15 March 2013

Michael White: The Livingstone Formulation? Nope, the Seumas Milne's formula.

This is a (rare) case when I have to disagree with a co-blogger, and a distinguished one at that - professor Brian Goldfarb. And, by proxy, with David Hirsh as well.

The case of a purely antisemitic eruption of Lord Ahmed PBUH, met with a rightful revulsion from many and a takedown described by Brian in this post. To remind you, the case doesn't have anything to do with Israel - but everything to do with British Jews, said by his lordship to conspire against his well being and his unalienable right to text while driving and to kill people while at it.

The Israeli angle doesn't appear so far, as everyone will agree. Just an antisemitic British peer, to be dealt with in an accepted way. And so far it seems that he is being dealt with.

But then on the scene comes Michael White, Assistant Editor at the Guardian and a totally different story unfolds.

Both Brian Goldfarb and David Hirsh seem to classify the Michael White's case as another manifestation of the Livingstone Formulation. To remind to the impatient and unwilling to click on links, here is the gist:

This formulation is a defensive response which deploys a counter-accusation that the person raising the issue of antisemitism is doing so in bad faith and dishonestly. I have called it The Livingstone Formulation. It is defined by the presence of two elements. Firstly the conflation of legitimate criticism of Israel with what are alleged to be demonizing, exclusionary or antisemitic discourses or actions; secondly, the presence of the counteraccusation that the raisers of the issue of antisemitism do so with dishonest intent, in order to de-legitimize criticism of Israel.
I am sorry, Brian and David: the case of Michael White doesn't have anything to do with the Livingstone Formulation.

It has everything to do with the idea formulated by Seumas Milne, where he links the well-being of Jews in Europe to the deeds (or misdeeds) of the Israelis. And what Michael White says in effect: yes, you may have been slighted by the anti-Semite - but it is too bad, as a Jew you are in cahoots with these other Jews what build these settlements, so take it, it's coming to you and you deserve it.

And the main corollary that many Jews outside of Israel seem to push aside or to disregard: no matter whether you are pro- or anti-Zionist or just, like many, indifferent to the fate of the Zionist Entity, you must accept as a fact that you will be blamed, directly or indirectly, in everything that the Entity does. Because you are a Jew. Live with it.

Because Michael White, Assistant Editor at the Guardian, says so. And he knows.

He is the vox populi, you see...


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Actually, that's a pretty good and accurate re-interpretation: it's what I should have said!

Perhaps we need a new phrase "the reverse Livingstone Formulation": it's antisemitism (and most agree that it is so - just leaving the hard-core antisemites to deny that it is so), and the anti-Zionists say, "yes, but it's all Israel's fault anyway".

Or perhaps we should follow Snoopy, and dub it the Milne Formula (or Milne Formulation: either works!).

SnoopyTheGoon said...

It is the Mafiosi formulation: We are going to hold diaspora Jews hostage, as long as there is Israel. You do what we dictate and we might, just might, reconsider our relationship with these hostages. As for Israel, and its 6 million Jews, they have nothing to say in the matter of their own future.

An uglier, more Nazi-like thinking from the Rancid left I cannot imagine (though I'm sure they can).

SnoopyTheGoon said...

This argument is so confusing that my brain is threatening to explode. But I can't argue with the summary: you will be blamed (by the anti-Semites) whatever you think or do simply because you're a Jew. Ipso facto.

SnoopyTheGoon said...