Christopher Hitchens on Israel’s “Birthday”

22 05 2008

This is a very well-written article. I missed it when it first came out, about ten days ago now, but it is hardly too late to read it now. My opinions of its author, Christopher Hitchens, have wavered in the past. There have been times when I have greatly admired the man for his candour and have expressed profound agreement with his sentiments; then there have been times when I have had to grit my teeth at his arrogance and wrongheadedness. The difference seems to have been myself and my changing stance on various issues just as much as it has been he.

So far as the difference has been due to him, this seems to be less a result of his own wavering than it is the fact that he does not hold blanket policies. I am so used to being able to compartmentalise a thinker and have become accustomed to expecting the sort of consistency that comes from such compartmentalism. While Hitchens can certainly be classified by various terms, he can hardly be pigeon-holed by them. His opinions seem to change with different issues and if I had ever pronounced him “anti-Israel”, it was a result of my ignorance and not his.

This article is hardly the best piece of writing that he has composed, but it is certainly a good example of his thinking. He asks more questions than he answers, but I would be inherently distrustful of anybody who claimed to possess solutions to the issues that he raises. There are people, incidentally, who do claim to possess such solutions. I don’t trust them.

My opinions on Zionism are possibly well-known by now, thanks to the nature of the internet. His article is hardly a rant; had I written it, it probably would have been. My emotions tend to override my intellect when I’m writing about issues that make me emotional – one of the many inherent problems with blogging under one’s own name. If Mr Hitchens shares similar sentiments to me then he can be praised for his restraint. I found it a very balanced article and well-worth a read.

Opinions to the contrary are more than welcome.

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3 responses

23 05 2008
Michael

The main problem is he seems to think that Israel seems to somehow not be succeeding in protecting Jews if the 1/3 of world Jews that live there are less safe than the other 2/3 (as he claims). Dov Bear wrote a similar post a few weeks ago, it seems wrong in that it ignores factors like all the Jews living there that were expelled from Muslim countries, who are certainly much safer in Israel.

23 05 2008
Simon Holloway

Yes, but how many of those Jews were expelled from Muslim countries because of the State of Israel?

24 05 2008
Michael

Right, except they’re still much safer living in Israel right now than they would be if they were never expelled (or never chose to leave in some cases) and were still living in those Muslim countries. Of course a lot would be different in this parallel world and you might disagree..

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