UK philosopher Ted Honderich repeats his Guardian refrain that Palestinians have the right to murder Israelis


Back in January of 2011, during the Guardian’s Palestine Papers series, Ted Honderich, a professor of philosophy at University College London, had a letter published in the Guardian which explicitly justified killing Israeli civilians.  

Honderich wrote:

“The revelations in detail (Report, 25 January) of the intransigent greed, the escape from decency, of Israeli governments in negotiation with our selected leaders of the Palestinians, serve one purpose among others. They provide a further part of what is now an overwhelming argument for a certain proposition. It is that the Palestinians have a moral right to their terrorism within historic Palestine against neo-Zionism. The latter, neither Zionism nor of course Jewishness, is the taking from the Palestinians of at least their autonomy in the last one-fifth of their historic homeland. Terrorism, as in this case, can as exactly be self-defence, a freedom struggle, martyrdom, the conclusion of an argument based on true humanity, etc.” [emphasis mine]

In a CounterPunch essay, published several days ago, “The Arab Spring and the coward’s war on Libya“, Honderich wrote the following, which is, word for word, what he wrote in his Guardian letter:

The Palestinians have a moral right to their terrorism within all of historic Palestine against neo-Zionism.”

Honderich has evidently achieved some degree of fame within Islamists circles for his pro-terror stance, as, in an interview with Iranian PressTV this month, he repeated his Guardian and CounterPunch refrain:

“What is happening in Palestine, what is being done by neo-Zionism is such that it gives Palestinians, I happen to believe this and it’s gotten me into trouble, a moral right to their terrorism against neo-Zionism within all of historic Palestine.

Honderich defended his pro-terrorism view, to his PressTV interviewer, thusly:

“I’m writing books. I’m not inciting people. I just give them the best possible reason to give them that the Palestinians have a moral right.”

As I noted at the time the Guardian published Honderich’s January letter:

“Honderich’s letter represented a decision by Guardian editors to publish, and therefore give license to, an explicit justification of terrorism – a call to violence against Israeli [civilians]“

In response to the criticism the Guardian received for publishing Honderich’s letter, Readers’ Editor Chris Elliott wrote the following:

“It is the policy of the Guardian not to publish letters advocating violence against others, but that does not – and should not – preclude a discussion about the nature of terrorism. [Honderich] is not advocating suicide bombing, he is questioning how it is regarded by most people in the west, and how it might be seen as something other than terrorism by people in other places and circumstances…It is a legitimate area of discussion.”

Yes, Honderich was, and still is, morally justifying – that is “advocating” – the murder of innocent Israelis by Palestinian terrorists.

And, yes, regardless of Elliott’s rhetorical obfuscations, the Guardian, by arguing that suicide bombing “could [reasonably] be seen as something other than terrorism by people in other places and circumstances”, provided moral license to Palestinian suicide bombing.

As Honderich might say: the Guardian did not incite people.

They just provided moral justification – in the name of “progressive” thought! – to those who aspire to murder innocent Jewish men, women, and children. 

22 comments on “UK philosopher Ted Honderich repeats his Guardian refrain that Palestinians have the right to murder Israelis

  1. I am this evening writing a letter to the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, Bernard Hogan-Howe, to ask that the words of Professor Honderich be examined in the context of Section 18 of the Public Order Act 1986, as well of Section 1(1) and 1(2)(b)(ii) of the Terrorism Act 2006. Any person found guilty of the latter on indictment is liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding seven years.

    Anyone who wishes to do so, may write to:

    Mr Bernard Hogan-Howe
    Metropolitan Police Service
    New Scotland Yard
    Broadway
    LONDON
    SW1H 0BG
    United Kingdom

    • You may wish to point out that he moralises or legitimises attacks against “neo zionists” not in far away places but wherever they may be, meaning the possibility inside Britain.

      • So noted. I’m toying with the idea of copying it to the CPP and to the Ministry of Justice.

        All things considered, though, I’m not expecting it to have much effect. Right now, I feel like it’s 11 March 2011, and I’m standing on the beach in Japan, watching a wave 133 ft high, coming towards me. And all I have to defend myself is a child’s catapault.

        The tidal wave of anti-Semitism is overwhelming. The stench catches in the back of my throat and the gag reflex has me bending over, expecting my lunch to shoot out of my mouth and form a fetid pile of acidic vomit on the ground in front of me.

        And it will get worse before it gets better. A lot, lot worse.

  2. For many ‘palestinians’ the racist hate war directed against israeli Jews, in which they are actors if not agents, is not of their design and they are victims too.

    But they are not a clean-handed party in this affair. Terrorism has neber been their only recourse.

    Which part of this is the professor unable to grasp?

    Conclusion: antisemitism is a mental illness.

    What more evidence does one need?

  3. His appearance is commensurate with one who is a tad, how shall I put it, divorced from reality.

    Little wonder that convicted Islamist terrorists studied at University College London. The people who run it provide exactly the facilitating environment for the growth of mindless hatred.

    Still, what’s sauce for this crazed academic goose should be sauce for the Israeli/Zionist gander – could we be blamed for arguing in like terms that Israelis have the right to kill Palestinians who actually declare that they want to cause them harm? In a sane world we could not but we would not because unlike this professor most of us are fully human.

    However, if this man is not charged with inciting hatred, and remains in his tenured position, we could argue using his own words:

    “..“The Israeli people have a moral right to their self defence using all means within their power within all of historic Israel against Islamofacism.”

    And also using a variant of the mad professor’s speech:

    Self-defence, as in this case, can as exactly be military operations to prevent further harm to Israeli citizens a human right against, “martyrdom operations” conducted by said Islamofascists against Israeli civilians…..”

    Note I say that we could argue in these terms, but not as this lunatic has wilfully inciting wanton slaughter, because as I have said above, most of us are fully human.

      • I heard this evening of a pre-emptive strike against terrorists planning an attack of some sort from Gaza. That’s what I am advocating and, while Hamas continues to shell southern Israel, that the release of the rest of the Palestinian prisoners should be put on hold. All deals with these scum should be off the table now.

  4. Chris Elliot will join the ranks of Guardian hacks who are permanently bent out of shape if the wind changes direction. He must have a really crooked spine, if that’s not an oxymoron in respect of a Guardian employee. He beggars belief. Does anyone remember La Henry’s risible excuse for the Choir of Ethical Cretins remark? This is almost up there alongside that.

    Are there no depths the Guardian will not plumb and nothing they will not publish in the pursuance of their visceral hatred of Israel?

    Zeitgoose, I agree that antisemitism is a mental illness, but the Guardian’s obsession with bringing down Israel and delegitimising her and favouring the mindless thugs who want to murder her people is as much a mental illness as that, and it is often allowed to shade into hatred of Israeli people, most of whom are Jews.

  5. All these people have one thing in common they are not just morally ugly they are also physically ugly especially that Deborah Orr.

    Now there is this Ted Honderich who has a mug,that could compete with the backside of a Baboon

    • Personally, I don’t care what he looks like. Hey, I’m no oil painting myself. :-) But he does look like one guy I saw in London a year or so back. He had a T-shirt with the Jordanian Fakestinian flag and when he saw me with a Star of David T-shirt on, he raised a fist and screamed ‘Free Palestine!’. He looked just like this guy: a bit dirty looking, unkempt, in need of a wash..

  6. Itsik wrote:

    We do argue that the IDF has the right to self defence against suicide attacks.

    I would go some steps further. If Honderich considers morally justifible to kill my family and myself (due to our neo-Zionist affiliations) then I have the right – even obligation to morally justify to remove him from this world and mor than that – to piss on his grave.

  7. Now here we have a very untidy philosophical knot, the untying of which may only tie up the philosopher in further knots: “the Palestinians have a moral right to their terrorism within historic Palestine against neo-Zionism. The latter, neither Zionism nor of course Jewishness…” So presumably there was a time in the philosopher’s mind when Zionism (and of course Jewishness) were morally justified and Palestinianism therefore was not?? Would the philosopher care to put a date to this, and therefore excoriate the acts of terrorsim engaged in by Palestinians at that time? Furthermore, if that terrorism was not then justifiable, by what process has it subsequently become “justifiable”, especially when: Gaza is ruled by a Palestinian authority; the PA has a degree of autonomy, the largest proportion of Palestinians flourish in their own state misleadingly called Jordan? There is another and more chilling factor: many suicide and would-be suicide bombers are children and young people, innocents cynically and deliberately used by their elders in the campaign to destroy Jews and the Jewish homeland. But, if the philosopher is happy with this form of child abuse, then, well, it must take a philosopher to remain calm in the face of such brutalism. And he boasts that he gets into trouble for his views! Self-righteous platitudinising… And he’s known as a moral philosopher. What an an immoral one look like, then?

    • Mark Rogers, the philosopher is suffering from terminal cognitive dissonance about the utter barbarism of “poor oppressed Palestinians” and the Islamism-driven hatred which drives their behaviour. His poor mind cannot cope with the fact that his Palestinians are capable of such infamy and he is incapable of perceiving the complexity of the whole picture, otherwise he would not drivel as he does. We cannot rule out either that underpinning all this lunatic’s verbiage is out and out Jew-hatred.

      Islam sets up the conditions whereby everyone is grist to the terrorist mill, including little children, including “dishonoured women” (often deliberately seduced by Hamas operatives and then offered the ultimate sacrifice in order to restore their families’ honour), the mentally ill, bereaved, indeed anyone who is tired of their life. Their suicide bomber handlers are trained to seek these people out, exacerbate their pain and offer what seems to them at the time to be the only answer to it.

      These handlers are psychopaths, barely human, superlatively manipulative and don’t hesitate to guilt trip their targets, as well as utterly deficient in empathy, and their walking bombs are objects in their world to be used to achieve their ends.

      I would imagine that for the philosopher to contemplate this sort of abuse by his pets of his pets would cause his mind to implode.

      Which, IMO, would be no great loss to UCL or to academe as a whole.

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  9. In all my academic studies of philosophy I never ran across anyone quite this morally bankrupt yet so assured of his own ethical insight — there are parts of Camus’ study of political violence, The Rebel, which lend themselves to refutations of this sort of crypto-Nazi drivel also. There were of course notorious examples, such as Martin Heidegger, of philosophers who openly endorsed the barbarically flawed path of the Third Reich.
    Honderich seems to be attempting to push a kind of cultural relativism far beyond any reasonable parameters and ends up attempting to justify murder for political reasons. Amazing.

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