Curious deletions under Greg Philo’s surreal assertion, at CiF, that UK journalists are afraid to criticize Israel

H/T Margie

We commented earlier on Greg Philo’s warning (Israel’s PR victory shames newscasters, May 31) of the injurious effects of Zionist hasbara, but the Guardian comment moderation process, as always, produced some curious deletions.

Here’s a comment merely noting what we’ve documented, that the “Jews/Zionists have undue influence on the media” is common and uncontroversial narrative at CiF/The Guardian:

And, then.

Here’s a comment accurately referring to violent tactics employed by Hamas during their coup against Fatah in 2007:

And then.

A comment accurately noting that Philo is part of a political community which includes folks who find Holocaust Memorial Day objectionable.

And, then.

Throughout history only Israel has protected the freedom of all peoples and faiths in Jerusalem

The following video, Jerusalem: 4000 years in 5 minutes, was produced by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Philo-Palestinian essay at CiF on the powerful and dangerous public relations machine of the Jewish state

Greg Philo, the research director of Glasgow University Media Unit – recently seen at a clearly fair and balanced event titled “Complicity in Oppression: Does the media aid Israel“, sponsored by the openly Islamist group, MEMO – published a piece at CiF (Israel’s PR machine shames newscasters, May 31) warning that the UK media is being manipulated in their coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by the dark forces of Israeli hasbara.

For those wishing to read well-documented reports demonstrating that the opposite is indeed the case, and that the BBC has an institutional bias against the Jewish state, I’d direct you to a recent quantitative analysis by Just Journalism, or one of several qualitative analyses by Trevor Asserson of BBC Watch, or an admission by BBC’s Director General Mark Thompson in 2010 that BBC was massively biased to the Left, but Philo’s broad assertion about bias is less interesting than the malevolence he imputes to Israel and her supporters.

Philo cites a report by his organization which focuses on the period of the 2nd Intifada (2000 and 2004) and not only asserts that the BBC was pro-Israel in its reporting, but goes further by citing unnamed sources who complain of  “the intense pressures they are under that limit criticism of Israel.”  These same unnamed sources, we are told, “asked us to raise the issue in public because they can’t.”  Philo informs us that they speak of “waiting in fear for the phone call from the Israelis”. [emphasis mine]

Philo’s conspiracy of Zionist intimidation doesn’t end there, however, as  he noted darkly that Israel engages in “PR” and even created a National Information Directorate - which links to a piece by Rachel Shabi which reports, as something ominous, that Israel’s hasbara department coordinates its “core messages with bodies such as friendship leagues, Jewish communities, bloggers and backers using online networks.”

Philo proceeds to characterize as chilling work done by The Israel Project to assist the Israeli government hone their talking points – using effective language to refute anti-Israel allegations.  Says Philo:

“In the US, messages were exhaustively analysed by The Israel Project, a US-based group that, according to Shimon Peres, “has given Israel new tools in the battle to win the hearts and minds of the world”. In a document of more than 100 pages (labelled “not for publication or distribution”) an enormous range of possible statements about Israel was sorted into categories of “words that work” and “words that will turn listeners off”. 

Philo, who evidently is more disturbed by the organized efforts of The Israel Project than by the anti-Semitism of his Hamas friendly friends at MEMO, concludes by adding his observation that “there is a remarkable likeness between these and the content of TV news headlines. “Many journalists bought the message”, he says, evidently not considering that some  journalists may have simply determined that Israel’s message was more credible.  

But, for Philo, even the straight forward characterization of Cast Lead as an Israeli war against Hamas, and not a war against the Palestinian people – He cites two reports: “The bombardment continues on Hamas targets” (BBC1, 31 December 2008); “The offensive against Hamas enters its second week” (BBC1, 3 January 2009) – is evidence that these institutions were intimidated into swallowing the narrative advanced by the Israeli propaganda machine.

To demonstrate the degree of Philo’s bias against Israel, he notes in dismay near the concluding paragraph that some within an audience group polled didn’t share his view that, in the context of the events leading to the start of Cast Lead “Hamas was reported to have said it would have stopped the rockets if Israel had agreed to lift its economic siege,” never once considering that the degree to which some of the public are far more skeptical of Hamas propaganda than he is may indicate his own profound gullibility, bias and animosity towards Israel.

Philo joins a long list of far left elitists who simply cannot fathom that many of the unwashed masses in the West (for instance, non-Jews in the U.S.) are solidly pro-Israel and so must impute either ignorance or conjure a conspiracy of Zionist propaganda.  

The simply fantastical notion, advanced by Philo, that the UK media is biased in favor of Israel again proves the adage that there are some ideas so bizarre only members of the British “intelligentsia” can believe them.

Political Religion: The York Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and its Advocates

This is cross posted at Quidnunc

It is shocking when one encounters idealistic hate. It is yet more shocking when a University, an institution founded upon the very concepts of tolerance, does little to stem this hate. But it is absolutely terrifyingly when a representative of the university acts on behalf of such hate.

In 2009, Andrew Collingwood, a University of York staff member and laughably also a ‘harassment advisor’, published photos of a protest with which he was involved, including one of a placard (below) that was deemed deeply offensive by Jewish groups, anti-racism organisations and media outlets. By publishing this photo alongside other protests of the rally, it was the opinion of many people that Collingwood was publishing a de facto endorsement of the placard’s disgusting message.

The placard implies that anti-Semitism is a made up concept, which Jewish politicians – also note the witch’s hat, part of another ancient libel – invoke to justify their actions in the Arab-Israeli conflict; in other words, the victim mentality a duplicitous shield to hide their black magic.

The University has recently forced the student newspaper that originally reported Collingwood’s actions to take the article offline. Rather luckily, there happens to be a copy of that article right here.

In response, Collingwood, a well-known member of the infamous York branch of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, stated:

“The image was clearly found by an individual searching for a reason to label me an anti-Semite. I regard this as the latest move in a campaign to harass me at work because of my connection to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.”

So according to Collingwood, anti-Semitism is political chicanery. This rather sounds like the very message of the placard for which he claims to apologise, does it not? The University, abandoning its duty of care, decided to join in with this message, announced that, “The University does not take a position on political issues.”

Quidnunc believes that most people would argue that racial hatred is not really a political issue, but rather a matter of moral turpitude – a point that several Jewish organisations noted at the time.

Two years later, earlier this week, a student at the University received an email from Lois Gregory, the senior ‘equality and diversity’ advisor at the University.  A blog post on a website (with which the student was involved) had stated that Collingwood was holding the placard rather than taking photos of his protest. This inadvertent inaccuracy was immediately revised, although it does little to vindicate Collingwood. Rather disgustingly however, Gregory also wrote:

“I would ask you to consider the following; in what way do you feel that the misrepresentation of someone else’s actions helps your own cause?”

This implication that the writer of the post had deliberately lied to suit his or her agenda is rather shocking.

The same University that chose to label anti-Semitism as a ‘political’ issue has now taken it upon themselves to act on behalf of Collingwood. Not only that, Gregory, like Collingwood, is a person who is supposed to fight prejudice. Instead, with no explanation given, Gregory is acting on behalf of Collingwood’s bigotry. What possible role could she be playing? There was no reply to the student’s email questioning Gregory’s motives.

Collingwood and the York PSC has managed to get away with quite a bit more than a simple placard.  Collingwood has written on several occasions (some examples hereherehere and here) to aljazeerah.info (nothing to do with the Qatar-based satellite station), a website labelled as anti-Semitic, and which has frequently made statements in support of various terrorist organisations.

The York Palestinian Solidarity Campaign has often appeared to have no qualms about expressing anti-Jewish sentiments. The Chairman of the branch, Terry Gallogly, encouraged members of his mailing list to distort a poll about the English Defence League in order to paint British Jews as racists.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Gallogly, also a member of the national executive of the Palestine Solidarity Committee, was part responsible for the visit of the infamous Aharon Cohen of the extremist sect Neturei Karta in 2007. The previous year, Cohen had stated that the Holocaust victims “deserved it”.

Furthermore, the previous chair, Stephen Leah, helped produce a report calling for the banning of goods from the World’s only Jewish state. His same report promoted the writings of the Christian Far Right author Stephen Sizer, who has many known links to Holocaust-deniers.

In 2004, a vigil at Clifford’s Tower, to commemorate the terribly massacre of Jews in 1190, was gatecrashed by PSC activists, who saw fit to exploit the massacre of more than 110 Jews with their own political agitprop.

When anti-Semitism does rear its ugly head, many fail to see it. The anti-semitism is not the overt and purposive hatred it once was, but now it is rather the organisation of politics against the Jews. The consequence of such efforts have been so successful and pervasive that the denial of the very existence of such bigotry is a problem that is ubiquitous in public institutions – most particularly in our universities. While anti-Semitism is fast becoming the epidemic bigotry in the UK, it is a terrifying state of affairs that the ‘harassment’ and ‘diversity and equality’ officers allow such hatred to flourish.

There do exist some critics of Israel who are genuinely pro-peace, but Collingwood and his PSC branch are certainly not such persons.

I leave you with a simply chilling video that demonstrates the kind of person of the PSC can attract. This video was taken at a National PSC Christmas meeting.

 

 

BDS: Wrong, Immoral, and Racist

This video was produced by our friends at Stand With Us

Resistance: The JNF, and Harriet Sherwood’s continuing delegitimization of the Jewish state

“My Dear Sir, But you are proceeding upon the superstition that Moral Courage and a Hankering to Learn the Truth are ingredients in the human being’s makeup. Your premises being wild and foolish, you naturally and properly get wild and foolish results. If you will now reform, and in future proceed upon the sane and unchallengeable hypothesis that those two ingredients are on vacation in our race, and have been from the start, you will be able to account for some things which puzzle you now.” – Mark Twain

By 1922 the British Empire held sway over about 500 million people, one-quarter of the world’s population at the time, and covered more than 13 million square miles, almost a quarter of the earth’s total land area.

At the height of its power, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Ottoman Turkish Empire controlled territory in southeastern Europe, southwestern Asia, and North Africa. In 1680, under Mehmed IV, the empire controlled 5.5 million square miles of land.

Today, in the Middle East, a vast area previously controlled by the Ottoman Turks and then the British, 5.25 million square miles belongs to states of the Arab League. The one holdout in that hegemony is the 8,000 square mile Jewish state of Israel—the only Jewish homeland that ever was and ever will be. The population of Israel is 7.5 million. The ratio of Arab to Jewish land is 640:1.

In 1901, during the fifth Zionist Congress, delegates had spent the day debating a proposal for the establishment of a national fund to purchase land in Ottoman Empire-controlled Palestine (the name given by the Romans to ancient Israel).  The motion passed and the congress resolved that a fund to be called Jewish National Fund (JNF) should be established, and that “the fund shall be the property of the Jewish people as a whole.” JNF’s first undertaking was the collection of £200,000.

Theodore Herzl, who four years earlier had organized the First Zionist Congress, was inspired to galvanize world Jewry around the idea of returning to their ancient homeland in response to the anti-Semitism of the Dreyfuss Affair, the failure of European Jewish emancipation more broadly, and to his all too prescient sense of an impending catastrophe for European Jewry.

Throughout the years preceding Israel’s independence the JNF purchased additional land and, even during the British mandate when Jewish immigration to historic Palestine was severely restricted during the Holocaust and in the three years prior to statehood, developed previously uninhabitable land in anticipation of Israel’s rebirth – development which was, by any measure, wildly successful.

While the borders of the British and Ottoman Empires were drawn, as most modern nation states’ boundaries have been drawn (and defended), by the edge of a sword, Israel’s were formed by legally purchased land (by the JNF), and via international law (from legally binding decisions codified at the San Reno Conference, though the UN Partition plan and Israel’s admission into the UN).  

While it’s less than clear whether British Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to resign as a patron of the JNF was due to pressure from anti-Israel activists such as Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC), (David Cameron resigns as patron of the Jewish National Fund, Harriet Sherwood, Guardian, May 29), the story’s legitimization of the narrative of groups such as PSC and Stop the JNF Campaign that JNF has committed “war crimes” and has been complicit in “ethnic cleansing” represent, at best, unintelligible invectives – and are a testament to the truth that, for many, anti-Israel ideology has taken on an almost religious intensity, where nuance, complexity and doubt are subservient to ideological articles of faith.

The JNF, as was its goal, legally purchased the land that would become the State of Israel, then helped to develop that land into the thriving nation it would become – by planting trees (becoming the only nation in the world who entered the 21st century with a net gain in the number of trees), building dams and reservoirs, creating parks, and developing the infrastructure which supported the absorption of millions of immigrants to the Jewish state.

Growing up, in my assimilated secular Jewish family, what I most associated with Israel was the ubiquitous blue JNF box – the most iconic and non-political way Jews in the diaspora could support the continued development and continued success of the state of Israel.  Whether you were motivated by a desire to protect Israel’s environment, or a broader concern for the nation’s long-term viability in a hostile neighborhood,  the JNF was about as controversial as the United Way or American Red Cross.

Harriet Sherwood’s efforts to paint the JNF as some sort of instrument of oppression is but another form of delegitimization – an effort to pry those susceptible to such facile and intellectually unserious ideas away from support for the Jewish state.  In short, it’s an attack on Zionism itself – an assault on our rights to finally, as Herzl dreamed, “be a free people in our land.” 

The word “resistance” is one that’s sadly been co-opted by the radical (Guardian-style) left, anti-Zionists, and Islamists to denote resistance to “Western oppression”.  Yet the word, in its true sense, uncorrupted by its explicit defense of violence and politically reactionary movements, conveys what is desperately needed in our post-modern, post-colonial world – an appeal to garner the strength necessary to defeat the enemies of the Jewish people, and not to submit to moral relativism, cynicism or defeatism.

Resistance to the allure of intellectual fads of our day, which serve to weaken our resolve to defend progressive democracies more broadly, and the Jewish democratic state in particular – the radical chic pose which Harriet Sherwood and her political fellow travelers have so cravenly succumb to – represents “resistance” that true progressives should rightfully be engaged in, and is the broader objective of the fierce battles our blog (me and my loyal colleagues) are engaged in daily.

A Guardianista trips down MEMRI lane

A guest post by AKUS

If there is one thing guaranteed to get the average Guardian Israel-basher frothing and foaming in futile fury at the keyboard, it is to cite a video clip from the Israeli organization, MEMRI.

For those not familiar with MEMRI, it is an organization that records and translates broadcasts and press reports from the Arabic and Persian language media, demonstrating for the English speaker the constant stream of anti-Semitic and often genocidal language directed at Israel and Jews used in Moslem media and presented to Arab and Iranian audiences.

The average Guardianista apparently prefers to believe that these literal translations from Arabic and Farsi are created from whole cloth by the world-wide Zionist conspiracy and dismisses them as “Zionist propaganda”, in a brilliant example of Orwellian or Huxleyian inversion of the truth.

I was amused, therefore to encounter the following comment:

Curious, I wanted to learn what that person left behind, and clicking on the link took me to this video from MEMRI:

It is, in fact a hilarious Libyan equivalent of “Baghdad Bob”.

To call this example of clumsily reported and amateurishly filmed paranoia a parody would hardly do it justice. It is another magnificent example of the tendency of many in the Arab world to believe in the wildest conspiracy theories.

While oivejoivej seems to ignore Israel (file under “Amazing but true”) it was amusing that a view of at least this facet of Arab media was apparent in this trip down MEMRI lane.

MEMRI is so often vilified by Guardianistas as a descent into the Hades of Zionist propaganda as they try to avoid the truth of those attacking Israel that it is a pleasure to see it inadvertently recognized for the authoritative source it is in revealing what is being broadcast in the Moslem world!

Harriet Sherwood erroneously places Knesset on Arab Farmland

This is cross posted by Simon Plosker at Backspin, the blog of Honest Reporting.

Only yesterday I blogged the BBC’s video report on the Arab village of Lifta, located at the western entrance to Jerusalem and abandoned since 1948. Within 48 hours of the BBC’s report, the Guardian has also published its own story and video.

Is this an amazing coincidence or is this an obvious demonstration of the similarity in the agendas of both the BBC and Guardian?

Both media outlets seem determined to bring the focus of the Arab-Israeli conflict back to the events of 1947/8 – a tactic employed by the Palestinians to present Israel as being “born in sin” and responsible for the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians and the creation of the refugee problem.

The fact that one Yacoub Odeh is the former Lifta resident guiding the BBC’s Wyre Davies and the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood separately would suggest that this “tour” was a well-organized effort offered to the international media and eagerly picked up by those outlets sympathetic to the Palestinian narrative from 1948.

But where does Sherwood get her information from? She states:

“Out of sight of Lifta’s ruins, but built on its former farmlands are the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the supreme court, the Hadassah hospital, the Hebrew University and the city’s central bus station.”

In fact, the Knesset was built on land leased from the Greek Orthodox Church and not Lifta’s farmlands. The Knesset, Supreme Court and Hebrew University are located in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Ram, which prior to the 1948 war, was known as the village of Sheikh Badr and not Lifta’s farmland.

As for Hadassah Hospital, is Sherwood referring to Hadassah Mount Scopus in the north of Jerusalem or Hadasah Ein Kerem in the south west of the city? Either way, both are located a considerable distance from Lifta and could not possibly have been part of its farmland prior to 1948.

According to Sherwood then, it appears that entire swathes of Jerusalem were actually built on Lifta’s farmland.

Looks like Sherwood’s lack of fact checking has been caught out.

But this isn’t surprising as Yacoub Odeh is given carte blanche to push the Naqba narrative and both the Guardian and BBC are prepared to accept this at face value.

So is this a story that pits development against the preservation of historical memory or is it really all about the right of Jews to build in Jerusalem, even in the western part of the city?

Considering that the BBC and Guardian both refer to Arab East Jerusalem and make no secret of their opinion that Jews should not be a part of the landscape there, it’s no surprise that even the western “Jewish” side of Jerusalem is now apparently part of the discussion.

(Also, see OyVaGoy’s post on Sherwood’s enormous mistake, here.)

The myth of “historically Arab” East Jerusalem

This video was produced by Honest Reporting.

Per Honest Reporting’s Simon Plosker:

“How the media report on Jerusalem has a tremendous impact on public policy. The Palestinian Authority is claiming that Jerusalem — including the Old City — will be “restored” to Arab control as capital of their new state.

The media stubbornly clings to the notion that there are two separate cities of Jerusalem, East and West, and that the eastern half, including the Western Wall in the Old City, lacks Jewish legitimacy.

Honest Reporting investigates the issue, including interviews with Jewish refugees from 1948.”

 

Guardian reader off-topic anti-Israel hate of the day

A CiF piece by Andrew Rawnsely, on the relationship between the U.S. and Britain, in the context of President Obama’s recent visit to the country, (What is the special relationship behind the barbecue bonhomie, May 29), which didn’t once even peripherally mention Israel or the Middle East, still managed to elicit this, which quickly garnered 49 Recommends.

In addition to the tortured syntax and redundant metaphors (so, the UK and U.S. are “servants” and “poodles”?!), its worth noting that this comment advances the hateful and absurd narrative that the small Jewish state is the “master”, controlling the behavior of great powers such as the U.S. and UK.

Though in fairness the comment was deleted shortly after I reported it, it’s important to note that the reader was advancing an argument extremely similar to one advanced in a Guardian approved CiF commentary by John Whitbeck in December in which he referred to America’s “slavish subservience to Israel.”

Fear not, though, because, after the CST complained that Whitbeck’s tropes were indistinguishable from anti-Semitic canards about the danger of Jewish power, the Guardian admitted guilt and removed the word “slavish” – establishing that “subservience to Israel” is just fine, but that “slavish subservience to Israel” runs afoul of their editorial guidelines.

My heart goes out to such readers as, given such mixed messages, it must be darn confusing for self-respecting Israel haters to know precisely when their animosity towards the Jewish state falls outside CiF’s “community standards.”

The Guardian at 190: The unauthorized biography

The Guardian has been celebrating their 190th birthday by reposting some of their more prominent older stories under the heading, “Moments that made the Guardian”:

So, as the Guardian’s capacity for self-criticism or reflection hasn’t been one of their greatest strengths, we thought we’d take an unauthorized look at some of the stories and commentaries they would likely soon forget.

In today’s installment, we’re taking you back to 2004, when the “world’s leading liberal voice” decided to give a platform to a deadly terrorist known as Osama Bin Laden, allowing the leader of the malevolent death cult known as Al-Qaeda the chance to urge his Guardian readers to pursue Jihad and resist the “Zionist-crusader chain of evil”:  

Subtle that OBL, wasnt’ he?

So while Harriet Sherwood is no doubt still stewing over The JC’s decision to publish an essay by a Jewish professor named Geoffrey Alderman, here’s what her liberal colleagues saw fit to post (under the heading of “comment”) merely seven and a half years ago, while NATO soldiers (and civilians) were being killed in large numbers by Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda affiliated, or inspired, groups. 

  • Osama bin Laden
  • The Guardian, Tuesday 6 January 2004 02.19 GMT

My message is to urge jihad to repulse the grand plots hatched against our nation, such as the occupation of Baghdad, under the guise of the search for weapons of mass destruction, and the fierce attempt to destroy the jihad in beloved Palestine by employing the trick of the road map and the Geneva peace initiative.

The Americans’ intentions have also become clear in statements about the need to change the beliefs and morals of Muslims to become more tolerant, as they put it.

In truth, this is a religious-economic war. The occupation of Iraq is a link in the Zionist-crusader chain of evil. Then comes the full occupation of the rest of the Gulf states to set the stage for controlling and dominating the whole world.

For the big powers believe that the Gulf and the Gulf states are the key to global control due to the presence of the largest oil reserves there. The situation is serious and the misfortune momentous.

The west’s occupation of our countries is old, but takes new forms. The struggle between us and them began centuries ago, and will continue. There can be no dialogue with occupiers except through arms. Throughout the past century, Islamic countries have not been liberated from occupation except through jihad. But, under the pretext of fighting terrorism, the west today is doing its utmost to besmirch this jihad, supported by hypocrites.

Jihad is the path, so seek it. If we seek to deter them with any means other than Islam, we would be like our forefathers, the Ghassanids [Arab tribes living under the Byzantine empire]. Their leaders’ concern was to be appointed kings and officers for the Romans in order to safeguard the interests of the Romans by killing their brothers, the peninsula’s Arabs.

Such is the case of the new Ghassanids, the Arab rulers. Muslims, if you do not punish them for their sins in Jerusalem and Iraq, they will defeat you. They will also rob you of the land of the two holy places [Saudi Arabia].

Today they have robbed you of Baghdad and tomorrow they will rob you of Riyadh unless God deems otherwise. What is the means to stop this tremendous onslaught? Some reformers maintain that all popular and government forces should unite to ward off this crusader-Zionist onslaught.

But the question strongly raised is: are the governments in the Islamic world capable of pursuing their duty to defend the faith and nation and renouncing all allegiance to the United States?

The calls by some reformers are strange. They say that the path to defending the homeland and people passes though the doors of those western rulers. I tell those reformers: if you have an excuse for not pursuing jihad, it does not give you the right to depend on the unjust. God does not need your flattery of dictators.

The Gulf states proved their total inability to resist the Iraqi forces [in 1990-1]. They sought help from the crusaders, led by the United States. These states then came to America’s help and backed it in its attack against an Arab state [Iraq in 2003].

These regimes submitted to US pressure and opened their air, land and sea bases to contribute towards the US campaign, despite the immense repercussions of this move. They feared that the door would be open for bringing down dictatorial regimes by armed forces from abroad, especially after they had seen the arrest of their former comrade in treason and agentry to the United States [Saddam Hussein] when it ordered him to ignite the first Gulf war against Iran, which rebelled against it.

The war plunged the area into a maze from which they have not emerged to this day. They are aware that their turn will come. They do not have the will to make the decision to confront the aggression. In short, the ruler who believes in the above-mentioned deeds cannot defend the country. Those who support the infidels over Muslims, and leave the blood, honour and property of their brothers to their enemy in order to remain safe, can be expected to take the same course against one another in the Gulf states.

Indeed, this principle is liable to be embraced within the state itself. And in fact the rulers have started to sell out the sons of the land by pursuing, imprisoning and killing them. This campaign has been part of a drive to carry out US orders.

Honest people concerned about this situation should meet away from the shadow of these oppressive regimes and declare a general mobilisation to prepare for repulsing the raids of the Romans, which started in Iraq and no one knows where they will end.

Harriet Sherwood, Egypt’s opening of its border with Gaza, and the photos not posted

The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood recently reported celebrated Egypt’s opening of the Rafah crossing to Palestinians in Gaza. How do I know Sherwood sees the opening of a border to citizens of a terrorist state as a positive thing? Well, here’s the accompanying photo:

In contrast, Sherwood’s lone passage on Israeli concerns that the opening of the border will result in an increase in deadly weapons into Gaza is this:

“Israel’s government has expressed concern that the reopening of the border will lead to the shipment of weapons and militants into Gaza…”

What’s instructive – especially in contrast with the personalization of Palestinians per the photo of the young boy – is that Israeli fears are never equally personalized, their concerns conveyed, at best, as mere abstractions.

Indeed, it wouldn’t have been difficult for Sherwood to note that the smuggling of weapons into Gaza (via state actors like Iran) is a very real and deadly reality.

Since the Egyptian “revolution”, and Mubarak’s departure, hundreds of rockets, capable of hitting targets within a 12-25 mile range, have been smuggled into the Gaza Strip, as have some 1,000 mortar shells, dozens of anti-tank missiles and tons of both explosives and explosive-manufacturing materials – according to the Shin Bet.

Regarding the Iranian made, Kornet anti-tank missiles,  here’s what they look like:

And, here’s the effect of such a missile on the yellow Israeli school bus targeted by Hamas in April.

And, here’s a picture of the Israeli teen killed in the attack – Daniel Aryeh ben Tamar.

Daniel died on April 17th, and it is instructive that neither Sherwood, nor any of her Guardian colleagues, have deemed it worthy to note his passing.

Unintentionally hilarious radical NGO fundraising letter of the day

Some NGO called the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information just sent out a frantic fundraising letter, which reads in part:

Dear Friends of IPCRI

The financial situation for the entire peace community in Israel and Palestine is become increasingly difficult.  Traditional supporters such as European governments and Foundations are being frightened away from funding these activities because of the aggressive work of groups like Im Tirtzu which try to intimidate organizations such as the New Israel Fund and its supporters, and from the intellectual terrorism of the NGO Monitor which frightens donors to shy away and even completely cease the funding of Israeli and Palestinian peace and human rights NGOs.

Boy, where to begin?  

First, the degree to which “the” NGO Monitor is indeed influencing the EU to reconsider their funding of radical NGOs who, far from promoting peace, routinely go well beyond their “humanitarian” mandate to engage in highly politicized campaigns to delegitimize and isolate the state of Israel is a cause for celebration – as accountability, the last time I checked, was still considered to be a progressive notion.

Also, its interesting how thin-skinned such groups are: large, wealthy, and powerful (EU funded) NGOs who apparently feel “intimidated” by one small watchdog group working to hold them accountable by engaging in such insidious tactics as releasing long, dry, well-researched, and generously footnoted monographs and, even on occasion, a sharply worded press release!   

Let there be no doubt, Gerald Steinberg’s academic ‘reign of terror’ is a chilling and ominous development, one which has evidently caused a profound and palpable sense of fear across the land. 

(Also, don’t forget to purchase your “intellectual terrorism” gear, here)

The Guardian’s increasing notoriety on the occasion of their 190th anniversary

H/T to Normblog for noting the Guardian’s self-congratulatory post  on their 190th anniversary (so sorry we missed the momentous occasion), in which they stated:

“The paper has essentially changed neither its ownership nor its character during its long life. “

Well, actually, the paper has changed quite dramatically over the years, considering the passionate Zionism of C.P. Scott, who was the paper’s editor from 1872 until 1929 and its owner from 1907 until his death in 1932.

Per the Centre for Jewish Studies at The University of Manchester:

“The editor of the Manchester Guardian was the liberal and high-minded CP Scott, who had been a Liberal MP from 1895-1906, and with whom nationalism was a tradition and a passion. Scott first met [Zionist leader, and Israel's first President, Chaim] Weizmann and was won over by him at a party held by the chairman of a medical clinic in which Vera Weizmann was working. Familiar with all the influential personalities in English public life, he was a tremendous asset to the Zionist cause, and through his introductions Weizmann was able to converse with Lloyd George, Lord Balfour, Herbert Samuel, and other leading members of the government. It was Scott who argued for the potential importance of Weizmann’s discovery regarding the manufacture of acetone, and who leaked to Weizmann details of the embryonic Sykes-Picot agreement (secret Anglo-French negotiations on how to divide up the Ottoman Empire, including Palestine, after the War). Scott was also the first member to join the British-Palestine Committee, the Manchester organisation that founded the Zionist publication Palestine.

A later editor, WP Crozier, similarly supported Zionism. By this time, Weizmann was in London and it was the historian Lewis Namier who maintained the strong links between the Manchester Zionists and the Guardian. Crozier denounced Hitler’s policy along with Britain’s refusal to give refuge or protection to the German refugees, and MacDonald’s White Paper (1939) which severely limited immigration into Palestine.

As Norm succinctly noted, as blatantly obvious evidence of the paper’s dramatic ideological transformation:

“the [Guardian's] recent willingness to give space to people either justifying or setting out an apologia for terrorist murder; or its provision of space for the dramatic presentation of old anti-Semitic tropes.

Indeed, the Guardian’s transformation into the cesspool of anti-Zionism it has become is more appalling in the context of their audacity to continue using an image of Scott on their ‘Comment is Free’ masthead. 

Normblog joins an increasing number of commentators who understand just how far the Guardian has fallen –  a well-deserved notoriety which no amount of pomp or polemical sophistry can erase.