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July 29, 2005

Strong Words

These strong words by Guardian Columnist Jonathan Freedland might be a breath of fresh air for those accustomed to prevalent opinion in the UK:

... Unless, of course, Israel is a uniquely special case. That is a hard argument to make. No official figure exists because, shamefully, they have never been counted, but more than 100,000 Iraqis are said to have been killed during and since the 2003 invasion. Russia's war on Chechnya has cost up to 200,000 civilian lives, one in five of the entire population. Since the intifada began five years ago, 3,600 Palestinians have been killed. No one is making excuses for that; every one of those lives lost is a catastrophe. But in a world full of brutalities and mass slaughter, by what logic is Israel reviled as the uniquely heinous culprit, the one state whose civilians are fair game?

Qaradawi's argument is that there is no such thing as an Israeli civilian. Israeli women can be called to national service; Israeli children will grow up to be soldiers. The sheikh has ruled that even the unborn Israeli child in the womb is a legitimate target for death, because one day he will wear a uniform.

This ceases to be a political stance; this becomes the demonisation of a people. Only one nation on the planet has no civilians; only one nation must recognise that its children can legitimately be torn apart by nail bombs on buses. Not the Russians for what they have done in Chechnya, nor the Arab Sudanese in Darfur, nor the Americans and British in Iraq, but the Israelis. They are uniquely guilty and therefore less than human, denied the protections afforded to all other human beings.

So when Livingstone offers this as some kind of defence - that Qaradawi is against 9/11 and 7/7, but in favour of "martyrdom operations" against Israeli civilians - I am not comforted. I am fearful of the dark place he has entered.

Posted by GI at July 29, 2005 10:11 AM


Best piece to come from the Guardian in a while. I would like to see the same spotlight aimed at The Guardian itself.


Posted by: Stan at July 31, 2005 07:31 AM

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