The Guardian and Yom Kippur


A guest post by AKUS

The Guardian has become notorious for the dissemination of anti-Israeli articles. Many contain factual errors, some outright lies, but we never see significant attempts by the Guardian to correct its errors. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are about the year that has passed, and the year ahead. We examine our souls and our conduct towards others, and ask forgiveness for our sins and faults. It is time for the Guardian to conduct a “cheshbon nefesh” – an accounting of one’s conscience – for the New Year. I will be even more specific – it is time for the Guardian’s Jewish writers to issue apologies for the attacks against Israel that they have largely led on the Guardian’s website.

This year, once again, we have had several egregious and inflammatory articles run by the Guardian. Perhaps the worst was a story about rape in Israel that that was picked up by the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood on July 21st and repeated on July 25th in more detail as Saber Kushour: ‘My conviction for “rape by deception” has ruined my life’ . The articles built on extraordinary claims made largely by Israel’s home-grown hater, Gideon Levy, of Israeli racism when an Arab was apparently found to have committed “rape by deception”.

Rachel Shabi had no trouble using this issue on July 23rd as the “hook” for an article with the attention-grabbing headline Israel turns on its own.  Shabi’s article played to all the tropes so beloved by the Guardian’s Israel haters (Israel as a racist, violent, European, Mizrachi- and Arab hating implant in the Islamic world). But it was her brief reference to the rape case (“and now a Palestinian man from Jerusalem has just been convicted of rape after pretending to be Jewish and having consensual sex. This verdict, in effect turning the obfuscation of race into a criminal offence, also reveals the extent to which Israelis consider Palestinians to be abhorrent”) that  resulted in the extraordinarily large number of 591 comments below the line:

Arch Israel-hater JRuskin (formerly Moeran) was quick to pick up on the allusion to the rape case:

As were others – for example:

As we now know, the story was a fabrication created to cover a plea-bargain arrangement. Rather than coming forth and retracting her accusation of racism, the Guardian published a new article by Shabi headlined Arab rape-by-deception charge ‘was result of plea bargain’ in the “World News/Israel” section of the Guardian’s blog, where comments are not allowed.  This is as close as we will get, I fear, to a retraction to a false story that has already made its way around the world and which will undoubtedly be cited years from now by the likes of JRuskin et al.

The year would not be complete without a charge of ethnic cleansing against Bedouins brought by Jewish Israeli Neve Gordon in Ethnic cleansing in the Israeli Negev. Unfortunately for Gordon and the Guardian, the truth is that the Bedouin actually have houses in nearby Rahat, and are trying to squat illegally on land that does not belong to them. We have yet to see a retraction by the Gordon or the Guardian. Of course, it scored the usual sort of Israel-bashing commentary that simply ignores the idea that there are laws regarding ownership of property that apply to all Israeli citizens, including Bedouins -  e.g.:

But when Ethel Brooks demands that France Stop this state persecution of Roma, the Guardian’s worthy commenters see the situation a little differently:

We had new Israeli Mya Guarnieri protesting over Israel’s plan to deport foreign workers and their children in Children are just Israel’s latest victims. She didn’t quite get away with her over-the-top and prejudiced views (“State policies are similarly racist, revealing a blatant disregard for foreign workers’ humanity” etc. etc.):

Perhaps some of the Guardian’s readers are influenced by events closer to home – in France, for example: France’s racial intolerance comes from the very top .

But you will search the article about France and the Roma in vain for language remotely similar to the language the Guardian allows describing Israel’s kid-glove handling of its similar problem.

And so it goes. So here’s a kind of Oscar night list for the Guardian’s worst Jewish contributors with suggestions for the retractions they should vow to make this Yom Kippur:

Rachel Shabi – all her articles, but specially Israel turns on its own and her accusations of racism in Israel

Mya Guarnieri – both her articles, but specially Children are just Israel’s latest victims and her accusation that “[Israel] “so white and so ugly” was established long ago – the children are just the latest victims.”

Seth Freedman – continue to go native with articles like Israel had no choice over Gaza flotilla, but atone for A Tel Aviv day-trip shouldn’t be a crime

Tony Lerman – for his continuing attempts to drive a wedge between Israel and the Diaspora and ignoring the dangers Israel faces with articles like Israeli PR machine won Gaza flotilla media battle

Neve Gordon – for all his articles requesting boycotts of Israel and accusations of “ethnic cleansing” as growth in the Arab and Bedouin communities outstrips that in the Jewish community in Israel.

And while we are about it:

Suzanne Goldenberg – for her role in creating the Guardian’s  infamous coverage of the Al Durrah affair accompanied with the well-known and thoroughly debunked images filmed by France 2’s reporter  and the so-called Jenin massacre, which she has never retracted.

I hope that this Yom Kippur they all decide to issue retractions for their false reports and will vow to present Israel, and Israeli citizens, as they really are – a wonderful country filled with decent people doing the best they can in a terribly dangerous neighborhood. And doing it pretty well: A good year for Israel

Shana Tovah to all our readers.

3 comments on “The Guardian and Yom Kippur

  1. Entirely appropriate of course that we’re never going to be featuring flying pigs on this site, least of all in the context of reflecting on what Yom Kippur asks of us as Jews. But they’re much more likely to be winging their way onto this blog than any of the charmers above are ever likely to be apologising and beating their breasts over their repeated attempts at smearing and delegitimizing Israel (and for some of them, Judaism too). On the contrary, they see themselves as the Good Jews, the self-appointed consciences of Israel and the Jewish people, the inheritors of the prophetic tradition. Hilarious, really, when you see the sort of wrath and destruction the prophets call down on the enemies and betrayers of Israel and the laws of Moses.

    G’mar chatimah tovah to everyone to whom that means something.

  2. a) “[Israel] “so white and so ugly” is incendiary racism, mischaracterising at least Israeli Jews of mizrachi descent

    b ‘Seth Freedman – continue to go native’: how is he ‘going native’? Is he nativising to Israeli Jews?

  3. re: Guardian’s follow up: Arab rape-by-deception charge ‘was result of plea bargain’
    The testimony that was quoted in the Haaretz article was very graphic in the horror it described. In the Guardian article the testimony and the appalling nature of it is totally ignored, except to say:
    “Once inside the building, the woman says she was raped and then left naked and bleeding.”
    This suggests that the only evidence of rape is based on what the woman said and totally ignores the physical evidence at the scene, i.e. blood on the floor and the later medical evidence showing scratches on her body. This combined showed physical evidence of rape.

    This omission minimizes the nature of the Guardian’s semi-”retraction”, and makes it appear to be a “my word against your word type” case. It’s not as if the Guardian has an excuse that it needs to publish an article of 1000′s of words to do some real justice to this story, a few sentences that fills in the correct context would have made a huge difference.

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