Jeremy Corbyn’s candidacy

Here are two responses, from Sarah Brown and Eve Garrard.

Although at first he seemed very much the outsider candidate, it is now being predicted that Jeremy Corbyn may do well in the first round of the Labour leadership elections.

Readers here will probably already be familiar with the reasons not to vote for Corbyn. His support for the Palestinian cause has led him to consider elements of Hamas and Hezbollah his ‘friends’ and welcome Raed Salah, who promotes the blood libel and other hateful views, to tea at Westminster:

“About Salah, Corbyn has said ‘He is far from a dangerous man. He is a very honoured citizen, he represents his people extremely well, and his is a voice that must be heard.’ Corbyn added, ‘I look forward to giving you tea on the terrace because you deserve it!’ “

Although there have been reasoned and eloquent critiques of Corbyn from the left, some other Labour supporters have a blind spot on such issues. This article on Left Futures invokes Realpolitik in order to defend Corbyn’s record and associations.

“Corbyn is socialist and the others are not, Corbyn is secularist and the others are not, Corbyn is a steadfast defender of LGBT rights and the others are certainly not. Corbyn also understands that peace can only be achieved through mutual respect and diplomacy.”

But it is surely possible to have official dealings with objectionable people to further peace and diplomacy without calling them ‘friends’ or inviting them to tea.

It is depressingly difficult to disagree with Nick Cohen here:

“If Corbyn apologized for neo-Nazis with near identical views to Raed Salah, or some kind of Ku Klux Klan-style militia that matched Hezbollah goose step for goose step, the left would excommunicate him. As it is, in Britain, Europe, and by the look of it the States too you can be an admired leftist, while going along with every vile and murderous movement.”

Whereas some indignantly defend Corbyn, others admit a problem but claim it is outweighed by the positives.  Here a link to some of his more unsavoury positions is hidden away in a throwaway line in the middle of an otherwise enthusiastic piece.

“He’s not a perfect figure by any means, but you take your breaks as you find them.”

Many Labour members aren’t avid followers of blogs and rely for their information on more mainstream media. It is therefore likely that they are aware of Corbyn’s views on issues such as austerity and the unions, but perhaps know little of his more controversial positions. It’s a pity that this quite informative short piece was run in the Daily Express, a paper most on the left avoid. There’s no mention of Hamas, Hezbollah or Salah in this gushing profile in the Guardian, or in this editorial, also from the Guardian.

This apparent indifference or tolerance towards Corbyn’s less defensible views is well described in this extremely informative recent article on his candidacy by Jake Wallis Simons.

“As one Labour insider put it, “the attitude is, ‘that’s just Jeremy being Jeremy.’”

In some ways the debates echo those we heard when Ken Livingstone was standing for Mayor.   Many were torn between a wish to support a Labour candidate and an unwillingness to support someone who, to quote Jonathan Freedland, ‘doesn’t care what hurt he causes Jews.’

If you look up “Jeremy Corbyn” together with “Hamas” in Google most of the top hits are links to right wing sites or sites which regularly cover the topic of antisemitism. It seems likely, thanks to the willingness of some on the left to excuse or gloss over Corbyn’s associations with extremists, that many voting for him as leader won’t be aware of his past form on these issues.

Sarah Brown

It is sometimes suggested that Jewish left-wingers who refuse to support Corbyn out of concern about his antisemitic friendships are selfishly putting the (putative) interests of Jews ahead of the interests of the poor and the working class, for whom Corbyn speaks. Jews should, it could be said, rise above their narrow sectional concerns, and support the candidate who will work for the down-trodden and impoverished. Leave aside the question of whether Corbyn would, were he to become Leader of the Labour Party, actually improve the lot of the downtrodden any better than the other candidates. Let’s focus on the charge of sectional selfishness levelled at Jews who have doubts about supporting Corbyn. To see its implications, consider the following situation:

A candidate for the leadership emerges whose politics in general are very similar to Corbyn’s, being impeccably left-wing on all issues to do with class and economics. However this candidate has in the past, and is in the present, very supportive of the Ku Klux Klan in America. He regards that organisation as an objectively progressive force, and its leaders as friends – he attends some of their meetings, and is pleased and proud to share a public platform with them when the opportunity arises. Many persons of colour in the Labour Party are horrified at this, and declare their intention to vote for any other candidate in preference to this Corbyn-equivalent, on the grounds that they can’t possibly support a person who has links with some extraordinarily racist forces, whose views about black people are hideously prejudiced, insulting, and oppressive.

In such a situation, would those persons of colour be regarded as acting selfishly? Would they be criticised for putting the interests of black citizens ahead of the general good? Or would they rather be seen as women and men of principle, who refuse to collaborate with bigotry and racism towards themselves and their people, whatever its source on the political spectrum? The questions practically answer themselves.

So too for Jews who feel that they cannot support Corbyn in any circumstances. They too are women and men of principle, an anti-racist principle well worth defending by Jews and non-Jews alike.

Eve Garrard

43 Responses to “Jeremy Corbyn’s candidacy”

  1. josephinebacon Says:

    I would rather vote for Goldsmith than for Corbyn, and I have been a Labour voter all my life!

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      We didn’t have to go that far. Our Labour candidate on May 7 had (and still has) Ed Milibandish views on the degree of Israeli joint blame for the events of last summer, despite our arguments as to exactly what proportionate/disproportionate responses are, under international law, for the state attacked.

      So we voted for the Lib Dem, Jewish and pro-Israel. Sadly, she lost, heavily. We had done the same in 2010, when the Labour candidate was the Assistant General Secretary of Unison which had recently passed an Israel boycott motion.

      One has to decide just which values and policies are the most important when push comes to shove.

  2. Saul Says:

    Eve,
    As always a thoughtful piece. However, I am not sure that in the present context the analogy quite works in the way you use it. It seems to me that for some, the difference between say Saleh and the KKK is that in the imagination of the anti-imperialists, Saleh, Hamas, etc. are on the side of the angels. It is for that reason, so it is said, that one should either understand their racism as a symptom of Israeli intransigence or worse or, alternatively, simply turn a blind eye since there are bigger fish to fry. None of this applies to the KKK.
    Having said that, you are perfectly correct to note that when Jews (and the interesting thing about the Express article mentioned by Sarah is the assumption that the author of the critique of Corbyn was Jewish – he is not – as if anyone who raises the issue of antisemitism, or, indeed, appears a defending Israel is and can only be Jewish) mention Corbyn’s support and ‘friendship’ for overtly antisemitic individuals and organisations, the old, equally racist canard resurfaces; that Jews are not really taking an anti-racist stand, they don’t really mean what they say, but are really doing nothing more than defending their co-brethren and surreptitiously and dishonestly putting their own ‘Jewish’ interests over and above the universal demands for human rights and justice. Not for the first time anti-racist Jews are thus caught in a double bind – either remain silent or stand accused of Jewish particularism.

    • s4r4hbrown Says:

      I missed that in the Express article Saul – I am reminded of when I complained about one of the Lib Dems and had a response (from Clegg’s office I think), which implied that this was a problem because it offended the Jewish community, not because it was just bad full stop.

      • Saul Says:

        Sarah,
        I know what you mean. The idea that racism is a. only a matter of ‘offensiveness’, and b. it is only the group targeted that is affected as if racism were a ‘personal slight’.

  3. AlanS Says:

    The Ku Klux Klan analogy is far too mild. The correct comparison would be to an organization whose aim, publicly declared in an official document, was the death of every African American, or perhaps even of every black African throughout the world.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Even more accurately, AlanS, you might have referenced the appropriate sections of the Hamas and Hezbollah Charters!

  4. Eve Garrard Says:

    Thanks for that very illuminating comment, Saul. I agree that the analogy isn’t an exact one – it’s always hard to shape analogies into a perfect fit. But the KKK’s supporters also think it has an angelic aspect. You’re right that the activities of Hamas, Hezbullah, etc can be fitted with a bit of strain into Left anti-imperialism, whereas that isn’t possible with the KKK. So it might be argued that the Corbyn-equivalent which I’ve constructed is psychologically implausible – the views about class and economics just wouldn’t cohere with the views about race. But on the other hand, if someone had asked me in 1948 whether it was psychologically plausible for a member of the democratic Left to offer warm support to individuals and organisations which, on the basis of religious fundamentalism, had overtly genocidal intentions towards Jews, and highly oppressive, sometimes murderous, intentions towards women, gays, and members of some of the other forms of Islam, I’d have laughed incredulously. And I’d have been seriously wrong.

  5. soupyone Says:

    Rather than allow Corbyn, etc to duck the issues by invoking fallacious analogies, would it not be far better to simply ask:

    1. Does Corbyn or his supporters feel that Press TV is a racist outlet, when it utilises the words of Mark Glenn and blames Jews for the legalising of Gay marriage, etc in the US? If not, why not?

    http://web.archive.org/web/20150627203200/http://presstv.com/Detail/2015/06/26/417618/Supreme-Court-gay-marriage-legal-

    2. Does Corbyn or his supporters object in anyway to RT (Russia Today) using neo-Nazis as political analysts? If so, when?

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/08/russia-today-has-an-illuminati-correspondent-really.html?via=desktop&source=twitter

    So perhaps instead of invective, asking questions of these odd individuals concerning their opposition to antisemitism, and when they actually did it for real, i.e. Press TV/ RT could be a better approach?

  6. JG Campbell Says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Saran and Eve, on the Corbyn issue which seem spot on to me. But it would be handy to have some examples of the responses that Eve mentions (charges of sectional selfishness) for reference purposes. Because I haven’t been following this particular issue very closely, any you could give would be really helpful.

    Best wishes, Jonathan

  7. Paul Canning Says:

    I would love to see Corbyn drawn out at a hustings but fear it won’t happen.

    Because of his role with the Stop The War Coalition Corbyn also needs to be questioned over Ukraine. STCuk has been backing the Kremlin line to the hilt.

  8. soupyone Says:

    Please do watch Corbyn get very shirty when asked about Hamas, etc. And do dissect the form of his dodge, it’s a bit obvious.

    I would have been prepared to accept that Corbyn was merely a dolt, until I saw his utterly cynical approach to perfectly reasonable questions from Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

  9. Moshe Says:

    Moderator trigger warning: this is a link to Paul Eisen

    Corbyn has been endorsed by a self-confessed Holocaust Denier

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      Thanks Moshe. Agree that a politician’s supporters reveal a lot about them, but I think whether Paul Eisen (and for that matter Atzmon) like Corbyn is less important than whether Corbyn sympathises with their views. So now we wait and hope that Corbyn dissociates.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        Okay, so let’s run this past the folks here. The Campaign Against Antisemitism published the following in their recent email newsletter to supporters and sympathisers on Corbyn:
        http://antisemitism.uk/jeremy-corbyn-and-antisemites/?mc_cid=f84395b948&mc_eid=5939d59c16

        In my view, some of this makes Corbyn at best a borderline antisemite, at worst…

        Notice how he uses the Livingstone Formulation in the third paragraph of the article when he is reported as defending Stephen Sizer, saying he was being victimised because he “dared to speak out against Zionism”, when the Church of England hierarchy specifically accused Sizer of posting and/or linking to antisemitic items on his website.

        The lack of clarity (if accurately reported by CAA) concerning his support for/desire to include Hamas & Hezbollah in “the conversation” about the Middle East – to say nothing nothing of having friends in both organisations – must raise serious questions as to how widely his sympathies concerning support for multiculturalism are drawn and just where he draws the line concerning conflating Israel (and Israelis) and Jews.

        What say you, folks?

        • Mira Vogel Says:

          Thanks Brian, you probably also saw http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/142144/the-key-questions-jeremy-corbyn-must-answer and James Bloodworth’s piece on how the foreign policy criticism of Corbyn doesn’t seem to stick but needs to be mentioned http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/13/jeremy-corbyn-labour-leadership-foreign-policy-antisemitism

          Keith Kahn-Harris has an interesting piece in Open Democracy about how the anti-racist case against Corbyn isn’t working, partly because they demand attention on views and actions which aren’t major factors in Corbyn support. https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/keith-kahnharris/is-corbyn-too-pally-with-tyrants-and-other-pariahs Well we know that, but the point is to persuade his supporters to try to steer him away from the views – that’s not working either. Kahn-Harris points out that his relationships are not even handed, and when it comes to Hamas &c they are too superficial to have any serious influence on peace. He hopes Corbyn’s supporters will exceed him.

          Also Euan Ferguson’s Corbyn frisson – http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/15/jeremy-corbyn-campaign-scotland-corbynmania – where at the end of a para on Jewish fears he reports that Corbyn has urged his supporters to “come out battling, rather than defensive”. Any criticism is now treated as a personal attack.

          I think it’s important to separate the person from the beliefs, so I would mostly only call somebody *an* antisemite if they call themselves an antisemite, but I think we are in agreement that Corbyn is cosmically unbothered – callous, in fact – about Jewish alarm at his associations, that he has poor judgment, that his alliances are appalling.

          None of it sticks – not sure what to do next except to dwell on the good news from Corbyn’s office via the CST that he has pulled out of the MEMO conference with Latuff. That is not the defiance Euan Ferguson reported. Maybe it’s got to be a whack a mole approach from now on.

        • josephinebacon Says:

          Gordon Brown is to be heartily congratulated for making the point about Corbyn calling Hezbollah and Hamas his “friends” an aspect that has been carefully avoided by his supporters. Those two organisations were not mentioned, for instance, at the Holborn & St. Pancras constituency meeting that gave him their support overwhelmingly. The problem with Corbyn’s followers is that they are not aware of what he really stands for, if one were to conduct a straw poll among them one would be surprised to find that the actual policies they think he supports are not those of reality.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Mira, I’m not sure that I can follow your view that “it’s important to separate the person from the beliefs”, even if what YOU mean is OUR beliefs about their beliefs (hope you follow that chain of logic). How can one, when that person is a politician seeking high office – essentially, the highest in the UK. If you mean that such a person is being careless in their associations and, perhaps, how they are expressed in words and/or writing, then this becomes an important element in how their judgement is to seen were they to gain that high office.

          More plainly, if Corbyn is not at all antisemitic and genuinely wishes for a (for example) two-state solution and honestly believes that Hamas and Hezbollah must be part of that solution (or has some different understanding of what a bi-national state solution would be like), then fine. But if he is expressing himself this carelessly NOW, when he is “merely” a candidate for that high office, what is he going to be like should he actually obtain it?

          Yes, it’s good that he has pulled out of the MEMO conference with Latuff, but if he’s serious about his candidacy, then he needs to be a LOT more careful with his associations (including just who his team is): he should have known all about Latuff before he accepted the invitation.

          To make a not necessarily accurate comparison, in retrospect, I find it “interesting” that Rahm Emanuel left Obama’s White House team (as Chief of Staff) a mere two years into the first term (supposedly to continue his own political career in Chicago & Illinois); that Hilary Clinton did only one term as Secretary of State (did she jump or was she pushed?); and that Kerry became the new Sec. of State – who appears either weak or clueless (both surprising in someone with so much political experience) or both.

          In other words, what does this tell us about the candidate for or occupier of high office?

          I’m not nearly as sanguine about all this as you are.

        • Mira Vogel Says:

          I’m not sanguine. Just keeping my powder dry. For later.

          I tend to think of people with antisemitic beliefs as being a bit like hyenas- they want to eat you but if you kick enough they skulk away. No thanks to Diane Abbott, no thanks to Owen Jones, but thanks to a coincidence of views between Jews and the various factions opposing to Corbyn, Corbyn has been moved. He can no longer associate with these people without incurring a whole lot of negative attention. He couldn’t attend MEMO. He had to distance himself from Eisen &c. His notions of diplomacy were shown to be paper thin. This is what is supposed to happen in a democracy – when somebody from the margins hits the big time they are supposed to get the corners rubbed off. So we have to act like democrats and do that. So, good for Sarah Brown, James Bloodworth, the JC, Harry’s Place, Nick Cohen. All from the left, none gunning for a Corbyn opponent, all concerned for the welfare of Labour.

          I’ll engage with Corbyn’s other policies when I find one of his supporters who is prepared to criticise his antisemitic associates. So until then, it’s just Worker’s Liberty – http://www.workersliberty.org/node/25380 – though I’m hoping somebody can point me at others.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Mira, I have a partial response to your comment just below my previous one in this “sub thread” where I started a new “sub thread” – the one Josephine Bacon responded to. However, while I take your point about the Workers Liberty article you link to, there are many things in there i would take issue with…but not here and now, because I feel that raising them would be a distraction.

          I would be very interested in your response to the comment below, the one about Philip Collins, not the one in response to Josephine.

  10. josephinebacon Says:

    ” Israeli intransigence” Saul? Even the most right-wing Israeli politicians have bent over backwards to make concessions to the two dictators who rule the West Bank and Gaza. There is also the fact that young people all over the Arab and Muslim world are being educated in hatred not just of Israel but of Jews. Even if the BBC and others in the West make some sort of (pretend) distinction between Jews and Israelis, the Muslim world does not. There are wealthy elements in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States who fund Israel hate propaganda. It is much cheaper to use Israel as a focus of hatred and a scapegoat than to help alleviate abject poverty in the Muslim world. As for fellow-travellers like Corbyn, they would be quite happy to annihilate 8 million Israelis, the Nazis taught them the lesson with their 6 million.

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      Josephinebacon, don’t you see any irony in saying that “the Muslim world” doesn’t distinguish between Jews and Israelis, and yourself casually using a term like “the Muslim world”? And if you think Corbyn would be “happy” with annihilating 8 million Israelis you’re not taking this seriously.

      Really unhelpful, please stop.

      • josephinebacon Says:

        What is wrong with the term “the Muslim world”? Even Indonesia, considered to be among the ‘moderate’ Muslim countries (if there is such a thing) has just banned an Israeli badminton player from entering the country to compete in a world tournament. As for Corbyn not being “happy” what makes you think that? Anything he has said?

        • Mira Vogel Says:

          It is outrageous to say somebody would be “happy” with genocide unless they have left you in no doubt. There’s no need to exaggerate with Corbyn. There are plenty of reasons to find him a terrible choice of leader.

          Your use of “the Muslim world” collapses the different views and interests of a whole bunch of people. It’s not such a bad term, but in contrast to the recognition of diversity you expect for Jews and Israelis it was inappropriate if you ask me.

        • josephinebacon Says:

          I know far more about the Muslim world than you might think. I have been to Lebanon (just before the civil war) and Egypt but what is more, my business partner is an Israeli Arab. I know many people from the West Bank and have even been to Gaza. I am not exaggerating about Corbyn. Even Jews thought that Hitler was exaggerating in 1933 and many people did not believe the Holocaust had happened until the incontrovertible proof was presented to them.

        • Mira Vogel Says:

          Josephine, you said “As for fellow-travellers like Corbyn, they would be quite happy to annihilate 8 million Israelis, the Nazis taught them the lesson with their 6 million.” I agree it’s not exaggeration. It’s more like fabrication. They totally disown the Nazis. They abhor genocide. If you’d said that they might well usher in violence against Jews and then stand around wringing their hands about it I might be more persuaded. But you didn’t say that.

        • josephinebacon Says:

          You have not worked in BBC news I have (and so has my daughter) so you don’t know. As for what I wrote about Corbyn who might revel in genocide, I find your refutation to be grimly amusing, that is exactly the way German Jews were thinking in 1933.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Maybe Josephine didn’t, but I would`; see the comment I just posted (subject to moderation) in response to your reply to Moshe.

  11. josephinebacon Says:

    To add to what I have just written, my feeling is that this enthusiasm for Corbyn has been whipped up by the media, especially the BBC where the combination of Trotskyists and Muslims is a lethal one for us. I have worked in-house at the BBC myself and so has my daughter so I know what kind of people they are. Not a day goes by when Corbyn’s activities are not reported, he gets more coverage than Cameron!

  12. Gridd Says:

    Veiled anti-Semitism is rife in the so called Alternative Truth movement. A lot of people say they are against Zionism but are often really quite hateful of Jews. They spread lies about Jewish run media etc.. boring!

    http://blueprintnation.blogspot.ae/2015/08/the-truthers-online-lunatics-and-closet.html

  13. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Mira, to continue the conversation from here, if I may:

    I know he has history (Philip Collins was a Blair advisor), but he has the following half-a-dozen or so sentences in his column in The Times of 18 August (no link possible as it’s behind a pay-wall):

    “Yesterday I saw a video of Jeremy Corbyn calling for a public inquiry on pro-Israeli influence in the Home Office. The Labour MP John Mann has been subject vicious antisemitic attacks, apparently from Corbyn supporters. It needs to be said plainly: no decent liberal can vote for this. There must be continual vigilance against the antisemitism of the hard left. Croce invented a term for it. Onagrocrazia. Government by asses.” (the first part of this secton of his column had been on Benedetto Croce)

    Do I need to say more, except to remind everyone that August Bebel it was who coined the phrase that “antisemitism is the socialism of fools”, never truer than as argued by Collins.

  14. josephinebacon Says:

    ‘Jewish influence in the Home Office’ that is really amusing considering that the *Foreign Office* has been in thrall to the Arabs ever since Kim Philby, arch antisemite Ernest Bevin and even pre-war. Did you know that every British diplomat and members of the British Council attend a school for diplomats in the Lebanon where they are “educated” in Middle Eastern policy? It’s not all about oil, of course, it’s also fuelled by a lot of anti-Jewish sentiment.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Of course they do, Josephine. Now how about some evidence for that statement rather than a mere assertion. Left like that makes your statement as bad as those posted here by the likes of Deborah Fink, Deborah Maccoby and Philip Blue, to name but three who never let the lack of evidence get in the way of a bad story.

      Just because you’re on the side of the good guys is no excuse for sloppy argument.

      • josephinebacon Says:

        There is no room here to put in the evidence. Suffice it to say that one of my in-laws, who worked only for the British Council, not even the Foreign Office, attended the school in the Lebanon and he admitted that all British diplomats have to go there. Surely you know about Phibly’s father? If not, I suggest you read the book “The Secret War Against the Jews” written by two Australian journalists, Mark Loftus and John Aarons.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          “There is no room here to put in the evidence.” Really? Why not? Is it because you don’t have any that would answer my request to demonstrate your assertion concerning “every British diplomat and members of the British Council attend a school for diplomats in the Lebanon where they are “educated” in Middle Eastern policy?” How do you know? is the question I asked, and you fail to provide an answer. To tell me that “one of my in-laws…admitted that all British diplomats have to go there” is about as much use as evidence as me claiming that 25 people of my acquaintance, including several close relatives, know for a fact that 75%+ of British diplomats never go near Lebanon, let alone Beirut, for training or any other purpose.

          And do you really expect us to believe that the British Government, of any political stripe, is going to send its diplomats for “training” in what is effectively a war zone? Such a view borders on paranoia. To remind us that both British civil servants in the Foreign and Colonial (when the latter still existed) Offices and elsewhere and many politicians making policy in such areas were (possibly still are) Arabists is patronising. The overwhelming majority of those who visit this and other sites have known this for years, since long before this and similar sites existed.

          As for the Philbys, pere et fils, I’ll tell you what I know, both from a brief scan on the web and from prior knowledge: Philby pere was an Arabist – hardly news to anyone in this area – so what? See my previous paragraph. Probably quite an influential one, as well. So? As for the son, Kim was probably recruited for Communism at Cambridge during his ungraduate days between 1930 and 1933, but if not, then later in Vienna (see both his autobiography and the possibly faulty entry on him on Wikipedia). He was never posted to anywhere in the Middle East while employed by British intelligence (and sending top secret info to the USSR). He went to Beirut after he left the employ of the UK government as a correspondent. Incidentally, the Russians never really trusted him: they feared that he was actually always reporting back to the british Government. How’s that for ironic paranoia?

          So that proves…what? That so far, you haven’t provided anything that anyone, such as an apparently despised by you (ex- in my case) academic, would consider remotely approaches the status of evidence.

          Then we come to the Loftus & Aarons book. This might well provide the evidence you appear to think it does, but we need more than an invitation (demand?) that we read a particular (only one?) book. I have a veritable pile of books, both printed and on my e-reader, demanding my attention, and I (and I’m sure many others) need more specific guidance: where in this book do the authors provide evidence and argument that can be taken to support your contention that “every British diplomat and members of the British Council attend a school for diplomats in the Lebanon where they are “educated” in Middle Eastern policy”?

          You might disagree with me, but this appears to me an extremely reasonable request.

        • josephinebacon Says:

          Can’t be bothered to reply to this diatribe. I don’t know if the school still exists in Lebanon, the relative is now retired, but it certainly was routine for British diplomats to be trained there, and I have heard about it from more than one source. Anyway, who says what I wrote was specifically directed at you.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Actually, Josephine, who else was your response starting “There is no room…” directed at, if not me, as I am the only one who has responded to that comment?

          Now you retreat: “I don’t know if the school still exists in Lebanon…”, which is hardly what your previous comments stated; and then “the relative is now retired” so is in no position to confirm or deny NOW that the school exists, and by continuing “but it certainly was routine for British diplomats to be trained there, and I have heard about it from more than one source” you continue to fail to produce evidence, which leaves me ever more certain that you don’t have any to provide. Who are these sources? How reliable are they (beyond your desire that they be right)?

          Further, you ignore (refuse to provide?) detail of where in the one accessible to others source (even if it was published 18+ years ago) tis detail might be found.

          It would appear that only those you effect to despise (academics) would be in a position to confirm or deny your assertions…and you don’t even go into detail in the one printed source you supply.

          And if you think that what I wrote above in my last comment is “a diatribe” to which you can’t be bothered to reply, then (a) you need to examine your own writing style very closely and/or (b) you’ve led a very sheltered life.

          Actually, such a statement is effectively an admission of the lack of evidence to underpin your claims.

        • josephinebacon Says:

          I don’t know the reason for your aggression and hostility, but they are really pathetic. The school in Lebanon is common knowledge and if you were not aware of it, then it shows your ignorance. Just ask them at the FCO, I am sure they will be delighted to tell you.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          “Just ask them at the FCO, I am sure they will be delighted to tell you.” But YOU are the one who informed us that it exists and that all these UK diplomats AND employees of the British Council get sent there, not the FCO, and YOU are the one who has so far conspicuously failed to provide anything resembling evidence to demonstrate its existence. Why should I do your work for you? I don’t have to prove a thing. You do.

          As a historian (as you claim in the comments thread to a more recent article) you must surely be aware of the demands that the historian must provide the route to the evidence that they using to reach whatever conclusion it is they are propounded.

          Something you have conspicuously failed to do here.

          And why you see a perfectly reasonable request for evidence as aggression and hostility is beyond me. Unless, of course, it is because I am an (ex-) academic and therefore worthy only of dismissing with aggression (I write a “diatribe”; I am aggressive and rude, and so forth), and not of receiving the evidence.

          I will state it as plainly as I can: either provide the evidence, or detailed directions as to where it is to be found (literally, chapter, page numbers and footnotes), or acknowledge that you don’t have it, and that this is something that you honestly and deeply believe to be true (even if you can’t prove it)>

          Again “everyone knows…” is not evidence.

        • josephinebacon Says:

          Are you so rude to me because I am a woman or because you think I am not Jewish? No one else has displayed this sort of aggressive behaviour towards me on a forum.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          “Are you so rude to me because I am a woman or because you think I am not Jewish? No one else has displayed this sort of aggressive behaviour towards me on a forum.”

          I notice that you prefer to be rude towards me rather than supply the evidence to substantiate your assertion concerning the FCO and the British Council and the asserted school in Beirut for the “training”of the same. I have now requested this evidence 4 (FOUR) times and each time, I have been met with nothing but aggression, rudeness and stonewalling on your part. I have to assume that you do not have any evidence (or none that will stand up to the scrutiny of possibly close examination) to substantiate what must remain an assertion until this evidence is produced in detail. Virtually anyone else but you would have, by now, either produced evidence or stopped posting comments insulting the requester of this evidence.

          I am a sociologist and a left-winger: of course my continued demands for you to produce evidence are not because you are a woman nor because I believe you to be not Jewish. I know very well that you are Jewish: I would continually request the production of evidence that will stand up to scrutiny irrespective of anyone’s gender or of their religion or lack thereof. You clearly have not followed my contributions to this website since its inception, both as a commenter and as a writer of articles, otherwise you would know better than to make such suggestions.

          You say you are a historian. As such, you must know that historians, like all other practitioners of both the sciences, the social sciences and the liberal arts, are required to produce evidence to substantiate their findings. They are not “allowed” to rely on their claims or assertions, let alone their reputations, to make their case. As I noted in my last comment to you.

          So, as a historian, why are you different from all other historians, etc?

          And if you believe that this response to your refusal is so “rude”, “threatening” or “aggressive” (as you claim all my responses to you so far have been), perhaps you would be so good as to explain exactly why and how you believe this to be case.

          It might actually be easier for you to produce the evidence you have so far failed to bring to our attention.

          Of course, if you don’t actually have any evidence beyond that which you have already produced and I have suggested is inadequate, then, presumably, I will be accused, again, of rudeness, aggression and threatening behaviour. Although I would be very interested if any other reader of this exchange believes that my comments are as you assert they are: and I would be more likely to believe such a statement if it comes from someone or other who is not connected to you in any way by ties of kinship or friendship.

          Mind you, I’d prefer the evidence.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: