Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Aaronovitch on Craig Murray and Internet abuse

This article is pretty good. Aaronovitch has hit upon a far more sensible response to blogosphere taunts than getting in a tantrum and calling the lawyers:

"A few weeks ago someone sent me a link to the website belonging to Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan. Last year I found myself debating against him at Trinity College, Dublin, on the Middle East. Though I didn't agree with him on much and wondered why he was wearing a kilt, I found him pleasant enough, especially when, afterwards, he rather disarmingly admitted that he didn't know a lot about Israel, about which he'd just been pontificating.

So to his site, where Mr Murray was highly critical of me being allowed by the BBC to interview Tony Blair last year on the basis that I was “a leading neocon, pro-war, pro-Zionist and anti-Muslim propagandist”. But if I was slightly saddened to see Mr Murray seduced by the adjectival Pavlovianism of the anti-war movement, I was staggered by what he said about me personally, describing me as “that sleazy fat neo-con slob Aaronovitch - someone should buy that man a picture for his attic”. Of course, I am too fat; “neocon” is the new all-purpose political accusation; though scrupulously clean, I occasionally underdress - and if Mr Murray feels so obviously superior in physical aesthetics, then I am sure The Times can provide the reader with photographs of us both to enable a comparison.


Now suppose, that I were to write an article for this paper in which I began by telling readers that Craig Murray was not just wrong and oddly ill-informed, but that he was also - let's say - a chinless, adulterous, anti-Semitic clown whose vanity and incontinence had led to him damaging those very causes that he claimed to care for so much. My editors wouldn't have stood for it, and the readers would have thought less of me for it. Yet in several of the more lionised and supposedly political websites that influence some of our journalists, this is exactly the level of debate. "

Update: What Gracchi said. Murray is clearly a complete fool making the kind of argument a complete fool should be expected to make.

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