Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Letter to Guardian

26 January 2011

Dear Sir,

Ian McEwan is either being extremely naïve or disingenuous in his justification for accepting the Jerusalem prize (letters 26 January). To compare his action with that of Daniel Barenboim completely misses the point. Barenboim is actively bringing together Palestinians and Israelis to work for a common purpose and to begin a dialogue with each other through music. He has been vilified for his efforts by the Israelis. If McEwan thinks the Israelis will see his visit as a gesture of opposition to their policies he is living in cloud cuckoo land. They will rightly see it as an endorsement of the legitimacy of their policies. Like McEwan, many used similar arguments in relation to apartheid South Africa, but such so-called ‘dialogue’ didn’t work, but the boycott did. He thinks ‘literature can reach across the political divide’ - not by collaborating with oppression it can’t. The names of other writers who accepted the Jerusalem Prize he lists to justify his decision did so at a time before Israeli politics took on its present extreme belligerence, inhumanity and arrogant rejection of international law and opinion.
Please think again Ian.

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