March 21, 2012

Ashton under slime

Some weirdness yesterday over the words of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to a conference titled: Engaging youth—Palestine Refugees in the changing Middle East. In fairness to the rabid dogs who went ape (apols for the mixed metaphor) her speech was misreported in the first release of the transcript so that the last paragraph:
We are gathered here because we have recognised the potential of the youth of Palestine. Against all the odds, they continue to learn, to work, to dream and aspire to a better future. And the days when we remember young people who have been killed in all sorts of terrible circumstances - the Belgian children having lost their lives in a terrible tragedy and when we think of what happened in Toulouse today, when we remember what happened in Norway a year ago, when we know what is happening in Syria, when we see what is happening in Gaza and Sderot and in different parts of the world - we remember young people and children who lose their lives. Here are young people who are asking not to be leaders of the future, but to be taken seriously as leaders of today. And it is to them that we should look and to them we should listen and it is to them that I pay tribute. 
omitted the words, "and Sderot". Before it became known that Sderot had been mentioned the Israeli government tipped a wink to its commentariat. YNET led the way with a report claiming that
Catherine Ashton compared the children who were murdered in Monday's shooting attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France with children who are killed in Gaza. 
Of course she didn't actually compare them and she didn't even isolate Gaza according to the misreport but Harry's Place got the message and Sarah AB ran a post headed, Unbelievable: Baroness Ashton on Toulouse. Sarah allows for the obvious fact that she was simply saying that it is awful when children die by ending her post by saying:
she might say she was simply saying it’s awful when children die, whatever the cause – but she can hardly be surprised that her words are being greeted with outrage. 
 Note that no context is offered as to where Ashton was and what she was doing when she mentioned Toulouse and other places where children have met with tragic unnatural death, whether violent or not.  Oh, except I think Sderot, where I am not sure if any children have been killed. But Sarah didn't know about the mention of Sderot when she did the post.

So, when the video and updated transcript were posted, Sarah did an almost decent thing.  She ran another post headed with the most important piece of info, Baroness Ashton mentioned Sderot, and linking to the video that proves that she did indeed mention Sderot.

If this is accurate – that the original speech referred to Gaza and Sderot, not just Gaza, then the speech cannot, I think, be seen as so particularly objectionable.  Maybe it would have been better to leave I/P out of the equation, but the fact she mentioned Sderot certainly needs to be noted.
Update: Here’s a video – the relevant bit is about 12 minutes in.
Eh? Let's have that bit again, "Maybe it would have been better to leave I/P out of the equation, but the fact she mentioned Sderot certainly needs to be noted."

Looking at what Ashton actually said, she wasn't making an equation.  She was drawing out the common features of the tragic and violent death of children in various places.  She had to mention Palestinian children because she was addressing a conference on the youth of Palestine. She didn't have to mention Sderot for any reason of balance or completeness. She simply had to comply with zionist political correctness. But how can even Harry's Place suggest that Palestinian children shouldn't be mentioned at a conference on Palestinian youth?

Perhaps they simply mean that there should be no conferences on Palestine.

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