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Friday, September 28, 2007

Seeing and believing: an icon for the scapegoaters

Coming to the second Melanie Phillips post, scapegoating needs its icons as well as its legends. A boy dies in his father's arms, deliberately shot by a callous Israeli soldier. Or did he? If TV station France 2 can be compelled to release the footage it has refused to make public, we may be able to pass a definitive judgment on claim that the whole thing was a fake - a latter-day Blood Libel. The story is still live, Melanie has posted again on it and will doubtless continue to do so.

But how much difference will it make if the claims are proven? Millions - perhaps billions - have seen and believed. Neo-Nazis, Muslims and nice, liberal, Guardian-reading Anglicans united in their indignation. And the last, having seen and believed, became that much more of a receptive audience for Mearsheimer and Walt.

It's part of the price Israel pays for being a democracy. Regimes which take the shooting-innocent-civilians thing seriously take care to shoot a foreign photographer or two before unplugging their country from the Internet.

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