October 23, 2002
Israel: hard line on the outside, soft and self-critical on the inside

Robert Fisk: How to shut up your critics with a single word

Thank God, I often say, for the Israeli press. For where else will you find the sort of courageous condemnation of Israel's cruel and brutal treatment of the Palestinians? Where else can we read that Moshe Ya'alon, Ariel Sharon's new chief of staff, described the "Palestinian threat" as "like a cancer ￐ there are all sorts of solutions to cancerous manifestations. For the time being, I am applying chemotherapy.

"Where else can we read that the Israeli Herut Party chairman, Michael Kleiner, said that "for every victim of ours there must be 1,000 dead Palestinians". Where else can we read that Eitan Ben Eliahu, the former Israeli Air Force commander, said that "eventually we will have to thin out the number of Palestinians living in the territories". Where else can we read that the new head of Mossad, General Meir Dagan ￐ a close personal friend of Mr Sharon ￐ believes in "liquidation units", that other Mossad men regard him as a threat because "if Dagan brings his morality to the Mossad, Israel could become a country in which no normal Jew would want to live".

The recent wave of me-too articles condemning anti-Semitism by academics is a bit too much. I'd be much more willing to listen to the daily screed that appear warning against anti-Israeli views going too far on two conditions:

1) that the academics who are being accused of being anti-semitic be named, and quoted with some semblance of charitable interpretation and context;

2) that these columnists show some concern about anti-arab hate crimes in the US and Canada, which, according to a recent report, "declined from nearly 10 a day to under one a day" in California alone. An improvement, if one hate crime per day is considered acceptable.

The alarmist rants (by well known and respected columnists, of course) that I have read have done neither.

posted by dru in race