20 April 2007

So who is next?

The boycott of Israeli goods decided upon by the British National Union of Journalists (NUJ) caused several interesting responses. Of course, being the Guardian's fan of long standing, I cannot hide my astonishment by the extraordinary act of the Guardian's editor:

"The Guardian disapproves of these kinds of boycotts and does not think they serve a useful purpose. It was a misguided motion," editor of the British daily Alan Rusbridger told Haaretz by telephone last night.
I am looking forward (not) to a sleepless night, trying to make up my mind about this statement. The similar statement made by the U.K. Foreign Office Minister is also quite interesting.

Of course, this strongly worded post by Meryl admirably expresses my initial feelings about the whole production by NUJ. So, all things considered, we could declare the case closed till the next outbreak of the British boycotts plague and plainly forget about it. And yet...

In the linked Haaretz' article there is a quote from what Zvi Heifetz, Israel's ambassador in London, said about the NUJ motion:
It is a shame that an organization that represents journalists threatens to boycott goods from Israel only one day after worrying rumors surfaced about the fate of one of the union's own members.
This caused me to take a closer look at the NUJ boycott resolution, and here it comes, without any attempt to hide it:
The call for the boycott in part related it to the kidnap of Alan Johnston. The Palestinian journalists union has given huge support to the campaign for his release - holding demonstrations and strikes against the Palestinian authority to demand more action from them. We work closely with the Palestinian union through the International Federation of Journalists and the boycott call was a gesture of support for the Palestinian people - notably those suffering in the siege of Gaza, the community Alan Johnston has been so keen to help through his reporting.
So, I hope that the situation is clear now: this boycott motion was a transparent attempt to get on the good side of the Johnston's kidnappers. And really, when the concern for the fate of one of their own motivates people to make some compromises, it is difficult to judge them. And in general, one does not judge people in their moments of trouble and desperation. So, ignoring some cynical remarks I wanted to make (but wouldn't now), like:
  • The fate of Alan Johnston will not be influenced a bit by a resolution some infidels made in the far away London - the people who kidnapped him hate the Brits just marginally less than they hate the Jooz
  • The resolution itself is a rare public confession by people who are ready to sell their principles for some imaginary profit, no matter how humane the profit is presented to be
  • The timing of the resolution was not very clever
  • The text of the resolution is pitiful, clearly showing the tangled and tortuous "thinking" behind it
  • Maybe we should behead a British journalist or two (in the best Middle Eastern tradition) the next time our soldier or civilian gets kidnapped? I know about one official of our government who will gladly volunteer for the mission...
  • Etc.
I would like to express my hope that Johnston will be freed as soon as possible, and to ask these 66 NUJ representatives who voted for the resolution:

Whom are you going to sell next?

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.

See also this post by Beaman.