Our Man blogging in Jordan: James Watt


By Blacklisted Dictator
July 9, 2010
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Well, if you were outraged by Francis Guy, take a look at this....

http://blogs.fco.gov.uk/roller/watt/

Do things start to get better from here?
Posted 28 March 2010 by James Watt | 15 comments
It's been an extraordinary week. The drama in Washington has been a turning point: if not yet of Israeli governmental attitudes, then of the US Administration's patience with them. No recognition, in the Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to AIPAC, that his government had just been put on serious notice by the Quartet in its Moscow statement. Or that the United States has been signalling with utter clarity for some time that Israel's policy of settlements, and in particular evictions in Arab East Jerusalem, is a critical obstacle to peace. This is the peace that the US - and countries such as Britain - regard as not only important for their own national security, but also essential in the interests of justice and the rule of law.

The AIPAC applause must have had its usual intoxicating effect. The hangover came later, in the White House. But the main problem continues to arise from arguments put forward by Israel itself. Whatever the emotional component, there has to be a link to facts, reason and shared ethical principles, if the arguments are to succeed with a non-Zionist audience. I think Israel has lost that audience. Israel too suspects it has lost it, but has not, in my view, worked out why, or what the answer is. Completely non-factual assertions - for example that a Jewish people was building Jerusalem 5,000 years ago - only serve to emphasise the absence of real content or reasoning. The strange thing is how long Western audiences tolerated such claims without challenging them: I think because they were hoping that a reasonable settlement with the indigenous Palestinian population would emerge in the course of things (and with some diplomatic heavy lifting). It nearly did, in the mid-nineties. But the disastrous reversal of the peace process that then followed has led, inevitably, to Western and other audiences challenging the Zionist discourse in its entirety. No one outside Israel is prepared - or very few - to take Zionist arguments at their face value any longer. The crisis for Israel runs deep indeed.

COMMENTS

Blacklisted Dictator

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 08:56

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One might conclude that Israel's real enemy is not Hamas, Hezbollah or Amadmaniniran. It is, instead, the UK foreign office.

Business as usual, I hear you say?


Joshua18

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 09:02

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Bialik at Harry's Place writes:

'Britain’s ambassador to Jordan James Watt is no sweetiepie either.

http://blogs.fco.gov.uk/roller/watt/entry/where_does_this_all_fit

While his government supports a two state solution, he questions Israel’s legitimacy.

“No one outside Israel is prepared – or very few – to take Zionist arguments at their face value any longer. ”
http://blogs.fco.gov.uk/roller/watt/entry/do_things_start_to_get

“The origin of the problem – the arrival of the Zionists in Palestine, with their commitment to avoiding any kind of integration into existing society, and their policy of importing their co-religionists from cultural and social backgrounds alien to Palestine, changed everything.” http://blogs.fco.gov.uk/roller/watt/

There’s more but it is awfully depressing.'

http://hurryupharry.org/2010/07/08/but-ambassador-you-are-spoiling-us/#c...


Blacklisted Dictator

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 09:10

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However bad one fears that the situation is, it is usually far worse than one could ever actually imagine.

So, once again...
Q: What is the difference between the optimist and the pesssimist?

A: The pessimist is better informed.


Yvetta

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 09:14

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If they write this on their blogs, what must they write in their despatches?
Words (polite ones) fail me!


Blacklisted Dictator

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 09:24

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Yvetta,
Well, something like...

Dear William Hague,

The stink of Jews, from across the border, is once again wafting into the beautiful embassy gardens. Many of them haven't changed their clothes since they were on holiday in Auschwitz.
Oh how I wish that the Middle East was judenfrei.

all the best,
James

(James Watt actually writes: " The history of conflict and lost opportunities for peace in the Middle East casts a shadow over all we do, but it also adds urgency and seriousness to what we at the Embassy try to achieve. Like Britain itself, I am strongly committed to a future of peace, justice and respect for the rights of individuals for all the people of the region.")


Blacklisted Dictator

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 09:40

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James Watt writes:

"Few observers would disagree with David Hirst that Israel has long committed itself to a policy of massive military deterrence, which is now becoming progressively more violent - and, by the account of its own officials, more ready to inflict civilian casualties on a large scale in pursuit of its political goals. Gaza showed that progression: more remote shelling and rocketing by the Israeli forces, with minimum risk to its own soldiers: ten lost their lives, and three Israeli civilians, while 1,330 Gazans (most of them civilians and 410 of them children) lost theirs. Compare that to the 43 Israeli civilians who died under Hizbullah rocket fire in July-August 2006, and 119 Israeli soldiers in the fighting, against over a thousand Lebanese civilians (one third of them children) and an unknown number of Lebanese combatants."


Blacklisted Dictator

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 09:45

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Joshua18

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 09:53

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"If they write this on their blogs, what must they write in their despatches?"

And say and think.


Blacklisted Dictator

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 10:09

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So... should Israel break diplomatic relations with The UK ?

What would happen if the Israeli ambassador in London was blogging crap about the UK. Let's imagine that he thinks that the British campaign in Afghanistan is up to shit. Should he say so?


Blacklisted Dictator

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 10:19

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Israeli Ambassador in London's website

RON'S BLOG

"Since I've been in London, I've been reading about British history. After the second world war, did you know the SS was invited into the UK but Jewish holocaust refugees were told to get lost? It's in Prof David Cesarani's book.

But bringing matters up to date, I do really wonder about what sort of campaign the British think that they are waging in Afghanistan. Do they have clear goals? Have they got any idea what they are doing there? "


Joshua18

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 10:56

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"What would happen if the Israeli ambassador in London was blogging crap about the UK. Let's imagine that he thinks that the British campaign in Afghanistan is up to shit. Should he say so?"

Of if an Israeli ambassador were to suggest that with regard to the UK perhaps Nazi Germany had a point, and perhaps the former nation got exactly what it deserved.


mattpryor

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 11:27

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I tried to post this on the blog yesterday:

Does the ambassador not think that given the fact that the UK has itself been involved in two foreign wars of aggression for the last 7 years, your comments would seem hypocritical and offensive to many?

It didn't get published.

My comment here did though in January:

http://blogs.fco.gov.uk/roller/watt/entry/gaza

Should I have raised more of a stink about it at the time?


mattpryor

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 11:35

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I think the FCO needs to consult their dictionary about the meaning of the word "diplomacy".


Jonathan Hoffman

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 16:22

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Comment I submitted:

“The arrival of the Zionists in Palestine, with their commitment to avoiding any kind of integration into existing society, and their policy of importing their co-religionists from cultural and social backgrounds alien to Palestine.”

=> You are not making sense. Arabs and other non-Jews form 20% of the population of Israel and have equal rights. Arab women for example get the best education in Israel in the Middle East – a far higher proportion go to university than in any other Mid-East country.

"So did the massive expulsion of huge numbers of Palestinians from their land. Their right to return, or to compensation, remains their central demand, backed by all Arab states and reflected also in the principles set out by the international community for peace."

=> Wrong. Read Benny Morris or Ephraim Karsh. Jewish irregular forces were complicit in the departure of only few thousand Arabs. Most fled or were told to flee. And no – the ‘right of return’ is not backed by the ‘international community’. Wars have consequences. Displaced peoples from WW2 or WW1 do not have the ‘right of return’.

“The demand for Israel to be the state of the Jewish people”

=> So there are 27 Muslim states and one Jewish State and you think that’s a problem? Israel is grounded in Judaism – so what? Your country has the Church of England as the established religion. Do you oppose that too?


zachary esterson

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 17:22

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The irony is that Watt accuses Zionists for the failure of integration, despite it being the British FO that banned Jewish settlement in 70%+ of original Palestine. Had the Jews been allowed to settle more widely, friction would have likely been less, and Jewish autonomy less offensive to Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians.


zachary esterson

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 17:22

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The irony is that Watt accuses Zionists for the failure of integration, despite it being the British FO that banned Jewish settlement in 70%+ of original Palestine. Had the Jews been allowed to settle more widely, friction would have likely been less, and Jewish autonomy less offensive to Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians.


sesom (not verified)

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 17:26

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Arabs and other non-Jews form 20% of the population of Israel and have equal rights.
according to Sir Jonathan Hoffman. You are totally wrong. The Palestinian Israeli citizens are heavily discriminated against in all fields such as education, the buying of property. who they are permitted to marry etc.
Also Benny Morris changes his mind all the time and can't be trusted, just like you really. You haven't got the faintest idea what you are talking about re. Israel/Palestine have you Sir? You live in this little myopic world where you swallow every single lie that Mr. Regev tells you don't you?


zachary esterson

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 17:27

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“The arrival of the Zionists in Palestine, with their commitment to avoiding any kind of integration into existing society, and their policy of importing their co-religionists from cultural and social backgrounds alien to Palestine.”

This is based on the fiction that

a) Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians did not practise historical apartheid against Palestinian and other Jews,

b) that "all" Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians objected to was the political orientation of Jewish immigrants to Palestine.

In fact, though ostensibly in the early 20th century, Palestinian Arab nationalists conceded Jewish settlement so long as they attained Ottoman citizenship, in fact they were more than content with Ottoman expulsion of immigrant Jews before the could be naturalised.

From 1917 Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians simply wanted no more Jews, that Jews be no more, in fact, than the tiny minority to which the status quo accustomed them.


zachary esterson

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 17:34

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'The Palestinian Israeli citizens are heavily discriminated against in all fields such as education, the buying of property. who they are permitted to marry etc.'

I don't deny that much could be done to improve the lot of Israeli Arab Christians and Muslims.

But they enjoy more rights than most if not all Jewish (and not a few Christian and Muslim) citizens in the Arab Islamic world, including Jordan.

That is the especial hypocrisy of James Watt, FO.

Admittedly Jordan recently repealed its ban on Jewish immigration, but while its atmosphere is doubtless better for Jews than most Arab states, James Watt, is still doing his level FO best to alienate the one Jewish state in a region dominated by Arab Islamic ethno- or theo-cratic states that all practise apartheid, of one kind or another, with full FO connivance.

British hypocrisy has a flavour all its own.


zachary esterson

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 17:38

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“The demand for Israel to be the state of the Jewish people”

No. The national home for the Jewish people. Not all Jews are citizens, which is what to participate in a state means, though all have right of return and to apply for citizenship.

Just as all Irish, Germans, Greeks, Italians etc. born abroad, and whose nationality is certifiable, have right of return, and to apply for citizenship, though they are not all actually citizens of Ireland, Germany, Greece, Italy etc.

The same would be true, presumably, for a Palestinian state.


Jonathan Hoffman

Sat, 07/10/2010 - 10:04

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Well my comment has not been published

Neither has this one, from 'starsqui':

"Under the Ottomans it didn't matter greatly, in the eyes of the State, what your ethnic origin or your religion was. "

I have heard the case for the creation of an Islamic State/Caliphate operating an Ottoman style millet system advanced by a number of British Islamists, in recent years. The "return to Ottoman days" argument is clearly quite fashionable!

I think that you need to be extremely careful when you assert that it didn't matter, in Ottoman times, what your religion was. In terms of your relationship to the state, religion mattered very much indeed.

Specifically, non-Muslims were formally disenfranchised and disadvantaged, on a religious basis: notwithstanding that they were "protected" as people of the book.

It is this species of state that Islamist groups want to create. It is mistaken to think that this would be any improvement at all on a system which was a patchwork nationalist states. I'd be happy to develop the argument further: but in brief, nationalist states are more easily able to hold to pluralist political values, including genuine equality of persons before the law, because they have comparatively few "core principles". By contrast, Islamist states are much less likely to give up the formal and pervasive legal disadvantage to which the Sharia subjects non-Muslims.

So, rather than hankering after Islamic states and millet systems, couldn't we please be promoting plural and liberal democratic values? I know that there is a tendency in the FCO to think that the natives aren't ready for that sort of thing, but still...!


Jonathan Hoffman

Sat, 07/10/2010 - 10:09

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Not only are British Ambassadors posting offensive lies on their blogs - they are also censoring the rebuttals!


Yvetta

Sat, 07/10/2010 - 10:12

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I know, Jonathan!


Jonathan Hoffman

Sat, 07/10/2010 - 10:15

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So I have to watch while my taxes finance this offensive garbage, while familes get kicked out of houses because their housing allowance is cut ...


sesom (not verified)

Sat, 07/10/2010 - 10:54

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So move to Israel, Jonathan where they will spend your taxes on much more worthwhile things...

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