Sunday 28 April 2019

Meredith Martin on Macaulay & India

Meredith Martin, a distinguished academic at Princeton, writes-
It isn’t the centrality of Macaulay’s poems in the late-Victorian canon and their absence in our curriculum today that interests me as much as the way their form – the ballad – came to be coded as a communally felt phenomenon.
Coding is important where something can be alluded to but not directly expressed. This may have to do with Sex or a type of politics which is subject to persecution. Macaulay's poems dealt with neither such theme. They were in tune with the dominant political currents of the day and thus the paradigmatic example of literature as a message without a code.

His 'Lays of Ancient Rome' were suitable pabulum for little boys who enjoy mock battles and can picture themselves as Roman heroes as easily as they can step into the roles of Cops & Robbers or Cowboys & Indians. Macaulay was making Latin literature interesting for the kids and thus giving them an incentive to pay attention in class and go on to pass exams and enter paying professions on the basis of academic credentials.

However, Macaulay's poems were not a 'communally felt phenomenon'. Women had little interest in them and the mise en scene was remote from those familiar to the working class. Regional ballads dealing with folk heroes or tales of thwarted love retained currency in the rural tavern and at the Squire's table. But this was as true of India or Italy or anywhere else.
This fabric of a connective, political, and national rhythm begins as a story about a primitive drum, is transformed to a family hearth where stories of the community’s history are told, and then becomes the organized rhythm of the march to war.
This sentiment could be expressed in any Indian language and prefaced to a collection of bardic material. However, it could also be used to pick out different theistic traditions and associated with specific castes.
This idea – of a unifying primitive rhythm – began as a universalist claim in the mid-eighteenth century.
This idea has always been around. Meter was linked to Music which in turn was linked to region or type of activity.  Certain 'raags' & 'maqaams' in Indian or Islamic music are conventionally described in just this way and given a folk origin. But, traditions in this regard long predate the eighteenth century. Indeed, they were prevalent at the time of Confucius or Solon. Thus certain airs and meters might be described as lascivious because of the supposed moral short comings of the people of a certain region, or else as martial or spiritual on a similar basis.

However, this type of learned, second order, work had zero impact on what was popular or how a particular poetic form evolved. Stalin's philosophy of language had the merit of releasing Marxists from having to link changes in the 'superstructure'- e.g. literary fashions- to changes in the substructure. This meant that, for a brief period, Leftist literary theory did not have to be utterly stupid.

Sadly Martin didn't get the memo- vide
By the turn of the nineteenth century and especially after the first reform bill in England, “primitive rhythm” became a poetic function.
Primitive rhythm is a poetic function of primitive- or at least 'naively sentimental'- poetry dealing with simple people in a natural landscape. The Romantic movement in England certainly had this feature in the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century precisely because Reform in accordance with 'Natural Law' appeared easy. However, Ricardo and Malthus between them showed that Economics had a dismal aspect. Population could grow monstrously while diminishing returns bedeviled the bounty of Nature.  Calculation alone was King. Thus, Romanticism and its affectation of 'primitive rhythm' was played out by 1832 because it was clear that such unities as it could forge, dissolved under the pressure of Calculation and the need to Compromise.  In subsequent years, Radicalism would itself see a parting of the ways between the idealistic Chartists and the utilitarian Cobdenites with the latter prevailing but only at the cost of turning their coats. By the Eighteen Eighties, many were Unionists and some were clamoring for Imperial Preference.

Martin takes a different view-
This poetic function grew increasingly nationalistic in its aims toward mid-century, and then ended up as at once universalizing and nationalistic at the turn of the twentieth century, depending on the discipline in which it was discussed.
Peak nationalism was associated with the Napoleonic Wars. Not even the accession of Napoleon III could revive it. Instead, England & France jointly fought the Crimean War & Cobden cobbled together a trade treaty with the Second Empire.

Peak Victorianism was associated with a merely ornamental 'Poetic function'. The prosperity of its new class of patricians was based on a mastery of the prose of the world. Macaulay, in India, amuses himself by imagining the sort of ballads the ancient Romans might have sung. However, precisely because he was in India, he had to reject Colonel James Tod's romantic view of nationalism which involved ejecting Marathas and Pindaris from Rajput domains. Tod was disgraced and sent back to England. Macaulay, by contrast, eventually left his mark on the Indian polity. To do so, he made a careful distinction between why the bardic, or ballad, tradition was inherently more poetic in its subject matter than the lucubrations of a more refined age, and how that subject matter could be made useful to a commercial civilization in which relationships of trade & exchange superseded ties of blood & custom. Macaulay tells us in the introduction to 'The Lays' that History must acknowledge its debt to the ballad and that poetic truth must be distinguished from historical veracity. Yet, the debt remains. Thus Macaulay is presenting a history in the form in which, according to a popular theory of the time, its first annalists discovered it. He tells us he will be careful to impute no more modern motive to his characters than their context would warrant, and that the manner in which he will render his imagined Ausonian texts will be a compound tribute to Sir Walter Scott, and thus the native English tradition, as well as to the author of the Iliad whose work may plausibly have, in some vernacular form, been familiar to the original balladeers.

Martin takes a different view-
The Lays of Ancient Rome appear in the middle of that story, in 1842, as part of a larger discourse about rhythm and meter.[3]
Since Macaulay was a scholarly historian and prominent Whig politician, it is scarcely probable that he would have concerned himself with some obscure coterie of poetasters' 'discourse about rhythm and meter' which his target audience would have been wholly unaware of. Rather, he takes it for granted that Scott had given the canonical expression of the English ballad tradition and that Europe had accepted a certain conception of the Iliad as canonical with respect to the content of that tradition. It was this latter assumption- viz. that the Iliad is thymotic in a puerile manner, rather than truly tragic, which left him vulnerable to Matthew Arnold's criticism that his verses rang of but pinchbeck metal. Homer, Arnold believed, 'is rather to be classed with Milton than with the balladists and Scott; for what he has in common with Milton,— the noble and profound application of ideas to life,— is the most essential part of poetic greatness.' In other words, what Macaulay lacks is a cosmology the more crystalline and aglitter for but enclosed in a tear washed away by a tear. Still, it is good enough for school boys and retaining something of the school boy in one's makeup is sufficient warrant, as the shadows close in, that one has not utterly mislaid one's soul.
Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome, their history and intervention, can teach us a great deal about what rhythm and meter do and mean for a sense of national identification at mid-century.
This is nonsense. He tells us he borrows both from Scott. Whether he succeeds or fails is a different matter. His work as a historian, not as a poet, could have meant something for English 'national identification' but completely failed to do so because of his mania for William of Orange and his hostility to the new 'High Church' religiosity which characterized the early Gladstone and the Oxford Movement.

Macaulay gloats, like an American 'booster' of a later age, over the material progress England has made. He is as fond of quoting statistics as the gross bellied Manchester merchants Emerson encountered who would tell the thin Yankee precisely how many bricks had been used in the construction of the new municipal water tower and how this made it superior to St. Mark's Campanile in Venice.

Quite naturally, the rising generation- men as different as Arnold and Tennyson- recoiled from so crass a view of the English character or, indeed, the genius of the English tongue.
Macaulay’s project is to impose a vision of martial action as an accepted universal urge and to meld that vision with the discourse of both poetics and civilization.
Macaulay says he is writing of primitive people. Their thymotic urges must give way to culture and refinement and economic progress.

He writes- ' In the following poems the author speaks, not in his own person, but in the persons of ancient minstrels who know only what Roman citizen, born three or four hundred years before the Christian era, may be supposed to have known, and who are in no wise above the passions and prejudices of their age and nation. To these imaginary poets must be ascribed some blunders which are so obvious that is unnecessary to point them out. The real blunder would have been to represent these old poets as deeply versed in general history, and studious of chronological accuracy. To them must also be attributed the illiberal sneers at the Greeks, the furious party spirit, the contempt for the arts of peace, the love of war for its own sake, the ungenerous exultation over the vanquished, which the reader will sometimes observe. To portray a Roman of the age of Camillus or Curius as superior to national antipathies, as mourning over the devastation and slaughter by which empire and triumphs were to be won, as looking on human suffering with the sympathy of Howard, or as treating conquered enemies with the delicacy of the Black Prince, would be to violate all dramatic propriety. The old Romans had some great virtues, fortitude, temperance, veracity, spirit to resist oppression, respect for legitimate authority, fidelity in the observing of contracts, disinterestedness, ardent patriotism; but Christian charity and chivalrous generosity were alike unknown to them.

This is precisely the opposite of Martin's claim. Macaulay isn't saying we have to get rid of Christianity and go back to being savages. Rather, as a historian, he is saying pre-history has poetic truths which are valuable because poetry is valuable. It is dangerous, however, to mistake poetic truth for historical truth and very madness to take any action in this world on that basis.
How does Macaulay’s project in Lays of Ancient Rome advance an argument about ballads, nations, and histories of form that maps onto a larger story about rhythm and community, history and education, and comparative poetics?
Martin is mistaken about Macaulay's project. In any case, there is never any 'larger story about rhythm and community'. A.R Rahman might take up a Japanese or West Indian rhythm to rhapsodize a theme which is felt as binding together the Tamil, or wider Indian, community. The BBC might take up Lillibulero as a quintessentially British martial tune, though- no doubt- its own learned musicologists would have already traced it to Ireland or Tartary.

Suppose it were true that a 'larger story' genuinely exists such that a particular rhythm can define a community, then there would be scope for DNA type genealogical research. My own claim to be descended not from African apes, but Antarctic penguins would be proved true and thus I'd get a Doctor's note saying I'm excused doing the washing up.
That larger story is still not large enough, for it ignores, entirely, the basis of all of those theories in a world much wider than the Western one.
And which features penguins and dinosaurs.
Sixty-three editions of Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome were published between 1842 and 1939; the poem became prominent at the same time that the English empire created a new literary history of India, thanks, in large part, to Macaulay.
Rubbish! The English 'literary history of India' had been accomplished by the end of the Eighteenth Century. That's why peak Orientalism is represented by Southey's 'Curse of Kehama' & Tom Moore's 'Lala Rookh' & Shelley taking  inspiration from 'The Empire of the Nairs'.

After that, there was incremental progress both in India and on the Continent but it had nothing to do with Macaulay.
His 1835 ‘Minute on Indian Education’ secured the passage of Bentinck’s Indian Education Act, making English the language of instruction and promoting an English literary tradition as a civilizing ideological force on the subcontinent.
The Indians clamored for the thing and were getting it anyway. They just wanted John Company to pay more towards it.
This concept of an English literary tradition was consolidated in the 1830s, before there was a state education system in England. As Gauri Viswanathan has argued, the English literary canon was largely invented in order to subdue and civilize the empire’s Indian subjects.
Why believe this crazy theory? Martin lives in the Twenty First Century. She can look up the Wikipedia article on English literature and see for herself that the 'English literary tradition' was consolidated circa 1470 as 'Chancery Standard'. Shakespeare learnt it at School. Milton taught it. The Irish acquired it in the Seventeenth Century and within a couple of generations were achieving distinction in it.

India had already been subdued by the superior solvency of the British which in turn depended upon their Global Naval supremacy. Economics matters. Literary canons don't.

Gauri Vishvanathan may believe her ancestors were uncivilized and required indoctrination in Shakespeare and Milton to suppress their cannibalistic instincts. It may surprise her to know that the vast majority of her caste fellows even now have no great knowledge of the 'English literary tradition'. True, some of them vote for Modi and work in I.T, however this does not mean that they are cannibals.
 Just as the literature of Rome civilized primitive England, so too would the literature of England civilize, Macaulay writes, the primitive “Hindoo.”
Macaulay's Minute is solely concerned with how a small sum of money set aside by Parliament for education in India should be spent.  He makes no pretense that any sizable section of the native population will receive any instruction, under this aegis, whatsoever. The only question was whether teachers of English, rather than Arabic or Sanskrit, should gain preference in employment. The answer was clear. The Indians wanted John Company to pay for English instruction because the Brits actually knew English. The Indians could learn Sanskrit from the neighborhood Purohit or Arabic from the Mullah as they had always done. Indeed, Kayasths had been doing both for centuries. So had some 'niyogi' Brahmans. Having actual English people pay for a type of instruction whose worth they could judge for themselves was a no-brainer. Sadly, when the Indian Education Service was wound up, the standard of English instruction fell. People like Gauri Vishvanathan had no interest in promoting English instruction in India so as to help others whose ancestors were less lucky in this matter. By contrast, China imported a lot of native speakers to teach English with the result that their Economy faces a smaller bottle-neck in this regard. But then, the Chinese are a pragmatic and patriotic people. Indian Leftists whine about the Brits but prefer to do so on a Western campus where they won't be harassed by young people of their own color pleading to be taught sufficient English to make them employable.
The parallel to Rome in Macaulay’s progress narrative for England was evident in his parliamentary speeches in favor of reform and it was the success of these speeches that landed him the job in India to begin with. In his first reform speech, he aligns Roman and British social conflict: had the first reform bill not passed, England would have witnessed a “struggle between the young energy of one class and the ancient privileges of another. Such was the struggle between the Plebeians and the Patricians of Rome.”
Republican Rome inspired the American founding fathers. That's why Cincinnati has the name it does. America also had 'Indians'. Does Martin think they were 'subdued and civilized' by indoctrination in 'the English literary tradition'? Of course not! She must know that indigenous Americans who acquired an English education became more, not less, insistent upon their rights.
 Just as he worked to fuse India’s sense of itself with England’s history and literature in the “Minute,” so, too, did he simultaneously work to fuse England’s sense of itself with Rome’s history and literature in Lays of Ancient Rome.
 What work did Macaulay do to 'fuse India's sense of itself'?
The following is often quoted-
 it is impossible for us, with our limited means, to attempt to educate the body of the people. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern,  --a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population.

However, Macaulay in a preceding passage had very forcefully explained that this class of Indians already existed.
'There are in this very town natives who are quite competent to discuss political or scientific questions with fluency and precision in the English language. I have heard the very question on which I am now writing discussed by native gentlemen with a liberality and an intelligence which would do credit to any member of the Committee of Public Instruction.'
 What is more, unlike the students of Arabic or Sanskrit who demanded a stipend and assurance of future employment in return for applying themselves to these ancient languages, the students of English were happy to pay for the privilege. Furthermore, being obliged by their terms of employment or the requirements of their profession, this class of English speaking natives did indeed contribute to the refinement and enrichment of their vernacular tongues.

Macaulay was in India because his family had fallen on hard times. He needed a lucrative post where he could save money so as to return to British politics not as a hired hack but as a gentleman of independent and assured means.

He uses his 'Lays' to show that he has not become a Nabob with a harem, but rather has been engaged in a literary composition useful to British youth and instructive to the wider public.
Macaulay recollects that the idea for the poems occurred to him while he was stationed “in the jungle at the foot of the Neilgherry hills;”[6] and most of the verses were made “during a dreary sojourn at Ootacamund (Uhtagamund) and a disagreeable voyage in the Bay of Bengal.”
Macaulay was a politician. He understood that his readers might suppose he had succumbed to Asiatic luxury and sensuousness in distant Ind. The reference to Jungles and Voyages dispels any such suspicion.
From June 26 to August 31, 1834, Macaulay was stationed at Ootacamund with the Governor General Bentick’s entourage. He left for the hills as soon as he arrived: “I traveled the whole four hundred miles on men’s shoulders. Each palanquin required twelve bearers who were changed every fifteen miles or so. My baggage, though I brought no more than was absolutely necessary, required ten porters.” While stationed, he “read insatiably” the books that those ten porters carried. His classical texts soothed him and reminded him of home; he writes, “[w]hat a blessing it is to love books as I love them, -- to be able to converse with the dead and to live amidst the unreal.” He praised Virgil in one of his many long letters: “I like him best on Italian grounds. I like his localities, his national enthusiasm, his frequent allusions to his country, its history, its antiquities, and its greatness. In this respect he often reminded me of Sir Walter Scott.” Indeed, Macaulay’s Lays were a fusion of Virgil and Scott, an elevation of Scott’s metrical project to the great themes of Roman civilization but in the form of imagined ancient Roman ballads. But why ballads? Scott’s introduction to his two-volume collection Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, first published in 1802 and 1803, gives a compelling history of the ballad that is also a history of England. In Scott’s 1830 introduction to his 1805 Lay of the Last Minstrel he narrates the genesis of his own ballad-writing project – a mashup of Stodart’s recitation of Coleridge’s “Christabel,” in an attempt to avoid what Byron called the “fatal felicity” of the octosyllabic line and “romantic stanza.” Scott’s ballad meter was a structure of verse that “might have the effect of novelty to the public ear, and afford the author an opportunity of varying his measure with the variations of a romantic subject,” by which he means – and demonstrates – largely accentual four-beat lines. The history of metrical theories of the ballad stanza, which I’ll examine in further detail, are related to Macaulay’s project. I’ll argue that Macaulay combined Scott’s metrical project with his own understanding of the highly debated Latin Saturnian meter which, Macaulay argued (via the Danish German historian Barthold Niebuhr) was the authentic primitive verse form of ancient Rome.
So far, so good. This is not path-breaking scholarship by any means but it is perfectly sane.

What follows is not-
But Macaulay’s project was not merely about re-creating Roman ballads. Macaulay was arguing that the ballad was the earliest poetry of all primitive civilizations, and by reconstructing and popularizing this history he was also advancing a ballad-theory of civilization.
Macaulay says ballads are tribal. Civilization obliterates them. History must not rely on ballads because their truths are poetic not alethic. Socio-Economic conditions have to progress substantially- on the basis of improvements in administration and the widening of commerce- before the qualities and emotions the Romantics most prized could come into existence. A naively sentimental invocation of history can serve a proper poetic, but not a political, end.
The ballad-theory of civilization had been circulating long before Niebuhr first applied it to ancient Rome in his controversial 1812 Romische Geschichte, and long before Macaulay played out Niebuhr’s ballad theories in his Lays. The theory will be familiar to anyone who has read eighteenth-century ballad discourse but also to anyone who has read Derek Attridge’s theories of rhythm, or, for an opposite view, Virginia Jackson’s reading of Longfellow’s own ballad-theory of civilization in “Hiawatha” and Michael Cohen and Susan Stewart’s work on Percy and Child.[12] Cohen writes, “whether mediating ideas of history, culture, nationality, or identity, ballads have been contested property since at least the eighteenth century” (196). What Cohen describes as “the recuperation of history through balladeering,” largely after Percy’s Reliques of Ancient Poetry were published in 1765, “became a paradoxical process of restoring fragmentation . . . – of rendering media transparent” (199). In a letter to a friend, Niebuhr writes: “I am a historian, for I can make a complete picture from separate fragments, and I know where the parts are missing and how to fill them up. No one believes how much of what seems to be lost can be restored.”[13] Historiography and the ballad theory of civilization, then, emerged at the same moment. In addition to historiography, ballad discourse influenced and inspired Friedrich August Wolf’s theories about Homer, the writings of Robert Lowth about Hebrew Poetry, Johann Gottfried Herder’s collection of German folk songs, Biblical criticism, and the creation, in many registers and disciplines, of a never recuperable origin story, spoken or sung, available only in fragments supplemented by the specialist collector’s skill.[14] But ballads were also, crucially and ideally, comparable across national boundaries and borders. Ballads were at once imagined to be the authentic record of a nation’s earliest poets as well as evidence of early songs that appeared at the beginning of every culture. Now collections of fragments, authentic ballads had to be in some way corrupted or faded so that their re-creation could accommodate the nostalgic projection onto the past of a purer form of connected society, via poetry – and this is part of what I mean when I say “the ballad-theory of civilization.”
This is a term of art. It means 'the theory that early history is based on bardic material'. It is not a theory of civilization, but rather a historiographical notion long superseded by carbon dating and DNA studies and so forth.

In any case, Niebuhr's ballad-theory was buried, at least for the English, by Mommsen who took Coriolanus as a test case and showed it must be late and Greek influenced.
But another part of the ballad-theory of civilization is that the peripheral is elevated as the primitive and brought into the whole fabric of the nation as an imagined common past of the colonizing nation, and in this instance I specifically mean Scotland and India as England’s peripheries.
Why specifically mean something obviously foolish? Scotland borders England. India does not.
Some stupid Professor of English in India may want to pretend otherwise but why should an American?
An imagined innocent past, a purer primitive poetics in the shape or guise of “ballad,” is most familiar as the uncorrupted cadences of the now lost ballads of Scotland but it has powerful implications for India as well.
No it doesn't. James Tod was a guy who destroyed his career in India, a decade before Macaulay got there, because he surrendered to the Siren song of the Rajput bard. This led him to wish to promote the Rajput at the expense of the Maratha or Pindari. The thing was a recipe for chaos. It had to be curbed and the Indians could see this for themselves. Bhats and Charans running around creating a nuisance is the last thing we need. By all means, get them to sing about birth control or check dams or whatever. We don't want to lose sleep over a Bhat's curse or a Charan's threat to commit suicide.
For Scott, the periphery is crucially the border – the place where a nation must defend itself against invasion, mark out its territory, record its unique history, and assert its communal identity.
Scott was a Lowland Scot- i.e. an English speaker. His linguistic border was to the North.
 Much of our knowledge about English ballad discourse, as Katie Trumpener and others have argued, comes from theories of culture appropriated from the periphery. Trumpener writes “English literature, so-called, constitutes itself in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries through the systematic imitation, appropriation, and political neutralization of antiquarian and nationalist literary developments in Scotland, Ireland and Wales.”
Trumpener may write what he likes. English literature constituted itself on the basis of the development of Chancery Standard and the Printing Press. It may have recruited itself from its margins, it was not constituted by it.

We might as well say- 'American Cinema, so-called, constitutes itself in the early twentieth century through the systematic imitation, appropriation, and political neutralization of the Cherokee and the Apache.'
 In the Indian context, the idea of the “ballad” as a lost origin story meshes with fantasies of a preliterate, mystical, uncivilized power.
Rubbish! In India the idea of the ballad is firmly associated with a bardic caste whose institutional memory is post-Puranic. Only the Brahman or Shraman is licensed to speak the origin story which is preserved, not lost at all, in Revealed Scripture.
William Jones, the orientalist, philologer, and translator of Persian poetry posited in a 1786 address to the Asiatick Society, that Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin may have all “sprung from some common source which, perhaps, no longer exists.”  The emergence of the Indo-European language theory – all South Asian and European languages and civilizations coming from one spring – becomes a powerful basis, therefore, for Anglophone poetics.
Nonsense! I know of no poem in the English language which answers to this description.
Why? Precisely because India was an Imperial possession and England's largest trading partner. Thus nothing about its ancient mythology was not firmly tied to a highly idiographic locale. Emerson in America could gas on about Brahma and Boston could have its Brahmans. England too had one or two eccentrics who'd discover Druids in the Rg Veda and conclude that England itself was 'Shveta Dwipa'. However, these eccentrics gained no popular currency because India was important for wholly commercial and political reasons. By contrast, Germany could dream its dreams in 'Benares on the Rhine' and though Victor Hugo said 'India went and ended up becoming Germany' the India he was referring to was wholly imaginary.
Ballad discourse, treating all these peripheries as primitive sources of power, formed an intellectual constellation with contemporary linguistics, rhetoric, and the burgeoning field of English literary criticism.
There may have been a paranoid constellation of this sort, but it was not 'intellectual' at all. Why? If you claimed to have pierced the secrets of Manusmriti, you'd be asked how Mr. Chatterjee of Chowringhee's Estate should be divided up. If you could give an answer that would hold up in Court, then you could make some money. If you couldn't, you'd be dismissed as a fantasist. The safer thing would be to claim to have discovered the secret codex of the fairies.
And it identified primitive groups of people even in modern societies: the child, the uneducated working classes, the rural village-dweller, and the colonial subject, all of whom were not yet touched by Englishness and could be recruited to represent a powerful fantasy of poetic purity.
Wonderful! An English child, or agricultural worker, was untouched by 'Englishness'. Thus, if you wanted to know about inheritance laws in Coorg, you didn't have to crack a book. You could just ask the baby or the guy mowing your lawn. Being untouched by 'Englishness', they- no doubt- would possess 'poetic purity' and thus easily be able to simulate knowledge of the customs of the warrior clans of a remote part of the world.
Macaulay had some feelings about this. He wanted to replace Indian culture with a constructed, hybrid form of English -- an invented imported past; in the “Minute” he writes: “I have never found one among them [the Hindoos] who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia.”
This is not true. He said that Indian languages needed to develop a type of standardized prose, with an expanded vocabulary, such that it could easily convey information regarding Scientific and Technological advances. He noted the pre-existence of an Indian class of intellectuals who were already doing this. He proposed that the Government spend a small sum of money in the manner this class thought best. He did not say that any Indians whatsoever should not learn their own history or language precisely because this would render them unfit for any type of remunerative employment or profession.
By accepting the invented history of English poetry, Macaulay’s education reforms would “form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern
Gauri Vishvanathan invented this notion about the 'history of English poetry' in the Eighties. Do Indians consider her a smart person? No. They think she was a cretin who managed to play the race card and get a cushy berth in a worthless Department of a University which, however, is good for STEM subjects.
– a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.
Macaulay is speaking of Brahmos, like Raja Ramohan Roy- who had died during a visit to England- who was well known to Unitarians and Utilitarians.  Indeed, I myself subscribe to a refinement of his dogma- viz. Unitittyarianism- whose credo is 'nipples are many, titty is one'.
To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population.”
& that's exactly what happened. Why? It is what happens everywhere as Japan and Turkey and so forth were soon to prove.
Refine, enrich, borrow, render by degrees fit – these words echo and enact the ballad theory of civilization, which becomes a theory of the civilizing power of poetry.
No they don't. Rome did become a great civilization. But we know nothing of its ancient ballads precisely because nobody bothered to 'refine, enrich, borrow or otherwise render them fit for anything'. The fate of Etruscan was even worse. It disappeared completely.

Since cannibals can have marvelous poetry, the thing has no civilizing power whatsoever. You actually have to build roads and set up schools and Colleges of Engineering and Medicine and so forth. That is why the American Peace Corps did not concentrate on providing training in prosody to the bards of remote tribes.
This mindset recalls Matthew Arnold’s similar rhetoric in the wake of the second reform bill. As McKelvy rightly asserts, Macaulay transfers the values of reform culture onto the Indian subcontinent. “What the Greek and Latin were to the contemporaries of More and Ascham, our tongue is to the people of India. The literature of England is now more valuable than that of classical antiquity.”
But this was true before the Reform Bill was passed. That's why Raja Rammohan Roy already spoke English and quoted Bentham. Incidentally, he also learned Greek and Latin and Hebrew.
Macaulay’s composition of Lays of Ancient Rome while he was a colonial legislator in India
He was not a legislator. India had no Legislature at the time. He was one of four official advisers to the Governor General.
connects England’s obsession with orientalist language and poetics
that obsession had peaked twenty years previously and then wholly disappeared
with the violent endgame of the ballad-theory of civilization – the civilized is always predicated on the fantasy of the uncivilized, imaginary primitive past.
Sheer balderdash! Civilization is always predicated upon a secure transport infrastructure supporting burgeoning Trade and Exchange based upon the division of Labor and the institutions of Civil Society. It has nothing to do with fantasies.
The Lays both assert and reveal the fantasy that a poetic form – in this case the ballad stanza – gives form to that unruly and wild historical projection of the “uncivilized” which is at the heart of the ballad theory of civilization.
To assert something is also to reveal it- unless it is already known. Martin says Macaulay's Lays reveals a fantasy- in other words something nonsensical.
What is the nonsense the Lays reveal? It is that the ballad stanza is connected to a notion of the 'uncivilized'.

But everybody already knew that Coleridge and Scott and so on were perfectly civilized. Nobody thought that a guy writing a ballad was likely to turn into a cannibal.

Is it plausible that Macaulay- a smart guy- would bother to write a book to 'assert and reveal' anything so foolish?
Why not write a book revealing that rhyming cat with mat won't cause pussykins to come and sit on the hearthrug?
The fantasy of the uncivilized and poetry’s role in the civilized nation’s unity appears throughout the period.
So what? Many other fantasies also existed- like finding fairies at the bottom of your garden or discovering the fount of eternal youth or the staff of Merlin or Solomon.
Late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century grammars borrow from and inform debates about the centrality of the ballad to a nation’s sense of its present and its connection to a universal preliterate past.
If there were indeed any such debates, they were wholly inconsequential. On the other hand debates about Economic or Political or Scientific matters did have consequences. But that remains true to this day. Martin and her fellow pedants are ignored by everybody. In consequence, they have gotten a little cracked in the head.
Thus, after a sane enough account of the 'ballad theory', Martin feels obliged to talk nonsense about India- a country she evidently knows nothing about.
But that is not the only story I want to tell. The unanswered question of the ballad form, the abstract notion of its primitive nature, permeates both this scene and Macaulay’s notion of civilizing India through English poetry.
Macaulay had lived in India. He knew that there was as little prospect of getting the vast mass of Indians to learn English poetry as there was of getting the vast mass of English children to learn Greek verse. It was a different matter that a select few learn these difficult tongues and then contribute to the vernacular language in a manner that would fit the purposes of pedagogy.

The obvious objection to using Government funds to teach a select few better English was that they would become centers of opposition to British Rule- of the existence of which, to be truthful, only a small percentage of Indian people were aware.

Macaulay forestalls this objection by pointing to loyal English speaking compradors who were visible in every Presidency.

Why does Martin believe that Macaulay was a cretin who thought it feasible that two hundred million people could be taught a foreign language on a budget of one lakh?
If a hybrid of the primitive and the civilized could produce Hellenic culture from the martial patriotism of ancient Rome to the refinement of the Greeks, then some combination of secular mysticism and Englishness could perfectly civilize India.
Does Martin really not know that Rome conquered a lot of territory and built roads and drained marshes and suppressed piracy and that this enabled commerce to burgeon and wealth to accumulate?

It is wealth and security which 'civilizes' a people. Macaulay was a sound enough economist. He would have been regarded as a lunatic if he claimed that learning a particular type of poetry could magically transform a country's Economic position or guarantee its National Security.  His people knew all too well that they needed Armadas and Artillery and Canals and Railways in order to continue to enjoy peace and prosperity.

Martin ends her essay by admitting that she has been talking nonsense. But why did she do so? The answer is she believes her colleagues believe that there is some magic associated with poetic forms. Careful reading of Macaulay shows this is a foolish fantasy.
Ballad discourse and imperial discourse are intertwined through this question of poetic form based not on a stanza or a syllable count, but on an abstract notion of the primitive mind, the peasant, the savage, the working class child. Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome operates as a bridge between late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century romantic ideas of poetry, imagined primitive communities and fragmentary history, and later revivals of these ideas. By the turn of the twentieth-century, when these poems are re-animated as an emblem of England’s imperial might after the Sepoy revolt and are swept into what I’ve elsewhere called the “military metrical complex,” they become merely another emblem of England’s blindness.[42] But this narrower notion of the national ballad erases their complicated and expansive pre-history, and erases what Macaulay demonstrated: that the lay is always a fantasy form, that the ballad doesn’t have a folk, that the idea of a stable ballad stanza form is an abstraction of actual verse history. By ignoring the history of this poem’s creation we miss the discourses that Macaulay so carefully considered as he assembled these imaginary fragments into immensely popular and influential poems. Ignoring Macaulay’s Lays and the discourse around them, then, allows us to keep intact that powerful fantasy of poetic purity (often in the guise of preliterate universalism masquerading as rhythm). I have been arguing that such fantasies are what we now call poetic form.

In other words, Martin, poor dear, ended up in a University Department populated entirely by cretins who have absurd beliefs. Instead of saying 'Shut up, you idiots! You are talking utter nonsense!' she feels obliged to pander to her colleagues ludicrous fantasies before, at the very end of a long essay, gently chiding them by saying- 'guys, try reading Macaulay for yourself. You'll see that 'poetic forms' don't matter at all. The thing is a pure fantasy. Go have a shower or a nice cup of tea and stop frothing at the mouth. We may be obliged to write nonsense, but we don't have to believe the nonsense we write. '

Saturday 27 April 2019

Tamara Chin on Aurobindo

A friend directed my attention to an article titled 'Anti Colonial Metrics' which focuses on Aurobindo's 'Ilion'- a poem he worked on when in prison.

The author- Tamara Chin- has done a remarkable job given that she is an expert in a quite different field- viz. that of Chinese literature.

She does make one or two trivial mistakes- e.g. thinking that Aurobindo's dad was putting him through College whereas the truth is Aurobindo was sharing his scholarship money with his brothers- but also some more glaring errors fatal to her case. This has to do with changes in the ICS exam. She believes that raising the Classical component and holding exams only in England had to do with keeping Native Indians out as opposed to barring the way for the 'country bottled' Anglo Indian as well as Britain's own poorer class.

The facts were quite different. Classical languages create a level playing field. It is the vernacular language which distinguishes between 'Babuism' and patrician speech. Calcutta and Bombay could easily cram sufficient Greek and Latin into an Indian lad- however this would have had a distortionary effect on Indian paideia. Families would want Greek and Latin to replace Sanskrit and Persian. The result would have been the mass production in the moffusil towns of budding Raja Ramohan Roys and Michael Madhusudhan Dutts- a terrible nuisance. ICS officers needed to know the Indian classical and vernacular languages. Aptitude for Greek and Latin was a good screening device for White kids. The ability to translate Homer and Virgil at 17 boded well for their ability to pass exams in Indian languages so as to get salary increments and promotions. Enoch Powell is an example of a Classicist who quickly mastered Urdu while in the Army. Such Indians as mastered English had, in general, already mastered either Persian or Sanskrit. Being able to cram Latin or Greek presented no great difficulty. The late Shri Upendra Goswami, who headed the Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, told me that his father had been ruined in the Great Depression and thus he'd had to mug up Latin and Greek from such dictionaries as he could find in Rangoon. He still got through the ICS exam.

The British were aware that Caste Hindus would not 'cross the black water' and thus it was sufficient for the ICS to have its training college in England for them to be kept out. This did not prevent men like Sir Subramaniyam Iyer from becoming High Court Judges or holding other senior positions in the administration. Muslims, Goan Christians, Parsees and so on, could cross the black water and take the ICS exams but, if they had sufficient capital to do so, they could make even more money for themselves by entering the medical or  legal profession. In practice, it was only Brahmos from already wealthy landed families- or a professional one, in the case of Aurobindo- who thought it worth the bother.

However, Indian ICS officers were at the mercy of their masters- much as IAS officers are now. That is why Motilal Nehru, seeing the plight of a 'Heaven born' nephew of his, resolved to dedicate Jawaharlal to Congress politics rather than Mandarin insignificance.

To be fair, Tamara Chin has been misled by her reliance on Indian origin scholarship of the sham sort we so delight in. Being of Chinese heritage herself, she can't be blamed too much for being naive in these matters.

She writes-
After the ICS was opened in 1855
Actually, it was 1861
to any successful examination candidate under twenty-five, it represented the highest paying profession available to Indians at that time.
This is utter nonsense. The Law was far more lucrative. It could be combined with becoming a 'Diwan' to a Prince and investing in various profitable concerns. This was the route taken by Shyamji Krishna Varma who rose from humble origins through his mastery of Sanskrit. Monier Williams took him to Oxford, where the young Pundit would get a degree, so as to help compile the monumental Sanskrit Dictionary I still use.

The problem with becoming an ICS District Collector was that it was a transferable job. You could make much more money as a 'Dipty' because you stayed in the same place and made alliances and cornered rents and could watch over your investments. The truth is, a sept which managed to capture the lower rungs of the Collectorate in a rural district, could grow very rich. They might buy themselves a son-in-law 'in Service' just for the prestige but no one got rich in the higher branches of the administration.

The ICS pension of upwards of a thousand pounds a year might sound quite good but a top notch Barrister could make more than that in a week.
Satyendranath Tagore, the elder brother of Rabindranath Tagore, became the first Indian to pass the exam in 1864. After this, the British educators and officials who set the annual London exam began to experiment with the entrance requirements precisely to restrict the number of successful Indian applicants.
There was no need to do so. The success of Otto Trevelyan's 'The Competition Wallah' (1864) had established the prestige of the ICS. The service could dream of recruiting from Eton and Harrow. It may have pretended, in a period when the franchise was being extended to the working class, that it was keeping the niggers out by making itself a fit career path for gentlemen, but this was mere pretense. Indian ICS officers soon became demoralized and learned to know their place or suffer in sullen silence.

By contrast, the 'barristocracy' could take an independent line while getting very rich.
As Phiroze Vasunia has recently demonstrated, increasing the weight given to Greek and Latin papers became one solution to “the official desire to keep the Indian Civil Service largely free of Indians themselves.”[6]
Vasunia is a Classicist who, seeking perhaps to show the relevance of his subject to the progeny of Tandoori chefs, has written some sophomoric tripe re.  ' interweaving relationships and patterns that link Virgil and the history of the' Raj.

All he can demonstrate is the worthlessness of his subject- save for screening and signalling purposes at the Common Entrance level- i.e. for eleven-year-olds.
Since Greek and Latin were not taught in Indian schools and were best taught in elite British universities, Macaulay, Benjamin Jowett, and others sought both to fashion the ICS into a new vocation for Oxbridge Classicists and to regulate the social backgrounds of new “gentlemen” civil servants of the empire.
This is idiotic. Christian Missionary Societies had plenty of otherwise unemployable  Classicists and would gladly have dumped them on moffusil India if the demand for such a thing had been created by the Raj. Cramming a little Catullus instead of Kalidasa presented no great difficulty. The Catholics and German Lutherans were ahead, not behind, the Anglicans in Classical philology. Indeed, many second rank Public Schools didn't adopt the Etonian- i.e. Italian- pronunciation of Latin till after the First War.
To minimize the number of Indians in the ICS, they refused to hold a simultaneous examination in India, refused to replace the Greek and Latin requirement with Sanskrit for Indian applicants, and in 1875 lowered the maximum age of application to nineteen.
The number of Indians was already minimal. Monomohan Ghose was making way more money at the Bar than his ICS buddy. Moreover, it was blindingly obvious, Indians in the ICS would play second fiddle and have to pocket insults from the 'Anglo-Saxon' party (this was the term Otto Trevelyan coined for post Mutiny carpet-baggers like the indigo planters of Champaran). The 'White Mutiny' against the Ilbert Bill (1883) made this abundantly clear.
It was directly in response to these measures that Dr. Krishna Dhan Ghose took the unusual step of sending his three sons in 1879 to be educated in England to receive the proper training for the ICS exam.
Dr. Ghose was a naive dreamer. He didn't have the money to get the job done properly. The Tyyabjis did. But it wasn't till the Nineteen Twenties that one of their number opted for the ICS because dyarchy was in effect and thus a wealthy family gained by having a member in the Mandarin class. However, it must be said, the Tyyabjis were motivated by patriotism.
After his return to India in 1896, Ghose self-consciously contributed to the nineteenth-century modernizing “Bengal Renaissance.” He took up its indigenizing call for “[t]he return of India to her eternal self, the restoration of her splendor, greatness, triumphant Asiatic supremacy” as “the ideal of Nationalism,” and for the “strenuous reassertion of all that is noble and puissant in the blood it draws from such an heroic ancestry as no other nation can boast.”
Aurobindo was working for a truly great Prince- the Gaekwad of Baroda- who won the loyalty of his people by occasionally twisting the tail of the British lion. Employing Aurobindo, like employing Ambedkar, had a signalling value of a Pan Indian sort. That both had remarkable intellects was not the main concern. In the case of Ambedkar, the Gaekwad had to back down because the trade unionism of what we now call the 'intermediate class' was a more subtle and miasmic thing than the feudalism of the 'Sirdars' which Sir Tanjore Madhava Rao had curbed so as to restore Baroda's solvency.

In Baroda, Aurobindo quickly mastered Sanskrit but was not confident of his Bengali. Nevertheless he was a useful conduit to the Bengali Jugantar movement. His sentiments were not very different from those of Vivekananda.
Rather than wholly renouncing Greece and Rome in favor of indigenous classicism, however, Ghose continued to reexamine and reappropriate aspects of Victorian classicism.
That was his little foible for which he was readily forgiven because he was prepared to risk his neck for the National cause.
His radical journalism from the period immediately leading up to his incarceration sheds some light on the Homeric theme of Ilion: An Epic in Quantitative Hexameters. After Lord Curzon partitioned Bengal in 1905 in order to “split up and thereby weaken a solid body of opponents to our rule,” Ghose moved from provincial Baroda to the political spotlight in Calcutta.
The Hindu bhadralok cut their own throats by protesting this Partition. Forty years later, they realized the extent of their folly. Tagore, to his credit, foresaw the outcome and tried to warn his people. Aurobindo, knowing little of his own country, may be forgiven his romantic naivete and  'uchchvaas' bombast. Bear in mind that, like Enoch Powell- or Boris Johnson, come to that- Classical Studies had excised the faculty of judgment from his brain leaving in its stead a wholly mischievous garrulity.
Between 1906 and his arrest in 1908, he devoted himself to a revolutionary struggle for Indian self-rule. In opposition to the reformist Congress, he promoted both passive resistance and armed revolt. He served as one of the main authors of the radical news journal Bande Mataram, within whose articles and manifestos Greece and Rome held a prominent position.
Which is why it was widely regarded as puerile.
The dozen or so discussions of Greece and Rome in Bande Mataram do not simply function as a marker of the erudition or class background of its editors.
How could they? Dadhabhai Naoroji (who was born in 1825) was attending the Second International along with Rosa Luxembourg and Plekhanov and Karl Kautsky in 1904. Japan defeated Russia triggering a revolutionary atmosphere in that vast Empire. Young Bengalis were acutely aware of these developments. They were not so foolish as to think Homer and Virgil had anything to teach them. Even Herbert Spencer (or Harbhat Pense as he was known to the Maharashtrians) was passe. The only things that mattered were STEM subjects and contriving ways to make bombs and get weapons.
They also make explicit the politics of classical reference. Macaulay’s popular Lays of Ancient Rome, so reviled by Arnold, exemplified the colonial dimension of Victorian classicism with which Ghose and others engaged.
There was no such 'colonial dimension'. Gauri Vishvanathan made the thing up. Macaulay's essay on Milton might have some salience- it said it was better for a Nation to be poor and free than prosperous and in chains- but no one gave a toss about Ancient Rome and its great lays coz Young Bengal had better things to do than getting laid. Indeed, Aurobindo did not consummate his marriage.
Colonial classicism was essentially structured around the identification of British administrators with the Alexandrian and Roman imperial rulers of India.
Nonsense! The Raj was essentially structured around Mughal or other pre-existing administrative and fiscal mechanisms. That's why people employed by the Government of India had to pass exams in Indian languages in order to get salary increments and promotions. You were welcome to amuse yourself by playing polo, or translating Theocritus or anything else you liked but you gained nothing by it. However producing a scholarly translation of the Tirukural won you brownie points and maybe a post-retirement sinecure as a Lecturer at Kings- or later, SOAS- or something of that sort.
“I amused myself in India with trying to restore” poems about the founders of Rome, Macaulay explained
That was cool coz Macaulay was only in India to make a bit of money so as to return to British politics. It was a peculiarity of the House of Commons that a new Member could make a name for himself by an apt quotation from Virgil in his maiden speech. Thus F.E Smith gained fame by this attack on Churchill, then Under Secretary for the Colonies,
Mr. Speaker, it is easy for the Under-Secretary to come to the House and state in the debate on the Address that he attempted to confine the issue at the election to the single point of Cobdenism, to the single merits of free trade, and that he had therefore no responsibility for an incendiary campaign. To that I reply, proximus ucalegon ardebat, which I may venture to construe proximus, in an adjacent constituency; ucalegon, the hon. and learned gentleman [Mr. T. G. Horridge]; ardebat, was letting off Chinese crackers.

Smith, a barrister, was making fun of Churchill- a simple soldier who had been elected as a Tory in the khaki election but who had then defected to the Liberals, probably because he didn't know his Aeneid from his arsehole.
His ballads celebrated the emergence of a Roman imperial self and its triumph in majesty over the Hellenic empires it simultaneously sought to emulate.
Cowper's Boadicea was learned by heart by British kids of that period. Most would recognize at least one or two of these verses-
Rome for empire far renown’d,
    Tramples on a thousand states,
Soon her pride shall kiss the ground -
    Hark! the Gaul is at her gates.

Other Romans shall arise,
    Heedless of a soldier’s name,
Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize,
    Harmony the path to fame.

Then the progeny that springs
    From the forests of our land,
Arm’d with thunder, clad with wings,
    Shall a wider world command.

Regions Caesar never knew,
Thy posterity shall sway,
Where his eagles never flew,
None invincible as they.

Macaulay and Matthew Arnold represented the Liberalism of the restricted franchise. Their Classicism was bloodless and brooded increasingly upon that crassness, if not Class War, which must erase every bildungsburgertum as Paideia becomes a rationing device for jobs as School Inspectors or Government Clerks.

Churchill's romanticism, it is true, was constrained by his obligation to battle Macaulay on his own terms- the latter had greatly maligned the first Duke of Marlborough- and also to compensate for the deficiencies in his own education which Asquith type aesthetes openly sneered at. Still, had he inherited or married money, perhaps no such constraint would have obtained.

Nevertheless, the fact remains, mid Victorian Classicism was as dead as a dodo by the time Aurobindo entered College. Pater had turned Philology into something rich and strange. Ernest Dowson, who was a few years ahead of Aurobindo, mentions an Indian friend who introduced him to cannabis. Nehru, a few years later, still feels the tug of this pagan Greece and Cyrenaic Rome.
This romance was understood to be a metaphor for British imperial rule in India and its superseding, in turn, of the Roman template. His anthology ends with a ballad that celebrates with imperial spoils that include “The belts set thick with starry gem/ That shone on Indian kings.
That's why Macaulay's poetry was condemned as puerile, if not wholly prosaic. It is only his utter want of historical judgment that permits his bile to break out into a lapidary brilliance. This 'sphota' of spleen is what is missing in Aurobindo's turgid tomes though it occasionally flashes forth in his letters.
The Bande Mataram’s classicism was strategic rather than constructive.
It was mere uchchvaas bombast.
It variously deployed and critiqued the romantic modes through which both British colonials and Bengali reformists represented their actions through recourse to Greco-Roman antiquity. In a debate spanning several issues, Ghose rejected the proposal that the Greek system of city-states could ever serve as a political model for a unified Indian nation (BM, 7:908). Although he consistently championed the Greek ideals of democracy and freedom, he did not conflate these specific ideas with a classical cultural unity. The relation of post-classical Greece to Rome served as a warning.
This shows Ghose's stupidity. Bengal had to be partitioned, at least from the Hindu point of view, because otherwise British rule would be replaced by Islamic government.

Muslims well knew that 'Rum'- i.e. Rome- meant Anatolia, where the Turks ruled over the Greeks.  Before then, under the the Emperors of Byzantium, Greek became the language of the largest surviving part of the Roman Empire. It was not just the 'pale Galilean' who prevailed, so had the polished Greek. Both left the actual fighting to virile barbarians.

Aurobindo, a Kayastha like Vivekananda, was troubled by a double anxiety- firstly that his hereditary Ars Dictaminis missed the mark, second that his people ought to have been, like Clive- as celebrated by the Kayastha, Niradh Chaudhri- more adept with the sword than the quill.

Certainly, Aurobindo's terrorism misfired. The wrong mark was hit. Barrister Pringle had been a friend to Bagha Jatin. His womenfolk were killed.

Equally, the Kaula Brahman Nehru effortlessly erases Aurobindo's traces, precisely because they are a carmen solutem, not by design, but by reason of being programmatically, for by a cretin, botched.
If [India] is to model herself on the Anglo-Saxon type she must first kill everything in her which is her own. If she is to be a province of the British Empire, part of its life, sharing its institutions, governed by its policy, the fate of Greece under Roman dominion will surely be hers. (BM, 7:1084-88)
Very true. F.E Smith would hire a Pundit to teach his sons Sanskrit.  Eventually, Westminster would be relocated to Bombay.
Ghose condemned “anglicized Bengalis” for leading “a nation of Greeks with polished intellects and debased souls, body and soul helplessly at the mercy of alien masters” (BM, 7:37).
How could anglicized Bengalis lead anything? They were 'helplessly at the mercy of alien masters.'
Ghose cited Arnold when mocking the Bengali reformists’ promotion of English Liberty, but rejected Arnold’s ideal of Hellenism.
This is meaningless. Arnold said Hellenism is seeing things as they really are while Hebraism is mindless obedience.
Lord Curzon’s division of Bengali Hindus and Muslims had led to a popular swadeshi movement to boycott British goods, and Ghose applauded “the obscure villages and towns of East Bengal” that had “flung aside the devices of the Greek and took on herself the majesty of Roman strength and valour” (BM, 7:892).
So what if the man was an idiot? He risked his neck and, later on, turned into a Swami. Divine Mother even got him to give up brandy and cigars. That's the important thing coz a tipsy Yogi, dropping his cigar, might set fire to his own dhoti and become a Mahasuttee instead of a Maharishi which would confuse the fuck out of everybody.
Ghose’s point was not to remap India onto the Romans but, again, to trouble the colonial mode of classical identification.
Ghose was an idiot babbling nonsense. This did not matter because he genuinely had risked his neck. A stupid guy who is hanged for the cause is as good a martyr as someone with a high IQ and a Doctorate in Nuclear Physics.
He represented Alexander the Great’s much-celebrated conquests of Asia as the introduction of “absolutism” into India, and British imperial rule in a similar vein (BM, 7:945)
 Whitey be devil! Kill Whitey!
The Greek ideas of freedom and democracy had penetrated the European mind and created the great impulse of democratic Nationalism which dominated Europe in the nineteenth century. . . . Imperialism had to justify itself to this modern sentiment and could only do so by pretending to be a trustee of liberty, commissioned from on high to civilise the uncivilized. 
There are still some academics who write this sort of shite. They don't get that Imperialism had to justify itself by turning a profit.
One effect of Ghose’s revolutionary writings, then, was to clarify the politics of the classical idiom in British India.
Clarify? This guy clarified something? What? Where? He was an pedant who had to study some stupid shite so as to keep the scholarship money his brothers needed. Being an idiot, or having studied stupid shite, is not a bad thing in itself. Idiots make good martyrs or, if death is denied them, decent enough Swamis so long as they lay off the brandy and cigars.
Classical reference was not a mere trapping of political discourse but rather, as he later elaborated, part of more insidious philological arguments concerning race, nation, language, and religion.
Insidious philological arguments are as effective as sidious ones- id est, not at all. The fellow might as well have talked of Numerology or Nostradamus.
His anticolonial manifesto, “The Doctrine of Passive Resistance” (1907), foreshadowed Ilion’s Homeric plot, proclaiming: “Our attitude to bureaucratic concessions is that of Laocoon: ‘We fear the Greeks even when they bring us gifts.’ Our policy is self-development and defensive resistance” (BM, 6:300).
This was true enough. But it was a stupid policy. Lawyers who made money could become Judges or otherwise influence Policy. So could Statisticians and Economists and Industrialists. Writing high falutin' nonsense was merely a displacement activity. The sharp tongue of satire or the muck raking of the journalist had its place as did patriotic effusions of the 'sarfaroshi ki tammana' type. So could romantic but readable tripe of the Sarojini Naidu, or later on, the Nehru type. But, what really mattered was Economic critique backed up by Statistics.
The rhetorical “gifts” of bureaucratic reform align the English with the Greeks and the Indians with the Trojan recipients of the wooden horse.
The truth is, bureaucratic reform meant municipal authorities would have a representative character which in turn meant that local taxation would go up. This is what stuck in the craw of the Indians. They preferred no Taxation to some Representation because they viewed their own with glowering eyes of suspicion.
Ghose’s Ilion: An Epic in Quantitative Hexameters structured the history of the Trojan War around this same metaphor. Like Bande Mataram’s Laocoon, Ilion’s Laocoon played an enlarged role in urging the Trojans back to war.
Ghose’s first draft of Ilion was the sixteen-page The Fall of Troy: An Epic, which bore the postscript: “Composed in jail, 1909, resumed and completed in Pondicherry, April and May 1910.”[42] In 1908 one of Ghose’s associates killed two British women with a bomb intended for a British official.
These were the womenfolk of Barrister Pringle Kennedy who was sympathetic to the Indians and who had sought to help Bagha Jatin. It was an own goal.
Ghose was amongst those charged and jailed. Although he was acquitted a year later in a highly publicized trial, his brother was found guilty and sentenced to death (later commuted). By Ghose’s own account, the year he spent in jail transformed his politics. Whilst in solitary confinement he received his first adeshas (commands from the Divine), instructing him to perform spiritual work on his release. He heard other voices, including that of the recently deceased spiritual leader Swami Vivekenanda. He experimented with yoga and fasting, and with what he called the “conventions of our senses,” for example, when bitten by red ants in jail, he learned to experience the pain as Ananda (bliss).[43] In this context of solitary spiritual upheaval, Ghose began composing the first hexameter lines of Ilion, and memorized them for more than a year.[44] Shortly after his release, he left revolutionary activism in British India for a new life of politicized spiritualism in French Pondicherry. He continued working on Ilion over the next four decades in his Pondicherry ashram. Only part of it was published with On Quantitative Meter, and it remained unfinished at the end of his life.
Veer Savarkar, too, wrote very long boring poems in jail. So what? The important thing is Aurobindo risked his neck and, death being denied, set up as a Swami. However, unlike Savarkar, he gained no great constituency within his own country because of his eccentric orientation towards a vanishing Europe.
Ilion lacks the ideological clarity and optimism of Bande Mataram. The action of Ilion hinges on Trojan deliberations over Achilles’s offer of peace or war after ten years of fighting (rather than on Achilles’s choice as to whether or not to return to war, as in the Iliad). In the opening book Achilles’s herald, Talthybuis, expands the Homeric world to include India, effectively aligning Troy with India.
Please don't quote Aurobindo, Madam Chin. Whitey might read it and think Asiatics are completely shit. Well, not all Asiatics- just us brown ones.
Not from the panting of Ares’ toil to repose, from the wrestle
Locked of hope and death in the ruthless clasp of the mellay
Alright, already, Madam Chin. We get it. The guy was gay. So what?
Leaving again the Trojan ramparts unmounted, leaving
Greece unavenged, the Aegean a lake and Europe a province.
Choosing from Hellas exile, from Peleus and Deidamia,
Choosing the field for my chamber of sleep and the battle for hearthside
I shall go warring on till Asia enslaved to my footsteps
Feels the tread of the God in my sandal pressed to her bosom.
Rest shall I then when the borders of Greece are fringed with the Ganges.
Rest shall I then when thoroughly buggered by Whitey who, in haste, left Troy unmounted.
In Achilles’s message, the Trojans face two possibilities: victory (“Europe a province”) or defeat (“Greece . . . fringed with the Ganges”). If we read Ilion in the context of colonial and anticolonial classicisms in British India, then the specter of the Greeks at the Ganges invokes both Alexandrian and British rule.
Demetrius did reach Patna but the Indo-Greeks were thrown back by Karevail of Kalinga. No acts of mass sodomization occurred.
Elsewhere it becomes clear that the Trojan War prefigures, rather than allegorizes, these later conflicts. Towards the end of Ilion, the slave Briseis tells Achilles of her dream in which she foretells both his death and the future return of Europeans to India.
But Briseis was taken by Agammemnon coz his own slave girl had died. That's what got Achilles riled in the first place.

Then three times I heard arise in the grandiose silence,--
grandiose? How fucking Babu was this idiot?
Still was the sky and still was the land and still were the waters,--
Echoing a mighty voice, “Take back, O King, what thou gavest;
Strength, take thy strong man, sea, take thy wave, till the warfare eternal
Need him again to thunder through Asia’s plains to the Ganges.
(I, 7.95)
Funnily enough, something very similar happened to me when I last encountered a grandiose silence. Mighty voices start echoing all over the place coz of the cyclical pattern of something or the other.
This notion of a cyclical pattern of war is made explicit.

So on earth the seed that was sown of the centuries ripened;
Europe and Asia, met on their borders, clashed in the Troad.
All over earth men wept and bled and labored, world-wide
(I, 8.98)
I suppose this might be meaningful in the Khilafat context.
The Trojan War becomes the “seed” of a perennial tragedy of strife between Europe and Asia.
For Islam, the conflict between 'Rum'- that is the Ottoman Caliphate- and the yet lighter skinned kaffirs- was not a 'perennial tragedy'. The Khilafat movement hoped then, as ISIS hopes now, to reverse the verdict of the Balkan Wars and to crush Christendom. Savarkar saw this and, realizing that Hindu India would be the next domino, changed his position- which is why he retains relevance. Aurobindo didn't even embrace Socialism preferring to set up as a Swami burbling about 'Supermind'.
There is a striking tension between Ilion’s embrace of the Homeric medium and its deep ambivalence toward the Homeric theme. The grim futility of war replaces the Homeric glorification of the hero’s beautiful death on the battlefield. Given Ghose’s commitment to finding political, spiritual, and poetic solutions to his contemporary war between Asia and Europe, Ilion presents a hermeneutic challenge. On the one hand, Ghose casts the Greeks in particularly unfavorable light. They welcome the Trojan choice of war with “the lust of the young barbarian nations” (I, 2.23) and their “nethermost promptings” (I, 7.90).

Forging a brittle peace by a common hatred and yearning.
Joyous they were of mood; for their hopes were already in Troya
Sating with massacre, plunder and rape and the groans of their foemen.
(I, 7.90)
One the other hand, the Trojans do not rise above the Greeks. Their quarrels and desires do not present them as a heroic ideal for their Indian progeny.
Indian progeny? It was the Romans, and even the Britons, who claimed Trojan descent.
Ilion borrows the Homeric imaginary as a dramatic space for internal debate, and insight and blindness, amongst Greeks and Trojans. It leaves us not only with the basic Homeric plot of Trojan defeat, but also with the puzzlingly pessimistic model of perennial conflict between Europe and Asia.
To explain Ilion’s classical imagery, literary critics have focused on the role of the “eastern” Amazon queen Penthesilea, arguing that she represents Durga or Kali (forms of the Mother Goddess) of Hindu myth.[46] Penthesilea does not appear in Homer, but later traditions celebrated her ultimately unsuccessful intervention on behalf of the Trojans, and the remorse of Achilles upon killing her.
According to Robert Graves, he also fucked her corpse.
Ilion’s original and final drafts gave her a new prominence and the unfinished epic ends while she is still alive. In the final, unfinished book 9 she single-handedly battles the Greeks on behalf of the Trojans (“Back, ever back reeled the Hellene host with Virgin pursuing./ Storm-shod the Amazon fought and she slew like a god unresisted”) (I, 9.123). Ghose may indeed have intended Penthesilea allegorically. This would reflect Ghose’s commitment throughout his creative and critical work to all-powerful female deities. It would also make a work filled with Greek gods more coherent within the spiritual idiom of his other works. However it is also worth noting that his manifesto for poetic composition, The Future Poetry, explicitly rejects the use of allegory on grounds that it over-intellectualizes poetry (FP, 36). If Kali is the deus ex machina resolution for Ilion’s (rather unheroic) Trojans, why then not simply introduce her in the way that he simply inserts India (the Ganges) and the “warfare eternal” between Europe and Asia into the Homeric world? (I, 7.95)
Why not indeed? Did not Granny go off to Gallipoli to defeat the ANZAC hordes? Ayah similarly dealt with Adolph Hitler. Throughout history, if our womenfolk are absent when we call for tea or samosas, it is not because they have gone to the market to buy dhania from the bania, but rather that they are engaged in 'warfare eternal' with Europe or Amrika.
If we look beyond classical allegory, might we reconsider the spiritual politics of the Ilion using Ghose’s own representation of his composition, namely, as “the solution for introducing the hexameter into English verse”?
Gandhi kept giving everybody enemas. Ghose and his hexameters did something similar to English verse. Why mention the cretin now?

The answer, I believe, has to do with renewed interest in the political aspect of prosody in the context of the British Freedom Struggle directed against Brussels.

Thus Madam Chin writes-
Recent scholarship on Victorian poetry has drawn attention to the social meanings of meter, especially as a symbol of English national culture. Meredith Martin, Yopie Prins, and others have illumined how nineteenth and early twentieth century English poets used metrical selection as well as content to perform competing patriotic ideologies.
I am sorry to say to Madam Chin that this is not scholarship. It is stupidity. On the other hand, Yopie Prins is not a made up name. The creature actually exists. As does this Meredith Martin. Apparently the good folk at Princeton are under the impression that England is a primitive patchwork of tribes whose bards use 'metrical selection' to forge Game of Thrones type alliances against the White Walkers or the Orcs or something of that sort.
Matthew Arnold (1822-88), to give a key example to be addressed below, promoted English literature pedagogy to civilize the nation’s restive working-classes, and Homeric hexameters as an ideal for a renewed English cultural identity.
Whom did he promote it to? Elinor Glyn? Marie Corelli?
With the rise of modernist poetry, Arnold’s metrical politics failed but we should not, as Martin has compellingly argued, accept the conventional evolutionary narrative of English meter from a world of regulated Victorian verse to the more metrically emancipated poetry associated with progress, expansion, and the welfare state]
So Martin is an utter cretin. But it teaches a non STEM subject at Princeton. What else could we expect?
Instead, a project of “critical prosody” should re-embed poetic form in the historical politics of meaning. It should show how meter meant different things to different communities in a longer metrical discourse.
I disagree. A project of 'critical prosody' should make you a better poet. Arnold wrote some good lines. Aurobindo did not. However, Aurobindo was ready to die for his country and, later on, was a well behaved Swami whose 'Divine Mother' ran a tight enough ship. Thus his samadhi must not be disturbed by a disinterring of his boneless, brainless oeuvre.

Tamara Chin is, I believe, Chinese American and, clearly, is industrious and unafraid to rush in where angels fear to tread. However her reliance on a cretinous type of scholarship causes her to write ludicrous nonsense about both Britain and India. Her paper ends thus-
...this essay has emphasized the anticolonial force of his particular attention to meter. The Future Poetry, On Quantitative Meter, and Ilion together elaborated the importance of British India to a metrical debate about English national identity.
Wow! Which of us knew there was a 'metrical debate' about our identity? How did a couple of gals at Princeton discover a thing which the natives were completely unaware of? Kipling and Chicken tikka masala and Peter Sellers and Attenborough's Gandhi may be said to have some salience in this regard. But that's as far as things go.

How do I know? I asked Priti Patel who immediately tweeted back 'fuck off back to Bharat you benighted wog- and please, Uncleji, deliver a bottle of Gangajal to my Nanima in Surat. It may smell like single malt but it is actually Gangajal. Ta ta'.

Come to think of it, the friend who directed my attention to Madam Chin's article may have been playing a prank on me. Chinese Americans are smart people. They don't believe that a nigger on death row can wield hexameters to civilize Whitey's national culture with Greek Paideia. The most the said nigger could do is sing the Blues.

Clearly only a satirist would write-
The incarcerated Ghose did not, as he might have, wield Ilion’s hexameters in an Arnoldian attempt to civilize English national culture with Hellenism.
 There is another possibility. Perhaps this Chin has drunk the Kool Aid and believes in Yogic powers.
Rather, the poet’s yogic exercise with the hexameter reoriented meter from questions of national identity towards a polyglot pursuit of the spiritual Mantra. This forward-looking Mantra thereby displaced the Indo-European philology as the meeting ground for Indian and European literary traditions.
Mantras should be short and euphonious. Aurobindo was cretinous and cacophonous. 'M'illumino d'immenso' is a mantra. Savitri is vacuous shite.
Ghose applied a spiritual philology to the hexameter. The hexameter was one metrical resource or potential amongst many for the Mantra of the future poetry. The Mantra, to recall, was the “poetic expression of the deepest spiritual reality.” Only through the Mantra could the future poet-seer see and make others see the spiritual truth of things. The Mantra required, amongst other things, “a highest intensity of rhythmic movement.” This was not simply a question of finding the right meter, but on each occasion the “rhythmical soul-movement entering into the metrical form and often overflooding it” (FP, 19). The Future Poetry did not single out any meter as especially appropriate for the Mantra, any more than it specified poetic content. Likewise, On Quantitative Meter did not explicate its rules for the English hexameter as a shortcut to the Mantra. However, The Future Poetry made clear that certain meters had more potential than others. “War poetry and popular patriotic poetry” could stir the “the vital being in us like a trumpet or excite it like a drum. But after all the drum and the trumpet do not carry us far in the way of music” (FP, 22). Conversely, the greatest promise of Walt Whitman’s free verse (“the most Homeric voice since Homer”) emerged precisely when his “great metrical cadences” consciously or unconsciously approximated the Greek dithyramb and hexameter (FP, 165, 167). Ghose rejected the drumbeat of patriotic war poetry for Ilion in favor of the hexameter’s higher spiritual potential. Although few European poets and critics encountered his writings, Ghose’s metrical deliberations deserve greater recognition for proposing a cosmopolitan spiritual prosody binding colony and metropole.
Oh dear. Madam Chin doesn't know India became independent long ago. Warren Hastings, in 1818, said that the time was not distant when India and England would be unconnected in every way save through Trade and perhaps some friendly Cultural intercourse. Hastings underestimated British commercial capacity and Indian mental vacuity. However nobody in either India or England or anywhere else was so stupid as to think that unreadable poetry written in some meter or the other could bind anything together.

Aurobindo's spiritual achievement was to give up brandy and cigars. But his cacoethes scribendi proved more obstinate. Still the man was a patriot and did not incessantly rape his disciples. That's quite an achievement for a Swami. Arnold, too, did not disgrace himself by offering to wank on demand- like the tosser Ruskin. These may be small mercies but, in the context of our catastrophic Brexit, we must tally them up as victories, however provisional, of the Human Spirit over the all annihilating deluge, or pralaya, of that universal incontinence of which Aurobindo's oeuvre is but presage. 

Thursday 25 April 2019

England's Secret Poets & Ind's occult soul

We are Hammersmith's stammering widsiths whom the Muses wouldn't kiss on a bet
Not St. Paul's precocious pundits in thrall to a Paideia more puerile yet
Not Chesterton, nor Aurobindo, nor tossers more turgid or arcane
Savants, who Simplicity to the Simple, more tortuously must explain

We are England's secret poets theodicizing Ind's soul occult
Not Bloody Mary as Theotokos nor Kali as meretricious cult
What 'Gnostic Being' could we, more caustically, be seeing?
In, to all Intelligence, a too common Elitist insult!

Monday 22 April 2019

al talween wa al tamkeen

Dr. Pepper having ibn bin seen dissolving saudade in this Bacardi neat
Wine is not bitter at its, perennially parting, Red Sea's defeat
Nor can my al talween wa al tamkeen quatrain be incomplete 
Not coz my Mt. Tur kept farting till I, Pisgah, wept departing; what's truly obscene, is Messiahs modishly lean while our lachrymose Arafat's too replete.

Sunday 21 April 2019

Debunking Peter Beinart on Anti-Zionism & Jew hatred

Peter Beinart, a professor of Journalism at CUNY, has a long essay in the Guardian which seeks to 'debunk the myth that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic'.

Since some Jews have a religious objection to the State of Israel because the Messiah has not yet appeared, it is clear that Zionism is separate from Judaism. One can be for the one yet against the other.

Equally, the Israeli Druze are committed Zionists despite not being Jewish. Indeed, a Druze was briefly the acting head of state of Israel. It remains to be seen whether the Druze of the Golan Heights will go the same way. However, it is notable that when the Assad regime appeared to be crumbling, some people from the area did accept Israeli citizenship. More generally, changes in the complexion of sectarian politics in the region could lead to other minorities- perhaps even the Christians- accepting Zionism as their best defense against persecution.

Beinart in not concerned with the nature of either the Judaic Faith or the nature of the Zionist movement. His focus is on
a new official definition of antisemitism. That definition, produced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2016, includes among its “contemporary examples” of antisemitism “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination”.
The reason this statement is useful is because it allows countries to use the law to prevent boycotts of Israel by virtue-signalling Academic bodies or Local Authorities which have been captured by the loony left.
In other words, anti-Zionism is Jew hatred.
Not quite. However, a nuisance- that created by the lunatic fringe clamoring for sanctions against Israel- can be curbed by the judicious use of this definition.
In so doing, Macron joined Germany, Britain, the United States and roughly 30 other governments. And like them, he made a tragic mistake.
Nonsense! The thing is a nuisance and should be curbed. So should the Yellow Vests and the Extinction Marchers and the football hooligans and so on.
Anti-Zionism is not inherently antisemitic – and claiming it is uses Jewish suffering to erase the Palestinian experience.
Shitting in the street is not inherently anti-social. Perhaps the street will never again be traversed by a human soul and thus your deposit of feces upon it will cause nobody any disgust or annoyance. However, with regard to thoroughfares in populated areas, open defecation is a nuisance and should be curbed. To do is not to say that the suffering of passersby is being used to erase the reveries of street shitters. Rather, a public nuisance is being curbed. Take a dump on your boss's desk like a normal person. Nobody wants to watch you squeeze out a turd in front of Starbucks.

Failure to see that anti-Zionism is a nuisance created by wasteful competition in the field of virtue-signalling causes Beinart to engage in a wholly futile analysis of a philosophical type.

He writes-
The argument that anti-Zionism is inherently antisemitic rests on three pillars. The first is that opposing Zionism is antisemitic because it denies to Jews what every other people enjoys: a state of its own.
Antisemitism- like other forms of bigotry and hate speech- was a nuisance and thus was curbed by the Law. Anti-Zionism is a similar nuisance. That is why it must be curbed. An easy way to do so is by extending the definition of anti-Semitism to include anti-Zionism.

The Jews established a State of their own which functions well and which can defend itself. They have proven themselves to be a people able to enjoy a state of their own. There is no point arguing the toss about this at this late hour. Such arguments are a nuisance simply.
 The Kurds don’t have their own state. Neither do the Basques, Catalans, Scots, Kashmiris, Tibetans, Abkhazians, Ossetians, Lombards, Igbo, Oromo, Uyghurs, Tamils and Québécois, nor dozens of other peoples who have created nationalist movements to seek self-determination but failed to achieve it.
So, these are peoples who have not shown that they are able to establish and enjoy a state of their own. Beinart is comparing apples to oranges.

The fact is, Governments have and will crack down on Kashmiris or Tibetans if they make too much of a nuisance of themselves and thus damage diplomatic and trading links with rapidly growing economies.
Yet barely anyone suggests that opposing a Kurdish or Catalan state makes you an anti-Kurdish or anti-Catalan bigot.
If the claim is made that the Kurds or the Catalans are incapable of running a state of their own, then bigotry may be involved. Saying they are better off not running their own state may also shade into bigotry if it is clear that Kurds and Catalans possess a sufficiently cohesive Civil Society backed by adequate economic resources and geopolitical safeguards to make a go of nationhood .

In the case of the Palestinians, what can we say? Suppose the 'Black September' uprising has succeeded and Jordan had become a PLO state. The fact is, if the Palestinians had continued to train guerillas of various types then, after the fall of the USSR, sooner or later, it would have been bombed to kingdom come.

Currently, Palestinian self-determination means internecine conflicts which are proxy wars for other players in the region. Who can say that Palestinian territory might not incubate the next Al Qaeeda or Taleban? During the Black September uprising, Pakistani pilots flying Saudi owned American planes bombed the shit out of Palestinian refugee camps. That was then. Now Russia and the US and the Brits and almost everybody else bombs the shit out of Syria. Palestinian self-determination may mean that instead of Israeli bombs, they have to dodge American and Russian and Turkish and Saudi bombs while busily killing each other.
It is widely recognised that states based on ethnic nationalism – states created to represent and protect one particular ethnic group – are not the only legitimate way to ensure public order and individual freedom.
It is also widely recognised that Israel is the best state in its region when it comes to 'ensuring public order and individual freedom'- at least, for those with a right of abode and acceptable views and behavior.
Sometimes it is better to foster civic nationalism, a nationalism built around borders rather than heritage: to make Spanish identity more inclusive of Catalans or Iraqi identity more inclusive of Kurds, rather than carving those multiethnic states up.
Why not say 'sometimes it is better to foster niceness so everybody is nice to everybody else, and lovely unicorns descend from sugar candy rainbows with pots of gold and nice toys with which we can all play'?

Nobody was 'fostering civic nationalism' for the Jews subject to pogroms in Tzarist Russia or under the Third Reich.  Why mention the topic?

Civil Society needs the protection of a cohesive, rules based, polity to get off the ground. It won't magically appear if only we all wish upon a star.
Argument number two is a variation on this theme. Maybe it is not bigoted to oppose a people’s quest for statehood. But it is bigoted to take away that statehood once achieved.
Yeah right! Like we have the power to take away statehood from Israel! Relatively stupid young Saudis could create a lot of havoc on 9/11. We really want to wait around to see what smart Sabras will do if we fuck with them? Pull the other one.
"It is one thing to argue, in the moot court of historical what-ifs, that Israel should not have come into being,” argued New York Times columnist Bret Stephens earlier this month. However, “Israel is now the home of nearly 9 million citizens, with an identity that is as distinctively and proudly Israeli as the Dutch are Dutch or the Danes Danish. Anti-Zionism proposes nothing less than the elimination of that identity and the political dispossession of those who cherish it.”
But it is not bigoted to try to turn a state based on ethnic nationalism into one based on civic nationalism, in which no ethnic group enjoys special privileges.
Bigotry is stupid. It is extremely stupid to think that we can make everybody be nice to everybody else and create 'civic nationalism' such that lovely unicorns descend from rainbows made out of candy to give pots of gold to kids so as to wean them away from the practice of  knifing each other up the North End Road.

We may not like how they do things in China or Pakistan or even North Korea. But we have to rub along with them somehow coz them guys got nukes.
In the 19th century, Afrikaners created several countries designed to fulfil their quest for national self-determination, among them the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.
The Boers were beaten on the battlefield. Their women and children were rounded up and put in concentration camps with high mortality rates. They surrendered because the alternative was annihilation.
Then, in 1909, those two Afrikaner states merged with two states dominated by English-speaking white people to become the Union of South Africa (later the Republic of South Africa), which offered a kind of national self-determination to white South Africans.
Yup! Smuts played the 'Yellow Peril' card and thus outsmarted Lord Milner. By getting rid of the Chinese, Smuts showed the mine owners who was boss. Gandhi, poor simpleton, played into Smuts' hands. Unlike the Chinese, the Indians in South Africa were British subjects. The Brits would have to pay for their passage back to India and then do something to ensure they didn't starve to death. Later on Idi Amin tried the same trick on the Brits. But, the idiot followed through- expelling the Asians rather than using them as a bargaining chip. Amin liked Asians. He did them a favor by forcing the Brits to accept them. They thrived in the UK and are now a 'model minority'.
The problem, of course, was that the versions of self-determination upheld by the Transvaal, the Orange Free State and apartheid South Africa excluded millions of black people living within their borders.
Smuts wanted to go the Brazilian route. Have apartheid but call it something else the way the Portuguese had been doing. The Boers, with typical stupidity, rejected Smuts' path and- like Ian Smith's Rhodesia- slit their own throats albeit in ever slower slow-motion.
This changed in 1994. By ending apartheid, South Africa replaced an Afrikaner ethnic nationalism and a white racial nationalism with a civic nationalism that encompassed people of all ethnicities and races. It inaugurated a constitution that guaranteed “the right of the South African people as a whole to self-determination”.
That wasn’t bigotry, but its opposite.
Why no mention of Rhodesia, which became Zimbabwe? Still, it's nice the author thinks Whites are safe in South Africa coz off all them lovely unicorns prancing around fostering 'civic nationalism'.
I don’t consider Israel an apartheid state. But its ethnic nationalism excludes many of the people under its control. Stephens notes that Israel contains almost 9 million citizens. What he doesn’t mention is that Israel also contains close to 5 million non-citizens: Palestinians who live under Israeli control in the West Bank and Gaza (yes, Israel still controls Gaza) without basic rights in the state that dominates their lives.
Palestinians were the majority in the Kingdom of Jordan. Because of 'Black September', their refugee camps were bombed by Pakistani pilots flying Saudi planes. However, Jordan remains the only Arab country to try to fully integrate Palestinians. That ended badly. Nowhere in the MENA do Palestinians enjoy the same rights as citizens. Frequently, they have been expelled en masse. Arafat made his fortune in Kuwait. But he picked the wrong side in the first Gulf War. So his people were thrown out of Kuwait. The 2006 al-Askari mosque bombing caused Shias militias to attack Palestinian refugees in Iraq. The Obama administration, to its great credit, took in about a 1000 of these displaced people. Since then the prospects of the remainder have dimmed.

Kuwait and Lebanon realized it wasn't a good thing to grant citizenship to too many Palestinians. Both have found it expedient to expel Palestinians though they are almost always model citizens and diligent workers.

Just recently, the Saudis decided not to give Hajj visas to Palestinians using temporary Jordanian travel documents. They insist on Palestinian Authority documents. But this means East Jerusalem Arabs are at risk of losing their residency rights and being expelled by the Israelis.

There is some speculation that all this has to do with Trump's 'deal of the century' which will involve the House of Saud displacing the Hashemites as the custodians of Islam's third holiest site. In return, the Palestinian diaspora foregoes 'right of return' and accepts some sort of second class status from the host country in return for travel documents.

The horrible thing is that a debauched real-estate moghul may pull off what a Carter or an Obama could not and a corrupt deal will restore peace to 'the Holy Land'.

One reason Israel doesn’t give these Palestinians citizenship is because, as a Jewish state designed to protect and represent Jews, it wants to retain a Jewish majority, and giving 5 million Palestinians the vote would imperil that.
Same reason as the Kuwaitis, Saudis and so on. The oil rich emirates don't give citizenship to people of other ethnicities born and brought up in their countries. They take active measures to disenfranchise and expel members of indigenous minorities. Israel conforms to the norms of the region in this respect.
They live in a state whose national anthem speaks of the “Jewish soul”, whose flag features a Star of David and which, by tradition, excludes Israel’s Palestinian parties from its governing coalitions. A commission created in 2003 by the Israeli government itself described Israel’s “handling of the Arab sector” as “discriminatory”.
So what? The Saudi national anthem speaks of the country as 'the pride of the Muslims'. Plenty of flags of Islamic countries feature Islamic symbols. Those that have Parliaments may have minority representatives who, however, must vote with the ruling party. Seldom are such minorities not treated in a discriminatory fashion. However, this is true of minorities in many countries. Perhaps the author thinks African American males have it easy. The statistics, however, tell a different story.
So long as Israel remains a Jewish state, no Palestinian citizen can credibly tell her son or daughter that they can become prime minister of the country in which they live. In these ways, Israel’s form of ethnic nationalism – Zionism – denies equality to the non-Jews who live under Israeli control.
No Bermudan person can credibly tell her son or daughter that they can become the May-bot even if they have their brains surgically removed. In this way, Britain's form of ethnic nationalism denies equality to the non-Brits who live under British control in its overseas possessions. Indeed, many such people have no right of abode in the 'mother country'.
My preferred solution would be for the West Bank and Gaza to become a Palestinian state, thus giving Palestinians in those territories citizenship in an ethnically nationalist (though hopefully democratic) country of their own.
Your preferred solution may lead to enormous internecine bloodshed. At this time, the Hamas-Fatah peace deal is a dead letter. Hamas is refusing to hand over the weapons caches of various terrorist groups.

As for hoping a unified Palestinian Authority would be democratic- why stop there? Why not hope it will be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?
I’d also try to make Israel’s ethnic nationalism more inclusive by, among other things, adding a stanza to Israel’s national anthem that acknowledges the aspirations of its Palestinian citizens.
Why not add a stanza to its national anthem which would have the magical property of giving everybody the power of levitation and their own personal Genie able to grant them three wishes a day? I'm sure Palestinians would prefer that.
But, in a post-Holocaust world where antisemitism remains frighteningly prevalent, I want Israel to remain a state with a special obligation to protect Jews.
Quite right. An ordinary obligation just wouldn't cut the mustard. It must be a very special obligation indeed and it should go to a very special school where its special needs are met.

To seek to replace Israel’s ethnic nationalism with civic nationalism, however, is not inherently bigoted.
But is inherently cretinous.
Last year, three Palestinian members of the Knesset introduced a bill to turn Israel from a Jewish state into a “state for all its citizens”. As one of those Knesset members, Jamal Zahalka, explained, “We do not deny Israel or its right to exist as a home for Jews. We are simply saying that we want to base the existence of the state not on the preference of Jews, but on the basics of equality … The state should exist in the framework of equality, and not in the framework of preference and superiority.”
The state should grant minorities the power of levitation.  Then we could hover over the majority in the streets and micturate upon their upturned faces.
One might object that it is hypocritical for Palestinians to try to repeal Jewish statehood inside Israel’s original boundaries while promoting Palestinian statehood in the West Bank and Gaza.
The Palestinians want their land back. No hypocrisy is involved. The thing is perfectly natural and understandable. There may be Jewish Israelis who'd like to get back the property they owned in Iraq. It isn't going to happen.
One might also ask whether Zahalka’s vision of Jewish and Palestinian equality in a post-Zionist state is naive given that powerful Palestinian movements such as Hamas want not equality but Islamic domination. These are reasonable criticisms. But are Zahalka and his colleagues – who face structural discrimination in a Jewish state – antisemites because they want to replace Zionism with a civic nationalism that promises equality to people of all ethnic and religious groups? Of course not.
Is Zahalka's vision viable? Of course not. That is the only relevant test when it comes to practical politics.
There is, finally, a third argument for why anti-Zionism equals antisemitism. It is that, as a practical matter, the two animosities simply go together. “Of course it’s theoretically possible to distinguish anti-Zionism from antisemitism, just as it’s theoretically possible to distinguish segregationism from racism,” writes Stephens. Just as virtually all segregationists are also racists, he suggests, virtually all anti-Zionists are also antisemites. You rarely find one without the other.
The Common Law evolved on the basis of 'legal fictions' of just this type. Currently wasteful competition between virtue-signalling shitheads is causing a nuisance which can be curbed by equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism.
But that claim is empirically false. In the real world, anti-Zionism and antisemitism don’t always go together. It is easy to find antisemitism among people who, far from opposing Zionism, enthusiastically embrace it.
Before Israel’s creation, some of the world leaders who most ardently promoted Jewish statehood did so because they did not want Jews in their own countries. Before declaring, as foreign secretary in 1917, that Britain “view[s] with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”, Arthur Balfour supported the 1905 Aliens Act, which restricted Jewish immigration to the United Kingdom.
Balfour had offered Uganda to Theodor Herzl two years previously. He expressed sympathy for the persecuted Jews but passed the Aliens Act because of public outcry against some supposed economic burden such Jews might impose on the native population. Balfour was not an anti-semite. A respected historian writes-
Chaim Weizmann relates that when he talked with Balfour on 12 December 1914 and explained ‘the Jewish tragedy’ in Europe, the British statesman was ‘most deeply moved – to the point of tears.’12 Balfour’s niece, Blanche Dugdale, wrote: ‘Near the end of his days he said to me that on the whole he felt that what he had been able to do for the Jews had been the thing he looked back upon as the most worth his doing.’13 Towards the end of his life, Egremont tells us, Balfour ‘came to relish his role as protector of the Jews, even writing to golf clubs in the Home Counties in an attempt to remove their ban on Jewish membership.’14 This affectionate regard was reciprocated at his death. ‘Telegrams from Jewish communities and expressions of regret were sent from all of the World. 
Prior to 1905, Britain had no bar on immigration. However, its transition to Social Democracy meant that the working class could force the Government to introduce curbs on the entry of poor unskilled workers who would drive down wages. One result was that Labour became willing to pay into a National Insurance scheme because they themselves- not immigrants- would benefit. Thenceforth, the struggle began to get the Rich to shoulder more and more of the burden of providing a Social Minimum.

The fact that Balfour restricted immigration does not mean he wanted to rid Britain of its own Jews. Beinart is planting a suggestio falsi that Balfour was a Zionist because he wanted British Jews to go away.
And two years after his famous declaration, Balfour said Zionism would “mitigate the age-long miseries created for western civilisation by the presence in its midst of a Body [the Jews] which it too long regarded as alien and even hostile, but which it was equally unable to expel or to absorb”.
To whom did he say it? Was it to cabinet colleagues like Rufus Isaacs or Montague? Or was it to Henry Ford? No. The answer is he said it in his introduction to a book by a Zionist named Nahum Sokolow. The man was a politician and politicians tell people what they want to hear.
In the 1930s, the Polish government adopted a similar tack. Its ruling party, which excluded Jews, trained Zionist fighters on Polish military bases. Why? Because it wanted Polish Jews to emigrate. And a Jewish state would give them somewhere to go.
Jabotinsky wanted Jews to flourish wherever they lived while also flourishing in Palestine. Economic conditions in Poland, from 1935 onward did cause the Polish government to show it was opening a viable route of emigration while turning a blind eye to increasingly atrocious treatment meted out to Jews. However, the Poles weren't ready to ally with Hitler, or break with Britain (which sponsoring Zionism would have involved) and thus can't be said to have endorsed either the 'Madagascar solution' (which even an idiot could see was a euphemism for extermination) or the maximalist Zionist one. Indeed, the latter were looking to Mussolini who dreamed of 'Mare Nostrum' and was believed, at that time, to one day be able to cow England.
You find echoes of this antisemitic Zionism among some rightwing American Christians who are far friendlier to the Jews of Israel than the Jews of the US. In 1980, Jerry Falwell, a close ally of Israel’s then prime minister, Menachem Begin, quipped that Jews “can make more money accidentally than you can on purpose”.
Evangelists don't like American Jews coz they be all liberal and probably go down on each other and shit. They do like Israel coz like there's this prophesy in the Bible which says that the presence of Jews in the Holy Land is a precondition for the Rapture. That's also the reason one shouldn't convert every last one of them. Some must remain unbaptized for the Magic to work.
Israel’s current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in 2005 said, “we have no greater friend in the whole world than Pat Robertson” – the same Pat Robertson who later called former US air force judge Mikey Weinstein a “little Jewish radical” for promoting religious freedom in the American military.
Religious freedom exists in the American military. Moreover, the Courts uphold the separation of Church and State. Weinstein is campaigning against proselytization and harassment. Sometimes he may cross the line but if he does the Court throws out his case.

Netanyahu is a politician. According to him, everybody is his best friend- when they are useful to him. As for Robertson, does Beinart really believe he wants Jews to leave America? All he was objecting to was the US Air-force making 'so help me God' an optional part of its oath. But it was the Humanist Association, not Weinstein, who had been the moving force there.
After being criticised by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in 2010 for calling George Soros a “puppet master” who “wants to bring America to her knees” and “reap obscene profits off us”, Glenn Beck travelled to Jerusalem to hold a pro-Israel rally.
Soros is a billionaire hedge fund manager. 2010 was not a year in which ordinary people thought highly of such people. On the other hand, since 9/11, Israel's stock has shot up. We had been attacked by its enemies and we were bombing the most rabid of its avowed foes.
More recently, Donald Trump – who told the Republican Jewish Coalition in 2015: “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money” – invited Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress, who has said Jews are going to hell for not accepting Jesus, to lead a prayer at the ceremony inaugurating the American embassy in Jerusalem.
Jeffress was expressing Christian dogma. Trump wants Evangelical votes. He knows smart Jews won't vote for him coz smart peeps like voting for good looking, charismatic, people who make an effort to sound smart.
In 2017, Richard Spencer, who leads crowds in Nazi salutes, called himself a “white Zionist” who sees Israel as a model for the white homeland he wants in the US.
Which is hilarious coz a lot of Jews are Brown or even Black.
Some of the European leaders who traffic most blatantly in antisemitism – Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, Heinz-Christian Strache of Austria’s far-right Freedom party and Beatrix von Storch of the Alternative for Germany, which promotes nostalgia for the Third Reich – publicly champion Zionism too.
They also publicly champion not shitting in the street. Why? Coz the thing is a nuisance. However insane you are, you've got to say no to mass public defecation. Otherwise you might slip on a turd as you are exiting the rally and crack open your skull which will then fill up with the turds of passing defecators.
If antisemitism exists without anti-Zionism, anti-Zionism also clearly exists without antisemitism. Consider the Satmar, the largest Hasidic sect in the world. In 2017, 20,000 Satmar men – a larger crowd than attended that year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference – filled the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for a rally aimed at showing, in the words of one organiser: “We feel very strongly that there should not be and could not be a State of Israel before the Messiah comes.”
Thankfully, they aren't leaching off Israel's own Social Security budget. So, good luck to them.
Last year, Satmar Rebbe Aaron Teitelbaum told thousands of followers: “We’ll continue to fight God’s war against Zionism and all its aspects.” Say what you want about Rebbe Teitelbaum and the Satmar, but they’re not antisemites.
Nor do their opinions change anything on the ground.
Neither is Avrum Burg. Burg, the former speaker of the Knesset, in 2018 declared that settlement growth in the West Bank had rendered the two-state solution impossible. Thus, he argued, Israelis must “depart from the Zionist paradigm, and move into a more inclusive paradigm. Israel must belong to all of its residents, including Arabs, not to the Jews alone.”
Burg was born a Zionist and remained a Zionist so long as he remained in the Knesset. He resigned in 2004 and quit public life. He became a business man. But, his career has been chequered, to say the least.

Whatever his motives, he has moved to the Far Left and is currently a member of an Arab party which attracts no more than 10,000 Jewish votes.

No doubt the man has had his share of disappointments. Still, he does seem somewhat erratic in his statements. At one point he was saying Israelis should try to get a second passport just in case the worst happened. At another he was saying Israel should be not 'a Jewish state' but a "State of the Jews." Presumably, this was because when the bad guys come to blow up Israel they'll be looking for 'a Jewish state'. Finding only a 'State of the Jews' they'll get confused and scratch their heads and then go home with their bombs unexploded.

Other Jewish Israeli progressives, including the former deputy mayor of Jerusalem Meron Benvenisti, the Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy and the activists of the Federation Movement, have followed a similar path.
Into oblivion. The Left has been utterly decimated.
Can one question their proposals? Of course. Are they antisemites? Of course not.
Are they utterly deluded? Of course.
To be sure, some anti-Zionists really are antisemites: David Duke, Louis Farrakhan and the authors of the 1988 Hamas Covenant certainly qualify. So do the thugs from France’s yellow vest movement who called Finkielkraut a “dirty Zionist shit”.
Which is unusual coz thugs are normally so polite and well spoken.
In some precincts, there’s a growing and reprehensible tendency to use the fact that many Jews are Zionists (or simply assumed to be Zionists) to bar them from progressive spaces. People who care about the moral health of the American left will be fighting this prejudice for years to come.
Mental health matters but, alas!, it is too late to hope for that. Why shouldn't  American leftists scratch each other's eyes out while uttering 'take that you honky/nigger/chinky/beaner/faggot/breeder/dick/cunt' like the rest of us do after the Thanksgiving Turkey? Why does the Left want to be so goddam holier than thou? As Nietszche said, 'those who cast out demons enter into the swine themselves'.
But while anti-Zionist antisemitism is likely to be on the rise, so is Zionist antisemitism.
& anti-anti-Zionist antisemitism and Zionist anti-antisemitism and so on an so forth.
And, in the US, at least, it is not clear that anti-Zionists are any more likely to harbour antisemitic attitudes than people who support the Jewish state.
Stuff like this is never clear, till the shit hits the fan.
In 2016, the ADL gauged antisemitism by asking Americans whether they agreed with statements such as “Jews have too much power” and “Jews don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind”. It found that antisemitism was highest among the elderly and poorly educated, saying: “The most well educated Americans are remarkably free of prejudicial views, while less educated Americans are more likely to hold antisemitic views. Age is also a strong predictor of antisemitic propensities. Younger Americans – under 39 – are also remarkably free of prejudicial views.”
But younger Americans become older Americans and what counted as education ceases to do so.
In 2018, however, when the Pew Research Center surveyed Americans’ attitudes about Israel, it discovered the reverse pattern: Americans over the age of 65 – the very cohort that expressed the most antisemitism – also expressed the most sympathy for Israel. By contrast, Americans under 30, who according to the ADL harboured the least antisemitism, were least sympathetic to Israel.
It was the same with education. Americans who possessed a high school degree or less – the most antisemitic educational cohort – were the most pro-Israel. Americans with “postgraduate degrees” – the least antisemitic – were the least pro-Israel. 
What does this tell us? People who have been around longer know Israel aint gonna disappear. It is something one grows used to- like Thai food or Pilates and having to get up three times in the night to pee.
As statistical evidence goes, this is hardly airtight. But it confirms what anyone who listens to progressive and conservative political commentary can grasp: younger progressives are highly universalistic.
Or pretend they are so as to come across as well educated and open minded and fit for promotion.
They’re suspicious of any form of nationalism that seems exclusive.
Coz they're advertising their autonomy and adaptability. This makes sense when you are bucking for promotion and still think your future is open. As time goes by, you accept your essential fragility and see the bigger picture.
That universalism makes them suspicious of both Zionism and the white Christian nationalism that in the US sometimes shades into antisemitism.
The thing they should be suspicious about is their own prospects. They think they are going to rise. The vast majority of them will end up on the scrap-heap.
By contrast, some older Trump supporters, who fear a homogenising globalism, admire Israel for preserving Jewish identity while yearning to preserve America’s Christian identity in ways that exclude Jews.
America's Christian identity does not exclude Jews. On the contrary, it is essentially imaginative and inspirational. Jews in the Entertainment industry have contributed greatly to it and not in any hypocritical or huckstering spirit. It's like Marc Cohn answer to Muriel Wilkins's question in 'Walking in Memphis'- ' Tell me are you a Christian, child?' and I said, 'Ma'am, I am tonight!'

If antisemitism and anti-Zionism are both conceptually different and, in practice, often espoused by different people, why are politicians such as Macron responding to rising antisemitism by calling anti-Zionism a form of bigotry?
Because the thing has become a public nuisance similar to shitting on the street or the Yellow Vests or Extinction Marchers running riot. Enough is enough.
Because, in many countries, that’s what communal Jewish leaders want them to do.
Communal Jewish leaders want the same thing other community leaders want- more policemen on the streets, more frequent garbage collection and so on. They also want public nuisances to be curbed. So do all sensible people. The Imam of the local mosque doesn't want a bunch of nutters using the place as a recruiting ground for their brand of hooliganism. He wants his people to get a good education and good jobs and live in good houses on streets that are safe to walk down.
It is an understandable impulse: let the people threatened by antisemitism define antisemitism.
That's how the Law works. It is the injured party who files the complaint and specifies the nature of the offence.

There was a time when men thought women shouldn't get to define sexual harassment coz we knew our own behavior was not above reproach when of strong drink taken. Now, we get it. There is a premeditated, highly calculated, method to the thing women are complaining about. They don't want to jail every last drunken idiot or gormless loser who misinterprets a friendly smile.

When your wife or g.f says 'that guy is a creep'- pay attention. She knows the signs- you don't. Take a baseball bat to him if he comes anywhere near your daughter.
The problem is that, in many countries, Jewish leaders serve both as defenders of local Jewish interests and defenders of the Israeli government. And the Israeli government wants to define anti-Zionism as bigotry because doing so helps Israel kill the two-state solution with impunity.
The two-state solution was killed by the Hamas-Fatah Civil War of 2007. There has been no reconciliation despite the 2017 agreement because Hamas won't turn over terrorist arms caches. Why pretend that some silly people making a nuisance of themselves in some big cities in Western countries have any power or influence?

Consider what happened to the 'Free Tibet' movement. The Dalai Lama got the Nobel and met every US President since H.W Bush. But China has pushed back and he is now persona non grata.

Similarly there was once a visa ban in the US and Europe on Narendra Modi. Then it simply disappeared without the Indian Govt. having to lift a finger.

It wasn't that long ago that there was a furore regarding the Saudi Crown Prince and the Kashoggi murder. Did it have any effect whatsoever?

Israel benefits from both anti-semitism and anti-Zionism because it causes wealthy, well educated, Jews- like those of France- to make Aliyah. However, the French Government isn't utterly stupid. After 2015, it took vigorous steps to stem the outflow. That's one of the reasons Macron equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. The thing curbs an expensive nuisance.
For years, Barack Obama and John Kerry warned that if Israel continued the settlement growth in the West Bank that made a Palestinian state impossible, Palestinians would stop demanding a Palestinian state alongside Israel and instead demand one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, neither Jewish nor Palestinian, that replaces Israel.
In 2014 Obama admitted that US foreign policy consisted of doing stupid shit. Forget 'the audacity of hope', his new policy was 'don't do stupid shit'.  He spent 8 years warning Israel about settlements and the vanishing prospect of a 2 state solution. But he couldn't make Hamas & Fatah play nice. To be frank, he could do nothing positive in the region. Obama's achievement in Israel was to boost US aid while settlements increased by more than had happened under Bush. Netanyahu gets to stay out of prison because he had the prescience to completely ignore Obama.

It is tragic that this wonderful man was condemned to just go through the motions doing stupid shit because that's all any American can do in a region which has many-too-many minds of its own and a long tradition of seeing through windy rhetoric.

What would really twist the knife would be if Trump pulls off his 'deal of the century'.

Defining anti-Zionism as antisemitism reduces that threat. It means that if Palestinians and their supporters respond to the demise of the two-state solution by demanding one equal state, some of the world’s most powerful governments will declare them bigots.
They may declare them lizard people from the Planet X for all the good it will do. The fact is the PLO embraced terrorism. If calling them assassins had no effect, how will calling them bigots harm them? What's next? Accusations that Palestinians leave the toilet seat up? Will that deal a death blow to the two state solution?

The Palestinian Civil War began in 2007. Had it ended when Obama was in office, then Netanyahu would have had a credible interlocutor for a two state swindle and thus US pressure could have been applied to some purpose.
Which leaves Israel free to entrench its own version of one state, which denies millions of Palestinians basic rights. Silencing Palestinians isn’t a particularly effective way to fight rising antisemitism, much of which comes from people who like neither Palestinians nor Jews. But, just as important, it undermines the moral basis of that fight.
Here I agree with Beinart. The moral basis of a fight is what determines the outcome. Why are Governments all over the world wasting so much money on military equipment? They should hire moral philosophers or associate professors of journalism or some failed Israeli politicians accused of financial impropriety to provide non underminable foundations for the moral basis of any fight the country might get into.
Antisemitism isn’t wrong because it is wrong to denigrate and dehumanise Jews.
No. That's why it is wrong. Jews are nice.
Antisemitism is wrong because it is wrong to denigrate and dehumanise anyone.
Fuck off! It is not wrong to denigrate murderous scumbags and dehumanize the shit out of them by incarcerating or executing them.
Which means, ultimately, that any effort to fight antisemitism that contributes to the denigration and dehumanisation of Palestinians is no fight against antisemitism at all.
So kids, what have we learned today? Any effort to fight antisemitism that contributes to the denigration and dehumanization of Nazi scum- like that Eichmann bloke Hannah's Aunt wrote about- is no fight against antisemitism at all. However, stiff measures of that sort do cause antisemites to keep shtum and not go attack the local synagogue for fear of getting arrested and doing a stretch of porridge.

Palestinians are nice people. They are very smart and the win win solution is for them to participate in the Knowledge Economy of the region. However, they have to play nice with each other. That means competitive denunciations of Israel have to end. The thing is a nuisance. Consider the fate of my own Iyer Liberation Front which is at war with the Iyerland Liberation Front. We have a common goal- viz reclaiming sovereignty over Ireland- the ancestral home of the Iyers-which will mean that we will be able to write novels as good as wot James Joyce did, or plays like wot Oscar Wilde wrote, or poems as sorrowfully sublime as those of Yeats.

However, the Iyer Liberation Front demands the right of prima nocta for all Iyers who are me, whereas the Iyerland Liberation Front specifically excludes homosexual marriages. The moral basis of the Iyer Liberation Front appears stronger because it does not discriminate against gays. However, it is the Iyerland Liberation Front which has the better trained and more dedicated corps of suicide bombers. Well, a fart is a sort of stink bomb and the last time there was a peace conference between the two groups, the one I let out while arguing the Iyerland position was so utterly evil I fainted away.

Dunno why I just told you that. I'm normally a very modest and self-effacing person. Still, now you know, could you kindly contact Beinart for me? You see I am the victim of a lot anti-Iyer prejudice from my relatives- especially the posh ones wot live in Hampstead. They say 'If you really think you are the next James Joyce why don't you fuck off to Ireland then?' They don't understand that, like Joyce, my art thrives in exile. Admittedly, my never having visited Dublin does somewhat impede my literary reconstruction of it. Still, seeing as a wholesale ignorance of the Middle East has never stopped anyone spouting nonsense about what Israel should or shouldn't do, I don't see why my own claim to a stellar position in Irish (as they ignorantly misspell 'Iyerish') Literature has a sound moral basis.