Mehdi Hasan croons the Iran chorus on ‘Comment is Free’.

Over on ‘Comment is Free’ the New Statesman’s Mehdi Hasan is faithfully crooning the Guardian’s latest refrain (entitled ‘Only ultra-hawkish right-wingers like Netanyahu think Iran is a problem’) with backing vocals from Harriet Sherwood – in stereo

Last week it was Israeli Chief of Staff Benny Gantz who was conjured up to provide ‘evidence’ for the Guardian’s newest pet theory. This week it is former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin, a whole bunch of other ex-spooks, opposition leader Shaul Mofaz and the great Israeli public. 

Diskin is, of course, entitled – and perhaps even obliged – to voice his opinions (although naturally, Hasan appears to have carefully selected the specific lines which fit his own agenda). That’s the joy of a true democracy – and particularly one with independent and free-thinking media. Everyone can say whatever they feel. It doesn’t follow that they are automatically right – or wrong. 

And just because a few of Diskin’s utterances happen to dove-tail with Mehdi Hasan’s agenda does not grant ‘etched in stone’ status to either the latter’s writings or the former’s opinions. The trouble with Guardian commentary on this subject is that the personal animosity of many of its writers towards the current Israeli government is so blatantly obvious that it colours their analysis with a subjectivity which, when taken together in context with the Guardian’s overall record on the Iranian nuclear issue, renders it almost comic.

At that same Friday pensioners’ parliament known as ‘Forum Majdi’, held fortnightly in a Kfar Saba restaurant, Yuval Diskin also made the following remarks about last summer’s social protests in Israel:

“What’s the difference between the revolutionaries – in quotation marks – of Rothschild Avenue and those in Tahrir Square? There’s a small but significant difference between them – the folks in Tahrir Square were prepared to pay a price and the folks on Rothschild Avenue, not so much.” 

“The minute the folks had finished crapping in the yards of all the neighbours on Rothschild – summer was over and they went back to the universities.”

It will be interesting to see whether the Guardian affords quite so much hallowed (dare one even say ‘messianic’?) stature to Diskin’s words on this subject as it does to some of his other opinions. 

Yuval Diskin at ‘Forum Majdi’, 27th April 2012

But let’s say for the sake of argument that Diskin and the Guardian are right and Netanyahu and Barak are not up to handling the Iranian issue properly. What is the next logical step? A banana republic-type coup led by Diskin and other unelected ex-secret service types? Much as that possibility might appeal to the Seumas Milnes of this world, that’s not how things are done round here. 

No; the next step would be elections, in which the Israeli public, with which Mehdi Hasan is newly enamoured, could elect people they do trust to lead them through this tricky period of their history. 

Well, it seems that possibility may just have come closer, but perhaps so has the probability that the Guardian will soon fall out of love with the Israeli public again because the latest polls suggest that Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party would gain 3 more seats than it currently holds in the Knesset. 

Some might say that kind of knocks the bottom out of the Guardian’s latest pet theory. 

Anyway, here’s the take on the Diskin affair by one British journalist who isn’t confined to the Guardian’s echo-chamber interpretations.

PS: are there any Israeli journalists reading who would like to write an op-ed (or twelve) about the ‘messianic rhetoric’ and ‘alarmist policies’ of David Cameron’s ‘right-wing’, ‘ultra-hawkish’ government which reportedly intends to place surface to air missiles on the roofs of London apartment buildings during the Olympics? 

If there are – and seeing as that acme of tastefulness known as the Guardian Style Guide apparently does not frown upon using foreign prime ministers’ nick names – they should probably know that among his are ‘call me Dave’ and ‘Flashman’. 

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