An open letter to the world

Dear World

With the UN Human Rights Council having released yet another damning report this week on Israel’s conduct in Gaza, perhaps the time has come for some simple truths?

The first is that Israel is not going to change. It doesn’t want to change, it has no imperative to change and the strength of the settlement lobby is such that it is unable to change. Israel intends holding on to the occupied territories, building settlements and blockading Gaza until we’re all dead or the Messiah makes his entrance, whichever comes first..

The second truth is that there is no internal or regional force – political, diplomatic, military, ethical or whatever – that can force, cajole or persuade Israel to change direction. Anyone expecting change to come from either the Israelis or the Palestinians is deluded.

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The triumph of stupidity

In America, another nine people are dead due to the bizarre but widespread belief that instruments of death are in fact instruments of freedom and life. According to the twisted logic of the National Rifle Association, more guns and more public sight of them would have prevented the Charleston church massacre.

It is clear to anyone with even half a primate brain (but living outside America) that the problem is too many guns in too many hands. Underlying that – the real problem – is the grotesque logic of the NRA and its millions of supporters, which in turn is part of a wider, more profound flight from rationality in the U.S.

To put it simply, the most developed and most advantaged of countries is home to some of the most stupid thinking in the world. Stupidity that doesn’t derive from biological incompetence or lack of education, but from a willful denial of centuries of learning, discoveries and accumulated knowledge, dating back to the Enlightenment. Continue reading

A small-time Stalin in Jerusalem

There was something vaguely Stalinist about Bibi Netanyahu’s reaction to the drama in Zurich last week – not the arrest of a bunch of venal soccer officials of course (Israelis have a pretty laissez faire attitude when it comes to bribery,) but the last-minute compromise that averted a vote on whether Israel should be suspended from FIFA for restricting Palestinian soccer in the occupied territories.

“The last thing that we need to do is hang our heads and ask where we erred, where we went wrong,” Netanyahu told the cabinet on Sunday (as reported by Haaretz newspaper.) “We did not err, we did not do wrong. We are judged according to standards that no other democracy must face. We do not need to justify ourselves. We just need to say the truth.

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