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Exchange with MP Denis MacShane Re: Venezuela

 
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

Post Post subject: Exchange with MP Denis MacShane Re: Venezuela Reply with quote

Email to MacShane:

Mr. MacShane:

You said in a letter to the Guardian that you made statement to the UN that denounced the coup that briefly ousted Chavez in 2002. Is the full statement publicly available?

Do you regret the other public statements you made while Chavez was deposed - comparing him to Mussolini and referring to him as a "ranting demagogue"? Those statements must have been welcomed by the perpetrators of the coup.

In the Guardian's "comment's" section you said that Chavez "has made openly anti-semitic remarks".Perhaps you are unaware that this falsehood has been thoroughly exposed by the US media watchdog FAIR. [1] I urge you to publicly correct your statement.

Regards,

Joe Emersberger

[1] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/articles.php?artno=1656

REPLY FROM MACSHANE:

No I did not make a statement at the UN. I wrote I was at the UN the day after the coup and issued a statement as UK minister calling for a return to democracy. I was at the UN for meetings to do with the Balkans and did not take part in any public sessions. All ministerial statements are available on the FCO web site.

I have read in Spanish what Chavez said about the descendants of those who crucified Christ now controlling the world's wealth, oil, etc. It was in a speech made on 24 December in 2005 and I attach the extract which caused concern amongst the Jewish community in many countries for your interest. I am afraid that the rhetoric about Christ-crucifiers who now control our money, oil and so forth is generally taken by many, many Jews and many, many reasonable people as being anti-Semitic. Last week I was at the Jewish King David School in Manchester where the children face abuse and hostility because they are Jewish. One common insult is "You Jews killed Christ." So while I am prepared to accept Mr Chavez did not mean to be anti-Semitic and, as so often, was taken away by his own populist rhetoric, I am afraid that when I hear reference in a modern context of owning wealth and having power to the descendants of those who killed Christ I share the concern of many Jewish people.

I hope Mr Chavez will acknowledge his unfortunate choice of words and put matters right. I am looking at doing a kind of wrap reply to some of the serious points made in response to my blog and if I do I will make clear the wider context of the anti-semitic references. The trouble is that every Jew I know thinks Ken Livingstone was offensive and anti-semitic with his famous remarks but Ken is convinced he isn't. Who is right? The person who was offended, hurt, and feels his race or belief belittled? Or the man who uses certain language and then says he is not racist, or anti-semitic and in any case did not intend to be so despite the interpretation put on his words?

Sorry to go on at such length but in contrast to so many of the blog replies which were like green ink capital lettered insults I get as an MP, your points are important and merit a proper reply.
Denis MacShane

MY REPLY TO HIM:

Mr. MacShane:

Thanks for replying. I found your statement on the FCO website you mentioned. The statement said

"'Following the departure of President Chavez, the UK wants to see the swift return to a legitimate, democratic government in Venezuela. I hope the President’s resignation will prevent any more bloodshed. However, the people of Venezuela and the international community will not tolerate any regression to non-democratic government rule. A legitimate democratic government, which fully respects human rights and international law, should be swiftly re-established. Any delay to this process will be contrary to Venezuela’s long history of democracy and unacceptable to the international community.'

Clearly you did not denounce the coup. You didn't even acknowledge that a coup took place, but referred to it as a "resignation".The perpetrators of the coup must have been pleased. The lie about "resignation" was used again by US allies in Haiti after taking power - in that case successfully.

Thanks for forwarding me Chavez's statement in Spanish. I had already read it. I am fluent in the language. FAIR's translation and analysis of the statement were on target. There was nothing anti-semitic about it. His statement did not even mention jews. It listed "those who crucified Christ" (obviously that includes many non jews - the Romans!), It also listed those who "expelled Bolivar" . He was attacking elite domination of the world's resources. Should we all back away from that now for fear of being labelled anti-Semites?

You say that many jews were offended by these remarks. Given the way the statement was distorted and circulated by the international corporate press that isn't surprising. Again, I refer you to FAIR's alert on the subject.

I note that you have now backed away from saying that Chavez made "openly anti-semitic remarks" to saying that he was careless with his language. I hope you publicly acknowledge your carelessness in discussing Chavez' statement

Should Chavez have anticipated how his words would have been distorted?Yes, but defamation and slander would have continued against him regardless. We live in a world where coups are passed off as "resignations" thanks to the elite dominance over public debate.

Regards,

Joe Emersberger
Sun May 21, 2006 8:30 pm
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

FINAL REPLY BY MACSHANE

Thanks. Shall we agree to disagree. I was the only minister of a major government to call for democracy to be restored. At the time no-one had any accurate information on what had happened. The trade unions in Venezuela appeared to be supporting Chavez's ouster. Check the media at the time and the clarity of hindsight was not available. My statement saying democracy must be restored was reported in the Latin American press. It was in complete contrast to the Bush administration which said nothing until Chavez was back in power. You wish I had gone further. Fair enough. But at least acknowledge that there was one government which did at once and at the time say democracy had been overthrown and should be defended.

On those who killed Christ, I urge you to be careful about where your argument takes you. Next time I hear Jean Marie Le Pen make the link between those who killed Christ and those wno control France I shall remember he is not being anti-semitic.I am prepared to admit that Chavez had not anti-semitic intent. Can you have the honesty to admit that many Jews see references to Christ-killers differently so why is it that only your interpretation that is the right one? When I offend people even if I did not mean to, I try and say sorry. Given the fear Jews have in Latin America after atrocious attacks against the Jewish community there and the rising tide of anti-semitism worldwide I find it astonishing you chose to disparage the concerns of the Jewish community about Christ-killers. By all means let Chavez denounce control of the world's wealth by a small number of people ( all a favourite Le Pen trope) but please do not link it back to the Jews (and if you must, the Romans).

Let us stop this correspondence because we are talking past each other.
Denis MacShane MP
Mon May 22, 2006 3:50 pm
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

I decided to resist the temptation to respond since he asked that we "end the correspondence". I've added some links below showing how dishonest he being trying to take refuge in the line that the truth wasn't clear at the time of the coup.
Before Chavez was restored even the BBC didn't accept the resignation story at face value as MacShane did.

below from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/1927390.stm (April 13,2002)

"Latin America ambivalent over military coup"

The article is ridiculoulsy biased against Chavez, but did not accept as fact that a "resignation" had occured.

The article said

"Many openly condemned the military ouster although only Cuba had any sympathy for the overthrown President Hugo Chavez.

But both Argentine President Eduardo Duhalde and Paraguayan President Luis Gonzalez Macchi called Venezuela's new government illegitimate. "

Gregory Wilpert wrote an article days for before the coup indicating what was coming in Venezuela.

Wilpert by April 9, 2002 " Imminent Coup in Venezuela?"
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=1623

Anyone following events in Venezuela, and remotely familair with Latin America history, could have seen that a coup was quit likely.

The editors of the progressive Mexican journal La jornada were also not fooled:

http://www.zmag.org/content/LatinAmerica/jornada_april13-2002-editorial.cfm

As for the "anti-semitic" stuff I really can't improve on what the FAIR alert said.
Mon May 22, 2006 8:05 pm
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