We’ve had many surprises this week. One was seeing Mark Regev in the studio, speaking without constant interruptions and contradictions. We had the usual anti Israel tripe from various talking heads too, endlessly bringing up the illusory obstacle to peace, Netanyahu’s refusal to extend the settlement freeze.
Eventually, Hamas’s mourning of Bin Laden’s assassination, or heroic martyrdom, was mentioned. Even the fact that the Arab Spring might not necessarily presage enlightenment and democracy as we know it was voiced, openly, on the BBC.
However, back to normal this morning with Thought for the Day (1:48:06) The Rev Angela Tilby’s words of wisdom addressed the intractable problem of Israel Palestine. Now that those two naughty boys Hamas and Fatah have made friends, she brayed, peace can happen at last. Doves and Hawks, she purred, are both vital to the process. Hawks, though annoying, must be brought in from the cold. We must not treat this as a playground dispute, she warned, unaware that that was exactly what she was doing.
Her two unconvincing reminders that Israel’s fears were rational stuck out oddly, as though they’d been squeezed into the script as an afterthought, having remembered the need for impartiality just in time. The final bit, about Daniel Barenboim’s Gaza gig and the wonderful peace giving properties of Mozart avoided mentioning the tricky subject of Hamas’s aversion to music.
But this isn’t about Today. Most people take its irrelevance as a given, something like being made to swallow a tonic that is thought to be good for you, but isn’t really.
It’s about the item that followed. Are targeted assassinations acceptable? Does Obama’s recent escapade set a precedent? Geoffrey Robertson QC had been listening to Thought for the Day, because he mentioned it to help his argument that targeted assassinations are never justified. What, he speculated, if Sarah Palin as POTUS decided to assassinate Fidel Castro, or Julian Assange? Or what if some Ayatollahs decided to assassinate Salman Rushdie? (What indeed.)
Danny Yatom, former Head of Mossad was on the line. “ Danny Yatom”, says Sarah Montague, authoritatively, “You think it’s better to kill them that remove them alive. “ “No” he replies from some echoing Zionist den, “It’s better to capture alive and obtain intelligence, but we are at war, and in that case, if you don’t shoot, you are shot.”
So our human rights lawyer can’t see the difference between random hypothetical murders of people that a head of state might disapprove of and Israel’s intelligence-led targeted assassinations of terrorists in pre-emptive self-defence in. a. state. of. war.
The USA should have got Daniel Barenboim to play Al Qaeda some lovely Mozart instead.