Thursday, 8 September 2011

A disturbing insight into the mind of Alex Hilton.

The name Alex Hilton may be familiar to you. He was formerly one of Britain's leading left-wing political bloggers, as Recess Monkey and as founder of Labour Home. He was a Labour candidate at the last election and was the target of a famously vexatious libel action brought by Johanna Kaschke, which was eventually struck out. These days he is the public affairs manager for the Anthony Nolan Trust, a leading cancer charity.

Yesterday I used Twitter to draw attention to a recent execution in Iran of three men for "offences against religion", said to involve sodomy. The "offences" seem to have been consensual. The Independent quoted Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, a researcher at Iran Human Rights, as saying:


Iranian authorities have previously presented such cases as rape, in order to make the execution more acceptable and to avoid too much international attention, but this time the news is not presented as rape.


The case is a salutary reminder that despite hopeful events elsewhere in the wider Middle East the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to behave with unabashed barbarity.

Graeme Archer, re-Tweeting the story, added the thought that "Meanwhile, Edinburgh students boycott Israel." The parallels aren't exact, but I tend to share his puzzlement at the Left's obsession with the misdoings of Israel - still the only true democracy in the Middle East despite the hopeful events of the Arab Spring - and its continued indulgence of the truly vile regime of Ahmadinejad and the ayatollahs. It's always worthwhile showing up double standards.

The comment brought forth this from Alex Hilton:




That's right. Hilton's interpretation of the complex, miserable and seemingly unresolvable story of the Israel/Palestine question boils down to "race murder" on the part of the Israelis. Race murder. In other words, what the Nazis did to the Jews: a deliberate policy of the extermination of an ethnic group on the basis of its racial character. No mention of politics. No mention of terrorism. No mention of the declared aim of Hamas to remove Israel from the face of the earth. No room for complexity of any kind. "Race murder".

I challenged Hilton on this deplorable sentiment. "Is that an unfair precis of israeli govt's disregard for palestinian life?" he replied lamely. Yes. It is unfair. It is also obscene and ridiculous. You surely do not have to be an uncritical champion of every action of the Israeli security forces to see that. And it's no excuse that Twitter only allows 140 characters in which to express a thought.

Hilton seemed genuinely surprised that anyone might find the characterisation of Israeli policy as "race murder" offensive or unwarranted. Such rancid opinions are perhaps commonplace in his social world, but it's rare to see them expressed so unguardedly. Nor is it necessarily wise for someone who represents the public face of a leading cancer charity, and who (I think) still has ambitions of being a Labour MP. Still, it's good to know sometimes what people really think.