This coming Sunday, April 30th, at 5PM, there will be a panel discussion entitled “The Post Political Condition… Trump, Brexit, and The Middle East… What Next? at Theatre 80 located at 80 St. Marks Place on the Lower East Side (LES) of New York City.
Timely, and simple enough in its reach, this discussion will include myself and a number of intellectuals such as history professor Norton Mezvinsky, whistle blower Michael Lesher and author Gilad Atzmon. The panel will focus on the collapse of identity politics, the crises within new left thinking, and the future of liberal and progressive thought.
In particular, I will discuss “Insular View of the American Left” while Professor Mezvinsky will speak to “The Quagmire of Current Political Terminology in U.S. Society.” Mr. Lesher will explore dichotomy between “Jewish Identity and Jewish Religion” and Mr. Atzmon will address “The Tyranny of Correctness- deconstructing identity politics and understanding its origin.”
Although the panel will necessarily touch upon Zionism, Israel, and events in the Middle East, these topics will play but a small part in a much broader exploration of the political winds of today.
To some, the subject matter of the discussion is apparently of less consequence than the makeup of the panel itself. In particular, the presence of Gilad Atzmon, a onetime Israeli citizen and Jew who has since renounced both, has triggered an organized effort to bully the theatre into canceling the event or, failing that, to disrupt it.
I’ve long been accused of being a “self-hating” Jew largely because of my work as legal counsel for the political wing of Hamas and my fervent opposition to the state of Israel as one built from the marrow of ethnic cleansing.
Described as controversial because of my opposition to Zionism, and a long list of revolutionary clients and movements that have included more than a few accused of domestic or international terrorism, I’ve grown accustomed to being “shunned ” by the political opposition that rarely seeks to engage in public discussion or debate. That’s fine. For some, it’s so much easier to toss barbs from the safety of the shadows then it is to withstand open exposure for the weakness of one’s thought.
Yet, Gilad Atzmon presents another picture. Mr. Atzmon’s stinging criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity… perhaps even Judaism itself… have so enraged both Zionists and some anti-Zionists alike, that the mob seeks to silence him and thereby deny us all the benefit of his speech.
Censors of thought are not new to time or place. Throughout history, they have deigned to dictate the parameters of acceptable dialogue and, when unable to control the discourse, have sought to shut it down as if ideas are in themselves dangerous.
One need only look to recent events in Washington D.C. to understand that those who fear the market place of free ideas often seek to shutter it whether by economic intimidation or through resort to violence.
Just this past month, JDL (Jewish Defense League) imports from Canada brutally attacked, and seriously injured, a 55-year old Palestinian-American professor from North Carolina who had the temerity to pass an anti-AIPAC demonstration with his family.
The mindless brutality of the Canadian JDL members, that day, cannot be seen in a vacuum but rather must be viewed in the light of 50 plus years of terrorism carried out by its US counterpart, now formally designated as an outlawed terrorist organization.
Over these many years, the membership, indeed, leadership of the American branch of the JDL… or “associate organizations”… have unleashed an unprecedented reign of terror which has produced dozens of convictions for crimes ranging from a plot to bomb the office of Arab-American Congressman Darrell Issa and the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, Calif. to numerous bombings of foreign embassies and properties to attacks on US buildings to conspiracies of kidnap and murder to assaults on foreign nationals and US police. Countless other crimes, including murder and conspiracy to bomb, have been laid at the feet of the JDL but to date remain un-charged.
Despite this documented, nay, unprecedented history of violent attacks by zio-fascists upon free speech and association, neither the JDL of Canada nor its US counterpart will suppress this panel discussion at Theatre 80 or silence our voice. Ours is a community of free spirits and thinkers. Women and men directed by little more than the pursuit of truth and justice.
Indeed, long ago the community of the LES of New York City opened its arms to refugees who fled tyranny abroad and, in so doing, became a welcome host to the dissident, the politically unpopular, the revolutionary idea or person.
Today, that greeting is under attack by some who have failed to learn the history of this community that I have called home for most of my adult life. A journey down the hardscrabble, but exhilarating, road of this community of resistance can say far more than I can about the necessity of the exchange of ideas that will occur this coming Sunday evening at Theatre 80.
The History of Dissent on the Lower East Side
Long before the free speech battles of the 60’s, or the recent ones at Berkeley, there stood a proud tenement building at 208 East 13th Street in New York City. More than a hundred years ago, it echoed with the booming resonance of resistance… a declaration of who we were at the time and, more important, who we could become if only we dared to challenge political and social orthodoxy.
Today, on the façade of that old battered 19th century tenement building on the LES of Manhattan sits a cracked and stained plaque that simply says “Emma Goldman lived here.” Enough said.
The same building was home to “Mother Earth,” Goldman’s periodical that promoted anarchist views and provided a platform for “radical” artists and militant ideas of the day… until it was closed as subversive by the government in 1917.
Goldman was a fierce and tireless supporter of “controversial” revolutionary struggles such as free speech, birth control, women’s equality, union organizing, workers rights, sexual freedom and peace.
Known as “Red Emma”, she was labeled by J. Edgar Hoover as one of the “most dangerous women” in the country.” Among her closest friends and comrades were Alexander Berkman, Margaret Sanger, Roger Baldwin, Max Eastman, John Reed, Dorothy Day and Floyd Dell… a veritable who’s who of radicals who, long ago, confronted political convention not all that different from that which seeks to intimidate or to silence us today.
In 1917, Goldman was sentenced to two years in prison after founding the No-Conscription League in protest against the draft. It was one of several stints she did, beyond bars, for political beliefs that ranged from a year in prison for “inciting to riot”… for a speech she gave at a Union Square hunger demonstration where she told the poor to steal bread if they could not afford to buy it… to another one for illegally distributing information about birth control. Following her arrest during the notorious Palmer Raids that began on November 7, 1919 (the second anniversary of the Russian Revolution), she was deported to Russia along with some 250 other “subversive aliens.”
While the Palmer Raids occurred throughout the United States with more than 10,000 arrests for subversion, they, in particular, targeted hundreds of high profile “militants” who were rounded up on the LES which was then home to a powerful and vibrant community of revolutionary thinkers and activists.
In the life blood of the LES, Goldman has been anything but the exception to the rule in a community that historically has been home to the dissident… the unconventional… those who see more to life than surrender to the whims of politically correct dogma or the constraints of “patriotic” mobs.
Dorothy Day heard the call of the LES. Along with Peter Maurin, she founded the Catholic Worker Movement which, with anarchists and communists, fought for the rights of the homeless, workers, women, immigrants and others disempowered by virtue of gender or class.
Although the Movement found its vigor in Christian charity and promoted a political strategy of total non-violence, Day was never one to shy away from direct action. Jailed for picketing the White House in support of women’s right to vote, while imprisoned for her offense, she helped organize a hunger strike at Occoquan Prison.
It is said that, over the course of a long life of civil disobedience, Day was arrested more than one hundred times. A poster memorializing her final arrest at age 76 declares “our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system.” It hangs from the wall of my office.
To Dorothy Day, peaceful resistance necessarily demanded of activists’ controversial speech that directly confronted the tyranny of the status quo… something she excelled at while working as the editor of The Masses.
Based in “Alphabet City” in the LES, Masses was a radical magazine that reported on most of the major labor struggles of its day: from the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek strike of 1912 in West Virginia to the Paterson Silk Strike of 1913 and the Ludlow massacre in Colorado. It strongly supported Big Bill Haywood and his IWW, the political campaigns of Eugene V. Debs and vigorously argued for birth control and women’s suffrage.
Until closed by the government in 1917 for its anti-war and “anti-government” platform, The Masses featured a chorus of militant voices including such writers as John Reed, Crystal Eastman, Hubert Harrison, Inez Milholland, Mary Heaton Vorse, Louis Untermeyer, Randolf Bourne, Arturo Giovannitti, Michael Gold, Helen Keller, William English Walling, Anna Strunsky, Carl Sandburg, Upton Sinclair, Floyd Dell and Louise Bryant. It also featured a host of political artists including John Sloan, Robert Henri, Mary Ellen Sigsbee, Cornelia Barns, Rockwell Kent, Art Young, Boardman Robinson, Robert Minor, Lydia Gibson, K. R. Chamberlain, Hugo Gellert, George Bellows and Maurice Becker.
At other times, the radical history of the LES has been marked not just by controversial speech or passive resistance alone, but by direct action that, on occasion, has exploded into violence captivating the watch of the rest of New York City as if this one hundred square block area is very much of a different world.
Thus, on January 13, 1874, over 7,000 largely unemployed workers gathered in Tompkins Square Park, in the largest demonstration New York City had ever seen, to demand financial assistance from the City during an economic depression.
Ten and a half acres in total, the square-shaped park is bounded on the north by East 10th Street, on the east by Avenue B, on the south by East 7th Street, and on the west by Avenue A. It is abutted by St. Marks Place to the west.
Without warning, not long after the demonstration began, some 1,600 policemen charged the park and dispersed most of the crowd beating people throughout it with clubs. Others, on horseback, cleared the surrounding streets. Some of the demonstrators fought back in vain… attempting to defend the square. Hundreds were injured.
“. . . mounted police charged the crowd on Eighth Street, riding them down and attacking men, women, and children without discrimination. It was an orgy of brutality. I was caught in the crowd on the street and barely saved my head from being cracked by jumping down a cellar-way.”
Little more than a century later, on August 6, 1988, Tompkins Square Park exploded yet once again when police attacked a large group of peaceful demonstrators protesting a newly established curfew intended to clear the park of activists, homeless and so-called squatters that had made increasing use of Tompkins Square for demonstrations against the City and its misuse of local community space. Bystanders, activists, neighborhood residents and journalists were caught up in the violence.
Despite a brief lull in the fighting, the mêlée continued until 6 a.m. the next day. Numerous injuries resulted with over 100 complaints of police brutality lodged following the riot. One headline in the New York Times summed up the events: “Yes, a Police Riot.”
St. Marks Place
If Tompkins Square Park is the heart of the East Village, St. Marks Place is its soul. James Fenimore Cooper lived at 6 St. Marks from 1834-1836. While there, he published his epic “A letter To My Countrymen.” It proved to be his most scathing work of social criticism in which he denounces the “slavery of party affiliations.”
In 1854 The Nursery for the Children of Poor Women… the first of its kind… was set up in a rundown house on St. Marks.
In 1917, Leon Trotsky arrived on St. Marks Place where he wrote for the Novy Mir (“New World”), then based at 77 St. Marks, while living with his family across the street in an apartment at 80 St. Marks. Just a few years earlier, Berkman and Goldman opened the progressive Modern School at No. 16 St. Marks. Among its teachers were famed muckrakers Jack London and Upton Sinclair.
In the 1940’s, W.H. Auden resided on St. Marks. In the 60’s, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin co-founded the Youth International Party (“Yippies”) at No. 30 St. Marks and Lenny Bruce lived for a while, on the famed street, at No. 13. In 1966, Andy Warhol housed his Exploding Plastic Inevitable collective above the Electric Circus nightclub at 19-25 St. Marks… installing the Velvet Underground as the house band. During the same period, Debbie Harry lived at 13 St. Marks. Often were the occasions when a vibrant sweep down St. Marks Place would mean a chance encounter with Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg… a longtime area resident.
Elsewhere on the Lower East Side, throughout the 60’s, political activists, movements and artists alike continued its well established tradition of serving as a safe haven for cultural diversity, political dissidents and controversial speech.
For example, just up the block from what had been the home of Charlie Parker, stands the Christodora House. Located on Avenue B, directly across the street from Tompkins Square Park, the Young Lords and Black Panther Party maintained their respective headquarters during this period.
The Young Lords, in particular, played an important role in what was, and remains, a heavily Latino neighborhood… creating community projects similar to those of the Black Panthers but with a Latino flavor. Such projects included a free breakfast program for children, the Emeterio Betances free health clinic, community testing for tuberculosis and lead-poisoning, free clothing drives, cultural events and Puerto Rican history classes. The female leadership in New York pushed the Young Lords to fight for women’s rights.
80 St. Marks Place
The venue for Sunday’s panel discussion has a storied history itself in the LES. Beginning as a nightclub during Prohibition, 80 Saint Marks Place was home to performers that included such Jazz greats as Thelonious Monk, Harry “Sweets” Edison, John Coltrane and Frank Sinatra.
After Theatre 80 was established in the former nightclub, its tradition of diversity in the arts continued as it launched the careers of famous performers including the likes of Gary Burghoff, Bob Balaban and Billy Crystal, who once worked there as an usher.
Richard “Lord” Buckley, described by Bob Dylan in his book “Chronicles” as “the hipster bebop preacher who defied all labels”, had his final performance at Theatre 80 when his cabaret card was seized by police from the vice squad and his show closed. Outraged, Buckley went to the local precinct to demand his card’s return. Not long thereafter he ended up dead in St. Vincent’s Hospital of an apparent stroke. That brought about a movement which eventually ended the Cabaret Card system in New York City.
Not many years later, the legendary play “Hair” was cast at Theatre 80. During the 1970s and 80s it also served as a revival house where one could see vintage films. Among those who attended, often to see their own body of work was Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford, Myrna Loy, Ruby Keeler and Joan Blondell.
More recently Theatre 80 presented a play by noted poet, playwright, author and racial equality activist, Sonya Sanchez. Fred Hampton Jr. was often seen at the theatre to attend events for famed radical defense attorney, Lynne Stewart, who recently died having been politically persecuted and imprisoned for her life’s work.
Actively involved in a wide range of community issues, the theatre, not long ago, along with Patti Smith, sponsored a concert to raise money for the victims of the Second Avenue gas explosion which caused two deaths, injured at least nineteen people… four critically… and completely destroyed four buildings between East 7th Street and St. Marks Place. It has held a number of so-called “truther” forums that explored the events of 9-11… an issue of burning interest to the local community.
Come this Sunday, the panel discussion will proceed in the ideal venue in the perfect community. To be sure, at times, its participants will surely say things that may offend the sensibilities of some in the audience. On occasion, panel members will disagree with one another as the market place of ideas is not a group-speak but rather a challenge to explore diverse and often competing thoughts in the pursuit of truth.
Ideas may sting, they may hurt, and they may challenge us to explore issues that can cause great personal discomfort. That’s precisely what they are intended to do. There is no question that while the clash of ideas causes pain; the suppression of ideas causes greater harm… and sometimes pain is the stretch of growing.
Thanks to the refusal of Lorcan Otway, owner of Theatre 80, to surrender to howls of a few, join us this Sunday, April 30 at 5PM in the heart of the ongoing American evolution at Theatre 80, 80 St. Marks Place in the Lower East Side of New York City.
Stanley L. Cohen is lawyer and activist in New York City.
BETHLEHEM – Israeli authorities have notified Israeli travel agencies that they will be forced to sign a commitment pledging not to take groups of tourists to the occupied West Bank, according to a copy the notification obtained by Ma’an on Sunday.
In the Hebrew-language document dated April 23, the Border Control Department of the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority notifies travel agencies that as of May 15, the day when Palestinians commemorate the 1948 Nakba, they will have to “attach, with each request to bring a group of tourists into the country, a special form pledging that they will not send tourists to Judea and Samaria,” using the Israeli term for the occupied West Bank.
The document only addresses Israeli tourism agencies, and not individual would-be tourists.
The forms must be signed and sent to one of three Population and Immigration Authority email addresses listed in the document.
The document warns tourism agencies that their requests to bring groups of tourists would “not be processed” if the pledge was not signed and attached.
A spokesperson for the Israeli Population and Migration Authority could not immediately be reached for comment.
If implemented, the new regulation described in the document would be an additional blow to a suffering tourism industry in the occupied West Bank, which already has to contend with numerous unequal laws and restrictions that have crippled the Palestinian market, while investing millions of dollars in the Israeli market.
A number of sites which attract thousands of visitors each year, such as the Nativity Church in Bethlehem, could be affected by this directive.
“Israel’s occupation and colonization of Palestine is not limited only to its military elements, but is also manifested in its use of tourism as a political tool. It is a tool used to strengthen its position as occupying power, and to maintain its domination over Palestinian land and people, but also as an instrument for the dissemination of propaganda to millions of tourists, including politicians, community leaders and journalists who receive free-of-charge first class tours to Israel,” human rights lawyer and legal researcher Amjad Alqasis wrote in 2015.
As current regulations stand, when applying for visas, Israeli tourism agencies only need to submit names and passport numbers, while Palestinian agencies attempting the same are met with administrative obstacles, and cannot guarantee that their visa requests will be accepted.
Tourists who tell Israeli border control officials of their intention to visit the occupied West Bank also face the possibility of undergoing lengthy interrogations, or even deportation for alleged security reasons, or without being provided an explanation at all.
When tourists are able to reach the occupied West Bank, they are then forced to negotiate with hundreds of Israeli checkpoints and other military obstacles that restrict movement for Palestinians both within the West Bank and along its borders with Israel and Jordan.
“Another obstacle to operating a tour is the presence of 500,000 to 600,000 illegal Israeli Jewish settlers currently living in the occupied Palestinian territory,” who “constitute a growing and consistent threat to Palestinian livelihoods,” including Palestinian tour guides, Alqasis noted.
My letter to Twitter legal department
Twitter has asked me to remove the above tweet, due to a complaint from the leading French Jewish group, the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF). Below is a copy of my email correspondence with the Twitter Legal Department.
I most certainly am not going to remove this content. It consists of a brilliant, incisive work of art by David Dees, who is widely viewed as one of the two or three most important (and most-viewed) political artists working today. I am copying him on this email.
The art work in question is a passionate protest against the brutal abuse of the human rights of Palestinians by the war criminal leader of Israel, Netanyahu. Many thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians have been slaughtered in repeated assaults on Gaza by the Netanyahu regime, which routinely drops white phosphorus on civilian targets, bombs ambulances, schools, hospitals, refugee shelters and UN humanitarian installations, and refers to these regular massacres of thousands of innocents as routine “mowing the lawn.”
These and other atrocities are committed in order to ethnically cleanse Palestine and purify it as a “Jewish State.” So Dees’ use of the Israeli flag with the Star of David, and the images of rabbis, is entirely appropriate in context, as is the use of the US flag symbolizing US complicity in these crimes. (I am copying Naturei Karta International, a group of anti-Zionist Jews led by my colleague Rabbi Weiss, and will happily take down the content if the Rabbi thinks it is bigoted or inappropriate.) Calling out Jewish-Zionist and American oppressors does not amount to bigotry against Zionist Jews or Americans. Both of these two human groups are powerful in relation to other groups, and both are using their power to horrifically oppress the relatively powerless people of Palestine.
There is no bigotry in siding with the powerless against the powerful. The concept of bigotry is only meaningful in relation to prejudices against relatively powerless, oppressed groups, not powerful oppressing ones. If you start censoring people for “prejudice against the powerful” where will it end? Will we be prohibited from mocking, deriding, deploring, and otherwise verbally and artistically attacking rich people, politicians, CEOs, dictators, ruling classes, celebrities, bullies, and other powerful and privileged individuals and groups?
I will be happy to discuss these issues with representatives from Twitter and/or CRIF, am available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. US Central, and eagerly await your call. I speak fluent French and would love to speak with a CRIF representative en français.
Dr. Kevin Barrett
(phone number redacted)
On Apr 13, 2017, at 5:26 PM, Twitter Legal <email@example.com> wrote:
Dear Twitter user,We are writing to inform you that Twitter has received correspondence from the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), regarding your Twitter account, @truthjihad, specifically:
One of our core values is to defend and respect the user’s voice. Accordingly, it is our standard policy to notify users upon receipt of a request to remove content from their account.
We are notifying you of this request about your account so that you may decide whether or how you will respond. Please let us know (by replying directly to this email) whether you will remove the reported content. Please note that we may be obligated to take action regarding the content identified in the request in the future.
For more information on our Country Withheld Content policy please see this page: https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169222
If you believe we have contacted you in error, please reply to this email and let us know.
Twitter is not able to provide legal advice. You may wish to consult legal counsel about this matter. For more general information on legal requests, please refer to the following Help Center article: https://t.co/lrfaq.
Reported Username: @truthjihad
Reporter Username: @Le_CRIF
Reporter Email: [Redacted]
Anxious jobseekers could have another reason to sweat over interviews and reference checks. Google’s latest creation aimed at the recruitment market could give bosses the ability to do full, uncensored background checks.
Google Hire, the Internet giant’s new recruitment tool that allows employers to manage job applications, has sparked fears that recruiters could access applicants’ entire browsing history.
Touted as a recruitment tool, like Linkedin, Google Hire would allow employers to place job ads and manage applications through the product.
The product’s sign-in page has an option to connect through a personal Google account, which has prompted fears that employers could be able to access your search history and Youtube subscriptions.
Google, however, hasn’t given much away about the new venture, so it is unclear exactly what employers will be able to search for when looking for potential hires.
The ‘Applicant-Tracking System’ (ATS) that Google uses to manage the tracking for its own job applicants has now been repurposed to create a new revenue stream for the company.
At the moment, the website can only be accessed by those who have been invited to sign up. Crunchbase reports several tech companies appear to be testing the product, including Poynt, SingleHop and CoreOS.
In what amounts to a ringing endorsement of the claims of Holocaust revisionists, Amazon.com has apparently concluded that their books cannot be effectively refuted – and therefore must be banned.
M.S. King, author of The Bad War, has been notified that his book has been banned from Amazon. The explanation:
We’re contacting you regarding the following book: The Bad War: The Truth NEVER Taught About World War II. During our review process, we found that this content is in violation of our content guidelines. As a result, we cannot offer this book for sale.
Amazon did not explain precisely which guidelines had been violated, nor did it cite specific passages. Therefore the “violations” claim is an obvious lie. The real reason King’s book and others were banned is that Jewish-Zionist pressure groups have mounted a campaign (timed to accompany the “cemetery desecration” PR stunt?) aimed at making Holocaust revisionism books unavailable. Obviously they believe the revisionists’ claims are irrefutable — and have convinced Amazon that such is the case.
Are the same people who are knocking over headstones in cemeteries also pressuring Amazon to remove holocaust revisionism books? That would certainly fit their standard “problem-reaction-solution” methodology.
After MS King emailed me about the suppression of his book, I searched Amazon to see if the handful of holocaust revisionism titles I’m familiar with were still there. (Disclaimer: I have only read a few books on this subject and am not a revisionist, just an open-minded truth-seeker and defender of freedom of inquiry.)
So which books have been taken down?
Thomas Dalton’s Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides is by far the best book I have read on the Holocaust controversy. It is thorough, precise, well-documented, and lays out a convincing prima facia case that holocaust revisionism needs to be taken seriously. Scholarly, dispassionate, and utterly lacking in anything that could remotely be called “hate” or bigotry, Debating the Holocaust is no longer available on Amazon. And that is an outrage.
Nick Kollerstrom’s Breaking the Spell is also missing in action from Amazon.com. A History of Science Ph.D. with a specialty in chemistry, Dr. Kollerstrom was summarily fired, with no reason given, from University College of London after he published a scholarly article critiquing the evidence for mass execution cyanide gas chambers in the Nazi camps. His book Breaking the Spell lays out his conclusions — including his explanation of how the rumor of mass gassings was initiated by British war propagandists in 1942, then snowballed as the Nazis applied copious amounts of Zyklon-B in minature “gas chambers” to the clothing and bedding of inmates to kill lice and stem that summer’s typhus outbreak.
So now Kollerstrom has not only been fired for voicing heretical views, but he can’t even offer them in book form to the mass reading public.
Another revisionist I’ve read, though not extensively, is Dr. Robert Faurisson. A convert to Islam, Faurisson is wildly popular in Morocco, where his books were recommended to me by academic colleagues there during my year of Fulbright-sponsored Ph.D. research in 1999-2000.
Has Faurisson’s Amazon catalogue been tampered with? I can’t tell; but there certainly is a shocking paucity of affordable Faurisson offerings there. The only volume of his available for less than $40 is the 1981 Journal of Historical Review v.2 n.4 he co-edited with Phillip Beck. The bulk of his work is “currently unavailable.”
How about Germar Rudolf, who (like Faurisson) has actually been imprisoned for his scholarly efforts on this controversial subject? I’m not really familiar with his work, but I understand that he is considered one of the most serious scholars in the revisionism field. Are his books still on Amazon? Apparently they are. But for how long?
Update: Rudolf’s books are in fact being removed – see below
Another very strong pro-holocaust-revisionism voice still up on Amazon is Gerard Menuhin, whose Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil is now selling for $90. It’s a passionate, eye-opening book, capable of upsetting mainstream readers’ preconceptions about a whole range of issues.
Listen to my radio interview with Gerard Menuhin.
And how about David Irving, who is considered a revisionist by Hollywood but not by most actual revisionists? Irving’s supposed masterpiece, Hitler’s War, is still available — for $80. (Apparently there is a market for these disreputable and dangerous books.)
The above list covers the “revisionists” I know anything about.
How about those who argue against them?
Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman’s Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? is available for less than five dollars. Unfortunately for anyone who cares about rational arguments and empirical evidence, Denying History is clearly inferior to Thomas Dalton’s Debating the Holocaust, which is no longer available on Amazon at any price.
Deborah Lipstadt’s Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, possibly the best-known anti-revisionism book, is also the most shockingly vapid. Lipstadt makes little effort to argue her case on its merits, but instead spends virtually the entire 304 pages lobbing hysterical ad-hominem arguments. The only sane reaction to Lipstadt’s unbelievably lame volume is: “If this is the best the anti-revisionists can do, no wonder they have to try to get revisionists’ books banned!” You can get a used copy for less than two dollars and fifty cents.
So here is the takeaway:
Attention, Amazon shoppers! You can still buy bad and mediocre books arguing that holocaust revisionists are wrong — but you are not permitted to buy better books (including at least one very good book, Dalton’s Debating the Holocaust) that might lead you to the opposite conclusion.
Update: This just in from Germar Rudolph (who also published his own blog post “Amazon Mass-Bans Dissident Materials: Hundreds of Titles Erased within a Day”)
Dear Dr. Barrett:
In your latest article, which I read with interest and gratitude, you write about a handful of revisionist books. Well, what an understatement. While Castle Hill Publishers might be the biggest fish in the revisionist teapot, we’re by far not the only ones publishing books in that field. But from our program alone, the following 68 titles were banned on March 6. Use the links provided to see for yourself.
|Title||ISBN||Amazon USA||Amazon UK|
|Auswanderung der Juden…||1591480841||Amazon USA||Amazon UK|
|Jewish Emigration from the Third…||1591481252||Amazon USA||Amazon UK|
|The First Holocaust||1591481163||Amazon USA||Amazon UK|
|The Central Construction Office…||1591481120||Amazon USA||Amazon UK|
|Die Zentralbauleitung…||1591480507||Amazon USA||Amazon UK|
The first two deal with Jewish emigration from the Third Reich prior to the war. It is based on mainstream sources and does not touch upon the extermination issue. The third deals with Jewish fundraising campaigns during and after the FIRST World War, and does therefore already for chronological reason not deal with the Jewish Holocaust of the SECOND World War. The last two books are highly esoteric studies of the organization, responsibilities and activities of the Central Construction Office at Auschwitz, which was in charge of building and maintaining the camp’s infrastructure. It is based on original wartime archival material and is not dealing with extermination claims of Auschwitz at all. The book has even been cited as a source by mainstream historians.
The sweeping mass ban enforced within hours, and the senseless aimlessness and random nature with which it was implemented, clearly show that these books were not pulled because their content was checked and found impermissible, but because someone (probably Yad Vashem) had sent them a list of items to ban, and Amazon simply complied by checking off all the items on that list.
Castle Hill Publishers & CODOH
Book Shop, Customer Service
PO Box 243
Uckfield, TN22 9AW, UK
Marcello Ferrada de Noli, one of the leaders of the Swedish Doctors for Human Rights non-governmental organization (SWEDHR), said Wednesday he and his colleagues has been receiving threats following the release of their article exposing a purportedly staged video by White Helmets group, a volunteer rescue service operating in Syria.
In the beginning of March, the SWEDHR released an article claiming that the White Helmets’ video of a child reportedly treated after a chemical attack showed fake treatment, including an intracardiac injection done with an empty syringe, which would have killed a child if the baby had not already been dead.
“The threats I receive are anonymous, somewhat non-specific. I see them on Twitter, on social networks, my colleagues also receive them. I feel a lot of discomfort because of this. But I hope that my article, despite all this, will be seen by many people,” de Noli told Rossiya 24 broadcaster.
The professor said that he was simply making public his conclusions that he could prove openly and honestly.
De Noli added that the SWEDHR would continue its work.
24 Palestinian journalists imprisoned; freed journalist Omar Nazzal barred from Jerusalem, travel and banking
Palestinian journalist and former prisoner Omar Nazzal recently reported on his Facebook page about a series of restrictions that have been issued by Israeli occupation forces against him through military orders. Nazzal was released from administrative detention on 20 February after 10 months of imprisonment without charge or trial; since that time, he has been slapped with a two-year travel ban preventing him from leaving occupied Palestine; banned from Jerusalem and Palestine ’48 for 99 years; and forbidden from opening bank accounts until further notice.
Nazzal was seized by Israeli occupation forces in April 2016 as he attempted to enter Jordan through the Karameh/Allenby crossing en route to the European Federation of Journalists conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is a member of the Secretariat of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and president of the Assembly of Democratic Journalists. His detention was internationally condemned by the EFJ, the International Federation of Journalists and other international associations.
There are currently 24 Palestinian journalists imprisoned in Israeli jails, the Palestinian Media Assembly reported on 2 April on March violations of the rights of journalists by the Israeli occupation. They include the five journalists of Sanabel Radio, who have been imprisoned since August 2016, when occupation forces invaded the radio station, abducting all of the staff present. Nine journalists were arrested in March, including Samah Dweik, Hassan Sawan, Mohammed Abed Rabbo, Khaleda Ghosheh, Raed Abu Remaileh (since released) and Mohammed Batrakh, Ayoub Sawan, Asim Mustafa and Musab al-Said (all still detained.)
Palestine TV correspondent Ahmed Shawar was injured by rubber-coated metal bullets as he covered a demonstration against settlements and the apartheid wall in Kufr Qaddoum. In addition, multiple photographers were injured in Nabi Saleh by Israeli occupation forces, including Rasha Herzallah, Hamza Shalash, Essam Rimawi, Mohammed Turkman, Majdi Shtayyeh, Abbas Momani and Saleh Hamad. In Kafr Malek, Nasser Shyoukhi and Abdel-Kader Bilbeisi were injured after inhaling tear gas. In addition, Israeli occupation forces attacked and confiscated several print shops, including Nahda in Tulkarem, Ibn Khaldoun in Tulkarem and Dozan in Bethlehem.
Israeli occupation forces stormed the home of Palestinian cartoonist Osama Nazzal on 27 March, smashing his paintings on the wall and drawing tools as well as confiscating other artwork.
The German government has approved a new bill on combating hate speech and fake news, under which social networks could face hefty fines if they fail to remove offensive content promptly. Critics denounced the bill as a violation of free speech.
The bill, introduced by German Justice Minister Heiko Maas, is aimed at forcing social network giants such as Facebook or Twitter to take more responsibility for the content posted by users and to make it compliant with German law.
“We do not accept the fact that companies in Germany do not adhere to the law. Therefore in future, if it doesn’t get better, we will impose high fines on these companies,” Maas told German broadcaster ARD’s ‘Morgenmagazin’ show.
“Social-network providers are responsible when their platforms are misused to propagate hate crimes and fake news,” he wrote in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.
Earlier, Maas had already warned that online companies that fail to delete content tagged as offensive by some users within the timeframe set in the new bill would face fines of up to €50 million (US$53 million).
Executives of social media groups also risk individual fines of up to €5 million ($5.3 million) in case of non-compliance.
The proposed legislation says that “openly offensive” content should be deleted by social networks within 24 hours after being reported by users, while content whose nature is not clearly offensive should be examined and removed within a week if its illegality is confirmed.
The legislation also stresses that the authorities should take a “cautious approach” towards fining online giants, and only in cases when they regularly fail to remove explicitly offensive content. Social networks should not be punished if the violations of the new regulations take place only in some “specific individual cases,” it states.
The list of offensive materials includes various forms of hate speech and online incitement of hatred as well as fake news, libel, and defamation, along with child pornography and terrorism-related activities.
However, the task of identifying, examining and removing such content is in fact handed over to social network administrators and the users themselves.
At the same time, the bill obliges social networks to provide users with “an easily recognizable, directly reachable, and constantly available” complaint process for “prosecutable content.”
The legislation also obliges online giants to provide reports to the German authorities concerning how many complaints they receive from users, how many offensive posts they remove and how quickly they do it.
The reports, which should be provided every three months, must also include data on how many employees are tasked with dealing with offensive content in each social network company.
Earlier, Maas admitted that an attempt to make social networks remove offensive content on a voluntary basis “has failed,” as he explained the necessity for the new measures, German media report.
According to a survey conducted by the Justice Ministry, Facebook deleted about 46 percent of offensive and illegal content between July and August 2016, while between February and January 2017 this figure dropped to 39 percent. Twitter reportedly removed only 1 percent of content deemed illegal in recent months. YouTube, however, deleted as much as 90 percent of such material over the same period, as reported by Deutsche Welle.
‘Freedom of expression ends where criminal law begins’
The bill provoked a wave of criticism from opposition politicians, media companies and various network activists.
Renate Kuenast, the Green Party’s legal expert, criticized the legislation by saying that it would effectively limit the freedom of expression.
“My fear, and that of many others, is that in the end the version [Maas] is now presenting will limit freedom of opinion because it will simply become delete, delete, delete,” she said, as cited by Deutsche Welle.
She also said that the hefty fines envisaged in the bill would work as “almost an invitation to not only delete real insults, but everything for safety’s sake.”
Her words were partly echoed by Google representatives, who warned that the proposed legislation could lead to “overblocking.”
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki called the proposed fines “a heavy burden for the [social network] platforms,” adding that “the platforms could remove content that should not be removed” out of fear of being fined, Der Spiegel reports.
The German Publishers Association (VDZ) went further and denounced the justice minister’s proposal as an attempt to create a “state-imposed private thought police.”
Even some NGOs, such as the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which campaigns against right-wing parties, racism and anti-Semitism, said that the new bill is “in fact a limitation of the freedom of expression.”
In the comments on his new proposal, Maas acknowledged that freedom of expression “has huge significance in our democracy,” adding at the same time that “freedom of expression ends where criminal law begins” and stressing that the new bill would be only the beginning.
According to the German media, the parliament plans to pass the new bill before the summer break. Some critics explain such a “rush” by the government’s desire to make it a law before the elections in September.
A Labour Party committee upheld the charges leveled at Ken Livingstone for his comments about the links between Hitler and Zionism last year, but did not expel the former mayor of London from its ranks. The time-limited sanction has provoked outrage from Jewish groups.
Following two days of legal and historical deliberations behind closed doors, the National Constitutional Committee found the 71-year-old, who had been suspended from the party since April 2016, guilty of three counts of conduct that is “prejudicial or… grossly detrimental to the party.” Livingstone, who says that he has no plans to return to frontline politics, is barred from holding any position in the party, or running as a Labour candidate until April 2018.
In the wake of the hearing, an unrepentant Livingstone told the media that proceedings resembled “sitting through a court in North Korea,” and complained that “natural justice” had not been done, and said that those who called him “anti-Semitic” and a “Nazi apologist” should have gone in front of the panel instead.
“If I’d said Hitler was a Zionist, I would say sorry. You can’t apologize for telling the truth. I apologize for the offence caused by those Labour MPs who lied,” insisted Livingstone, who said that he was smeared due to his connections with Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, by the latter’s political opponents.
‘Hitler-Zionist collaboration’ controversy
In his original remarks last year, made in defense of Naz Shah, a Labour MP also accused of anti-Semitism, Livingstone claimed that Hitler “was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews.”
Instead of retracting his comments, Livingstone, who led the Greater London Council in the 1980s and served as the city’s mayor between 2000 and 2008, has tried to clarify his views, focusing on the 1933 Haavara agreement between Zionist German Jews and the Nazi authorities, which enabled some to emigrate to present-day Israel, and transfer some of their assets out of the country.
“[Hitler] didn’t just sign the deal. The SS set up training camps so that German Jews who were going to go [to Palestine] could be trained to cope with a very different sort of country when they got there,” Livingstone said last month.
“He passed a law saying the Zionist flag and the swastika were the only flags that could be flown in Germany… Of course, they started selling Mauser pistols to the underground Jewish army. So you had right up until the start of the Second World War real collaboration.”
Suspension a ‘slap on the wrist’
The Jewish Labour Movement, which had submitted a 178-page report to the panel challenging Livingstone’s version of history and criticizing his “disparaging, inaccurate and out-of-context comments,” said that Tuesday’s decision was a “betrayal” of the party.
“This punishment is totally insufficient. They don’t match the leadership’s commitment to zero tolerance on anti-Semitism. They imply a revolving door policy in which you can revise the history of the Holocaust, sit quietly for a year then come back and do it all again,” said Jeremy Newmark, the chair of the Jewish Labour Movement.
“Mr Livingstone’s inaccurate and antagonistic comments including over the past 40 years have had a huge impact on the Jewish community,” said Simon Johnson, the chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council.
In excess of 20 Labour MPs, who had called for Livingstone to be expelled, expressed their unhappiness with the suspension, with Anna Turley calling it “weak and shameful” and Lisa Nandy calling the decision a “sad day” for the Labour Party.
Social media giant Facebook has teamed up with other tech corporations aiming to launch a $14 million fund to end news illiteracy and improve public understanding of journalism.
“As part of the Facebook Journalism Project, we want to give people the tools necessary to be discerning about the information they see online,” said Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnership, in a statement.
The nonprofit called the News Integrity Initiative and sponsored by Facebook, Mozilla and other tech industry leaders and foundations, will be based at the City University of New York. The fund will be run as a separate project of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
“We’re in good company with over 25 funders and participants, including the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, the Ford Foundation, the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Tow Foundation, AppNexus, Mozilla and Betaworks,” according to Facebook’s statement.
“We want to bring the conversation past just talking about media and to bring the public in. We want to go beyond the fake news discussion and get to what I hope is a flight to quality,” said Jeff Jarvis, who heads CUNY’s Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, as quoted by Business Insider.
False news and misinformation veiled as true stories became a serious issue during the US election campaign and the presidential elections last year.
The joint move comes a part of an attempt to address scandals evoked by a wave of false news stories posted on Facebook that went viral during the elections.
Following unproven claims Facebook contributed to the US presidential election result, last December, the web giant announced a plan to crack down on ‘fake news.’ As part of the project, the corporation partnered with fact checkers including ABC News, FactCheck.org, AP, Snopes, and Politifact.
Recent polls have revealed that the public’s trust in the news industry has significantly eroded, reports CNBC.
The Israeli government has purchased a software system enabling it to monitor social media and specific users to plan ideas in online discourse.
The bid, which was won by a company called Buzzilla, specifies that the software must have the ability to “plant an idea in the debate on social networks, web news sites and forums,” reports Ido Kenan on the website Room 404, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Haaretz said, according to Days of Palestine, that the main purpose of the software is to monitor debate on the internet and identify trends and feelings among the public.
“From time to time, the ministries have the need for monitoring services, and recovery and processing of data on internet,” the bid request states.
“These services are necessary for a range of needs in the government sector, such as generating useful information for the sake of ongoing activity, feasibility testing, identifying trends, identifying needs and identifying and handling crises.”
The Israeli finance ministry, which issued the request, further explains that, until now, ministries requiring such services had obtained them from different sources, so it decided to find a system that can supply all of the ministries’ needs.
Via this system, the Israeli government is able to plant ideas in conversations on social networks and forums through an automated or semi-automated mechanism.
Haaretz wondered what the government is doing with the system. It answered: There is the possibility of swaying an existing debate, which is worrying; but, as the system also offers a breakdown of users, even more worrying is the theoretical ability of the ministries to focus on specific ones, such as supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.
“In our case, since there is no legal obligation to deliver information, and since there is no certainty regarding the ways this information will be transferred and processed, there is another problem: What is going to be done with that information,” lawyer Yehonatan Klinger, the legal adviser of the Digital Rights Movement, said.