What precisely would it take for the Guardian to report a story about antisemitism on the part of Iranian leaders?
While every Israeli policy conceivably affecting its Arab citizens, or the Palestinians, is scrutinized (by their ideological DNA experts) for trace amounts of racism, nowhere on the Guardian’s Iran page, for example, will you read that a website with close ties to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei recently outlined why it would be religiously acceptable to kill all Jews in Israel.
This doctrine details why such genocide would be legally and morally justified and in accordance with Islamic law.
More recently, the Guardian failed to report a hideously antisemitic speech given by Iran’s vice president Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, delivered on Tuesday, June 26th 2012, at an international anti-drug conference – a story which was reported widely in the mainstream media and by wire services.
Rahimi charged that the Talmud was responsible for the spread of illegal drugs around the world in a speech which reportedly even shocked European diplomats in attendance.
Rahimi, second in line to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also charged that Jews “think God has created the world so that all other nations can serve them” and that the Talmud teaches to “destroy everyone who opposes the Jews so as to protect an embryo in the womb of a Jewish mother.” The New York Times also quoted Rahimi as saying Zionists ordered gynecologists to kill black babies and that the Russian Revolution of 1917 was started by Jews although none died in it.
The Guardian’s failure to report on such extreme antisemitism, delivered by an Iranian leader at an international forum, is not unrelated to the their consistent record defending the Islamic Republic against its critics, especially in the context of Iran’s nuclear aspirations.
Here is a sample of some of the polemical interference the Guardian has run for the mullahs in Tehran.
- A Guardian editorial warning Israel against saber-rattling against Iran and arguing that the Jewish state should just learn to live with a nuclear armed Iran (Iran, bolting the stable door, November 9th, 2011).
- Mehdi Hasan’s tear-jerking tale of a beleaguered Iran threatened on all sides, which understandably desires a nuclear weapon in order to defend itself from U.S. and Israeli aggression (If you lived in Iran, wouldn’t you want the nuclear bomb, November 17th, 2011).
- Seumas Milne’s polemical attempt to obfuscate Iranian nuclear ambitions, which included an urgent plea for readers to prevent a “covert US-Israeli campaign against Tehran” from exploding into a global war (War on Iran has already begun. Act before it threatens all of us. December 7th, 2011).
- Simon Jenkins’ argument that the Israel lobby is pushing an unwilling Obama into militaristic policies towards Iran, (“Why is Britain ramping up sanctions against Iran?, January 3rd, 2012).
- Saeed Kamali Dehghan’s warning against covert actions by the West and Israel to prevent Iran from acquiring nukes, which will “ruin any chance of dialogue with Tehran” (The covert war on Iran is illegal and dangerous, January 11th, 2012).
But the Pravda award for great achievements in passing off simply absurd political theories as serious thought goes to their veteran journalist Brian Whitaker, who actually served as the Guardian’s Middle East editor for seven years.
In a ‘Comment is Free’ piece on November 9th, 2011 titled “Why do the US media believe the worse about Iran?”, Whitaker not only ignored the most recent IAEA report - available on the Guardian website - which stated that Iran has carried out “a structured program to develop an explosive nuclear device”, but suggested that the clandestine program may not be nuclear at all: merely a project to manufacture nanodiamonds.
As proof for this alternative and simply bizarre explanation – which has somehow eluded intelligence agencies, nuclear watchdog groups, and the international monitoring agency – Whitaker linked to a fringe site called “Moon of Alabama“.
But such comical obfuscations seem necessarily related to the Guardian’s failure to report about Iranian leaders who draw upon classic antisemitic conspiracy theories to justify their desire to rid the world of the “cancerous tumor” known as the Jewish state.
Indeed, it seems that much of the Guardian’s editorial resources are devoted towards arguing that an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites would be madness because, at the end of the day, the Iranians are rational political actors who will behave rationally even if they become a nuclear power. Such a theory is in itself a symptom of the paper’s broader belief that there are no moral differences between such Islamist states and the democratic West – a habit of mind characterized by Richard Landes as “Liberal Cognitive Egocentrism“.
As such, evidence demonstrating that Iranian values are necessarily hostile towards not just Israel but Jews as such, represents supremely inconvenient truths and would run counter to the Guardian’s broader cause.
If Israel is seen as correctly perceiving a nuclear armed Iran as a threat to the lives of millions of Jews – as well as the state’s very survival – then the Guardian’s long campaign against military intervention (as with their broader anti-Zionist narrative) is seriously undermined, and indeed would strain credulity.
The Guardian’s seemingly unlimited capacity to deny, or at least ignore, Islamist antisemitism is informed as much by an indifference to the political aspirations of Jews as it is by a broader refusal to allow for information which would contradict their most cherished beliefs.