Sunday, 11 January 2015

Bravo, Manuel Valls

Just one rider to the whole Charlie Hebdo affair. I did not mention that, after the killing in the magazine's offices, a second incident in France resulted in deaths of (what we presume to be) Jewish customers in a kosher food shop.

In an interview today for The Atlantic, French prime minister Manuel Valls says what I have never yet heard a British leader do (my bold highlighting):
“It is legitimate to criticize the politics of Israel. This criticism exists in Israel itself. But this is not what we are talking about in France. This is radical criticism of the very existence of Israel, which is anti-Semitic. There is an incontestable link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Behind anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”
This is not the same as saying Israel should not be criticised, of course it should. But now look at this from the Free Dictionary:


Zi·on·ism
  (zī′ə-nĭz′əm)
n.
political movement that supports the maintenance and preservation of the state of Israel as a Jewish homeland, originally arising inthe late 1800s with the goal of reestablishing a Jewish homeland in the region of Palestine.

Gosh. So, it's basically about whether you think it's ok for Israel to continue existing. So, yes, I'm a Zionist; it's a pretty broad church, isn't it? Note it doesn't say anything about democracy, human rights, having a likeable Prime Minister, etc., although it's still arguably got a better record on both than pretty much any other country in the region anyway. 

Zionism, then is just about whether you think it should exist.

However, if you start from the premise, not of criticism, but of anti-Zionism, that it's got no right to exist at all, you cease to be stating mere political opinion and move onto much more questionable territory. Because you are, logically, opining that all those Jews who currently live in Israel should either be deported or otherwise disposed of. But no-one, it seems, wants to call that out, glaringly obvious though it might be.

Bravo, Manuel Valls. If only our politicians had your couilles. If only.

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