So, who does deserve a platform?

By Stephen Pollard, January 13, 2011

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.

Last updated: 12:57pm, January 13 2011