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Danny on the Button

Iain Dale's Diary: Finkelstein on Israel

Danny Finkelstein has written a truly wonderful article on the Israel issue. Do read it...

OK Iain I suppose I must, though I think my search at The Times shows up the wrong article:

Times Online - Daniel Finkelstein

...helpful advice on etiquette should you ever be with Ronson and Lohan or other lesbians:

The correct thing to do is to go pop on both of them. You shouldn't show partiality in a threesome.

This was needlessly offensive, crude and misogynistic. I don't think the BBC should have aired it.

Though with there being two Palestinian territories maybe Danny is making a political point as well...


No-one could blame Danny Finkelstein for wanting to use the example of the Holocaust, the ghettos and the death camps, to illustrate the mindset which guides Israel's policies in the West Bank and Gaza. He may even be right that Zionists are set on "pre-emptive defence" because no-one came to their aid last time - though he rather disingenuously glosses over the long-term influence which the US has exercised in the region on Israel's behalf.

The irony is that it seems to spark no thought in his mind that the Palestinians find themselves in what could quite legitimately be described as a ghetto, subject to loss of sovereignty and self-determination, reduced to unparallelled poverty, and systematically and collectively deprived of basics like food, fuel, medical care, electricity, sewerage and so on.

Mr Finkelstein is no doubt right to remind us of the Holocaust, and of the failed negotiations with Yasser Arafat eight years ago. Unfortunately he fails to balance that backward-looking analysis with any thought for what must come in the future. We are no longer in 2000, and a lot has happened since then to change the relationship between the Arab world and everyone else; Yasser Arafat is no longer the negotiating partner; Israel has to find a political solution to the existence of a Palestinian state, and the Western world has to find a political solution to the ability of Hamas to take power through a democratic election. I might have found Mr Finkelstein's article more compelling if he had acknowledged the relevance of any of those factors, in addition to the ones he chose to put forward.

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