From the Vaults: Varsity, November 24, 2000

Varsity is the Cambridge University student newspaper. The November 24, 2000 issue, available on line, is of note because as well as advertisements for jobs from firms of management consultants, articles about the level of rent at King’s College, the Queen making a visit to Trinity Hall, a flasher being spotted in the Madingley Road area, and so on, a particularly interesting letter was published. The author of the letter is not the famous comedian with the same name, but nevertheless I suspect many readers of this blog will be interested.  As such, I copy the letter in full below.

Johann talks shit?

Johann Hari is as ignorant as he is prejudiced.

He informs us that Zionist is racism, and compares Israel with Nazi Germany. Israel is the only democracy in the middle east, the only country in which all have religious freedom, the only country in which people of all faiths and races can enjoy citizenship. Those simple facts make Hari’s statements nothing less than contemptable [sic].

The saddest aspect of Hari’s column is his displays of ignorance. He asserts that only Jews can be Israeli citizens, which is untrue, he tells us that the ultra-orthodox have a slogan, ‘Israel for Jews alone.’ A slogan neither I, anyone else has ever heard before. I suggest that Hari simply made it up.

He cannot even manage consistency. He writes ‘both sides have shown an unwillingness to move’ and then describes how Barak offered Arafat partial sovereignty of the Temple Mount, only for his offer to be refused. It sounds as though there has indeed been movement on one side, and it has been rebuffed. In fact Hari makes it clear that he believes that Israel should not exist, and so for him no Israeli prime minister could ever move far enough, except to dissolve his state.

Finally Hari points towards Ireland as an example of the peace and harmony that can flourish given the chance. No one can possibly believe that the English handling of Ireland years can teach anyone anything, especially while the kneecappings and punishment beatings continue.

Hari should stick to writing stupid articles about stupid issues, and leave serious matters to those better informed and more balanced.

Ben Elton


Hat Tip: Guido Fawkes