I procrastinate on work

I’m going to Manchester next week. On Saturday night I left my parents’ house with a load of my old LPs. One of them was Dandelions by King Of The Slums. King Of The Slums are Manchester and there are few better bands, anywhere. Their promotion was always useless. Can I find anything on YouTube? I cannot.

Favourites: Bear Wiv Me; Violate Nothing But the Best; Psycho Motorbike Ride; Leery Bleeder.

A slanted piece on Finkelstein’s deportation in The Guardian

Update. For more on this see Martin In The Margins.

Further to my last post The Guardian is ridiculously wrong on Finkelstein. If I had better expectations of The Guardian, I’d be surprised.

Probably the most irresponsible aspect of the article is the assertion that Finkelstein has been banned for ‘criticising Israel’. Author Toni O’Loughlin is playing to the beat of Finkelstein’s tub here – one limb of his campaign is to make the world believe that Israel overreacts to plain decent criticism. But is an American national who commands considerable media attention calling for a violent invasion of Israel mere ‘criticism‘? And there’s no reason to suppose that Finkelstein was banned for ‘criticising Israel’ – and what’s his father’s Holocaust survival got to do with anything? (maybe the author believes that’s a pedigree which makes Jews more truthful…)

Finkelstein is pro-war and obsessively anti-Israel. He wants Israel gone and he supports Hesbollah and other violent resistance to this end. As an aside, he speaks on the conflict without compassion as if the world were a chessboard. He’s a discredit crank who lost his De Paul University job because he’s a crank. Israel contains and receives a small number of people with views somewhat in his direction – important to Finkelstein’s deportation would have been whether or not he has plans to whip up hate or violence.

But The Guardian wants us to think his deportation was part of the “increasingly bitter divide in academic circles, between those who support and those who criticise its treatment of Palestinians.” But if there is such a divide in Israeli academics, what has that to do with whether or not Finkelstein is banned by Shin Bet? (Nothing.)

The Guardian wants us to think that Ilan Pappe was deported too. Indeed, the false charge that Pappe was hounded out from Haifa on a spurious pretext was one of the defamatory premises of an old UCU boycott campaign – this was easily debunked and that particular boycott was abandoned (there’s another boycott motion in UCU this week). Pappe seems to have things very uncomfortable for himself with his aggressive and self-promoting politics (and note that there are plenty of anti-Zionists who make a go of it in Israeli academia and civic life) but he kept his tenure. Incidentally, he doesn’t know his arse from his elbow. He gave an interview to a neo-Nazi publication without a) checking first and b) noticing that the questions are strange. And he’s still not banned from Israel.

The nature of author Toni O’Loughlin’s errors suggest bias – again, this is in keeping with The Guardian coverage of Israel in general.

Finkelstein banned from Israel for a decade

Normal Finkelstein is mainly responsible for the idea that Jews abuse Holocaust memory to screw the Germans out of cash and deflect criticism of the occupation. He wrote a famous piece titled Kill Arabs, Cry Anti-Semitism, which you can find in the home of so much that’s politically whiffy, CounterPunch. He was denied tenure at the US and had to leave. He is also an obsessive and uninsightful anti-Zionist in a way which suggests violence if enacted.

There’s coverage in Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post that he was arrested on entry to Israel (he was on his way to the Occupied Palestinian Territories to see a friend in Hesbollah). He hinted to the press – he was permitted to give a statement it seems – that he’d been tortured but although it would suit him marvellously to become a cause celebre, it’s almost certainly not the case. If he had been you can bet we’d have known unambiguously from the horse’s mouth.

As with so much else I’m new to this banning stuff. First I thought it would have been much better, much more liberal, to let him in, protest against him and make the case. I wondered what state Israeli society is in if it can’t let in Finkelstein, who is vastly influential but who is also easily recognised as a crank by people who understand the situation.

Then I gave myself a clip round the ear. What kind of sucker are you, Flesh? You have to learn to spot the difference between debate and pro-war campaigning. Finkelstein is right up there with the other inciters. He’s straining every fibre to end Israel and he thinks that Hesbollah should wage all-out war. He probably salutes the way it’s turned its guns on those, as he sees them, pusillanimous Lebanese, and these things provided the final grounds for his deportation. The Shin Bet said Finkelstein “is not permitted to enter Israel because of suspicions involving hostile elements in Lebanon,” and because he “did not give a full accounting to interrogators with regard to these suspicions.”

Hesbollah is at war with Israel and Lebanon. Finkelstein supports that war. Israel is trying to avoid a repeat of 2006. So I’d imagine there are plenty of grounds for banning Finkelstein in the national interest. Lots of states ban hatemongering foreign nationals from polluting their society. The UK banned Louis Farrakhan, since 1986 – here are some of the things he’s said. Don Treshman, because his interpretation of anti-abortion led to violence. Various preachers of terror.

Israel has a good track record of free speech, incidentally, as does the UK. Sometimes that’s trumped by the need to exclude people who preach violence. There are invariably appeals for these bannings. Finkelstein will certainly appeal.

Solomonia comments.

David T on Finkelstein.

My advantages

I can list them. They’re the reason I’m not starving to death in Burma, being burned out of my home in Darfur, beaten to death in Zim, unemployed, homeless, impoverished or depressed.

  • I was born in a temperate place – no weather, no malaria, no quakes, no tsunamis.
  • I was born free in a free society
  • The place where I live is free from conflict
  • My government values and can attend to its people’s well-being
  • I was born in a good time – health care, equal opportunity law, no corsets
  • I have plenty to eat
  • I think I’m in the richest 10% of the world
  • I’m very educated to doctorate level in a society which values education
  • My accent communicates a good education
  • My skin is white in a world where inequalities favour white skin
  • In a visual culture my looks aren’t off-putting
  • I’m not afraid of technology
  • I have Matt to love and to love me back
  • I have lovable friends
  • I have leisure to think
  • I’m well
  • I’m curious
  • I can cope in most situations

Vegan dessert sauce creative break-through

Ok, we have a creative breakthrough on the vegan dessert lubrication front. All I have to think of are names…

Trio-of-coconut cream with duo-of-lime

This is particularly good on pineapple, mango or other fruit. Takes maybe 10 minutes prep.

  • A third of a block of creamed coconut
  • Maybe two-thirds of a can of full-fat coconut milk
  • A handful or more of dessicated coconut (you can freeze this if you don’t get through it)
  • Sugar to taste (maybe 4 tbsp)
  • The reamed rind of a lime
  • The juice, pulp, but not pith of the same lime

Melt the coconut cream (smaller pieces are better – stops the outside getting too cooked. It will thicken the sauce when it cools.

Turn off the heat. Add the coconut milk and the lime juice.

Stir in the sugar to taste.

Add the dessicated coconut until you have a thick pouring texture.

Add the lime rind.

Put in a sealable container and refrigerate until needed. Will keep for days.

Chocolate cointreau cream

  • As much full fat coconut milk as you need – the cream round the top of the tin is good because it’s thick and doesn’t taste as strongly of coconut (but if you allow the cointreau to dominate, this isn’t a problem
  • Drinking chocolate (just the cocoa and sugar kind – I like cafe direct best)
  • Cointreau, whisky or something

Add the proportions gradually, mixing well, until you have a satisfactory flavour, texture and appearance.

Any surplus coconut milk should go in pina coladas or curry sauce