Upcoming on BBC Radio 4: ‘Moral Maze’ on Gaza

Here is a programme of which readers might like prior notice.

Described on its webpage as “combative, provocative and engaging live debate examining the moral issues behind one of the week’s news and engaging live debate examining the moral issues behind one of the week’s news stories”, this week’s edition of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Moral Maze’ – to be broadcast on Wednesday, November 21st at 20:00 GMT – will relate to the subject of what it describes as “the current conflict in Gaza” (apparently not having noticed that there is also conflict going on over the border, with 3.5 million Israelis under attack from over a thousand military-grade missiles in the past week alone).

The blurb reads:

“Both sides in the current conflict in Gaza have been claiming the moral high ground. To the Israelis it’s an issue of self-defence and they’re trying to avoid casualties. To Hamas it’s about responding to the oppression and aggression of a much more powerful neighbour. The world looks on, counting the bodies and is almost inevitably drawn to the graphic simplicities of competing victimhood. The Palestinians win that hands down, but, terrible though it is, there’s more to morality than suffering. What if, as the Israeli writer Amos Oz says, they’re both right? Should we substitute pragmatism for morality? Stop trying to weigh up competing moral claims in the interests of some sort of solution. Or is giving up the idea of right and wrong, relativism of the worst kind, that could lead to a different kind of moral tragedy? Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk with Michael Portillo, Anne McElvoy, Matthew Taylor and Claire Fox”  

3 comments on “Upcoming on BBC Radio 4: ‘Moral Maze’ on Gaza

  1. ‘What if they’re both right’.

    What if you don’t like your neighbour Mr Moral Maze and you dont allow him into your house and garden and he throws rocks and dung and eventually weapons that can kill your children over the fence?

    The police refuse to listen to your complaint. (A score of letters to the UN about the rockets remain unanswered). What do you do? I suppose you could just take it but most people would fight back. Mr Moral Maze suggests that because your neighbour has an estranged brother that you’re trying to come to terms with and because your neighbour is imagined to be brown & you aren’t, you should keep a stiff upper lip or at least be quiet. Consciences are trying to sleep

  2. What, no practising Jews or Arabs? Here are some extracts from wikibiographies of the participants. Duvidl will not be listening to their respective versions of morality, which the BBC is presumably paying them to preach.

    “Michael Denzil Xavier Portillo (born 26 May 1953) is a British journalist, broadcaster, and former Conservative Party politician and Cabinet Minister. Portillo was first elected to the House of Commons in a by-election in 1984; a strong admirer of Margaret Thatcher, and a Eurosceptic, Portillo served as a junior minister under both Thatcher and John Major, before entering the cabinet in 1992. His relationship with Conservative Leader William Hague was strained. Standing for the leadership of the party in 2001, Portillo came a narrow third place behind Iain Duncan Smith and Kenneth Clarke. Portillo retired from the Commons at the 2005 general election, and has since pursued his media interests, presenting a wide range of television and radio programmes.

    Anne McElvoy (born 25 June 1965) is a British journalist for The Economist and Evening Standard, and a broadcaster. McElvoy attended St Bede’s RC Comprehensive School in Lanchester, County Durham and read German and Philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford. She spent a year at Humboldt University of Berlin, then in East Berlin, studying East German literature and censorship.

    Matthew Taylor, (Labour politician, (born 5 December 1960) is Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) in the United Kingdom.

    Claire Fox, also known as Claire Foster, is a British libertarian writer. She is the director and founder of the British think tank, the Institute of Ideas, and a prominent former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party.


  3. Michael Portillo was very very good. Mathew Taylor was, as described by Portillo, ‘lofty’ when requiring ‘generosity’ from Israel (from the school of the Merchant of Venice – ‘that’s the trouble with the Israelis, they always need to extract their pound of flesh, why oh why can’t they be generous to their enemies the way we British, civilised, warriors are’ ). Claire Fox and Anne McElvoy reasonably sane on this one.

    Cunliffe (Dr Philip Cunliffe – Lecturer in International Conflict, University of Kent) – sub-marxist agitprop speak: Israel has no right to exist, forward to the one-state solution, Israel is finished and so on and so forth.
    Professor Daniel Statman – the grown-up in the room as acknowledged by Portillo.
    The other 2, I can’t remember although I think there was only time for the Oxford University person and not the other.

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