Rushdie Hate Update

Johann Hari does what Geoffrey Wheatcroft couldn’t manage and identifies a member of the “fashionable academic-intellectual left” who does, indeed, seem to hate Salman Rushdie:

Backing him up, the Cambridge academic Priyamvada Gopal has jeered that Rushdie thinks “humane values, tolerance and freedom are fundamentally Western ideas.”

Even here, though, if you go back to Gopal’s original piece in context, his argument isn’t an apologia for the fatwa against Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses. Rather, Gopal’s argument is that that Rushdie, the one who believed “It was necessary to critique tyrannical forces in both west and non-west, to recognise them as twinned and to pronounce a plague on both their houses” has sold out. Now, “Vociferously supporting the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq on “humane” grounds, condemning criticism of the war on terror as ‘petulant anti-Americanism’ and above all, aligning tyranny and violence solely with Islam, Rushdie has abdicated his own understanding of the novelist’s task as ‘giving the lie to official facts.’”

On the left, but not fashionable academics, Hari also has the goods on George Galloway and Lord Ahmed.