November 19, 2005

David Aaronovitch, neither zionist nor Islamophobe?

Last week in the Jewish Chronicle (subscription only), David Aaronovitch denied being either a zionist or an Islamophobe. Amazing huh? How could could he deny either of those things with all that we know of his writing rubbishing anti-zionists and Muslims and broadly supporting, not simply Israsel's "right" to exist but also its right to deny the Palestinians the right to return? I'll post his article here in due course and then we'll see that he can deny being a zionist by running with two narrow dictionary definitions of the word "zionism" which he claims not to subscribe to. In the meantime here's a response to Aaronovitch's denial in this week's JC.
David Aaronovitch (JC, November 11) denies being Islamophobic and asserts that our organisation consists of “idiots” who have never read his work. Actually, we’ve been avid readers for years. For instance, back in 2003 Mr Aaronovitch cited the example of Muslim women in hijab as people who engender “my greatest feelings of discomfort” (Guardian, June 17, 2003).

There were more than undertones of Islamophobia in his opposition to the socialist-Muslim anti-war alliance. He calls anti-war campaigner and Muslim convert Yvonne Ridley “the woman who liked the burka so much she bought the religion,” sarcastically stereotyping the whole religion with practices enforced by the Taliban (Guardian, June 5, 2004).

Mr Aaronovitch’s anti-Islamic prejudice can be demonstrated by contrasting his response to the Iranian earthquake with his reaction to the New Orleans hurricane. He asserts that the American authorities are probably doing lots that the media can’t see and the disaster “only tells us how vulnerable we are” (Times, September 3, 2005) — whereas the Bam earthquake tells us how incompetent and corrupt the Iranians are (Guardian, December 30, 2003).

We agree with Mr Aaronovitch that “what I have said and written speaks for itself.” Need we go on?

Catherine Hossain,
Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK
More later, or more likely, tomorrow.

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