Thursday, 5 January 2017

Elor Azaria Guilty and other Israel-related controversies.

Please excuse recent dereliction of duty blogwise (due to obligatory seasonal spike in Domestic Goddessness)
Shame, just when so much has been happening, too. 

John Kerry’s rambling speech rationalising Barack Obama’s vengeful decision not to veto a UNSC resolution that was so badly constructed that it shunted the prospect of peace even further into oblivion. 

Then our own government shamefully emerging as co-architect of that very resolution, the one John Kerry was attempting to defend, making both Theresa May’s pro-Israel speech at CFI and her public denunciation of John Kerry’s look expedient and insincere.

The fact is, the Government, the BBC and the man in the street do actually believe settlements are the obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

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All day yesterday the media were reporting the latest news about Elor Azaria the young IDF medic who had just been convicted of manslaughter by an Israeli court in a case quite similar to the one concerning Royal Marine Sergeant Alexander Blackman, described here.
I understand most popular opinion in the UK is with the soldier whose ‘battle fatigue’ defence struck a chord with the public, if not with conventional military due process. 
In both cases there is an element of the show-trial, where any perceived leniency could tarnish the reputations of the respective armed forces - although in the eyes of the BBC-educated British public the IDF’s reputation comes pre-tarnished - that is despite Col. Richard Kemp’s constant attempts to convince hordes of people who don’t want to hear it that Israel’s army is the most moral in the world.

Owen Bennett Jones said: “… Almost certainly the case, isn’t it, if it hadn’t been filmed, this [prosecution] would never have happened?” (H/T Happy Goldfish) Which is probably quite true of many parallel incidents and not necessarily confined to the I/P conflict. 

This piece in Haaretz is informative  and several other Israeli press reports from varying perspectives are linked by Honest Reporting here.  The  btl comments fields are illuminating.

Yolande Knell was on the BBC a lot yesterday, and, to be honest, despite her sour-faced delivery, her reporting wasn’t as unfair as it initially looked.  At first I thought she was far too keen to stress that the verdict “has divided Israeli society”, but I see she is by no means alone in remarking on that. What did jar, though, was her statement that some Israelis are calling Azaria a hero, which seemed to me an acute case of projection, for in Yolande’s ‘Arab World’, referring to any killer of an Israeli as “a hero” is de rigueur. 
Later though, I imagine as context, Knell presented a short clip of a young Israeli woman explaining that she did indeed regard Azaria as a hero. I took it as a generalised comment, which could be applied to all soldiers whose duty it was to put their lives on the line to confront murderous terrorists, rather than an endorsement of one specific act of manslaughter; but if I suspect Yolande Knell of cherry-picking that particular nugget for its apparent Palestinian-like qualities simply to inject false moral equivalence, I too may be projecting.

Like those vexatious, aggressive lawfare attacks that have been in the news lately, these public military trials will undoubtedly have a chilling effect on any or all soldiers. We mustn’t confuse peacetime criminality with acts necessitated by states of war.  

Whenever the BBC wheels Ken Livingstone in to express himself on any random matter my first instinct is one of extreme irritation that he has been given a platform (is he or is he not still suspended from the Labour Party?) but then I have to remind myself that there are certain people who feel sore affronted by the very appearance of Mark Regev on TV, even if, unlike Ken, his opinion is relevant to the matter in hand.
So when I heard Mustafa Barghouti opining to Tim Franks on BBC World Service, Newshour, I had to check to determine whether my instantaneous revulsion at hearing from him on the BBC was justified. In Barghouti World, the wounded Palestinian’s actual knife-attack had been completely air-brushed out of the equation, along with all the Palestine-shaped, blood-soaked-knife images that emanate from the PA. And Tim Franks, ever deferential, hardly batted an eyelid.

The thread on Harry’s Place airs some of the issues more thoroughly. For once Marc Goldberg sets out the case with extreme brevity and lets the btl department take care of all the nuance.  Bit of a shame that the comments are automatically deleted after a short time. 

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The biggest impediment to a deeper understanding of the Israel situation is the widespread lack of knowledge. Tim Montgomerie of all people had written a surprising (to me) piece in the Tims (£) and the btl comments were a mixed bag, though, again surprising to me, mostly supportive. 
"Israeli settlements are not the real barrier to peace"
“When you are surrounded by people who want you dead, Israelis can’t be blamed for not rushing to repeat what happened after their 2005 withdrawal from Gaza. Vacated settlements became launchpads for missile attacks. I’ve visited the bomb shelters that Israeli schoolchildren scurry to when alarms sound.What those who deserted Israel at the UN miss, including Barack Obama and Theresa May, is that today’s Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be understood within the context of the radicalisation of the region. Israel is in the front line against radical Islam and, in the words of the author Sam Harris: “We are all living in Israel, it’s just some of us haven’t realised it yet.” 

And here is a history lesson from Melanie Phillips. Whatever you might think of her politics, she knows her history. (please excuse video trespassing on sidebar)




5 comments:

  1. You can't compare outrage at Regev's appearances to objections to Livingstone's. Regev is there because it's his job, the BBC is reaching out to an official spokesman. Livingstone is there specifically because of his viewpoints, and has no standing to speak for anyone but himself.

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    1. I quite agree. They’re not comparable at all. To clarify, that’s what I was trying to get at when I said “even if, unlike Ken, his opinion is relevant to the matter in hand.”
      (I didn’t want to fall into (my own) trap by appearing to argue for the BBC to ‘no platform’ K.L. while deriding suggestions that the BBC ‘should no platform’ M.R.)
      Perhaps I could have made my point more clearly.

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  2. Further thoughts:

    Then our own government shamefully emerging as co-architect of that very resolution, the one John Kerry was attempting to defend, making both Theresa May’s pro-Israel speech at CFI and her public denunciation of John Kerry’s look expedient and insincere.

    Remember, The Obamessiah said that Israel had no greater friend than the US. As for Theresa May, she's been less than honest about a few things.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-israel-has-no-greater-friend-than-us/

    The fact is, the Government, the BBC and the man in the street do actually believe settlements are the obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

    Exactly. The problem is that, beyond the settlements, most of them secretly believe that Israel itself is the obstacle. John Kerry gave that game away.

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    1. The liberal left and probably many in government do indeed believe the problem is Israel, and thanks to organisations like the BBC, that aforementioned man in the street believes that Palestinians genuinely want a two state solution.

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