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The Guardian Says it All
Last uploaded : Tuesday 5th Mar 2002 at 02:36
Contributed by : The Editor


As news comes in of another terror attack, this time in a Tel Aviv restaurant so popular with young disco-goers, we concur with the sentiments of The Guardian newspaper’s leader editorial.

The paper is not known for its support for Israel, but today’s piece raises an issue that has tormented those of us whose daily focus is on the Jewish State. How often one goes into a British cafe a few hours after an atrocity in Israel, to be greeted by loud, laughing crowds of people who care nothing about the ongoing events in the Middle East and to whom the survival of the State of Israel is of no importance whatsoever. Sadly, some of the most raucous of these cafe-goers are our fellow Jews, who would not likely give up their cars and snappy mobiles and shopping sprees to spend a few nights on patrol in the West Bank. Never will I forget being in a complete state of shock but nevertheless keeping a lunch appointment in London on 5th November, 1995, when I met a group of young Jewish professionals in a bistro. Stunned by the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, I was not myself and they noticed. One of them said, 'Oh, yeah, this Robin, Rubin, something or other who got shot, who was he??...' (This is a true story.)

The Guardian suggests that ‘...ordinary Palestinians and Israelis who despair of their foolish leaders can be forgiven for thinking that the outside world does not care as much about their suffering as it pretends.’ This is a view we cannot more strongly convey; it is shameful that the EU condemns Israel as often as some people have a beer, but offers no intervention or peace-summit agenda. Referring to what it describes as the ‘outrageous, inhuman bombing in Jerusalem ... and horrific carnage,’ the Guardian voices contempt for the condemnation of the attacks by the Palestinian Authority, pointing out that the perpetrators of the attacks are an offshoot of Arafat’s own movement.

The paper remonstrates against the ‘tit for tat’ violence perpetrated by what it sees as a kind of old man’s score-settling between Arafat and Sharon. Furthermore, it chides the Arab world for rushing to shoot down the Saudi peace initiative. ‘Both nations, both peoples, deserve better than this..’ it continues, whilst condemning the British Prime Minister, whom it calls ‘Tony the little trumpet boy,’ for blindly supporting America’s ‘axis of evil’ crusade. On this last point we reserve judgement: at least Tony Blair IS taking a stand. Much of the rest of the world seems indifferent to the war on terror or uses 'Palestine' (meaning Israel and world Zionists) as a collective excuse for the world's evils.

On Sky News the British Left's (and Israel-bashers') most eloquent MP, Tony Benn, sarcastically dismissed the Saudi peace plan and continually referred to the location of the crisis as 'Palestine.' He scoffed at the Saudis' proposal and said, 'Oh, whenever there is about to be a war someone always comes up with a peace plan for Palestine.' Such a dismissive, pejorative attitude is an example of the Guardian's point about no-one really caring about the peoples of the Holy Land. In the past fortnight not one British politician from any party has publicly mentioned the Saudi plan, nor has anyone offered a strong statement about the present situation. This is a prime example of the indifference of most of Europe to the region, whether the victims be Palestinian or Israeli.

Although Javier Solana, Joschka Fischer and a handful of Europeans have tried to reinvigorate a peace process, the low level of effort is deplorable. We suggest it reveals a poverty of spirit in the continent that did, after all, gift the rest of the world with World War One, World War II, Italian and Spanish fascism, Stalin's purges and the Nazi Holocaust.

Having last week also referred to Israel as ‘Palestine’ and having written a scathing attack on the Jewish State, the Guardian this time around offers a view that is largely reflected in our pages and we applaud its strong words on behalf of the suffering peoples of both sides.


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