Rabble blog by Pierre Beaudet about Mulcair

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autoworker autoworker's picture

Mr.Tea wrote:

He accused "Bay Street" of backing Mulcair. Of the five "Bay Street" examples he gave, four of them had distinctly Jewish names. He then used that as a segue to talk about Mulcair's "support" for Israel. Get it yet?

I assume that literally hundreds, if not thousands, of indivduals have donated to Mulcair`s campaign. The author chooses to specifically highlight 4  Jewish donors out of these hundreds or thousands of people. How about now?

He uses it as a segue to invoke a commo anti-Semitic stereotype of wealthy Jews controlling the government. Make sense?

Finally, the idea that "supporting Israel" is inherently a negative thing. As far as I can tell, Mulcair's "staunch support" for Israel consists of his hesitancy to see Israel (and the six millions Jews who inhabit it) driven into the sea. This is apparently controversial. I'm trying to think of another country in the world in which the mere support of their right to exist is somehow worth discussing. I presume that Mulcari is also against Japan, Mexico and Argentina (to pick 3 countries at random) being destroyed and their populations killed, but that is apparently common sense, whereas with Israel it's contentious.

I still think your over the top on this.

autoworker autoworker's picture

Unionist wrote:

autoworker wrote:

Is it be safe to say that Pierre Beaudet (and, perhaps, Quebec's left) it not comfortable with the prospect of Mulcair leading the NDP/NPD?

Yeah, Pierre Beaudet hates Mulcair - isn't that why he wrote the article?

No, Québec's left has never elected or even nominated Pierre Beaudet as its spokesperson. And what makes you think that "Québec's left" would be any more monolithic in its opinion of who should lead the NDP (most that I've spoken to don't really care that much) than "Ontario's left"? or "Canada's left"?

Finally, would it be possible not to turn this thread into a "pro- or anti-Israel" thread, notwithstanding Mr.Tea's well-known political preferences? Too easy a target, and aren't there anough threads like that?

 

I don't know that hatred drives Beaudet, but apparently you do. I don't assume that you know more about the Quebec left than he does, but apparently you do. Finally, I never mentioned Israel, but you have.

Unionist

autoworker wrote:

 

I don't know that hatred drives Beaudet, but apparently you do.

I didn't say hatred drives Beaudet - did I? I said it's obvious he hates Mulcair (whom he calls union-bashing, anti-nationalist, anti-French language, pro-free trade, disaster if he wins, etc.). This was in response to your question as to whether it's safe to say Beaudet isn't "comfortable" with Mulcair being the leader.

Quote:
I don't assume that you know more about the Quebec left than he does, but apparently you do.

I didn't say I knew anything about the Québec left, except that it's not monolithic and it didn't elect Beaudet as its spokesperson. He made grandiose statements on behalf of Québec's left, as well as the Canadian left. All I did was to ridicule his generalizations. I'm not sure how you're reading more into my post?

Quote:
Finally, I never mentioned Israel, but you have.

That last paragraph was not addressed to you, obviously, but to those who were re-starting a debate about Mulcair and Israel. Sorry if you misread that.

 

Michelle

By the way, it would be inaccurate to claim that evangelical Christians vote as a bloc too, or even that they agree on issues like gay marriage or even abortion.  Back in my church days (and yes, I went to an evangelical church), there were lots of lefty types who went to our church.  And I was pro-choice and in favour of gay rights, and lots of others were too.  This was during the height of the Mike Harris "Common Sense Revolution" and I remember chatting with one woman who told a group of us that she thought Mike Harris was "just evil."  And more people in that group of us agreed with her than not.  Because those of us in downtown churches were seeing the devastation that Harris's cut of 21% of social assistance rates immediately.  The number of people coming to our church doors during the week and asking for help doubled or tripled overnight. 

So really, you can't even generalize about evangelical Christians.  Probably what people who use that as shorthand mean is fundamentalist Christians (they tend to be the Biblical literalists).  Although even among fundamentalists, there are people who pay more attention to the social gospel of sharing with the poor and judging not lest ye be judged than the old testament Thou Shalt Nots.  That's why I usually refer to right-wing, fundamentalist Christians as "Moral Majority" types when I want to use shorthand.

KenS

Good point michelle. And probably thread drift to continue, but....

To show how far that can go... What michele is calling fundamentalists were a big part of our original activist base in my very rural constituency when the NDP went from being non-existant to winning the seat.

And part of my family are fundamentalists. The siblings my age see focusing on gay marriage and the other biggies as a distraction. They are a minority, but not at all uncommon. Among other things, none of those big social issues drives who they vote for. And the young generation- the nephews and nieces mostly remain evangelicals and biblical literalists but have no patience at all for 'redneck politics'.

This is more true in Canada, but US evengelicals and fundamentalists have also always had this diversity, and are getting more politicaly diverse... at the same time that right wing fundamentalism gets more nutty and dangerous.

Mr.Tea

I'd tend to agree with that analysis of "Evangelicals". The first real evangelical Christian to be president was Jimmy Carter, who is about as left as presidents have been recently

Unionist

Speaking of Jimmy Carter, is his family involved in those liver pills? If anyone knows, just chime in please.

Caissa

To the best of my knowledge, "No". Wink

Mr.Tea

Unionist wrote:

Are these the Mulcair supporters M. Beaudet had in mind? Or do "Orthodox" Jews have some secret Pope who instructs them all whom to vote for?

No, but certainly among Hasidic groups, the rebbe will instruct them on how to vote and their followers will vote in a massive bloc. In New York state, there are a couple of villages comprised almost exclusively of members of a certain Hasidic sect (Skver hasidim in New Square and Satmar Hasidim in Kiryas Joel) and a look at election results typically show one candidate getting virtually unanimous support from the community.

I'd also take issue with the classification of rabbi Shteinman and the Gerrer Rebbe as "pro-Zionist". Rav Shteinman is the #2 rabbi of the "Litvish" (non-Hasidic) ultra-orthodox and they are ideologically opposed to zionism and the newspaper he controls regularly denounces zionism. The article you linked to says that the key criticisms of him were that he supported professional training programs for the ultra-orthodox and was okay with them serving in an ultra-orthodox unit in the army.

Unionist

Ok then, back to the thread topic.

One of the Hassidic communities (most of them in Outremont riding) are Satmar, an Orthodox anti-Zionist sect thought to number about 130,000 internationally.

Here's what happened a few years ago when two Israeli Orthodox rabbis (different sect) decided to visit Montréal for a fundraising mission:

[url=http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/news/hasidic-protest-in-montreal-sca... protest in Montreal scares off UTJ rabbis' visit[/url]

Quote:

A protest by the Hassidic Satmar sect has led to the cancellation of a fund-raising visit to Montreal by two leading Israeli Ultra-Orthodox rabbis.

The Gerer Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter and Lithuanian Council of Torah Sages head Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman landed yesterday in Toronto but canceled today's planned visit to Montreal over concerns it would spark riots.

The Satmar Hassids and the anti-Zionist Eda Haredit have been conducting a fierce protest against Rabbi Steinman. The leader of the Satmars in Montreal, Rabbi Moshe Menachem Tirnaur, called in his Sabbath sermon "to prevent the entrance of impurity," referring to Steinman. The Satmar Hassids received a permit from the Montreal police to demonstrate in front of the place where Steinman was to have stayed.

Are these the Mulcair supporters M. Beaudet had in mind? Or do "Orthodox" Jews have some secret Pope who instructs them all whom to vote for?

ETA: Deleted "pro-Zionist" designation for fundraising Rabbis, following note by Mr.Tea.

Unionist

Mr.Tea wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Are these the Mulcair supporters M. Beaudet had in mind? Or do "Orthodox" Jews have some secret Pope who instructs them all whom to vote for?

No, but certainly among Hasidic groups, the rebbe will instruct them on how to vote ...

Yes - but my point (I'm sure you'll agree) is that there is not one single authority for all orthodox, not even all Hassidic, Jews, contrary to Beaudet's ignorant insinuation that all orthodox Jews in Outremont (whoever he means by that) will support the same party or person.

Quote:
I'd also take issue with the classification of rabbi Shteinman and the Gerrer Rebbe as "pro-Zionist".

You're correct, that was a slip on my part which I've corrected - thanks.

My point, of course, was to counter Beaudet's insinuation (he says nothing in a straight fashion), and the assumption of certain posters in this thread, that Mulcair might tailor his Middle East politics to win the votes of the so-called "orthodox Jewish community" - when most of the Hassidic sects are either non-Zionist or actively anti-Zionist, with Lubavitch probably being the main exception - and many or most of them live in Mount Royal.

 

Caissa

How far does a statement have to go before Rabble removes a blogger? Or put another, if Beuadet had posted those comments on Babble would they be considered a violation of Babble policy?

Mr.Tea

Unionist wrote:

Yes - but my point (I'm sure you'll agree) is that there is not one single authority for all orthodox, not even all Hassidic, Jews, contrary to Beaudet's ignorant insinuation that all orthodox Jews in Outremont (whoever he means by that) will support the same party or person.

Yes, I'd agree. Most of the Hasidim in Montreal belong to sects based in New York and I doubt that the rebbes get involved in local Quebec politics the way that they do in New York politics.

I think the only Hasidic group actually based in Quebec are the Tosher hasidim, who have their own small village outside Montreal but I don't even know if it's in the Outrement riding.

Unionist

Mr.Tea wrote:

I think the only Hasidic group actually based in Quebec are the Tosher hasidim, who have their own small village outside Montreal but I don't even know if it's in the Outrement riding.

They migrated to Boisbriand long ago - off the island altogether, different riding.

@Caissa: I don't think he should be "removed". I'd be content if he just engaged, either responding or retracting. There are lots of comments appended to his blog that he has not noticed or ignored so far, besides this thread.

 

Caissa

 My two questions still stand 1) how far? 2) If a babbler wrote those comments in Babble would they be considered to have violated babble policy?

Unionist

Caissa wrote:

 My two questions still stand 1) how far? 2) If a babbler wrote those comments in Babble would they be considered to have violated babble policy?

Try replacing "orthodox Jewish community" by "women" or "First Nations" or "orthodox Muslims" or just about anything in that article, and maybe babblers might see the problem a little more clearly.

The issue here, Caissa, is that we (progressive folk) still haven't quite convinced ourselves that associating Jews with support for Zionism or Israel is just as racist (or xenophobic or anti-semitic) as associating Muslims with support for terrorist attacks, theocracies, etc. It has remained ambiguous on babble for some time - and it's the very reason I opened this thread. As you no doubt know, I don't like attacks on Jews, and I tend to show my teeth when they arise.

But your meta-question is probably better suited to rabble reactions, no?

 

 

Caissa

I concur with you Unionist, although if one argues this wasn't far enough the issue of how far is enough is both specific to this situation as well as a meta question.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

rabble.ca has published material I consider to be racist, imperialist, sexist, pointless, centrist, harmful and boring before. rabble.ca selects its bloggers through a variety of criteria including journalistic experience, activist experience, public presence, union experience, public policy experience and some manifestation of leftist credentials, which is usually "I think my stuff belongs on rabble.ca" (or the obverse: "We think your stuff belongs on rabble.ca")

The standards of rabble and babble are different, as are the policies surrounding commenting on an article or blog, and on babble. This has different effects--I think, for example, the best discussions on race, colonialism and feminism do not take place on babble any more, but on front-page articles. But the social dynamics of a blog and discussion board are different, obv. Baudet's opinion is privileged, because he writes the blog and he has the option of ignoring, deleting or responding to the subsequent comments which are frequently not read by most viewers, and are in a smaller font. Obviously, this conversation here has a much different tenor, with several babblers proposing differing but equally privileged viewpoints (if we extract it from the usual social dynamics where certain babblers because of their history/worldviews have more or less social capital amongst babblers themselves).

If an editorial offence has taken place, the traditional mode of response is the ol' letter to the editor (although the staff at rabble.ca read babble too). But the best way to voice criticism about a publication remains through that avenue.

KenS

I agree with U. and Caissa, and its a relevant point even if it is not deemed to violate policy: that people at the drop of a hat attribute uncritical or relatively uncritical support of Israel as 'understandable, they are Jews you know." Or "they are worried about what the Jews in their riding will think of them."

I'm open to seeing it as in many cases laegely 'lazy thinking'. But that does not change that it is not OK, and people must be called on it.

That and attributing pragmatism to the importance of the 'Jewish vote'. To the degree that people are accounting for policticians not being able to forthrightly criticise Israel to the degree warranted and required by its behaviour.... it is the support for Israel in the general population- not the small slice of Jews- that politicians are reluctant to stir or bump into. That and their own degree of Zionist sympathies.

Caissa

Thanks for your cogent commenst, Catchfire.

Unionist

Yeah, and thank you also Ken for your comment, with which I agree completely.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I'm happy you started the thread, Unionist. I'm glad we could have a discussion somewhat removed from the partisanship surrounding the NDP horse race.

Can I add, Unionist, that I share your alarm at the increasing inclination to associate "Jews" with "Zionism" not only on babble, but with the Left and people in general. The worst thing is that this is the fruit of exactly what you and others have been decrying for years on the part of the Israeli regime. Because, of course, Zionists have been working on producing and disseminating precisely this conflation between themselves and the state for years. And it's working.

Unionist

Catchfire wrote:

rabble.ca has published material I consider to be racist, imperialist, sexist, pointless, centrist, harmful and boring before. rabble.ca selects its bloggers through a variety of criteria including journalistic experience, activist experience, public presence, union experience, public policy experience and some manifestation of leftist credentials, which is usually "I think my stuff belongs on rabble.ca" (or the obverse: "We think your stuff belongs on rabble.ca")

The standards of rabble and babble are different, as are the policies surrounding commenting on an article or blog, and on babble. This has different effects--I think, for example, the best discussions on race, colonialism and feminism do not take place on babble any more, but on front-page articles. But the social dynamics of a blog and discussion board are different, obv. Baudet's opinion is privileged, because he writes the blog and he has the option of ignoring, deleting or responding to the subsequent comments which are frequently not read by most viewers, and are in a smaller font. Obviously, this conversation here has a much different tenor, with several babblers proposing differing but equally privileged viewpoints (if we extract it from the usual social dynamics where certain babblers because of their history/worldviews have more or less social capital amongst babblers themselves).

If an editorial offence has taken place, the traditional mode of response is the ol' letter to the editor (although the staff at rabble.ca read babble too). But the best way to voice criticism about a publication remains through that avenue.

Thanks CF, although I must repeat, I was not looking for any executive action to be taken with regard to a blog. I opened this thread to criticize the article (we have an entire forum in fact for discussing rabble items...), and as it happens the issue I wanted to discuss is one which is unresolved on babble itself, certainly in policy terms, namely: Is it cool and kosher to attribute a politician's or a party's pro-Israel stand to "the Jews". I can't tell you offensive I find that - though I think I've used enough colourful terms throughout this thread to give you a soupçon...

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Unionist wrote:

The issue here, Caissa, is that we (progressive folk) still haven't quite convinced ourselves that associating Jews with support for Zionism or Israel is just as racist (or xenophobic or anti-semitic) as associating Muslims with support for terrorist attacks, theocracies, etc. It has remained ambiguous on babble for some time - and it's the very reason I opened this thread.

Nowhere in Beaudet's blog post do the words Zionism or Israel appear.

Unionist

M. Spector wrote:

Unionist wrote:

The issue here, Caissa, is that we (progressive folk) still haven't quite convinced ourselves that associating Jews with support for Zionism or Israel is just as racist (or xenophobic or anti-semitic) as associating Muslims with support for terrorist attacks, theocracies, etc. It has remained ambiguous on babble for some time - and it's the very reason I opened this thread.

Nowhere in Beaudet's blog post do the words Zionism or Israel appear.

What do you call Mulcair's "affair with Israel"? Mind you, on that point he is quite accurate, as everyone knows.

But what is saying about the Jews? He leaves it as an exercise to the reader to determine why he makes some unstated sinister accusation against an entire community. Well, this here reader has figured it out and didn't like the smell much.

 

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

KenS wrote:

That and attributing pragmatism to the importance of the 'Jewish vote'. To the degree that people are accounting for policticians not being able to forthrightly criticise Israel to the degree warranted and required by its behaviour.... it is the support for Israel in the general population- not the small slice of Jews- that politicians are reluctant to stir or bump into. That and their own degree of Zionist sympathies.

I may regret opening this can of worms, but do people percieve 'support for Israel in the general population' or do they percieve 'fear of Palistinians/Arabs/Muslims in the general population' - which leads to support for Israel, which they percieve to be on the front lines in a battle against 'Muslim extremists.'

Or is it all the same thing?

Unionist

Lou, support for Israel by the U.S., U.K., France, Canada, etc. started decades before Islamophobia was any kind of significant phenomenon here (basically after 9/11) - half a century before, in fact. Harper supports Israel for the same reason Obama does - because Israel serves a useful role as a proxy for "the West" in a region which is vital to Western imperial interests. Plus, they're more like us civilized folk than those Arab types.

So while I said I agreed fully with Ken, that was a little bit incorrect. The ruling classes support Israel because they share common interests - not because it wins them votes.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Mulcair's affair with Israel was one of several items mentioned on a shopping list of neoliberal and conservative positions taken by Mulcair over the years. The others were:

• trade-union bashing

• free-trade agreements

• anti-nationalism

• opposed Bill 101

Beaudet mentioned not only "the orthodox Jewish community" but also "wealthy francophones" and "many immigrant communities" as alleged components of what he calls "a very strange riding".

To say he is "associating Jews with Zionism" is a stretch, to say the very least. With equal illogic you could say he is claiming that all Jews opposed Bill 101 or all Jews support free trade agreements. In truth he was saying none of those things.

autoworker autoworker's picture

Unionist wrote:

autoworker wrote:

 

I don't know that hatred drives Beaudet, but apparently you do.

I didn't say hatred drives Beaudet - did I? I said it's obvious he hates Mulcair (whom he calls union-bashing, anti-nationalist, anti-French language, pro-free trade, disaster if he wins, etc.). This was in response to your question as to whether it's safe to say Beaudet isn't "comfortable" with Mulcair being the leader.

Quote:
I don't assume that you know more about the Quebec left than he does, but apparently you do.

I didn't say I knew anything about the Québec left, except that it's not monolithic and it didn't elect Beaudet as its spokesperson. He made grandiose statements on behalf of Québec's left, as well as the Canadian left. All I did was to ridicule his generalizations. I'm not sure how you're reading more into my post?

Quote:
Finally, I never mentioned Israel, but you have.

That last paragraph was not addressed to you, obviously, but to those who were re-starting a debate about Mulcair and Israel. Sorry if you misread that.

Thank you for responding, your points are well taken. My concern with this thread is not with comment by you, necessarily, but with some babblers' reactions to their perceived insinuations within Beaudet's article. When words such as hatred, racism and anti-Semitism are ascribed to individuals by subtextual analysis, I become increasingly uncomfortable, and bristle at my own interpretations, correct or otherwise. Anyway, I agree with subsequent posts which suggest that the blogger address his readers' comments in the appropriate forum. That said, I'd caution against 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater, by dismissing Beudet's critique entirely. Mulcair's receipt of donations from individuals, who are also associated with a major private equity concern, is noteworthy, and deserves greater scrutiny for reasons intrinsic to the nature of private capital.

 

Unionist

M. Spector wrote:

To say he is "associating Jews with Zionism" is a stretch, to say the very least. With equal illogic you could say he is claiming that all Jews opposed Bill 101 or all Jews support free trade agreements. In truth he was saying none of those things.

Of course he's not associating Jews with Zionism. He might be saying the Jews like Mulcair because he's anti-French language (another creepy allegation). Or because he bashes unions. Or because he's pro-free trade. Or because he's a "centre right Liberal".

Sorry, which of those insinuations would not show an unhealthy tendency to demonize the Jewish community?

All the reader can gather from the offending sentence is that he is saying something really really bad about orthodox Jews in Outremont (whose number he vastly exaggerates), but doesn't want to spell out what it is. That's exactly why I opened this thread. And I'm still curious, Spector, why you can't bring yourself to say, "yeah, he shouldn't have said that".

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Unionist wrote:

All the reader can gather from the offending sentence is that he is saying something really really bad about orthodox Jews in Outremont (whose number he vastly exaggerates), but doesn't want to spell out what it is. That's exactly why I opened this thread.

Obviously the reader can "gather" much more than that, by using a little imagination and hyperbole - this thread is a perfect example.

You're pissed off with Beaudet because he didn't express any specific prejudice against, or make any racist generalizations about, what he calls the orthodox Jews of Outremont or wealthy francophones or immigrants in general.

But apparently just using the word "Jews" in a blog post on rabble is enough for you, Catchfire, and others to conclude that Beaudet is equating all Jews with Zionism, and to demand that he come and defend himself against the charge.

Unionist

M. Spector wrote:

But apparently just using the word "Jews" in a blog post on rabble is enough for you, Catchfire, and others to conclude that Beaudet is equating all Jews with Zionism, and to demand that he come and defend himself against the charge.

LOL, you are in such serious denial that the casual reader may get confused as to what this thread is about. So, I'm repeating what he said:

Pierre Beaudet wrote:
It is also the home of many immigrant communities and the centre of the orthodox Jewish community which numbers more than 20 per cent of the total population of Outremont. It is a unique feature in Montreal's demographic. This community supports Mulcair for reasons that are far off from any progressive meaning, or from the anti-racist and anti-discrimination battles that abound in the city.

"This community" obviously (yeah, obviously) refers to "the orthodox Jewish community" - not the wealthy francophones, not the immigrants - he calls it "a unique feature in Montreal's demographic". Wow. Then he says "this community supports Mulcair" - he made that up out of his head. Then he says why they support Mulcair, and it's not very flattering - is it? - but he doesn't say what it is.

No, Spector, he didn't say the "wealthy francophones" or the "many immigrant communities" support Mulcair. He had no comment about their political proclivities at all. He only talked about the Jews.

I'm back to calling this anti-semitic. An explanation or a a retraction would be very much in order.

ETA: Just to be clear, I am in no way whatsoever suggesting that you have supported, or would dream of supporting, Beaudet's thesis as quoted above. I'm quite certain you would not. Why you support Beaudet continues to baffle me, but whatever.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

I tend to want to defend anyone on the left who is unfairly accused of anti-semitism. The accusations come often enough from the right wing. It's just hugely disappointing when leftists go out of their way to strain the interpretation of the words of other leftists in an effort to demonize them and (as some have done here) suggest that they be banished from Rabble forever.

I would require much clearer evidence that Beaudet is an anti-semite before hauling out the torches and pitchforks.

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