Top 7 anti-Jewish comments by The Independent’s Mira Bar-Hillel

Mira Bar-Hillel is a journalist for the London Evening Standard and op-ed contributor for The Independent, who’s also been interviewed by both the BBC and Sky News on the topics of Israel, British Jewry, and antisemitism – this despite the fact that Bar-Hillel acknowledged being prejudiced against Jews and has a record of engaging in anti-Jewish racism.

Here is a list of her anti-Jewish claims, which we’ve compiled during the course of frequent posts about her op-eds, media appearances and Tweets:

1. She admitted to being “prejudiced against Jews”. Here are her exact words:

The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes.

2. She complained  (in an op-ed at The Independent) that Jews smear people unfairly with the charge of antisemitism to silence and “gag into submission any critic of Israel”. 

3. She evoked  (in an op-ed at The Independent) the ugly Nazi-Zionism analogy in characterizing Israeli racism and IDF military actions in Gaza. 

4. She accused British Jews (in a series of Tweets) collectively of ‘bombing Gaza’.

5. She argued (during a BBC interview) that British Jews don’t criticize Israeli actions in Gaza out of fear of being “ex-communicated” from the Jewish community.

6. She expressed (in a series of Tweets) her belief that “the message” of Jews controlling America is “entirely true” and “increasingly so”, and that Jewish lobbyists appear to be picking up some of their ideas from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and using them.

7. She complained (in an op-ed at The Independent) that the pro-Israel lobby is multi-tentacled. (Indy editors later removed the words “multi-tentacles”)

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Snapshot of cached version of passage from Bar-Hillel’s op-ed

As we’ve argued previously, it’s truly difficult to understand how a reputable publication like The Independent (which claims to take antisemitism seriously) can continue publishing op-eds by someone with such a well-documented history of advancing explicitly antisemitic tropes.

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Headline from official Independent editorial on Oct. 4, 2013, denying that the paper engages in antisemitism

 

Read Yiftah Curiel’s Guardian op-ed: ‘Hamas is single biggest barrier to peace’

, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London, published an op-ed at the Guardian titled ‘Hamas is the single biggest barrier to peace in Gaza‘.

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We encourage you to read it, and comment below the line.

 

Times of London falsely claims Israel ‘formally annexed’ land in the West Bank

The Times of London, on Sept. 2, published an article by Gregg Carlstrom about a recent decision by Israeli authorities to declare 988 acres in the Gush Etzion region of Judea and Samaria (close to where three Israeli teens were kidnapped and murdered in June) ‘state land’ (Israel makes biggest land grab in 30 years after teens murdered). 

Here’s a map of the area in question:

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Map created by Ha’aretz

The Times of London article (behind a pay wall) included this opening passage:

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However, it is completely inaccurate to say that Israel “formally annexed” the land in question, as such formal annexation would require legislation and approval in the Knesset, a formal process that only occurred in two cases - east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.  

The term “annexation” implies sovereignty, and any area that was “formally annexed” would mean the application of Israeli law to that territory. This is not the case when Israel merely declares an area to be “state land”, which does not imply sovereignty.

Even Peace Now (the group referred to in the Times of London article) doesn’t claim that the land in question was “formally annexed”, only that it was “declared state land”.

Additionally, none of the other UK papers reporting on the story that we reviewed (including the Guardian, Telegraph, Financial Times, Daily Mail and Independent) included the word “annexed” in their accounts.

After contacting editors at Times of London, they slightly revised the sentence in question, deleting the word “formally”.

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However, the change is completely insufficient, as the passage’s inclusion of the word “annexation” is extremely misleading.

What do Angelina Jolie & Mira Bar-Hillel have in common? Both caused Indy headline fails

The Independent experienced some problems of late in facing the decision all UK newspaper editors who understand the Judeocentric road to increased web traffic: whether any given story should be framed as pertaining to Jews, or merely Israel.

On Aug. 29th, the Indy published a story about Angelina Jolie’s recent wedding to Brad Pitt which originally included a headline suggesting that Jolie’s father, Jon Voight, wasn’t invited because of his pro-Israel views.  However, the subsequent text in the article didn’t at all support this claim, and the headline was later amended.

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Remarkably, however, the author of the article about Jolie’s wedding, Jen Selby, still managed to devote 325 words (in a 800 word piece) about Voight’s views on Israel.

Earlier this month, Voight stirred controversy when he accused Penelopé Cruz and her husband Javier Bardem of ‘inciting anti-Semitism’ after they signed an open letter condemning the Israeli government’s Palestinian ‘genocide’.

In response, Voight, who is famously pro-Israel, penned a strongly-worded letter published on Variety.com.

“My name is Jon Voight and I am more than angry,” it begins. “I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused

“They are obviously ignorant of the whole story of Israel’s birth, when in 1948 the Jewish people were offered by the UN a portion of the land originally set aside for them in 1921, and the Arab Palestinians were offered the other half.

“The Arabs rejected the offer, and the Jews accepted, only to be attacked by five surrounding Arab countries committed to driving them into the sea.”

He goes on to claim that Israel, after years of being at war with the Palestinian people, gave them the Gaza strip as a gesture of peace. He ends the piece by pleading for famous names in the entertainment industry to re-address their anti-IDF stances.

“I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives.  Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now?

“You have been able to become famous and have all your monetary gains because you are in a democratic country: America.  Do you think you would have been able to accomplish this in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, et cetera?

“You had a great responsibility to use your celebrity for good.  Instead, you have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel.

“You should hang your heads in shame,” he concludes.  “You should all come forth with deep regrets for what you did, and ask forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel.

The misleading nature of the original headline was actually revealed in the last sentence in the article:

Neither Angelina Jolie, norBrad Pitt, have publicly shared their views on the conflict.

Sure, now you tell us!

Then, on Sept. 1st, Indy editors decided to reward their loyal readers by publishing more timeless wisdom from Mira Bar-Hillel, in an op-ed originally titled ‘The truth about the UK’s powerful Jewish lobbies‘. (You can see this writer’s rebuttal at the Indy here.)

The headline was later quietly changed, and the words “powerful Jewish lobbies” became “pro-Israel lobbies”, as the former perhaps was deemed by editors to evoke calumnies about Jews which are inconsistent with their “enlightenment” values.

miraInterestingly though, the term “Jewish lobby” can still be seen twice in the article. 

Finally, the disproportionate focus on Jews and Israel within the media was the focus of an amusing blog entry by Jeffrey Goldberg, in a post (published at The Atlantic in 2011) with the following headline:

headline

Here’s the post:

The headline above was produced by the Instamash-Bloginator3000, a device, invented by Israeli scientists working in the Jewish settlement of Neve Manyak, that can reduce thousands of blog posts to a single thought. And it also corrupts Iranian centrifuges! I plugged 3,000 of my blog posts into this wonder machine, and this is the headline that came out!

No, no, I kid! (I kid because I love.) There is no Jewish settlement named Neve Manyak. The headline above actually refers to the disproportionate interest drunks and lunatics take in Jews and their meddling and mysterious ways.

In the last several days, we’ve had Charlie Sheen angrily outing his producer, Chuck Lorre, as “Chaim Levine“;  Glenn Beck accusing Reform rabbis of conspiring to build a Muslim caliphate (or something); John Galliano drunkenly praising Hitler (advice to Galliano’s lawyer: Tell the press your client was referring to another Hitler, maybe a hitherto-obscure designer of hats); the Iranian regime complaining that the 2012 Olympic logo secretly spells out the word “Zion” (they’re wrong, of course; the logo secretly spells out “Mark Spitz is Jewish, and Jason Lezak is Too, So Go Drown Yourselves in the Caspian Sea); and now, Julian Assange is allegedly arguing that The Guardian — the English-language newspaper least friendly to Israel on Earth — is engaged in a Jewish-dominated conspiracy to smear him.

One of the great advantages of being Jewish — and there are many (we invented both ethical monotheism and whitefish salad, after all) — is that though there are only about 14 million of us on the whole planet (18 million before World War II, Mr. Galliano), people can’t stop talking about us! It is very exciting to be a part of so many different fantasies. 

We don’t know for sure if the Indy uses a device as sophisticated as the Instamash-Bloginator3000 to assist their editors in crafting headlines, or whether they just realize on their own the great click-bait advantages generated by generous use of the terms “Jew” and “Israel”.  However, in the rarely dull field of pro-Israel media criticism nothing much surprises us anymore.  

After all, if you had told us just last week that we would be publishing a post with a headline that included the names Angelina Jolie and Mira Bar-Hillel we would have certainly, at the very least, raised an eyebrow and scratched our collective Jewish Israeli Zionist heads. 

Read Adam Levick’s op-ed at The Independent

Adam Levick had an op-ed published today at the The Independent, (‘Yes, pro-Israel Jews lobby the Gov’t, and like all UK citizens they have every right to do so‘, Sept. 2), in response to an Independent op-ed by Mira Bar-Hillel (The truth about pro-Israel lobbies, Sept. 1).

You can read it here.

Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell can’t “spot the difference” between Russia and Israel

Within the growing body of work in the field of Comically Erroneous Political Comparisons, Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell just distinguished himself as a rising star. Here’s a Sept. 1st cartoon by Bell, an artist who clearly doesn’t want his creative expression to be fenced in by stubborn political and geographic realities.

Steve Bell 02.09.2014

We’ll take a wild stab, and work under the assumption that Bell’s cartoon is inspired by the recent row concerning Israel’s announcement that it’s taking control of 1000 acres of land near Gvaot in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank.

Now, here’s a size comparison between Israel and Russia.  This of course doesn’t include Greater Russia – the boundaries of the country after they took over, by military force, the Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Crimea and sections of eastern Ukraine. See if you can “spot the difference” between Israel and Russia, or even just spot Israel.

sizeisraelrussia

Indeed, Russia’s newly “acquired” territory of Crimea, at just over 10,000 square miles, is, by itself, larger than Israel.

Moreover, while Russia continues to expand its borders, Israel has continued to voluntarily relinquish land for peace (the Sinai, Gaza, Southern Lebanon and much of the West Bank) since their defensive war in 1967.

Shrinking Israel

Bell’s blurring of such obvious and intuitive differences between the recent territorial histories of Israel and Russia is par for the course at the Guardian, where such artful obfuscations over Israel’s clear moral advantages represent one of their signature ideological ticks.

Bizarre claim in the Guardian: ‘Red roofs are mandatory in Israeli settlements’

What can ‘forensic architecture’ reveal about the conflict in Gaza?‘, Guardian, Sept 1, focuses on the Haifa-born, London educated architect Eyal Weizman, evidently famous in some circles as the “chief proponent of “forensic architecture”, which analyzes the “impacts of urban warfare” for clues about the crimes perpetrated there.

When he looks out across the landscape of the occupied Palestinian West Bank, as he does in the film The Architecture of Violence, to be aired on Al Jazeera today, [Eyal Weizman] sees a battlefield. “The weapons and ammunitions are very simple elements: they are trees, they are terraces, they are houses. They are barriers.”

In the kitchen of his east London home…he says the most obvious and contentious aspect of what he calls the “architecture of occupation” is the system of Israeli settlements. Perched on West Bank hilltops, they are strategically positioned, according to Weizman, so that they look out over the Palestinian valleys and towns below, in order “to dominate”.

Then, the kicker:

Each of the uniformly suburban-looking houses – all with mandatory red roofs so that on flyovers the Israeli army know[s] not to target them – is “itself like an optical instrument,” he tells me.

As bizarre as this claim is, amazingly it has been advanced previously.  Just a few months ago, the Chairman of Norwegian People’s Aid, Finn Erik, said pretty much the same thing at a lecture in Norway.  But, as popular blogger Elder of Ziyon demonstrated, there are multiple reasons why this claim doesn’t withstand even the slightest scrutiny.  

  • Most Palestinians in Judea and Samaria live in areas A and B under control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The PA has full responsibility for zoning and import of building materials, including the type of roof tiles that can be used. There are no Palestinian regulations that prohibit the use of red roof tiles.
  • Israel has no laws or regulations that prohibit the use of red roof tiles in Area C which is under Israeli control. This means that both Arabs and Jews who build in this area can use red roof tiles in their houses, if they want to. 
  • The Israeli air force uses precision weapons that can hit its target with great accuracy both day and night, and is completely independent of the color of the house or on the roof tiles.
  • Most Palestinian houses do not have red roof tiles is that they do not tile their roofs at all. The traditional Arab architecture in the area includes a solarium that can be used for different purposes.
  • A number of houses built in recent years in Arab settlements in Israel, Judea and Samaria, have red tiles.
redroof

Photo from Elder of Ziyon

Additionally, Elder noted that Israeli aircraft does not bomb houses in Judea and Samaria. And, indeed, as far as we can tell there hasn’t been an air strike anywhere in the West Bank, for any reason, since the height of the 2nd Intifada.

Finally, an article by architecture critic Ran Shechori  published provides a bit of history on red-tiled roofs in Israel:

Since there were no local skilled builders at the beginning of the 19th century the English had even been forced to import stonecutters from Malta no antagonism was felt towards the foreign styles that sprouted on the local landscape. Consciously or not, that century witnessed the belated victory of the Crusaders, with the creation of a Christian presence in the Holy Land, which took over the educational and welfare system and began the Europeanization of this part of the world.

The local population began to copy the European styles of building. Wealthy Arab families who had left the Old City began building villas and mansions in the European style, albeit heavily decorated with traditional Moslem embellishments. The cities that were then growing adopted European terraced housing and the sloping red-tiled roofs.

The Jews, who had lived till then in homes rented from Arabs, also began to establish their own independent neighbourhoods. Mishkenot Shaananim (lit. “tranquil dwellings”) was the first such area in Jerusalem. It was built with the help of the British philanthropist, Sir Moses Montefiore, in 1860, as a series of long buildings topped by sloping, red-tiled roofs

Red-tiled roofs, which came to symbolize the Jewish presence and represented the idealized “home”;

Just as in the beginning, the Israeli still sees the red roof as a status symbol.

As Matti Friedman explained in his masterful essay at Tablet Magazine, one of the iron-clad rules of media coverage of the region requires that “every flaw in Israeli society is aggressively reported”, to which he should have added: even those ‘flaws‘ which are merely a figment of the increasingly wild anti-Zionist imagination.  

Focus below the line: Profile of ‘anti-Zionist’ Guardian commenter Eileen Kuch

We first noticed commenter ‘Eileen Kuch’ on a ‘Comment is Free’ thread about the Ukrainian-Russian crisis in April, where she vehemently supported Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

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This comment, putting aside the “Zio-controlled” trope (that can be explained off as some kind of anti-Zionism – she didn’t write “Jewish controlled”; did she?), reminded us of a crazy conspiracy theory – on some completely off the mental spectrum website – alleging that Barack Obama’s stepfather Lolo Soetoro must have been Jewish because “soetoro” is a Hebrew word used in the Hebrew Bible.

We were mildly surprised that the Guardian allowed such a bizarre claim on their site, and, wishing to understand the very generous flexibility of the moderators, searched for her other comments.

Reading her writings taken from her public profile on CIF is a beautiful example of the level of racist hate speech that the World’s Leading Liberal Voice is evidently ready to tolerate, completely disregarding their own ‘community standards’. Here are a limited number of examples of her comments, along with the ‘source’ of her knowledge.

Israel and its puppet the USA are the instigators of all ongoing unrest and upheaval in the world:

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Another comment puts some light on her ‘sources’.

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Her suggested useful reference on the mass murder of “Christians” by the hands of Lenin and Trotsky is a book of a certain Estonian author – Juri Lina – titled ‘Under the Sign of the Scorpion‘. To illustrate what she considers ‘an important source’, we will only quote the well-known neo-Nazi and conspiracy theorist Henry Makow: 

Estonian journalist Juri Lina has examined the recently opened Soviet archives and documented the connection between the Bolshevik Revolution and Jewish Illuminism in his book “Under the Sign of the Scorpion.” (1994)

I will probably devote a separate column to this book. Suffice to say here that Communism was the outcome of the plan outlined in Protocols. No wonder this book was banned in the USSR on pain of death! Its informal ban in America is a measure of our condition.

Karl Marx, Lenin and Trotsky, were all Jewish Freemasons, dysfunctional losers who were employed by the Illuminist bankers to hoodwink the masses. Lenin for example had been an unsuccessful lawyer who had only six cases in which he defended shoplifters. He lost all six cases. A week later he gave up the law to become a highly paid revolutionary.

Ms Kuch can’t be fooled; she knows the real name of the players in Ukraine:

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CiF Watch prompts correction at the Indy over Hamas executions claim

An Aug. 22nd article in The Independent by Kashmira Gander about the war in Gaza included the following passage in reference to the recent public execution of 18 Palestinians by Hamas.
 
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 However, there were widely reported public executions in Gaza much more recently than the 90s.

So, it clearly is not accurate to claim that the recent public executions in Gaza were the first since the 1990s.

After our communication with Indy editors, they deleted the sentence which claimed that these recent executions were the first in the enclave since the 90s.

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We commend Indy editors on their positive response to our complaint.

Celebrating 5 years of CiF Watch!

 

Friends,

Last week, CiF Watch celebrated its 5th anniversary.

In our inaugural post on Aug. 24, 2009 we announced our intention to combat antisemitism and anti-Israel bias at the Guardian, and “to regularly post articles exposing the bigoted and one-sided nature of [their] obsessive focus on Israel and, by extension, the Jewish people.”

In recent years we have evolved in several respects:

  • We improved our efficacy by establishing an extremely successful affiliation with CAMERA.

Please continue reaching out to us – by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, or the ‘old fashioned’ way, by emailing us at contactus@cifwatch.com – when you come across misleading claims, or outright factual errors, in reports and commentaries within the UK media.

On the occasion of our fifth anniversary, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the work we do, and how we can more effectively carry out our mission, and continue speaking truth to power.

Adam Levick, Managing Editor

How did UK Chief Rabbi get the motivation of Toulouse killer so wrong?

It typically is quite welcomed when the UK Chief Rabbi lends his moral authority – and, as in the case of the previous occupant of the office, Jonathan Sacks, profound eloquence – to an op-ed on the topic of antisemitism.  

However, though we were hoping for inspiration and clarity by the new Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, his Telegraph op-ed included a truly baffling error regarding the background of the Toulouse killer, Muhammad Merah.

Here are the first few paragraphs in Mirvis’s essay (A new strain of Antisemitism is on the rise, Aug. 27):

On Sunday a rally will take place in London to demand zero tolerance of anti-Semitism. Why is this necessary?

On March 19 2012, a teacher and three pupils were killed in a terrorist attack at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish Day School in Toulouse. For days, speculation was rife about the identity and motivation of the perpetrator.

Initially, many presumed that the killer came from the extreme Right. After all, the strengthening of extremist elements in the midst of a faltering European economy has fuelled anti-Semitism. Or, we wondered, perhaps the attacker subscribed to neo-Nazi ideology, or was influenced by radical Islam. Whatever the motivation, it seemed sadly clear that, even in the 21st century, the old aims of Hitler had not vanished from the continent of Europe.

Then the perpetrator was identified as Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old French petty criminal, of Algerian descent. Merah said that he attacked the Jewish school because “the Jews kill our brothers and sisters in Palestine”. This transformation of the Israeli-Palestinian political conflict into something more sinister, and even religious in nature, has produced what some refer to as the new anti-Semitism.

It’s curious that Mirvis chose to benignly characterize Merah as a “petty criminal’ and not someone motivated by radical Islam.  There is simply no debate over the fact that he was an Islamist who murdered Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, Gabriel Sandler (age 4), Arieh Sandler (age 5), Miriam Monsonego (age 7) in an act of Jihad.  

Though Merah had previously served time in jail for ‘petty crime’, his radicalization while in prison was not surprising, given that this extremist Islamist ideology infected most of his immediate family.  Indeed, his family was reportedly obsessed by hatred of Jews, and were passionate supporters of the “outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) and Armed Islamic Group) (GIA) terrorist organizations”.

In 2010, Merah traveled to Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, and Tajikistan to join or train with jihadists.  He later traveled to Afghanistan in hopes of joining the Taliban.

Marc Weitzmann, a regular contributor to Le Monde, in his masterful essay at Tablet about Merah, chillingly noted the following:

in August 2011…he finally met [Islamist] “the brothers” who would initiate him into terror. And here’s the credo (retold in a French that challenges a translator): “In the beginning, the brothers, they told me to kill. A brother from Arab origin. He said I should kill everything—everything that is civilian and miscreant, everything. The gays, the homosexuals, the ones that kiss each other in public. He said, ‘Shoot them down,’ see? But me, I had a message to carry. And, er… I knew that by killing only militaries and Jews, the message, it would carried better. Cuz if I were to kill just civilians, the French population they’d say, ‘Oh, he’s just another crazy terrorist.’ Even if I had the right. But now the message’s different. Now I just kill militaries and Jews, see?

Yes, we ‘see’ that Merah was clearly motivated by Islamist extremism, an ominous example of the increasing threat posed to Europe by radicalized Muslims returning from ‘theaters of Jihad’ overseas.

We’re left to wonder, however: Does the Chief Rabbi not see this?

Brits for the Islamic State: Guardian publishes two pro-ISIS letters

Based on a recent poll, 7 percent of residents in the UK support the barbaric jihadists of the Islamic State (ISIS), which, though incredibly disturbing in its own right, represents a far lower level of support than in France, where 16 percent expressed their approval.

While support in Europe for ISIS presumably comes mostly from Islamists in predominantly Muslim immigrant communities, the following letters, published at the Guardian on Aug. 27 (which were in response to an op-ed titled ‘Isis: an apocalyptic cult carving a place in the modern world‘) were penned by Brits in largely white, non-immigrant communities. 

The Islamic State caliphate finally realises a dream that goes back to the 1920s when the Muslim Brotherhood was established. Syria has been its main target since the 1960s. Assassinations of government figures hardened the Assad regime’s security apparatus and freedom was sacrificed for security. Syria remains resolutely secular and the nation’s disparate minorities continue to support Assad. The Islamists could not overthrow them, even with US weaponry and Saudi finance. Now they have established a base where they can fulfil their dream of an Islamist state. Why not let them have it? Agree new borders with Syria and Iraq to replace the Sykes-Picot lines in the sand, encourage repopulation of the region with fundamentalists and fund relocation of the refugees. The state of Israel was established against a similar background of desperation mixed with terrorist cruelty – existential challenges bring out the worst in people. The west supported the Zionist dream, so why not the Islamist one?
Craig Sams
Hastings, East Sussex

John Gray (An apocalyptic cult carving a place in the modern world, 26 August) says that “to view Isis as expressing the core of one of the world’s great religious is to endorse Isis’s view of itself, which Islamic religious authorities across the world have rejected”.

I thought the point of the Enlightenment (and the Guardian) was to take nothing on authority but to think for oneself and test one’s theories rationally. Mr Gray, author of Al Qaeda and What it Means to be Modern, appears to have missed this point. Neither the views of Isis about itself nor the views of “religious authorities” are or should be determinative. I prefer to think for myself and, having read the Qur’an from cover to cover several times, I agree with Isis.
Paul Simmons
East Twickenham, Middlesex

We’ve read some outlandish letters at the Guardian before, but these are simply beyond comprehension.

We’ll leave the simply delusional comparison with Zionism, in the first letter, aside, and just note that ISIS represents a simply monstrous brand of Islamic extremism, whose members have kidnapped large numbers of women for sex slavery and engaged in the mass murder of religious minorities.  Their objective is the establishment of a worldwide Caliphate.

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ISIS Tweeted this photo showing a child holding a severed head of an executed man, with a phrase boasting that: “This is how the cubs of the Caliphate are raised up”.

The SITE Intelligence Group provides good background:

The massacres carried out by IS are an integral expression of the organization’s worldview and not random atrocities.  This ideology, while related to the jihadi-salafism practiced by al-Qaeda (AQ), is far more extreme, leading the Islamic State to claim that it is AQ that has altered the original creed and methodology of Usama bin Ladin.  Among the specific aspects that set it apart from al-Qaeda’s belief system are a requirement of absolute obedience to their so-called “caliph” with no dissention and no organizations that are separate from his control; a demand for constant warfare against anyone who supports the “apostate” regimes; and a focus on wiping out entire cultures and people groups, including Yazidis, Christians, Sabaeans, and all Shi’a.

Each piece of this abhorrent ideology comes with deliberate planning and purpose-built organizations designed to realize the new “caliph’s” vision.  For instance, in order to impose their horrific vision of society on the people of Syria, the Caliphate is forcibly inculcating ordinary Muslims, especially the young, into the Islamic State’s version of Islam.  Recent reporting from Raqqa, Syria, by Vice News, an edgy group of journalists known for their work in dangerous spots around the world, shows the use of indoctrination centers (some in former churches), mobile proselytization vans, and outdoor propaganda gatherings to introduce unwilling citizens of Raqqa to the Islamic State’s ideology and way of life.  There is also video footage of strangely compliant prisoners, all calmly agreeing that they have sinned and deserve their punishment of death or beatings.

To coerce conquered populations into living out IS’s vision, the groups has set up “shari’a police,” or the Hisba.  Based on a medieval institution sometimes known as the “Body to Command Right and Forbid Wrong,” the Hisba enforces compliance with the group’s extremist version of Islamic law.  AQ affiliates like Shabaab have set up similar units that have the authority to arrest anyone caught committing infractions against that group’s stringent legal code

IS has also created an ideologically motivated force, similar to the Nazi SS troops, to act as their shock forces in this fight.  The units, known as the “Inghimasiyun,” or “those who plunge [into battle],” recall a concept of warfare from the early days of Islam, when the most ardent of the believers would rush into the enemies’ ranks without taking care for their own lives.  In a similar fashion, accounts from Iraq and Syria suggest that the Inghimasiyun often carry out suicide bombings either as part of the planned assault or as a way to avoid capture. 

Even more disturbing than the Inghimasiyun are the so-called “Dhabiha” (or “Slaughterers”), which constitute what would be the Einsatzgruppen (Nazi death squads) of IS.  The purpose of these units, as with the Nazi “task forces,” is to carry out the massacre of enemies of the state in an organized fashion.  Unlike the Nazi units, however, the Dhabiha take care to film themselves carrying out their atrocities and post photos and videos to social media in order to terrify others into obedience.  The recent beheading of 700 tribal members involved in an attempted uprising in Dayr al-Zawr, Syria against IS fits the modus operandi of the Dhabiha, as does the posting online soon afterward of videos of the carnage.

SITE reasonably characterizes ISIS’s medieval ideology as akin to the worst totalitarian states of the last century.

ISIS is simply evil, and the thought that even 7 percent of Brits – including, evidently, some inspired by a far-left ideology – view the group favorably is truly frightening. 

An appeal to Owen Jones: don’t associate with anti-Semites

This is cross posted from the blog of The CST, and was originally titled ‘Opposing antisemitism: an appeal to put words into action’.

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Owen Jones

The past two months have seen the number of antisemitic incidents in Britain approach record levels Much of this has been due to extreme reactions to the conflict between Israel and Gaza that reached its latest ceasefire yesterday. This problem, and its link to extreme manifestations of anti-Israel sentiment, has been covered extensively in the British media.

Some pro-Palestinian activists have recognised this problem and spoken out against it. 

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has said that antisemitism has no place in its activities, and Owen Jones wrote a column for the Guardian in which he warned of the need to take antisemitism seriously. In particular, he wrote:

Antisemitic themes are depressingly constant: of Jews being aliens, lacking loyalty to their countries, acting as parasites, wielding disproportionate influence. Sometimes this hatred is overt, other times more subtle and pernicious.

We welcome these statements from supporters of the Palestinian cause, just as we previously welcomed PSC’s rejection of the equation of Israel with Nazi Germany. And because we consider these statements to be important and necessary, we hope and expect that the people who made them will live up to their words and the sentiments behind them.

It is for this reason that we appeal to PSC and to Owen Jones to reconsider the inclusion of Tim Llewellyn as a speaker at a PSC meeting tomorrow evening, 28th August, on “Gaza: let down by the BBC and mainstream media?” We appeal to PSC as the organiser of the meeting and to Jones as one of the other speakers.

Our objection is not to the meeting itself. We do not oppose your right to hold public meetings in support of the Palestinians, or to criticise Israel, or to critique media coverage of the conflict between the two.

Our objection is specifically to the inclusion of Llewellyn as a guest speaker on this topic because he has a record of statements that illustrate exactly what Jones warns against: themes “of Jews being aliens, lacking loyalty to their countries, acting as parasites, wielding disproportionate influence.”

For example, last year at a meeting in London that was also about media coverage of Israel, Llewellyn claimed that the BBC is intimidated by the “Jewish lobby”. When he was challenged on this by the chair of the meeting, he resisted criticism of his choice of phrase. The full exchange ran as follows and can be viewed here on the CST Blog:

Llewellyn: “Is it because… I can see it in the BBC. They’re frighten’, these people are quite aggressive, right. The Jewish Lobby is not much fun. They come at you from every direction.”

Off camera, another speaker says “no”, then, “its the pro-Israel lobby”. It is not exactly clear who says what after this, but it includes the chair Mark McDonald talking over Llewellyn, stating:

“I mean that’s a very important thing to say, that it’s not a Jewish lobby. Can I interrupt a second. It’s not a Jewish lobby. It might be a Zionist lobby. It may be a pro-Israel lobby.”

Llewellyn replies: “Yes, but they use Jewish connections to get you.”

This statement by Llewellyn was not a one-off. It fitted a long record of statements and writings that mix “Jewish” with “Zionist” while alleging that both hold undue and nefarious influence in British public life. For example, in 2006, Llewellyn wrote the following in the Foreword to a new edition of Publish It Not: The Middle East Cover-Up by Michael Adams and Christopher Mayhew:

No alien polity has so successfully penetrated the British government and British institutions during the past ninety years as the Zionist movement and its manifestation as the state of Israel…the Zionists have manipulated British systems as expertly as maestros, here a massive major chord, there a minor refrain, the audience, for the most part, spellbound.

…this cuckoo in the nest of British politics…

… Israel had worked its spells well, with a lot of help from its friends: these lined the benches of parliament, wrote the news stories and editorials, framed the way we saw and heard almost everything about the Middle East on TV, radio and in the press. History, the Bible, Nazi Germany’s slaughter of the Jews, Russian pogroms, the Jewish narrative relayed and parlayed through a thousand books, films, TV plays and series, radio programmes, the skills of Jewish writers, diarists, memoirists, artists and musicians, people like us and among us, all had played their part.

…the fervent Zionist Labour MPs, some of them little better than bully-boys, Richard Crossman (not a Jew), Ian Mikardo, Maurice Edelman, Emmanuel “Manny” Shinwell, Sidney Silverman, Konni Zilliacus et al, are, mercifully, not only no longer with us but have not been replaced, not in such virulent form.

… the Union of Jewish Students, which elbows and induces Zionistically inclined undergraduates towards influential positions in British public life, especially the media, the banking sector and information technology.

Llewellyn mixes “Zionist” with “Jewish”, describing both as “alien” to Britain; and alleges undue and negative influence and manipulation of the media, politics and “the banking sector”. These allegations all have clear antecedents in antisemitic conspiracy theories.

Another example: in 2004, Llewellyn was quoted in the Jewish Chronicle as describing former US ambassador Dennis Ross in these terms:

He also denounced broadcasters who invited the “insidious” former US ambassador to the Middle East Denis Ross, without fully identifying him.

Mr Llewellyn said: “What a lovely Anglo-Saxon name! But Denis Ross is not just a Jew, he is a Zionist, a long-time Zionist… and now directs an Israeli-funded think tank in Washington. He is a Zionist propagandist.”

The suggestion that broadcasters should identify an interviewee as “a Jew”, lest their viewers be fooled by an “Anglo-Saxon name”, is scurrilous and prejudiced.

In 2012, Llewellyn wrote of

massive media distortion, and … Zionist penetration and manipulation of our institutions – the media, universities, local education, political parties…

He went on to describe as Britain’s

real enemies… the ambitious and greedy British politicians and insidious political influence, in this case spawned by an alien state and strengthened by its friends in our midst, people who put Israel’s interests above that of their own nation.

(From The Battle for Public Opinion in Europe: Changing Perceptions of the Palestine-Israel Conflict, eds. Daud Abdullah & Ibrahim Hewitt, not online). Again, this echoes the classical antisemitic allegation of ‘dual loyalty’, whereby British Jews are accused of lacking loyalty to the country of their birth.

If the important and welcome statements by PSC, Owen Jones and others about their opposition to antisemitism and determination to exclude it from pro-Palestinian activism have real meaning, then there should be no place for Tim Llewellyn at a PSC meeting. This is not an abstract argument: the sharp increase in antisemitism in Britain in recent weeks demonstrates that fact. Words lead to actions, good and bad. We now invite PSC and Owen Jones to put their valuable and worthy statements and principles into practice. A discussion of media coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict must not give room to those who believe that there is a Zionist conspiracy to control, manipulate or influence the British media, politics, banking and education, as Tim Llewellyn has suggested. Nor should pro-Palestinian activism be a home for those who believe that Jews are an alien presence, disloyal to Britain, who change their names to disguise their true loyalties.

Put your words into action, and remove Tim Llewellyn from your platform.

Financial Times correspondent John Reed declares Hamas a ‘winner’

“Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which do not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie”

This is a quote by George Orwell about news reports during the Spanish Civil War, but, as former AP correspondent Matt Friedman explained in his masterful Tablet essay (An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth), Orwell’s words are just as apt in characterizing the media’s egregiously misleading coverage of Israel and the war in Gaza. 

The Orwell quote (cited by Friedman in his article) came to mind when we read the following passages in a report in the London-based Financial Times by John Reed titled ‘War in Gaza: Winners and Losers‘, which happened to overlap with Hamas’s own surreal assessment of the war.

Here’s the relevant passage in Reed’s report:

ft

Let’s take it apart:

Reed:

Before Protective Edge, Gaza’s ruling Islamist movement was in a corner. It was politically isolated, bankrupt, unable to pay its civil servants and forced by circumstances to reconcile with arch-rival Fatah.

And, after the war, Hamas is politically isolated, bankrupt, and still unable to pay its civil servants. Further, the current ceasefire deal which Hamas agreed to is almost exactly like the one Egypt proposed (which Israel accepted) but Hamas rejected on July 15, one week into the conflict, before the IDF destroyed their terror tunnels, and killed some of their top leaders.  

Hamas’s decision to reject the July 15th proposal represented a colossal miscalculation, and resulted in more Hamas fighters killed, a much greater depletion of their rocket capacity, and no perceivable military, strategic or political benefit.

Other Hamas ‘demands’ which haven’t been agreed to by Israel in the current ceasefire include opening a sea port and an airport in Gaza, and releasing additional Palestinian prisoners.

Reed:

In this context, the war was a welcome development. Hamas, for the third time in five years, confronted one of the world’s best armies and managed to hold on to power, calculating correctly that Israel would never embark on a longer and bloodier ground war in order to topple it.

How low can you set the bar? The mere fact that they ‘held on to power’ is a victory? Again, he doesn’t explain what concrete achievements they can reasonably boast. Also, it’s interesting that Reed fails to explain how the war was a “welcome development” for Palestinian civilians.

Reed:

Hamas rockets, built painstakingly over years by blockade-busting tactics, sent people across Israel running into shelters, killing six civilians and bringing most flights at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport to a halt for two days in July.

It’s almost as if Reed admires Hamas’s ‘grit’ in diverting humanitarian aid (which could have helped Gaza’s economy) for terror purposes. Plus, it’s interesting how such Jerusalem based correspondents covering the war, such as Reed, who almost universally downplayed the threat posed to Israeli civilians by the thousands of Hamas rockets, can now suggest that these same rockets ‘successfully’ terrorized Israel by killing six civilians, and sending them fleeing for bomb shelters. 

Reed:

Although much of Hamas’s arsenal is now depleted and many of its tunnels destroyed, fighting Israel to another ceasefire plays as a victory for many of its supporters.

Talk about burying the lead!  So, despite the fact that “Hamas’s [rocket] arsenal is now depleted and many [sic] of its tunnels destroyed”, Reed still maintains that a victory was achieved. 

Reed:

As after Operation Pillar of Defence in 2012, Hamas can begin firing again if it chooses. Granted, when the dust settles from this conflict and its spoils and destruction become clearer to Gazans, they could potentially turn on Hamas. There is no sign of this happening yet, however.

Of course, one of the biggest obstacles preventing Gazans from “turning on Hamas” is not any objective assessment of the war’s “achievements’ per se, but, rather, scenes such as these:

One of 22 Palestinians summarily executed by Hamas on Aug. 22

One of 22 Palestinians summarily executed by Hamas on Aug. 22

Finally, here are some facts ignored by Reed in his assessment:

  • IDF attacked 5,263 targets across Gaza during the war, hitting rocket launching sites, arms and munitions factories and warehouses, as well as the offices of Hamas commanders. Several top Hamas commanders and hundreds of Hamas fighters were killed. Over 34 known tunnels were destroyed.
  • Out of the 4,564 rockets and mortars fired at Israel from Gaza, over 475 landed in Gaza, killing an unknown number of Palestinians. 3,641 exploded in Israeli territory, but only 224 actually hit residential areas, while the remaining rockets fell in open areas; The Iron Dome intercepted at least 735. Six Israeli civilians were killed.

To simply state that Reeds’s assessment of Hamas’s achievements ‘does not bear any relation to the facts’ is an understatement of enormous proportions. 

CiF Watch prompts correction to erroneous Times of London headline

On Aug. 5th, the Times of London published an article (pay wall) titled ‘Refugee camp hit as Israel admits it broke truce’.

headline times of london

However, the article didn’t include any information even suggesting that Israel had “admitted” breaking the truce.  Indeed, news sites reported that the time of the attack (aimed at a senior Hamas operative) was clearly in dispute.

After several complaints to Times editors, they agreed to revise the headline.

revisedThe print edition ran this correction:

times 2

 

We commend Times editors for their positive response to our complaint.