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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Defend Gabriel Latner? Not so fast....

Before you rush out to defend Gabriel Latner, the law student who successfully argued that Israel is a rogue state, but was suspended from the Cambridge Union Society for life for making an obscene comment to Lauren Booth, please consider this.
But Latner is no poster boy for Zionism. On the Mondweiss website he says:
My personal beliefs on ‘Zionism’ are fairly simple: I believe Israel has a right to exist, and to secure itself. I believe the Palestinians, Tibetans, Taiwanese, Kurds, and every other stateless population has the right to a homeland. I think that the last 150 years of conflict in the Middle East (let alone the last four or five millennia) is far too complicated for anyone but a scholar to understand. I think there is enough blame to go around. Israel is wrong when it permits settlements to be built. I think it made a mistake when it kept the Gaza Strip after ’67. I was happy when Israel pulled out of the occupied territories. Then again, I am constantly afraid for my friends in family living there. Israel does face a serious threat. But I think every time Israel overreacts, new extremists are born. So yes, I could be considered a ‘Zionist’, but I think that term has been hijacked to a degree. Im pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian, and pro-Peace. In my opinion, the biggest threat to peace is politicians – in both camps, not to mention Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and the West.
Others have commented that Jewish students should not engage at all in such debates. Doing so legitimises the demonisation of Israel, they say. This is certainly a view that is worth considering. After all, how many other countries have incessantly to argue the validity of their own existence or their level of roguishness.

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At 2:11 PM, Blogger Ariadne said...

Shame, but it shows the power of rhetoric.

I found out today about a historian, Anne Alexander of Cambridge. A Marxist. She was talking about the Six Day War to introduce a BBC radio programme on the fate of British shipping caught in the conflict.

No mention was made of the casus belli of the closing of the Straits of Tiran. Then there was the sad story of the munitions picked out of the Suez Canal after the Yom Kippur war.

No wonder students are misled. Whom would anyone conclude was to blame both times.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

A leftist.... knowing Mondoweiss, they don't much like Zionists over there. Latner's admission won't get him very far with them.

And I still loathe Lauren Booth!

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its immature to cast Latner as anything but a friend of Israel. He's biggest flaw according to you seems to be he wants everyone to live in Peace. C'mon guys we have enough enemies within and without we don't need to invent problems where they don't exist.

At 5:16 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

the word is naive... but well intending. I can live with that

At 12:47 PM, Blogger dante said...

"Naive," "well-intentioned," "decent" are good ways of describing Gabriel. A nice guy but not necessarily the guy one would want with him in a foxhole. What was Israel supposed to do after it conquered the territories in '67 as the result of a successful defensive war? Immediately cede the territories to the powers that, in the Khartoum declaration, announced themselves opposed to negotiations with Israel and recognition of Israel and peace with Israel? No rational person would have done that. And, no rational actor would, under similar circumstances, do that now. One need not be a scholar or a historian to know that.


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