July 13, 2007

No right of reply to Aaronovitch in the JC

This is a rum do. Having been on the receiving end of a tirade of personal abuse by David Aaronovitch in the Jewish Chronicle I thought they might publish my letter in response. It's here:
Dear Sir

Could David Aaronovitch get over the fact that some of us who do not agree with Zionism and the State of Israel are perfectly comfortable with being Jewish and will insist on identifying ourselves as such? If he could then he could refrain from the personal abuse and get on with a meaningful, indeed analytical, debate.

In my blog post that he mentions, I referred to Tony Blair as a Zionist in the context of his being appointed envoy for the Middle East quartet whilst being an honorary patron of the Jewish National Fund which was founded early last century to acquire land for Jews only (and forever) in the then Palestine. It was established by the World Zionist Organisation. The World Zionist Organisation still exists and some of its members clearly wish to retain "Judea and Samaria" as does the person I was addressing in the quote David Aaronovitch lifted from my comments section from April 2006.

I recognise that there are various Zionist orientations but I use the term Zionist at a minimum to mean someone who believes that people of immediate Jewish origin from around the world should have more settlement and citizenship rights in Israel than non-Jewish natives who are there or who are from there. And there are some Zionists I like, I just don't like their Zionism.

For a "heroic correspondent" of the JC and other papers I have only had one letter in the JC and that criticised David Aaronovitch for sneering at Jews for Justice for Palestinians for inviting him to sign their statement and then criticising Independent Jewish Voices for not inviting him to sign theirs. I have also had three letters published in the Observer*, again criticising what he had written, not him personally, and in context too. None of the letters refer to my being Jewish. I only mention it if I think it is relevant to what is being said.

On that matter, I'm sure that David Aaronovitch has gone on record saying that he is not actually Jewish and yet he lectures others on when and how one can identify as Jewish. I don't even accept that from other Jews. Why should I?

Still, in these ecumenical times I think it's nice that a non-Jew such as David Aaronovitch can write for the Jewish Chronicle but when he invokes stereotypes like "big noses and loud behaviour" I'd say he's crossed a line. Surely in the JC a Jew's anti-Zionism is preferable to a gentile's anti-Semitism.

Yours faithfully

Mark Elf
Jews sans frontieres
Now, they did publish Tony Greenstein's letter, taking on all of his detractors, which was big of them but Tony was only gratuitously named by Aaronovitch. I was actually defamed at length and not by accident. Anyway, I didn't post the content of my letter on to Aaronovitch's blog because I think it's bad form to share a letter to an editor with a third party before it has been published (or not). So let's see if I have more luck at the little read Aaronovitch site. Aaronovitch moderates so it's strange that a comment that appeared earlier in the week has now disappeared. Anyway, here goes. Ok, I've posted it and it's awaiting moderation but he doesn't get many comments. Less than me in fact so I don't think as many people will see it between here and there as saw his diatribe against me. Ah well, when I grow up I'll move to the right and smear anyone who campaigns against racist war criminals. That's what I'll do. I'll wring my hands and wonder why Iraqis don't applaud the invasion of their country by the people who had been starving their children for years. Yeah, and I'll bracket a Mandela who led an armed struggle with a Ghandi who definitely didn't. And I'll ask why Muslims can't take a leaf out of Walter Sisulu's book and be non-violent because I'll be grown up enough to have conveniently forgotten that Sisulu too led an armed struggle side by side with comrade Mandela. I might even grow up so much that I'll tell people that if weapons of mass destruction aren't found in Iraq, I'l never believe anything Tony Blair says again. And then I'll invoke Hutton to prove that he can't have lied. I can hardly wait. When I grow up I'm going to be David Aaronovitch. Oh no, I can't be, he's not Jewish.

* I think one was in the Guardian actually but I don't think the JC excluded it on grounds of factual inaccuracy!


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