Metula Diarist: A tribute to Guardians of the Jews

Metula, Israel

Fortunately, no Global March to Jerusalem related clashes occurred at the Israeli-Lebanese border in the city of Metula (the small town where I traveled to cover the story for CiF Watch), as had been expected.  So, I spent some time at the border location where reporters were stationed conversing with a few of the IDF soldiers assigned there.

The conversations with one soldier in particular touched on many topics: some light and humorous (like my difficulties learning Hebrew in contrast with her remarkably fluent, and unaccented, English).  But, others were more weighty, such as the cognitive war against Israel in the context of the GMJ, antisemitism, and the politics of the Middle East more broadly.

She also told me about her late grandfather’s experience surviving the Holocaust.

It was one of the many tales of the suffering and profound strength displayed by those who survived the Shoah most of us have read about, but which, I’ve learned, occasionally possess more meaning in particular times, places and moments in our life.

Here I was, a recent immigrant to Israel, blogging about an organized attempt to erode my nation’s moral legitimacy and (if their long-term wishes are fulfilled) our very existence, with a native Israeli whose own life is as improbable as was the rebirth of the modern Jewish state itself.

Though estimates vary, the latest research suggests that roughly 1 million Jews died in Auschwitz, a good percentage of whom were children. Many Jews who weren’t immediately gassed died from malnutrition, disease, hideously cruel “medical experiments”, or torture – with most inmates surviving merely weeks or a few months.

The late grandfather of the IDF soldier I spoke to somehow survived four years at this Nazi extermination camp.

Shortly before liberation, he was sickened by disease and, no longer able to work, was sent by Nazi guards to be killed.  

However, a Jewish inmate who was working in the camp infirmary noticed that this man minutes away from execution had a number on his arm indicating how long he had survived.  Somehow, the physician was able to rescue my friend’s grandfather and brought him into the infirmary, telling him that to survive this long he must be incredibly strong, and promised to do everything in his power to help him recover from this seemingly fatal disease.

He did survive and, after liberation, was reunited with his wife, who had survived in France by working as a nurse, passing as a non-Jew.

They both soon emigrated to Israel, started a kibbutz and started a family.

The young Israeli woman I was sitting with owed her life to her late grandfather’s unfathomable courage, an indescribable will to survive.

Much of what inspired me to make Aliyah – and to blog for Zion – was more than a desire to protect Israel, informed by a sober understanding of the malevolence of our enemies.  Both were also motivated by a reverence for the heroism of those who came before me, and a desire to honor their memory, those who managed to pass on to future generations the precious gift of continued Jewish existence.  

I’m haunted by the fear of not being worthy of their sacrifices: the brave early Zionist pioneers who gave up so much and endured physical hardships scarcely recognizable to our generation so that a nation may rise; the Soviet Jews who worshiped in secret, often studying Torah under candlelight, in a nation dedicated to eradicating religious observance, so that their thousands year-old traditions would be passed on to future generations; and the Israeli soldiers who fought and, far too often, died so that their children, and their nation, could live.

I am forever in debt to the countless sacrifices of Jewish heroes and heroines over the ages, Guardians of the Jews, for whom words such as valor, determination, duty, and courage (in the face of often impossible odds) weren’t simply vacuous platitudes, but values they lived every day.

These brave souls are for whom I blog.

As Zionist activists we can never assume that victory is assured, but neither can we succumb to the supremely dangerous vices of cynicism, defeatism, fatalism or resignation.

Surrender is never, ever an option.

Postcard from Israel: Korazim

We’re in the Galilee region again this week with a visit to the ancient town of Korazim. Founded in the first century CE, the town covers around 100 dunams (24.7 acres) and has five neighbourhoods.

It is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud for the high-quality grain grown by its inhabitants and was one of three towns (together with Caperneum –Kfar Nahum – and Beithsaida) mentioned in the New Testament as having been condemned by Jesus because its population would not accept his teachings.

The beautiful late third to early fourth century south-facing synagogue boasts wonderful stonework, including human figures which are thought to have been brightly painted. Later, the same figures were deliberately defaced and this iconoclasm is thought by some researchers to be the result of later, more strict Jewish interpretations of the second commandment.  

The synagogue also boasts a carved stone seat bearing an Aramaic inscription and nearby is the town’s mikve (Jewish ritual bath). Reconstructed houses and the ancient olive press give an idea of what life must have been like in this town which was mentioned by the French naturalist Pierre Belon in his accounts of his travels in 1547 as having a population of Jewish fishermen and was inhabited until the beginning of the 20th century.  

All photos taken by Israelinurse

Global March to Jerusalem violence update: & +972′s Lisa Goldman gets owned by IDF on Twitter

Though GMJ organizers’ ambitious anti-Zionist plan for a million man march on Israel’s borders (part of an effort by Arabs and far-left “activists” to “steal Jerusalem from the hands of the illegal Zionist occupation) has, thus far, seemed to have failed miserably, here’s a brief update on GMJ related violence today:
  • Approximately 150 violent rioters in Bethlehem hurled rocks and firebombs at Israeli security personnel (see video below).
  • Approximately 200 rioters in Qalandia hurled rocks and firebombs at IDF forces. 
  • Though the media (including the Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood) have been uncritically repeating Palestinian claims that politician Mustafa Barghouti was hit in the head by a tear gas canister, requiring medical treatment, the IDF contradicted these claims stating definitively that Barghouti was hurt in a brawl that broke out among the Palestinians over who would lead the protest march. 
  • The IDF responded to Palestinian violence with non-lethal riot dispersal means.

Elsewhere there was this exchange between +972′s Lisa Goldman and the IDF on Twitter.

I just couldn’t help but weigh in.

Here’s a photo of just one of the “protesters” in Bethlehem today – aka, Palestinian child abuse.

Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood runs interference for Global March to Jerusalem organizers and rioters

The Guardian’s Middle East Live blog today includes coverage of the Global March to Jerusalem provocations by the paper’s correspondent, Phoebe Greenwood, who’s filling in for Harriet Sherwood.

Here’s her dispatch from this morning at Qalandiya.

Palestinian boys have started arriving at the blockades. Jabai, 19, has come from Nablus to join the protest. “Today is different than any other Friday demonstration,” he says. “Many more people are coming”.

And what of organisers’ hopes that the demonstrations will be peaceful? “No, we want to throw stones and break things”, says Jabai, highlighting the difference between Palestinian activists and the frustrated youth who come to demonstrate anger.

Anyone who’s been following our blog’s reports about GMJ would have to understand how absurd it is to claim that the organizers (made up of Islamist terrorist groups and their supporters) are hoping for a series of peaceful protests.  

While I can cite a plethora of examples, here are recent comments by Feroze Mithiborwala, a member of both the GMJ International Executive Committee and its International Central Committee, regarding Israel’s preparations to prevent GMJ provocations.

Israel has gone crazy, and they are acting no different than Nazi’s. Our response to them is a response of bravery. We are ready for martyrdom for our Palestinian brothers.” 

As the GMJ leader prepared his cadre of fellow “activists” for martyrdom, GMJ participant and member of the SE Asia caravan Mansour Kiaei from Iran – who, as has previously been pointed out, describes himself on his Twitter account as a ‘human rights activist’ – Tweeted the following:

Meanwhile in Qalandiya, where Palestinians have been rioting (including hurling stones and exlosives at an IDF post) Greenwood reports:

Israeli soldiers firing volley of teargas canisters into air over advancing protesters led by Frank Romano waving a huge Palestinian flag. At least 23 people have now been taken away with injuries in what are turning into pretty serious clashes at Qalandiya.

Greenwood’s “peaceful” GMJ members and organizers, and Israelis firing tear gas at Palestinian protesters who are merely waving a flag: classic Guardian political fiction masquerading as serious journalism. 

Fences: Blogging from Metula @ Lebanese Border, where Global March to Jerusalem clashes may erupt

There’s a fence just beyond the white building on the upper left of the photo, where the border between Lebanon and Israel stands.

So far, there’s been no GMJ related provocations, though the IDF thinks there’s a good chance it may sometime during the day.

I just met a man in Metula, in northern Israel along the Lebanese border, whose home overlooks the field shown in the photo – who not only let me recharge my laptop battery by his garage, but invited me in his home to chat.

George is a Christian Lebanese-Israeli. That is, he is Lebanese but fled S. Lebanon with his family not too long after Israel withdrew in 2000. Their decision to leave was based entirely on the fear of Hezbollah and what he thought would be the corresponding intolerance towards Christians as the result of the ascendant Shiite Islamist movement.

George told me, when asked, over a cup of intense Lebanese coffee, that he would never consider returning to his country of birth, even if his safety could be assured.

Israel is now his home.

Just one little anecdote perhaps, but a tale which speaks volumes about the small physical fissures, and quite large moral ones, separating the Jewish state from its neighbors. 

The Global March to Jerusalem – another terrorist provocation on Israel’s borders

A cross post by Anne, who blogs at Anne’s Opinons

Tens of thousands of Islamists, anti-Israel activists and assorted ill-wishers are planning to take part in a “Global March to Jerusalem” tomorrow, March 30th, also known to Palestinians as Land Day.

Per Ynet

Turbulent weekend in cards? International supporters and hundreds of thousands of participants are expected to take part in the Global March on Jerusalem Friday, as Israel braces for potential attempts to breach the Jewish state’s borders..

The event, which is expected to include marches and protests across the region, is entering its final preparations, as IDF forces are also deploying in a bid to prevent any disruptions on Israel’s borders.

The IDF is preparing for the possibility that attempts will be made to breach Israel’s borders. The forces have been directed to prevent any beaches of Israeli sovereignty with minimal injuries to the protestors, if they do approach the border.

Sources within the defense establishment have conducted talks with Palestinian security officials to coordinate the events and make sure they remain within the jurisdiction of Palestinian towns.

Sa’id Yakin, one of the protest organizers in the Palestinian Authority, told Ynet that rallies will be held at three West Bank focal points.

“We expect thousands of participants,” Yakin said. “We have no interest in confrontation, and this march will not give rise to a third Intifada. We hope this move will affect Israel and its government’s policy.”

Palestinian security officials are also preparing for the weekend’s events and are estimating that most marchers won’t be able to get through local roadblocks and approach Israeli territory.

In Lebanon, participants will convene for a prayer session on the Beaufort, which overlooks the border with Israel. Public figures are expected to deliver a speech at the site, with organizers looking forward to welcoming tens of thousands of participants.

According to Lebanese reports, security forces held a Turkish vessel carrying activists from Iran, Turkey and other Asian states for long hours. Hezbollah representatives reportedly mediated in efforts to resolve the crisis.

Jordan has set the gathering point at the site where it is believed that Jesus was baptized, a location overlooking Jerusalem. According to plans, this rally will also include speeches and masses of protestors.

Jordanian coordinator of the march, Ribhi Halloum, said: “We feel the immense interest in the event expressed through donations from private individuals and the Islamic Movement.”

The Al-Dustour newspaper reported that Jordanian Prime Minister Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh expressed his readiness to provide the Jordanian government’s sponsorship to the march which he said would be non-violent.

In Morocco, recent mass marches in Rabat have been seen as the first signs heralding the Jerusalem march events. Plans for the event include a joint forum with students from Jordan and a declaration of a fast day in efforts to show solidarity with Jerusalem.

On Friday, a number of marches will be held simultaneously, leaving from Casablanca, Fes and Meknes. Two days later pro-Palestinian organizations will launch a mass rally in Casablanca expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people.

Syria did not allow the recent riots to interfere with rigorous planning of the events, while in Egypt the activity is set to be low-key with just a central rally and a few small protests in the cards.

I highlighted certain sentences above in order to note that the IDF is right to be concerned about a possible breach of Israel’s borders. It happened before, last May, in the “Naqsa Day” disturbances, and all the signs are that despite the protestations of non-violence, the march has a huge potential to similarly turn very violent indeed.

The Times of Israel also reports on the diplomatic and military preparations being taken to prevent violence and a border breach:

The march’s organizers have predicted that two million participantswill join the protests. Israeli officials say they are braced for tens of thousands, and military sources said the army and policy have been instructed to act with maximal restraint while doing what is necessary to protect the country’s borders and citizens.

The security forces have been ordered to protect themselves and bystanders, to prevent any cross-border incursions, however brief, and to deny activists “a media victory,” Israel’s Channel 2 news reported Thursday night. In protests at the Syrian border last year, more than 100 activists broke through the border fence and entered Druze villages in the Golan Heights; one man even made his way to Tel Aviv.

Diplomatic officials sounded relatively unworried by the planned protests, although one source acknowledged that there was no way of knowing what might unfold on the Syrian and Lebanese borders, because Israel has no dialogue with anyone in authority on the other side of either of those lines.

Several hundred anti-Israel demonstrators are also planning protests in front of Israeli institutions worldwide.

In Jerusalem, access to the Temple Mount for Friday prayers will be limited to adult worshipers, and police have called in extra forces. Police deployments in hotspots nationwide are also being reinforced. Sources expressed concern at the prospect of violence in and around the Temple Mount in East Jerusalem as well as on the outskirts of Jerusalem, at known flashpoints such as the Kalandiya checkpoint.

[...]

“Messages have been sent through a third country to the Lebanese authorities, messages to the effect that border incidents are of no interest to anyone and that we expect them to enforce law and order,” a diplomatic source said. “But we all know who really controls the South of Lebanon, so we don’t know really know what to expect,” he added, referring to Hezbollah fighters who might seek violent confrontation with Israeli troops.

Israelis and Jordanians routinely cooperate on military issues and thus it was not necessary to send any warning messages to Amman, the diplomatic official said. “The Jordanians know it’s against their interests to have any cross-border incidents.”

“The big question is what will happen near our borders with Syria and Lebanon. Nobody can forecast what’s going to happen. There is no one in Syria we can send any messages to, not even indirectly.”

“Messages have been sent through a third country to the Lebanese authorities, messages to the effect that border incidents are of no interest to anyone and that we expect them to enforce law and order,” a diplomatic source said. “But we all know who really controls the South of Lebanon, so we don’t know really know what to expect,” he added, referring to Hezbollah fighters who might seek violent confrontation with Israeli troops.

Israelis and Jordanians routinely cooperate on military issues and thus it was not necessary to send any warning messages to Amman, the diplomatic official said. “The Jordanians know it’s against their interests to have any cross-border incidents.”

“The big question is what will happen near our borders with Syria and Lebanon. Nobody can forecast what’s going to happen. There is no one in Syria we can send any messages to, not even indirectly.”

The Jerusalem Post has a good article detailing the press and propaganda war surrounding this “Global March to Jerusalem” (GM2J).  Meanwhile, Jeremy Havardi, writing in The Commentator, has written an excellent piece which rips to shreds the lies and distortions surrounding the Arabs’ pseudo-claim to Jerusalem.  Here is just a small excerpt but do go and read the whole thing:

The Palestinians and their backers have long resorted to diplomatic war in order to undermine Israel’s legitimacy. The Global March to Jerusalem, scheduled for March 30, is a classic example of this tactic. The organisers claim they are seeking “freedom for Jerusalem” and an “end to the Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Judaisation” affecting the city.

In reality, they are distorting the historical record for political purposes. They seek to depict Israel as a malevolent custodian of the Holy places and a usurper of Muslim rights, so as to buttress an Arab and Islamic claim to the city. But as it happens, their claim does not stand up to serious scrutiny.

But by far the most thorough and far-reaching counter-attack on the GM2J is the website set up by Adam Levick, [lead researcher Hadar Sela], and the team at CiFWatch.

The site is very cleverly designed to be an almost exact replica of the official Global March to Jerusalem site (I won’t provide a link to that to avoid sending them traffic), including their logo. The only difference is that the logo has a red diagonal line through it. And of course the title of the site is “Exposing the Truth about the Global March to Jerusalem.

The site has links to the organizers, the sponsors, the endorsers etc. of the GM2J and makes rather horrifying reading.

They have now produced a very useful factsheet which I urge you to read, and use the information contained within it to counter lies, distortions and plain old anti-Israel propaganda wherever you may encounter it. Here are some highlights:

The organizers of GMJ are made up of members of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, far-left extremist groups and are backed by the Iranian government.

[...]

Official statements of the organizers of GMJ attempt to portray the movement as a peaceful protest aimed at highlighting the so-called “Judaization of Jerusalem”.

In 2011, GMJ general coordinator, Ribhi  Halloum stated “[t]he protest aims to move the right of return possessed by Palestinian refugees from theory to practice”.

In practice, the right of return is a rejection of the two state solution and subterfuge for the destruction of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Coupled with that, employment of the term “Judaization of Jerusalem” is hateful rhetoric designed to negate thousands of years of Jewish history and incite the Muslim world.

Should we be concerned about GMJ?

Absolutely. With a bloody uprising in Syria, a Muslim Brotherhood dominated Egypt, the looming Iranian nuclear threat, a failed peace process and recent renewed violence from Hamas-controlled Gaza, the situation is highly volatile. Combined with the extreme terror groups behind GMJ and the rallying cry of “saving Al Aqsa (Jersualem) from the Jews”, it is our assessment that with sufficient numbers the organizers will seek violent confrontation with Israeli forces with the aim of sparking a Third Intifada.

Unfortunately the march (or attempted invasion) will be taking place on Friday, and if there are any repercussions, violent or otherwise, they will spill over into Shabbat, when I will be offline.  I will make this post a “sticky” post, so that it will stay at the top of my blog until after Shabbat so that readers not on my Shabbat time can leave updates in the comments section if they wish.

May the wishes of those who hate us be thwarted and may we all have a quiet and peaceful Shabbat and may the desires of those who hate us be thwarted.

Harriet Sherwood legitimizes characterization of Israel’s border fences as ‘sign of weakness’

Cross posted by Anne, who blogs at Anne’s Opinions

Harriet Sherwood, the Guardian’s official Jerusalem correspondent, has produced a strange article which both sneers at and condemns Israel’s border fences on ALL its borders (not just the West Bank), citing “critics who call it a sign of weakness” and yet brings no evidence that her point is valid besides the opinion of one Israeli op-ed writer from Ynet.

The article is accompanied by a graphic (below) of Israel’s borders, captioned “Israel’s barriers”.  Besides the slanted headline, the graphic actually emphasizes Israel’s vulnerability, especially when taken together with the smaller inset picture beside it, showing Israel’s tiny size in relation to the rest of the vast Middle East.

And now let us analyse the “facts” as seen by Sherwood and her “critics” (as I pointed out above, in fact one only critic):

It cuts a steel swath through the stark wilderness where Israel and Egypt meet, glinting in the desert sun as it snakes across barren hills and sandy plateaus. Wielding blowtorches at the base of the five-metre-high (16ft) barrier are some of the very men the border fence is in part designed to keep out: illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa, now working as cheap construction labour for Israeli contractors.

So Sherwood objects to Israel employing illegal immigrants. I wonder how she would react if Israel refused these immigrants any employment at all.

Israel’s newest frontier fence is being erected at high-speed along the 150-mile boundary between the Sinai and Negev deserts. Its construction, due to be completed by the end of this year, was accelerated after last summer’s cross-border attack in which eight Israelis were killed, and amid rising alarm about the number of refugees crossing into the Jewish state.

Once it is finished, Israel will be almost completely enclosed by steel, barbed wire and concrete, leaving only the southern border with Jordan between the Dead and Red Seas without a physical barrier. That, too, may be fenced in the future.

The government says fences along its actual and claimed borders are necessary as deterrents against terrorism and illegal infiltration. Regional upheavals over the past year – particularly in Egypt and Syria – have added to Israel’s sense of being, in Defence Minister Ehud Barak’s old phrase, a “villa in the jungle”.

But in a scathing commentary in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s biggest-selling newspaper, respected defence analyst Alex Fishman recently wrote: “We have become a nation that imprisons itself behind fences, which huddles terrified behind defensive shields.” It was, he said, a “national mental illness”.

This is where Sherwood’s prejudices shine through. In her words, the Israeli government “claims” – always the sneering dismissive tone when quoting Israeli officials. But all credibility is given to one obscure reporter. Do we really need to care that deeply what one commentator in one Israeli newspaper has to say?  Does Mr. Fishman address himself to the reality in which his own country finds itself – surrounded on all sides by hostile nations and terrorist entities, all sworn to eliminate Israel, and who have attempted to do so multiple times. How about talking to the families of the victims of those terrorist attacks that took place at that very border spot precisely because there was no border fence in place.

The latest stretch, along what the Israeli military calls the new “hot border” with Egypt, from the Red Sea almost to the Mediterranean, consists of latticed steel, topped and edged with razor wire, extending at least two metres below ground and in some sections reaching seven metres above ground. Ditches and observation posts with cameras and antennae will line the route.

An electronic pulse will run through the fence, setting off an alarm on contact that will allow the Israeli army to locate the exact spot of attempted infiltration. On the Israeli side, a sandy tracking path will show the footprints of interlopers, and an asphalt military patrol road will give unhindered access to army units.

I’m delighted to hear how well-armed the new border fence will be. It’s about time.

[...]

The smuggling of immigrants was a major factor in the decision to build the fence. According to Lieutenant Colonel Yoav Tilan of the Israeli Defence Forces, 16,000 people – originating mainly from Eritrea and Sudan – crossed the border illegally in 2011 in “an industry of crime”. But the “constant, daily threat” of terrorism and the smuggling of drugs are also important factors, he said.

I cannot see why there would be anything for either Sherwood or Fishman to object to. Every other country in similar geo-political circumstances constructs similar border fences. I would refer you to the US-Mexico border fence; the Saudi-Yemen border barrier; the Bangladesh-India border; the Chinese-N. Korea border, and of course how could we forget the Egypt-Gaza border?

About seven miles short of the Mediterranean, the southern barrier will meet the fence Israel has built around Gaza. It runs for 32 miles, with a buffer zone, which Palestinians are forbidden from entering, extending up to 1,000 metres inside the narrow Gaza Strip, swallowing prime agricultural land. The fence has kept Palestinians inside Gaza but has not stopped rockets being fired by militants into Israel, nor did it prevent the cross-border kidnap of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.

The failure of the border to stop rockets from being fired or the kidnapping of Shalit is not a reason to take down the border fence. On the contrary, it is a prime motivator to strengthen the border.

As to Sherwood’s snide little reference to the border fence swallowing prime agricultural land, I cannot testify as to the quality of the land, but since the Palestinians were handed Gaza on a plate, with all its greenhouses and farms intact, and these were destroyed the very next day by the activists terrorists of Hamas, they obviously do not care very much for agriculture.

At the northern end of the country, a fence built in the 1970s along the boundary with Lebanon was reconstructed, and in some places its route adjusted, after Israel withdrew its forces in 2000 following a 22-year occupation. It did not prevent the killing of five Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militants in a cross-border ambush in 2006, nor the firing of thousands of rockets during the ensuing 34-day war.

Once again, the fact that the border fence did not prevent either missiles or a kidnapping is not a reason for its dismantling but for its strengthening.

Last month, Israel confirmed plans to replace the fence with a five-metre-high wall for half-a-mile stretch around the town of Metula, which is situated on a finger of Israeli territory and surrounded by Lebanon on three sides. Just a few hundred metres from Metula’s supermarket, civilian traffic and UN armoured cars travel along a Lebanese road. According to Fishman, the new wall is intended to deter anti-tank missiles and sniper fire, but locals also speak of a flourishing drug-smuggling trade along this stretch of the border.

Excellent! I’m all in favour of a stronger border fence.

Further east, an Israeli fence sits on the ceasefire line drawn at the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur war, running between the Golan Heights, which Israel has occupied for almost 45 years, and Syria. Hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators breached the fence last May, in the Golan and along the Lebanese border. Around a dozen people were killed and scores injured when the IDF opened fire.

Sherwood is referring to the “Naqsa Day” border breaches, and with a little research she would discover that the “pro-Palestinian demonstrators” were no such thing at all; rather, they were in it for a quick buck, since they themselves revealed that they were paid by Syria and Hezbollah to invade Israel’s borders.

Sherwood continues with her whine about Israel’s dastardly borders, always sitting on prime agricultural or fertile land until she comes to her main gripe: the Separation Wall.

Around a third of the way down this stretch, the fence abuts the infamous huge steel-and-concrete West Bank barrier. This runs along or inside the 1949 armistice line, or Green Line, swallowing up tracts of Palestinian agricultural land, slicing through communities and separating farmers from their fields and olive trees. Israel says the barrier is a security measure that has deterred suicide bombers, but many believe it marks the boundaries of a future Palestinian state, taking around 12% of the West Bank on to the Israeli side. About two-thirds of its 465-mile length is complete, mostly as a steel fence with wide exclusion zones on either side.

Around 10%, mainly in urban areas, is a bleak, imposing eight-metre-high concrete wall.

Either it is a huge concrete and steel barrier or it is a steel fence. She really ought to make up her mind, and I can help her along with that.

Sherwood:

The international court of justice ruled the barrier illegal under international law in 2004.

However, the ICJ’s ruling  is non-binding, and, as the dissenting American Judge Buergenthal wrote in his statement:

[...] I am compelled to vote against the Court’s findings on the merits because
the Court did not have before it the requisite factual basis for its sweeping
findings; it should therefore have declined to hear the case

In other words, the ICJ heard a case put before it without all the relevant information. Some balanced justice!

Harriet Sherwood continues citing Alex Fishman:

[…Israel’s only open border, through the Arava desert from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea resort of Eilat, may be fenced in the future, according to Fishman.

“The moment the border with Egypt is sealed off, the drug dealers, human traffickers and terrorists will take a longer route, go through Sinai into Jordan, and from there infiltrate Israel. The defence ministry and the IDF are already planning to… erect a fence in the Arava too, along the border with Jordan,” he wrote. Then Israel “will have finished our disengagement from the Middle East”.

Does Fishman really want these terrorists, drug smugglers and human traffickers entering Israel freely?

Sherwood: 

Israel is not alone in erecting barriers: fences exist or are being built or are planned along other countries’ borders, mostly to counter illegal immigration and drug smuggling. But even the most heavily militarised borders fail to completely stop terrorism, smuggling and people determined to reach a better life.

And yet no one calls for their dismantling or ridicules their existence.

Sherwood:

[...]

But, the IDF admits, the barrier is not infallible. In the expectation that smugglers and militants will dig tunnels, cut steel and seek alternative routes, the fence is reinforced with armed patrols, surveillance, intelligence-gathering and trackers.

According to Fishman, all this is symptomatic of the Israeli psyche. Every fence and wall, he told the Guardian, was built for a valid reason. “Every decision was the right decision for its moment. But it’s like pieces of a puzzle – you don’t know what will be the picture at the end, but then when you see the whole picture, it shocks you.

He’s correct there. The picture is certainly shocking when you realise that most of Israel’s immediate neighbours are either in a permanent state of war with it, or are encouraging and sponsoring terrorist proxies.

The last word goes to Alex Fishman who concludes:

“We have become a nation that is burying itself behind walls, behind fences. It shows we are going much more towards isolation. Mine is a very patriotic standpoint – and my disappointment comes from this patriotic standpoint. A fence is a kind of weakness. I’m not a psychiatrist but it shows something of the mentality of a nation.”

No Mr. Fishman. We have become a nation buried behind walls because of the seemingly immutable hatred of Israel possessed by our neighbours. I do believe you are patriotic but also seem incapable of recognizing even the most intuitive regional political realities – determined to see things not as they are but as you want them to be. 

Why is the Guardian afraid to expose their readers to the truth about Global March to Jerusalem?

A guest post by AKUS

While happily watching Sarah Colborne and her few supporters getting absolutely destroyed below the line for the lies in her CiF article Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian struggle, March 27, I noticed that there was one type of comment which absolutely terrified the Guardian.

I picked up at least three references to the GMJ factsheet on CiFWatch’s counter website, http://gm2j.co/factsheet/. I snipped a copy of what appeared to be the last one, from compulsive commenter SantaMoniker, who seemed to be in a frenzy of commenting BTL this morning:

This comment has been “disappeared” in true Guardian style.

The comment she referred to was probably this one, which “didn’t abide by community standards” – for example, by expressing an alternative view or a reference to http://gm2j.co/factsheet/

 

Now it so happens that the first two examples I saw are still up on the website but did not provide  clickable links, so the lazy moderators presumably missed them. I leave it to the reader to search for them.

But the question remains – why is the Guardian so scared of its readers following a link to a website that exposes the truth about the organizers of the stunt, in completely factual and researched terms? Surely it cannot be because it still believes it can maintain a walled garden, where its readers will only read the lies people like Sarah Colborne put out?

As SantaMoniker asked , If the Guardian thinks it has a case why will it not allow opposing views? Was there any disreputable language? Was there anything in the “disappeared” comment that really infringed on their sacred “community standards”?

What is the Guardian afraid of, other than the truth?

 When a paper tries to keep its readers in the dark, as if in a poorly lit restaurant, one can only wonder why they do not want visitors to the site to see what is really being dished up for their consumption.

In her article, Colborne made up a bunch of nonsense about Jerusalem, for centuries an almost forgotten and poverty-stricken backwater in the Ottoman Empire, of no importance to a non-existent Palestinian identity, illustrating again the abysmal ignorance of so many who spend their time obessessivelty attacking Israel. This picture of a Jewish funeral procession at a burial on the Mount of Olives, Circe 1900, from http://www.israeldailypicture.com/, gives pretty good idea of how desolate Jerusalem was like before WW I and the start of large-scale aliyah:

 

Regarding Colborne, there are a few more interesting background facts that make one wonder, once again, at the Guardians foolishness and agenda in trying to cover the tracks of its contributors.

Colborne was, as Adam Levick pointed out , one of those on the Mavi Marmara, ably assisting the terrorist group IHH in its attempt to breach the naval blockade of Gaza and later trying to provide PR spin about the events.

After being sent packing by Israel, she gave a fictional account of what happened recorded apparently by Guardian videographer Laurance Topham and posted by the Guardian on its “Gaza” site. The Guardian unhesitatingly labeled her as a “survivor” of the violence that her comrades in terror instigated and blamed on Israel. The video played for months if not years on the Guardian’s Gaza Section of CiF: British survivor tells of Israeli assault on Gaza aid ship

 Strangely, this clip, which I can now no longer get to play at the time of writing, was not added at the bottom of her column, which is so often the usual practice of the Guardian.

Hunting for it, I came across a remarkable article – remarkable also for being published in the Guardian – by Carmel Gould that may explain this unusual omission.  

Gould’s article, The end of the media’s Israel fixation?, references the BBC interview during which Colborne was not allowed simply to spout her version of the attack on Israeli Seals but was caught in her lies about the Mavi Marmara incident out under persistent questioning by Sarah Montague.

It carries the interesting notification that:

This article is the subject of a legal complaint made on behalf of Sarah Colborne.

This “legal complaint”, whose outcome I do not know, was probably launched by Colborne because Gould had the audacity to remind readers that:

A stalwart of the Palestinian PR machine, Sarah Colborne of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who was on board the boat, was generally given free rein across the media to accuse Israel of inexplicable mendacity. However, it was only when subjected to a rare grilling on the BBC’s Today programme that she came unstuck. Sarah Montague’s questioning about who started the violence and the presence on board of wannabe martyrs, left her implausible tale of innocence seriously compromised.

The Montague interview (the “rare grilling) starts with Ron Prosser, then the Israeli ambassador to the UK, followed shortly by Colborne. Sarah Montague nails her to the spot and incredulously listens to and exposes the lies in her version of what happened as Colborne blathers on ineffectually with her almost tearful attempts to put across her carefully designed talking points and tries to avoid direct answers to Montague’s questions. An unusually good bit of journalism from the BBC.

It is yet another example of the total abandonment of any standards of ethics by the Guardian that it allows a proven supporter of terrorism like Colborne to publish her lies on its website, even if the hundreds of comments BTL largely took her and her supporters to the cleaners – a much needed trip that removed at least some of the dirt.

Toulouse Massacre, the Guardian’s Jessica Reed and the tyranny of liberal guilt

Imagine if you raised a son who grew up in a prosperous Western country but, at some point in his life, began to identify with the most hideously violent and reactionary terrorist movements.

Imagine further that your son joined al-Qaeda and spent time in Afghanistan as a terrorist assisting the Taliban in killing NATO troops.

Then, over a period of 10 days your son went on a killing spree, murdering French soldiers, a rabbi, his two young children and another child outside a Jewish school in Toulouse.

Would you engage in self-reflection and try to understand what went wrong?

Would you offer an apology to the victims’ families?

No. Benanel Merah, the father of Mohamed, said that he wants to take the French state to court for failing to capture his son alive.

After a two-day standoff with police, Mohamed was killed (on March 22) in an operation in which three officers were injured, one seriously, after he refused to surrender.

Said Benanel Merah:

“Why were they so hasty?”

“Why did they kill him? He could have been sentenced to many years in prison or even a life sentence. There is no death penalty in France.”

According to France 24, Benanel Merah told reporters that he would “hire the biggest named lawyers and work for the rest of my life to pay their costs – I will sue France for having killed my son.”

Interestingly, Benalel Merah left his family when his son Mohamed was six years old. His other son Abdelkader is currently under investigation, suspected of aiding and abetting his brother’s crimes.

Benalel failed miserably as a parent. He abandoned his family, and at least one of his sons grew up to become a monster – a 23-year-old man so blinded by anti-Jewish racism that he shot a petrified little Jewish girl a point-blank range without a hint of remorse.

While Benalel’s attempt to project the guilt which should be assigned to his son onto French police is, in itself, evidence of profound moral pathos, there are those in the West who evidently similarly viewed Mohamed’s death as an injustice.

Though the Guardian’s coverage of the Toulouse massacre was itself an exercise in denial – determined to run interference for the Islamist ideology which would target Jewish innocents – a series of Tweets by Jessica Reed, the Guardian’s assistant editor at ‘Comment is Free, are quite telling of Western liberal guilt, those whose heart bleeds for even the most malevolent and decidedly illiberal actors.

Here’s a portion of a Twitter exchange I had with Reed on March 22.

I don’t know Jessica Reed. And, I certainly don’t know how she responded emotionally to news that four Jews (including 3 children) were murdered by Mohamed Merah.

Yet, as I follow Guardian Twitterers somewhat regularly, I couldn’t locate even one Tweet (by the dozens of Guardian writers who regularly Tweet) which expressed shock, outrage, or anger over Merah’s antisemitic rampage. 

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told Radio Classique that “if I was the father of a monster [like Merah] I would shut my mouth in shame.”

President Nicolas Sarkozy’s chief advisor Henri Guaino told France Culture radio:

A little bit of decency right now would do everyone a lot of good. To try to blame the state is the height of indecency. This monster killed in cold blood. French society owes him absolutely nothing.”

The threat to sue came from the left-wing ideology that the criminal is never fully responsible for his acts, that it’s always other people that are responsible.”

Being a monster is not a symptom of the state of society…A monster is a monster. There is no social explanation for such a hideous crime.”

French police, political leaders and European journalists do not owe the father of such a cold-blooded killer a damn apology.

If liberalism means anything, it surely means identifying with the victims of racist violence - 30-year-old Jonathan Sandler, his sons Arieh, 5, and Gabriel, 4, and seven-year-old Miriam Monsonego – and not the cruel, sociopathic perpetrator.

CiF gives platform to Sarah Colborne to promote terrorist-organized ‘Global March to Jerusalem’

Global March to Jerusalem, scheduled for this Friday, March 30, is an anti-Israel publicity stunt that aims to have a million people marching on Israel’s borders from surrounding countries – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt – with the aim of reaching Jerusalem. Concurrently, demonstrations are planned against Israel’s diplomatic missions in major cities throughout the world.

The organizers of GMJ are made up of members of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, far-left extremist groups and are backed by the Iranian government. Senior organizers include:

  • Zaher Birawi, a prominent Hamas activist in the UK and senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood linked Palestinian Return Center.
  • Abdul Maqri, head of the Algerian delegation aboard the Mavi Marmara who in 2010 said “all our blood is Palestine” and declared that “Israel will be annihilated soon”.

Advisory board members include George Galloway, Mahathir Mohammed and Sheikh Raed Salah.

Official statements of the organizers of GMJ attempt to portray the movement as a peaceful protest aimed at highlighting the so-called “Judaization of Jerusalem”.

In 2011, GMJ general coordinator, Ribhi  Halloum stated “[t]he protest aims to move the right of return possessed by Palestinian refugees from theory to practice”.

In practice, the right of return is subterfuge for the destruction of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Coupled with that, employment of the term “Judaization of Jerusalem” is hateful rhetoric designed to negate thousands of years of Jewish history and incite the Muslim world.

Combined with the terror groups behind GMJ and the rallying cry of “saving Al Aqsa (Jerusalem) from the Jews”, it seems likely that sufficient numbers the organizers will seek violent confrontation with Israeli forces with the aim of sparking another Intifada.

The Guardian, undeterred by such quotidian concerns as the possibly deadly results of such a terrorist provocation on Israel’s borders, provided a platform to Palestinian Solidarity Campaign’s Sarah Colborne, “Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian struggle“, CiF, March 27.

Sarah Colborne is both a member of the GMJ International Executive Committee, its International Central Committee, and is also the GMJ national co-ordinator for the UK.

Colborne’s Lie #1, in CiF essay

“Jerusalem is a city that embodies the cultural heritage of three religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Yet Palestinians – both Christian and Muslim – are being driven out of Jerusalem….Just one example of this ethnic cleansing”

Since 1967, when Israel united Jerusalem, (based on the Israel Central bureau of Statistics) there were:

Jews: 195,700

Muslims: 54,963

Christians: 12,646

Then, by 2009:

Jews: 479,756

Muslims: 278,568

Christians: 15,476

So, far from being driven out of Jerusalem, the Muslim population of the city has increased roughly 5 fold, while the Jewish population has increased roughly by a factor of 2.8.  So, the Muslim population has grown dramatically faster than the Jewish population.

Obviously, there is nothing resembling ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem.

Colborne’s Lie #2

“Jerusalem, the traditional centre of Palestinian social, religious and economic life , is increasingly being isolated and restricted by Israeli policies.”

Such a moral inversion, suggesting that religious life in Jerusalem for Palestinians is increasingly restricted, represents the nadir of anti-Zionist propaganda.  Jerusalem, since 1967 – in stark contrast to Jordanian control of the city from 1949 to 1967, when Jews were forbidden from visiting Judaism’s most holy sites – has never been more free for citizens of all faiths to worship.

Muslim rights on the Temple Mount, the site of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aksa Mosque, have not been infringed, and the holy places are actually under the supervision of  the Muslim Waqf. Although it is Judaism’s holiest site, Israel has left the Temple Mount itself under the control of Muslim religious authorities.

Colborne Lie #3

“The Global March to Jerusalem is bringing together an impressive coalition of Palestinian voices and organisations, with supporters from dozens of countries around the world travelling to Jerusalem, and to the border countries, to participate in the peaceful actions.”

“The struggle for Palestinian rights is at the core of the global movement for social and economic justice.”

As our research has demonstrated (which can be seen at our site, Exposing the truth about the Global March to Jerusalem), this coalition is led by  members of proscribed Islamist terror organizations with backing from the Iranian regime. 

Here are the real goals of GMJ, contrary to Colborne’s supremely dishonest polemic at ‘Comment is Free’.

  • Destroying the “Zionist edifice”: Some idea of the mindset of the event’s organizers can be gleaned from statements made in the following e-mail exchange between two of them regarding a previous identical project. 

“Imagine a situation where we have more than a million people streaming in from four borders & Israel fails to stop the human tide…next time we will have 5 million who will be marching…This is exactly the nightmare situation for Israel…Thus will undermine the Israeli state, like no other strategy & then it will all begin to unravel & the Zionist edifice which is unraveling as we speak, will soon fall. 

  • Using GMJ as a catalyst to begin a 3rd Intifada: Feroze Mithiborwala is a member of both the GMJ International Executive Committee and its International Central Committee was even more explicit regarding the movement’s aims, writing:

“..the Arab Revolution presents new possibilities & the epic 94-year-old struggle of the Palestinian people, a proud & ancient nation, which has inspired the world for generations, will finally see a new awakening & with it, a new hope, a new Intifada, the Third Intifada!!”

  • Rejection of a two-state solution, seeking the elimination of Israel from the “river to the sea. GMJ promotional material refers to the 1948 occupation and supports the so-called “right of return” of Palestinian refugees, both euphemisms for the destruction of the State of Israel.
  • Legitimizing Antisemitic ideology in the name of human rights: Organizers of GMJ have engaged in vile antisemitic discourse, such as Ahmed Abo Halabiya, a GMJ organizer and Hamas member, who gave a sermon which included“Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them.”

Here’s an image on the official GMJ Facebook Page, portraying Jews as rats (a popular Nazi antisemitic motif) undermining the al-Aqsa Mosque:

Jews portrayed as rats, infiltrating the Al Aqsa Mosque

Finally, equally as absurd as characterizing the GMJ as an endeavor consistent with peace, liberalism and human rights is the suggestion that Colborne embodies anything resembling such progressive values.

Her organization, PSC, has demonstrated, at best, a tepid approach to Holocaust denial and racism among its members.  And, Colborne has shared a platform with the homophobic and racist leader of the Northern Islamic Movement Raed Salah, and leapt to his defence when he was apprehended by the British authorities.

Colborne and Salah also sailed together on the ‘Mavi Marmara’ in 2010 as part of the ‘Freedom flotilla’, during which Islamist incitement to violence was documented in , in which Salah can be seen in the first row, wearing a white skull-cap.

The Guardian’s decision to provide a platform to the organizer of a violent provocation – an organized act of incitement – led by terrorists with the explicit aim of destroying Israel represents a further erosion of the media group’s increasingly absurd veneer of liberalism.

The Islamists, terrorists, and their apologists who have planned and are behind the March to Jerusalem can only be described politically (based on their broader ideological orientation) as representing the antisemitic extreme right.

As such, Guardian Left politics is increasingly defined by this tendency to allow nearly anyone willing to mouth platitudes about “Palestinian rights” moral impunity for their reactionary, malign, racist agendas.

Peter Beinart and the Crisis of American Jewish Liberalism

Peter Beinart

Peter Beinart, former editor of The New Republic, has recently entered the ideological enterprise of delegitimization – convinced that he alone possesses wisdom about how to solve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict which has eluded Israeli leaders for over six decades.

Beinart’s book, The Crisis of Zionism, doesn’t merely argue that Israel should withdrawal from the West Bank but, in criticizing the occupation, evokes the ugly specter of racism and segregation in the pre-Civil Rights American South. 

From his book blurb:

An American Jewish community that sent its sons and daughters to Mississippi when African-Americans were denied equal citizenship merely because they were not white cannot turn away when millions of West Bank Palestinians are denied rights simply because they are not Jews.

You understand that only by giving Palestinians their own country in the West Bank and Gaza Strip can Israel again become a Jewish state that offers the right of citizenship to all the people within its domain.

And you understand that if Israel collapses as a democratic Jewish state, Zionism itself will die.

Of course, like so much of what passes for liberal thought on Israel, Beinart has almost nothing to say on what he expects of the Palestinians in the context of his hopes for peace and co-existence.

Does he expect them to end antisemitic incitement or take steps to reform a political culture which honors terrorism? Does he demand that they build democratic institutions, hold free and fair elections and extend even nominal rights to women, gays and religious minorities?

No, Beinart’s liberal racism can not assign even the most rudimentary moral agency to Palestinians – the quintessential ethnic abstraction.

Further, does Beinart even wonder what the real-life results will be if Israel abides by his advice and withdrawals to 1967  borders, and what will happen if, as in Gaza in 2005 and S. Lebanon in 2000, such withdrawals only embolden the most violent terrorist movements, and make Israelis even more vulnerable to rocket fire and other acts of deadly terrorism?

No, there isn’t a crisis of Zionism.

There’s a crisis of his brand of American Jewish liberalism – “intellectuals’ who have lived in their own mind too long, truly incapable of imagining life outside the safety of their own cognitive bubbles.

Such political sages are not equipped with the moral imagination necessary to empathize with a modern Jewish state under siege, surrounded by hideously antisemitic Islamist terrorist movements who are quite explicit in their malevolent designs.

Do such sensitive souls ever wonder why Palestinian society never seems to produce their own version of Peter Beinart? Why don’t such critics ever demand reciprocal Palestinian self-reflection or empathy for the (Jewish) “other”?

Finally, does Peter Beinart ever wonder what the consequences will be if he’s wrong?

If the policies he advocates lead not to peace but to war, to more bloodshed and greater Jewish suffering, will he say he’s sorry? Will he finally repudiate his naive belief that “they are just like us”?

Of course not.

He will remain far removed from the deadly serious issues of war and peace in the Middle East.

He’ll write another book. He’ll become a fellow at another think tank.

Peter Beinart can opine on issues with the liberating sense of his own impunity to their potential real-world consequences, knowing that he will never, ever have to deal with the dangers paved by his best intentions.

Israelis like me, my friends, my wife and family, however, aren’t so privileged.

(Finally, here’s a powerful Shabbat sermon by Reform rabbi Ammiel Hirsch against Beinart’s call for BDS against Israelis living beyond the green line, from his pulpit at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan.)

Guardian reader on those uppity British Jews exercizing their political rights

Jonathan Freedland’s CiF essay, “I’ve backed Ken Livingstone for mayor before, but this time I just can’t do it“, March 23, elicited quite a bit of fury from the Livingstone faithful below the line – those ‘liberal’s evidently not bothered by the former mayor’s embrace of some of the most reactionary, antisemitic, misogynist and homophobic leaders.

Freedland noted Livingstone’s additionally illiberal comments throughout his career, and also noted Livingstone’s meeting with prominent members of the Jewish community (which included Freedland) where he complained that Jews won’t vote for him because they are rich.

One particular reader (phlebasconsidered) took exception with Freedland’s concerns, commenting:

First, there’s something just funny about a CiF reader complaining that folks spend quiet a bit of time talking and obsessing about Jews in a paper whose fixation with a certain Jewish polity has been demonstrated by the media group’s own data.

And, yes, those Jews – daring to ‘mobilize’ to participate in the political process!

Thenthere was this reply:

And, finally, phlebasconsidered succeeded in digging himself deeper:

So, the real problem is that British Jews exercise influence disproportionate to their “minority status” – stifling free speech along the way by complaining about antisemitism and, thus, SCARING CiF moderators!

Yes, such uppity Jews: exercising their political rights AND occasionally hitting the report link next to a comment they feel is inconsistent with CiF community standards – a veritable Semitic reign of terror!

Jew hatred? What Jew hatred? A tale of two Guardian editorials on the Toulouse murders

The Guardian’s two editorials on the Islamist inspired murders of four innocent Jews in the French city of Toulouse really should win an award in great accomplishments in rhetorical propaganda.

Here are the official editorials:

France: republican ideals: On Saturday, thousands will march together through Paris in the face of an assault on its minorities by the Toulouse gunman  - published the day after the murders.

Toulouse shootings: in the line of fireNicolas Sarkozy reacted properly to a week of terrible events in France which ended in a hail of bullets in Toulouse -  published after the Islamist motivation of the perpetrator was known.

In over 900 words of text in two editorials a few tendencies are difficult to miss.

Use of the word “antisemitism”: 0

Number of times the names of the Jewish victims were used: 0

Number of times the Jewish identity of the victims was mentioned: 0

Number of times “right wing” was used in the pejorative:

Number of ties “Islamism” or “radical Islam” was used in a negative or pejorative context:

Number of times anti-immigrant rhetoric was blamed for the shootings: 3

  • “Mr Sarkozy and his ministers had wandered cynically into the terrain of the far right, with their nods and winks about immigrants, the ubiquity of halal meat, and France’s superior civilisation” (written after Jihadist motivation of killer was known)
  • “Nicolas Sarkozy’s lurch to the right has included such claims as there being too many immigrants in France, and that the French were secretly ingesting halal meat.”
  • “France’s main concern, like Britain’s, is jobs. Its problem, like ours, is curbing the super-rich not immigrants. Mr Sarkozy may now try to move to the centre ground. But let us hope he does not fool too many voters.”

Two Guardian editorials: Neither even attempted to address the disturbing dynamics of a malign Islamist ideology which would prompt a 23-year-old man, raised in France, to chase a small, terrified innocent Jewish girl into a corner, look her in the eye and shoot her three times in the brain.  

But the more urgent question, wrote Frida Ghitis in CNN.com commentary, “is what we can do to stop it from happening again. And the answer is that the first requirement is telling the truth about anti-Jewish ideologies.”

As such, the failure of the Guardian to engage in the urgent task of confronting  the threat posed by Islamist antisemitism represents, perhaps, their most appalling moral abdication.

‘Comment is Free’ reader Zionism = Nazism comment of the day

When reading the following comment advancing the Israel – Nazi analogy I was also struck by the attempt to refute Ahmadinejad’s calls to annihilate Israel – an apologia remarkably similar to what was advanced by Guardian columnist Marina Hyde in her recent polemical assault on those supporting military intervention to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Indeed, the comment was posted under Hyde’s commentary. 

Such rhetorical obfuscations about the malevolent intentions towards the Jewish state by the Islamic Republic of Iran have become an increasingly popular political leitmotif for the anti-Zionist left – aimed at undermining Israeli and Western fears of Iran’s aspirations for regional hegemony.

What’s particularly interesting about this comment is that it defends Iran, denies that the country’s leaders ever expressed desire to annihilate Israel, while simultaneously comparing Israel to an ideology so offensive that its elimination is not only acceptable, but a moral necessity. 

To this Guardian reader, the tragically misunderstood nation of Iran merely seeks the end of the only sovereign Jewish state in the world.

Finally, its impossible not to read this comment without understanding the greater context: Guardian readers are routinely exposed to commentary at ‘Comment is Free’ from contributors who implicitly, or explicitly, similarly call for an end to the Jewish state.

If you find such hideous propositions within the realm of acceptable liberal opinion, then its quite likely you’d be more predisposed to run interference for Islamist regimes like Iran which promote such aims.

The terms “useful idiocy” or “anti-imperialism of fools” doesn’t begin to do justice to the morally odious logic of such Guardian Left anti-Israel advocacy. 

Closing of the ‘liberal’ mind: Guardian’s Marina Hyde denies that Iran calls for Israel’s destruction

H/T Peter Cannon at the Henry Jackson Society

One of the more common traits of self-styled liberals at the Guardian is that – though they often view themselves as erudite, morally enlightened intellectuals – the “logic” which informs their polemics is often remarkably facile.  Particularly, they demonstrate a tendency to recycle the same “right-wing” villains in response to any political phenomenon they find displeasing.

A perfect example  is Marina Hyde’s CiF essay, “War on Iran? It is too soon to reminisce about Iraq, let alone have a repeat“, March 23.

Before getting to her simply astonishing defense of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, here are a few highlights.

First, this sophisticated Brit’s language is indistinguishable from what was employed by the most sophomoric anti-American left back when I was in college.  Hyde includes, among the antagonists of her tale, “The U.S War Machine”, “U.S. War Mongers”, and “creatures of the US military-industrial complex”.

Hyde writes:

The near immediacy of it renders fusty the idea of history repeating itself as farce. It would be farce repeating itself as farce, were it not all so sensationally unfunny. The very idea that US hawks should seek to double down on their fiascoid adventure in Iraq by aiming their sights on Iran should be deemed too far-fetched even for satire – instead, it gains daily traction in the most familiar of places. It’s not just the same news outlets; it’s the same faces.

With a handful of exceptions such as Dick Cheney, who is living off the fat of the last outing in the region, the Class of 2002 are back in business and beating the drums.

But while the amnesia cycle contracts every time, the one thing that takes far longer than it used to is extricating ourselves from these wars. The Republican party seems to need them more than ever, unified only when defining themselves against the so-called common enemy.

While we can only wonder who she’s referring to as those “beating the drums” for war, evidently lost on Hyde is the fact that a Democratic, and decidedly liberal, U.S. President is now the Commander-in-Chief.

But, in what can only be described as a quintessentially Guardian example of an ideologically inspired capacity to engage in almost incomprehensible propaganda, Hyde writes:

The airwaves and newswires teem with politicians and pundits shrieking and pointing at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s years-old exhortation to “wipe Israel off the map”, even though this translation has been repeatedly debunked – a fact that conveniently never sticks with those seeking to make hay. And once again, their strident voices drown out the experts.

Whatever one’s opinion about possible military intervention in Iran, the mendacity those who run interference for the Iranian regime’s transparent and well-documented malevolence towards the Jewish state can’t be overstated.  

Here is a sample of what Hyde’s “experts” evidently were unable to locate.

  •  Ahmadinejad’s original words, that Israel should be “wiped off the map”, have appeared draped over Iranian missiles in military parades.
  •  In 2008 he said: “I must announce that the Zionist regime, with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene,” 
  • In a public address on IRINN TV, Ahmadinejad stated: “The Zionist regime has reached a total dead-end. Thanks to God, your wish will soon be realised, and this germ of corruption will be wiped off.”

And, it’s not just Ahmadinejad. 

  • In February 2012, Ayatollah Khamenei told a Friday prayer meeting at Tehran University: “From now onward, we will support and help any nations, any groups fighting against the Zionist regime across the world, and we are not afraid of declaring this. The Zionist regime is a true cancer tumour on this region that should be cut off. And it definitely will be cut off.”
  • website with close ties to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei outlined why it would be religiously acceptable to kill all Jews in Israel – a doctrine  (seen here) which details why the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of all its people would be legally and morally justified, and in accordance to Islamic doctrine.


The suggestion that Iranian leaders have not indeed called repeatedly for Israel’s destruction is, it seems, in some ways intellectually similar to Holocaust denial.  In both cases, conclusions are reached based on the political and ideological causes they serve.

Whether or not Holocaust deniers truly believe their own rhetoric about the Holocaust is one issue.  However, just a vital is the political ends such narratives serve – the notion that Jews are not victims, not worthy of our sympathy, and the implicit suggestion that there has been a successful Jewish conspiracy to convince the world of this historically fictitious mass murder.

Similarly, those who deny Iranian leaders’ calls for Israel’s destruction appear to be at least partially motivated by the belief that such “propaganda” is advanced by those with ulterior motives – right-wingers, Zionists, and similarly villainous war-mongers who seek a military confrontation with Iran.

Whether or not such commentators making such claims are motivated by antisemitism is beside the point.

Ultimately, the politics which represent the foundation of their belief that Ahmadinejad has never in fact called for Israel’s destruction rests, in large measure, on a conspiracy theory and extreme malice towards their political opponents.

Headline from a conspiracy blog: http://tiny.cc/ty5pbw

It’s not enough for Guardian columnists to simply make a case against war with Iran.  They must impute, to those one the other side of the debate, the worst faith and most ignoble motives,  conjuring caricatures of cynical, malevolent, manipulators disseminating propaganda in service of a covert, dangerous agenda.

That commentators such as Hyde actually believe themselves free of what they see as intellectually crippling right-wing closed-mindedness is a stunning self-delusion.

Those self-described “liberals” who sow doubt regarding even the most explicit calls for the mass murder of Jews have come to resemble the very right-wing caricatures they’re so fond of demonizing.