So who does deserve a platform?


By Stephen Pollard
January 13, 2011
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I have a small piece in tomorrow's paper, on Jewish Book Week's decision to allow the London Review of Books to sponsor a session with Johann Hari and Gideon Levy. Here's what I wrote:

The JC has been proud of its long association with JBW. But one now has to
wonder what it is becoming.

Last year a key session was handed over to two fanatical Israel-bashers,
Tariq Ali and Mary-Kay Wilmers, editor of the London Review of Books. This year,
Gideon Levy is to be joined by the Independent's Johann Hari, whose visceral
hatred of Israel makes his colleague Robert Fisk seem like a Zionist in
comparison.

Geraldine d'Amico, JBW's director, is right when she says that "our tradition
is based on dialogue and debate". So, galling as it can feel to see an
institution like JBW offer a platform to Israel's enemies, it can be right to do
so. That's why the JC sometimes gives a voice to our opponents. But only,
crucially, as part of a debate or dialogue. The only debate between Hari and
Levy will be over who can attack Israel the most.

As if that was not unbalanced enough, to have the event sponsored by the LRB
- a sort of Der Stuermer-lite for intellectuals - is almost beyond belief in its
crassness.

With friends like JBW, there is precious little that Israel's intellectual
enemies need to bother with.

 

COMMENTS

Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 16:45

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4 points

Too right

http://www.thejc.com/node/43493

Some people are so open-minded, their btains fall out


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 16:46

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3 points

"brains" ...


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 16:46

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3 points

"brains" ...


mattpryor

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 16:47

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5 points

Well said Stephen.


Jon.

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 17:38

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0 points

So how will this affect the relationship between the JC and JBW?


Joe Millis

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 19:07

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-5 points

Is the JC going to withdraw its sponsorship?


mattpryor

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 20:22

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5 points

The sad thing is that if Howard Jacobson or Erfram Karsh (sp?) had been giving talks - both have had excellent books out this year - I'm sure a lot of people would have loved to have gone.


Armchair Quarterback

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 20:41

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-5 points

When someone says I am all in favour of freedom of speech, expression and exposure to a wide range of views etc etc etc blah blah blah blah but.....

one thing you can be sure of....everything before the " but " is bullchit


Armchair Quarterback

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 21:00

Rate this:

-5 points

And of course ask a silly question get a silly answer

This professor bumped into one of his students on the faculty corridor and said...young lady yours was a damned good answer to my assignment question

she said yes sir but it was a damned good question


Armchair Quarterback

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 21:01

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-5 points

" so who does deserve a platform ? "

how dumb can a question get ?


Yoni1

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 21:57

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1 point

Armchair is too thick to understand that freedom of speech does NOT consist of offering a convenient platform to antisemites.


Armchair Quarterback

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 22:02

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-5 points

yonithan I kinda knew you would be the second ( me being the first )


Jon_i_Cohen

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 22:15

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2 points

Well done Stephen and the JC - thank-you!


amber

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 23:33

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1 point

armchair, this is not about freedom of speech. No-one is saying these people have no right to speak. It is, however, about the privilege of invitation.

Please try to think.


Yoni1

Thu, 01/13/2011 - 23:53

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1 point

Triumph of hope over experience again, Amber?


Kahina

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 11:31

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1 point

Well said Stephen! Will the JC continue sponsorship?


Joe Millis

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 14:12

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-2 points

The jbw programme has just landed on my door mat and i see that there are also talks by Hillel Halkin (at the same time as levy/hari), melanie phillips, Pascal Bruckner, sir Martin Gilbert and the key JC talk is with Howard Jacobson. So what's not to like? A boycott, apart from being a silly SWP tactic, is also cutting off your nose to spite your face.


Zona

Mon, 01/17/2011 - 18:04

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3 points

A boycott is a justified reaction - why is JBW giving a platform to such hate mongers!?


suzanna

Mon, 01/17/2011 - 18:11

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-3 points

Gosh, anyone would think you lot want to ban opinion.


mattpryor

Mon, 01/17/2011 - 18:39

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2 points

The fact that you are allowed to post here would suggest otherwise.

And by the way, let me know when the "Palestinian Book Week" is and let's see if I can give a talk about how Judea and Samaria should belong to the Jews. And let's see how long it is before I get my throat cut in a dark alley.


Jon.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 13:40

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2 points

@mattpryor

Err not really,

You'd need to write a book on it first....and be Palestinian.


jose (not verified)

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 14:09

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2 points

You'd need to write a book on it first....and be Palestinian.

Or have the same fairy tale narrative.


Yoni1

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 16:08

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1 point

What is Suzanna waffling about this time?

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