Wednesday 4 December 2019

Twittering convo with Lee Harpin and Dan Hodges

People might be interested in an interchange that took place on twitter this afternoon between the Daily Mail columnist Dan Hodges and me.

Some background:

1. The conversation came just as I was having another with the Jewish Chronicle journalist Lee Harpin who has been found to have written many untruths in relation to what one of the Liverpool branches of the Labour party has been doing, in particular in relation to Audrey White. The press watchdog has delivered a judgement which is remarkable in how condemnatory it is.

2. Dan Hodges has used the phrase of Jewish leftwing supporters of Corbyn that they (we) are 'useful Jewish idiots'. I and others have asked him to withdraw this and have described the phrase as antisemitic. This has zero effect on Dan, who acts in public with a very large following as if he is a self-appointed prosecutor, judge and jury on Labour.

3. Lee is also interesting in that he accused me of being a 'cheerleader for Soros' - an obscure but significant insult as it's taken from the new Right's phrasebook.

4. Put these together and we have two high priests of the anti-Corbyn movement both using antisemitic phrases.

Anyway, below is a twitter conversation with Hodges. (Apols if I've left out links but it's rather hard to put these together after they've flown by!)

It begins with my comments to Lee Harpin:


I condemn all antisemitism, left, right, centre. I condemn double standards on this matter, judging left antisemitism to be more important than right antisemitism, and judging left antisemitism to be more important than Islamophobia and persecution of people of colour

I also condemn the fact that you should have used an antisemitic phrase of abuse, taken out of the alt right copy book against a Jew (me). You have been shown in public to have betrayed the basic tenets of journalism.

NOTE: AT this point someone asked me if I was making Lee 'squirm'

There's nothing I can say that can make Lee squirm like the public and official dressing-down that Lee has received from the Press watchdog. It's is the greatest shame that can be heaped on a journalist in this country.

Wouldn't your time be more usefully spent attacking the New Statesman Michael...

I just did but as I'm a 'useful Jewish idiot' (a great Hodges' bon mot, there) it's amazing that I managed, really.
Free pass for Mr Hodges, please!
He fights antisemitism with antisemitism.
Free pass for Mr Hodges!


Michael: calling them 'useful Jewish idiots'. I'm Jewish, Dan. You're not.

"I'm Jewish, Dan. You're not". Correct. And?

I wondered if you might have difficulty with that one. It's because the phrase 'useful Jewish idiots' is hurtful to Jews and not to you. It's how slurs work, Dan. They are directed down the racialised hierarchy, Dan.

Ah. But not charities set up by Holocaust Deniers. Or wreaths laid to honour people who murder Jews. Or murals depicting Jews as hooked-nosed bankers getting rich off the backs of the poor. None of that is part of your racialised hierarchy Michael...

It's not 'my racialised hierarchy' Dan. It's our racialised hierarchy.. You're on it, having positioned yourself above me with your slur 'useful Jewish idiots'. You're on it, and have never once acknowledged how or why you've positioned yourself on it.

Fine. Our racialised hierarchy. I'm still waiting patiently for you to explain why Holocaust denial, murals of hooked-nose Jews and wreaths for people who murder Jews aren't a part of it. [Although I think we both know the answer don't we Michael]

You've just done it again, Dan. I don't want to hear that horrible phrase about noses. I don't acknowledge it as a description. Repeating it is insulting. There are screeds and screeds of debate about each of these incidents and Corbyn has replied to them.

[NOTE: At this point Dan said I was 'deflecting' and not answering his questions. Can't find the tweet for the moment.]

Michael :
I am not answerable to you on these matters. Again, from your position in the hierarchy, you behave as if you can summon me to give evidence in your court. Not so. You're still stuck on the higher step. I don't answer to your snap of the fingers.

When we can have a level playing field in which we can compare the relative gravity of the words/actions of Corbyn, Johnson, the Labour Party and the Tory Party, and we don't have participants like you levering themselves up the hierarchy with antisemitic taunts, we can talk.

The very idea that you with your 'useful jewish idiots' epithet think you can summon me and demand that I comment on those incidents that you choose to select, is laughable. You're mired in your own racialised assumptions about yourself and me.


Dan is trying to understand how this phrase 'useful jewish idiots' was a way of positioning himself higher up than me on the racialised hierarchy. He's just said that it's my racialised hierarchy. I've just pointed out to him, it's ours.

Michael to Dan:
I told you very carefully the terms in which a discussion with anybody (not necessarily an antisemite who pretends he isn't, as you do) might take place. You chose to ignore it. Of course you did. You're higher up the hierarchy and were looking beyond me.

Michael :
You're still doing it. Having done the antisemitic insult, having done the summons, having demanded to be replied to from a higher place in the racialised hierarchy, you're now telling me about my incapacities.

You don't even recognise how you did it. That's how entitlement works. You give an example and demand that others (me, in this case) respond as if you have rights over me.