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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Not One Of Us

More from the correspondence columns, in this case the Times:-

'Sir Melanie Phillips (comment, June 6) thinks the doctrines of multiculturalism and minority rights spring from “a systematic onslaught” by the elite against British identity and values.

If so, the elite has taken its time. It is 350 years since Jews were readmitted to Britain, and some 150 since the last formal bars against Jews and Roman Catholics (and atheists) were removed. The Phillipses of the day reacted much as the present one. Does she think they were right?

'STEPHEN HUGH-JONES
London NW8'

A pity the writer didn't have space to elaborate on which bits of British identity and values were compromised by the emancipation of the Jews. The Jewish terrorist threat in early Victorian London has somehow got left out of all the history books I've read. Nor does he tell us what formal bars exist against law-abiding Muslims, or what formal bars he imagines that Melanie Phillips is proposing.

But doubtless Melanie is grateful for the gentle reminder that 350 years on she's still not quite One Of Us.

[By the way, a quick google suggests that somebody named Stephen Hugh-Jones (I'll say no more than that - once bitten, twice shy!) has form.]

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I came upon this bizarre reference to myself in a Cyrus blog of June 2006.

I cannot remember ever "having form", unless disagreeing with Melanie Phillips is ipso facto a criminal offence.

Still less can i remember ever biting--or indeed ever being in contact with--anyone called Cyrus, unless this Cyrus is a nutcase called Cyrus Ghiassy, a gentleman who used to send me letters dotted with anti-Welsh gibes, and, if I remember right, was last heard of fleeing the UK to avoid some criminal charge. But I will presume not, though the two indeed seem to share some unpleasant if non-criminal characteristics.

Still this anonymous Cyrus is quite right to ask what threat to the British identity was posed by the emancipation of the Jews. None, of course: that was exactly the point I was making in my letter to the Times.

Stephen Hugh-Jones

SH-J said...

I m ight have added that the ludicrous suggestion that I was "reminding" Ms Phillips that she is "still not quite one of us" is a typical piece of Cyrusian smear. I haven't the faintest doubt that Ms Phillips is as much "one of us" as any other Briton--and Cyrus has no excuse for using his mucky little tar-brush to suggest otherwise. There are limits to this "you're a closet anti-semite" crap, and he might reasonably larn them before using it.

SH-J

john harrod said...

Cheer up, SH-J. The silly and offensive judgement that Melanie Phillips is "not quite one of us" came solely from Cyrus, not you. Anyway, why waste time on a guttersnipe who daren't even sign his real name to his libels?

Cyrus said...

My identity makes not a jot of difference to the validity or otherwise of my opinions. My anonymity seems to be a provocation only for those who want to call me names, not for those able and willing to engage in reasoned debate.

For the record I, too, write letters to newspapers. When they are published, as they sometimes are, they appear with my real name at the bottom.

Response to Mr Hugh-Jones to follow.

Stephen Hugh-Jones said...

'Cyrus' is quite right: the validity or invalidity of his writings is not affected by his failure to sign them. But other people's judgment of their worth is, and ought to be. By and large, people who deserve to be taken seriously put their names to their assertions of fact or opinion. They do not skulk behind anonymity. And the rest of us are right to take this into account: letters from Jonathan Sacks on Judaism or Mervyn King on the economy really are likelier to be correct than those of 'Mister Knowall' on some bloggers' forum.
And now for something more serious. No "reasoned debate" of the sort the 'Cyrus' claims to value is advanced by putting into the mouth of one's opponent offensive sentiments that he absolutely does not hold. There is a perfectly arguable case for Israeli actions. If 'Cyrus' wants to offer it, fine. If he wants to proclaim his own anti-Palestinian prejudices, so be it. But he was not and is not entitled to attribute to me anti-semitic claptrap fabricated solely by himself.
But of course this is the traditional smear rolled out, in place of argument, against anyone who dares to disagree with pro-Israeli extremists. In the mid-1990s, I endured weeks of it from hate-mailers whipped up by an American hyper-Likudnik organisation called Camera. My crime was to have defended The Economist's balanced reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian quarrel, and its very moderate views thereon (eg, the idea of a two-state solution--a notion later endorsed by Ariel Sharon....). A torrent of untruth and insult descended on my head.
I doubt that many of my abusers had ever read a word of The Economist, except through Camera's distorting lens. Even if they had, the words probably were not mine: I never reported the Middle East, merely ran the section of the magazine which covered that area among several others. No matter, out, against me, came the tar-brushes.
But at least these misled Americans had excuses: decades of one-sided American reporting of the issue, and the collective Jewish consciousness of centuries of persecution. 'Cyrus' had no such excuses: to judge from his writings, he is neither American nor Jewish.
And at least most of my American critics signed their letters with their real names. I wonder if 'Cyrus' has the guts to do likewise? My name is signed below. My email address is stephenhughjones@economist.com. If 'Cyrus' offers his promised reply--the only decent one would be a two-line but total apology as public as his fabrication--perhaps he will add the same detail for himself. We'll see.

Stephen Hugh-Jones

Stephen Hugh-Jones said...

Well here we are six weeks later and the pitiable Cyrus still hasn't had the guts (leave aside decency or elementary honesty) to withdraw his silly libel.

Let alone under a real name, not one of skulking anonymity.

Still, I daresay that's all one can expect of folk like him. Lie anonymously, why would you bother to admit the truth and add your own name to it?

Cyrus said...

My full response to Stephen Hugh-Jones's remarks is posted here.

Stephen Hugh-Jones said...

And after some ten weeks of waiting, a fresh load of fabrications and lies the bogus "Cyrus's" so-called response turned out to be. My reply to it, demonstrating his falseness, was sent to his website on April 2nd 2009. Since he took no notice of that, I posted a further one on his site on April 21st 2009.

SH-J