

The immediate trigger for publishing the article, is that UCU has determined that there is no racism on the activists list, and no problem in particular with the past rantings of Delich.

Delich proved UCU wrong, and I pointed it out.

There is a huge problem in UCU, and they’re doing nothing to counter it.

Actually, I bet they try to discipline Hirsh. If they do, they should form a new union.
Ber Berochov posted on August 28, 2008 at 10:37:38 PM
Can't agree with you David. If I was a potential student of Delich, I would be very much concerned about her views. As a Jew, I would be very uncomfortable that a) she read  something from a racist website and then b) used the same website in support of her argument. Very disturbing.

Moreover, those rushing to defend Delich are defending the indefensible. If it is possible to be anti-Zionist without being anti-semitic then Delich and her merry band of fellow travellers have really managed to blur and division between the two. There is a real issue here for the anti-Israel lobby - it is about accepting that there is a clear cut requirement for them to show the difference between their anti-Zionism and anti-semitism.

On the other hand, if critics of Israel feel the need to defend Delich, Atzmon and the like, then the moral requirement to challenge and take them on is even more significant than perhaps any of us anticipated. The role of Engage and those genuinely committed to anti-racism is now of vital importance.

The anti-democratic attack on Harry's Place - clearly demonstrates  the lack of committment to an open reasoned debate by the "ANTI-Israel lobby". Delich is the issue - because she has been made a totem of those unable or unwilling to clearly differentiate between legitimate criticism of Israel and age old anti-semitism.
Shmuel posted on August 28, 2008 at 10:47:44 PM
This just won't work anymore:

"The thing is to find a robust way to oppose antisemitism without bringing out the worst in people (or needlessly bringing out the worst)."

(That is, it never did work.)

Mark Gardner posted on August 28, 2008 at 10:56:36 PM
I fear David Hirsh's sincere appeal re Delich will move neither UCU nor the boycotters one iota. They already vilify him in the most monstrous terms despite his support for Palestinian rights.  We are all simply Evil in their hate obsessed eyes, and David especially so, because they fear him.

As for the wisdom of 'letting Delich off the hook', I worry that the same logic could lead us to let all of The Useful Idiots off their hooks too. For instance, was Delich more stupid than Cushman?  
Saul posted on August 28, 2008 at 11:11:22 PM
Sorry, posted on wrong thread.

The more thought I give, the more I am troubled by the removing of Jenna Delich from the Activist List.
I assume, but do not know, that she has had the opportunity to make her case formally to Union officials.

Even if she had, the silening of a member, any member, is to deny her access to and a say in all the Union's political matters.

The Union is bound by various legislation that prohibits certain expressions of racism. It is, I assume, also bound by its own internal rules and regulations of questions of racism. Delich (and not only Delich) has clearly breached them. A statement to that effect from the Union itself would be a more appropriate response.

For the Union to respond in this way, however,would entail it having to accept that,
a. criricism of Israel can be antisemitic and
b. that there is a problem with antisemitism within the Union.

By refusing and denying this recognition, they are prepared to "scapegoat" Jenna Delich. It is still not clear for reasons Delich was suspended. Was it linking to Duke, was it the content of Quinn's article? These are more than academic questions. They go to the heart of the matter.

Paradoxical as this may seem, Delich has been let down by her Union. More paradoxial, perhaps, it is through their continuing to lett down antiracists and/or Jews within its own ranks, that the Union now cannot but let down Jenna Delich.

Noga posted on August 29, 2008 at 01:53:19 AM
Mark Gardner said: "I fear David Hirsh's sincere appeal re Delich will move neither UCU nor the boycotters one iota."

I'm not sure that was the motivation behind DH's appeal. I thought he was moved by a certain compassion, which I agreed with. I hope Engage is not in competition with the UCU about scoring brownie points.

There is a steely, merciless and maximalist kind of resolve in the UCU boycott movement, which is proofed against any consideration outside their narrow parameters of loyalties and ideology. It would be foolish and futile to try to move them or tease out a better, grander and more responsible sentiment.

Please don't let them set the tone and rules of conduct for this campaign. You cannot control their decisions but you can yours. JD is a product of the UCU, reflecting their message, their ethos. She is just a cog, not the machine. If you continue to analyse and focus upon her, you are allowing them to pretend she was just an aberration, not the rule and eschew their complicityQBR8.

A French point of view posted on August 29, 2008 at 03:31:15 PM
"Leave Jenna Delich alone, Enough on Jenna Delich"

I fully support.

Problem is: when her link to Duke's website on the UCU mailing list was revealed, her name, profession, place of work, and even picture (!) was also published on HP.

When Harry's Place went down, Engage linked to the "Jenna Delich archives" on jennadelich.wordpress.com! Was UCU the point?

It was pretty much *all about her*, and that was a mistake (MHO): it gave "anti-Zionists" an opportunity to raise a smoke screen and to counter-attack.

"Can't agree with you David. If I was a potential student of Delich, I would be very much concerned about her views" (Ber Berochov II)

It depends of what you expect from your teachers. Do you need their knowledge in their field of expertise, or do you need detailed confessions about their political or religious beliefs? You already had antisemitic teachers (or anti-gays, or anti-immigrants, or anti-abortion, etc), you just didn't know they were. For what I know Delich did not ask her students to read Duke's website, she did not ask them to study Duke's book "Jewish Supremacism", she didn't goose-stepped into her class. *If* she did such things, then of course disciplinary mesures would be required.

David Hirsch's conclusion about Delich sounds good: "She needs to be left alone to do some serious thinking about what has happened to her in peace". Maybe we'll see what comes out of this thinking.

Greetings to all.
Saul posted on September 01, 2008 at 06:36:26 PM
At least the pro-boycotters are consistent.

We don't like Israel - close it down
We don't like Harry's Place - close it down
We don't like the truth emerging - close it down

So much for the academic principle of enquiry

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