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Can't say 'Israeli apartheid' in Toronto

by fairleft Wed Jun 9th, 2010 at 07:19:21 PM EST

Let them in the parade and let people along the parade route judge for themselves. I've booed and shouted opinions at a few organizations in gay pride parades.

Do we have to act as if everyone with a sign in a gay pride parade has to follow a certain script?

Geena | June 9, 2010 12:29 PM

It's strange that the phrase 'Israeli apartheid' is now banned at a major political event in Toronto. This involves a pro-Palestinian group that has marched in Toronto's gay pride parade for many years, as have groups supporting Israeli government policies. That 'both sides' approach seems so civilized and democratic, but times are a-changing and not for the better.

Pride festival bans 'Israeli apartheid'
Toronto parade marshal resigns in protest
By Carmen Chai
Windsor Star
June 8, 2010  

This year's Toronto Gay Pride Parade Grand Marshal has resigned and 23 former Pride Toronto activists announced on Monday they have pulled out of Pride festivities after organizers banned the term "Israeli apartheid" from its 10-day event.

"Pride's recent decision to ban the term 'Israeli apartheid' and thus prohibit the participation of the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in Pride celebrations this year is a slap in the face to our history of diverse voices," said Alan Li, a co-founder of Gay Asians Toronto who rejected his appointment as grand marshal.

"Pride's choice to take a pre-emptive step to censor our own communities' voices and concerns in response to political and corporate pressure shows a lack of backbone to stand up for principles of inclusiveness and anti-oppression." . . .


Pride Toronto is a not-for-profit organization that hosts an annual festival held during the first weekend of July in Toronto. With attendance of more than 1.2 million people, it is the third-largest Pride celebration in the world and the largest in North America.

Pride would have lost as much as $600,000 in sponsorship money and city funding" forced the organizers of the march, Pride Toronto, to betray free speech.

Len Rudner, Ontario director for the Canadian Jewish Congress, said characterizing the dispute as matter of free speech versus censorship is inaccurate.

"This is not about free speech, this is about financial accountability," said Mr. Rudner.

"The Pride committee found itself in a situation where it had to consider whether it was placing its funding in jeopardy."

As usual, the language of politically correct censorship was employed by the oppressors (p.c. arguments answered well by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (pdf) (in short, it's a parade, not a work environment)):

PT issued a statement on its website, saying the decision to ban the term "Israeli Apartheid" was not taken lightly.

"The board of Pride Toronto listened to members of our community," it said. "What we heard overwhelmingly was that the use of the words 'Israeli Apartheid' made participants feel unsafe."

Tim McCaskell, a member of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA), spoke to Xtra after PT's release.

"If people feel unsafe, I would suggest that they are being manipulated," he said. "If the word is 'uncomfortable,' well, Pride makes a lot of people uncomfortable."

Oh, and yeah, Israel's rule in the occupied territory fully qualifies as apartheid. As the folks who know say:

'This is like apartheid': ANC veterans visit West Bank
By Donald Macintyre in Hebron
Friday, 11 July 2008

Veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle said last night that the restrictions endured by Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories was in some respects worse than that imposed on the black majority under white rule in South Africa.

Members of a 23-strong human-rights team of prominent South Africans cited the impact of the Israeli military's separation barrier, checkpoints, the permit system for Palestinian travel, and the extent to which Palestinians are barred from using roads in the West Bank.

After a five-day visit to Israel and the Occupied Territories, some delegates expressed shock and dismay at conditions in the Israeli-controlled heart of Hebron. Uniquely among West Bank cities, 800 settlers now live there and segregation has seen the closure of nearly 3,000 Palestinian businesses and housing units. Palestinian cars (and in some sections pedestrians) are prohibited from using the once busy streets.

"Even with the system of permits, even with the limits of movement to South Africa, we never had as much restriction on movement as I see for the people here," said an ANC parliamentarian, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge of the West Bank. "There are areas in which people would live their whole lifetime without visiting because it's impossible."

Mrs Madlala-Routledge, a former deputy health minister in President Thabo Mbeki's government, added: "While I want to be careful not to characterise everything that I see here as apartheid, I just do find comparisons in a number of places. I also find differences."

Comparisons with apartheid have long been anathema to majority Israeli opinion, though they have been somewhat less taboo since the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, last year warned that without an early two-state agreement Israel could face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights.

Fatima Hassan, a leading South African human rights lawyer, said: "The issue of separate roads, [different registration] of cars driven by different nationalities, the indignity of producing a permit any time a soldier asks for it, and of waiting in long queues in the boiling sun at checkpoints just to enter your own city, I think is worse than what we experienced during apartheid." She was speaking after the tour, which included a visit to the Holocaust Museum at Yad Vashem and a meeting with Israel's Chief Justice, Dorit Beinisch.

One prominent member of the delegation, who declined to be named, said South Africa had been "much poorer" both during and after apartheid than the Palestinian territories. But he added: "The daily indignity to which the Palestinian population is subjected far outstrips the apartheid regime. And the effectiveness with which the bureaucracy implements the repressive measures far exceed that of the apartheid regime."

Whether Israel within its pre-1967 borders is an apartheid state, I'd say not, but this website disagrees with me:

ISRAELI APARTHEID LAWS

Display:
Wouldn't this do more good as fresh input into the currently active thread on the American internal debate over Palestine? (Yes, I realise that Toronto is in Canada, but still...)

Experience seems to show that this kind of lazy quote diary gets less discussion than input into active threads (and, incidentally, pushes said active threads down the page).

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 9th, 2010 at 10:02:11 PM EST
This diary is about censorship, which has nothing to do with the diary you refer to. Proportionately, it has about as much original text as FarEastener's diary, which quoted an entire article by a Russian author.

The topic might also be of interest to the thousands of visitors who come here every day. In truth, it is those visitors for whom I write my own diaries, and I say that not because I don't appreciate the small number of people who comment, but because it is those visitors who may need or want to be informed.

by shergald on Wed Jun 9th, 2010 at 10:51:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FarEasterner, however, did not simply quote. He translated the text from Russian, after making a good-faith effort to find an English version elsewhere on the 'net. That's a significant contribution, and, incidentally, means that the English version can't simply be linked to, on account of it not existing elsewhere on the 'net.

Moreover, much of the best European Tribune analysis and policy development takes place in the back-and-forth of our comment threads. Having a single diary with fifty comments is frequently more valuable both as sounding board and reference material than having five different diaries with five comments each. In this respect, European Tribune is different from many other sites on the 'net, where the comment threads are an afterthought rather than an equally important part of the show.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 9th, 2010 at 10:58:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I of course also appreciated FarEastener's diary and commend him for beginning a translation here, and that goes in spite of my own criticism of the Russian's take on the topic, lacking as it did a sufficient appreciation of Israel's prime mover over the past four decades: the colonization of the remainder of original Palestine, and how that shaped the neighborhood in the Middle East.

As for diary commentary, I have no idea how many visitors actually take the time to read it, but I'm certain that some do. But that the debate leads to come resolution or other I doubt, except maybe in some minds.

Most visitors, I suggest, focus on the frontpager stories and possibly the rec list diaries. I noticed that MyDD now has the option to look at comment numbers, recommendations, and "views." That kind of data permit one to get an appreciation for the real interest in a diary. We don't get that kind of feedback here or at Booman. It would be helpful, because as I switch through these different parameters over there, it is not uncommon to see views of a diary exceeding 20 times the number of comments. So we always need to remember that number of comments is not a good measure of the interest in a diary.

Finally, let me say that I was sensitized to Jerome's concern that the site not be overwhelmed with IP diaries, and I can appreciate that. I asked for feedback on the issue but never received it. So I would suggest that administrators not put too many IP diaries on the rec list, and not leave them on the list for excessive periods.


by shergald on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 09:07:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
shergald:
I would suggest that administrators not put too many IP diaries on the rec list
The rec list is automatically generated from reades' recommendations.

You have a top-down view of how this site works with is waaaay off.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 09:23:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, maybe IP is more popular than is generally appreciated.

Still, I do believe that since Booman can adjust the rec list that ET does have this capability also, but it is just not used. Maybe I'm wrong. In my own case, if I see more than one IP diary listed on the rec list, I am now tending to hold back.

I just responded to Jake about the matter of rec lists, using MyDD in the US as an example. Over there, "recs" is the poorest measure of popularity. The best is "Views" then number of "Comments." But the Comments number is often inflated by the interactions between a few people. It is not as good a measure of popularity as "Views" by any means. That is evident from looking at the number of persons responding to this diary.
 

by shergald on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 09:43:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That depends on what you value. On this site we value debate. Long comment threads tend to spawn new diaries to develop tangents. That way the conversation develops. You may like monologue more.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 09:51:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I prefer a lot of viewer interest. Comments are unnecessary, in fact, even though they are welcome.

From what I can surmise, some people believe that anything posted on the IP situation is old hat, and as we all know where the next phase of this conflict is going, there's not much to debate. Events appear to overwhelm solutions reached by local debates. Nobody is listening. Moreover, there's nothing that a group of bloggers can do to resolve the conflict through debate, by insinuating that the site has a position on the conflict, and there's no much more to say.

THe IP conflict is an ongoing historical drama which is being followed by various diarists including myself, and needs to be publicized as events happening. WOuld it have been preferable to discourage diaries about the Gaza FLotilla because we all already knew that Israel would not let it make land in Gaza? Old hat.

by shergald on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 10:11:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
shergald:
Comments are unnecessary, in fact, even though they are welcome
No, because we all need our assumptions and the news we quote challenged, to keep us intellectually honest.

That's what this site is about.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 10:15:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most visitors, I suggest, focus on the frontpager stories and possibly the rec list diaries. I noticed that MyDD now has the option to look at comment numbers, recommendations, and "views."

"Views" is not a terribly helpful metric. Unless you combine it with a metric for rejections, it mostly tells you whether the headline+byline grabs interest or not.

I'm not familiar with MyDD, but one thing to keep in mind is that European Tribune is at least as much a think tank (however much we may hate that term...) as it is a news source, and that affects how the site works. But in the absence of quantitative data, such a discussion quickly becomes speculative, and I don't really want to start another meta-discussion - I think all the things that needed to be said about that subject are already in recent memory. So let's leave it here.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 09:29:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you look at the number of commments and recommends in the top diaries (in the single digits), interaction there is very sparse, whereas apparently traffic - as measured by views) is not (in the thousands).

What does it tell you when thousands visit a diary and only a handful recommend or comment?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 09:42:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It tells you that the interest in a diary or a diary topic well exceeds the number of people interested in commenting. From stats available from Daily Kos, it is evident that the number of visitors who are not registered exceed the registered members at least 4 to 1.

But when I look at who is commenting on these IP diaries, the same names keep cropping up time and again. The commenters are few, even though the number of comments they generate are many.


by shergald on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 09:48:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A lot of people, particularly in the States I'd guess, are not confident enough of their knowledge in the various major areas of debate here. Crappy education, anti-intellectual society, it has its effect. So it's understandable that people are scared to comment.

It's important to remember that and be kind and respectful to each other (unless someone is a complete a-hole) in order to encourage contributions from newbies. Us commenters should try to make comment threads a welcoming environment, and for example hold back from the lazy and unprovoked put downs and insults you sometimes see, even right here in this thread (I'm not referring to you).

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 10:33:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What does it tell you when thousands visit a diary and only a handful recommend or comment?

It doesn't really say all that much, because there are at least two different explanations: If you take views:recs ratio as a metric of rejection vs. acceptance, then it tells you that the diaries in question are uninteresting. If you take it as a metric of guest vs. regular (not logged in vs. logged in user), then it tells you that the subject is more interesting to guests than to regulars.

The data is inconclusive - we need funding for another study ;-P

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 09:49:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry Jake but your logic throws me. What you conclude from a views/rec ratio is just the opposite of what I would conclude. Most of the viewers are not likely to be registered members, but readers seeking information or expressing enough interest in a topic to read about it. They are unable to rec a diary by definition.

As I mentioned, the ratio of nonregistered to registered viewers is at least 4 to 1 at Daily Kos, and reached 10 to 1 during the last US presidential election when Daily Kos' visitor numbers reached 2 million. To say that those nonregistered viewers were not interested in what they selected to read is likely false.

Part of the problem here I think relates to the diversity of philosophies about the value of a political blogs like ET. You, and a small group of regulars, feel that debate in the comments section of a diary is the most important function of a blog or at least this blog. In fact, if something has already been debated, it is rendered old hat, so why diary about it, same-old same-old. The debate already resolved the problem. My view is that the most important aspect of this and other political blogs is the information it provides viewers, who in number exceed the highly active regulars like yourself by quite a bit. Why else would they come here?


by shergald on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 10:35:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the viewers are not likely to be registered members, but readers seeking information or expressing enough interest in a topic to read about it.

Sorry, but you're simply flat out wrong when you take raw clicks as a measure of the approval of the content, without applying some sort of metric for measuring click-and-reject incidence. That's not even debatable, it's in every beginner's textbook on evaluating websites.

My view is that the most important aspect of this and other political blogs is the information it provides viewers, who in number exceed the highly active regulars

The information that European Tribune provides is in large part culled from the analysis contributed by the regulars in the comment threads. Disrupting the think tank function disrupts the feedstock for new information. For those who want to use European Tribune as a news aggregator, we have a perfectly fine Salon, which is where news are supposed to go unless we provide some sort of independent evaluation and processing.

Incidentally, news items posted in the correct place often see more activity than news items inappropriately posted as diaries.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 06:56:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clicking on a diary implies some interest in the topic, but it does not mean approval or that the viewer would recommend it if he could.

In the About section, I'm not seeing any reference to ET being a "think tank." There is reference to "dialogue" but no notion that it results in anything more than the dialogue that we are engaged in here, as an example. The notion of a think tank implies that its members or staff have expertise in something or other. That may be true with some ET members, but it is hardly the case that it could exceed some narrow area where considerable education and knowledge has been attained.

That I would say is pretty restrictive for a political blog.

by shergald on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 10:28:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clicking on a diary implies some interest in the topic

Very nearly every web developer on the planet disagrees with you on this.

Clicking implies interest in the headline, not in the text. What matters to European Tribune is whether the text is interesting, since this is not a commercial site and does not require clicks to sustain a revenue stream. Spurious diaries that have attention-grabbing headlines but no content are therefore considered spam here, although they might be welcome at an ad-financed site (depending on their investment horizon).

I'm not saying that that is the correct reading of the statistics you cite - but it is a possible reading, and without more data on rejection there is no way to tell whether it is the above reading or your what-me-worry interpretation that is the correct one.

There is reference to "dialogue" but no notion that it results in anything more than the dialogue that we are engaged in here, as an example.

You're digging a hole for yourself now. Do you want to stop while you're only moderately behind, or do you want me to dig out a list of political actions and whitepapers that ET has initiated/participated in?

The notion of a think tank implies that its members or staff have expertise in something or other.

Judging by the output of the majority of self-described think tanks, I'd argue otherwise.

That may be true with some ET members, but it is hardly the case that it could exceed some narrow area where considerable education and knowledge has been attained.

That I would say is pretty restrictive for a political blog.

Yes. That's not a bug, it's a feature.

"Know what you're talking about, and be willing to explain it, or be willing to admit that you don't know what you're talking about and be willing to learn from those who do," is a more restrictive - elitist, if you will - code of conduct than what you'll find on most political blogs.

It is also what gives us our high signal-to-noise ratio, which is higher than any other generalist grassroot media I can name off-hand.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 08:55:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"You're digging a hole for yourself now." Will you please stop with this kind of idiocy? Of course viewers respond to the title of a diary. There's nothing else to respond to. It implies interest in the topic and that's all that is necessary.

Without carrying this discussion out any further, may I suggest that you completely revise the "About" section, because frankly, it does not describe your comception of this blog. You are far away from "political dialogue" as one can get. And this blog is just really too small to generate ad income, which would in any case be miniscule.

I'm really not certain ET is a good place for IP diarying, as it seems that a few of you, the highly active ones, are against it, and that has been true for the past two years at least. But more than that, it seems that, as one of several human rights injustices being perpetrated in the world, the site has little interest in human rights. For example, when did I last see a diary or frontpage story about Sudan, myanmar, and other similar situations in the world? And as far as the Palestinians are concerned, from what I understand, the "think tankers" here have already resolved the conflict to death. What more is there to say?

So may I suggest that you change the characterization of your "think tank" purpose here in your site description so that those of us who are interested in ongoing historical conflicts like the IP one will not bother coming.


by shergald on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 10:01:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can I suggest you set up your own site and get your own readership. Don't like it here? Go away.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 10:20:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And that is just precisely what you're all about. IP go away. On the other hand, my post was not addressed to you, and was nonresponsive to it.

Just a question to you and Jake: is this your site?


by shergald on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 10:33:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, not IP go away. There's plenty of IP here.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 10:55:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, shergald go away, you're tiresome. If I were you, I'd get something done about the tendency to interpret criticism of you as a political position on the IP situation.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 12:13:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, please!

There is plenty of human rights blogging here, for instance:

Plenty of Sudan blogging:
Burma blogging:
* EU sanctions on trade with Burma by In Wales on October 25th, 2007
Israel/Palestine blogging:
This is just a quick and dirty search, no attempt to be exhaustive.
this blog is just really too small to generate ad income, which would in any case be miniscule
Well, it's also too small to generate a readership for you, so go find greener pastures.

Anyway, what this blog is not, is a single-issue sound chamber.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 10:57:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"this blog is not...a single-issue sound chamber."

Nor has it ever been in the two years I've been posting here. I posted a little more frequently during the Gaza Flotilla saga, and it apparently pissed someone off.

Who just put a week old diary of mine on the rec list?


by shergald on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 12:16:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
shergald:
Who just put a week old diary of mine on the rec list?
Somebody must have recommended it.

Here you go again with your authoritarian top-down view of how the site works. Nobody puts diaries on the rec list, diaries are automatically ranked on their time-weighted recommendations.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 12:25:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
2006?


by shergald on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 12:42:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
2006: 1) when else are you going to have diaries covering the elections won by Hamas and the start of the Quartet boycott? 2) yes, we had coverage of I/P before you showed up.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 01:47:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
shergald:
Without carrying this discussion out any further

Will you please stop there now? Your endless attempt to dissect ET is getting tiresome.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 11:25:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It implies interest in the topic and that's all that is necessary.

I'll just highlight that sentence and leave it at that, because no point I could possibly make could better illustrate the difference between education and advertising.

European Tribune is in the business of education. You appear to be in the business of advertising.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 11:26:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The title of this site is European Tribune. The focus is not on world politics, but on Europe. Many subjects impinge upon what happens in Europe, true, but essentially what brings the active community together is an interest in Europe and what it means to be a true European. The 'political dialogue' is thus focused, not global.

There are a lot of non-Europeans here too. But I'd guess the majority of our active US members have an understanding and interest in European matters. What happens in Europe also affects the US, and vice versa.

Politically, active ET members could be described as being on the Left, but  there is no central ET ideology, as I see it. Probably that expresses the European political condition.

Your diaries have occasionally been interesting within the context I describe above, and I have read them and recommended them. In the ET mix, these diaries have brought a wider acknowledgement of a very important problem, but it is only one of many problems that are discussed. (Which is not to say there is no interlinking of these problems). However, when one subject 'dominates' the diary list, and offers no illumination (the LQD), and when the diarist takes no part in any of the other discussions,  I suspect current ingratitude is from a drive-by mentality.

The active core of ET, the core that keeps it running, without the need for ads or other compromise, is a real community. People who respect (though not necessarily agree with) other members of that community. Whether you call it a think tank or consultancy or ginger group or whatever, these names are just other functions of community.

The active team (and founder/s), who run ET on a day to day and year to year basis, have not tried to mould ET in their image. The site has developed/evolved naturally. Little spats like your current one are part of that evolution. So thanks for that. But I do not agree with almost any of your comments in the last 72 hours or so. It's obvious that you never ever entertained the idea of fitting yourself into the community, rather than the other way round.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 11:35:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll agree with this. I've mostly been staying out of this because the spat seems unproductive.

But as I see it the problem isn't IP content, it's the fact that you seem to be here to talk and not to discuss or listen.

There should be no problem with discussing IP content on ET, because with Turkey's involvement IP is the most significant local foreign policy issue for the whole of Europe. It's going to affect the future of NATO and the future shape of the EU. And the humanitarian horror is impossible to ignore.

But C&P from news sources does little to educate or inform. And ET is not a one-topic blog. People's diaries centre around their interests, whatvere they are, but what makes ET interesting is the fact that individual posters participate in the community, rather than preaching to it.

Your diaries seem to have been mostly been preaching, not participation. Preaching isn't a good way to persuade people of the value of a cause, no matter how supportive they may be otherwise.

Having said that, I've found some of the recent personal attacks dispiriting and unnecessary.

But I think you have two choices - you can make more of an effort to fit in by contributing to other threads, or you can create a personal site.

Former regulars have done this, with some success, and if the site is good and interesting it may even get more traffic than ET does.

I don't think anyone here would find that an unwelcome outcome, or would wish such a project ill.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 12:16:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of my comments above and below respond to some of your concerns.

Will you quote something from any diary I put up recently where there is "preaching." That's a new slant I've not heard before. For the most part, my diaries are qualitatively no different than those of FairLeft's and other people interested in the IP area who post here and in the US, at DKos, for example.


by shergald on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 12:53:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not the content of the diaries, it's the lack of other content outside the diaries.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 12:59:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Appreciate your comments.

As I stated above, for two years I have been posting here, then all of a sudden it pissed someone off, possibly the accelerated pace of covering events surrounding the Gaza Flotilla. I am not a dropby diarist, since no one will deny that I tend to the comments. I also read others' diaries, and enjoy the Eurobiography section, and sometimes the photo features.

As for being part of a community, my estimate is that only about 5% of the daily visitors (2000 at last look at the site meter), the ET regulars, many of whom diary or frontpage, fall into that category. I know others feel differently, but that's my estimate.

As for Eurocentricism, the site description is not so narrowly defined nor is the diary material, although a focus on Europe certainly dominates.

And for overpowering the site or rec list with IP diaries, that has really never happened until the last month or so during the Flotilla crisis. In a good number of cases in the past, my diaries never made the rec list and often no one even commented on or rec them. One cynic asked me why I bothered since no one paid attention to them. But we don't know that since only registered members can comment or rec.  

by shergald on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 12:40:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the point is that there is a group that keeps the site going. There are, as far as I can see, no rigid rules that keep this group together - other than a sense of sharing. There is a feeling, as yet fully  unrealised, that we can do something together. Shades of 'ask not what your country can do for you'.

The 5 % is natural dynamic outcome of self-organizing systems: 1% are fully active, 5% are active and 94% are lurkers. This is how dynamic systems work when people are involved.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 03:48:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You should use all three pieces of data. Recs, views and comments are all imperfect but tell us something too. It seems you can jump on the rec list with only one or two recs here, while views can't be 'cheated' in that way. Comments show interest, but also can be 'cheated' when people know comments have weight in getting on the rec list. Views tells us a little too much about headline-making skill.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 10:37:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't disagree, but it should be possible to tabulate "unique" views. I don't know if that is done now at MyDD, but it should be possible. Comments too can be inflated, especially by the diarist, who might add related material in the comments section. Only recs are unlikely to be duplicated. The problem with recs is that registered people who disagree with the tenor of a diary may not be inclined to rec, even though they have read the diary.

It is all imperfection, but these measures are all we have.

by shergald on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 10:43:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
shergald:
Comments too can be inflated, especially by the diarist, who might add related material in the comments section.
As has been pointed out to you repeatedly, the way this here community blog has chosen to cultivate over the past 5 years is to post related content as comments in the same diary, especially if the comment thread is recent, in preference to posting an entirely new diary, especially if the new content is just a clipping and link to an outside source of news or commentary.

That is not considered inflating the comment count since we don't particularly run a comment-counting competition so nobody much cares that "my diary has more comments than your diary".

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 11:20:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It might be possible to count comments by everyone but the diarist. But, as you said, anything can be artificially inflated.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 01:02:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What, the diarist is not supposed to reply to comments about their own diary?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 01:17:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I'm saying if a site decided to use number of comments as one (still imperfect) measure of 'popularity', you could improve that measure by not including the diarists' comments in the comment total.

Enough meta. My sense is taht you and Jake are just irritated by 'too many P/I diaries'. I understand and am supportive of non-overwhelming-ness. But it's funny, because the 'problem' is entirely due to the fact that I've published 3 or 4 of them in the last couple weeks, adding them to Shergald's steady output, and that completely throws off the 'balance' here. So, because there are relatively few diaries published here, sometimes there are glitches (during times of particularly egregious Israeli conduct). It's just the way things go here, ebb and flow.

Not that I will lose interest in I/P, but as usual there are other things I'm very interested in. Unfortunately, right now it's the expensive and just up and running South African high-speed train line, which I think is a great example of HST white elephantism. And this site is semi-officially a pro-HST site, so I'm reluctant to post my perspective on that. If I do, though, I'll make sure to include some groovy train pics.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 01:32:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The glut was mostly due to the Gaza Flotilla saga, and its aftermath. Couple a week before that on average was no big deal. In fact, no too long ago, someone asked why I kept posting diaries when nobody was reading them. That's just the point: without data on views we don't know that. Equating recs and comments with with readership is just not valid.

by shergald on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 02:27:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"as much a think tank (however much we may hate that term...) as it is a news source."

Well as least you are willing to concede that the function of the site exceeds your more narrow conception. I would suppose that for me, I'm on the "news source" side of the picture. If the site does not provide news than its visitor interest might likely decline. In fact, I would have to say that most of the diaries do provide news.

by shergald on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 11:34:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ET is basically just another place to post and discuss diaries -- mostly on current news but also about alternative power, trains, and photos -- with special focus on Europe. I.e., look at the diaries and that's what ET is.

The incoherent silliness of the attacks on you -- 'this is kind of a think tank' is one of those incoherencies, and so is the notion that 'views' is a terrible measure of viewer interest compared to comments or recs -- is because the attackers can't simply state that they feel there have been too many I/P diaries lately, especially two-three days ago when three of them were on the rec list. That was the trigger for these outbursts.

Anyway, I agree there've been too many I/P diaries lately. It happens once in a great while. Relax and enjoy Friday photography.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 02:20:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes it does happen once in a while. And I agree with your summary.

Administration should gain the capacity to get diaries off the rec list, just as it can delete comments, and thus moderate the amount of IP if it should get excessive. Maybe the stay on the rec list is set too high. On the other I have been watching the "quantity" factor, and it should work out.

by shergald on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 02:46:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
shergald:
On the other I have been watching the "quantity" factor, and it should work out.

well done shergald.

please post comments in other diaries, as i feel you have wise things to say about other issues too.

thanks for being harmonic.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 03:13:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's the MyDD site: http://mydd.com/

Take a look down the right column at Most Popular. It shows most popular by comments, but click on "Views" and you get to see another string of Most Popular diaries according to that dimension. It helps one to understand that it is not just the people who have commented that have viewed a diary, and there are many more of them.


by shergald on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 09:18:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I realize this is partly about I/P, but it seems also about political correctness, the declining public space for free speech, and the forced de-politicization of a corporate-sanitized gay 'identity'.

I wasn't attracted to the same-old-same-old headline "Jews Confront Jews in San Francisco."

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Wed Jun 9th, 2010 at 10:55:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough point.

In this particular case, however, I think you missed out on a good diary that touched upon many of the same subjects.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 9th, 2010 at 11:00:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's interesting about the story hook "Jews versus Jews"? Are Jews supposed to agree with each other on major political issues like I/P? Anyway, that was my first impression. And Shergald contributes a lot of diaries, so my impression was this was one of his less inspired efforts. Oh well, my mistake.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Wed Jun 9th, 2010 at 11:13:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jeez frekin' Louise - If this is important enough to keep poking this hornets nest, just grab some quote and put it in the Salon or the other thread Jake.

Please, stop bickering.

I didn't pay to watch an argument, I swear.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sat Jun 12th, 2010 at 03:14:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or, Jake could've written his own diary: "Too Many I/P Diaries." Instead, I have 4 on-diary comments out of 57 here.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sun Jun 13th, 2010 at 08:09:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm ready to say "good," because the banning will draw considerably more attention to the situation in Israel than a simple sign in front of a marching group introducing, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.
In response, I would expect to see hundreds of signs along the parade route, saying "Israeli Apartheid," giving the concept greater exposure. No organization, just as no government agency, can ban free speech.

by shergald on Wed Jun 9th, 2010 at 10:39:33 PM EST
I only occasionally focus intently on the I/P issue, but when I've come back to it in recent weeks, after 6 months or a year on other stuff, the Israeli stance seems to have jumped very far into a paranoid world view that has little connection to reality. And yet, no matter how fantastical, paranoid about Arabs and Likudnikian, nearly all mainstream American and apparently Canadian politicians give it 100%++ support.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Wed Jun 9th, 2010 at 11:01:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Can't say 'Israeli apartheid' in Toronto

Oh, and yeah, Israel's rule in the occupied territory fully qualifies as apartheid. As the folks who know say:

'This is like apartheid': ANC veterans visit West Bank
By Donald Macintyre in Hebron
Friday, 11 July 2008

Veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle said last night that the restrictions endured by Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories was in some respects worse than that imposed on the black majority under white rule in South Africa.

Members of a 23-strong human-rights team of prominent South Africans cited the impact of the Israeli military's separation barrier, checkpoints, the permit system for Palestinian travel, and the extent to which Palestinians are barred from using roads in the West Bank.

After a five-day visit to Israel and the Occupied Territories, some delegates expressed shock and dismay at conditions in the Israeli-controlled heart of Hebron. Uniquely among West Bank cities, 800 settlers now live there and segregation has seen the closure of nearly 3,000 Palestinian businesses and housing units. Palestinian cars (and in some sections pedestrians) are prohibited from using the once busy streets.

Oh, the irony:

European Tribune - Barney Frank: Israel is Mandela, Gaza is apartheid South Africa

U.S. Senator Barney Frank equates Israel's brutal embargo against the Gaza Strip with the 1980s U.S. sanctions against the South Africa apartheid regime. Can a member of Congress get any more down on his hands and knees toward a foreign power, one that seems to have just engaged in murder and piracy on the high seas, and this from a supposed liberal beacon in the U.S. Senate?

Barney Frank Compares Israel's Gaza Blockade to Sanctions Against Apartheid
By Nathan Guttman
Published June 04, 2010

Israel's blockade against Gaza is comparable to the sanctions levied by the U.S. Congress against the apartheid regime of South Africa in 1986, Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank told the Forward in an interview June 3.



By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 05:30:09 AM EST
And he'll get more of it by groveling to Israel.

Realpolitik. Likudpolitik.

I have done an exhaustive analysis of the arguments on Israel. Here is the bottom line:

Jews/Israel feel unsafe, so they can act as they please, to save the irreplaceable Jewish culture.

This is such a close analogue to the HWBush Doctrine, "The American Standard of Living is Not Negotiable" 1991, and therefore its politicians must maintain it by any means necessary.

Align culture with our nature.

by ormondotvos (ormond no spam lmi net no spam) on Sun Jun 13th, 2010 at 02:57:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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