I had the honor of knowing the former Israeli Ambassador to Finland, Avi Granot during his time in Finland. Ambassador Granot had a similar confrontation with Avi Shlaim at the University of Helsinki. During the Q&A period after the lecture, Israeli Ambassador Granot had the following to say:
A simplistic story of Israel and Gaza
Avi Shlaim (Ten years after Gaza, Israel still plans endless brute force, 8 January) presents the situation in Gaza as a low-budget 1950s Hollywood western: black-and-white in picture and plot, with obvious heroes and villains. In Shlaim’s story, Hamas is “the Islamic resistance movement”: their tyrannical rule over the Strip is apparently not worth a mention, nor is their continued terrorism. Indeed, in his pernicious myth, it is Israel’s efforts to defend innocent civilians from Hamas’s rockets that are deemed “state terrorism”.
What a relief that for Shlaim it is just so, so simple. Ignored is Hamas’s genocidal agenda, and the Palestinian Authority’s mendacity and culpability over Gaza. Shlaim’s story makes it all too easy. For him, the villain can only be Israel. Straightforward. Uncomplicated. Catchy. And no doubt all too many will unfortunately accept his fiction as fact.
Ambassador of Israel to the UK