Monday, February 2, 2009
David Ignatius is a well known and respected journalist, writer, and television commentator. At Davos, he moderated a panel on which sat Israel's Peres and Turkey Erdogan, but also a member of the Arab League among others. Erdogan expressed his dismay at the extent of Israeli's shock and awe 21 day agression in the Gaza strip. His chagrin was more than a Muslim's cri de coeur against the disproportionate loss of life and limb and destruction of property, the overwhelming victims being women, children, and young men and the elderly who were not in the ranks of Hamas. Erdogan's distress simply was a reflexion of the general, worldwide revulsion and an expression of human decency against Israel's never ending warfare against the Palestinian people. Ignatius allowed Peres an extended time of 25 minutes to answer. The Israeli president became highly emotional and losing his cool began shouting at Erdogan with existential hysteria, and the usual Israeli rationalisations painting itself as a helpless but fully armed giant against Hamas. After Peres' outburst, Ignatius rose the gavel to end the session. Erdogan asked to answer Peres, but Ignatius turned a deaf ear to his appeal. So Erdogan walked out, and thus turned an angry exchange of words into major headlines. Peres immediately telephoned to Erdogan to apologise for his intemperate behaviour. Realising that he had angered the only steady ally that Jerusalem has had in the Middle East since its founding 60 years ago. Erdogan graciously told Peres, he was displeased with Ignatius lack of manners and his disregard for fairness. This is all straightforward; yet, Ignatius a man with feelers into the highest instances of the US power elite, is an example of his tone deafness to anything or anyone who dares critise Israel. The US elite and general population have swallowed whole Israeli version of things, despite the images on the television, accounts of the facts on the ground in print, and eye witness account. Anything which does accord with Ignatius' standpoint is suspect if not valid. And thanks to his doltishness, he turned an exchange of words into something greater than its parts, and stripped any pretense of impartiality that this man has cultivated over the years. Next time, he says something, better verify his facts, and question his judgment.