Wednesday, 27 August 2008

There's no such thing as bad publicity

Another day, another blogger being threatened (or on this occasion taken down entirely). All pretty much a mirror of the problems faced by Dave Walker at the Cartoon Church blog I covered in an earlier post (and which I intend to return to at some point). This time a complainant appears to have threatened proceedings against the blog hosting DNS and gained the dubious benefit to be had from our absurd libel laws. I picked up on this through normblog, where Norman Geras has been highlighting the offensive and depressingly active antisemitism within the UCU over a considerable period.

So once again some blogging solidarity. This is the post that is believed to lie behind the dispute, which comes from 'Harry's Place' (sorry, no link as Harry's completely down as of now). You can find more elsewhere by now of course.

The University and College Union maintains an email list for its activists, which is administered and monitored by the union. As Harry's Place readers know, the email list traffic is dominated by political extremists and almost entirely given over to their obsessive and nasty campaign to boycott Israeli academics.

The extremists are countered by a small number of Jews and anti-racists, many of them supporters of Engage. They are routinely defamed as racists, imperialists, Apartheid supporters, liars and conspirators. Quite a few of the Jews and anti-racists have been chucked off the list by the UCU administrators, arbitrarily, and usually for making public their complaints about the racism on the list.

There have been complaints to UCU about racism on its activist list. UCU has dismissed them all as baseless.

One of the formal complaints was made in relation to a series of particularly poisonous and nasty emails written by a Sheffield-based UCU activist called Jenna Delich. That complaint was also dismissed.

Yesterday Jenna Delich wrote the following message on the activist list in order to support a boycott of Israeli academics:


In support to your link this may be a long but also an interesting reading:

No comment necessary. The facts are speaking for themselves.



The website which she links to is the website of David Duke, who is the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and perhaps the most notorious racist and anti-semite in the world. The article itself was originally posted on an extremist conspiracy nut website, but appears only on David Duke's website. It is therefore reasonable to infer that Jenna Delich reads and takes her information on world events from neo Nazis.

So, in a nutshell, the position is this. The UCU refuses to take action against viciousness against Jews and anti-racists on its own activist list, and endorses their exclusion from that email list when they defend themselves. Meanwhile, the UCU is circulating links to David Duke's website on behalf of Delich.

What a wonderful institution UCU is.
For reasons of strict accuracy I have amended the caption for the photo - it originally said 'Sheffield-based academic, Jenna Delich - links to far right websites associated with the Ku Klux Klan'.

Jenna Delich and her supporters do not dispute that she sent the email in question. They say however that it was private (despite being circulated to around 700 UCU members and associates) and that Ms Delich did not appreciate the significance of the site she linked to. My own view? It's politics, if you give it out you've got to be prepared to take it.

By way of update: Harry's Place has returned with a somewhat braver hosting company I'm pleased to say. So you can see all the posts relating to this discussion (and the comments they have drawn). In republishing, the post above has been retitled 'UCU and the David Duke Link', the photo and caption have been removed. At this moment in time there are 352 comments on the post and they certainly make for lively reading.

No comments: