July 14, 2007

Aaronovitch does the decent thing the JC didn't do

On the anniversary of Israel's war with no name (I don't think it has a name still*) you might think I'd have something more important to write about than David Aaronovitch allowing the me to post my letter, which the Jewish Chronicle wouldn't publish, to his blog. It won't get seen by that many people. Last I saw he had about 8 comments some of which made no sense at all. It seems he had to remove one by a Harry's Place/Engage regular called Mikey. Well a comment by a chap called Mikey was removed. Anyway I posted my letter to the JC and now to Aaronovitch's blog in my previous post so I won't post it here. But while I was checking to see if it had been accepted I noticed a very good comment, amid some real dross. See this:

I can't quite articulate my dismay at the spectacle of Orwell's name pinned to the likes of David Aaronovitch, whose article "Anti-Zionists should grow up", is an embarrassing outburst of vitriol.

Aaronovitch calls the flurry of activity "a fabulous diversion" from the solemn and ennobling task of thinking hard about a solution for the conflict. I am always mystified when journalists adopt this line, since for the overwhelming majority of us in the international community, the solution has been clear for quite some time: the dismantling of settlements and an Israeli withdrawal to 4 June 1967 borders, with minor and mutual adjustments, as per the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which was launched again earlier this year.

The boycott initiative is not a tantrum. It is programmatic, not punitive. Its proponents have put forward a comprehensive vision for peace, which echoes (point-for-point, it seems) the Arab initiative. This vision enjoys near unanimous support in the international community, with the exception of Israel and the United States, who have single-handedly blocked it for over three decades. The idea behind the boycott, as far as I can gather, is not to punish Israel but to apply strategic pressure on it to withdraw and allow for the emergence of a viable Palestinian state.

Should we be less sweeping and target the Likud? This might have been a viable strategy, if not for the lamentable fact that the business of the occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands has gone on under the banners of all three major political parties, and with their explicit support. Since Rabin every single labor government has erected new settlements. Occupation is not the policy of the Israeli right, nor of the left: it is the policy of Israel, and it will continue until significant international pressure comes to bear.

Meanwhile, those of us who support the boycott and happen to be Jewish will have to continue pinching ourselves to suspend our disbelief when we read that an Orwell award-winning journalist accuses us of working out our adolescent frustrations with mommy and daddy.

Good one, huh? Aaronovitch was on Any questions on BBC Radio 4 today. He was introduced as Orwell award for journalism prize winner, David Aaronovitch. I listened for as long as I could. Maybe it was about 5 minutes. There was a question about supercasinos in the UK and Aaronovitch nattered a while about how the PM is new and the government has to try to be different from its predecessor under Blair and that means that some ministers will have to now say they oppose what they used to support and will have to support what they used to oppose. A bit like Aaronovitch with Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Independent Jewish Voices. Anyway, he then said that he thought there was an element of snobbery in opposition to the placing of supercasinos in poor areas.

And it struck me that this award winning journalist - actually commentator - hasn't got an argument about anything. Look at his thing on anti-zionists. Look at what he had to say about jfjfp and IJV. What's the matter with him? He can't argue for or against an argument. He only ever impugns the motive of the arguer. I hate the overuse of the word totalitarian but it applies in his case. He seems to be saying that if you support a position that Aaronovitch doesn't want you to support then you must have a bad motive. No one is sincere. But no one. And for that he gets prizes. More, he gets an Orwell prize. He says there's no such thing as zionism any more. He said that there is no significant right wing movement to keep the West Bank under Israeli rule and there's no expansionist tendency left in Israeli governing circles. And he won an Orwell prize. Orwellian doesn't get more Orwellian. On which, have some Orwellianisms:

*Apparently it bears the imaginitive name The Second Lebanon War. I'm sure Engage calls it the Israel-Hizbollah War. There was an issue a few months back about what to put on the grave stones for the Israeli soldiers who were killed in that war. It was said in all seriousness that the lack of a name for the war was causing more suffering for the grieving families.


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