Israel and Iran and meanderings
Oh, let me tell you about my anderings, as Kenneth Williams would no doubt have said. The times they are a-changing, and as the climate change lobby collapses (partly thanks to men like Richard North), the media begins to realise that the western, and the world economy really is in crisis, and people begin to think cherished positions through, I thought that I might return to my formerly rock-solid commitment to Israel's cause.
Yep, still there.
But boy, does the hatred and horror of others twist a place, especially when it has been made to make continual moral and personal sacrifices to stay alive. In such circumstances, the lights in the dark are literally vital, literally signs of life, and not its afterglow.
A State without justice is a band of robbers, and since I never seem to tire of quoting St Augustine I thought that I might just point that out again. I'd also like to link to Bob from Brockley's latest appeal, which is for the New Israel Foundation. I'm not a person who now belongs on a left made up of loud anticatholics, climate nuts, haters and Jew baiters, but I still think about the warm and decent people I used to know in the Labour Party. I wish that they would not continue to allow themselves to be piddled on by the student union Marxists, Statists and nepotists who have taken it over. I wish Labour were still decent, in Britain and Israel.
That's material for another time, though. It strikes me that reality-based economists and communitarians who are open to populism, pluralism, occasional collectivism, and conservative social values are an oddity now in Western Europe, beyond the anti-Parisien but still republican areas of France, or the west of Ireland. How much did British Labour gain from those of gaelic Irish descent in the past, though, who were part of that tradition? How much did Israel gain from the working-class London Labour and Oxbridge intellectual background of some of its founders? How much have both lost? Perhaps Splintered Sunrise is right when he writes about us all dominated by a cabal of big interests and liberal monists now.
Bob and I first noticed each other's blogs, I think, when I posted an obituary to Leon Greenman, a holocaust survivor whom I had met and who Bob knew better, I think, in the mid-nineties. Leon spent some of his later years, I was horrified to find, under assault from various dregs, presumably either of one or both political extremes. God rest you, Leon.
I was lucky enough years ago to have had the time to read Abba Eban's memoirs and commentary, and am sad that his vision and that of people like Martin Buber too was never really fully realised. It also makes me sad when people just start up on the Jew-hating stuff. I do think about Palestinian Christians and their plight, and can even envisage myself being pleased at a four-state solution to the crisis over there, once Hamas, in its present state, is terminated.
Indeed, I notice that this may already be happening, and that Egyptians continue to try to restrain Hamas. I'd like to believe that anyway. There have certainly been fewer attacks by them, but as the Israeli government points out this may in fact be because they are sharpening their knives or busy kneecapping and killing other Palestinians.
By the way, by four state solution I do not mean an Israel-West Bank-Gaza-EJerusalem/Golan state, so much as an Egypt-Jordan-Israel-Palestine condominium. Some Palestinians are even returning to the idea of a federal, consociational Israel that includes them.The bottom line is the state's right to exist, but it's good to see a little light, and a little reevaluation. I wish westerners were more exposed to the sensible, serious men of business in the Gulf, some of whom I know, and who are more than aware of the need for justice and balance in the Middle East.
On that note, I was waiting to meet a Serbian friend in Trafalgar Square yesterday, and came across people from the Iran Solidarity Campaign (next to the perennial Quaker Justice stand at the front of the National Gallery), and didn't have the time to go and say 'hello', so I thought that I would do it via the blog. They are against the regime's plans to judicially murder its opponents in that country, and the solidarity they call for is with people who want to be able to say what they think. I know very little about them, but they reminded me that the words 'human rights' are not inevitably cover for silliness. Sometimes they are soaked in blood that people are prepared to shed.
That's all by the by; but given people's sensibilities I thought that I'd explain myself a little.
Here's a nice tune sung by an old lady in her kitchen who once saw great things, to whistle in your own time....