If you want to see a good example of the Guardian Left’s malign anti-Zionist obsession, and the capacity of some advocates for peace and progress to become nearly deranged when contemplating the Jewish state, look no further than this letter published by the Guardian on Dec. 11th, praising Bradley Manning’s defense of transgender rights.
As the blog Israellycool and others have recently reported, the trustees of Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland(HETI) have forbidden the master of ceremonies at the annual Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony on January 25th, 2015, from mentioning the word “Israel” or the phrase “the Jewish State”.
Here’s the letter sent to Yanky Fachler, the former master of ceremonies, from HETI chair Peter Cassells explaining that no mention of the Jewish state will be permitted by the MC at the event at Dublin’s Mansion House.
Amidst recent media reports that Alan Rusbridger will be stepping down after twenty years as editor-in-chief of the Guardian, many have begun wondering whether a change in editors will result in less biased coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
Such questions arise in the context of the disproportionate role played by the Guardian in the delegitimization of Israel and obsessive coverage of the country, as well as its propensity to legitimize anti-Israel extremists and ignore, whitewash and even legitimize antisemitism.
Read the rest of this post, at Times of Israel, here.
In 2012, CAMERA refuted an egregiously propagandistic 60 Minutes report by Bob Simon, which included the assertion that Israel’s security barrier “completely surrounds Bethlehem, turning the ‘little town’ where Christ was born into what its residents call ‘an open air prison.’” As CAMERA demonstrated (citing maps by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations, B’tselem, and the PLO), the barrier is located to the north and west of the city, and does not encircle the town.
While such details about the fence – constructed to protect Israel’s citizens from waves of deadly suicide bombings in the early 2000s – may seem like a somewhat minor point, such agitprop evoking a Christian holy city encircled and besieged by the Jewish State is something of a Christmas tradition within much of the media.
Though last year during Christmas it was Times of London which lamented the “settlement’s which choke the peace in tiny Bethlehem”, in years prior it was the Guardian which intoned that ‘If Jesus were to come this year, Bethlehem would be closed’.
This year, the Guardian has re-introduced readers to the ‘imprisoned’ town, publishing two articles (and a video story) which center around a documentary by Palestinian director Leila Sansour titled Open Bethlehem.
During the summer war in Gaza, we posted about Nafeez Ahmed, who published a truly bizarre, conspiratorial-minded post (at the Guardian’s Environmental blog!) claiming that Israel’s war was largely motivated by the desire to steal Palestinian natural gas.
As we noted at the time, Ahmed’s theory on the “root cause” of the current conflict – which we fisked here - was not at all surprising given his history of such fanciful “truth” telling regarding the evidently “secret”, untold histories of the 9/11 attacks and the 7/7 London bombings.
A letter published in the Guardian on Dec. 3, by Maher Othman of London, opened with the following passages:
Though I agree with Giles Fraser’s analysis (Loose canon, 29 November) that “Netanyahu’s nationality bill is at odds with [the] Hebrew Bible,” and contradicts Israel’s declaration of independence, which affirms “complete social and political equality for all its citizens, regardless of religion, race or gender”, his quotation from the Book of Numbers – “The community is to have the same rules for you and for the foreigner residing among you” – raises the question of who is and who is not a foreigner in historic Palestine.
The Palestinians consider themselves the indigenous people of the land and descendants of the Canaanites, while the population of Israel, which was established in part of Palestine in 1948, is made up of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Arab countries, Europe, the US and other countries.
Up until now, the most egregious distortion, within the UK media’s coverage of the proposed ‘Jewish nation-state’ legislation, was represented by Times of London headlines suggesting that the law, if passed, would render Arab-Israelis “second-class citizens”.
Through communication with Times of London editors, they agreed to add quotes around the term “second-class citizens” to reflect the fact that that charge merely represents the hyperbole of a few political figures in expressing their opposition to the law. (See this good backgrounder on the proposed bill, which would not erode the individual rights of non-Jews in Israel, yet alone result in ‘transfer’.)
However, the British newspaper The Telegraph has published an even more inflammatory and misleading article on the possible ramifications of the proposed law (Meet the Arab-Israelis living in fear of expulsion, Dec. 1). The article, written by their Middle East correspondent Robert Tait, amplifies the ludicrous charge by some Arab extremists that the legislation would result in the forced expulsion of Arab-Israelis.
In carrying out our mission, CiF Watch often attempts to contextualize the Guardian’s coverage of Israel by explaining not only what they get wrong, but also why they get it wrong. So, in August we posted excerpts from a superb article by former AP Jerusalem correspondent Matti Friedman, in Tablet Magazine, which masterfully dissected the widespread institutional bias which distorts coverage of Israel and the Middle East.
Friedman’s latest essay (What the media gets wrong about Israel), published on Nov. 30th in The Atlantic, is another must-read for those who’ve thought seriously about the skewed coverage of Israel at the Guardian – and within much of the UK media.
Here are a few of the more interesting passages from Friedman’s essay.
“Of all people”, opined Giles Fraser in his Nov. 28th Guardian column about the proposed Jewish nation-state law, “Jews know what it is to live in somebody else’s country, without rights, subject to their laws, subject to their prejudices”, before citing the following verse from the Hebrew Bible (Numbers 15:15):
“The community is to have the same rules for you and for the foreigner residing among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the foreigner shall be the same before the Lord. The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the foreigner residing among you.”
The point of citing scripture for Fraser is quite simple:
“the Bible insists that both Jews and non-Jews are to be subject to the same laws, the latter having the same legal protections as the former.”
If the Guardian or New York Times published a long essay about some tiny, obscure indigenous tribe in Africa with a language, culture, and religious tradition unique in the region, whose history extends several thousand years and was threatened with extinction, readers would almost certainly lament their plight. Further, it certainly seems unlikely that many readers would challenge the tribe’s vigilance in protecting its ancient traditions, or its fierce desire to prevent the erosion of their unique religious-ethnic identity.
Though this blog has been dealing of late with the specific false charge legitimized by Times of London that the new ‘Jewish nation-state bill’ proposed by Israel’s government will render non-Jews “second class citizens”, the broader debate about Israel’s right to identify with a specific religious tradition is the subtext underlying many online debates about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
Whilst it seems beyond debate that Arab-Israelis – whether or not the current bill passes the Knesset – will continue to enjoy the kind of democratic political rights that their ethnic brethren in the region could only dream of, the debate over Israel’s Jewish ethos is often clouded by the implicit suggestion that the rest of the world has moved away from such particularistic notions of statehood.
This is not true.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi was Minister of State for Faith and Communities, until her resignation after disagreeing with David Cameron’s position on the war in Gaza, a policy she described as “morally indefensible” in its support for Israel.
Here’s Warsi’s Tweet this morning in response to today’s terror attack, in which Palestinian terrorists massacred Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Jerusalem.
Gilbert was also one of the authors of a letter published in the medical journal Lancet during the Gaza war which accused Israel of intentionally “massacring” Palestinian women and children. The journal’s editor later apologized for the letter, explaining that it “did not convey the level of complexity that is the reality in Israel.”
More recently, Gilbert was in the news after he was banned ‘for life’ from entering Israel.