Gaza, Isis and objectivity
Sir, – While I readily agree with Dr Kevin McCarthy (August 7th) that the actions of Isis in Iraq are not getting much media coverage, I am not sure that a plea to keep the Gaza crisis firmly in focus amounts to a lack of objectivity.
Isis, interestingly enough, is progressing in its objectives partly by being well-armed and well-equipped, using the ordnance and weaponry originally supplied to it by western powers in support of its actions against the Assad regime. Perhaps this embarrassing fact might go some way to explaining the lack of press coverage. – Yours, etc,
CAPT JOHN DUNNE,
St George’s Street,
Isle of Man
Sir, – Noel Leahy (August 7th) trots out the oft-repeated comment that Israel is a democracy. Yet he seems to exclude Gaza and the West Bank from his definition of that state. De facto Gaza is part of Israel – it is controlled by Israelis and they decide who and what goes in and out of it. It is cut off from the outside world. It has approx 1.4 million Palestinians who have no vote in Israeli politics. A further 2.4 million Palestinians live in the West Bank, which is being absorbed, on a daily basis, into Israel. They too have no vote in Israeli politics. A further 1.3 million Palestinians are classified as Israelis. They do have a vote in Israeli politics. Out of a population of 10.8 million, for the whole of the territory effectively controlled by Israel, 3.8 million people (35 per cent) have no vote and 1.3 million (12 per cent) are locked in as a permanent minority. On the above figures, 5.1 million (47 per cent of the population) are excluded from having a say in what happens to them. Some democracy! Mr Leahy might also consider the difficulties countries in the Middle East have in setting up democracies. The US-backed military junta removed the democratically elected government of Egypt last year, with full US and Israeli approval. Yours, etc.
Sir, – In response to your report that the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, London has refused to host a Jewish film festival, I would like to add my voice to those who are against a boycott of the arts in general and of Jewish theatre in particular. I have two points to make here. Firstly, it is a Jewish film festival. Those who are opposed to Israel’s political and military policies are always at great pains to insist that they have nothing against Jews or Judaism.
Jewish communities have made a rich contribution to social and cultural life in Europe. Why stifle this? Jewish and Israeli arts festivals offer a wide range of works dealing with challenging and often difficult questions. Many Israeli films and plays present a very pro-Palestinian viewpoint and raise uncomfortable issues for their audience. Throughout history, it has always been the artists, writers and musicians who have sought to question , to provoke, to take the broader view. We should give them a hearing, not silence them. Yours, etc,