FEEDBACK ON ISRAEL LOBBY INQUIRY
20 November 2009
David Cesarani is right to describe the Dispatches documentary as a "shallow and irresponsible polemic". Peter Oborne resembled an angry man throwing mud in all directions, hoping that as much of it would stick as possible. But in his anger he missed the fundamental reason why supporters of Israel lobby parliament and the BBC in such a determined fashion. It is quite simply because the actions of the Jewish state are so often misrepresented and taken out of context, accompanied by the kind of intemperate language that amounts to demonisation. Thus Israel is regularly compared to Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, while Gaza is likened to the Warsaw ghetto. On any sane reading, these comparisons are as offensive as they are absurd. Given how regularly Israel is smeared and vilified, one can only conclude that the "pro-Israel lobby" is scarcely effective.
06 July 2006
Jonathan Steele is wrong to suggest that Israel’s bombardment is purely a response to the kidnapping of a soldier. Since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, Palestinian extremists have kept up a relentless missile bombardment of Israeli villages over the border, causing multiple casualties and damage. The kidnapping of Corporal Shalit was the last straw for Israel, not the raison d’etre of its action. Of course, Israel must balance the need for military operations with avoiding civilian casualties and over the next few weeks, they will be sorely tested. But the country is engaged in a war it did not start and which it does not want.
IRAQ AND 7TH JULY
10 October 2005
To see these bombings (7/7) in their true historical context, one must start some 12 years ago. In 1993, al Qaida tried to destroy the World Trade Centre, seven years before Bush became President. Then came the bombings of embassies in Dar-es-Salaam and Nairobi, as well as the attacks in Saudi Arabia in 1995 and 1996. Two years later, suicide bombers blew a 40 foot hole in the destroyer USS Cole. The most devastating assault, 9/11, happened before the assault on Iraq. Lest we forget, al-Qaida seeks to ignite a holy war between themselves and believers in secular democracy. Iraq may have been a perilous adventure but without it Britain and its allies would still face a protracted threat from Islamic extremism. The sooner we realize this, the better.
DOUBLE STANDARDS IN CRITIQUE OF ISLAM
01 May 2005
Like many commentators, Jonathan Freeland ignores the lack of a level playing field. Muslims refuse to apologize for the regular demonisation of Jews and Christians in the Muslim world, yet expect an instant retraction of any critical comment on Islam. Western commentators, mired in political correctness and post colonial guilt, support this double standard and therefore find it hard to criticize militant Islam without self abasement. We have the perfect recipe for the very war of faiths Freedland decries.