Sunday, April 08, 2007


Last week the Australian Newspaper published a piece by Lynne Segal, an Australian academic based in the U.K. Segal is also a member of the Independent Jewish Voices and her piece, entitled "WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT ISRAEL", is typical of the IAV/IAJV mould - written as if nobody has ever previously discussed Israel critically either within or without mainstream Jewish communities.

There are as many holes in Ms. Segal's argument as you can find in a reasonably sized piece of Swiss cheese and most of them would be fairly obvious to readers of the Blank Pages. Here's a little taste of her of her logic:-

"We also know that Israel has been responsible for the most continual and extreme elimination of human rights in its occupied territories for the past 40 years." (How do we know that?)

"This includes not only brutal policies of collective punishment, arbitrary arrests and accidental shootings, but also routinely undermining Palestinians' right to free movement, water, education or even access to sources of livelihood within what are their own their own territories."

So even accidental shootings form part of Israel's deliberate policies designed to punish the Palestinian people. I've now heard everything! (Reminder: Please carry out some research into whether Ms. Segal's ancestors came from Chelm)

True to form, Segal's highly selective presentation condemning alleged Israeli human rights violations, almost completely omits to mention that the Palestinians themselves might have been routinely responsible for violating the rights of their Israeli neighbours as well as of their own kind for many years.

Segal does condemn in a general way some unmentioned Palestinian "atrocities" (thankfully she doesn't attempt to do an Yvonne Ridley by attempting to rationalise and justify suicide bombings) but she ignores the rather obvious connection between those atrocities and the necessity on Israel's part to defend itself which has resulted in the setting up of those nasty checkpoints and has caused it to construct the security barrier which has been so successful in reducing attacks on Israeli citizens.

The Israeli side of the story is ignored not only by Segal but also by virtually all of the other IAV's whether British, Australian or from Kazakhstan for that matter (to be fair however, Borat himself prefers to concentrate on the "Jews as wood lice" theory).

By all means then, we need to talk about Israel, but it's clear that we need to talk about Palestine as well - and indeed, that's exactly what I will be doing very soon.

In the meantime and in view of the season of the year, I'd like to set the tone for my forthcoming discussion on the narratives of Israel and her neighbours by going back a little in time to look at another people's narrative - that of the Egyptians - in this piece about some long standing Israeli human rights violations. (I swear this story was not written by Lynne Segal)


Gulliver-on-Tour said...

Love your work as well as Mr. Waxman's efforts but the heavy sarcasm would be lost on po faced prunes like Lynne Segal and her Aussie Counterparts.

Anyone know what happened to the Hebrew Standard?

The Gharqad Tree said...

Lynne Segal's real crime is her hypocrisy.

"Jews generally have always prided themselves on traditions of commitment to principles of justice, equality and free speech. Yet, such principles are automatically shut out by some self-affirming Jews, observant or secular, never to be aired in the light of day, when heads turn to the starkest human rights violations visible throughout 40 years of Israel's illegal expansion into, rule over or enclosure of, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip."

Yeah, right but when it comes to speaking up about the human rights violations perpetrated on a daily basis by Palestinians, she stays shtumm.

Segal and her cronies demand fairness and open debate but what about her ad hominem attack on Melanie Phillips -

"Sadly, as we expected, our stance has also provoked bitter denunciations from and abusive encounters with other Jews. "Jews for genocide", was the most extreme - almost obscene - headline introducing the report from Britain's most established conservative Jewish commentator, Melanie Phillips, on her website."

Again right. Painting her interlocutor as a "conservative" and her headline as "extreme" she dismisses Phillips' article and the arguments she made against the IAV without having to exercise her grey cells or use any logic to rebut those arguments.

That's how the IAV operates and if that's how she responds to Melanie Phillips contention that the IAV people are a danger to the Jews, I'm behind Melanie her all the way.