Sunday, August 06, 2006

Left versus Right over Israel

How much of a "Left-wing" issue is it to be anti-Israel? On Friday (4 Aug), I flicked through the Daily Mail, as I do from time to time.Their coverage in the main is hostile to Israel. They republish Rodric Braithwaite's piece in the FT, they quote extensively from the New Statesman: 'Blair:Blood on his hands' etc. Of course, there is Melanie Phillips, though her latest on the subject is in the Spectator. Also in Friday's edition was a piece by  Richard Littlejohn, which makes the basic point that Hezbollah started the war.

By accident I went into the July 2005 archive of Melanie Phillips' "diary", but I found something more interesting than her recent writings: The argument for disengagement. Here are a couple of extracts (but read the whole thing): 
Because of the dire existential threat Israel faces, and the campaign of demonisation and delegitimisation which has been going on in the west in order finally to turn that existential threat into reality, my views about disengagement have taken second place to the defence of Israel against prejudice, hatred and lies - including the lie that the occupation is illegal. Nevertheless, I have thought from the start that settling the territories was wrong, both morally and militarily, and have also supported disengagement from the start [...]. And yes, I also happen to take the hardest of hard lines against appeasing terrorism. But I believe that there is no inconsistency in my position.
The charge that this is akin to giving in to the demands of Islamic fundamentalists in Britain doesn’t hold water either, because their agenda is totally non-negotiable. Between Israel and the Palestinians there is something to negotiate about, as there has been since the Peel Commission first recommended partition of the land in 1937 - ie, a two-state solution. The fact that the Palestinians refuse to do so but make war instead does not alter that fact.


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