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    George Monbiot, Alex Nunns, & my apologies to Media Lens Archived Message

    Posted by George Brennan on August 31, 2018, 1:59 pm

    “I have leaned over backwards to defend Corbyn. But now he has gone too far.” Or words to that effect. On Aug 25 Monbiot rejoined that chorus of former supporters who never actually gave much support.

    I have leaned over backwards many times to defend George Monbiot from Media Lens’ accusations of craven conformism and of thinking from the hip. But now he has gone too far. Through the cowardly portals of Twitter he made yet another of his nervous lunges toward respectabilty. Once, based on some quick reading, he once called for the resignation of Prof Phil Jones during the climategate pseudo-furore of November 2009.

    But he had to draw back.

    Now another big pseudo-furore, now another quick judgment, based on a shallow reading of a shallow article by Simon Hattenstone:

    (Note that this article links a video clip of Corbyn’s offending speech )

    And now another apology.

    Simon Hattenstone had written:

    And if there were ever a clear example of somebody conflating Zionist with Jews, this appears to be it. Let’s play the traditional “swap the minority” game. Instead of “Zionists” let’s make it, say, Muslims or African-Caribbeans or Asians or Irish needing lessons in history or irony. Not nice, eh?
    And what exactly does he mean by Zionists who have spent all or most of their lives in this country? Today the party insisted that Corbyn had been quoted out of context and that he had been referring to “Jewish and non-Jewish activists”. Maybe. But it sounds pretty much like he was talking about British Jews to me

    Oh yeah. That claim, as manifestly as absurd as any the Guardian has printed, should make anyone look carefully at Hattenstone’s evidence for making it. It made Monbiot seriously believe that Corbvn seriously believes that English Jews are too stupid or too foreign to understand Enlish irony (whatever that might be)

    Corbyn had spoken, in words available to Monbiot when he shot from the hip

    “[The Palestinian ambassador's speech ] was dutifully recorded by the thankfully silent Zionists who were in the audience on that occasion, and then came up and berated him afterwards for what he had said. They clearly have two problems. One is that they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, don’t understand English irony either. Manuel [the Palestinian ambassador] does understand English irony and he uses it very effectively.

    Corbyn went on to offer these strident Zionists friendly lessons with their problems. But The Daily Mail did not let us know what these lessons were

    Alex Nunns was first to pick up on the essential facts. Read his twitter line for this. (Read it anyway)

    “The comparison with the ambassador’s sense of irony only works if the pro-Israel activists are more "properly" English than the ambassador. It's notable that much of the media coverage left out the last sentence containing the comparison”

    Nobody will dare deny thatAlex Nunns is the greatest textual analyst since F R Leavis. Unlike Leavis he is not malignantly dotty; unlike Leavis, he has the gift of style. But you don’t have to be a great textual analyist simply to look at the Daily Mail clip and see what Hattenstone had crucially and criminally omitted. You don’t have to wait seven days for Alex Nunns to do that for you. But “Can I see seven days into the future?” pleaded Monbiot in his mea non culpa.

    The Daily Mail clip omitted whatever history lessons Corbyn was polititely offering to the Zionist disrupters. Hattenstone omitted from the recorded words the sentence that might give sense to them. His article is wrong in every essential. Corbyn was talking about a travelling gaggle of Zionist disrupters who monitor pro-Palestine events and on this occasion berated the ambassador afterwards. Corbyn clearly knows who they are. (They have since boasted that he knows who they are). He is not talking about all Zionists. He is not using Zionist as code for Jew. He is not certainly not talking about all English Jews. He is not even saying this particular group of Zionist fanatics were not properly English. He is saying that even though they were properly English, this group of nationalist fanatics have less understanding of English Irony than the Arab diplomat they were berating.

    What the original irony was we do not know since we have not heard the Ambassadores speech or the post-speech harassment. Most likely it has to do with something to do with the irony of Zionist denying a Right of Return for Palestinians.

    Jeremy’s alleged anti-Semitic sins are usually committed in the “context” of Palestinian resistance to the crimes of Apartheid Israel. That context remains invisible to the conformist commentariat because for them the Palestinians are an invisible people. To people like Hattenstone they are on “the wrong side of history”. These commenters are sorry for the Gaza’s people of course, but didn’t they bring their silent genocide upon themselves by voting for Hamas? Did they not reject all those Israeli olive branches? And the bombs and bullets which are crucifying Gaza, while regrettable, cannot surely deserve the same thunderous headlines as do the piqued feelings caused by a few casual remarks made long ago in an obscure “context” and dredged into the limelight by the diligent researches of people who are proud to call themselves Zionists - but whom we must never call “Zionists” unless we do so in terms of grovelling sycophancy.

    Hattenstone of course is just another centrist Guardian hack of low calibre.

    But Monbiot is rightly described by the New York Press as a “British Leftwing Heavyweight” and his lie has gone round a world that will never hear of his retraction. He has done great harm.


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