I don't normally bother with filth that comes my way in comments boxes. This, however, is different; it is a wholly characteristic feature of where things have now got to within a segment of the left. Two friends have drawn my attention to a thread to a post at Lenin's Tomb (which I would rather not be linking to in the circumstances, but must for obvious reasons), where one Ken Bell suggests that my position on the Iraq war may be due to my origins: because I am a white Rhodesian some of whose family now live in Israel (in Bell's words, 'a shithole'). I have lived in Britain for 42 years, during all of which time I have belonged to the left. I cannot say that this is the first occasion on which my family background has been invoked as accounting for a view I took on some political issue, for it is in fact the second such occasion. But the first time was in a personal letter to me. It was not, as now, in a public or semi-public forum (which is what a blog discussion is). A few people have spoken up on that comments thread against Bell's remarks, and I'm glad they have done so. But in any case, Bell is who he is and no one else; and no one else is responsible for how he conducts himself. What is of some significance is how the proprietor of the site in question, an adherent of the tradition of revolutionary Marxism, deals with remarks of this kind. Judging by this episode, he doesn't think it suitable either to erase them or prohibit them on his blog. He doesn't even make any strong statement about them. He responds in a light-minded, entirely bantering way, as if it were all a matter of fun. Not even the following gives him pause:
Thus this man's background is very, very important. It [lets] me know which tribe he belongs to.That some of my family live in Israel (it will take no great power of inference to work out) is connected with the fact that I'm Jewish. For the record, the positions I've taken over a number of different conflicts and military interventions over the last twenty-odd years - the Falklands war, the (first) Gulf War, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Iraq - have been motivated by the very same considerations: I don't lend my energies to the saving of tyrants, torturers and those engaged in genocide. Note how little some of these conflicts have to do with Jewish interests - except, of course, for those who see deeper, and more sinister, determinants at work.
Talk of Bell's kind should shame, and in another way it does shame, all leftists who unprotestingly let it brush past them.