Letters to the editor of the Guardian, each signed by long lists of people and advocating this or that trendy moral cause, have become routine, notes Douglas Murray. All too often, the target of these letters is Israel. A recent such epistle, condemning an Israeli film festival, is a testament mainly to the self-importance of its signatories:
The letter that went into the Guardian this week was unusual in having almost nobody sign it who is a household name. The letter was a demand from a group of “artists, producers, and concerned citizens,” who, it said, “are disappointed and saddened to see that [certain London] cinemas are hosting the Israeli Film and Television Festival.”
It takes a particular type of ego to think their “sadness” should be the subject of a public declaration. . . . As you might guess, the signatories claim the right to decide what should or should not be shown and where, because they say they are in the movie business. . . .
The same names crop up again and again [in letters condemning Israel]. Little, if any, rigor is paid to whether the signatories of such letters even do what they say they do, or have opinions worthy of any note. Beneath the barely-built veneer of “professionals objecting to something in their own profession” is just the same tiny number of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish obsessives. A sprinkling of “as a Jew” Jews . . . helps, of course. But the aim is clear. These people, step by step, want to make every expression of Israeli and Jewish cultural life subject to their idea of how a nation under constant threat of terrorist bombardment should behave. They denounce Israel as a militaristic society and then attempt to outlaw every non-militaristic cultural and artistic expression from that society.