Former Editor of The Indepedent: Israeli ‘expansionism’ radicalises Muslims

Simon Kelner was Editor of The Independent between 1998 and 2011, and currently writes a column for the Indy’s i100 page. You may recall that Kelner defended his paper’s decision to publish that infamous cartoon by Dave Brown’s in 2003 showing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ‘devouring the flesh of a Palestinian baby’, claiming that it was not antisemitic.

On September 18th, Kelner published a piece at The Independent titled ‘In praise of Howard Jacobson‘, in which he praised the 72-year-old critically acclaimed British writer as “exacting” and as “unbelievably brilliant as he has always been”.

Kelner and Jacobson are both Jewish, and though Kelner characterized Jacobson in his Indy op-ed as a good personal friend, a stray comment about Israel by Kelner evoked one of the characters in Jacobson’s Man Booker Award winning book, The Finkler Question.

After noting that Jacobson’s latest book, J, “is one of the six books on the Man Booker Prize shortlist to be decided on October 14″, he pivots to a more personal reflection:

Howard and I have a few things in common, not the least that we are Jews from North Manchester. (You didn’t know Howard was Jewish? Well, he does try to keep it a secret.) Beyond that, however, there are subjects on which we have a very different world view.

During a discussion circle in a licensed establishment one night, I ventured the premise that you could understand why the actions of the West, and the expansionist policies of Israel, had helped to radicalise a sector of Muslim society. “You’re just a self-hating Jew,” someone shot back at me. “He’s not a self-hating Jew,” countered Howard, “he loves himself”

Leaving aside the risible characterization of the roughly 21,000 square km State of Israel – comprising about two-tenths of one percent of the Middle East landmass – as an “expansionist” country, Kelner’s suggestion that Muslim extremists don’t possess moral agency represents a classic example of liberal racism – the failure to hold those perceived as historically oppressed to the same standard of behavior as others.

Indeed, Kelner’s argument makes about as much sense as white supremacists in the US suggesting they’ve been radicalized by black crime, Islamophobes claiming they’ve become racist due to Islamist violence, or (closer to home) defenders of Baruch Goldstein attributing his radicalization to Palestinian terror.

If Kelner would never countenance such shameful alibis for the racism and extremism by whites and or Jews, then why would he do so when it comes to Muslims?

Whilst we’re of course not privy to any insight into Kelner’s feelings about his own Jewish identity, anyone familiar with the Jacobson’s all too real characters in The Finkler Question would be familiar with the insatiable appetite of some British Jews to not only criticize Israel, but to announce (to as many non-Jews who will listen) that it’s a uniquely malevolent force in the world – part of the Semitic clique fancied by the Indy and Guardian who are proud to be ashamed of the Jewish state.

Let’s play: Are you an anti-Semite?

This graphic/flowchart on antisemitism, created by A.B. Landis, is being circulated on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Imgur, and we thought it was definitely worth sharing. (Click graphic below to go to the original image at Imgur, and then click again to enlarge.)

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Guardian/Reuters buries the lead on Hamas targeting of Palestinian civilians

Hidden in the final sentence of a Guardian/Reuters report on Sept. 20th, Egypt to host Gaza talks between Palestinian factions, on upcoming reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas and subsequent indirect talks between Hamas and Israel, is a remarkable accusation – albeit one not surprising to those familiar with Hamas‘s widespread human rights violations against their own civilians.

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Jewish, proudly British and increasingly concerned about rising antisemitism

Daniel Finkelstein, associate editor at Times of London, provided an extremely lucid, measured and penetrating look into antisemitism in the UK, in a column published in August.  It’s behind a pay wall, and we thought it was valuable enough to provide excerpts.

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A bit less righteous: The moral fall of Yad Vashem medal winner Henk Zanoli

In August, multiple British media outlets (including The Economist, Independent and The Telegraph) covered the story of a Yad Vashem Righteous Gentile, Henk Zanoli, 91, who returned his award after the IDF – during Operation Protective Edge – bombed the house of his relative (Ismail Ziadah, who married Henk Zanoli’s father’s great niece) who lived in Gaza, killing six.

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CAMERA’s Tamar Sternthal: Media coverage of Israel during the war in Gaza

My colleague Tamar Sternthal, the Director of the Israel office of CAMERA, recently joined Josh Hasten for an in-studio interview at Voice of Israel to discuss media coverage of Israel during Operation Protective Edge.

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CiF Watch prompts correction to Telegraph claim about Unit 8200 letter

Unlike the Guardian, the Telegraph’s coverage of one protest letter by 43 Israelis – threatening that they’d no longer serve in the IDF’s 8200 intelligence unit due to their opposition to “Israel’s military occupation over the territories” – hasn’t been at all obsessive. In fact, they’ve only published one story on the row to date – an AFP piece titled ‘Elite Israeli soldiers refuse to fight against Palestinians‘, Sept. 12th.

However, the report did contain a clear error, in a passage suggesting that the Israeli soldiers complained, in their letter, of “targeted assassinations”.

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Guardian mangles Bill Clinton’s recent comments about Israeli-Palestinian peace

As CiF Watch readers no doubt know, though the Guardian rarely misses an opportunity to publish a report when someone, somewhere in the world, says something critical of Israel or their leaders, they typically omit news of similarly critical comments about Palestinians and their leaders. Indeed, a recent story by Guardian Washington correspondent Dan Roberts (Bill Clinton: Netanyahu ‘not the guy’ to strike lasting Middle East peace deal, Sept. 16th) represents yet another example of this principle.  

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Guardian champions their favorite Israeli causes: Disloyalty and Insubordination

Former AP correspondent Matti Friedman, in his essay at Tablet on media coverage of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, explained that reporters “working in the international press corps here understands quickly that what is important in the Israel-Palestinian story is Israel”, whose “every action and flaw is analyzed, criticized and aggressively reported”, while, alternately, “Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate”.

The Guardian coverage of Israel and the greater region perfectly reflects this principle.

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Examining an alleged quote by Golda Meir about the Holocaust cited by Gideon Levy

(CAMERA senior research analyst Gidon Shaviv assisted in this post)

We recently posted about an Irish Times article by Lara Marlow which highlighted Haaretz’s Gideon Levy (“Holocaust makes Israelis think international law doesn’t apply,” Sept. 11th) in which Levy recycled a previously discredited quote by former prime minister Golda Meir.

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Miracle in Gaza: Power plant the Guardian declared “destroyed” comes back to life

Elder of Ziyon just published a fascinating update on the widely reported story from late July, in which Gaza’s only power plant was allegedly completely “destroyed” by an Israeli missile strike.   

Here’s how the Guardian covered the incident in a July 30th report by Harriet Sherwood.

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The Gaza War in 5 minutes: Richard Kemp explains what the media didn’t report

In the following video produced by Jerusalem U, Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, explains the egregious double standards in media coverage of Israel during the recent Gaza conflict.

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Gideon Levy recycles a likely fabricated Golda Meir quote for the Irish Times

As CAMERA has previously documented, in 2004 Gideon Levy claimed in a Ha’aretz column that “Golda Meir said that after what the Nazis did to us, we can do whatever we want,” but was later forced to admit that he had no source for the quote. In an email to CAMERA, he acknowledged: “Therefore we dropped the quotation in the original version in Hebrew and by mistake it was printed in the English version.”

He’s at it again.

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Guardian publishes repulsive letter evoking Israel-Nazi analogy

Alvin Rosenfeld, in a recent essay at The Forward (Moral Emptiness of Holocaust Survivors Who Took on Israel, Aug. 28), argued that “stamping” Israel-Nazi analogies “with the moral authority that supposedly belongs to Holocaust survivors does not turn these lies into truth”.

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