Promoted as a “world exclusive”, the New Statesman published an interview by former London mayor Ken Livingstone with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Livingstone himself has a long history of anti-Israel activism and disputes with the British Jewish community and is certainly not the man to get behind the facade of “moderation” that Hamas, a terrorist organisation, wants to portray.
UK Foreign Office minister Ivan Lewis accused Livingstone of handing a “propaganda coup to the leader of a terrorist organisation”. Indeed, we also believe that interviews with terrorists should have no place in the pages of supposedly respectable mainstream media outlets.
As for the interview itself, Livingstone fawns over Meshaal, giving him an open mouthpiece. We do not intend to deconstruct Meshaal’s comments. However, one question from Livingstone, the evasive answer from Meshaal and the failure to dig any deeper illustrates the shallowness of the interview:
Ken Livingstone: Are you committed to the destruction of Israel?
Khaled Meshaal: What is really happening is the destruction of the Palestinian people by Israel; it is the one that occupies our land and exiles us, kills us, incarcerates us and persecutes our people. We are the victims, Israel is the oppressor, and not vice versa.
Livingstone ignores Meshaal’s failure to answer this very serious question and moves on to the next. One look at the Hamas Charter is enough to see that Meshaal’s terror organisation is certainly committed to the destruction of Israel. But this is an inconvenient truth for Livingstone and not something that Meshaal would wish to admit to a Western readership.
Write to the New Statesman and ask why they have lowered themselves to publishing propaganda for a terrorist organisation – firstname.lastname@example.org
PREJUDICE IN PORTSMOUTH
Local newspapers can be highly influential and should not be ignored in the battle for public opinion. In many cases, however, provincial titles do not have writers or reporters with foreign affairs expertise. A case in point is Portsmouth’s The News, which after publishing Jim Riordan’s commentary, should consider sticking to local issues.
Riordan begins by attempting to inoculate himself from any potential criticism that his column is likely to provoke:
Any criticism of Israel stirs the ‘my country right or wrong’ brigade – even if it isn’t their country. Not only that; anyone who speaks out on behalf of the Palestinians must be a dupe of the Arabs or purveyor of Arab propaganda. So look away now or prepare your pens, comrades….
Moreover, it is because so many non-Jews are sensitive to the Jewish tragedy and are afraid of offending Zionists that Israel is allowed to get away with its arrogant regime.
Riordan employs what David Hirsh terms the “Livingstone Formulation” (named after the former London mayor) which alleges that Zionists cry ‘anti-Semitism’ when people criticize Israel. According to Hirsh, the Livingstone Formulation
does not simply accuse anyone who raises the issue of contemporary antisemitism of being wrong, but it also accuses them of bad faith: ‘the accusation of antisemitism has been used against anyone who is critical…’ [my italics]. Not an honest mistake then, but a secret, common plan to try to de-legitimize criticism with an instrumental use of the charge of antisemitism. Crying wolf. Playing the antisemitism card. The Livingstone Formulation is both a straw-man argument and a charge of ‘Zionist’ conspiracy.
The world was not silent over racist South Africa, so why is it silent over Israel?
It is worth remembering that, just like the white South Africans, Israelis are settlers. Disparate peoples from around the world, with a common Jewish religion, took over the lands once occupied by indigenous Palestinians, a great number of whom were expelled or killed by the settlers who then took possession of the land. The slaughter of Arabs continues up to today.
Thus, Riordan attempts to delegitimize Israel by erasing over 3000 years of Jewish history in the region and demonizing her by using the false apartheid analogy.
Please respond to Riordan’s vitriol by sending your considered comments to Portsmouth’s The News through its contact page, ticking the “Letters to the editor” box and filling in the relevant sections.
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR GILAD SHALIT
On the 25th June 2006, Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists in a cross border raid from the Gaza Strip. He has been held hostage by Hamas ever since. The last communication from Gilad was on June 9th 2008 – around 1 year ago, when he wrote to his family. You can read that letter here (PDF format).
Whilst during March 2009 the Israeli government reported that a prisoner swap deal for Shalit’s release was close, it never happened.
The UK’s Zionist Federation invites you to send your New Year Greetings to Gilad, which they will pass on to the International Red Cross and ask them to help pass these messages on to Gilad. The ZF will also pass the wishes on to his parents, to show that the world is still thinking of them and Gilad, and praying for his release.
Support the ZF’s initiative by clicking here.