I have written before about how John Pilger was, for me, an early influence and about my distress at his descent into crude anti-Americanism and general hysteria in recent years.
Paradoxically, Pilger’s degeneration into incoherent anti -”western” ranting (and concomitant tolerance of tyrants and mass-murderers, so long as they are his enemy’s enemy) has paralleled his increasing acceptance by the mainstream media and his gradual slide into becoming a tame radical of the Michael Moore variety (though even at his worst, Pilger is infinitely preferable to that hypocritical toad Moore).
As far as I was concerned, Pilger ceased to be a serious commentator the moment (a couple of years ago) he offered his support to the Iraqi ‘resistance’, with (an imagined) offhand shrug and the casual explanation of why anti-imperialists sometimes have to support child-killers, nihilists and woman-haters: “you can’t be too choosy”.
Now, with the inexorable logic of anti-working class, third-worldist hysteria, Pilger has lined himself up with the “boycott Israel” campaign. In an appropriately-named article (“An important marker has been passed“) in the current New Statesman, Pilger gives unconditional backing to a “boycott of Israel” (note: not Israeli goods or even Israeli academics, but Israel itself – presumably its very existence).
In the course of his New Statesman piece, Pilger appears to question the truth of the well-documented fact that Arab leaders called for Jews to be “thrown into the sea”, appears to blame Israel for the ‘war on terror’ (I say “appears” because Pilger’s latter-day prose style is far from clear), dismisses the “premises of Zionism” as “racist” and those who oppose the boycott as “Zionist fanatics”, seems to dismiss anti-semistism as a “mere threat” and backs the “courageous Israeli historian” Iian Pappe’s call for ”a single democratic state to which Palestinians are given the right to return”, as the “only feasible and just solution”.
It’s a filthy piece of work that marks a new low in the degeneration of this once respect-worthy journalist.
However, given Pilger’s enduring prestige and the relative influence of the New Statesman, it’s a piece that warrents a more detailed rebuttal than I’ve had time for here. I’m presently trying to persuade someone else to take on that task: but if he doesn’t, then I will. Watch this space.