Guardian

Its not about you


There’s something rather ironically predictable about the Guardian choosing to end this particular year, in which Israel and Jews everywhere have been under unprecedented attack, with a rather pompous piece by Mehdi Hasan. This rising young star of the British media world has been in the spotlight rather often in recent months for reasons which can best be described as ‘interesting’ in the same manner that my children used to describe my mother’s culinary attempts.

For non-British readers, here’s a quick guide to Mehdi Hasan’s world. He was an editor at Channel 4  and commissioned various ‘Dispatches’ documentaries, including ‘It Shouldn’t Happen To A Muslim’  by Peter Oborne – best known to some of us for his recent programme exposing the non-existent ‘Jewish Lobby’. Then Hasan moved to The New Statesman, where he currently works as senior political editor and also blogs. Since taking up his new position he’s managed to ruffle quite a few feathers by suggesting that it’s acceptable to work for the Iranian regime mouthpiece Press TV, that it’s good to talk to the Taliban, and that Israel is to blame for rising antisemitism in Britain. Understandably, he has been taken to task for these and other claims. There was also a rather prolonged spat with Harry’s Place,  which culminated in the publication of a video of Hasan speaking at an Islamic centre.

In today’s piece on CiF, Hasan the Londoner informs us that he’s changed his mind about the desired outcome of Middle East peace negotiations and declares that the only way forward is a one-state ‘solution’. He blames Israeli settlements in the West Bank for closing the window of opportunity for two states for two nations, conveniently managing to completely ignore the entire second Intifada, which put paid to the Oslo agreements and scuppered an embryonic Palestinian state a decade ago. Like so many others of his ilk, senior political editor or not, Hasan has a remarkable ability to ignore those facts which inconvenience him.

“A decade that began with Bill Clinton bringing together Arafat and Barak to attempt to conclude the Oslo process, at Camp David, has ended with Barack Obama unable to persuade the government of Netanyahu and Lieberman to agree to a partial settlement freeze. On Monday, the Israeli housing ministry announced plans to build nearly 700 new apartments in occupied East Jerusalem.”

Well, some residents of the West Bank may be rather surprised to learn that there is no building freeze after all! Others may care to ask just why Mehdi Hasan seems to believe that any future peace agreement should preclude Jewish presence in either east Jerusalem or the West Bank. Besides the fact that these are issues still to be negotiated, surely Mr. Hasan can see just how racist such an approach is, particularly when one considers that some 20% of Israel’s population is non-Jewish. In fact, if one thinks about it, any supporter of a one-state solution should not be in the least bit bothered by Israeli settlements wherever they are. Naturally, Hasan also manages to completely ignore the fact that Israel has evacuated settlements in the past from both Sinai and Gush Katif, proving beyond all doubt that when the situation justifies it, settlements are not an obstacle to peace.

The fact is that what the last decade has shown us beyond all doubt is that the PA, even whilst negotiating seemingly endless agreements, never intended to settle for a two-state solution. What Fatah has not been able to achieve throughout the 45 years since its inception by use of the military might of surrounding Arab countries or the terrorists of its own creation, it now hopes to achieve politically and has hooked up with both the extreme Left and Islamist factions in the West in order to do so.

People such as Mehdi Hasan, and many others of CiF’s pages, are in fact encouraging the Palestinians to avoid making peace by persuading them that there is a global movement in favour of holding out for ‘a single, secular and binational state’ as Hasan puts it. Such a state would not only be the very opposite of a peaceful solution to the problems of the Middle East, it would also be racist as it would deny Jews their basic right to self-determination.

What is truly amazing is that Mehdi Hasan should think that his opinion on this subject carries any weight whatsoever. There are many of us who have a real stake in finding a lasting and just solution to the conflict in the Middle East because we actually live there and will have to bear the consequences of any agreements signed. Mehdi Hasan and his fellow travellers on CiF and at the Guardian will not. When will these people have the intellectual honesty to admit that it’s not about them?

24 replies »

  1. I noticed his article. I must admit my only reaction was “Mehdi who?”

    Non-entities like him have wrecked the Guardian, and, apparently, he is doing the same at the New Statesmen.

  2. IsraeliNurse you stand for the honest and the pragmatic, which I have learned to understand is the true voice of Israel. When people are dashing about like a chicken without a head you can count on Israelis to buckle down, find the ideal if unromantic solution and just get on with things.

    People have very complicated ideas of how things ”should”’ be around here in Israel, often greatly influenced by media like the gagaguardian. Your approach, since it ignores the myth of ”international law” and fashionable prejudice, should be the one espoused by objective media and shows how far from that ideal the Guardian is.

    [we]may care to ask just why Mehdi Hasan seems to believe that any future peace agreement should preclude Jewish presence in either east Jerusalem or the West Bank. Besides the fact that these are issues still to be negotiated, surely Mr. Hasan can see just how racist such an approach is, particularly when one considers that some 20% of Israel’s population is non-Jewish. In fact, if one thinks about it, any supporter of a one-state solution should not be in the least bit bothered by Israeli settlements wherever they are

    May I wish a happy and peaceful new year to all who read these words.

  3. Akus I must echo your sentiment. Mehdi’s article was void of content. How does he get to be anything? Surely there must be some journalists of talent and intellect somewhere in the UK?

  4. One wonders about the Statesman.

    Having listened to the HarrysPlace recording, aren’t they embarrassed that a person with views about his close working collegues such as his, is on their payroll?

    Another example of the extreme left making common cause with extreme Islamists.

  5. Mehdi Hasan is increasingly being given a “voice of Muslim opinion” and a “let’s show we’re inclusive by fielding a media man who happens to be Muslim” slot on BBC talk shows, thanks to the position he now holds on the “New Statesman”.

    He was on BBC R4 “The Media Show’ just a couple of days ago, on Wednesday 30th, in the latter capacity, part of a panel chaired by Steve Hewlett (Guardian writer), consisting of Simon Jenkins (Guardian columnist), Emily Bell (The Guardian), senior media person who happens to be a woman) and Trevor Kavanagh (ex the Sun and so presumably a Tory just for balance).

    All highly balanced–if you happen to think the BBC/Guardian world view is the core median balanced position from which all other views deviate.

  6. Very interesting article, Israelinurse

    I have been following Mitnaged’s conversation with Irish/Leni on the “Murdering Self-Awareness” thread and from your contribution here, about Mehdi Hasan, it seems that we have the Arab/Muslim “big talk” tendency in full flow, garnished by the inclination towards narcissism which often accompanies it.

  7. Another truly excellent commentary by Israelinurse. It is indeed rather interesting that Cif would commission Mehdi Hassan to write a post on how he changed his mind about I/P peace — can anyone imagine they would have commissioned any Israeli to write a post on how Palestinian rejectionism from Camp David to Olmert’s offer made Israelis change their minds? E.g. Benny Morris would have been an excellent candidate for that.

    Anyway, Israelinurse — since we are at the start of a new year: wishing you all the best, and wishing CifWatch readers that you continue to write here!!!

  8. Oh yes — another mind-blowingly quality piece from IsraeliNurse and the Cif Watch crew!

    Well done boys and girls — keep up the good work !!!

  9. The Guardian article is symptomatic of the bigotry both of the British left and of the Arabic world, neither of whom have yet internalised the fact that the Jews are no longer their dogs to order about as they please.

    Israel’s future will be determined by Jews and by Jews alone. Period.

  10. Great job again, IN.

    Advocates of the one state solution are such a waste of news space, however, it always generates a lot of emotion from the Guardinistas on the thread.

  11. Freddie King – Oh yes — another mind-blowingly quality piece from IsraeliNurse and the Cif Watch crew! Well done boys and girls — keep up the good work !!!

    Somehow sounds a bit ‘berchie’.

    or is it just my inquisitive mind?

  12. Good piece IN and a very happy and PG peaceful 2010.

    The trouble with the media today is that its all about personalities and not about news gathering and disseminating. Perhaps I’m being incredibly naive but was it always thus or was there a more golden era of straight, unadulterated reporting of news when truth and facts were not considered to be getting in the way?

    Has the internet, electronic news gathering and the 24 hour rolling news industry mean that what we have nowadays is not the reporting of news as it occurs but instead the creation of a product which is essential to fill vast tracts of otherwise empty news time?

  13. Cityca – That’s a very interesting point. I certainly remember the news in the UK being more fact-based when I was a child here many (cough, cough) years ago. My daughter, who recently completed a degree in Film & TV production in the UK, says that she notices a very basic difference between news reporting in Israel and news reporting in the UK in that in Israel, the anchor/news reader will give the facts, but if an opinion is also given on the subject it is stated by a different person, who is very clearly labelled as ‘parshaneinu’ :- our commenter or presenter of views, if you like. That way the audience can distinguish between fact and opinion – a line which is often blurred in British news reporting in my view.

  14. IN
    I think that ‘the news’ in the UK is much more of a product that has to fill hours of otherwise dead space. So instead of the veracity being the most important aspect, it is how much time can it fill.

    I listen to BBC Radio 4 Today programme every morning – don’t ask why, I just can’t stomach the delivery of most of the commercial stations – and the presenters often cut across their interviewees in order to fit in additional ‘items’ that have been scheduled to be broadcast at that time, so the editing has the effect of actually reducing what one learns.

    My son is a broadcast journalist who works in radio and he has told me that when someone like for example Peter Oborne goes out to make a ‘documentary’ programme, he doesn’t see what footage he can gather and then make the story – he will predetermine the story he wants to ‘tell’ and then make his footage fit his story line.

    So the likelihood is that Oborne had already decided that the story he wanted to tell was that there is a secret cabal of Jews who determine the actions of the UK government in relation to israel. He may well not believe that personally, but what will sell to the networks is the most dramatic story, so that’s what he made.

    Terrifying, isn’t it?

  15. It certainly is, Cityca, and I would even go so far as to say that there seems to be a definite commercial aspect to much of the ‘news’ and documentary business. Not long ago I met an independent documentary maker who had tried to pitch ideas for positive films about Israel, but oddly enough, [:)] no-one was interested.

  16. Not long ago I met an independent documentary maker who had tried to pitch ideas for positive films about Israel

    Im sure there were people looking to make positive movies about apartheid South Africa, would you have supported them?

  17. Is this Republican Stones,the original Dotty.count bernadotte,and a thousand other user names.

    Who lives in Sydney on land that was stolen from the Aborigines (who are also known as Abos to the likes of Dotty)

    Dotty when I lived in Haifa,I lived in a mixed Arab and Jewish neighborhood,

    Tell us Dotty,how many Aborigines do you have as neighbors,how many of them are living on your street,how many of them live in your neighborhood, how many of these Aborigines live in Sydney.
    How many Aborigines live in humpys,in disgusting and squalid conditions.

    Israel treats it’s minorities a million times better than Australia treats it’s Aborigines.And Australia is a million times richer than Israel.

    I hope that this Idiot isn’t going to be a permanent fixture here,it’s bad enough that we have to suffer this jackass on the Guardian.

  18. livingon

    The Australian poster is talknik – not ‘Dotty’ , if you mean countbernadotte. You are somewhat mixed up.

    Leni