The Palestinians really don’t help themselves do they, although like Israel, they have an argument on their side. Boris Johnson arrived in Palestine, and a furore immediately erupted after Noga Tarnopolsky, a correspondent for the Jewish Chronicle, was told by the Palestine Business Women’s Forum she was banned from attending a meeting with the London mayor because she is Israeli.This made the Palestinians look bigoted, petty and anti free speech.
Matters went from bad to worse, when, in another development, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah told Mr Johnson that all journalists were banned from covering the meeting planned between the two leaders today.
Boris is against the Israeli boycott and this he forcefully made plain by describing anyone in favour in the UK as “ corduroy-wearing, lefty academics, who have no real standing in the matter”. A charity immediately cancelled his visit.
The corduroy wearing staff of the Independent reported: “He was due to visit the Sharek Youth Forum at its offices in the West Bank this afternoon following a tour of Israel but was told he was not welcome just hours before his expected arrival. A spokesperson for the charity said the action was taken in response to Mr Johnson’s “inaccurate, misinformed, and disrespectful statement” regarding the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.”
The Independent newsaper itself is hardly the gold standard for impartial reporting.
This overreaction ignored that many of Boris’s comments about Palestine had been supportive. (Boris had commented that some, but not all of the criticisms of Israel were justified, and it was “tragic” that the part of the Balfour Declaration that provided for the Palestinians to be protected from Israeli independence had not been observed.)
Because of security fears, following a wave of stabbing attacks and clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces, several of the Mayor’s schedule visits on the West Bank have had to be cancelled.
The unreasonable behaviour of the Palestinians sadly has done them no favours. Through their absurd overreaction, the Palestinians have missed a golden opportunity to get their point across. Instead, they look childish, bigoted, unbalanced and petty, when the truth is probably very different. All they have achieved is to hand a media coup to the Israelis.
All this silly banning and boycotting merely impedes the chance of a solution.