Brian Edwards Media

Why I Hope Shahar Peer Wins the Women’s Tennis Singles

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Shahar Peer

Shahar Peer

 

 

 

 

 

 

For many years I have admired John Minto’s courage in taking a stand, often in the face or virulently hostile public opinion, on issues he believed in, most notably his opposition to sporting contacts with South Africa during the apartheid era.

But I can find nothing courageous about a group of protestors congregating outside the ASB Tennis Centre with loud hailers shouting at one Israeli woman player, “Blood, blood on your hands, freedom for Palestine’ and ‘Go home, Shahar’. ‘Intimidating, cowardly, inappropriate, embarrassing  and  pointless’ might all be better epithets.

And probably, though the concept may have little currency with these zealots, a singularly unsporting way of trying to put Shahar Peer off her game.  And counterproductive too, since I – a severe critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians – and I suspect many others, now hope that Peer takes the women’s singles title despite this barracking harassment.

What is happening in the Middle East cannot and should not be laid at the feet of one Israeli tennis player. Responsibility for the policies that have turned Palestinians into squatters in their own land belongs solely with the Israeli government. If we disagree strongly with those policies, then the appropriate course of action is to attempt to persuade the New Zealand government to impose sanctions against Israel, possibly including sanctions on sporting contacts.

When I’m occasionally asked what I think is the defining characteristic of the New Zealander, I invariably reply, ‘Above all, New Zealanders are a fair-minded people.’ For that very reason, I’m confident that while we might accept the idea of rowdy protests against the presence of a large Israeli sports team, very few New Zealanders will feel comfortable with an abusive demonstration against one woman tennis player, whose only crime is to be an Israeli citizen.

2.55 pm  Friday. Congratulations to Yanina Wickmayer who has just beaten Shahar Peer in closely fought straight sets. Peer was beaten not by the taunting abuse of the protestors outside the ground, but by a better player on the day.  An entirely satisfactory outcome.

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51 Comments:

  1. You’re so right re the myopic, selfish, spiteful drongos trying to disrupt not only Miss Peer but also the opposition player; as well as the spectators who’ve paid good money to come to the tournament.

    These misguided, miserable miscreants are not advancing any political cause; only, parading themselves as drooling unkempt cretins. Next time they make an unwelcome appearance outside Stanley St., high-pressured firehoses should be turned on these baying hyenas. That’ll blast off the caked-on spittle from their ugly acme-pocked dials.

  2. 2

    You’re getting off the light.

    First you wish a win for bloodthirsty human rights abuser Shahar Peer ( how possible! ). You should know that Peer served for 2 years in ‘Israeli’ occupational army: it should qualify her as half a Satan , isn’t it?

    Then you may even start to claim that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians isn’t driven by the will to kill as many Palestinians as they can, but the will to protect their own citizens from everyday barrage of rockets and suicide bombers.

    • First you wish a win for bloodthirsty human rights abuser Shahar Peer ( how possible! ). You should know that Peer served for 2 years in ‘Israeli’ occupational army: it should qualify her as half a Satan , isn’t it?

      Wow, she really is the spawn of Satan and you, as your name implies, really are a holy one. Which must be tricky given your propensity for dishonesty and distortion. Then you want to accuse me of taking a position which I would never take.

      I think you’ll find that I said: “What is happening in the Middle East cannot and should not be laid at the feet of one Israeli tennis player. Responsibility for the policies that have turned Palestinians into squatters in their own land belongs solely with the Israeli government.” Sounds to me as though I didn’t approve of those policies.

      And actually I’m rooting for a tennis player whom I’d like to see win precisely because of the determination of the zealots outside the stadium to ensure that she doesn’t win. I rather suspect that a great many Kiwis, no matter what their view on Israel/Palestine will feel much the same way.

      Anyway, your language is too intemperate and hot headed for your views to merit any serious consideration.

  3. Mr Minto made a written protest over the inclusion of an Israeli competitor at the Queenstown International Chess Tournament in January, and demanded he withdraw. There was no protest at the venue; presumably the principles of Mr Minto and the rest of the ‘sans culottes’ did not extend to the cost of an airfare and accommodation in Queenstown.

    I see Hilary Clinton is visiting NZ next week. Perhaps the mob should be saving their vocal cords for that event, that is if the police will allow them within a kilometre of HC. That’s what really irks me; is this Israeli tennis player, her opponents aand the spectators have to put up with the boorish behaviour of Minto and friends, which will have no affect whatsoever on Israeli policy. Yet, HC who is in a position to exert pressure will be spared this nuisance.

  4. Wow, that’s a hard act to follow … Asplenium might work Mr Bedeo, if all else fails.
    While I agree with Brian in principle (one little girl against the world), it appears to come down to numbers … so what is the magic number for justifiable protest?
    Do you think this government would give a toss either way, bend to the ‘will of the people’ and impose any form of sanction? (“Attempt to persuade” is surely a euphemism, considering our experiences?)
    Is this really about “one high profile Israeli woman”, or an opportunity to draw attention to the ‘bigger issue’?
    Would it be justified if it was the Israeli Minister of Tourism (?), or not, because s/he is one individual?
    What level of injustice would ‘justify’ such protest against one person as the ‘ambassador’ (sporting or otherwise) of a corrupt regime?
    Just questions.

    • Just questions.

      Pretty reasonable questions too. My view is that the intention of the protest is to disrupt Peer’s concentration to the extent that she fails to get to the finals and preferably well before that. If they are successful then no doubt they can count that as a victory. Pretty adolescent really.

      In a sense, it is about numbers and power. A team would be better equipped to handle the abuse than one person on her own. Or if Peer held some position or authority in the Israeli government, there would be more justification for attempting to undermine her confidence and her game. So far as I know, she doesn’t.

      She’s wrong of course that politics and sport can be separated. They can’t. But the way to handle this is to persuade the New Zealand Government not to issue visas to Israelis to play sport here, or allow New Zealand sports teams to travel to Israel. You’re correct, they won’t. But sporting isolation was a major reason for the eventual collapse of apartheid and would send a much more powerful signal than yelling through loud hailers at one Israeli tennis player.

      I said I was an admirer of John Minto. I still am. I said I abhor Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. I do. But I’m singularly unimpressed with a tactic whose aim seems to be to send a message to Israel by preventing one tennis player from winning a tournament.

  5. …and the media love it, of course.
    I suppose one could try to credit Mr Minto with a ‘good motive'(if somewhat offensive to tennis fans and defenders of maidens being dragoned) assuming that motive be to draw world attention to ‘our’ opposition to Israeli internal policies. If his motive is solely to disrupt a good game of tennis for one individual, then it would be a personal attack and he’d be a truly sad bastard.

    My guess would be that Minto took an opportunity that in his mind overrode the value of pleasure gained by watching rugby …um… tennis. But I don’t know. Did the individual Springboks hold positions of political authority (apart from the usual White supremacist groups)? At least groups can close ranks in defending their position. However, Ms Peer appears to be carrying her responsibilities with remarkable fortitude, she will be quite the celebrity when she returns home, win or lose.

    How exactly do you urge a government to change it’s policies without taking to the streets (or even ‘taking to the streets’ for that matter)?

    • I suppose one could try to credit Mr Minto with a ‘good motive’(if somewhat offensive to tennis fans and defenders of maidens being dragoned) assuming that motive be to draw world attention to ‘our’ opposition to Israeli internal policies.

      I don’t doubt that John Minto’s heart is in the right place. Anyone watching the news or who has seen the Pilger and other documentaries on Palestine, can be in no doubt as to Israel’s shameful and inhumane treatment of the Palestinians.

      And I am not an opponent of strident protesting against injustice. I took part in anti-Tour demonstrations mysellf in 1981 and previously in demonstrations against nuclear-powered (and possibly armed – we didn’t know) US ships coming into our harbours.

      But I believe this protest is misdirected and may well have the opposite effect to what is intended – to bring Ms Peer more rather than less sympathy.

  6. this is tricky. Minto is a very good man.
    My take: if the story of this protest filters back to Israel and Palestine then I would count that as an effective action.
    Playing games with the representatives of oppressors, tyrants, dictators and regimes of bad faith in general is not a good look for this fair-minded nation.
    And Mr Edwards – whats yr idea of ‘fair-minded?’ jus’ wonderin’..

    • Playing games with the representatives of oppressors, tyrants, dictators and regimes of bad faith in general is not a good look for this fair-minded nation.

      The ‘representatives’ of oppression… I didn’t know she had that status. I thought she was a tennis player. By this logic, if I go overseas I will be the representative of a country in which more than 80% of citizens are apparently demanding the right to hit their children.

  7. I think you (BE) missed some irony from “The Holy leftist”. When he says Ms Peer is the spawn of the devil, he doesn’t actually mean it, and he approves of your stance. But then he stretches this in the hope that your stance really matches his (he likes the Israeli government position), which clearly it doesn’t.

    Or maybe I am just confused.

    • Or maybe I am just confused.

      Maybe you are. And maybe I am. It sure didn’t look like irony to me. But then Kiwis tend to miss irony and I’ve lived most of my life here. In any event, irony should not be laid on with a brush.

  8. In the 1930s and 40s reports of the Nazis treatment of the Jews were widely dismissed as propaganda. There are those who today maintain that the death camps were a work of fiction.

    Yet every accusation against the state of Israel and against the Jewish people is accepted as fact with minimal critical analysis. I wonder at times whether there is a subtle form of anti-Semitism at work.

    Let me be clear, I am quite sure there have been atrocities committed against the people of Gaza; perhaps you could point to a war where there have not been atrocities. And make no mistake both the Israelis and the majority of Arabs regard themselves as being at war. No one ever accuses Hamas of atrocities for using civilians as human shields.

    The sad thing is that these atrocities would stop overnight if Hamas and Moslem leaders were to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. When your neighbour has the self avowed intent to slit your throat restraint is a little difficult.

    Some of Israel’s actions are hard to stomach, but at the same time the protests are rather one sided. I wonder what Minto and others would be saying had Jordan/Syria/Egypt won the six day war and over the last40 years had been waging a ceaseless persecution of the Jews. Will Minto be leading the protests if Iran develops nuclear weapons and uses them in a first strike against Israel? He would find some way of accuse Israel of starting the fires themselves.

    • The sad thing is that these atrocities would stop overnight if Hamas and Moslem leaders were to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. When your neighbour has the self avowed intent to slit your throat restraint is a little difficult.

      And Israel accepts the right of Palestine to exist. I agree there are wrongs on both sides here. The reason I think Israel gets such a bad press and so little public support in this matter probably has to do with the David and Goliath nature of the struggle. And there is the issue of the Jewish settlements. Rob Muldoon once spoke of television’s ‘powerful visual images’. None could be more powerful than seeing a Palestinian family sitting with their belongings on the street outside their (former) home as an Israeli family moves in. The lack of humanity and shameless indifference of these people is mind-boggling. Mind you, you have to be careful about criticising Israel in New Zealand. You will immediately be accused of anti-semitism.

  9. ConorJoe, I suggest you take a look at the nationalities of all the teams and individuals who play sport in this country. Can you point to a single country and tell me that their record on human rights is squeaky clean? BE makes the comment that it is not a good look for a Palestinian family seen sitting outside their ruined home.

    It is not a good look in the 21st century to see pictures of citizens of a first world country to be housed in shacks, sniffing solvents, routinely drunk, the subject of confirmed police abuse and with an appallingly high level of child abuse. Will you therefore go and protest when the Australian cricket team visits NZ next month, because conditions in Aborigine camps in Northern Territory are not a great improvement on the conditions endured by Palestinians. The difference is that there is no state of war which makes it even more disgraceful that such conditions are allowed to exist. Like so many others, ConorJoe, your indignation is selective.

    I would be very surprised to see John Minto with his megaphone outside the Basin Reserve. On BE’s final point, I regret to say that much of the criticism of Israel does have its roots in anti-semitism. The cancer that made some politicians and intellectuals look approvingly at Hitler’s actions in the 1930’s is still present, even if slightly more suppressed.

  10. Reading the holy leftist’s post again I think I probably did get it wrong. His first point was so outrageous I assumed he must have been being ironic, but no, I think you’re right he’s just being outrageous.

  11. Playing games with the representatives of oppressors, tyrants, dictators and regimes of bad faith in general is not a good look for this fair-minded nation.

    80% of respondents to a heavily confused and misleading question surely?
    With Shahar its no doubt that she has achieved her status with the support and backing of a series of governments who actually implement their policies of oppression utilising national service of which I believe she served? If she refused that service, if she denounced her governments policies, if she coached palestinian children, if she moved to another country that wasn’t so hell-bent on bettering itself whilst beggaring its neighbours and oppressing its population of non-jews….

    • If she refused that service, if she denounced her governments policies, if she coached palestinian children, if she moved to another country that wasn’t so hell-bent on bettering itself whilst beggaring its neighbours and oppressing its population of non-jews….

      Isn’t that asking a hell of a lot of a tennis player, or for that matter of any citizen? You want the woman to be disloyal to her country, you want her to be a crusader against what you see as injustice, you want her to sacrifice her career in a cause which she probably doesn’t believe in. In effect, you want her to be a saint. Let me tell you, when I’m overseas I won’t hear a bad word about New Zealand, regardless of the merits of the argument. She’s young, she’s loyal to her country, she sees things differently because she is an Israeli. And she wants to play tennis.

  12. “hell-bent on bettering itself whilst beggaring its neighbours and oppressing its population of non-jews….”

    For most of its existence it has been hell bent on surviving! Whatever concessions the Israelis have tried to make in the past have been spurned by Palestinians, while terrorists continue to fire rockets. It is not an excuse but it is hardly surprising that the outcome is a hard line government that does not give a toss for the Palestinians, John Minto or world opinion. Unless something changes on both sides extremists will continue to take charge.

  13. Oh, good. Now Mr Minto can stand outside bellowing in protest against the oppression of the Walloon minority.

  14. Incidentally if Wickmayer had a shred of human decency she would have refused to play with the representative of the oppressors, tyrants, dictators and regime of bad faith.

  15. “Incidentally if Wickmayer had a shred of human decency she would have refused… blah, blah, blah.

    Hey, Ben — going by your dumb-ass logic, Shahar Peer would’ve won the tournament by a progression of defaults. What you lack in common sense, you more than make up for with stupidity and crassness. Waaay too much time on your hands, Dude.

    • Hey, Ben — going by your dumb-ass logic, Shahar Peer would’ve won the tournament by a progression of defaults.

      Merv, I may be wrong, but I think Ben was being ironic.

  16. BE, you are not wrong; my comment was intended as ironic. In future for the benefit of Merv and other literalists I will insert a footnote to my comments in neon lights. Talk about gormless!

  17. If so, retracted with the ‘sorries’.

  18. Whilst I am undecided whether or not Minto does the cause much good, arguments that Peer should be exempt from responsibility are not, in my view very persuasive.
    In the first place, Israel makes no distinction between citizen and resistor. 1400 Palestinians, mostly civilian, are dead as a result of Operation Cast Lead (not to mention 5,300 maimed). That Minto should make no distinction in his selection of a target for non-violent protest is consistent with a far more deadly Israeli policy.

    Ben buys into one of the most egregious slanders imaginable – the “human shields” myth. It is “beyond chutzpah” for a huge military to first attack a densely populated area and then make this accusation. The IDF has been caught time and time again directly applying this technique.
    Here are two examples:
    http://www.btselem.org/english/human_shields/20060720_human_shields_in_beit_hanun.asp

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1073243.html

    During Operation Cast Lead, Gazans flocked to the roof of a building in the targeted area and stared down the incoming aircraft. This extraordinarily courageous demonstration of pacifist resistance was trumpeted by Israel as the use of human shields. I have seen no other evidence of Palestinians using human shields.

    I suggest that Ben reads what Hamas actually says before buying into this nonsense:
    “The sad thing is that these atrocities would stop overnight if Hamas and Moslem leaders were to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. When your neighbour has the self avowed intent to slit your throat restraint is a little difficult.”

    Israel sits on land that is around 80% owned by Palestinians who are forbidden to return or visit it. This title is upheld by Resolution 194 of the U.N. Security:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_Resolution_19…and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Here is the official Hamas position:

    “Our message to the Israelis is this: we do not fight you because you belong to a certain faith or culture. Jews have lived in the Muslim world for 13 centuries in peace and harmony; they are in our religion “the people of the book” who have a covenant from God and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be respected and protected. Our conflict with you is not religious but political. We have no problem with Jews who have not attacked us – our problem is with those who came to our land, imposed themselves on us by force, destroyed our society and banished our people.

    We shall never recognise the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights. We shall never recognise the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil in order to atone for somebody else’s sins or solve somebody else’s problem. But if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms. Hamas is extending a hand of peace to those who are truly interested in a peace based on justice.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/jan/31/comment.israelandthepalestinians

    “The logic of those who demand that we stop our resistance is absurd. They absolve the aggressor and occupier – armed with the deadliest weapons of death and destruction – of responsibility, while blaming the victim, prisoner and occupied. Our modest, home-made rockets are our cry of protest to the world. Israel and its American and European sponsors want us to be killed in silence. But die in silence we will not.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/06/gaza-israel-hamas

    I suggest that, had the Japanese invaded NZ in 1944, expelled its citizens and established a Japanese State, he would probably experience a little “denial of existence” himself.

  19. “Let me tell you, when I’m overseas I won’t hear a bad word about New Zealand, regardless of the merits of the argument.”

    “Regardless of the merits of the argument” ?
    Isn’t there such a thing as loyalty beyond sanity?
    What do you do with your ethical and moral beliefs when nationalism takes precedence …

    Hell’s Tooth, that sounds alarming.

    • “Regardless of the merits of the argument” ?

      Yeah, probably a bit of hyperbole there. One forgets that every word one says in a blog or in replies to comments, is examined through a microscope. And probably rightly so. But it is rather hard work.

      The truth of the matter is that I never hear a bad word about New Zealand when I’m overseas, so I may have become a liittle complacent on the issue of justified criticism of the country.

  20. Brewer, there would have been no Israeli invasion of Gaza had Hamas not continued to fire rockets from behind the human shield and fire rockets from within populated areas.

    Had the Arab nations in 1948 accepted Israel’s right to exist, there would by now be a settled Palestinian nation. Jerusalem would have continued to be a shared city because there would have been no wars in 1966 or 1973 (or whatever the year).

    Neither Arab nor Jew comes out of this conflict with a great deal of credit but unless they want the conflict to continue for another 60 years both sides are going to have to make some concessions and it is clear that the Israelis will make no concessions whilst threatened with extinction and the Palestinians will not make concessions under the shadow of Israeli tanks.

    I sometimes wonder whether the best solution would be for the region to be obliterated in a nuclear holocaust. That way it will not be fit for anyone to live there, which will solve the problem (Warning: irony involved).

  21. For what it’s worth, timing is everything I guess. I was in the UK in 1983 – freshly subversive/radical/seditious/anarchistic/a misguided Marxist puppet (Muldoon obviously had his thesaurus to hand)… and freshly thrice convicted. The question was, would I get a U.S. visa? Yes, apparently the government of my own country is the only one to consider my criminal convictions (civil disobedience) should be upheld and limit my life potential – however ethically justified. Sigh. I was often questioned in the UK about the protests, and it was generally assumed that I would hold a racist conservative pro-rugby ‘combo’ standpoint.

    I imagine the Dawn Raids are still remembered by many Pacific Island NZ’ers, and those Nazi style goon squads of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s arose yet again in a gross overreaction against Tuhoi.
    Practice intimidation and assault was freely exercised in Masterton and Ruatoria streets at night by Trentham trainees in full riot gear in the late 80’s, while the middle classes no doubt settled themselves comfortably unaware in front of the TV.

    Opposition to nuclear warships was followed hard on the heels by the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, and a nice island sojourn for the offenders. My overseas visitors viewed it as a ‘bit of a joke’ – “NZ struck by terrorists” – but then the target wasn’t NZ, it was Greenpeace who were often viewed as ‘subversive radicals’ (of course).

    It’s likely foreign nationals are seldom aware of NZ internal issues, and only superficially informed of anything major, and assuming they aren’t ‘too polite’ to be frank in their opinions it’s unlikely many care to comment anyway, from my experience.

    While we may appear as a very small blur at the bottom of the globe, it also seems that we have the distinct geographical advantage in providing an objective analysis of world events. However, I feel we often lack the courage or integrity to look hard at reflections of our own shortcomings.

  22. Ben: “gormless”, eh? Youse oughtn’t’ve wrote that. Retraction is retracted. Back to Square 1, pal.

  23. Ben.
    Operation Cast Lead was planned during a truce.
    Israel’s own Intelligence and Terrorism
    Information Center at the Israel
    Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center confirmed that Hamas held strictly to the cease-fire. Here is the money quote:
    “4. An analysis of the situation on the ground indicates two distinct periods:
    i) A period of relative quiet between June 19 and November 4: As of June 19,
    there was a marked reduction in the extent of attacks on the western Negev
    population. The lull was sporadically violated by rocket and mortar shell fire, carried out
    by rogue terrorist organizations, in some instance in defiance of Hamas (especially by
    Fatah and Al-Qaeda supporters). Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire.”
    http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/hamas_e017.pdf

    The very small amount of rocket fire during the period was attributed to other groups, particularly the U.S. and Israel backed Fatah:
    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=87743

    Let us be very clear about rockets. The number of Israeli casualties from this form of protest amounts to less than one half of one percent of the Israeli road toll – one or two persons per year who happen to receive a direct hit. They are not anti-personnel weapons and cannot be aimed. They are pieces of plumbing pipe packed with sodium and sugar for the most part.
    Compare this with the 1,441 Palestinian children killed since September 29, 2000, the majority (the British Medical Journal “Lancet” tells us) by bullets to the upper body – the sniper’s wound.

    The town now called Sderot is a major target for rockets. The real name of this town is Najd and it was ethnically cleansed about a month before the 1948 War began. The residents were driven at gunpoint to Gaza where they remain to this day, about 14 kilometres from the land they own
    .
    It is also not widely recognised that more than half of the 800,000 Palestinian refugees had been driven out of their home before the Declaration of the Israeli State and Arab response on May 15 1948.

    And you say:
    “Had the Arab nations in 1948 accepted Israel’s right to exist”

    You must have a very low opinion of Arab intellect indeed or a very sparse knowledge of the history of this conflict.

    Do you think that the Arabs did not know Israel had no intention of accepting partition?

    “In internal discussion in 1938 [David Ben-Gurion] stated that ‘after we become a strong force, as a result of the creation of a state, we shall abolish partition and expand into the whole of Palestine’…In 1948, Menachem Begin declared that: ‘The partition of the Homeland is illegal. It will never be recognized. The signature of institutions and individuals of the partition agreement is invalid. It will not bind the Jewish people. Jerusalem was and will forever be our capital. Eretz Israel (the land of Israel) will be restored to the people of Israel, All of it. And forever.” Noam Chomsky, “The Fateful Triangle.”

    The best solution is for a single state with universal franchise and Palestinian return or compensation.

  24. Ben.
    Henry Siegman is a Rabbi, director of the U.S./Middle East Project in New York, a visiting research professor at the Sir Joseph Hotung Middle East Program, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is a former national director of the American Jewish Congress and of the Synagogue Council of America.

    His article in the London Review of Books supports the scenario I have described above:

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n02/henry-siegman/israels-lies#

  25. Brewer, your arguments are good and well presented. You evidently accept the truth of the sources you quote. There are plenty of sources that present a totally different view of the conflict and who is to blame. I can only remember the quote, “the first casualty of war is truth”. It is certainly not my recollection that at the time of the Gaza invasion that tere was a lull. If as you say the rockets were fired by other groups why has Iran been so busy supplying Hamas with stocks, although possibly this is untrue.

    The reality is that the Israelis have committed some barbarous acts. The actions on the part of Palestinians have not exactly been humane either. I still maintain that had an accord been reached in 1948 the two peoples would have been able to share the land. It is the conflict that allows the extremism of those like Begin to come to the fore. Unfortunately over the years there have been too many parties who have had a vested interest in ensuring that peace never breaks out.

    And as for a single state as you suggest, that might just have been achievable 60 years ago, but not now. Unless this agony is going to continue for 60 more years both sides are going to have to make some concessions. Your truth may well be the right truth, but it’s not going to achieve justice for either side.

  26. Ben. Thank you for your courtesy – it is rare in these discussions.

    “why has Iran been so busy supplying Hamas with stocks”
    I don’t believe they have. During “Cast Lead” Hamas did not appear to be equipped with any Iranian ordnance and they do not seem to have received much financial assistance since. Have you got a link to where you got that information?

    “I still maintain that had an accord been reached in 1948″

    I do not think that was ever possible. I have yet to read the History of any people who would willingly give up nearly 60% of their land to a racial minority (most of whom were recent immigrants) who possessed title to about 5% of it. It was a big ask don’t you think? Incidentally, were you aware that the land was never partitioned? That the U.N., at America’s insistence, dropped the plan for partition before it was ratified?

    “too many parties who have had a vested interest in ensuring that peace never breaks out”

    Henry Siegman deals with this in a 2007 essay which pretty much describes my own conclusions:

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n16/henry-siegman/the-great-middle-east-peace-process-scam

    “And as for a single state as you suggest, that might just have been achievable 60 years ago, but not now.”

    Possibly painful for some but not likely to be as devastating as the very same solution to the South African problem. Despite the hostilities, there is a level on which Palestinians and Israelis understand each other very well, particularly Mizrahim. Jewish immigrants from Europe and America are the most ardent supporters of the racially pure state concept. I have no doubt many of them would gladly take compensation and return to their former countries just as many Palestinians would remain in their adopted homes in the U.S. and Europe.

    I hope I have stimulated your interest in Hamas. Here is a very interesting discussion with Tony Blair and Sir Jeremy Greenstock:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_7823000/7823746.stm

  27. “by Trentham trainees in full riot gear in the late 80’s”

    Who are we talking about here Little Toot? Polytech students?

  28. Brian says:

    “Why I Hope Shahar Peer Wins the Women’s Tennis Singles”
    and then also
    “Congratulations to Yanina Wickmayer who has just beaten Shahar Peer in closely fought straight sets”

    Brians liberel intellect.

  29. Brewer, I will concede that you have researched this subject very thoroughly; a lot more thoroughly than I have and I compliment you on that. You have indeed stimulated my interest.

    “I have yet to read the History of any people who would willingly give up nearly 60% of their land to a racial minority (most of whom were recent immigrants) who possessed title to about 5% of it.”

    Is that not what Maori effectively did in signing the Treaty of Waitangi? Thank God that there is not the same hatred between Maori and European as there is between Arab and Jew.

    Regardless of the rights and wrongs I hope you are right and there is a solution. Finally to get back to the original point I still do not believe JM’s actions achieved anything or were justified, but please not let’s not relitigate that. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your thoughtful contributions and your links; as you comment, all too rare in these types of discussions.

  30. Incidentally, Brewer you ask for a link to support my contention that Iran is supplying Hamas with ordinance.

    I admit to accepting news reports of this, which may well dispute. However if you Google: -rockets “hamas and iran”- there appears to be ample support for the contention that Iran is stoking the flames as much as the USA.

    At the risk of taking over BE’s blog would be interested in your thoughts.

  31. Thanks Ben. It has been a rare pleasure debating with you.
    I believe that the Treaty of Waitangi involved good faith negotiations and that the Treaty gave guarantees to Maori which can still be invoked today. I have recommended to a Parliamentary friend that we should offer NZ expertise in the settlement of land claims to Israel – not that I would expect Israel to avail themselves but simply to highlight the fact that this dispute is, in every sense, an indigenous land rights issue. Neil MacDonald, who ran the CBC Middle East Bureau for many years once said
    “Everyone talks like it’s complex and difficult to understand. That’s a cop-out for not wanting to accept reality. It’s just a classic ethnic conflict about who owns this piece of land. It’s as simple as that.”
    It was his statement highlighted in this essay:
    http://www.bidstrup.com/zionism.htm
    …that stimulated my interest in these matters and brought about my apostasy. I have a rather untidy blog which you can access by clicking on my name here if you want some more references but I strongly recommend reading Israeli Historians Avi Schlaim, Ilan Pappe, Martin van Creveld, Shlomo Sand and Benny Morris for in-depth commentary. Google will throw up their books just by entering the name.
    On the Palestinian side, Edward Said, Walid Khalidi and Abbu Sitta are trustworthy. Here are some links if you have a good broadband connection. They are to the first part of several lectures but when you access them, the succeeding parts will be displayed on the side-bar:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4q10DBXmbs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3x8BM0ry1nM&feature=related

    Best wishes.

    • Thanks Ben. It has been a rare pleasure debating with you.

      This sounds like a suitable close to this correspondence. As someone brought up in Northern Ireland, I was tempted at times to say, ‘A plague on both your houses’, but all’s well that end well. If only that could happen in the Middle East.

  32. BE I hope you will not mind if I finish by complimenting you for providing an environment for a thoughtful ‘discussion’. Your contributions are stimulating and set the tone for the rest of the debate unlike so many blogs that are just ‘shouting matches’

    • BE I hope you will not mind if I finish by complimenting you for providing an environment for a thoughtful ‘discussion’.

      Always happy to accept a compliment, Ben. Thank you.

  33. If you were to be honest, Ben and Brew have wandered off on their own, hand-in-hand. So much off-topic that it’s not even funny. It’s indulgent and tedious.

  34. 34

    I guess you are guessing that the main intention of the protest was to disrupt Peers concentration.Perhaps.But while you and and I are in agreement on the issue of Israels jackbooted thuggery as a nation,and express our views,at least Minto and his supporters are literally making a noise;and taking some form of action.It seems to me somewhat feeble to vow support for a player simply because you disagree with the nature of the protest.Cowardly?Perhaps.But unlike yourself I have no sympathy for Ms Peer,who it appears from her comments and actions (posing in military uniform at her governments behest)is in full support of that outrageous military aggression her govt is engaged in.
    Like yourself Brian I believe we should be applying pressure on our govt to pressure Israel.Sporting sanctions simply wont cut it.The reason,it seems,that Peer was used as a poster girl for the Israeli Attack Force,was because as a sporting star in an country with few sporting stars,she shone.As all Israelis are conscripted,and thereby complicit in the actions of their war machine,I suggest we cease letting their citizens enter this country as tourists,deny them the freedom to travel here;return the service.

  35. Good idea, Bill; stop all Israelis coming to NZ. While we are at it close the borders to tourists from China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, USA, Australia and a few others whose records on human rights would not stand close scrutiny.

  36. Brian, stop being a lazy blogger and hurry up and change the subject before Merv falls into a catatonic trance:)

  37. Hear hear bill.
    and ben and brewer – get a room – (with a blog).

  38. I realise that this is totally off topic and I fully anticipate abuse from Merv and Joe, but have you read the article by rosemary McLeod in today’s 14 January) DomPost? It resonates strongly with your views from an earlier blog (20 December). It is on the Stuff website if you have not already seen it.

  39. Crikey ben, don’t misrepresent me. No abuse here and I have appreciated your commenting. Relax gentlemen.