Further to my post on Robert Manne's coming TQE critique of Murdoch's Australian (Who Speaks for Palestine, 2/9/11), in which I said, in effect, that if he didn't broach the subject of that rag's ferocious Zionism, then his critique could well reveal as much about Manne himself as the object of his analysis.
Ferocious Zionism? Think I'm being hyperbolic? Well then, look no further than Saturday's editorial, Philistines for Palestine. The level of venom, mendacity, and hypocrisy on display is positively pathological:
"A few weeks ago it was a chocolate shop in Melbourne, targeted by pro-Palestinian activists because it is part of an Israeli chain. On Thursday night it was the Royal Albert Hall in London, where about 30 demonstrators disrupted a Proms concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. So noisy were they that the BBC had to interrupt its coverage twice, although the orchestra, under the baton of one of the world's leading conductors, Zubin Mehta, kept on and managed to play all 4 pieces, including Max Bruch's violin concerto No 1 in G Minor."
The BBC had to interrupt its coverage! Oh dear! Funny, I don't remember The Australian ever doing a song and dance over "IAF warplanes [which] set off sonic booms over Gaza all hours of the day and night." (Human rights groups sue to stop Israeli sonic booms over Gaza, AP/Haaretz, 2/11/05)
"It may be that music soothes the savage beast, but some of the most sublime music in the civilised world..."
As opposed to the uncivilised world.
"... could not tame the brutish, selfish arrogance of an ill-mannered, unrepresentative minority."
Gee, didn't do much to tame that "charming raconteur and gentleman farmer with a love of classical music,"* Ariel Sharon, either.
"Their action represents a dark moment in public culture and civility and does nothing to further their cause. We have said before that, given the history of Nazi Germany, there is something deeply offensive about targeting Jewish businesses. That is equally the case for these latest attacks on an Israeli orchestra that adds to the extraordinary contribution Jewish musicians and composers have made to classical music. The terrible events of May 1933, when more than 25,000 books were burnt on huge public bonfires in Berlin, were directed at Jewish intellectuals and the culture they had helped build in Germany. That night, and the cultural 'cleansing' that followed, remains a deeply distressing reminder of the collapse of the basic values that must underpin a civilised society."
Oh, I see! Max Brenner is no longer an "Israeli chain" but a "Jewish business," back in 30s Germany. And the "ill-mannered, unrepresentative minority"? Why, they're all of a sudden a book-burning Nazi mob.
"To see culture, which should be above partisan politics, attacked as it was in London is alarming. That it should happen at the Proms, perhaps the world's best-known classical music festival, dating back to 1895 and with broad appeal, is doubly upsetting. The Proms represent the tolerance and inclusion that are the best hope for peace."
So the IPO, described by the IPO Foundation as "Israel's musical ambassador,"** and by the American Friends of the IPO as "at the forefront of cultural diplomacy," is "above partisan politics"? What, like Wilhelm Furtwangler's Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra was "above partisan politics"?
"If we were a British newspaper, we would be urging readers to patronise the Albert Hall at every opportunity. Instead, we suggest you frequent the Max Brenner chocolate shop chain and take a stand against the appalling campaign being waged against Israel. The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is misguided and counterproductive. The protesters have a right to express their views on Israel, but they lose respect and influence when they engage in such crude and uncivilised action."
Run that past me again: waging a BDS campaign against Israel is "crude and uncivilised," (not to mention closet Nazi), but Israel's violent dispossession of another people, muffled in the West by the strains of the IPO, is not. Right.
[* The Sharon victory, nytimes.com, 7/2/01;** BBC Proms: cancel IPO invitation, pacbi.org, 18/7/11]