Antony Lerman, Jacqueline Rose, Jonathan Freedland, David Hirsh

UPDATE: another exchange between Hirsh and Rose, scroll down

This piece and the following comments come from comment is free.

Antony Lerman: Virtually anything can be said about Israel-Palestine, as Cif contributions and responses show only too clearly. Yet none of the words on any of the blogs hosted by any of the newspapers make a blind bit of difference to progress towards a just solution to the conflict. The power that derives from the barrel of a gun or the bombs of an F16 appears to be what does make a difference, although not to achieving peace. But at some point, if the conflict is ever unlocked on the basis of universal standards of justice, words will have played a central role. I don’t mean in the form of an agreement that fudges fundamental differences, but as a tipping point, in the form of a truth, previously unsayable, that is finally told.

What seemed obvious in Washington, when Prime Minister Netanyahu met President Obama, was that Bibi is a long way from expressing any form of words that might lead to the tipping point. Fevered speculation in the weeks and days leading up to the meeting, as to how he would find some way of doing what the new administration wants and endorse the two-state solution, proved to be just that. Neither the words “independent Palestinian state” nor “two states for two peoples” passed his lips, at least not in public. He can return home the “gever”, a macho hero, who stood up to the Americans.

It is, of course, grossly oversimplifying the issues to reduce matters to a few words not exchanged between Obama and Netanyahu. As if a huge celebratory peace bonfire has been constructed and all we’re waiting for is Bibi to light the match. The disturbing truth is that, despite opinion polls indicating that a majority of Israelis would accept an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, there are powerful forces stiffening Bibi’s resolve so that he will have all the arguments he needs to dictate his solution: economic progress for the Palestinians leading to a situation at some indefinable moment when the Palestinians will be able to rule themselves – but not completely.

According to Ofri Ilani in Ha’aretz, this is the role played by the Shalem Centre, an Israeli neoconservative thinktank, generously funded by American Jewish donors, whose “fellows areIf now sitting in government offices, helping turn abstract research into concrete policy”. Their approach on peace negotiations is summed up in the words of the man who is now the minister for strategic affairs, Shalem distinguished fellow Moshe Ya’alon, a former Israel Defence Forces chief of staff: “The diplomatic process can wait.”

Helping that along will be Michael Oren, Shalem fellow just appointed ambassador to Washington, and Natan Sharansky, author of an arch-neoconservative 2004 book, The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror, warmly recommended by George W Bush. He is about to head the Jewish Agency, one of the arms of government that manages – or some would say manipulates – Israel’s relations with the Jewish diaspora. These people are not looking for short-term impact policy changes. They have been developing their ideas in many thousands of words since the mid-1990s. And they are looking 50 years ahead, aiming to inculcate in government the “world view of the Shalem Centre … neoconservative, Zionistic and based on Jewish culture.”

While the Obama administration is busy undoing the harm done by years of neoconservative thinktank dominance in the USA, the ascendancy of neoconservatives in Israel at just this moment could not signify a more fundamental clash of outlooks.

At one level, this will undoubtedly play itself out in a battle of words, one that will not leave diaspora Jewry untouched or uninvolved. The public positions adopted by the leaderships of diaspora communities around the world demonstrate solidarity with the state and government. American Jewish support for the Shalem Centre and other rightwing intellectual, political and religious forces in Israel is indicative of the important role a certain activist element of diaspora Jews play in propping up an expansionist Israeli stance. And Netanyahu can still rely on the quiescence of the mass of daspora Jews to be able to claim, as all Israeli governments have done, that Israel acts on behalf of all Jews.

But you need hardly dig more than an inch or two to find deep disquiet and confusion following the Gaza war and the appointment of the racist Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister. And some of that concern is being channelled into a form of lobbying that challenges Aipac, philanthropic activity supporting human rights organisations in Israel-Palestine and social activism based on Jewish universalism. These activities represent the growing strain of diaspora Jewish opinion desperate for a new way, which sees the damage being done to Israel and recognises the necessity of supporting Palestinian rights. Might this lead diaspora Jews to find a voice capable of speaking a previously unsayable truth?

A public meeting organised by the London Jewish Community Centre on Monday night titled “Can we talk about Israel?” provides a clue. The discussion was about the limits of what Jews can say when they want to be critical of Israel. The two key voices on the panel, the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland and Jacqueline Rose, professor of English Literature at Queen Mary, University of London, one of the founders of Independent Jewish Voices, demonstrated remarkable unanimity on what Freedland said he dreamed diaspora Jews would one day say to Israel. What prompted his dream was the Northern Ireland peace process, which he witnessed from a key vantage point as Guardian correspondent in Washington during the 1990s – at the same time as Israeli and Palestinian representatives were tramping backwards and forwards through the city busy with their own attempts at reconciliation. He said the key change which broke the deadlock was the pro-Republican, Irish-American community telling Gerry Adams that they had had enough of the terror and the murder. If it continued Sinn Fein-IRA could no longer rely on Irish-American support. That was the point at which the republican strategy changed to embrace the path of peace and led to the Good Friday Agreement.

Freedland’s dream, predicated on the fact that Israel is heavily dependent on the support of diaspora Jewry to legitimise its actions, was that diaspora Jews would finally turn round to the Israeli government and say “Enough is enough. The occupation must end. The Palestinians must have their independent state. If not, however much we are with you, we can no longer support you.” Jacqueline Rose agreed, adding that central to this there had to be a full recognition of the injustice suffered by the Palestinians in 1948. And Freedland accepted this too.

If the tipping point comes and leads to a just peace, perhaps it will be triggered by a form of these true words spoken to Israel by an overwhelming tide of assertive diaspora Jewish opinion.

David Hirsh: I was also involved in the debate but evidently Antony Lerman considers that I was not a “key” voice on the panel.

I also support Palestinian rights and I did so clearly on Monday. I argued that the project to settle the occupied territories was, from the beginning plain wrong, and was also wrong from the point of view of any conception of Israeli self interest. I argued that the occupation has to come to an end and I argued that the occupation requires a regime of racism and violence which is unacceptable.

But Antony Lerman’s telling of what happened at this discussion is twisted to fit the rather eccentric ideological framework which he is trying to build.

Lerman is trying to pretend that there are two opposing Jewish identities, an inclusive “diasporic” identity which respects human rights and an ethnic “Zionist” identity which doesn’t. If Jews adopt the former then they can undercut antisemitism and be happy in Europe. If they cling to the latter then they will be more and more marginalized by antisemites as an alien force in Europe.

Lerman is trying to re-raise “the Jewish Question”.

He co-opts Jonathan Freedland as a good Jew, and he pretends that Freedland was in fundamental agreement on everything important with Jacqueline Rose on Monday. He wasn’t.

Lerman just airbrushes me out of the picture because he cannot fit me into his binary opposition.

Jonathan Freedland: I’m flattered to be identified by Antony Lerman as a “key” voice at the debate he refers to – though he omits to mention the third panel member, Goldsmiths College lecturer and sometime CiF contributor, David Hirsh.

For the record, I should also like to clarify the summary of my views he offers. It is quite true that I urged – and urge – diaspora Jews to play the constructive role leading Irish-Americans played in the northern Ireland peace process at the start of the 1990s. True, too that I look forward to the day when – behind-the-scenes if necessary – the diaspora Jewish leadership says to Israel of the occupation that began in 1967, ‘Enough is enough.’ I even believe that the diaspora has to be able to say that – if the status quo continues indefinitely – the time will come when it will be unable to continue supporting Israel financially.

What I did not suggest is that Jews will – or should – make some kind of break from Israel altogether. On the contrary, I insisted that the power of that initial Irish-American intervention was that those leaders of the Irish diaspora always presented themselves as solid, reliable friends of Irish republicanism. As I put it on Monday night, their message to Sinn Fein was, ‘We love you, we stand with you, we’re never going to abandon you. But this has to stop.’

That is the message I want to hear from the Jewish diaspora to Israel – not a threat to sever all ties, but the kind of firm, yet supportive, advice one family member might give another.

This was not quite the tone Jacqueline Rose adopted or advocated on Monday. She, for example, supports an academic boycott of Israel, which I adamantly oppose. On this, and in several other areas, we took wholly different stands.

Lipschitz:   I was at Monday night’s meeting and Jonathan Freedland and Jacqueline Rose were most certainly not singing from the same hymn book (or should that be siddur) as Tony Lerman claims in his article.

I can see that Jonathan Freedland has already said as much, further up the comment chain.

drawinintoit: If Anthony Lerman considers his account of the meeting on Monday as an accurate reflections of its proceedings then I am afraid I cannot believe another word he says.

I am afraid that Rose and Freedland disagreed on many points.

Whilst I acknowledge Lerman’s apparent dislike of Hirsh (see the recent debate in the letters pages of the JC) it is still reprehensible to erase from the record a third active participant of the panel.

I had really thought that the days of making someone with whom one disagreed a “non-person” had longed been left behind.  I guess I was wrong.

Antony Lerman: Jonathan Freedland provided a useful clarification of his comments at Monday night’s public meeting and I’m grateful to him for fundamentally confirming, in his second paragraph, my understanding of what he said.

I think, however, that a little further clarification is necessary in case anyone gets the impression that I distorted his views. I didn’t take a verbatim note of what he said, but as far as I recall, when Jonathan said something along the lines of “Diaspora Jewry must say ‘enough is enough'”, he never used the words ‘behind-the-scenes if necessary’. Similarly, in clarifying that he believes that ‘if the status quo continues indefinitely – the time will come when it will be unable to continue supporting Israel’, he never specifically said, on Monday night, ‘financially’.

More importantly, when he writes: ‘What I did not suggest is that Jews will – or should – make some kind of break from Israel altogether’, it should be clear that I never wrote or implied any such thing. It would, in my view, be absurd in practical terms, given the very large numbers of Jews outside Israel who have relatives and close friends in Israel. But also in terms of achieving the object of getting Israel to change its policies, because a key additional means of doing that must be to support civil society groups in Israel which are themselves working to achieve such an objective.

I’m pretty sure, though, that on reflection, Jonathan would want to revise his italicised reference to ‘financially’, if, as I think we’re supposed to assume, that’s the main threat Diaspora Jews have at their command. He knows full well that the time when the funds given by Diaspora Jews to Israel were crucial to Israel’s survival has long gone. When Yossi Beilin was a minister in the Rabin government that concluded the 1993 Oslo Accords, he went round the world conveying precisely this message to Jewish communities, telling them they should be spending that money on themselves. So the message from Diaspora Jewry would need to be rather more robust than simply telling Israel ‘we’ll no longer be able to support you financially’.

What I found rather disappointing in his comments was his wish to distance himself from Jacqueline Rose. I never wrote, nor assumed that anyone would think for one second, that Jonathan and Jacqueline agreed on everything during the discussion. He made that clear at the time, and she did too. But on the point of Diaspora Jewry saying ‘Enough is enough’, I still maintain that there was fundamental agreement. And to imply – as Jonathan seems to do, but he can correct me if I’m wrong – that Jacqueline’s ‘tone’ was along the lines of ‘a threat to sever all ties’, I believe that he is fundamentally mistaken.

There are surely enough divisions among Jews for it be extremely important for us to make an effort to reach out to others, with whom we disagree on so much, but with whom we can find agreement on some fundamentals, and make common cause to achieve a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict based on justice for all and on universal human rights values.

What is most damaging to the kind of constructive dialogue that I believe Jonathan Freedland and Jacqueline Rose were able to engage in on Monday night, despite serious differences on a number of issues, is the seemingly deliberate distortion of some people’s views, the willful misreading of what some people write, that certain rather vocal individuals indulge in. Jonathan and Jacqueline certainly cannot be accused of such dispiriting behaviour.

Petra MB: A very interesting thread, indeed – particularly since David Hirsh and Jonathan Freedland have shown up to comment. It is certainly very telling that Anthony Lerman thought it’s OK to “erase” somebody he doesn’t much like from the picture — monnie, that might answer the question you asked upthread, and the answer would be: NO, it’s not allowed to disagree with Lerman…

But since Lerman likes psychological explanations a lot (link below), maybe one should try to explain his “erasure” of David Hirsh psychologically – all the more so since, judging from Jonathan Freedland’s comment, Lerman gives a very skewed account of what was said and who agreed with whom. What we do know for sure, however, is that Lerman agrees a lot with Jacqueline Rose.

Which brings me to pretzelberg – what makes you think:
“Mr. Lerman himself supports the state of Israel and is aware that he is on common ground here with most diaspora Jews.”

Indeed, be careful that you don’t find yourself sued for libel.

As to what the real progressive left thinks about Rose, and her admirer Anthony Lerman:

Jonathan Freedland: Apologies if this is getting tedious, but Antony Lerman asked me for “a little further clarification” of my comments, so here goes.

First, he suggests that I used phrases in this thread that I did not utter on Monday night. That’s because, as I hoped I had made clear, I was not seeking in my comment above to provide a transcript, but to explain my own views as they actually are – rather than let CIF readers rely on Tony Lerman’s account of them.

So, yes, my view is that the mainstream diaspora Jewish leadership may find it more palatable to confront the Israeli government “behind the scenes if necessary.” Not the exact phrase I used on the night, but clear from the context that evening – namely, the the precedent set by the Irish-American leadership which, I had said earlier, had approached Sinn Fein-IRA behind the scenes. What was implicit in my remarks on Monday had to be made explicit here.

The same applies to my use of the word “financially.” Here’s what happened. At Monday’s debate I said that diaspora Jewish leaders needed eventually to say “Enough is enough” about the occupation. A member of the audience later asked whether there had been an “or else” in the Irish case: had the Irish-Americans said “and if you don’t change, we’ll cut off the money?” I answered yes – adding that diaspora Jewish leaders might eventually have to say the same. Hence the word “financially.”

In both cases, the words may have been different – and Tony Lerman admits he did not take a verbatim note – but the meaning, given the context, was exactly as I stated it above.

Then Tony adds this:

More importantly, when he writes: ‘What I did not suggest is that Jews will – or should – make some kind of break from Israel altogether’, it should be clear that I never wrote or implied any such thing.

But the view Tony attributed to me was that I dreamed of the day when diaspora Jews would say, “we can no longer support you.” That sounded close enough to making a break from Israel altogether for me to want to set the record straight. Anyway, I’m glad that Tony and I agree that such a call would be, in his words, “absurd.”

Which brings us to the heart of the matter. Tony is disappointed that I apparently “wish to distance [myself] from Jacqueline Rose.” But I don’t just wish to distance myself from Jacqueline Rose, I am distant from her, on one issue after another. That much was clear to everyone in the room on Monday, as has been set out by those who were present and who have commented on this thread. (To quote lipschitz: “I was at Monday night’s meeting and Jonathan Freedland and Jacqueline Rose were most certainly not singing from the same hymn book…as Tony Lerman claims in his article.”)

In his original piece, Tony spoke of “remarkable unanimity” between me and Professor Rose. I’m glad he has now conceded that, in fact, we voiced “serious differences on a number of issues.” She advocated for the academic boycott of Israel and I denounced it. I said the most effective way for diaspora Jews to criticise Israel was for them first to make clear their warm support for the country; she left no doubt she could adopt no such stance. I insisted that Israel’s establishment was legitimate, given the Jewish existential need in 1948. She could not say the same.

Our loudest dispute was over her attempt to claim that the eminent and hugely admired Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg had written something which echoed her own views. I knew the piece in question and I know him – and I insisted that nothing was further from the truth. The quotation had been crudely ripped out of context. I was infuriated by this and, to her credit, Prof Rose withdrew the remark entirely.

She made the same move with the Israeli novelist David Grossman – as she has done before – attempting to claim him as an ally, when he is of course an avowed Zionist and Israeli patriot. On this point, Prof Rose was corrected by the chair, Ned Temko.

I confess this habit baffles me. Why does Jacqueline Rose repeatedly attempt to co-opt as allies people who don’t agree with her at all? I responded to Tony Lerman’s piece because I suspected he was doing the same thing with me, attempting to tell Guardian readers that I now shared a “remarkable unanimity” with Jacqueline Rose. We share, along with many, many Jews, an opposition to the post-1967 occupation – but that, I am afraid, is it.

Jacqueline Rose: Since some of the discussion about Mondays evening JCC debate refers to me I think I should take this opportunity to set the record straight, not least because my position on a number of issues is being, and was on Monday night, so misrepresented.

As I have stated several times in print, I was a reluctant supporter of the last academic boycott. I was never a proponent or organiser of it or involved in the campaign in any way. It was a counsel of despair born of the failure of the international community to exert any pressure on Israel to end the Occupation. It was legitimate in my view only if it targeted institutions and not individuals. Given the change, in many ways deterioration of the situation, the focus now – as it was in the impressive run of university occupations across the country during the Gaza offensive at the start of this year – is rightly on military disinvestment (a number of Universities have agreed to withdraw funds in companies involved in military trade with Israel). Given too the chance or perhaps I should say hopes of a real change in US policy towards Israel – I do not believe now is the time to consider an academic boycott. I have not therefore decided what position I will take should the matter arise again.

So one of the most striking things about Mondays debate and indeed Jonathan Freedlands comments here is the attempt to make me an unequivocal adherent of the boycott policy overall. What I did in the debate was explain why it had arisen – the destruction of Palestinian academic freedom, for example, had to be raised as an issue from the floor – and why under the circumstances it had felt justified, even though imperfect and problematic in many ways. It is as I see it an honourable disagreement. I respect the arguments on both sides of this difficult debate which is more than can be said for some others in this discussion.

On the question of expressing `warm support for Israel. I stated: ` Critique can be part of solidarity. It can be based on the belief for example, one which I hold, that for Israel to continue on its present path will be disastrous, not just for the Palestinians as a people, but also for Israel itself. All my remarks therefore are made in the context of fear for Israels future. This for me is a strongly felt expression of support. What I disagreed with was his use of the word `love. I suggested that the love of those in the Jewish diaspora should not be for Israel to the exclusion of others, but based on a more universal ethic.

Freedland suggests that I `could not say that Israels establishment was legitimate. I have said many times that Israel was born out of the legitimate desire of a persecuted people for a homeland. My point on Monday was something quite different – that the disaster of 1948 for the Palestinian was being glossed over, and even when acknowledged by him, it was – as it felt to me – in passing.

The most serious misrepresentation by Freedland is however in relation to Rabbi Wittenberg and David Grossman. I quoted the following passage from Wittenberg from the latest issue of Jewish Quarterly: ‘I find myself weeping many times over things especially the Gaza war. But my biggest difficulties are with the West Bank, particularly the eviction from houses. Certain anti-Zionist comments are racist, but certain actions of the State of Israel are definitely racist. I’ve heard from people and I’ve seen with my own eyes that they’re not accidental but part of a clear policy of wanting to remove non-Jewish inhabitants from certain key areas. I worry this is part of a process of long-term defeat for Israel. In the end, this is a rabbinic matter, ultimately Judaism is much greater than Israel.’ When Jonathan pointed out that Wittenbergs remarks were indeed framed in the context of stating his love for Israel, of course I accepted his point, but the point I was making still stood, that he was indicating that the question of Judaism was `greater than that of Israel, that the two cannot therefore be equated.

In relation to Grossman, I was not citing him to support my views. I only learn from Grossman and am dismayed that this suggestion is being made again, unjustly as before and with some relish. I was referring to a discussion which I had the privilege of hearing in Seville last summer between Grossman and the Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury when it seemed to me that Grossmans expression of fear on the part of Israelis and Khourys insistence on the trauma of 1948 for the Palestinians were not incompatible narratives as it first seemed but deeply related to each other. This was my thought, what I had learned from listening to these two extraordinary writers. Ned Temko misunderstood what I was saying and accepted my correction which Freedland omits to mention.

Contrary to what he suggests, I do not claim Grossman as an ally, any more incidentally than I was claiming Khoury as an ally. I have also acknowledged more than once that Grossman is a committed Zionist, as Jonathan in fact knows since I said this to him in conversation after Mondays debate. It is Grossmans ability to combine that commitment with the most profound critique of his nations policies which I, like so many, admire.

That David Hirsh should choose to caricature and simplify my views is only to be expected. I would have expected something else from Jonathan Freedland. In fact Antony Lerman is right that Jonathan and I, despite our disagreements, agreed at several points in the evening and by no means only on 1967. Why he should then wish in print so completely to disavow this reality is a question only he can answer.

David Hirsh:

Jacqueline rose (2009) (above): “I was a reluctant supporter of the last academic boycott. I was never a proponent or organiser of it or involved in the campaign in any way.”

Jacquline Rose (2005): “I think there should be economic and military sanctions against Israel, and an academic and cultural boycott as well. In face of the complete destruction of freedom of speech in Palestinian educational infrastructures, to point to the forms of creative dialogue that might take place across academe is evasive. This is a time for deciding which side you are on, and what you can do to prevent the deterioration of the situation.”

“True, there is a risk of boycott hardening the identity you are trying to open up. But at certain moments you must recognise that you are involved in different kinds of political calculation, and ask: what is being done to end this situation? What forces are being brought to bear? The answer is: none. That is why I feel that it is beholden on academics as a matter of conscience to do something about this, even if it creates something of a mess. ”

Jacqueline Rose on the boycott, Open Democracy, 18/8 2005,

At risk of being again loftily and professorially swatted aside by Jacqueline as “choosing to caricature and simplify her views”, I would also like to point out a couple of inconsistencies in Jacqueline Rose’s argument relating to the boycott.

As demonstrated above, and in spite of her curious denial, she was indeed a clear and enthusiastic proponent of the boycott in 2005.

On Monday she re-stated her support for the boycott but then tried to retreat from that position when it was strongly criticized by Jonathan Freedland and myself.

Firstly she stated her support for co-operative cultural and academic projects between Israel and Palestine such as Baremboim’s orchestra and such as the Olive Tree Project, which brings together Israeli and Palestinian students to study in London.

This is opposite to her 2005 position (above) which was to claim that “to point to the forms of creative dialogue that might take place across academe is evasive…”

When I pointed out to Jacqueline that she had to choose: either boycott Israeli academia and culture, or support joint projects, she insisted that it was possible to do both. She thought there could be some kind of machinery set up to make a decision on which Israelis should be boycotted and which should not, on the basis of their political cleanliness.

In fact, of course, the boycott campaign which exists, as opposed to the one in the mind of Jacqueline Rose, strongly opposes all cultural and academic links between Israel and the outside world on the basis that it normalizes the occupation.

drawnintoit: “That David Hirsh should choose to caricature and simplify my views is only to be expected. I would have expected something else from Jonathan Freedland.”

Of course, this is not the first time that Jacqueline Rose has accused Hirsh of “misrperesentation”.

Her (and Anthony’s) letter in response to the article linked below, begins, “David Hirsh (“Do not confine Israel to the couch”, April 10th) performs the double feat of misrepresenting our views and showing his ignorance.”

I am not sure whether this recourse to claims of “misrepresentation” and “ignorance” rather than engaging with the views of one with whom one disagrees serves as the best good model for the peace and the processes that Rose so desires for the Middle East. Maybe she just thinks that some people are simply beyond the pale. Now, that’s kind of ironic!

Jacqueline Rose: David Hirsh objects to the suggestion that he simplifies my views. Yet he quotes my comments in the opendemocracy interview of 18 August 2005 but for some reason chooses to omit these further comments which I made on the same site two weeks later (September 5).

`In this context to call for a boycott – academic, cultural, or both – is indeed (on this much we agree) a mark of despair. I should have stated in my openDemocracy interview, as I have elsewhere, that I was a reluctant supporter of the Association of University Teachers boycott in Britain, for two reasons: because it seemed inconsistently and somewhat randomly applied, and because I too have the desire to keep open paths to dialogue wherever possible. But imperfect as it was, I welcomed the attempt by academics to do something on the grounds that, at the level of international politics, nothing is being done.

… although I think we should be cautious about any unqualified equation of Israels policies with apartheid South Africa, the experience of the boycott in the latter case has some lessons. It is worth remembering that the supporters of United Nations general assembly resolution 2396 (passed in December 1968) calling for a cultural boycott of South Africa were similarly accused of supporting censorship, of endangering academic freedom, cutting off the black population from much-needed contacts with the west, and alienating the whites.

None of these objections were completely wrong, anymore than are the objections to boycott in relation to Israel. But the boycott against the apartheid regime endured, and it is also worth remembering that – together with the dialogue which flourished with the countrys artists and writers at the same time – it helped bring the regime to its end and lay the foundations for an inclusive democracy.’ – 50k –

I continue to be a reluctant supporter of the 2005 boycott, am uncertain – as I say above – about any possible future boycott. Given that the stated aim on Monday night was to promote dialogue, Hirsh’s determination to present my views as unambiguous is as ironic as it is politically dispiriting.

David Hirsh: It is extraordinary of Jacqueline Rose to claim that I somehow mischievously “simplified” her view.

She claimed that she was “never a proponent” of the boycott.

I showed that this isn’t true and that she was a clear and unambiguos proponent of the boycott in 2005. And she was again at the beginning of the debate on Monday, although by the end, she was more ambiguous.

So that I could not be misunderstood, I quoted two paragraphs of hers, from 2005, in which she was clearly a proponent of the boycott.

So that I could not be accused of taking the quotes out of context, as she sometimes does, I provided the link, so that anybody who wanted to see the context could do so at the click of their mouse.

And again, instead of engaging with the issues, Jacqueline Rose chose to make an ad hominem attack against me, claiming that I “simplify” her ever-so-complex and nuanced argument.

What complexity, what nuance? Oh, this complexity, this nuance:

“This is a time for deciding which side you are on, and what you can do to prevent the deterioration of the situation” (quoted and contextualized above)

Well either you support those who are trying to build a movement on UK campuses to exclude colleagues who work in Israel, and nobody else, or you don’t. Jacqueline Rose did.

Does she now? Who knows? Perhaps she should say before UCU Congress on Wednesday?

I suggest that it would have been better for Jacqueline Rose to engage with the issues: specifically with the issue of contemporary antisemitism and its relationship to the campaign to exclude Israeli Jews from campuses.

Nobody is impressed with her refusal to deal with the arguments.

She can insult me as much as she likes, but it does not solve the important questions which relate to antisemitism. And we need to take those questions seriously.

This piece and the following comments come from comment is free.

46 Responses to “Antony Lerman, Jacqueline Rose, Jonathan Freedland, David Hirsh”

  1. zkharya Says:

    Will there be a more accurate account of what was actually said, in particular, David, what you said?

    Why on earth is Lehrman’s the only account to appear?

  2. modernityblog Says:

    No video of the event?

  3. Mark Gardner Says:

    I was at the event on Monday.

    All 3 speakers were clear in their deploring of Israel’s actions post ’67, and in their desire for Jews to speak up.

    David Hirsh also attacked the antisemitic bias, resonance and impact of anti-Zionism & boycotts. Evidently, this thought crime is far more important to Lerman and Rose than any and all of his clear denunciations of Israeli policy; both on Monday night and umpteen times previously.

    It is ironic – and a tad concerning – that whilst Lerman and Rose expend so much effort telling Jews that they must criticise Israel for their own good, such an approach certainly doesn’t seem to have done David any good in their eyes. (Furthermore, his denunciations are significantly harsher than anything majority Jewish opinion would come out with.)

    An early contribution from Jonathan Freedland shaped much of the debate. He explained that he hoped Diaspora Jewry could learn from the example of Irish Americans who told the IRA that enough was enough, thereby bringing the IRA to make a real, and ultimately successful, peace effort.

    Jonathan insisted that a Jewish equivalent must be rooted in clearly expressed solidarity, love even, with Israel. This was taken up by Jacqueline Rose, asking along the lines of who ought we to love? appealing for universal values, and saying that Israel would need to be solved in accordance with justice.

    I took this to be a statement that Jews had to choose universalism over Zionism. I wasn’t sure if she was also meaning that Israel would have to cease to be a Jewish state, if this was what justice demanded.

    The universalism bit has stuck with me all week. I hate the notion that British Jews have to pass an anti-Zionist litmus test in order to be admitted to the protected ranks of the universalists. The ridiculing and airbrushing of David Hirsh strikes me as a good example of how high an anti-Zionist standard the universalists are setting. For some reason, Tamils don’t seem to meet it either… but then again, neither does Darfur, and nor did Rwanda or…

    David Hirsh called for a bit of perspective from both of them. People should loves their family, not Israel, which is nice place to visit on holiday and is ultimately a tiny bit of real estate with a tiny population that undergoes scrutiny out of all proportion to reality.

    For me, Rose’s univeralism appeal – and what I perceived to be very equivocal support for any Jewish state – was the foundational context of everything else that she said. It was her concern for the original sin of Israel’s perpetration of the Palestinian nakba in 1948, and the subsequent reinforcement of that post 1967, that distinguished her from Jonathan and David.

    When she quoted the magnificent Rabbi Wittenberg, it was in order to say that they shared the same view. (She was hardly going to quote it in order to do anything else!) Jonathan Freedland trashed her on that immediately, showing that it was he who shared the same view as Rabbi Wittenberg, and most certainly not her. She apologised. I think most people in the room believed she’d been trying to pull a fast one on that.

    The same thing happened a bit later when she misquoted Jonathan back to him. I forget what it was about, but Jonathan immediately put her straight and said they were not in agreement.

    Towards the end, there was the David Grossman/Elias Khoury bit. Jacqueline Rose said how they’d reached an impasse over 1948 at a meeting in Seville that she attended. She’d said something to Grossman about how to re-frame the discussion and that then saved the day. This time it was the chair, Ned Temko, who intervened to say that Grossman would never have needed her to tell him any such thing. Again, she immediately changed tack, saying that hadn’t been what she’d meant to imply. It seemed obvious that Ned had been correct in his completely unprecedented intervention.

    To conclude: maybe we need to get the organisers to give us their version of how it happened and who meant what. Failing that, perhaps Ned Temko?

  4. Mikey Says:

    I was there, John (Nixon was the President in 1967) Rose was there, Ghada Karmi was there, what a lovely time we had.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      False memory syndrome strikes again! Sorry, Mikey, in 1967, Lyndon Baines Johnson was President. Nixon wasn’t elected until November 1968 and didn’t take office until january 1969.

      • Mikey Says:


        You may very well think that LBJ was the President in 1967, but you were clearly not taught by John Rose who categorically tells us that Nixon was the President in 1967. (See section between 5:10 and 5:20)

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Sorry, Mikey, I missed the subtlety of your comment. I should have realised that you knew better, but I didn’t realise that John Rose had so re-written history as to be living in a genuine alternate universe. I wonder if US historians have yet realised how wrong all their books are? It does explain some of the weirder explanations for, eg, 9/11.

          And I’ve only just started reading Aaronovitch’s “Voodoo Histories”, but it promises to be interesting (if I can get Rose, J. out of my mind).

  5. Jonathan Says:

    Rose advised on Seven Jewish Children

    Lerman wrote “Jews suffer from a persecution complex”; “the Jewish public does not want to be confused with the facts”; “To justify its attack on Gaza, Israel threw the mantle of victimhood over the residents of southern Israel”; “Israel’s responsibility for the injustice of the humanitarian disaster in Gaza”; “There is every reason why the Holocaust should be a constant influence on our thinking. But by insisting on owning it, fencing it off and seeing it as uniquely unique, we’re in danger of lifting the Jewish tragedy out of history altogether.”

    He disguised the fact that antisemitism is at record levels, instead suggesting that it is normal for a time of Middle East tension:

    “This is starkly illustrated in the fact that the UK Jewish community’s defence body, the Community Security Trust, reports a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents since the beginning of the Gaza war. This is not a new phenomenon. For some decades, incidents have increased at times of high tension or violence in Israel-Palestine.”

    He blames Israel for antisemitism: “ … by provoking outrage, which is then used to target Jews, Israel bears responsibility for that anti-Jewish hostility”

    He says Jews want there to be antisemitism: “so much of the Jewish world is more comfortable with an identifiable enemy that hates us than with a multicultural society that welcomes Jews on equal terms“

    And hints at the equivalence of the Warsaw Ghetto with Gaza.

    Rose and Lerman are part of the problem of antisemitism, not part of the solution.

  6. zkharya Says:

    Mikey, I would very much like to hear of it.

  7. zkharya Says:

    Here’s a video of John Rose in action at Goldsmith’s. for anyone interested:

  8. Susan Says:

    The comparison of Northern Ireland and Israel is overdone and inaccurate.

    The Jewish community in American is supporting programs for Arab employment in Israel and other similar causes. The money Jews give to Israel goes to help people, not the government. You would be hurting the poor and disabled, not Netanyahu by refusing to give money to Israeli organizations.

    No one mentioned the Jewish refugees from Arab countries. We all know that there are more Jewish refugees from Arab countries than Palestinian refugees from Israel. It seems that only right wingers are supposed to care about them.

    I wonder if Lerman would say that what is happening in the Congo is an excuse for racism against Black British people. I doubt it.

  9. Keith Kahn-Harris Says:

    At the risk of provoking a firestorm of criticism as in the last time I entered an Engage thread, I wanted to let you know that Haaretz has just published an article I wrote that discusses the debate last Monday:

    I have asked the editor to post a revised version that makes mention of Lerman’s CiF article. I will post again when this happens.

  10. Fred Says:

    Keith ” At the risk of provoking a firestorm of criticism as in the last time I entered an Engage thread”

    Which translates into “last time i commented on Engage people had the cheek to disagree with me and try and debate the issues with me”

  11. Absolute Observer Says:

    With the greatest of respect Keith, and thank you so much, for coming back after such traumatic experiences, it may have helped a bit had you spelt Hirsch’s name right (just a little thing). A little bit of the debate that took place would have been an advantage also.
    I do hope you take that in as constrctive as way as possible.

  12. Absolute Observer Says:

    “At the risk of provoking a firestorm of criticism as in the last time I entered an Engage thread”

    Criticism yes, firestorm??

  13. Saul Says:

    Judging by the expressions of those Rose is talking at, I would say that his inivtation to speak was a clever ploy by the Goldsmith administration to end the occupation by the weapon of boredom.

    Does the swp ever develop any of its thought; they were saying the same thing when I used to see the Rock against Racism gigs (as they were called in the 70’s). I never did get my grey cortina though!

  14. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Keith Kahn-Harris does appear to miss the point that Anthony Lerman, as so often, seems to blame Israel and the Diaspora’s support for Israel as _the_ prime cause of rising antisemitism. See also his linked article in The Independent:

    Lerman frequently appears to want to blame the victim (“the Jew”) for antsemitism, not racists. At the same time, I’m sure he would run a mile from any suggestion that, eg, Afro-Caribbeans in the UK are responsible for the racism of, say, the BNP against them.

    • Keith Kahn-Harris Says:

      My Haaretz article didn’t mention Tony Lerman.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        No, but he repeats what is a vital part of his general approach to this whole area, and he is both a part of the meeting to which this thread is attached, and he does repeat this tiresom point yet again there. If you are reporting on that meeting, how can you not mention Lerman and his repitition of his “blaming Israel and its Diaspora Jewish supporters for antisemitism” riff? To do otherwise is to be a seriously partial observer, and you do say that you were there (which I was not and I’m relying on other’s reporting of it).

        • Keith Kahn-Harris Says:

          Lerman was at the meeting. He didn’t speak from the floor and wasn’t on the platform. We exchanged pleasantries as we stood next to each other at the urinals. The Lerman issue is important but should not be confused with the meeting itself.

  15. David Lieberman Says:

    Keith Kahn-Harris points readers to his Ha-aretz article, and anticipates a firestorm. I’ll volunteer to hurl the first chunk of brimstone. From the article:

    “The argument is still often made that Diaspora Jews owe support to Israel and have no right to engage in criticism of a country they do not live in.”

    Nice bit of journalistic laziness there. That “often” is more than a little loaded, implying endemic behavior patterns that can be taken to characterize the state of diaspora Jewish culture in general, and not in a nice way. It therefore demands to be unpacked and demonstrated, rather than simply asserted. How “often” is this argument made (evidence, please)? Who is making it (evidence, please)? And even if the sentiment that diaspora Jews ought to sit down and shut up is so commonly bruited about that we can legitimately say it is “often made,” that still leaves entirely open the crucial question: does it work? Answering this question would require the gathering of more information — you know, reporting: First, are Diaspora Jews really silent about Israel (evidence, please)? Second, if they are, is it really because someone keeps telling them to sit down and shut up (evidence, please)?

    • Keith Kahn-Harris Says:

      Erm…I only had 800 words.

      • David Lieberman Says:

        OK — you have more or less unlimited space here, though.

        I put to you that your phrase “the argument is still often made” is prejudicial, suggesting that there exists an atmosphere of repressive intimidation that is somehow characteristic of diaspora Jewish communities. I don’t believe you mean to have this effect, but your offhand suggestion itself feeds nicely into various antisemitic premises about Jewish tribalism, dual loyalties, etc.

        • Keith Kahn-Harris Says:

          Look I don’t have the time or energy to devote enormous amounts of time to comment threads. I try and contribute to the debate on these issues in my own way. I recognise that everything I (or anyone else) says on these difficult issues raises more issues than it clarifies. But that’s where I’m going to leave things. Sorry.

  16. Mark Says:

    “At the risk of provoking a firestorm of criticism as in the last time I entered an Engage thread”

    Having briefly read through that thread I had the impresssion that Keith ended on a “yeah – but apart form roads, sanitation etc what have the Romans ever done for us” note!

  17. Linda Grant Says:

    Those interested in critiquing media bias on reports about Israel should take a look at this piece from the Columbia Journalism Review

  18. Participant in that dialogue group Says:

    Nothing wrong with robust debate Keith. And you are never going to get a dialogue between (say) Lerman and a mainstream Irael supporter.

    Waste of time trying.

  19. PetraMB Says:

    Mark, thanks for that excellent summary of the meeting you provide upthread. First, I think the point that you say David made, i.e. rejecting Jonathan Freedland’s call to profess “love” for Israel, is an important one. Not to be misunderstood: whoever does feel “love” for Israel should be able to say so, but basically, this is a very subjective category and has little to do with a debate that is after all about political questions. Moreover, even if Rose or Lerman declared their undying love to Israel, I can’t imagine that many Israelis would be too impressed.

    I think you are also right to highlight the issue of universalism, or rather, the fact that somebody like Rose would claim it as her standard that entitles her to define what it takes to meet it. It’s an issue that comes up regularly in I/P debates, but the funny thing is of course that the notion of “universalism” a la Rose basically boils down to defining universalism as whatever meets all Palestinian demands for “justice”. The problem with this is that the Palestinians plainly did not have justice on their side when they insisted that they had the right to deny the Jews self-determination. This is, I believe, at the root of this conflict; people like Rose and Lerman simply fail to acknowledge that historically, Jewish self-determination in Palestine did not exclude Palestinian self-determination — that was something the Palestinians willingly sacrified in the hope to thereby undermine the legitimacy of Jewish self-determination. They have certainly succeeded with people like Rose and Lerman.

    For whoever has the patience to read an excellent but long article just out, written by two of the most respected experts on the subject of the I/P conflict:

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Petra, thanks for the link; it’s a fascinating article. However, as I read through it, it occurred to me that the emphasis was on the problems of the Palestinians. As I commented some time ago, in the words of Perez de Cuelha, then Sec Gen of the UN and attempting to mediate between the Brits and the Argentinians over the Falklands before it became a _real_ shooting war, “it takes two to tango”.

      Where are the interests of the Israelis in all this? Sure, the needs and interests of the Palestinians and especially those in the camps have to be addressed, but what of the Israelis concerns? Agha & Malley seem somehow to take those for granted. After all, there were at least as many Jewish refugees from Arab and Moslem lands as there were Palestinians from what became Israel. They make the point that the current and apparent overwhelming military superiority of Israel may not be enough, and certainly won’t be in the long run. So, what is to be done?

      As we note here often enough, although we’re concerned with antisemitism and the boycott, that in turn revolves around questions of I/P. One of my concerns, in my more “down” times, is that having fewer relatives than I should have, thanks to the Nazis, I don’t wish to lose some of those I still, nevertheless, have, thanks to the Palestinians and their sponsors. Their article is almost, from my point of view, a suggestion that Israel rebuild the wall strictly along the Green Line, the border with Lebanon and one on the border with Gaza, pull back the settlers (or leave them to their fate), and get on with its own life, leaving the Palestinians to theirs. It’s a not uncommon science fiction scenario: wall in or out those who who won’t leave you alone, and let them rot with _their_ problems.

      That’s not a solution, so what else do Agha & Malley have to offer?

      • PetraMB Says:

        Brian, you’re right in sensing that Agha/Malley have a pro-Palestinian bias, but they are definitely among the most respected and most knowledgeable analysts on this subject, and by and large, they usually make a serious effort at being even-handed. Their recent piece may actually be the most pro-Israeli they have ever written. I don’t know, maybe you read it very quickly, but to my mind, they first acknowledge that during the Annapolis talks, “Abbas declined a far more concessive Israeli proposal—on the size of the territory for Palestinians, for example—than the one Yasser Arafat turned down eight years ago and for which the then Palestinian leader was excoriated as an implacable enemy of peace. There is little reason to believe that more tweaking of the accord would have made a difference.”

        In other words, they acknowledge that Israel has offered everything we can reasonably be asked to offer, and it wasn’t enough for the Palestinians to accept. To my mind, what they implicitly endorse is to go for the time being with something like Netanyahu has in mind, i.e. improving the economic situation in the Westbank and address security problems, and draw in the Arab states, i.e. the deal is no longer that Israel is expected to give land and hope that maybe we won’t get too many Qassams in return; instead, the Arab states would have to demonstrate upfront that they mean peace by taking small steps towards normalization. Eventually, I think they favor that the Quartet under US leadership will put a detailed plan on the table and essentially insist that this is what Israel and the Palestinians should agree to. My understanding is that the outlines that are emerging include land swaps for settlement blocs, a demilitarized Palestinian state, and no RoR to Israel proper – in other words: what Israel offered in Camp David/Taba and now during Annapolis. Whether the issue of Jewish refugees from Mideast countries will be addressed remains to be seen.

  20. Jacob Says:

    Linda Grant Says:
    “Those interested in critiquing media bias on reports about Israel should take a look at this piece from the Columbia Journalism Review”

    Point taken, Linda, and the article did make some good points, though, some of the posts in the comments section also go it right. Reporters are advised to be cautious because they have gotten it so wrong in the past. There was no Jenin massacre after all.

    The last I read about the soldier’s testimony (and there were very few of them) suggested that some of their stories may have been made up or exaggerated. Has that disproven?

    Finally, Europe has the opposite problem tending to be pushed into an anti-Israel bias by its left wing culture which seems to abhor zionism. The BBC doesn’t always get it right either and an internal report accused the news outlet of antisemitic bias.

  21. Saul Says:

    Jacqueline Rose complains (over and over and over) that she is being silenced by the Jewish “establishment”.
    Interestingly, she chose to respond to Hirsh’s critique of her “Question of ZIon” with a rather intemperate and rude letter.
    Why, I wonder, did Rose not use the opportunity to respond to Hirsh by a similar article in the JC, the leading Jewish paper in the UK.

    That way Rose would have had access to the very constituency that she complains she is barred from and an opportunity to point out where Hirsh had “misrepresented” her It would also have given an opportunity for many to consider and evaluate her arguments accordingly.

    But, maybe, like Lerman, she thinks that British Jews are incapable of dealing with facts and, therefore, unable to reach rational decisions.

  22. Saul Says:

    “Finally, Europe has the opposite problem tending to be pushed into an anti-Israel bias by its left wing culture which seems to abhor zionism”

    Oh for goodness sake. Stop talking rubbish!

  23. Saul Says:

    In many articles, reference is made to “supporters of Israel”. I am curious, therefore, as to what characteristics are said to define “a mainstream Israel supporter” referred to above?

  24. Absolute Observer Says:

    “Whenever I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun”

    Now, Jacob, who was it who said that?

  25. Jacob Says:

    “Oh for goodness sake. Stop talking rubbish!”

    I wish it were rubbish. But the antisemitic rhetoric one fnds in committed leftists like Zizke says otherwise.

    For those who read French I suggest the following article by Pierre-André Taguieff:

    “L’émergence d’une judéophobie planétaire”

    “[…] Il ne faut donc pas confondre les résurgences ou les recyclages du vieil antisémitisme ethno-nationaliste et les formes d’émergence et d’expansion de la nouvelle judéophobie planétaire, dont les principaux vecteurs sont la propagande des réseaux islamistes et la démagogie des nouveaux gauchistes (néo-communistes, activistes de l’ «anti-mondialisation», trotskistes, anarchistes), exploitant tous massivement la «cause palestinienne». […]”

    What is it about the European left that allows an obvious Jew hater like Shamir to move about in respectable circles?

    “Israël Shamir, l’antisioniste qui venait du froid”
    avec Vidal Jean et Adad Benyamin

    “[…] Prêchant la haine d’Israël et la croyance en un complot juif international, dans un langage inspiré par la phraséologie de l’ultra-gauche, le mysticisme slave et le fascisme intégral, il a presque réussi à se faire diffuser en France par une respectable maison d’édition. Et le combat n’est sans doute pas fini, car Israël Shamir ne manque pas d’amis à Paris, y compris dans des milieux pour le moins inattendus. […]”

    Finally, I appreciate Saul’s trying to distance the left from people such as this but before one can do so there has to be an acknowledgment that the European left does have a problem with Jewish sovereignty.

    This is the broader context in which people like Rose and Ken Loach speak, write and in general do their work.

  26. Jacob Says:

    I should also mention that Bernard Henry has written very eloquently about this problem:

    “Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism”

  27. Saul Says:

    “Finally, I appreciate Saul’s trying to distance the left from people such as this but before one can do so there has to be an acknowledgment that the European left does have a problem with Jewish sovereignty.”

    I agree entirely with this comment. I think also that it is necessary to excavate the left’s troubled history with antisemitism and the “Jewish Question” in general. Henry is one such author engaging with this issues; and his work is well-worth reading (although, we’ll se how good he really is against United this Wednesday)

    It was the idea of a homogenous “left-wing culture” dominating Europe that was my problem (as well as the ripping out of isolated quotes).


  28. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Petra, I’ll respond from down here, rather than go for ever shorter lines with the “reply” button.

    I guess that we’re not really in disagreement with one another. I just thought that a reading of the article showed what I said, and failed to point the _Palestinian_ way forward. This is especially so given the point that they make concerning the actual concessions that the Israelis have been prepared to make at critical times.

    Whatever their reasons for then backing away, this just serves to demonstrate yet again Abba Eban’s aphorism that “the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Just what is the rest of the world supposed to do, given that Israel isn’t going anywhere and is, at best (from the Palestinians’ point of view) going to be found within the Green Line (however juggled with.

    Do Agha & Malley actually say anything really new?

    • PetraMB Says:

      Brian, I was tied up helping out with a project that had to meet a hopeless deadline.
      If you mean to say that Agha/Malley don’t suggest anything for the Palestinians to go forward, you’re right I guess, because what they essentially say is that the Palestinians simply are not ready for a realistic 2state solution. You ask if they say anything new? Well, try to get any “Guardianista” to absorp what they write (and that it is Agha/Malley who wrote that!!!), and you’ll have your question answered…
      WRT your quote of Abba Eban — what really struck me about the Agha/Malley piece is that 2 authors who have a long record of writing on the I/P conflict with great sympathy for the Palestinians would come out openly with an assessment like they do now. I totally agree with this assessment, but don’t ask what names I have been called whenever I made a comment along these lines on Cif. What’s also very noteworthy is that Agha/Malley say in something like (quote from memory) — the Palestinians don’t judge the idea of a state of their own on merit, but by the company it keeps — which, if you think about it, is really an amazing thing to say. Again, I think it’s true, because much of the Middle East’s political culture isn’t all that interested in substance, but in “heroic” chauvinism: a poll last year showed that the 3 most popular political figures in the Arab world are: 1)Nasrallah; 2)Assad; 3)Ahmadinejad (!!!) — and what is it that makes these guys so popular? That they “stand up to the West”…

  29. Jacob Says:

    “It was the idea of a homogenous “left-wing culture” dominating Europe that was my problem (as well as the ripping out of isolated quotes).” Saul

    Well, the left is not monolithic, but the left wing media anti-Israel bias both in England and in France seems to be so.

    From the supposed Jenin “Holocaust” to the al Durah affair it was the left media which pushed these stories.

    On the al Durah affair presented on France TV 2 by Charles Enderlin, see

    On Jenin:

    ‘Guardian’ editor apologizes for Jenin editorial

    I wish that a more self critical left would again take charge of the media and present events in a more contextual and nuanced manner.

    This was my point.

  30. Susan Says:

    Rose complains that she is being silenced by the establishment, but the establishment invited her to speak on a panel that is sponsored.

  31. Jacob Says:

    “Rose complains that she is being silenced by the establishment, but the establishment invited her to speak on a panel that is sponsored.”

    This type of complaint is a corollary of the Livingston formulation. I have even read a similar complaint by anti Zionist Geoffrey Wheatcroft in an article in the New York Times book review.

    There is no more establishment paper than The New York Times which makes such a complaint ludicrous if not oxymoronic.

    Anti-Zionists like Rose, Judt and Wheatcroft have access to the establishment media yet complain that they are being denied access. This is a sign of bad faith. It is also a red herring, a sign that they don’t want their readers to focus on the truth or falsity of what they are saying.

  32. Alex Says:

    I recall Shlaim wrote a full page article in the JC about how he is silenced. I’d’ve thought if he had a full-page article in the JC, he could have managed to say at least half a page worth of stuff he is apparently prevented from saying. Somehow space is always used to complain that they want to be heard, rather than using it to say the things they would like heard…

  33. Bill Says:

    It’s never been about permitting or denying Rose et al. the right to speak. That has been handed to them on a silver platter even as they refuse to reciprocate.

    It’s about them having the “right” for everyone to agree with them. I’d go so far as to say that a goodly number of the bocyotteers don’t even want their contrarian colleagues to disagree in silence. It’s very much been implicit in the UCU’s boycott verbiage.

  34. Frank Adam Says:

    I just wish those with such tender consciences about Israeli think tanks etc would do some work on what passes for Arab “thinking.”

    Truly Israel could do better but the Arabs have a lot further to go. Any single fool can start a fight but it takes both parties to agree to finish it and Arab attitudes have been of little help, especially as they could have had what they now say they need as minima before 67 (Green Line borders) and in 49 (return by no departure of refugees).

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