Daniel Kawcyznski MP apologises to Spectator contributor Melanie Phillips
I am glad to have this opportunity to respond to Melanie Phillips’s criticism of my involvement in the International Development Committee’s report on “The Humanitarian and Development Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” I’d like to apologise to her for my reaction and explain to her and her readers why I responded so passionately to her assertion, “shame on all of them.”
It is one of the ironies of our age that as more and more information is available, the less thoroughly it is sometimes read. There are many positives that result from this wealth of information, from the increased oversight of Government by parliamentarians, to the scrutiny of both by the press. But there is also a danger of becoming a nation of headlines, of tending to see things only in black and white.
This brings two responsibilities, one for readers – to ensure that they see past the headline to the origin of the information, and one for the author – to control what is written in such a way as to limit its misinterpretation.
If I accused Melanie Phillips of failing to meet the former, then I am definitely guilty with respect to the latter. I felt that she had jumped to a conclusion: assuming that because my name was on the report, I agreed with all its suggestions. There is much to be commended in the report – and considering the extent of the humanitarian suffering in the Occupied Territories, it was a vital undertaking – but I do not agree with all of it, in particular the recommendation that Hamas be included in negotiations before foregoing terror. However, by not publicising these objections and ensuring that my beliefs were explicitly clear, I made such a reading more likely.