Stephen Sizer vs Seismic Shock

Back in September Rev Stephen Sizer posted a blog entry about the blogger “Seismic Shock”. He told us that the blogger was being monitored by “various police authorities”, and that

… Having now identified the author as a recent graduate of Leeds University, the authorities there confiscated his computer and have retrieved all his deleted files. Evidence of breaches to university internet regulations and the misuse of university computer equipment are clear and has, I believe, been passed on to the police.

I wholeheartedly support free speech and legitimate debate on issues such as the Middle East conflict, but not the use of anonymous blogs to incite religious as well as racial hatred or to intimidate and harass those you disagree with.

On my own blog you can read of my attempts to meet with and be reconciled to the author of Seismic Shock through an open letter.

Stephen quoted Seismic Shock’s description of his blog as evidence (links in original):

My starting-point for blogging was discovering the links between Stephen Sizer and sections of the American Far Right, the anti-Zionist hard Left in the UK and hardcore Islamists in Britain and in the Middle East. You can look back over the early posts in order to see this.

…this blog is focused on the political outworkings of anti-Zionist and antisemitic theology, as well as the misuse of Christianity by fascist thugs.

Seismic Shock – now using his real name of Joseph Weissman – did not respond to this or publicise what had happened, but we now know that he was visited by the police in November and agreed to delete his blogspot blog (most of it was backed up to WordPress). The story became public last week, after Stephen warned an Australian Christian Zionist blogger named “Vee” that

You must take a little more care who you brand as anti-semitic otherwise you too will be receiving a caution from the police as the young former student of Leeds did recently. One more reference to me and you will be reported.

“Vee” had linked to Seismic Shock, describing the site as a resource for Christians to learn about anti-Semitism in the Church, including “lots of info on Stephen Sizer and Sabeel”. The author has now amended the link description to “A look at anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism which is found within certain Christian circles.”

Stephen’s comment prompted Seismic Shock then to go public with his side of the story, setting off a small media storm. He explained that he had not in fact received a caution, and, in an interview with Paul Lewis of the Guardian, he tells us that the police came on a Sunday morning:

“I was told to remove the blogspot,” he said. “The whole entire blog. They said Stephen Sizer … objected to being associated with terrorists and Holocaust deniers. I didn’t want to argue with the police. I just wanted to acquiesce. I did say ‘Can you tell me what is specifically the problem?’ He just said he didn’t want to get involved in the argument.”

Lewis adds:

We can’t know what was said, or what wasn’t. But if they were seeking to avoid controversy, the police may now reflect that they could have approached matters differently. Among the many to cover Weissman’s story are the BBC, @bengoldacre, Index on Censorship and, with typical gusto, Melanie Phillips. Loads of others are weighing in, too.

Obviously, for any blogger in the UK this is an alarming story. If there was a legitimate complaint about specific material on the Seismic Shock blog, the police should have been able to explain what it was. And if they couldn’t manage that, it seems to me that all they should have done is to have advised him that a complaint had been made and asked him for his side of the story – and given him time to find a lawyer.

But that’s the process – what about the substance?

First, I should disclose that I have had cordial communication with Stephen over several years, and I have found his studies of Christian Zionism to be useful. It’s also no secret that I too am not a fan of Christian Zionism: its apocalpytic forms consist of preposterous mis-interpretations of Biblical texts that encourage morbid political attitudes, and while I can understand that some Christians support Israel because it accords with their wider religiously-informed political perspective, non-apocalpytic Christian Zionism is often bad news, too: a Biblical template is imposed on the modern conflict in ways that obscure its realities, and there is a romantic stereotyping of Jews and Judaism.

Stephen is not anti-Semitic, nor is he a supporter of Palestinian terrorism. I also understand that he has suffered real-world harassment, either as a result of his views and activism, or as a result of views attributed to him by hostile sources. I can see why he would be annoyed with Vee, and it’s sensible that Vee has amended her link description to something less inflammatory. However, I think that Stephen’s manner of complaint to Vee does not do him credit, appearing as it does to gloat and containing an inaccuracy. It’s also the case that Stephen has undertaken courses of action which are controversial and which were bound to attract critical reaction. He shares platforms with people that I wouldn’t be willing to, and he sometimes cites as sources persons whom it would have been better to have avoided and which cast a shadow over his judgement. I suppose that his visits to Iran are attempts to show Iranians that not all western Christians are anxious for a clash with the Muslim world, but they have brought him into some troubling company. I know he would agree that these are all matters that should be open for free debate and criticism, as he indicates the quote above.

As regards Seismic Shock, he has in the past provided me with some tip-offs concerning the BNP’s Rev Robert West, and he has given me some kind publicity through his blog on the subject of West and on other matters. He has also certainly highlighted some true examples of Christian anti-Semitism. However, he also sometimes overeggs things in a way that is misleading. This post in particular set off alarm bells for me; here’s the headline:

Ben White: the Holocaust is a ‘myth’

What is the reader supposed to make of this, besides that White believes that the story of the Holocaust is untrue? No reader would understand it in any other way. Yet when we read on, here’s what White actually wrote:

…Even more relevantly, given the use of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism as a propaganda tool of Zionist apologists, historian Richard Slotkin has described the process whereby historical events become ‘myth’ thus:

stories drawn from a society’s history that have acquired through persistent usage the power of symbolizing that society’s ideology and of dramatizing its moral consciousness—with all the complexities and contradictions that consciousness may contain.

This is extremely pertinent to the use of the Holocaust, not only in terms of the Western consciousness and relations with Israel, but also in relation to Israel’s national identity…

Now, White’s purpose in his piece – written in 2006 –  was to argue that Ahmadinejad was not a Holocaust denier. It was an unfortunate article, especially as any doubt was removed a few months later when Iran held a Holocaust denial conference; and of course Seismic Shock is within his rights to quote it with some relish. But the headline, while pedantically true, could only have been written to imply, falsely, that White is a Holocaust denier – when he’s clearly not. As for Seismic Shock’s writings on Stephen, we no longer have access to all of these – not all of the early blogspot material was backed up [UPDATE: Modernity Blog points out actually that Google cache still has most of the contents] – but we can see the same strategy here.

It seems to me that the police handled this badly, but that Seismic Shock could have avoided his troubles if he had been more careful with his rhetoric (perhaps he realises this, which is why the story only came out belatedly and why not all the material was carried over to WordPress. He has also made an effort to clarify that Stephen is not a Holocaust denier since the story broke).  However, Stephen has also brought some just censure on himself with his disappointing message to Vee.

(PS: since the police do take some complaints seriously, here’s a case of harassment which certainly should be investigated)

UPDATE: Modernity Blog is annoyed with me; you can read the discussion in the comments here.

UPDATE 2: Stephen’s side of the story can be seen on Harry’s Place.

Charlie Brooker on Anjem Choudary in the Media

This just about says it all. And watch the whole programme here.

Charlie Flowers Threatens Tim Ireland’s Family with “Gypsy Curse”

Cyber-bully Charlie Flowers of the band The Fighting Cocks has stooped to a new low:

from Princess Calamity [princesscalamity@googlemail.com]
to Tim Ireland
date Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 12:02 AM
subject Re: Publication of your email address

Matyi is about to put a Gypsy curse on you and your entire family, at dawn tomorrow- and it’ll be a bad one :(
… you can avoid this curse, by never contacting or writing about us or anyone to do with us again. I’m sure your wife wouldn’t be too happy about your obsessions leading to her and you and yours getting lumbered with something that will follow your bloodline down the generations, now would it?
So.. your choice Mr Stalker.
:D
x
Priya

As is frequently the case, Flowers is cowering behind pseudonyms while playing the hard man, but it’s him: “Matyi” is a stage name he uses, and “Princess Calamity” and “Priya” are both names used by his close associates in a group that calls itself “the Cheerleaders”, which overlaps with his band; as I have blogged on a number of occasions, they have been harassing and threatening Tim for some months.

Back in the summer, Tim emailed Dan Wilde, another member of the Fighting Cocks – Wilde uses the stage name “DJ Assassin”, and, unlike the rest of the band, he is based in Cornwall. Tim asked Wilde if he was involved in the campaign against him; Wilde did not respond (aside from upping his Facebook privacy settings), but instead passed the email on to Flowers. Flowers then challenged Tim to a fight, and followed this up with a threat to come to his house. However, the bully is also a show-off, and he couldn’t resist cc-ing a few of his friends into his challenge. Perhaps he meant to “bcc” them but made a mistake; either way, it backfired as Tim posted the response on his blog, including the email addresses from the cc list. Tim also wrote to these addresses explaining that he would remove them if their owners would disassociate themselves from the “Cheerleaders'” behaviour. Tim has so far received only one response, from a certain “Jonny Yeah”; however, this person chose to prevaricate about how well he knows Flowers rather than give any opinion about his actions. “Jonny Yeah” then got an associate, who runs his website through a software company, to spamblock Tim; when Tim asked “Jonny Yeah”‘s associate about this, he was reportedly told to “fuck off”. So, Tim has written about all these peregrinations, too (I blogged this yesterday). The accusation that Tim is “Mr Stalker” comes from the fact that he has a reasonable question to ask of people who should be able to give a simple response, and he has pushed his point firmly.

All this has sent Flowers and the “Cheerleaders” up the wall; perhaps, behind the scenes, his friends are annoyed at the trouble he has caused them. Slowly, the “Cheerleaders” have realised that sending threats of violence isn’t working; yesterday, Flowers instead threatened to complain to Tim’s webhost – a pathetic display of hypocrisy from a man who has presided over a campaign with the stated intention that Tim should be put “back in his box” and forced to leave the country (these promises were outlined on a now-deleted Twitter feed).

So what about the “Gypsy curse”? Tim is not a superstitious man, but obviously the threat was sent with the intention to intimidate or cause distress. That’s malicious communication in UK law:

 Any person who sends to another person.. a letter, electronic communication or article of any description which conveys… a threat… is guilty of an offence if his purpose, or one of his purposes, in sending it is that it should… cause distress or anxiety to the recipient or to any other person to whom he intends that it or its contents or nature should be communicated.

…A person is not guilty of an offence…  if he shows… that the threat was used to reinforce a demand made by him on reasonable grounds and… that he believed, and had reasonable grounds for believing, that the use of the threat was a proper means of reinforcing the demand.

Two problems for Flowers: (a) he has no “reasonable grounds” for his demand, since he gave Tim the email addresses in the first place and Tim has offered to remove them if their owners contact him. Also, a few weeks ago I conveyed a message on Tim’s behalf in which he offered to remove the addresses in return for a full account of “Cheerleader” dealings with Dominic Wightman (1). And (b) a threat to curse someone’s family is hardly a “proper way of reinforcing” any demand. There’s no reason to mention Tim’s family at all, besides intimidation, and no-one with any decency would have stooped to such a disgusting tactic. And in the context of Flowers having publicised Tim’s home address in the past and of having made physical threats, there is reason to be concerned for natural, rather than just supernatural, reasons.

There has been at least one court case in which someone was convicted of malicious communication in circumstances that involved a supernatural threat. In October 2005  a man was convicted in part for sending a letter which included the words: “Amidst all the other mishaps that shall now befall you, I am now releasing those demons that cause you to persecute me back into your soul”.

***

(1) Wightman denies any link to the “Cheerleaders”, although their attacks on Tim began just when Tim publicised that Wightman, with whom we had been corresponding about Glen Jenvey, had lied to us. The “Cheerleaders” have also claimed to have done things on his behalf, both in emails sent to me and in a now-deleted posting to their Facebook site (“Princess Calamity” recently wrote that “He got really scared when he realised we’d actually do stuff to people.”). Flowers also claims to have worked with Wightman at the “VIGIL Network“, and a year ago Wightman passed to Tim and me an audio interview between Jenvey and a man he thought was a journalist; Wightman told us that the man was in fact Flowers, and it seems that the audio was created as part of  feud between Wightman and Jenvey.

Tim Ireland’s Endless Quest to Get a Straight Answer to a Simple Question

Tim Ireland has written a couple of new blog posts, outlining his dealings with a certain Jon Chappell (“Jonny Yeah”), who is an associate of members of a music band called The Fighting Cocks. Members of this band have formed a separate grouping called “The Cheerleaders“, and under a variety of pseudonyms they have been conducting a campaign of harassment and threats against Tim for some months. This has included posting his home address on-line widely in the expressed hope that he would be forced to leave the country, sending him the warning “machete to your throat”, and a threat from Charlie Flowers, lead singer of the Fighting Cocks, to come around to his house for a fight. They have declined to explain exactly why they decided to act in this way; however, Flowers has claimed to have been involved with the “VIGIL Network”, a now-defunct organisation which supposedly monitored Islamic extremism and which featured on Newsnight in 2006. A year ago Tim discovered that one former VIGIL associate, a man named Glen Jenvey, had been concocting evidence of extremism; and in September we discovered that Dominic Wightman, who had created VIGIL and ran up substantial debts before declaring bankruptcy, had lied to us to try to make us write about another man, against whom he has a grudge. Tim wrote about this, and the campaign began then – although Wightman claims this had nothing to do with him.

The Fighting Cocks (formerly known as Széki Kurva) belong to a wider scene of music bands, DJs, and clubs in the London area, and the “Cheerleaders” Facebook page and Twitter feed have links to many of their friends and acquaintances. The “Cheerleaders” ostensibly exist to annoy Islamic extremists, and the casual visitor to their site might easily miss their wider bullying activities. However, some from this wider pool of hanger-ons ought to know what’s going on; as Tim explains, one email in which Flowers responds to a request for information with a challenge to a fight had been cc-ed to a number of these associates – including “Jonny Yeah” and Gina Khan. Tim posted these email addresses on-line, and he asked their owners if they approved of this kind of thing. None chose to reply at first, but it seems that the “Cheerleaders” realised they had caused their friends some embarrassment. However, as ever, they had only one strategy to get Tim to take the list down: more threats, followed by an attempt to swamp Tim’s email with Nigerian spam by faking his identity. Neither of these worked.

Tim adds:

This suggested to me that someone on that list didn’t want to be visibly associated with what the ‘Cheerleaders’ had been up to, so I contacted everyone on that list, and offered them the chance to disassociate themselves from the online attacks and threats of violence. If they wanted to be removed from this post, all they had to do was account for their conduct to date (i.e. why not object before now?), and distance themselves from this ongoing campaign of harassment.

Only ‘Jonny Yeah’ took me up on the offer and asked for his name/address to be removed. Initially, he pretended not to know anything about the campaign of harassment. When this pretence was fatally undermined by the evidence, ‘Jonny’ suddenly lost interest in the attempt to have his name/address removed.

…At no stage did he express any interest in or disapproval of the repeated use of my personal data to intimidate me… most recently, on his behalf.

 “Jonny Yeah” is Jon Chappell of Kooba Radio, an obscure internet radio station. Chappell then spamblocked Tim, so Tim contacted Redwire Design, a company which handles Kooba Radio’s website and where a project manager is Alex Malloy, who is also Chappell’s partner at Kooba . Tim spoke to Malloy by phone at work; Malloy’s alleged response, as a spokesperson for Redwire, was reportedly to advise Tim to “take the hint and fuck off”. The “Cheerleaders”, as ever, made more threats against Tim on their Twitter feed, using foul language, although they have since thought better of it and deleted the tweets.

Chappell’s conduct is strange (as is Gina Khan’s silence on the subject). If a friend of mine cc-ed me into a threatening email against someone I would be very annoyed and somewhat alarmed. If the person who had been threatened emailed me to ask my opinion, I would disassociate myself from the threat most vigorously, and remonstrate with my friend to cease such conduct and to make amends. Not to avoid the hassle, but because it would be the right thing to do. Does that sound so weird in this day?

Perhaps, behind the scenes, some of the Fighting Cocks’ friends are annoyed that they have been put in this position, even if they won’t say so to Tim. Perhaps this is why the “Cheerleaders” are so keen to have the email addresses taken off Tim’s website. And perhaps these friends ought to wonder why the “Cheerleaders” hide behind fake IDs like “Princess Calamity” and “Amarah Hadchiti” while involving the email addresses of real people in their antics.

UPDATE FROM TIM:

…Meanwhile the ‘Cheerleaders’ are hopping about angrily playing the side of law enforcement all of a sudden, outraged that I’d dare to ask anyone about their real names (when they claim it is not an issue); the abiding theme is that if I dare to object to being attacked, then they will continue to attack me… but it has already been established that they plan to continue to attack me anyway…

So, we can add whining hypocrisy to the rest of their vices: we can threaten you and harass and you and try to interfere with your personal life, but if you dare to ask our friends who we are – friends whose email addresses we gave to you by cc-ing them in to a threat – then we will complain to the powers that be.

Actually, I’d look forward to seeing Flowers give evidence in a court case of any kind. Of course, as Flowers and his friends well know, their embarrassment can be eased very easily: all they have to is to explain in full – providing emails and other evidence – why they  decided to attack Tim so viciously and without regard to either the law or simple decency, and what their relationship with those associated with the former “VIGIL Network” might be.

Robert Cargill Finds “Virgin Rock” Where Jim Barfield Claims Copper Scroll Treasure Should Be

A few months ago I wrote several blog entries on Jim Barfield, a retired fire investigator from Oklahoma who was claiming to have discerned the true meaning of the Copper Scroll, an ancient Hebrew text (Dead Sea Scroll 3Q15) that supposedly records the burial place of some lost treasure, but which has proven difficult to interpret. Barfield, who has no formal qualifications in the field, declined to reveal either his methods or his conclusions, but he assured the world that experts he had spoken to had all been both convinced and shocked at the simplicity of his explanation. Barfield also made extravagent claims about what the treasure actually was, declaring that the Ark of the Covenant and other items from the First Jerusalem Temple (destroyed centuries before the Copper Scroll was inscribed) would be found.

Credulous hacks lapped the story up, with puff pieces on local media and in the Jerusalem Post. Christian Zionist groups such as the Jerusalem Connection meanwhile declared that this was a further sign of God’s favour towards modern Israel. Barfield also reportedly gave a presentation to a group of Oklahoma state senators, who agreed to support his efforts with funding and letters to Israeli officials. Barfield packed his spade and video camera and headed off to Israel to join a dig, and gave a number of reports as to how the investigation was going on his website. The sequel was inevitable: Barfield returned empty-handed but unfazed, explaining that all that was needed was to dig a bit deeper (the Jerusalem Connection concurred with this).

One sceptical voice was that of archaeolgist Robert Cargill, who has now visited the site at Qumran where Barfield was involved with digging and given his report. As he explains in his distinctive lower-case blog:

i met up with yuval peleg, the district archaeologist in charge judea and samaria, who personally dug at qumran. yuval told me that jimmy barfield never even so much as touched a trowel. his group never dug a single spade of dirt. they were merely observers – that’s it. peleg said as soon as he saw jim barfield claiming to ‘lead an excavation’ for the copper scroll at qumran, he told them to stop making the claim…

As for Barfield’s claim that archaeologists should have dug deeper:

yuval showed me to a probe that he dug at a place where mr. barfield insisted there was buried treasure. peleg needed to dig a probe, so he used it as an opportunity to show barfield he was mistaken. the result was exactly as mr. peleg expected: there was nothing. and to prove it, mr. peleg showed me the probe he dug…there is nothing but virgin rock. mr. peleg probed along the wall for the presence of a lower water channel near the locus 138 miqveh. barfield assured peleg that he would find treasure there…there was nothing beneath the surface but untouched rock.

Pastor Blake Lorenz: Former Church Board “Demonically Possessed”

Cedntral Florida News 13 has posted online an audio of the meeting at which Pastor Blake Lorenz and his wife Beverly were relieved of their positions by board members of the Global Revolution Church. Lorenz, it will be recalled, was the pastor who arranged for 17-year-old Christian convert Rifqa Bary to flee from her Muslim parents in Ohio to his home in Florida; the board members (Brian Smith, Tom Sanchez, and Jeff Parker) complain that while he undoubtedly had acted with the best of intentions, (a) his way of doing it had been illegal, and his actions meant that the church and its board members were now liable to civil suits brought by Bary’s family; (b) his actions had put the board members in an uncomfortable situation, as their home addresses were on-line on the church website (and a promise to have them removed had not been honoured); (c) the Lorenzes had lied to the board, destroying trust, and they had lied to the authorities with the story that Bary had hitchhiked to the bus station in Ohio when in fact an associate had driven her there.

Lorenz responds to this with the claim that the board members are “demonically possessed”, “evil”, and “crazy”. Beverly Lorenz, meanwhile, expresses shock and disbelief that board actually has authority over them, and she points out that she and her husband are college educated.

More substantially, though, Blake Lorenz explains that he had to lie to protect a life; I’m not quite clear whether he means Bary herself, or Brian Williams, the Ohio pastor who drove Bary to the bus station. Inevitably, he asks the board to consider if they would lie if some Nazis had asked them where some Jews were hidden. Beverly also raises the Biblical example of Rahab, who protected Israelite spies in Jericho by lying to some soldiers. The board members are not convinced: unlike the situation with the Nazis, Lorenz was asking the same authorities to whom he had lied to protect Bary. He had also kept the truth from the board, and as a counter-example from the Bible they mention Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemene. Why didn’t Lorenz tell the truth and trust God?, they ask. It’s worth adding that even if Lorenz didn’t want to tell the truth, he could have refused to give any explanation. It’s also worth adding that Williams does not appear to have been molested by vengeful Muslims in Ohio.

However, the Lorenzes still have plenty of supporters, including the vile Pamela Geller, who with others has used the Bary story to whip up an anti-Muslim hysteria. Geller lashes out viciously against anyone who raises any question or urges caution regarding the Bary case, accusing journalists and bloggers of being in league with a Muslim plot to kill the girl. Geller has now turned her attention to the board members, whom she accuses of ousting the Lorenzes in order to purloin funds that had been donated to the church for Bary – lawyers have stated that they received no cash from the church.*

But once again, this looks like Lorenz failed to think things through properly: did he set up a separate account specifically to receive donations for Bary’s lawyers? Is there any paperwork recording the details of such a fund, and making clear the conditions under which it would be used? [UPDATE: See comment below for more details on this] If not, then those of Geller’s readers who took her advice to make ill-considered donations (donations that I suspect are now likely to be used to defend the church against civil suits) ought to be directing their complaints to her. And if Blake Lorenz has any decency, he would ask Geller to refrain from her abusive attacks on his former overseers.

*This sentence has been slightly amended.

Abusive Writings of Sikh EDL Supporter

Over at the Samosa, Secunder Kermani gives an account of postings he saw on the Facebook profile of Amit Singh, a British-born Sikh whose involvement in the English Defence League has been used as a counter to accusations that the EDL prmotes racism. Singh is not the only person belonging to an ethnic minority to be involved with the EDL, but his PR value appears to have been seriously compromised by opinions and comments such as these:

You know what, ive got an inkling the profit muhammed was really a bit of a adultering, raping, hate preaching looting Cunt!! Anyone agree, or is it just me????

the muzzies wanna keep away from me im just looking for an excuse im fucked off at the mo fuck the pakis … i just think we shud burn the cunts now!!

Be careful if you go out driving today… driving conditions are awful, ive just come off the road and hit a muslim!! It took me 10 minutes, 2 fields and a golf course, but I got the fucker!!

Etc. When asked about these, he

…claimed that he had been receiving death threats from Muslims at the time, and that this had provoked him into writing many of them. He also said he had an outspoken sense of humour and that many comments were intended as jokes.

Rev Moon’s NGO to Hold “Holocaust Commemoration” in House of Lords

Rev Sun Myung Moon’s Universal Peace Federation announces an event  to be held in the House of Lords of the British Parliament:

‘Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration’
House of Lords Committee Room 4A (Map)

Hosted by Lord King of West Bromwich

5:00 – 7:00 pm, 1st February, 2010

You are cordially invited to a discussion of ‘Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration’ soon after the internationally recognised Holocaust Memorial Day to be held in the House of Lords, Committee Room 4A. Universal Peace Federation’s (UPF) Community Cohesion Working Group is holding this event to promote awareness of ‘the path to genocide’ to assist the identification of future unfolding tragedies before they occur…The Universal Peace Federation’s (UPF) motto “One Family Under God” signifies the importance of  understanding how such atrocities have happened and the determination to strive to prevent future reoccurences…

But what of the UPF’s founder’s own views on the subject of the Holocaust? Oh dear

Who are the Jewish members here, raise your hands! Jewish people, you have to repent. Jesus was the King of Israel. Through the principle of indemnity Hitler killed 6 million Jews. That is why. God could not prevent Satan from doing that because Israel killed the True Parents.

I’ve noted some previous UPF events in the UK; see here, and on my spin-off Ambassasdors for Moon blog here.

(Hat tip to a reader)

UPDATE: On my Ambassadors for Moon blog, Robin Marsh has left a comment suggesting that the comment from Moon may be from a translation that is inaccurate (in some unspecified way). Further, he draws attention to a 1976 statement in which Moon expresses his regard for Judaism, rejection of anti-Semitism, and support for Israel. See here.

A New Special Message From Rev Leroy Swailes

“The eleven extraterrestrial beings with their sneaky, kinky, stinky thinking”

Last July, Rev Leroy Swailes found fame across the blogosphere with a bizarre testimony at a hearing by the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics on the subject of same-sex marriage. Rev Swailes (denomination unknown) has now graced this blog with his futher pensées, in two lengthy comments which I have decided up upgrade to a special post. Take it away, Rev:

. Hello from Washington, D. C. The specialist against homosexuals since nineteen sixty eight, the spiritual doctor, that heal people from the spiritual blindness of homosexuality, homosexuals use their tail to think not their head, heterosexuals should use their head to think, they know what is natural, procreative human being, marriage, which is only between the male and female, world wide, for human being not inhuman behavior. The homosexual behavior which is the abomination of desolation again this planet is annihilation to humanity. People, on June 10,2009 the Board of Elections and Ethics held a hearing here in Washington, D.C. I testify against same sex marriages, you can watch it on YOU TUBE. NAME MINISTER LEROY SWAILES OR GOOGLE OR BING or you can listen to my interview with SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO MICHELANGELO SIGNORILE a homosexual, and AMBER Lies http://WWW.BING.COM. On Tuesday December 15th I was at THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COUNCIL MEETING when eleven out of thirteen voted for same sex marriage here in the NATION CAPITAL. They sold their soul to Satan The Devil, that is spiritual suicide, blasphemy against nature. When the eleven voted, yes, they voted to indoctrination of children to marry the same sex, brainwashing the most precious resources on this planet earth, children. The eleven extraterrestrial beings with their sneaky, kinky, stinky thinking corrupting the mind of children in the world. Homosexuals are satanic lovers, they act so clean, but think so dirty, there is a element in homosexuals that betrays nature. They don’t respect natures order or God advice, liars the act of stealing from the truth. Homosexuals, same sex marriage, makes no sense, its like voting for a cancerous mental disease strange deviating from the normal mental acts, they defy the law of the human spirit, human nature, turning the city, the world into the twenty first century SODOM AND GOMORRAH. People please help me to stop the cruelty to our LOVE ONES, CHILDREN, stop the demonizing of children. The spirit world is not a myth I can prove it, test the spirit, the truth. Homosexuals are compulsive, pathetic contemptuous liars their mythology is to deceive children of the world, with their perversion of sex, it’s a myth they are perverts, no comprehensiveness when it come to intelligent design, the way the system naturally was design to work. I will combat fight against this political bureaucratic military system, for children, what about you I need help, its spiritual warfare. The cure is the LOVE OF THE TRUTH something that the homosexuals and the homosexuals lovers don’t have. I have two website against them first http://WWW.TEARSFORCHILDREN.ORG in nineteen fifty nine the third sex was a lesbian pulp novel a third sex, homosexuality, my second website http://WWW.THIRDGENDER666.COM Why because the homosexuals will cause all, both small and great, rich and poor, to receive their homosexual mark in their right hand, or in their forehead and that no man might buy or sell unless mankind have the homosexual mark. Here is wisdom it’s the homosexuals lie that we are on different roads but going to the same heaven. The homosexuals have vowed to poison natures greatest creation mankind, children, homosexuals are masters of manipulation. The spirit of the homosexuals will not tolerate the spirit of nature or JESUS CHRIST. The pedophiliac people are raping the minds of children, when they lie to children and say that same sex marriage is equal to traditional marriage, equality, no, same sex marriage can reproduce or duplicate, conceive or multiply. MONEY MAKES MONEY. I need a public gathering structure an arena, coliseum, stadium, were I can address this homosexual problem in the world. Its against the law in this country to tell the truth about homosexuals, their exceedingly wicked attraction, danger to society, but I will, I will be a guest speaker any where in the world, speaking the LOVE of the truth.
HELP FOR CHILDERN ITS TIME FOR A MARCH AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY SO CHILDREN CAN SEE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HETEROSEXUALITY AND HOMOSEXUALITY. THERE IS A COMMON SENSE SOLUTION FOR CHILDREN, TELLING THE TRUTH.

DEALING WITH THE SCIENCE OF THE BRAIN: THE TECHNOLOGICAL ENTERPRISES IN NEUROLOGY THE PHYSIOLOGY OF THE BRAIN THE ENGINEERING THE INTELLIGENT DESIGN BY NATURE, MENTALLY QUICK CAPABLE OF MAKING BRILLIANT DECISION, EVERY ACTION A PERSON MAKES IS BASED ON THE FIRING OF NEURONS IN OUR BRAIN. HOMOSEXUALS HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THEIR OWN NEUROLOGY MULTIPLE PERSONALITY SPLIT PERSONALITY, MALE AND FEMALE CONFRONTATION IN THE MIND, WHICH,THE DOMINANT HALF TAKE OVER, THEIR BOTH PATHOLOGICALLY JEALOUS OF EACH OTHER CHARACTERIZED BY GREED,A DESIRE FOR WEALTH HAVING A CRAVING FOR COVETING OF POWER. WHEN THE MIND HOUSES TWO PERSONALITIES THERE ALWAYS IS A BATTLE, CONFLICT, COMPETITION GOOD VERSUS EVIL INTERESTS. THE DOMINANT PERSONALITY ALWAYS TAKE OVER IT TAKES RESIDENCE, THE DOMINANT BEHAVIOR. TO BE ABLE TO DIFFERENTIATE BEWTEEN GOOD AND EVIL, A NATURAL PERSON AND AN EXCEEDINGLY WICKED PERSON, HOMOSEXALS. HETEROSEXUALITY IS NORMAL BY NATURE IN A CIVILIZED SOCIETY TO CULTIVATE THE WORLD. THE HOMOSEXUAL MIND HOUSES TWO PERSONALITIES OR MORE, THE BATTLE IS IN THE MIND NOT GENETICS THE DIFFERENTIAL GAP BEWTEEN THE X CHROMOSOME AND THE Y CHROMOSOME WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE SEX CHROMOSOME, BUT THE REAL BATTLE IS BEWTEEN THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT THAT CREATE THE SOUL, GOOD AND EVIL LIGHT AND DARKNESS AND NATURAL AND UNNATURAL A PERSON OWN IDEOLOGY OUTLOOK ON LIFE OR THEIR METHODOLOGY TO DESTROY THE CONSTITUTIVE CULTURAL SYSTEM OF A SOCIETY CIVILIZATION, ANTISOCIAL ENGINEERING THEIR INTENTIONALITY BRAINLESS NO BRAINPOWER LACKING INTELLECTUAL ABILITY WHEN IT COMES TO ORGANISM, SEX. THE MIND, THE THOUGHT PROCESS A COMPLEX ELEMENT, IN AN INDIVIDUAL THAT FEELS, PERCEIVES,THINKS. THE CONSCIOUS AND SUBCONSCIOUS EXISTING IN THE MIND, BUT NOT IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE TO CONSCIOUSNESS,A PSYCHONEUROTIC PERSON A LOST CONTACT WITH REALITY A FANTASY WORLD: THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY SODOM AND GOMORRAH: ITS NONSENSE ANTIMATTER. WHEN YOU TAKE THE FILTHINESS, MORAL CORRUPTION OF THE MIND, SNEAKY, KINKY, STINKY, THINKING. THE ART TO POISON THEIR MORALS THEIR SUPERFICIAL WAYS, RAPING THE MIND OF CHILDREN TO FORCE THEIR PERVERION AND DECEPTION DECEIVING CHILDREN OF THE WORLD ITS SPIRITUAL TERRORISM, NO SPIRITUAL PURITY, THEIR DEMANDS AND REQUEST FORCEFULLY AN ATTACK ON NATURE, BLASPHEMY. THE HOMOSEXUALS ARE CLOUDS WITH OUT RAIN, WELLS WITH OUT WATER, TREE WITH OUT FRUIT DETERIORATION IN THE FUNCTIONING IN EVERY DAY LIFE. THE HOMOSEXUAL SHORT CIRCUIT THE SYSTEM THEIR TERRORISM, THEIR TIME ABOMINATION STRONGLY NEGATIVE FEELINGS THROWING LIES EXTRATERRESTRIAL BEINGS, WHEN THEY START LYING DELIBERATELY UNTRUTHFUL QUALITY MISREPRESENTATION A FALSE STATEMENT, INTENDED TO DECEIVE: MATTHEW TWENTY FOUR: FOUR: HOMOSEXUAL ALIEN: ELLEN DEGENERES: QUEEN LATIFAH: WANDA SYKES: ELTON JOHN: BARNEY FRANK: MANY MORE PEOPLE NEED TO ASK A QUESTION ARE WE ON DIFFERENT ROADS, BUT GOING TO THE SAME HEAVEN, IS MY LAST BREATH HERE GOING BE MY FIRST BREATH IN HEAVEN, IS THEIR SECRET KNOWLEDGE IN THIS MESSAGE TO SAVE YOUR SOUL DIVINE REVELATION:YES: HELP FOR CHILDREN ITS TIME FOR A MARCH FOR CHILDREN AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY SO THEY CAN SEE THE DIFFERENCE BEWTEEN HETEROSEXUALITY AND HOMOSEXUALITY. http://WWW.TEARSFORCHILDREN.ORG http://WWW.THIRDGENDER.COM
WHY IS MARRIAGE NOT SACRED, HOLY IN THIS COUNTRY SCIENCE AFFIRM IT, BUT NOT HOMOSEXUALITY THEY TURN THE LIGHT IN TO DARKNESS WHEAT IN TO TARES BELIEVERS TO UNBELIEVERS. THERE IS A COMMON SENSE SOLUTION FOR CHILDREN, TELLING THE TRUTH.

Defamation Documentary on TV

Last Tuesday saw a broadcast in the UK of Defamation, a documentary by the Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir. The film is a diffuse exploration of perceptions of anti-Semitism among Jews in Israel and abroad, ranging from those who think that it’s an urgent and increasing danger, through to those who argue that the whole problem has been grossly exaggerated in order manipulate young Israelis and as a means to silence criticism of Israel.

Defamation shows that anti-Semitism certainly continues to exist – we meet young black adults on the streets of New York who readily exhort us to read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and we are shown a  Chabad-Lubavitcher school bus that had been hit by a stone. In Poland, Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defemational League shows Shamir a local good-luck charm: a statuette of a stereotyped Jew clutching a bag of money (shades of Borat). One unexpected moment comes at the beginning of the film, when Shamir’s east European-born Israeli grandmother expresses the view that diaspora Jews are lazy and interested primarily in money, showing just how deeply such attitudes are engrained. In Moscow, Shamir visits the synagogue where eight people were stabbed by a neo-Nazi in 2006; the person he speaks to there is keen to assure him that anti-Semitism is not a problem in Russia – however, Shamir makes no independent investigation of his own, so there is no sense of the rising far-right context in modern Russia.

The film also follows a group of Israeli teenagers on a trip to Poland, and Shamir sees evidence of an exaggerated fear of hostility, instilled by the guides and a secret service protection officier. One teenager exchanges a few words with some elderly Polish men on a park bench, but her friend pulls her away, claiming – incorrectly – that the men were subjecting them to abuse. The teenagers spend their evenings couped up in their hotel, having been warned not to go out lest they are attacked by neo-Nazis. Shown old black-and-white footage of concentration camps, the teenagers are disconnected from what they see, and at the first site they visit in Poland some feel guilty for not being upset. At Auschwitz, there is a remarkable moment of bad taste as they pose for a group photo below the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign, saying “Auschwitz” instead of “cheese”, but on viewing the exbihits many of them become traumatised. One of them expresses a new wish to kill “the heirs” of the Nazis. Shamir feels this emphasis on the past is holding Israel back.

The issue of Israel and anti-Semitism is examined mainly through reactions to the book The Israel Lobby, by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. The book is of course well-known, and Shamir is sympathetic to their complaints that they have been unfairly characterised as anti-Semitic for their thesis about the supposed power of the lobby. We see footage from a conference held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs early in 2008 on the subject of anti-Semitism, which appeared to consist mainly of near-hysterical denunciations of the two authors. The British sociologist David Hirsh is shown causing controversy by asking delegates to acknowledge that anger over the “racism, violence and humiliation” caused by the occupation of Palestinian land also need to be considered, and in argument with an Israeli academic following his presentation he complains that Palestine had been described by other participants as the “anti-nation” (Hirsh has since complained that the footage makes the event appear to have been more right-wing than it actually was). Unfortunately, neither Shamir nor the conference delegates appear to have been interested in serious critiques of The Israel Lobby, such as Walter Russell Mead’s measured but negative review in Foreign Affairs,  or –  from the anti-Zionist left – Bill Weinberg’s deconstruction (see here). The case that criticism of Israel is unfairly characterised as anti-Semitism is also made by Norman Finkelstein, although his distasteful manner (mocking Foxman with a Nazi salute) tends to obscure any reasonable point he might have.

The sections of the film featuring Abraham Foxman are perhaps the most telling. Shamir shadows Foxman and an Anti-Defamation League delegation to Europe; in Rome they are fêted by the mayor and the US Ambassador to the Vatican as a prelude to meeting the Pope, and in Ukraine they meet a high-level delegation of government officials. We’re told that Ukraine is hoping to make closer links with the USA, and a meeting with Foxman is hoped to facilitate this. Troublingly, Foxman tells Shamir that

They do believe, to some extent, that we can make a difference in Washington, and we’re not going to convince them otherwise.

Foxman admits that this is “the other side” to anti-Semitism, but he shows no reservations about perpetuating beliefs that in other contexts he decries.

The parts of Defamation are greater than the whole; it seems to be several different documentaries spliced rather unevenly together, each of which deserved further treatment. What there is, though, is worth watching, and for the next few weeks can be seen in the UK here.