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Focus on Islamism
Tuesday 28th December 2010
Spin Profiles continues spinning

SHIRAZ MAHER

The gorgeous Lucy Lips, now freshly tanned from her winter break in the Seychelles, alerts me to an ongoing dispute with Tom Griffin - a writer for David Miller's smear projects which include Powerbase (formerly Spin Profiles) and the now defunct Neocon Europe.

Readers of this blog will remember that Miller's website reproduced the work of neo-Nazi Kevin MacDonald as unbiased, objective analysis of Jews including a list of ‘characteristics of Jewish intellectual movements'.

Lucy accused Griffin of being the one who reproduced that material although he has denied it. There is little point in questioning the veracity of his denial. He states:

This allegation is false and I demand that Harry's Place retract it.

The problem is that Griffin's boss, David Miller, simply refuses to answer the very simple questions that both Faisal Gazi (from the Spittoon) and I have put to him in the past about this matter.

Miller is a poor man's Julian Assange, portraying himself as a campaigner for freedom, truth, and transparency but obfuscating when legitimate questions are put to him about his own operations.

Why does Miller refuse to answer the questions we originally put to him in July? Back then we asked:

1. Who posted the material by Kevin MacDonald on Neocon Europe?

2. What disciplinary action was taken against this individual? Do they still write for Neocon Europe? If so, why?

3. What steps have been taken to review all other material contributed by them to the site?

4. Neocon Europe claims to have ‘tighten[ed] the editorial process governing the posting of material'. Please explain, in detail, what new processes have been introduced.

Beyond the reproduction of neo-Nazi material my criticism of Miller focused on the issue of which groups are not feature on his website. I wrote:

Despite the 'close to ten thousand' entries on SpinProfiles you will find nothing on [Islamist pressure] groups.

The problem, of course, is not with generic, non-sectarian initiatives encouraging greater participation in the political process - whether communal or not. That is something to be applauded. The problem is with SpinProfile's apparent obsession with "Jewish power" or, if you will, "the Jewish lobby".

After all, Miller is supposed to be an academic of the highest order: a professor. Yet, nowhere does he offer any methodology for how his targets are selected.

What constitutes a person, issue or group 'shaping the public agenda?' How is 'public agenda' defined? What level, type and kind of activity constitutes ‘shaping' as opposed to merely 'observing' or ‘commenting' on an agenda?

If Miller wants to be taken seriously as an academic these are questions he must answer. It is not just SpinProfiles which is guilty of such intellectual sloppiness.

I'm afraid it still remains impossible to take David Miller seriously. He simply refuses to engage with these issues because, I suspect, he has no answer.

Miller's been caught out. He tries to suggest that the reproduction of MacDonald's work was a one-off mistake. It's not. It's just the most extreme manifestation of what is going on in his mind - an obsession with Jews and ‘Jewish power'.

In the past Miller has gone further than just hosting the material of anti-Semites on his website - he has also hosted them in person. Joel Kovel, an American academic, caused uproar when he published ‘Overcoming Zionism', a controversial book which resulted in University of Michigan Press ending its relationship with Pluto Press. 

So, guess who provided accommodation to Kovel when he was in Scotland last year promoting that book? According to Kovel's own website:

Beyond Zionism Book Tour Itinerary:

16-20 APRIL SCOTTISH PSC TOUR

Accommodation: David Miller

It is unclear whether this means Miller hosted Kovel in his own home or just provided accommodation in some other way. Again, this is a legitimate question which those of us who feature on Miller's websites (and I do here) have a right to ask.

Here's what Kovel says on page 246 of Overcoming Zionism:

But the notion of a "Jewish restoration" [to Palestine] is also atrocious. Restored for what? To rape Palestine, to pervert the Holocaust, to become courtiers of an empire [= America] that is destroying the planet itself? As they have built their world, the power-Jews have restored nothing so much as Moloch, the child-devouring shadow-form of Yahweh - a verdict all too literal.

While promoting the book in a soft-soap interview with Revolution, Kovel offers an illuminating insight into his worldview. About Zionism he says:

[Zionism] is necessarily a racist ideology if you think about it, but most people aren't allowed to think about it thanks to powerful Zionist repression.

And then the requisite pieties about the ‘Zionist lobby' - about which we know Miller also obsesses:

... you find these extremely powerful Zionist groups that are growing by leaps and bounds in this country [America], taking a tremendous role in manipulation and invasion of the U.S. state apparatus, and many levels of civil society including the media and entertainment industry, academia, and the like.

[...]

... [Bush and Cheney] recruited a network of so-called neo-conservatives, some of whom are Christians, many of whom are Jewish, and all of whom are ultra-Zionists. Zionism is the glue that holds together the infrastructure of the U.S. foreign policy elites, and has been a necessary factor in the planning and execution of the Iraq war. There is no question about it.

And then we get this appalling apologia for Osama Bin Laden:

People like Osama bin Laden, he is very explicit in saying that what he is doing is to punish the U.S. and Israel for what they have done to the Arab world. It's a very abiding emotion, quite understandable, and the emotion itself is quite legitimate, although it doesn't excuse violent behavior, but it's perfectly understandable to feel this way.

Breathtaking isn't it? Kovel and Miller, two peas in a pod.

Beyond Zionism is not the only place where Kovel has expressed his fears of a grand Jewish conspiracy. He writes in "Marx on the Jewish Question," Dialectical Anthropology, October 1983, pp. 44-5:

The Holocaust has been repressed from history and converted into moral capital to cover and justify whatever the Jewish people would do in the way of domination themselves, whether this be the pell-mell immersion in American bourgeois life or the policies of Israel...

[...]

A horrible annealment, [the Holocaust] added to the spectrum of Jewish possibilities that of an instrument of direct domination, and in so doing, made Israel into the Shylock of the nations. The nation of Zion has let itself become the broker of Western imperialism in the Mid East, and, indeed, through the whole Third World...

[...]

It may be added that the mode of domination through which the contemporary Shylock function is played out has passed from the sphere of usury to that of racism.

Here's what Betsy Kellman, a regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, has to say about Kovel's book:

We strongly believe in the First Amendment and are all for diversity of views, but this book deals with anti-Semitic canards and has nothing to do with academic integrity.

The ‘Inside Higher Ed' website - a news source on American universities - also reports:

Kovel stands out among academic critics of Israel in that he does not just criticize actions of the government there, or advocate for a Palestinian state, but argues for the replacement of Israel with a secular state for Israelis and Palestinians. In interviews, he has called Israel an "abomination" and said that he understands "the desire to smash Zionism."

This is the company that David Miller keeps.

Reproducing the work of Kevin MacDonald may well have been an error and oversight - but it is indicative of Miller's obsessive worldview which sees a Jewish conspiracy at work almost everywhere.

And that is what his projects are all about. They are not level handed compendiums exploring political lobbyists or pressure groups. Their primary focus is on those which are Jewish.

To make it worse Miller's loyalist apparatchik, Tom Griffin, claims to be acting in the interests of ordinary Muslims like myself.

SpinWatch is prepared to call out those who seek to gain political advantage by scapegoating the Muslim community.

Yet, as far as I can see, Muslims like Faisal and I are subject to profiling by Miller and Griffin presumably because we are not the right ‘type' of Muslim. In this way David Miller and his acolytes shill for Islamists, united by their common distrust of Jews.

Why else would they refuse to clear up the matter and answer our questions?

I can only imagine that if Miller continues to evade these very serious questions it is only a matter of time before people put them to his superiors.

That would be a shame as he has been given ample opportunity to respond.

Just so there's no ambiguity, here are the most salient questions again:

1. Who posted the material by Kevin MacDonald on Neocon Europe?

2. What disciplinary action was taken against this individual? Do they still write for Neocon Europe? If so, why?

3. What steps have been taken to review all other material contributed by them to the site?

4. Neocon Europe claims to have ‘tighten[ed] the editorial process governing the posting of material'. Please explain, in detail, what new processes have been introduced.

5. How are targets for Powerbase (formerly Spin Profiles and the now defunct Neocon Europe) selected?

6. In what capacity was ‘accommodation' provided for Joel Kovel?

 
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About Focus on Islamism

Focus on Islamism is a blog dedicated to analysing and exposing the modern ideological phenomenon known as Islamism.

Shiraz Maher is a writer and broadcaster.

Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is a PhD student at King's College, London.  He has contributed to various online and printed publications including, The Daily Telegraph, Lebanon's Daily Star, Standpoint and NOWLebanon. 

To contact the authors, click here

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