Solidarity with Harry’s Place

harrys-place.jpg

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”.

161 comments on “Solidarity with Harry’s Place

  1. The big worry here has been the abuse of libel law to silence a critical voice.

    It simply is a problem that some supporters of the Palestinans now are so uncritical of anti-Semites like Gilad Atzmon, or in this extreme case, David Duke!

    How could anyone vaguely interested in politics not have heard of david Duke? let alone an academic!

    It also seems that what HP said, while a little caustic and mischevious in tone, was essentially fair comment, and the facts do not seem to be in dispute.

    In which case it is not libellous, and the atack on them via their ISP is both vexatious, and an affront to thee principlees of free speech.

  2. I’m not sure which to laugh at more. The misfortune of Harry’s Place or Andy Newman’s ankle-mounting. Or, perhaps better, the spectacle of David T, scourge of insufficiently pro-Israel academics, being touted in the cause of free speech. It’s a sort of triple crown farce. Can we look forward to these nuptials being sealed in a ceremony, perhaps presided over by the dream team of David Miliband and Jon Cruddas?

  3. Of course in Lenin’s one party wet dream there will be no censorship! Anyone dabbling with free thought will be ‘re-educated’ or shot.

  4. I take it then, Lenin, you won’t be taking a stand with all the blogs – most of whom have very little time for HP politically – who think free speech is something worth defending from legal threats?

  5. In this particular case, HP are (bizarrely) in the right. There’s a turn up. HP is often full of vicious libels against Muslims, but Duke’s site is full of the same against Muslims AND Jews (and African-Americans for that matter).

    Indeed, some of the vicious Muslim-baiting bullshit about Barack Obama that is tolerated from regular commenters at HP, is in main postings on Duke’s site. Bears do shit in the woods. Which really underlines that HP Sauce’s outrage over this is a bit contrived. The main difference between Duke and HP is differing communal loyalties.

    Whoever this bloody fool is who cited Duke as an authority, she has actually played into the hands of the worst enemies of the Palestinians. Cretin. She should be apologising, not to Harry’s Place, but to the whole of the Palestinian Solidarity movement for this lulu.

  6. Phil – I am not standing in “solidarity with Harry’s Place”, no. I believe they can fight their own battles. I am not masochistic enough to suck up to these fools when they get in a bit of trouble. Particularly since they don’t give a damn about free speech (unless it’s their own ‘right to tell people what they don’t want to hear, and then inform on them to their bosses’). No, you can save this particular ’cause celebre’ for someone who has no self-respect. It will not be me.

  7. Andrew Coates on said:

    I am glad that most people are standing up for Harry’s Place on this.

    Though Lenin is obviously still bilious after having scoffed too much candy-floss and drunk a few litres too many of Dandelion and Burdock over the Bank Holiday.

    Let’s hope no-one sues Harry’s Place after trying out its recommended herbal remedies involving Waterdropwort, Henbane and Belladona.

  8. I understand where Lenin is coming from on this, but I think it is a mistake not to oppose the shutting down of HP over this particular issue. There are no doubt lots of other issues where they would fucking deserve it – the right to spread blood-libels is not part of free speech. But not over this issue, because thanks to the stupidity of one individual, what they are saying is actually factually correct (for once!). This person has not been libelled in this particular case.

  9. Lenin is obviously still bilious after having scoffed too much candy-floss and drunk a few litres too many of Dandelion and Burdock over the Bank Holiday.

    You know, it’s 2008 already – we boisterous youngsters drink alcopops these days. We also use curse words.

  10. It seems that Jenna Delich has actually admitted to posting the link to David Duke’s website, but denies having any knowledge of what the site was about. Any libel suit she cares to fight will be utterly nuts and counterproductive. If Harry’s Place’s lawyers use disclosure properly, some very nasty things about the UCU could come out. The theory now is that her supporters may have caught Harry’s Place out by pointing out their reporting of the post linked to a far-right site, which is often against a host’s Terms of Service.

    For Delich to claim that she had no knowledge of the far-right links in this article, or to have not a shred of anti-semitic tendencies, is beyond belief.

    First, she is of an academic background. According to her LinkedIn profile she went to a good university and teaches education management. It ought to follow that she understands the concept of checking a source for authenticity and reliability. A quick perusal of David Duke’s website is more than enough to see that the guy is a racist nutjob. There’s a prominent link to a book called “Jewish Supremacism” in the article, if that was not enough. If you google search him his Wikipedia page appears before his website, where it clearly states in its first sentence that he is a former KKK member. One would think that Delich’s chosen career of teaching how to teach would involve a basic understanding of checking a source. If she claims she did not then she is either incompetent or a liar.

    More importantly however is her failure to even question the contents of the article. That she claims “No comment necessary. The facts are speaking for themselves”, means that she would have accepted the contents of the article without demur. That the article repeatedly refers to a Jewish conspiracy to control and manipulate the media ought to set off alarm bells. That it did not suggests that Delich’s supposed “anti-Zionism” is in fact rather closer to anti-Semitism than she has led herself to believe.

    In her admittance of linking to the site, she goes on to write that “none are saying that Joe Quinn (the author of the article) is a racist or anti-semitist [sic], and the article is quite interesting”. The only way you can draw that conclusion is if you close your eyes, cover your ears and shout very loudly. In various articles, Joe Quinn claims that Mossad perpetrated 9/11 and that Jews are “psychopaths” with a predisposition to bloodlust. If she does not consider this racist or anti-semitic, then you have that wonderful phrase “I’m not a racist, but….“.

    I suppose she’ll claim that some of her best friends are Jews next.

  11. If Harry’s Place’s lawyers use disclosure properly, some very nasty things about the UCU could come out.

    Ah, good to see a bit of old-fashioned union-busting…

  12. Andrew Coates on said:

    Is(see: #5,#9,#12,#14)this a cry for help from Lenin?

    Won’t someone please sue him so he can be taken as seriously as Harry?

  13. True. HP Sauce are anti-union and want to bust workers organisations that favour (or even seriously discuss) any kind of boycott action against Israeli apartheid.

    And this woman’s legal idiocy could play into their hands over this. All the more reason why this legal action (if there is one) should be dropped.

  14. I really can’t believe that Andy is defending the scum at Harry’s Place. In fact he joins them in slandering Jenna Delich by asserting that she knew she was linking to a racist site: “How could anyone vaguely interested in politics not have heard of david Duke? let alone an academic!”

    Delich stated unequivocally: “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.”

    Is Andy saying that she’s lying?

    The article that Delich linked to originated on a radical website called Signs of the Times, and was subsequently reproduced on David Duke’s site. Just by looking at that article, you’d have no idea about the actual politics of David Duke.

    So it was not at all “reasonable to infer that Jenna Delich reads and takes her information on world events from neo Nazis”, as that poisonous piece of shit David Toube claimed.

    People who pointed this out at Harry’s Place had their comments removed. So much for HP’s commitment to freedom of expression. Their idea of free expression is that they have the right to libel a trade unionist who opposes their Zionist politics and then suppress the views of those who defend the victim of their libel.

    Was it not obvious that David Toube’s accusation against Jenna Delich was being made with the aim of getting her into trouble with her employers, and threatening her with the loss of her job? Was she supposed to sit back and accept that?

    This is par for the course with Harry’s Place. In the past they have posted comments from the likes of Nick Cohen publicly calling for their opponents on the left to be sacked.

    Frankly, people who claim to be socialists and defend the right of Harry’s Place to promote this sort of disgraceful campaign should be ashamed of themselves.

  15. Anon,
    If you look at the page she linked to, you’ll see you are wrong.
    The nature of Duke is unavoidable.

    In the meantime,Delich and her supporters damage the Palestinian cause.

  16. Its still a bad idea to sue. Utterly counterproductive. It’s very unfortunate if she genuinely didn’t know who Duke was. Its not even a crime to cite fascist material to illustrate a point, providing you make the necessary qualifications. But she did so uncritically, and basically gave a blanket recommendation. And naiviety is not much of a defence.

    However cruel, Toube’s remark that it is “reasonable to infer that Jenna Delich reads and takes her information on world events from neo Nazis” could not be shown to be literally untrue. It can only be shown to be wrong over a prolonged future period. Apologise and move on is the best advice on this. Prove him wrong by future actions.

  17. Quite apart from the fact that by inspection Duke’s web-site is obvioulsy a hate site, David Duke is one of the most infamous anti-semites and racists in the world.

    I do find it incredible that anyone would be prepared to stake their reputation, the reputation of their trade union, and the reputation of the palestinian solidarity movement on the dubious contention that Duke is an obscure figure that people haven’t heard of.

  18. Exactly, had this academic simply apologised, claimed ignorance and moved on, then the issue would never have been widely publicised.

    Her ill-judged legal action has in fact raised the profile of the case, but even so I see no reason why her employer would have grounds to dismiss her.

    So no-one is trying to get her sacked,, – this is an utter red-herring.

  19. “I hate Harry’s Place and Harry’s Place is under attack so I am happy about that.” is the binary logic of fools.

    So no surprise to see that ‘Lenin’ is spouting it.

  20. MoreMediaNonsense on said:

    Looks like UCU have banned Delich from their “private” list :

    http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/

    “I acted to suspend the posting rights of the list member as soon as the union became aware of the link, and having reviewed this and previous conduct; I have now suspended their list membership indefinitely.”

    Looks like its Universal Censors Unity week ATM…..

  21. #23 “Its not even a crime to cite fascist material to illustrate a point, providing you make the necessary qualifications. But she did so uncritically…”

    But the point is, it wasn’t fascist material. The article that Delich linked to was an editorial from the radical Signs of the Times website, which Duke subsequently reproduced verbatim on his own site. Here’s the link to the original: http://tinyurl.com/6cqbxn

  22. @frank (#29): exactly! JD slipped up and gave HP an opening, which they predictably pounced on. They are always on the lookout for the chance to call a lefty a Nazi.

    Obviously libel action is the wrong response to this (although we should point out that it’s only supposition, unless anyone knows otherwise, that she is launching a libel case), and the best thing for her supporters to do would be to back down.

    And the rest of us can all take a lesson that there really are antisemites out there who would take advantage of antizionism, and we must be on guard against them, for example by checking the “about” page of websites before we link to them.

    But let’s not take HP’s story at face value, yeah? We know better than that, surely.

  23. Well yeah, excpet that she DID link to David Duke’s web-site.

    So it is correct to say that she refrs to neo-nazi sites for information.

    Not so long ago there would have been zero tolerance for such anti-semites. And there simply is a problem that asome in the Palestinian solidarity movement are beginning to blur this.

    This is totally counterproductive, as it not only helps to rehabilitate anti-semitism into the political mainstream, but is damaging for the palestinains.

  24. #22 “How precisely has Jenna Delich been ‘libeled’? (A clue – pointing out that someone has linked, approvingly, to an article on a neo-Nazi website does not count as libel. I hope you can grasp that).”

    A clue – claiming that “Jenna Delich reads and takes her information on world events from neo Nazis”, on the basis that she linked to an editorial from a radical website without understanding the political character of the site on which that article was reproduced, is indeed libellous.

    To anyone whose mind hasn’t been poisoned by hatred of the Israeli boycott campaign (to which I’m politically opposed, incidentally) it’s perfectly clear that Delich has no sympathy at all with neo-Nazi politics.

    I hope you can grasp that.

  25. “although we should point out that it’s only supposition, unless anyone knows otherwise, that she is launching a libel case”

    What?! I thought the whole matter rested on this ‘fact’ ie that she HAD definitely, certainly, actually launched a libel case! So what are people defending, (or attacking) if it hasn’t been established incontrovertibly that that is what she’s doing? Blimey, you’ll have to forgive a bit of fogeyishness here, but blogland does sometimes look to old geezers like me as a lot of farting in a bottle. I like adding to the farts, I confess, but farts they often are nonetheless.

  26. Michael #39

    Someone has threatened libel against Harry’s Place ISP and therefore cauaes their site to be taken down. This is the FACT that this discussion revolves around, and it is not in dispute.

    Whether she actually intends to pursue a libel action for damages through the courts is an entirely secondary matter.

  27. #39 “I thought the whole matter rested on this ‘fact’ ie that she HAD definitely, certainly, actually launched a libel case! So what are people defending, (or attacking)?”

    One of Delich’s supporters reportedly contacted the ISP that hosts Harry’s Place and complained that HP had libelled Jenna Dalich. So the ISP has withdrawn hosting for HP. That’s what the dispute is about.

  28. Reality Check on said:

    I’ve been involved in anti-nazi work for several years, organised I don’t know how many gigs, done meetings, built for demos etc. I had no idea who David Dukes was until today because I’ve had no cause to read anything about him. If you were to scan that article which caused all this nonsense, the nuggets of anti-semitic lunacy (Israeli media controlling conspiracy etc) are carefully-couched in a relatively accurate and sympathetic descriptions of the problems Palestinians face.

    Could it be that this woman isn’t an obsessive internet nerd and doesn’t know who the hell Dukes is? She seems to have drawn on an article whilst attacking the disgraceful views of your new ‘comrades’ over at HP and is now getting kicked about for not reading it as closely as she should have.

    Either way, to hell with Harry’s Place and more fool you for thinking that these clowns fall into the Pastor Niemöller bracket – if you think they’d be doing anything other than laughing their racist little heads off at you if the state came calling you’re really spending too much time staring at the computer screen.

  29. #32
    “The article that Delich linked to was an editorial from the radical Signs of the Times website”

    Does Sign of the Times really qualify as radical in any sense of being from the left? A google search of the webmaster, Laura Knight-Jadczyk, throws up this web site.

    We’re talking about cult watch territory here. Strange indeed.

  30. I don’t think there is tolerance in the Palestine Solidarity movement for anti-semites. If anything acts to rehabilitate anti-semitism, it is the continual cry of ‘wolf’ from those bent on excusing the treatment of the Palestinians. The continual drip of false accusations devalues the currency and if anything creates confusion as to what anti-semitism actually is. The fact that these false accusations come from a state (and its supporters) that is itself involved in monstrous racism and claims to speak for all Jews only makes the confusion worse.

    If anything allows genuine anti-semites (there are not many of them, it is a ideology in strategic decline) a small foothold, it is that. In this particular case, HP sauce have degree of justice on their side, but lets not obscure that the chief responsiblity for allowing any foothold for anti-semitism lies with those who oppress Palestinians in the name of all Jews.

  31. amazed onlooker on said:

    I’ve been involved in anti-nazi work for several years, organised I don’t know how many gigs, done meetings, built for demos etc. I had no idea who David Dukes was until today because I’ve had no cause to read anything about him.

    Never read anything about the KKK?
    Amazing.

  32. “One of Delich’s supporters reportedly contacted the ISP that hosts Harry’s Place and complained that HP had libelled Jenna Dalich.”

    you mean, ‘I heard that one of Delich’s supporters sent an email in which he or she said, ‘Hi, I’m one of Delich’s supporters and I’m complaining that HP has libelled my mate, Jenna.’

    And that’s what it’s all about????!!!!! How many steps removed from Delich is this?

    And Andy calls this a ‘fact’????!!!!

  33. Benji Detector on said:

    You’ll note that for the purpose of this comments thread Benjamin Mackie is adopting the pseudonym “Frank”, and being more hostile to HP than normal, but the points he’s making are all very familiar: HP smears the left with antisemitism, racism, fascism, CND is on their blacklist, they ignore the argument and instead try to link the person to unsavoury characters etc etc.

    The passage “check how many posts they make accusing the SWP or figures on the left of fascism/racism or apologism for either – then compare that number with the number of posts attacking Britain’s biggest fascist party the BNP, now challenging the Greens as the fourth party in Britain” is pretty much a word-for-word copy of a comment on a recent thread. Why he’s using the name “Frank” I have no idea.

  34. “… she DID link to David Duke’s web-site. So it is correct to say that she refrs to neo-nazi sites for information.”

    That’s a disgraceful slur.

    “Not so long ago there would have been zero tolerance for such anti-semites.”

    Which anti-semites? Do you mean Jenna Delich? That’s the way I read it.

    If so, I think there’s a good case for Delich or her supporters contacting your ISP, Andy.

    I notice, by the way, that Dave’s Part also attacks Delich, claiming that she is guilty of “circulating hyperlinks to articles written by notorious American white supremacists”.

    Not so long ago there would have been zero tolerance for slandering socialists in this way.

  35. Doh! alk my life I’ve worked for organisations that over-self-censor at the first whisper of ‘legal action’ even if that ‘legal action’ wasn’t actually threatened. Why should we take what ISPs do (who are they? how constituted? who does the legal eagling for them?) as evidence of libel etc.?

  36. So is Michael Rosen claiming no threat of action was made?
    Of course not, he’s just pointlessly muddying the waters.

  37. “circulating hyperlinks to articles written by notorious American white supremacists”.

    Thats exactly what she has admitted to doing.

  38. #58 “circulating hyperlinks to articles written by notorious American white supremacists”. Thats exactly what she has admitted to doing.

    Oh for Chrissake. Haven’t you bothered to read this thread?

  39. “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.”

    That’s the last line of the article she linked to. A thinly veiled call for genocide.

  40. paul fauvet on said:

    Delich and/or her supporters have resorted to a smart new form of censorship. Suggest to a timid ISP that a libel suit might happen, and, hey presto, the offending website disappears.

    Delich and co may not have the slightest intention of contacting an expensive libel lawyer. But so vicious and archaic are Britain’s libel laws, and so outlandish the damages that can be awarded, that one can understand the nervousness of ISPs.

    What is truly beyond comprehension is the obvious delight that the SWP’s fake Lenin takes in this affair. Lenin/Seymour seems to have forgotten a trenchant piece that he wrote about the chilling effect of libel laws on the Internet back in September 2007, when it was the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, whose website was temporarily shut down because of a libel threat from Uzbek tycoon Alisher Usmanov.

    This is what Lenin had to say then:

    “Craig Murray’s website, Tim Ireland’s website, Bloggerheads, and that of Councillor Bob Piper, have been pulled by their service provider, Fasthosts Internet Ltd of Gloucester. The reason? Allegations made about Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov. (It transpires that a number of websites, including Bob Piper’s, were removed even though they said nothing about this topic, simply because they shared a server with Craig Murray and Tim Ireland. Fasthosts’ conduct is predictable, but also a disgrace)”.

    Lenin went on to write: “The issue as it now stands is not whether the allegations against Mr Usmanov are correct, but whether you should have a right to hear about them and whether the promise of the internet can be shut down by an affronted oligarch. It is one thing to expect a single post to be withdrawn, although even this is unconscionable if it results from straightforward goldplated bullying by a plutocrat. But to take down the whole site is outrageous.”

    Exactly. So does Lenin think it’s only outrageous when Uzbek billionnaires censor the Internet, but perfectly acceptable when his own comrades do the same thing?

    “We’ve had repeated attempts to threaten and bully bloggers in this fashion”, Lenin’s September 2007 post continued. Indeed we have – we just didn’t expect them to come from people who imagine they’re on the left.

  41. but perfectly acceptable when his own comrades do the same thing?

    a) to my knowledge, Jenna Delich is not a comrade of mine.

    b) if she is behind the complaint, I suspect she’s not a bumpkin billionaire who can bully her way through life, but a fairly average public sector employee who is pissed off by having Harry’s Place vilify her, which is a rather different matter.

    c) the crucial difference, however, is that Craig Murray and Tim Ireland are not rank hypocrites and McCarthyites. Murray actually did something brave and admirable, which was to expose a real sleazebag. Harry’s Place was just doing what it always does, which is to attack trade unionists who disagree with its position on Israel and try to get them fired.

  42. Well I’m not sure Andy has thought this one through. If a blog, well known for being a fairly bitter opponent of the anti-war movement and the anti-war left, develops a penchant for publishing the photo’s, job details, and the rest of those it is politically hostile to, is this a wholly progressive practice to be encouraging? I fully agree that it is a terrible mistake to link to a David Duke site, and think it a matter for grave concern. I don’t for that reason think its a good idea to have verdicts before trials and splash peoples personal details all over the net, given that most people have no access to that list (did someone pull her up on it immediately, did she aplogise etc?). Its not actually a right I would demand for myself and don’t think its a practice which should be supported or encouraged whatever the politics of the blog which does it. The only kind of blogs which regularly adopt this kind of practice are ones like RedWatch. I don’t see why socialists or the left would ever want to do this. I don’t think declaring solidarity with this kind of practice is a very good idea for the left. This doesn’t mean at all that the issue should not be raised or that questions can’t be asked publicly. But I’m really not sure about publishing peoples photos or workplaces. As a general rule.

  43. Andrew Coates on said:

    I tend to agree about the photo, but giving some kind of job title is pretty unavoidable since that is why the person involved posted at all. I notice that johng and his suddenly trade union activist mate Lenin (what union would he be in? United Central Committee’s shoe-shiners?) does not complain about, say, Islamophobia Watch which personalsies, and indeed Socialist Worker has hounded people it calls nazis for years and years and years.

  44. Dustin the Turkey on said:

    “some of the vicious Muslim-baiting bullshit about Barack Obama that is tolerated from regular commenters at HP”

    Umm, you will see that some over on Harry’s Place absolutely adore Obama (such as Gene). Others (such as goth teen-fascist Morgoth) loath him and consider him the Anti-Christ. All opinion is “tolerated” in the sense that the comment thread tends to be full of vicious arguments but no-one calls for anyone else to be banned.

    The fact you seem to find this shocking says more about your attitude to free speech than about Harry’s Place.

  45. Yeah but generally this is people who are openly declared members of fascist organisations (in the case of socialist worker). I did state the proceedural objection to ‘verdicts before trials’. In the case of Islamophobia Watch is it not the case that they moniter public figures rather then misguided individuals? If Islamophobia watch was to trawl through the HP comments section and discover someone linking to an Islamophobic site, discover their photo and address, and put it all over the web, I think I would have a similar objection. As stated its not a right which I would want to have, and I think, its probably not a right that anyone should have.

  46. martin ohr on said:

    johng, there’s a distinct smell of fudge here. Are you saying that in principle you are against lefties crying off to ISPs when a blog prints something they don’t like, but in this case since it’s a site you don’t like then you are not bothered about it?

    Or are you saying that you are in favour of free speech -even for people you disagree with and are prepared to say so?

  47. suddenly trade union activist mate Lenin (what union would he be in? United Central Committee’s shoe-shiners?)

    Andrew thinks he’s a wit. And, bless him, he’s half right.

    and indeed Socialist Worker has hounded people it calls nazis for years and years and years.

    Socialist Worker has not ‘hounded people it calls Nazis’. It has occasionally published articles about actual Nazis, usually when there is a campaign already afoot to stop their activities. Unless you’re going to tell us that Jenna Delich is a Nazi, in which case I might have some sympathy for Harry’s Place, this is a rather lame rejoinder on your part.

  48. Are you saying that in principle you are against lefties crying off to ISPs when a blog prints something they don’t like, but in this case since it’s a site you don’t like then you are not bothered about it?

    Are you saying that in principle you’re against people being vindictively witch-hunted by right-wing blogs, but in this case since it’s a person you dislike, you’re going to defend Harry’s Place?

  49. The Harry’s Place post by David Toube on Jenna Delich is still in google cache by the way. Try googling hurryupharry ucu david duke

    You’ll see that the piece is headed “UCU and the David Duke fan”.

    Anyone (e.g. Andy Newman) who imagines that falsely accusing a college lecturer of being a neo-Nazi sympathiser doesn’t have implications for their employment prospects isn’t living in the real world.

    Socialists should oppose this sort of witch-hunting of the left, not line up with the right-wing witch-hunters and endorse the latter’s fraudulent claim that they are the victims.

    And in response to #67, anyone who’s frequented Harry’s Place knows perfectly well that they censor comments. All opinion is not tolerated. It’s the anti-Muslim bigotry which disfigures the site that is allowed to go unchecked.

  50. “The fact you seem to find this shocking says more about your attitude to free speech than about Harry’s Place.”

    No-one calls for people to be banned? Rubbish! There are regular calls for, and have been periodic attempts to, ban people – usually left-wing or pro-Palestinian commenters – from HP. What is true is that none of the overtly vile, racist commenters have been banned. Which says a lot.

    Why is a ‘goth-teen fascist’ who hates Muslims any better than David Duke? How can you protest about someone linking to David Duke when you have a ‘fascist’ (your description) as a regular contributor?

    Is it because he is a pro-Israeli Muslim-hating fascist, instead of a traditional Jew-hating fascist like Duke? Or is it because his views chime in with other posters, like Brett Lock, who thinks the Israeli army have the right to shoot unarmed women protesters in Gaza? Or Darren ‘Redstar’ who recently opined that the Israeli army should have massacred Lebanese Arab prisoners when two of its captured soldiers were discovered to be dead?

    And that’s only two fairly recent examples that are the tip of a rather large iceberg.

    What would you call a website that had an equivalent weight and ferocity of anti-Jewish ranting to the rantings against Muslims – including naked incitement to killing and cheering when people are actually killed – that regularly appear on Harry’s Place?

    You would call it a Nazi hate-site.

    Gene is HP’s fig-leaf.

    Nuff-said.

  51. Time for one of my universally popular interventions

    I have received complaints from list members about the linking by another member to a website which contains highly offensive, racist material.

    I acted to suspend the posting rights of the list member as soon as the union became aware of the link, and having reviewed this and previous conduct; I have now suspended their list membership indefinitely.

    List members should note that my view as moderator is that you are responsible for what you post, including links.

    Check what you are sharing before you share it. Think about what you are saying before you press send.

    Best to all

    Matt

    having reviewed this and previous conduct

    Jennas got form

  52. Barry Kade on said:

    Delich is not a prominent UCU activist. Nor is she a prominent campaigner for the Palestinian cause. She is just some random person who started posting to the UCU activists list a while ago.

    I always thought that her posts to the list were crude and ill-informed, when compared with pots by genuine activists. When she then posted a link to neo-Nazis I then thought she is either barmy or sinister.

    Now she has become a great source of ammunition for those like HP, Engage, etc, who want to defend the systematic abuse of the human rights of the Palestinian people by the Israeli state. The story is all over the web. It is a cause celebre for those who hate the UCU and its correct policy of solidarity with the Palestinians.

    All the measured and just criticisms of Israeli policy can now be ignored – and tarred with the brush of anti-Semitism, because for once the charge appears correct with Delich’s email as evidence.

    But it is all a storm in a teacup – one email, by an isolated and unrepresentative fool like Delich can be used to smear the whole movement. HP types are loving it. F*ck em!

  53. How low can you sink?

    My god you are a bunch of total idiots…

    Harry’s Place continually publishes through some mole who is never brave enough to reveal their identity excerpts from the UCU list and twist what people say to make out they are anti-semitic or worse, despite our (UCU members) mailing list expressly having the rule that it is private and not to be republished elsewhere. The idiot David T has done this to me and a number of other activists. Private means private and I don’t want discussions activists hold on a private list to be published publically as this can and does have serious implications for all of us at work and in other situations.

    Jenna is a good woman and yes, on this occasion been a bit stupid and made a mistake, this does not mean she should have her picture and private details published on Harry’s Place under a banner making out she is a neo-nazi. UCU has taken this seriously and suspended her rights to use the list. Unfortunately we can’t do the same to Harry’s Place.

    Andy and Phil you really are two total and utter lowlifes, how you have the gall to call yourselves socialists I do not know. Go back and hide in your holes where you belong.

  54. having reviewed this and previous conduct

    Jennas got form

    Mr Waddup’s statement is clearly intended to suggest that might have grounds for reconsidering his position in light of previous conduct, but it could equally be an arse-covering gesture from someone who is caving in to a ridiculous campaign of intimidation. You’re altogether too eager to lynch her and have done with it, tim. She could in fact be an antisemite, but she may not be. She may indeed have made a mistake, or she may be naive, or she may be a ‘political nutter’ (as I believe they say in these parts), but the eagerness to fuck her over in public before we even know what the full story is, is quite distasteful.

  55. Dustin the Turkey on said:

    “How can you protest about someone linking to David Duke when you have a ‘fascist’ (your description) as a regular contributor?”

    You don’t appear to know the difference between a blog contributer and a blog commenter. Here’s a clue: just for fun, I may just go and add a comment about fellating David Irving on Lenny Tomb’s blog, just so Andy can write an article headlined “TOMB CONTRIBUTER LOVES NAZI HISTORIAN PEE-PEE” and get some extra hits.

    Also, Morgoth is not an actual fascist; I was using the word in the Rick Young One sense. More accurate is “completely unhinged extremely anti-monotheistic right-wing libertarian”. He claims to actually be a Satanist. I think he comes from the same hometown as Lenny. I’m not sure are these facts unconnected.

    Morgoth has stormed off HP at least once because most people mocked him, only to return (at least he got quality mockery there), so again, it’s a bit disingenous to use him as an example of an archetypal HP person.

    The Brett Lock anecdote: Since searching for keywords related to this only produces blog comments by you recounting the anecdote over the past few years on many blogs, could you provide a link to Brett’s article?

  56. christian h. on said:

    So now we are to stand in solidarity with outright racist scum like HP? Are you, Andy, then also saying we should openly declare our solidarity with other fascists? Is there anywhere you draw the line?

    This isn’t about approving or disapproving of Delich’s linking practices. Rather, the question is, should socialist make this their cause? I think not. As lenin said, HP can stand up for themselves.

  57. christian h. on said:

    Dustin, bullshit. HP regularly deletes critical comments. Therefore it is only reasonable to conclude that the comments they don’t delete are deemed acceptable. Palestinian solidarity activists are not welcome at HP. Racists are. And those are the guys socialists should stand up for? The mind boggles…

  58. paul fauvet on said:

    Lenin, you are either opposed to Internet censorship or you are not. It is not intellectually credible to say “I oppose the censorship of Craig Murray because he’s on my side, and exposes people I regard as scumbags, but I will tolerate the censorship of Harry’s Place, because I disagree with them about zionism and boycotts of Israel”.

    As for Johng’s claim that HP published Delich’s job details – the post that started this off did no such thing. It merely called her a “Sheffield-based UCU activist”. But we happen to know that she’s a lecturer at Sheffield College (plus her qualifications, her e-mail address and assorted other details), not because Harry’s Place told us, but because this material is publicly available on other websites which have nothing to do with this controversy.

    Lenin thinks the purpose of the original post was to get Delich fired. There is in fact not the slightest suggestion that she should lose her job. But perhaps Lenin’s clairvoyant capacities allow him to look inside David T’s mind and conclude that the “real” intention of the piece was to get Delich thrown out of the college.

    Lacking such mind-reading powers, I can only read the words on the page, and conclude that this is an entirely justified expose of the alarming fact that a UCU member consults a racist website.

    Anon also misquotes the original post. It did not call Delich “a neo-Nazi sympathiser”. It said Delich “reads and takes her information on world events from neo Nazis” – and since she did indeed link to Duke’s site, that comment is entirely accurate.

  59. MoreMediaNonsense on said:

    christian h – have you ever read HP ? There are some very pro Palestinian commenters on there including one called TheIrie who comments voluminously every time Israel and the Palestinians is mentioned. He gets a lot of flak granted but AFAIK has never been deleted.

    johng used to post there all the time as well. I doubt he was ever been censored but if he was so I’m sure he’ll let us all know.

  60. unseen on said:

    Michael Rosen is wrong.

    ISPs might occasionally pull down sites in the face of legal threats, but this isn’t what happened. Their Domain Name registrar ceased providing them with DNS. This is actually very rare; DNS providers are not the hosts of the information in question and tend to be extremely reluctant to pull domain names – even in the face of criminal liability, let alone a civil suit.

    It is almost unheard of for an ISP or domain name regsitrar to act on a third party complaint. It doesn’t happen becuase it’s an obvious can of worms; for example, I could write to SU’s host and point out that some of the comments libel George Galloway, who is known to be letigious, so perhaps they should shut it down. But I doubt George himself would be happy at the intervention in this case, as the site as a whole is supportive of him.

    I think it’s reasonable to assume that Delich, or parties claiming to act for her, asked for HP to be taken down.

  61. I see that I’ve been accused of ‘muddying the waters’. Hysterical. No one here has yet said whether HP were really or certainly warned that legal action was being taken. All i’ve seen is phrases to the effect, that ‘it has been reported that…’. No one here has said what this legal action was going to be. No one here has said on what basis servers close down blogs or who decides or what the record is. And I’m ‘muddying waters?!

    I’ll illustrate with a story. I co-wrote and co-edited a book related to a radio programme. The person who co-created the radio programme was asked to write a foreword. He was delighted to do so. The book was printed and a launch prepared. The person in question announced that he would sue the publisher on the basis that the radio company did not recognise his copyright in the programme. Though no case had been won against the radio company (nor even brought), the publisher immediately capitulated and pulped 5000 copies of the book. It has never been published.

    Now there are various conclusions we can draw from this. The one I draw is that the fault lies with the publisher. With no proper assessment of the case (ie would they win or lose etc) they pulped.

    In the case of HP, no one here appears to know whether Delich really has threatened anything, or if so, what exactly she has threatened, or on what basis the server has decided to pull HP. All sorts of accusations are flying about against Delich (I don’t mean the ones about linking to Duke (my adult kids have never heard of him)), but the ones to do with whether it was right for her to have threatened HP. And yet no one knows if she has!

    Oh I’m so sorry for muddying such clear waters. Feh!

  62. Harry’s Toilet – if it means anything it means hypocrisy!

    HP sauce doesn’t like it when, what it does to others, happens to them – racist scumbags the lot of them.

    Racism isn’t democracy, it’s the opposite of democracy – and the sooner zionist racist supremists like Harry’s Bog is flushed into oblivion the better.

    Zionist racist supremist propaganda isn’t democracy or open debate but what democracy and free society are up against!

    all the best SU!

  63. How can I be ‘wrong’ unseen, when all I’ve said that neither I, nor anyone else here,appears to know something? What am I ‘wrong’ about? That people do know? If so how? and why haven’t they been sharing it with us all?

  64. Reality Check on said:

    #42 amazed onlooker: Never read anything about the KKK?
    Amazing.

    Bits and bobs you know. I missed the entrance test where I had to show I had learned the names of crackpots from other continents before I could be involved in anti-racist work in Britain. I’m fairly sharp on David Bowie, International Relations theory and French New Wave cinema if you’re setting up an SU Mastermind tournament, though.

  65. I see some weasel words, unseen:

    ” I think it’s reasonable to assume that Delich, or parties claiming to act for her, asked for HP to be taken down.”

    ‘I think it’s reasonable to assume that…’ = ‘I don’t know but I’m going to say it anyway’

    ‘or parties claiming to act for’ = maybe Delich isn’t involved at all, but what the hell, I’m going to implicate her anyway.

  66. Reality Check on said:

    I assume if this whole fiasco had erupted on the weblog of an equally comradely purveyor of “warmed over social democracy plus humanitarian imperialism plus trenchant Zionism” like Jack Straw or Hazel Blears, for example, and they had somehow had their ISP taken down, we’d be standing nobly behind them too? Because it’s all about principle, innit?

  67. If I, Noel, am a lowlife, then you’re an idiot, and an illiterate one at that.

    Go back and read the post carefully (slowly if need be) and then you might just see it for what it is: a defence of one blog (HP) from legal attack.

  68. What “legal attack”, sociologist? All I know of is a response, but do say, if you know what the attack was. Share all. (yes, yes, I know all that ‘presumably’ or ‘we can assume that…’ but people don’t even seem to know who did what in order to pull the site or why. But you’re a sociologist, so presumably you must know.

  69. christian h. on said:

    MoreMediaNonsense, I know there are comments on HP disagreeing with their line. That’s why I didn’t claim that all critical comments are deleted. Only that critical comments do get deleted. Which justifies the conclusion that the comments that aren’t deleted are acceptable to them (not that they approve of their content, simply that they are acceptable – not the same thing).

    To me this looks like a much more clear-cut case than “everyone knows David Duke” (complete bullshit, most people have never heard of him) or “HP was taken down so we can assume Delich threatened the provider” (more bullshit).

    I repeat, I don’t see why I should stand up for racist scum like HP. I’d like to know if any of you “standing in solidarity” with HP draw the line anywhere? Would you publicly post a declaration of solidarity with David Duke, for example, if his operation is shut down?

  70. unseen on said:

    Michael, I misread you point@49 and thought you were claiming that ISPs are notoriously risk-averse. That was the point I was trying to refute.

    It is almost inconceivable that the domain name registrar took unprompted action. Someone complained.

    Complaining to the registrar (rather than the more-natural target, the ISP) is unusual in any case. Mike Cushman suggested to Jenna that she complain to the registrar rather than the ISP, and indeed it was the registrar that took action.

    I wasn’t trying to mislead anyone. It is reasonable to assume that either Jenna complained to the registrar or someone claimed to be doing so on her behalf. I accept that she might not have made the complaint. But she has had the opportunity to refute that charge, and she has not done so yet.

    Your points about actual legal action are irrelevant. The issue here is not whether or not Jenna has any intent of seeing a case through court. The threat of legal action is what’s at issue, not any action itself.

  71. I don’t know anything about Harry’s Place apart from its reputation and have no reason therefore to doubt it’s as bad as people say. However, it is not good if websites are shut down by either the state or by threat of legal action as some on here suggest. Actually we shouldn’t allow the state the right to politically censor websites- even fascist ones – which from the debate presumably is meant to be the case with Duke, whom I’m glad to say I have never heard of until now- should be shut down as the result of mass action not state diktat.

  72. paul fauvet on said:

    When Christian H and Joe90 both dismiss Harry’s Place as “racist scum”, I can only assume that neither of them has ever met a real racist in their lives.

    Presumably what they really mean is that they disagree with the dominant Harry’s Place line against anti-democratic Islamist movements such as Hamas and Hizbollah. They want to intimidate the rest of us into accepting that anyone who won’t chant “We are all hizbollah” must be a racist.

  73. Tsk Michael, is that sarcasm befitting a celebrated childrens’ author?

    A complaint was made with the implied threat of legal action being taken against their DNS. It might not be a formal proceeding but it should be opposed by anyone who cares about democracy.

    Now, enough pussy footing around Michael. Instead of trying to tie the issue up in minutiae, do you support this attack on HP, and thereby the possibility of it setting a precedent, or not?

  74. christian h. on said:

    Looks like none of the HP supporters is going to answer my question: are you, or are you not, going to publicly make a stand for David Duke if his website should be shut down. If not, where do you draw the line? If yes, do you think socialists should make a priority out of defending racists?

    Sociologist, the post claims that Delich had a lawyer send a letter. Any evidence for that? Or are we now down to “a complaint was made with an ‘implied’ legal threat” (note the passive voice)? If so, why is the poster making an unsupported attack on Delich? It’s quite amazing how so-called socialists can indignantly jump to the defense of racists, and simultaneously accept slander against the racists’ target, no questions asked.

  75. A very public…’implied threat of legal action’. So it wasn’t an actual threat? And you’re asking me to make a definitive statement about something ‘implied’?! I really don’t get this. What kind of world do you live in? In real life, at work say, if it was reported that someone ‘implied’ that they were going to do something horrible to you, you would make a definitive public statement about it? I’ve been nagging at this one, because I think all this is bloggitis, defined by bloggery. There’s a mighty amount of shadow-boxing going on, with people ascribing positions to others, which if it were taking place in a newspaper or, better still, in real time in a public arena, would have been much clearer.

  76. Thank you christian. Someone else has seen that all this talk of ‘implied’ this or that means that the allegations flying around are based on quicksand.

  77. @94 I’m sure Chrisitan H and Joe90 have met a number of defenders of Zionist racism like yourself, Paul Fauvet, so we can safely say they are qualified to judge HP.

    Those of us who haven’t frothed at the mouth in defence of HP are still waiting for any evidence that Delich shut it down.

    As for censorship, I would be more than happy for the state or an ISP (slight difference between the two, methinks) to shut down the operations of Nazi’s and racists. Why bother protesting the BNP’s recent jamboree if we weren’t trying to stop it being held? Why bother fighting for anti-racist laws if we aren’t going to have them implimented? According to liberals who confuse murderous racism with freedom of speech we should give up fighting racism in case it censors anyone’s freedom of speech. They even have the nerve to quote Pastor Niemöller in defence of the rights of racists. What a sick and twisted corruption of a call for solidarity against fascist and racist murderers who destroyed democracy.

    Perhaps we should look shamefully at the Battle of Cable Street because according to those who use freedom of speech to defend racists, Cable Street must have been an attempt at “censoring” the nazi’s. Following liberal logic, when the state tried to prosecute the murderers of Stephen Lawrence the left should have protested in favour of their inalienable right to kill black people. And when Zionists murder Palestinians we should condemn Palestinians for fighting back because they are censoring those poor racist Zionists from perpetuating more atrocities.

    All this relativistic liberal bollox isn’t about freedom of speech, it’s being soft on racism and playing right into the hands of the racists at HP.

  78. Ray, I’m not in favour of people using libel laws. I’m not in favour of the state or capitalists closing down publications out of fear of libel. I’m not in favour of racists. I’m not in favour of people who claim that the Palestinians have no right to resist.

    I have no real idea of what was written to HP’s server or by whom. We are supposed to take it that an ‘implied threat’ was made. (I’m not sure how you make an implied threat, actually.) I have no real idea as to why the server took the action they did.

    I don’t think racists are the same as fascists. I don’t think people who apologise for racists are the same as fascists, though I oppose all three categories.

    I’m not sure that the best position to take up on this matter is to say that it’s either great or right that HP was closed down. If we are on the brink of a blogland libel war, (which is theoretically possible if servers are lily-livered in the face of ‘possible’ or ‘implied’ legal action) we’ll all be losers.

  79. No Phil you are a lowlife and actually I would go further than that and say you a total and utter wanker, as is Andy and the rest of you idiots that run this sectarian site, the woman you are talking about and attacking is of Eastern European origin and has suffered in her family from ethnic cleansing herself, she made a small mistake by not looking where an article she posted originated from, even thougf it doesn’t come from David Duke actually thoug it was posted on his site (because she would not understand anyway because of her background) and now she is receiving death threats and other hate mail and phone calls because of idiots like you taking things out of context and not understanding the situation, maybe you and Andy would like to step away from the computer to realise that things you post in ignorance have effects on the world and on people who are innocent of what they are claimed to have done, which can not be said for Harry’s Placve or that scumbag Harry T.

    You may think this is a game but it isn’t if you had any decency you would delete this post and stop trying to muck rack, but of course from previous form we know that Socialist Unity (sic) is not interested in honesty or comradeship but muck racking and gossip.

  80. and don’t try and attack my typos I’m seriously pissed off with you idiots on this site and you just do not understand the hurt you are causing…

  81. paul fauvet on said:

    If you can’t argue with your opponents, insult them. That appears to be the strategy followed by Ray.

    Precisely where have I defended “Zionist racism”? Opposing reactionary Islamist organisations such as Hamas is not the same thing as supporting Zionism.

    The logic behind comments such as Ray’s is impeccably Stalinist. What he is really saying is “Because you disagree with me, you are the enemy, you must be racists or even fascists, and so you must be silenced”.

  82. Fränkl Gábor on said:

    The only, I emphasize, the only thing that is really good about your blog is that you are in eefect nothing more than charlatans in my view. The funny thing is how utterly, how immensely discredited the word “racism” has become thanks to you. As someone else pointed out, there is absolutely no Islamofascist kind of dogma, idea and theory you do not like untile it can be crammed into the – again – tiresome and false manipulation of “Zionism”. “We are all Hezbollah” – yes, Socialist Worker’s Party morons, yes, this is all that you can show up, nothing else.
    Yeah I almost forgot. I am salaciously looking forward to all the – real – racist (anti-semitism is a form of racism)verbal diarrhea coming from you.
    I am – only partly, sadly – Jewish, pro&Israeli and very proud of it!
    Your problem is that you have NO country, NO nation – apparently disloyal to your “home-country” i.e.: the U.K. only your pathetic ideology, whilst 99 % of people all over the world like belonging somewhere country-wise. You should not go mad that you are the exception to the rule of mankind.

    Fränkl Gábor
    Budapest, Hungary,
    Central-Europe

  83. christian h. on said:

    I agree with Michael Rosen that the libel laws in the UK are open to abuse, and such abuse should be opposed, as a general matter. I don’t agree with using ISP’s to shut down racists like HP – as Jason mentioned earlier, mass action would be the way to go, not legal action. (That’s the difference between Cable Street and similar actions, and, say, the way LM was destroyed.)

    However (uh oh), first, as Michael has pointed out, we do not know what exactly happened; and, I still don’t see why this would be our cause celebre. I’d still like to know where people draw the line as far as public expressions of solidarity are concerned.

    Remark on HP: a site that hosts articles “identifying” the “tendency towards violence” in the Arabic language is racist. This is blindingly obvious to anyone who doesn’t share their racism.

  84. Umm, you will see that some over on Harry’s Place absolutely adore Obama (such as Gene). Others (such as goth teen-fascist Morgoth) loath him and consider him the Anti-Christ. All opinion is “tolerated” in the sense that the comment thread tends to be full of vicious arguments but no-one calls for anyone else to be banned.

    It’s an exaggeration to say I “absolutely adore” Obama, but when discussing HP, I think it’s important to draw a distinction between one of the authors (me) and a particularly disgusting, unfortunately persistent commenter (Morgoth).

  85. christian h. on said:

    Mr. Gabor is a brilliant example of a person who has completely internalized the discourse of racism (“sadly only partly Jewish”). I’d almost say it must be parody, but I guess not. And yes, I’m proudly disloyal to the ruling class (a.k.a. “nation”).

  86. “Remark on HP: a site that hosts articles “identifying” the “tendency towards violence” in the Arabic language is racist. This is blindingly obvious to anyone who doesn’t share their racism.”

    In reply: could you post this comment of yours on HP and argue it? if you could, then it can surely be no good thing that HP was pulled. Could noel make the points he’s making?

    The issues around what Delich did re the Duke link, what she said afterwards, what was written to HP are all a different matter. The point is, some geezer sitting in a server’s office has received some kind of complaint (we don’t know exactly what or by whom) and has pulled a blog. The question is whether that’s an arbitrary, odd one-off, or a taste of things to come, If it’s the latter then a hell of a lot of sites are fucked. Including this one, Lenin’s and many more. Once it’s known that one complaint should do the job, everyone’ll be at it.

  87. HP Sauce are anti-union and want to bust workers organisations that favour (or even seriously discuss) any kind of boycott action against Israeli apartheid.

    Wrong. We want members of the unions that support boycotts of Israel, and who disagree with that position, to speak up and act to change the position.

  88. Fränkl Gábor on said:

    Since when being Jewish a “race”? You see, this very approach shows how utterly uneducated primitive you are. Go back to at least high-school level if I can ask you to. As I told, the accusation of “racism” has – sadly – lost its real meaning. But one should one expect of people who do not know anything about XX.th century history, who censor the Holocaust on their leaflets (excluding the Jewish victims of a couple of millions; and besides the Roma people as well). As other on other blogs remarked, the SWP and their supporters are in effect the harbingers of the 4th Reich, their media is Der Guardian (a lá Der Stürmer, although I doubt that they get the irony).

    As I stated the real parody is the “racist” accusation – discredited to the point of a hollow smear.
    Cheer Hizbullah and all the other enemies of real-liberalism, since you all are (i.e.: the “SWP”) the incarnated enemy of human decency, anti-anti-semitism, real peace between peoples (yeah right, the only losers are them if peace will break out once between the Pals and the Israelis).
    Oh, my God, what fascistoid viper-nest this pathetic place is? since when anti-semitic haters are the torch-bearers of human progress and decency?

    Fränkl Gábor (30)
    Budapest, Hungary

  89. Noel, I see you didn’t take my advice. We haven’t attacked Jenna Delich and I defy you to find where we have.

    To explain things to you again, seeing as you cannot read, a complaint was made to HP’s DNS. As a result they were shut down. A number of bloggers from all over the political spectrum are opposed to this because similar attacks have been made against blogs in the past. Complaints, legal threats and libel courts have no place in political disputes, and we will oppose them whenever they rear their head.

    And the same is true of death threats or harassing phone calls. We condemn them unreservedly and anyone on the receiving end should have no hesitation in going to the authorities.

    For us the attack on HP is a free speech issue, nothing more, nothing less – see Michael Rosen @100. But for you and the rest it’s just another excuse to vent faux outrage and smear this blog. Pathetic really.

  90. Hang on a sec. I thought libel was all about the defamation of someone’s character, that someone’s reputation had been lowered in the eyes of the reasonable, right-standing man in the street.

    So is Delich, an academic, saying she didn’t realise who David Duke was? If so, what sort of reputation, as an academic, does she have to defend?

  91. Stephen Marks on said:

    I was about to disagree with my old friend Mike Rosen until I read his last two comments, in which he seems at last to have got the point. The issue is not what any of us may think about Delich, Duke, Harry’s Place, Israel, or the UCU boycott. The issue is that an ISP – an unaccountable private company – can apparently pull a blog because of an unspecified threat or complaint by persons unknown. That is an unacceptable interference with the democratic freedoms of all bloggers and all their readers, no matter how undeserving or obnoxious the blog may be which happens currently to be in the firing line.

    And yes, I would say the same if the blogger at the receiving end was David Duke, Adolf Hitler or Old Nick himself. I can think of many good reasons why the law of the land might be justified in restricting the freedom to blog, or do many other things, of each of these gentlemen and a few more. But it should not be within the power of an unaccountable individual acting on unseen evidence from persons unknown.

  92. No Phil, I can read and as usual you have taken an issue about which you know very little, and distorted it to make out you are defending a political opponents freedom of speech, trouble is the people you are defending are not telling the truth but deliberately distorting things to cause maximum problems for fellow socialists, and I, and others, have had similar treatment, all the while the idiot Harry T will not accept he does this (knowing full well what he is doing)…

    So please continue to defend those who are knowingly trying to get people sacked/hurt/attacked as ‘freedom of speech’… as I said you are a wanker…freedom of speech in not an absolute principle but a liberal myth, in reality some people have more power than others and you are as usual supporting the wrong side.

  93. and let’s be clear, Harry’s Place has been told categorically that they cannot post private information from the UCU mailing list, yet continue to do so, smearing people in the process is this ok Phil?

  94. christian h. on said:

    Michael, I do think I wrote that I agree with you that using libel laws to silence racists like HP is wrong. I was merely answering some clowns who claimed HP isn’t racist.

    In any event, I still want to know if this blog would also call for solidarity with David Duke if his site was shut down in a similar fashion. If the answer is “no”, then they should fuck off with their “free speech” spiel.

  95. “Ray, I’m not in favour of people using libel laws. I’m not in favour of the state or capitalists closing down publications out of fear of libel.”

    Nor am I. But I am in favour of racists being prosecuted for inciting racism and the state prosecuting racist murderers. Not that I’m under any illusions that the capitalist state will end racism or stop promoting islamophobia.
    If an ISP boots off a bunch of racists then I’m certainly not going to be picketing it complaining about their freedom of speech. Nor do I think the left should be joining liberals in their aim to give racists free reign to spread their hate under the guise of free speech.
    When signing up to an ISP there is usually a clause that prohibits racist activities. It’s rarely enforced but the clause exists. For example, Tiscali’s T&C states:

    “You agree not to use the Services: to transmit or receive any material (including making telephone calls) that may be considered illegal, defamatory, offensive, racist, obscene, indecent, menacing (including when talking to our Customer Services agents) or allowing someone else to do these things, or connected with any criminal offence;”

    Until we get confirmation that there is any evidence behind these accusations then it’s just more ammunition for the racists on HP.

    “The logic behind comments such as Ray’s is impeccably Stalinist. What he is really saying is “Because you disagree with me, you are the enemy, you must be racists or even fascists, and so you must be silenced”.”

    @103 It’s quite hypocritical for you to attack Hamas yet have no condemation for your racist Zionist buddies on HP. Where exactly is your proof that Delich had HP shut down? You make quite a song and dance about accusing Lenin and myself of hypocrisy but it appears this is a projection of your own.

  96. I don’t know if it’s been mentioned, but when David Irving was arrested in Austia for holocaust denial, David T did a post entitled “Defend David Irving” saying whatever we think of him and his politics, he should not be put in prison for his views.

    The point is, David T is very sincere about defending free speech.

  97. But she has had the opportunity to refute that charge, and she has not done so yet.

    Jenna Delich’s silence on the comment thread of the socialistunity.com blog is clearly further proof, if proof be need be, of her guilt in this sordid matter.

    Fuck’s sake.

  98. Tawfiq Chahboune on said:

    There is an exceptionally simple principle regarding freedom of speech, one that has inexplicably bamboozled far too many: one defends this freedom for those you disagree with (and one defends it harder the more you disagree with the speech), not those with whom you agree.

    Even Hitler and Stalin defended freedom of speech for those they agreed with, thus displaying why it is one should defend it for those you *specifically* disagree with. I disagree with almost everything on the HP blog, but I defend their right to say it. On that simple but very important principle, I wish HP good luck.

    Talking about legal action, though, if I remember correctly HP did a wonderful impersonation of a jellyfish when they essentially called Johann Hari a fantasist and a liar and then took it all back when Hari screamed libel. The interesting thing was that when Hari was all for the war in Iraq, HP had nothing to say about his fantastic scribblings and praised him as a latterday George Orwell. As soon as Hari turned against the war, his old HP comrades unleashed a devastating anti-Hari story (Hari basically made up a report to the effect that Iraqis told him they longed for invasion). The fact that what they originally said was true should not take away anything from the timing.

    Funny that! In which case, they really ought to change their banner to another from the Orwell stable: “Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip.”

  99. The issue is that an ISP – an unaccountable private company – can apparently pull a blog because of an unspecified threat or complaint by persons unknown. That is an unacceptable interference with the democratic freedoms of all bloggers and all their readers, no matter how undeserving or obnoxious the blog may be which happens currently to be in the firing line.

    With respect, Stephen, that isn’t the issue. It is only ‘the issue’ for some bloggers because Harry’s Place decided to make it so. The issue is what caused all this, namely a predictably vile campaign attacking the “democratic freedoms” of an academic, distorting the facts, trashing her with callous disregard for what could happen to her career. This is far worse than an ISP withdrawing its services on the basis of a complaint by a legitimately aggrieved member of the public. This is the point that all those puportedly defending free speech are straightforwardly refusing to address.

  100. Noel, I don’t know who you are, you don’t know me, so I couldn’t give a monkeys about your opinion of me. And before all this blew up I didn’t know who Jenna Delich was. Like yourself she’s hardly a noted name in activist circles.

    But what I do know is there has been an attack on HP, a site I vehemently disagree with on just about everything, but nevertheless I have taken a position in its defence. You might not like that position because it doesn’t fit into your black and white world view of goodies vs baddies, but tough. The only position I’m interested in in this dispute is defending blogs targeted for *political* reasons from denial of service attacks. Aside from this, there is no other reason why I, and dozens of other bloggers, are standing with HP.

    As for your take on freedom of speech, well, you might think it’s bollocks but sensible socialists think freedom of discussion is in the interests of working class people. But I’m not surprised you would think freedom of speech is “liberal”. You are after all aligned with a party that can only tolerate policed critical discussion in its own ranks, who thinks it’s right and proper for the state to “stop” the BNP, and has, in the past, taken the ludicrous steps of picketing a WH Smith’s because it was selling Mein Kampf. It sounds to me that for you, speech is a privilege open only to you and the people you agree with. But that’s ok, it just underwrites your status as this thread’s village idiot.

  101. paul fauvet on said:

    Lenin, you can only get away with your misrepresentations because you assume, perhaps correctly, that most readers will not have read the original Harry’s Place post.

    That piece did not attack anybody’s freedoms, or distort any facts. It was quite a short post that, after giving some background to the bitter disputes over Israel on the UCU activists list, pointed out that the previous day Jenna Delich had linked approvingly to an article that appeared on the website of the notorious racist and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke.

    The article thought it “reasonable to infer that Jenna Delich reads and takes her information on world events from neo Nazis”. That is fair comment. It does not accuse Delich herself of being a neo-Nazi, and nowhere in the piece is there any suggestion that she should lose her job.

    The Harry’s Place post concludes “The UCU refuses to take action against viciousness against Jews and anti-racists on its own activist list, and endorses their exclusion from that email list when they defend themselves. Meanwhile, the UCU is circulating links to David Duke’s website on behalf of Delich”. Again this is a legitimate comment – albeit now out of date, since UCU moved belatedly to remove Delich’s posting rights (and do you think they would have done that without the Harry’s Place article ?).

    There is no “campaign” against Delich, no personal data about her (she is just referred to as a “Sheffield-based UCU activist”), and the salient fact mentioned, that she linked to a notorious racist website, is not distorted, since it happens to be true. I know that truth is irrelevant to British libel lawyers, but I was under the impression that Marxists had rather higher standards.

    All kinds of excuses are being offered for Delich, most prominently that she didn’t know who David Duke is and just made a mistake. But it’s a peculiar mistake for an academic at a respectable institution to make. Does she really not know how to check the nature of the websites she visits? Has she no concept of checking her sources (basic to most academic disciplines)?

    The most pathetic excuse comes from Noel who suggests that Delich didn’t know what she was doing because she’s of eastern European origin. But what would reactions be if some crass remark by an Asian academic were excused by saying “it’s all right really, he doesn’t understand the issues because he’s from India” ? Such an attitude would be described as at best paternalist, and at worst racist.

  102. wardytron on said:

    I agree with Lenin on this. I just thought it was really grubby to post a photograph of someone along with their private correspondence and details of where they work. I left a comment on HP to that effect and, contrary to all the balls above about how they delete critical comments, it wasn’t deleted because although critical I managed not to be an abusive trolling idiot.

  103. ‘Dustin the Turkey’ says that Morgoth is not an actual fascist. But it was him who described him as such in the first place. He also posts on Harry’s Place with impunity, while other left-wing, anti-racist contributors are regularly censored. Note he has suddenly gone quiet on the subject of how Harry’s Place is an epitome of free speech.

    As to Brett Lock’s support for the Israeli Army’s ‘right’ to shoot unarmed Palestinian women, here is it.

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2006/11/03/a-protester-screams-in-gaza/

    You didn’t search very well, did you ‘Dustin’? Try searching for the phrases “Brett Lock” “unarmed combatants” “Gaza”. The article comes up number on on the (Yahoo) search…

  104. #123: The article thought it “reasonable to infer that Jenna Delich reads and takes her information on world events from neo Nazis”. That is fair comment. It does not accuse Delich herself of being a neo-Nazi…

    The headline to the piece is “UCU and the David Duke fan”. This explicitly accuses Jenna Delich of being a neo-Nazi sympathiser – which she clearly is not.

    Nobody on the left with a shred of principle would defend this sort of disgraceful witch-hunting.

    #111 We haven’t attacked Jenna Delich and I defy you to find where we have.

    Haven’t you followed the thread to your own article, Phil? Here’s Andy at #32 defending David Toube’s smear against Delich: “it is correct to say that she refers to neo-nazi sites for information. Not so long ago there would have been zero tolerance for such anti-semites.”

    The charitable explanation is that Andy posted on this without checking the background – rather like Delich herself. The difference being that Delich admitted to her mistake and apologised.

    It’s about time Andy did the same.

  105. wardytron on said:

    He also posts on Harry’s Place with impunity, while other left-wing, anti-racist contributors are regularly censored.

    This is just balls, I’m afraid. Abusive comments are frequently deleted, but it’s not because they’re left-wing or anti-racist; it’s because they’re abusive.

    PS on the vital topic of Morgoth’s politics, he’s not remotely fascist; he’s an ultra-libertarian anti-theist who believe, for example, that all places of worship should be demolished, and that there should be no income tax or state healthcare and education. So loopy, yes, but fascist, no.

  106. “So is Delich, an academic, saying she didn’t realise who David Duke was? If so, what sort of reputation, as an academic, does she have to defend?”

    Depends on her subject. If she is a Physics lecturer for example, why the hell should she have come across David Duke? On the other hand, if her subject is Political History, you might have a point here.

    As to the question of Harry’s Place and the legal threat, the real reason why the action of the ISP should be opposed is that it is an arbitrary action that could be done to anyone. If Jenna Delich really has been libelled, then she should sue Harry’s Place and they should pay the price according to the due process of law. I’m sceptical that she would suceed in this particular case, but that’s hardly the point. But its not the threat of a libel suit that should be opposed, but the arbitrary closing of a blog just because of the *possiblity* that such a lawsuit might take place.

    Actually, I would be perfectly happy if a selection of those who have been libelled as ‘anti-semitic’ were to sue the arse off David Toube and co. I don’t think free speech extends to the right to libel people. But that would be the result of due process, and everyone would not be at risk if that happened. But in terms of the arbitrary pulling that took place over the last couple of days, that does threaten every blogger implicity, and should therefore be opposed.

  107. “Abusive comments are frequently deleted, but it’s not because they’re left-wing or anti-racist; it’s because they’re abusive.”

    Rubbish. There is more foul-mouthed abuse on Harry’s Place than on most blogs, and most of it stays up. Its perfectly OK if the resident reactionary scumbags abuse people; if someone shoots back from the left then they get their comments deleted.

    “PS on the vital topic of Morgoth’s politics, he’s not remotely fascist; he’s an ultra-libertarian anti-theist who believe, for example, that all places of worship should be demolished, and that there should be no income tax or state healthcare and education. So loopy, yes, but fascist, no.”

    He still has a great penchant for advocating killing people, deporting them, and all kinds of other sick things that are usually directed at non-whites or Arabs, and the left. I regard him as a fascist, and in a moment of candour that he had to try to wriggle out of, so does ‘Dustin the Turkey’ (whoever he is).

  108. Oh, and I’m glad Tim Robinson now admits to being ‘Mossad’. Many of us always suspected this;-)

  109. wardytron on said:

    Try going on there and leaving a comment that’s highly critical and left wing but still measured and convivial. I can guarantee it won’t be deleted. This is beyond some people, and their posts are deleted, but it’s tone and not the actual content that’s the reason. It’s much like if you or I went into a pub and yelled at the landlord and called him a wanker and hurled abuse at the other drinkers, interspersed with criticisms of Israeli actions in the occupied territories, then went back to shouting at people before soiling ourselves and being sick down our fronts. We’d be barred, I expect, but we’d be idiots if we thought the reason was because they don’t allow criticism of Israel.

  110. Problem is, that if the other punters are yelling obscenities to start with, and you then get thown out for responding in kind while they are free to carry on, I guess you might conclude its not your foul language they are objecting to.

    That’s the point. I’ve seen it happen many times, as an generally passive observer of what goes on at HP.

  111. “Abusive comments are frequently deleted, but it’s not because they’re left-wing or anti-racist; it’s because they’re abusive.”

    Well, of course, Harry’s Place is well known for its strict no-tolerance policy with regard to abuse.

    See for example: http://tinyurl.com/5uellj

  112. Someone asked whether or not I would defend David Duke (it would be more relevent to ask about the Green Arrow blog) if his web-site was taken down.

    The whole issue of David Duke’s website is compliacted by the fact he is a US citizen publishing in the USA and is therefore coverd by the First amendment to the constitution, so I am simply now qualified to talk about the specifics of what might happen tere.

    But let us talk about the main BNP supporting blog, Green Arrow, in the UK.

    If Green Arrow was taken down by its ISP, or its DNS service without any due legal process, just on the basis of a complaint from a member of the public, then that would be a serious issue, that would jeopardise the whole foundation of internet publishing. Legal process exists for a reason.

    If the Green Arrow blog was taken down because they had actually libelled someone,. and the person libelled had a serious and settled intention to pursue that through the courts, then the libelled person may wish to include the ISP in that libel action.

    This is an area where English law is deficient and needs clarification, becasue the ISP should not bear legal responsibility as the publisher, and what is needed is some case law that shows their liability is very limited.

    But equally – libel law shouldn’t be used to prevent someone from publishing altogther, it should only be used to compensate from damage to reputation. Any libel action that is actually designed to silence a critic altogether, rather than to stop them libelling you, is vexatious and should not be defended.

    But I am mystified why the DNS service has acted. They have certainly not published anything, but only acted as part of the transport mechanism between the host server and the browser appliations seeking to look at Harry’s place. this is like prosecuting the lorry driver for delivering a libellous newspaper article to the newsagents.

  113. On the issue of the unfortunate Ms. Delich.

    David Duke is the most infamous racist and neo-Nazi in the English speaking world. He is not a marginal figure, he was the former Imperial Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and has for example been repeatedly banned from visiting the UK (although he famously came into the country illegally during the 1970s).

    His web-site is obvioulsy a far-right hate publication, as can be seen by cursory inspection.

    Perhaps the fact that some here are saying they have never heard of him is a generational thing, but that is a side issue.

    The relevent question is that everyone involved in palestinian solidarity should and must be aware that this is an issue that attracts old style nazis, neo-nazis, people who are anti-Judaic for religious reasons, and other anti-Semites.

    So anyone reading material critical of Israel should have an eye out for the coded signs of anti-Semitism. I have written a couple of articles about the role of specific Israel businessmen, like Arkady Gaidamak, and it is a minefield.

    Anyone who doesn’t scrutinise their sources for signs of anti-semitism either has no research skills, or thinks that anti-semitism doesn’t matter. (The idea that anti-Semitism doesn’t matter is pretty much the prevailing view at Indymedia for example).

    Now we know that Delich is a professional academic, and therefore does have the intellectual discernment to weigh up the reliability of material that you just pick up off the internet.

    We also know – and she has admitted – that she distributed the link to an article from David Duke’s web-site.
    This means that she has visited david Dukes web-site, and has taken information from it.
    David Duke’s web-site is a nazi propaganda outlet, and even if you don’t already know who Duke is, it wouldn’t take you long to work out that he is an extreme anti-Semite.

  114. David Ellis on said:

    I must admit not to knowing the full ins and outs of all the implications especially for blogging but it seems that HP are not going to retract their accusation against Delich and Delich is not going to accept the accusation. There doesn’t seem any other possibility than to settle the matter in court. Surely HP are confident they will win or they would have published a retraction and an apology and the whole thing would have been over a long time by now.

    I would normally suggest a panel of respected labour movement activists acceptable to both parties to sit in judgement on the matter but I’m not sure HP is part of the labour movement so that is highly unlikely. Trouble with the HPers is they use the term anti-semite like covering maching gun fire. They were bound to shoot themselves in the foot eventually. Let’s see what the judge says.

  115. INALB – It seems to me that HP’s case is watertight.

    The claim they made was: ““Sheffield-based academic, Jenna Delich – links to far right websites associated with the Klu Klux Klan”.”

    Jenna Delich admits that she distributed a link from Davis Duke’s web-site.

    David Dukes web-site is a far right site associated with the KKK.

  116. Reality Check on said:

    #128: “Legal process exists for a reason.”
    Yes, just not the reason you seem to think it exists for.

  117. So, contrary to Phil’s claim, Andy does in fact back the HP witch-hunt of Jenna Delich. What a disgrace.

  118. #128

    The host also runs the DNS, as they usually do. Red herring.

    If Duke’s site were taken down would you have a headline reading ‘Solidarity with David Duke’? Of course not. So there are degrees of enthusiasm with which such ‘free speech’ campaigns are embraced.

    You can oppose action taken to shut a site down without expressing anything like ‘solidarity’ with it. Solidarity against someone who HAS apologised, denied being anti-semitic or racist and said she has nothing in common with Duke.

    You still seem keen to imply that she is actually am anti-semite though, so here’s a little exercise.

    Google for “against the israeli law of return”. You’ll find very high up a link to a page on a site called CODOH. Now I know that is the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust and would never link to it. However, on that page you’ll find none other than David Toube as the signatory to a statement referring to the “Zionist project”, Israel as representing “a major link in the world network of repressive and racist regimes”.

    That is the ONLY page on the internet containing that statement – would someone who inadvertently linked to it not knowing what CODOH was also be a fan of Holocaust deniers?

    I’m sure David T is “really touched”. When he’s not pissing himself laughing.

  119. I really don’t get this. If the Daily Mail went after a trade union activist (who had made a fairly horrendous mistake and then apologised for it), and that person’s union managed to get the Mail shut down (albeit temporarily), would either The Socialist or the Morning Star support the Mail? And if not, what on earth is the difference?

    And on David Duke and Green Arrow – whatever happened to ‘No platform for Nazis’?

  120. Andy is a little inconsistent on this: being in favour of defending Green Arrow when he seemed to be all in favour of PeacePalestine blog being temporarily shut down a while ago using the same device (Tony Greenstein did the dirty deed in this case). Whatever you think of PeacePalestine – and I think it has its good points as well as some questionable ones – it ain’t Green Arrow!!!

  121. Eddie Truman on said:

    Andy and Phil BC are acting as if this is some vital precedent and HP had to be defended at all costs or the roof would fall in.
    This is quite simply not the case, this happens all the time and has done since the mid 90’s when the internet took off big style in the UK.
    ISP’s, hosting services and DNS providers in the UK are incredibly nervous about UK libel and defamation law, with good reason.
    The Sunday Herald was sued by George Robertson for a post in the comments section of a story for example.
    It happens all the time, I’ve had to remove stories off websites or slightly amend them becasue of threats from ISP’s and domain providers.
    It’s not right and there should be a campaign to rectify the situation but choosing Harry Place as your cause celebre, where they routinely abuse people, try and get people sacked from their employment and is generally a cess pool of racist and xenophobic garbage, is utterly absurd.

  122. ID #136

    Was Peacepalestine actually taken down?

    Tony has actually served a writ for libel against Gilad Atmon for comments on the Peacepalestine blog, that I believe perpetually abused him and sought to undermine his reputation. Tony’s libel case is not vexatious, and is a genuine attempt to stop his reputation being consistently and systematically undermined. But this case is currently suib judice.

    I think you will find that I didn’t comment one way or another on whether Tony was correct to try to include the ISP in the action, though if he had not then that might also have had implictaions for his case. This is a murky area of law.

    I am not in favour of Peacepalestine being taken off-line, though I am in favour of it desisting in its libels, and its promotion of anti-Semitism.

  123. “Was Peacepalestine actually taken down?”

    Yes it was. Twice. By Google after Tony complained about them. It shifted from Blogger to WordPress because of this. Incidentally it has now been superseded by a rather different blog called Palestine Think Tank, much more heavily Palestinian-centred, which has rather different rules, such as:

    “Comments containing Zionist propaganda, name calling religions (including Judaism), obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.”

    Which would rule out many of the comments (and indeed posts) at Harry’s Place;-)

    “But this case is currently sub judice.”

    I thought sub-judice generally referred to criminal trials, not civil libel trials.

  124. sub-judice simply means that it is awaiting judgement, not that there is any restriction on talking about it.

    All I meant is that we will find out in time what the court thinks.

  125. dsquared on said:

    Try going on there and leaving a comment that’s highly critical and left wing but still measured and convivial. I can guarantee it won’t be deleted

    you absolutely can’t guarantee this, Wardy, because it’s not true. The habit of the Harry’s Place management of deleting and banning people who were in danger of winning arguments with the management is one of the best known things about the site. Without being unduly modest, it’s the chief reason for my own ban. Meanwhile, it was only last week that they hosted a long debate over whether British Muslims ought to be given “financial incentives” to leave the UK. You could play a decent game of “David Duke or Harry’s Place comment section”.

  126. Tony Greenstein on said:

    Sub-judice normally refers to trials by jury, as judges are supposed to be immune from being pressurised and prejudice!

    I did indeed fax Google saying that in keeping Peace Palestine up they were becoming party to a libel. They took it down and then put it back up! In fact it was taken down a second time, not because I contacted Google, but because Google’s software deemed Pepa and many other blogs, including one I co-run, of being ‘spam’ blogs.

    I think the first thing to say is that ‘freedom of speech’ is not some abstract principle. Those who cry ‘freedom of speech’ often do their best to intimidate, harass and yes libel those they disagree with. Harry’s Place is such a blog and having seen a little of it it is quite clear that it is a McCarthyite blog. It has little to do with ‘freedom of speech’ and everything to do with smearing anti-racists and anti-imperialists. I don’t believe it adds one jot to freedom of speech or liberty in this country.

    Nonetheless it has the right to publish what it wants but it has to accept that when it goes overboard and prints stuff that is only designed to create a witchhunting atmosphere, as it has clearly done with Jenna Delich, then it can’t complain if she takes exception and either personally or via friends threatens libel action.

    The comment by David T that ‘It is therefore reasonable to infer that Jenna Delich reads and takes her information on world events from neo Nazis.’ Erroneously referring someone to a neo-Nazi site does not mean that someone ‘reads and takes her information on world events from neo-Nazis’ and in my humble opinion that is not only clearly libellous but deliberately designed to pillory, humiliate, intimidate and yes, to shut Jenna up.

    I don’t know of, indeed before this, had never heard of, Jenna Delich. She is not a prominent activist and will react no doubt in her own way. However this nonsense that David Duke is the most famous racist etc. in the world today is nonsense. I suspect far more people have heard of Ariel Sharon or Ehud Olmert, or George Bush or Blair or Radavan Karoviscz etc. He may be well known amongst the cognoscenti but that is a different thing.

    And without going to the said article on Duke’s site, it is often difficult when accessing many of these sites to see where they are coming from. I don’t know whether or not it is blindingly obvious when you go to this article on Duke’s site that he is a neo-Nazi, bearing in mind that he would in any case deny this. But remember Sue Blackwell was originally pilloried because she inadvertently linked to a pro-Israel Shamir site (Marwen Media) even though she is an out and out anti-racist.

    The fact is that these people, and that includes David T, regularly accuse those who support the Boycott of Israel, including Jewish supporters, of anti-Semitism. That isn’t ‘freedom of speech’. On the contrary it leads, as in the USA, to the denial of tenure to Norman Finkelstein, attempted denial of tenure to Joseph Massad, withdrawal of rights to speak to many other pro-Palestinian academics and this is the atmosphere that HP tries to create in this country.

    In short HP stands for suppression of debate not for the beacon of liberty. That is one reason why its posters are all uniformily right-wing.

    If I’m going to go into the trenches to defend liberty I have no doubt that HP will be in the opposing trenches.

    Tony Greenstein

  127. I posted this on the tomb but thought it might be relevent here:

    Its a shame really that this debate is mainly with people who defend a site which has guest posts attributing dictatorship and war in the middle east to the totalitarian structure of the Arabic language; apparently preventing Arabs from thinking like what we do.

    Rational dialogue with people who justify or see nothing wrong with such material is not really possible for socialists or anti-racists, and nor is it really desirable.

    What is more serious is the mistake some socialists have made in allowing the warm glow of blog fraternity to obscure the fact that what is going on here is that people who believe that advocates of political solidarity with the Palestinians are the moral equivilant of David Irving or John Marie Le Pen, have for the past few years, been treating UCU members involved with Palestinian solidarity work as if they were Nazies.

    That is the context in which a union discussion list is being monitered and a wider campaign against academic and other teaching staff (as well as some adminitrative staff on the academic side, of which more in a mo’) on that discussion list is being waged. It is why those who are breaking the rules of the list and of the union by leaking this material claim to be doing nothing wrong. These people are the moral equivilant of Nazies and therefore the unions own regulations cannot apply.

    That people who are socialists, and presumably, supporters of the Palestinians should show ‘solidarity’ with HP on this issue, and even, at points reproduce some of the memes of this campaign (the endless discussion about what proper academics do and don’t do is part of an appeal by those opposed to the boycott to the injured feelings of ‘proper academics’ who don’t much like sharing a union with minor minions since the merger), strikes me as being a serious mistake.

    It cannot be intentional on the part of those socialists who have expressed this solidarity to have joined in a campaign which exists only because of an argument equating Palestinian solidarity activists with Nazies but that is what they have done. Someone on one of those discussions raised the famous quote about ‘if they come for the communists, if they come for the Jews etc’. Well yes. But if in this case the individual did deserve censure on the list (which is what she got) and should have apologised (which is what we did), who might be next for this treatment?

    Given that those who posted this believe (quite sincerely I believe) that those of us who do not believe that the call for boycott is anti-semitic (you don’t even have to support a boycott) are the moral equivilant of David Irving, and therefore, presumably quite consistantly, believe that they should be driven out of their jobs. If an academic was accused of being a Nazi on this basis and faced victimisation at work from a blog, would it be a scandal if they tried to get the offending item removed?

    I would suggest not. Socialists should be a little bit more political, and a little bit more concerned with the autonomy of trades unions rather then the autonomy of blogs, when they discuss these questions. The Freedom of Speech Meme is not always and everywhere progressive.

  128. “Meanwhile, it was only last week that they hosted a long debate over whether British Muslims ought to be given “financial incentives” to leave the UK. You could play a decent game of “David Duke or Harry’s Place comment section”.”

    Another classic was their recent debate on whether it would be a good idea to use a neutron bomb on the Gaza Strip to cause the inhabitants to die of radiation poisoning while leaving the infrastructure intact. Of course, not everyone was in favour of this (!!!) but the fact that such a debate took place indicates where the political centre of gravity of the site lies.

    Imagine a debate on a blog on the merits and practicalities of killing Jews with cyanide gas (a.k.a. Zyklon B).

    HP Sauce is not actually a fascist website, but there are fascists tolerated on it, while those who object too strongly are periodically banned. It is the crystallisation of a bloc between some pro-war liberals and elements of the Zionist far-right, united by shared pro-Israel sentiment and ‘cultural’ hatred of Muslims.

  129. Tin foil hat wearer on said:

    I totally agree with Lenin’s point here, what we are seeing is libelling of those who resist the international zionist and their paymasters. I fully support the shutdown of the NWO-dominated HP and I say good riddance to this reactionary muslim-hating site.

  130. #134: This is a very good point.

    I did in fact link to the “Return Statement” on the CODOH site in a comment posted on this thread at Harry’s Place a few weeks ago. I’d googled “return statement” and “david toube” and that page was what came up. I didn’t look at the rest of the website.

    I don’t think it was wrong to have linked to the CODOH site, but I should have taken the trouble to check out what it was and then added a note warning against its political content.

    However, as M says, applying the same standard of “proof” that Toube did to Jenna Delich, I’m clearly a fan of Holocaust deniers.

    Just as well I don’t post under my own name, eh?

  131. Are socialists opposed to all libel laws? I’m puzzled by this claim. Quite recently the organisation that I’m a member of both defended George Galloway against disgusting libels in great depth and supported him taking the Telegraph to court over them. Were we wrong to do so?

  132. Personally I am not opposed to libel laws, but they should not be used to put publications out of business.

    Some other people are opposed to libel laws per se.

  133. In the case of Jcom, the radio station clearly did libel galloway,

    They then refused to apologise and defended their libel.

    The fact that they were forced to close was an unintended consequence of Galloway’s libel action that was initiated only to stop himself being libelled.

    This is clearly a different case, where Delich or her supporters seem to have deliberately sought to put HP out of business.

  134. I’m sorry Andy but do you have any evidence at all that this was an attempt to put HP out of business? Might it not have been an attempt to force them to remove what was taken to be a libelous post (for example the accusation that she was a ‘David Duke fan’). Imagine that someone who believed that a boycott was anti-semitic accused one your members of being anti-semitic on that basis, published photographs of them, caused them problems at work etc. Might you not write a stiff letter? Or would you say, sorry, its a freedom of speech issue?

    I do not understand why you are continuing to speculate about this individuals motives (a teacher in a higher education college) when you know nothing about this individual aside from a sensationalist piece on Harry’s Place. If you are a freedom of speech absolutist thats fine. But continuing to defend practices which have already caused problems for UCU members in the past (and now, apparently defending HPs wider smears against UCU activists) is surely a mistake. Its incomprehensible to me.

  135. JOhn #151

    Michael Rosen explains the issue quite well on a comment on Lenin’s Tomb:

    If JD felt herself to have been defamed in some way, why did she or her adviser(s) suggest that the route to redressing it is to go to the server/internet provider? What’s it got to do with them? What kind of fekkn arbiters are they? It’s crazy, wrong and politically crap. If it’s that easy to close down a blog, then blogland is doomed. (actually Len, I think the way HP was restored was because they used the same domain name but switched providers. The server who ditched them didn’t change his/her mind).

    I think the principle of opposing censorship by blog capitalists is a principle worth defending and nothing should be done to facilitate that tendency.

    re JD, I’ve read some of her comments on a site that seems to have lifted them from somewhere. I’m not totally cyber literate – but is it these that you say were lifted from an internal memorandum? I agree she reads as someone who is thinking this stuff through (hooray) and not in total command of English (absolutely no criticism meant). And i agree that this makes her non-sophisticate. I think you’re absolutely right that she didn’t intend to link to a nazi site, and apologised for so doing. I would have thought (and you confirm this) that the moment UCU members saw the name ‘duke’ some of them sent out the flares.

    Joe Quinn is precisely the kind of nutjob you usually strangle here, Len, as you uncover such people’s various forms of conspiracy theory, antisemitism and apparent ‘radicalism’. You’ve done it before and sent them packing. None of us should justify stuff he writes. In the article JD linked to, I think there’s a taste of the usual shitty jewish conspiracy theory stuff. Perhaps JD missed it. Perhaps she didn’t miss it and didn’t see anything exceptional about it.

    This is problematic and I don’t think it does anyone any favours to say that it isn’t.

  136. “Michael Rosen explains the issue quite well on a comment on Lenin’s Tomb.”

    What issue is referred to here? The central issue – that Harry’s Place falsely accused Jenna Delich of being a “David Duke fan”, which she clearly isn’t – is addressed by Michael Rosen as follows:

    “I think you’re absolutely right that she didn’t intend to link to a nazi site, and apologised for so doing.”

    Can we take it, then, that Andy now endorses that view? If so, it would be entirely contrary to his previous comments on this thread.

  137. We don’t delete dissenting posts: we encourage them. Gene deletes racism and the worst islamophobia and anti-semitism on his threads. David T deletes neither but encourages people to argue against bigots. We have occasionally barred Benji for being boring but he usually ignores us. He has, in fact, had a guest post.

    HP writers openly argue with each other. There isn’t an HP line: more a common outlook.

    Deletions are, in any event, extremely rare. We don’t intend to debate this since it will be self-evident to anyone who reads a discussion thread at Harry’s Place.

  138. “Can we take it, then, that Andy now endorses that view? If so, it would be entirely contrary to his previous comments on this thread.”

    A rhetorical question, of course. See Newman’s latest contribution to the smearing of Jenna Delich.

    Anyone with a shred of humanity who’d read this comment by one of Jenna’s colleagues, or this one, would surely have backed off and reassessed their position. But not Andy Newman.

    Initially I thought the description of Phil BC and Andy Newman as “lowlifes” was over the top. I’ve now come to the conclusion that it errs on the side of mildness.

    What an appalling human being you are, Newman. I really do wonder where you’re going to end up. In the same political cesspool as David Toube, the way things are going.

  139. Ah so. You be deleted for being ‘boring’ on HP (how chucklesome) but on the other hand long discussions about the moral implications of Arabic or commentators gleefully discussing nuking the middle east, well there’s a pluralist approach. I guess its more exciting….And yes Anon I was a bit shocked about the way these comments were ignored. Its why I tried to cut through the usual crap and just appeal to Andy’s better nature. But I guess politics is a serious business and all.

  140. Ahh yes John, why do you think we didn’t respond favourable to the diplomatic Noel, who started his comment:

    “Phil you are a lowlife and actually I would go further than that and say you a total and utter wanker, as is Andy and the rest of you idiots that run this sectarian site”

    We have done nothing here that would compromise Delich’s position.

  141. Andy if you were her colleague and were aware of things we are not you might well have lost your temper. I’m surprised you can’t see this. Lets, for the sake of argument, say that Noel’s take on the situation is correct (he clearly thinks it is). You’d be angry to see a left wing site pumping up this stuff all over again, and even, I think I’m right, in the comments section you actually stated that she was an anti-semite (if I’m wrong about this and it was someone else I apologise). You’ve been known to lose your temper yourself you know Andy. Quite often though you back off if you over-do it. I still think this might be one of those cases. Its also just true that I think your forgetting, quite what a serious political enemy of the left HP actually is. Its one thing to discuss the problem of how issues about anti-semitism in the Palestinian Solidarity Movement ought to be discussed. Its quite another to declare solidarity with a site which is waging a no-holds bar war with that movement, and act as if there was some identity between your criticisms and theirs. The way you intervened in this suggested this to many. And thats a problem.

  142. JOhn

    I can tell when you brain slips over into your troll mode.

    You are obfuscating here, and blurring a whole number of complex issues into one.

    Firstly I am pretty sure that Noel has commented here before, and was equally hostile even before this issue came up.

    Her current predicament is linked to the action, by her or her advisor/supporters, of seeking to get one of the most pugnacious blogs on the internet off her back through an ill-considered complaint to the ISP. Not only unprincipled but doomed to fail.

    I hve been careful to void any expression of approval of HP – the solidarity is purly on the basis that they shoudl not be taken off the air by a vexatious complaint to their ISP.

    It is also worth pointing out that while they are themselves highly problematic, what they reported about Delich was largely factually correct.

  143. “David Duke Fan”

    “what they reported about Delich was largely factually correct”

    You sure about this Andy?

  144. Nick Fredman on said:

    Interesting discussion for me, as coincidently just yesterday at my branch executive of the Australian tertiary education union (the majority of which are academics but which also includes general staff like me), we discussed some instances of management pressuring staff not to intervene in debates in the local press, who happened to be doing so from a leftist point of view.

    In discussing the best way to defend the intellectual freedom of our members, fought for and won under our collective agreement, it was raised that the union has strong moral stature on the issue because of its non-discriminatory stance. In 2005 a law lecturer and union member at Macquarie University, Andrew Frazer, published a journal article and made media comments containing explicitly racist (and quite stupid) comments, claiming Sudanese refugees were genetically more prone than others to crime and violence. His management attempted to ban him from commenting on the flabby bureaucratic grounds of “speaking outside his area of expertise” or some such. If I remember right the ultra-left flip-side of this was some students picketing (i.e. not just protesting but preventting entry) to his classes, which I don’t think anyone claimed were racist, which led to the courses being cancelled.

    The union however defended his right to speak out and to teach – at the same time organising a public meeting on campus to demolish his views. The union was completely correct here (even if the ex-Eurocom leadership is too chicken to, for example, show any solidarity toward Palestine).

    The Cliffites, and others for whom “no platform” seems not just a principle but also a verb, have poor form on the issue. In the 90s they wanted to physically shut down, and not just protest against, meetings of the racist One Nation Party, which consisted mainly of befuddled pensioners rather than Aryan warriors. They also, in another attempted ultra-left/liberal-bureucratic alliance, lobbied councils to deny the organisation meeting halls. A particularly negative and dumb move when socialists are having increasing hassle from local authorities in regards to stalls, paper sales, rallies etc.

    Of course freedom of speech is not an absolute principle. In the 80s the Sandinistas were correct in censoring newspapers that were part of a counter-revolutionary war. Venezuelan TV stations that advocate military coups have no right to the public air waves. If racists and fascists are physically threatening communities then the community has the right to self-defense.

    But if general socialists must be and must be seen to be the best defenders of hard won rights of freedom of speech and assembly, for the very simple reason we need these to organise.