When my wife and I were asked to participate in a radio programme discussing our views on the intifada, Arafat's death and the way forward, we happily accepted; her field is media and I am more than used to speaking to audiences about the state of affairs in our small corner of the Middle East.
Over the past 4 years, we have all found ourselves cringing on numerous occasions when someone, a Member of Knesset or Prime Minister for example, has stood up and said precisely the wrong thing to the world's press, often in broken, badly accented English. The truth is that some of us could do the job better - there are a lot however, who most certainly cannot. We also, for the most part, recognise that there are certain views which can be put before a particular audience, whilst other things are better off thought, but certainly not said, or if they must be said, then in a diplomatic fashion.
Together with the interviewer and producer, we were joined in a trendy Jerusalem cafe for the interview by two pleasant Israeli girls who were on the left of the political spectrum albeit not radically so, and an Oaf who expressed views somewhere to the right of Atilla the Hun.
In this case, despite being a native English speaker, it was The Oaf, not the Israelis, who spoke in broken English, punctuating his racist diatribes with long pauses and the use of the words "weeeeeeeeeeell" and "riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight" in order to give himself time to think. I can only hope that the manner in which he spoke will be considered so poor that the content of what he had to say will be left on the cutting room floor.
When speaking to a Western audience, suggesting the transfer of Palestinians from the territories, whatever the circumstances is not going to win the hearts of the listeners, particularly at the time of good will to all men. We made a brave attempt to hog the microphone as much as possible but Oaf insisted on charging on like a bull in a china shop - not so much a case of putting a foot in his mouth as thoroughly digesting his own lower quarters.
Israel has many complaints against the foreign press, generally justified in my opinion, but here, a major news provider made an attempt to give our side a chance to put the story over. The Oaf provided them with ample material to show to the world that we are no better than we are generally depicted on the BBC or in the Guardian.
We unfortunately all to frequently make a habit of being our own worst enemies. A responsibility exists to each of us to put the Israeli view point forward, even if that is to say that you totally disagree with the Government. The argument must be carried in a coherent, articulate and well thought out manner if it is to be of any value to anyone other than our enemies - The Oaf did us no favours this evening....