Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Out and about with Denis MacShane

37 Comments:

Anonymous bubby said...

Sounds dreadful. However the thread alerted me to this bananabrain

A prime candidate surely for the "heads will explode" category.

11/10/2009 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

This paragraph summed it up really:
"Eventually MacShane did arrive. He spoke about his visit to Israel as part of a trade union delegation and noted that the Sand event coincided with the anniversary of Kristallnacht. He did not feel qualified to get into the ‘Who Is a Jew?” debate but noted that the Hamas Charter was not particularly bothered about the precise definition. Disgracefully MacShane was interrupted by two people in the audience who felt he was not addressing the book."

A totally irrelevant anecdote (his holiday in Israel), followed by a lazy insinuation (its the anniversary of Kristalnacht, therefore this is totally out of order, alright. Do I need to spell out the parallels). Finally it is disgraceful for audience members to point out that McShane is (by the account of this heavily pro-McShane writer) ignoring the book.

11/10/2009 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

This bit is lovely too:

(unbelievably he is a Professor of History at Tel Aviv University)

11/10/2009 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

There's an article in the 'Kosher conspiracy' New Statesmen that they link to by an N.Cohen, declaring 'Why It Is Right to be Anti-American'. Sounds a bit extreme - has he written anything else?

11/10/2009 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave Weeden said...

Ah, the charm of Harry's Place. A few years ago, I was in contact with Jonathan Derbyshire. IIRC, we disagreed about a few things: he was closer to Norman Geras on some issues, though I can no longer recall which ones. Anyway, he seemed like a clever and gracious bloke. Despite that, he's also on the Harry's Place blogroll. Sand had ten minutes to present what Seth Frantzman called his “revisionist pseudo-history of the Jewish People” and then he was questioned - again uncritically - by Jonathan Derbyshire, the literary Editor of the New Statesman.

Since I'm not going to post a comment on Harry's Place, I'll say here - Johnathan Derbyshire is neither a stooge nor a bigot.

Also the New Statesman blog post linked to from JD's name quotes Shlomo Sand's publisher: After nearly two years on Israel's bestseller list; its translation into more than a dozen languages and winning France's coveted Aujourd'hui Award -- given by journalists to the best work of historical or political non-fiction - The Invention of the Jewish People is finally available in English.

I mean, not only does Professor Sand live in Israel, he has the temerity to publish his anti-Semitism in Israel, and people keep buying it. What those foolish Jews need is a virtuous gentile like MacShane to show them the errors of their ways.

11/10/2009 07:00:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

a lot of these "pro-israel" partisans seem to have developed their attachment to the country based on going on junkets there-martin bright, mac shane and newkey-burden for instance.

11/10/2009 09:41:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

a lot of these "pro-israel" partisans seem to have developed their attachment to the country based on going on junkets there-martin bright, mac shane and newkey-burden for instance.

Well it will be interesting to see what Dispatches digs up this Monday. One thing is for sure, we are going to be hearing about it for quite a while to come.

11/10/2009 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

Harry's Place certainly seem to be quite annoyed with Professor Shlomo Sand, don't they? Perhaps they should organise a boycott of him, or indeed of him and his employer, just to be on the safe side. I know a few people who'd be only too glad to help ...

11/10/2009 10:00:00 PM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

Perhaps they could even boycott the country where he lives, works, publishes, and sells books by the shedload. If he was writing in Persian rather than Hebrew, we'd never hear the end of it.

Capcha ampits - hmm...

11/10/2009 10:20:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

The junket thing is, to an extent, standard lobbyist culture, but it's weird that the people whose heads have been turned are so vocal about the reasons - and this is certainly not based on the 'reason' so beloved of Decents. I also find it a bit worrying that the UK parliament can allow someone so obviously partisan as MacShane to write what are meant to be objective reports.

I'm not sure there'll be anything all that revelatory in Dispatches. The quality of programming in that series is depressingly low - remember, it's the same series that brought you Littlejohn on antisemitism and Martin Bright on Ken. And whatever 'Israel Lobby' there is in Britain has nowhere near the heft of AIPAC.

Kerching, but HP Sauce is really depressing (if predictable) on AIPAC and the new, more moderate 'Israel Lobby', J-Street. Rather than welcoming the more moderate J-Street, HP Sauce reproduce stuff attacking J-Street from a blog called Z-Word, which is funded by... an organisation closely linked to AIPAC. No conflict of interest there at all.
and, of course, their discussion of these lobbying groups is not dodgy at all, but when Mearsheimer and Walt do it...

11/11/2009 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

The quality of programming in that series is depressingly low - remember, it's the same series that brought you Littlejohn on antisemitism and Martin Bright on Ken.

Their stab at the abortion debate was an atrocity too, IIRC. I'm also suspicious that their recent "How Gordon Brown Is Responsible For All The Problems" hatchet job on the financial crisis was part of the hilariously weak attempted coup by Blears et al earlier in the year.

That said, maybe it was all a coincidence.

11/11/2009 08:27:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Dispatches also brought us that pseudo-scientific global warming programme too, didn't it?

Well the timing of that 'Gordon is teh evil and to blame for everything' one - right next to local elections - was 'coincidental' enough to be faintly suspicious, as was the timing of the Ken one which had no new revelations in it at all - it's one thing to be showing these things at a time when they are likely to generate column inches, it's another to have them stuck slap bang in the middle of elections campaigns.

It does work both ways, to an extent - for instance that 'When Boris met Dave' monstrosity, albeit a lot less 'hard-hitting' (indeed it actually seemed inspired by bo-jo's own self-image) which was IIRC the same week as the Tory party conference.

11/11/2009 08:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good old New Left Review - in effect the publisher of Shlomo Sand's When and how was the Jewish people invented - already published a rather severe critique of the book, even before their edition of it appeared:
http://www.newleftreview.org/?page=article&view=2807

RK

11/11/2009 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

At the risk of derailing a much-merited harsh on HP...

Suspicious?

Not only was the financial crisis Dispatches doc aired days before the European elections, it was aired on the same day that Blears and Purnell resigned and launched their slapstick "Gordon must go" campaign, aimed at tanking their own party in the elections.

The show itself included the above-mentioned twats, plus Irwin Steltzer, representatives of Lehmann Brothers, George Osborne, Vince Cable and even our own, dear Nicholas Cohen, all of them laying the entire banking disaster right at the feet of the PM.

The whole thing was an obvious attempt by Britain's financial, political and journalistic aristocrats to shove all blame for a mess they were more or less equally complicit in right at the feet of an unpopular PM, hopefully burying the whole unseemly mess with him... And just happened to air on very day that a substantial section of his own party tried to scuttle their chances in the European elections, in a doomed attempt to frag their leadership?

Suspicious? I think I'm just being paranoid. Brown is barely worth defending, but if he's being attacked he should be bashed for stuff he's done, not as a fig leaf for the ruling classes' sins.

BTW, I don't really think Dispatches crew are party political as such, but I certainly think they're factional, i.e. a bunch of self-righteous fucking Blairites. Don't get me started on that abortion doc, which must surely go down as one of the most godawful hacktastic attempts to puncture Teh Awful Liberal Orthodoxy through the use of human carnage and shite science I have ever witnessed.

Far dues - if Dispatches manage to run their Israel show without basically handing the floor to a motley crew of insufferable Decent twats, I'll gladly retract the assertion about the Blairism.

11/11/2009 10:09:00 AM  
Anonymous bubby said...

I do agree with FR and OC's take on the recent Dispatches output which has been uniformly dire. But it wasn't always thus. They did use to produce some really good work, some of it very critical of New Labour. The 'Inside New Labour' episode which aired in 2005 was a good piece of investigative journalism looking at some of the more dreadful examples of spin and news management.

Also although I agree that the lobby in the UK has 'nowhere near the heft of AIPAC' it is still very important in influencing debate and for this reason some kind of expose is surely overdue.

Plus it likley to send a lot of our favourite people apoplectic so at least the fallout should generate some amusing hyperbole.

11/11/2009 11:29:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

yes, the hyperbolic 'verbal pogrom' stuff is enough to make it a worthwhile undertaking.

Incidentally (or not), 'Just journalism' [1], an organisation headed by MacShane and which nick Cohen is affiliated to, has a lairy and really badly written denunciation of the recent Observer coverage of Lebanon which is currently up on HP Sauce (kerching). I think the summary 'terrorism is bad and you should always say that more, even if you say it quite a lot' will do. the statement presupposes that bombing the shit out of civilian parts of Beirut was an appropriate response to soldiers being abducted somewhere hundreds of miles away which is surely about as far from 'just' as you can get.

and, again, MacShane is so utterly partisan in all of this (along with apparently being thoroughly unpleasant in his speaking engagements) that it does worry me if he's writing official govt documents on related matters.

[1] for an organisation founded by writers that is an awful name isn't it - the implications are either 'just' ie justified or just ie - not all that impotrant relaly, it's just journalism. given Cohen's idea of journalism as the single most noble occupation in the history of the world, it's not a good coice o name.

11/11/2009 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Slightly OT: Alex Massie lays into Melanie Phillips. These anti-Semites are everywhere!

11/11/2009 05:02:00 PM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

I think the problem with Dispatches is not that it has any definite agenda, but that it's tendentiously partisan for the sake of being partisan. Bright knifing Livingstone, looked dodgy, but would C4 have run something similar knifing Boris? I think they might.

But as far as I'm concerned Oborne is very much a Good Bloke, and he can be very aggressive - in an intelligent way, not a Nick way - once he gets his teeth into an issue. Did a good programme (was it Dispatches?) on Zimbabwe a while back. If he gets stuck into Bicom with any sort of vim, Decent heads will indeed explode.

11/11/2009 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous BenSix said...

"...would C4 have run something similar knifing Boris? I think they might."

They did
, in fact. It wasn't great (nothing on the rape crisis centres, but a lot of rather quaint huffing about a minor gardening inititative).

11/12/2009 01:36:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Well, the timing of that rubbish 'trouble with Boris' programme wasn't as 'coincidental' as the other ones. Also he has so many media contacts that he'd probably get a good press if he was discovered unloading a semi automatic in a room full of puppies. The 'buffoon' act is actually very dangerous, I think, because people genuinely seem to think it can excuse anything. He's also manage to get people who are generally regarded as 'apolitical' to spin on his behalf - Ian Hislop for one.

Splintered Sunrise has it right, I think - the problem with Dispatches is that it's always so one-sided. The Littlejohn documentary in particular was an utter disgrace, with so much heavy-handed editing and obvious questions skirted. Oh and who was used as a talking head in that... why 'nasty' Nick Cohen of course.

I'm interested in the Oborne (and the attendant reaction) and I'd like to see who he gets to speak - whether he runs the risk of getting someone like Galloway on (and hence becoming a Hamas-lover by proxy or whatever). Saying that, since Ilan Pappe and Geoffrey Wheatcroft are apparently Hamas-loving unserious types I guess Oborne will be 'damned' whoever he asks to contribute.

11/12/2009 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

Kerching, I know, but Brett of Harry's Place on Somalian piracy (plus comments) really is hilarious here)

11/12/2009 02:22:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

He's a pretty sad case really - I think he genuinely wants to get a job as an opinion journo.

But my god, the writing is just so BAD, before we even get to the research and the lunacy.


Once again, pirates need to be treated as they once were

once... once... once... once...

This is madness. Why is a navy vessel “chasing away” pirates instead of killing them? What misplaced ‘humanity’ is this? All that will happen is that these “repelled” pirates will attack again tomorrow. This time it will be a defenceless ship. Its crew may be murdered or held for ransom.

the event in question happened over a month ago.

Then we get a situation that is 'not ynimaginable' which is the sole basis for his decision that we need to cut off non-existent pirate ports by cough, cough mumble...

11/12/2009 03:47:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

also to add - Brett's contempt for the idea of pirates being chased off as opposed to all shot on sight - in the incident he's basing his ideas on, half of them were, in fact, arrested.

as you can find out if you read... the page he links to.

11/12/2009 03:49:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Half hilarious half drop your bacon in sandwich in sheer disbelief someone would really write something so knuckleheaded.

It really kind of ramms home the point that the essential difference between Decent and non-Decents is their attitude towards killing people.

Non-Decents tend to regard the taking of life as something to be avoided at almost all costs and I'm sure most of us regard the gradual move away from the legitimacy of killing in almost all spheres as part of a progress away from barbarity in human affairs. But Brett et. al. actually seem to revel in killing people 'in large numbers'.

11/12/2009 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

In the defence of (some) Decents I don't think Brett Lock is really the mouthpiece of received Decent opinion - he's a middle-aged, fairly hardline right-winger who shouts at his TV and copy of the Metro a lot, only he has a machine that transcribes those diatribes and posts them on HP Sauce. He's a personal friend of Toube, isn't he, which means that a) he can post this shite on there and b) he's immune from criticism by other posters on there with the possible exception of 'Gene' who comes and goes.

Saying that, Lock's jumps in 'logic' and complete lack of research or real thought are symptomatic of Decency.

11/12/2009 04:35:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

Thanks to Flying Rodent (video seems not to be working any more but I'm sure many of you remember it anyway) when I read this kind of post from Brett Lock I always imagine him in his underpants reading it aloud.

11/12/2009 05:07:00 PM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

And when Brett talks about robust responses to uppity natives, I can't help remembering that he grew up in South Africa. Lots of Seth Ifricans, even rightwing ones, have learned to be very very cautious before sticking the boot into the ethnics. Brett really hasn't assimilated that at all.

11/12/2009 05:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It will take an Afghanistan-scale invasion to deal with the problem if we don’t deal with it while we can.

That will be far messier, and will result in massive civilian casualties and the destruction of what little infrastructure the country still has. Even more nightmarish, the Somali youth in Western cities may be recruited to ‘jihad’"

What, so our invasion of a foreign land would radicalise muslim youth here in the UK? You're allowed to say that now?

11/12/2009 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Going in with guns blazing is quite a contemporary issue in South Africa as it happens.

11/12/2009 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

when Brett talks about robust responses to uppity natives, I can't help remembering that he grew up in South Africa.

Well, yes. I try not to accuse HP posters of racism too much, since it's far easier to have a go at their numerous failures of reason and their hilarious double standards. That said, when Brett posted his Not all cultures are equal attempt the other month, I couldn't help but suspect he might have been thinking of those awful blecks when he wrote it.

I'm sure many of you remember it anyway

Looks like Xtranormal have gone out of business, unfortunately. The original is here...

http://www.hurryupharry.org/2009/04/27/guns-bombs-its-the-only-way/

...And I strongly urge readers to keep Kyle Reese's It absolutely will not stop ever until you are dead speech from The Terminator in mind while reading it, since it's basically a remix.

11/12/2009 10:41:00 PM  
Anonymous John Fallhammer said...

Xtranormal is still there. Perhaps, like me, you didn't log in for a while and your registration timed out. Mr Lock's performance will have to be painstakingly re-created by your expert team of professional animators.

11/13/2009 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Bartlett said...

"I strongly urge readers to keep Kyle Reese's It absolutely will not stop ever until you are dead speech from The Terminator in mind while reading it, since it's basically a remix."

Yes, but given that it is Brett celebrating the industrialised elimination of people, and with hunter/killer drones turning hundreds upon hundreds of Afghani and Pakistani civlilians to a bloody mush, I think he's in danger of leaving the John Connor role to Mullah Omar.

11/13/2009 11:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Freshly Squeezed Cynic said...

Well, yes. I try not to accuse HP posters of racism too much, since it's far easier to have a go at their numerous failures of reason and their hilarious double standards.

Speaking of which, is the long-awaited Decent Racism post ever going to come to fruition?

11/13/2009 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Ruth and Justin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11/13/2009 01:14:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

My favourite aspect of Brett Lock's behaviour in the comments to that Pirate thread were the way that he kept trying to invent a straw man 'liberal pirate-hugger' to argue with even though nobody suggested they admired the pirates. In Brett-world it seems that if you don't advocate killing an awful lot of people you must obviously 'love' them.

11/13/2009 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

...and I strongly urge readers to keep Kyle Reese's It absolutely will not stop ever until you are dead speech from The Terminator in mind while reading it, since it's basically a remix

Where did you nick the Devil's Kitchen one from? (There was a line about having heard the shark's fin soup was good, which sounded familiar.)

(Apologies for posting under the wrong username above. Having a Gmail account for my business doesn't half bugger up my Blogger posting.)

11/13/2009 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

Aye, it was here.

http://www.devilskitchen.me.uk/2009/03/musing-on-libertarianism.html

It's like a Randroid Jack Chick tract, isn't it?

The crack was about sea bass in chili marinade, I think. I just remember reading that and thinking boy, I bet that makes for some scintillating dinner conversation.

11/13/2009 10:49:00 PM  

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