An interview with Jeremy Corbyn

This is a guest post by Quizblorg

Interviewer: Mr. Corbyn, you’ve come under criticism for inviting members of Hamas and Hezbollah to Parliament and referring to them as friends.

Jeremy Corbyn: How very dare you!

Interviewer: Can you understand these criticisms?

Corbyn: Have you no decency? At long last, have you no sense of decency?

Interviewer: I’m just putting a question to you.

Corbyn: Calling people friends doesn’t mean that you respect them, or that you’re giving their valuable work on behalf of justice and progress the recognition it undoubtedly deserves – it just means you want to involve them in the conversation. You don’t have to agree with someone on every last thing to call them a friend. For example, I have a friend who thinks Roger Moore was the best James Bond – whereas I think James Bond is an emblem of western imperialism at its most brutal and inhumane. According to your tabloid-like logic I guess I should break off all contact with my friend and have him expelled from the country. But I just don’t think that this neocon black-and white thinking gets us anywhere.

Interviewer: Isn’t that slightly trivializing the problem here? Hamas is arguably dedicated to genocidal antisemitism…

Corbyn: You know the saying – one man’s genocidal antisemite is another man’s freedom fighter. (The other man is me.) How am I supposed to do the job my constituents elected me to do – which is sorting out the Israel/Palestine conflict – without getting all sides to the table? I once belonged to a party led by the war criminal Tony Blair, and in spite of this I have always kept cordial relations with myself. That’s how diplomacy works.

Interviewer: But isn’t it true that it says in the Hamas charter, quote, “The stones and trees will say ‘There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him'”?

Corbyn: Of course there will always be differences of opinion or culture – but in the end it’s the things that connect us that matter, like a commitment to social peace, social justice, and social antisemitism.

Interviewer: Wait, what was that last one?

Corbyn: Well, take me for example. I’m not antisemitic myself; I just enjoy the company of antisemitic friends. With whom I don’t necessarily agree. Yes, I may talk to Palestinians who think Israel doesn’t have a right to exist, but I would also be perfectly happy to talk to Israelis who think that it does – as long as they remain polite, unlike certain belligerent journalists. So as you see, I’m actually one of the very few politicians in the country who is even-handed on this issue. The point is – yes, I invited Hamas to Parliament, but I also shook Jonathan Freedland’s hand once, with perfect courteousness. Yet the Murdoch media focuses on the former while ignoring the latter.

Interviewer: You’ve also been reported to have given support to Paul Eisen, a notorious Holocaust denier…

Corbyn: My office hasn’t had any dealings with Mr. Eisen, and my broom cupboard doesn’t even know he exists. Besides, I really don’t see how loaded, tabloidy terms like “Holocaust denier” are conducive to any kind of nuanced debate. We can talk forever about who denied what holocaust – and I understand we’re talking about the Jewish holocaust here, not the one perpetrated on the people of Iraq by Tony Blair – but that’s not going to contribute to our shared goal of fighting austerity, is it?

Interviewer: Another controversial associate of yours is Raed Salah…

Corbyn: This is beginning to look less like an interview and more like a Stalinist show trial – without any of the legitimacy and societal benefit of a Stalinist show trial.

Interviewer: You have campaigned for and praised Mr. Salah, who is widely considered a hate preacher.

Corbyn: I may not agree with the man on every single issue 100%, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to put him on some kind of McCarthyist no-praise blacklist.

Interviewer: Salah has propagated the blood libel, claiming that Jews bake bread with the blood of gentile children.

Corbyn: I’m no expert on culinary matters – there are more important issues facing our society, after all – and never had any reason to chat about recipes with him. But all that is beside the point. How am I supposed to fulfill my diplomatic mission to make peace between Raed Salah and the UK if I DON’T praise him effusively?

Interviewer: Salah has also boasted about taunting a Jewish teacher with a drawing of a swastika.

Corbyn: If I only campaigned on behalf of people who DON’T bait Jews with swastikas, I’d never get out of the house. That can’t be the solution.

Interviewer: Finally, I’d like to ask about your relationship to Ibrahim Hewitt.

Corbyn (squinting): You’re not Oliver Kamm, are you?

Interviewer: Pardon?

Corbyn: You don’t look like him…but one knows how these tabloids operate; the use of masks isn’t beyond them. I was very nearly tricked into talking to Mr. Kamm once, so I’m extra vigilant now.

Interviewer: I see…

Corbyn: There’s a lot of deception and propaganda in the mass media, as you well know. Unfortunately not every media outlet is as dedicated to the unbiased truth as Russia Today or Press TV.

Interviewer: Let’s get back to Mr. Hewitt. He has stated that apostates deserve the death penalty, and that practicing homosexuals deserve “severe punishment” – yet in spite of this you call him a “very good friend”.

Corbyn: Calling someone a very good friend means absolutely nothing. You don’t call your friends very good friends, you call your enemies very good friends. Not that Mr. Hewitt is an enemy of mine, mind you. Actually he’s a very good friend. But that doesn’t mean that there may not be some issues on which we don’t see completely eye-to-eye all of the time.

Interviewer: Some might say there’s a worrying pattern to those who receive your praise and support.

Corbyn: Look at it this way: having one rabid antisemite as a friend may be regarded as an accident; having 2, 3 or more rabid antisemites as friends is unmistakable evidence of an inclusive attitude and extraordinary diplomatic skill.

Interviewer: Many on the left have advocated a no platform policy for those with reprehensible views. Am I right to conclude that you disagree with this position?

Corbyn: These things have to be decided on a case-by-case basis. But generally, I always favour open-mindedness and diplomacy. Boycotts are a very blunt instrument and should be reserved for the truly heinous, like people who work at Israeli universities.

Interviewer: Thanks, Mr. Corbyn – I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got time for.