Fair enough. Certainly, some remarks in the article were indefensibly, outrageously, offensively flat-out racist:
Nepalese people are some of the warmest, most hospitable in the world. Rather, they say that the young Israelis are rude, arrogant, and argue over trifling amounts of money even though they clearly have means.
Of course, just to sink the boot in, tim removes the “they say” part – although even if he had, it wouldn’t matter. You don’t publish racist crap like that, and “some anonymous people actually said it, not me” does not make it okay.
Backman also made a fairly stupid comparison with the Parsees of India being liked by their poor neighbours – to which an obvious retort would be, well, their neighbours never threatened to “drive them into the sea” the second their country was created.
Still, the other, main parts of the article – the ones that tim highlights in his original piece (and is still banging on about) – were not particularly unreasonable, unless you take the apparent Blair view that any criticism of any Israeli policy is by definition “anti-semitism”.
He takes issue specifically with this sentence of Blackman’s:
If the residents of Bendigo started firing rockets into Melbourne you would expect Melbourne to retaliate. But what must Melbourne have done to Bendigo to make them do such a thing?
tim’s trite retort to the analogy:
Could be any number of root causes, really. Maybe someone in Melbourne drew cartoons that were disrespectful of Bendigo prophet Colleen Hewitt. Or perhaps Bendigo’s charter simply demands Melbourne’s obliteration.
Fairly obviously the Palestinian fight with Israel has nothing to do with the Danish cartoons, and Melbourne didn’t just occupy the land where the Bendigoans were living sixty years ago. And Melbourne wouldn’t in that analogy be entitled to simply bomb Bendigoan civilians for the criminal actions of the nutters in charge, either.
(tim and his readers might be comfortable with Israel bombing Palestinian children for the actions of Hamas, but many traditional supporters of Israel aren’t.)
I know Blair’s readers need to believe there are goodies and baddies in any conflict, and since Hamas are clearly baddies, that must make Israel the goodies who are above reproach no matter what they do – but that’s neither accurate nor constructive. And this right-wing political correctness whereby any criticism of Israel is dismissed as “anti-semitic” undermines the real fight against actual anti-semites. (Nutters who don’t want peace and decent living standards for Palestinians, but the actual extermination of Jewish people in general – those are the “anti-semites”.)
Further, by encouraging Israel to do whatever the hell it likes to the people whose leaders many of its citizens by now (and quite understandably) absolutely hate, and by limiting debate in the way “political correctness” and childish name-calling always does (aren’t rightwingers always going on about the flaws of “political correctness”?), tim and people like him greatly complicate efforts to actually build a peace in the region.
Polarising people might sell newspapers/increase website hit counts, but it does come at a cost.
UPDATE For the benefit of tim’s cognitively-challenged readers, tim’s new “political correctness” is the one whereby criticism of Israel is shouted down and anyone who’d dare to put it shamed with the slur of “anti-Semitism”. Where a condemnation of Israel’s bombing of children is deliberately misrepresented as some kind of support for Hamas doing the same thing. Where anyone who departs from the party line (that Israel can do whatever it likes because Hamas is worse) is likened with the Nazis and run out of town.
No-one here is declaring Hamas to be “goodies” – the bombing of civilians is an appalling crime, full stop. Hamas members who order and fire rocket attacks against civilians in Israel are criminal, psychotic nutbags (as I noted above). As is anyone in the IDF who orders or carries out a strike against civilians in Gaza. There is no excuse for bombing civilians. There’s not “okay” bombing of civilians to be contrasted with “worse” bombing of civilians – THEY’RE BOTH BOMBING CIVILIANS.
What do you do when someone bombs civilians in your country? Well, you start by NOT COMPOUNDING THE TRAGEDY BY BOMBING CIVILIANS OVER THERE.
I reject the moral equivalence argument of rightwingers who defend anything Israel does by comparing it with the actions of Hamas, as if Hamas were some great moral compass and you’re beyond criticism so long as you’re not as bad as they are.
“They are even worse” is not a defence to a charge of killing children.