Thursday, May 8, 2008

Melanie Phillips on Johann Hari's anti-Israel bias

from The Spectator:

The charge that he is a bigot has clearly got under Johann Hari’s skin. In today’s Independent he writes a riposte to the torrent of criticism apparently provoked by his article last month — including my blog entry here — a rejoinder which he clearly believes boosts his case. On the contrary: he merely digs himself even further into the hole he has created.

He uses the tired device of screaming McCarthyism at anyone who says disobliging things about his views, wholly oblivious to the obvious and absurd paradox.

He cites as authorities for his views those paradigms of reason and decency Norman Finkelstein and Jimmy Carter. Finkelstein calls Holocaust survivors ‘frauds and hucksters’, says American Jews are ‘parasites’ and supports Hezbollah. You can gain some insight into Finkelstein’s fraudulent scholarship and bigoted views here, here
and here.

The manifold and egregious errors and distortions in Carter’s book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid are chronicled here, here
and here.

Carter’s further claim that Jews control and manipulate public debate for their own ends helped provoke this rebuke from Professor Melvyn Konner at Emory university, home of the Carter Centre; while Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship by Andrew and Leslie Cockburn revealed that, during a March 1980 meeting with his senior political advisers Carter snapped,: ‘If I get back in, I’m going to [expletive] the Jews.’
Hari claims his critics have not rebutted what he wrote in his article about sewage in Gaza. But Honest Reporting analysed here the many distortions, selective omissions and misrepresentations in the whole piece.

My main thought-crime appears to have been comments I made here about an anti-Israel outfit called Independent Jewish Voices. You can read my further explanation of my views about this group here and here.

Hari thinks it outrageous that I say such demonisation of Israel, including his own, creates a climate in which British Jews are attacked. But this is what the Parliamentary Committee on Antisemitism concluded in its 2006 report:
…criticism of Zionism is not in itself antisemitic. However, in some quarters an antisemitic discourse has developed that is in effect antisemitic because it views Zionism itself as a global force of unlimited power and malevolence throughout history. This definition of Zionism bears no relation to the understanding that most Jews have of the concept; that is, a movement of Jewish national liberation, born in the late nineteenth century, with a geographical focus limited to Israel. Having re-defined Zionism in this way, traditional antisemitic notions of Jewish conspiratorial power, manipulation and subversion are then transferred from Jews (a religious or racial group) on to Zionism (a political movement). This is at the core of the ‘New Antisemitism’ on which so much has been written. Many witnesses described how anti-Zionism has become the ‘lingua franca of antisemitic movements’.

…It is increasingly the case that, because anger over Israel’s policies can provide the pretext, condemnation [of ethnically and religiously motivated hatred] is often too slow and increasingly conditional. Regardless of the expressed motive, Jewish people and Jewish institutions are being targeted…the correlation between conflict in the Middle East and attacks on the Jewish community must be better understood if the problem is to be tackled.
But the most remarkable and revealing comment of all by Hari is this:
Alan Dershowitz and Melanie Phillips are two of the most prominent figures sent in to attack anyone who disagrees with the Israeli right.
Sent in’, eh? By whom, exactly? By the world-wide Jewish/Zionist/Likudnik conspiracy, of course. Yup, it’s those Protocols again. Whoops, what a giveaway. Case proved, I think.

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