Guardian’s Afghan sugar-coat: More disinformation on ethnic cleansing of Jews from Muslim lands

This is cross posted by Bataween at the blog, Point of No Return

Jewish cemetery in Herat, Afghanistan

If there was an Oscar awarded for ‘chutzpah’ (cheek), Nushin Arbabzadah’s article yesterday on the Guardian ‘s website Comment is Free would probably win it hands-down.

The ‘story of the Afghan Jews is one of remarkable tolerance’ belongs in the realm of fiction, rather than on a newspaper of record. You might as well say water is not wet. Hitler was not evil. There was no historic antisemitism in Afghanistan.

The author builds a fantasy that Jews were pretty much like other Afghans – conservative, patriarchal. Because of their cosy isolation, Afghan Jews were shielded from antisemitism. Antisemitism was something, Nushin implies, that came from the ouside.

The piece begins with the author’s own personal experience of Jews during the era of the Soviet occupation, a time when only a few hundred Jews still lived in Afghanistan. Nushin had a clever, blond Jewish classmate whose household was accused of immorality for letting a man into the home (presumably a Shabbat goy) on Shabbat. The inference is that such religious bigotry had suddenly sprung out of nowhere to prepare the ground for the fundamentalist era of the Taliban.

Then Nushin drops the bombshell: the Afghan antisemitism she witnessed was not representative.

“From a historical perspective, the story of the Afghan Jews is a tale of remarkable tolerance. It may seem hard to believe today, but historically it was Afghanistan to which Jews turned to when escaping religious persecution in Iran and central Asia. It was in the dusty, ancient cities of Herat and Kabul, to the west and the east of Afghanistan, that they found freedom to practise their faith without getting murdered in the process. A community of leather and karakul merchants, poor people and money lenders alike, the large Jewish families mostly lived in the border city of Herat, while the families’ patriarchs travelled back and forth on trading trips, moving between Iran, Afghanistan, India and central Asia on the ancient silk road.”

Thankfully, a few Guardian commenters are quick to point out that as dhimmis, Jews had wear black turbans distinguishing them from Muslims and were subject to the usual strictures of sharia law, paying the jizya or poll tax in order to buy the protection of the authorities. Although Jews have lived in Afghanistan for 2,500 years, arriving as part of the Babylonian diaspora, they were wiped out in the 13th century by the Mongols and were never in Afghanistan in great numbers. Iman Allah Khan (1919 – 1929) worked to break the power of the religious authorities, but it was only under the relatively enlightened Nadir Shah (1929 – 33) that the jizya and discriminatory signs were abolished.

There was one brief demonstration of ‘remarkable tolerance’ in the 19th century: Nushin is correct that there was a short term influx of Jews fleeing from Persia, where the Muslim authorities had begun to aggressively persecute them and forcibly convert the Jews of Meshed to Islam, quickly bringing Afghanistan’s Jewish population up to 40,000. But all this changed in 1870 when many Jews left Afghanistan and the Muslim authorities enacted anti-Jewish measures.

Nushin then drops another bombshell:

“The Afghans’ isolation from the rest of the world was a blessing in disguise for the Jewish community because being cut off from global political trends meant that ordinary Afghans were untouched by the raging, European-led, antisemitism of the early 20th century. Even at the height of the Nazi influence in Kabul of the 1930s, it was Afghan nationalism rather than antisemitism that led the government to introduce economic measures that bankrupted Jewish money-lending families.”

In 1933, following the assassination of Nadir Shah there was an anti-Jewish backlash and Jews were banished from most Afghan cities, limiting them to Kabul, Balkh or Herat. It is true that Nazi-inspired nationalism victimised the Jews in the Thirties (stripping them of citizenship, preventing them from settling in the north, and imposing swingeing taxes), but there is only one way to describe the Sh’ite riots in Herat in 1935 and other violence against the Jews until 1944, accompanied by incitement by Musim clerics, forced conversions to Islam, rape of women, girls and boys:

Good old-fashioned antisemitism, much of it religiously-inspired.

“The laws affecting the Jewish community were soon removed and in the following decades Afghanistan was the only Muslim country that allowed Jewish families to immigrate without revoking their citizenship first. When Afghan Jews left the country en masse in the 1960s, their exile to New York and Tel Aviv was motivated by a search for a better life but not because of religious persecution.”

Some 4000 out of 5,000 left in 1951 shortly after the foundation of the state of Israel, not in the 1960s, as Nushin states.

What ‘remarkable tolerance': Afghanistan did not revoke emigrating Jews’ citizenship. Yet for years Jews had not been allowed to move from city to city, let alone leave the country.

The trials and tribulations of the remaining community did not cease. One can safely assume that persecution and discrimination were a key factor in their subsequent departure. In an echo of the Jizya, Jews had to pay a tax (harbiya) not because they were exempt, but because they were excluded from military service. In 1955, a young girl, Tova Shamualoff, was kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam. After the Six-Day War the authorities had to call out the army to protect the remaining 300 Jews. Now there is a single, solitary Jew in the country.

Call that tolerance?

A case about the torture & murder of a Palestinian in the W. Bank the Guardian won’t report

A guest post by AKUS

The Guardian never misses an opportunity to publish one-sided articles about what it perceives as abuses Arabs living on the West Bank suffer at the hands of Israelis. Although the mindless Harriet Sherwood has picked up the baton, one of her predecessors was Chris McGreal, now the Guardian’s Washington correspondent. McGreal was responsible for the fabrications the Guardian has repeated whenever an opportunity arose that Israel provided the apartheid-era South African government with nuclear weapons. He still contributes to negative articles about Israel from his desk in Washington.

Oddly enough, McGreal seems to have missed the following fascinating story occurring a few blocks from his office in Washington – one he would never overlook, I am sure, if any of the actors were Israelis.

The Supreme Court of the United States has been asked to rule on a request for damages in a human rights case brought before it by the family of a naturalized US citizen tortured and murdered by representatives of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO on the West Bank.

Azzam Rahim was born on the West Bank. He emigrated to the US in the 1970s and became a naturalized US citizen. After the Oslo accords were signed in 1993 he would periodically revisit the village where he was born, only to become yet another victim of those accords.

According to his family, Rahim was with his 20-year old son Shahid in a café in his village in 1995 when he was taken away by a group of four men who represented themselves as Palestinian policemen. According to his son, they were PA intelligence officers. Whatever their true motives, Shahid has said that they claimed that they wanted Rahim to identify some stolen jewelry. Two days later Rahim’s body was returned after he died in their custody in Jericho. The report of his torture and death was confirmed by the US Department of State.

According to a report in National Public Radio, he had suffered horrifying torture:

“The first thing I saw was cigarette burns all over his body,” Shahid says. “The bottom of his feet, his chest, his stomach, his hands.” His face and body were badly bruised, and his ribs broken.

Three intelligence officers were sentenced for their role in the case. Two were sentenced to one-year terms and one for seven years. Rather light terms for torture and murder by any standard.

The family has sued the Palestinian Authority and the PLO for damages under the “Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991” (TVPA). However, lawyers for the PA and PLO have used a quirk of the law to defend their clients against the charges. The Act refers only to “individuals” –i.e., “natural persons”. Therefore, they argue, it cannot be applied to organizations such as the Palestinian Authority and the PLO.  The family’s suit was dismissed by a lower court on those grounds, and they have appealed to the Supreme Court.

It appears that based on a technicality in the wording of the law the PA and the PLO have a case, as ludicrous as it may seem to anyone with a modicum of common sense. The relevant section is given in the family’s filing to the Supreme Court, a copy of which can be found here, and reads:

“Sec. 2. Establishment of civil action.

“(a) Liability. An individual who, under actual or apparent authority, or color of law, of any foreign nation

“(1) subjects an individual to torture shall, in a civil action, be liable for damages to that individual; or

“(2) subjects an individual to extrajudicial killing shall, in a civil action, be liable for damages to the individual’s legal representative, or to any person who may be a claimant in an action for wrongful death.

It is not at all clear that the Supreme Court will rule against the PA and PLO, even unwillingly. This despite the fact that clearly the law was enacted to allow redress to victims of torture and extra-judicial killings or their families. In fact, Rahim’s family’s petition to the Supreme Court points out that:

Though TVPA § 2(a) refers to an action against “[a]n individual,” district courts in the Eleventh Circuit, and the Eleventh Circuit itself have explicitly held that a TVPA action may be brought against organizational defendants.

If this were not the case, damages could be limited, in this case as an example, to what a PA police or intelligence officer could pay rather than the damages that could be extracted from the organization that employs him and that he holds himself out to represent.

One can only imagine how McGreal, Sherwood, and the Guardian would have pounced on an issue like this had it involved Israelis. We have seen them printing article after article about a terrorist’s hunger strike as an example of Israeli “brutality”, yet clear torture and murder by the PA and PLO seems to go unnoticed.

The journalists’ anti-Israeli omerta (code of silence) against Palestinian misdeeds will continue to be scrupulously observed by the Guardian and its representatives (and other MSM journalists with an anti-Israeli agenda) to preserve access to stories, real or fictional, in the West Bank, Gaza, or Israel that can be used to blacken Israel’s name, as Stephanie Gutmann pointed out in her book “The Other War”.

Antisemitism below the line at CiF: Jewish control of US policy, & Jews’ insidious practice of usury

Simon Tisdall’s “Drumbeat of war with Iran has a familiar sound“, CiF, Feb. 24, included these passages:

A recent analysis of US public opinion revealed deeply ambivalent attitudes on Iran, with the majority of Americans apparently favouring diplomatic solutions. Yet as Republican presidential candidates exploit the issue, as the Israelis lobby America, and as Iranian factions manoeuvre ahead of parliamentary polls, the likelihood grows that doves and doubters will again be either converted or ignored.

Netanyahu’s belief that Israel faces an imminent, existential threat is visceral rather than fact-based.

Tisdall’s piece elicited this on the Gaza “concentration camp” and the Jewish state’s violation of the Ten Commandments. 

Ed Husain’s CiF commentary, “GOP debate foreign policy: prolific proliferators of confusion“, warned that GOP Presidential candidates’ bellicose rhetoric on the Iranian nuclear issue was evidence of an “Israel-centric” bias.

Husain’s piece elicited these:

On Israel’s manipulation of U.S. government policy, and a bonus reference to the conspiratorial belief, still popular among antisemitic sites, that Israel intentionally sank the USS Liberty.

Zionist lobbies dictate what the US believes about the Middle East.

Another commenter on Zionist control of U.S. foreign policy.

Finally, there was ‘sThe story of the Afghan Jews is one of remarkable tolerance“, Feb. 28, which included this passage:

The Afghans’ isolation from the rest of the world was a blessing in disguise for the Jewish community because being cut off from global political trends meant that ordinary Afghans were untouched by the raging, European-led, antisemitism of the early 20th century. Even at the height of the Nazi influence in Kabul of the 1930s, it was Afghan nationalism rather than antisemitism that led the government to introduce economic measures that bankrupted Jewish money-lending families.

Arbabzadah’s piece elicited this, on the Jewish practice of usury, and the Jewish domination of the financial industry.

JFFS (Jews For a Free Scotland) Supports A Million Jew March on Edinburgh

A guest post by AKUS

I have always felt disadvantaged by not having a cause for which I can claim to be an activist. I’ve always wondered where that college or university is that hands out those degrees in “activism” or “human rights-ism” that so many who own computers seem to claim.

Well, thanks to the Washington Post, Scotland moves toward vote on independence, I’ve found a cause I can support as an activist – freedom from the British occupation of Scotland.

I can activize for the poor Scots – a small, much maligned group, even though some have been infiltrated by foreign elements such as the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (Scotland) and the City Council of down-trodden little towns like Dumbarton which are more concerned about the Arabs on the West Bank than the centuries-long suffering of the Scots under the British jackboot, to use a phrase culled one from the Guardian’s one-time favorite contributors.

Actually, not only am I supporting the cause – I have created my own movement – Jews For a Free Scotland, aka JFFS.

(You may wonder why a Jew with no connection to Scotland is concerned about Scottish independence and suffering.  Well, if Scots can worry about the Palestinians, isn’t it time that “as-a-Jew” I worried about the Scots? We can’t rely only on the bicycle riders to do so.)

I originally thought the pool from which I want to draw my activist support would be more clearly understood if I called my movement JewsFFS but I know there are the cruder minds who might misinterpret the last three letters, so had to go for the briefer JFFS. Such is life in the world of NGO acronymology. However, as a benefit, JFFS is short and the “J” is probably clear to all activists and human rights people. No-one would misinterpret “IJV” as “Idiotic Jewish Voices” just because that group of three or four liberal Jews wants to destroy Israel.

As the first step, so to speak, my movement is going to create and promote the “Million Jew March on Edinburgh” (“MJME”, pronounced “MiJeMe”, for short). If I can raise the funds (donate via CiFWatch), I will soon be coming to a city near you wearing a tartan tallit to skirl up support for the Million Jew March on Edinburgh. I have created a banner for the cause:

 

(In case, like most people who can’t find Israel on a map, you do not know where Scotland is, it’s the shown here as the reddish tartan area on the background of a green tartan sea at the top of England. It’s been occupied by Britain since about the time of Edward the Confessor, though formally incorporated in 1707. England insists on showing it on a map from La Manche to the Scandinavian Sea as part of what Queen Anne of Scotland referred to as the one-state solution. There are also enclaves of occupied Welsh and Irish people crammed into two of the world’s largest and miserably wet open-air prisons to the West of England).

We (well, I, at this time) encourage Scots of all clans and faiths, to join our (well, my) Million Jew March on Edinburgh (MJME). We are a democratic movement open to all activists and human rights organizers who are dedicated to the overthrow of the British occupation of Scotland and who feel the Scots, like the Jews, deserve a state of their own.

I specially call on liberal British Jews such as the Roses, the Klugs, Tony Lerman, Jonathan Freedland, etc. for support and contributions (monetary) for the MJME.

The movement is also open to groups such as “Scottish Jews For A Just Peace”, (SJJP – yes, you know what one of the “J”s stands for!) since “as-Jews” they should extend their support from merely supporting remote Palestinian causes (“Jewish opinions critical of Israeli policy to be heard in Scotland”) to supporting a movement focused on an occupation closer to home: “Jewish opinions critical of British policy to be heard in Scotland”.

Hopefully, numerous two or three-man (and women) Jewish groups who spend so much time worrying about how to destroy Israel and promoting a Million Man March on Jerusalem as their major concern will be able to spare a little thought for those suffering so close to their own homes in Scotland, Hampstead, Oxford, and Cambridge and how to destroy the United Kingdom and join the Million Jew March on Edinburgh.

We (I) draw inspiration from the words of “Scotland-Firster” Alistair Hunter, a 54-year-old nationalist working for the city of Edinburgh quoted in the Washington Post.

“I tell ye, I’m not the kind to wear a kilt at weddings, but I am Scottish before I am British and I know a good many of us want our rightful independence back.”

From Hadrian’s Wall to the North Sea – Scotland Shall be Free!


Mavi Marmara’s Ken O’Keefe compares Jews to Nazis at Middlesex Univ. Event: The Footage.

Cross posted by our friend Richard Millett

Tonge stays silent at Middlesex University after O'Keefe's horrendous attack on Jews.

Here is the footage from last Thursday’s anti-Israel event at Middlesex University in Hendon, which I blogged about here, when Ken O’Keefe compared Jews to Nazis. Proof, if it was ever needed, that these events are held more out of spite against Jews than out of any concern for the Palestinians.

The event was sponsored by Interpal whose website asks you to “donate” or “sponsor” in order to “join in our efforts to help Palestinians in need”. If only.

Equally disturbing is that Jenny Tonge, a British Parliamentarian, sat on the panel next to O’Keefe all night and stayed silent after O’Keefe’s attack on Jews and his accusation later on when he blamed Israel for 9/11.

There has also been a deafening silence from Middlesex University. No doubt they will explain it all away as “freedom of speech”.

(thanks to Harry’s Place for the edit)

Guardian Proletariat Hotel: Accommodations for the 99%, managed by the 1% (A visual guide)

A huge H/T to Armaros

Harry’s Place alerted us earlier in the week that the Guardian is thinking about developing a hotel concept. 

A bible in every room, just like in traditional American hotels:

However, upon closer examination:

Or, to those who find Marxist inspired liberation theology too rigid, a masters class on the secular faith of the Guardian Left by Charolette Simpson may be more to your liking.

 

The Seumas suite is really special. It has a signed photo of Stalin and a rice cup rumoured to have been used by Mao himself. It also has a Ukrainian flag with Stalins portrait over it reading ” what Holdomor?”

 

One cannot go by without visiting the Tisdall Sudan Suite located at the bottom floor.

 

When filled with falafel, Janjaweed cafe and Taliban grill specials, one can work out at the Richard Gott exercise room. There guests can have a real reformation experience. Instead of weights, thread mills and medicine balls, one can shovel coal, break marble stones and carry wood to the freezer wearing striped pajamas.

 

The Galloway cigar lounge is also a must visit. There one can sample the finest tobacco products Gorgeous George endorsed.  Mostly Cuban cigars but lets not forget that the shisha can be shared with guests from the Iran room.

 

The Ben White Chapel is available for BDS-compliant secular services.

 

Tea with Gilad, every Sunday!

 

Don’t forget to visit the Guardian Hotel Gift Shop, where you can find ideological kitsch and education gifts galore!

Memorabilia from the Gaza flotilla.

 

Coffee Mugs:

 

Children’s Toys!

 

Boost your child’s imagination with additional replacement figures:-

  • Zionist occupier/collaborator
  • Generic capitalist exploiter

“Beat the imperialist enemy” is an award winning education toy.

 

And, a great selection of educational children’s cartoons in each room are run in a continuous loop. (Seen here, the East German classic, “Worker and Parasite”)

Denis MacEeoin blasts the Guardian’s Seumas Milne, de facto spokesman for Iranian regime

See Anne’s cross post at CiF Watch for more analysis on Seumas Milne’s Feb. 21 CiF essay vilifying Israel and the US for even contemplating military action to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, but the prolific Denis MacEoin has written a letter to the Guardian on Milne’s piece which we’re posting with his permission. 

In my original draft email to MacEoin I qualified my request to publish his letter by first noting that we would only post it at our blog if the Guardian didn’t do so.  

Then, I deleted that passage upon thinking about it for a few seconds, and realizing that the probability of the thin-skinned “liberal” broadsheet running such an unapologetic rhetorical assault on their Marxist-inspired Associate Editor was as almost zero.

So, here’s MacEeoin letter he submitted to the Guardian. 

Dear Sir,

Seumas Milne writes (An attack on Iran would be an act of criminal stupidity’, 21 February): ‘If an attack is launched by Israel or the US, it would not just be an act of criminal aggression, but of wanton destructive stupidity’. Why does this man, who has a lifetime’s hatred for Israel, thrust his dangerous opinions on us in this way? Why does he go to such lengths to defend Iran, with its high levels of  execution and torture, its mistreatment of women, its gross persecution of an indigenous religious community, and its aggressive behaviour towards  half the world, its criminal aggression through the support of terrorism, and, above all, its official denial of the Holocaust and its repeated threats to annihilate (qal’ o qam’ kard) Israel. Milne acts as a spokesman for this criminal regime, yet never has a good word to say about Israel, a country with one of the best human rights records in the world, that gives equal status to women, to gays, to all its ethnic minorities, and to all its religious minorities, a country that has never taken aggressive action against any of its enemies, but has fought back heroically against the bigots and the anti-Semitic mobs who have done their best to destroy it by brute force. I am tired of people like Milne who invert the very principle of human rights, who support dictatorships, who call black white and white black, who see the victim as the aggressor and the bully as the hero. Milne himself faces no threats here in the UK, but condemns Israelis, who face the prospect of genocide from a regime that seeks actively for the return of the Twelfth Imam and the apocalypse that will follow hard on its heels.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Denis MacEoin
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE2 2HT

Prepared talk by US State Dep’t consultant in Qatar: On racist, skinhead-embracing Jewish state

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, addressing the International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem in Qatar on Sunday called on Muslims to go to Jerusalem and confront Israel’s accelerated efforts to “Judaize the city”.

The conference’s aims, per their website, includes

…pointing out the weaknesses of the Jew’s historical arguments backing their claims to the holy city. Of paramount importance is the disclosure of Israel’s deeds at falsifying History and archeology by means of destruction, omission, modification and fabrication of historical and archeological facts.

Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, at Qatar Jerusalem Conference http://www.qatarconferences.org/jerusalem/photo_gallery2.php?id=gallery/01

That there is yet another coordinated effort by the Arab world to delegitimize Israel and erase the Jewish connection to Jerusalem isn’t at all surprising. 

However, included in the list of conference participants – a who’s who of Arab leaders, Islamists, and others committed to the end of the Jewish state – is an American named Kenneth Raymond Insley, described as a consultant for the U.S. Department of State.

Insley’s LinkedIn profile notes that he is currently Director of Public Diplomacy at Capital Communications Group, Inc, (CCG) which, according to their website, “organizes briefings, workshops and seminars on the structure of U.S. government…with special emphasis on foreign, defense and trade policies.”

Among the clients CCG highlights (which include several Arab governments, as well as the PLO Mission in Washington, DC) are quite a few U.S. government agencies and departments, including the Department of State.

The following are Insley’s prepared remarks for the original Qatar Jerusalem conference which was to take place in February 2011postponed till this week due to the political upheavals in the region erupting at the time:

“Most Americans are unaware of the impact its overwhelming support for Israel, while simultaneously turning a blind eye to their shameful treatment of Palestinians in Gaza, and in Jerusalem, has caused their country be viewed more negatively in the Arab world than all the positive contributions it has done for the Arab world combined.”

Other passages in Insley’s speech include the suggestion that “US politicians care more about Israel than the foreign policy interests of their own country” and the argument that the US “blindly supports Israel no matter which government is in power”.

Insley also warned, darkly:

“It is now well understood by almost everyone that either Israel will cease to be a democratic state, or a Jewish one, because it can’t have both without the creation of a Palestinian state…or it will lead to Armageddon.”

Here are other passages from Insley’s prepared remarks, as they appear in context, from the online Google document:

Insley then added:

“Perhaps it is understandable to be perceived as racist when you are considered by some in the world to be God’s own ‘chosen people’…” 

Finally, Insley noted in his speech that he has, for the past decade, “coordinated international exchanges with State Department delegations”.

Evidently the style of hateful, demonizing vitriolic rhetoric about Jews and Israel which is endemic in the Arab and Muslim world has gained a foothold in Washington, DC.  

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announcing Global March to Jerusalem

See Hadar Sela’s reports (here, here and here) for more background on the other extremists and terror supporters organizing the upcoming (March 30th) Global March to Jerusalem.

Tweeting for Khader: Octavia Nasr’s latest terrorist crush

Following the death of the Lebanese Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, one of the original spiritual guides of Hezbollah, CNN senior Middle East affairs editor Octavia Nasr Tweeted the following.

Despite an attempt at an apology, Nasr was subsequently fired by the network, which released a statement noting that Nasr’s “credibility…as senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs has been compromised going forward.”  You think?!

Just to be clear, the Hezbollah leader Nasr was Tweeting support for was an unequivocal supporter of suicide bombing against Israeli civilians, had issued a fatawa justifying the suicide bombing which attacked the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, and was a Holocaust revisionist.

A year or so after the incident, during an interview with Asharq Al-Awssat (an Arabic international newspaper based in London), Nasr blamed, yes, the “Zionist lobby” for her dismissal, a narrative echoed by the Guardian’s Brian Whitaker in a CiF column he wrote shortly after Nasr was fired.

Yet, the brave Octavia Nasr, clearly undeterred by the powerful Zionist forces aligned against her, recently Tweeted support for her latest terrorist crush – Islamic Jihad leader Khader Adnan.

Then, CiF Watch commented:

Nasr’s reply:

Another Tweet to us by Nasr, declaring the conversation over:

Our reply:

Then there was this:

Who did she block? After noticing that she was no longer listed as someone we were following, I tried to follow her, only to find this:

After being axed by CNN for a pro-Hezbollah Tweet, no doubt Ms. Nasr is a wee bit sensitive about being called out again for shilling on behalf of a terrorist.

Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad are worthy of her sympathy,  but CiF Watch is evidently a hate site.

If Octavia Nasr didn’t exist the “Zionist lobby” would SO have to invent her. 

Zionist Floral-Washing? A CiF Watch critic’s query on ‘Israeli Occupied’ Palestinian flowers

As loyal followers of this blog know, we have been publishing “Postcards from Israel” each Friday for the past few weeks, posts based on photos taken by Israelinurse  – virtual trips to different destinations, highlighting the diverse and eclectic beauty of the country.

Here’s a photo from the most recent edition on Israeli wild flowers.

Yet, despite the completely apolitical nature of such posts, one of our blog’s critics’ (who lurks beneath the line using the moniker “mostly harmless”) had this to say regarding the photos from the latest post.

Yes, clearly mostly harmless was able to see through Israelinurse’s supremely cynical Zionist hasbara tactic of FLORAL-WASHING.

Moreover, our critic’s query does raise some interesting questions which, though beyond my expertise, UNRWA’s Chris Gunness may wish to address – such as:

What is the precise population of indigenous Palestinian flora (and their descendants)?

Do they have a ‘right of return’?

And, finally, how many flowers, given the forced seed dispersal following the 1948 War (aka, the Plantae Nakba), can legitimately claim refugee status?

I imagine that such previously taboo discussions regarding Israeli cruelty will now give way to a new BDS protest movement.

Guardian’s false accusation of “false accusations of antisemitism”

This essay is cross posted by Mark Gardner at the blog of the CST

The Jewish community has probably had more run-ins with the Guardian than every other British newspaper combined. This matters on two levels: emotionally, because the Guardian exemplifies the kind of liberalism that many Jews instinctively feel; and, politically, because of the moral tone that the Guardian sets within British life.

In recent years, Jewish upset has been exacerbated by the Guardian’s Comment is Free (CiF) website, which carries many more articles than the print edition; and is fundamental to the paper’s future.

CiF’s initial growth was tarnished by failures to adequately moderate readers’ comments underneath the actual articles. After much effort, this was largely remedied. Nevertheless, from a Jewish perspective at least, problems persist with the actual CiF articles themselves.

It was refreshing to see CiF recently feature a particularly spiky anti-antisemitism piece by Tanya Gold, but last week it reverted to type with a particularly poor and offensive article by Rachel Shabi. Its title claimed to reveal how “Israel’s rightwing defenders” make false accusations of antisemitism.

Shabi is welcome to her opinion, but after all the grief between the Jewish community and the Guardian, you might hope that they would hesitate before publishing such a shabby piece of work. Its extremely ugly headline and sub-headline (see below) are plain insensible; it has utterly inadequate levels of proof; it has utterly partial summaries of the sources that it links to; and it refuses to acknowledge that opposition to the phrase “Israel firsters” might be something other than an evil deception to defend Israel.

Shabi’s article can be read here. The title and subtitle:

False accusations of antisemitism desensitise us to the real thing.

Attacks on the New York Times’s new Jerusalem correspondent undermine the credibility of Israel’s rightwing defenders.

So, surely the article is about how the NY Time’s new Jerusalem correspondent has been falsely accused of antisemitism by “Israel’s rightwing defenders”?

Well, no actually. The article’s first three paragraphs deal with the new correspondent, Jodi Rudoren. Shabi claims Rudoren has been called an “anti-Zionist”, but there is no mention here by Shabi of antisemitism, none whatsoever. The word doesn’t feature, nor in any of the three articles linked to by Shabi’s article (here and here and here). It isn’t even hinted at in any of them. The headline and sub-headline are simply wrong and insensible. This, despite their being so provocative and insulting.

Less importantly, the word “anti-Zionist” appears in quotation marks, as if this is what Rudoren has been called. No source is given for this claim. Click on the links provided by Shabi’s article, and you still won’t find it: you’ll find criticism of Rudoren, strong criticism of whom she has tweeted with, people saying she gives the impression of being partial, but you won’t find the simple “anti-Zionist” accusation –  and, I repeat, far less anything mentioning antisemitism.

The closest you’ll find to a plain “anti-Zionist” accusation is this quote taken from Tablet online magazine: but Tablet is a centre-left US Jewish publication, so what does it have to do with the “rightwing defenders” of Shabi’s article? (And, again, nothing here remotely connected with ”false accusations of antisemitism“.)

Next, Shabi moves from Rudoren to an argument in America over the use of the phrase “Israel firsters”. This is a phrase that denotes those who put Israel’s interests above those of their own country. (Former American Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke, is an especially notorious user of the term.)

Given the centrality of the ‘dual loyalty’ motif and attendant Jewish conspiracy and treason charges to antisemitism through the centuries, the antisemitic resonance and potential of “Israel firsters” is starkly obvious: as is the right of Jews (and others) to complain about its use. Not here, according to Shabi. Her take on it, as published by Guardian CiF:

“Witness the recent storm over the phrase “Israel firsters”: used to accuse people of putting policy on Israel above US interests, it sparked a row among liberal commentators on whether it carries connotations of dual loyalty that feed into antisemitic tropes. This was just another attempt to smear liberal American critics of Israel, and fed into the frustration over such blockading – best expressed in the title of one recent post: “Dear Israel lobby, we give up – please give us an acceptable way of insulting you.”

Yet the real danger in all this is that the rush to throw charges of antisemitism at people who criticise Israel will desensitise vigilance over the real thing. Such tactics are meant to intimidate and paralyse, choke and divert the discussion over Israel’s occupation and policies in the Middle East.”

And there you have it, CiF is happy to publish that concerns raised about the expression “Israel firsters” were “just another attempt to smear…intimidate and paralyse, choke and divert” liberal criticism and discussion of Israel. No question about it and seemingly no requirement from CiF that Shabi should explicitly explain the rationale behind her “smear” claims, which derive from this at Salon.com, linked to via Shabi’s above link at “liberal commentators“. Incredibly, the former AIPAC spokesman quoted in it didn’t even directly call anyone an antisemite, he merely says of US Democrats using the expression “Israel firsters”: “these are the words of anti-Semites, not Democratic political players.

And that is the false accusations of antisemitism as stated in the title.

All of this, brought to you by Guardian Comment is Free: which is why it matters.

Postscript

When the AIPAC spokesman was asked to explain himself by Salon.com, he gave the following answer – and it is as strikingly appropriate for the Guardian, as it is for the Democratic Party (especially the final sentence):

Those who accuse pro-Israel advocates and American Jews of having “dual loyalties” and being “Israel Firsters” are engaged in anti-Semetic hate speech. Period. These are age-old canards and anti-Semetic smears that go back centuries, suggesting that Jews are disloyal, alien and cannot be trusted. This kind of rhetoric has no place in civil dialogue and anyone’s politics, but especially among progressives.

The organizations who pay the salaries of those using such hate speech, (see below for specific examples), and who have clearly had it brought to their attention, must either confront it and end it, or take full responsibility for it. In this case, that choice belongs to both CAP and Media Matters. This is a free country and people can say what they want, but the question for those organizations is whether they are an appropriate home for such discourse.

Postcard from Israel: Wild Flower spotting

Any good springtime trip in Israel – virtual or not – has to include wild flowers. The contrast between the short-lived riot of colour and greenery and the long, dry months of monochrome yellowish-brown which swiftly follow is so dramatic that it makes those precious few weeks in which the spring flowers can be enjoyed even more of a delight.

So let’s pack our virtual bags and go off to admire some of the wild flowers which decorate the Israeli countryside in this season. 

All photos taken by Israelinurse

‘Global March to Jerusalem’ Update: Quarrels within anti-Zionist ‘Sunni-Shia/Red-Green’ Alliance?

A guest post by Hadar Sela

Since the publication of the two-part report on the Global March on Jerusalem scheduled for March 30th, further information and several new developments have come to light thanks to the work of some wonderful people.

 Aaron took a look at the subject of the registration and hosting of the various GMJ websites and found that they share an IP address with the website of the AhlulBayt Islamic Mission – the Islamic Republic of Iran aligned Shia missionary organisation in the United Kingdom. The server hosting both the AhlulBayt site and the GMJ sites is registered to a Leicester resident named Shabbir Hassanally. Read all the details here.

Mr Hassanally appears to be quite a fan of Hizbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah. In fact he puts considerable effort into making English language sub-titles for Nasrallah’s frequent speeches which he then posts on his own blog – apparently unconcerned by the fact that Hizbollah’s military wing is proscribed by his own government and that the glorification of terrorism is a criminal offence in the UK.  

Hassanally has also acted as roving reporter in Lebanon for the Palestine Telegraph – founded and edited by Sameh Habib (aka Sameh Akram Subhi Habeeb) who is also spokesman for the flotilla-organising ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ which was set up by the Muslim Brotherhood’s European arm – the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) – in 2007. The Palestine Telegraph proved to be too extreme even for its former patron Jenny Tonge and it and its editor have been involved in multiple scandals.

Here is Shabbir Hassanally celebrating the 32nd anniversary of the Iranian regime last year. Note his apparent subscription to the messianic Mahdi concept and his description of Israel as “the cancer occupying our beloved Palestine“.

If UK readers are now pondering the efficacy of their government’s ‘Prevent‘ counter-terrorism policy upon which so much of their taxes have been spent, they will certainly not be reassured by the fact that Hassanally has also been given a platform at the Muslim Shia Welfare Foundation in Leicester, which is – of course – a registered charity.

A variety of interested parties are making intense efforts to bring Jerusalem to the top of the publicity agenda ahead of the planned march next month, including a conference in Qatar earlier this week (for some reason apparently attended by UN representative Robert Serry), an incendiary press release  by the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual mentor Yusuf al Qaradawi and publicity on the websites of Hamas and ‘Unified Umma’.

However, it would appear that all is not rosy in the world of joint Sunni-Shia/Red-Green alliance project management.

From the Facebook account of ‘Viva Palestina Australia  (h/t to F.) we learn that initial enthusiasm for the GMJ project has been somewhat dampened due to apparent differences of opinion with co-ordinator Zaher al Birawi.

Feb 19

 Feb 21

Feb 21/22

Feb 22

 Feb 21

 

 Feb 21

Feb 22

 

Meanwhile, over at ISM California, Paul Larudee is chastising his fellow activists for not getting behind the GMJ in sufficient numbers.

Well well; it seems as though some people even within the ‘pro-Palestinian’ movements are waking up to the extremist nature of the GMJ venture and its leaders and organisers and the fact that such publicity stunts do nothing to help the Palestinian people.

About time.  

 

The Guardian – twisting, turning and spinning as it covers for Palestinian terrorism

A guest post by AKUS

The heavily critiqued commentary by the wife of terrorist Khadar Adnan (My husband, Khadar Adnan has shed a light on Israel’s disregard for human rights, CiF, Feb. 22) drew two unusual interventions by Becky Gardiner, who’s described as “the editor of the Guardian comment pages”.  (I take it, in passing, that this abbreviated description of what once included the words ‘Comment is Free’ can be considered recognition of what we have all known for some time –“Comment is Free” may adorn the masthead, but free comment is not allowed).

Dozens of angry, cynical, and shocked comments were deleted by the moderators (others completely vanished without a trace) in a counterattack on commenters. Their efforts were apparently designed to remove any reference they could find to the video of Adnan in the BTL comments that showed him calling for volunteers to become suicide bombers, or referring to him as a terrorist:

The disgust shown by dozens of commenters and the incredible number of deletions used to try to control the horrified crowd must have caused a panic at Guardian HQ. When the clamor of commenters asking why it had been published and why the Guardian supported a terrorist reached uncontrollable levels, Becky Gardiner, editor of the Comment pages, decided it was time to step in.

Rather than stepping in, she stepped right into it, up to her eyebrows, with the following ludicrous attempt to defend her decision to publish (commission?) the article:

Gardiner’s comment was such a transparent attempt to deflect the criticism by spinning the rationale behind this article and twisting the argument to one of a fair trial that it drew howls of cynical laughter from readers other than the 22 sycophants who were loudly praising this terrorist wife and her husband.

There were ten responses to her post. Three were immediately deleted. Here are samples from the responses to her attempt to justify the article by invoking “interesting to hear … comment from a variety of perspectives” and, apropos nothing relevant to the criticism, “the right of everyone to a fair trial” (which Israeli body responsible for Adnan’s detention said he would not get a fair trial?).

  • Perhaps one of Osama Bin Laden’s wives could do a piece next week?
  • I’m still waiting for a piece by a member of the EDL however.
  • I’m sure Assad’s wife Asma would be interested in submitting a comment piece – it could be called ‘ A wife’s perspective- Syria-the Untold Story’ .
  • What I do despise though, and what makes me despair of this paper is that you are apparently planning to publish the – uncommented – piece in the print version of you paper. Are you sure The Guardian still has a grip w.r.t. what it actually wants to stand for?
  • Well I don’t normally comment on I/P keech but this is a stonker of a stinker.

This comment stood out:

Gardiner has never apparently heard that when you are in a hole you should stop digging. Or, possibly she is so brainwashed with the Guardian warped world view she genuinely does not understand that praising terrorists just because they attack Israel is unacceptable. So she tried again after “external” took her to task:

 

And, of course, what Adnan is said to have done, and we have a video of him doing just that, is at the very least inciting others to terrorism.

Gardiner then made the following utterly incredible response, breathtaking in its falsehood and awe-inspiring in her belief that readers would accept her claim that the Guardian “wouldn’t simply repeat allegation made on the internet”

This brought down the house:

  • … most readers will always be disgusted by puff-pieces for people who advocate violence and murder against innocent civilians.
  • Becky, when can we expect similar articles of wives of people also held in prison without charge in the UK?
  • Did I read right? The Guardian does not use material gleaned from the Internet? Most CiF articles contain allegations, suppositions, theories, quotes and all sorts of other screeds obtainable from internet sites.

No one asked her to “repeat the allegations made on the internet. The Guardian should have left the video and references to  Adnan’s terrorist career to speak for themselves.

Of course, you need only look at the rolling ME blog to see video after video from the internet posted there. Neither the Guardian nor I have the slightest reason to doubt the validity of the allegations against Assad that these videos and commentary provide. We have had a year of videos and blogs from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria showing the violence there and the allegations against this or that politician or person, all quite acceptable, and eagerly published by the Guardian. The allegations made against Tony Blair in the Guardian could fill a telephone directory. The vicious article condemning Israeli politicians are left standing.

But when it comes to a terrorist who belongs to a jihadi group dedicated by its own platform to the destruction of Israel and the murder of its Jews, is videoed calling for suicide bomb volunteers to kill Israelis wherever they can, a different and higher standard is suddenly applied.

Gardiner could not even bring herself to wimp out by writing “alleged” terrorist, but had to continue to twist and turn in the gale of criticism, and try to spin the story and lie about her motives in a way that only the most utterly naïve or biased could accept. She apparently believes that if the lie is big enough, and repeated often enough, even others than Berchmans will eventually believe it.