The language of vehemence

International PEN, “the worldwide association of writers, exists to emphasise the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture; to promote literature in a variety of ways, including by opposing restraints on freedom of expression and working to promote literacy itself; and to act as a powerful voice on behalf of writers harassed, imprisoned and sometimes killed for their views.”

In a time of ever-increasing media monotony and gutlessness, PEN agitates, pressures and campaigns for alternative voices.

In the November edition of the Sydney PEN magazine, journalist, author and lawyer Richard Ackland writes about the influence of the Israel lobby in the US and Australia and discusses My Israel Question… (full article here:… penn)

What is so unsettling is the vehemence and righteousness with which what loosely may be described as the Israel lobby puts its case. It is always right, its position in the conflict is always just. The other side’s cause is totally immoral.


Coming as support for the only democratic state in the Middle East, this overbearing dogmatism is a stunning paradox. In democratic states, the proper role of a journalist is to probe, question and criticise the policies and actions of the state. This appears to be done relatively openly within Israel, but outside it is not tolerated by a significant proportion of the diaspora.


Journalists cannot afford to surrender to bullying tactics, which is something that Israelis would understand.

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