Monday, 12 May 2008

Johann Hari Saw a Pipe, Solomonia blog

Johann Hari Saw a Pipe, and Robert Fisk Cheers for the Enemies of Civilization, by Martin Solomon, posted @ Solomonia

"End of last month The Independent's columnist Johann Hari wrote a calumny against Israel, quoting Ilan Pappe, no less, as an authority on the state's founding. Now personally, I happen to think that it's not unlikely that Hari simply wanted an excuse to use the word "shit" in the pages of a major publication -- oh how British English standards have fallen.

See, sewage is a problem in the West Bank. One may jump to various conclusions on the causes. The most obvious is the one we've noted many times here for the lack of a decent civil infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza -- because a lot of people have been more interested in stuffing their pockets, paying out graft, building McMansions, funding terror groups and dreaming of destroying the Zionist Entity than they have been interested in building a fully functional civil society.

Now, I don't discount the possibility that some Jews living in the West Bank may actually be callously, even intentionally pumping their poop out over the fence and into their neighbor's yard. I don't know. I'm not an expert, and I can only go by what smells right and what doesn't.

Thing is, same with Johann Hari, even though he, after all, informs us with all vehemence that he smelled the shit! He smelt it! It filled his nostrils says Hari, and, fortunate for him, why he had a Palestinian expert there to guide him on his odor-rama adventure and explain just whose fault it all was. No prize for guessing whose...

Honest Reporting, among others, called him out on the many problematic issues with his piece, and out man Johann was none-too-pleased to be criticized. Seems it's all a big conspiracy by you-know-who to silence columnists. After all, he was only being "critical," how dare he be criticized in turn? The nerve of those Je...people! Honest Reporting has come back with another response, taking on Hari's claims to persecution (and Jews know persecution Johann, and this ain't it).

In fact, Hari's colleague at The Independent, Howard Jacobson came back with his own rejoinder:

" invoke the spectre of a campaign, a front mobilised with aforethought to defame anyone who speaks ill of Israel. Indeed, accusing your detractors of carrying out a campaign often amounts to carrying out one in return - for it is a smear in itself to accuse people who disagree with you of acting out of no other motive than malice. He who says I smear him when I don't smears me.
Something else doesn't feel quite right to me about Johann Hari's unearthing of this "campaign", and that is his assertion that "it is an attempt to intimidate and silence - and to a large degree it works". To my ear, that answers intimidation with intimidation, since it impugns the intellectual honour of those of whom he speaks, and coerces us into thinking the worst of them.
Furthermore, it is patently untrue that "intimidation" has worked. Johann himself is demonstrably not intimidated. Nor is it easy to see who else is. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, it cannot surely be argued that the Palestinian case is not heard..."

Funny thing, that. It would seem quite natural for a flawed thesis, perhaps disgracefully flawed, delivered in unmeasured tones as Hari's was, to meet with a like response. In fact, given Hari's original, I'd say the response was muted in comparison. Seems quite natural for any group, not just a national or religious group neither, to rise to their own defense, or others who know the truth or are at least ready to be honest to do likewise on their behalf, and Jews have labored long and hard to master the intellectual Western traditions -- gained great notoriety at universities, founded them, even -- and have cast the critical eye inward perhaps more than any other People.

Yet here they go, speaking out, and no matter how factual their argument, no matter how reasoned their defense, no matter how justified their indignation, or studied their positions...and they're still just saying that because...well, they would, they're Jews after all. It's all a bit exasperating.

People become upset about some of the "criticisms" printed against Israel because some of those criticisms aren't criticisms at all, they're smears. Smears from a sewer. And some of us have gotten past the ghetto Jew (or the silence of the country club token if you prefer) mentality and we will speak our minds about what we hear. It ain't a conspiracy, you're not being silenced, and Mr. Johann Hari will just have to lump it...."

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