Johann Hari wrote this article in today’s Independent, regarding the tendency of supporters of Israel to smear their opponents with accusations of anti-Semitism. Hari wrote an article last week about his travels in the West Bank where he witnessed, among other things, the discharge of untreated sewage out of Israeli settlements into Palestinian areas with predictable consequences for the water supply and local people’s health, and has in response been compared to the likes of Goebbels and Ahmadinejad. The names of Melanie Phillips, David Aaronovitch and an outfit called Honest Reporting, which demands what amounts to pro-Israel bias in the media, come up. The victims have included people with opinions friendly to Israel but who aren’t willing to go all the way.
Meanwhile, in response to Melanie Phillips’s outpouring of dumb clichés in last week’s Observer, the present edition has printed a letter from one John Draper Nordelph from Norfolk (England), which brings out the old chestnut that, while Israel is a historical nation, there never was a Palestinian nation before the present time; the name, he says, was derived from the kingdom of Philistines which was established by the Romans to punish the Jews for rebelling against them. That may be so regarding the origin of the name, but the use of the name in modern times appeared during the British Mandate and the Palestinians of today are called that because they were the natives of the British Mandate territory. It is as simple as that; most of the names of the modern Arab states are of relatively modern appearance, at least in terms of applying them to Arabs. The fact that there was no king or president of Palestine before the appearance of Israel is neither here nor there.
(More: Mere Islam.)
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