Questions to Guardian journo worrying about Israeli ‘reprisals’ for murder of 3 teens

Last night, as Israelis were absorbing the shock of early media reports confirming that the dead bodies of Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrach and Gil-ad Shaar were found north of Hebrona Guardian journalist named Jonathan Paige Tweeted the following response, which was subsequently re-tweeted by their Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont:

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This writer’s reply to Paige and the subsequent counter-replies can be seen here:

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Whilst Paige doesn’t cover the Middle East for the Guardian (and as far as we can tell hasn’t published anything about Israel in his capacity as a journalist), his highly insensitive Tweet in many ways symbolizes the disconnect between the UK media and ordinary Israelis.  

Though Paige didn’t respond to the final tweet above asking him to clarify his remarks, we’re left with a couple of questions which we’ll pose to him directly.

Mr. Paige:

Whilst we’ll take a leap of faith and assume that you indeed empathize with the families of the murdered boys, why did your Tweet (your one and only Tweet addressing the vicious terrorist murder) only address the potential for subsequent Palestinian suffering and fail to include even a word about the actual suffering of the teens and their grieving families?

But, just as important as your editorial judgement within the narrow confines of the social media is your belief that the IDF will carry out “reprisals” against innocent Palestinians civilians.  Though there may of course be additional unintentional casualties if the soldiers carrying out the ongoing mission to find the murderers are attacked by terrorists or their supporters, the notion of Israeli ‘reprisals’ against civilians represents the propaganda found on extremist sites like Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss and in the cartoons of Carlos Latuff - agitprop which serious journalists, it seems, would strenuously avoid endorsing or even legitimizing.  

Israel, like almost every democratic country faced with a similar dilemma, will aggressively pursue the Hamas terrorists who murdered Gil-Ad, Naftali and Eyal (and will attempt to weaken the terror infrastructure which renders such abductions possible), but certainly won’t intentionally attack innocent Palestinians, nor in any way exact retribution on its civilian population.

So, there’s one more question we have: Why – assuming you are liberal, well-educated and don’t typically fancy such lazy stereotypes – do you appear to embrace such a crude caricature of an Israeli Goliath ?

If, as you indicated in your last Tweet, we misunderstood your short message (or took it out of context), we look forward to a reply clarifying your thoughts on the murder of our boys.

Thank-you.

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Young Israelis mourn near the Palestinian village of Halhul, on Monday night, after the bodies of three teenagers, Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-ad Shaar, were found in a field there. (Photo credit: Nati SHohat/FLASH90)

Guardian’s output of Israel related commentaries continues to decline

cifThough it isn’t easy to empirically measure how the Guardian’s coverage of Israel has changed over the years (in a qualitative sense), one quantitative metric we’ve used relates to the volume of Israel related news reports and commentaries published by the media group.  

Though in 2011 and 2012 we revealed the disproportionate degree of Israel related coverage at the Guardian and its blog ‘Comment is Free’ in comparison to their coverage of other countries, we thought it would be interesting this year to isolate just their Israel related commentaries, and see how the output has changed since 2010, the first full year of this blog’s operation.

The results are interesting, and consistent with our sense that their institutional obsession with Israel, for any number of reasons, has decreased in some respects.

  • In 2010 there were 143 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 289 for the entire year.
  • In 2011, there were 92 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 168 for the entire year.
  • In 2012, there were 61 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 143 for the entire year.
  • In 2013, there were 54 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 100 for the entire year.
  • In 2014, there have been 35 Israel related commentaries through June 26th (with a projection of 70 to 75 for the entire year if current trends continue).

Whilst this analysis doesn’t include straight news reports (and other Israel related content which does NOT appear at ‘Comment is Free’), it’s clear that Israel related commentaries decreased quite dramatically over the last four years.

Also of interest is the fact that some of the Guardian’s favorite Israel bashers (commentators who we’ve posted about continually) have been published far less frequently, or have disappeared completely – reflecting a slight improvement (and we use these words cautiously) in their overall output on issues concerning Jews and Israel. 

Rachel Shabi, an anti-Zionist Jew who once was a frequent contributor, hasn’t published a commentary about Israel at ‘Comment is Free’ since August 2013

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Antony Lerman, another anti-Zionist Jew, hasn’t published a commentary at ‘Comment is Free’ since 2012.

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Seth Freedman has largely been silent on the topic of Israel at ‘Comment is Free’ for the past two years, save one quirky piece in August 2013.

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Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah (once a frequent contributor) has had only one commentary published at ‘Comment is Free’ since 2009.

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Richard (faux ‘scoop’) Silverstein (also once a frequent contributor) has been ‘silenced by the Guardian, and has had only one commentary which deals with Israel published at ‘Comment is Free’ since 2009.

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And, finally, Ben White, the notorious Israel hater who can understand why people would be antisemitic given Israeli behavior, and who once appeared at ‘Comment is Free’ several times a year, hasn’t been heard from since September 2012

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Though we are not shy about taking credit for Guardian corrections prompted by our correspondence with their editors, the cause of the decrease in Israel related commentaries – and the disappearance of some of their long time anti-Zionist contributors – is more opaque, and may involve editorial decisions (clearly influenced to some degree by the work of this blog) at the Guardian that we’re naturally not privy to.  

Additionally, the impact – to the editorial process at ‘Comment is Free’ – of the recent promotion of Jonathan Freedland (one of their more sober commentators) to the position of executive editor will not be clear for some time.

Finally, whilst the Guardian is still the most anti-Israel media group in the UK, it is nonetheless important to note such changes in their reporting and editorial decision-making, and recognize even modest improvements in their coverage of Israel and the larger region. 

Guardian caves to anti-Israel bigots, revises SodaStream article to please Ben White

Yesterday, CiF Watch prompted a correction to a false claim by Guardian Middle East editor Ian Black that the SodaStream main office was located in Ma’ale Adumim, when in fact that industrial park in greater Ma’ale Adumim (known as Mishor Adumim) is simply the location of one of their 20 factories. Their headquarters, as we noted, is in Lod, near Ben Gurion Airport.  (CiF Watch prompted a previous correction to the same error, by another Guardian contributor, in Oct.)

However, upon reviewing the language of the correction we prompted on the Guardian’s Correction page, we noticed an additional editor’s note relating to another SodaStream related story:

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According to (occasional) ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Ben White, per his following post at Electronic Intifada, he was the activist who prompted the revision:

Responding to my correspondence, The Guardian’s Readers’ Editor has amended an article written last week by Matthew Kalman.

Kalman’s article reported on the controversy over Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson ditching her role as humanitarian ambassador for the charity Oxfam, which objected to her endorsement deal with SodaStream, an Israeli company with a factory in a settlement in the occupied West Bank.

The piece, “Oxfam under pressure to cut ties with Scarlett Johansson over SodaStream ad,” now appears with the following appended text:

“In a sub-heading and in the body of the text campaigners seeking to pressure Oxfam to sever ties with Scarlett Johansson were described as “anti-Israel.” To clarify: the campaigners are opposed to settlements”

Remarkably, the Guardian Readers’ Editor upheld the objections to Kalman’s original characterization of the anti-SodaStream activists as “anti-Israel”, and bought the argument that they are only opposed to ‘the settlements’.  

To give you a sense of how extraordinarily misleading such a benign characterization is, here’s a brief summary of the ideological background of some of the more prominent BDS activists and groups involved in the anti-SodaStream campaign:

Ben White: White, who evidently prompted the Guardian correction and is one of the most vocal activists campaigning against SodaStream, opposes the existence of a Jewish State within any borders, and is even on record expressing sympathy towards anti-Semites:

Ali Abunimah: Abunimah is the co-founder of Electronic Intifada, has expressed sympathy towards Hamas, rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State within any borders, has likened Zionism with Nazism and has explicitly called for the start of a 3rd deadly Palestinian intifada.

Here are additional anti-SodaStream campaigners – that is, those who would prefer that 500 Palestinians workers get laid-off, rather than there be any Jewish presence at all across the green line:

Palestinian BDS National Committee, a radical movement which opposes all forms of normalization between Palestinians and Israelis, and supports the unlimited ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants, a tactic designed to erase Israel’s Jewish identity.  

Palestine Solidarity Campaign: a marginal, radical movement based in the UK, which supports the cultural, academic and economic boycott against Israel, and opposes the existence of a Jewish State within any borders. Further, PSC members have taken  part in convoysflotillasflytillas, and various demonstrations and events organized by supporters and members of terrorist organisations. 

Code Pink: A radical left group whichworks with the pro-Hamas Free Gaza Movement, and signed the so-called Cairo Declaration to End Israeli Apartheid, a document which opposes Zionism and calls for the unlimited right of return for millions of Palestinian ‘refugees’. (See this clip of Hamas welcoming a Code Pink delegation to Gaza in 2009)

To recap: Most of the activists aligned against SodaStream have either expressed sympathy or outright support for Islamist terror groups, support the boycott and complete isolation of Israel, oppose any cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, and reject the very right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State. 

Only in the mind of Guardian editors would such hateful views – some which are indistinguishable from the ideologies of violent extremist groups – not qualify as “anti-Israel”.

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More hate courtesy of Ali Abunimah: Tweets about Israel ‘harvesting children’

Ali Abunimah is the co-founder of Electronic Intifada - and occasional ‘Comment is Free’ contributor – who opposes the existence of a Jewish state within any borders.  

He had this to say on Twitter yesterday about the reported death of a child in Gaza after three separate terrorist incidents on the Israel-Gaza border, which included the murder – by a Palestinian sniper - of an Israeli Bedouin named Saleh Abu Latif:

The term “harvest” in the context of a dead Palestinian child was clearly not used randomly, and quite possibly is an allusion to the antisemitic libel that the IDF kills Palestinians to provide the Israeli medical establishment with organs.

Previously, Abunimah – the American-born, Ivy league educated radical whose blog has published extremists such as Ben WhiteSonja Karker and Steven Salaita – has suggested that Zionism represents a unique and immutable evil.

Abunimah – from the safety of his Chicago home – has also Tweeted his support for another violent Palestinian Intifada.

Interestingly, his blog is still included in the Guardian’s ‘useful links’ section of their Israel page. (Open link and scroll down.)

For more background on Abunimah, click here.

Glenn Greenwald at Marxism Conference: Defends Anwar Al-Awaki, calls 9/11 attacks “minimal in scope”

As was revealed in the blogosphere yesterday, Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who helped Edward Snowden launch the NSA leaks scandal, has addressed the International Socialist Organization’s  annual conference in 2011 and 2012 – and is set to address the radical group again later this year in Chicago.

The International Socialist Organization (ISO) is one of America’s main Marxist ‘revolutionary’ parties, and represents the “Marxist tradition, founded by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, and continued by V.I. Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky.”

The upcoming ISO event – which features, among other radical speakers, Ali Abunimah, as well as an anti-Zionist Jew named Sherry Wolf, who has justified Hamas terrorism, and characterized Zion­ist Jews as “white suprema­cist racists” - is sponsored by the Center for Economic Research and Social Change (CERSC).  CERSC is the publisher of International Socialist Review and Haymarket Books (which has published books by Abunimah, and sponsors the anti-Zionist blog Mondoweiss) and the publisher of Socialist Worker.

Here’s the official trailer for the 2013 event.

What follows are clips of Greenwald at the ISO Conference in 2011 speaking about Anwar al-Awlaki, and other related issues.  Al-Awlaki was an American and Yemeni Imam, and the al-Qaeda regional commander (killed by U.S. forces after Greenwald’s 2011 speech) who was a senior ‘talent recruiter’ for the group, and who likely influenced the jihadist rampage of the Fort Hood shooter and the attempted attack by the ‘Underwear Bomber‘.  

Greenwald can be heard during the video characterizing al-Awlaki as someone whose only crimes were “speak[ing] effectively to the Muslim world about violence that the U.S. commits in [Yemen] and the responsibility of Muslims to stand up to this violence.”

Here’s a clip of Greenwald later in the same speech where he expresses his hope for a weakening of the United States and its malign “imperialism”, and characterizes the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda as very “minimal in scope”.

(Here’s his full 2011 speech. And, here is his speech to the ISO in 2012.)

As I argued recently, Greenwald is not a mere civil libertarian or a ‘progressive’ commentator but, rather, a radical, anti-American activist, who aids our enemies by amplifying their toxic rhetoric.   

Whatever may come from the debate currently underway about NSA surveillance techniques, we can not let those, like Greenwald, inspired by a palpable loathing of America frame the debate concerning how best to defend the country against reactionary Islamists extremists openly committed to the murder of our citizens. 

Guardian provides PR for failing BDS campaign against EU football championship in Israel

The 2013 European Under-21 Football Championship (UEFA U-21) – hosted by Israel from June 5th through the 18th – represents the 19th staging of the event.  National football teams from all over Europe will compete, with England, Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, the Netherlands and Norway, alongside Israel, all vying for the title of champion.

Anti-Israel boycott campaigners (branded as “Red Card Israeli Racism”) are campaigning for the tournament not to be held in Israel as part of a sporting boycott of the Jewish state. And, though their BDS efforts will certainly fail, the Guardian has begun providing these anti-Israel campaigners with the publicity they desire. 

Indeed, the latest two Guardian reports on their site’s Israel page are a letter calling on the UEF (Union of European Football) to reverse their decision to choose Israel as a venue (Uefa insensitivity to Palestinians plight’, May 27), and a story, in the sports section, reporting on the publication of the very same letter the Guardian had just published (‘Uefa accused of ignoring anti-Palestinian bias‘, David Feeny, May 28).

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Here’s the text of the May 27 Guardian letter:

On Friday, delegates from European football associations gathered in a London hotel for Uefa‘s annual congress (Report, 24 May). They agreed new, strict guidelines to deal with racism, suggesting a commendable determination to combat discrimination in the sport.

We find it shocking that this same organisation shows total insensitivity to the blatant and entrenched discrimination inflicted on Palestinian sportsmen and women by Israel.

Despite direct appeals from representatives of the sport in Palestine and from anti-racist human rights campaigners across Europe, Uefa is rewarding Israel’s cruel and lawless behaviour by granting it the honour of hosting the European Under-21 finals next month.

Uefa should not allow Israel to use a prestigious football occasion to whitewash its racist denial of Palestinian rights and its illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

We urge Uefa to follow the brave example of world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking who, on advice from Palestinian colleagues, declined to take part in an international conference in Israel. We call on Uefa, even at this late stage, to reverse the choice of Israel as a venue.

Here are the signatories to the BDS call in the Guardian. As you’ll note by reading our brief bios, the group is dominated by ‘Patrons’ from the fringe group, Palestine Solidarity Campaign:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu:  Former civil rights leader in South Africa with an apparent blind spot when it comes to Jews.  Tutu, for instance, has evoked classic antisemitic stereotypes and tropes about Jewish “arrogance”, “power” and money.

Frédéric Kanouté: A footballer who, we revealed in early December, had falsely claimed that several other footballers had called on European football’s governing body to cancel Israel’s hosting of the Under-21 Finals.

John Austin MP: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and Former Labour MP for Woolwich.

Rodney Bickerstaffe: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron.

Bob Crow: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron.

Victoria Brittain: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and former Guardian associate foreign editor, who once chaired an event at the pro-Hamas group, MEMO.

Jeremy Corbyn MP: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and an obsessively anti-Israel campaigner who had participated in a meeting organized by the openly pro-Hamas group MEMO, and has actually opined quite explicitly in defense of both Hamas and Hezbollah.

Caryl Churchill: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and author of the antisemitic play Seven Jewish Children’.

Rev Garth Hewitt: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron, and singer/songwriter.

Dr Ghada Karmi: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron, one-state promoter and ‘Comment is Free’ contributor.

Bruce Kent: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron.

Ken Loach: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron, and a film-maker who has participated in countless anti-Israel campaigns, and has even participated in the kangaroo court known as the Russell Tribunal on Palestine where he accused the Jewish state of adopting a policy of ‘racial purity’.

Michael Mansfield QC: A British lawyer and Palestine Solidarity Campaign supporter, who has endorsed the Muslim Brotherhood-led ‘Free Gaza’ campaign – and also has participated in the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Kika Markham: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron, Actor, and supporter of Viva Palestina

Luisa Morgantini: Former vice-president, European parliament. 

Prof Hilary Rose, Prof Steven Rose: Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patrons, and among the founding members of British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP). Their obsessive criticism of Jews, and of the Jewish state, inspired Anthony Julius to observe that they seem “proud to be ashamed to be Jews”. 

Alexei Sayle: Author and comedian, Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and Marxist.

Jenny Tonge: Most notable for her remarks that she might have been a suicide bomber had she been born a Palestinian, as well as her claim that “the pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the Western World, its financial grips [and] a certain grip on [the Labor] party”. Tonge also is infamous for calling on Israel to “investigate” the IDF in light of charges they were stealing organs in Haiti. 

Dr Antoine ZahlanPalestine Solidarity Campaign Patron and Arab academic.

Geoffrey Lee: Affiliated with the group leading efforts to boycott Israeli football, ‘Red Card Israeli Racism‘ 

Tomas Perez: According to the Guardian, he’s affiliated with the group Football Beyond Borders

John McHugo: Chair of Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine, board member of CAABU, the Council for Arab-British Understanding. He has also contributed essays for the website of the pro-Hamas group MEMO.

Roger Lloyd Pack: Actor best known for his role as ‘Trigger’ in the BBC series ‘Only Fools and Horses’

Whilst this campaign, like so many other abysmal attempts to isolate Israel by the anti-Zionist left, will certainly fail, it’s important to contextualize BDS in all of its manifestations as the political derivative of various Arab (and Soviet) led boycotts which have been used for many decades as weapons in the war against Israel.  In its modern incarnation BDS represents the main component of the “Durban strategy” – adopted by the NGO Forum of the UN’s Durban Conference (2001) – adopted by pro-Palestinian groups to completely isolate Israel by promoting economic, academic, cultural and even (as in this case) sporting boycotts of Israel.

As NGO monitor summed up the BDS movement:

  • Boycotts are the antithesis of dialogue, cooperation, and developing peaceful ties between Israelis and Palestinians.
  • Ali Abunimah, major BDS speaker and head of “Electronic Intifada,” labels Palestinian leaders who negotiate with Israel “collaborators.”
  • BDS activists promote “one-state” solutions, meaning the elimination of Israel as the historic homeland of the Jewish nation. (A political goal which is codified as antisemitic by the EU.)

Further, this particular boycott movement – targeting Israel by attempting to politicize European football – has garnered almost no traction beyond marginal figures and a few extreme anti-Israel movements.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said after Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell asked why the government was supporting the tournament: “I do not believe that sporting fixtures should be an obstacle to political progress of any form”. Responding to the president of the Palestinian Football Association, FIFA President Platini said that UEFA did not believe in “punishing people and isolating them”.

Additionally, it is worth noting that the Israeli U21 squad comes from a range of backgrounds, and includes Jewish Israelis, Arab Israelis and foreign football players.

We’ll leave you with a video featuring two outstanding Israeli players – Captain Eyal Golasa, a Netanya native who plays for Maccabi Haifa, and Moanes Dabur, an Arab-Israeli player for Maccabi Tel Aviv – talking about the Israeli national under-21 team and showing off their skills.

Ali Abunimah goes to Gaza

Cross posted by Petra Marquardt-Bigman 

He tried and failed several times before, but this week, Ali Abunimah finally made it to Gaza.

Obviously, the co-founder of the Electronic Intifada and passionate anti-Israel activist has devoted fans in the Hamas-ruled territory, and they eagerly awaited his arrival. Everyone – including Abunimah himself – was apparently a bit worried that there might be problems crossing the Egyptian-controlled border, which had been recently closed by Egyptian police to protest the kidnapping of several colleagues by Islamist gunmen. And it’s safe to assume that the fact that Israel couldn’t be blamed for the closure and other problems at the crossing made it all so much harder to bear.

Obviously, during his stay in Gaza, Ali Abunimah will do his very best to come up with many reasons to blame Israel. Indeed, his popular “narratives” about the bottomless evils of Israel and Zionism have presumably led to his invitation to the currently ongoing Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest) – though it is a bit strange that an activist who likes to present himself as a serious reporter and political commentator would be invited to a festival that is supposedly devoted to literature and the arts. But perhaps Ali Abunimah’s advocacy should indeed be regarded as an art form that deserves to be featured in an event supported by organizations like the British Council and the Arts Council England?

I for one would never accuse Ali Abunimah of sticking to facts or bothering much with reality.

And sure enough, one of his first tweets after crossing from Egypt into Gaza illustrated one of Abunimah’s favorite fairy tales: that Israeli cities like Ashkelon are “occupied” Palestinian towns.

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Of course, Hamas terrorists have similar views:

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Unsurprisingly, Ali Abunimah is an outspoken supporter of the kind of “resistance” Hamas advocates and practices, and just like Hamas, he doesn’t waste time pretending that he is for peaceful co-existence: Hamas claims a Palestine extending “from the river to the sea,” and Abunimah wants to see this territory as “One Country.” Similarly, while Hamas denounces the Jews as the incarnation of evil, Abunimah makes his living demonizing “the Zionists” as inhumane Nazi-type racists who like nothing better than inflicting untold suffering on the poor Palestinians.

Given the fact that most Israeli Jews are committed  Zionists, it’s of course a bit puzzling why Abunimah would want to condemn the Palestinians to share “One Country” with such evil people.

Moreover, Abunimah’s claims that his “One Country” would be a democratic secular paradise with equal rights for everyone are laughable given the well-documented reactionary and even extremist views of many Palestinians.  As blogger Elder of Ziyon highlighted, a recently published Pew survey of Muslim views demonstrates that Palestinian Muslims “are among the most religiously conservative and intolerant” of the Muslim publics polled by Pew.

It is noteworthy that this preference is reflected in the proposed constitution for a Palestinian state, which stipulates that “Islam is the official religion in Palestine” and that the “principles of Islamic Shari’a shall be the main source of legislation.”

While Ali Abunimah is usually very good at ignoring the unpleasant Palestinian realities that can’t be blamed on Israel, he seemed somewhat upset to come across examples of Sharia enforcement in Gaza. Thus, he was clearly dismayed to find out that for web users in Gaza, “Dating sites are blocked!” – but naturally, he was reluctant to blame Hamas and suggested that “the censorship is done by the PA,” i.e. the Palestinian West Bank authority that he despises so heartily.

However, a Twitter user from Gaza contradicted him, asserting that “Hamas blocked dating sites recently. Part of their ‘modesty’ policing.”

just like

datingBy and large however, Ali Abunimah energetically focused on what he was invited for: demonizing Israel and advocating the abolition of the world’s only Jewish state in favor of his “One Country”-fantasy. Judging from some of the images that were tweeted, it unfortunately looks as if just a handful of people attended his workshop, but there were clearly some enthusiastic fans who listened attentively to @AliAbunimah debunking the two-state solution. Awesome #PalFest.”

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In addition to fulfilling his PalFest obligations by sharing his tips on creating “narratives” to demonize Israel, Abunimah was busy looking out for any new material that could somehow be used to rail about Israel. Among his finds was a sign in Hebrew that he promptly photographed and tweeted with the devastating comment: “Hebrew is still omnipresent in Gaza. #colonialism.” He was also appalled to find out that Gazans use Israeli currency.

Then it was time to echo the popular Palestinian “blood-and-soil”-theme. Visiting Khuza’a in the southern Gaza Strip right at the border with Israel, Abunimah tweeted a picture of a handful of grains with the melodramatic comment: “Palestinian wheat grown in #Gaza with sweat and tears under the occupier’s guns.” Another picture of the area, showing what seems to be a tower in the distance, comes with the claim: “New occupier watch tower regularly fires on farmers working their land in Khuza’a.” However, tweeting yet another picture of apparently the same area, Abunimah lamented that “Land once full of olive trees now barren thanks to occupier bulldozers and tanks.”

While in the real world the plight of Khuza’a’s farmers is due to the unfortunate fact that Gaza terrorists like to use their farmlands to launch attacks on Israel, in the world of Ali Abunimah and his fans, there is of course no reason whatsoever to wonder why the “occupier” would be so cruel to poor, innocent, hard-working Palestinian farmers – it goes without saying that shooting them and making their lives hell is what the evil Zionists like to do just for fun!!!

Let’s all hope that Ali Abunimah will be able to avoid any encounter with farmers in Gaza who attend Israeli fairs and workshops to improve their production – and hopefully, he will not ingest any of their produce! Admittedly, though, should any such misfortune befall him, he surely would find a creative way to spin it into an edifying story about oppressive-colonial-supremacist-racist-Zionist subjugation, exploitation, occupation and much worse…

* * *

Update:

Thanks to some hardworking – surely female – artisans in Gaza, Ali Abunimah has found an embroidery of his “One Country:”

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Glenn Greenwald doubles down on claim that pro-Israel factions nixed Massad essay (Updated)

See update below.

As we reported yesterday, Glenn Greenwald Tweeted his outrage after Al Jazeera recently published and then deleted an appallingly antisemitic essay by Joseph Massad – titled, ‘Last of the Semites’ – which you can read here. Massad’s nearly 4000 word attack on Jews and the Jewish state explicitly advanced the argument that there is an “ideological similitude” between Zionism and Nazism and, in sum, was difficult to distinguish from the bile found on extremist websites.

Greenwald expressed his outrage over the removal of Massad’s pseudo intellectual assault against Jews, thusly:

As we noted, the identity of Greenwald’s “usual suspects” wasn’t difficult to determine, as he linked to a predictable take on the Massad row by Ali Abunimah at Electronic Intifada which accused the Qatari-based media group of caving in to “Zionists extremists” – naming the Jewish trio of  Jeffrey Goldberg, John Podhoretz and Rahm Emmanuel.

Though Greenwald refused to answer our query, during a Twitter exchange, asking him to clarify his allegation against “the usual suspects”, we didn’t have to wait long to receive an answer, as the ‘Comment is Free’ columnist addressed the topic in his latest post titled ‘Al Jazeera deletes its own controversial op-ed, then refuses to comment.

The fact that Greenwald, per the title, was indeed unable to get a clear answer from Al Jazeera on why they removed Massad’s essay didn’t represent a significant obstacle in his determination to reach a ‘conclusion’ about the media group’s decision.  After addressing the “controversial” nature of Massad’s Zionism-Nazi allegations – writing: “I’m not expressing any views here on the merit of Massad’s arguments because that’s irrelevant to the issue” – he then pivoted to the question of who was to blame for the stifling of Joseph Massad. 

Greenwald writes the following:

I spent much of the weekend emailing various Al Jazeera officials for comment, to no avail. Everyone either ignored my multiple inquires or said they were barred from commenting and referred me to the head of the outlet’s PR department, who never responded.’

Greenwald, further into his post, begins to reveal “information” he was able to receive from unnamed ‘sources':

Al Jazeera’s deletion of this Op-Ed, and especially its refusal to provide any explanation for what happened here, is significant beyond just this one episode. Several people who work for the outlet, none of whom was willing to speak for attribution due to fear of retaliation by the network’s officials, say that Al Jazeera officials have become much more cautious and fearful ever since they purchased Current TV last December for $500 million and prepared to enter the US television market under the brand name “Al Jazeera America”

Greenwald then expands on the cause of the Arab news outlet’s new-found caution.

In particular, these sources say, the primary impetus for the removal of the Op-Ed came from Ehab al-Shihabi, who was recently named to head the American TV network. They say that he is petrified that angering “pro-Israel” factions in the US will bolster the perception of Al Jazeera as both anti-American and anti-Israel, thus dooming the network with both corporate advertisers and cable carriers and render it radioactive among mainstream politicians. Al-Shihabi, they say, went to the network’s top executive in Doha, Director-General Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, and demanded the removal of the Massad Op-Ed.

The question is whether this can continue now that Al Jazeera is seeking to establish a serious TV presence in the US. The Qatari regime is a close American ally, hosting several vital US military assets used to wage the war in Iraq. But the regime has come under criticism from US officials and “pro-Israel” commentators for its support of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. It is hard to see how a US television network owned by the regime in Qatar will regularly broadcast journalism that is truly adversarial to its close ally, the US government, or air commentary that offends influential political factions in the US.

As we’ve documented continually, this particular accusation is par for the course for Greenwald, who has shown himself to be seemingly obsessed with the alleged power of “influential” “pro-Israel factions” in the US.

Here are a few examples from his former blog at Salon:

So absolute has the Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy been that the US Government has made it illegal to broadcast Hezbollah television stations…”

Not even our Constitution’s First Amendment has been a match for the endless exploitation of American policy, law and resources [by the Israel lobby] to target and punish Israel’s enemies.”

“Meanwhile, one of the many Israel-Firsters in the U.S. Congress — Rep. Anthony Weiner, last seen lambasting President Obama for daring to publicly mention a difference between the U.S. and Israel — today not only defended Israel’s attack (obviously) but also, revealingly,pronounced:  ”Even if we are the only country on earth that sees the facts here, the United States should stand up for Israel.”  In other words:  who cares how isolated it makes us or what harm we suffer?”

It is simply true that there are large and extremely influential Jewish donor groups which are agitating for a U.S. war against Iran, and that is the case because those groups are devoted to promoting Israel’s interests…”

And, it is simply true that the ideological territory which Glenn Greenwald claims routinely endorses tropes about the injurious influence of Jewish power which share a long and toxic antisemitic pedigree. 

UPDATE: This evening Al Jazeera reposted the Massad piece, which prompted Greenwald to Tweet the following:

Al Jazeera editors explained their decision to republish Massad’s hateful screed thusly:

After publication, many questions arose about the article’s content. In addition, the article was deemed to be similar in argument to Massad’s previous column, ” Zionism, anti-Semitism and colonialism“, published on these pages in December.

We should have handled this better, and we have learned lessons that will enable us to maintain the highest standards of journalistic integrity.

Our guiding principle has always been “the opinion and other opinion”. Our pages have always been – and will always be – open to the most thought-provoking thinkers and writers from across the globe.

Al Jazeera does not submit to pressure regardless of circumstance, and our history is full of examples where we were faced with extremely tough choices but never gave in. This is the secret to our success.

Evidently, those “influential” “pro-Israel factions” aren’t so influential after all!

An ugly disgusting rant: Joseph Massad and Glenn Greenwald attack ‘the usual Jewish suspects’

Shortly after Julie Burchill’s January commentary, titled ‘Transsexuals should cut it out‘, at the Observer was completely removed after thousands of readers complained that her piece was bigoted towards transsexuals, the Observer’s decision was defended by their readers’ editor,  Stephen Pritchard.  

Pritchard called the decision a rational one, based on his contention that Burchill’s essay was “needlessly offensive” and “gratuitously insulting”.

Though some in the media were highly critical of the decision by the Observer (a Guardian sister publication) to pull Burchill’s piece, Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian’s putative defender of free speech, was mostly silent on the Burchill Affair.  Indeed, his Tweet, on Jan 13, shortly after Burchill’s piece was published should give some indication as to why.

‘An ugly disgusting rant’ would certainly be one way to characterize Joseph Massad’s despicable essay in Al Jazeera on May 14, which argued the following:

  • Zionism not only equals racism, but the ideology itself is antisemitic.
  • Zionists cooperated and collaborated with the Nazis during the 30s and 40s.
  • Zionism should be understood as the fulfillment of the Nazis’ dream, and that the there is a strong “ideological similitude” between the two movements.

As Petra Marquardt-Bigman has argued, the writings of Massad (who has contributed to Comment is Free‘ and Electronic Intifada) can easily be confused with material found on extremist racist websites.

There is one exception to this paradigm, however. Massad is of Palestinian origin, so his otherwise boilerplate extreme right narrative about Israel and Jews is compromised a bit by these howlers:

  • Unlike Zionists, who, by virtue of their Zionism, are antisemitic, “Palestinians have remained unconvinced and steadfast in their resistance to anti-Semitism“.
  • Unlike ‘Zionist anti-Semites’, “the Palestinian people have mounted a major struggle against…anti-Semitic incitement”.

Whilst there were no Tweets by Greenwald expressing outrage over Massad’s pseudo intellectual racist assault against Jews, the decision by Al Jazeera to remove the Massad article from their site sent Greenwald into a fury:

In case there is any doubt who Greenwald is referring to by “the usual suspects“, in the Tweet he links to a piece criticizing AJ’s decision (and defending Massad) by Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada – whose support for Massad is not surprising as he advanced the Zionism = Nazism narrative in a Tweet in 2010 – which accused Al Jazeera of caving in to “Zionists extremist” Jews, such as Jeffrey Goldberg, John Podhoretz and Rahm Emmanuel.

It really takes a mind occupied by the most crude antisemitic stereotypes about the danger of Jewish power to conjure a scenario by which a Qatari based pro-Sunni Islamist media group was strong-armed by a small gang of powerful Jews into censoring an otherwise meritorious essay.   

Greenwald is a Jew by birth, and though we don’t possess some sort of piercing mentalism which would allow us to see the bigotry which may lurk in his soul, it should be clear to anyone who has seriously studied the “liberal” Guardian’ commentator that his moral sensibilities are – at the very least – compromised by a callous indifference to even the most explicit and malicious expressions of Jew hatred. 

Guardian’s BDS promotion fails to tell readers what it really is

The Guardian’s coverage of Stephen Hawking’s decision to withdraw from a conference in Israel has so far included no fewer than eight items in three days.

The initial report by Harriet Sherwood and Matthew Kalman – published on May 8th – was followed by a sensationalist Guardian poll on the subject and another article by Sherwood on the same day. The next day – May 9th – Sherwood and Kalman were joined by Sam Jones to produce an additional report which includes quotes from Omar Barghouti and Samia al Botmeh, without making it clear that the latter is a member of PACBI – the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel – and a policy advisor for Al Shabaka

Also on May 9th, the Guardian published an article by Jennifer Lipman criticising Hawking’s decision and a piece by Ali Abunimah – also of Al Shabaka – in its support. On May 10th yet another article by Harriet Sherwood, together with Robert Booth, appeared on the Guardian’s pages and that was accompanied by the publication of four letters on the subject – three of which supported Hawking’s decision. 

Throughout all that plethora of coverage, the Guardian has made no effort whatsoever to explain to its readers the aims of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign and the ideology which steers quotees such as Barghouti and al Botmeh or contributor Abunimah.

Ironically, the nearest thing to such an explanation comes in Abunimah’s article where he states: 

“The Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) aims to change this dynamic. It puts the initiative back in the hands of Palestinians. The goal is to build pressure on Israel to respect the rights of all Palestinians by ending its occupation and blockade of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; respecting the rights of Palestinian refugees who are currently excluded from returning to their homes just because they are not Jews; and abolishing all forms of discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel.”

Couched in the fashionable, yet much abused, language of “universal human rights”, Abunimah’s flowery yet anodyne description will do little to help readers understand that the ultimate product of the BDS delegitimisation campaign – if allowed to succeed – will be the denial of the basic human right of self-determination to Jews.

“PACBI leads the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, but of course its real aim is not merely to persuade musicians to refuse to appear in Tel Aviv or to encourage people not to buy Israeli goods.  The bottom line of all the PACBI rhetoric is that with its uncompromising demand for the ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees to places west of the ‘green line’, it aspires to eliminate Israel as the Jewish state in precisely the same manner as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad do.  Members of PACBI, including the suited academics at Birzeit, may not be building bombs, firing rockets or strapping on suicide belts, but their ultimate aims are identical to those who do.”

The leaders of the BDS movement are ‘one-staters': their ultimate hope is not to see the Israeli state and a Palestinian state existing peacefully side by side. Their aim – which is entirely transparent to those not dazzled by the faux human rights rhetoric – is one Palestinian state ‘from the river to the sea’, with – at best – a minority Jewish group making up part of its population. It is therefore not surprising that in 2010 an Al Shabaka policy brief opened with the following question:

“Many commentators expect the direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians to fail. But there is a much worse scenario: What if they “succeed?” “

It is, of course, the Guardian’s prerogative to promote the BDS campaign’s latest high-profile ‘poster boy’ as much as it likes, but in the name of common or garden honesty it should at least have the courage of its ‘feel good’ convictions to explain to its readers the precise nature of the discriminatory, antisemitic, anti-peace ideology (which stands in direct opposition to international efforts to bring the Arab-Israeli conflict to a peaceful conclusion) which the Guardian appears to have etched upon its banner. 

William Sutcliffe’s Guardian-approved anti-Israel propaganda for teens

Alison Flood’s March 31 Guardian/Observer report on a new novel by William Sutcliffe about the Israeli ‘occupation’ includes a quote by the self-described Jewish atheist which encapsulates how the most facile understandings of both the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the broader political realities of our day often pass for serious commentary.

‘…the story of our era is the divide between the haves and the have-nots, and it seemed the wall in the West Bank was very specific to that situation, but also symbolic of other things happening elsewhere”.

As befits such platitudinous prose, Sutcliffe’s new work is targeted towards a less mature audience.

teens

Flood’s review and interview begins thusly:

Pitched as a fable, his crossover novel is set in a city split in two by a vast wall. On one side live the privileged, the occupiers – and our hero Joshua. On the other live the desperate, the occupied, and when Joshua, hunting for his lost football, discovers a tunnel that leads under the wall, he sets in action a series of dreadful consequences. Without making it explicit, it soon becomes clear that this is the West Bank, that Joshua, 13, is Jewish, and that Leila, the girl who saves his life on the other side of the wall, is Palestinian.

The cover art chosen to illustrate the story of “privileged” Jews and “desperate” Palestinians is thoroughly consistent such an obtuse paradigm: An olive tree encircled with barbed wire, juxtaposed with a title evoking the morality tale Sutcliffe is demanding the young reader to imagine.

wall

What finally pushed the writer to commence the project?  Flood explains:

“…he heard about PalFest, Palestine’s annual travelling festival of literature, and decided he needed to travel to the region. He’d been to Israel before, but after experiencing PalFest, “everything I thought I knew about Israel was shattered.”

As CiF Watch has noted (here and here), Palfest (the Palestine Festival of Literature) is the (partially UK-funded) anti-Israel advocacy vehicle which has included a significant proportion of participating writers (and ‘recommended authors) who have been featured in the Guardian or ‘Comment is Free’ – including Ali Abunimah, Ben White, and Ghada Karmi.

Sutcliffe’s commentary on the ‘revelatory’ benefits of his Palfest journey continues:  

 He’d been to Israel before, but after experiencing PalFest, “everything I thought I knew about Israel was shattered. Seeing a military occupation up close, seeing a small number of people with guns telling a large number without guns what to do… it was so much more brutal than I thought it could be.”

It’s unclear where precisely Sutcliffe ventured in the West Bank, but it’s curious that in his apparently serious overall examination and research of the region he somehow failed to learn of the ubiquity of Palestinians ‘with guns‘, explosives and other weaponry – ‘activists’ who are of course waiting for the opportunity to deploy such lethal instruments of terror against Israeli civilians without guns.

Archive: Weaponry Uncovered in Palestinian's Home

Weaponry Uncovered by the IDF in a Palestinian’s Home, 2012

To critics who may question Sutcliffe’s expertise on such a subject, his answer is as follows:

“it’s reportage – which is why I went out of my way with the two research trips”.

Yet, Sutcliffe’s reporting cum ‘activist tourism’ left him unable to grasp the most elementary story about the fence which divides Palestine and Israel, the muse which inspired his Middle East tale: That there once was a time when the borders dividing the two peoples were porous, when a genuine peace seemed, to some, to be within reach – an ideal which was shattered by an onslaught of snipers, bombings and suicide belts.  

The security fence about which he writes was born of shrapnel, savagely fired, coursing through organs and limbs, tearing apart bodies, and shattering lives.   

Flood then adds the following:

[Sutcliffe] is also playing on another familiar children’s literary motif – that of the portal from the mundane to a world of fantasy. “What’s happening in this book is a kid living in a complete fantasy, who discovers a portal to reality. I’m taking the cliché and turning it upside down,” he says. “I’ve been with the settlers… and I think they are living in a world of complete fantasy.”

However, as one ‘Comment is Free’ critic recently and quite keenly observed about such lazy depictions:   

‘Whilst Palestinians have names, faces and form – their injured children…blazoned across headlines – Israelis are faceless, without history or family. They are not cute or charming or tragic. They are not gifted musicians or parlour comedians.  Israelis are just, coldly and callously, ‘Israelis’, unnamed, numbered and otherwise ignored, unless they are ‘settlers’ or soldiers, when they are as if motherless, amorphous.

In his evocation of Israeli caricatures, unrecognizable as they are crude, it is  Sutcliffe who conjures the most risible and fantastical tale.

Guardian Mid-East editor legitimizes the political pornography of Ali Abunimah

The Guardian’s Middle East Editor, Ian Black, provided an analysis of President Obama’s March 21 speech in Jerusalem (titled ‘Obama shows emotional and political intelligence with Jerusalem speech‘) which represents a good example the Guardian Left tendency to impute ‘authenticity’ to the most radical and uncompromising activists.  

This journalistic tick can be seen, for instance, in Harriet Sherwood’s decision to award ‘progressive’ Hechsher labels to both Joseph Dana and slain terror-abetting anti-Israel campaigner, Vittorio Arrigoni

Such political posturing also colored their coverage of the so-called ‘Palestine Papers’ in 2011, where Mahmoud Abbas’s putative flexibility during negotiations with Israel over the refugee issue was characterized as “craven” – as “selling out” Palestinian rights – in a series of reports which seemed to reflect the media group’s attempt to ‘out-Palestinian’ the Palestinians themselves. 

Their institutional tendency to promote a radical chic (and even terrorist-chic) brand is also evident in their frequent decisions to publish Islamist extremists, and the dearth of space they provide to peaceful and truly moderate two-state proponents.

In his March 21 report Black praised Obama’s speech at the Jerusalem Convention Center as “appealing to ordinary Israelis over the heads of their political leaders”, and as representing “a smart combination of emotional and political intelligence in pressing the buttons that matter to mainstream Jewish opinion in Israel.”

Palestinians, however, observed Black, were not impressed.  He noted that some Palestinians complained that Obama’s speech lacked depth or substance, before citing a critique by Ali Abunimah, the American born, Ivy League educated son of a Jordanian diplomat who founded ‘Electronic Intifada’ (EI) – and who, from his home in Chicago, engages in hate-filled “commentary” about the Jewish state with abandon.

ali

Indeed, the Tweets by Abunimah (a former ‘Comment is Free’ contributor) cited in the following passage by Black are a fair representation of the activist’s social media style.

Black writes the following: 

Ali Abunimah, an outspoken critic of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and a supporter of the one-state solution, tweeted in anger: “Palestinians yearning for peace live in a tough neighborhood, surrounded by racist settlers and a murderous US-backed sectarian ‘army.’ Obama’s ‘history’ of Israel is as delusional as his US history which still praises slave-owning, slave-raping founding fathers. This speech will drive liberal Zionists wild because it legitimizes their segregationist desires & dresses them up as ‘peace’ & ‘democracy.'”

The text cited, however, represents several separate Abunimah Tweets.  So, for clarity, here are the three (140 character or so) ‘meditations’ by Abunimah which the Guardian Middle East editor evidently found elucidating. 

Here are a few additional Tweets that day by Abunimah not cited by Black:

Zionist psychopaths: 

Israel slaughters children:

Israel is a “supremacist” state:

Though Abunimah blocks many pro-Israel activists from following him, it still isn’t difficult to locate his Twitter paper trail – which includes a tweet concerning the murder of Israelis by Hezbollah terrorists in Bulgaria in 2012, which clearly suggested a Mossad conspiracy,  and another one calling for Palestinians to start a 3rd Intifada.

However, Abunimah is no mere American pro-Palestinian activist.  He’s defended Hamas and has flirted with insidious Israel-Nazi analogies – once even Tweeting the following: 

nazi

The fact that the Guardian’s Middle East editor – who undoubtedly could have found a more moderate, lucid and truly peace-seeking pro-Palestinian critic to cite – decided to hitch his wagon to Abunimah’s hateful political brand is an apt commentary on the Guardian’s continuing  fealty to the most belligerent voices in the region.

The Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood cites Richard Silverstein…problems ensue

The question of what blogs and Twitter accounts journalists cum propagandists follow is always an interesting one – and one of the more under-explored dynamics which can help explain some of the more hysterical anti-Israel coverage in the mainstream media (and in the Guardian).

So, for instance, we weren’t surprised when Harriet Sherwood cited a quote by Joseph Dana (Sherwood referred to the anti-Israel activist as a “journalist”) in an effort to contextualize Netanyahu’s speech at the UN in late September, or when, in 2011, she characterized the slain International Solidarity Movement volunteer, Vittorio Arrigoni, as a “peace activist“.  Indeed, both incidents only confirmed what we knew about where the Guardian Jerusalem correspondent’s political sympathies lie. 

In the time Phoebe Greenwood has recently spent filling in for Harriet Sherwood (who’s evidently been ‘away from her desk’ for the past couple of weeks) she has cited the observations of two blogs whose editors explicitly call for a one-state solution – Ali Abunimah’s Electronic Intifada in a Feb. 18 report and, most recently, Richard Silverstein’s ‘Tikun Olam’, in a Feb. 27 Guardian report titled ‘Second Laptop Stolen from Israeli nuclear chief‘. 

Silverstein and Greenwood

Silverstein and Greenwood

Greenwood’s story, about a burglary at the home of the head of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, Shaul Horev, two nights ago, included the assertion that, among the items stolen from Horev’s home was a laptop – though other news sources are now reporting that a laptop was not in fact stolen.  While facts regarding the case are still sketchy, Greenwood attempted to frame the story for readers in the following paragraph:

The blogger Richard Silverstein pointed out the irony that Israel had previously claimed to have obtained secrets about Iran’s nuclear programme from a stolen laptop which it used as evidence of Iran’s ambitions for nuclear weapons – claims now widely believed to be untrue

Whilst you can gain a glimpse into Silverstein’s troubled relationship with facts – and his rush to publish faux “scoops” - here, I decided to check the particular assertion, cited by Greenwood, on his blog to see if there was any truth to it. 

Silverstein, who updated his original Feb. 26 post the following day to note that his initial report that a laptop was stolen from Horev appears to be untrue, nonetheless engages in the kind of Schadenfreude-inspired stream of consciousness blogging rampage which is a trademark of the anti-Zionist American Jewish left.

His post includes the following passages:

Israel boasts of its military and intelligence advantages over its enemies. It can, so the story goes, penetrate the most secure defenses of its enemies. Israel, on the other hand, is impregnable. It’s security assets are secure.  What’s important about this story is that Israel is beset by a major case of hubris. It creates a narrative that arrogates to itself permanent domination over its enemies. It foresees no weaknesses, no vulnerabilities. Except when there are.

There is another delicious irony in this scandal. Israel, several years ago persuaded the world that an allegedly stolen Iranian laptop containing top-secret documents about its nuclear weapons program had mysteriously come into its possession. The laptop was a fraud as was its supposed theft.

A brief check of the link he provided demonstrates that his suggestion of Israeli duplicity, regarding a laptop purporting to contain secret documents, is itself a fraud.

The link takes us to a 2008 post at the site anti-war.com, titled ‘Iran Nuke Laptop Data Came from Terror Group.

However, the post, by Gareth Porter, only claims that the “George W. Bush administration has long pushed the “laptop documents” – 1,000 pages of technical documents supposedly from a stolen Iranian laptop – as hard evidence of Iranian intentions to build a nuclear weapon.” Further, Porter notes that “German officials have identified the source of the laptop documents in November 2004 as the Mujahideen e Khalq (MEK)”.

Whilst the post includes idle speculation that Israel may have known about the “laptop documents”, it goes on to add that Israeli intelligence had “chosen not to reveal it to the public”.  Additionally, other more mainstream media outlets, such as the New York Times, which reported on the story, similarly claimed that it was US officials who lobbied the international community that the documents were authentic.  The NYT piece, ‘Relying on Computer, US seeks to prove Iran’s nuclear aims’, barely even mentioned Israel in any context.

Silverstein’s claim that Israel had attempted to “persuade the world” that the laptop documents represented a smoking gun regarding Iranian nuclear intentions appears to be completely untrue.

So, did Greenwood even bother to check the link in Silverstein’s post before publishing her report?

However, if your goal on any given report about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is to impute maximum malice to the Jewish state, bothersome issues such as the veracity of your sources are necessarily of less importance than advancing the desired narrative.  

Antony Loewenstein imagines a Hamas-approved future ‘After Zionism’

On August 14th I attended a book launch for ‘After Zionism‘, at the Educational Bookshop in Jerusalem, which featured three of the book’s contributor’s: Diana Butto, Joseph Dana and Antony Loewenstein.   

(In addition to Butto, Dana and Loewenstein, contributors to the book include Israeli BDS activist Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Jeremiah Haber, ICAHD’s Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Saree Makdisi, John MearsheimerIlan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss of Mondoweiss.)

Here’s a photo I took at the event.

From left to right: Diana Butto, Antony Loewenstein and Joseph Dana

Butto is a Palestinian lawyer, former Berzeit University Professor, and former legal adviser to the PLO negotiating team. At one point during the Q&A of the Jerusalem launch Butto condemned the Palestinian Authority for cooperating with Israeli security, thus denying Palestinians the possibility of engaging in “resistance”.

Dana, an American Jew who (at some point in his life) had a political epiphany and, in his words, “broke free of the Zionist indoctrination program“, has contributed to the site +972 and now evidently lives in Ramallah where he claims he is now free to explore his Jewish identity. During the talk Dana evoked the South African model in characterizing how Israel will eventually implode and, at on point, without a hint of irony, mocked Israelis’ “siege mentality”, while simultaneously calling for the state’s destruction. 

Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney-based Jewish anti-Zionist commentator who often warns of the danger posed by the organized Jewish community in his country.  For instance, he has called for a public inquiry into the alleged power and influence of the Jewish lobby in Australia, and once warned that “old, connected Jewish men” are demanding the Australian government’s “blind dedication to the Jewish state.”

At the event in Jerusalem he squarely blamed diaspora Jews for “enabling” Zionism, an ideology which he believes should (to paraphrase the loosely translated words of one prolific world leader) “vanish from the pages of time” – a sentiment he repeated in a ‘Comment is Free’ essay published on Yom Kippur (Sept. 26).

In his CiF piece Loewenstein argued that “growing numbers of Palestinians under occupation are talking about adopting the one-state solution and pressuring their leaders to follow“.

He also added the following on the evidently unstoppable momentum of his bold proposal:

“The status quo is beginning to crumble, though, with senior PA officials now talking about abandoning the two-state idea and pushing for a one-state equation. Hamas concurs. [emphasis added]

Yes, Hamas, which cites the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ in their founding charter, and openly supports the the murder of Jews – and not merely Israelis – grants their political hechsher.  One can assume that it’s only a matter of time before Jews world-wide will see the wisdom of the Islamist terror group’s enlightened ideology.

Loewenstein may be a marginal figure but his brand of “social justice” is quite ubiquitous among self-styled Jewish anti-Zionist progressives and, like so many Jewish enemies of Israel, is not self-hating but, rather, actually fancies himself a ‘better Jew‘.

He once wrote the following:

“I feel incredibly Jewish and am very proud of my religion’s dissenting traditions. I write extensively about Israel and the Palestinians precisely because I care deeply about the fate of the Jewish people, not because I want to shun my background.”

His love is so great that he believes in a final political solution which would potentially place six million Israeli souls in the hands of a hostile majority.

Arabs – who expelled the overwhelming majority of their Jewish citizens (from lands where they had lived for centuries), and today are compromised by endemic antisemitism – would, we are to believe, live in harmony with their Jewish neighbors, and benevolently rule over Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

While Loewenstein represents a crude caricature of genuine progressive sensibilities, the Guardian, by continuing to legitimize the extremely dangerous, typically malevolent (if incredibly unserious) proposal that Jews be forced to relinquish their hard-fought freedom and political independence, positions itself squarely within the moral plane of antisemitism.

CiF moderators delete comments noting Guardian’s moral hypocrisy over Trevino Tweet

H/T Margie

The following CiF comment, beneath the line of a post by Guardian Readers’ Editor Chris Elliott’s on the Trevino affair, pointed out the hypocrisy of the outrage over Trevino’s one Tweet, in the context of the Guardian’s licensing of racist extremists who advocate terror. (See AKUS’s take on Elliott’s defense, here)

The comment was deleted by ‘Comment is Free’ moderators, so ‘Henrybrav’ posted it again. It was then deleted without a trace, and ‘Henrybrav‘ informed us that he was put on pre-moderation.

Then, ‘Henrybrav’ re-registered as ‘Bravhenry’ and re-posted the same comment, including text informing readers that he (‘Henrybrav’) had been put on pre-moderation, and that he did not expect his comment (as ‘Bravhenry’) to stay up for long. He also suggested that other commenters should ask the same question.

That comment was quickly deleted, and ‘Bravhenry’ was banned completely.

As you may recall, our August 21st post pointed out that off-topic and quite vicious ad hominem attacks against Josh Trevino (accusing him of advocating murder) beneath the line of his inaugural post at CiF, by the likes of Ali Abunimah and Ben White, were not deleted by CiF moderators.

So, it seems that it is okay for CiF commenters to impute the absolute worst motives to pro-Israel commentators, but forbidden to point out the moral hypocrisy of Guardian editors – which – in its most egregious manifestation – includes legitimizing the voices of Islamist terror.

The Trevino episode continues to demonstrate the Guardian’s true illiberal nature – as well as the boundless hubris and hypocrisy exhibited by their editors.