Mendacity and Howard Jacobson.
We have two winners of Mendacity Awards this week, the first of which is Howard Jacobson. Writing in the Independent on the 8th of June, Mr Jacobson uses considerable literary license to denigrate and vilify all those with the temerity to even consider an academic boycott of Israel’s universities. All in all, an outstanding piece of apologist propoganda deserving of a Mendacity Award.
Setting the scene, Mr Jacobson tells us that the “last thing” he wants to do is to accuse those discussing a boycott of Israeli institutions of anti-semitism, or holocaust denial, which you might think would be a blessed relief. But no, instead he uses terms like “zionophobic zealots”, “think-alike monkeys”, and “blackguards”. He then accuses all critics of having a “loathing of Israel”.
The “zionophobic” comment is interesting. Zionism does not equate to all Judaism. Zionism is a political strand of Judiasm, and a LOT of Jews do not call themselves Zionists. There are those that think Zionism is a racist ideology, and that the idea of a nation-state for only one race, religion or colour is an anachronism that belongs in the 19th, if not the 18th century. To challenge and oppose zionist aims is not to hate Jews, or to wish to see Israel destroyed. This should be obvious, dare I say it, to a monkey.
He then, absolutely disgracefully, goes on to suggest that those in favour of an academic boycott of Israeli Universities – frankly a pin-prick on an elephant – prefer dead Jews to live ones,
“Since we are demonstrably not Jew haters, these new recruits to Jewish angst ask us to accept, since we are neither Nazi sympathisers nor Holocaust deniers, our credentials are in good order. But it isn’t as simple as that. Whether it’s in good taste to like Jews better when they’re in concentration camps than when they’re in their own country I leave to less interested parties to decide.“
It’s damned if we do, damned if we don’t! Can’t a person be allowed to be honestly and sincerely outraged by the behaviour of successive Israeli governments, without being tainted in some way as having a loathing for Jewish people? And I thought I was paranoid….? He goes on with this corker, which I quoted in the nomination post,
“A person cleared of anti-semitism might still be guilty of something else. If anti-semitism is repugnant to humanity, then it is no less repugnant to humanity to single out one country for your hatred, to hate it beyond reason and against evidence, to pluck it from the complex contextuality of history as though it authored its own misfortunes and misdeeds as the devil authored evil, to deny it any understanding (which is not the same as sympathy or succour), and – most odious of all – to seek to silence its voices.“
Mr Jacobson need only read through the entries in this blog to see I do not “single out” Israel. Neither do any other activists I know. Like others concerned with human rights abuses, I decry the behaviour of the Israeli government or military from time to time. No more, no less. It is one target amongst many. I have enough on my plate at home to be making Israel my priority. The “hate” is also bullshit. Unless of course the new vogue is to call those who “hate” violence, murder, theft and lies, “haters” or “loathers” who want to destroy your right to exist? George Orwell you aint, Mr Jacobson!
The reason I decry Israeli government actions is because I hate to see Mothers weeping over the broken bodies of their children. I hate to see the strong force their will on the weak, insisting on complete surrender and subjugation. The disproportionate death-toll between the sides in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is staggering, and shows who is doing by far most of the killing. The Israeli’s won their right to exist long ago, but the ceaseless expansion is the signature mark of their “authored misdeeds”. A great many of us see how Israel create it’s own fears, insecurities and enemies, and just wish they could see that too.
My dear old Dad, gord’ love him, would say “yer fool a’ shite Howard”, but being one who would like to be a little more subtle and prosaic, I’ll instead commend him for his verbal dexterity, and his ability to bend sentences to his will. It is a small honour for me to award such an accomplished writer a Mendacity Award, so I will not presume to tell him where to stick it.
The winning article can be found here – http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2632871.ece