Anti Fascism

The Wisdom of Miriam Margolyes

Don’t you just love it when the luvvies get all political? Miriam Margolyes, the queen of the voiceover advert, tells the Jewish Chronicle (website subscriber only, issue Jan 25 2007, interview with Jenni Frazer) that the Palestinians have no other option than to blow themselves up:

“I still say what I say: unless Arabs see us as people, they will go on killing us and I cannot blame them for that. I do not know what else they can do, what other way they can achieve any sort of political viability as a nation.”

Where to start with this nonsense? Perhaps by pointing out that Margolyes’s supposed solidarity with the Palestinians is really a kind of inverse colonialism and racism. By arguing that the Palestinians have no other option than suicide bombers she denies the viability, even the possibility of any kind of mature political discourse that might lead to a meaningful peace agreement and viable Palestinian state. Suicide bombings certainly will not.

Other options for the Palestinians might include: dialogue with the Israeli left and the Israeli peace movement; ending the civil war between Fatah and Hamas and recognising the right of Israel to exist. Thankfully, away from the salons of N1, actually inside Israel and Palestine, this dialogue is taking place. It is slow, difficult and often painful. And it is much more work than grandstanding and posturing.

In fact Margolyes’ supposed western liberalism is merely a kind of super-Orientalist perspective: mirroring those right-wing Israelis who argue that violence is the only thing Arabs know. It is a bleak and depressing vision, and if Margolyes knew anything about the reality of life inside the Occupied territories, and for Israel’s Arabs citizens, she would know that most of them utterly reject suicide bombings, especially as they tend to bring down the wrath of the Israeli state on their heads.

I wonder if Margolyes would have the courage to go to the bakery in Eilat where four people were killed yesterday, and explain the relatives of the victims that really, the Palestinians have ‘no other options’. Somehow, I doubt it.