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  • What planet is Nick Cohen on?


    by Sunny
    18th March, 2009 at 11:20 pm    

    Sunder Katawala has written a reply to Nick Cohen’s article in The Observer this weekend. In fact, a reply is not really a satisfactory word. Sunder tears apart Nick Cohen’s poorly written article with great force. He completely eviscerates it. If this was Menace 2 Society, which I watched yesterday, Sunder would have taken out an Uzi 9mm and destroyed the whole joint. You get my point.

    This has become Nick Cohen’s latest game: to attack the liberal-left by using ‘liberal Muslims’ as his proxy. It would be funny if this wasn’t a national newspaper column expressly aimed at influencing the govenment’s Preventing Violent Extremism strategy. So, let’s play that game.

    NGN
    In late 2005 I met Sunder and said I wanted to publish something big challenging the ‘community leaders’ and the hold they had over race & faith politics. He fully supported it and, once I had put together a ‘manifesto’, went with me to the Guardian to put forward the case that they needed this to expand the debate. A week long debate followed the launch of the New Generation Network, and my article, and I’m proud to say that the ‘community leaders’ edifice fell apart soon after.

    The hilarious thing is that Nick Cohen seems to have forgotten about all this, even though his close colleagues signed it. Instead we’re treated to the tired old argument, put forward by the pro-war commentators who call themselves lefties, that the left keeps betraying liberal minorities. Bullshit would be the nice way of putting.

    In fact, Sunder lists a whole bunch of Fabian events and debates where Nick and others have taken part.

    So to say that the left neither has these debates or is afraid of challenging Islamists is not only laughable, but just downright rubbish.

    Policy Exchange
    Nick Cohen talks up the rightwing think-tank Policy Exchange. The same one that:
    1) Got caught out with forgeries during an investigation, threatened to sue the BBC, and then limped away quietly.
    2) Who’s director Dean Godson made excuses for the fact that Sadiq Khan was bugged because apparently he was ‘Islamist friendly’
    3) Is intensely hypocritical on free speech.

    Frankly, anyone who goes near Policy Exchange now is tainted by association, especially given the think-tank’s obvious agenda. Which, shouldn’t be surprising given its director’s illustrious past.

    Cheap shots
    Shiraz Maher and Ed Husain are relatively new to these debates, so they can be excused for rehearsing arguments that are a couple of years old and have been made by many on the left since. Nick Cohen has no excuse, unless of course he’s just using it to attack the left.

    The manifesto expressly said: “Racial prejudice is no longer the preserve of white people and has become much more complicated,” and was signed by a lot of people, including many liberal Muslims.

    And yet he quotes Ed Husain as saying:

    Who on the left stands on the side of Muslims who want to support secularism and pluralism? Do they think that fascists only have white skins?

    Heh. Ed wasn’t around then so I can excuse him. But for Nick to put this out there innocently is being disingenuous, to say the least.

    Furthermore, the anti-Islamist crowd has been supported by many on the left, not just the Fabians. Don’t forget that it was Catherine Fieschi (then at Demos) who was instrumental in helping the Quilliam Foundation early on. I wrote in support of it. Others on the left including Zia Sardar, Johann Hari, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, myself, Rehna Azim and the BMSD crowd have been critical of Islamists for a long time. These are old arguments.

    Nick is just regurgitating them for a cheap shot, and that too just so he can look at the brave defender of liberal Muslims. I’m afraid that boat sailed a long time ago. The best way to prevent the polarisation in recent years would have been to argue against the invasion of Iraq and New Labour’s wave of anti-terrorism legislation that followed. Except Nick, was a cheerleader for both.

    Time to switch
    And lastly, don’t forget the time he praised his new friend Anthony Browne for standing up “for free speech and against liberal alliances with radical Islam”. Hah! Anthony Browne! This was of course a couple of years after the very same Nick Cohen attacked one Anthony Browne for his barely disguised racism.

    It’s obvious Nick is happy to switch allegiances for political expediency. It’s time he also stopped pretending he on the left too, it’s getting a bit tiring to be honest.


                  Post to del.icio.us


    Filed in: Civil liberties,Current affairs,Islamists,Media,Terrorism






    31 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. Andrew Roche

      RT @pickledpolitics: New blog post: What planet is Nick Cohen on? http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/3787


    2. pickles

      New blog post: What planet is Nick Cohen on? http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/3787


    3. Nick Cohen Still Lying…No, Come Back, I Promise That I’ll Try To Make It Exciting… « Back Towards The Locus

      [...] Katawala and Sunny Hundal (well, I say spat, it was more that Sunder kicked him to bits and Sunny gleefully jumped on the remains). Anyway, I found a thread that he was participating in and drew his attention back [...]


    4. Pickled Politics » Confusion over the liberal-left and Islamism

      [...] enough and took potshots at the Fabian Society and IPPR among others. Sunder Katwala and I hit back separately, to which Cohen came back with the response that “noted lefties such as the [...]




    1. David Jones — on 18th March, 2009 at 11:43 pm  

      Would being critical of Islamists be the same thing as describing Mousawi as a newspaper editor who isn’t dangerous?

      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/3704#comment-154219

      Would it>

    2. Leon — on 19th March, 2009 at 12:08 am  

      If this was Menace 2 Society, which I watched yesterday,

      Lend me that! Aint seen that in years.

    3. Rayyan — on 19th March, 2009 at 1:25 am  

      Menace 2 Society is brilliant. Also, further recommended viewing: Boyz N the Hood, and Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai.

    4. Sunny — on 19th March, 2009 at 1:30 am  

      Would being critical of Islamists be the same thing as describing Mousawi as a newspaper editor who isn’t dangerous?

      You still here Jones? I thought you’d be blogging somewhere about how great Geert Wilders is? And thanks for misunderstanding my argument - but I expected no less from a troll such as yourself.

    5. BenSix — on 19th March, 2009 at 4:29 am  

      “He completely eviscerates it. If this was Menace 2 Society, which I watched yesterday, Sunder would have taken out an Uzi 9mm and destroyed the whole joint.

      Ahhh, I see it all now. Neoconservatives Wit’ Attitude!

      “Straight outta London,
      Crazy motherfucker named Kamm,
      Poppin’ a cap in’ter radical Islam.”

      “Yo, Nick…”
      “Waddup?”
      “Tell ‘em where you from…”
      “Why, the left of course. Unlike you, you craven apologist for Islamofascism.”

    6. billericaydicky — on 19th March, 2009 at 8:35 am  

      At a rough guess I would say that Nick Cohen is on the same planet as most of us but that a lot of Picklers are somewhere else in the solar system.

      I had a look at Sunder Katawala’s response and still have to ask the question is there anything that Cohen said on Sunday that is untrue? One of the problems with the great and the good who hang around think tanks is that because they all take themselves seriously they think that everyone else does.

      What they don’t seem to realise is that the world goes on and completely ignores them. I think a lot of what has been said is professional jealousy in that the agenda is being set by people like Ed Hussein and not them.

      This is rather like the attacks on Gilligan for his exposure of Lee Jasper and the charlatans that he financed. The whole thing was a neo con Boris conspiracy to bring down that hero of the working class Ken Livingston. All I say is what everyone else does, where did three and a half million quid go to?

      Did Azad Ali say the things that got him suspended and is IFE based in the East London Mosque? Has there been a steep rise in anti semitic incidents particularly in Tower Hamlets with “kill the jews” being painted on the side of a sunken football pitch just off Brick Lane?

      The answer to all these is yes. Do we have any Sikhs,Hindus or Budhists letting off bombs in various parts of the world? N we don’t but we have plenty of Muslims doing it.

      Katawala’s letter is a lot of petty point scoring and a recital of a list of names that the vast majority of the population of this country haven’t heard and if they have don’t care about.

    7. James — on 19th March, 2009 at 9:14 am  

      BillericayDicky
      “Has there been a steep rise in anti semitic incidents particularly in Tower Hamlets with “kill the jews” being painted on the side of a sunken football pitch just off Brick Lane?”

      It still dwarfs the number of attacks on Muslims

      “The answer to all these is yes. Do we have any Sikhs,Hindus or Budhists letting off bombs in various parts of the world? N we don’t but we have plenty of Muslims doing it. ”

      Ah … now we get to the crux of your support of Cohen -you’re anti-Muslim

      ” Do we have any Sikhs,Hindus or Budhists letting off bombs in various parts of the world?”

      Actually we do- but dont expect it to be reported in the papers you read.

    8. David Jones — on 19th March, 2009 at 9:19 am  

      Sunny, I criticise you for glossing over Mousawi and you lie about my attitude to Wilders. I’d watch that if I were you and I’d prefer you withdrew the insinuation.

      The fact is I didn’t misunderstand your ‘argument’, such as it is. I am saying that you are not consistently and appropriately critical of Islamists, as you claimed. I’ve given you a link to an example where you weren’t.

    9. munir — on 19th March, 2009 at 9:37 am  

      David Jones

      “Sunny, I criticise you for glossing over Mousawi and you lie about my attitude to Wilders. I’d watch that if I were you and I’d prefer you withdrew the insinuation.”

      Really? Your website calls the far right facsist Wilders, who wants to ban the Quran and expel the Muslims a “democrat, Dutch Parliamentarian, non-violent, creator of highly provacative ‘film’ Fitna ”

      “The fact is I didn’t misunderstand your ‘argument’, such as it is. I am saying that you are not consistently and appropriately critical of Islamists, as you claimed. I’ve given you a link to an example where you weren’t.”

      So you are effectively arguing people must be consistently critical of “Islamists”? Why not of anyone else - neocons, zionists etc

    10. munir — on 19th March, 2009 at 10:03 am  

      You are right Sunny.Its a terrific demolition of Cohen’s article and his neo-con obsessions

    11. steve — on 19th March, 2009 at 10:46 am  

      Billericaydicky @ #6 has made the most pertinent points with “One of the problems with the great and the good who hang around think tanks is that because they all take themselves seriously they think that everyone else does.” and “a recital of a list of names that the vast majority of the population of this country haven’t heard and if they have don’t care about.”

      For the man in the street, what is being done, and by whom? Give us answers, not platitudes and conferences.

    12. Golam Murtaza — on 19th March, 2009 at 12:54 pm  

      I accept Steve and Billericaydicky’s point that we should not over emphasise the importance of bodies like think tanks.

      But I think they’re on shaky ground when they dismiss the role of people on the grounds that most have never heard of them, or don’t care about them. I suspect some of the most powerful and influential people are also extremely low profile and anonymous.

    13. David Jones — on 19th March, 2009 at 2:32 pm  

      Really? Your website calls the far right facsist Wilders, who wants to ban the Quran and expel the Muslims a “democrat, Dutch Parliamentarian, non-violent, creator of highly provacative ‘film’ Fitna ”

      That’s nearly right. I don’t think he wants to ‘expel Muslims. How is that incorrect, and what does it have to do with you glossing Mousawi as a newspaper editor?

      See, the difference is that Wilders doesn’t support violence to achieve his goals, unlike Mousawi. do you see the difference?

      both have objectionable opinions. Mousawi will kill me.

    14. Sunny — on 19th March, 2009 at 3:12 pm  

      At a rough guess I would say that Nick Cohen is on the same planet as most of us but that a lot of Picklers are somewhere else in the solar system.

      Given that you’re a big supporter of Melanie Phillips, which you haven’t justified, I’m glad you’re on Nick Cohen’s side on this.

    15. fug — on 19th March, 2009 at 3:18 pm  

      amusing use of the word guffaw, but still quite sucky sucky to martin bright, who is also an evil bastard and liberaly evangelical… revealing ‘ok’ white ideological identity politics.

    16. munir — on 19th March, 2009 at 3:54 pm  

      David Jones

      “See, the difference is that Wilders doesn’t support violence to achieve his goals, unlike Mousawi. do you see the difference?”

      Yes I do. Wilders country hasnt been invaded by the Israeli army killing thousands as Mousawis had.

      “both have objectionable opinions. Mousawi will kill me.”

      Where do you get that from? Because he’s a darkie and he dares fight someone who invaders his land he wants to kill you.

      Mousawi has come to the UK twice before yet you appear to still be alive.

      Well im a Muslim and Wilders would harm me if he eevr got into power

    17. platinum786 — on 19th March, 2009 at 4:00 pm  

      Excellent response by Sunder Katawala.

    18. David Jones — on 19th March, 2009 at 4:33 pm  

      both have objectionable opinions. Mousawi will kill me.

      Where do you get that from? Because he’s a darkie and he dares fight someone who invaders his land he wants to kill you.

      Er… Hezbollah is bunch of Islamist nutters who call for the destruction of Israel. Stop with this spurious claim of justified resistance, or equivalence between him and Wilders.

      Hezbollah accused Jews of deliberately spreading H.I.V. and other diseases to Arabs throughout the Middle East. Al-Manar, the Hezbollah-owned and operated television station, was criticized for airing “anti-Semitic propaganda” in the form of a television drama depicting a Jewish world domination conspiracy. Hezbollah also used antisemitic educational materials designed for 5-year-old scouts. Likewise, the group has been accused of engaging in Holocaust denial, and supporting Holocaust deniers.

      You obviously know all that. So your defence of him is, what, because you agree with him?

    19. munir — on 19th March, 2009 at 4:38 pm  

      “You obviously know all that. So your defence of him is, what, because you agree with him?”

      Well I dont agree with the things you mentioned. Im not aware Mousawi holding these beliefs

      The Lebanese shia have every right to defend themselves from Eretz Israeli fascists

      By your logic you agree with Wilders since you defend him

    20. Shamit — on 19th March, 2009 at 4:47 pm  

      “I suspect some of the most powerful and influential people are also extremely low profile and anonymous.”

      Golam - this is very true.

    21. David Jones — on 19th March, 2009 at 8:25 pm  

      Well I dont agree with the things you mentioned. Im not aware Mousawi holding these beliefs

      My point exactly. You’re pretending not to know in order to excuse the indefensible.

    22. billericaydicky — on 21st March, 2009 at 11:15 am  

      Sunny,

      You really don’t get it do you? Not everything that Melanie Phillips says is wrong and the opinion pages of the Guardian are sometimes full of the most amazing crap. It interests me to see an article on Comment is Free which is then absolutely savaged by what are presumably Guardian readers.

      I remember an article on CiF earlier this year by the then editor of the late and unlamented New Nation Lester Holloway calling for all black short lists. He was ripped to shreds and the only person who supported him was Simon Wooley of Operation Black Vote. Well he would wouldn’t he? Otherwise he would be out of a job.

      What you cannot,it seems do, is to think outside the box. There are for you and many posting here cetain articles of faith that are sacrosanct and which must never be challenged at any cost. It never fails to amaze me just how detached from reality many of you are. There was a posting here about my comments on think tanks. They are as reliable a guide to what is going on as reports on racism from the CRE now thank God no longer with us.

      From its formation in 1976 every single investigation found racism, a strike rate the Spanish Inquisition didn’t achieve. Yet as soon as these mostly fictitious were published they were immediately holy writ.

      The problem I think a lot of people out there have is one that the left have always had. If something, be it Stalinism, Trotskyism, Maoism or whatever is clearly wrong there are people who will defend it to their dying breath because without it they have to admit they have wasted the best years of their lives.

      There is now a similar phenomena emerging on the left which is that anything written by Gilligan/Cohen/Phillips/Aronavitch/Hitches is by definition wrong and is quite clearly comrades orchestrated and paid for by the neo con Zionist conspiracy so clearly described in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

      I am of course being humorous here, something the straight left can never be as they take themselves so seriously. Think outside the box and off the tram lines people and remember one of the many wise things George Orwell said. “Freedom, if it is anything, if the right to be told things you don’t want to hear”.

      I’m not going to scroll up to see who mentioned black nazis but I would so describe anyone who supports the entry into this country of Louis Farrakhan. Stand up Simon Wooley, Lee Jasper, Joseph Harker of the Guardian who was allowed by that paper to write an article calling all white people racists. That’s all for now breakfast is on the table but I rather think it is going to be an interesting weekend.

    23. billericaydicky — on 21st March, 2009 at 12:43 pm  

      Interestingly Harker is on CiF questioning why there are no, or few, mothers day cards for black people. He then goes on to say that a black designer had her card taken up by Clintons but that she couldn’t break into the mainstream market.

      Er, I thought Clintons was the biggest distriber of cards in this country. Poor old Joseph, still reality was never strong point for Guardian jounalists. Turns out his mother was Irish and, presumably white, which makes his all whites are racists a bit weird.

      Talking of weirdos Lee Jasper also denies his mum was white as well. What is it with these black revolutionaries. It seems the more white they are the blacker their politics. Anyone got any ideas?

    24. billericaydicky — on 21st March, 2009 at 2:15 pm  

      Looks like the curse of Harker has struck. He must be looking at this site as well.

      I used an article on CiF about the front page Guardian article today about the brutality of the TSU to draw attention to the fact that when the old SPG became too notorious they simply changed the name and gave a link to southall79.googlemail.com for people wanting to get in touch.

      It has been censored so so much for “Facts are sacred but comment is free”.

    25. Sunny — on 21st March, 2009 at 2:27 pm  

      Sorry, were you planning to answer my question… or say anything new there Bill? You’re like a broken record mate, and I’ve heard this so many times I glaze over. Must I remind you that I opposed all-black shortlists?

      Oh no, I shouldn’t do that, because then your cosy little bullshit narrative wouldn’t work until you’ve lumped all the ethnics together. Boring! Next time come up with something more intelligent, yeah?

    26. billericaydicky — on 21st March, 2009 at 10:26 pm  

      Once again Sunny the “Holocaust defense” is in here. Yes I know you were opposed to all black short lists and, as we say having won the grand slam, “fair play to yis”.

      The problem you have is that you are not consistent because you have an anti white, or at least a non white agenda, which blinds you to reality.

      Still boyo, you don,t censor people like Jo Harker. Do you think he’s celebrating tonight, he reckons his mother was Irish. Mind you, everyone has one when we win something.

      I,ll be back in the morning to have another go at yis.

    27. Sunny — on 22nd March, 2009 at 4:25 am  

      because you have an anti white,

      And this is why I stopped listening to you aggesssss ago :)

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