Friday, August 04, 2006

Matthew Parris - seems like a decent bloke to me

And whilst on the subject of closet homosexual politicians, the Israeli assault on Lebanon and Islamic terrorism, I’ve just read a piece by Matthew Parris that struck a chord with me and mirrored my own feelings on the lunacy that’s currently raining down on the Middle East.

I’m a big Parris fan. Maybe one day someone will shatter my illusions but he strikes me as a thoughtful and (usually) honest man – both of which qualities impeded his prospects as a Member of Parliament more than being a closet batty boy ever could.

The fact that Parris’ public outing of Peter Mandelson whilst being interviewed by Mandy’s mate Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on British television or that Parris looks uncannily like a Romulan starship commander are just gravy.

Matthew Parris

Romulan Starship Commander

Anyway, Parris’ article ‘Two reasons why I cannot bring myself to write about the Israel problem’ did strike a nerve -

When I try to compose my thoughts, the resolution to write keeps slipping: doubly undermined…

First from a feeling of boredom. The boredom arises from neither carelessness nor apathy, but the quiet anger we may feel when a subject is endlessly and passionately debated by disputants who are unlikely to change their minds and — if the truth be known — mentally armoured against opposing thoughts. The rest of us wish we could walk away …

The second is a desperately tricky thing to express. I steer clear because I have too many friends who are Jews whose feelings I don’t want to hurt. You will wish to remind me that to be Jewish is not to be a supporter of everything (or anything) the state of Israel does, and of course that’s true. You will point out that among the harshest critics of Israeli policy are Israeli and Jewish voices, and of course that’s true too. But it’s a personal observation which one cannot just brush aside that, on this, those who are Jewish tend to have much stronger feelings than others, and that they are overwhelmingly if not universally sympathetic to the Israeli cause, more inclined than most to justify the actions of Israel, and prone to feeling personally wounded if one disagrees. Such feelings inhabit some of the people I like and respect best in my life.

The problem is that I cannot agree with them…

Matthew's got my number.

You can argue the whys and wherefores of how this situation came about, I would argue that it is quite deliberate, but the simple truth is that a large number of ordinary ‘diaspora’ Jews do see criticism of Israel as being a criticism of themselves. In a way that, say, your average British Citizens or, more to the point, expatriot British citizens wouldn’t consider criticism of the behaviour of the British government as being targeted at themselves personally.

This is pretty fucked up in my opinion and a pretty slick move on the part of a group of people who know/ knew full well what they were doing.

It’s a very old game that’s being played and people forget, time and again, that almost without exception all wars are started by, and for the benefit of, a minority of people and the rest of us poor dumb schmucks get suckered into playing along.

Right now, ordinary Israelis, and Jews around the world, probably support what the Israeli government is doing in Lebanon because they are scared and they have been encouraged to be scared. I can understand that and I am having trouble seeing any real difference between this situation and the bullshit, and subsequent support, that accompanied British participation in the invasion of Iraq.

What really depresses me is that in both cases, large numbers of ordinary people are too bamboozled and manipulated to think things through. They simply fail to comprehend that reducing countries to rubble and blowing all that is dear to other people clean into the next world absolutely will not make life safer for any of us. That is unless you go the whole hog, apply the ‘Salvador Option’ and exterminate entire communities.

No people = No terrorists/ insurgents. Easy peasy.

It's what Stalin would have done.

What a pathetic, woeful mess this all is…


Anonymous said...

Israel is an interesting and useful topic of study since it represents the nation state in extremis. It is democratic and hence necessarily participates in ethnic cleansing (see "The Dark Side of Democracy
Explaining Ethnic Cleansing
Michael Mann
") and consider the demographic of Palestine prior to 1948. Further, it needs to be under constant threat in order to maintain its identity (see " Oren Ben-Dor: Who are the real terrorists in the Middle East? What exactly is being defended? Is it the citizens of Israel or the nature of the Israeli state?"). These phenomena appear to be true, usually to lesser extents, of all nationstates; hence the interest in Israel as a topic of study.

de said...

In the bad old days, when Parris was a Thatcherite hell hound, he famously stated that living on the dole was not a hardship.

He was then filmed "attempting" to live on the dole, and after enjoying a Newcastle match and a swift half, admitted that a normal middle class bloke could in fact not live on the dole. Exit stage left.

But frankly he has been a pretty strong pundit for the last decade.

Anonymous said...

"Exit stage left." Not really. He was filmed getting into debates with recently unemployed shipworkers one of which still keeps in contact with him: the ex-shipworkers son invited him to his wedding (a couple of years ago). So, acknowledgement of the difficulty of living on the dole but not exit stage left.

de said...

Exit Stage Left from the Thatcher's cabinet, not from life.

Anonymous said...

Matthew Parris did not say life on the dole is easy. He said that life on the dole should not be comfortable, and at the end of the World in Action bit he did, he said that it indeed is not easy.