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Response to Oliver Kamm's baseless accusations

 
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David C
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Joined: 12 Jan 2004
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Location: Southampton

Post Post subject: Response to Oliver Kamm's baseless accusations Reply with quote

From the blog of Oliver Kamm, a leader writer at the Times (London). In the comments section of his piece 'Free speech and offence', Kamm addresses Charlie Gere:


I note that you have popped up on Media Lens's site to advance your thesis further. That organisation, as my regular readers will recall, is among the most reliable conduits of antisemitism and genocide denial. (To quote one of the regulars - writing only yesterday - in the discussion forum to which you contributed: "The Jewish race is proportionally over represented in many aspects of our public life(British Jews form only 0.5% of the population) and in that of the US - politics - national and local, finance, the media especially broadcasting and law for example. These people are in position where they can exert pressure and influence opinion in the media and elsewhere and for those of them who support the state of Israel, as many do, they can be its powerful advocates unseen by the general public.")

Your own fastidiousness, then, appears to be highly selective. Unfashionable victims of bonehead bigotry can presumably look after themselves.

Posted by: Oliver Kamm | 3 Oct 2008 13:22:19

http://timesonline.typepad.com/oliver_kamm/2008/10/free-speech-and.html#comments

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Response posted on the Media Lens message board:

http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1223054625.html
(link will expire when message drops off the bottom of the board; hence archived here)

Re: Oliver Kamm accuses Media Lens of antisemitism and genocide denial

Posted by The Editors on October 3, 2008, 6:23 pm, in reply to "Oliver Kamm accuses Media Lens of antisemitism and genocide denial"

Kamm writes:

"I note that you have popped up on Media Lens's site to advance your thesis further. That organisation, as my regular readers will recall, is among the most reliable conduits of antisemitism and genocide denial. (To quote one of the regulars - ..."

We are strongly opposed to antisemitism, indeed all forms of racism, violence and hatred, as Kamm well knows. We have also discussed the fundamental source of all prejudice: the self-cherishing mind. See here: http://www.medialens.org/cogitations/080216_non_violence_and.php

Given that we're opposed to bias in favour of oneself, of course we're deeply opposed to bias favouring some groups and demonising others.

Anyway, Aaronovitch pulled the same stunt in 2003 when he wrote in the Guardian:

"A Medialens regular [...] posts this week to criticise 'Israeli fascism' and adds, 'if ever there was an inflammatory, racist, insidiously exclusive term, "anti-Semitism" is it. It baffles me why the supposed victims of racism would want a term all for themselves.' Supposed? And not one of the assembled lefties took him up on it." (Aaronovitch, 'Message to the left: there is no all-powerful Jewish lobby', The Guardian, May 27, 2003)

Note the same reference to a Media Lens "regular" - the idea is to more closely associate us with the views expressed. We didn't agree with the tone or content of the post that Kamm's referring to. Should we have deleted it? Perhaps - but then we can be accused of censorship and abuse of power, as has happened in the past. In this instance, other "regulars" took fierce issue with what was posted and so we let people have their debate. Isn't this what Kamm would prefer, given his love of free speech?

We have often deleted antisemitic posts and have banned a number of people for posting them. We've now posted more than 2,500 pages of media alerts. If we're "among the most reliable conduits of antisemitism", Kamm should be able to point to a few examples in our own work. What does it say for his claim, if he can't?

In reality, of course, it's just a smear. Imagine how easy it would be to smear the Guardian's Comment is Free website by analysing material posted by CiF "regulars".

Incidentally, the claim of genocide denial could hardly be more ironic. We're forever trying to draw attention to former UN assistant secretary-general Denis Halliday's claim that American and Britain are responsible for genocide in Iraq. Does Kamm deny this genocide, we wonder?

Best wishes

DE and DC
Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:39 am
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