Daily archives: June 12, 2015

The Contrarian Prize

I have been shortlisted for the Contrarian Prize. I am honoured to be considered for an award of which the previous winners are Clive Stafford Smith and Michael Woodford. It probably says something about the purpose of the prize, that the rather extraordinary list of shortlisted nominees are not people liable to enjoy socialising together. I shall not elaborate further. But to be associated with an award of which the motto is “courage, independence, sacrifice” makes me feel I must be doing something right.

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The Killing of Children

The Guardian has for once done a very good job of outlining the stark gap between the truth, and Israel’s “report” into the killing of four young children playing by the beach. It may be argued that this terrible tragedy is itself pretty irrelevant given that the Israelis killed 700 other children in Gaza that year. But the maintenance of this ludicrous, macabre and yes, evil, propaganda is fundamental to the self-image of many Israelis. They still contrive to see themselves as the good guys, under constant threat – despite the fact that Israel kills well more than a hundred for every Israeli killed.

This denial of the truth and claim of victimhood extends to the accusation of anti-Semitism trumpeted at every critic, including this one, despite the fact that I have the highest respect for the immense cultural and scientific achievements of the Jewish people. Israel is a different question entirely.

It is this absolute divorce of propaganda from reality that makes Tony Blair an ideal figurehead. Blair has now become head of a Council of Europe (loosely) linked body which claims to exist to promote tolerance, but in fact exists entirely to promote extreme Islamophobia and to shut down criticism of Israel. And it is a further sign of the estrangement from reality of the influential Israelis behind Blair’s appointment that they believe Tony Blair will influence public opinion positively in their favour. A remarkable example of confirmation bias.

Finally, I would merely note that it is not as insignificant as it may appear in terms of extreme corporatist bias, that the software auto-completes anti-Semitism for me (complete with capital letter), while it underlines Islamophobia as a non-existent word.

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