/ Sasha Baron Cohen

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john arran 23 Nov 2019

A truly remarkable speech, the equal of many from renowned and respected world leaders in history, cutting to the heart of quite probably the greatest issue and threat in society today:

https://www.adl.org/news/article/sacha-baron-cohens-keynote-address-at-adls-2019-never-is-now-summit-on-anti-semitism

MG 23 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

It's a great speech. Slightly ironically it is doing well on social media. 

wintertree 23 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

Can we please put him and Chris Morris in charge?

1
Yanis Nayu 23 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

It was a brilliant speech. 

Wilderbeest 23 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

Excellent. Thank you for posting.

”and most importantly my jokes will still work”

Toby_W 23 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

I was going to post this too.  Great and distressing at the same time.

Cheers

Toby

ams 23 Nov 2019
alx 23 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

Thank you for posting the link, it’s been on my list of things to watch!

really good speech

john arran 23 Nov 2019
In reply to ams:

> see also

Thanks for that, I hadn't come across it yet but it's been an hour of my time extremely well spent.

I must admit I half expected Tim Berners Lee to now be someone living off past glory and possibly a little bitter. How impressed was I to find instead a compelling and hyper-enthusiastic enduring geek not only with very clear ideas about what has been going wrong with the web in recent years but, crucially, very clear and exciting ideas about how to set it back on track.

Jon Stewart 23 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

Great, thanks.

Coel Hellier 24 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

A rhetorically powerful speech, with a lot of good in it.   But severely marred by failing to acknowledge the counter-arguments.   Here is just one counter-argument:

He calls for regulation to ensure that the tech companies "insist on facts and purge lies and conspiracies from their platforms", and wants people and governments across the world to have a say in this. 

So that means that the Chinese government has a big say, claiming to speak for 1.2 billion people.    So the Chinese say:

"The claim that Chinese troops slaughtered protestors at Tiananmen Square is a lie, it is a conspiracy theory.  This is just as hurtful to us as Holocaust denial, and should be rooted out with the same vigour". 

That's exactly what they do with the internet within China; no mention of Tiananmen Square is allowed within the Great Firewall of China.   So who gets to decide what is or is not "factual" and what is or is not a conspiracy theory?   I wouldn't trust the Chinese government.  But then nor would I necessarily trust Western governments.  Remind me who the current President of the US is, do you want to trust him with that power?

I would tolerate Holocaust denial on the internet for the reason that any authority with the power to shut down Holocaust denial has the power to declare that Tiananmen Square is a conspiracy theory and to shut down any mention of it.  And history says that if governments have that power then they'll abuse.   

And that is worse. 

7
MG 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

So what do you propose? 

3
john arran 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I appreciate your valid concerns but I fear you may be taking his words rather too literally rather than allowing some flexibility in interpreting the spirit of his ideas.

2
Coel Hellier 24 Nov 2019
In reply to MG:

> So what do you propose? 

I honestly don't know.   But my instincts say err on the side of free expression, with confidence that truth will win out overall.  Even if that does mean tolerating Holocaust denial being available for anyone who Google's it. 

I do think that the social-media companies need reform, and I do agree with public regulation of them (so long as it is not committees deciding what can and cannot be said!).  I do think their ethos needs to change from promoting "user engagement" and click-bait tactics and to instead focus on quality of interaction and quality of material. 

john arran 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

There's a whole spectrum of possibilities between where we are now and a complete ban on anything anybody anywhere decides is false. Could try banning paid-for promotions of anything considered factually incorrect for a start. And how about introducing some indicator system for pages or articles that have been flagged as being contrary to accepted wisdom, or contrary to the views of certain user groups. Or use the algorithmic approach to remove such things from search results unless they're very explicitly searched for. Lots of possibilities, some of them no doubt very tricky when it comes down to the implementation details, but any or all of them are sorely needed right now.

1
Coel Hellier 24 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

> And how about introducing some indicator system for pages or articles that have been flagged as being contrary to accepted wisdom, or contrary to the views of certain user groups. 

The problem is, who gets to decide?  A committee stuffed with Trump appointees?   If not, who?  The UN?  Yet, Saudi Arabia --laughably -- chairs the human-rights commission.

Let's take climate change.  Do you want a committee stuffed with Trump appointees to have the power to insist on a "contrary to accepted wisdom" flag on an article about climate change? 

MG 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

An obvious change would be to make social media responsibile for their content, as with other publications, rather than allowing them to pretend they just transmit it. 

wintertree 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Yours is one take on it.  

Another is that he was suggesting that social media should be held to account in the same way that other media outlets are and have been for a long time.  

Having press standards and complaints and appeals processes isn’t what’s leading the west towards right wing and eventually totalitarian government - the irony I see in your post is that the lack of regulation in social media is being exploited to drive the west towards exactly the sort of anti-democratic government you suggest it’s consequence-free speech protects us against.

Post edited at 18:31
1
Coel Hellier 24 Nov 2019
In reply to MG:

> An obvious change would be to make social media responsibile for their content, as with other publications, rather than allowing them to pretend they just transmit it. 

But there's no way that can work, it would amount to shutting them all down.  A newspaper can take responsibility for what it says, since it is publishing 40 pages a day, and it is manageable to vet all of it.   There's no way anyone could vet all of Twitter or Facebook.  There are about a billion tweets per day.   

MG 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I bet they could if they wanted to, largely automated. 

4
wintertree 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But there's no way that can work, it would amount to shutting them all down.  A newspaper can take responsibility for what it says, since it is publishing 40 pages a day, and it is manageable to vet all of it.   There's no way anyone could vet all of Twitter or Facebook.  There are about a billion tweets per day.   

“No way” is a very defeatist attitude.  “It’s difficult to be responsible so we shouldn’t try”.

I just gave it a literal 5 seconds thought.  How about the company’s responsibility and the consequences upon them rise in proportion to the scale with which content is shared?  They then have to have check points at sharing thresholds where they have to auto-pause sharing until legal compliance is done.  I dare say they could predict ahead when this will be.  It’s hardly a radical concept is it?  They shouldn’t have a licence to make money by wilfully and deliberately pedalling poisonous crap just because they can.  

3
wintertree 24 Nov 2019
In reply to MG:

> I bet they could if they wanted to, largely automated. 

No no, it’s too hard so they should just be allowed to do what they want.  Just imagine what the chemical industry or automotive industry could be like with that mindset...

2
Coel Hellier 24 Nov 2019
In reply to MG:

> I bet they could if they wanted to, largely automated. 

AI is not nearly good enough to decide between true and false information, or libelous versus fair comment.  

And again, who gets to decide, who gets to code the algorithms?  Do you want automated algorithms, running on the very base infrastructure of the internet, that look for the string "Tiananmen Square" and block it?

And "responsible" for the content in which jurisdiction?

pasbury 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> The problem is, who gets to decide?  A committee stuffed with Trump appointees?   If not, who?  The UN?  Yet, Saudi Arabia --laughably -- chairs the human-rights commission.

I'd like to think we do but I'm not sure how. Consensus is a delicate thing, systematically attacked by right wing interests and it's supporting media.

1
Coel Hellier 24 Nov 2019
In reply to wintertree:

>  Just imagine what the chemical industry or automotive industry could be like with that mindset...

Yep, just imagine if the car maker were held responsible every time a driver crashed a car.

4
wintertree 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Yep, just imagine if the car maker were held responsible every time a driver crashed a car.

You’re a smart chap - you could at least come up with a valid analogy.

Cat makers have certain standards over pedestrian and 3rd party safety as do most industries.  Killing pedestrians doesn’t make profit for car makers.  Publishing deliberate and societally damaging lies is one of the prime revenue sources for social media.  Lies spread more and make more advertising revenue. Spot the difference?  Hint: the car industry is not deliberately facilitating motorists to drive into pedestrians so that they can make more money.

Meanwhile, the car industry has not said “too hard” over the issue of pedestrian deaths, but is spending vast quantities of its money to roll out and improve automatic emergency braking systems that specifically include protecting pedestrians against driver incompetence, and includes pedestrian friendly body design and crumple feature on many models.

2
cb294 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The world worked nicely without Tw*tter and Facebook, so it would not matter if they were shut down.

As we discussed recently in another thread, in my opinion these companies are almost textbook examples of publishers. Just like traditional publishers, their business is to make content other people have authored available to the consumers.

That in this case the profit comes from a secondary trade in information and advertising, and that the job involves providing a technical platform rather than organizing and financing the printing of books and distributing them to shops, does not matter: Facilitating the transfer of content from author to consumer is by definition publishing. None of the cat videos, hate speech, or tortilla recipes that individual content creators generate would reach their target audience without the activity of these intermediaries.

Thus, all regulations for publishers should also apply to the big tech companies, and of course according to the laws of each jurisdiction. If they cannot (or rather are unwilling to) fulfil these obligations they simply have to cease trading.

CB

MG 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

That's an absurd argument, but if pushed, yes I would much rather that than the chaos the likes of Facebook is rapidly causing 

john arran 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> The problem is, who gets to decide?  A committee stuffed with Trump appointees?   If not, who?  The UN?  Yet, Saudi Arabia --laughably -- chairs the human-rights commission.

> Let's take climate change.  Do you want a committee stuffed with Trump appointees to have the power to insist on a "contrary to accepted wisdom" flag on an article about climate change? 

I agree there will always be difficulties and whatever measures we put in place will never be perfect. But we have a good shot at this problem within the UK regarding broadcast material, as do other countries. I think our best shot is likely to be a whole lot better than the anarchy that the privatised internet is currently descending into.

1
krikoman 25 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

A great speech, though posted on a site that doesn't have much to say for Palestinian rights, apart from (and I've only had a quick look) "it's both side fault" and BDS is anti-Semitic.

there is also a conflation of Jews and Israel, in a few places, which according the IHRA no one should be doing.

Like I said , I've not had a lot of time to look at the site, and there maybe other stuff I've not come across yet.

Well done Sasha, he sounds like a well balanced bloke.

RomTheBear 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But there's no way that can work, it would amount to shutting them all down.  A newspaper can take responsibility for what it says, since it is publishing 40 pages a day, and it is manageable to vet all of it.   There's no way anyone could vet all of Twitter or Facebook.  There are about a billion tweets per day.   

As I pointed out earlier in the other thread, the problem is scale. As long as we’ve got a few companies controlling everything, regulating what they can publish is useless, we just end up passing control from the company to the state, same problem.

So here is a very simple solution, just break them down. We don’t need Google controlling all of the internet searches, we don’t need facebook to control all of social media, we can have hundreds of companies doing the same.

I appreciate the value of the service these companies offer come from exponential network effects. But I don’t care. We can just live without getting as much value from it. Life was fine before Google and Facebook.

Post edited at 11:32
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Coel Hellier 25 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

> I think our best shot is likely to be a whole lot better than the anarchy that the privatised internet is currently descending into.

I'm not opposed to this. Indeed, on another thread yesterday I was arguing for regulation of near-monopoly internet companies; indeed near-monopolies should always be regulated for the public good.

But, I do want an internet where you can type into Google: "Tiananmen Square massacre" and up pops hits that disagree with the approved line that some government or authority might want. 

It seems to me that a necessary part of the price of that is that typing "Did the Holocaust happen?" into Google might produce denialist hits. 

Here is Hitchens's passionate defence of that principle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z2uzEM0ugY

Pefa 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

But there was no massacre in Tianamen Square,it was western propaganda, fake news, more lies.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8555142/Wikileaks-no-bloodshed-inside-Tiananmen-Square-cables-claim.html

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Coel Hellier 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> But there was no massacre in Tianamen Square,it was western propaganda, fake news, more lies.

Thank you for illustrating my point!  

john arran 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I think we're in agreement as to what we want to achieve, but disagree on how to get there. It is a fact that some people have denied, and continue to deny, many things we put into the category of scientific or historical reality, and that fact itself should not be washed from the internet, nor should the conspiracies themselves. However, I'm pretty sure there's some middle-ground way of recognising and either highlighting or contextualising such occurrences, making sure the standing of such views is clearly represented, and also perhaps making sure that search results - and maybe even pages arrived at by following web links - also offer mainstream views such that potential for a bubble effect is reduced.

Andy Hardy 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But there's no way that can work, it would amount to shutting them all down.  A newspaper can take responsibility for what it says, since it is publishing 40 pages a day, and it is manageable to vet all of it.   There's no way anyone could vet all of Twitter or Facebook.  There are about a billion tweets per day.   


Social media and internet companies are making billions out of user generated content. They can afford to moderate the stuff they publish and / or link to.

Offwidth 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Facebook already have people to check any suspicious photos; with some devastating consequencies for some of those moderators... they could moderate posts just as easily and with less likely consequence.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGCGhD8i-o4

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-09-29/the-cleaners-documentary-social-media-moderation-the-philippines/10300098

Post edited at 12:08
Pan Ron 25 Nov 2019
In reply to wintertree:

> Having press standards and complaints and appeals processes isn’t what’s leading the west towards right wing and eventually totalitarian government

Censoring viewpoints because we don't like them, or are only willing to examine them for falsehoods, will drive one-sided censorship and make the right even more attractive.  In fact, a major driver for the right-wing seems to be the accusation that certain news sources peddle outright lies against the right.

> the irony I see in your post is that the lack of regulation in social media is being exploited to drive the west towards exactly the sort of anti-democratic government you suggest it’s consequence-free speech protects us against.

Is that really the case?  Back in the days when the only press we had was a few news TV channels and newsprint, all heavily restricted, you could argue that this was incredibly undemocratic.  The range of viable political viewpoints were restricted to two main political parties and a pretty mainstream choice of options. 

Warts and all, allowing all viewpoints a platform, even if they are completely wrong, seems a better option.  

1
Pefa 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Thank you for illustrating my point! 

You wrote that you wouldn't trust the Chinese government because they won't allow reports of a massacre in Tianamen Square on their Internet but I am showing you how the Chinese government are right and you are wrong as there was no massacre in Tianamen Square. 

And I'm always happy to help 🙂

7
Pan Ron 25 Nov 2019
In reply to MG:

> That's an absurd argument, but if pushed, yes I would much rather that than the chaos the likes of Facebook is rapidly causing 

What chaos?

Your reaction sounds like exactly the argument deployed in China to Hong Kong protesters. 

1
Pan Ron 25 Nov 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> So here is a very simple solution, just break them down. We don’t need Google controlling all of the internet searches, we don’t need facebook to control all of social media, we can have hundreds of companies doing the same.

It doesn't control anything.  Everyone is free to go elsewhere.  A different search engine, an alternative social media site, are just a mouse click away.

1
Pan Ron 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> Social media and internet companies are making billions out of user generated content. They can afford to moderate the stuff they publish and / or link to.

I don't think its a matter of cost.  It's about how many, and what type of people, you would employ on your content censorship panels.

And if the solution is to create lots of Facebooks and Twitters, instead of the monopolies, you are more likely to just create separate echo-chambers.

1
RomTheBear 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> It doesn't control anything.  Everyone is free to go elsewhere.  A different search engine, an alternative social media site, are just a mouse click away.

Yes, but as I’ve pointed out, this doesn’t work as the value of these platform to the user exponentially increases with the number of users.

So it’s bound to end up with a monopoly, unless you enforce simple rules to prevent them from forming. 

RomTheBear 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> I don't think its a matter of cost.  It's about how many, and what type of people, you would employ on your content censorship panels.

> And if the solution is to create lots of Facebooks and Twitters, instead of the monopolies, you are more likely to just create separate echo-chambers.

Separate echo chambers are fine, as their effect are limited to their limited audience. It doesn’t have as these uncontrollable systemic effects

Andy Hardy 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

Then the solution is regulation. Digital media held to the same standards as print, TV and cinema - whatever size your company, you are responsible for what goes out on your website.

Coel Hellier 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> And I'm always happy to help

And you are most helpfully illustrating the "who gets to decide?" problem!  Thanks!

1
Coel Hellier 25 Nov 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Separate echo chambers are fine, as their effect are limited to their limited audience.

I don't think that separate echo chambers are fine, that leads to the huge divisions we see in the US today (which are way worse than we have in the UK), in which separate halves of society just yell at each other, while getting all their information from their own side. 

Pan Ron 25 Nov 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Separate echo chambers are fine, as their effect are limited to their limited audience. It doesn’t have as these uncontrollable systemic effects

The great thing about social media is that it is uncontrolled.  Most messages already go to a limited audience.

Before Trump, Brexit, or Boris I don't recall many complaints about social media being unregulated.  The current desire for censorship seems to be a result of people being unhappy with electoral outcomes ("the wrong parties are getting voted in, so people must be getting the wrong information").  That doesn't strike me as a democratic solution, or necessarily a democratic deficit.  The opposing side of the argument is that people are for the first time getting their viewpoints heard.

2
Coel Hellier 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> Then the solution is regulation. Digital media held to the same standards as print, TV and cinema - whatever size your company, you are responsible for what goes out on your website.

How does a UK authority hold responsible an internet company registered in Panama or the Ukraine or wherever? Are you going to firewall the UK? 

It can be done, China firewalls China in order to control what can be found on the internet from within China -- and that is an example of an internet regulated "for the public good" -- but if I had a choice of their internet or ours I'd pick ours despite all its faults. 

cb294 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

Yes, but if there are no near monopolists getting away with murder because they are "too big to be shut down" it is much easier to hold an individual company responsible for failing to fulfil its duties as a publisher.

In Germany holocaust denial is a crime (for obvious historical reasons). You are not allowed to say in public or commit to print any claim similar to the one in a recent high profile court case, where teh defendant argued that the capacity of the crematoria in Auschwitz was too small, and therefore the industrial scale mass murder of Jews could not have happened.

If you do, both author and publisher will be prosecuted. Exactly the same should be true for the electronic publishers? Why should Facebook et al. get away with claiming they are more like a telephone company rather than a book publisher? They clearly collate and monetize content, rather than merely providing infrastructure.

CB

Coel Hellier 25 Nov 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> So it’s bound to end up with a monopoly, unless you enforce simple rules to prevent them from forming. 

What rules would these be?

"Sorry, your Google search has been disallowed (Google is over its market-share quota this month), your search has been automatically re-routed to Bing and/or DuckDuckGo" ?

"Sorry, you may not Tweet again on Twitter this month (Twitter is over its market-share quota this month), feel free to click on one of these alternative websites" ?

Pan Ron 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> Then the solution is regulation. Digital media held to the same standards as print, TV and cinema - whatever size your company, you are responsible for what goes out on your website.

I don't think old-media regulation works in a social media universe.  It is slow, clunky, and prone to social standards of the time.  Trying to apply that to the millions of posts circulating in social media is probably going to cause more problems than it solves - bias being just one of those.

Social media has quite literally been revolutionary.  I think people might be forgetting just how many positives it has brought and seem ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater because some aspects anger them (a bit like EU membership really...).

RomTheBear 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I don't think that separate echo chambers are fine, that leads to the huge divisions we see in the US today (which are way worse than we have in the UK), in which separate halves of society just yell at each other, while getting all their information from their own side.

They wouldn't be yelling at each other’s as much if they weren’t sharing the same online space.

As I’ve said earlier, neighbours have better relationship than roommates. We just need to break it down.

wintertree 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Warts and all, allowing all viewpoints a platform, even if they are completely wrong, seems a better option.  

So thought Professor Bernardo de le Paz in Robert Heinlein’s 1966 “The moon is a harsh mistress”.  He also thought that allowing news to flow through a small number of highly controlled channels was potentially disastrous.

I’d like to think both the professor and Heinlein would reel in horror at where their philosophy has taken us - under regulated capitalism is the kind of positive feedback that the protagonist in that novel despises (from his engineering perspective) and it pushes down the number of platforms by picking a few “winners”, and those platforms then go on to select a few viewpoints as “winners”.  It’s nothing like the anarchistic “all viewpoints” you and the professor advocate for.

The bogeyman here is poor education - different counties have people exposed to either state propaganda or capitalistically filtered, consequence-free speech.  With a population capable of thinking rationally and evaluating evidence and interacting on many levels with other people doing likewise, neither would be a problem.  As it is, both are massive problems.

Andy Hardy 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> How does a UK authority hold responsible an internet company registered in Panama or the Ukraine or wherever? Are you going to firewall the UK? 

I would start with the premise that if I am in the UK, and I see that content in the UK, then it has effectively been published in the UK, and therefore that content has to comply with UK law.

Maybe give foreign companies a licence to operate in the UK which can be revoked for infringements?

Andy Hardy 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

"Digital media held to the same standards as print, TV and cinema - whatever size your company, you are responsible for what goes out on your website."

Which bit of ^this^ do you disagree with?

RomTheBear 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> What rules would these be?

I’m not too concerned with how it’s implemented other people can work it out, I’m just telling you what we need to to.

But I could suggest a very simple heuristic: any company that becomes a monopoly, you are forced to break up. If you refuse then you are fined big time.

Do that and you’ll see them shrinking back down and allow some diversity.

We’ve effectively done that with banks, btw, we forced them to break down and downsize.

Post edited at 12:50
john arran 25 Nov 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

I disagree. Segregation of communities doesn't work in inner city race relations and there's no reason to suppose online separation of communities based on political affiliation or factual gullibility would be any more successful.

The way to address misinformation surely is in better information, which surely is best achieved by identifying instances of misinformation and addressing them directly with the very people most likely to be affected, rather than by leaving people to isolate themselves within self-radicalising bubbles.

Pan Ron 25 Nov 2019
In reply to cb294:

I don't think the German rules on Holocaust denial actually achieve anything.  But at least it is a reasonably easy to define "thing" to legislate against.

When it comes to social media in general, where it seems "hate", "racism" and "bigotry" are the things being proposed to legislate against, we are into an entirely different ballgame.  Everyone's perception of what they are is different.  If we did start to regulate against them in the way the Holocaust is regulated against in Germany, the result would probably be the closest we've come to totalitarianism in recent history. 

That this is even being considered a remotely desirable option is quite chilling.  Though its not surprising given the slide we have been experiencing in the last decade around concepts of free-speech.

There's a lot of good points in SBC's speech.  There's plenty wrong with it too, being not much different to the sort of populist politician's speech, promising to resolve the world's ills through simple sounds solutions, which he decries.  In the world he proposes, despite him deeming Antifas transgressions as fake news, they probably would rightly be removed from social media and declared a terrorist institution and Trump's comments on them being an understatement.  They peddle fake news and hate of their own.  Twitter already has algorithms to remove hateful content and it seems to classify a lot of only vaguely controversial content as hate.  Wouldn't it be better to have all content available on one site, where it can at least be challenged, rather than having the sites you never go to becoming cesspits (or perhaps important counter-points being only being visible there)?

Defining social media platforms as produces or publishers is a bit like the argument over whether an unborn child can be considered a life of its own or the sole preserve of its parents (and in which case which ones).  It is almost impossible to answer as the definitions don't really apply. 

RomTheBear 25 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

> I disagree. Segregation of communities doesn't work in inner city race relations and there's no reason to suppose online separation of communities based on political affiliation or factual gullibility would be any more successful.

Don’t confuse enforced segregation with natural clustering.

> The way to address misinformation surely is in better information, which surely is best achieved by identifying instances of misinformation and addressing them directly with the very people most likely to be affected, rather than by leaving people to isolate themselves within self-radicalising bubbles

Unfortunately for all the reasons highlithed above if you centralise who decides what information is deemed correct or incorrect (whether it’s by the state or by large companies) then you expose yourself to significant risk of large scale manipulation. No control is not an answer either because then the most successful at lying and manipulation wins all.

You can allow control on information but only on the small scale. It has an added benefit, which is that it’s a lot easier to hold accountable those responsible for misinformation if they are close to you. 
It’s harder for a politician to feed lie to his people if he sees them in church every Sunday. Shame acts as a natural deterrent against lying.

Post edited at 13:04
Coel Hellier 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> Maybe give foreign companies a licence to operate in the UK which can be revoked for infringements?

With a firewall round the UK to ensure that no UK person can click on the website of an overseas infringing company? 

Because, if you don't have that, that company is not going to care whether it infringes your regulations. 

Pan Ron 25 Nov 2019
In reply to wintertree:

> The bogeyman here is poor education - different counties have people exposed to either state propaganda or capitalistically filtered, consequence-free speech.  

On that I agree.  But limiting the number of viewpoints we have access to will likely worsen that.  SBC may be mistaking the popularity of Alex Jones with him being the cause behind Trump's election and his comments come across a lot like the outrage over reefer smoking or rock music. 

The internet is a new thing.  Rather than censoring it, learning how to deal with it would seem to be a better option. 

Besides, a lot of left-wing views on social media seem to think a better world would be had if we just gave socialism another try.  Isn't that an example of fake news and a complete failure of people to understand history too? 

1
john arran 25 Nov 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Don’t confuse enforced segregation with natural clustering.

Segregation, whether enforced/encouraged or chosen, is unhelpful in fostering a successful and diverse society. It's well known that many of the UK communities with most racist views are those with the lowest population of ethnic minority residents. This will only change by popping some ignorant bubbles and improving education and exposure.

Online misinformation bubbles are no different.

Coel Hellier 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Here is Hitchens's passionate defence of that principle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z2uzEM0ugY

I've just listened to this once again.  It is so good!

Anyone lauding Sasha Baron Cohen's speech should at least listen to this counter-argument. 

1
Pan Ron 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> "Digital media held to the same standards as print, TV and cinema - whatever size your company, you are responsible for what goes out on your website."

> Which bit of ^this^ do you disagree with?

That's a bit like saying modern music should be held to the same standards as my pastor's Sunday church service, which would likely see drill and rap banned, and nothing other than anodyne pop and classical music approved.

TV, print, cinema produce the content.  Social media merely provides a platform for every person with an account to post what they wish, free of charge.  A closer analogy would be to making Bic or paper-merchants liable unsavoury books.

Post edited at 13:19
MG 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Your reaction sounds like exactly the argument deployed in China to Hong Kong protesters. 

Indeed.  In fact I'm just out now to fire some tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters.

MG 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I've listened to it before and it is indeed very good.  However, he wasn't dealing with a system where, as SBC pointed out, we are dealing with largest propaganda system ever produced.  He was assuming that "truth" and "lies" had at least approximately equal chances of being heard.

It's rather odd you object to regulating social media on the basis that it requires someone to decide what is said, but ignore the fact that social media is doing precisely that using highly optimized algorithms.

Andy Hardy 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

Do bic and paper manufacturers make billions from the words one writes on the other?

Social media companies are allowing anyone to edit their websites, they are still responsible for delivering that content to the rest of the world. 

A better analogy might be if the Times allowed anyone to write anything in their paper, they would still have to abide by the laws of publishing.

Edited to add: by "standards" I was not thinking of the relative merits of different genres, but of having a benchmark against which to measure content with respect to factual accuracy.

Post edited at 13:42
Pan Ron 25 Nov 2019
In reply to MG:

Does it not concern you that none of SBC's examples related to left-leaning fake news and was all to do with what he perceived as undue popularity of the right?

A major attraction of the news sources he opposes (which might go as far as Quilette) is the monopoly with which left-leaning media can appear to hold.

Coel Hellier 25 Nov 2019
In reply to MG:

> He was assuming that "truth" and "lies" had at least approximately equal chances of being heard.

Is it really the case now that lies have a much greater chance of coming up on a google search or similar?

> It's rather odd you object to regulating social media on the basis that it requires someone to decide what is said, but ignore the fact that social media is doing precisely that using highly optimized algorithms.

I'm not against regulation, indeed I've argued in favour of regulation for near-monopoly companies.   But I'm very wary about any authority having the power to rule on what can be read on the internet.   I do agree that algorithms designed to drive user-engagement by promoting "click bait" (= "fake news") are one thing that could be regulated. 

Pefa 25 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

The speech is nothing special but having the courage to go up against the might of a huge transnational certainly is. Although he loses points for using ADL as the platform considering the lies they have peddled in the past which makes the whole event some what Orwellian and suspicious. 

Social media was pretty democratic at first where the old capitalist billionaire media barons who owned all the media found their lies exposed on the ground and spread quickly through new news media outlets and individuals. But now that stirred up sediment is settling back down to the familiar hegemony of billionaires and transnational monopolies who own all the power/wealth being able to make dissident voices who show truth vanish from search engines or be banned/blocked from forums for being a dissident voice. 

Obviously the enemy of the billionaires are always the socialists, so we are the ones who are the real target as billionaires and transnationals in capitalist countries create fascism and brutal far right dictatorships all the time as well as being the protectors and friends of. So don't be fooled that it is the far right they want to clamp down on. 

Post edited at 13:48
1
Coel Hellier 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Does it not concern you that none of SBC's examples related to left-leaning fake news ...

Indeed, SBC white-washes "antifa", when they quite clearly use actual violence, intimidation, harassment and disruption as deliberate tactics, all while wearing masks to conceal their identity.    These tactics would be labelled "fascist" by most of the media if done by others. 

2
MG 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Does it not concern you that none of SBC's examples related to left-leaning fake news and was all to do with what he perceived as undue popularity of the right?

It doesn't  because he didn't.  In fact he only mentions the right in one place, and that with reference to Antifa.  

MG 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Is it really the case now that lies have a much greater chance of coming up on a google search or similar?

It is because the algorithms are optimized to propagate material that appeals to our prejudices and biases, an approach that can be and is exploited by propagandists in a way that truthful statements can not.

Pefa 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Is it really the case now that lies have a much greater chance of coming up on a google search or similar?

Seriously? 

From the murder of MLK to death tolls in USSR or India and hundreds of other massive events in between search engines are full of lies which are in all the pages. It used to be that you could go through 8,9,15 pages and you would find the truth eventually but not now. Now you need to know the truth before you can do a search to find details about it. 

Post edited at 13:58
4
Pan Ron 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pefa:

Wikipedia comes up near the top of my search results.  By most accounts, its commons-created content, it is very accurate.  despite the hysteria, the internet remains the best tool we have for sourcing information.  Just because we don't all agree, or because my views aren't the most popular this decade, shouldn't mean it needs censorship.

If you're unhappy that revisionist histories that seek to downplay the horror of Communist Russia and China come up in the first page of a Google search, then you have plenty of company (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/11/06/lefts-ignorance-stalins-tyranny-against-kulaks-should-worry).  But what you desire is exactly what Sacha sees as fake-news and wants removed from the internet.

2
Pan Ron 25 Nov 2019
In reply to MG:

> It doesn't  because he didn't.  In fact he only mentions the right in one place, and that with reference to Antifa.  

He may only explicitly mention the right on one occasion.  But every example he gives is about the right.

He could have mentioned the tendency to call anyone who favours controlled immigration a racist or Nazi an example of fake news.  The monolithic narratives used to explain the rationales of Trump supporters, Brexit supporters, or Tories with its transition to "punch a Nazi".  The tendency to cast minorities who don't vote where they are supposed to as being uncle-Toms or irrelevant.  The mention of left-wing principles in the Christchurch shooter's manifesto, the ICE detention centre bomber Antifa fellowship, the recent cases of people being pilloried out of their jobs or portrayed as bigots by hasty news reports. 

The skewed reporting by, and venomous social media profiles of, left-wing pundits and activists all appear to be exempt from SBC's critique of the problems in social media.  It's all a problem of one side of the political spectrum.

So the same question remains; if we had not voted for Brexit or Trump, or the conservatives weren't looking like they were headed for an election victory, would SBC be decrying the state of social media? 

Post edited at 14:17
3
Pefa 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Wikipedia comes up near the top of my search results.  By most accounts, its commons-created content, it is very accurate.  despite the hysteria, the internet remains the best tool we have for sourcing information.  Just because we don't all agree, or because my views aren't the most popular this decade, shouldn't mean it needs censorship.

Yes I have on a few occasions changed lies in Wikipedia entries to show the truth only to find after some time they are changed back. Don't get me wrong on anything which is not political I will go to Wikipedia but it is heavily policed ideologically toward spreading capitalist lies. As I pointed out look at MLK as one example. There are tons more. 

> If you're unhappy that revisionist histories that seek to downplay the horror of Communist Russia and China come up in the first page of a Google search, then you have plenty of company (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/11/06/lefts-ignorance-stalins-tyranny-against-kulaks-should-worry). 

Interesting you should now mention Ukraine in 1932 as the wiki page on the falsely named "Holodomor", is guess what? 

Locked from any " commoners". So much for being factual. 

" Revisionist", no factual. 

> But what you desire is exactly what Sacha sees as fake-news and wants removed from the internet.

That is why I don't trust groups who spread lies wanting what they disagree with removed from the Internet. 

Post edited at 14:36
3
Pan Ron 25 Nov 2019
In reply to MG:

> Indeed.  In fact I'm just out now to fire some tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters.

I know you are being tongue-in-cheek, but when I said "Your reaction sounds like exactly the argument deployed in China to Hong Kong protesters" the Chinese I were referring to weren't the ones armed with tear gas and rubber bullets.

I was referring to the man in the street in mainland China who, when interviewed, says the trouble-makers should stop protesting, that they need to accept who "their father is", and that democracy isn't for China.

Limiting available viewpoints can seemingly result in some remarkable viewpoints.

RomTheBear 25 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

> Segregation, whether enforced/encouraged or chosen, is unhelpful in fostering a successful and diverse society.

Forcing people to live with people who don’t agree with them on anything is worse. The only way you can do that is through an authoritarian state. Extreme example : Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

> It's well known that many of the UK communities with most racist views are those with the lowest population of ethnic minority residents. This will only change by popping some ignorant bubbles and education

And yet in big cities with high diversity where people of different ethnicity seem to get along the best, you see definite clusters, Chinatown, Southall etc etc...

This is not driven by racism but by homophilia. If some people have a slight preference to live next to the mosque then over time you end up with a Muslim neighbourhood, if you’ve got a slight preference in living next to next coffee shops then over time you end up with a hipster neighbourhood etc etc. It’s not the same as segregation.

If some U.K. communities have backwards views, fine by me, happy to leave them alone as long as they live others alone. I have a problem only if they try to force others to adopt their views. That’s the source of many of our divisions.

Post edited at 14:41
RomTheBear 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> With a firewall round the UK to ensure that no UK person can click on the website of an overseas infringing company? 

> Because, if you don't have that, that company is not going to care whether it infringes your regulations.

It’s more difficult to operate a monopoly if you don’t comply with local regulation. And yes you can ask ISP to block offenders, we, already do that for copyright infringement.

cb294 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

Then replace holocaust denial with incitement to murder, or the live streaming of mass murder as it has recently in NZ. Anyone facilitating this as a publisher should be held responsible as an accessory to these crimes.

CB

Pefa 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

The ADL are supposed to stand up for traditional left leaning causes like anti-semitism, anti-fascism, anti-racism, islamophobia, ethnic genocides of peoples etc so why would they attack antifa or support the far right?

Incidentally they have falsely accused a Jewish leftist whose entire family was wiped out by the German fascists as being a " holocaust denier",just because he critisizes Israel. 

Coel Hellier 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> The ADL are supposed to stand up for traditional left leaning causes like anti-semitism, anti-fascism, anti-racism, islamophobia, ethnic genocides of peoples etc so why would they attack antifa or support the far right?

Because antifa are a fascist group -- as judged by their tactics and their intolerance? 

Because Islam is an oppressive, far-right idea system?   (And would be obviously labelled as such if it were white people propagating it.)

1
RomTheBear 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Wikipedia comes up near the top of my search results.  By most accounts, its commons-created content, it is very accurate.

And Wikipedia is heavily moderated, not by a central authority, but by a diverse community of moderators who self-organise.

Maybe social media platforms should take inspiration from it unfortunately as long as this is against their commercial interest to do so they won’t.

Post edited at 15:13
Pefa 25 Nov 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

Are you suggesting Wikipedia is not modified ideologically by paid agents of capitalism to whitewash capitalist crimes from capitalist countries and exaggerate socialist ones? 

4
RomTheBear 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> Are you suggesting Wikipedia is not modified ideologically by paid agents of capitalism to whitewash capitalist crimes from capitalist countries and exaggerate socialist ones? 

Can you please go back to your troll cave and never come back ?

Post edited at 16:32
cb294 25 Nov 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

Nah, having a hardcore Stalinist/Buddhist troll on here* has definite novelty value!

Certainly an entertaining variation on the endless drag of rightwing Putinbots you have to continuously skip over on other forums or, even worse, newspaper comment sections. 

CB

* actually not a real troll, because they usually come back to their posts!

Coel Hellier 25 Nov 2019
In reply to cb294:

> Nah, having a hardcore Stalinist/Buddhist troll on here* has definite novelty value!

I think Pefa is a boon!   We should all be asking ourselves how secure our worldview is, how we know the things we think we know, and how well can we defend them if asked.   By taking a radically different line, Pefa prompts those questions. Viewpoint diversity is good and healthy!   

Of course, under the regimes that some here are proposing -- that internet sites be held responsible for the factual accuracy of anything said on them -- Pefa would not be allowed to post.     People do realise that, I presume?  That is what people want?

What it would actually mean, of course, is the end of UKC  Forums. If Alan James and UKC were held responsible for the factual accuracy of any statement, then the forums instantly become a liability and way too much work.  The only content would be that posted by his employees.    

Few people would accept the danger and hassle of running a website, and there would only be a few, monopoly websites left.

Yanis Nayu 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

They’re not selling the advertisement of lies and hatred though are they? Or selling our data to political organisations to help target it. It’s different to being responsible for the shite we spout on here. 

RomTheBear 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I think Pefa is a boon! 

His conspiracy theories are so easily demolished to the ground it’s not even a interesting challenge. At least he’s harmless.
 

3
Pefa 25 Nov 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> His conspiracy theories are so easily demolished to the ground it’s not even a interesting challenge. At least he’s harmless.

She not he and if you think shouting troll is " easily demolishing" my arguments then you don't know how to debate in the first place.

You should try actual debating rather than name calling or fantasising about my arguments being easy to defeat when I've yet to see one of my arguments defeated on here.

1
Pefa 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Of course, under the regimes that some here are proposing -- that internet sites be held responsible for the factual accuracy of anything said on them -- Pefa would not be allowed to post.     People do realise that, I presume?  That is what people want?

Wtf? If someone would like to show me where I don't state facts then I'll hold my hands up and say I made a mistake there but it doesn't happen. 

john arran 26 Nov 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Forcing people to live with people who don’t agree with them on anything is worse. The only way you can do that is through an authoritarian state. Extreme example : Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

I don't understand why anyone as bright as you would presume that the only way to achieve a reasonable degree of integration is by force. The UK has, in general, much better inner city integration of minority communities than does the USA or France. Has this been achieved by "forcing people to live with people who don’t agree with them on anything"? No, of course not. That is not to say the UK record is perfect, nor even good, but to point out that it's not simply a case that people will live within bubbles of similarity unless forced to do otherwise. Opportunities, incentives and a non-threatening environment elsewhere must surely play a major part too.

And so it should be with information bubbles. 

Coel Hellier 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> Wtf? If someone would like to show me where I don't state facts then I'll hold my hands up and say I made a mistake there but it doesn't happen. 

Well the point is that your view is the minority one, so if internet websites were required to post only "true" stuff, with a committee to regulate them to that end, then it is the majority view that would be allowed to be published -- and yours would not be.

That holds regardless of whether your view is the one that is actually true!   

Which just illustrates the point -- and why I am in favour of viewpoint diversity, even when that includes people arguing that commonly accepted facts are wrong, and even if that extends to Holocaust denial being posted on the internet.   (Sorry everyone, I'm going full-Hitchens here!)

RomTheBear 26 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

> I don't understand why anyone as bright as you would presume that the only way to achieve a reasonable degree of integration is by force. The UK has, in general, much better inner city integration of minority communities than does the USA or France.

Maybe I wasn’t clear, because I’m telling you the opposite. My whole argument is that no one should be able to force an identity or culture on anybody.

Yes, this will result in people “clustering” around their preferences, which isn’t the same as segregation - which is typically one group forcing another to live appart - exactly what we are trying to avoid.

> And so it should be with information bubbles.

My point is simply that it’s better to have 100 newspapers each with their own editorial lines than having only one newspaper that we try to “regulate”. The same applied to social media.

All the problems we have come from the fact that a few platforms control everything, as a result this magnifies and amplifies any ill effect.

We don’t understand the implications or the risks  of connecting all human beings on one single platform, controlled by algorithms even their creator don’t understand, and giving each human being the power to reach billions in one click.

We just need to stop, take a break, break these companies down to more manageable chunks, and go from there.

Post edited at 09:06
RomTheBear 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> when I've yet to see one of my arguments defeated on here.

Self delusion is a beautiful thing.

RomTheBear 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Which just illustrates the point -- and why I am in favour of viewpoint diversity, even when that includes people arguing that commonly accepted facts are wrong, and even if that extends to Holocaust denial being posted on the internet.   (Sorry everyone, I'm going full-Hitchens here!

Again an argument around scale here. Posting blatantly false and misleading information becomes a problem when you can reach billions of people with it. With such a system the most shocking and extreme viewpoints are bound to propagate faster than the boring truth, echo chambers form, etc etc. Therefore effectively killing the very diversity of views you want to protect.

Post edited at 09:34
Coel Hellier 26 Nov 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> With such a system the most shocking and extreme viewpoints are bound to propagate faster than the boring truth ...

So it is claimed, but I'm not that convinced.  Yes there is clickbait around, but, overall, sensible, mainstream opinions are highest in Google rankings, on Wikipedia, et cetera. 

OK, let's do a little experiment.  Here's an "extreme viewpoint":

Jeremy Corbyn is a lizard alien who buggers his pet dog. 

According to you this is "bound to" propagate fast.  So let's see how widespread on the internet my claim is by the end of the week. 

1
fred99 26 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

> .... It's well known that many of the UK communities with most racist views are those with the lowest population of ethnic minority residents....

I would question that completely unproven, and I would suggest completely untrue comment, as I live in an area with a relatively small "ethnic" percentage - Worcester.

However all the racism that I have ever run into locally has come from people who have moved here from Birmingham, principally it would seem because they want to get away from anyone with a darker skin than themselves.

In contrast the true locals actually prefer "ethnic minorities" to these racist white Brummies, as many of these Brummies actually look down on us locals as "country bumpkins" who are equally beneath their contempt.

Frankly I'm fed up with racist Brummies moving here and bringing their vile attitudes with them, I'd much rather they took a running jump off Beachy Head.

RomTheBear 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So it is claimed, but I'm not that convinced.  Yes there is clickbait around, but, overall, sensible, mainstream opinions are highest in Google rankings, on Wikipedia, et cetera. 

 

Google and Wikipedia are different from social networks. Google will aim to give the most relevant content to you depending on your query, and Wikipedia is heavily moderated by a large community.

> OK, let's do a little experiment.  Here's an "extreme viewpoint":

> Jeremy Corbyn is a lizard alien who buggers his pet dog.

> According to you this is "bound to" propagate fast.  So let's see how widespread on the internet my claim is by the end of the week. 

Fake news has to be a bit better crafted than that to work. But the evidence is quite clear than in social networks such as Twitter, fake news propagates faster and farther than real news (which actually provides an interesting opportunity for detection)

”false news stories are 70 percent more likely to be retweeted than true stories are. It also takes true stories about six times as long to reach 1,500 people as it does for false stories to reach the same number of people”

http://news.mit.edu/2018/study-twitter-false-news-travels-faster-true-stories-0308

Post edited at 12:01
FactorXXX 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Jeremy Corbyn is a lizard alien who buggers his pet dog. 

Has Corbyn got a dog?

krikoman 26 Nov 2019
In reply to cb294:

> In Germany holocaust denial is a crime (for obvious historical reasons). You are not allowed to say in public or commit to print any claim similar to the one in a recent high profile court case, ...

And yet on the very web site linked to in the OP, it's fine for people to post such things as, "Palestine never existed, there never was a Palestine or Palestinian people"

We've all seen old maps, there's currency and stamps all bearing the name Palestine.

I'm not advocating holocaust denial, but how about a bit of quid pro?

krikoman 26 Nov 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Has Corbyn got a dog?


El Gato

cb294 26 Nov 2019
In reply to krikoman:

The antisemitism debate has been skewed badly by allowing criticism of Israeli policy, and especially criticism of the ongoing and illegal occupation of the West Bank and the apartheid regime confining the Palestinians to the blockaded Gaza strip, to be equated with racist persecution of Jews. 

Forcing Palestinians to live in Gaza, but not allowing them an open border crossing to Egypt and an international sea and airport controlled by the Palestinian authorities very much smacks of the "homelands" of Apartheid era South Africa. Stating this fact is not at all antisemitic, but a viewpoint I share with most of my Jewish friends.

CB

Coel Hellier 26 Nov 2019
In reply to cb294:

> Forcing Palestinians to live in Gaza, but not allowing them an open border crossing to Egypt and an international sea and airport controlled by the Palestinian authorities ...

Asking (genuinely!) for information here, but isn't the closing of the Egypt/Gaza border as much the policy of Egypt?        If Egypt offered an open border -- effectively offering to assimilate Gaza into Egypt -- wouldn't the Isrealis likely say ok?

That sort of pragmatic policy (ignoring the history and the rights and wrongs of it, but just trying to find a solution), coupled with a massive injection of cash from the rest of the world to help Egypt assimilate, seems to me one of the few plausible solutions. 

krikoman 26 Nov 2019
In reply to cb294:

> Forcing Palestinians to live in Gaza, but not allowing them an open border crossing to Egypt and an international sea and airport controlled by the Palestinian authorities very much smacks of the "homelands" of Apartheid era South Africa. Stating this fact is not at all antisemitic, but a viewpoint I share with most of my Jewish friends.

But not every one will agree, and some will say the equivalence is anti-Semitic, the term is bandied about with little regard for what's actually being said, which is why I think it's over use is damaging for the Jewish community.

It end up being pointless, worse still it ends up being ignored.

One par with that is the fact we hear little debate about it, simply accusations and only certain sections of the Jewish community seem to get their voices heard.

cb294 26 Nov 2019
In reply to krikoman:

I agree completely.

CB

cb294 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

It is, but for complex reasons including security, agreements with Israel, making the point that across the border is Palestine not Israel, etc,,,

CB

krikoman 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Asking (genuinely!) for information here, but isn't the closing of the Egypt/Gaza border as much the policy of Egypt?        If Egypt offered an open border -- effectively offering to assimilate Gaza into Egypt -- wouldn't the Isrealis likely say ok?

> That sort of pragmatic policy (ignoring the history and the rights and wrongs of it, but just trying to find a solution), coupled with a massive injection of cash from the rest of the world to help Egypt assimilate, seems to me one of the few plausible solutions. 


Egypt are the second largest recipient of US "aid" after......(drum roll please)......Israel.

Basically they, Egypt,  dance to the masters the US, then the Israeli government.

Besides that though, I wouldn't image Egypt want everyone in Gaza to move to Egypt.

You only have to look at what happens to the sea outside Gaza to realise it's not "normal".

Pefa 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

If I was to disagree with you in your scenario I would effectively be de-platforming myself but I don't think the scenario you show is the full picture.

I would hope that we all agree on the search for truth being the pure ultimate goal of us all and nothing should stand in our way of truth in every matter.

Obviously to find this holy grail in every single issue you need to show cold hard facts to back up your investigation or hypothesis even if they destroy your own and most others conditioned worldview. We must be ruthless in the fight for truth but this must be done with a huge burden of responsibility to realise not only how we were misled or mistaken but how to direct people toward the truth in a unified, unpatronising, understanding, helpful and un-egotistical way. 

So you can take someone like me who backs an economic system that was dominant in 27 or so countries making up a huge 1/3 of the world's population(people tend to forget that) and who tends to show a Marxist-Leninist class perspective of everything from our own history of imperialism to the history of the USSR etc and say that my view is much less globally dominant now than up to 1990. And it must be noted that many mistakes, cover-ups and intrigues took place there also in the geopolitical cold War. 

But it would be deliberately misleading to say that particular world view and the facts about it are like holocaust denial by some fascists who dont look for the truth. Or are the same as saying we invaded Iraq to get WMD or Turkey will be joining the EU so vote brexit which are both obvious lies that can do much damage by being allowed. And indeed for the sake of truth must be exposed or better still, stopped in the first place in the name of truth and integrity. 

No matter how less or in the case of some religions or politics dominant the view, if you have truth and facts to back it up then not only should it be allowed but it must be allowed.That is why I am suspicious of this ADL Cohen speech considering they (ADL) have previous for wanting critisism of Israel suppressed just in the same way all these American NGOs and think tanks set up to "Spread democracy", are fine until it comes to their constant crimes which are glaringly ignored and hidden by whitewash. 

In conclusion: My viewpoint may be less globally dominant now than 30 years ago and is certainly a lone voice on here but that doesn't put me in the same league as people who deliberately lie to hurt others or those without facts who don't put truth as the most important matter. 

Pefa 26 Nov 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> > when I've yet to see one of my arguments defeated on here.

> Self delusion is a beautiful thing.

We both know that is untrue though don't let me stop you proving me wrong, no one is always right. On the other hand quality debating is certainly a "beautiful thing", which you are seemingly very good at so I dont understand why when it comes to debating with me instead of getting the benefit of your debating talents I get a slur or called a name. I'm not your enemy. Perhaps my approach is still a little bit as confrontational and aggressive as I used to be and I still have work to do on that. I will take this into consideration as you don't react that way for nothing I must be doing something to provoke it. 

Post edited at 14:21
Coel Hellier 26 Nov 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> Besides that though, I wouldn't image Egypt want everyone in Gaza to move to Egypt.

No, they wouldn't, which is why they'd need to be bribed with a "Marshall Plan" to help that region economically. 

But it's one of the few ways of moving to some sort of peaceful outcome (also with much of the West Bank joining Jordan), as opposed to continuing as we are for another 30 years. 

deepsoup 26 Nov 2019
In reply to krikoman:

>... and only certain sections of the Jewish community seem to get their voices heard.

Here's one of those voices that hasn't been heard  (well, it certainly hasn't been plastered all over the BBC anyway):

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/writingfromtheedge/2019/11/as-a-british-jew-im-not-fearful-of-a-corbyn-government-but-im-horrified-at-how-antisemitism-is-being-used-against-him/

Pefa 26 Nov 2019
In reply to cb294:

> The antisemitism debate has been skewed badly by allowing criticism of Israeli policy, and especially criticism of the ongoing and illegal occupation of the West Bank and the apartheid regime confining the Palestinians to the blockaded Gaza strip, to be equated with racist persecution of Jews. 

Much of that started from Jewish survivors of the holocaust who identified with all the oppression they seen afterwards. Norman Finkelstein - 

if you’re Jewish, the instinctive analogy to reach for, when it comes to hate or hunger, war or genocide, is the Nazi holocaust, because we see it as the ultimate horror. In my home growing up, whenever an incident involving racial discrimination or bigotry was in the news, my mother would compare it to her experience before or during the Nazi holocaust.

My mother had been enrolled in the Mathematics faculty of Warsaw University, I guess in 1937-38. Jews were forced to stand in a segregated section of the lecture hall, and the antisemites would physically attack them. (You might recall the scene in Julia, when Vanessa Redgrave loses her leg trying to defend Jews under assault in the university.) I remember once asking my mother, ‘How did you do in your studies?’ She replied, ‘What are you talking about? How could you study under those conditions?’. 

When she saw the segregation of African-Americans, whether at a lunch counter or in the school system, that was, for her, like the prologue to the Nazi holocaust. Whereas many Jews now say, Never compare (Elie Wiesel’s refrain, ‘It’s bad, but it’s not The Holocaust’), my mother’s credo was, Always compare. She gladly and generously made the imaginative leap to those who were suffering, wrapping and shielding them in the embrace of her own suffering.

For my mother, the Nazi holocaust was a chapter in the long history of the horror of war. It was not itself a war – she was emphatic that it was an extermination, not a war – but it was a unique chapter within the war. So for her, war was the ultimate horror. When she saw Vietnamese being bombed during the Vietnam War, it was the Nazi holocaust. It was the bombing, the death, the horror, the terror, that she herself had passed through. When she saw the distended bellies of starving children in Biafra, it was also the Nazi holocaust, because she remembered her own pangs of hunger in the Warsaw Ghetto.

If you’re Jewish, it’s just normal that the Nazi holocaust is a ubiquitous, instinctual touchstone. Some Jews say this or that horror is not the Nazi holocaust, others say it is. But the reference point of the Nazi holocaust is a constant.

What about when people who aren’t Jewish invoke the analogy?

Once the Nazi holocaust became the cultural referent, then, if you wanted to touch a nerve regarding Palestinian suffering, you had to make the analogy with the Nazis, because that was the only thing that resonated for Jews. If you compared the Palestinians to Native Americans, nobody would give a darn. In 1982, when I and a handful of other Jews took to the streets of New York to protest Israel’s invasion of Lebanon (up to 18,000 Lebanese and Palestinians were killed, overwhelmingly civilians), I held a sign saying, ‘This son of survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Auschwitz, Maijdenek will not be silent: Israeli Nazis – Stop the Holocaust in Lebanon!’. (After my mother died, I found a picture of me holding that sign in a drawer among her keepsakes). I remember, as the cars drove past, one of the guys protesting with me kept saying, ‘hold the sign higher!’ (And I kept replying, ‘easy for you to say!’).

If you invoked that analogy, it shook Jews, it jolted them enough, that at least you got their attention. I don’t think it’s necessary anymore, because Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians now have an integrity of their own. They no longer have to be juxtaposed to, or against, the Nazi holocaust. Today, the Nazi analogy is gratuitous and a distraction.

Is it antisemitic? 

No, it’s just a weak historical analogy – but, if coming from a Jew, a generous moral one.

cb294 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Pefa:

Good post!

CB

RomTheBear 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> We both know that is untrue though don't let me stop you proving me wrong, no one is always right. On the other hand quality debating is certainly a "beautiful thing", which you are seemingly very good at so I dont understand why when it comes to debating with me instead of getting the benefit of your debating talents I get a slur or called a name.

I’m more interested in exposing BS than I am in convincing you of anything.

In your case, the BS is so obvious, there is nothing for me here to do.

I’m sure you genuinely believe the crap you are saying, which makes it rather fascinating from an anthropological point of view, it’s always interesting to see how intelligent people such as yourself are able to rationalise completely fantasist world views.

Although it does get boring after a while.

Post edited at 15:30
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RomTheBear 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> No, they wouldn't, which is why they'd need to be bribed with a "Marshall Plan" to help that region economically. 

 

If you ask around a bit away from international press cameras, you realise that problem is that Egyptians, as most of the Arab world, actually hate Palestinians with their gut. As long as Hamas controls Gaza they’d rather have the bubonic plague than having to take this problem in, no matter how much money you give them.

Palestinian suffering is very useful politically for Egypt and other Arab countries as a tool to bash Israel with, but they actually don’t give a rats ass about them, in fact Egypt has passed several laws making Palestinian living in their country second class citizens.

Not to mention, taking in these Palestinian would immediately mean that the country would be harbouring 100 of thousands of people the US and its allies consider terrorists. They just don’t want to have to deal with it.

This hypocrisy is not unique to Egypt, btw, in the U.K. most people are sensible to the Palestinian cause, but we would certainly not let in not even a few thousands in the UK. Why should we expect Egypt to take in millions ?

Post edited at 16:18
L staticx 26 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

I still want to see his Freddie Mercury movie.

PaulScramble 29 Nov 2019
In reply to john arran:

Wasn't it just. Sacha Baron Cohen is a jewish comedian who made his name making fun of blacks (Ali G), muslims (Borat), and Germans (Bruno). His co-writer, Jamie Glassman, later heard a jewish joke at the Edinburgh fringe (shock horror), and, in a demonstration of Jewish privilege, wrote an article for the Times titled, 'Did you hear the one about the jews'.

Post edited at 19:08
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