Let’s not be nasty to Hamas

Liberalism on the march

Guidance for museums issued by an Arts Council charity provide yet another argument for a massive cull of every bearer of a liberal arts degree.

(Those with degrees in English should be exempt, especially one elderly chap cursed with a life-long devotion to arts and humanities.)

The Collection Trust, funded by the Exchequer, has issued the Inclusive Terminology Glossary, instructing museum curators that Israel only has herself to blame for being on the receiving end of Hamas’s righteous wrath.

Yes, conceded the guide, we should rebuke Hamas for its excesses. However, it “remains important to recognise the anti-colonial, freedom-fighting motivation of any attacks against a settler colonial state.”

And let’s not be wanton in bandying the term ‘terrorist’ about: “In modern history, we have seen the ‘terrorist’ label applied to those who have fought against colonialism, oppression and apartheid, perhaps most notoriously Nelson Mandela, winner of the Nobel Peace prize.”

Quite apart from their subversive wokery, the authors of the Glossary share with their ‘liberal’ brethren a well-honed knack for committing several rhetorical fallacies in one sentence.

One such is petitio principii, ‘begging the question’ in English. (By the way, some people use ‘it begs the question’ to mean ‘it raises the question’. This is a lexical felony, but I’ll let you decide on the commensurate punishment.) It describes an argument in which the premises assume the conclusion without supporting it.

In this case, the premise is that no winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and certainly not Nelson Mandela, can possibly be a terrorist. Now, another winner of that accolade was Yasser Arafat, whose terrorist credentials are seldom denied even by his friends.

As to St Nelson, officially canonised in the atheist anti-Western church – but of course he was a terrorist, and a Marxist one to boot. The African National Congress, led by Mandela until his 1963 trial and after his 1990 release, was a Marxist terrorist organisation committed to the violent overthrow of the apartheid government.

In that undertaking the ANC was assisted by the Soviets and their satellites, mainly Cuban and East German. It was after all committed to armed struggle, and the arms had to come from somewhere. Nor was it just arms.

East German Stasi helped the ANC to set up ‘Quatro’, the detention centre across the border in Angola. There dozens of anti-Marxists were tortured and murdered.

In the same spirit of international cooperation the ANC also received assistance from our own dear IRA. In an arrangement allegedly negotiated by Gerry Adams himself, the IRA sent its bomb-making experts to train aspiring ANC murderers, which greatly improved their efficiency.

However, the ANC didn’t just adopt foreign techniques. Some indigenous touches were added, such as the widespread practice of ‘necklacing’, whereby an old tyre was filled with petrol, put around a dissident’s neck and set alight.

In the view of our liberal intelligentsia, any motivation consonant with their own ideology justifies mass murder and torture, which is fair enough – we are all entitled to our prejudices. But in the distant past, anyone wishing to impose his prejudices on other people had to come equipped with sound arguments.

No such need these day: utter shibboleths like “fighting against colonialism, oppression and apartheid”, and everybody is supposed to spring up and salute. All is forgiven, all is justified – all is praised.

Our museums used to be curated by great connoisseurs and historians of art like Kenneth Clark (d. 1983), who got to run the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford at 27 and Britain’s National Gallery at 30. Today’s curators need no such credentials. Their intellectual equipment makes do with professed hatred of colonialism, racism, homophobia and so on, all the way down the list.

Paintings at most exhibitions come with commentary by art scholars who offer no insights into the art on show. Instead, viewers are told, say, that Hogarth, an 18th century artist, was mainly concerned about  “the entrenchment of racist, sexist and xenophobic stereotypes.” However, he had to be careful about his criticism because of “…his wealthy patrons many of whom benefited from a culture based on colonial exploitation.”

No doubt visitors to such exhibitions will feel that their appreciation of art has been broadened and deepened. Another, likelier, possibility is that they walk out more ignorant than they were on the way in.

And this is before we even consider the moral decrepitude of describing Israel as a “settler colonial state”. I doubt those ‘experts’ have read Exodus, but they must have heard what it was about. If so, they must know that Jews have been living on that land for over 3,000 years and, unlike any other group I can think of, throughout that time they have worshiped the same God and spoken the same language.

At the very least, that should give those Glossary authors pause to think and realise that the issue of settlement is far from being as clear-cut as they seem to believe. What is clear-cut is the monstrosity of Hamas and what it did on 7 October.

Using iffy (actually ignorant and malevolent) politics as justification for disembowelling babies is itself monstrous. Someone must have placed a magnet next to those chaps’ moral compass to make it go haywire.

Their problem with Israel isn’t that it’s a “colonial settler state”, but that it’s a Western country fighting rearguard action against horrific third-world barbarism. That makes Israel their enemy, daring to defend itself against their fellow West-haters.

It’s sickening to think that my taxes pay for this outrage. Perhaps culling every bearer of a liberal arts degree is a little excessive. But defunding them would be just – let them signal their virtue at their own expense. Oh well, that’s enough wishful thinking for one day. I’m now going to go and reread Exodus.

1 thought on “Let’s not be nasty to Hamas”

  1. I’m a bit confused. How much of Hamas high culture does one find in British museums? Or is there an empty room and this guidance is used to explain why? I’m sure patrons would flock to view The Beauty of Bomb Making or Child Murder.

    How much back story do museums normally provide? I am familiar with artist name, the year created, the medium, possibly the school or genre. Do they now add, “and he was a terrorist” or “he was a colonial oppressor”?

    As for Hogarth, there is much more to his paintings than their obvious satire. For example, in Marriage A-la-Mode: 1, The Marriage Settlement there is much to be discovered. The gentlemen all wear wigs. This highlights their attempts to hide the fact that their heads are empty of any real knowledge. The bride-to-be has a gold ring around her handkerchief to demonstrate her being all-encompassed with greed. The dogs on the floor symbolize the aristocracy’s contempt for the common man. Through the window is seen a building covered with scaffolding. This symbolizes the attempts by the aristocracy to bolster the decaying edifice of their outmoded social structures. I have neither the time nor space to even get started on the wallpaper, the curtains, or the fabric on the chairs. The candle on the table is simply an advertisement for Rathbornes.

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