Saturday, February 27, 2010

Amnesty, Eric Who, Brown Sauce, Jonathan Hoffman and Nick Cohen...

Over at Harry's Place (a post by 'Gene', titled 'Eric Lee campaigns for AI board; says “Amnesty has lost its way”' of February 27th 2010, 5:11 pm) they're up in arms about Amnesty International's 'antisemitism' (if using their parlance they won't call a spade a spade then I will).

Eric Lee (Eric Who?) who incidentally [cough!] also runs for election to the board of AI explains it all here.

Eric's one of those faux-liberals who's all for exposing injustices in the world... as long as those injustices aren't committed by the Zionist Entity.

Now go back and have a look at Eric Lee's (thus far sparsely populated) blogroll (well, 'categories' list): it features Jonathan Hoffman (co-Vice chair of the British Zionist Federation) and Nick Cohen, Eustonite Zionist par excellence (not to mention David Aaronovitch and Christopher Hitchens).

From an article (that had previously appeared in CiFWatch) by Hoffman posted on Lee's site:

The good – no, wonderful – news is that Eric Lee wants to change things at Amnesty by standing for election to the Amnesty International UK Section Board.

And from the only article in the category 'Nick Cohen' in an article by... Nick Cohen:

Once men and women suffering at the hands of evil corporations like Megagreed could have turned to Amnesty International for help. Our heroine has been punished for speaking out, she is being denied the basic right to legal representation, surely Amnesty will act as a court of final appeal and give her a hearing? But our heroine can’t turn to Amnesty because in this instance Amnesty International IS the evil corporation.

So no conflict of interest here then: in the name of 'impartiality on Zionism' Lee seeks election to the board of AI and has the support of at least two avowed Zionists... Just when you think British Zionism can't get any more brain dead, they manage spendidly to do just that.

Support my campaign: 'Eric Lee for tea boy of the British Zionist Federation!'

Update:

The plot thickens: turns out Eric Lee is an Israeli who served in the IDF...

And then some: Eric Lee's support for Operation Cast Lead in an article on... Engage!

Don't worry Lee, if you're looking for support from Zionists, all this will stand you in very good stead!

9 Comments:

At 11:25 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

From his post, Eric Lee seems like a reasonable guy to me. He supports the two-state solution, including dividing Jerusalem, doesn't support Netanyahu, doesn't believe violence will solve the conflict and doesn't believe either side has a God-given right to the land. He also writes:

"Of course Amnesty should criticize Israel when it violates human rights, when it tortures, when it holds prisoners of conscience. But as I hope I’ve illustrated above, and as other examples on this site show, Amnesty keeps getting it wrong and remains obsessed with Israel".

That's hardly someone "who's all for exposing injustices in the world... as long as those injustices aren't committed by the Zionist Entity".

So what if he has the support of a few Zionists? Whether or not you accept it, Zionism is a legitimate political ideology and they (we) have a right to voice opinions and run for elected office.

By the way, Nick Cohen's post, the one you quoted from, is about Amnesty punishing a respected employee for voicing her concerns over the organization's ties with a Taliban supporter. This context is important.

"they're up in arms about Amnesty International's 'antisemitism' (if using their parlance they won't call a spade a spade then I will)."

Now who is confusing anti-Israelism with anti-Semitism? Eric Lee didn't accuse Amnesty of anti-Semitism, only of anti-Israel bias - you shouldn't put words in his mouth (or his keyboard). I've never heard of him before, but from the little I read on his website, it seems like he might be one of those who are able to tell the difference between the two.

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Emm:

"So what if he has the support of a few Zionists? Whether or not you accept it, Zionism is a legitimate political ideology and they (we) have a right to voice opinions and run for elected office."

You have and I have the right to criticise you for it. It's plain ridiculous that Lee claims Amnesty has lost its way over Israel and then seeks support from people like Jonathan Hoffman and Nick Cohen (and HP and CiFWatch) who are both extremely biased in favour of Israel and Zionism. Hoffman doesn't even recognise there was ethnic cleansing during 1948!

"Now who is confusing anti-Israelism with anti-Semitism? Eric Lee didn't accuse Amnesty of anti-Semitism, only of anti-Israel bias - you shouldn't put words in his mouth (or his keyboard)."

The implication that AI is antisemitic is very clearly there. Pro-Zionist groups have been saying it for years. The Kommentariat at HP is nearly unanimous about it (yesterday I got the AS word slung at me over there for 'attacking' Hoffman, it took about 10 minutes into the comments).

Lee can campaign all he wants (and campaign he does: support from Hoffman, Cohen, HP, article in CiFWatch, now own website 'calling all Zionists - you may want to be naive but I don't) and I'll campaign otherwise: 'Eric Lee for tea boy of the British Zionist Federation!'

 
At 4:49 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Please also note the latest update.

 
At 7:19 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

The links in the update made me like the guy even more! Eric Lee is a leftist Zionist Israeli who supported Cast Lead, served in the IDF, opposes refusal to serve in the army, supports two-states, and dislikes Netanyahu. He even has two citizenships (if I understand correctly): one Israeli and one of an English-speaking country. Of course I like him. He sounds just like me!

"The implication that AI is antisemitic is very clearly there. Pro-Zionist groups have been saying it for years. The Kommentariat at HP is nearly unanimous about it (yesterday I got the AS word slung at me over there for 'attacking' Hoffman, it took about 10 minutes into the comments)."

Now you're generalizing. Yes, such claims have been made many times, usually inappropriately. I've criticized this myself. But just like the fact that not every criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic (and usually it isn't), not every criticism by Zionists against international organisations accuses them of anti-Semitism. Now you're delegitimizing any "criticism of criticism", just like those who automatically cry anti-Semitisim try to delegitimize criticism of Israel.

Does the claim that Amnesty is disproportionately focused on Israel necessarily have to be based on the view that the organization is anti-Semitic? Of course not. There can be a lot of explanations for this: maybe a belief that Israel, as a democracy, is more likely to listen to criticism than despots, or maybe that it's generally easier to get reliable information about human rights violations in Israel. There are a trillion other possible explanations.

Eric Lee doesn't seem to be claiming he's objective, so I don't see anything hypocritical about his campaign. He just says Amnesty's focus is out of proportion. I'd fully understand if you argued with this claim, but you seem to think it's outrageous to even make it, so instead you're attacking Lee and his supporters.

By the way, a discussion of Amnesty's focus on Israel is an opportunity to ask you something I've been wondering for a while and I don't think I ever dared to ask - about your own focus on Israel. This is really out of pure curiosity. What makes you so interested in the Israeli-Arab conflict? Why this conflict and not any other?

 
At 9:01 PM, Blogger Gert said...

When someone demands that AI put their house in order with regards to perceived bias towards Israel, that person then relies on support from people who support Israel to the hilt and see ANY criticism of Israel as a manifestation antisemitism (you don't realise just how far this goes: look up "EUMC Working Definition of anti-Semitism" on Google) and then turns out to be an Israeli who served in the IDF things have gone farcical. It's not a matter of whether 'I like him or not', Lee stands a good chance of getting on the board of AI by using the Zionist vote. I think that defeats the object of his alleged motives.

As regards the last question, this blog used to be about all sorts of things. It went full anti-Zio activist after Gaza. I'm not the only one.

No, Israel/Palestine isn't the only troubled spot on the planet and not the worst either. But someone has to support the Palestinians: w/o outside support their cause is lost if it isn't already...

 
At 9:17 PM, Blogger Gert said...

As regards 'criticism of criticism', anyone is perfectly entitled to criticise me, even to suspect antisemitic motives on my behalf. Only abuse gets deleted here. When a critic doesn't bring up antisemitism then neither do I (unless I suspect the critic of racism of course). But AI has stood accused of AS for a very long time.

Lee would be far more honest and believable if he convincingly debunked some of AI's criticisms, with evidence/proof of AI wrongdoing. Instead he's rounding up some Zios to get the vote. That's pathetic. Transparent. One commenter at HP suggested he might be a tool of Reut (hey, who knows!)

 
At 9:48 PM, Blogger Gert said...

But even the accusation of 'bias' makes me laugh. Of course they're biased, so am I, you and Lee. To expect anyone to be impartial is simply to ask them to behave superhumanly. All that AI and the other Rights orgs are expected to do is to stick rigorously to the facts, how they interpret them is up to them and will differ inevitably from how you and I interpret them. And so for all I care Amnesty may be deeply anti-Israel as long as that opinion is based on verifiable, corroborated facts.

 
At 9:31 PM, Blogger Tony Greenstein said...

Eric Lee is just one more of those who see AI as concentrating disporportionately on Israel (for reasons of anti-Semitism obviously). Otherwise he tries to prettyfy Israel in the labour movement.

The fact that he supported Cast Lead speaks volumes about whether he is fit to be on Amnesty's board. Maybe we should support Nick Griffin for the Board of the Equalities & Human Rights Commission too, according to Emmanuel's logic.

It matters little that he doesn't support Netanyahu, he supports Histadrut which has engaged in systematic theft of the wages of Palestinian workers and which has also refused to condemn the occupation.

 
At 9:43 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Looks like you know him better than I do, Tony...

 

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