Thursday, October 17, 2002

No-one who has read his books can doubt the writing ability of Clive James. I have harboured scepticism of his role as a professional expatriate, but he presents a better view of Oz than, say, Germaine Greer.

In the Guardian of all places, James calmly beats on fools like Bob Ellis, who have no doubt that
international terrorism is to be explained by the vices of the liberal democracies.

James is on the case of the consensus view that it’s all about the Palestinians:
The consensus will die hard in Australia, just as it is dying hard here in Britain. On Monday morning, the Independent carried an editorial headed: "Unless there is more justice in the world, Bali will be repeated." Towards the end of the editorial, it was explained that the chief injustice was "the failure of the US to use its influence to secure a fair settlement between Israelis and Palestinians." I count the editor of the Independent as a friend, so the main reason I hesitate to say that he is out to lunch on this issue is that I was out to dinner with him last night. But after hesitating, say it I must, and add a sharper criticism: that his editorial writer sounds like an unreconstructed Australian intellectual, one who can still believe, even after his prepared text was charred in the nightclub, that the militant fundamentalists are students of history.

The idea of loony-tune bombers poring over learned texts on the geopolitical overtones of the Middle East would be laughable, if not for the serious treatment this concept gets. James takes it down:
A typical terrorist expert on the subject believes that Hitler had the right idea, that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a true story, and that the obliteration of the state of Israel is a religious requirement. In furthering that end, the sufferings of the Palestinians are instrumental, and thus better exacerbated than diminished. To the extent that they are concerned with the matter at all, the terrorists epitomise the extremist pressure that had been so sadly effective in ensuring the continued efforts of the Arab states to persuade the Palestinians against accepting any settlement, no matter how good, that recognises Israel's right to exist.

Geddit? No peace, ever. It’s not going to happen until the Palestinians and Arabs recognise that they have lost, repeatedly, that they will never win, and that the biggest losers in the deal are themselves. Certainly ole Yasser isn’t missing any meals.

How Clive got this into the Guardian I’ll never know.

Thanks to Scott Wickstein for the link.

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