Sunday, April 05, 2009

Ow, Ow, Ouch

Ouch, that's gotta smart, don't care who you are. (Thanks for the heads up, OC). Maybe Nick will decide to take this to the external ombudsman with the support of a letter written by Oliver Kamm and Francis Wheen, but I would advise not.

Although there has been more than a little NC-related content recently, despite our having stopped systematically Watching him, this is important, I think. It seems like the Decent tendency (often remarked here) to constantly attribute the worst motives to one's enemies, and to assume that you live in a world of consequence-free rhetoric, is beginning to cause a few problems (if I were in the predictions game, I'd suggest that David from Harry's Place's newly found habit of attributing the phrase "fuck the Yids" to people who didn't say it might be causing him some legal problems before the year is out, and can I say beforehand, include me out of that particular blogger support group). I detect in the air a more general reluctance to indulge Decents their quota of rage.

Could it be that the general sane non-blogging public are not disposed to believe that The Greatest Intellectual Struggle Of Our Time (TGISOOT) is being waged? One can only hope.


Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

A followup from the Indie can be found here.

It's pretty bad really - again it buys into the myth that the letter to the Observer criticisng Cohen for matters of factual accuracy is somehow an attempt to get him sacked and thus silence him. It also bizarrely suggests that Cohen was 'eloquent' onstage at the Orwell Prize.

My suggestion is that Nick Cohen should take Peter Oborne and Peter Hitchens out for a drink, and apologise for maligning them; that journalists should not sign letters to newspapers which might possibly be construed as an attempt to have another journalist sacked, and that, whether we agree with him or not, we should all defend Mr Cohen's right to continue to have his say.

If i'm allowed to indulge in armchair psychological analysis, I think Cohen was not so much hurt by the letter to the Observer as he has been by the universally bad reviews that his new book has got. He's been riding on the coat-tails of the positive writeups What's Left got for ages now and it does look like the new book's bad reviews have come as something of a shock.

4/06/2009 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

"There is, nonetheless, a disturbing tone in the letter's first line, "Nick Cohen needs to find a new column to write". This could suggest either that he would be better advised to write about other subjects in The Observer, or even that he should be columnising elsewhere."

No. It. Doesn't.

Really though Glover gives the game away in the second paragraph. Cohen likes attacking the left so he is popular with right-wing journalists. How interesting is that? Presumably that is why he believes making a factually incorrect attack on someone in a paper is no worse than writing a factually accurate letter of criticism to the same one.

I agree with BB that there is a slightly different mood - two reasons I suggest is - yes - Obama's election, it's now just a bit silly to give the impression that anyone anti-Iraq war or who disagrees with the GWOT is on the other side, and second because the Decents perhaps once grounded their arguments in some kind of fact (if not much) and have either through not being bothered or perhaps because they've lost some of their better people, have drifted away from that, instead just connecting buzzwords together such as 'Fabian' 'appeaser' 'pro-terrorist' 'fuck the...'.

This is what kind of leaves Oliver Kamm, who does recognise the importance of facts albeit rather selectively, as some kind of Decent Ready-Steady-Cook, given a bag of cheap phrases Nick Cohen has used and asked to turn them into the conclusion he linked to them.

4/06/2009 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

"it's now just a bit silly to give the impression that anyone anti-Iraq war or who disagrees with the GWOT is on the other side"

Well actually that was all silly. I mean it's now evidently bonkers.

4/06/2009 07:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Der Bruno Stroszek said...

I agree - I think that it was always unfair and inaccurate, but at least there used to be a decent (no pun intended) number of right-wing and even centrist commentators who would agree with the notion that criticism of the Iraq war showed questionable priorities. Six years on and even the National Review isn't pushing that one as hard as it used to; the only people still doing it are the Decents and the "ZOMG OBAMA SECRET MUSLIM MARXIST BRITH STIFICIT NOW PLZ" crowd, which is very strange company for an allegedly left-wing columnist to end up in.

4/06/2009 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

There is [...] a disturbing tone [...] This could suggest either

These are the hallmarks of Decent writing nowadays and it's truly depressing. Even more so than usual it's based firmly in intentional misreading and drawing out conclusions that clearly took a lot of convolution to reach. I guess Decency was always based in that sort of thing, but usually on a larger scale (ie if you oppose an illegal war it means you support fascism), but still it's embarrassing to see the lengths of misreading that some will stretch to.

Decency, to go on the recent output of HP, Cohen, Geras et al, now seems to be mainly located in the discerning of antisemitism absolutely everywhere. and as der bruno says this seems to leave them with some pretty strange bedfellows. I'm compltely opposed to the idea of 'well if you agree with x on one thing then it damns you per se', as it's usually employed by Decents in the manner of 'well you oppose the war and so does someone antisemitic ergo you hate jews', but it is weird to see who Decents are now openly embracing as 'comrades (their term). Hichens junior and Chas Newkey-Burden spring to mind as deeply dodgy people to be allied with, let alone publishing.

The steadfast refusal to admit to any kind of lapse in judgment over Iraq leaves Decents in a pretty bad place all told, especially with recent developments in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

By the way, Oliver Kamm informs his readers that his book is now out of print, but that it is going to be republished in full in... decentiya!

4/06/2009 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So many of the Decent Nick's stances just crumble , but I think he must have just developed a very thick skin, bolstered by plentiful right wing money and praise, through which an occasional desparate drunken shriek emerges

Chalabi - the new Mandela
Blair - will have a massive bounce in popularity thanks to the Iraq war
Policy Exchange - will sue vigorously over their foregery filled report
Wolfowitiz - liberal hero of our times
Hassan Butt - great hero of TGISOOT
Martin Bright - sacked by Brown (-hic!-) ("No I wasn't, but thanks anyway " - Martin Bright)

and on and on

of course Iraq is the father of all this bullshit. Its so weird that he is so keen on this "Anyone who talks to the Muslim Brotherhood or Iranian islamists is a nazi" thing when his favourite Iraq war and occupation was predicated on Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian Islamist "engagement".
At the end of the day, though, as M Philips career shows, there is always money for this balls.

4/06/2009 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Yes, someone should tell Stephen Glover that Martin Bright thinks the Gordon Brown sacking him story is nonsense.

4/06/2009 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Noted without comment; this weekend's Obscurer omitted NC's byline pic. Are we looking at the Dorian Gray scenario?

4/06/2009 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Some observations. Dave Osler on Stephen Glover. ... his [Glover's] column in the Daily Mail this morning is headlined ‘Never let it be forgotten that it was the British Left who gave succour to the monstrous Mr Mugabe’. There are, however, just a few snags with this thesis. Not the least of them is that it simply isn’t true.

The 'Left' on the side of terrorists and dictators. Does this remind you of anyone?

Is Mr Cohen perhaps unhinged? The idea that the Prime Minister could have sacked Mr Bright seems completely lunatic until you remember that the New Statesman is co-owned by Geoffrey Robinson, a close ally of Mr Brown's. Even so, it seems far-fetched. But there is no doubt that the loyalist Mr Robinson disliked Mr Bright's programme because it damaged the Labour candidate. Might he have anticipated the Prime Minister's feelings? It is a nice irony, by the way, that James MacIntyre, Mr Bright's successor at the New Statesman, should have signed that letter.

Glover, BTW, was one of the founders of The Independent; he's also written for the New Statesman. Cohen made his allegations on March 25 (date from Nick himself); Glover has had seven working weekdays to phone Geoffrey Robinson and try to get a quote - like a proper journalist. (I know Robinson would deny sacking Bright on the orders of Brown; that's not the point.) I also haven't located the 'irony' nice or otherwise yet. Justin and Belle are better at these than I am, however.

Pedantic note: He lays into the judges, and denounces two of the runners-up for the Orwell prize, Peter Hitchens of The Mail on Sunday and Peter Oborne of the Daily Mail. The contest isn't over. PH and PO are short-listed. They're not runners-up at the moment.

4/06/2009 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Never let it be forgotten that it was the British Left who gave succour to the monstrous Mr Mugabe’

Dave has perhaps forgotten that the semi-official Decent position on Zimbabwe is "better off under Ian" (cf, "Brett" of Harry's Place) and the British Left, along with Margaret Thatcher, did for its sins support Zimbabwean independence. That's the only sense that I can get out of that one.

4/06/2009 05:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Der Bruno Stroszek said...

Also, which liberal SWP-supporting member of the monarchy was it who gave him that honourary knighthood?

I know I shouldn't be surprised by another Decent turning out a hateful and dishonest column, but this is a really shifty allegation because it specifically omits to mention when Mugabe enjoyed broad support among the left; namely, when he overturned white minority rule, a time when only thoroughgoing white supremacists weren't supporting him. Yes, he has turned out to be an unquestionable horror for the people of Zimbabwe, but without the Decent TARDIS none of us could have foreseen that, and the suggestion that decent, freedom-loving folk should have supported Ian Smith instead is an absolutely disgraceful perversion of history and intellectual honesty.

4/06/2009 06:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In one way it is like Iraq all over again - Nick furiously denouncing the left for selling out "real" Iraqi's like Ahmad Chalabi (a fraudster) by not being for the war then, denouncing the left for selling out "liberal" Muslims like Hassan Butt (a fake) and Ed Husain (funded almost entirely by the government) now. "will get fooled again" is his theme tune. I suppose the difference is he is running out of friends except for right wing twerps like Glover now.

4/06/2009 06:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Bang! I go away for the weekend, and when I come back the internet's delivered up a beautiful gift like this.

4/06/2009 06:52:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Bright has responded and it's even more unconvincing than before.

And Cohen was parachuted in to replace Denis MacShane at the last minute to the Oxford Literary Festival, to team up with Aaro in a debate with Gilad Atzmon (very partisan account, but with clips, here ).

I've not much time for Atzmon really (though I don't think he's a fascist at all, as most Decents seem to) but all the same it looks like all Aaro and Cohen did to prepare for the debate was to read old posts on Harry's Place and then read them out in a theatrical manner, totally missing the point of the debate (plus ca change for Decents really - since when has any Decent actually had a proper debate in public, with anyone, without immediately shifting the goalposts and ruining the event?)

Cohen asks why people wasted their time going to the debate which, while a good question given his behaviour at his last speaking engagement, seems very odd really, not least because he wasn't even asked to speak at the event until the last minute. Not that Denis 'criticism of the IDF is antisemitism' MacShane would really have been much better...

4/07/2009 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Listening to Cohen's drunking ramblings again, he says he that Jenny Abramsky is the sort of person he as a grammar school boy 'instinctively despises', what does he mean? Wikipedia tells me she is female, went to a comprehensive (I believe), is Jewish and has an OBE. Which it is?

4/07/2009 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

Oh the fact that she's Jewish. Grammar school boys like Cohen are notoriously anti-semitic.

Atzmon is a great saxophonist. Not convinced by the politics, though as an (ex)Israeli, its hard to make the anti-semitism tag fit.

4/07/2009 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous mary said...

here's Gilad Atzmon's own report on the Oxford Panel event.

4/07/2009 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Marc Mulholland said...

Yeah, well, I think Gilad Atzmon is a pretty nasty piece of work who defames Jewish people, and his account of the meeting doesn't do anything to change my mind. I hope Aaro and Nick gave him what-for: they were the good guys in this encounter.

4/07/2009 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I thought Aaro's strategy seemed quite sensible (from the little that seems to be recorded). Nick however (again it's not complete) merely parrots the HP line that the Arab/israeli conflict gets too much media attention because of the global media's antisemitism, which I very much doubt is the case.

4/07/2009 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger fatbongo said...

He's got an exaggerated notion of the power of jews and the jewish lobby - to say the least, and it's led him to some very strange places.

4/07/2009 03:26:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Agreed on Atzmon pretty much, though again I don't think he's a fascist; one of the laziest things about decent thinking is the way that they seem to think that fascism = antisemitism (which Atzmon seems pretty clearly guilty of) = holocaust denial = Islamism etc etc.

I'm not entirely sure why they booked Atzmon for that debate - his presence renders the entire thing pointless as all Aaro and Nick (and MacShane, had he turned up) will do is read stuff that Harry's Place have compiled on Atzmon out, and all Atzmon (whose English is not exactly brilliant in any case) will do is present his rather odd idea of what the debate should be about - this seems to be a deeply suspicious idea of 'Jewish power' he has.

Cohen is useless - truly useless - on Israel, though. He knows less about the middle east than most people, seems happy to parade this lack of knowledge in public, and most of his arguments about antisemitism are in pretty bad faith (eg the one in the clip from this event where he seems to think that saying 'how come Chinatown isn't attacked over Tibet' counts as proof that the left hate Jews, or something). He is also a really, really poor public speaker, and depressingly Aaro seems to have ended up shouting over a lot of Atzmon's pronouncements too.

If the best the organisers of the Oxford Literary Festival could do in terms of speakers on antisemitism were Cohen and Atzmon it says it all really. I think this whole 'Britain is like Germany in 1939' stuff needs genuine debate, but the standard of that debate was the equivalent to listening to a CiF or Harry's Place comments section read out loud.

4/07/2009 04:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forever Jewish is, of course, Gilad Atzmon himself. Modest, ain't he?
Phil D'Bap

4/07/2009 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

I don't really agree that Atzmon is necessarily a nasty piece of work or an anti-Semite - he's someone who has some very complicated and confused ideas and a tendency to act up childishly when pressured on their inconsistencies. I'd put them about on the same level as Sinead O'Connor's opinions about Catholicism in the 1990s, and suspect that they have the same basic source (one part nasty personal experience to one part massively excessive cannabis consumption). For the same reason, however, I'd always regard his name on the poster as a cast-iron indicator that a worthwhile debate wasn't going to be taking place that evening.

4/07/2009 05:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lady Michele Renouf, who was one of those few who congratulated Atzmon on his performance last week wouldn't agree with you BB. She knows a fellow traveller when she hears one. Phil D'Bap

4/07/2009 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Yes, perhaps, but OTOH she is a nutter so I don't take her view as completely definitive.

4/07/2009 08:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have lots of time for Atzmon's music but very little time for his politics. In this respect, at least, he's like Lemmy from Motorhead.

Didn't the blessed Saint George once write about this in _Benefit of Clergy_?


4/07/2009 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger AndyB said...


Reading Renouf's wikipedia entry I was reminded so much of the full-time islamophobes - a denial that their views are 'racist', as religion is not genetic, a scanning of the press for evidence of the 'skullduggery' of Jews/Muslims, a half-arsed, self-taught interpretation of holy texts.

Mind you, it seems she compares herself to Geert Wilders. And she's right, though might well be the only thing that she is right about. Both Wilders and Renouf ought be so far outside the mainstream as to be invisible in public life. The fact that islamophobes with a similar intellectual perspective as Renouf are greeted by our politicians, granted newspapers columns, and that, in taking them seriously, their views, diluted, are an uncontroversial backdrop to foriegn policy decisions that kill hundreds of thousands, and domestic policy decisions that limit freedom and target populations, ought make some people stop and think.

4/08/2009 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger fatbongo said...

what's Lemmy done?

4/08/2009 01:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK. Guy repeatedly repeats anti-Semitic tropes, targets "Jewish tribalism" that pre-exists the Holocaust,and in some way "explains" anti-Semitism; suggests unique networks of rich and ruthless Jews; defends Holocaust deniers; is feted by by our own native A-S's, and yet is just a confused boy who doesn't mean it, though widely read in some Muslim circles. Hmm. Phil D'Bap

4/08/2009 07:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Phil D'Bap, large chunks of the Palestine solidarity movement _have_ risked a will-you-condemn-thon by condemning Atzmon. This is mirrored by the thread here, isn't it, where we've stopped taking the piss out of the Decents for a moment to note that in this one instance they've got a point.

The PSCniks near where I live won't touch Atzmon with a bargepole, for example. You will note (or at least ought to) that rather than abandon doing things on behalf of Palestinians, in order to devote themselves full time to jumping up and down screaming about anti-Semitism, they don't let this stop them.

It's also worth noting that the local PSCniks also have a record of being in the front line defending Jewish people from actual active anti-Semites.

But I'm buggered if I'm going to let the friends of the powerful waste any more of my time with the defects of the powerless. I've wasted too much on this will-you-condemnathon already. To compensate, here's a link to a report of the Israeli foreign minister indulging in nuclear blackmail:

Chris Williams

4/08/2009 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous saucy jack said...

what's more, mr bap, you won't aid your case any by referring to tropes, using guilt by association tactics, referring to somebody being "widely read in Muslim circles" as if that was in itself deplorable, or ending your contribution with a "hmmm".

4/08/2009 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"what's more, mr bap, you won't aid your case any by referring to tropes, using guilt by association tactics, referring to somebody being "widely read in Muslim circles" as if that was in itself deplorable, or ending your contribution with a "hmmm"."

Atzmon was quoted, approvingly, by the Prime Minister of Turkey.

I'd say that counts for a bit more than "one or two trots down my local PSC thought Atzmon was a bit off".

4/08/2009 01:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

I should say so. Who dares refuse to condemn the Prime Minister of Turkey?

Er, what were we talking about again?

4/08/2009 01:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't remember. Let's consider this UNSC Resolution 242 while we try to think about what it was we were on about, shall we?

"(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force; "

Chris Williams

4/08/2009 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger fatbongo said...

i ask again, what's Lemmy done?

4/08/2009 02:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad attitude to women, very hard right political views, large collection of NSDAP memorabilia.


4/08/2009 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

What hasn't he done?

4/08/2009 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous saucy jack said...

although I know little of Lemmy, in the one interview with him I have ever read he specifically said that his collection of NSDAP memorabilia was not connected to any political sympathy, but rather a fascination with how what he called "a bunch of gangsters" had gained such immense power.
As to his attitude to women, well, without sliding into shameful moral relativism, you would have to point to a heavy metal bassist who was renowned for their progressive attitude to feminism before singling Lemmy out for contumely.

4/08/2009 03:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My view of Mr Kilminster is based on more information than can be found in LexusNexus. I'm afraid I'll have to leave it there.


4/08/2009 04:54:00 PM  
Anonymous ichomobothogogus said...

I remember an interview in Q magazine a few years ago when, asked about the holocaust Lemmy indulged in a little Denial Lite of the "six million's an awfully big number isn't it? its a little hard to believe, i'm not saying hitler wasn't a bastard, but it seems a bit iffy to me" variety. but we can't be sure about his anti-semitism until we know whether he's a supporter of Israel or not.

4/08/2009 06:05:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

Lemmy (who I also have non-media sources about!) - I'd say a combination of "working class Tory" politics (in the 80s he would always joke with NME interviewers that they were too young to remember a labour government) plus biker-nihilism. He's also from Benllech which is just down the road from where I grew up and has a big lump of pointless People Like Us tribalism. He does actually have an anti-authoritarian socialist streak which sometimes comes out but overall I'd look elsewhere for political guidance.

In the universe of heavy metal bassists, I seem to remember Jason Newsted of Metallica being quite sound.

4/08/2009 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Atzmon is a Jewish Israeli who served in the IDF. I don't think anti-semite is an appropriate label [1]. Now while I really don't share all his views (though many of his criticisms of Israel are well founded, if too blunt for "civilised" debate), they were formed during the vicious Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Extreme events have a tendency to create extreme views, especially if your knowledge of your country to that point was formed only of Israeli propoganda.

Atzmon is a brilliant musician whose work manages to say very sophisticated things about Israeli/Jewish and Arab identity/heritage. Which is more than any of his critics have managed. So there's that.

[1] Well you can if you fudge the notion of Jewish identity as he doesn't seem to consider himself Jewish anymore; but then that raises questions of Israel's legitimacy... If Atzmon is a self-hating Jew, he hides it well.

4/08/2009 08:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If Atzmon is a self-hating Jew, he hides it well." "I am a proud self-hating Jew" - Gilad Atzmon. Some hiding. There is quite a bit of self-deluding going on here.
Phil D'Bap.

4/08/2009 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Have you heard of Irony...

4/08/2009 10:31:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

The prime minister of Turkey, btw, whether or not he's said anything nice about Gilad Atzmon, is of course one of Israel's closest and most important allies in the Muslim world - so much so that the Israeli Embassy and AIPAC were lobbying against the US House resolution on the Armenian genocide until someone found out (this was IMO the most hilarious willyoucondemnathon FAIL in recent history)

4/09/2009 12:35:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

There are few phrases less useful or pleasant than 'self-hating Jew'. At best it's lazy a weak, at worst it suggests some incredibly dodgy things about Jewishness and Israel.

Perhaps a kerching moment, but the HP Sauce response yesterday to the Cohen/Katawala spat was priceless - David Toube ignored the entire thing (despite ostensibly devoting a good 1000 words to it) and ended up with the 'progressive' conclusion of... you're either with the islamists or aginst them! Wow, truly enlightenment-inspired, rational consideration of the matter there...

4/09/2009 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

Well the term used to mean something back in the days of your proper European anti-semitism. There were Jews who clearly felt that Jews (including themselves) were inferior, and tried to compensate for this in various unpleasant ways. But like many terms (including anti-semitism) its cooption by Zionists has stripped it of any real meaning. I mean you'll see people seriously describe Michael Rosen as a self-hating Jew. Its come to mean a Jew who doesn't keep to the party line on Israel, which is kind of fascistic when you think about it.

Atzmon is a dick in all kinds of ways, but I see few signs of an inferiority complex, or that he thinks he's inferior to non-Jews. He loathes Israel for what are basically reasonable reasons (Lebanon which he personally experienced, Palestine), seem to feel considerable personal guilt for this as an Israeli (not uncommon. I knew South Africans who felt the same way during the apartheid years) and it's led him into some very dodgy intellectual territory. Which is sad, and I really wish he'd shut the fuck up, but he's no Lady Renouf.

4/09/2009 08:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

He's also from Benllech

That would explain a lot. Arse-end of nowhere, nothing to do nine months of the year but hang around outside the two pubs where you can't get a drink because everyone knows you or else walk the dog on the miles of beautiful bloody freezing cold desolate bloody beach, inexplicably popular the other three months of the year with millions of fat pink flabby bloody English. (Pendine. Other end of Wales, similar principle. Left when I was 13, fortunately.)

There were Jews who clearly felt that Jews (including themselves) were inferior, and tried to compensate for this in various unpleasant ways.

Cf. the Coopers, /Goodness Gracious Me/

4/09/2009 11:56:00 AM  
Anonymous mary said...

If you had a chance to listen to the "debate" you will note that Atzmon at least tried to maintain the issue in focus. I don't think that there is much sense in Aaronovitch or anyone, going to a panel discussion without a clue as to what the topic is or how to debate it, but using a 'strategy' of character assassination of one of the other panelists. I thought that a harangue concluded, rather than opened, a court deliberation, and the set-up looked like it was a kangaroo court against Atzmon. If Atzmon reacted by stating that the two other panelists had encouraged the "goodness" of UK involvement in wars in the Middle East, and not merely as spectators, Aaronovitch and Cohen have little to feel proud about.

He stressed again and again that it was about zionist behaviour, about a way of thinking that puts "Jewish interests first" and then he also stressed that this Jewishness was not a racial or even a religious characteristic, but one that acts in a tribalistic way, presenting quite a bit of evidence, which Aaronovitch kindly read out loud, hoping to shock but remaining with 'a fistful of flies' as we say here.

I would say that there is a bit of a kneejerk thing when some say, "oh, I think Atzmon has some wonky ideas". Oh yes? Then be articulate about them and not so general. His analysis is actually quite refined, even if his style may not suit all. The same cannot be said for the PSC folks who condemn him and then go on and on about how the Hamas are a "bunch of illiterates" and that Palestinians MUST have a secular state, confusing also the idea of secularism and education. It is actually a crude form of racism that many of these public critics of Atzmon engage in. When you point it out to them, like Aaronovitch, they start character assassination, because their own arguments are inconsistent or simply do not stand up to scrutiny.

4/09/2009 10:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah Mary. Would that be Mary Rizzo, aka "the cutter" by any chance, who entered the lists on Atzmon's side against the wicked "crypto-Zionists" of Jews Against Zionism? I think it may be. Phil D'Bap

4/10/2009 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

When you point it out to them, like Aaronovitch, they start character assassination, because their own arguments are inconsistent or simply do not stand up to scrutiny.

How unlike dear Phil in the comment above.

4/10/2009 05:16:00 AM  
Anonymous mary said...

Yes, Chardonnay Chap.... that this is the mechanism doesn't even need any extensive demonstration, it is a kneejerk, (with the emphasis on the jerk), reaction.

4/10/2009 09:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest, Chardonnay Chap, that you google our Mary and see what you have on-blog. This is not ad hominem but just a way of circumventing a vast comment war in which her various apologetics for Atzmon, Israel Shamir etc might be set out at length. Give it a go and report back.
Phil D'Bap.

4/10/2009 11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Problem is 'Phil', that while we're quite capable of marginalising idiots on our own side, we'd always rather do it at a time and a place of our own choosing, rather than when our opponents invite us to engage in a willyoucondemnathon.

By the way, here's the HRW report on the IDF in Gaza:

Chris Williams

4/10/2009 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

This is not ad hominem

'Fraid it is. (I'd say ad feminam, but that's just me.)

4/10/2009 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

Turkey's air force tends to do things like get one of their F-16s shot down by the Greeks, with an inconvenient Israeli officer in the back seat.

4/10/2009 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I note in Lenmmy's Wikipedia biography the tautology:

He attended Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones school

I have an old (and pretty good) tape of him guest-hosting the Friday Rock Show in which he declares, with reference to the MC5:

"Don't believe in politics, believe in rock 'n' roll. It will never let you down."

Which you may interpret as you please.

4/11/2009 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Thinking about it the term "I have an old tape" is probably tautologous and all.

4/11/2009 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

fucking hell, the childhood in that Wikipedia biography - Staffordshire, followed by Amlwch. In many ways it's very surprising he turned out as pleasant and civil as he did.

4/11/2009 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Has anybody ever behaved better as a result of their involvement in the world of rock 'n' roll?

4/11/2009 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

That depends on what you mean by 'well' and 'badly' with respect to behaviour. Giving to charity and supporting those less-fortunate than oneself is good behaviour, isn't it? (Or it was before all the bullying that now goes with charitable projects.) But I knew some pretty badly behaved (if drug-taking is bad behaviour) people when I was young, who got into gigs for Africa before Ure and Geldof. So - yes and no. (Pretty much my standard response to questions of that sort, I confess.)

4/11/2009 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

But I'm going out tonight for my birthday (which I share with Carl Perkins, btw - the day and the month, not the year), and I'll ask around.

4/11/2009 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I was thinking of "became more polite and less prone to abusive behaviour in their personal conduct".

4/11/2009 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Robert Wyatt. Well it was really the accident, but sans Rock n' Roll would he have been at the fateful party...

4/11/2009 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Ozzy Osbourne.

4/13/2009 12:39:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home