Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Vancouver Public library: "Will you walk into my parlour?"

And now, dear little children
Who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words,
I pray you ne'er give heed;
Unto an evil counsellor
Close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale
Of the Spider and the Fly.

The Strange case of the antisemitic author and the Vancouver Public Library that features him in an evening that celebrates the National Freedom to Read Week:

Terry Glavin explains here

What is the right word for a book like Greg Felton's "The Host and the Parasite: How Israel's Fifth Column Consumed America"?

What is the right word for Felton's thesis, which is that a Zionist "junta" was at work on Sept. 11, 2001, and that al-Qaida is a mere concoction in a secret plan to subvert the American Constitution, demonize Muslims and commit mass murder?

What do you call it when the Vancouver Public Library decides to present Felton, an apologist for the book-banning, journalist-jailing Iranian theocracy, as the featured author on the evening of Feb. 25, and as the library's contribution to national Freedom to Read Week?

What are we allowed to call Felton, who traces his Zionist plot back to the 1940s, when these same Zionists made "common cause" with the Nazis to rid Europe of its Jews, and participated in the herding of Jews into Hitler's gas chambers?

The issue also covers Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn.

My question is simple: A book pushing antisemitic themes was published by publishers who specialize in outlandish, freakish theories.

What's the public library role in this show? Why is it choosing to insert itself and help the author in promoting his Jew-hatred in a respectable venue? A public library is not just a building full of books. A library is operated by human beings who make decisions, what will or will not be widely read by its readers. Why have those individuals chosen to showcase this book, which villifies people and provides lies and libellous stories as knowledge??

Is this retaliation for Ezra Levant's kerfuffle with the HRC?

In the many responses I read about Levant's case, I found some people typically repeating opinions like this one:

"I find it odd that some of the same people who never batted an eye when people were being actually prosecuted, unlike this case, AND deported from the country, if you please, for antisemitism, are screeching like wounded banshees NOT BECAUSE A DECISION HAS BEEN MADE, but SIMPLY BECAUSE anybody dares to question their God given right to spew forth any kind of venomous hatred if they so choose." (found on some message board)

The point being that Jews get a better deal than Muslims in this country, that Jews are pampered, or that Jews have so much power in Canada that they can actually subvert the law for their own benefit.

Is the Vancouver public Library trying to balance the record? Are they subscribing to the logic and ethics of Ahmadinejad's Holocaust Denial Conference and Holocaust cartoon competition?

Such great courage on the part of the Library in promoting the "freedom to read" principle, the courage described by Anthony Julius as a "kind of political posturing by people who don't expose themselves to any real danger, but are attracted to the glamour, the reputation at any rate, of being freedom fighters risking their lives in a noble cause. It's trivial, inconsequential stuff, the material really of vanity and self-regard, and nothing more than that."

Please pay attention to the fact that I'm not asking for any legal action to be taken against the library, not even a complaint to the celebrated HR commission. I am addressing directly the people, the readers, who need to know better and exercise their individual moral discernment and responsiblity to reject this kind of material explicitly and in short order. *

As Sartre observed, on what it takes to defeat anti-Semitism:

“The cause of the Jews would be half won if only their friends brought to their defense a little of the passion and the perseverance their enemies use to bring them down".

Terry Glavin has sequel posting, that explains and answers some of my questions, here.

* here is a most recent sample of the kind of discourse Greg Felton indulges in, the kind that the Vancouver Public Library wishes to showcase in its "freedom to read" event:

Now, that you addle-pated bottomfeeders have filled the blogosphere with your odiferous effluvium, perhaps you should be deemed an enviromental hazard. Anyone who takes Glavin's libel at face value has clearly been inhaling fumes.

Glavin's libel??

This is a classical case of dramatic irony, where the words and actions of a speaking character produce the very opposite meaning or effect for the reader than that character intended. This happens as a result of the reader having a greater perspicacity and good moral sense than the speaker in question. Thus, for someone who uses words like "addle-pated bottomfeeders" "odiferous effluvium" or "deemed an enviromental hazard" to accuse someone else of libeling, for pointing out to exactly this kind of rancid lexical and notional usages, is the very illustration of self-ignorance, a condition that is also known as cognitive dissonance, or more simply, dramatic irony.

And tangentially relevant, there is this:

Indeed, the more outrageous their demand, the more eager the MSM will be to do their bidding. What is their bidding? Aiding and abetting their war against the free world by holding it responsible for the Islamists acts of terror. If Theo Van Gogh is murdered in broad daylight, it is because he deserved it. No, I am not writing in jest.

In early September I attended an invitation only EU co-sponsored conference entitled "Religion and Democracy in Contemporary Europe" held at the Van Leer Institute in Israel. It was a third in a series organized by the EU in response to the kind of value clashes between democratic and Islamist values brought to the fore by the Muhammed cartoon imbroglio. Not surprisingly Fleming Rose was there too. The most revealing moment came during the question and answer period which followed the presentation of Harvard professor Jocelyne Césari. Her talk was entitled "Islam and Globalization: Is radicalism the only path?" She posted the pictures and discussed the choices of a number of radicals including Theo Van Gogh's murderer Mohammed Bouyeri.

A young Dutch woman (protege of Peter Van Der Veer of Utrecht University), raised her hand and demanded to know why Dr. Césari failed to post Theo Van Gogh's picture too or take time to explain the unsavory and provocative character of the victim. Some members of the audience expressed their approval by clapping and nodding. Dr. Césari cooly assured the young woman that she was aware of Van Gogh's background. She was much too savvy to be surprised by the young woman's insistence on the moral equivalence between the murdered and the murderer or by the implication that Van Gogh deserved his fate.


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