Sunday, August 22, 2004

Honderich on 'terrorism for humanity'

Ted Honderich (whose website is here, its index here, and a recent article on him is here or here) on 'terrorism for humanity' and the struggle of national liberation of the Palestinian people (there is a footnote in the original text):

"The question of whether a campaign of terrorism for humanity is not only possibly but also actually justified comes down to whether it will work - whether it has a decent probability of gaining the end in question, or more likely one of a range of related ends, at a cost that makes the result worth it. Those of you who are superior to what is misconceived as consequentialism, and is sometimes absurdly understood as the idea that an end justifies any means, will do well to reflect that the reasoning in question is of just the form recommended by the orthodox theory of the just war.

The terrorism for humanity that is most likely to pass this final test of rationality is liberation-terrorism, which calls up human and moral resources greater than any other terrorism. Palestinian terrorism, for example, was of the strength to see through and disdain the dog's breakfast of a Palestinian state on offer during the presidency of Mr Clinton. It will, I think, see through and disdain any other dog's breakfast."

and, in a devastating few words on the hypocrisy of Zionism:

" . . . there is nothing unusual about such a claim as that the Palestinians are justified in their terrorism. Exactly such a claim is made daily by and on behalf of the Israeli state - explicitly or, less honourably, implicitly. Certainly its spokesmen are not informing us that what they are doing is wrong, maybe necessary and wrong. And there is nothing in between wrong and right - there are not degrees of being right or of being wrong."


"The ordinary view is that the Palestinians have an indubitable right to what is perfectly properly described as their homeland. Can you accord such a right to a people or a person and deny to them the only possible means of getting or keeping the thing to which you accord them the right? Deny them a means to which there is no alternative?"

Is it possible that the killing of innocents is a morally justified act? If we get on our high horse and say that it can never be justified, do we have a good cry for the plight of the Palestinians when they are either killed or thrown to the four winds? The Israelis think that such killing is morally justified if the killing is done by Israelis, but not if it is done by Palestinians. The only way that makes sense is if we think that Palestinians aren't human beings. The argument will probably be made that Palestinian terrorism isn't necessary as the Palestinians could have had their state peacefully. This is an incorrect argument, and one that actually involves conspiracy theory, so I will have to devote another posting to it.