What would you do if you only had a year to live?

The following was written by David Hirsh at Engage, and is being cross posted here with his permission.

What would you do [if you only had a year to live]?  You’d do the important things, right?  

Iain Banks decided to have the stupid things he’d written about Jews re-published in the Guardian.

“A sporting boycott of Israel would make relatively little difference to the self-esteem of Israelis in comparison to South Africa; an intellectual and cultural one might help make all the difference…”

Yes, because white South Africans only care about Rugby while Jews spend their time with their noses in a book…Mike Cushman came up with this one ages ago:  “Universities are to Israel what the springboks were to South Africa: the symbol of their national identity.”  And Tom (Israeli archeologists are nastier than Nazi killers) Hickey too: “we are speaking of a culture, both in Israel and in the long history of the Jewish diaspora, in which education and scholarship are held in high regard. That is why an academic boycott might have a desirable political effect in Israel, an effect that might not be expected elsewhere…”

“Israel and its apologists can’t have it both ways, though: if they’re going to make the rather hysterical claim that any and every criticism of Israeli domestic or foreign policy amounts to antisemitism, they have to accept that this claimed, if specious, indivisibility provides an opportunity for what they claim to be the censure of one to function as the condemnation of the other.”

Jews as hysterical?  People who say that “every criticism” is antisemitic?  Classic Livingstone Formulation… The conflation of criticism with demonization combined with the charge of raising antisemitism in bad faith in order to silence “critics”.

“Of all people, the Jewish people ought to know how it feels to be persecuted en masse, to be punished collectively and to be treated as less than human.” [ach you know what comes next…]

The Jews should know better?  The Jews should have learnt more at Auschwitz?  Well, take your pick.  Chris Davies?Jacqueline RoseDesmond Tutu?  “My heart aches. I say why are our memories so short. Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon? Have they turned their backs on their profound and noble religious traditions? Have they forgotten that God cares deeply about the downtrodden?”

Why does everybody who comes up with this garbage think they’re really clever, brave and original to have thought of it?

Iain Banks’ illness is terrible news for a talented writer, a man who always seemed to be one of the good guys.  I’m sad that he thinks that this clichéd, dangerous and stereotyped nonsense is the most important thing that he should do now.

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