April 21, 2017
Right, left, right, left. Just like the word ‘democracy’, ‘right’ and ‘left’ have many interpretations, specifically concerning the Israeli-Palestinian relationship (IPR).
So I’m called ‘right’ by many, but I’m still far left of many rightist extremists. I consider myself ‘wavering right of centre’. There, I’ve said it.
And, because of the Marwan Barghouti fiasco, The New York Times, and it’s International twin have died for me. Just as the UK’s Guardian did some years back. That used to be MY newspaper of choice, and it still has great articles, great writers and great format. But it’s fallen off the left precipice as far as IPR is concerned.
So what’s the NYT story, that has, for me, been the straw that has broken my tolerant back? Their op-ed by Marwan Barghouti. Who is he? (Now I’m being ‘clever’). He’s a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian. Ah well, that’s OK. Let’s read on.
He’s in prison. In prison? A parliamentarian? OK, so now we presume he’s a freedom fighter. He’s compared himself to Mandela, so perhaps he’s right. But Mandela had to go through half a lifetime to prove to the World that he had left violence behind and that he had earned the right to be called a parliamentarian and a statesman.
This may one day happen to Marwan, but not yet. He’s in prison, serving 5 life sentences plus 40 years for the terror of which he was convicted.
There are those who refuse to recognise the validity of Israel law courts – even Israel’s existence. I have no interest now to address them.
Marwan and 1,186 Palestinian prisoners, most of whom were convicted of terror, and most of whom are still members of Fatah’s armed wing, Tanzim, recently went on hunger strike. Marwan is their leader.
The NYT published his op-ed, in which he made all the predictable complaints about Israel. (If I were 15 years in Israeli prison, I’d say the same). The NYT described him as a ‘Palestinian leader and parliamentarian’. They omitted any other description.
Only after international outcry did they add the rest.
By then, of course, the damage was done, and Israel again comes under pressure.
Barghouti is currently the most popular Palestinian, as far as politics is concerned. He is considered a potential rival of octogenarian, Mahmoud Abbas. When I was ‘centre-left’, I was one of the many who could imagine the unilateral step of releasing this man, and letting him run for the Palestinian leadership. That’s how desperate the situation was, and still is.
After reading Barghouti’s op-ed, I have moved slightly to the right, and I now wish for him to serve his sentences.
So be it.
And anyway, I hardly have time to read the papers nowadays….