Indy reporter misleads on Israel’s security barrier


In a largely non-political and quite interesting nature story on July 3 by the Indy’s Michael McCarthy (the paper’s Environmental Editor) about the Jerusalem Bird Observatory, there were the following passages, where the author pivoted to briefly exploring the politics of the region:

For Jerusalem overwhelms you. In the Old City, sacred to all three Abrahamical religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims, history and tradition are overpowering, as are the assaults on the senses: the sunlight flashing on copper coffee pots, an Arab flute being played somewhere, the bewildering mix of languages, the smells of cumin and cardamom and coriander.

But the politics is the most overpowering phenomenon of all, and the anguish of two hostile peoples struggling for one land is never more than a glance away. It’s seen above all now in The Wall, the 25ft-high separation barrier the Israelis have built between their Jewish citizens and the Palestinians of the West Bank, and whether or not you agree with the argument for it – that the Arab suicide bombings of the Second Intifada became an intolerable burden on Israeli civil society – there is no doubt that it now appears, snaking over the hills, as something monstrous.

Of course, Israel’s security barrier (mostly consisting of chain link or barbed wire) was built between ‘Israeli citizens’ and the Palestinians of the West Bank, not just the state’s “Jewish citizens and the Palestinians” as McCarthy claims. In addition to the state’s roughly six million Jews, Israel is home to 1.3 million Muslims, 155,000 Christians and nearly 130,000 Druze.

Moreover, for most Israelis of all faiths, the existence of the security barrier simply reflects the belief that, given their experience with deadly acts of terror originating from across the previously porous green line, their government has not only the right, but the moral duty to protect them from future attacks.  (It should also be noted that shrapnel tends not to distinguish between Jew and non-Jew.)

It’s remarkable that such an intuitive understanding of the Israeli right to self-defense continues to elude so many UK reporters and commentators.

8 comments on “Indy reporter misleads on Israel’s security barrier

  1. I deeply resent McCarthy’s offensive and gratuitous remark of the belief that suicide bombing is intolerable, as if Israelis should tolerate it.

  2. “an intolerable burden on Israeli civil society” Makes it sound like a tax on cigarettes or on second homes. What a joker.

  3. “… there is no doubt that it now appears, snaking over the hills, as something monstrous”
    Since he’s the ‘environmental reporter’, I suppose McCarthy might think that a string of landscape-mutilating wind turbines might be a more effective way of keeping out suicide bombers?

  4. Israelis only have the ‘moral’ right to self defence if British ‘progressives’, with their in-bred imperial wisdom and pomposity draw the conclusion (from their armchairs), that Jews being dismembered by shrapnel is a more ‘humiliating’ reality than being restricted from travelling from Tulkarem to Netanya.

    But we all know what their answer will be; their visceral sense of European ‘justice’ will dictate that their is nothing worse than being the victim of a Jew, and act accordingly with their calls to boycott the ‘Zionists’ and their ‘monstrous apartheid wall’.

  5. “The Wall, the 25ft-high separation barrier the Israelis have built between their Jewish citizens and the Palestinians of the West Bank, ”
    Once again, the gratuitous and fake apartheid slander “snakes” its way into the article “whether or not you agree with the argument for it.”

  6. Some aspects of the conflict are complex/ambiguous but the security fence is SUCH a simple one to understand and get right, that I am suspicious of people, like McCarthy, who don’t ‘get it’.

    And yes, it isn’t visually pretty. But it’s a whole lot prettier than a bus full of passengers blown to bits.

    • I don’t know OVG, some people find scenes like that a thing of beauty, depending on whose bodies those bits used to belong.

  7. Such racist slurs against any other ethnicity would be unthinkable.Quite disgusting.

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