Monday, June 9, 2008

Israeli Ambassador to Britain: Extremists Have "Hijacked" Debate Over Israel

Ron Prosor is Israel's ambassador to Britain. For a diplomat, he's surprisingly blunt about how Israel is treated in British public debate.

He's biased, of course. As the Israeli ambassador, he almost certainly is prejudiced in favor of Israel's continued existence. Although the article I read didn't come out and say it, he's probably intolerant of the "death to Israel" views cherished in some quarters.

Britain's Reputation for Free Speech Wounded

When the ambassador from one civilized country accuses the academic and journalistic segments of another civilized country of undermining the principles of free speech and debate - something is seriously wrong.

It's possible that a professional diplomat would, deliberately and in writing, make a crazy accusation.

However, Ambassador Prosor seems to have facts on his side. Last year, Britain's University and College Union (UCU) members "voted to sever links with Israeli universities in a move which provoked outrage from politicians and academics around the world, and prompted Jewish leaders to condemn it as a 'frightening assault' on academic freedom."

The Telegraph (UK) Tuesday edition this week has an article on Ambassador Prosor's views. My hat's off to that paper, for publishing the diplomat's views.

I've posted excerpts from the article, but suggest that you follow the link, and read the entire article.

Keep an Eye on American News Media

this story has been picked up by the Associated Press: and published in a major English-language paper ("Israeli ambassador: Britain has become a hotbed of radical anti-Israeli views" International Herald Tribune (June 9, 2008)). It will be interesting to see how much attention Mr. Prosor's views get in traditional news media in America.

(from Telegraph (UK), used w/o permission)

Excerpts from the Telegraph (UK) Article

"Israel's ambassador says Britain has become a hotbed of radical anti-Israeli feeling"
Telegraph (UK) (June 10, 2008)
  • "Ron Prosor claims that while the UK was once admired for its liberal fairness and decency, in recent years extremists have 'hijacked' its debate over Israel.
  • "He says his country has been turned into a "pantomime villain" by Britons who deny it has any right to exist, while terror attacks on Israeli citizens are ignored by both the media and public opinion.
  • "Mr Prosor, a senior diplomat who became Israel's ambassador to Britain last year, is particularly scornful of the academics who want to boycott Israeli universities over the country's treatment of Palestinians.
  • "He was a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London between 1995 and 1998, and says while living here he came to appreciate the country's reputation for cherishing liberty and human rights, earned following its fight against the "dark forces" of the Nazis in World War Two....
  • That was then. When Ambassador Prosser returned last year, he was "dismayed" at what he saw.
    "...He cites examples of Israeli staff and students who have suffered on British campuses in a 'climate of hatred'.
  • "Mr Prosor says public feeling towards his homeland is worsened by media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which he claims is too often biased and tainted by double-standards.
  • " 'Israel's military reaction to the attacks it faces is given in depth, microscopic coverage. Yet the attacks to which Israel is responding are often ignored. Terror attacks, ambushes, suicide bombings or the constant barrage of rockets being fired on Israeli citizens are frequently disregarded.
    " 'The average British citizen is painfully unaware that since Hamas seized control of Gaza last year, 1,400 rockets and 1,500 mortar bombs have landed on Israeli soil.' "
Related posts, on censorship, propaganda, and freedom of speech.

No comments:

Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store


Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.