Thursday, September 18, 2003

Several blogs have praised columnist Johann Hari; they think that he seems to be a sane liberal despite his working for the Independent. But in an article titled How do we move beyond 1948? Hari writes:
And if you don't know about the terrible history of anti-Semitism, the creation of the state of Israel looks like unjustifiable wickedness.
"unjustifiable wickedness" ?! That Hari can just toss off a line like that is amazing - he actually thinks that he's being reasonable and conciliatory as he declares that from his perspective defending Israel's existence amounts to justifying the unjustifiable. His statement says more about him (and the circles that he moves in) that it does either about justice or about the situation of the region now or fifty years ago. He also writes an incredibly uncritical piece on the ISM.

(via comments at "Harry's Place"): a (similarly) depressing dialog from the British Medical Journal.

I'm not one to make accusations of anti-semitism, but it seems that there's not a small number of educated people in the UK who have a strong desire to believe the worst about Israel... and on no evidence at all or on the flimsiest of accusations.

More: I'm flattered but not convinced by Johann Hari's response in the comments section. I will post a reply of my own soon. At the moment I'd just note that in my original message I stopped short of directly accusing anyone of anti-Semitism, and that I regret having made mention of the term anti-Semitism - both because it has been interpreted as an attack against Hari and because it detracts from the discussion of what he has written in the columns that I mentioned.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Shai's surgery went fine and he's gone home. I don't know if the doctors gave him the piece of the suicide bomb that was lodged in his shoulder. When Norwegian TV interviewed him, the questions included "Will this change your life?", "Will you now move out of the country?" ("No" and "No").

"Do you have a message for the new Palestinian leader Abu Ala?". Don't know what Shai replied, but I think there's nothing to say to him because his policies will be determined primarily by the rigid Palestinian mythology and secondarily by Arafat.

Victims of terrorists receive a lot attention and sympathy (as do injured soldiers). Shai's friends were ribbing him about how he was being treated like a hero.
Arafat is supposedly talking about an wholly unilateral ceasefire (report). Anyone remember when Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire? I think it was shortly after the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement fell apart in 2000; the Palestinians dismissed it as a propaganda measure.