When Jews moving into non-Jewish neighborhoods elicits scorn from liberals

photoImagine if Jerusalem authorities forbade Palestinians (those with permanent Israeli residency) from moving into Jewish neighborhoods in west Jerusalem, citing the need to protect the delicate demographic balance of the capital, and keep such neighborhoods entirely Jewish.

Is it even conceivable that journalists and commentators in the UK media would be critical of such Palestinians who decided to legally buy property and move into such Jewish neighborhoods?

Whilst the answer to this question should be obvious, it’s worth noting the furious reaction in 2010 when a few dozen racist rabbis issued a meaningless and unenforceable “religious ruling” forbidding Jews from selling land to Arabs – a ruling widely condemned as racist and illegal by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum.  One Guardian contributor even prophesized in the rabbinical ruling nothing less than a rising tide of religious fascism sweeping the country, and an ominous moral decline which “strikes at the soul of Judaism”.  

Yet, when Palestinians wish to keep predominately Arab neighborhoods ethnically pure, and free of any Jewish presence whatsoever, the coverage is much different.

An Oct. 20th report in the Independent titled ‘Israeli settlers criticised for overnight move into hotly disputed East Jerusalem‘, by Ben Lynfield, about a small number of Jews who moved into property in Silwan – a neighborhood in east Jerusalem reportedly home to roughly 50,000 Palestinians and a few hundred Jews – which was purchased legally.  

Israeli settlers have provoked criticism after moving overnight into a building in the hotly disputed area of East Jerusalem.

“We did it at night because there is less chance of friction with the Arabs,” said Daniel Luria, spokesman for the Ateret Cohanim organisation behind the move.

Ateret Cohanim, which settles Jews in Arab areas of East Jerusalem, said it facilitated the purchase of the two buildings from their Arab owners. Mr Luria said the buildings contain nine apartments and that Jewish families and religious studies students would soon move into the properties, immediately doubling the Jewish presence in that section of Silwan.

Last month Jewish settlers took over six properties in another area of Silwan, in the biggest settler acquisition in the neighbourhood since Jews began moving there two decades ago.  

The White House called the move a provocation…

We of course understand that when the move is characterized as a “provocation”, it’s in the context of fears that an expanded Jewish presence in east Jerusalem (an area, let’s remember, that was only ‘Arab’ after Jordanians ethnically cleansed the Jewish population in 1948) will stymie two-state hopes by limiting the chance that Palestinians will realize their aspirations of claiming that part of the city the future capital of their nascent state.

However, two-state proponents in the media and elsewhere who follow this line of thinking need to ask themselves if they truly think that establishing and successfully maintaining a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem necessitates a city that is completely Jew-free.

More broadly, however, Western commentators who smear Israel with the charge of “Judaization”, “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing” in reaction to efforts by the state to maintain a Jewish majority never seem to follow the same moral logic when discussing the future Palestinian state.  Those who support the creation of a Palestinian state must acknowledge that the new state will certainly be entirely Arab Muslim. There will likely be no Jews and (if trends throughout the region continue) almost no Christians.

While such observations should not be misunderstood as an argument against a two-state solution, those who enthusiastically champion Palestine’s creation should acknowledge that the 23rd Arab State will not embrace diversity, tolerance, religious pluralism or even the broadest understanding of political liberalism.

They of course must also ask themselves how they – and those within their political circles – arrived at the point in history where the reactionary impulse to condemn Jews for moving into non-Jewish neighborhoods can be framed as a ‘progressive’ political stance. 

Guardian claims Israeli officials dismiss European critics as “Nazi-hugging antisemites”

Do Israeli officials or those closest to Binyamin Netanyahu dismiss European critics of Israel as “Nazi-hugging antisemites”?  

The Guardian makes such a claim in an analysis (MPs’ vote on Palestine state recognition is part of growing international trend, Oct. 13) co-written by their Middle East editor Ian Black and Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont.

Here’s the passage in question:

Anecdotal evidence suggests Israeli officials now discount criticism from Europe as coming from “Nazi-hugging antisemites” or “fucking Europe” – an expression that has apparently enjoyed some vogue among those closest to Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister. European diplomats admit that this has led to a Catch 22 situation, making it harder for supporters of Israel to communicate the message that Israel risks becoming more internationally isolated.

A Google search of the term turned up almost no hits, save this reference in an Oct. 18th article (five days after the Guardian piece) in the Economist titled ‘Recognising Palestine: A State of things to come‘.

Here’s the passage:

To downplay the significance of the vote, Mr Cameron abstained. Yet this might also reflect growing ambivalence towards Israel, some claimed. After siding with Israel early in the Gaza war, Mr Cameron denounced Israel’s post-war landgrab as “utterly deplorable”.

That growing concern has had little discernible impact on relations. Bilateral trade has risen 28% year-on-year. And Israel can be thick-skinned about how the world views it. “There’s a bit of a tendency to write off Europeans as Nazi-hugging anti-semites,” says a Western diplomat in Tel Aviv.

As you can see, the Economist’s version is a bit different than the claim made by Black and Beaumont, as the magazine merely cites an unnamed European diplomat who seems to be using his or her own words in loosely characterizing the general sentiment of some Israelis towards European critics of the state.

It may be extremely difficult to definitively disprove, but we remain extremely skeptical of the veracity of the Guardian claim – one which just so happens to overlap with the Guardian Left canard that sincere critics of Israeli policy are routinely accused of antisemitism by prominent Israelis and their supporters.

Financial Times misleads with partial quote by William Hague about ‘Palestine’

A Financial Times article by Philip Stephens, Israel is losing its friends in the world (Oct. 16), included the following passage in support of the broader thesis suggesting strong UK political support for recognizing ‘Palestine’ as a state, and dismissing Israeli concerns over statehood recognition outside the context of negotiations.

The Israeli argument, echoed as it was by a handful of supportive MPs, is that the process of recognising Palestine as a state, which began in the UN general assembly two years ago, is a brake on peace. Statehood is a prize to be “earned”. To concede it now would be to reduce the pressure for Palestinians to make tough compromises.

There was never great logic in this. As several MPs pointed out, the formulation offers Israel an extraordinary veto over the choices of other sovereign states. Even if this once made tactical sense, the proposition has been robbed of reason by Mr Netanyahu: Palestinians cannot be denied statehood because of Israel’s intransigence.

On Palestinian statehood, [Jack] Straw quoted the words in 2011 of William Hague, then Mr Cameron’s foreign secretary: “The UK judges that the Palestinian Authority largely fulfils the criteria for UN membership, including statehood.”

However, the Hague quote cite by the Financial Times is only a partial one. 

Here’s the full passage from Hague’s statement to Parliament on November 9th, 2011, explaining his government’s decision to abstain on a vote in the UN on recognizing Palestine as a state with full membership.

“The UK judges that the Palestinian Authority largely fulfils criteria for UN membership, including statehood as far as the reality of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories allows, but its ability to function effectively as a State would be impeded by that situation. A negotiated end to the occupation is the best way to allow Palestinian aspirations to be met in reality and on the ground.”

The Financial Times clearly left out a key passage, where Hague expresses his government’s view that prematurely recognizing ‘Palestine’ before a negotiated agreement is reached would impede the new state’s ability to “function effectively as a State”.

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Why does the Economist treat Palestinian rioters like children?

The media script about rioting at the Temple Mount is as predictable as it is dishonest.

When religious Jews peacefully walk around the Temple Mount (the holiest site in Judaism), and even honor the prohibition against non-Muslim prayer on the site, they are still nonetheless often characterized in the UK media as ‘Jewish radicals’ engaged an inherently provocative act. Conversely, Muslims who riot and attack Jewish worshippers and Israeli Police – in order to “defend the mosque” – are typically framed by the media, at least implicitly, as pious worshippers incited to violence by the presence of Jewish extremists. 

The latest example of this UK media narrative – informed by the refusal of British opinion leaders to take Palestinians seriously as agents of their own fate – comes to us courtesy of the Economist, in an article titled ‘A mount of troubles: Jewish radicals are upsetting the fragile religious balance in the holy city, Oct. 18th. 

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Does Guardian journo Nicholas Watt believe Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital?

An October 14th report by Guardian chief political correspondent Nicholas Watt (Alan Duncan to condemn Israeli settlements in blistering speech) included this passage:

In one of the strongest attacks on the government of Binyamin Netanyahu by a frontline UK politician, Duncan will criticise Tel Aviv for its “reprehensible” behaviour in encouraging and supporting the creation of “illegal colonies”.

It is unclear who in Tel Aviv Duncan will be criticising, as Jerusalem is of course the Israeli capital. 

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Guardian fails to report antisemitic comment by Tory MP

Last night in London, British lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution recommending that the “Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.”  

While the most morally obtuse comment during the debate belongs to Sir Richard Ottaway, who said that Israel’s “annexation” [sic] of 950 acres of the West Bank outraged him “more than anything else” in his political life – suggesting that terror attacks by Islamists on Western civilians, mass slaughter and systemic repression of human rights in the Mid-East come are less outrageous than the ‘horror’ of potential Israeli homes on a small stretch of land near the green line – another MP’s comments represented an altogether different level of political pathos.

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Guardian writer George Monbiot: “Time for an air war against Israel.”

By CiFWatch Editorial Team.

In a deeply ironic article The Guardian’s George Monbiot asks why, in light of NATO’s current air war against Islamic State, the west doesn’t “bomb the Muslim world – all of it” and possibly “flatten the entire Middle East and West Asia” his thesis being that with there being so many human rights abusers in the region why concentrate solely on Islamic State/ISIS.

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Why does the Guardian portray Hamas as a victim of Israeli aggression?

“Our narrative has gained the upper hand in the media” – Hamas deputy political leader Ismail Haniyeh

As Jews in the UK and across the world were welcoming in the new year on Wednesday evening, the Guardian Group published yet another official editorial reminding readers which party was to blame for the 50 day war between Israel and Hamas.

Whilst nobody familiar with the political leanings of the media group would be surprised that they judged the Jewish state guilty, their September 24th polemic (The Guardian view on the human, economic and political costs of the Gaza war) is noteworthy as a reminder that their top editors in London believe that even the most extreme elements within Palestinian society aren’t responsible for their actions.

The Guardian editorial parrots Hamas talking points in claiming that the movement was strengthened by the war; sows doubt over Hamas culpability for the murder of three Israeli teens, despite a claim of responsibility from one of their leaders as well as an admission by the cell’s ringleader that Hamasniks in Gaza funded the “operation”; falsely characterizes Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli cities as a “response” to Israeli aggression; and challenges “Israel’s reasons for going to war“, completely erasing the history of the conflict.

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Guardian silent about Labour candidate’s suspension for racist tweets

British Labor Party Parliamentary candidate Vicki Kirby was suspended on Saturday by Party leaders after it emerged that she was responsible for a series of hateful Tweets about Israel.

One tweet read:

“We invented Israel when saving them from Hitler, who now seems to be their teacher.”

Another claimed:

“Hitler might be the “Zionist God”

And, one pledged:

“I will never forget and I will make sure my kids teach their children how evil Israel is!”

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Slow news days in Israel? Guardian plays ‘Catch the Jew”

Based on research collected while posing as a German investigative reporter during a tour through Palestinian areas, Israeli born playwright and writer Tuvia Tenenbom spent time with pro-Palestinian “activists” and NGO researchers in the West Bank and asked about the plight of the Palestinians. He turned the results into a book cheekily titled, ‘Catch the Jew, words meant to capture the surreal anti-Israel and antisemitic propaganda continually fed by such activists to a compliant media.

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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.

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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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