Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Blair continues to disgust

More emetic nonsense from Tony Blair. When I first read this as a cut-and-paste on Uncle Jimmy's site I worried that the basic spelling and grammatical errors had been introduced by Jimmy's spellchecker, but no: Blair simply can't be arsed to write decent English on his own website. If there hadn't been a million better reasons to sack him as PM, that would have sufficed.

"In 2005 it got out of Gaza i.e. ceased occupying it, took over 7000 settlers with it and in return got rockets and terror attacks. Now I know all the counter-arguments about the unilateral nature of the withdrawal, the 2005 Access and Movement agreement and the closure of the crossings."

If he knows all the counter-arguments he will know that it was Israel, not Hamas, which breached the cease-fire and caused the resumption of rocket attacks.

"The problem is that though this is true in theory, in practice they wear Nelson’s eye patch when they lift the telescope of scrutiny to the Israeli case. In a very real sense, they don’t see it. "

If anyone is refusing to see the truth it's Blair.

"I remember the bomb attacks from Republican terrorism in the 1970’s. There weren’t many arguing for a policy of phlegmatic calm."

Nor were there many arguing for a policy of bombing Belfast and Armagh to rubble, or blockading it into starvation. Is there a point to this, or is he just flapping his face?

"I was pleased and heartened when the Government changed policy on Gaza. The truth is you can justify restrictions in Gaza taken for reasons of security. But with a Gazan population, half of whom is under the age of 18 and 300,000 of whom are under the age of 4, security is the only arguable basis upon which to put such restrictions."

Let me get this straight. Blair is pleased that Israel has at last found a way of justifying the wanton murder of civilians, predominantly children, that doesn't upset his conscience. How delightful. It would have been such a worry for him to have had to confront the issue. But once you realise that half of Gaza's population is under the age of 18 and 300,000 of them under the age of 4, then the security threat to Israel becomes clear. All those high-pitched screams could damage the eardrums of the poor victimised IDF soldiers.

"It is our collective duty – yours and mine – to argue vigorously against the de-legitimisation of Israel. It is also our collective duty to arm ourselves with an argument and a narrative we can defend and with which we can answer the case against Israel, with pride and confidence."

Now that's funny, because I believed we were paying his enormous salary to promote peace, not merely to "answer the case against Israel" however well-argued reasonable that case might sometimes be.

(Regarding democracy in Israel) "Its people have rights and they are enforced".

Indeed, the rights of Israeli Jews are enforced repeatedly against the unfiortunate Israeli Arabs who wish not to have their houses demolished, would like to be allowed to buy property in areas designated only for Jews, or to be permitted to have consnesual sex with Jewish women. And political parties which do not explicitly endorse the legal inequities between Jews and Gentiles in Israel are banned from contesting seats in the Knesset. That's democracy, Israeli-style.

"I had an argument with a friend about Israel. I said to them: ‘ok let’s assume you are charged with a crime you didn’t commit and the penalty is 20 years in prison. And you’re a critic of the Government. Tell me: under which country’s legal system, in this region, would you prefer to be tried?’ He struggled for a bit and then said: ‘that’s not the point.’ ‘But it is’ I replied."

Personally I would hate to be tried under any, but I'd probably go for Syria's. (That's not just rhetoric: I truly would.) I have no "struggle" at all in rejecting Israeli "justice". At least Syria is a secular state rather than a Judaic theocracy. And if the penalty is 20 years in prison I would have a better chance of release after those 20 years almost anywhere other than Israel. Look at Mordechai Vanunu, who served his sentence in appalling conditions and was immediately re-arrested when his sentence was up, and has been kept either in prison or under house arrest ever since. Look at Adolf Eichmann, hanged by an Israeli court despite the Israeli constitution's explicit ban on the death penalty. And of course if you were a critic of the Israeli government you'd end up on trial in Israel even if you lived thousands of miles away and there was no evidence on which you could be extradited, courtesy of a Mossad snatch squad. (Evidence? Process? Ha! At least if I were a critic of the Iranian government they'd just send someone to have me killed without the hypocrisy of a rigged show trial.) Blair's stupid friend may not have realised it, but that IS the point.

"Look around the world about what we admire about the Jewish people: their contribution to art, culture, literature, music, business and philanthropy. "

And now we get to the crux. Because when I look around the world I see an amazing contribution to all those things (and to science and mathematics: why did he forget those?) by Jews. But not by "the Jewish people" - by individual Jews. Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Arnold Schoenberg, Richard Feynmann, Marcel Proust, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Fritz Haber, Arlo Guthrie, Gustav Mahler, Paul Simon, Jonas Salk..... all Jews, and all great human beings.But they were great because of what they did, no because of their Jewishness. "Friends of Israel", when trying to justify the unequal treatment of Israel's Jews and Arabs, are always at pains to stress that Jews are a religion, not a race, so Jewish supremacy can't be a racist policy. So what is this "Jewish people" which lays claim to the contributions of all those Jewish geniuses? It's as though I were to claim that Shakespeare, Beethoven, Michelangelo, James Joyce, Isaac Newton and Cervantes showed the contribution of "the Christian people" to the world: it would serve only to make me feel good about myself. If the people of Israel, and their government, want to feel good about themselves, then rather than looking to Neil Diamond and Noam Chomsky they should take a look at their own contribution to the world rather than complacently relying on some perceived virtue in their religion or their ethnicity. As of course should we: Britain has produced - and still produces - great figures in many fields, but Tony Blair serves as a reminder that we are still capable of producing arrogant idiots.


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