So who does deserve a platform?

November 24, 2016 22:59

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

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

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


November 24, 2016 22:59

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