GOLDSTONE WAS A 'KANGAROO COURT'.
13 November 2009
To answer Mark Goldberg, Israel refused to co-operate with the Goldstone report because doing so would have given legitimacy to a ‘kangaroo court’. It would have been like a defendant in court knowing in advance that the judge and jury thought him guilty.
Far from establishing the ‘truth’ about Cast Lead, the report simply imbibed a Palestinian centred victim narrative. Gaza is repeatedly described as ‘occupied Palestinian territory’ despite Hamas being in full control of the area. One section condemns the Israeli ‘blockade’ of Gaza yet fails to recognise that the territory has two borders, one with neighbouring Egypt. Hamas and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are described as ‘armed groups’, not terrorists, as if to confer on them a spurious mantle of legitimacy. The legal and moral distinction between terrorist groups indiscriminately attacking innocent civilians and a sovereign nation defending its own citizens is repeatedly blurred by spurious interpretations of international law. This was not a fact finding report but libellous propaganda of the most malodorous kind.
19 June 2009
In his recent Cairo speech, President Obama rightly condemned Holocaust denial as "baseless, ignorant and hateful". Yet he went on to declare that it was "also undeniable that the Palestinian people (had) suffered in pursuit of a homeland". To equate denial of the murder of 6,000,000 Jews with denial of the (contested) Palestinian narrative was misguided. It was to ignore critical facts about the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the persistence of terrorism, of which the President made no mention.
ISRAEL'S CONDUCT OF WAR AGAINST HAMAS IN GAZA: PROS AND CONS
09 January 2009
Gordon Brown has insisted on an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. But why does he think that Hamas, who have broken previous agreements by bombarding Israeli cities, would be any more likely to respect this one? An immediate ceasefire would give Hamas the semblance of victory, as much of their terrorist infrastructure, which could be stockpiled for future acts of terror, would remain intact. This is scarcely a recipe for peace.
LESSONS FROM THE HORROR OF MUMBAI
05 December 2008
The Mumbai attacks have once again revealed the ugly nature of radical, extremist Islam. Innocent civilians were ruthlessly targeted, tortured and killed in the most clinical fashion, with Jews singled out for execution. Hopefully the world can now see that the Islamist hatred of Israel is not motivated by the occupation, the settlements or any of the other alleged excesses of Israeli policy. Instead it stems from a hatred of Jews and their desire for self determination.
APPEASEMENT OF IRAN
15 August 2008
Melanie Phillips correctly observes that by retreating from tough options over Iran, America is engaged in short sighted appeasement. The irony is that, for years, the Republicans criticised the very same approach from Europe's leaders. While the Iranians were pursuing a clandestine nuclear programme, Britain, France and Germany offered Tehran one olive branch after another while ruling out military action as unthinkable. This merely encouraged Iran's leaders to believe they could stall for time, safe in the knowledge that they would not be attacked. Now a spent Bush administration has joined the grovelling circus. How Ahmadinejad must be savouring the volte face.
UNHAPPY WITH THE GAZA MEDIA COVERAGE
31 January 2008
Most countries would have destroyed a terror organisation that was firing rockets on their citizens, or negotiated a deal with the terrorists. Israel has chosen neither option, which is why limiting Gaza’s power supply seems like a moderate “third way”. Yet despite continuing to provide most of Gaza’s electricity, Israel’s actions are denounced as a form of illegal “collective punishment”.
Never mind that the citizens of Israeli towns have suffered collective punishment when they are attacked by missiles; it is Israel’s acts of self defence that are seemed “illegal”.
The supporters of Hamas want it both ways. They opt to be at war with Israel, knowing that rocket attacks are ignored in the West while crying foul when they suffer the consequences. Given the BBC’s pro-Palestinian sympathies, who can blame them?
DON'T BLAME THE JEWS FOR ANTI SEMITISM
27 July 2007
Michael Halpern argues that “if we insist on total identification with Israel” we must all “bear the consequences” (Letters, July 20). This is an entirely wrong-headed analysis. British Jews, like British Muslims, are entitled to support any nation or regime so long as they do not break the law in doing so. If he insists that we “curb our instinctive and indiscriminate” support for Israel, would he also insist that British Muslims curb their support for Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in order to combat anti-Muslim feeling? In effect, Halpern is calling for his co-religionists to become dhimmis with a second-class status in their own country. It is true that anti-Israeli feelings run deep “in every stratum of British society”, but the solution is not to acquiesce in bigotry and prejudice but to confront it. Clearly Halpern thinks otherwise.
SUNDAY RALLY IN KENTON
28 July 2006
It was refreshing to hear a moderate note struck at Sunday’s pro Israel rally in Kenton. The case for Israel’s actions as a legitimate form of self defence was powerfully spelt out while every speaker expressed profound regret at the unfolding tragedy. What a shame then that the wider British public, who are currently immersed in biased news reports, had little chance to hear the views.
19 June 2006
Melanie Phillips's encounters with appeasement minded editors show we have learnt little from 7/7. After all, how many editors in this country published the controversial Danish cartoons in February? The hard left are not alone in thinking that we will all sleep safely so long as we leave Iraq and build Palestine. In the meantime, spineless leaders refuse to denounce the religious fanaticism that underlies today's proliferating Islamic violence. At times like this we should remember George Orwell's wise words: 'The notion that you can somehow defeat violence by submitting to it is simply a flight from fact.'
2h August 2005
Thank heavens for last week’s Panorama documentary exposing the Muslim Council of Britain’s dubious agenda. The MCB, proclaimed as the voice of moderation, has persuaded many Muslims to accept their own blinkered view of the West, in which the West is a collective ‘great Satan,’ pursuing a vicious anti Islamic crusade for its own political ends. Instead of promoting an acceptable face of Islam or building bridges between Jews and Muslims, they have sought to politicize Muslim issues and cause bitter inter faith divisions. The boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day and the description of Israeli actions as ‘genocide’ are cases in point. In this light, the MCB’s view that the BBC is furthering a ‘pro Israeli agenda’ is absurd and pernicious. Tony Blair should disown the MCB immediately until its views become genuinely moderate.
LIVINGSTONE AND LONDON ATTACKS
15 July 2005
How nice that Mayor Livingstone can now describe attacks by Islamic militants as indiscriminate barbarism. This is the same man who warmly embraced a sheikh who condones suicide bombings in Israel and Iraq.
24 June 2005
One need not reject a 2 state formula to regard the disengagement plan as a perilous and ill timed political gamble. Mahmoud Abbas faces a resurgent Hamas whose popularity clearly outshines his own. In the face of this challenge, he has failed to build a viable security infrastructure or crack down on terror groups while missile attacks on Israelis continue with impunity. His authority has been undermined by a lack of support and credibility from fellow Palestinians. Israel's proposed concessions have therefore been decoupled from any guarantee of political reform or security, a recipe for certain disaster. The failures of Oslo, as well as the Northern Ireland 'peace process' should serve as a salutary reminder of what happens when heady optimism triumphs over reality.
18 April 2005
I would like to thank Ken Livingstone for drawing attention to ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the Arab-Israeli conflict. He could use the term to refer to the Hebron massacre of 1929, the wars of 1948 and 1967 to ‘drive the Jews into the sea,’ or the bloodthirsty aspirations of Hamas and the PLO. In each case, the enemies of the Jewish state have sought to render it Judenrein, while receiving widespread support for their goals in the Arab world. By contrast, the flourishing Arab community in Israel only proves how dismal the Israelis really are at ethnic cleansing.
Livingstone asks the Jewish community what more he can say. I will answer him. For one thing, he can cease using language about the Jewish state which is deeply inappropriate and designed to cause maximum offence. He has labeled Ariel Sharon a ‘war criminal’ for the terrible events at Sabra and Shatila but for which the Israeli leader bore only ‘indirect responsibility.’ He has accused Israel of ‘crimes against humanity’ and a policy of ‘ethnic cleansing’ in 1948, while fully aware of the terrible resonance of those terms for Jews worldwide. In the latter case, he has seemingly ignored the fact that the Palestinian exodus, regrettable as it was, resulted from a genocidal war launched by the Arabs to drive the Jews into the sea. He has singled out Israel for opprobrium while ignoring the vastly worse human rights violations of states like North Korea, Zimbabwe, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Russia and China to name but a few. For a man who claims to be the champion of minority rights, he has embraced a homophobic Muslim Sheikh who does not believe in equality for women but does support terror attacks against Israelis. Livingstone has compared Jews signing up for the IDF to Muslim terrorists and used offensive language to a Jewish journalist. Instead of building bridges with the Jewish community, he has alienated it by ill judged remarks, arrogant behaviour and a misjudged political agenda. If Mr. Livingstone can’t see what else he can do, there is little hope for him.
FREEDLAND AND HUMAN RIGHTS IDF
06 December 2004
Jonathan Freedland's catalogue of military abuses is disturbing but it does not warrant the solution he proposes. The problem lies in the assumption that an immediate end to the occupation is a panacea for Palestinian misery. Of course, Israel could help create a Palestinian state in the next few months, especially if its unilateral separation plan goes ahead. But if this ends up creating a terror state, bent on incitement and the propagation of anti semitism, Israel will have done the Palestinians, never mind its own citizens, no favours at all. Indeed, a two state solution imposed at present could be a foretaste of a bloodier, more intractable conflict. A responsible Palestinian leadership must first emerge before the occupation, no matter how imperfect, is brought to an end.
CHURCHILL AND JEWS
02 September 2004
Further to Jenni Fraser's feature, it is worth noting that Churchill's philosemitism continued well after 1948. He always reminded friends and colleagues that he was a Zionist, indeed one of the very earliest ones. He was quick to recognize the State of Israel, a brave act given the intransigent Arabist mentality within the Foreign Office. In the Suez Crisis, he made clear his support for Israel against 'her ill-treatment by the Egyptians' and urged Sir Anthony Eden to avoid Ernest Bevin's anti semitic excesses. He was never more prescient in regarding the IDF as the best trained army in the Middle East. More interestingly, Churchill called for Israel to be included in the British Commonwealth, no doubt heavily against the wishes of the Foreign Office.
QUESTIONS ARISING FROM YASSIN ASSASSINATION
02 April 2004
Ahlan Akram and Vivien Lichtenstein describe the assasination of Sheikh Yassin as "immoral" and "in violation of international law". These claims are hard to sustain. Yassin gave his blessing to a cult of death which scarred Israelis and the peace process in equal measure. As a chief architect of terror, his removal was a simple act of self defence, designed to blow a mighty hole in his organisation. Neither is there anything unlawful about killing an enemy combatant whose incapacitation by legal means is not possible.
To talk of an ensuing "cycle of violence" is immoral, and absurd, for there is no equivalence between the targeting of terrorists and the indiscriminate slaughter of non-combatants. Hamas has never needed an excuse for its bloodlust. What it does not -and now has - is a divided international community that hypocritically condemns Israel's action while simultaneously proclaiming a "war on terror".
JUSTICE LONG OVERDUE
22 March 2004
Ahlan Akram and Vivien Lichtenstein describe the assassination of Sheikh Yassin as ‘immoral’ and ‘in violation of international law.’ These claims are hard to sustain. Yassin gave his blessing to a cult of death which scarred Israelis and the peace process in equal measure. As a chief architect of terror, his removal was a simple act of self defence, designed to blow a mighty hole in his organization. Neither is there anything unlawful about killing an enemy combatant whose incapacitation by legal means is not possible. To talk of an ensuing cycle of violence is immoral and absurd, for there is no equivalence between the targeting of terrorists and the indiscriminate slaughter of non combatants. Hamas has never needed an excuse for its bloodlust. What it does need - and has now - is a divided international community that hypocritically condemns Israel’s action while simultaneously proclaiming a ‘war on terror.’
ISRAEL AS A MIDDLE EASTERN STATE
23 May 2003
Dr Siddiqui (Letters, May 16th) suggests that Israel needs to become a ‘Middle Eastern state’ to advance the peace process. Does this mean Israel has to abandon democracy, freedom of the press and religious tolerance in order to help the Palestinian cause?
25 April 2003
Jonathan Freedland is right to point out (April 11) clear differences between Iraqi and Palestinian terror. Nevertheless, a degree of non-equivalence masks an important principle.
Yasir Arafat, like Saddam Hussein, is a demagogue who cannot be swayed by diplomacy and moderation. He has been presented with earlier road maps for peace but, in Abba Eban’s words, the Palestinians have “never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Three years ago, Arafat chose suicidal terror over real statehood, an act of political suicide.
None of this is to deny the validity of a two-state settlement; nor would I deny that most Palestinians want the future that Freedland outlined. What they lack is a leadership that shares that historic vision and which is ready to reject violence as a political tool. Therein lies the difference with our own liberation movement. While Zionism had the Stern Gang and Irgun, their methods were rejected by mainstream Zionists. Could the same be said for the Palestinians?
13 December 2002
I read with interest David Conway’s review of ‘Nietzsche, Godfather of fascism?’ (Books, December 6th), in particular his endorsement of Max Dimont’s view of Nietzsche as the ‘father of Nazism.’ This is surely wrong. Nietzsche did not simply distance himself from anti semites, he hated them. He declared himself ‘an anti anti semite’ and claimed that ‘the struggle against the Jews has always been a symptom of the worst characters.’ While at times highly critical of Judaism’s priestly tradition, he had no time for the Germanic race hatred of his peers. Nor did Nietzsche hide his contempt for German nationalism. Far from advocating Teutonic or Aryan supremacy, Nietzsche talked of miscegenation and experiments in cosmopolitan living. Hardly music to National socialist ears! While dismissive of liberal democracy, he abhorred autocracy and dictatorship. Like Darin, he was misappropriated by the Nazis. Only highly selective readings of Nietzsche will lead one to find even a indirect path between this misunderstood philosopher and the horrors of Auschwitz.