Thursday 7 December 2017

Sucking up to antisemites

Spell-check will keep altering Maitlis to Meritless - I wonder if it knows something I don’t - I but  am absolutely tired of watching people like Emily Maitlis sucking up to people like Ghada Karmi

As if Karmi’s opinion is in any way worth hearing. (If that comment sounds dangerously close to complaining because someone I detest has been given airtime, so be it.) 

It’s not so much that I want Karmi to be no-platformed, although I wouldn’t care if she were, it’s merely that oxygen was being given to her very partisan, embittered opinion and  she was being sucked up to by one of the BBC’s senior presenters. Not only that, but Maitlis suddenly became rude and argumentative when speaking to Israeli ambassador Mark Regev, continually interrupting him in that reproachful tone of voice.

Now we all know what the BBC (and most of the British establishment) think about Trump, and we also know what the prevailing attitude towards Israel is - let’s call it lukewarm to cool -  but we suspect that the latter is based on a mixture of ignorance, lazy thinking and fear of enraging the antisemites in British society (if not on antisemitism itself.)

In case you don’t know, Ghada Karmi is an Honorary Research Fellow based in Exeter University. I think she teaches antisemitism and related studies. Honorary?  Wassat? Oh, nothing. It just means…….. Anyway, she gets to be labelled “academic”. 

To date, the only sensible article I have read about Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is in Commentary Magazine by Sohrab Ahmari, a senior writer at the magazine who happens to be of Iranian/ American nationality. So in a good position to opine. (i.e., notaJew) 

Because I don’t know if the full article will be accessible to many ITBB readers I’m going to reproduce most of it below. (The missing paragraph virtually reiterates the law US Congress enacted in 1995, which was included in Trump’s excellent speech

“The journalistic class is apoplectic over President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But conservatives, including those skeptical of this president, should add it to the list of Trump-administration foreign policies that deserve praise. The case for recognizing Jerusalem, and relocating the U.S. Embassy there, is formidable. Talk of the move throwing the region into chaos is overwrought and out of touch with Mideast reality. [..] 
(Professional people) contend that Trump’s capital idea (pun intended) will scuttle any chances for a negotiated settlement to the seven-decade-long conflict. In this, they echo the Palestinian president-for-life, Mahmoud Abbas, who on Wednesday characterized the move as America’s “declaration of withdrawal” from the peace process. 
Here’s the problem with this line of argument: What peace process?

For nearly a decade, Abbas has refused to sit down for direct talks, despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s open invitation. Abbas’s rejectionism was spurred in part by the Obama administration’s theory that peace would come from creating “daylight” between the U.S. and the Jewish state and tying talks to an Israeli settlement freeze. Now, with the Jerusalem move, Trump is signaling that Washington will no longer tolerate the Palestinians’ excessive demands–or the obstinacy that led them to turn down generous offers from Ehud Barak in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in 2008. 
But, ask the peace-processors, what about the violence that will ensue from this? Here one must respond: Have you looked at the Middle East lately? 
The whole region is on fire, as America’s traditional Arab allies respond to Iran’s hegemonic ambitions from Yemen to Lebanon. Very little of today’s instability has to do with Israel at all. Thus, Washington should take Arab leaders’ statements of outrage with a grain of salt. Arab elites have to create some sound and fury over Jerusalem to satisfy their publics. But most of them today look to Israel as a protector and potential ally against Tehran. 
It can’t be an accident, moreover, that Trump’s announcement followed news of Abbas’s visit last month to Saudi Arabia. There, the reformer-prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) reportedly told the Palestinian leader that Riyadh shares Netanyahu’s view of the conflict. The Palestinians must learn to accept a state with limited sovereignty and non-contiguous territory dotted with Israeli settlements. Under the MBS plan, the New York Times reported, “The Palestinians would not be given East Jerusalem as their capital and there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.” 
The leading Arab power, in other words, has concluded that maintaining the anti-Iranian alliance is more important than a settlement here or an East Jerusalem neighborhood there. The Trump administration’s Jerusalem decision, then, is attuned to the tectonic shifts taking place in the Middle East. Why keep pursuing the fiction that the Palestinian question is the most pressing problem in the region, when the Arabs themselves have moved on? 
As for Palestinian groups’ threat of staging days of rage and rioting, that’s not so much an argument against Trump’s decision as it is a case study in why peace has remained elusive for so long.

Strangely, this morning (still early days) this issue seems to have been demoted, news-wise. I do hope the BBC finds something else to gnaw on.

Saudi Arabia’s condemnation may merely be lip service - to keep their Arab co-religionists quiet, and d’you know, I hear that the Palestinians, actually, ain’t that bovvered.


  1. Ghada Karmi was on there billed as an academic, not as a "partisan supporter of the Palestinian cause". I didn't hear a single statement from her suggesting she was employing a rational academic analysis. There was insult, disdain, passion, dismissal, and assertion, that was all. More evidence of BBC Fake News: presenting people as (tax funded)academics when they are highly partisan players.

    Also the Newsnight discussion was a bit absurd since no one wanted to mention the Jewish lobby in the USA for fear of being called an anti-semite. This is childish. There clearly is a Jewish pro-Israeli lobby, just as there is a Muslim pro-Palestine lobby, and - in France - there is an Armenian anti-Trukish (genocide denial) lobby. In the UK (and the USA) there is a pro-Irish Catholic/Republican lobby. We need to be a bit more grown up about the existence of ethnically/religously based lobbies.

    1. I can’t understand why you say that.,Monkey Brains.
      Ghada Karmi spoke about the Jewish lobby at great length.

      “Of course we know that Donald Trump is not a free agent. He is surrounded by pro Israel advisors, pro-Israel officials..”

      Emily Maitlis:
      “To be fair the American stance towards Israel has not differed particularly from one president to another”

      “No! Because it’s always been dictated by Israeli interests”

      “So what are you saying, that he cannot broker peace, or America cannot broker peace in the region?”

      Karmi :
      “No, of course not. He can’t! He’s compromised! He is surrounded by pro-Israel propagandists, people who want Israel’s interests above any other - he cannot operate as a free agent even if he had the wit to do it.”

      A little earlier this eventing Jane O’Brien perpetuated the sinister-Jewish-Lobby meme when standing in for Katty Kay on “Beyond 100 Days”, BBC four.
      They wheeled in a particularly unflattering image of Sheldon Adelson, a Jewish business magnate who seems to be in Trump’s inner circle.

      I really don’t know what you mean by ‘No-one wanted to mention the Jewish Lobby in the USA for fear of being called an antisemite.’ They certainly did want to mention it, even if they tried to couch it in euphemistic language.

    2. OK, I agree they might have wanted to mention it...but they didn't want to use those words. I really can't see what the problem is. Are you saying there isn't a pro-Palestinian Arab lobby in the USA? - because there sure as hell is one, and their external partners give the Clinton Foundation a lot of money.

      For the avoidance of doubt, I fully support Israel's right to exist and to have its capital in Jerusalem...But I also hate to see PC values of whatever kind interfere with the facts of the matter. We know that lobbying and funded lobbying counts for a lot in the US electoral system. It works both ways.

  2. Agreed, Sue - I thought Emily Maitlis's behaviour was appalling. The trouble with her generation of Beeb journos, and younger, is that they can't tell the difference between asking probing questions and being downright obnoxious, belligerent and rude. I look forward to the day when one of her intended victims fights back, starting with, "Who the devil do you think you're talking to?" - however ungrammatical that may be. The person should then state what was wrong with the interviewing technique & list he conditions on which the interview will be allowed to continue. Anybody who is at risk of an attempted evisceration by beeboid should invest in assertiveness training. The likes of Nigel Farage don't need it - any blood left on the carpet is likely to come from his opponent.

  3. My above post (20.57) was a reply to Sue's main post - I started it before MB's comment appeared.

  4. The problem with Ghada Karmi’s implied references to a Jewish lobby is the way in which it is always singled out by any critics of Israel. As if it were the only influence on American policy. As if there were no pro-Arabist lobby groups. The BBC itself and much of the MSM could be described as a Palestinian lobby. I don’t want to over-dramatise but these suggestions of sinister conspiracies behind the scenes goes back to the very roots of anti-Semitism.

    On “Today” this morning there was at least an admission that peace process could hardly be damaged when there was no peace process in progress. However there is plenty of hyperbole on the BBC website today about the impact of Tumps decision on the peace process. But the difficult question that should have been put to Ghada Karmi, is what is the point of talking about a peace process when there has never been any evidence that the Palestinians want peace.

    Bowen was strangely subdued, but no doubt the story about Palestinian protests and Israeli violence is already written in his head, before it has even happened.

    1. I agree. Double standards. This is also seen in the way that Israel is held to a higher standard. Canada, USA, South Africa (Bantu as well as Dutch and British), Cuba and Australia were all founded on the virtual eradication of native populations. India and Pakistan were founded on the basis of a huge transfer of populations. Morocco illegally occupies a whole ex colony (Western Sahara). Kashmir is an intractable land dispute between India and Pakistan. Uganda expelled its Asian population. China is engaged in horrendous oppression of the Tibetan people and their culture. Russia has a huge empire of non-Russian people, many of whom don't want to be ruled from Moscow. I could go on...but despite all these examples, for "some reason" people obssess about Israel, whose negative points are to my mind pretty small on the scale and certainly no worse than the UK's over the years. Moreover Israel's foundation was expressly approved by the UN - a fairly rare event.

      Clearly there is something motivating the obsession, and I think it does ultimately come from Christian and Islamic theological ideas.

      The single major impediment to peace in the area is the Arab and wider Muslim wish to see Israel destroyed entirely and the Jews expelled (bar a few Iranian-style dhimmis to be kept as tame pets). If there were a sincere Sadat-style recognition of Israel and its right to exist, backed up by concrete proposals for co-operation, I think no one - including Israel - could stand in the way of a peace deal.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.