Saturday, December 11, 2010

11-Dec-10: Should this man have been given a public platform?

Atwan: Self-described "highly respected author"
We wrote a week ago ("4-Dec-10: Should this man be accorded the respect due to an objective, professional journalist?") about Abdel al-Bari Atwan, a London-based media figure. We wondered whether the appalling statements attributed to him over the years meant that he was "simply the innocent victim of some atrocious misquoting?"

We think we now have the answer. It's "no".

Atwan was invited to speak at the London School of Economics on "How much influence does the Zionist lobby exert in the US and UK?" The invitation came from the LSE's Palestine Society, and the meeting - which took place this past Monday - was chaired by Professor Martha Mundy, a noted supporter of an academic boycott against Israeli institutions of higher education and against Israeli academics. Some of Atwan's comments are in this article and here.  Demonstrating the demagoguery that has characterized other public pronouncements by him, Atwan pointed at several members of his audience and shouted 'You bombed Gaza' to each one, according to media reports.

Asked by one of the LSE students present to condemn Hamas which engineered and executed the massacre in a central Jerusalem restaurant that took the lives of 15 innocent people including our teenage daughter, Atwan - a self-described "highly respected author" - said: "Would you want me to condemn those who are resisting the occupation?"

The correct answer of course was "Yes, if by resistance you mean the cold-blooded, deliberate and enthusiastic murder of innocent people."

Atwan is a classic exponent of foaming-at-the-mouth hate-speech delivered under the rather thin guise of political commentary. We are left wondering why a respected academic institution like the LSE would give the man a public platform.

1 comment:

Adam Levick said...

Thanks for the post. CiF Watch published a letter written by a student who attended Atwan's speech: