China Mieville was one of the signatories to the disgusting and obscene anti-Semitic BWISP letter published in The Independent on Sunday in June 2010, in his capacity as a member of the British Writers In Support of Palestine/BWISP. This letter was in support of boycott and divestment/BDS against Israel. I mention this obscene support for BDS against Israel by Mieville in chapters 3 and 4 of this series as well.
So no surprises Mievile’s name is also on the open letter of the BWISP to writer Ian McEwan, published in January 2011 in The Guardian, expressing self-righteous anger and outrage that McEwan would dare accept the Jerusalem Prize in Israel. The horror of it *sarc*.
‘Ian McEwan and the implications of accepting the Jerusalem Prize’.
It is a letter chock-full with odious and ugly poisonous spew against Israel in just a very few short paragraphs, the usual harebrained slurs and slanders; expressing outrage and vehement contempt for British writer Ian McEwan’s daring to accept the Jerusalem Prize, and by implication give legitimacy to what they term is the rogue and malovelent ‘apartheid state’. Among other slanders the letter calls East Jerusalem illegally occupied and repeats Mieville’s lying rubbish about the jihadists on board the Mavi Marmara being aid workers and gives assent to the BDS campaign against Israel.
Israel has illegally occupied East Jerusalem since 1967. The Arab residents of what ought to be the capital of a Palestinian state are instead subjected to house demolition, routine humiliation at checkpoints, and arrest and/or expulsion for peacefully demonstrating against these injustices. Considering also the continuing illegal settlements in the West Bank, the siege of Gaza, the detention of Palestinian children, and the murder of nine aid workers on the Mavi Marmara, and the Jerusalem prize – awarded to writers whose work explores the theme of “individual freedom in society” – is a cruel joke and a propaganda tool for the Israeli state.
We, the undersigned, deeply regret the decision of Ian McEwan to accept this corrupt and cynical honour (I will accept Jerusalem prize, says McEwan, 20 January). McEwan believes that the Jerusalem book fair, which awards the prize, represents a blameless civil society. In fact, the fair is organised by the Jerusalem municipality, a key institution of the Israeli state and a major instrument in the illegal colonisation of East Jerusalem. The fair also works in concert with the national government and its dignitaries.
In its philosophy of “business as usual” in an apartheid state, the book fair is as boycottable as Carmel Agrexco or Caterpillar Inc. We urge McEwan to reject the prize, and join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, a worldwide civil society campaign aimed at pressuring Israel to comply with international law.
Adam Levick at CiF Watch (a blog that keeps track of all the anti-Semitic garbage coming out of the Guardian’s Comment is Free section) remarks on both the BWISP letter and Ian McEwan’s pathetic moral confusion, when accepting the prize; perhaps overwhelmed by the decades of pervasive, fashionable and persistent Israel-hating propaganda from his nation, and desperate to throw a bone it appears to the ‘progressive’ anti-Semites..
Most of Levick’s piece is pasted below.
The moral confusion of Ian McEwan February 24, 2011 by Adam Levick:
If we lived in a just world, where people didn’t stand idly by in the face of the continuing assault on Israel’s moral legitimacy, Author Ian McEwan would have reacted with outrage at demands by Palestinian groups that he participate in a boycott of Israel by refusing to accept the Jerusalem Prize for Literature.
In such a world, McEwan would have passionately denounced the letter to the Guardian from a group called British Writers in Support of Palestine, which urged him to decline the award which they characterized as “a cruel joke and a propaganda tool for the Israeli state” and which went on to denounce the Jerusalem Municipality as complicit in the “illegal colonisation of East Jerusalem.”
In short, he would have turned the charge around and expressed to his Palestinian interlocutors how appalled he was at the mere suggestion that Israel, the nation where freedom of political and artistic expression is most arduously protected, should be isolated by the artistic community.
But, as we’re all too aware, the moral discourse about Israel often has little or no relationship to truth or decency.
McEwan, in accepting the award, found it necessary to condemn the Jewish state and – both in his original defense of his decision to go, as well as in his acceptance speech in Jerusalem – engage in the morally and intellectually unserious equivalence between Israel and Hamas.
In his defense of his decision to accept the award he said:
“I am not a supporter of the Israeli settler movement, nor of Hamas.”
Then, in his acceptance speech in Jerusalem:
“Hamas has embraced the nihilism of the suicide bomber, of rockets fired blindly into towns, and the nihilism of the extinctionist policy towards Israel [but] its [Israeli] nihilism to make a long-term prison camp of the Gaza Strip. Nihilism has unleashed a tsunami of concrete across the occupied territories.”
I have no doubt of Ian McEwan’s literary prowess, and am sure his honor, in receiving the Jerusalem Prize for Literature, was well deserved.
However, when it comes to making sound decisions relating to the continuing assault on a progressive democracy under siege – often waged by the most reactionary movements in the world – McEwan has shown that he is a political and moral amateur.
This bone of odious moral equivalence thrown to the anti-Semitic BWISP by McEwan wasn’t good enough of course, it only encouraged the radical Left ‘progressives’ further. Levick added this article to CiF Watch the next day:
The malice of the BDS movement February 25, 2011
It seems that the pro-BDS group, British Writers in Support of Palestine, is quite angry that their efforts to influence Ian McEwan into boycotting the Jerusalem Prize weren’t successful, and wasn’t the least comforted by McEwan’s soothing anti-Israel rhetoric delivered at his acceptance speech, in which the esteemed author opined that Israeli settlements offend his sophisticated moral sense as much as Hamas’ genocidal founding charter.
Signatories of the letter include CiF contributor, Ghada Karmi, Mona Baker (best known for freely acknowledged firing two Israeli Academics from a journal she ran in 2002 due merely to the fact they were Israeli), and Shir Hever (of the radical NGO Alternative Information Center, a group whose leaders have employed Nazi rhetoric against Israel, and whose policy director was the former editor of a journal published by the terrorist group, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), to name just a few.
Their latest missive, the second such letter dutifully published as a full-page, stand alone, letter in the Guardian, lambasted McEwan for merely characterizing Israel’s policies as nihilistic, when he should have noted the Jewish states “colonialist zeal”.
But, by far, the worst passage in the letter, the one which shows the BDS movement’s malice and dishonesty, is the following:
“As it is, McEwan has given Mayor Nir Barkat a golden platform for his outrageous views. Jerusalem is not a city where all may “express themselves in a free way” Activists are arrested and deported…” [emphasis mine]
While they fail to note which “activists” they are referring to – perhaps foreigners from groups such as International Solidarity Movement who enter the country to aid and abet known terrorist groups – a narrative which would deny that Israel is a nation which fiercely protects the rights of its citizens to freely express themselves politically and artistically can only be advanced by those whose capacity for reasoned political thought is subservient to a fierce anti-Israel ideology.
While reasonable people can of course disagree over settlements – or any other Israeli policy deemed inconsistent with the political aspirations of the Palestinians – those who would deny the progressive political nature of the Jewish state are not merely rational political actors whose views are deserving of respect.
There is a certain point where reasonable criticism of Israel devolves into hatred and vitriol; there’s a time when political and historical analyses of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict give way to distortions and rank dishonesty; and there is a space where pro-Palestinian advocacy morphs into anti-Israel demonization and just pure malice.
The BDS movement continually shows itself compromised by such illiberal political pathologies, and should be named and shamed accordingly.
Commentary below is mine – red wolf.
Naturally as far as China Mieville’s signature to this odious anti-Semitic garbage is concerned, we got no naming and shaming whatsoever from the genre community. Genre Jewish folk, as usual, had nada to say. It’s not like Mieville was attacking Islam, the Religion of Peace, after all.
However we are talking about fashionable and progressive anti-Israelism in this regard, and anything goes when it comes to ‘progressive’ new anti-Semitism. And I mean anything, no matter how obscenely dishonest, false, scatter-shot and vile. The BWISP open letters to Ian McEwan that Mieville signed his name to, being a case in point. Illiberal political pathologies indeed, as Levick puts it.
Silence on the pathological anti-Semitism of Mieville alone, by the otherwise politically vocal genre community is a form of consent.
The short of it is that Mieville, like his fellow ‘progressive’ anti-Semitic genre folk, is on safe ground. And he knows it too. Heck if he pretends he isn’t anti-Semitic, to himself no less, then he can count on being given a free pass. That’s how it is.
Forthcoming is part 8 in this series.. On the alleged refusal of China Mieville to have his fiction books translated into Hebrew.