What Is It With All These Crackpots, And Is 'Anti-Semite' The Right Term For Them?
It brings to mind the current conniptions among British Greens, among whom there are responsible party members concerned that the party should be mindful of the way antisemitism veils itself in fashionable "anti-Zionism" nowadays. For their trouble they have been attacked by the "Green Left" faction, which is using the work of a drooling antisemite of a cartoonist to accuse the concerned party members of attempting to impose some sort of censorship on the party.
In May's statements there is also an echo of the difficulty American progressives have found in figuring out what name to give the vulgarity of U.S. Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney. She's that 911-Was-An-Inside-Job enthusiast who tried to cajole $10 million from a Saudi prince by expressing sympathy for his anti-Israel diatribes. McKinney was formerly with the Democratic Party, which rid itself of her despite her spectacular successes in raising campaign funds from dodgy Israel-haters.
In ditching Shavluk as the candidate for Newton-North Delta, May makes much of the Green Party's “respect for diversity" and its encouragement of "dialogue, diversity, peace and cooperation." There was this: “We condemn anti-Semitism," but then this strangely passive-aggressive sentence: “I communicated with John and thanked him for his work on behalf of the Green Party but explained that he will not be a candidate because his views are not consistent with our philosophy."
So is she saying Shavluk is an antisemite or not? What on earth is she thanking him for? And what is it about his "views," precisely, that are so unsuited to the Greens' philosophy that May sees fit to pull Shavluk's candidacy papers?
And why now? The guy's been an obvious freakjob for years. Shavluk's bit about how the US government itself attacked the "shoddily built Jewish world bank headquarters" otherwise known as the World Trade Center in New York was from two years ago. Is there no Google function on any of the computers at Green Party HQ?
It's also useful to note that May got on the case, and the news media noticed, only after the bright Vancouver bloggist Robert Jago did some basic but journeyman sleuthing. In this way the Shavluk case is a re-run of the Green Party's April, 2007 defenestration of its résumé-padding (see note*) Vancouver candidate Kevin Potvin, who had confessed that his response to the September 11 attacks was "Beautiful!" and "I felt an urge to pump my fist in the air." The news media didn't pick up on Potvin's questionable suitability for public office back then, either, until after Sean Holman's intrepid Public Eye Online did the mainstream media's homework.
A year earlier, there was the case of Shavluk's fellow Delta politico, poor young Thomas Hubert, a New Democrat who became a Liberal. Hubert was found to have praised Hezbollah, slagged off Israel as "the most vile nation on earth", and cheered on the exodus of Jews from the federal Liberal Party, following the party's flaccid support for Israel during the Lebanon crisis. Hubert's words were these: “The only issue that matters to them is the defence of a ‘state' that survives on the blood of innocent people.”
What struck me then about the Hubert controversy was the utter ordinariness of his comments in the context of his political mileu. It wasn't Hubert that I found so sinister, but the hideous banality of what Hubert said. It involves this same strange thing that the British novelist Martin Amis called an "endocrinal state" that is so commonplace these days in matters related to Jews, and to Israel, which I was on about in The Vancouver Sun a few months ago. Said Amis: "I know we're supposed to be grown up about it and not fling around accusations of anti-Semitism, but I don't see any other explanation."
Perhaps this same dilemma - we don't see any other explanation - might account for Elizabeth's strangely vague phraseology. It's as though we all know disgusting and dangerous ugliness when we see it, but we don't have the proper words to fully describe what it is - what it is about Shavluk's "views," in this instance - that is so revolting. To report that Shavluk was merely ditched "over an allegedly anti-Semitic remark in a blog by Mr. Shavluk several years ago," which is the way the Globe and Mail put it, doesn't quite cut it, does it?
This is what I mean when I say there's something more than meets the eye going on here. I don't quite know what to make of it, but I'm bold enough to claim that the trajectory of antisemitism from its fascist haunts to the realm of pseudo-leftism is at least partly the explanation.
Whatever it is, for the time being: Good Work, Robert Jago.
UPDATE: Another Truther crackpot shows up as a Green Party candidate, only this time, you don't need to comb through obscure interwebs discussion fora from years ago to read his hallucinations: It's all right there, right now, on the Green Party's own website: Why was the FBI investigation of hijackers shut down? Why were military response stand down orders issued? Why were distracting war games set up on 9/11 of all days? Why did building 7, not attacked at all, collapse like controlled demolition? Plus: In other words our government is following blindly the footsteps of the USA in Guantanamo!
Since this post appeared, Potvin has been subjecting me to a barrage of annoying and vaguely threatening emails. He began by accusing me of taking money from Jewish groups to "place certain articles in media" (classy guy), and he also alleges that I libeled him by using the term "résumé-padding" here. That was a reference to a Wikipedia entry Potvin wrote about himself a couple years back.
In that Wikipedia entry, Potvin claimed that his work had appeared in Harpers Magazine and the Atlantic, when in fact he'd only had a letter to the editor published once, in each - a fact he now does not deny (this was also the subject of a Globe and Mail story a couple of years ago that must have been embarrassing for Potvin; the Globe refused Potvin's demands for some sort of retraction).
Anyway, I call that "résumé-padding." Potvin says it's libelous to call it that. I will leave it to the millions of people who read this blog to decide.
But no comments allowed.