Thursday, February 18, 2010

Update on Robert Spencer's failure to mention Allen West

It has been five days since Andrew Bostom posted on his blog the important story of the only American politician to date to demonstrate a sound Islamorealism, Allen West. And four days ago, Diana West posted the story on her blog. Three days ago, Lawrence Auster did the same. And yet Robert Spencer has still failed to publish a post about this on his most influential blog, Jihad Watch.

Then yesterday, Auster posted a notice about my post yesterday which called attention to this curious omission by Spencer.

Speaking of that notice, I am reminded, from reading it, in which he links to this article here, that Auster has not merely been ignored by Spencer for many months, he was publicly condemned by Spencer in the pages of Jihad Watch some time ago (I believe about two years ago) -- thus breaking the Rule of the Gentlemen's Agreement by which tensions and animosities within the anti-Islam movement are usually swept under the rug and not aired out in the sunshine of public discussion and debate. Apparently for the "Gentlemen" involved, it's okay to publicly condemn a Charles Johnson or a Lawrence Auster (even though Auster is not guilty of the sins of Johnson), but one must hide behind closed doors when negotiating the differences -- or perhaps serious ruptures -- with other erstwhile colleagues, such as Bruce Bawer, Diana West, Andrew Bostom, and perhaps now also the Baron from the Gates of Vienna blog (which interestingly no longer appears on the Jihad Watch blogroll, and whose copious and valuable coverage of the Geert Wilders trial has been utterly ignored by Spencer).

Who knows why Spencer is behaving this way. It's even stranger now that I see that his partner, Pam Geller, whose articles he has published on Jihad Watch for about a year now and with whom he has been a busy beaver in related anti-jihad activities (who obviously is not a persona non grata to the Gentleman's Club -- at least not yet) -- herself posted a supportive article today on her blog, Atlas Shrugs, dated Feb. 18, on Allen West and even wrote in the introduction that "I am a huge supporter of West". Furthermore, on Feb. 15, Geller noted in an article on that same blog of hers that Allen West was a speaker at an F.D.I. function -- the same organization she and Spencer have created. Perhaps this is just a rare oversight on Spencer's part. Or has he become so joined to the hip of Geller that he supposes what she posts need not be additionally posted by him? (If only you Aristocrats of the Gentlemen's Club (where women like Geller can kick back and smoke cigars too now) would apprise us peons of the anti-Islam movement of important goings-on behind your closed doors, we wouldn't have to speculate so.)

Bottom line: There is no excuse for Spencer to fail to use his influential website to publicize this most important American politician, Allen West. Better late than never, Robert. Hop to it. Time's a-wastin'.


16 comments:

Anonymous said...

but one must hide behind closed doors when negotiating the differences -- or perhaps serious ruptures -- with other erstwhile colleagues, (...) perhaps now also the Baron from the Gates of Vienna blog (which interestingly no longer appears on the Jihad Watch blogroll, and whose copious and valuable coverage of the Geert Wilders trial has been utterly ignored by Spencer).

An interesting observation. I usually don't pay attention to blogrolls myself, but checking the Wayback Machine (whose most recently working archived version is unfortunately from 2008), I noticed that not only did Jihad Watch have a link to Gates of Vienna on its blogroll back then, but Pamela Geller's blog Atlas Shrugs did as well. And now, both Spencer and Geller seem to have removed it.

Hesperado said...

Thanks, very interesting.

As I noted in a previous entry here, Diana West does not have Jihad Watch on her blogroll, though I could have sworn she used to have it there. I tried finding her archive on the Wayback Machine you linked, but I couldn't figure out how to do it. Could you check for me or tell me how I do that once I get to the main site? Thanks.

Let's say that Diana West has taken down her Jihad Watch link on her blogroll. This could mean that she and Spencer have had some kind of tiff that has made their formerly warm relations now frosty. I can think of two ideological reasons for this: Spencer's stance on the Iranian "People's" Revolution, and on Vlaams Belang, is diametrically opposed to West's, and she has been volubly vocal about her opposite stance (though neither has mentioned the other).

However, there remains the wrinkle that Spencer continues to have Diana West's link on his blogroll. This seeming discrepancy can be explained: Diana West's blogroll seems to be exclusively for blogs she supports; Spencer's blogroll, on the other hand, includes many blogs of people he doesn't like and who don't like him (e.g., The "Reverend" Jim Sutter, and LGF). It could just be that Diana West doesn't fit into a specific category in Spencer's mind of a blog he wants to eliminate from his blogroll (e.g., Gates of Vienna), even though for other reasons he has been treating Diana West as an effective persona non grata.

If I'm right about Spencer and Gates of Vienna, it would be quite ironic -- since the Baron at Gates of Vienna reprimanded and rather belittled me in an exchange I had with him about this very issue, about how these intra-Anti-Islam Movement disagreements and discords seem to go on behind closed doors. He didn't necessarily deny that I was correct about this, but rather took me to task for even raising the issue at all, as though I were "causing trouble" for the Movement

Anonymous said...

Diana West does not have Jihad Watch on her blogroll, though I could have sworn she used to have it there. I tried finding her archive on the Wayback Machine you linked, but I couldn't figure out how to do it. Could you check for me

Sure. I can confirm that Diana West did indeed have JihadWatch on her blogroll as of February 26, 2008.

or tell me how I do that once I get to the main site?

To use the Wayback Machine, simply go to http://web.archive.org/ and put the link to the page you want to check in the section called "The Wayback Machine" (NB - it's not the search field at the top of the page), and then press the "Take Me Back" button. (It's also possible to do it manually by altering the URL, e.g. http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.dianawest.net/ and replace the italicized part with the link one wants to check).

If there are successful results, one will see a list of archived versions of the page. Note that not all entries will actually work, and not all data will be available (typically images and sometimes stylesheets will not be available in archived versions, and in certain cases the present-day, non-archived version will be used instead).

By the way, I posted a question yesterday at Gates of Vienna regarding the removal of the link to GoV on JihadWatch. I made the mistake of posting it in an old thread, and Baron Bodissey is apparently away these days, so no response yet.

As for Spencer, I suppose he could always blame the disappearance of the Gates of Vienna link on a bug...

Hesperado said...

Thanks for that info, Anonymous.

Off-topic, there's an old philosophy discussion forum (The Examined Life) whose archives I've been trying to locate, so I used that manual link you provided --

http://web.archive.org/web/*/www.examinedlife.com/

-- which seems to bring up several links under many different years, but none of the links actually takes me to any archive. Can you tell why that is?

Thanks,
Hesp

Anonymous said...

none of the links actually takes me to any archive. Can you tell why that is?

Unfortunately, I don't know. One thing I thought about was that the front page may have been a frameset, but that doesn't explain why the links to these pages were pointing to a domain registration site and not to a sub page on examinedlife.com.

The Wayback Machine is generally not working well with discussion forums anyway, as they are usually dynamic pages with input parameters deciding which topic and page will be displayed (e.g. http://www.discussionforum.com/post.php?topic=12345&page=4, where the values for topic and page could be any number, and of course there may be other parameters and values as well), whereas the Wayback Machine is only capable of archiving static pages.

As for the original topic, Baron Bodissey has now responded to my question on Gates of Vienna, it's basically a non-answer in which he affirms his commitment to the Gentleman's Agreement.

Blode0322 said...

Anonymous, is that your permanent handle? I have a feeling I'm going to get a little confused.

Erich and Anonymous:

Since you two don't keep things behind closed doors (for which I commend you), it's obvious the Gentleman's Club is a source of irritation.

Does it have to be?

First let me define a term:

"The Line" - this is the degree of pro-Western, anti-immigrant, anti-Islam site which is considered just barely acceptable. Going beyond it makes one an extremist and a detriment. (I think a better term than The Line could be found.)

It is my finding that the intransigent wing of anti-Islam believes Sweden Democrats and Vlaams Belang are on the good side of the line; Zhirinovsky and probably Le Pen (and perhaps the late Haider?) are on the wrong side of the line, with the Griffin's BNP seeming to straddle it. (Is that right? Do you guys tolerate Le Pen, Haiderism, the BNP? I don't recall.)

The gentleman's wing places all of the above on the wrong side of the line, but accepts Wilders, most of the Danes and Italians, and apparently Colonel West (with a little prodding).

Let us compare two strategies:

I. The intransigent wing of anti-Islam consistently criticizes the gentleman's wing for being excessively secretive and mealy-mouthed, and for drawing The Line in the wrong place. The gentleman (not including Charles Johnson) often ignore the intransigents. Mainstream media declare that the anti-Islam movement is not just inchoate but a bunch of grouchy squabblers.

II. The gentleman and the intransigents mostly ignore each other, linking to each other only when they find a "rare gem" they approve of. The MSM pays most attention to the gentleman since they tend to panic at the mere thought of intransigent anti-Islamism. The intransigents thus have more time to devote to Islam per se.

If you're thinking I lean toward Strategy II, that's correct. I think this is what the Baron was getting at when he said he wasn't going to criticize those on his team.

I'm not asking either of you to change your strategy. I'm simply trying to shed some light on why the Baron may be reticent. I'm proof that it's possible to draw The Line way to the right of the gentleman (I'm neutral to the Austrians, can't abide Le Pen, and a fan of Dewinter) while still not relishing any criticism of a brave anti-Islamist like Spencer. (I think he is fairly brave - keep in mind he's neither Jewish, nor female, nor pseudonymous.)

Hesperado said...

Anonymous, thanks for reporting back on the Baron's response. His responses to you exemplify in spades the "Gentlemen's Agreement": he couldn't have put the crux of the Agreement any more directly and clearly.

His attitude, and the anxiety one detects just beneath the surface, I continue to find silly -- all based on the notion that having mature disagreements out in the open is somehow going to "weaken us". One major reason why the West is superior to Islam is that (with the usual caveats that nobody is perfect) we have cultivated an ability to have differences and express those differences openly, yet in civil fashion, without succumbing to a breakdown through vituperation and violence. It is supremely ironic that Baron Bodissey -- who trumpets his love for the greatness and distinction of the West -- would cower so from boldly practicing this particular feature of the West's greatness.

That said, one would not necessarily wish to stir up a discussion with someone they reasonably suspected would devolve into immature mudslinging. At times, Spencer has indulged in immaturity in exchanges with people who were much more successful than he was in maintaining mature decorum (examples abound on my now retired Jihad Watch Watch blog; and Spencer's exchange with Lawrence Auster was not flattering to either person, with Spencer in my estimation managing the feat of behaving worse than Auster).

Even so, that wouldn't let Spencer off the hook. He's an intelligent grownup. He has no excuse for causing such public discussions to devolve -- and with his position of being arguably at the pinnacle of the anti-Islam movement in terms of notoriety and influence, he has the obligation and responsibility to set a good example.

Charles Johnson, of course, as always, is the exception that proves the rule.

(Also thanks for the further info on the Wayback archives)

Hesperado said...

Blode,

Interesting observations and questions.

"It is my finding that the intransigent wing of anti-Islam believes Sweden Democrats and Vlaams Belang are on the good side of the line; Zhirinovsky and probably Le Pen (and perhaps the late Haider?) are on the wrong side of the line, with the Griffin's BNP seeming to straddle it. (Is that right? Do you guys tolerate Le Pen, Haiderism, the BNP? I don't recall.)"

I used to tend to put Le Pen on the good side of the Line -- but if what Bat Ye'or recently claimed about him is true -- that he spent considerable time and effort helping Grand Mufti Husein of Jerusalem wiggle out of condemnation at Nuremberg after WW2 and in addition halped him further -- then I would reject him.

With a Haider, it would depend on how anti-Islam he is, to make up for his difficult-to-pin-down "shadiness" -- which I am willing to sweep under the rug, if the anti-Islam aspect is strong enough; but I didn't know enough about him to render a judgment on that. Same goes for Nick Griffith and the BNP -- and I have learned enough about them to render a definitive thumbs up of approval: their anti-Islam stance is easily tough enough for approval. Indeed, they continue, in terms of their no-nonsense stance on Islam, to shame most everyone else in England.

"The gentleman's wing places all of the above on the wrong side of the line, but accepts Wilders, most of the Danes and Italians, and apparently Colonel West (with a little prodding)."

That wing also accepts the SIOE and some other German movement (which may or may not be a part of SIOE) of which a Jihad Watch reader is actively a member (Spencer even published a photo of himself with that JW reader at a rally in Germany for that movement -- can't remember the name of it now, but another movement accused of being "far right" if not even "fascist").

[Cont.]

Hesperado said...

Bode,

You then went on to compare the respective strategies of the two wings:

"I. The intransigent wing of anti-Islam consistently criticizes the gentleman's wing for being excessively secretive and mealy-mouthed..."

Just to inject a note here: those are two quite distinct areas, the excessive secrecy, and the mealy-mouthedness (or asymptotic tendency).

"Mainstream media declare that the anti-Islam movement is not just inchoate but a bunch of grouchy squabblers."

While the representatives of the MSM do indeed do this, they also -- inconsistently -- treat the anti-Islam movement in monolithic terms as being "far right" with obvious (if not sometimes openly stated) implications of a general anti-(ethnic)minority bigotry permeating the whole movement.

"The MSM pays most attention to the gentleman since they tend to panic at the mere thought of intransigent anti-Islamism. The intransigents thus have more time to devote to Islam per se."

There is here, however, a further wrinkle which reflects the same kind of inconsistency among the MSM noted above: the MSM tends to treat the Gentlemen as pariahs on a par with the intransigents anyway. The most common example of this is Daniel Pipes, who is flagrantly soft on Islam, but who is just sufficiently tough on it from the perspective of the MSM to be lumped in with all the "far right" "bigots" and "Islamophobes". The MSM have their own "Line", and beyond it, they seem oblivious to the distinctions.

"If you're thinking I lean toward Strategy II, that's correct. I think this is what the Baron was getting at when he said he wasn't going to criticize those on his team."

But my point is that airing substantive disagreements out in the open is not going to harm anything or anybody -- as long as it's done maturely.

"...while still not relishing any criticism of a brave anti-Islamist like Spencer. (I think he is fairly brave - keep in mind he's neither Jewish, nor female, nor pseudonymous.)"

Sorry, but I continue to fail to see the relevance of a man's good qualities to his privilege to be beyond criticism about his methodology.

Blode0322 said...

Of course Spencer isn't beyond criticism. As you've shown, his methodology needs a hard look and he was oddly late in discussing Colonel West.

I just tend to err on the side of muting my own criticism of allies - probably because I am not good at being a polite debater. When I get into arguments I get heated and I'm not particularly effective. (I doubt the same could be said of Baron B. though.)

And that may be a key point. I haven't come across anything rude that you've written. You probably drink a lot of herbal tea or meditate or something.

But seriously, you're the most dispassionate writer on the subject I've seen. I wonder if the people in the gentleman's agreement may simply have a realistic self-perception as hotheads. Sort of like the way cowboys (in legend) were always so polite - if they weren't, there would be shooting and someone would end up dead.

As to the mainstream media, you are right to point out that they are laughably inconsistent when it comes to the anti-Islam movement, which is either a horrifying monolith of Munich Putsch dimensions, or a collection of illiterate sadsacks better ignored.

In any case I trust you'll continue with the consistent, soft-spoken criticism of the gentlemen. I'd love to see your head-to-head debate technique in more detail. Any number of anti-Islam hotheads might learn a thing or two.

Blode0322 said...

SIOE ... I can't believe I hadn't heard of them until now! Thanks for pointing them out. I'll see about joining their US affiliate.

Blode0322 said...

I used to tend to put Le Pen on the good side of the Line -- but if what Bat Ye'or recently claimed about him is true -- that he spent considerable time and effort helping Grand Mufti Husein of Jerusalem wiggle out of condemnation at Nuremberg after WW2 and in addition halped him further

Mohammad Amin al-Husayni is a man I truly despise.

His daughter may be a good sort, but Mr. Le Pen is on the wrong side of too many issues. It's a shame he steals attention from responsible French rightists - de Villiers, Pasqua, etc.

Hesperado said...

Blode,

I meant to post a reply yesterday, but I've been having Internet problems plus little time.

"he was oddly late in discussing Colonel West."

He finally featured an article on West, featuring his speech at the FDI session. Spencer also posted other pics of the event, including a very large and prominent photo of himself and Andrew Bostom practicallly hugging, so I suppose my theory of tension between the two is misplaced. What I'd like to see is all of these Gentlemen agree to set up a special blog exclusively dedicated to posting procedural, methodological and philosophical differences among themselves.

Your theory that they refrain from airing their disagreements because they are aware of their own proclivity toward "hotheaded" embroilments is an appealing theory, and may explain part of it, but I really think uppermost in their minds is the anxiety -- misplaced in my view -- that any show of disagreement among them will weaken the movement.

"And that may be a key point. I haven't come across anything rude that you've written. You probably drink a lot of herbal tea or meditate or something.

"But seriously, you're the most dispassionate writer on the subject I've seen."

I appreciate these comments. I have been more hotheaded in years past on forums. I've just learned to try to affect a "just the facts ma'am" approach, though I think what tends to gall my interlocutors in many of these disputes/debates I've had is when I very subtly and cooly take jabs at them while deploying big words and a relatively unemotional posture. This probably irks (and sometimes enrages) them more than if I shouted and cursed at them.

Hesperado said...

Blode,

If you have the time, you can read this rather lengthy exchange between me and an evangelical Christian on Jihad Watch named "Christian Soldier" (you'd have to search for my name and his, because in that thread there are over 200 comments including mostly other people). As I said more recently in another thread there, I consider "Christian Soldier" essentially a good man, but he has an irascible streak and he's stubborn as a mule. He repeatedly misconstrued my phrases, created red herrings out of them, and failed to address any of my arguments I formulated, and yet I think I kept my cool. The broad issue of the subtopic we were arguing about was whether commenters on Jihad Watch should use the comments to proselytize, and whether his habit of quoting lots of Bible verses etc. could be felt to be such by other commenters. I confess at one point late in the game, I typed a rather nasty comment basically calling him "obtuse", and I was on the verge of hitting "Send", but I restrained myself.

Here's the link:

http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/02/north-carolina-muslim-8th-grade-teacher-says-it-was-a-hate-crime-that-students-left-a-bible-on-her-d.html#comments

Have you ever taken a look at my now retired blog critical of Jihad Watch, called "Jihad Watch Watch"? Again, if you have the time, pick an entry that has lots of comments, and you might find a few where I debated with this ardent Spencer defender named "awake". In the meantime, I'll try to find a specific link.

Thanks for that SIOE link based in the US -- but I think that's just an informational blog; I didn't get the impression they actually have any kind of organizational framework in the States. Correct me if you find I'm wrong.

"Mohammad Amin al-Husayni is a man I truly despise."

He seems to have been a "little Hitler", riding on the coattails of big Hitler, and hoping and trying to stoke widescale massacres of Jews in the Middle East (succeeding, along with help from other Muslims, at least in part), not to mention hoping this would in turn help to revive Islam's original Jihad. Of course, I don't mean to imply he didn't draw from an original Islamic wellspring of supremacism and Jew-hatred; but the spectacle of Hitler -- and then his friendship and alliance with him -- certainly helped to add flames to that fire.

B Lode said...

That thread is a good demonstration of technique. It was a little hard to follow but a good illustration.

Your theory that they refrain from airing their disagreements because they are aware of their own proclivity toward "hotheaded" embroilments is an appealing theory, and may explain part of it, but I really think uppermost in their minds is the anxiety -- misplaced in my view -- that any show of disagreement among them will weaken the movement.

That is very possible. Certainly that is what the Baron was getting at. I really wouldn't know where to begin to convince them otherwise. Maybe it's part of the not-face-to-face nature of the web ... if they all sat around and had a pizza together, maybe things would relax.

(I changed how I render my name, but it's the same Blode0322.)

Anonymous said...

An interesting comment from Dymphna of Gates of Vienna regarding the GoV/Vlad Tepes vs Spencer/Geller dispute:

Unfortunately, in this case it isn't any more workable than attempting to patch things up with Charles Johnson was. We learned from that experience that sometimes things can't be mended, much as we might like that.

Atlas Shrugs and Jihad Watch delinked us a long time ago. We didn't notice until readers started asking us about it. We referred them to the source(s) -- i.e., Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, but I've no idea what happened as I don't think any of them ever reported back.

(...)

Have you ever had an irreconcilable conflict? One that no matter what you did, you couldn't resolve? These happen in families and at work. If you've ever been ensnared in such an experience you know that sometimes it's not about you at all.