All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Monday, 25 July 2005

The Mayor of Hate

I came across this superb article which best describes why why we despise our obnoxious mayor. I wish I could write this clearly but the guy's a journalist, so I suppose he's had more practice.

The Jerusalem Post, 24 July 2005

Red Ken drags London into the gutter


"We are all in the gutter," said Oscar Wilde, "but some of us are looking at the stars."

Then again, some of us are looking straight down into the sewer. Those at least were the sentiments I was moved to express listening to London Mayor Ken Livingstone's recent interview on the BBC about the London bombings. In it he put the blame for those bombings squarely on Israel and the West, whose exploitative and violent policies, he said, had encouraged the killers to act.

Unfortunately, as evidenced by the hugely supportive reaction Livingstone has elicited from the British Left, this latest list of blood libels against Israel, distortions about the West and willful ignorance concerning the true threat posed by Islamo-fascist ideology is entirely representative of a powerful strand of thinking among opinion formers in Britain and the wider West. It would be comforting to say he is a maverick, but he is not.

The substance of Livingstone's remarks will be sadly familiar to anyone remotely acquainted with the fantasies of Western defeatism: The West has exploited the Arabs to "control the flow of oil;" the Americans "recruited and trained" Osama bin Laden; as a matter of policy Israel practises "indiscriminate slaughter" against the Palestinians; the West defames Muslims by unfairly highlighting the views of Islamists who are "totally unrepresentative" of the mainstream.

Speaking of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians, Livingstone went on: "Under foreign occupation and denied the right to vote, denied the right to run your own affairs, often denied the right to work for three generations, I suspect that if it had happened here in England, we would have produced a lot of suicide bombers ourselves."

This last passage is extraordinary and worth taking apart in detail to illustrate the kind of mind-set we are dealing with.

THE FIRST clause, of course, is a flat-out lie. As Livingstone must surely know, all citizens of Israel proper, including more than a million Arabs, have the right to vote in Knesset elections. As he must also know, Palestinians living in the territories also have a vote and recently and very publicly used it. They did, after all, elect Mahmoud Abbas as PA chairman.

The second clause is a slippery but highly characteristic deception. The only reason the Palestinians do not run their own affairs is because they have consistently refused to accept statehood alongside Israel.

The third clause contains another lie: Israel does not prevent the Palestinians from working and only stops them from coming to work inside Israel when it is concerned about terrorist attacks.

But, interestingly, note how that clause concludes with the words "for three generations." Here, the mask has slipped.

Three generations (60 years by most definitions of the word "generation") refers back to the inception of Israel itself. Perhaps unwittingly, Livingstone reveals his annihilationist prejudices.

It is not the "occupation" that concerns him, it is the very existence of the Jewish state.
The final part of the passage contains both obscenity and idiocy. It is obscene because, on the basis of the above noted lies and deceptions, it offers Palestinian suicide bombers the excuse of "just cause." Who could really blame them? he effectively says.

It is idiotic because one could easily quote dozens of peoples who have lived under genuine tyrannies but have not responded by strapping themselves up with explosives to blow to pieces as many men, women and children as they can. Did Jews respond to the Holocaust by slaughtering innocent Germans? Did east Europeans respond to Stalinism by blowing up Russian buses?

The problem with this analysis, of course, is that it is pointless, at least in so far as it is aimed at persuading Livingstone and his supporters of their folly. Rational argument, after all, presupposes a commitment to rationality.

Livingstone and his kind do not think, they emote. And the emotion they are most comfortable with is hatred.

They hate the West. They hate Israel. They may even hate themselves. In one of his nastiest outbursts this year, Livingstone likened a Jewish reporter to a "German war criminal." When the reporter, Oliver Finegold, responded that he was Jewish and therefore offended by the slur, Livingstone simply upped the stakes, saying Finegold was acting like a "concentration camp guard."

What more is there to say about such a man? Just this perhaps. Livingstone is not merely a disgrace to the city of London, he is a danger to it. Those of us who are not in denial about the true motivations of the people who aim to harm us know that one of their greatest hopes is that we are really as weak and pathetic as people like Livingstone might suggest. They hope that we will cave in to their murderous tactics. They hope that we will be turned to their point of view, that we will start to see the world and the people in it as they do.

By accepting the narrative of the terrorists Livingstone can only give them heart.

The writer is a political commentator and an adjunct fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington), currently based in central Europe.


athena said...

Here, in America, we don't allow people from Mexico across our border to work unless they have a "green card", or work permit. I have never heard of Mexican terrorist extremist groups bombing anything whatsoever....

Maybe he and his ilk might try to find a better explanation....

The Teacher said...

The thing is that we're not interested in his explanations.

The man is an offensive bigmouth who should not be representing a World Class City like London - he's basically an embarrassement and the sooner we get a newer, more palatable mayor, the happier a lot of us will be!

athena said...

How did he get elected?

The Teacher said...

Strangely enough, I keep on asking the very same question!