January 07, 2009

Avi Shlaim sees the light, I think

Warning, plot spoiler. Here's Avi Shlaim in today's Guardian but I've cut to the last paragraph:
This brief review of Israel's record over the past four decades makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that it has become a rogue state with "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders". A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practises terrorism - the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. Israel fulfils all of these three criteria; the cap fits and it must wear it. Israel's real aim is not peaceful coexistence with its Palestinian neighbours but military domination. It keeps compounding the mistakes of the past with new and more disastrous ones. Politicians, like everyone else, are of course free to repeat the lies and mistakes of the past. But it is not mandatory to do so.
You'd think it was, wouldn't you?

As it happens, I had this article recommended by someone whose views I respect but I'm not entirely happy with it. Israel has not become a roque state, it was born a rogue state with the most roguish of principles: colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and racist laws. Anyway, please read the whole thing, I'd be keen to know what others think. Maybe at a time like this when so many in mainstream politics and the media do act as if lying is mandatory and Israel gets away with atrocity after atrocity, an article like this could help. It does belie the idea that Israel is defending itself or simply trying to stop rockets.


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