British paper legitimizes lie that Female Genital Mutilation is practiced by Jews

The World Health Organization estimates that up to 140 million girls worldwide are currently living with the consequences of female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice most common in Africa, the Arab Middle East, and among migrants from these areas.  Additional evidence suggests that – though FGM has no foundation in Islamic law – the likelihood of experiencing FGM is greater within Muslim populations of these regions.

As we posted last September, however, a Guardian report by staff feature writer Homa Khaleeli (Female Genital Mutilation: Mothers need to say no, Sept. 8) made the following claim:  

Although Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities carry out FGM, mainstream spiritual leaders from all three religions have denied that the practice stems from religion.

Of course, we could find no evidence of any “denial” by any ‘Jewish spiritual leader’ that FGM might stem from Judaism – likely because, contrary to the implication of the passage, Jewish communities do NOT practice FGM.

As both CiF Watch and Elder of Zion demonstrated at the time, scholars have observed the near complete absence of the practice within ancient and modern Jewish communities.  Additionally, while it may have been once practiced by an extremely small number of Jews in Ethiopia, the practice died out when they moved to Israel.  So, given that there are practically no Jews remaining in Ethiopia today, it is extraordinarily unlikely that Jews anywhere in the world are currently practicing FGM.

In fact, the same day we published our post the Guardian – evidently responding to quite a few complaints – removed the offending passage and added the following:

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More recently, a CiF Watch reader emailed us an article from earlier in the year that appeared in the print edition of the London Evening Standard (Islamic leaders ‘must set FGM example for other religions’, Jan. 2), written by staff writer Anna Davis.  The report quoted a blog post in Huffington Post by a FGM survivor named Leyla Hussein similarly advancing the false claim that Jews practice FGM:

Evening Standard

 Again, the implicit suggestion that FGM is just as likely to occur in Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities is simply absurd.

To cite just one example, a 2012 study at the Beersheva Mental Health Center of Ben Gurion University, published in the Journal of Israeli Psychiatry, by Dr RH Belmaker, included the following passage:

Jews from Arab countries where FGM is practiced do not practice FGM. However, major immigration of Jews from Ethiopia to Israel permitted study of this practice. We confirmed the report that Ethiopian Jews did practice FGM in Ethiopia [but] we reported the dramatic and total cessation of this custom among this community after immigration to Israel. 

As Elder noted, you’d think that professional British reporters covering the issue would at least note the Israeli model, and explain the country’s success in eradicating FGM in hopes that such progress could be emulated in other communities – especially given the fact that 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are reportedly at risk of FGM in the UK each year.

To suggest that FGM is practiced within Jewish communities – and indeed within all religious traditions equally – is a gross fabrication, and represents the worst kind of political correctness. 

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How a Guardian editorial on homophobia in Africa explains their Israel coverage

Post-colonial ideologies…blame the West (particularly the US and Europe) for the ills of the ‘global South’ or the under-developed world, and understate the criticism of dictatorships and terror groups (or liberation movements). In this political culture, Israel and Zionism (Jewish nationalism) are labelled as powerful aggressors intricately connected with Western ‘imperialism’ and ‘neoliberalism’, while Palestinians are automatically labelled as weak victims. – Gerald Steinberg, Fathom

Though the mission of this blog is to combat antisemitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy at the Guardian, at times it’s important to look beyond their reports and commentary on Israel and the Palestinian territories (and the broader Middle East) to fully understand the political persuasion which informs their coverage.

A case in point is a recent official Guardian editorial on Uganda’s new anti-gay law (and similar homophobic legislation throughout the continent) titled ‘Homophobia: hatred carried on a Westernly wind.

Here’s some of their March 9th editorial:

It doesn’t take a team of medical experts, such as that commissioned by Kampala, to establish that homosexuality predates western power in Africa, or to work out that far from encouraging homosexuality, the colonialists exported homophobia, in the form of anti-gay legislation then on European statute books. 

In the case of Buganda, the kingdom that formed the heart of present-day Uganda, the British deposed the male monarch on the pretext that he had a harem of page boys.

More recently, homophobia has travelled with a new band of westerners, the American evangelicals, exposed in the documentary God Loves Uganda, in which toothsome Midwesterners preach their message to Africa. Their influence is immense. As the newly out Kenyan novelist Binyavanga Wainaina has noted, whether “in the media, or in conversation” one can “quickly hear almost the exact wording that has been distributed … in the churches.”

In 2009, as their gay “curing” agenda was discredited in the US, three American evangelicals travelled to Kampala to “instruct” thousands of influential Ugandans on how gay men sodomise teenagers and how the gay movement promotes sexual promiscuity. A month after that, a Ugandan politician introduced a bill to create a capital offence of “aggravated homosexuality”. It is a version of this bill that has now been passed by Mr Museveni, and which will open up hundreds of thousands of gay Ugandans to persecution.

So, are three American evangelicals responsible for anti-gay legislation in Uganda, a country which has been independent for over 50 years? And, did the West export homophobia to Africa?

First, as the Washington Post reported, Evangelical leaders in the US have strongly condemned the Ugandan law. And, as one Evangelical who attended the conference in 2009 argued in response to others blaming his community for the legislation, it’s extremely insulting to the Ugandans to suggest that a few American pastors are so powerful that they overwhelmed the intelligence of an entire government.

Additionally, the Guardian editorial fails to note that homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda.  (What the new law did was greatly increase the sentences for such illegal acts.)

Even more relevant to the debate is a Pew Global Poll published in 2013 which showed that a staggering 96 percent of Ugandans don’t believe society should accept homosexuality, strongly suggesting that the new law merely reflected the existence of strongly held (and indigenous) anti-gay attitudes.  

Further, whatever the moral influence of European colonialism, those who are rightfully concerned with the persecution of gays in the world would have to acknowledge that the problem of homophobia is largely centered in Africa and the Middle East.  Though 51 African and Middle East countries have laws explicitly prohibiting gay sex, there is no country in Europe which has such a law. (Though, tellingly, the last holdout in Europe, which only two months ago dropped its law banning homosexuality, was Turkish-Occupied Northern Cyprus.)

Beyond the narrow issue addressed in the editorial, the dynamics at play whereby the Guardian fails to hold independent African states responsible for reactionary legislation passed by their own legislatures helps to understand the dearth of reports at the paper on human rights abuses committed by Palestinians against other Palestinians.  The criticism we direct towards Guardian reports often focus on their failure to hold Palestinians responsible for destructive behavior and cultural attitudes which are illiberal and inimical to peace – a failure to assign moral agency to Arabs and Muslims which is part of a broader ideological tick.  

Many Guardian contributors seem unable to countenance such a politically inconvenient human rights divide in the world – one fundamentally at odds with their post-colonial divide – and so often resort to the most tortured causation in explaining cruelty and violence meted out by ‘the formerly oppressed’. 

This ideology partly explains why the Guardian associate editor Seumas Milne blamed 9/11 on US foreign policy, why Glenn Greenwald similarly blamed terrorist attacks by American Islamists on “horrific violence brought by the US and its allies to the Muslim world”, and why the Guardian religion blogger Andrew Brown blamed the Muslim persecution of Christians in the Mid-East on “the establishment of the state of Israel and its support by Western Christian countries“.

Genuine progressives, it seems, who advocate passionately for a Palestinian state would have to acknowledge that Israel is by any measure the most liberal country in the region, and would have to address the likelihood that a newly independent Palestinian state – regardless of the merits of the Palestinian nationalist movement – will mirror the misogyny, religious intolerance and homophobia which permeates neighboring Arab states.

However, when you base your political analysis on pre-assigned moral roles – a victims’ casuistry in which the correct opinion is invariably derived by ordering the story by virtue of the powerful vs the powerless – then Palestinians are blameless victims, and Israelis (and often Jews qua Jews) will invariably fail to evoke your moral sympathy.

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Chris McGreal story on Mandela omits his (discredited) Guardian ‘expose’ on SA nukes

The anti-Zionist malice of Guardian “journalist” Chris McGreal has been the subject of many posts at this blog.  Indeed, the error-prone propagandist – who seriously fancies the idea that Israeli snipers target Palestinian children, and is characteristically obsessed with the power of the Israel lobby – has achieved the rare status as one of the few Guardian reporters singled out by the Community Security Trust in their annual report on antisemitic discourse.

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2011 CST Report on Antisemitic Discourse, Table of Contents

Though McGreal has been keeping away from his Israel obsession of late – and only sparsely reporting for the paper – he took time out of his busy schedule re-Tweeting Glenn Greenwald and Michael Moore to pen a ‘Comment is Free’ piece titled ‘Mandela: never forget how the free world’s leaders learned to change their tune‘.

What especially stands out in this particular polemic is not merely that McGreal cynically exploits Mandela’s death to again take aim at Israel, but that there is one juicy nugget of “information” he, for some reason, decided not to mention. 

After criticizing UK and US leaders for “extol[ing] South Africa’s first democratically elected president,” while failing to acknowledge their history of “consigning Mandela and the [ANC] to the terrorism list”, he pivots to his desired target, Israeli President Shimon Peres:

Israel’s president,Shimon Peres, issued a statement extolling Mandela’s sacrifices for freedom, apparently hoping that no one would remember that, as defence minister in the 1970s, Peres signed secret military pacts with Pretoria that, among other things, helped developed weapons used against black Africans.

At that time, Peres was also unctuously praising co-operation between Israel and the apartheid regime as “based not only on common interests and on the determination to resist equally our enemies, but also on the unshakeable foundations of our common hatred of injustice and our refusal to submit to it”. All this as Mandela sat in prison for seeking justice in equality

First, and quite tellingly, McGreal’s passage about the alleged “co-operation between Israel and the apartheid regime” has a hyper-link which leads to a story by Ben White, a propagandist (well known to CiF Watch readers) notorious for publishing a 2002 essay at CounterPunch sympathizing with anti-Jewish racists.

However, what is surprising is that McGreal’s passage dealing with the “co-operation” between Israel and South Africa fails to reference his own 2010 Guardian “scoop” (Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa the bomb) purporting to show that Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons in the mid-70s – an omission suggesting perhaps that even he knows that the sensational claims were proven false.

Guardian, May 24, 2010

In his 2010 report McGreal claimed that “secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime.”

However, shortly after his story broke, CiF Watch (among others) demonstrated that McGreal manipulated a key document.  Specifically, McGreal “quoted from a part of the type-written document that was edited by hand soon afterwards”, including one sentence that implies nuclear weapons were available. It appeared that McGreal injected his own opinion to infer that Israel was ready to supply the apartheid regime with nuclear bombs.

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Jerusalem Post, May 31, 2010

The Jerusalem Post summarized CiF Watch’s analysis as follows:

The paragraph McGreal used, written by a civil servant, states in its original form, prior to hand-written editing and deletions: “[South African Defense] Minister [P.W.] Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet [said to be the Jericho missile] provide [sic] the correct payload could be provided, Minister Peres said that the correct payload was available in three sizes. Minister Botha expressed his appreciation and said that he would ask for advice.”

CIF Watch points out that words “provide” and “could be provided” were crossed out in the by-hand edit, and that “provide” was replaced by the words “subject to.” The latter part of the paragraph was also deleted, so that the only part of the paragraph that remained was the first part of the first sentence, which now read: “Minister Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet subject to the correct payload.”

Ignoring the edit and using the entire original draft to back his claim, McGreal, in his Guardian article, asserted, based on the deleted wording: “The ‘three sizes’ are believed to refer to the conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons.”

CIF Watch said that this was McGreal’s own opinion: “The person who ‘believes’ this last sentence is not identified, nor are his qualifications to draw this inference given, nor is any source provided for the inference. Plainly, McGreal does not have enough confidence in it to say “I believe it” and give his grounds.

The words ‘provide’ and ‘could be provided’ have both been deleted. The latter deletion is crucial and shows that Botha was expressing interest in acquiring ‘Chalets’ [missiles] with a certain payload, not asking for the payload itself to be provided. The sentence which is left can only have one meaning: Botha expressed interest in acquiring a number of Chalets subject to them being capable of carrying the correct payload,” CIF Watch added.

CIF Watch then accused McGreal of adding words to make his argument work.

The dishonest reporting by McGreal was revealed by a number of other commentators as well:

  • Waldo Stumpf, who led the project to dismantle South Africa’s nuclear weapons in the late 80s, “doubted Israel or South Africa would have contemplated a [nuclear] deal seriously.”
  • Avner Cohen, author of Israel and the Bomb and The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain with the Bomb, said that “The headline, sub-headline, and lede of Chris McGreal’s story are erroneous and misleading“, and that “nothing in the documents suggests there was an actual offer by Israel to sell nuclear weapons to the regime in Pretoria“. To the contrary, Avner added, “the conversation amounted to a probe by the South Africans, which ultimately went nowhere.
  • Another analysis published by frequent CiF Watch contributor AKUS included a video clip of McGreal’s ‘source’ (Sasha Polakow-Suransky) on Al-Jazeera which showed Polakow-Suransky acknowledging that there was nothing even resembling a “smoking gun”.

Additionally, Shimon Peres’s office issued a definitive statement (shortly after McGreal’s story broke) that “Israel has never negotiated the exchange of nuclear weapons with South Africa“, that “there exists no Israeli document or Israeli signature on a document that such negotiations took place,” and there was “no basis in reality for the claims” which were “based on the selective interpretation of South African documents and not on concrete facts.”

Of course, the aim of McGreal – whose highly misleading articles in 2006 suggesting that Israel was an apartheid state (and of having had close ties to South Africa) were effectively refuted by CAMERA – wasn’t so much to ‘reveal’ a putative nuclear deal, but to demonize the Jewish state.

If such a deeply flawed article – including sloppy reporting and attempts to pass off wild speculation as “fact” – was published in the paper today we’d be in contact with Guardian editors immediately and aggressively pursue a correction.  

The failure of McGreal in this latest piece to even mention his sensationalist propaganda from only a few years back perhaps represents an implicit acknowledgement that there is now a price to be paid at the “liberal” broadsheet for “journalists” who attempt to defend the indefensible.

Guardian contributor claims ‘Female Genital Mutilation’ is practiced by Jews (Update)

According to the World Health Organization, a staggering 140 million girls worldwide are currently living with the consequences of female genital mutilation (FGM).  The procedure (carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15) is designed to alter the female genital organs, and is “motivated by the desire to reduce a woman’s sexual desires”.  The WHO notes that “the practice is most common in the western, eastern, and northeastern regions of Africa, in some countries in Asia and the Middle East, and among migrants from these areas.”

Homa Khaleeli, a staff feature writer for the Guardian, penned a heartbreaking essay at ‘Comment is Free’ (Female Genital Mutilation: Mothers need to say no, Sept. 8) about the practice of FGM, focusing largely on the personal account of Faduma Ali, who, at age 86, still remembers the pain of being circumcised when she was a young girl in Somalia.  Khaleeli, in providing background on the horrific practice, notes that It has been documented in 28 countries in Africa and in a few countries in Asia and the Middle East, and that though it’s outlawed in the UK it is still performed there within some immigrant communities.

Though the procedure takes place within Christian and Animist cultures, the likelihood of experiencing FGM is greater within Muslim populations in Africa and the Middle East.

Khaleeli, after including some of the shocking details on the cruel manner in which the procedure is usually performed, throws in the following:

Although Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities carry out FGM, mainstream spiritual leaders from all three religions have denied that the practice stems from religion.  

The claim that Muslims, Christians, and Jews practicing FGM seems like nothing but a throw-away line, and indeed Jewish scholars have observed the near complete absence of the practice within ancient and modern Jewish communities.  Harvard Professor Shaye J.D. Cohen in “Why Aren’t Jewish Women Circumcised?: Gender and Covenant in Judaism”, wrote the following:

Aside from the Beta Israel of Ethiopia (the so-called Falashas) … no Jewish community, in either ancient, medieval or modern times, is known to have practiced female circumcision. … The practice of the Beta Israel is simply part of general Ethiopian culture, in which female circumcision is widely practiced, and is not a relic of some long-lost Jewish tradition.

And, while it may have been once practiced by an extremely small number of Ethiopians from this community, it died out when they moved to Israel. 

A 2012 study at the Beersheva Mental Health Center of Ben Gurion University, published in the Journal of Israeli Psychiatry, by Dr RH Belmaker, included the following:

Jews from Arab countries where FGM is practiced do not practice FGM. However, major immigration of Jews from Ethiopia to Israel permitted study of this practice. We confirmed the report that Ethiopian Jews did practice FGM in Ethiopia (17). Moreover, we reported the dramatic and total cessation of this custom among this community after immigration to Israel. This study of FGM is one of the few to combine anthropological interviewing techniques with physical gynecological examination

Given that there are no Jews remaining in Ethiopia (after the final airlifts in August of immigrants known as Falash Mura, Ethiopians who claim links to descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity generations ago but now seek to return to the faith) it is extremely unlikely that Jews anywhere in the world are currently practicing FGM.

The extremely broad claim by Khaleeli that “Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities carry out FGM” represents Guardian Left double-speak at its worst at worst – attempting, for ideological reasons, to obfuscate the clear cultural-religious disparities in the barbaric practice.  

The ‘CiF’ contributor’s claim is, at best, extraordinarily misleading.

h/t @Lsorang 

Update 1: Naturally, the ‘superblogger’ Elder of Ziyon also superbly fisked the Guardian commentary. See here.

Update 2: The Guardian has corrected the article and removed the offending passage. The following has been added:

This article was amended on 9 September 2013. The original included a phrase which could be read to mean that FGM was practised within the Jewish community. That is not the case although there is some evidence that FGM was practised within a minor Ethiopian Jewish sect.

CiF contributor ‘reveals’ Bono’s neoncon-inspired rock ‘n roll imperialism

Though what likely first comes to mind to most when thinking about the rock star known as Bono are the many memorable songs from his band’s long and successful career, or perhaps his humanitarian work on behalf of the poor of Africa.

bono-picture-1

However, when ‘Comment is Free’ contributor (and British marxist literary critic) Terry Eagleton looks into the soul of the widely admired cultural icon he sees something much darker. His latest Guardian contribution, a June 26 review of a book about the U2 front man by Harry Browne, explores the the dark, capitalist underbelly of the Dublin born star. 

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After a few introductory paragraphs, Eagleton goes on the attack.  

For all [Bono’s] carefully crafted self-irony (how ridiculous for me, an overpaid rock star from working-class Dublin, to be saving the world!), the inside is a place he has never betrayed any great reluctance to occupy. Since an outsider is unlikely to know much about global economics, he is likely to take his cue from the conventional wisdom of the insiders, which is why Bono is both maverick and conservative.

 he inherited the social conscience of the 1960s without its political radicalism, which is why he has proved so convenient a front man for the neo-liberals.

In fact, as Browne points out, he has cosied up to racists such as Jesse Helms, whitewashed architects of the Iraqi adventure such as Tony Blair and Paul Wolfowitz, and discovered a soulmate in the shock-doctrine economist Jeffrey Sachs. He has also brownnosed the Queen, sucked up to the Israelis, grovelled at the feet of corporate bullies and allied himself with rightwing anti-condom US evangelicals in Africa

Browne’s case is simple but devastating. As a multimillionaire investor, world-class tax avoider, pal of Bush and Blair and crony of the bankers and neo-cons, Bono has lent credence to the global forces that wreak much of the havoc he is eager to mop up. His technocratic, west-centred, corporation-friendly campaigns have driven him into one false solution, unsavoury alliance and embarrassing debacle after another.

Of course, Eagleton’s righteous outrage towards Bono’s rock ‘n roll imperialism is quite understandable when you consider that (as we’ve noted previously) he is an advocate of the marxist-inspired “religion” known as ‘Liberation Theology‘, a vocal ‘Occupy‘ supporter and Shlomo Sand enthusiast.  The anti-Bono activism of the literary critic also seems a bit more comprehensible when you contemplate that he once cast Jesus, in a book he wrote about the Gospels, as a proto ‘Palestinian insurgent‘ and (most memorably) recently characterized a quite well-known antisemitic Jew named Karl Marx as nothing less than a “Jewish prophet”.  

All of this seems to demonstrate once again that armchair communist revolutionaries never die, at least as long as their discredited, destructive theories can continue to find fertile ground on the cultural pages of the Guardian. 

The Guardian takes note of a Middle Eastern country not involved in “rendition”

A guest post by AKUS

Controversy over the practice of “rendition” has been intense. In a recent article in the Washington Post, the Post described it as a CIA program “to detain and interrogate foreign suspects without bringing them to the United States or charging them with any crimes”

The Washington Post illustrated how widely the practice was implemented with a map in an article headlined: A staggering map of the 54 countries that reportedly participated in the CIA’s rendition program, drawn from a report by the Open Society Justice Initiative  that lists each country by name and describes that country’s participation in the program.

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In case you cannot make out one little country that did not participate in the program, here’s an extract from that map of a certain area of the world:

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See it now?

On the other hand, it does not take much effort to see other countries, frequent critics of Israel, with well-organized, well-funded groups constantly threatening it with boycotts, decrying its policies and so forth, and even supporting its enemies with weapons and money.

There was a February 5th, 2013 column in the Guardian about this, too: CIA rendition: more than a quarter of countries ‘offered covert support’ . To my surprise, the Guardian managed to take note of Israel’s absence from the list of 54 countries:

Other countries are conspicuous by their absence from the rendition list: Sweden and Finland are present, but there is no evidence of Norwegian involvement. Similarly, while many Middle Eastern countries did become involved in the rendition programme, Israel did not, according to the OSJI research.

I, on the other hand, took note of South Africa’s name on the list. After all, one of the calumnies thrown at Israel, and found on a daily basis in the Guardian CiF section in the threads to the endless articles decrying Israel for this or that,  is that it resembles an apartheid state.  South Africa’s government, influenced in some measure by its Muslim Indian constituency, is one of the few outside the Middle East that has made it government policy to support boycotts of Israeli product, academics, and cultural groups.  South Africa is often held up as an example of what the imaginary “one state” would look like after the Jewish state vanishes and “Palestine” exists “between the sea and the river”.

But never fear that Guardianistas could possibly leave Israel out of the issue.  After one post that noted that Israel did not participate in the program, there was this comment:

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The thread quickly filled up with comment after comment claiming that even though the report did not name Israel, and the Guardian specifically took note of that, Israel was just as bad or even worse.

Even when a report does not mention Israel, the appetite for condemnation of Israel among Guardian readers is so developed that rather than discussing, for example, South Africa’s involvement, even the absence of Israel quickly becomes the topic de jour. Or, as the following poster noted in response to a comment no longer visible:

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The Washington Post:

The 54 governments identified in this report span the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America, and include: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

 

Africa starves while international community continues to lavish aid on Gaza

A guest post by AKUS

Starvation of biblical proportions is sweeping across Africa. The pictures, like this one, are horrifying:

( Washington Post: U.N.: Famine in Somalia is killing tens of thousands)

But Gaza gets the food, the flotillas, and the boundless sympathy of the champagne humanitarians.

It is more than time to shut down UNRWA and send the food to those who really need it – not that crowd of world-class spongers:

Elder also recently posted this graph, indicating the top recipients of humanitarian aid between 2000-2009:

Elder noted:

In absolute terms, Sudan receives the most aid and “Palestine” the second most (the gap is narrowing in recent years.)  But on a per-capita basis, the Palestinian Arabs receive about 9 times as much aid as the Sudanese do, and of course far more aid per capita than any other people on the planet.

The Guardian’s Simon Tisdall feels Omar al-Bashir’s pain

Omar al-Bashir

Simon Tisdall, assistant editor of the Guardian, in his apologia for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (“Omar al-Bashir is no bogeyman”, The Guardian, Dec. 27 ), reached new depths of moral equivalence; showed himself, and the paper he represents, to be deeply, and irretrievably, embedded in the ideological abyss of post-Colonialism, Western guilt, and anti-Americanism.

 

The following passage by Tisdall should be used in textbooks as an example of how even the most ludicrous charges of racism against the United States hold weight among the hard left intelligentsia.

Bashing Omar al-Bashir is a popular pastime in progressive circles, not least in the conscience-flaunting milieus favoured by actor George Clooney and other celebrity campaigners. Sudan’s president, demonised by the UN over Darfur, pre-judged by the international criminal court’s chief prosecutor and ostracised by western governments, makes an easy target. America always needs bogeymen and Bashir fits the bill: big, bothersome, bad-tempered, black, Arab and Muslim.

Later, summing up al-Bashir’s actions, Tisdall drops this jaw dropping line:

Bashir, so far, is behaving reasonably well.

Al-Bashir, the first sitting head of state ever charged with genocide, was accused of being criminally responsible for:

“intentionally directing attacks [by the government backed Arab Janjaweed milita] against an important part of the [tribal black] civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians and pillaging their property”.

The violence in Darfur, the charges state, was the result of a common plan organized at the highest level of the Sudanese government.

Up to 400,000 people were killed as the result of Bashir’s actions, and millions have become refugees.

It takes a lot of ideological conditioning to truly believe that the U.S. government wakes up in the morning looking for a black man, or Muslim, to demonize, and that American policy in Sudan is indeed driven by such racism.

John Prendergast, director of African Affairs at the National Security Council for the Clinton White House, said:

“…these tribal blacks have been subjected to one of the most brutal campaigns of ethnic cleansing that Africa has ever seen.

The Janjaweed are like a grotesque mixture of the mafia and the Ku Klux Klan…These guys have a racist ideology that sees the Arab population as the supreme population that would like to see the subjugation of non-Arab peoples.”

Though this blog is concerned with anti-Semitism (and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy) at the Guardian, and their blog, Comment is Free, Simon Tisdall’s apologia for the man responsible for the most hideous crime in Africa’s history – under the banner of anti-racism! – should serve to put in perspective his paper’s continuing vitriol against the Jewish state.

The newspaper which aims to become the world’s leading liberal voice shows itself, time and again, to be viscerally hostile to a democracy under siege in a region dominated by despots, yet has a soft spot for genocidal tyrants.

Something is profoundly wrong if the Guardian’s fellow political travelers can’t find the courage to call such moral blindness for what it is – a tragic and dangerous distortion of everything it ever meant to be called a progressive.

This is 85-year-old Abu Hamid Omar. Not only was he burned and branded in an attack by the Janjaweed and Sudanese Government forces, but his village was burned to the ground. Abu Hamid Omar was the ONLY villager to survive the assault.