“It takes in reality only one to make a quarrel. It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favour of vegetarianism, while the wolf remains of a different opinion.”
William Ralph Inge; Outspoken Essays: First Series (1919) ‘Patriotism’
There is so much that is just so fundamentally wrong about Azzam Tamimi’s CiF article of May 4th that by the time I had finished reading it for the third time, my built-in bullshit detector was in overdrive. In a way, this piece represents the essence of the Through the Looking Glass-style malaise which appears to have colonised worryingly large sections of contemporary British society.
Here the Guardian provides the sheep’s clothing which enables the despicable Tamimi not only to present himself as though he were some kind of moderate voice of reason, but also to play the victim card. Tamimi commences by recounting his version of a 2002 event recorded by the BBC, but no link to the programme or transcript of it is provided; a fact which does not appear to worry Matt Seaton in the slightest. In other words, the Guardian apparently has no problem publishing something it cannot verify, at least when it comes from this particular, but hardly uncontroversial, source – a fact which in itself speaks volumes.
Tamimi continues with his warped analysis of the status quo on British university campuses under the sub-heading “After a Jewish-Muslim initiative to defuse student tension was thwarted, critics of Israel are liable to be vilified as ‘extremist’”.
“Pro-Israel Jewish students in campus have, since, been resorting to tactics that make it more difficult for Israel’s critics to speak in public on campus.”
“[B]ecause of pressure believed to have been exercised by powerful elements within the UK pro-Israel lobby.”
“The extremism and the hate-speech often referred to as reasons to stifle free speech are nothing but code words for any attempt to criticise Israel or shed light on the plight of the Palestinians, its victims.”
As anyone who has spent any time at all on a British campus recently will know, Tamimi’s assessment is not only divorced from reality, but a blatant inversion of the actual situation. Whilst Israeli speakers are heckled, prevented from speaking at all, or even attacked, anti-Israeli speakers enjoy a virtually uninterrupted platform for the expression of their views, as do many proponents of other ‘ideologies’ such as homophobia or the murder of apostates which should be offensive to the host society. One could claim that Tamimi and others of his ilk do not apparently understand that the concept of free speech does not include the right to incite hatred against others because of their race, religion or sexual orientation or the right to glorify terrorism. Personally, I believe that Tamimi understands these concepts perfectly well, but cynically attempts to make use of them to further his own agenda which revolves around the promotion of Hamas and himself as the ‘respectable’ face of that terrorist organization in the UK.
Tamimi’s involvement with the Institute for Islamic Political Thought, of which he is director and upon the board of which sits Yusuf al-Qaradawi, his involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood mouthpiece in the UK known as the Muslim Association of Britain (Tamimi was its former spokesman), his membership of the advisory board of the Conflicts Forum run by Alastair Crooke and the Oxford Research Group, his associations with the British Muslim Initiative and the StWC all indicate that Tamimi is about as moderate as British beer is cold. And if all that were not enough, we only have to listen to the words from the horse’s mouth to understand exactly where Tamimi stands.
Yes, folks; this is the type of man who is given a platform in British universities today and runs for shelter behind the Guardian’s skirts when some who have still retained their sanity object by means of polite letters to his being allowed to spout his terror-supportive venom at their children. This is the type of man the Guardian seems to see fit to unconditionally take at his word regarding his memories of an event eight years ago and provide with a platform for the promotion of his destructive and hate-filled agenda, disguising him in the sheep’s clothing of moderate, respectable academia. I leave it to you to ruminate upon the myriad of reasons for these illogical actions of a supposedly Left-wing, liberal, egalitarian-orientated newspaper in a country in which freedom of choice is supposed to be a cornerstone of society, but whilst writing this piece I came across something rather interesting:
Apparently, the Director of the Institute for Islamic Political Thought considers the Guardian to be “one of the newspapers which are most supportive Arab rights” (sic). Read more about that here.