Nick Mamatas, the Apex SF crew, gay rights & the Middle-East Part 4

This is part 4 of a series re the radical politics and related of Nick Mamatas, an American speculative fiction writer and editor. See parts 1-3 for the context and background to this fourth article (as well as my reply to Mamatas’s contemptuous brush-off of this series so far).

Part 1 scrutinises the scorn and dismissal of this blog by Nick Mamatas himself as ‘not intentionally very funny’ and further elaborations in this regard. Part 2 discusses the wilful denial and unintended irony that is Mamatas’s article ‘Fascists for Che’ and what it really inadvertently reveals. The antidote to Mamatas’s wishful thinking, denial and evasions of the harsh, disturbing truths here, as dissected in Dave Rich’s ‘The Barriers Come Down: Anti-Semitism and Coalitions of Extremes’ is detailed herein.

My reply to Mamatas, who predictably in response to me can only perpetuate (reload and recycle) the same tiresome denials, lame evasions, superficiality and wishful thinking that he demonstrates in his Fascists for Che article, and worse…

Part 3 dissects the harebrained and rabid anti-Semitism, associated mendacities and moral relativism of Richard Seymour the Lenin’s Tomb blogger, Mamatas’s favourite political blogger (at the top of his recommended reading list). Also briefly touched on is the extreme anti-Semitism of the UK Socialist Workers Party/SWP (Lenin’s Tomb is the most popular SWP blog) and the HAMAS and Hezbollah supporter, the notorious and odious George Galloway, who Seymour has given his admiration for and vice versa.

So begins part 4.

Here is Nick Mamatas blogging at the Apex Books website (9th May 2011)

The abuse I get doesn’t come from the fringe, but rather from the people who consider themselves reasonable, logical, and compassionate human beings who have just been confronted with something that needs to be put down

This was published at Apex just two days before he dismissed with a shrug and a chortle my blog as ‘not intentionally very funny’. That’s the same day – 11th May – that I posted up the last of thirteen articles over the preceding 18 days detailing the disturbing banality of Holocaust Revisionism and its breezy sugarcoating within the genre community (see part 1 of this series on Mamatas).

Notice the fatuous self-righteousness of his blogged article from the 9th May, the conviction that he is the one who sees right from wrong, logic and reason from fanaticism and lies.

Mamatas has written other guest articles for the Apex Books website. Seems to be kind of popular there…

It’s worth remarking here that Mamatas may be bisexual or gay (he appears to admit as much in the recent article for Apex linked to above, unless I have misconstrued his meaning). He also may not be. I have not been able to confirm this unequivocally. I do not have the time to trawl through dozens of google search page results here. I have a life outside of this blog, I have to work for one. Many people out there do know the facts here naturally enough. Mamatas himself of course! Mamatas IF he is bisexual or gay, would not be an atypical LGBT Berkeley/San Francisco resident (Mamatas is originally from NY); I mean in terms of LGBT AND a strong pro-Palestinian and/or anti-Israel sentiment, with all its accompanying absurd hypocrisy. Even if not bisexual/gay, Mamatas – as is quite clear from his writings – has a strong sympathy and support for gay rights and speaks out strongly against homophobia. Well he pays a lot of lip service to it at least. The to-the-point fact here is this – gay rights are high up on Mamatas’s radar, well in the West at least. Apparently. What does that have to do with anything?

It just shows up the usual absurdist hypocrisies of him and his ilk is all. Mamatas is strongly pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel, that’s strongly anti-Jew nation however he may deny it (if he were disingenuous enough to deny it). Israel is the only nation that guarantees civil rights and liberties to gays and bisexuals (men and women) in the Middle-East. Gays in Tel Aviv have their own clubs, bars, gay pride parade etc. Gay men and women walk down Tel Aviv’s major boulevards hand in hand without harrassment and abuse, as in the most sophisticated metropolises in the West – New York, LA, London, Munich, Vancouver. This is inconceivable in Mamatas’s beloved Gaza, in Ramallah, in Jenin. A de facto Sharia law rules in Gaza and in much of Arab Muslim society in the Middle-East. Gays in Mamatas’s beloved Palestine are routinely and heavily persecuted and even murdered (no not by the Jooooos). Homosexuality is illegal in most Muslim states in the Middle-East and Iran (not Israel). Gays face long prison terms (both gay men and women) and clerically sanctioned beatings, even murder, across parts of North Africa and Muslim East Africa, the Middle-East itself and Iran (where the death penalty is enforced). Neither Fatah nor HAMAS (now in a unity alliance) recognise the civil rights of gays at all. Hardly! Any more than either party recognises Israel’s right to exist. HAMAS does not recognise the rights of gays to exist actually. HAMAS rules in Gaza and is now in an open political partnership with Fatah.

HAMAS won in a landslide victory the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006 (after which support for the Palestinians really picked up in the West and vilification of Israel intensified!). The majority of Palestinians of their own free will thus voted for a far right-wing Muslim extremist jihadist political party that supports the imprisonment and execution of homosexuals (I haven’t even gotten onto HAMAS’s stance on females, Christians and Jews). There is only one country in the Middle-East a gay man could live in with comfort and with his civil rights guaranteed and not feel he is living on borrowed time every day.. that’s the Jew among the nations. The one and only nation in the Middle-East that earns Mamatas’s and his kind’s consistent and persistent ire and animosity like clockwork year in year out. I suggest Mamatas puts his money where his mouth is (since gay rights are apparently so important to him, whether he is gay/bi or whether he is straight) and move to Gaza City, even Cairo or Damascus and write whatever political screeds he likes from there. Let us know how it goes…

Journalist Gil Troy had this to say:
‘Queers against Israel’ – are gays blinded by hypocrisy?

The dirty little secret QuAIA [Queers against Israeli Apartheid] must suppress is that Israel is the safest refuge in the Middle East for persecuted homosexuals, including Palestinians. In keeping with its commitment to civil liberties, every year Israel’s government actually grants some gay Palestinians legal residency to avoid Palestinian homophobic oppression. Israel is one of the few Middle Eastern countries to repeal its anti-sodomy law – from British Mandate days. Israel’s Equal Employment Opportunity Act, as amended, prohibits discrimination against employees based on their sexual orientation or marital status. Israel has even banned discrimination in its army.

…Openly gay Israelis serve in parliament, others are popular celebrities. Out Magazine has deemed Tel Aviv “the gay capital of the Middle East.”

By contrast, throughout the Arab and Muslim world, including the Palestinian territories, gays are hunted down, blackmailed, imprisoned, tortured and occasionally executed. Gay Palestinians are often treated as collaborators and have been brutalized in the most horrific of ways.

Genuine NY feminist Phylis Chesler (a professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies at City University of New York) has this to say on the rabid Israel-hatred of leftwing gays in NY (many of them are “Jewish”) and their bullying and intimidation of anybody who dares stand up for Israel, the only country in the Middle-East these hypocritical self-loathing idiots could possibly live in, as openly gay that is (and as Jewish besides often enough!)

It’s simply insane. You cannot make this up. Stranger than science fiction and more chilling than any of the horror fiction that Mamatas may have written or  praised.

Does anything I have written in this series on Nick Mamatas so far raise Israeli Jew SF writer and editor Lavie Tidhar’s and SF writer Michael Burstein’s eyebrows at all or is it all just hunky dory with them (since Mamatas is a blogger at Apex where these two Jewish writers have professional and one assumes amiable ties)? Tidhar had no problem blogging about Elizabeth Moon’s blog commentary on the Musim community apropos the 9-11 anniversary last year.

Here is a recent interview  with Mamatas, from March this year conducted by Charles Tan who shares his SF ‘news & views’ blog with Tidhar. It is posted up naturally at their shared worldsf blog (actually posted up by Tidhar himself).

Tidhar and Burstein are both cognisant of this blog. What of Cathy Valente, editor at Apex Magazine who brought out the special Arab/Muslim issue last year in response to Moon’s commentary? See my article about this kerfluffle and related here. Will Apex still be featuring Nick Mamatas as a guest blogger in light of this blog series revealing that Mamatas’s fav political blogger – Richard Seymour – on either side of the Atlantic is a delusional, horribly dishonest HAMAS apologist (at best) and plainly an anti-Semite? Of course I’m not living in the clouds, I do not expect a recognition of this question, never mind an answer to it. Or does Valente beg to differ regarding Lenin’s Tomb? Do Burstein and Tidhar? And if they do, can they clarify why they do not consider Richard Seymour (Mamatas’s comrade in political struggle) – in light of these revelations of mine – to be anti-Semitic and severely and viciously so at that? There is so so much more ugliness, mendacity and harebrained anti-Semitic bigotry from Seymour, Lenin’s Tomb and the UK Socialist Workers Party of which Seymour is a vocal member apropos the numerous Middle-East conflicts and associated that I haven’t even touched on. If however the reader doesn’t get it by now (having read all the chapters in this series), the reader never will.

If Apex continues to feature Nick Mamatas as a guest blogger one would assume that Apex’s responsible staffers do not consider Seymour and Lenin’s Tomb anti-Semitic at all, yeah? After all I’m sure Apex and its senior staffers (most notably Apex Magazine editor Cathy M Valentehew to a consistent and universal standard as far as the controversial politics of speculative fiction genre personalities are concerned. Apex surely should be held to a consistent and universal standard re all ethnic, religious and national groups, not so? I mean if the likes of Tidhar and Valente hadn’t made a fuss (the latter more so than the former) over Elizabeth Moon’s commentary on Islam related issues last year, I would not hold their feet to the fire. However they did make a fuss, and so it is only fair to ask these questions, as barbed as they are. That would include this one: if Apex continues to feature Mamatas as a guest blogger one then assumes (given I’m sure that Apex and Cathy Valente consider themselves holding to a universal standard re prejudice and the like) by implication, Apex and its staffers/associates do not consider Nick Mamatas’s favourite political blog in the whole wide world – Lenin’s Tomb – to be viciously and intemperately anti-Semitic at all? Or does Valente most notably not consider Nick Mamatas’s unambiguous endorsement and hearty recommendation of Lenin’s Tomb/leninology without any caveat or mild disagreement of its contents whatsoever (his numero uno political blog – see S Owens interview with Mamatas in part 3 of this series) to be a reflection on Mamatas’s politics and worldview? If so, why not?

Would Valente and Tidhar feel the same way if Mamatas considered the far right-wing British National Party/BNP in the UK to be at the top of his recommended political website/blog reading list? Or do a different set of rules apply to the far Left? If a different set of rules apply to the radical Left/communists/anarchists/socialists, can we know what they are? Also why they are? Sounds of silence I fear…

SF writer Jason Sanford (via Twitter) and SF writer and editor Lavie Tidhar (via Twitter) and writer Chesya Burke (blog) did not much care for my article alluding to the elephant in the room – extreme anti-Semitism – that gets a free PUBLIC pass in the main from the self-same genre police (that’s self-same Chesya) who got their panties all twisted over the Sanders and Moon affairs. Hit a nerve it seems… I responded to them here. Well considering one heard nothing *public* from them re my series exposing SF critic Dave Truesdale’s Holocaust Revisionism and of course every other professional writer, editor, critic etc in the genre has had nothing to say publicly neither (gotta be held to these standards I’m afraid if you publicly commented on Moon and/or W Sanders); I don’t expect to hear anything from them on Nick Mamatas’s admiration for the odious and rabidly anti-Semitic Lenin’s Tomb and all the rest of the genre folk too likewise, even as Mamatas has an association with Apex. Who would? Does anybody? Apparently I’m supposed to take the formers’ protestations seriously. That’s assuming they have a problem with Mamatas’s partisan praise and endorsement of Lenin’s Tomb of course (maybe some do, some don’t – who knows?). There is much more ugliness, brazen deceit and bigotry from Lenin’s Tomb that I haven’t even bothered writing up (there is only so much I can say here). Naturally ‘the issues’ with Mamatas go way beyond Lenin’s Tomb and the UK SWP, as this series makes clear and it is by no means exhaustive, not even close to it.

Compare and contrast the genre writers, editors, fans who responded with differing degrees of disapproval and censure on blogs and fora to the Sanders and Moon kerfluffles to the fact that not a single genre writer, editor or critic has had anything *public* (as far as I know) to say about Tangent editor Dave Truesdale’s outing as a Holocaust Revisionist; from the time before the series on Truesdale at this blog and since its publication. Soooo predictable. It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic and disturbing. Maybe they’re all waiting till after the Jews in the Middle-East are pushed into the sea (God forbid), until speaking out against even the most rabidly unambiguous anti-Semitism from among their genre colleagues. No even then they’ll probably still be twiddling their thumbs, look away in embarrassed silence perhaps. Well considering the SF genre is all about (geek) escapism in the main (no not in its entirety), would one really expect anything else? Would one really expect the SF&F genre scene to be any different from the non-genre ‘serious literary’ scene?

So many genre folk set themselves up as such easy targets – so eager to defend Islam and its adherents from all critics with sound and fury or raised eyebrows at the very least; yet anti-Semitism – inclusive of Holocaust Revisionism – ho hum, yaaawn. That’s so unfashionable you know – anti anti-Semitism that is. Anti-Semitism itself is very much in vogue. It’s the new black, same old black.

What does Lavie Tidhar (an Israeli Jew let us not forget, he has also published in Mamatas’s Clarkeworld Magazine when Mamatas was editor there) think of Mamatas’s praise and acclaim for one of the most obscenely anti-Semitic blogs (Lenin’s Tomb) in the UK (that is saying a lot btw)? What of Mamatas’s odious politics itself? Mamatas is a proud soldier in the rank and file army of the far Left, the communist struggle. In this day and age if you are not cognizant of the far Left’s vicious anti-Semitism (which Mamatas laughably pretends ain’t there, in response to me as well) you are either not very bright, an anti-Semite yourself or you have been living on Mars to all intents and purposes.

Is anybody associated with Apex (considering Cathy Valente at Apex Magazine brought out a special Arab/Muslim issue after the Elizabeth Moon affair) remotely concerned that Mamatas recommends as politically informative and ‘enlightening’ the intemperate and viciously anti-Semitic Lenin’s Tomb? Or do Valente and Tidhar not consider Richard Seymour’s Lenin’s Tomb and the UK SWP (and the Respect Party and platform) to be anti-Semitic at all? What of Mamatas’s unambiguous sympathy for the platform of the UK Socialist Workers Party (implicit in his unequivocal appreciation and acclaim of vocal and conspicuous SWP member Richard Seymour’s blog. It’s at the top of Mamatas’s recommended internet political reading list)? The SWP is an extreme and rabidly anti-Semitic fringe political party. The equivalent arguably of the far Left ANSWER in the United States. Or does that just get classified as politics as usual and nothing to get uppity about?

Whereas Elizabeth Moon’s commentary on Islam on the anniversary of 9-11 last year warrants a blog post by Lavie Tidhar with 46 comments (not counting replies to comments) to it; politics-as-usual, even if odious and sinister – if it comes from the Left/liberal end of the political spectrum and calls itself anti-racism, peace, justice and human rights it must be what it says it is! – appears just hunky dory. Does Michael Burstein, who also has ties to Apex and is a featured blogger there, think a compartamentalised approach best here? There is more forthcoming on the UK SWP and the Respect Party at this blog…

What of SF editor, critic and Israeli Jew Abigail Nussbaum (who lives in Tel Aviv) whose harsh, censorious dismissal of Elizabeth Moon’s controversial polemic is unequivocal? In fact she is more critical than Tidhar in this respect, her critique is fairly extensive too (likewise more so than Tidhar’s).

Note that two notable genre persons who posted critical and reproachful commentary re Elizabeth Moon and Islam at their respective blogs are Israeli Jews – L Tidhar and A Nussbaum. They both have yet to say boo *publicly* (i.e. at their blogs for one) on anti-Semitism from their genre colleagues. For sure. Nussbaum is likewise cognisant of this blog and of my series on Truesdale. Is it a case of hear no evil see no evil when it comes to anti-Semitism from within the genre community and from genre Jewry no less, whereas self-same genre Jewry (and Israeli Jewry at that) has no problem frowning on controversial (even feckless) criticisms of Islam? Nussbaum and Tidhar cannot even visit many nations in the Middle-East and elsewhere (that’s Muslim countries) with their Israeli passports. Even countries they can visit like Egypt (for now) and Jordan are not exactly safe or pleasant for visiting Jewry… There is a lot more to say here but I leave off.

I assume Tidhar, Valente, Nussbaum and others don’t just draw the line at Holocaust Revisionism as far as Judenhass is concerned (even as they have nothing at all to say on anti-Semitism – Holocaust Revisionism included – from within genre ranks in the public sphere). That would be a very very low bar. Where does the line need to be drawn? It needs to be drawn where it clearly is – at persistent and consistent anti-Semitism inclusive of the modern form – double standards, demonization and deligitimization of the sovereign Jewish state, disingenuous denials to the contrary by those so guilty. The far Left are in the main egregiously guilty of all three to a greater or lesser degree. The UK SWP and Lenin’s Tomb are egregiously and brazenly guilty of the first two and the SWP slips easily enough into delegitimizing Israel’s existence, seeing the sovereign Jewish state’s very existence as intrinsically destructive, inherently unjust and/or racist. There is plenty more to say here. If the reader doesn’t get it by now, he or she never will.

Of course if genre folk (Jewry and gentile) who had something censorious to say over the Moon and/or Sanders affairs have nothing to say *publicly* about conservative genre critic Dave Truesdale’s Holocaust Revisionism (and very little, if anything, to say publicly on the late James P Hogan’s Holocaust Revisionism); one doesn’t expect anything at all in response to a far left-wing/communist genre writer (even as Mamatas is part of the Apex blogging stable) who appreciatively endorses a boiler-plate harshly anti-Semitic communist blog and far more along those lines. I mean if it’s all delivered in a package labelled anti-racism, anti-war and human rights, what could be wrong with it? Who wants to open up that can of worms?

As Holocaust Revisionism from amongst genre professionals doesn’t translate to public outrage or censure from the likes of Valente, Tidhar, Tempest Bradford, Jeff VanderMeer, Abigail Nussbaum, Will Shetterly and others (who all tut-tutted *publicly* to differing degrees over the Elizabeth Moon and/or W Sanders Muslim/Islamist kerfluffles); one wonders what kind of harebrained anti-Semitism we have to see from within the genre community before we have any even mildly public censure from the above mentioned? Genre writer Will Shetterly, SF scholar and editor Farah Mendlesohn (yes she is Jewish), writer and editor Jeff VanderMeer, genre writer Saladin Ahmed and genre writer Ian McDonald all had something censorious to say to differing degrees on Lavie Tidhar’s blog post ‘Elizabeth Moon on Islam’. Notably Will Shetterly, whose extensive know-it-all-know-nothing bluff and bluster palaver on Islam sticks out the most. Shetterly’s fatuous prattle is pathetic and laughable in equal measure. It is hardly atypical claptrap and pretense and it inadvertently explains a helluva lot.

What would it take for Cathy M Valente to issue her special Jewish issue of Apex Magazine? What kind of fevered anti-Semitism do we have to see from within the genre community before Tel Avivian Jewess Nussbaum has anything to say at her blog on the subject (considering she had plenty to say on Moon and Islam in September last year)? Well given that Nussbaum had nothing to say at her blog in March last year when James P Hogan reaffirmed his Holocaust Denial, and has had nothing to say on Tangent editor D Truesdale’s Holocaust Revisionism as extensively detailed at this blog; I think it would be like waiting till the Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer team wins the European Champions League i.e. forever and a day (I only let Nussbaum off the hook in my ‘genre thought police’ article because I was unaware of her blog post on Moon at the time. I missed it).

Are we going to wait until – God forbid – a nuclear strike by the anti-Zionist regime in Iran on Tel Aviv or until the anti-Zionist Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the anti-Zionist Hezbollah, the anti-Zionist Hamas and Fatah, the anti-Zionist Baathist regime in Syria and the other anti-Zionist Muslim extremists in the region eventually succeed in destroying Israel and push the Jews into the sea (that’s what anti-Zionism is in practice see?); before we hear an ounce of conscience from the genre community apropos anti-Semitism from within its ranks? And if we wait – God forbid – until then before the special Jewish issue of Apex Mag, (weeeeell that’s a very very big if actually) which one assumes will feature special mournful pieces by the likes of Tidhar (who I don’t think resides in Israel. Lucky for him, maybe not his family so much and Nussbaum neither), Burstein and others; will Nick Mamatas have anything to say? And if he does, what exactly?

Forthcoming: Nick Mamatas’s ties to the far left-wing anti-Semitic PMPress Part 5

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