Mr Aaronovitch’s Problem 8


It is a tribute to the power of political blogging that the Times is prepared to devote several column inches to a whingeing reply to this blog. Or perhaps its simply a sign of the intellectual decline of the Times. I am pretty surprised to find even a Murdoch paper publishing this:

Now suppose, that I were to write an article for this paper in which I began by telling readers that Craig Murray was not just wrong and oddly ill-informed, but that he was also – let’s say – a chinless, adulterous, anti-Semitic clown whose vanity and incontinence had led to him damaging those very causes that he claimed to care for so much. My editors wouldn’t have stood for it, and the readers would have thought less of me for it. Yet in several of the more lionised and supposedly political websites that influence some of our journalists, this is exactly the level of debate.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/david_aaronovitch/article3227701.ece

I think I had reached the age of 49 without ever being accused of being anti-semitic. Anybody who even vaguely knows me will find that accusation laughable.

David Aaronovich is confused as to why I would wish to be impolite about him. The answer is quite plain. Supporting the Iraq War, and cheerleading for it, is not a legitimate policy choice. It is complicity in an appalling act of aggression and mass murder. The invasion of another country, resulting in the death of (literally) countless civilians, in order to seize control of natural resources, was an act of hideous criminality. Nazi “Journalists” stood trial at Nuremberg charged with propagandizing for illegal war.

I tend to have rigorously argued political views. I am, for example, strongly against the private finance initiative and other private provision in the NHS. I am opposed to state aid to Northern Rock. On those and other issues, many people have other opinions and I genuinely respect those views and engage with them, much as I may disagree.

But the Iraq war is not like that. Supporting the illegal invasion of other countries is a crime; it is no more legitimate than to argue that “The Yorkshire Ripper Was Right”. It does not surprise me that Aaronovitch and other renegades of the hard left like Phillips and Hitchens have taken this position – ruthlessness and disregard for individuals provide the consistent thread in their odyssey around the unpleasant extremes of politics.

I am afraid, David, that decent people will look down on you the rest of your life. Get used to it.


8 thoughts on “Mr Aaronovitch’s Problem

  • Tom Freeman

    Hi Craig

    I think what Aaronovitch was puzzled by was why somebody he found "pleasant enough" in person, even while you were disagreeing with each other, would then write online about "that sleazy fat neo-con slob Aaronovitch – someone should buy that man a picture for his attic".

    Was he misquoting you?

    Personally, I think "complicity in an appalling act of aggression and mass murder" is far stronger, far politer, and far more relevant criticism than the personal stuff.

  • Mike

    Fuck the bastard. It's long past time for politeness with these swine, these murdering, bloodthirsty, worthless, lying, inhuman, psychopathic sacks of shit.

    Good on you, Craig! CM for PM!

  • Strategist

    "that sleazy fat neo-con slob Aaronovitch – someone should buy that man a picture for his attic".

    I'm sure that is the quote, I remember enjoying it at the time. But notice that the key jibe that he is trying to make stick is "anti-semite" – and note that that cannot be justified from the original insult (Aaronovitch is almost a real slob, could almost define the word for someone learning English).

    This is part of a long-standing campaign to redefine "antisemitic" as a person who criticises the behaviour of the Israeli government and its apologists. This campaign must be fought and defeated on the internet and everywhere.

  • Raven

    It only take one dissenting voice properly capitalised upon, to provide cover for mass murder. Blair provided that cover for Bush, and Aaronovitch provided that cover for Blair. As much as anyone, Aaronovitch facilitated this war. Does he know it, and did he realise it at the time, or is he simply a fool?

  • ruth

    Whenever Israeli policy is attacked, ones argument is rarely countered in a rational or civilised manner. 'Antisemitic' is fired out over and over again quite indiscriminately. Hence, my understanding of the word 'antisemitic'is changing. To me and I think to many people it no longer conjures the idea of someone who is prejudiced against the Jews but someone who is being attacked for caring passionately about all people. Overuse and misuse of a word changes its meaning

  • Marc_N

    "I think I had reached the age of 49 without ever being accused of being anti-semitic. Anybody who even vaguely knows me will find that accusation laughable."

    These sentences are irrelevant, because Aaronovitch has not accused you of anti-semitism. In fact, he invented a hypothetical scenario to demonstrate how such insults would be unacceptable to his editor and readers. This is clear from his language in the paragraph you quoted and from the rest of the article. Conversely, you have accused Aaronovitch of being anti-Muslim in an article (http://tinyurl.com/39zgn2) he quotes.

    This defensiveness towards the non-accusations of a man, after having yourself accused him of bigotry, will at worst make you look hypocritical or foolish. I would rather you made the type of responses suggested by Tom Freeman above. How much or little politeness Aaronovitch actually deserves is irrelevant, because in any case being insulting while he writes calmly is not conducive to spreading your views.

  • papageno

    @Marc_N

    "… in any case being insulting while he writes calmly is not conducive to spreading your views."

    The tactics of spreading opinion by recounting what I'm not saying isn't exactly new, although Mr. A could learn a lot from this gentleman:

    "No to women's driving" (Al-Watan) -1/2008 (http://mideastwire.com/topstory.php?id=20866)

    The Times readers must be a really mischievous lot.

  • Marc_N

    Where has anyone recounted what you've not said? Aaronovitch's article seemed angry but I think you're misinterpreting him if you think there's an accusatory subtext to it. Your own insults towards him do you a disservice; your article I linked to before makes a correct point, as no-one as pro-war as Aaronovitch could ask Blair the tough questions in an interview, but this point is lost under all the insults.

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