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Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Two things...

Two things confirm me in my belief that the West in general and the USA in particular operates double standards in the Middle East. The first is the publication of some emails sent home by Rachel Corrie, the 23-year old American crushed and killed by an Israeli bulldozer. You can read the emails here. Apparently, the Israeli government has been asked to explain the incident.

Rachel recognised the danger she faced. Volunteers like her know that it is only if something nasty happens to them that the outside world will take notice. Of course, it will be suggested that she threw herself under the machine in a bizarre suicide bid, knowing that her fate would command attention.

However, it seems far more likely that it was the cavalier attitude of Israel towards the Palestinians that was responsible. Read her emails and decide. Many Palestinians suffer and are killed, away from the eyes of the World. They become mere statistics. Rachel is more than a statistic; she is an accusation against a regime run wild. Israel has far more in the way of weapons of mass destruction than Iraq, yet they go uncensured. And if you know that Israel is a democracy, you must also be aware that democracies can do awful things. Read Rachel's messages. Remember, too, that Hitler came to power under a democratic system.

The second incident relates to a BBC 'Correspondent' film presented by Olenka Frenkiel about Dimona and Israel's weapons of mass destruction. This film was originally scheduled for transmission at 7.15 p.m. last Sunday evening. It was replaced without notice by a Fred Dibnah film on the specious grounds that previous programmes had overrun by fifteen minutes. The film was shown on Monday evening, after ‘Newsnight’ (11.20 p.m.) and I caught it fortuitously. Not only did I watch it; I managed to record it, too. It made disturbing watching. Here's just a little about it. I may blog about it separately at some later stage.

I cannot but see this virtual suppression as a reaction to pressure. It is essential to rebroadcast the programme at a more civilised hour. What's more, it should be extensively advertised.

The programme concludes with the cancellation of a scheduled meeting with a US government representative in Washington. When the list of questions was submitted, he withdrew the invitation, saying that he only wanted to talk about Iraq. Phew.

What terrible double standards! We can say all sorts of things about Saddam Hussein: (You know he eats babies, don’t you?). But Israel is beyond criticism.

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