Nick Cohen Rambles Into Incoherence 59

Of all the defences of Israel killing unarmed Turkish protestors – the majority of them shot in the back, four in the back of the head execution style – Nick Cohen’s ramble must be the least coherent by a very highly paid hack.

As far as I can make any sense at all of his nine pint muddle, it relies chiefly on his usual contention that anti-semitism and anti-zionism are the same thing, plus the idea that anybody who opposes Israeli brutality, supports Islamic extremism.

He manages to get in a side swipe at those of us wise enough to oppose the war in Iraq.

Why is he paid for this nonsense?

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59 thoughts on “Nick Cohen Rambles Into Incoherence

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  • Christina

    Cohen has long since ceased to be someone to be taken seriously, no matter what your own views were. He’s basically Britain’s version of a shock jock peddling populist nonsense about ‘leftists’ and ‘islamofascists’ while trawling out the ol’ anti-Zionism=anti-semitism nonsense.

    Interesting though, that while the Observer (again a paper that can no longer be taken seriously) allows comments on all other articles, it has disabled comments for Cohen’s rant and their own semi-reasonable editorial on the raid. Then again, since the guardian were deleting all comments which referred to Westminster Friends of Israel a while back, this sin’t so surprising.

  • Parky

    well i wouldn’t pay to read the guardian but sadly others do and i suppose that’s why he’s still paid to write his stuff.

  • Christina

    To be accurate, Cohen writes (or rants) for the Observer, not the Guardian. Though they share a website, the two papers are quite different. The Observer, for example, endorsed the war on Iraq, and Israel’s last excursion into Lebanon. That is why, although I sometimes buy the Guardian, I have not bought the Observer for several years now, and will not do so again.

  • eddie

    The Israeli action cannot be defended and those responsible need to be subjected to an inquiry and punished if guilty. But these things happen in democracies from time to time whether it’s Peterloo or Kent State. But let’s not get away from the fact that those on board attacked the commandos (video shows this quite clearly) and that the flotilla was a direct provocation to the Israeli state. The organisers knew full well that they would not be allowed to dock and there is video of several Turkish members of the party stating that they wanted martyrdom. So they got what they wanted.

    Meanwhile, what is happening in non-democracies around the world? Take Iran, where thousands of pro-democracy protestors have been tortured and murdered in the regime’s prisons. Do we hear a peep from Craig Murray and his followers on this matter? We do not. And why? Because it is does not fit with their world view that the US and its allies are the only source of evil in the world. It is a philosophy lacking in morality.

  • Christina

    “But these things happen in democracies from time to time whether it’s Peterloo or Kent State.”

    Hello new Iraeli troll,

    Could you give us other examples of a ‘democracy’ seizing a boat in international waters and murdering 9 civilaans from another democracy at sea? Just for comparison’s sake, you understand.

  • Ian M

    Agreed, The Observer is a far worse paper than The Guardian, and was probably a big mistake for The Guardian to buy it. It is incomprehensible to me that a paper losing so much money still insists on the tired old hacks who have been there for decades, paying them exorbitantly to rehash the same old cliches and rants time and time again. Ever since the Iraq debacle, Cohen has lost no opportunity to rant on about Islamic extremism, which he has a unique talent for finding in every imaginable place. His favourite schoolboy debating tactic is to claim is if you are against injustice and illegal, inhumane practices in the Iraq war, Afghanistan, Israel, the UK etc, then you must, obviously, be a rabid unquestioning supporter of Al Quaeda, Saddam, Hamas, and any terrorist outrage which happens. And of course, Saudi Arabia, which means you are anti gay, feminism, reason, the Enlightenment and probably you hate oxygen and rain as well. It is the same old idiocy that Mad Mel Philips, Hitchens, Amis and all the other paranoid fantasists have been peddling since 9/11, done always with that air of superiority and certainty that only hopelessly prejudiced and unthinking people display.

    It is a farce that The Observer, and many other papers, pay pub bores like Cohen a fat fee, around 70k, to opine from the comfort of their armchairs, recycle the same old claptrap endlessly, while cutting spending on people who actually have to go out and investigate, talk to people, and do the job or reporting – you know, the old fashioned idea of finding out things, establishing facts.

    But for many people it is far preferable to hold received opinions which reinforce their own beliefs, don’t upset their cosy existence, and don’t involve having to think or re-examine their ideas. In that climate, lazy hacks like Cohen, Philips, Littlejohn and all the rest of the deadweight of armchair bores, who delight in telling us what to think, thrive. It is farcical, when the papers could throw the lot of them out, and nobody would even notice their loss – in fact, of course, they would improve the papers overnight.

  • SJB


    “… thousands of pro-democracy protestors have been tortured and murdered in the [Iranian] regime’s prisons”


  • Dave

    I don’t know how familiar people here are with the US media, but commentators like Nick Cohen are too numerous to count here, and are considered mainstream, not right-wing.

    I suspect the “powers that be” are simply working to overrun the British media with the same propaganda that has control in the US. I’ve noticed the same creeping into the Canadian media. And as we know, Australia has had a markedly right-wing press for some time.

    Whether they will ever have any success in the non-Anglo countries though, remains to be seen.

  • Christina

    Very good post, Ian. Cohen gets 70K? Good lord! You’re right, of course, he’s basically the Islington dinner party version of Littlejohn. I really can’t see anyone saying “Oh I think I’ll buy the Observer this Sunday to read Nick Cohen’s editorial!”

  • Freeborn

    Cohen, MacAvoy, Coughlin, David Aaronavitch, Richard Littlejohn, Kelvin Mackenzie, and Zio-loon Melanie Phillips are fully paid-up Zio-propagandists who’ll be busy with their copy in all the Sundays.

    With the army of Hasbarat trolls currently infecting the internet-take note how they target primarily left-gatekeeper sites-it’s clear the flotilla massacre has been followed by a major Zionist PR assault.

    Israeli commandos went to great lengths to make sure no participant eye-witness accounts would emerge from the assault holding all their captives in communicado with the outside world while their disinformation trolling network went into their usual Big-Lie overdrive.

    Some bloggers have gone to similar lengths to ensure that the witness accounts do see the light of day.

    James Petras makes some interesting links between the perfidious US/Israeli cover-up of the Liberty attack in 1967 and Zio-corporate media and trolling overdrive attempt to cover-up of the further Israeli crimes against humanity this week.

    Notice how the corporate media here and in the US have completely air-brushed the PKK attack on the Turkish naval base that took place on the same day as the flotilla massacre.

    Why do the Hasbarat trolls target left-gatekeepers? Well gatekeepers are notoriously defensive re-maintaining their official credibility and are sadly likely to submit when asked to remove dissident challenges to official establishment narratives on topics like Israel in particular.

    Gatekeepers should not therefore be surprised when it is they rather than more overtly anti-Zionist sites who become the first victims of Israel’s covert disinformation programmes.

    If this comment is deleted it will, at least in a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy kind of way, make my point!

  • Leo


    “Take Iran, where thousands of pro-democracy protestors have been tortured and murdered in the regime’s prisons. Do we hear a peep from Craig Murray and his followers on this matter? We do not.”

    That is completely untrue. Craig wrote a piece slating Iran’s leadership a while ago. There is less written here about Iran than certain other countries, but it’s not Craig’s job to make a list of all the bad countries in the world and devote equal time to their crimes and mistakes.

    The difference between Iran (or Zimbabwe or wherever) and countries like Israel/USA/UK, is that the latter are our close allies or our actual elected governments.

    We have more influence over our own country and the countries it directly supports than we do over countries like Iran.

    We, collectively, also bare some of the responsibility for the actions our countries and their allies carry out (supposedly) in our name.

    We also do not have anyone on our TV screens or even in our pubs defending Iran (or Zimbabwe or whoever) on a sustained basis like we do with the murders committed by the UK, USA and Israel.

    There is very little need to spend more time criticising Iran when everyone has already accepted that Iran serious problems with its leadership. Iran may not be invading/occupying foreign lands and killing/oppressing foreigners like the US/UK/Israel all are but Iran is still an (internally) oppressive, religious state which bans things like homosexuality. I doubt anyone will argue with that, and none of us can do anything about it, so why waste time repeating it?

    Those things mean that people, at least here, are likely to focus more on our own countries and allies than on others.

    That doesn’t imply support of the other countries and it’s stupid to assume it does.

    Eddie, using your own logic, I could assert that you think Saudi Arabia and Burma are fantastic regimes, even though they’re worse than Iran in a lot of ways. I’ve not heard “a peep” out of you on those two countries but that doesn’t make me assume you support them.

    Anyway, if we can’t get our own houses in order, why would we expect others to?

  • Arsalan

    There are some who will support whatever Israel does whenever it does it.

    So you don’t need to read what they write to know what they write. People like Nick Cohen and M Philips are always pro-Israel. If Israel decided to bomb the UK, and take all the new born babies here to grind in to fertiliser, they will claim it was legal. They should shout antisemite at anyone who disagrees.

  • eddie


    Saudi is probably as bad as Iran and Burma – I agree. None of them are democracies. I wouldn’t say any of those countries are fantastic regimes. But on the whole I think democracies are better than non-democracies. Your argument is the familiar media lens one and it is a view of the world that I despise, frankly. Yes I do think Craig should be more balanced in his blogging, evil is evil whatever the source and if you think that you can never do anything about it then organisations like AI would have shut up shop long ago. Bear is the right word by the way.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    eddie, on Iran, if you glance back at one of the ‘Iran’ threads, I think the very long one, you’ll see that I have been adding to it and in fact today am seeking permission from someone in Iran to post a very moving poem by someone (who cannot be named, for obvious reasons) about Neda, the girl shot in Tehran.

    It’s not fair to say that people who oppose what Israel’s doing in the Occupied Territories, and now also in international waters, are not also actively engaged in critiquing other regimes in the region and more generally. It is indeed entirely consistent to be opposed to theocracies like Saudi Arabia and also to be opposed to Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians. Not everyone is consistent, though, I agree. What’s new?

    Furthermore, it’s not happening “from time-to-time”, eddie, it happening on a daily basis to the Palestinians.

    And Peterloo…? I mean, really.

  • Steelback

    Ken O’Keefe was a US marine and has become well known in the International Solidarity campaign.

    He was involved in the human shield volunteer movement who camped at various sensitive military sites in Iraq during the Anglo-US air assaults in 2003.

    Ken came to speak at my local Friends Meeting House about the success of the tactic that forced the attacking forces to re-think their bombing targets.None of the sites where International Solidarity volunteers took up residence was attacked.

    I remember seeing this guy at the meeting covered in tatoos-he was obviously a hard man-before I realised this was the guy the STW Coalition had invited to speak!

    O’Keefe was lucid.He told how he had been in the 1991 First Gulf War attack on Iraq.He’d wept when he saw the Amhara civilian shelter that had been taken out by the USAF with such grievous loss of life.

    He also impressively dismissed criticism of the International Solidarity human shield tactics from a SWP activist who tried to insist on the need for class solidarity or some such Trotskyite dogma.They had saved thousands of Iraqi lives there is no doubt,O’Keefe explained.

    Ken O’Keefe is one of the most courageous and sincere international humanitarians you’re ever likely to meet.He has seen the human cost of war at close quarters.

    See what happened to Ken in the flotilla assault.

    Visit Ken’s website:

  • eddie

    Suhayl I accept that you are one of the saner bodies on here. Still not sure about that hat though. Why not mention Peterloo? Britain was more of a democracy then than Iran or most of its neighbours are now.

  • mike cobley

    Nick Cohen eh? Wot a marf, wot a marf, wot a norf and sarf. Clearly, the man is merely a more literate Bruce Anderson. Now there’s a newsprint thug if ever there was one.

  • MJ

    “Saudi is probably as bad as Iran”

    Come come eddie, I’m sure you are aware really that Iran is a vision of liberal enlightenment compared with Saudi Arabia.

    Saudi Arabia has no democracy whatsoever. It still cuts off hands. It is the only Islamic state that forbids the worship of other faiths. On the question of women’s rights – a subject in which you take a sudden and remarkable interest when it comes to Islam – I should remind you that in Saudi Arabia women are not even allowed to drive cars!

    Despite this, the West says and does nothing to promote democracy and human rights in Saudi Arabia. Why is that do you think eddie? Is it because the corrupt and brutal House of Saud is beholden to the West and in its back pocket? Is it because the West has sold it so much arms that it is militarily almost as powerful as Israel? Is it because the West knows that the general population of Saudi is very fundamentalist indeed and, if empowered by democracy, might take a rather more robust approach to certain regional issues”?

  • Christina

    Now that comments are open on Cohen’s rant, I expect it to top 300+ comments soon. That is, before the Observer mods shut it down in the evening as they always do for – and ONLY for – threads which have “Israel’ in the tagline. Comment ain’t all that free.

  • Ruth

    Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam of Iran stated the BBC was the arm of MI6. Thankfully quite a few of us are now beginning to realise this.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thank you for the millinery comment, eddie. Perhaps I shall try on a different, yet still mad, one!

    I agree about democracy, it probably remains the least bad system – though of real democracy has not been attained and needs constantly to striven for, including in the UK.

    And as I’ve said before, saying that over the past 200 years, Britain was oppressive in, say, N. Ireland, Kenya, India, Rhodesia, the rest of its empire (Spain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands even more so), or indeed in its own domestic realm, is no reason not to criticise Israel’s contemporary actions.

  • Christina

    Yes, exiledlondoner is probably my fave CIF poster! Utterly demolished, line by turgid line, all of Cohen’s trash.

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