The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT -

I have just been lis­ten­ing to a phone-in pro­gramme on a na­tional talk-ra­dio sta­tion, the sub­ject be­ing the moral­ity of the IDF.

A young Jewish man with dual Bri­tish-Is­raeli na­tion­al­ity, who had served in the Is­raeli army, called to say that the IDF was the most moral army in the world. To sub­stan­ti­ate his claim he went on to say that, dur­ing train­ing, IDF re­cruits were in­structed that if they were given an order they dis­agreed with on moral grounds, they could refuse to carry it out.

The ra­dio in­ter­viewer ex­pressed his sur­prise and asked the caller if he could sub­stan­ti­ate his state­ment — which he could not. But still he went on with his claim, ar­gu­ing his point and sound­ing more fool­ish by the minute.

Po­ten­tial callers to these pro­grammes should be aware that the pre­sen­ters are highly trained jour­nal­ists, skilled in the art of in­ter­view­ing. They can be as po­tent as many a top-notch le­gal coun­sel, with far more free­dom to lead a caller into mak­ing a fool of him/ her­self, es­pe­cially when one gets the im­pres­sion that the in­ter­viewer is at odds with the caller’s views.

If you must call to make your feel­ings known, en­sure that you have your facts and fig­ures writ­ten down in front of you and don’t dig your­self into a hole. Stick to the facts and don’t en­ter into an ar­gu­ment with the in­ter­viewer. Re­mem­ber the Mark Regevs of this world can do a much bet­ter job than any as­pir­ing A-level wannabe politi­cian, and that calls of this na­ture can do more harm than good when made by un­skilled do-good­ers. Alf Al­len­stein Hed­don Court Av­enue, Bar­net

Pro­por­tion­ate? I have just watched videos made by the cor­re­spon­dents in Gaza of France 24 and the In­dian TV chan­nel NDTV show­ing Ha­mas as­sem­bling and fir­ing rock­ets from the very heart of built-up Gaza, one from a site within yards of a build­ing fly­ing the UN flag. These are the sort of rocket-fir­ing in­ci­dents BBC Mid­dle East edi­tor Jeremy Bowen told the New States­man he had not seen and, by im­pli­ca­tion, had not heard about.

Per­haps the BBC could bor­row the footage from chan­nels brave enough to film it and have a spe­cial show­ing for Mr Bowen. BBC view­ers might also be in­ter­ested. They might also shed their tears, as I did, for the chil­dren al­lowed to play around the rocket launch­ers af­ter they had been fired. Ge­of­frey D Paul OBE in­fo­man@bt­in­ter­

Since the 7,000-strong rally in Tel Aviv on July 27, which dis­played slo­gans such as “Jews and Arabs refuse to be en­e­mies” and “We are not afraid of a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion”, Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties have tried to ban fur­ther anti-war protests. What are they afraid of?

A fea­ture of the Lon­don demon­stra­tions has been their di­ver­sity and their youth. Many of the Jewish pro­test­ers are also young peo­ple who a few years ago be­longed to Zion­ist youth groups and spent time in Is­rael. Now they carry ban­ners and plac­ards say­ing Haskalah [en­light­en­ment] not Has­barah and Not in my name.

Lon­don’s di­verse com­mu­ni­ties do not hate Jews, they hate in­jus­tice and are an­gry at an Is­raeli govern­ment that wreaks such de­struc­tion on Gaza’s civil­ians rather than pur­sue a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion. As Jews, we con­demn this Is­raeli govern­ment too. Jews in Bri­tain have a proud his­tory of cam­paign­ing for jus­tice and hu­man rights and for up­hold­ing in­ter­na­tional law cre­ated in the af­ter­math of the Nazi geno­cide. If that puts them in con­flict with the cur­rent Is­raeli govern­ment, we hope they choose to stay true to their val­ues of jus­tice. David Rosenberg Jewish So­cial­ists’ Group BM 3725, Lon­don WC1

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