O'Driscoll, Jim (2009) A viable Israel and a secure Palestine: Textual intervention in a British public debate. In: From will to well: Studies in Linguistics offered to Anne-Marie Simon-Vandenbergen. Academia Press, Gent, Belgium, pp. 361-371. ISBN 9789038214962
Abstract

This paper employs the method of textual intervention (Pope 1995) to analyse an example of unscripted British public discourse surrounding the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. The example is taken from a discussion on the BBC’s Question Time programme during the Israeli attack on Gaza around the start of 2009. It attempts to show that the perspective of the speakers in this data is firmly Israeli. That is, regardless of explicit opinions of right and wrongs, of where the blame is laid and what should be done - crudely, of which ‘side’ a speaker professes to be on - it is to Israel (and not Palestine) that British contributors to the debate presume moral proximity. This alignment entails ‘natural’ rights (and responsibilities) for the Israelis but rights which can only be ‘granted’ to Palestinians (who are absolved from responsibilities). It is also argued that this alignment - which is described as a discursive deictic centre - is to be regretted.

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