No more than a nod

By Geoffrey Paul
January 5, 2011

It’s a fair guess that not too many readers of the JC are habitual readers of the New Statesman or its bloggers. There has long been a sense that you’ll find neither open mindedness nor fair dealing when it comes to matters Israeli or, even less so, Zionist. Memories are still fresh of the 2002 cover displaying a golden Star of David stabbing a Union flag with the splash headline “A Kosher Conspiracy?" With its startling overtones of European antisemitic iconography, the cover introduced a feature on the so-called Zionist lobby. Eventually the journal ran a qualified apology from the editor, Peter Wilby. So it came as a bit of a surprise when one of the New Statesman’s contributing editors ran a piece this week in praise of Israeli justice (the guilty finding against President Katsav). More than that, Sholto Byrne indulged in some interesting if not totally convincing speculation about why Israel is held to to a different standard than others, concluding that when Israel meets and exceeds that standard, “we owe our applause” Of course, the piece is not free of the usual digs at Israel and there’s no reason to take satisfaction in a few crumbs of praise. But anything from the NS which does not depict Israel as a totally pariah state is worth a nod of recognition. You can read the whole blog at



Wed, 01/05/2011 - 11:29

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Zvi Bar'el, in Ha'aretz (another favourite publication amongst JC readers?), says the following:

One more rapist and liar stood trial, and it makes no difference whether he was a president or a foreign worker. But when a president is tried, it's a "red-letter day for democracy."

Perhaps he has a point. I would add that for the New Statesman to feel it necessary to publish an article in praise of Israeli justice belies that publication's general attitude to Israel: that it is a pariah state. To quote Sholto Byrnes in the NS article you referenced:

We do hold Israel to a different standard, and we ought to admit it. So when Israel meets and exceeds that standards [sic], we owe our applause.


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