Why is an essay on alleged Israeli racism in the “Jewish Belief” section of ‘Comment is Free’?


I recently commented (here) on an Oct. 25th CiF essay by Kapil Komireddi (Israel and India: A relationship deepened by prejudice) which again demonstrated that, for the anti-Zionist left, even the most benign Israeli act, policy, or alliance can be contorted to impute maximum malice to the Jewish state.  

Specifically, Komirredi argued that Israel’s increasingly close diplomatic and military ties with democratic India was based on the shared value of “Islamophobia”.

But, also of note is that CiF editors decided to place Komireddi’s assault on Israel on the CiF Judaism page.

Whatever Komireddi’s take on Israel, he didn’t once mention Judaism or the state’s Jewish character.

Do CiF editors think that Israel’s alleged racism can be reasonably construed as commentary on the nature of Judaism itself, as Deborah Orr argued?

Nor, however, does Orr represent the only example of the Guardian licensing such a view.  As Anthony Julius wrote in a letter published by the Guardian about the play Seven Jewish Children, which, he noted, is still available at the Guardian’s website, the play includes the following:

“Tell her we killed the babies by mistake / Don’t tell her anything about the army.” “Tell her I look at one of their children covered in blood and what do I feel? Tell her all I feel is happy it’s not her.” “Tell her I wouldn’t care if we wiped them out.” “Tell her I don’t care if the world hates us, tell her we’re better haters, tell her we’re chosen people.” [emphasis mine]

As Julius concludes in his letter:

“In this play, Jews confess to lying to their own children and killing Palestinian children. They also confess to something close to a project of genocide. And they freely acknowledge the source of their misanthropy to be Judaism itself…None of [which] seems to bother the Guardian.” [emphasis mine]

While one could certainly not be blamed for failing to see a pattern, while contextualizing the Guardian each and every day I simply don’t think the placement of Komireddi’s essay on the Jewish state’s racism, the availability of the play Seven Jewish Children on their website, and Orr’s attack on “the chosen” can be seen outside of the Guardian’s shameful record of publishing essays and letters from unrepentant antisemites.

Finally, an unbridled and chilling assault on Israel’s moral legitimacy written by the Guardian’s David Hearst, in August, “Could Arab staying power ultimately defeat Zionism?“, concluded with the query of whether Israel will be “a democracy or a supremacist state?” [emphasis mine]

Whether these examples represent a pattern in the Guardian’s understanding of Judaism itself is, at the very least, an important question, as the narrative of Jews (and/or Judaism) as inherently racist or supremacist has a dark and odious intellectual history – one which those dedicated to fighting antisemitism can not afford to breezily ignore. 

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