This is the penultimate chapter in my China Mieville series beginning here. The previous chapter in this series is chapter 9 ‘Mieville’s obscene and cowardly slurs about the release of Gilad Shalit…’
This article also repeats a lot of what I wrote about in this recent article that revolved around Israeli SF writer and editor Lavie Tidhar in the main.
So naturally given two things: China Mieville’s conspicuous presence and active promotion of the UK Respect Party platform (the party co-founded by Hamas and Hezbollah supporter George Galloway), notably the period 2004-2007 that witnessed the alliance of the Jew-hating UK Socialist Workers Party and the Stop the War Coalition/SWC with the Muslim extremist MAB and the fact that Mieville is a multiple award-winning, critically acclaimed and best-selling speculative fiction writer – arguably the UK’s leading imaginative fiction writer under forty-five; one is compelled to ask an obvious question…
Mieville’s vocal and leading Respect Party presence caused a big stir then, among the ‘liberal’ and ‘intellectual’ imaginative fiction genre writers & the genre community as a whole, who are not ones to shy away from political controversy?
Of course not, not a squeak. Nada, nothing. Zilch.
You know *ABSOLUTELY NADA* from the self-same Brit (and North American) liberal SF writers, editors, agents, publishers, fans who are so so concerned apparently about the iniquity of prejudice, of civil rights and liberties, the civil, social, educational and work rights of women and girls, of homosexuals, of freedom of religion and freedom of association, of minority rights, freedom of intellectual inquiry and curiosity, of the scientific spirit, of genuine ethics, without which our civilization (or what passes for it) would descend into complete barbarity, tyranny and superstition.
Well behind the scenes who knows who says what. And Mieville has certainly gotten into heated arguments with those SF fans and personalities who don’t share his politics, including at Cons. That is not what I’m getting at though.
It’s the predictable deafening PUBLIC silence on Mieville’s membership and role in a fascist (yes fascist) and anti-Semitic political party, even as it calls itself anti-fascist and anti-racist, by his fellow liberal Brit genre peers that sticks out. It’s embarrassing, pathetic, cowardly. And that’s the kindest take. It’s even worse than that, mucho worse…
What of Mieville’s support for the vicious anti-Semitism that is the BDS campaign against Israel? What of his sympathy and support for the jihadists’ self-seeking martyrdom on board the Turkish Mavi Marmara that Mieville obscenely misrepresents as peace activism? All this and more is proof positive of Mieville’s rabid and deranged anti-Semitism. Mieville’s blogging for the harshly anti-Semitic Hamas and Hezbollah supporting and BDS against Israel promoting Lenin’s Tomb (also Nick Mamatas’s favourite political blog); Mieville signing his name to the BWISP’s egregiously dishonest open letters censuring writer Ian McEwan for accepting the Jerusalem Prize is simply more fuel to the Judenhass fire. What of Mieville’s alleged refusal to have his books translated into Hebrew (truly dropping the mask)? What of Mieville’s obscene anti-Semitic remarks upon the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas captivity?
In 2010 Mieville received numerous accolades on both sides of the Atlantic for his novel The City & The City. It won the biggie, the Nebula award (his previous novels likewise have won plenty awards). Of course a man’s creative output is distinct from his politics, and needs to be judged on its own merits. Mieville is a talented writer and deserves his accolades and awards. No problemo. The same goes for all writers, film directors, actors, artists and for that matter scientists and mathematicians. Their work is distinct from their politics, and needs to be recognized and judged on its own merits.
However with that said, their artistic or scientific work as the case may be, does not make up the whole man or woman. It is not the whole. There is also the person’s character, his or her politics and personal beliefs. No biography of a Dali, a Hemingway, a T S Eliot or a Dostoyevsky is complete without looking at their seamier side, their deeper character, their odious beliefs and prejudices if they possessed them to a significant degree.
The thing with Mieville’s odious beliefs and prejudice, is not only do they stick out given how vocal and conspicuous Mieville is in his other career as a political activist; what also sticks out is the deafening silence of Mieville’s genre colleagues and peers to the former’s odious and harebrained political prejudices. The silence is especially deafening and hypocritical given how genre figures (writers and editors) have no problem bad-mouthing any genre professional who steps out of line and dares to question, cast doubt and even disavow the new god of sacrosanct multi-culturalism, of Islamophilia and moral relativism.
Does anybody think that if China Mieville was an active member in the British National Party/BNP and ran as a candidate for this far right-wing fascist and anti-Semitic party, there would have been a similar public SILENCE from his liberal peers on both sides of the Atlantic? Of course not. I would expect a hue and cry, a call for the boycott of his books, Con disinvites, agents getting wary of touching his books, publishers nervous, liberal genre folk probably up in arms. No matter the artistic merits of City & The City (and his other books), would it have garnered so much praise and won the Nebula and Arthur C Clarke awards if Mieville had spewed forth propaganda for the BNP? Would Mieville have been so fêted and swooned over at the Nebula award binge (and others), at Cons and SF festivals if he called for Brits to vote for the BNP and publicly campaigned as a BNP candidate?
No way José. At least I doubt it.
Buuuuuuut we are talking about a left-wing fascist party (if any Brit can tell me how the SWP differs from the BNP when it comes to Israel, the sovereign Jewish nation, hey I’m all ears – I think it’s style more than anything, no not even tone. Hardly. The BNP is also generally more honest about what they mean with their anti-Israel venom), so what fascism? Mieville is a liberal, like the rest of yous – left-wing fascism, that’s an oxymoron, just ask Nick Mamatas. What are you red wolf, some kind of a Bush/Blair war supporting Limbaugh wannabe neocon Creationist shill for Haliburton? Mieville and the SWP opposed the war in Iraq, ipso facto the SWP/Respect are good guys. That’s all we need to know, who cares who they actually support and what they actually stand for. Now go away ‘red wolf’ and take your meds, you paranoid conspiracy loon. Incidentally I am not parodying the criticism I have received, that is the exact level of criticism I have received from professional genre folk, Jewry among them (just check this blog’s archives for the details).
There is criticism of Mieville on this front – his anti-Semitism – but it comes in the main from some very few Jewish SF fans. The genre community, as this blog has shown, has no problem portraying any genre writer or editor critical of reactionary Muslims as a bigot – witness the William Sanders and Elizabeth Moon affairs. The following genre personalities have all made it clear they consider Moon’s controversial ‘Citizenship’ blog posting from 2010 bigoted and beyond the pale – Will Shetterly, Jeff VanderMeer, Nick Mamatas, Jim C Hines, Liz Williams, N K Jemisin, Ian McDonald, Chesya ‘If this is the Thought Police count me in’ Burke, K Tempest Bradford who must have written more on it than anybody else, Warren Ellis. Catherynne M. Valente, editor at Apex Magazine was so upset and outraged at Moon’s remarks that she brought out a special Arab/Muslim issue of Apex Magazine. Valente made sure to remark in her farewell as editor at Apex Mag, on how proud she was of that issue and that fighting prejudice in the genre community was foremost with her. So many others too of course got their knickers in a twist (China Mieville for one feels the same way about ‘Islamophobia’). Well Moon was disinvited as GoH from WisCon 2011 of course.
The following Jewish genre personalities also criticized Moon publicly and conspicuously – Lavie Tidhar (at his blog), Abigail Nussbaum (at her blog), Farah Mendlesohn (at Tidhar’s blog. Mendlesohn is thanked by Mieville in the Acknowledgements to The City & The City). The former two are also Israeli. None of the latter Jewish genre folk had anything to say re Mieville’s campaigning for the Respect Party, an extremely anti-Semitic political party. None of them (Jewish and non-Jewish) had anything to say re Mieville’s bigoted and relentless support for BDS against Israel, nor his blogging for one of the most popular and rabidly anti-Semitic blogs on the left-wing political blogosphere, Lenin’s Tomb (let us not forget it is Mieville’s and Lavie Tidhar’s mate Nick Mamatas’s favourite blog). Mieville has indulged in numerous brazenly and hysterically false anti-Israel (ie anti-Semitic) slanders over the years, and there hasn’t been a peep of protest or outrage from genre folk. See all of my Mieville articles for the details.
Lavie Tidhar has tweeted defiance my way on several occasions (usually calling me a loon or nuts). Tidhar tweeted that I was a loon after I posted this article in my Nick Mamatas series (as he did after I posted my very first article on the genre Thought Police) and again after this article on Catherynne Valente. See my reply to Tidhar (tweeting on the Valente article) here. He tweeted on that article of mine too. My updated reply to him on that front is also there. Note that the latter Valente ‘Thought Police’ article was just one that served as an intermission in my lengthy series on Mieville. The other pertained to Nick Mamatas. On my Mieville series (I had published the first five articles detailing Mieville’s harsh anti-Semitism prior to the ‘Valente and the genre thought police’ article in the same month of December), Tidhar tweeted simply and obtusely that I appeared “to be on a china mieville [sic] bender at the moment”. I reply to him on that front over here. There was no mention (not even cryptically) on Tidhar’s Twitter feed in response to that recent article. He usually has no problem tweeting that I’m a loon, but he was strangely – or perhaps not so strangely – silent on that last article on him.
Tidhar made sure to tweet at the end of January (after eight of my Mieville articles had been published), that he would be cheering Mieville on at the (then) forthcoming SFX Weekender Kitchies Awards bash in Prestatyn, Wales that both Tidhar and Mieville would be attending. I cover all this in the same linked article above. There was Tidhar’s Israeli mate, co-author and editor, the big cheese in Israeli SF Nir Yaniv who made the only explicit allusion (via Twitter) – a snide one – to the fact that my series on Mieville concerned the latter’s Jew-hatred. I address this and answer Yaniv in that regard over here. Neither Yaniv nor Jewish writer Laura Anne Gilman answered my query to them re Mieville’s Judenhass. Tidhar’s tweet – unlike Yaniv’s – was not an explicit allusion to Mieville’s anti-Semitism.
Then – after nine of my articles in my Mieville series are published – I ask the same question re Mieville and the latter’s anti-Semitism of British Jewish SF writer Charles Stross. That’s because Stross had mouthed off dismissively on my ‘Valente and the Thought Police‘ article. Stross didn’t answer the question neither in his harebrained tweeting on that very article (see my updated reply – same article). No surprises. In fact Paul Graham Raven clearly alluded via Twitter that being put in the same company as the likes of Mieville by myself was a distinct compliment, a tweet that Raven’s mate Charles Stross had no problem with whatsoever. Hardly. See the self-same updated reply.
Heard nothing on Mieville’s prejudicial status re Jewry from genre writer and ex Apex Mag editor Catherynne Valente neither (the same gay/bisexual feminist who professes to be so concerned over prejudice in the genre community apparently), who otherwise had no problem tweeting or retweeting dismissively on this blog of mine (at least twice). Valente I believe is also Jewish or part Jewish, unless I am mistaken.
Then Jewish SF genre critic and editor at Publishers Weekly Rose Fox (Charles Platt’s daughter) tweeted dismissively on this blog, sticking up for Tobias Buckell and Stross. I responded to her here, not knowing she was Jewish in fact and asked her ze questions (by now these oh-so-progressive Jews should see them coming but apparently not). She tweeted a few responses (letting me know she was one of the tribe for one), she didn’t answer the question re Mieville though or anything else I asked her for that matter. I responded to her in some detail again here.
In response to Fox’s second series of tweets directed my way, Jewish SF writer and editor (formerly at Science Fiction Age) Scott Edelman bravely tweeted his responses – at the same level of uh ‘intelligence’ as the rest of these sigh progressive liberal um Jews. So he should have seen my reply coming, where I ask him the same questions (re Mieville and a couple of others) and fisk his tweeting in the process. Sigh. Shocka he clearly didn’t see that coming.
Edelman then responded with several tweets my way along the lines of ‘I’m an evil bigoted right-winger blabla’. Scott Edelman also went further – and lower – than any of SF’s Court Jews (including Tidhar) in defense of China Mieville. He tweeted “I’ll side with @rosefox, @tobiasbuckell, @NMamatas, @cstross and China Miéville any day over an odious, bigoted, nasty little blogger“. I reply to that in detail over here.
Edelman’s tweets would get the support of SF writer and president of the SFWA John Scalzi, who tweeted contemptuous dismissal my way. I responded to him here. I asked him – considering he is president of the SFWA – whether he considered Mieville anti-Semitic in light of my exhaustive series on same. He tweeted in response that I was “a total asshole” and more along the same lines. I replied to his tweets and his mates Scott Edelman, Mary Robinette Kowal and Mike Allen twittering in support over here. In other words, Scalzi didn’t answer the question. Scalzi very soon after my clash with him, inadvertently revealed – via Twitter – that he literally, gladly sucks up to Mieville. See same link for the details, for what I am getting at (at the end of the article).
The Jewish Rose Fox then, without any intentional irony, praised Mieville – approximately two weeks and less after my clashes with her and my query directed her way on Mieville’s anti-Semitism – at her blog over the latter’s exposé of anti-black racist apologetics upon a recent Belgian court decision on the republication of the racist Tintin in the Congo comic book. My article on how bizarro all this is.
My first article on John Scalzi and his pathetic and failed ‘rescue’ of Scotty Edelman drew out the likes of Scalzi, Scott Edelman, Mike Allen, Laura Anne Gilman (again), Mary Robinette Kowal (VP of the SFWA) and Jewish writer Felix Gilman, with their lame put-down tweets sent my way. I responded to them here (a response to Scalzi and Edelman in the main) and here. In the latter article (a reply to Felix Gilman, L A Gilman and Robinette Kowal in the main), I ask Felix Gilman if he will answer the thorny question on Mieville and the latter’s prejudicial status re Jewry. I got no answer from Felix G. In fact there were no tweets from Gilman&Gilman and Robinette Kowal in response to that article (as there were no responses likewise from Scalzi and Edelman to my reply to them). The same thing with my second Felix Gilman article (the previous article to this one). The sounds of Twitter silence.
To the readers out there with *some sense* (I pray to HaShem) – yes it’s the liberal Jews first and foremost who will come to the defense of the new god of moral & cultural relativism, push and defend the ‘progressive’ thought crime of ‘Islamophobia’ with vigour and sweep under the carpet and run cover for ‘progressive’ anti-Semitism among their liberal colleagues and peers without a second thought. And no they have nothing to say on um non-progressive good old-fashioned extreme Judenhass from their conservative colleagues neither. As in Holocaust Revisionism. Man but God help you if you dare show any ‘Islamophobic’ tendencies or pour scorn on those selling this thought crime, the genre Thought Police will be all over you.
Here by the way is Israeli Jewess, SF editor Abigail Nussbaum raving over Mieville’s book, The City & The City at her blog in 2009. Which is fine of course. Here too is her recent review of Mieville’s latest Embassytown from November 2011. It’s a very long review and it is filled with praise. That’s just fine of course.
It’s just that on Mieville’s vehement anti-Semitism she has nothing to say. The thing is here is what Nussbaum had to say at her self-same blog on Elizabeth Moon and the latter’s Islam themed ‘Citizenship’ blog post from 2010. A helluva lot. None of it complementary to Moon. In fact it is unambiguously harsh and critical.
Here is Lavie Tidhar’s recent review of Mieville’s EmbassyTown as a matter of interest.
This is a tweet of Tidhar’s from a while back:
The Hugo Award IS unique in being named after a Jew rather than some antisemitic cock like Campbell or Lovecraft or Poe.
How about if one day we have some genre award named after that antisemitic cock Mieville?
I mean it could happen, in the future, when we are all old or dead or nearly so. (I gotta say I think there are more than enough awards, should trim ’em down, rather than keep adding to them) Oh wait it’s different with Mieville, hey Lavie? I mean new anti-Semitism ain’t anti-Semitism. It’s just rabid, relentless and relentlessly dishonest anti-Jew nation cant and that ain’t Jew-hatred. So there. Hear-no-evil-see-no-evil-speak-no-evil. Tidhar and his fellow progressive liberal Jews simply don’t have a clue. Well Lavie Tidhar along with the rest of SF Court Jewry ain’t saying anything much here. Frankly it is clearly a lot worse than that. One has to wonder if Tidhar would even begin to recognize dishonest anti-Jew nation cant for what it is.
Tidhar himself is – surprise surprise – staunchly pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel. That article of his is entitled, without any sense of irony, ‘Remembering how to be a Jew’! He writes there, with typically galling liberal obliviousness and a willful ignorance that is simply odious, “in this new Middle East, the Palestinians have become the true Jews”. So it’s no surprise that Tidhar is on very good terms with all the ‘progressive’ harshly anti-Israel genre radical Leftists such as Paul Graham Raven, Nick Mamatas and all the rest…
What else can I add here? The juxtaposition of Tidhar’s (along with other genre Jewry like Nusbbaum, Mendlesohn, Scott Edelman, L A Gilman, Charles Stross, Felix Gilman, Rose Fox, Catherynne Valente perhaps and others) silence on Mieville’s crackpot anti-Semitism on the one hand and Nussbaum’s, Tidhar’s, Mendlesohn’s and any other genre Jewry’s condemnation of Moon (for the thoughtcrime basically of ‘Islamophobia’) on the other hand is obvious and glaring. It’s also pathetic.
Let’s not forget those frothing at the mouth over the former Helix editor William Sanders ‘leaked letter’ affair (he was also disinvited from a Con) and the hue and cry from the genre Thought Police on Dan Simmons’s April Message at his blog from April 2006 (and his subsequent book Flashback released in 2011 which was widely dismissed as bigoted by all the usual suspects). Once again see what I have to say on all three of these affairs over here and my response to critics as well if the reader is not already familiar with these articles (Tweeters Jason Sanford and Lavie Tidhar and writer Chesya ‘If this is the Thought Police count me in’ Burke at her blog. There were also tweets by Charles Tan and J Damask that I missed at the time). I actually let the Tweeters off the hook there, my response was hastily written (and if anything I was overly critical of Moon’s remarks – they are condescending perhaps rather than feckless). That was back in the early days.
If all this that I allude to here ever explodes, well who knows? Maybe years from now, if ever… I mean nobody has anything to say on Tangent editor Dave Truesdale’s HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM (and he’s a conservative!), so China Mieville’s cookie-cutter communist Judenhass won’t count for too much. Well it clearly doesn’t! I mean if genre Jewry could care less, why should Gentiles?
And that’s just the thing, there is nothing unusual nor anomalous to Mieville’s anti-Semitism among progressive left-wing intellectuals in the UK and beyond. If anything it’s merely Mieville’s in-your-face style and political activism that sticks out. How after all does Mieville differ from that other best-selling and award-winning sometime genre writer British Leftist Iain Banks? They have so much in common, as far as their progressive and fashionable prejudice-that-pretends-it-ain’t is concerned. And I will have something to say about Banks in a forthcoming article.
China Mieville’s anti-Semitism, that cloaks itself in hysterical and outrageously mendacious anti-Israelism, is quite simply de rigueur. It is no less shocking and disturbing for all that.
I will continue with a further appraisal of this depressing scene (well it’s a black comedy) in the next and final article – part 11 – in this Mieville series…