13th May 1998
Open letter to Alan Rusbridger, Editor of The Guardian From Uri Geller
Dear Mr Rusbridger,
On the eve of the Millennium, though the world is over-shadowed by violence and hatred, there is one billion-watt beacon of brightness. The Internet, for all its hokum and misuses, gives us a brilliant promise: no one will ever be condemned to silence again. No cry will be smothered by a stronger, more raucous shout. Every minority, even the countless minorities of one, has a voice now: the Internet.
The Guardian belongs to a group which has always possessed a fearsome voice. I, being a Jew, am of a group which has often been silenced by the most evil and repulsive means.
One of your writers, a man named Simon Hoggart, launched an attack on me earlier this month. My protests have been ignored by the Guardian, though the piece was riddled with inaccuracies and innuendo.
When you printed, “Go for it Glenn – you’ll be doing yourself and us a big favour. He (Uri Geller) might even leave the country”… is that very unlike the racist taunts that were daubed on my parents’ walls and windows in central Europe during the Thirties?
To any Jew, the invitation ‘Leave the country’ is bone-chilling. If I were Muslim, or Hindu, or Rastafarian, I do not believe The Guardian would say Britain would be done a “big favour” by being rid of me. But I am a Jew. Does this make it acceptable?
This has nothing to do with what anyone thinks of my psychic powers. It is about me.
To address the numerous factual errors in Simon Hoggart’s piece: the England football coach Glenn Hoddle has not as yet served any writ against me. His disagreement currently is with a Sunday newspaper. If anyone from the Guardian had bothered to ring me, I should have been glad to explain.
You might also apologise for stating I have a “very regrettable record in legal hearings”. I have never set foot in a court anywhere in the world, either to sue or to be sued. My disagreements are invariably settled behind the scenes. I can assure you I am never out of pocket – in the instances Simon Hoggart cites, my expenses were met by my lawyers (who had made a technical mistake, resulting not in the loss but in the dismissal of my case against CSICOP) and by a fan. Incidentally, the 1971 farrago was in Beersheba, not Jerusalem.
Hoggart further claims that “Magicians hate Geller with a particular passion” that is a mammoth exaggeration and generalisation. As it happens, I have a good many friends who are conjurers.
The Guardian did not even trouble to spell my name correctly. It is a very short name, just three letters. U-R-I. Not complicated, really. Not English, I grant you – it’s Israeli, and that may have been the difficulty for your caption editor. It was spelt with a ‘Y’.
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