Saturday, June 02, 2007


Charles Moore imagines the reaction if Israeli, and not Palestinian, nutters had kidnapped Alan Johnston. It is, in fact, all too easy to imagine. Just apply double standards, mix in righteous indignation, a touch of old Marxist rhetoric that you can't seem to shake off, and it's done.

Throughout Mr Johnston's captivity, the BBC has continually emphasised that he gave "a voice" to the Palestinian people, the implication being that he supported their cause, and should therefore be let out. One cannot imagine the equivalent being said if he had been held by Israelis.

Well, he is certainly giving a voice to the Palestinian people now. And the truth is that, although it is under horrible duress, what he says is not all that different from what the BBC says every day through the mouths of reporters who are not kidnapped and threatened, but are merely collecting their wages.

The BBC is, of course, not alone. Front stage, please, for the Universities and Colleges Union backed by the fearless National Union of Journalists.

The main universities of Israel are, in fact, everything that we in the West would recognise as proper universities. They have intellectual freedom. They do not require an ethnic or religious qualification for entry. They are not controlled by the government. They have world-class standards of research, often producing discoveries which benefit all humanity. In all this, they are virtually unique in the Middle East.

The silly dons are not alone. The National Union of Journalists, of which I am proud never to have been a member, has recently passed a comparable motion, brilliantly singling out the only country in the region with a free press for pariah treatment. Unison, which is a big, serious union, is being pressed to support a boycott of Israeli goods, products of the only country in the region with a free trade union movement.

Oh, how the Left has made itself ridiculous, institutional suicide bombers of the civilised world.

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