My ‘Times of Israel’ post: In firing Treviño, Guardian’s hypocrisy laid bare

The following was published today at Times of Israel.

The Guardian’s August 15 announcement that Joshua Treviño would be joining its US politics team provoked predictable outrage by some of the most virulent Israel-haters.

One of the first screeds published on the appointment of Treviño was by “one-stater” racist Ali Abunimah, himself a contributor at the Guardian’s “Comment is Free” through June 2009, who wrote a piece for Al Jazeera, as well as several others at his own Electronic Intifada site, to protest the Guardian’s apostasy.

MJ Rosenberg and Richard Silverstein also condemned the appointment.

On August 19, the Guardian published a letter criticizing the appointment of Treviño, by a who’s who of anti-Israel campaigners, chastising the Guardian for employing someone they characterized as holding “extremist views.”

The main complaint of all Treviño’s critics is the now-famous flotilla-related tweet by Treviño in June 2011 – 106 characters which, according to Abunimah and his anti-Zionist friends, represent “incitement to murder:”

The hypocrisy of this group of hardcore Israel-haters and apologists for Islamist extremists — who comically wear the mantle of “anti-racists” — is staggering.

None of these sensitive souls was the least bit bothered by “Comment is Free” publishing, for instance, Azzam Tamimi – who supports suicide bombing against Israelis. Indeed, in 2011, Guardian editors published a letter by a UK professor explicitly endorsing, on ethical grounds, deadly terrorist attacks by Palestinians on Israeli civilians — a decision which was later defended by Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott.

Read the rest of the essay, here.

Islamism, and the Guardian left’s moral complicity with antisemitism

“In the Middle East, [antisemitism] has taken on a particularly dangerous, toxic and potentially genocidal aura of hatred…

Islamist anti-Semitism is thoroughly soaked in many of the most inflammatory themes that initially made possible the atrocities of…the Holocaust.

For example, the pervasive use of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion with its perennial theme of the “Jewish conspiracy for world domination;” or the medieval blood-libel imported to the Muslim world from Christian Europe; or the vile stereotypical image of the Jews as a treacherous, rapacious, and bloodthirsty people engaged in a ceaseless plotting to undermine the world of Islam”.Professor Robert Wistrich

It is time to take seriously the question asked by the prolific Robin Shepherd  in the June 8th edition of The Commentator – following the publication at ‘Comment is Free’ of an essay by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh - Is the Guardian the most bigoted newspaper in Britain?

Shepherd writes:

“Which of these propositions do you think is correct; and can you identify a moral distinction between them?

The Guardian newspaper has just run an article by someone advocating that black people be returned to the status of slaves.

The Guardian newspaper has just run an article suggesting that landlords be allowed to put up notices saying that Irish people and dogs need not apply for housing.

The Guardian newspaper has just run an article by a political leader whose foundational charter advocates the murder of Jews and promotes conspiracy theories that would not have looked out-of-place in Nazi Germany.

No prizes for guessing that the third of those propositions is correct on a factual basis. The morality? It’s a race to the bottom.

But given that anti-Semitism gave rise to the greatest single crime in human history, and that the Holocaust was the culmination of a series of horrific crimes that shame every civilisation that has been a party to it… well, you make up your own mind.

On Friday, the Guardian ran a piece in its opinion section by none other than Ismail Haniyeh, leader of Hamas in Gaza and now, it appears, a perfectly acceptable room-mate for the leading voice in Britain’s Liberal-Left.

Let’s not even get into the question of Hamas‘s attitude to gays and women – they support hanging the former and suppressing the latter. (By the way, it’s the gay pride festival today in Tel Aviv, and of course Gaza – no, sorry that last bit was a joke, a sick one, but not as sick as the Guardian editors who commissioned Hamas to write a piece for them.)” 

Shepherd’s question is an urgent one and it demands seriousness of mind.

Here is our case, based on evidence accumulated over the last several months (but certainly consistent with similar coverage of the Guardian, and its blog, Comment is Free, since the launch of CiF Watch in 2009).

The Guardian has published multiple essays by leaders of Hamas: a group which advocates genocidal antisemitism. 

As I noted in my post in reply to Haniyeh’s CiF essay (The Guardian and Hamas: Willing dupe and immutable victim), June 8th, this is not a Guardian one-off. In fact, since 2011 the broadsheet which aspires to be the “world’s leading liberal voice” has published essays by the Islamist terror group’s head of international relations (Osama Hamdan), its advisor (Azzam Tamimi), and the deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau (Musa Abumarzuq).

As Shepherd noted, the Guardian – by publishing articles by Hamas members – is in essence endorsing, as consistent with liberal thought (insofar as they oppose Zionism), a highly reactionary, religious extremist and violent political movement which advocates the murder of Jews and promotes conspiracy theories about the dangers of world Jewry in a manner indistinguishable from history’s most lethal antisemitic movements.

The Guardian ‘Live Blog from Gaza’ included a Palestinian blogger who advocates violence against Israelis and writes for an extreme right antisemitic Palestinian publication.

Their recent Live Blog from Gaza included a piece by Nader Elkhuzundar (whom the Guardian describes as a ‘Young Gaza blogger’) on Jun 8th.  

As Harry’s Place noted, Elkhuzundar maintains a blog called Sleepless in Gazawhich (in one entry) suggests Palestinians should “kill a Zionist“. 

Elkhuzundar is also a writer for the Palestine Telegraph; a racist paper known for praising Gilad Atzmon’s “courageous” new book, publishing an antisemitic video by former KKK grand wizard David Duke, as well as running an article claiming that World Wars 1 and 2 were both Jewish plots.

The Guardian’s advocacy for antisemitic Islamists: charge of ‘supremacy’ against the UK Jewish community at ‘Comment is Free’.

The Guardian produced a plethora of articles - all eerily similar in their support for an antisemitic Islamist extremist named Raed Salah (the various articles  uniformly described  him as a ‘Palestinian activist’) – despite undeniable evidence of Salah’s support for Hamas, reciting a poem advancing the antisemitic medieval  blood libel and propagating the antisemitic conspiracy that  the attacks on 9/11 were an Israeli plot (i.e., Jews were warned not to go to work at the World Trade Center on that day).

Further, after his hearing in the UK, Salah took a moral victory lap on the pages of ‘Comment is Free’ where he accused Zionists and their Jewish supporters in the UK of subscribing to the doctrine of ‘supremacy’: Britain’s duty to the Palestinian people, April 19th 2012.

Despite the hideous antisemitic pedigree of the charge that Jews are supremacists (which, as we noted in several emails to Guardian readers editor Chris Elliott, represents the ideas of David Duke and Gilad Atzmon), the passage remains on the pages of CiF to this day.

The Guardian refused to acknowledge the antisemitic motives of Islamist murderer of Jews in France.

In an official Guardian editorial - published after the Islamist background and antisemitic motivation of the Toulouse murderer Mohammed Merah (a self-styled al Qaeda jihadist) became known – the word “antisemitism” was not used, nor was the Jewish identity of four victims mentioned. It should be noted that it was widely reported in the press that Merah admitted antisemitic motivations, and said he attacked the Jewish school to avenge Palestinian children, stating “The Jews kill our brothers and sisters in Palestine.”

A pattern of the Guardian burying evidence of Palestinian/Islamist antisemitism. 

All of the recent stories represent a clear pattern. There exists a ubiquity of Islamist antisemitism in the Middle East which scholar Robert Wistrich has compared to Nazi Germany at its worst:

Wrote Wistrich:

“The scale and extremism of the literature and commentary available in Arab or Muslim newspapers, journals, magazines, caricatures, on Islamist websites, on the Middle Eastern radio and TV news, in documentaries, films, and educational materials, is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany at its worst.”

A six month study of the Guardian’s ‘Palestinian territories’ page, published here, for example, demonstrated that there was not one article published on the subject of Palestinian antisemitism. (Though this blog has limits in terms of our capacity for research, my working assumption is that a much longer survey would produce similar findings on the paucity of reports by Guardian reporters on rampant Jew hatred in the region.)

In addition, nowhere on the Guardian’s Iran page, for instance, will you find mention of the fact that a website with close ties to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei, had outlined why it would be religiously acceptable to kill all Jews in Israel – a doctrine, as reported by the Mail Online, which details why the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of all its people would be legally and morally justified and in accordance to Islamic doctrine.

Also not reported by the Guardian: per a recently released WikiLeaks cable:

‘[In] January [2009], during a sermon broadcast on Al Jazeera Arabic, [Muslim Brotherhood Spiritual Leader] Imam Yousef Al-Qaradawi condemned Jews for spreading “corruption in the land,” and for victimizing the Muslim people. He said “We wait for the revenge of Allah to descend upon them, and, Allah willing, it will be by our own hands…Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one.” [emphasis mine]

In conclusion, the Guardian’s faults of commission and omission, include: 

  • Licensing Islamist terror movements which openly seek the murder of Jews and advance antisemitic conspiracy theories.
  • Framing as ‘progressive”, and often as victims, Islamists who support the anti-Zionist cause while ignoring their clear record of Judeophobic rhetoric.
  • Burying even the most undeniable evidence of antisemitic Islamist motivation for violence in Europe.
  • Failing to report on antisemitism in the Middle East, hatred which would could serve to better contextualize, for the Guardian’s readers, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

So why does the Guardian choose not to see Islamist antisemitism and how can it continue to frame adherents to this dangerous movement as victims (and often protagonists) even when engaging in the most cruel, racist and reactionary political behavior against Jews?

Is it due to a political orthodoxy, informed by Western guilt, which sees Israel and the Middle East through a facile post-colonial (and morally pre-assigned) victim-perpetrator paradigm?

To some degree such questions of ideological ‘first causes’ are moot.
 
For whatever reasons, by failing to report (to their enormous liberal readership) the political pathologies of the Middle East – those whose malign obsession with Jews represent the central address of antisemtism in the modern era – the Guardian, and all who legitimize this media institution, are morally complicit with anti-Jewish racism.
 
One simply cannot claim the mantle of passionate opposition to racism whilst turning a blind eye to its Islamist variety.
 

The bottom line is that the Guardian consistently enables, covers for, excuses, and (mostly) ignores, Islamist Judeophobia.  By framing Ismail Haniyeh, Raed Salah and Shiekh Yousef Qaradawi - the intellectual heirs to Streicher and Goebbels - not as would-be  homicidal Jew haters but as the oppressed and downtrodden, the wretched of the earth – “activists”, liberals and reformers – the Guardian is engaged in a dangerous cognitive assault on the Jewish people.

Islamism is the most dangerous antisemitic movement in the world today, and it pains me that it pains so many to read those words. The Third Reich was defeated sixty-seven years ago and it is time for true liberals to fight the good fight and not cower in the face of a supremely politically inconvenient – yet enormously dangerous – enemy.  

In the classic ‘fight or flight’ instinct which history records with merciless accuracy often years too late, the Guardian represents the instinct to succumb to intellectual fads and enforced political orthodoxies over serious moral thought and urgent action. Cowardliness in the face of danger: life’s ultimate moral and intellectual abdication.

Those who understand the stakes, fancy themselves liberals, and consider themselves unabashed friends of the Jews, should not have to think hard when pondering the danger Islamism represents in the context of the age old battle against antisemitism (from antiquity to the modern day).

And, finally:

It should not be mentally taxing to understand intuitively that it is never Islamophobic to be unapologetically philo-Semitic.

The Guardian has failed miserably to comprehend these vital truths – are indeed hostile, and stand athwart, from the actions they demand – and so the institution should rightfully be seen as representing, to the Jewish people and their allies, an enemy in our midst. 

 

The Guardian and Hamas: Willing Dupe and Immutable Victim

I came across a passage from a Shelby Steele essay in 2010 (excerpts of which I posted below) which may accurately explain the Guardians’ continuing sympathy for even the most violent, antisemitic Islamists: Hamas members who represent the antithesis of even the broadest understanding of liberal values.

Since 2011, the broadsheet which aspires to be the world’s leading liberal voice has published the Islamist terror groups’ head of international relations Osama Hamdan, Hamas advisorAzzam Tamimi, Musa Abumarzuq - deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, and today Hamas’ political leader and Gaza’s Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh.

 Steele wrote:

“[T]he merest echo of the shameful Western past is enough to chill support for Israel in the West.

The West …lacks the self-assurance to see the Palestinians accurately. Here again it is safer in the white West to see the Palestinians as they advertise themselves—as an “occupied” people denied sovereignty and simple human dignity by a white Western colonizer. The West is simply too vulnerable to the racist stigma to object to this “neo-colonial” characterization.

Our problem in the West is understandable. [We] don’t want to lose more moral authority than we already have. So…choose not to see certain things that are right in front of us. For example, we ignore that the Palestinians…are driven to militancy and war not by legitimate complaints against Israel or the West but by an internalized sense of inferiority. If the Palestinians got everything they want—a sovereign nation —they would wake the next morning still hounded by a sense of inferiority.

And the quickest cover for inferiority is hatred. The problem is not me; it is them. And in my victimization I enjoy a moral and human grandiosity—no matter how smart and modern my enemy is, I have the innocence that defines victims. I may be poor but my hands are clean. Even my backwardness and poverty only reflect a moral superiority.”

 The truth of Steele’s words is reflected by Ismail Haniyeh’s essay. The leader of a movement whose founding charter continually calls for the eradication of the Jewish state strikes the appropriate ‘liberal cords’ and plays the Guardian crowd like a fiddle.

Haniyeh begins his CiF essay We Palestinians are reclaiming our destiny, June 8th, thus:

“Some people think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration. But as time goes by, what is true is revealed, and what is fake fades away.”

Haniyeh is being a bit coy here. Is the fakery he speaks of the Jews’ erroneous connection to Israel? Perhaps the rhetorical obfuscation and craftiness over the truth (in need of ‘revelation’) is owed to the need for tip-towing around elements in his movement’s less than enlightened founding platform; those elements which command allegiance to the Protocols of the Elder of Zion and insist that there is indeed a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.  

The Islamist leader now clearly aspires to more lofty and elevated prose (though, as you’ll see in this passage, falls for the garden-variety analogies).

“…our destiny dictated that we should become like a fruit overhanging a garden fence: each passer-by would try to pluck us, while we struggled to cling to the vine. But our right to our land…is an inalienable right guaranteed by all norms and laws. The “Palestinian problem” has many dimensions, but at its root is Israel’s occupation.” 

Hint for the truly perplexed and/or those merely taking the Guardian seriously: where the Hamas leader writes that the “Palestinian problem has many dimensions, but at its roots is Israel’s occupation.”, by “occupation” he meant of course to write “existence”.

Now the progressive Haniyeh pivots to the downright risible:

“We as a people want to live in our homeland, the land of our ancestors, in freedom, dignity and democracy, and with a just peace that restores our rights.”

A more exquisite example of what Richard Landes terms the Demopath vs. Dupe dynamic would be difficult to find. This dynamic indeed lies at the heart of the Guardian’s liberal cognitive egocentrism (the tendency to believe that almost everyone wants positive-sum solutions – and prohibits people from imagining malevolence). 

Demopaths, such as Hamas, are – per Landes – people who use democratic language and invoke human rights only when it serves their interests.  Thus, they are able to invoke the word “democracy” without a hint of cognitive dissonance even in the face of their bloody coup in 2007 which purged Gaza of any last trace of democratic opposition and the dearth of human rights in the territory for religious minorities, women or gays.

Dupes, per Landes, are people who take demopaths at face value, accept their position and accuse those who suspect demopathy of demonizing, essentializing, prejudice, or racism.

I’d add one more component to Landes’ definition of a “Dupe”, Guardian style. ‘Comment is Free’s decision to legitimize Hamas, per Shelby Steele, seems necessarily incumbent upon the terrorist organisation not only effectively employing the language of human rights, but using it in a broader narrative claiming victimhood. 

Who are the Palestinians in the eyes of the Guardian, after all, other than a group (via a strictly enforced political orthodoxy) juxtaposed with the Jewish other: a political abstraction void of complexity or human color?

Without this perception of victimhood, the Palestinians would be forced to be held accountable for their cultures’ political and moral faults and egregious social and economic underdevelopment – difficult truths in an honor-shame culture

The silence of the Guardian (and the West more broadly) in face of decades of the Palestinians’ (post Holocaust) endemic antisemitism is shameful, for sure, but seems in many ways to be informed by their own contempt towards those whose sympathy they claim to possess.

When you deny adults moral agency, you are in effect infantilizing them.  You are implicitly acknowledging that they cannot compete morally with other adults; that their culture can not be held to the same ethical standards as others.

Is there a more clear definition of racism? 

Fascinating Twitter exchange between Guardian’s Seumas Milne & Hamas member Azzam Tamimi

Yesterday, we posted about Seumas Milne’s latest essay (Intervention in Syria will escalate, not stop the killing, Feb. 8), which warned against any international efforts to put a stop to the massacre of civilians by Bashar al-Assad.  

Milne argued that the West is really only interested in weakening Syria in order to strengthen the U.S.-Israeli hand in a future confrontation with Syria’s ally, Iran.  In short, for Milne, any Western interference to prevent further bloodshed in Syria (where, just last night, another 100 Syrian civilians were reportedly killed in Homs by government forces) would represent yet another example of U.S.-Israeli-Western imperialistic interference in the region.

Milne posted his Guardian essay on Twitter, here. 

Milne

Shortly after Milne’s Tweet, there was reply by Azzam Tamimi.  Tamimi is an unashamed supporter of Hamas and a vociferous supporter of terrorism who, during an interview, said he would, if given the chance, go to Israel and become a suicide bomber. (He also is a contributor to Comment is Free.)

As you read the exchange, see you think comes out as the more ideologically extreme of the two.

Tamimi

Milne

Tamimi

Milne

Tamimi

Milne

Tamimi

Later, adding to his previous exchange, Tamimi, responds to another Twitterer asking him if he explicitly supports foreign intervention, but broadly addresses Milne’s arguments.

So, Azzam Tamimi, member of a group which seeks the annihilation of Israel and openly condones the murder of innocent Jewish civilians, emphatically disagrees with Milne’s opposition to any foreign interference on behalf of the rebels (whatever the benefits to the Syrian people).

That is, the rigid anti-Western ideology of the Guardian Associate Editor is more extreme, and more zealous, than even a member of Hamas.

I’ve noted several times that Milne used to work for the pro-Stalinist paper, Straight Left, and highlighted his 2001 defense of Soviet Communism, not to smear the “journalist” with gossip about past political transgressions but, rather, because, in reading Milne today, its clear that he’s hardly deviated at all from the Soviet-inspired anti-Imperialist propaganda he so eagerly parroted earlier in his career.

That Milne assumes such a prominent and influential position at the Guardian seems to at least partially explain why the paper continually publishes commentary by religious extremists, apologists for terror, and those ideologically opposed to the Jewish states’s very existence. 

How NOT to combat anti-Israel incitement on UK campuses.

SOAS: International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network event in 2010

Almost a decade ago, on April 6th 2002 – a mere ten days after the Park Hotel terror attack which killed 30 Israelis and injured 140 others, prompting Operation Defensive Shield – a group of 125 British academics had a letter published in the Guardian calling publicly, for the first time, for an academic boycott of Israel.

Throughout the subsequent ten years – and in particular since Operation Cast Lead – the growth of anti-Israel incitement and antisemitism at British universities has become a serious cause of concern for anti-racist organisations, politicians and prominent figureswithin British society, as well as some academics.

The news, therefore, that the Israel Society at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has been recently revived at the initiative of two Israeli students might seem like a glimmer of hope in the dark world of anti-Israeli activism in British academic institutions, especially as SOAS has been particularly egregious on these counts.

 In 2009 SOAS invited the prominent Muslim Brotherhood representative in the UK Kamal Helbawy and Ibrahim el Moussaoui – the former head of the foreign department of Hizballah’s ‘Al Manar’ TV – to teach a course on political Islam. In 2010, Hamas activist Azzam Tamimi was invited to speak to students at SOAS alongside his fellow Guardian contributor Ben White. Tamimi told students:  

“Today Hamas is considered a terrorist organisation because that’s what the Americans and Israelis and cowardly politicians of Europe want, but what is so terrorist about it?

“You shouldn’t be afraid of being labelled extreme, radical or terrorist. If fighting for your home land is terrorism, I take pride in being a terrorist. The Koran tells me if I die for my homeland, I’m a martyr and I long to be a martyr.”

 “Why are the Jews superhuman and better than anyone else that God would give them a homeland? Is God a racist? A god who would prefer people because of their race is not a god I want to associate with. Claiming they are being given the land of God is a racist idea.

“If the world felt so guilty about the Holocaust, the Jews should have been compensated, not brought to my country at the expense of my people.

“Israel does not belong to my homeland and must come to an end. This can happen peacefully if they acknowledge what they did — or we will continue to struggle until Israel is no more.”

 “I want to encourage you not to be intimidated by the pro-Israel lobby. The Zionists tell a pack of lies.”

(Tamimi, as is well known, was born in 1955 and his family moved from Hebron to Kuwait when he was 7 years old – a full 5 years before Jordan lost the Six Day War.)

Unfortunately, any hopes of the rejuvenated SOAS Israel Society swimming against the tide of anti-Israel hatred and propaganda already appear to be overly-optimistic. The society’s opening event on January 30th is to be a panel discussion purporting to “re-examine BDS through a more nuanced lens”.

Nuance, however, is hardly the territory inhabited by anti-Zionist panel member Ilan Pappe; controversial for his jaundiced use of history to advance a political agenda, his blithe dismissals of anti-Semitism and his recent spirited defence of Raed Salah. Neither are we to expect much in the way of nuance from Dr John Chalcraft – an old hand in the business of promoting an academic boycott against Israel.  

Further along the spectrum, we find Dr Lee Jones – an expert on Southeast Asia (where Israel obviously is not) and Hannah Weisfeld of the debatably ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’ British J-Street look-alike, Yachad. Also taking part as a discussant will be SOAS Doctoral candidate Sharri Plonsky (Plonski) whose brief experience of Israel must be seen in light of her three year role as Development Coordinator for HaMoked‘: an organization of which the Israeli State Prosecutor said “the organization’s self-presentation as ‘a human rights organization’ has no basis in reality and is designed to mislead.”

Panel member and co-chair of the SOAS Israel Society is occasional Guardian writer and  +972 magazine co-founder and editor Dimi (Dmitry) Reider who is currently working on a Master’s degree at SOAS and who was perhaps (we are not told) one of the ‘two Israeli students’ instrumental in the society’s rebirth. Reider is known for his support of the so-called ‘one-state solution’ under which Israel as a Jewish and democratic state would cease to exist and his opinions on BDS appear here.

Interestingly, in a recent article in the Tablet, +972 magazine’s editor in chief Noam Sheizaf admitted that only 20% of its readership is Israeli, indicating “the growing unpopularity of its progressive politics” although that fact does not appear to perturb him as he believes “[i]t’s good to internationalize the conversation”.

“Rejected by the Arabs, ignored by the Jews: This is the reality with which the magazine’s 15 or so writers have to contend, writing, as they do, in English for a largely American audience. The magazine’s name is no coincidence: It is a tribute to Israel’s international calling code and an acknowledgement that, increasingly, any serious conversation about Israel’s policies is to be had outside of Israel’s borders.”

It therefore does not seem unreasonable to ponder the possibility that the SOAS Israel Society has in fact been rejuvenated as a British front for the +972 magazine agenda to which Reider subscribes: an agenda which has so little respect for Israeli democracy that it promotes the use of “dramatic pressure from abroad”, of which – of course – BDS is an integral arm.

Certainly no ‘Israel Society’ which invites Ilan Pappe to spread his anti-Zionist views or has an advocate of the dissolution of the Jewish state such as Dimi Reider as its chair is going to help stem the rising tide of anti-Israel incitement and anti-Semitism on UK campuses. But there is an additional irony to this story.

It turns out that Dimi Reider’s studies at SOAS are supported by a Chevening Scholarship donated by the British Embassy in Tel Aviv and the British Council. So whilst some British MPs and academics work tirelessly to combat anti-Israel incitement on campus, their own Foreign and Commonwealth Office has in this case – be it by accident, design or neglect – made their job somewhat harder. 

Racist Alliance: Behind the scenes of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine and Pluto Press

Richard Millett’s recent post on the subject of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine’s (RToP) book launch held at Amnesty International’s London premises (where else?) provides a good opportunity to take a look behind the scenes of such an event and to examine the connections of some of the various players and the manner in which some anti-Israel activists attempt to co-opt legitimacy to their campaign by intellectualising it.

The book in question is entitled ‘Corporate Complicity in Israel’s Occupation’ and is based upon the ‘evidence’ presented at the RToP session in London last year. Its editors are Asa Winstanley and Frank Barat and it is published by Pluto Press.

Asa Winstanley is heavily involved with the International Solidarity Movement and spent time in the PA controlled territories working on its behalf.

“The ISM training was yesterday and today. We had about eight new recruits, so it was a pretty good weekend session. At the end of today, we were planning how to spread ourselves around the regions that ISM covers and it was a really good vibe. We have some good activists here now and I am feeling more confident about the state of ISM. The majority of us here now are British, I think.”

Winstanley’s ISM links appear to have continued after his return to the UK and he has been involved in recruiting volunteers and fundraising for the organisation.  He apparently considers his stint with the ISM to have turned him into a Middle East expert, and writes for a variety of outlets including ‘Electronic Intifada’ and ‘Ceasefire’. Winstanley’s level of ‘expertise’ on Israel can be appreciated in the following passage.

“When I lived in Palestine, on the few times I had to travel to Tel Aviv from the West Bank (via Jerusalem,) walking around the public bus stations I was struck by the sheer number of armed, uniformed soldiers who used the public bus system. Anyone who has used buses in Israel for any length of time will tell you they often have more soldiers than civilians on them.

The phenomenon is so widespread that it can only be a deliberate policy. Does some $3 billion a year in military aid from the US government not provide it with enough funding for its own troop transportation? So Israel not only uses Palestinians as human shields, but it even “hides” its soldiers amongst its own civilian population – exactly what Israeli spokespeople accuses Hamas of. Talk about projection.”

Recently Winstanley has invested much in defending the case of Northern Islamic Movement leader Raed Salah who was arrested earlier this year in the UK. (The Tribunal decision is here.)  Here he is being interviewed on the subject by Dr Hanan Chehata (also press officer for Daoud Abdullah’s MEMO) on the Muslim Brotherhood-linked ‘Al Hiwar’ TV channel which was established in 2006 by Azzam Tamimi.

With lies and distortions in practically every sentence, not to mention the liberal sprinklings of ‘Israel lobby’ conspiracy theory and false accusations of ‘Islamophobia’ against the CST and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, it is easy to appreciate why Winstanley is such a hit in anti-Israel circles. Particularly interesting is his declaration that the new book he co-edited is designed to be a ‘handbook’ for those engaging in BDS.

The book’s other editor is the currently UK domiciled French activist Frank Barat who is also the co-ordinator for the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. Barat is also a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and the UK branch of ICHAD.

In January 2010 Barat spoke as RToP representative at one of the Palestine Memorial Week events which the RToP now organizes annually together with the Palestinian Return Centre, the Palestinian Forum in the UK, the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, the Islamic Forum of Europe, FOSIS, the Muslim Association of Britain and the Islamic Human Rights Commission, among others.

The majority of these organisations have direct links to Hamas – a proscribed terror organization in the UK – and the Muslim Brotherhood.  The events are endorsed by the PSC, Friends of Al Aqsa, the ISM, the Free Palestine Movement (organizer of flotillas) and Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East.

Barat is also busy on the lecture circuit: here he is for example appearing alongside a Guardian reporter at a Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association event, and here, alongside Ghada Karmi and Jody McIntyre, explaining why he is an ‘activist’.

Barat also appears to have links to the ISM and in addition writes for a number of outlets including Al Jazeera, ‘Electronic Intifada’, the Palestine Chronicle and others. Here is his report for Ma’an from the recent RToP session in South Africa, written together with Al Shabaka’s Victor Kattan who was reporting from the event on Twitter.

Barat also runs his own blog where he links to, among other extremists, Gilad Atzmon, whose antisemitic resume includes leveling the explicit charge, on his blog, that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world.

Barat is also the editor of a book by Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe.  

Here is Barat’s distinctly incomplete account of the death of Jawaher Abu Rahma.

“Jawaher probably chanted “la la el jidar” (no, no, to the wall) and walked, side by side with others, towards the Apartheid Wall and the line of soldiers, waiting on top of the hill. She then probably run away when the first tear gas were fired, regrouped, and walked back towards the wall again.

……Or maybe she did not. Not this time.

She inhaled a huge quantity of this most poisonous substance and was taken to a Ramallah hospital. She never recovered. She died. The Holy Land is not the land of miracles.”

Both Winstanley and Barat are obviously wedded more to the ‘narrative’ which promotes their careers as ‘activists’ than to the kind of objectivity and adherence to fact one would expect from the editors of books or serious publications.  One must therefore ask why a publishing house would select them for that role and the answer to that question is probably best found in an understanding of the ideologies adhered to by founder and publisher of Pluto Press, Roger van Zwanberg.

Many of the authors on Pluto’s authors list are household names to those familiar with the anti-Israel scene:  Alastair Crooke of Conflicts Forum, Sarah Irving, Mazin Qumsiyeh, Uri Gordon of ‘Anarchists Against the Wall’ and Ted Honderich - who published at letter at the Guardian morally justifying suicide bombing against Israeli civilians - to name but a few.  

Pluto Press’ radical agenda is, however, not entirely limited to the subject of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In 2005, for example, it published a book (preface can be read here) entitled ‘Conjuring Hitler; How Britain and America made the Third Reich’ which, according to reviews, leans on the works of Holocaust Denier David Irving among others.

The publishing house also has its own Youtube channel, organizes events at universities and other venues and dedicates a page on its site to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Roger van Zwanenberg

In addition to his activities at Pluto Press, Roger van Zwanenberg was also a trustee of the apparently now defunct ‘Gateway Trust’  (also known as the ‘Van Zwanenberg Charitable  Trust’) which included Naomi Klein and former Guardian employee Victoria Brittain among its group of  ‘international advisors’ and which was supported financially by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, UNESCO and Pluto Press.

He has also been a member of the advisory board of ‘Just Media’ (founded by the Palestine Chronicle’s Ramzy Baroud – also a Pluto Press author) along with Ilan Pappe, Noam Chomsky and John Pilger.

Here is Pluto Press described in its founder’s own words:

“Our niche, our rationale and our advantage in the marketing place of the world, is that we tackle the great issues of our day… the grandeur of Imperialism, war and peace locally and globally, the tyranny of oppression, and the domination of one people by another…. the great issues as seen through socialist writers (sic) eyes.”

Van Zwanenberg describes himself as a Marxist born into “a Christian family with deep Jewish roots; all my first cousins were and are deeply Jewish.”  That fact is, apparently, sufficient grounds for pulling the ‘asaJew‘ card when deemed an advantage. Here  van Zwanenberg has signed a 2008 ‘Jewish opposition statement to attack on Iran’ organized by ‘Jews against Zionism’. He is also a member of ‘Jews for Justice for Palestinians’.

In a 2006 article entitled “Jewish people of Israel re-enact the horrors of their German oppressors” (written as a response to the IDF’s attempt to locate and rescue the kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit), van Zwanenberg wrote the following:

Israel and its people are now behaving with impunity, just like the State of Germany did in prosecuting the final solution. We are schooled in the belief that we must say “never again!” to such barbarity. But Israel knows that all the surrounding states are too weak to intervene. As we watch with horror the invasion of Gaza, we all feel our helplessness. All the fine words, how the horrors of the Holocaust must always be remembered, are quickly forgotten by the world’s governments as the Jewish people of Israel re-enact the horrors of their German oppressors—the horrors that their mothers and fathers underwent 60 or more years ago.

Just as Nazi Germany could not survive for long, so too, a brutal Israel, brutalizing her own and all the surrounding people, cannot survive for long. As things stand, I cannot see how that demise will come about. But the acts of evil we are now witnessing cannot last without having deep and lasting effects on all of us.” [emphasis mine]

In 2008 van Zwanenberg lent his name to a campaign for the reinstatement of a German academic, Ludwig Watzal, removed from his tenure at an official periodical after making a series of anti-Semitic remarks. Coincidentally or not, Watzal had produced a glowing review of one of Pluto Press’ publications the previous year.

Van Zwanenberg appears to consider himself proficient in understanding what he terms “so-called Terrorism”, supports BDS and is an ardent promoter of ‘anti-Imperialism’:

“Western and Eastern interests are everywhere, shipping into and out of the Suez Canal; the struggle to own or control mineral resources; but above all, the fear of “Political Islam”. The Western powers fear of political Islam is a dominant force driving the US to war throughout the region. Some will argue, as I would, that this is thoroughly misunderstood. But the hatred of all things Islamic is a mantra which is everywhere in Western media. The ruling and political classes use this fear to drive their own “War against Terrorism”.”

In 2007, following the controversy over an American publisher’s distribution of the Pluto Press book “Overcoming Zionism”, van Zwanenberg said that:

“Many presses in the United States are frightened of the pressures that the lobby can place on them,” van Zwanenberg said. “We get authors from the United States, precisely because they can’t obtain adequate representation elsewhere, and we have a good reputation for scholarly work on the subject of Israel and Palestine, and we probably have the best collections of any university press in that area.”

“Van Zwanenberg added that the attempts by “the Israel lobby” to cut off Pluto’s American distribution channel were an attack on free expression. “The lobby is very powerful and very well-financed, and small presses like us could be destroyed by these people,” van Zwanenberg said. “They are a threat to our existence and to free speech.” “

Of course in reality no-one is threatening van Zwanenberg’s free speech or the existence of his business, but free speech is a two-way street.

Members of the public have the right (and perhaps the obligation) to be aware of the extremist ideologies which motivate the publication of the type of quasi-academic work produced by publishers such as Pluto Press, particularly when it comes as a result of collaboration with a ‘tribunal’ which misleadingly affords itself quasi-legal status  and faux ‘human rights’ activists such as Winstanley and Barat with links to terror-enabling organisations.

The hate and extremism at the heart of efforts to manipulate another Scottish council to boycott Israel

According to the website of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, this coming Monday, June 13th, Dundee City Council will vote on the motion proposed by Councillor Fraser Macpherson to condemn Israel as an apartheid state. The wording of the SPSC announcement is rather interesting:

“The motion, which has been submitted by Councillor Fraser Macpherson on behalf of the SPSC Dundee branch, falls short of our original aims. The planned motion had called for a total boycott of Israeli goods.”

In other words, it seems that Councillor Macpherson is acting at the behest of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign which will probably surprise very few, but does mean that it is essential for the rest of Dundee’s councillors to be aware of who the SPSC are and what they represent before – like Fraser Macpherson – they vote to volunteer their services as shills for that organisation.

The chairperson of the SPSC is university lecturer Mick Napier.

If Napier’s demand to “punish the murderers” and talk of the need to “get even” and “punish Israel” sounds more like something from a vigilante rabble- rouser of days (thankfully) gone by than a so-called ‘peace activist’, that should not surprise any of the Dundee councillors who are even slightly familiar with him. Napier’s expression of support for Hizbollah and contempt for British terrorism laws, together with his stated support for violent activism against Israeli targets, clearly show him to be a man who considers himself far superior to – and unfettered by – the laws by which ordinary citizens abide. 

He is also obviously a man whose descent into the far-Left red-green alliance has made him something of a stranger to the truth in many instances and one who is no longer able to limit himself to objective criticism rather than employing antisemitic tropes.  Here he is dabbling with the idea of the all-pervasive ‘Jewish lobby’ and his statement in this interview that “We treat accusations of antisemitism with complete contempt” shows him to be exactly the kind of liability with which Dundee’s councillors should not be linked.  

Napier was, as many will remember, responsible for several controversies surrounding Holocaust Memorial Day. In 2009 the SPSC marked the day by inviting Hamas supporter (and condoner of suicide bombings) Azzam Tamimi to speak. In 2006 it staged the controversial play ‘Perdition’ which implies Zionist Jews’ complicity in the Holocaust and also hosted the known antisemite Gilad Atzmon. In 2010 the British government had to intervene in order to remove mentions of the SPSC’s offensive events from the official Holocaust Memorial Day website.

All this is hardly surprising coming from a man who claims to have attended a memorial in Gaza for the terrorist organisation PFLP’s former leader George Habash , and who is Facebook friends with the disgraced conspiracy theorists at Neocon Europe.  Napier was arrested for disrupting an Israeli string quartet trying to play music in Scotland and wrote extremely offensive commentary on the murder of eight Israeli students at a Jerusalem religious college in 2008 in which he excused the murderer outright in a diatribe of lies and racist misrepresentations.

Alaa Abu Dheim killed eight students who were being trained to oppress and dispossess him, his family, his entire people.”

 One presumes that the majority of Dundee residents would probably be extremely perturbed at the thought of their elected councillors doing the bidding of such a man.

The SPSC’s spokesman John Wight is not much better. Not averse to making anti-Semitic comments on internet forums, he also wrote in the communist newspaper ‘The Morning Star’ that:

“…the Palestinians hold a unique place as the Holocaust’s forgotten victims, at least in the eyes of those charged with maintaining the objective of colonising the Middle East in the interests of Western neoliberalism.” 

“…in short, the long-suffering Palestinians have been sacrificed upon the altar of the West’s continued blind support of that apartheid state otherwise known as the state of Israel.”

 Both Mick Napier and John Wight were among a six-man SPSC delegation which attended the 2008 Cairo Conference  which was dedicated to the International Campaign against US and Zionist Occupation . For those unfamiliar with this annual event, it is basically a networking shindig for extreme Leftists and members of the Islamist ‘resistance’ block.

Admittedly, one has to be pretty far gone to call oneself an ‘anti-war/peace/human rights campaigner’ and yet travel thousands of miles to rub shoulders with members of the Islamist terror groups Hamas and Hizbollah, but that’s exactly what Napier and Wight did.

Here is John Wight describing one of his highlights of that event: a brief meeting with Hizbollah representative Fayad Ali.

“He was on his way out of the hall, surrounded as ever by a coterie of Stop the War/SWP minders, who throughout the three days of the conference seemed intent on keeping him ring fenced away from other international delegates. As he passed me and other SPSC comrades, Ali shook my hand, leaned forward and putting his other hand up to his ear, said: “I heard you.” Then he walked on.”

Here is his report of the whole conference:  should we be surprised that Wight appears to have no qualms – to say the least – about mixing with the antisemitic Muslim Brotherhood?

“The Muslim Brotherhood had a significant presence as well and we enjoyed informal conversations with a number of them.

Their analysis of the Middle East was very sharp and they were extremely friendly and eager to exchange views.

Later, I was part of an international delegation invited to meet the Brotherhood’s leadership at their headquarters on the other side of the city, which proved an interesting experience.”

The SPSC also holds conferences of its own. The program for its 2011 event asserted that:

Israel 
•has ethnically cleansed most of historic Palestine, creating a huge refugee population 
•attacked its neighbours in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1978, 1982, 2006, 2008 
•let US diplomats know it is prepared to use nuclear weapons on its neighbours 
•bombed neighbouring Syria in September 2007 
•sent murder squads abroad, assassinated Iranian scientists, murdered human rights activists on the high seas 
•illegally holds a part of Syria and a part of Lebanon

It is all too clear that the SPSC is an extremist organization which not only dabbles in antisemitism but is not above falsifying facts and distorting history. Its leaders are extremists who, rather than promote peaceful co-existence of peoples from all nations and ethnicities in the Middle East, idolize violent terrorists with racist agendas.  Its boycott campaign against Israel is just one of many ways in which it whips up vigilante-style fervor which is totally unconstructive and does nothing to help those residents of the Middle East seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Dundee City Councilors who truly support peace in the Middle East will not allow themselves to become pawns in the SPSC’s ugly and divisive game.

Councilors can be contacted via the City website here.

Azzam Tamimi’s big ‘Arab Spring’ lie.

I don’t know about you, but I’m becoming a little weary of reading about the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ on CiF.

Theoretically, there should be a limit to the extent to which such an empty cliché can accumulate volume before it bursts, but that doesn’t look like happening anytime soon at Guardian HQ.

On May 2nd the well-known Hamas supporter and condoner of suicide bombing Azzam Tamimi proffered his air-brushed version of the myth of his commitment to budding democracy in the Middle East.

One has to wade past the sycophantic reference to the leader of a murderous terror organisation (“my old friend Khalid Mish’al”), the half-truths and distortions, and get right down to paragraph nine of Tamimi’s article to arrive at the nitty-gritty:

“Democracies representing the will of the Arab peoples can only be anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian.”

Aha! So that’s what Tamimi and his Guardian enablers mean when they say ‘democracy’; everybody in the Middle East has to think like them, otherwise it won’t be democratic. And of course – as clearly implied in Tamimi’s oeuvre – only nasty dictators or PA sell-outs could ever possibly make peace with their neighbours.

Like many a Hamas apologist living in the West, Tamimi has studied the system well and is more than aware of the potent effects of the D-word on the gullible Left.  Dressing up jihad in pseudo-democratic garb doesn’t make terror any less wrong, but how often does one come across some bright spark on CiF insisting that ‘Hamas was democratically elected’ as though that makes firing Iranian rockets at a kindergarten morally acceptable?

The trouble is that people with ideologies such as those subscribed to by Tamimi and his ‘old friends’ in Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood cannot, by the very nature of their beliefs, be truly committed to democracy, which entails a lot more than just voting. They cannot see women, gay people or non-Muslim religious minorities within their own territory as being equal to them and deserving of the same rights, let alone the citizens of the neighbouring country. Neither are they remotely capable of separating Mosque from state. One only has to look at the severe deterioration of human rights in the Gaza Strip since the Hamas takeover there four years ago to understand what kind of ‘democracy’ Tamimi has in mind.

Contrary to Azzam Tamimi, I’m not convinced that an Arab democracy – if we ever get to see it – has to be by definition anti-Israeli. The point is though that at the moment such a thing is still a long way from becoming reality. So far this ‘Arab Spring’ has shown only new shoots of the same old repressions, repackaged in different hues.

Opinion polls conducted in advance of the upcoming July elections in Tunisia show Rachid Ghannouchi’s Ennhadha party leading the race on a platform of what is termed ‘Islamist democracy’ under which it proposes to combine Sharia law with a system it terms ‘democratic’. In the meantime, Tunisians continue to leave the country in their thousands.

In Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood is predicted to win some 30% of the seats in the September 2011 election and of course what will transpire in the rest of the Arab world is still anyone’s guess. In Libya and Syria the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ could yet turn into a winter of discontent, but there too Islamist forces are undoubtedly playing their part in the uprisings, as can be seen in the very under-reported Libyan opposition street propaganda which has clear antisemitic and racist motifs and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’s encouragement for continued protests.  

Maybe eventually we will see a true primavera of democracies in the Middle East and North Africa, but that will only happen when the religious fundamentalists are kicked into touch and people there begin to vote according to political opinion rather than tribal affiliation. Tamimi and others of his ilk are actually delaying that necessary process rather than advancing the cause of democracy and shamefully the Guardian – with its all-pervading racism of low expectations – is collaborating with that.  

In Tamimi’s warped mind, hope for the Palestinians equates only with annihilation of Israel. He is of the same ‘old school’ as Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh who lauded Osama bin Ladan as a ‘Arab holy warrior’ and the Northern Islamic Movement’s Raed Salah who, like Tamimi, also thinks that “the government changes in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries came from the will of the people must be channeled against Israel”.

Were the Guardian a true liberal voice for progressive democracy, it would not be providing a platform for those such as Tamimi who aim to sell out the people of the Arab world by exploiting the current upheaval to impose fundamentalist theocracies rather than nurturing the beginnings of true democracy in the region.   

CiF contributors Ben White & Azzam Tamimi share stage at SOAS: Tamimi defends suicide bombing, calls for annihilation of Israel

H/T Harry’s Place

Ben White shared the stage, at a (University of London) School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) event, with Islamist Palestinian Academic and fellow CiF contributor Azzam Tamimi on April 5.

According to The JC, Tamimi said the following at the event:

“You shouldn’t be afraid of being labelled extreme, radical or terrorist. If fighting for your home land is terrorism, I take pride in being a terrorist. The Koran tells me if I die for my homeland, I’m a martyr and I long to be a martyr.”

“Israel does not belong to my homeland and must come to an end. This can happen peacefully if they acknowledge what they did — or we will continue to struggle until Israel is no more.”

Ben White, author of the book, “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginners Guide”, who once wrote that he “understands” why people would be anti-Semitic given Israel’s behavior, followed Tamimi’s talk and implored students to boycott Israel.

Yes, this is what the movement to boycott Israel truly represents; Not peace and reconciliation between Israel and Palestinians, but an insidious and seemingly insatiable desire to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state – and even, not infrequently, the refusal to accept the right of Jews to live in their national homeland within any borders.

Those who wed their political orientation with this movement should at the very least drop the pretense that they’re expressing a liberal or progressive sensibility.

The BDS movement, at its core, represents a hateful and reactionary brand of politics, and participants in this odious venture need to be named and shamed accordingly.


Here is Azzam Tamimi, often characterized by the UK media as a moderate Muslim, at another event supporting terrorism and calling for the eradication of Israel.

The Guardian’s romance with Hamas is getting hot and heavy

Daud Abdullah, Director of the openly pro-Hamas group, Middle East Monitor (MEMO), was provided a platform by the Guardian to take aim at Israel’s legitimacy in “Europe’s Israel romance is on the wane” (CiF, March 15).

While the story itself – a poll commissioned by MEMO purporting to show a decline in European support for Israel, aimed at further legitimizing hatred toward the Jewish state – is tired and predictable to anyone familiar with commentary about Israel at the Guardian, it is essential for those unfamiliar with MEMO to understand just how radical they are.

Daud Abdullah is a Hamas sympathizer who, in 2009, signed the so-called the Istanbul Declaration which stated that the “Islamic Nation” had a duty to attack all foreign warships – including British ones – that tried to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza, referred to Israel as the “Zionist entity”, and justified attacks on Jewish communities all around the world. Abdullah also gave a speech at Regent’s Park Mosque in 2002 which contained an anti-Semitic narrative that was characterized as “pure incitement to racial and religious hatred”.

MEMO also published Dr. Azzam Tamimi, a Hamas spokesperson in Britain and yet another advocate of suicide bombings, and has posted explicitly anti-Semitic commentary on their website, including this by Kathleen Christison, warning darkly of the threat of world Jewish domination:

“Zionist lobbyists continued to work as assiduously, with results as “miraculous,” throughout the twentieth century, gaining influence over civil society and ultimately over policymakers and, most importantly, shaping the public discourse that determines all thinking about Israel and its neighbors… Jewish dispersion across the Western world—and Jewish influence in the economies, the film industries, the media, and academia in key Western countries—are what enabled the Zionist movement to survive and thrive in the dark years of the early twentieth century; and Zionist lobbying and molding [sic] of public discourse are what has maintained Israel’s favored place in the hearts and minds of Americans and the policy councils of America’s politicians.”

Just last week, MEMO published a piece by Khalid Amayreh which referred to Zionism as a cancer:

“Zionism is much more than criminal and nefarious. It is also genocidal, racist, rapacious, covetous, and of course utterly mendacious. Zionism is expansionistic, very much like a malignant cancer. This is why, no people on earth can remain safe if living with or next to Zionism. In other words, if you don’t eradicate Zionism, Zionism will eradicate you.”

Given the Guardian’s previous decision to grant license to someone openly affiliated with Hamas, this particular post is not an exception but, rather, represents quite accurately the orientation of the Guardian Left, an ideology which – under the guise of anti-imperialism – normalizes and legitimizes the most radical, violent, anti-Semitic (and political reactionary) groups.

This romance with Islamic extremism – like the flirtations in a previous era with Soviet communism – represents the nadir of far left political pathology: “Progressives” who are somehow seduced by political movements which embody the very antithesis of the liberal values they claim to uphold: an intellectual malady on display daily at the Guardian.

Guardian supplies ovine apparel

“It takes in reality only one to make a quarrel. It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favour of vegetarianism, while the wolf remains of a different opinion.”

William Ralph Inge; Outspoken Essays: First Series (1919) ‘Patriotism’

There is so much that is just so fundamentally wrong about Azzam Tamimi’s CiF article of May 4th that by the time I had finished reading it for the third time, my built-in bullshit detector was in overdrive. In a way, this piece represents the essence of the Through the Looking Glass-style malaise which appears to have colonised worryingly large sections of contemporary British society.

Here the Guardian provides the sheep’s clothing which enables the despicable Tamimi not only to present himself as though he were some kind of moderate voice of reason, but also to play the victim card. Tamimi commences by recounting his version of a 2002 event recorded by the BBC, but no link to the programme or transcript of it is provided; a fact which does not appear to worry Matt Seaton in the slightest. In other words, the Guardian apparently has no problem publishing something it cannot verify, at least when it comes from this particular, but hardly uncontroversial, source – a fact which in itself speaks volumes.


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