Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Freedom-To-Be-Antisemitic Week In Vancouver: The City Librarian Explains Why

It started with my essay in yesterday's Vancouver Sun about the Vancouver Public Library's decision to showcase the notorious, Jew-obsessed conspiracy-mongerer Greg Felton, author of The Host and the Parasite: How Israel's Fifth Column Consumed America, as the library's featured author for its upcoming Freedom To Read Week.

City Librarian Paul Whitney has now weighed in with a response to my essay, also in the pages of The Vancouver Sun. His response raises some unsettling and wholly unexpected questions.

Whitney's version of events has now put him in the dodgy position of having to approve or deny a written request from Vancouver doctor Joel Shapiro to go the extra mile during Freedom To Read Week for two more library events - one about the "Mohammed cartoons" controversy (which refuses to go away) and another about the bloodcurdling tally of racism and genocide in Islamic states.

And Howard Rotberg, author of Second Generation Radical: The Struggle Against The Second Holocaust, has also written to Whitney with a convincing case that the library would be wise to showcase some other authors and "banned" books, concurrently with Felton, to get out of the mess it's made with some semblance of dignity.

Which means this is all going to start getting very interesting, very soon. But back to some troubling aspects of Whitney's account.

To begin with, it just doesn't quite fit with the straightforward explanation I was provided by the library officials more directly involved in the decision to showcase Felton. Senior library staff told me that when they were approached by Felton, they were unaware of the black propaganda for which he is best known, and that none of them had read anything but an excerpt of his book. Indeed, the library hadn't yet acquired a single copy for The Host and the Parasite for its own shelves.

So how to explain Whitney's version, which is that in reviewing Felton's request for a venue at the library, his book was found to be, well, legal, but also "provocative but not hateful"? Whitney had read it, but the other library staff had not? Did Whitney have some role in the decision?

And what's all this about a library's responsibility to provide its patrons with all manner of books, "including those that may be considered unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable"? Isn't this the same Paul Whitney whose free-speech timidity earned a rebuke from the British Columbia Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee, when he was the boss librarian in the City of Burnaby, Vancouver's neighbour? Ah, yes, so it is. The very same Paul Whitney.

Back then, Whitney refused to allow library patrons to read Diana Russell's Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm. A "provocative" book, I gather, but not hateful. And legal, as well. Topical. Maybe even controversial.

So why was it wrong to merely allow people to read a book like Russell's, but it's right, and indeed righteous, to provide a free, public platform to an apologist for the book-banning regime in Tehran whose Islamic propaganda agency is behind a newspaper Felton writes a column for? Before Whitney's letter, Felton's invitation was more or less an honest mistake. Now, Whitney would have us believe that something rather more exalted is going on. Something about "intellectual freedom."

And what does Whitney mean when he says that my essay was "a spirited condemnation of Greg Felton's views and his book"? In what way?

I didn't write about the contents of Felton's book, and I never claimed to. It's the product of a crank publishing house that's situated somewhere in the bleak Arizona desert and is almost wholly concerned with spacemen and thought control. I've read excerpts of Felton's book. I'm fully conversant with its thesis. I've read Felton's slanders against the Jews on white-supremacist websites, and I' quite familiar with the Medieval legends that Felton persists in reporting as fact. This is "intellectual"? These are his "views"?

I've spent far too much time reading through Felton's voluminous ouvre to insult anyone's intelligence by stooping to mount a condemnation, spirited or otherwise, of anything he writes. Facts alone condemn Felton. They need no help from me.

My essay was about words, and specifically the way words can be made to hide meaning rather than reveal it. I observed that this is a way that lies are made. I asked a simple question about the polemics Felton and his kind engage in: If it isn't antisemitism, then what is it? And I deferred to the British novelist Martin Amis, whose answer is, yes, it is a kind of antisemitism.

That's about the only "spirited" opinion I offered. In my essay, I actually didn't express much of a clear opinion on the virtue of the Vancouver Public Library's decision to provide Felton with this exalted platform. You want a spirited opinion? Okay. Here it is.

The Vancouver Public Library is welcoming Greg Felton as though he were an honoured son who has come home to his father's house. In so doing, the Vancouver Public Library, or at the very least City Librarian Paul Whitney, has resorted to citing "intellectual freedom" and the library's role as "a forum for an open and public exchange of contradictory views."

In so doing, the library, under the guise of free speech, no less, has afforded legitimacy, and even a sanction of decency, to what is actually a grotesque infringement of free speech. It is a demand that we either dignify people like Felton by debating with them, or shut up.

It works like this.

Nowadays, perhaps especially among the urban intellectual caste, you cannot raise your voice against even the most foul antisemite, if that same antisemite uses words such as "Israel" or "Zionist" in the same breath as his other veiled utterances of Jew-hatred. You will be told that you are equating legitimate criticism of Israel with antisemitism.

You will be told, 'This is part of a legitimate debate.' But if you say, no it isn't, you will be told, 'This is just how the Jews suppress free speech to silence criticism of Israel.' If you say, 'That sounds like one of those old antisemitic canards; show me some evidence that it is true,' you will be called a Zionist, which is one of the worst things you can call someone these days. If you talk back, you will hear someone calling you a Zionazi. You will soon hear people telling you to shut up.

In order for the kind of polemics and legends Felton disseminates to find a privileged place in Whitney's "open and public exchange of contradictory views", one must acquiesce to the demand that a veiled and nuanced Judeophobia has a proper place in "legitimate debate," and we must submit to that very specific and particular sort of demand to shut up. This is not the way lies are made. It is the way they flourish, and spread, and debase the very purpose, function and possibility of "free speech" in an open and democratic society.

And that is precisely and exactly what is going on here.

One last point.

Whitney also wrote: "We were aware of the freedom-of-expression debate surrounding Felton's departure from the Vancouver Courier, where he was a columnist, and therefore felt this reading was relevant for Freedom to Read Week."

Most of that "freedom of expression debate" unfolded on Neo-Nazi internet bulletin boards almost a decade ago, but nevermind that. What occurred back then is actually directly relevant to Whitney's predicament now.

What happened back then was an inexperienced reporter by the name of Greg Felton had gotten himself a column, and before long he was writing offensive rubbish about Israel, and about Jews. There was huge protest by the newspaper's readers.

The Courier just happened to be circulated and distributed mainly around a part of Vancouver, centred on Kerrisdale. It wasn't once called the Kerrisdale Courier for nothing, and Kerrisdale and its environs just happens to be home to a lot of Vancouver's Jews.

The newspaper owner eventually responded to his readers' protests by making a sensible business decision. He legally terminated Fenton's employment. This explains a lot, it seems to me, about Felton's lingering obsessions.

Call it a "freedom fo expression" issue if you want. I would have thought it was rather an instructive example of citizens and newspaper readers making a media company accountable to their sensibilities, and the limits of their tolerance for bullshit. Things like that should probably happen more often.

It might just be that the imbroglio at the Vancouver Public Library will be resolved by a similar democratic engagement, and a cherished and vital taxpayer-funded public institution will be held similarly accountable.

We'll see.

UPDATE: My previous post on this subject concluded with a little video, to encourage a sense of humour about all this. It was intended to illustrate the point that in the face of bigoted provocation and slander, my crowd is inclined to responses other than the "let's debate!" approach and the "let's file a human rights complaint" method. The Dohertys and the Coyles prefer one alternative response, but to illustrate another, which involves a kind of feint, as though you are simply walking away, let me now introduce you to the Thornhill, Ontario flying column of the Chaim Herzog Battalion of the Ancient Order of Hibernians:

52 Comments:

Blogger bp said...

Great post, Terry. I couldn't add a single thing to it.

Meanwhile, if anyone wants to have a go at Felton, he popped up at Daimnation. Check the comments.

4:31 AM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

I say let him Speak but do have a rebuttal as the VPL is a public institution. This guy is such a crank - the more who know about him the better.

5:03 AM  
Blogger Marky Mark said...

I see that Mr. Felton has responded to other blog posts that referred to this controversy and that linked to your prior post. Did he attempt to post a comment here that you deleted? Curious.

I'm not entirely clear as to your ultimate conclusion. I'm not hearing you label his words as hate speech under the Criminal Code or as reason for a complaint to the BC Human Rights Commission. Are you advocating that people show up to debate him? Or to stand outside and picket him? Or are you asking the library to rescind its invitation?

5:05 AM  
Blogger Fred - said...

morons like Felton should be made fun of, laughed at, mocked, ridiculed and heckled.

I don't normally waste time on book readings at the VPL but in this case I might make an exception.

5:48 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"Are you advocating that people show up to debate him?"

That would be my recommendation. In my experience, people, good decent people, do not like to exret themselves in these cases and are very happy when the "law" steps in and does the dirty work for them. Then they can continue to pretend that the status quo is preserved and no harm was done. I say, it is not the law that should fight these hateful books and their messages, it's people who should be made to bestir themselves.

Sartre, on defeating anti-Semitism:

“The cause of the Jews would be half won if only their friends brought to their defense a little of the passion and the perseverance their enemies use to bring them down"

Maybe the librarian TG mentions is planning on following Sartre's advice and pull a Bollinger on Felton?

6:19 AM  
Blogger eamonnmcdonagh said...

great fucking stuff

6:26 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

To BP: Nice to see you.

To Mark's questions:

1. No. 2. No. 3. If you like. 4. No.

Fred: Good.

To Blazer & Contentious: Greg Felton calls me a "hatemongering Asper Empire bottomfeeder." This is what I mean by his practice of hiding meaning behind words. You are both smart enough to know damn well what those words mean. You want me to respond by inviting him to sit down to tea to discuss? No.

If you read through my post, you'll have found my several objections to dignifying Felton by debating him. If you refer to the post preceding this one, you will find that it is not my custom to do so.

Each to his own, mind. Fair play to Sartre, but the "passion" he exhorts from the friends of Jews still leaves us with each to his own.

I prefer Eamonn's answer to the question I raised: If this isn't antisemitism, then what is it? Long before Amis thought of an answer, Eamonn was calling it: "The new, cool, fat-free, environmentally responsible anti-Semitism." If any of you think that the shade-grown, fairly traded commodity Eamonn described belongs among the many choices available to us in society's common liquor cabinet, you're welcome to say so, but I would have to disagree with you.

Eamonn will have his own ideas. He's a Galway man.

Eamonn: I've been meaning for a while to send a note about your praise of PK's The Great Hunger. Indeed. I was thinking about Heaney's Requiem to the Croppies only the other day, in the very context of how to approach this problem of parlour fascism we've all been discussing so daintily. I'm fairly clear about what not to do, less so about what needs doing, whether to "cut through reins and rider with the pike," or "stampede cattle into infantry, then retreat through hedges," if you take my meaning.

7:57 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Oh, Transmon, I think what you are doing is exactly what is needed. You do what Sartre prescribes. I had no intention of asking you to meet him face to face to "discuss" his rancid ideas. There are all kinds of ways of "showing up". The important thing is not to stand idly by and hope that somebody else will have the energy to write something or that the "law" might intervene.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Marky Mark said...

Thanks. Here is my take on it.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Aye, Centrist. "There are all kinds of ways of 'showing up'."

Good post you wrote, Mark.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Wet Coaster said...

Terry:

I completely agree with your thesis. Too many hide their bigotry under teh guise of being anti-Zionist or anti-Israel. It's the new anti-semitism. But for Felton it's more than obvious. As I have said before the real danger is that the young impressionable and less than bright conspiracy seekers will buy his filth. Why do our tax dollars have to spent to assist Felton in disseminating his filth. When ghe speaks I assure you he will be monitored and if applicable charges will be laid. Nor HMC but teh real deal....criminal charges.

Thank you!

9:19 AM  
Blogger Wet Coaster said...

Terry:

Marky Mark:
makes a good point:

"If it is wrong to offend Muslim Canadians why would it be right to offend Jewish Canadians? Would the library allow someone to speak on the subject of the cartoons and show the cartoons? Would the library allow someone to present a book containing other offensive theses relating to other identifiable groups such as aboriginal Canadians, gays and lesbians, African Canadians or women?"

http://tinyurl.com/28semh
How do we get that across to the VPL?

12:38 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

It cannot be taken as a general rule that it is wrong to offend people or groups. If the offense is caused by fair comment on the weight of evidence, tough. I have no problem with people criticizing Jews or Israel or Judaism, if the do it intelligently. Alas, very few know how.

Good work again, Terry.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

A very good point. Related to my point at the bottom of the previous post, about the consequence of messing with Pikeys.

I expect that one of the reasons thugs like picking on Jews is the Jewish tradition of fighting fire with logic and reason and law, rather than with fire, which thugs fear most.

Sometimes I wonder whether the trait in certain sections of the Left that is inherently ill-disposed towards Israel is related to the faux "left" preference for objects of pity and sympathy - a supine posture Israeli Jews rather noticeably refuse to adopt.

I've certainly seen that trait at work in my time in Indian country. There is a habit of mind among certain kinds of liberal-left people which is almost as though they want to see aboriginal people as victims, so that there is sufficient opportunity to express shame and outrage about how bad "we" are.

Once aboriginal people start acting like they own the place and set to the work of shaking off their suffering, and making firm and sensible business arrangements with , say, forest companies, it is not uncommon to hear those same liberal-left voices muttering words like "sell-out," and their "sympathy" disappears.

NB the above not a slag against the Left, where I count my own self, like. Just making an observation.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Wet Coaster said...

OK:

I substitute the "words spew hatred toward" instead of "offend" in my Marky Mark quote and I think we are on the same page. I am all for freedom of criticism even if it's offencive to some. But somehow when Jews and Israel become the target of what would normally be considered crossing the line it's fair game or fair criticism if you are a member of the fashionable progressive camp. But god forbid that Muslims, other minorities etc should be targeted because that is bigotry or hate. It's the double standard that needs to be brought home to the VPL. Any suggestions other than what has already been attempted?

1:32 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Wet Coaster,

I take your point. I guess writing letters to the library Board and City Council might bring some pressure to bear. What I want is to see someone take accountability for the choice of speaker. Free speech cannot really be protected if those who would protect it refuse accountability in favor of some bunk that we can't discriminate against anyone or anything. If one doesn't take a stand because one is afraid of creating a victim, any victim, even of a Fenton, then the obvious power of the victim role is open to abuse and corruption according to undebated, unthinking, politically correct prejudices.

It is the refusal to allow "discrimination" (as in our "Human Rights" Acts, an unthinking victimary reaction to the Holocaust), an official ideology posing as an absence of ideology, that eventually leads to thoughtless antisemitism, in cases like this, where the role of the Jews as the exemplary victims at the start of the postmodern age (not unlike Jewish firstness at the start of monotheism) becomes resented and turned into an insane obsession with Zionism. The status of the Jews must be universalized, say the resentful.

But the larger problem won't change until the left learns to understand the source of their fascination with Israel and with those who pledge their lives to sacrificial violence to destroy it. I'm not saying Israel or any country is perfect. But a sane person knows there is a limit to how much any more or less reasonable resentment should carry; and we see this lack of sanity continuously in regard to Israel which, considering the existential threat under which it has always lived, is a model of a humane society that refrains from punishing its enemy to the extent it could. How many generations of Arabs have to be condemned to hate for what happened in '48? Come on already.

I think the key to renewing the left (which I as a "conservative" think is of paramount importance to insure the sanity and freedom of debate which is ultimately what we must all see our priority to defend - we should all be defending the shared sacred centre first, and only act as "conservatives" or "leftists" second according to what needs to be done in defense of the centre) and the key to overcoming the left's capacity for Vancouver Library style insanity lies in everyone discussing what Terry just wrote: the faux "left" preference for objects of pity and sympathy - a supine posture Israeli Jews rather noticeably refuse to adopt.

I just wrote a tentative comment here. I'll maybe get up a longer post along these lines in the next day or two at Covenant Zone.

2:21 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Charles, my blogging colleague, has a new post up, with a copy of the library's internal pr memo to staff, re Felton, which perhaps sheds more light on the decision-making processes that Terry discusses here.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Wet Coaster said...

True:

Great post by yourself and colleague Charles. I think the more the library hears from us the better the chance they will get the message.
It's frustrating though because some of the biggest peddlers of hate (i,e, Zundel, David Duke, etc.) hide behind free speech. Except of course if it offends (i.e. not politically correct.) Any way thanks for your thoughts. And Terry thanks for the fight!

2:50 PM  
Blogger Marky Mark said...

It turns out that there is an association of libraries that has given a lot of thought to the issue of intellectual freedom in the context of libraries.

It sounds like Felton came to the Vancouver Public Library and that the VPL's analysis was that as long as Felton doesn't commit the crime of hate speech, the VPL's mandate to promote intellectual freedom ("freedom to read") requires allowing him to speak.

I think you can debate whether the test should be limited to "no hate speech allowed" and also question whether they would apply the same very narrow test in the case of other possible books and authors. But they don't seem to be acting in bad faith.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Truepeers: Your friend has contributed some real information to the debate. Good on him.

Mark: I accepted the initial "good faith" explanation the library staff provided me about the Felton decision. It accords with the memo-to-staff Truepeer's chum has unearthed.

Whitney, however, has elevated the decision to another level entirely. I wish I cold agree that his position is entirely a "good faith" one.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

truepeers: My attitude exactly. Well put.

Mark
Ottawa

4:52 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

marky mark,

I'm not sure how much thought they have given to it.

The problem with the librarians' argument, as I see it, is that it is the librarians themselves who promote "freedom to read week". Maybe the Vancouver librarians haven't paid it much heed in the past I don't know. But this year, they want to mark it.

To quote what you quote at your blog: "IFLA (The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) supports, defends and promotes intellectual freedom as defined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

How does one "promote" intellectual freedom, as a librarian, if not by entering into a process of helping people differentiate less free from more free thinking. And there is a difference between mythological and real thinking, though it involves learning how to discriminate. Nihilism doesn't set you free. Sure, you can take that as Jewish idea (among others) but it's universally true nonetheless.

Once you have appointed yourself guardian of "freedom to read" - a problematic thing in itself - it seems to me you should at least be transparent and accountable. It's not enough to say, "oh this guy showed up and we couldn't find any (legal) reason to stop him from speaking". No, it's clear that you are looking for someone to exemplify your already proclaimed status as guardian/promoter of "freedom to read". It's not like anyone in Vancouver couldn't order his book and read it, in the normal course of our lives.

In creating "freedom to read week", librarians impose their own interpretation. It's a classic case of conflict between means and ends, and as usual the ends don't justify the means; time to learn to see the means as ends in themselves, and give up on our fantasized Utopian and Judeophobic motivations/ends.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

If I was in Vancouver, I'd pick up a Wedgie pizza on the first floor...a bag of peanuts to feed Felton inner monkey with...and turn the whole event into a 1930's cabaret act which it obviously is. Some whack jobs you can argue with and some you can't. If the library rescinds his invitation he'll only turn into another Ezra...and who could stand that? Oh yeah I'd also bring a whistle...and one of those things you blow on New Year's Eve... just in case I can't fart loud enough. And judging by that excellent video I'd also be honoured to have the Thornhill Batallion of the Ancient Order of Hibernians serve as my backup band. Or lead me into chorus. It would be such a great show and the YouTube would be even better. And what if Felton did get the joke? Fuck him. He shouldn't be such a shitty anti-semitic comedian...

8:10 PM  
Blogger kurt said...

Felton needs a decent editor, a literary agent like Rowan:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=IwbB6B0cQs4

nnInn

8:27 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Simon:

You are the the throne of paradise.

That last is a line from Madame Butterfly, the opera that my Missus and I just returned from, for St. Valentine's. Not my cup of tea, but still.

Happy Valentine's, Simon. If you were here, I'd kiss you right on the face. Your approach tops all others I've encountered and considered.

TG

12:55 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Maybe they can invite Mark Steyn to read from his book next now that would be daring and provocative.!

4:23 AM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

Cabaret? I love cabaret. good one simon.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Wet Coaster said...

Call me naive, but I have been troubled by this for a day now. What is Paul Whitney's ulterior motive here? If we give him the benefit of the doubt (which I am not saying should be done)that he does not have any "bias".....then what other possible motive could he have???
We know Felton is a nut. But Whitney?

11:04 AM  
Blogger Marky Mark said...

I suppose that the benefit of the doubt explanation is:

1. The VPL knew of GF's history with the Courier and understood that he was controversial.

2. The VPL read the book to be presented and determined that it did not cross the line.

3. The VPL did not otherwise do "due diligence" on GF so as to come across his other work including the places where it often appears-i.e., "questionable" white supremacist type places.

That set of facts allows them to say that they took on an author who is on the edge but not over the edge.

I have not read the new book. To me if the contents of that book are similar to the content of much of his other published work, I wouldn't view GF as an appropriate author for a "freedom to read" promotion. But if you want to really make a point that "intellectual freedom" can be uncomfortable you can pick him as long as you are equally prepared to let in other authors who may express other things that make people highly uncomfortable such as homophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, etc. (although I take Terry's point that this librarian does not have such a history-in fact his history is the opposite).

When you factor in the fact that some of his other work appears in such places as the "Zundel site," it becomes something that for me isn't even a close call.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Marky Mark said...

Has the statement of claim arrived yet? You have been accused of libel.


"Greg Felton posted on February 15, 2008 at 07:51:25 AM
Now, that you addle-pated bottomfeeders have filled the blogosphere with your odiferous effluvium, perhaps you should be deemed an enviromental hazard. Anyone who takes Glavin's libel at face value has clearly been inhaling fumes."

12:57 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

No, that is not my view of the library's "good faith" explanation.

I set out the "good faith" explanation library officials gave, which preceded Paul Whitney's decision to publicly tart up that initial good-faith mistake in the lipstick he chooses to call "intellectual freedom", but which is really an act of taking sides against reason, which exposes this whole thing as a debasement of the cause of free speech, and the cause of freedom to read.

This is crucial for me. It is what is called a deal-breaker.

Felton's free speech is not being infringed, has not been infringed, and will not be infringed in this country anymore than a common sense refusal to hand out free megaphones to 911 truthers or offer six-figure publishing contracts to head-trauma cases who see dragons in Trout Lake constitutes any impairment of, outrage against or impudence to anyone's free speech.

All this toffynosed flouncing about in the lizard-skin suit of "free speech" in this case - and I'm not accusing you of this, Mark - is what it is, a charade, a chatauqua, a cabaret, as our dear Simon sensibly observes.

There are real-world, actually-existing, objective assaults upon free speech that Felton is intimately involved with, and directly benefits from. Google Iran, free speech. Google Jordan, free speech. Inquire into the oppression of journalists in those countries - journalists Felton scabs on. Look up the newspapers there that publish his bullshit, and present him as an award-winning Middle East expert.

It's the real world that worries me. The rest is theory.

1:20 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Dear Editor:

Paul Whitby's response to Terry Glavin's column is disturbing. Allowing Greg Felton's books on VPL shelves is one thing; giving him a platform to spout his noxious views is quite another. Felton's situation has nothing to do with freedom of speech. He can self-publish or find publishers willing to disseminate his vile spew. In fact, Felton often is published -- by the (book-burning) Iranian government, neo-Nazi web sites, and the Arab Canadian News. It's also wrong to frame Felton's dismissal from the Vancouver Courier as a freedom of speech issue, since publishers can and often do fire writers whose views they find distasteful.

But more troubling is that VPL would choose Felton to highlight its commitment to freedom-of-speech. Would VPL offer the same platform to, say, a creationist, an anti-gay activist or, for that matter, someone who writes about Islamic radicalism the way Felton does about Jews/Israel/Zionism. (In the latter instance, of course, VPL would likely face credible threats of violence, not just irate emails.) We are left to wonder if the Felton invitation was motivated by dubious judgment or by the "new, cool, fat-free, environmentally-friendly anti-semitism" so common today among "progressives."

1:22 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Hi folks: Oops sorry i meant to preface my previous entry by saying that it was a letter i had written to the Vancouver Sun yesterday that didn't get published (optimistically believe that was because it was a day after other letters responding to the VPL libararian were already published and the Sun didn't want to rehash, but who knows for sure). I also CC'd a copy to Whitby, for all the good it will do.

I am planning to attend halfwit Felton's presentation and hold a "SHAME ON VPL" banner or something like that. As Terry Glavin has correctly noted, this isn't about Felton, we all know what he is, it's about the VPL. cheers all

1:27 PM  
Blogger Wet Coaster said...

Terry:

Well put. Couldn't have articulated that better. But that still leaves the question.....

What is in it for Whitney?

1:51 PM  
Blogger Prairie Dog said...

That Felton truly is maniac. Looked at his site, and I can't see any qualitative difference between him and any run-of-the-maill Nazi Party member or White Supremacist. Does he really consider himself a leftist?

3:18 PM  
Blogger Wet Coaster said...

It was a rhetorical question, any way.
Now for something really important...who is burning the books in Gaza?

5:17 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Thanks all. And good letter, Vildechaye. And good on you for deciding to do something. We need more of that.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

By the way, my dog doesn't come when he's called anymore.

He must be controlled by the Jewish lobby.

Badda-bing, tish.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Wet Coaster said...

I have the same problem. But my dog is half Jewish and half Catholic. So he he is full of guilt & shame.;)

8:25 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Well. There it is. The Catholic lobby clearly controls the Jewish lobby.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Wet Coaster said...

At least they do on my house! :)

3:42 PM  
Blogger gmgw said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Why did I delete that last comment?

Lots of reasons. Here's just one:

"The Feltons make it easier for the Glavins and the Dershowitzes to jump in and demonize any and all criticisms of Israel as anti-Semitic."

Liar, paranoid, fool.

Unwelcome here.

8:08 PM  
Blogger gmgw said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Add anonymous to liar, paranoid, and fool, and throw in nuisance, and that's reason I deleted the last post.

4:03 PM  
Blogger gmgw said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Anonymous, liar, fool, paranoid, nuisance, whines that I object to his so-called "alternative point of view" crybaby.

6:41 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

hi terry: i don't blame you for removing the posts but i think you should have left one on as an example of the blinkered, selective morality of "progressives."

Like most other progressives, he trots out the old straw man about how you can't criticize israel without being called anti-semitic. Well yes, you can, but not if you question the legitimacy and existence of the state itself without ever questioning the legitimacy and existence of any other state. That is singling Israel out, and that sure looks like anti-semitism to me.

In fact, some of us might welcome criticism of Israel and even make some of our own, if it was limited to this or that Israeli policy or action. But in the current climate, where Israel is singled out not just by Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims but also by huge swaths of the so-called hard left, there's no way i'm going to hand more ammo to anti-semites and those who want israel dismantled/destroyed.

As for "apartheid," the term has become meaningless. In the south african context (it is an afrikaans word, after all), it applied to separate development, blacks couldn't vote, couldn't live in the same areas, couldn't use the same facilities, didn't have recourse to the law, etc. etc. etc.

Goofs like him -- and, inexplicably, smarter guys like Tutu and Carter -- want to make out that because Israel has separate roads in the West Bank and a fence/wall (both for security purposes) that israel is becoming an apartheid state! It's outrageous, esp. considering you have a real apartheid state -- Saudi Arabia -- next door. Not only does it explicitly not allow jews in the country, it has separate highways for Muslims and non-Muslims, and doesn't even allow other religions to be practiced. I guess it's just more satisfying to try to beat up on the Jewish state.

if it was limited to this or that Israeli policy. But Ms. Groves seems to expect supporters of Israel to welcome fatuous comparisons between Israel and apartheid South Africa that have no basis in reality. And that is not going to happen.

Here's a letter I wrote to the Globe

11:45 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

I think you should leave that post up as an example of the kind of blinkered thinking typical of the "progressive" left. I read both of his posts, and they were the typical mewling tripe. His true colors really showed when he wailed on about the 5 Palestinian kids. Look, nobody likes seeing kids getting hurt or killed, but this tactic -- talking about deaths of kids or civilians or women without any context or blame for the side that puts them in harm's way -- is pathetic.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Vildechaye. . .

A quibble: I can't agree that the commenter I deleted was "progressive" or "left-wing." These have become such commonplace cloaks for cranks and conspiracy theorists that even Felton is routinely described as "left wing" and nobody even blinks an eye.

Apart from the anonymous commenter's stream of insults,
this I will not tolerate: "The Feltons make it easier for the Glavins and the Dershowitzes to jump in and demonize any and all criticisms of Israel as anti-Semitic."

What I wrote in the post he was ostensibly commenting on, but which he appears not to have read:

"Nowadays, perhaps especially among the urban intellectual caste, you cannot raise your voice against even the most foul antisemite, if that same antisemite uses words such as "Israel" or "Zionist" in the same breath as his other veiled utterances of Jew-hatred. You will be told that you are equating legitimate criticism of Israel with antisemitism."

That's exactly what he did, and I won't have it. For one thing, it's a bald-faced lie. For another, I can't bring myself to think of this strange allegation as anything less than a contemporary version of an antisemitic canard. Maybe someone did it once ("demonize any and all criticisms of Israel as anti-Semitic"). Mmaybe some marginal wackos somewhere actually do this. I don't know. But I hear about it all the time, and it's supposed to be some big silencing tactic, but I have never actually seen it happen, anywhere. And I've looked.

12:08 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

terry I agree with everything you wrote and second it. Our only difference is that I say let him be hoist by his own petard, but hey it's your blog!!:))

by the way, i don't mean to keep double posting but the system is strange and tells me my password is incorrect, then logs me in after i've pressed the send button god knows how many times. I'll try to be more careful in the future.

all the best

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1:03 AM  

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