Harry's Place

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Harry's Place is a British political blog. It has been nominated for a number of awards, including a Guardian award for political blogs,[1] the 2005 Weblog awards for UK blogs.[2]

Politics[edit]

Harry's Place was supportive of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the concept of liberal interventionism, and liberal dissident movements in the Islamic world. It is a supporter of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is opposed to Islamism and what it characterizes as totalitarian, pro-Islamist and antisemitic tendencies in its ranks. Figures associated with these tendencies are often strongly criticized, including Raed Salah,[3] and Yusuf al-Qaradawi.[4]

In the context of UK politics, the site is particularly critical of Ken Livingstone, George Galloway, the British National Party, RESPECT, the Socialist Workers Party, and the Stop the War Coalition. It defines itself as a staunch opponent of religious and political censorship of all kinds and was supportive of the 2006 London March for Free Expression. The site was also one of the main backers of the Euston Manifesto. Nick Cohen has argued that Harry's Place was one of only few places where it was being noted that "a section of the left is allied with religious fanaticism and, for the first time since the Hitler-Stalin pact, […] has gone soft on fascism".[5]

The blog is critical of anti-Zionism, and institutionalized antisemitism in general, particularly on the far left, and such individuals as Gilad Atzmon are frequent targets of censure on Harry's Place.[6] To a much lesser extent, the blog has also challenged academics critical of Israel such as Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, and Shlomo Sand.

"Harry Hatchet" has had several guest columns in The Guardian's technology and online commentary sections.[7][8] However Guardian editorial policies are commonly criticized by Harry's Place contributors.[9]

Contributors[edit]

Harry's Place was originally started by a blogger, using the nom de plumes Harry Steele and Harry Hatchet or just Harry, who was originally the sole writer. The 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center served as a "wake up call" according to Harry, prompting him to try to better understand what political forces led up to it. In 2002, he began blogging as a way to clarify his own thoughts on political issues such as the impending war in Iraq, moving away from his Communism to embrace a more moderate social-democratic worldview. He made a public break with his former views in a Workers' Liberty message board discussion in October 2002, where he said Stalinism was a viewpoint "I now reject totally".[10]

The rapid growth in the site's audience led him to include other like-minded writers so that the blog could be updated more regularly. Harry ceased to contribute regularly at the end of September 2005.[11]

Other contributors include Marcus, Gene Zitver (aka "Gene"), David Toube, and more recently, Adam LeBor, Brett Lock, Brian Meredith, Edmund Standing, Hasan Afzal, Michael Ezra, 'Lucy Lips' and others. Marcus attended the 15 February, 2003 anti-war protest in London, and came away with the opinion that "I don't know if I can consider myself left-wing anymore if this is the left". Marcus wrote about his views on the politics behind the 15 February demonstration, and soon became a regular contributor. Gene is a resident of the United States from a trade union background, who has spent several years living in Israel. Harry came across Gene's posts on a George Orwell discussion list, and invited him to start posting on his blog. Gene is a strong opponent of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, whom he accuses of being authoritarian. Some Harry's Place writers post under pseudonyms: the pseudonyms used include Lucy Lips, habibi, Libby T, Israelinurse, and Alan A.

David Toube is a lawyer and former lecturer. He also came to blogging after the 11 September attacks. One of his close childhood friends was among those killed in the World Trade Center, while another close childhood friend became a militant Islamist, and appeared in the media applauding the attacks. Toube has said that he took up reading and writing blogs as a way of trying to making sense of these events.[12] Journalist Johann Hari also contributed articles to the weblog until Autumn 2004, when he left to start his own blog.

Controversy[edit]

The comments pages on Harry's Place are an open forum where debates can frequently become heated.

In July 2008 Harry's Place posted on an Al Jazeera report, translated by one of its contributors, in which the director of the British Muslim Initiative, Mohamed Sawalha, appeared to speak of the "evil Jew". Al Jazeera subsequently changed the phrase to "Jewish Lobby". The British Muslim Initiative claimed that the translation of the original phrase was "malevolent" and implied that their President, Mohammed Sawalha was "anti-semitic and hateful". Mohamed Sawalha had been identified by the BBC in 2006 as a senior Hamas activist. [13]

On 26 August 2008, Harry's Place was briefly offline following a complaint to its DNS provider.[14] The site had reported that a member of the University and College Union's discussion list had posted links to American white nationalist David Duke's website to support the call for a boycott on Israel.[15][16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Guardian political blog awards
  2. ^ Weblog awards
  3. ^ Lucy Lips, Friends of Raed Salah: Is the Guardian a Newspaper?, 30 October 2011
  4. ^ Lucy Lips, Qaradawi: Now Banned From France, 26 March 2012
  5. ^ Nick Cohen "Saddam's very own party", New Statesman, 7 June 2004, p.26
  6. ^ Alan A, Gilad Atzmon: Honorary Raelian Priest, 7 December 2011
  7. ^ Harry Hatchet, "A Blogger Writes", The Guardian, 15 July 2003
  8. ^ Comment is Free
  9. ^ Bunting cant. (29 March 2006)
  10. ^ "Workers' Liberty discussion
  11. ^ Media Matters, The Observer, 2 October 2005, p. 9
  12. ^ Oliver Burkeman, "The new commentariat", The Guardian, 17 November 2005, p. 8
  13. ^ British Broadcasting Corporation (2006) Transcript of Panorama programme "Faith, Hate and Charity", BBC1, 2006-07-30.Retrieved on 15 July 2008.
  14. ^ Don't panic if Harry's Place disappears briefly Explanations on back-up blog.
  15. ^ http://fr.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1219572143539&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull
  16. ^ Going Nowhere

External links[edit]