Think Tank Blog
10 October 09
Even the Guardian had to admit that the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama was “ludicrously premature”. I prefer the version I offered to Forbes Magazine yesterday who quoted me as describing the move as “infantilism” and “soft-bellied adoration of an untested president”.
But after the weasel words of pseudo-criticism the Guardian, in an editorial today, was back to enforcing the kind of narrative which informs the thinking and prejudices of most of the world’s international institutions these days, the Nobel committee included.
Indeed in a we’ve-given-you-this-prize-now-we-own-you kind of way, the paper sought to remind the 44th president that he would still have to prove his worth as a figurehead for bien pensant pieties in a number of areas. First in the line of fire was, of course, Israel.
“Take the Middle East,” the Guardian noted in tones of fake admonishment, “where Mr Obama’s Cairo speech in June was stirring in explaining how Palestinians had “suffered in pursuit of a homeland”, but the desperate conditions in Israeli-blockaded Gaza have not since improved one jot. Indeed the president has failed to secure even a temporary pause in Israeli building in the occupied West Bank.”
So, in advancing the Guardian World View (GWV) we have a falsehood followed by a non-sequitur rounded off with a half-truth (putting it kindly) about the real obstacles to peace.
The falsehood, of course, is that Palestinians had “suffered in pursuit of a homeland”. They have not suffered in pursuit of a homeland. They have consistently rejected a homeland since 1947 and have suffered because they have given priority to destroying someone else’s.
The non-sequitur comes with the move from the falsehood to the notion that conditions in Gaza have not improved, to which the inference that this is Israel’s fault is attached. But conditions in Gaza could improve immediately if Hamas, the group that rules Gaza, were to renounce violence, anti-Semitism and Islamic extremism. Anyone serious about advancing peace would understand that. The Guardian, by contrast, is solely concerned with advancing the superficial and distorted world view that its readers and writers adhere to.
Finally, the half-truth is the BBC-approved narrative which argues that settlement building is the prime obstacle to peace. It is not, as anyone who is aware of the history and current realities of the conflict must know. But the truths about Palestinian rejectionism need to be air-brushed out of the picture if the GWV is to be sustained.
Obviously, this is all par for the course and would not be worth commenting on outside the extraordinary context of the award to Obama.
When we put the two together we just have one more illustration of how the world’s most prominent institutions have been infected with a very particular political-philosophical agenda. The people who despise Israel overlap with the people who adore Obama because the former hope that the latter shares their broader prejudices not just on Israel but on a whole panoply of issues domestic and international.
Let’s hope he disappoints them in style.
To read the Guardian editorial, click here:
UPDATE: I would also recommend reading Cif Watch on this. They have a piece which puts this in some useful perspective and, as Jonathan Hoffman notes below, points out the extraordinary fact that the paper initially referred to “Israeli-occupied Gaza” and then changed it without acknowledging the error, presumably to avoid making themselves look ridiculous. Click here to read the Cif Watch account: