Monday, February 22, 2010

Brazen hardliners and ardent critics: the Israel I have seen

As he prepares to leave Jerusalem after four years as a correspondent, Rory McCarthy reflects on a new, harsher climate of thought that is apparent in the wake of the Dubai assassination. But this attitude is not universal: dissent thrives in the most unlikely places

Rory McCarthy
The Observer, Sunday 21 February 2010

"....Living here for the past four years, it is hard for me to escape the sense that there is a new climate in Israel, one in which dissent is marginalised and any criticism from abroad robustly shouted down. In part, it is the result of the election of a staunchly right-wing coalition government. It also plays on a sense long shared by many Israelis that they are embattled, misunderstood and find themselves in an increasingly unsympathetic world.

Look at the response in the past week to the extraordinary unravelling of the assassination in Dubai of a Hamas militant. Most voices in Israel have been defiant, with a proud wink and a nod to the much-vaunted secret service, the Mossad, and strikingly little sympathy for those seven, fearful Israeli citizens who had their identities stolen for use by a brazen hit squad.

Israeli officials seem unruffled by the anger in the British, Irish, French and German governments, whose passports have been forged to enable a high-profile extra-judicial killing in which the Mossad is the prime suspect....."

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