Back in January of 2011, during the Guardian’s Palestine Papers series, Ted Honderich, a professor of philosophy at University College London, had a letter published in the Guardian which explicitly justified killing Israeli civilians.
“The revelations in detail (Report, 25 January) of the intransigent greed, the escape from decency, of Israeli governments in negotiation with our selected leaders of the Palestinians, serve one purpose among others. They provide a further part of what is now an overwhelming argument for a certain proposition. It is that the Palestinians have a moral right to their terrorism within historic Palestine against neo-Zionism. The latter, neither Zionism nor of course Jewishness, is the taking from the Palestinians of at least their autonomy in the last one-fifth of their historic homeland. Terrorism, as in this case, can as exactly be self-defence, a freedom struggle, martyrdom, the conclusion of an argument based on true humanity, etc.” [emphasis mine]
In a CounterPunch essay, published several days ago, “The Arab Spring and the coward’s war on Libya“, Honderich wrote the following, which is, word for word, what he wrote in his Guardian letter:
“The Palestinians have a moral right to their terrorism within all of historic Palestine against neo-Zionism.”
Honderich has evidently achieved some degree of fame within Islamists circles for his pro-terror stance, as, in an interview with Iranian PressTV this month, he repeated his Guardian and CounterPunch refrain:
“What is happening in Palestine, what is being done by neo-Zionism is such that it gives Palestinians, I happen to believe this and it’s gotten me into trouble, a moral right to their terrorism against neo-Zionism within all of historic Palestine.“
Honderich defended his pro-terrorism view, to his PressTV interviewer, thusly:
“I’m writing books. I’m not inciting people. I just give them the best possible reason to give them that the Palestinians have a moral right.”
As I noted at the time the Guardian published Honderich’s January letter:
“Honderich’s letter represented a decision by Guardian editors to publish, and therefore give license to, an explicit justification of terrorism – a call to violence against Israeli [civilians]”
In response to the criticism the Guardian received for publishing Honderich’s letter, Readers’ Editor Chris Elliott wrote the following:
“It is the policy of the Guardian not to publish letters advocating violence against others, but that does not – and should not – preclude a discussion about the nature of terrorism. [Honderich] is not advocating suicide bombing, he is questioning how it is regarded by most people in the west, and how it might be seen as something other than terrorism by people in other places and circumstances…It is a legitimate area of discussion.”
Yes, Honderich was, and still is, morally justifying – that is “advocating” – the murder of innocent Israelis by Palestinian terrorists.
And, yes, regardless of Elliott’s rhetorical obfuscations, the Guardian, by arguing that suicide bombing “could [reasonably] be seen as something other than terrorism by people in other places and circumstances”, provided moral license to Palestinian suicide bombing.
As Honderich might say: the Guardian did not incite people.
They just provided moral justification – in the name of “progressive” thought! – to those who aspire to murder innocent Jewish men, women, and children.
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