Baram vs Phillips

Find a copy of this week’s New Statesman to read my friend Daphna Baram’s sensible observations about Melanie Phillips.

Excerpts below:

At the Royal Geographical Society in London on 27 January, Melanie Phillips fought like a lioness against the motion tabled by Profesor Avi Shlaim of St Antony’s College, Oxford University, stating “Zionism today is the real enemy of the Jews”…Phillips wasn’t prepared to leave it there [after her side lost the vote]. She decided to have another go at the opposition – “the three Jewish persecutors of Israel” as she called them – in her personal internet blog, using language that was extreme even by her standards.

“I came away from that debate,” she wrote, “feeling the kind of emotion one feels – in a totally different context – when forced to listen to or even watch the details of paedophile assaults on children. It is a physical numbness, a feeling of the very darkest despair; a feeling that a very great evil has been unleashed which reveals the depths of pathological malice to which human beings can descend – to turn on their own at a time when they are already under murderous attack. It seems like a repudiation not just of their Jewishness but their humanity.” …

Phillips doesn’t accuse her enemies, the dead or the living, of being “self-hating Jews”. She gets straight down to business and charges them with treason. But who are the real “instigators” of “diabolical calumnies” against their fellow Jews? Those who initiate an open debate about the nature of the leading ideological movement among Jews today, or those who accuse dissident Jewish thinkers of evil and “pathological malice”? As an Israeli and a Jew, I know whom I would prefer not to meet in a dark alley.

Not sure whether it’s available online or not. The Statesman has one of those rather annoying websites where it’s hard to tell what’s going on. Anyway, it’s on sale at your local newsagent.

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