Matthew Norman in his column in The Independent yesterday picked up on the apology by Rupert Murdoch and the acting editor of the Sunday Times, Martin Ivens, for the cartoon published in last week's edition that sparked accusations of anti-Semitism, as well as comments made by David Ward MP on Palestinian suffering.
Exploring the views that have long dominated and distorted the debate on 'wishing an end to Palestinian suffering', Norman argues, "Rupert Murdoch links sympathy for Palestinians to anti-Semitism. The truth is more complex.
"In this broiling climate of reflex brutality (one that has become more superheated in the intervening years), it is pointless to expect what follows to be met with anything other than hysterical denunciation by those who believe, with all apparent sincerity, that no distinction can ever be drawn between wishing an end to Palestinian suffering and willing the annihilation of the state of Israel."
Norman critiques the "deranged viewpoint" of one infamous and vocal contributor, Melanie Phillips, and writes of the loss of nuance and proportion in a debate shaped by"tribal loyalties and [a] perversion of humanity". He writes:
"Rupert Murdoch, who recently rebuked America’s “Jewish-owned press” for not supporting Israel slavishly enough, did not apologise for that show as he did for the Scarfe cartoon. More bizarrely, the same Melanie Phillips who thought Steve Bell’s glove puppets “disgusting” had not a word to say about The Puppetmaster [Binyamin Netanyahu].
"The twisting of tribal loyalties and perversion of humanity that define this debate have for too long spoken, however confusingly, for themselves. But if Melanie Phillips and her ilk want proof, as the World Holocaust Day arguments rumble on, that the relationship between anti-Semitism and sympathy for the Palestinians is a little more complex than she has seen fit to concede, perhaps her apparent preference for a pro-Israeli Jew-hater [Glenn Beck] over a pro-Palestinian Holocaust survivor [George Soros] might illuminate the path."