Tom Griffin at OpenDemocracy

NB: Read this post in conjunction with the post below

Tom Griffin describes himself as a “freelance writer and researcher”. That is a charitable description of what he is.

Griffin was one of the main writers for a now defunct website called “Neocon Europe”. This website purported to unmask a secret network of “neocons”: in fact, its entries consisted of attacks on Muslims who oppose Islamist political parties, defences of those Islamist parties, and exposes of Jewish organisations expressing concern about the politics of Islamist political parties. It was established by Professor David Miller, of Strathclyde University, where Tom Griffin is studying for a PhD.

NeoconEurope came crashing down this year, when The Spittoon – one of Neocon Europe’s favourite targets – disclosed that it had drawn on the work of Kevin MacDonald in its analysis of “neoconservatism”. This is what the author of the article had to say:

“[MacDonald] argues that neoconservatism is indeed a Jewish intellectual and political movement; stating that the ethnocentrism of the neocons enabled them to create ‘highly organized, cohesive, and effective ethnic networks’. It explores these networks in the academic world, in the elite media and think tanks, and at the highest levels of government. It also notes that in persuance of their persuasion they have purged more traditional conservatives from their positions of power and influence, to reorientate US foreign policy in the direction of hegemony and empire.

NeoCon Europe also republished Kevin MacDonald’s racist list of ‘characteristics of Jewish intellectual movements’:

  • A deep concern with furthering specific Jewish interests, such as helping Israel or promoting immigration.
  • Issues are framed in a rhetoric of universalism rather than Jewish particularism.
  • Issues are framed in moral terms, and an attitude of moral superiority pervades the movement.
  • Centered around charismatic leaders (Boas, Trotsky, Freud).
  • Jews form a cohesive, mutually reinforcing core.
  • Non-Jews appear in highly visible roles, often as spokespersons for the movement.
  • A pronounced ingroup/outgroup atmosphere within the movement—dissenters are portrayed as the personification of evil and are expunged from the movement.
  • The movement is irrational in the sense that it is fundamentally concerned with using available intellectual resources to advance a political cause.
  • The movement is associated with the most prestigious academic institutions in the society.
  • Access to prestigious and mainstream media sources, partly as a result of Jewish influence on the media.
  • Active involvement of the wider Jewish community in supporting the movement.

It will be clear to you by now that Kevin MacDonald is a neo Nazi. He is, in fact, a rather famous neo Nazi, and friend of the Holocaust denier, David Irving.

Professor David Miller took the article down, but refused to identify which of his NeoCon Europe writers was sympathetic to neo Nazism. Later, he shut down NeoCon Europe and rolled it into his associated project: Spinwatch. Spinwatch is a similar site to NeoCon Europe, but was founded with an ESRC grant. It was then funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Network for Social Change, and Greenpeace.

Who was the Kevin MacDonald fan at the University of Strathclyde? I think it may well be Tom Griffin. If I’m wrong, I’m very happy to post his denial. NB: Kevin MacDonald does deny it. It is not Tom Griffin.

Tom Griffin is also a contributing editor of the OurKingdom section of OpenDemocracy.

OpenDemocracy, recently, has started to accept articles from individuals aligned with racist and terrorist Middle Eastern parties and politics. Dave Rich has already pointed to a recent article by Abou Jahjah:

It does not mention that, according to various media reports, Abou Jahjah is a former Hezbollah fighter who has claimed to have received ‘’some military training” from the organisation. He was also the head of the Arab European League when it published a Holocaust Denial cartoon for which the organisation was fined earlier this year, and was excluded from the UK by the last Labour government.

OpenDemocracy also publishes Sameh Habeeb, who it describes as a “peace activist”. He is nothing of the sort. Habeeb’s Palestine Telegraph publishes sympathetic interviews with Holocaust deniers, videos by KKK grand wizard David Duke, and conspiracies about Jews stealing the organs of Haitians. Indeed, Habeeb’s Palestine Return Centre invited the prominent Hungarian neo Nazi, Jobbik’s Krisztina Morvai, to speak at one of their conferences. When this invitation was exposed by the anti-fascist group, Sameh Habeeb threatened to sue Nothing British.

Why has OpenDemocracy started commissioning articles by racists and supporters of terrorism? Why is it printing articles by Hezbollah activists, spreading “Zionist plot” conspiracy theories?

I don’t know the answer to those questions. What I do know is that there has been a shift on the Left towards tolerance of racism and those who support genocidal and racist politics aimed at Jews. Does that sound alarmist? I don’t think it is.

Think about it. Neocon Europe was a website which attacked liberal Muslims and peddled Jewish conspiracy theories, drawing upon the work of a key David Irving ally. In any other context, can you imagine a liberal website like OpenDemocracy, founded by a truly great man like Anthony Barnett, giving a person who worked on such a project a platform, let alone a job? Yet there Tom Griffin its, as a contributing editor.

Similarly, Habeeb invited one of Europe’s most famous neo Nazis to speak at his conference, and threatened anti-racists with legal action for reporting on it. JahJah was responsible for publishing a criminally racist cartoon. Yet both get spots at OpenDemocracy.

Here’s the trouble. Objecting to the propagation and normalisation of racism is used by people like Tom Griffin to “prove” their Grand Neocon Conspiracy thesis. You can imagine the article Griffin will write in reply to this. And, because OpenDemocracy will also feel attacked and under the spotlight, because I’ve raised these concerns, they’re likely to react defensively, and talk about “standing up against censorship” and “the need to hear all sides of an argument”, and so on. Which kind of misses the point – OpenDemocracy can choose who it invites to contribute, and doesn’t invite white neo Nazis to write articles, for example.

It is a dismal situation.