Not just a problem for South Park

By Nick Cohen, February 2, 2012

When I was researching You Can’t Read This Book, my study of censorship, an old joke came back to me. “You can be a famous poisoner or a successful poisoner but you can’t be both”.
Successful censorship is hidden. A writer who concentrates on the famous cases misses the point. Censorship everyone knows about is not successful precisely because everyone knows. One can understand the suppression that matters only when one thinks about the books that are never written and the arguments that are never made.
Alarmingly, considering the virulence of its antisemitism, radical Islam is too hot to handle. Its ideology cannot be mocked as those of Christianity and Judaism have been since the Enlightenment. The stories about its prophet cannot be exposed as fables, as with Jesus and Moses. The reason is simple: writers are frightened, above all of violence.
Carry on reading

Ambassador, how you spoil us

I struggle to believe that Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, does not know that Marine Le Pen is the leader of the French National Front. He struck me as a boorish man when I met him last year, but I did not take him to be that great a fool.

Anyone with a fleeting knowledge of European politics must have heard that the National Front is Europe’s most successful far-right party, with roots in the collaborationist Vichy regime, and a history of dismissing the murder of France’s Jews as a “point of detail”.

Perhaps Prosor forgot. Perhaps the “le Pen” name rang no bells and he was unaware that Jean-Marie le Pen, the National Front’s famous and indeed infamous leader, had handed over control of his party to his daughter.

It is possible, I suppose. But even the United Nations, not an organisation noted for displaying squeamishness when it comes to ushering brutes into its conference rooms, knew who she was and wanted nothing to do with her. Marine le Pen invited 100 diplomats to her UN reception. Only Prosor and three others turned up.
Carry on reading

A foul smell at Britain’s unions

In a manner that ought to warm every leftish heart, Israeli trade unions emphasise that the class interests of Israeli workers transcend religious differences. The unions are supporting the great wave of protest in Israel against the larcenous increases in the costs of housing, transport, childcare, food and fuel the Likudniks have presided over. Histadrut, Israel’s trade union federation, has learned the hard-earned socialist wisdom that when conservative nationalists bellow about their love of country they do not always mean a love of their country’s citizens.

Carry on reading