What does David Hearst mean by “the folk”?

On Friday night I went to Amnesty’s London HQ to hear Ben White publicise his updated book Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide. The event was chaired by journalist David Hearst, former chief foreign leader writer of The Guardian.

Hearst refused to allow me the opportunity to put a question to White during the Q&A instead preferring to announce in front of everyone there:

“I know exactly what you’re up to. And who you are. And who you write for.”

I sent Hearst the blog I wrote about all this. CifWatch crossposted it over at their site. Here is Hearst’s response together with my reply:

What does Hearst mean by “the folk”?

There was an apparent attempt by the Israeli Embassy in London to have the Amnesty event called off. White has his own version of that supposed attempt. We don’t know the Israeli Embassy’s side yet.

I had nothing to do with any alleged attempt. Neither did CifWatch. I don’t work for the Israeli Embassy. Hearst knows this.

Hearst may have meant generally “the Israel lobby”. Peter Oborne describes “the Israel lobby” as supporters of a foreign power who influence British policy. It’s a nice idea that I can influence British policy, but my solitary vote at the ballot box apart I just can’t.

Hearst hasn’t replied to my request for clarification of what he meant by “the folk”. One wouldn’t wish to come to a conclusion without his explanation.

Debate and full disclosure are to be encouraged unlike what, sadly, passes for “debate” at Amnesty.

Unless I hear from Hearst his use of “the folk” will remain a complete mystery.

(For more on this see CifWatch)

29 responses to “What does David Hearst mean by “the folk”?

  1. Hearst suggests it was a “debate”! It clearly wasn’t – it was a farrago of lies and a hatefest.

    He also suggests “the folk” tried to stop the event happening. Also not true. The embassy’s objection was reportedly that Amnesty was hosting it – an organisation which is not supposed to propagate lies and prejudice.

  2. David Hearst is a FOOL when he whines that his “debate”, filled with like minded people (doesn’t a real debate include people with opposing views?) was blocked when he, himself blocked Richard Millet from asking any questions.

    True to form, socialists suppress opposing views as “counter revolutionary”.

    • Brian Goldfarb

      Edward, please clarify your use of the term “socialists”. I consider myself a socialist but, if you read my comments here and elsewhere (e.g., on engageonline.wordpress.com & http://anneinpt.wordpress.com/, among others) you should be able to agree that I’m highly pro-Israel.

      The term you’re looking for is either Nick Cohen’s “progressives” (“What’s Left”, passim) or that coined by Noga of the “Contentious Centrist” blog of the “rancid left” (as opposed to the sane left).

      There are still a lot of us “sane lefties” around, you know.

  3. JanSuzanne Krasner

    Dear Richard… What he means by “the folk” is that he has no respect for what ‘you folk’ think, say or ask. He just wants to silence all of ‘us folks’…don’t let that happen…stay safe…JanSuzanne

  4. The Joooz!

    • Absolutely. That’s what the code word ‘folk’ means: those racist Joos who still cling to the outdated idea of a nation-state for a nation, whereas those laughingly known as ‘progressives’ (those I sometimes call ‘metrotwit reactionaries’) don’t have any ideas at all, destroying everything meaningful apart, of course. And of course, the Arabs and other Noble Peoples of Brown Skin(TM), have given up on nation-states a long time ago and have become Universalists. The absence of wars in Arab countries is evidence enough of that, surely.

  5. Trevor McDoughnut

    George W Bush and various other Americans use the term “folks” a lot. So?

  6. Trevor McDoughnut

    Or as it appears at the end of every Bugs Bunny cartoon, “That’s all folks”.

  7. @Brian Goldfarb-
    I would put it this way- In the UK being a Labour supporter is considered being a Socialist.
    Total Labour MP`s 257?
    Current list of Labour friends of Palestine 81– about a third-
    Quite a large minority- and many high profile-ie. Kaufmann, Abbot, Chris Bryant, Andy Burnham, Corbyn, Frank Dobson, Droney, Peter Hain,Tony Lloyd,, Michael Meacher and Jack Straw, but to name a few.

  8. There’s nowt so queer as folk

  9. Brian Goldfarb

    These responses duck the issue (Steve Mann, Trevor McDoughnut) because they revert to a stereotype of what a socialist is – theirs. I never said anything about the Labour Party or anything about how I vote, if at all, but I made a statement about my ideology and stated that it wasn’t incompatible with support for Israel, nor did I say anything that suggested that socialism (as opposed to Marxism, communism, Trotskyism, etc, etc,) necessarily sought to suppress all thought and expression that opposed it (or a segment of it).

    So I say again (and my comment was directed at Edward who hasn’t responded, but you other folk will do as well): what do you mean by “socialists”? Other than as a term of contempt or dismissal. Leave the lack of evidence and argument to the anti-Zionists and other BDSers.

    • Socialism as practiced by the National SOCIALISTS and Soviet SOCIALISTS has been a blight on the world.

      Plus the above two Socialists signed a non-aggression pact in 1939 after which they both invaded and divided up Poland.

      Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact

      That non-aggression pact lasted until the National SOCIALISTS regneged on the pact and invaded the Soviet SOCIALIST empire.

      And today SOCIALISTS in Europe are arguably the most anti-Israel activists – painting Israel with the most horrific slanders (conveniently ignoring the horrors committed by Islamists all over the world) and holding Israel to higher standards than all others.

      Brian, I hope that one day you will reject SOCIALISM and chose DEMOCRACY.

      • Brian Goldfarb

        Come now, Edward, that is sophistry. It suggests that you don’t have an answer to my question.What happens if I put “democratic” in front of “socialist”? Does that change anything? If it doesn’t, then that suggests that you are coming from an equally ideological position as the one you are dismissing without further expansion or explication.

        Further, anyone who puts words in capitals without anything further is suggesting that anyone who votes other than the way they do is somehow an enemy of democracy and/or slightly mad. I would guess that Edward, if resident in the UK, will be a Conservative Party voter, somewhat to the right of centre within that party, and will regard anyone who votes any other way as somewhat suspect.

        Or would Edward care to expand on his so far lacking in evidence and explanation comments?

  10. Brian Goldfarb- You are making mountains out of molehills-
    When we talk about the Left- we mean those and it is shown by the rhetoric of the likes of the 81 Labour friends of Palestine- we mean the Labour party-
    We see countries such as the S American “Left” all anti-Israel-
    We see the Russian TV that makes al-Jezeera look like the Jerusalem post.
    All which we consider Left and “Socialist”

    Sure there is the other side of the coin – from the “Right”- call them Fascists or in the extreme Nazis– These are terms now used and we all know to whom they allude.

    • Brian Goldfarb

      So, all members of the Labour Party (or at least the MPs thereof) are tarred by your left and/or socialist brush. So much for logic, evidence, argument and nuance.

      You demonstrate this with your final paragraph: on that basis, in the UK, everyone in the Conservative is wonderfully pro-Israel, because their leader, the current Prime Minister, made nice to Netanyahu while in Israel.

      Poppycock and balderdash: there are loads of anti-Zionist Tories, just as there loads of pro-Zionist members of the Labour Party.

      That’s the trouble with genuine democracy, it’s messy and refuses to fit anyone’s (like Steve Mann’s) neat categories. Shame the real world is like that, but hey, that’s reality for you.

      • Guess which party has the following in its ranks:
        Now please list similarly rabid haters in the Conservative party.

      • Brian Goldfarb

        I don’t have to. I’m not claiming that all members of the UK Labour Party are pro-Israel. Nor am I claiming that no members of the UK Conservative Party are anti-Israel. I don’t have to, all I have to do is find one who is anti-Israel and your apparent position falls apart. By definition, no democratic political party is monolithic. Why do you, apparently, insist that it has to be.

        That just flies in the face of reality. If your position were correct, no democratic political party would ever have a contested vote. Arranr nonsense.

      • What I am saying- At this moment in time- Anti-Zionism is mainly coming from the Islamic world in General and from the left of centre in all other governments–in particular-
        Thats all there is to it-

      • Brian Goldfarb

        No, Steve not from “the left of centre in all other governments–in particular”. As I said to Leah, that’s just arrant nonsense and assumes that all democratic political parties are monolithic. Funny how the Labour Party is divided between pro- and anti-EU factions, just like the Conservatives.

        Your’s is a mistake that Nick Cohen found it very easy to avoid in “What’s Left?”: the left faction he was disgusted with he characterised as “progressives” and many of them in the Stop The War movement were from the far left. Every here seems to be equating the Labour Party with the far left, which is, in fact, anathema to the Labour Party and always has been.

        It something that Ralph Miliband noted in great detail in his seminal “Parliamentary Socialism”.

        Please don’t elide the two. It leads to false conclusions.

      • Yes, Brian, you are talking arrant nonsense indeed, and your bizarre protestations notwithstanding, it is you whose position is without any foundations. These are all senior Labour politicians. You will NOT find senior Tory politicians with such extreme views in similar positions. Heck, you will not find even senior LibDem politicians in similar positions.

      • Brian Goldfarb

        Leah, no senior lib dems? Try David Ward for starters, try Jenny Tonge, before she was sacked/resigned (and are they really the only ones?)…And are you telling me that ALL Labour Party MPs are anti-Zionist, anti-Israel and/or antisemitic. If you truly believe that, then I have some desirable property to sell you, trouble is, its just below high water level. Examine the anti-immigrant Tory MPs closely and you’ll find plenty of closet antisemites among them…lots of them before WW2. Do you really think they and their descendants have suddenly turned into philosemites?

  11. Avraham Reiss

    “Unless I hear from Hearst his use of “the folk” will remain a complete mystery.”

    I would suggest a different approach: offer – and publish – your own understanding of Hearst’s meaning, and challenge him to offer a different interpretation. That way your interpretation stands until he says otherwise …

  12. Well lets see- Anti- Israeli-
    in the UN-
    Russia, most s.American countries- ie:Cuba etc. China- Sweden- –
    Pro Israel- USA- Canada- etc You can twist and turn all you wish-
    Milibands Mum- I think a member of Jews for Palestine-
    EU is another question-and a different one-

    • Steve, stop confusing poor Brian with facts.

      • Brian Goldfarb

        No, stop grasping at straws by extending the list to non-UK and including dictatorships – there’s nothing left-wing/democratic socialist about Cuba, Russia, China.

        Anyone can play that game and hope to confuse the others by focusing on one party that happens to have noticeable anti-Zionists in it to the exclusion of all others. But if it pleases you to be so selective as to make nonsense of intellect, etc, then have the last word in silliness with my blessing.

  13. Its t a game- Its what is occurring.
    So you tell us which countries or parties are Socialist?