Three Misguided Idiots: A Play in Two Acts

Georgina Henry recently made her worst decision so far by attempting to excuse and apologise for an ill-judged and reprehensible by line for an article by Michael Lerner on CiF in which he referred to those who protested against Goldstone’s lunatic and highly creative interpretation of events in Gaza as “a choir of ethical cretins.”

For the reader who may have missed Henry’s priceless and inane attempt to dig herself out of a hole of her own making, it is reproduced below (and it even got 5 recommendations!):


21 Oct 09, 12:34pm


Thanks to those of you who have raised the issue of Michael Lerner’s use of the phrase “choir of ethical cretins”. The intention was clearly not to offend in that he was using it in its colloquial sense, and in a general way. But I have asked the editor of the Guardian’s style guide (where the word is currently not mentioned) whether guidance should be included on its use. Since we’ve taken the point on board, perhaps the thread could now concentrate on debating the merits of his argument.

Obviously Henry came in for a lot of stick from intelligent people for writing such rubbish, but below is a fly-on-the-wall take of what might have led to that asinine comment and what should have ensued as a result of her making it, if the Guardian/CiF had had any ethical sense at all.

It’s called “Three Misguided Idiots:  a play in two acts” and stars Georgina Henry, Brian Whitaker and Matt Seaton, with a last act appearance by Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian’s Editor in Chief:


Georgina Henry is moaning and chewing the carpet in her office, having been plied with strong coffee by her PA following an avalanche of emails of complaint about Lerner’s spiteful and inelegant remark.   The telephone rings and she picks herself up from the floor as her PA hands her the receiver:

HENRY (spitting out bits of carpet):  Yes?  What do you want?  Oh Matt…  What is it now?

SEATON: Well frankly Georgina (and I really don’t want to upset you) it’s this remark by Michael Lerner.  What’re we going to do about it (not that I think that we should do anything about it unless you say so of course).

HENRY: (sighs…   then): Let’s have a meeting.  Go get Brian (Whitaker) and come to my office.

Several minutes pass.  Then a knock on the door and Seaton and Whitaker join Henry.

WHITAKER: This is a bit of a nasty one, but of course it’s been planned by Zionists and people in the pay of the Israeli Government so do we actually need to do anything?

HENRY:  So are you saying that Lerner deliberately did this to make us look bad?  Well, we may be able to spin that…..

SEATON (eagerly) :  Well, I think he did..

Both look at him pityingly and then roll their eyes at each other.

HENRY:  Well I suppose I could go onto the thread and try to defuse it.

WHITAKER and SEATON:   Good idea!  Do it now.

Henry dashes something off to the thread and sends it immediately, and shows it to Seaton and Whitaker afterwards.

WHITAKER: (reads the post) What the…???  Well that could have been done better.  The Zionists and their chums could drive a coach and horses through that.  What if CiF Watch get their hands on it?

SEATON: Yes, I agree with Brian.  We could really be in the doggy doo.

HENRY, (glaring at them furiously):   I have made an executive decision and I stand by it.

SEATON:  Quite right too.  I agree with Georgina.


Henry glares at Whitaker and he sinks into his seat.

The telephone rings.  Alan Rusbridger wants a word with all of them immediately.




Henry, Seaton and Whitaker are in Rusbridger’s office

RUSBRIDGER: (Pacing up and down mumbling under his breath and waving his arms about) What the hell do you three think you’re playing at?

The three look at the floor.

RUSBRIDGER: I am getting emails and letters of complaint about this idiot Lerner, whom I’ve never even heard of and the ‘phone’s been ringing nonstop.   It’s bad enough that we allowed ourselves to be led up the garden path about Jenin but this is another blow.

Georgina!  Don’t look at the others, all this is your responsibility.  And I’ve just read your idiotic post to the Lerner thread.  What on earth did you think you were doing?

HENRY: I felt it my duty to keep the thread on track and in the service of freedom of expression …..


And I’ve spent the morning looking at all your commissioned articles about the Israel/Palestine issue and I’ve got to say I think all of you are unhealthily obsessed – there’s no other word for it.   And precisely what do YOU mean, Georgina, by “in the service of freedom of expression?” I’ve been looking at the comments as well and I notice that most of them are frankly crazy and you’ve allowed them to remain.   But they can’t all have been crazy.  What’ve you done with the comments which disagreed with this man Lerner?

HENRY: (Sullenly) I made an executive decision and told the moderators to delete almost all of them.   (Leaps to her feet and gesticulates, voice rising and with dilated pupils and then:) They cannot, they must not be allowed to derail the threads!!   I see it as my duty to bring the truth to the nation  ….. (Suddenly realises that the others are staring at her and sinks into her seat again, looking at her feet and playing with her fingers).

RUSBRIDGER: (looking shocked) You just don’t get it do you?   YOU ARE MAKING US LOOK BAD!

Well, that’s it – I’ve marked all of your cards now and I’ve had a gut full of your attitude Georgina – you’ve done this once too often.   I thought you had potential, I gave you free reign to use it creatively, and this is the thanks I get.   I am not going to go before the Board to defend your stupidity any more – you’re on your own from now on to clean up your own mess.

(Whitaker opens his mouth to protest, but catches Rusbridger’s eye and thinks better of it)

RUSBRIDGER: And Whitaker, don’t you give me any rubbish either, about this being a Zionist plot by people in the pay of the Israeli government.  That may wash with the intellectually challenged who are allowed to spout rubbish underneath what you write but it won’t wash with me.   I have several bones to pick with you about making that so obvious too.  “Zionist plot”  indeed…   You have to hint at it otherwise they’ll be all over us, and yet you have all the subtlety of a bull in a china shop.

The Guardian is losing money hand over fist and I’ve been told to economise.  There’ll be some changes around here, mark my words.

And as for you, Seaton  (Seaton gulps and gets out his handkerchief).   WHAT POSSESSED YOU TO WRITE TO MEL PHILLIPS’ COLUMN IN YOUR OFFICIAL CAPACITY? Let’s see what you’ve written:

” We admire Melanie’s work so much that we had to nominate this blogpost as one of our ‘best of the web’ on Cif (Cif, please, Mel; not CiF).

” hope she won’t feel too compromised by being included in our ‘institutionalised intellectual and moral depravity’.”


If I’ve told you all once I have told you a hundred times – DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE CIFWATCH!  DO NOT REFER TO IT!   DO NOT ENGAGE WITH IT!   DON’T EVEN HINT THAT IT EXISTS!  DO YOU UNDERSTAND? (they all nod).    If we ignore them then they may just leave us alone.



SEATON: I just wanted to say sorry…..


90 replies »

  1. And a PS to peterthehungarian: Bravo! The alliance between the extreme left and the BNP is, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, “the gutless in liaison with the brainless”

  2. The problem with J street that I don’t need their support and lobbying if they believe that they know better than me in the US what I have to do and what not, what I have to risk and what not, how I should behave and how not. Israel is a democracy. If there is a lobby group whose declared purpose to support Israel in the US governing circles then they have to accept the will of the Israeli voter. The people of J street have to decide either they want to support Israel or they want to support their self-image.

  3. As to the comment above defending the good name of “The J Street Group” and listing the names of its supporters, it is true that there are some honorable people on it. But there is also Bernard Avishai. Way back in 1982, Avishai was one of the New York Times favorite Jewish critics of Israel. Back in 1982, the New York Times began a trend, continued to this day, to give special prominence to Jewish critics of Israel. If these critics could claim any tie to Israel, no matter how remote, they were pretty much assured of being published in the New York Times. And Bernard Avishai was one of these Jewish critics of Israel. There was also the late I.F. Stone and the aged Milton Viorst and and later a Jimmy Carter chief of state named Lloyd Cutler. They all repeated the same poppycock. Although southern Lebanon was an Arafat colony and he used south Lebanon to conduct wave after wave of terrorism at Northern Israel, the Jewish critics of Israel were hysterical when Israel finally struck back in 1982. This, they wailed, is not what Jews should do. Anyone who thinks Bernard Avishai is a friend of Israel should go back and read his opeds from 1982.

  4. Peter- you said it!!

    Berchmans- you just got OWNED!


    *= noise that is emitted when bigots are virtually smacked across their pink faces

  5. Berchmans you have repeated your slander and I firmly believe that anyone who “even gives Anne Frank a blast” when he is drunk and cannot blame Hamas for hating Jews (note, not Israelis) NOW means every single word of it.

    There’s little or nothing to separate your mindless hatred of Israel and Jews from the BNP’s.

    When I see you speaking out against Jew-hatred on CiF (rather than cranking it up with your inanities) and against the Islamofascists who write and comment there, and call out Jew-hatred there in the same way as you condemn what you construe to be hatred of Islam, then I will believe that you “didn’t mean it” when you accused Peter of supporting the BNP.

    Until then, you are an ignoramus and are therefore beneath contempt.

  6. “…. I specifically chose Peter as he still writes to CIF… “

    Thus sayeth a chum of Georgina and he gives as lame and idiotic an excuse for implying that Jews collude with the BNP as was hers for the “ethical cretins” article her skewed judgement allowed to be printed.

  7. Even paranoids have real enemies. – Henry Kissinger

    Look under Hot Topics

    They put Kachol v’Lavan next to Karadzic, Griffin, Police Surveillance and OBL. What’s the common denominator in this equation? That’s how the Guardian brainwashes the British public.

  8. Berchmans, I know who you are and what sort of an apology for a person you are. You are deafeningly silent against the Jew-hatred on CiF and yet you have the nerve to approach PetertheHungarian, because he still posts there, to do your dirty work.

    Show you have some spine.

    Get on there and denounce the alliances between the extreme left and Islamists carefully nurtured by CiF, and equally denounce Islamofascist Hamas before you accuse or even imply that Israel can be linked to the BNP.

    You are a thoroughgoing hypocrite as well as a nasty piece of work.

  9. “stevehill

    International law recognises Israel’s right to exist within its 1967 borders.”

    International law per se has no say when it comes to delineating borders of a particular state. As a rule of thumb, territorial sovereignty is upheld by bilateral/multilateral treaties. Moreover, as a successor organization, the UN at its inception was legally obligated to carry out certain mandates and resolutions enacted by the League of Nations. In other words, the Jewish state’s juridical status predates the UN by nearly thirty years.

  10. b752i,

    Unable to come up with a direct answer to my query, you seek to deflect and obfuscate This is a red herring…obviously.

  11. When you see the Goonerunite writing in favour of Jstreet then you begin to suspect the whole organisation. He writes as if he is their spokesman with a long screed on their purposes ending thus: J Street is itself a 501(c)(4) organization and is part of the J Street family of organizations, which includes an independent, legally unconnected Political Action Committee, JStreetPAC and the J Street Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization.

    How can you not support them?, now if only the other Middle Eastern Nations could get together a groups whose aims were comparable.

    Other statements by this character read
    The rewards of talking to Iran
    goonersunite’s comment 22 Oct 09, 12:23pm
    You know, if the Western govts, stop treating Iran as some kind of leper and actually encouraged her to participate in the Middle East peace procces, i doubt we would be worrying so much about a possible Nuclear Iran, and statement made ridiculous by the fact theres still no eveidence to suggest the country is even trying to build Nukes.

    Iran has every right to feel worried and isolated, due to her Neighbours of Afgahnistan and Iraq both occupied, and an icreasingly psychotic Israeli leadership that could give the Mullahs a run for their money.

    orwellwasrigth, good artcicles those.

    Recommended (12)

    Palestinians send Blair a wake-up call
    goonersunite’s comment 22 Oct 09, 12:09pm
    Blair has to be one of the slimests politicans in recent history, he makes Mandy look alsomot human and that takes some beating.

    He still shamelessly refuses to vsiits Gaza and the death and destruction that would await him there, as like a great many of Israels apologists, he doesnt give a shit about the Palestianians and their plight.

    Excellent article Seth.

    Recommended (2)

  12. Berchmans

    PS I am astonished that there are no articles about the Nazis in the UK…you know… the real enemy.

    Some people just aren’t so particular about the company they keep these days. BNP support? Oh, that will do nicely, thanks! You know the old revamped saying: the enemy of my muslim enemy is my friend (until I need a new scapegoat)?

  13. Rhisiart and Berchmans, are you admitting that there are Nazis employed by CiF?

    This blog serves an excellent purpose to identify Jew-hatred on CiF even when its perpetrators are too thick to realise what they are saying – it has sure got Berchmans number.

    And now it’s got yours, hasn’t it?

    Editors, this idiot seems to have stumbled in from the street on his way to the pub after an SWP meeting. Chuck a bucket of water over him and kick his backside out again.

  14. Bavli

    Editors, this idiot seems to have stumbled in from the street on his way to the pub after an SWP meeting. Chuck a bucket of water over him and kick his backside out again.

    Do you find it impossible to disagree without coming across as an unsopohisticated yob?

  15. If there are any members of JStreet who do not hate Israel they are well hidden. The leaders of JStreet regularly lambaste Israel in the media and they urge international pressue on Israel to surrender. JStreet takes money from sources that do not even recognize Israel’s right to exist. JStreet is a favorite of papers like the Guardian because they love to find Jews (I use the term loosley becuae JStreet does not have any observant members) who will publicly slam Israel and defend Israel’s attackers. The Guardian editors must get a good chuckle at JStreet. JStreet is the ultimate sell out.

  16. Now the retards from the left are asking for help from the pro Israeli posters to fight the BNP,Berchmans most posters here detest the BNP just as much as they detest these AH that post their anti Israeli/semitic rants on CIF and everywhere else.Rhisiart,you will find plenty of unsophisticated yobs in the circles that you move in.BTW you can’t even spell sophisticated correctly.
    Sophisticated my ass.

  17. In praise of………..Amira Hess….At last she found someone to praise her.
    Surprise,surprise, it is the Guardian,in an editorial no less.
    What’s with the Guardian,and these scuzzbuckets that they keep promoting.

  18. As its effort to provide cover for JStreet (with friends like these ….!!), the Guardian is running a sophisticated poll at

    Voting so far:

    61.7% Roadmap. J Street’s voice is valuable
    38.3% Roadblock. J Street muddies the debate

    A great comment followed:


    26 Oct 09, 8:48pm (about 5 hours ago)

    I am full of admiration at the statistical validity of this poll, obviously prepared by professional statisticians. It is undoubtedly being conducted here on the Guardian’s website among a completely unbiased and balanced group of readers. The results should be truly enlightening.

    I would like to suggest a follow up poll on whether Benjamin Netanyahu is contributing to peace in the region, to be held among all male adults between the ages of 18 and 30 who permanently reside in Gaza. These results too should be truly enlightening.

    There is clearly no limit to what creative people can do with the science of statistics.

    So get out the vote, folks – tell the Guardian what you think about this.

  19. JStreet has no support anywhere accept in the Guardian and other anti-Israel outlets. THe JStreet convention is on CSpan. If you have insomina, the JStreet convention will cure it real fast.

  20. peterthehungarian

    ##But exactly because I have zero tolerance for fascists and racists I never would seek any alliance with people like the BNP, ##


    Good to see this in print. Cable St. mark 2 is what I want to happen.


  21. Aficianado

    Rhisiart,you will find plenty of unsophisticated yobs in the circles that you move in.

    What “circles” would those be, and are you specifically referring to this web site?

    you can’t even spell sophisticated correctly.
    Sophisticated my ass.

    I suppose that one can be excused for not being able to discriminate between a simple typo and a mispelling.

    Sophisticated my ass.

    Yes, “Sophisticated my ass”, is your arse. But, is that adoloscent cant the best that you can come up with?

  22. Berchmans

    Good to see this in print. Cable St. mark 2 is what I want to happen.

    Don’t you believe it. Some people would rather see the entire left annihilated before a hair of the heads of any of the british nazi party is ruffled. It’s a low motion replay of what has gone before, in an attempt to replay history in order to arrive at different outcomes. Some people just don’t get it, you cannot side with Nazis/Fascists and come out of it smelling of roses, or indeed, come out of it alive – literally or metaphorically.

  23. Funny article, and there seems to have been a Third Act:


    Three Misguided Idiots: Third Act

    I’ve got a great idea – let’s have a poll to show support for JStreet – that’ll stick it to that CiFWatch (a feig – you should pardon the expression) crowd.

    Brian – you’ve been spending too much time with your house Jews – that kind of ethnic language is inappropriate here.

    I saw this great picture of a tattered Israeli flag we could use – that’ll get the troops worked up!

    Great idea – I bet we run 90% pro-JStreet!!! Do it – NOW!!!


    Let’s see how our poll is doing – OMIGOD! NOOO!!!

    16.3% Roadmap. J Street’s voice is valuable
    83.7% Roadblock. J Street muddies the debate

    What did you idiots do to us????

    Call the accountants – how much could we save by replacing these ethical cretins with Jonathan Hoffman???

  24. Most beginning actors know the play ends in Act III.

    But some at the Guardian are slow learners…



    27 Oct 09, 4:29pm (50 minutes ago)
    Staff Staff

    A torn flag of Israel? Revealing. Very revealing. I like to see where else we have seen the Guardian disrespect a nation’s flag.

    georgeindia: Here’s a British flag getting burnt at a demo.
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    27 Oct 09, 4:47pm (31 minutes ago)


    Nice try. Other than reports from incidents such as demonstrations, do you have nice little picture where the only object presented is a burnt/torn British flag (or a flag of any other country for that matter) to represent a country?

    You see, this picture of the Israeli flag is not in the context of a demonstration, or flag burning, or anything that fits with the context of the report. Heck, this wasn’t even a report or even an op-ed!

    This picture is that of the Israeli flag – that’s it. And the only Israeli flag the Guardian could find was one torn to shreds. The photo is not even related to the poll or another article for that matter. I don’t understand, Or maybe I do. What clever explanation can we expect? With your level of access, I’m sure it’ll be easy to know.

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    27 Oct 09, 5:04pm (15 minutes ago)


    “Here’s a British flag getting burnt at a demo ”

    Um … the caption says:

    Yard wants ban on flag-burning in crackdown on demos by extremists

    · Calls for firm action after Muslims’ cathedral protest
    · Opinion divided over ‘get tough’ measures

    Could you explain the relevance?? Did Muslims tear or burn that Israeli flag?

  25. AKUS, thanks for your addition of the final act – every apposite in the light of the fiasco on CiF about JStreet.

    I am afraid that I see said fiasco as yet more proof of the divorcement from reality of the Henry coven.

    Just when Henry hits a new low she manages to get even more down and dirty. The sick-making feeling evoked by the tattered Israeli flag in a CiF column works at so many reprehensible levels that I doubt that she could have come up with it by herself – she must have been trawling the gutter for it or been advised to take the disgusting imagery in Der Sturmer as a template.

  26. Medusa:

    Tattered or not – still that blue star of David proudly flies!!!

    Long after the Guardian is dead and buried, that star will be around.

  27. Yes, AKUS.

    I am flabbergasted, though, by the complete lack of insight of the Henry coven as to how this lunacy might possibly be construed.

    I would imagine that she’s surprised at the furore.

    And I’ll bet that it won’t be long before the coven gets on line, alongside the other old faithful Guardianistas to say that the JStreet poll result was skewed as a result of a Zionist plot.

    Cue Brian Whitaker……

  28. Rhisiart

    Should I follow your example, then, as regards “sophistication???”

    God forbid!!

    You take care :-))


  29. Apologies for the cross-posting but this seems to be apposite here as well:

    The Thematic Apperception Test has fallen somewhat out of favour now as a measure of the projections and workings of the unconscious mind.

    However, in this case, we have a prize example of it in action.

    The image [of the tattered Israeli flag] was chosen with a purpose, which reflects what those who chose it want to happen.

    The flag represents the state of Israel. They want Israel to be a failed, tattered state, like their image of its flag.

    This is conscious rather than unconscious because they are so divorced from reality that they either feel safe in being open about it (however unrealistically) or they cannot control their hatred of Israel.

    Whatever the rationale, I’d be willing to bet that the Henry coven’s mental state is disintegrating.

  30. Rhisiart, what if you are a extreme leftist lunatic who sides with Islamists whose human rights abuses of their own people are execrable just because you hate Israel and its Jews?

    Does the SWP and its nasty little bedfellows come out of such an alliance smelling of roses either?

    As Peterthehungarian has written elsewhere, “socialist” is as dirty a word to an Islamist fanatic as is “Jew.”

    Perhaps you didn’t realise?


    Rhisiart, what if you are a extreme leftist lunatic who sides with Islamists whose human rights abuses of their own people are execrable just because you hate Israel and its Jews?

    You seem to be as clueless about me as you seem to be about everything else, but that must be very easy when one’s unique motivation is to troll anyhting that is too contrary or too difficult to understand, rather than to take a position of using and benefitting from critical debate.

    FYI The interpretation of a pale, battle torn or wind weathered symbol of state is entirely in the mind of the perceiver. Personally I don’t see anything negative in things that are trivial or open to many vague or lazy interpretations.

  32. “The interpretation of a pale, battle torn or wind weathered symbol of state is entirely in the mind of the perceiver…”

    Er… no, Rhisiart. In the same way as pictures of child pornography are still pornographic whether or not people perceive them as such, because of the context in which the photographs have been taken and the use to which they are put.

    Your parading of your lack of creature feeling or imagination does you no favours here.

    Apologies for labouring the point, but you obviously don’t get it:

    Such a symbol of state, pale and battle torn in the context of the Israel- and Jew-hatred of CiF gives it a deeper meaning which is rather more complicated than your imagination appears capable of grasping.

    And on the contrary, I have a very good grasp of such a one as you who, when contradicted, resorts to ad hominem argument.

  33. peterthehungarian

    “As a soldier I fought against fascists like Hamas in Gaza, like the Hezb’allah in Lebanon when you just got drunk participating on a party meeting in your friendly neighborhood pub and escaped from there when -the competition -the BNP thugs arrived.
    But exactly because I have zero tolerance for fascists and racists I never would seek any alliance with people like the BNP, not like ‘your kind’ seeking alliance with the most disgusting anti-human ideologies.”

    Your glorious IDF had no such qualms in “seeking alliance with the most disgusting anti-human ideologies” when they co-operated and co-ordinated with fascistic Phalangists to facilitate the butchering of hundreds of unarmed Palestinian women and children during the first Lebanon war. Sabra and Chatilla ring any bells?


    This has nothing to do with child pornoghraphy.

    Your parading of your lack of creature feeling or imagination does you no favours here.

    Maybe I just have a better sense of perspective and proportion.

    Such a symbol of state, pale and battle torn in the context of the Israel- and Jew-hatred of CiF gives it a deeper meaning which is rather more complicated than your imagination appears capable of grasping.

    Some things – arguabbly most things – are more imporrtant than mere symbols of power.

  35. I see you have not developed beyond the concrete operations stage of cognitive development, Rhisiart, with all the attendant deleterious effects on your sense of perspective and capability to reality-test and understand what is actually being written to you, and therefore you are incapable of understanding the meaning of analogy or comparison (you might want to look them up in the dictionary).

    Don’t reply to me. I don’t have the time to debate grown-up matters with little children.