Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent re-tweets the hate site, Mondoweiss

We got a sneak peek into the editorial standards of the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont today in two tweets.

First, at 8:06 this morning he expressed his “shock” that the Jerusalem Post published an op-ed by the former Executive Editor of the paper, Amotz Asa-El:

You can read the essay (A pan Arab scourge) yourself, but suffice to say that anyone who has ever seen the well-documented reports at Palestinian Media Watch wouldn’t at all be surprised by Asa-El’s sober warning – in the context of the murder of three Israeli teens – about the injurious impact of Palestinian incitement and the desperate need for their leaders “to launch a long-term educational effort to humanize the Israelis”.

Then, at 3:01pm, he tweeted the following:

retweet

Before we address the content of the site in question, let’s briefly note that the claim in the post per the headline (‘Israeli soldiers destroy kidnapping suspects’ family homes in retribution attack) is not true. News reports clearly indicate that the homes of the two suspects (Marwan Kawasme and Omar Abu Aysha) in the murder of three Israelis were damaged but clearly not “destroyed”.

However, more important than the content of this particular story which Beaumont chose to Tweet to his 10,000 followers is the fact that Mondoweiss is an extremist site which trades in antisemitic calumnies.  Though you can read a post (Mondoweiss: Hate as “Progressive” Jewish Politicsthis writer published at Elder of Ziyon to get a sense of the hateful material, here are a few examples:

Mondoweiss has published cartoons by Carlos Latuff (including the one below).  

Remarkably, even Ian Black, the Guardian’s own Middle East editor, noted that Latuff is among those cartoonists “drawing, without inhibition, on judeophobic stereotypes”.

Further, Mondoweiss’s editor Philip Weiss has complained that the “suffering of Palestinians that has been perpetrated politically in large part by empowered American Jews who are all over the media and political establishment”.  

He also has called for a quota on Jews who work in the media.

Additionally, Weiss has claimed that Barack Obama’s desire to oppose Israel “colonization” has been “nullified politically because of the Jewish presence in the power structure.”  

He went on (in the same post) to warn darkly of the Jewish influence in Washington:

“[One fifth] of [the U.S. Senate] are Jews, even though Jews are just 2 percent of the population. Over half of the money given to the Democratic Party comes from Jews. Obama’s top two political advisers are Jewish, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod. The news lately has been dominated by Obama’s aides Kenneth Feinberg and Larry Summers. And what does it mean that the Treasury Secretary gets off the phone with Obama to confer immediately with Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman and Jamie Dimon of Morgan (Dimon’s Jewish; Blankfein would seem to be)? As I have frequently said, the biggest money game in town on the Republican side is Sheldon Adelson, a Zionist Jew.”

Though there is no reason to believe that Beaumont holds such views, it’s a sad commentary that he nonetheless sees fit to legitimize Mondoweiss’s brand of ‘progressive’ antisemitism.

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:

tweet

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

tweet

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)

Sir Iain Chalmers evokes Nazi analogy at Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Cross posted by London-based blogger Richard Millett

Since 2009 The Lancet medical journal has been working with Medical Aid For Palestinians and other researchers as part of the Lancet-Palestinian Health Alliance (LPHA).

Sir Iain Chalmers discussing "Zionist control in so many different domains".

Sir Iain Chalmers discussing “Zionist control in so many different domains”.

LPHA researchers mainly consist of Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza and the Palestinian diaspora, which includes Palestinians living in the twelve Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. They are also non-Palestinian medical practitioners like Dr Richard Horton, The Lancet’s editor, and Professor Mads Gilbert. This research has been amalgamated into publications for the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The 2013 publication was launched last night by The Lancet and MAP at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. The 2013 publication focuses on “the direct and indirect health effects of the Israeli occupation and conflict”.

Dr Richard Horton, The Lancet’s editor, outlined the benefits of LPHA saying “science can bring an often internationally excluded people into the mainstream of global political dialogue”, “Palestinian science can anatomise the pathology of occupation”, “science can confer a dignity and a humanity for a people who are otherwise living in a situation of invisibility” and:

“By linking this kind of health research with human rights one can identify important and fresh perspectives. One example is the report about the denial of passage to Palestinian women during labour across the territory which fully fulfills the criteria of a crime against humanity.”

Professor Rita Giacaman discussed “words as ideology”. She explained:

“Israel uses ‘collateral damage’ for killing innocent bystanders including children. It screams ‘self-defence’ hiding the root cause which is Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and injustice to Palestinians. While Palestinians living in Israel call themselves ‘Palestinians living inside the Green Line’, Israel insists on calling them ‘Arab’ trying to deny them their identity”.

Then to the lectern came the main instigator of LPHA, Sir Iain Chalmers. Chalmers has been an almost permanent fixture in Gaza since 1970. He met his wife there and they even went to Gaza to celebrate their recent 70th birthdays.

Chalmers started by reading out a statement on the front cover of a 2009 edition of The Lancet. It mentioned “Palestinian”. He said:

“What really pleases me is that the word ‘Palestinian’ is in there. And it’s one way in which the Zionists have failed. They have not stopped the use of the word ‘Palestine’ or ‘Palestinian’. They have control in so many different domains. This is one that they cannot suppress.”

One of Chalmers’ slides then showed this cartoon by Carlos Latuff, who has drawn many cartoons with anti-Semitic themes which include comparing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to The Holocaust:

Save_Gaza_now_by_Latuff2

During the Q&A I criticised Chalmers for his statement about “Zionist control” before asking whether LPHA reports mentioned the role of Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA in prolonging poor health conditions for the Palestinians. My remarks only led to this eye-opening exchange with Chalmers:

Chalmers: “Let me ask you a question. I was asked to write a commentary for The Lancet after the Cast Lead attack. I ended it by saying a self-defined Jewish state now controls the lives of almost as many non-Jews as it does of Jews. What will that Jewish state do with the six million, it is an interesting figure, the six million non-Jews whose lives it controls? You answer that question.”

Me: “Why is six million an interesting figure?”

Chalmers: “Well, actually it is the same number of Jews that were killed by the Nazis.”

Me: “Whats your point?”

Chalmers: Six million is a lot of people. How will the Jewish state deal with the non-Jews whose lives it controls?

I think we know the nasty tactic behind Chalmers’ reference to “six million”. And his nasty rhetoric extends as far as endorsing “the end of a Jewish state”. Here he is in his own words during an interview in 2010:

iainchalmers2

Dr Richard Horton concluded by relating to us his visit to the Israeli Medical Association:

“When we started this I went to visit the Israeli Medical Association to talk to them about what we were doing and to see if I could build a bridge between the LPHA and the official voice of Israeli physicians and I sat down with the with the director or chairman, whatever the title is I cannot recall now, and the person who chaired their ethics (division). And in that discussion one of them called Palestinians ‘animals’. And I realised that there was no way that I was going to find an alliance to try to bring them in because there was a fundamental discontinuity of their understanding of what we were trying to do.”

I wonder if others in that meeting recall those words being used.

Afterwards I pressed Dr Horton into answering my question about whether LPHA reports mention the effect Hamas has on the health of Palestinians. His reply was along the lines of “That is a good question but this is an evolving work in progress”.

So, no mention of the effect of Hamas’ oppression of women, gays and dissidents on the mental health and physical well-being of Gazans in five years of LPHA publications?

But, then, would you criticise Hamas if you lived in, or regularly visited, Gaza?

I think Sir Iain Chalmers’ “that would be very good” response when asked about “the end of a Jewish state” during that 2010 interview possibly answers everything one needs to truly know about the politics of LPHA.

Professor Rita Giacaman, Lancet editor Dr Richard Horton, MAP's  Head of Advocacy Aimee Shalan at Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Professor Rita Giacaman, Lancet editor Dr Richard Horton, MAP’s Head of Advocacy Aimee Shalan at Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Glenn Greenwald’s predictable dishonesty over pro-terror Tweets of Mona Seif

In April it was announced that an Egyptian woman named Mona Seif was a finalist for the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders – a prize established in 1993 to honour  those “who demonstrate exceptional courage in defending and promoting human rights”.  A jury, composed of officials from several NGOs, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, selects the winner.

On May 1 UN Watch issued the following statement:

UN Watch today called on the juryof the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, comprised of Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and eight other NGOs, and chaired by Hans Thoolen, to cancel its nomination of Mona Seif, an Egyptian activist who openly advocates terrorism and war crimes, as a top contender for the 2013 prize.

Further, the United Nations watchdog organization wasn’t alone in their condemnation of Seif, as the nomination was also fiercely criticized by such notable Egyptian human rights activists as Maikel Nabil and Amr Bakly.

On May 3, the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald – parroting the predictable narrative of Electronic Intifada – tweeted the following:

First, neither report which Greenwald linked to in his Tweet (which included a post by the virulently anti-Israel NY Times commentator Robert Mackey) demonstrated that Seif’s positions were unfairly characterized by UN Watch.  

Moreover, as we’ve noted previously, Greenwald’s expansive definition of the word “smear” seems to include factually based claims about those whose political orientation he happens to be in alignment with, and this particular Tweet would suggest that he simply didn’t conduct serious research into Seif’s background before expressing his outrage at her opponents.

UN Watch’s evidence consists of the several quite unambiguous Tweets by Seif demonstrating that she did in fact defend Palestinian terrorism, including rocket attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas.

Here are  a few examples of Seif’s decidedly selective regard for human rights:

Support for Islamist terrorists involved with blowing up Egyptian gas pipelines to Israel:

Here, Seif requests the services of one of the more prolific antisemitic cartoonists, Carlos Latuff:

The following was Tweeted by Seif after Amnesty International called on both Hamas and Israel to stop attacks on civilians during the recent war in Gaza.

Finally, just in case there was any doubt regarding her position, Seif Tweeted the following just a few days ago, after the row erupted.

And, Glenn Greenwald’s patently dishonest Tweets accusing UN Watch of of engaging in a “smear” campaign won’t change the fact that Mona Seif is an open and evidently proud supporter of terrorism against Israelis.

How one British paper decided to depict living Jews on Holocaust Memorial Day

H/T to Raheem at The Commentator

In my 2010 report published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs about antisemitic cartoons, I noted that political cartoons often have more of an immediate impact in reinforcing negative stereotypes than a lengthy essay.  They express ideas which are easy to understand, and thus represent an efficient way to transmit hate and prejudices, including antisemitism.

While the largest output of antisemitic cartoons nowadays comes from the Arab and Muslim world, some “respectable” European papers have published graphic depictions of Jews evoking classic Judeophobic stereotypes.

Some of the core motifs of antisemitic cartoons are Jews as absolute evil; imagery equating Israel with Nazi Germany; Jewish conspiracies; Zionists controlling the world; and variations of the blood libel.

While mainstream Western papers avoid explicitly promoting the blood libel, variations of this theme – suggesting in cartoon and in prose that bloodthirsty Israeli Jews intentionally kill innocently Palestinians (often children) – have been published at popular sites.  For instance, one of the most popular news sites in the Anglo world, The Huffington Post, posted a cartoon in 2012 by notorious antisemitic cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, which clearly conveyed the idea that the Israeli Prime Minister was murdering Palestinian babies to gain votes in the upcoming election, suggesting that baby killing was supported by the Israeli public.

A similar motif of infanticide appeared in a 2003 cartoon by Dave Brown in the progressive British daily The Independent. The cartoon shows Sharon eating the head of a Palestinian baby and saying, “What’s wrong? Have you never seen a politician kissing a baby? It won Britain’s 2003 Political Cartoon of the Year Award.

The following cartoon was published at The Sunday Times (the largest-selling ‘serious’ British national Sunday newspaper) today, Jan. 27, International Holocaust Memorial Day.

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In case you didn’t notice, the text reads ‘Will Cementing Peace Continue?’, an apparent allusion to Israeli construction across the green line.

However, the Sunday Times cartoonist decided to depict such building as not only injurious to peace, but (as the bloody, mangled bodies being buried over with cement, laid by the bloody trowel of a sinister Israeli Prime Minister) as a sadistic act of violence against innocents in order to gain votes in the Israeli election.  

In light of the Sunday Times’ decision to publish a cartoon on Holocaust Memorial Day depicting a blood-lusting Jewish leader, as well as recent comments by British MP David Ward suggesting that, on Holocaust Memorial Day, Jews should learn to stop “inflicting atrocities on Palestinians”, as well as other routine debasements of Holocaust memory, here’s a simple, if counter-intuitive request to those who believe that the Holocaust means anything at all:

Spare us your Holocaust pieties, your monuments, your memorials, museums and days of remembrance, and consider that, instead of honoring Jews murdered over 65 years ago, you may want to begin, instead, to honor Jews who are still among us.

There are many ways to show reverence for a tiny minority which has somehow survived despite the best efforts, past and present, of practitioners of homicidal antisemitism. However, the especially morally righteous among you may wish to gain a basic understanding of the precise manner in which Jews have been caricatured, vilified, demonized and dehumanized prior to pogroms, massacres and genocides, studiously avoid advancing narratives or creating graphic depictions which evoke such antisemitic imagery, and righteously condemn those who do so.

You can not undo the horrors inflicted upon six million souls, but you can live your life with a steely determination to never again allow lethal, racist narratives about living Jews to go unchallenged, and to assiduously fight efforts to reintroduce such toxic calumnies into the “respectable” public discourse. 

The SS-headache of Carlos Latuff

Cross-posted by Petra Marquardt-Bigman, who blogs at The Warped Mirror‘.

Among “pro-Palestinian” activists, the cartoonist Carlos Latuff is a widely admired artist. Like most of his fans, Latuff expresses his support for the Palestinian cause with an intense hatred for Israel, which is reflected in his large output of images comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. Unsurprisingly, Latuff’s achievements also include a winning entry for the 2006 Iranian “International Holocaust Cartoon Contest.”

The fact that comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany are generally regarded as antisemitic doesn’t seem to bother Latuff and his fans – quite the contrary: for them, it’s apparently just another reason for ridicule and amusement.

This flippant reaction was well illustrated when Latuff responded to his inclusion in a list of this past year’s “Top Ten Anti-Israel/Anti-Semitic Slurscompiled by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Tweeting his “Thanks to Rabbi Marvin Hier and @simonwiesenthal for the award for my toons on #Gaza slaughter,” Latuff attached a cartoon depicting himself being “awarded” a third-place medal by Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Wiesenthal Center.

latuff-wiesenthal-ss1As you can see in the screenshot of Latuff’s cartoon above, there is an unmistakable SS-symbol next to Rabbi Hier’s head. When I noted this in a tweet, Latuff quickly responded, claiming that I was wrong and that the “bolts are cartoon representation of headache.” To support his claim, he linked to the following picture:

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For comparison, here is the SS-symbol:

adlSince Latuff immediately blocked me, he didn’t have to face up and respond to the evidence showing just how flimsy his “headache”-explanation looked.

After all, for somebody like Latuff who works with images, it is hardly credible to claim that he was unaware of the obvious SS-reference in this cartoon. How about this very similar “headache” in an undeniably antisemitic cartoon from 2006?

new pic

Screenshot showing part of a Russian cartoon from a report by Tom Gross on anti-Israeli and antisemitic cartoons published in the international media in the summer of 2006

It is also noteworthy that Latuff didn’t link to any of his own images to illustrate his claim that an SS-symbol look-alike was a common cartoon representation of a headache. But his claim is most severely undermined by the fact – illustrated here – that he has made it something of a specialty to work Nazi-symbolism into his cartoons relating to Israel. He now has only himself to blame if it seems that this has become second nature to him.

Huffington Post Promotes Anti-Semitic Cartoonist, Carlos Latuff

Cross posted by Matt at Huffington Post Monitor

The Huffington Post, allegedly a mainstream, balanced news media outlet, has covered and promoted the work of anti-Semitic cartoonist Carlos Latuff. The Huffington Post, its editors, and its owner, Arianna Huffington, have created a safe, welcoming space for all manner of Jew haters to spread their rhetoric and ideas.

On at least not onenot two, but three articles about Gaza, the Huffington Post published this news tidbit:

In case you can’t see the cartoon clearly enough, here’s a link to it. It’s a cartoon of Israeli PM Netanyahu wringing votes for himself out of a (presumably Palestinian) baby, a modern twist on the classic blood libel against Jews. 

The Huffington Post and its reporter that published this story, Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, seem to have no problem with this anti-Semitic cartoon, publishing it with no condemnation and in fact support, with Shihab-Eldin claiming Ha’aretz reported Netanyahu’s approval ratings have increased.

There is no other explanation for the decision to publish this news story other than the Huffington Post considers Latuff’s hateful cartoons to be legitimate political opinions that not only belong in mainstream discourse, but worthy of the Huffington Post’s readerships’ attention. 

Why is the Huffington Post publishing the hate filled rants of anti-Semites as if it is respectable, news worthy opinions?

[Editor's note: Please see additional background on Latuff here, here, here, here and here.  See additional Latuff cartoons about Israel here.  Below is a larger version of the Latuff cartoon seen above. - A.L.]

Slouching towards irrelevance: Is ‘Comment is Free’ eating the Guardian?

Rob Marchant, a former British Labour Party manager, wrote a very important piece, at The Centre Left Blog, on Aug. 29, about racism at ‘Comment is Free’, and, more broadly, the institution’s regression and increasing rejection of the genuinely liberal ideals it once ardently defended. 

Writes Marchant (with emphases added): 

Once upon a time, there was a left-wing newspaper. Its founder, C.P. Scott, clearly saw it as less of a paper and more of a social mission. My grandfather, a true Socialist all his life, religiously took the Guardian every day, and I would leaf through it as a teenager, mulling over its worthy appraisals of Neil Kinnock’s latest speech or Billy Bragg’s new album. Compared with other papers, it always seemed a bit more in tune with “yoof”, which I then was, and the good guys, which were Labour.

Marchant then turned to the Josh Trevino row.

Last week a controversial new columnist, Josh Treviño, joined that newspaper. As a former advisor to the Bush administration, he was not necessarily a natural choice for the paper, but outside observers might have been pleasantly surprised to see, for once, a little compensating political balance at the newspaper.

Within days, he and the newspaper had agreed to part, officially on the pretext that he had slipped a reference into an article which had broken editorial guidelines – eighteen months previously.

While this sounds like it might be a fair explanation, it becomes a little odder when you put it in context. For the record, Treviño had also been involved in a controversy over his rather insensitive tweets regarding the Palestine flotilla; but that, too, had been over a year ago, he apologised and the Guardian had defended him.

Then, a few days ago, a group of what can only be described as far-left activists wrote to the Guardianto complain about Treviño’s hiring. Five days later, he was gone. The group included Baroness Jenny Tonge, who was earlier this year ejected by the Liberal Democrats for her unacceptable views, Stop The War Coalition’s Lindsey German, and various members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, iEngage and Middle East Monitor. Or rather, when the only MP you can get to defend your cause is Jeremy Corbyn, you know you’re operating at the margins.

The whole argument is given in detail here forand against the Guardian (in the interests of fairness I include both, but I have to say that I find that against a great deal more convincing). Whatever your view on the Treviño controversy, though, there is a rather more disturbing, and difficult-to-avoid, conclusion: that this oddball collection from the fringes of politics, who wrote the letter, clearly have some sway on the editorial and managerial decisions of a national newspaper.

Marchant then contextualized the decision to fire Trevino:

There is a great deal more: some points of interest may already be known to readers of my blog, such as the printing of a puff-piece by unpleasant Holocaust cartoonist Carlos Latuff, or CiF’s running, on Holocaust Memorial Day, of an op-ed by Sheik Raed Salah, hate-preacher and convicted fundraiser for terrorism; or finally, its later op-ed in June, by someone who does not even pretend not to be a terrorist: Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of suicide-bombers Hamas in Gaza. Nice.

Marchant adds:

Where the Guardian may think it is being edgy and controversial, it is often being, at the very least, offensive to the sensibilities of ordinary people not known for their over-sensitivity. At worst it is laid open to not unreasonable charges of racism.

Indeed. 

Read the rest of Marchant’s incisive essay, here.

Guardian’s Chris McGreal suggests IDF ‘killing’ of Corrie no different than Hamas suicide bombing

While Chris McGreal may be the Guardian’s Washington correspondent, he is certainly not a “reporter”.

His shrill, tendentious activist journalism – which arguably makes Harriet Sherwood seem sober, fair and professional in contrast – rarely tries too hard to disguise the desired polemical target.  McGreal is more similar in style to Richard Silverstein than a journalist for a ‘serious’ broadsheet.

His past efforts at objective reporting on Israel have included a retweet from an anti-Zionist blogger accusing Israel of being in the grips of “psychosis”, a Tweet (and accompanying article) clearly suggesting that the Israel lobby exerts a dangerous degree of control over the U.S. Congress and a Guardian report characterizing President George W. Bush’s presumed deference to the Jewish state as slave-like.

McGreal also accused South African Jews of being complicit with the Apartheid regime in Pretoria.

The first two paragraphs of McGreal’s latest anti-Zionist screed (Rachel Corrie verdict exposes Israeli military mindset“, August 28th) lays bare the extremist ideological tick consistently on display at the Guardian: imputing a moral equivalence between Islamist terrorists who intentionally murder innocent civilians and the Jewish object of their malign obsession.

In the context of the Israeli court’s rejection of a lawsuit filed by the family of Rachel Corrie, McGreal writes:

“Reporters covering Israel are routinely confronted with the question: why not call Hamas a terrorist organisation? It’s a fair point. How else to describe blowing up families on buses but terrorism?

But the difficulty lies in what then to call the Israeli army when it, too, at particular times and places, has used indiscriminate killing and terror as a means of breaking Palestinian civilians. One of those places was Rafah, in the southern tip of the Gaza strip, where Rachel Corrie was crushed by a military bulldozer nine years ago as she tried to stop the Israeli army going about its routine destruction of Palestinian homes.”

Even if you were to ignore the details of the judge’s decision – as McGreal likely did – which concluded that Corrie’s death was accidental, and rely instead on the most unhinged anti-Zionist accounts, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone other than the McGreal characterize the 2003 incident as an “indiscriminate killing and terror” in a broader IDF strategy meant to break “Palestinian civilians”.

Indeed, such supreme moral inversions – which advance the caricature of a hideously malevolent Jewish state intentionally murdering young innocents – can typically only be found, albeit often in much cruder form, in the  Arabic media, and on the fringes of extreme left commentary; such as in the grotesque depictions of Israel found in the cartoons of Carlos Latuff.

In suggesting a moral equivalence between an IDF anti-terror operation aimed at clearing ground to expose hiding places used by terrorists (along the border where, between 2000 and 2003, thousands of terrorist grenade attacks and hundreds of anti-tank missile attacks had already occurred) and Hamas suicide bombings in crowded public places with the sole intention of murdering Jews, McGreal is parroting the most obscene and intellectually unserious leftist anti-Zionist agitprop.

Of course, “intellectually unserious leftist anti-Zionist agitprop” – once exclusively within the domain of unapologetic antisemites – has become a banality, and something more akin to a political brand identity, at the Guardian.

CiF Watch Special Report: Latest Assault on Israel’s legitimacy, ‘Air Flotilla 2′, April 15th, 2012

A guest post by Hadar Sela (this report may also be viewed on scribd by clicking here)

Hot on the heels of the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ will come yet another event designed to continue the assault on Israel’s legitimacy – the April 15th ‘Air Flotilla 2′ (also known as ‘Welcome to Palestine’) or flytilla‘ as last year’s  (Hamas approved) similar event was dubbed.

Once again, the aim is to have large numbers of international “activists flying in to Ben Gurion airport on one day – in the words of the organisers – as part of the “challenge to Israel’s illegal siege of Palestine”.

“There is no way into Palestine other than through Israeli control points. Israel has turned Palestine into a giant prison, but prisoners have a right to receive visitors.

Welcome to Palestine 2012 will again challenge Israel’s policy of isolating the West Bank while the settler paramilitaries and army commit brutal crimes against a virtually defenceless Palestinian civilian population.”

The similarity of the methodology and rhetoric of this project to that of the Global March to Jerusalem is no coincidence; several of the organisers and endorsers are mutual to both campaigns.  In fact, Mazin Qumsiyeh recently put out calls for volunteers for both projects on his blog, claiming that over 1,500 Europeans have already purchased tickets for April 15th whilst the overall target number appears to be 2,500.

Endorsers of the Air Flotilla include occasional Guardian contributor and ‘Right to Enter activist Sam Bahour, Tony Benn (controversial president of the ‘Stop the War Coalition’ which was involved in the GMJ) , Noam Chomsky (a GMJ endorser), Nazareth-based former Guardian journalist  Jonathan Cook, ‘Free Gaza’ and ISM activist Hedy Epstein and PA Ambassador Manuel Hassassian (whose mission promoted the Global March to Jerusalem).

Also on board are Ronnie Kasrils (a GMJ endorser), Nurit Peled, John Pilger, Jean Ziegler, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb ( a GMJ endorser), Susan Abulhawa (a GMJ endorser), Ali Abunimah (whose ‘electronic Intifada’ is promoting the Air Flotilla), Mustafa Barghouti (a GMJ organizer), Abdelfattah Abu Srour of the Al Rowwad Culltural Centre (which supported the 2011 flytilla and the GMJ) and Desmond Tutu (also a GMJ endorser).

Mustafa Barghouti’s ‘Palestinian National Initiative was also an endorser of the Global March to Jerusalem, as was The Siraj Centre (where Mazin Qumsiyeh is a member of the board) and the Palestine Justice Network which is currently involved in the organization of the Air Flotilla. The Palestine Justice Network solicits donations through the International Solidarity Campaign-linked ‘Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People’, of which Qumsiyeh is head.

In April 2011 the Palestine Justice Network launched its ‘One State Initiative’ and as can be seen from the endorsements, many of the names also appear on the list of those supporting or organising the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign, as well as on the list of signatories of the Stuttgart Declaration.

In short, as was the case with the organisers of the Global March to Jerusalem, the Air Flotilla initiators are united by their rejection of the internationally-accepted route of negotiations aimed at leading to a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Their aim is an imposed ‘one-state solution’ which would result in the end of self-determination for the Jewish people.

A list of foreign organisations endorsing the Air Flotilla – predominantly from the United Kingdom – can be seen here. Among the individual endorsers is Maha Rahwanji of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign executive committee. The PSC was of course heavily involved in the organization of the Global March to Jerusalem. Something of Rahwanji‘s mindset can be understood from her Twitter timeline.

Unsurprisingly, the Iranian regime-linked ‘Islamic Human Rights Commission’ based in the UK is also promoting the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ project, as is Iran’s ‘Press TV’ – according to which “[t]his year, the Welcome to Palestine movement aims to overwhelm Israeli officials by its sheer number of members”.

Purveyor of anti-Semitic cartoons Carlos Latuff presented a gift to the campaign:

The ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign has no qualms about using the false – and highly charged – canard of ‘apartheid’ on its official website in order to curry support.

“Plans are underway to challenge Israeli apartheid during 2012 by having a large number of international activists land in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport.”

The campaign’s supporting Twitter account – described as an ‘awareness campaign’ – goes even further, propagating lies and descending into anti-Semitic Nazi analogies.

The end-game of the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ Air Flotilla is, however, revealed in this Tweet:

One of the people operating the ‘Airflotilla2′ Twitter account and its online campaign in general is Gaza Strip-born Ayman Qwaider who is currently resident in Spain.

Before leaving Gaza to study abroad, Qwaider worked for the ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ – a Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood project which is headed by UK-based Hamas operative  Mohammed Sawalha. Sawalha was instrumental in the organization of both the 2010 and 2011 flotillas and was also one of the organisers of the Global March to Jerusalem.

Ayman Qwaider has written for the Palestine Telegraph which is operated by Sameh Habeebwho is also spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ and connected to the Hamas-linked Palestinian Return Centre based in London which is proscribed by Israel.  Last year Qwaider was active in the flotilla campaign on behalf of the ‘Spanish Boat to Gaza’, including giving a talk at a Spanish university.

Part of the online support campaign for the ‘Airflotilla2′ initiative includes an e-mail campaign aimed at members of Parliament.

“Palestinians resist.  The British Government, however, joins with Israel to isolate the Palestinians while they are being dispossessed.  The UK Government, for example, refused to support the recent successful Palestinian bid to join UNESCO in the teeth of bitter US and Israeli opposition. The UK Government has also signalled it will oppose the Palestinian bid for full membership of the UN.

When our governments endorse illegal Israeli occupation, concerned citizens need to take action.”

The main difference between the Airflotilla2 and the Global March to Jerusalem is that the former is designed to appeal primarily – though not exclusively - to European audiences, as reflected in its campaigning and publicity which includes websites and advertising in various European  languages.

FRANCE : contact@bienvenuepalestine.com
UK : uk@bienvenuepalestine.com
SPAIN : pazahora1@gmail.com
ITALY : benvenutinpalestina2012@gmail.com
BELGIUM : bienvenuepalestine.wallonie.be@gmail.com / et pour Bruxelles (Brussels) : welcomepalestinebelgium@yahoo.com
GREECE : greece@welcometopalestine.info
USA: palestine2012us@gmail.com
PALESTINE : jneno@ejepal.org (school project) and info@palestinejn.org

In the Netherlands, Electronic Intifada’s Adri Nieuwhof appears to be utilising her connections within the ‘human rights’/international aid community in order to publicize the project.

Several of the ‘Airflotilla2′ organisers took part in last year’s failed flytilla including Myriam de Ly and David Dupire from Belgium and Mick Napier of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Events were held in Paris , Brussels and other European cities earlier this year to promote the campaign.

The final speaker in the video – Jaques Neno of the EJE (Les Enfants, le Jeu et l’Education) is also one of the project’s organisers, along with George N Rishmawi – co-founder of International Solidarity Movement (ISM), head of the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), coordinator of the Siraj Centre and a former board member of the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between Peoples. As stated above, Airflotilla2 and GMJ organizer Mazin Qumsiyeh is connected to both the latter organisations.

Neno tells potential participants that they should expect three possible scenarios. The first is that they will get arrested.  In that case, according, to him “you have won because when Israel puts you in prison it shows how it becomes more and more fascist”.

The second scenario involves the activists being prevented from boarding their flights at the point of departure, as happened in many cases in 2011, but which Neno appears to consider unlikely this year. The third scenario is that they will reach their destination.

Obviously, provocation and bad public relations for Israel are yet again the real name of the game and several factors suggest that this latest publicity stunt aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy should not be taken lightly.

One of these factors is the date which, although originally planned to coincide with the anniversary of the death of ISM activist Vittorio Arrigoni, is also the day after the end of the Pessach holiday when Ben Gurion airport will be particularly busy with a large volume of travelers. For example, the UK airline Jet2 has added an additional flight to its usual schedule on that day which is probably aimed at returning Pessach visitors to Manchester, but is likely to be used by ‘Airflotilla2′ activists from Scotland and the north of England.

Another factor is the unverified claim by ‘Welcome to Palestine’ organisers (Palestine Justice Network) that following the 2011 flytilla during which the majority of activists were not permitted to board their flights, “[a]s a result of legal challenges, many European airlines not only fully refunded the tickets, but also agreed not to repeat the incident.”  In the event that airlines will refuse to transport the activists, demonstrations are already being planned.

The International Solidarity Movement in France is already very indignant regarding a statement put out recently by the French Foreign Ministry advising its citizens not to take part in the ‘Airflotilla2′.

The British government has similarly advised against participation in the project, but such recommendations are unlikely to make much of an impression on these activists, as can be seen by the reaction of the French organisers.

“We have no illusions about our leaders and the fact they eat in the hand of the Israeli occupation. We know how they behaved in July, and more generally how they refuse to apply international law and the principle of reciprocity, then they leave to enter France all Israelis who wish, including criminals war. They do not even defend French diplomats when they are humiliated, beaten or injured by the police or the IDF.”

“The method of intimidation will not work. Participants in the mission “Welcome to Palestine” have the right, justice and morality on their side. And they are aware of the seriousness of the situation for the Palestinians, every day more persecuted and dispossessed. They are not ashamed to go visit them. And to do head high, without lying, without going into the game of the occupant, which would wipe out Palestine and the Palestinians.

Gentlemen of the Quai d’Orsay, gentlemen of the government, history will record that you do not have much dignity.”

On the publicity front, the involvement of Ali Abunimah in this campaign means that we are likely to see a far more intense level of activity, particularly on social networks, than was the case with the Global March to Jerusalem which Abunimah and others shunned.

UPDATE, April 11th:

The full ‘Welcome to Palestine’ programme of events can be seen here. The stated aims of the project – building a school and a museum and refurbishing a kindergarten – appear to be confined to one day of activity, with the rest of the week’s visit dedicated to trips to various destinations and a seminar on the subject of “How to End the Occupation?”.

The organisation hoping to build a museum on the history of Palestinian refugees is the Al Rowwad Centre which was also involved in the organisation of the 2011 flytilla, is party to the BDS movement and was an endorser of the Global March to Jerusalem. Pictured below is one of its vehicles, bearing a logo which clearly rejects a negotiated two-state solution.

UK Foreign Office Tweet recommends British rap artist who collaborated on antisemitic video

H/T Israelinurse

The official Twitter account of the UK Foreign Office, deciding to weigh in on hip hop, linked to a video by an anti-Zionist British political rapper named Shadia Mansour.

Here’s the Tweet:

Mansour is widely known for her role in the production of Lowkey’s ‘Long Live Palestine’ (and has collaborated with Lowkey on other projects).

The video consists of hateful anti-Zionist propaganda, through both lyrics and images, and includes still frames of cartoons from the notorious Carlos Latuff suggesting that Israel is a Nazi like states which intentionally targets Palestinian children.

As Harry’s Place has commented, the video further asserts that the profits from various non-Israeli global companies (who were founded or believed to be currently run by Jews) goes directly to Israel, evoking conspiracy theories about international Jewish domination:

‘Every coin is a bullet, if you’re Marks and Spencer,
And when you’re sipping Coca-Cola,
That’s another pistol in the holster of them soulless soldiers,
You say you know about the Zionist lobby,
But you put money in their pocket when you’re buying their coffee,
Talking about revolution, sitting in Starbucks’

It claims that Israel is a genocidal state:

‘How many more children have to be annihilated
Israel is a terror state, they’re terrorists that terrorise,
I testify, my television televised them telling lies,
This is not a war, it is systematic genocide’

And it further states that:

‘We curse every Zionist since Theodore Herzl’

‘Nothing is more anti-Semitic than Zionism.’

Here’s the video:

Turning to Lowkey, here are some 9/11 conspiracies of his, published by the StWC:

One day I was running from the truth,
To speed me up they gave me these shoes,
So tie my feet with Nike’s,
Tell me lies about the 11th of September,

It was the planes.
Not controlled demolition,
The BBC didn’t report the explosion of Building 7,
20 minutes before hand, on my television,
They found passport’s and plane flying manuals belonging to terrorists in the rubble.
That all makes perfect sense

Naturally, a Guardian Music review of rap artists, in Nov. 2010, included this commentary by :

 For current UK sounds, I’d go for the political punch of Lowkey’s Long Live Palestine.

Guardian issues ‘progressive in good standing’ card to Carlos Latuff: racist and anti-Semite

Associate a political activist with the bucolic imagery evoked by the term “Arab Spring” – a movement whose often decidedly illiberal aspects are routinely ignored by the Guardian and most of the MSM – and, no matter how compromised the person is by a quite reactionary ideological orientation, the halo effect is secured.

The Guardian’s Jack Shenker, writing in the Art and Culture section, Carlos Latuff: The voice of Tripoli – Live from Rio“, Aug. 22, bestows upon Latuff the honor of  “progressive” political cartoonist in service of the “democratic” ideals of the Arab revolution.

Shenker benignly characterizes Latuff, thusly:

“a Brazilian cartoonist who has become an unlikely star of the Arab spring – and, more recently, cartoonist to protests and conflicts around the world. A smiling, shaven-haired 42-year-old who still lives with his parents in Rio.”

Shenker, later in the piece, says:

“Latuff has become known for his support of the Palestinian cause; some campaigners claim his work is antisemitic. “Part of the supposed ‘evidence’ for my antisemitism is the fact that I’ve used the Star of David, which is a symbol of Judaism,” he says wearily.

Of course, Shenker, conventiently fails to note the extreme left activist’s well-documented record of not merely “using the Star of David”, but publishing cartoons which demonstrate an obsessive, visceral, and vicious hatred of Israel which, quite often, employ the Star of David to characterize the Jewish state as morally equivalent to Nazi Germany – imagery which often devolves into other expressions of outright anti-Semitism.

Indeed, Latuff appeared quite prominently in my essay for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, “Anti-Semitic Cartoons on Progressive Blogs.”

When he’s not using his “art” to promote the Arab Spring he can be seen advancing racist depicitions of Jews and, on at least one occasion, African Americans.

His body of work pertaining to Israel and the Palestinians evokes an immutably villainous Jewish state similar to what can be found in the most anti-Semitic Arab media – and include clear assertions that Israelis take pleaseure in murdering innocent Palestinian children.

Israel as Nazi Germany: Here’s one out of dozens of Latuff cartoons which portary Israel as the new Nazi Germany and Israeli Jews the new Nazis.

He’s also not beyond illustrations containing even more explicit anti-Semitism.

Dual Loyalty and conspiratorial notions of Jewish control: The Jewish lobby (and/or Israel) controls the U.S. government

Jewish supremacism: Mockery and distortion of Jews as the chosen people

As this blog continually documents, the greatest and most dangerous ideolgocial vice of Guardian commentators, reporters, and correspondents is not, per se, explicit expressions of anti-Semitism but, rather, anti-Semitic sins of omission: Their capacity to ignore those who advance clear and unambiguous Judeophobic narratives.

In this case, the Guardian’s Jack Shenker could have easily, with a few Google hits, uncovered Latuff’s record of using his political cartoons in the service of evoking hateful narratives of Jews and Israel.

Editors of a paper which truly championed liberal values would never have white washed such rank bigotry. 

 

Anti-Zionist blog attacks CiF Watch and defends racist depiction of Obama by Carlos Latuff

A post at the anti-Zionist (and often unintentionally hilarious) blog, Dessert Peace, took exception with my post from Aug. 3, The Guardian’s Martin Rowson uses slave imagery in cartoon about Obama a budget deal.”

Our post called out Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson on a depiction of President Obama which included a chain tied around his neck, being pulled by white Republicans, which suggested either that the black President is acting like a slave by making political concessions to his political opponents or that Republican activists are treating America’s first black President as a slave.

We then noted that even more explicit slave imagery in depictions of Obama have been employed by extreme anti-Semitic political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff.

The post, which is anonymously published at Desert Peace, titled, “Does Refusing To Kiss Obama’s Black Ass Make Me A Racist?”, begins:

“According to one of Britain’s zionist watch dogs, yes. A site called CIF Watch (monitoring and exposing antisemitism on the Guardian newspaper’s ‘Comment is Free Blog)  has determined that myself and Carlos Latuff are not only antisemites, we are racists as well.”

They then quote from my post, where I noted, “the…narrative [that Obama is acting like a slave in concessions he's made to his opponents] has been advanced quite explicitly by the extreme left political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff. Either way, the viciousness and gross racial insensitivity of such imagery is simply undeniable.”

The blogger at Desert Peace then notes:

Pretty amusing when a zionist  (who is a racist by definition) calls full-time anti racists ‘vicious and grossly racially insensitive’ [emphasis mine]

So, just to be clear, here’s the cartoon that Carlos – the full-time anti racist – Latuff published:

Then, below the line, Latuff himself chimed in:

Yup. That’s anti-racism for you.  

If a right-wing troll wanted to invent a blog to discredit the extreme left, it would likely look a lot like Desert Peace.

(Final note: Included in Desert Peace’s recommended links is the Guardian.)

MEMO and Carlos Latuff, “respectfully” criticizing Israel

H/T David T

No, it’s not surprising that the openly pro-Hamas, anti-Semitic UK group, MEMO (Middle East Monitor) interviewed political cartoonist Carlos Latuff.

Latuff is one of the most prolific anti-Israel activists, who, in his work, frequently and explicitly compares Israel to Nazi Germany, portrays Israelis as taking pleasure in the death of Palestinian babies, and draws without inhibition on anti-Semitic stereotypes.  

Latuff is also, evidently, deemed perfectly respectable by the Guardian, as they posted a cartoon of his during the Palestine Papers series (in the context of Guardian editorials suggesting that Abbas sold-out on the “rights” of Palestinian Refugees) depicting PA President Mahmoud Abbas as a gun wielding, sinister looking Orthodox Jew – thus legitimizing the odious notion that Jews and/or Israelis represent the nadir of moral betrayal. 

However, the following exchange between the MEMO interviewer, Dr. Hanan Chehata, and Latuff is worth noting, as its well beyond caricature.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

So, for Latuff, what he’s engaging in when publishing his cartoons is mere respectful criticism, which is acceptable, and which is far different than “attacks”, which are off-limits.

So, by virtue of this no doubt well-developed moral calculus, which ethically distinguishes between respectful political critiques and hateful attacks, Latuff’s following depiction, entitled “Baby Killer Zombies“, would naturally fall in the former category.

Respectful criticism of Israel

 

Israel’s success + Flotilla’s failure = The Guardian’s boredom

Even Harriet Sherwood could not find much to say about the non-event which was the apprehension of the one remaining ‘Freedom Flotilla 2′ boat this afternoon off Israel’s coast. The  fifteen foot ‘Dignite al Karama’, sailing under the French flag and having set sail  originally from Corsica, departed Crete on Saturday with only three journalists, ten activists and a crew of four aboard. It was, of course, not even pretending to carry any aid.

Among the passengers were Dror Feiler of ‘European Jews for a Just Peace’ and  the Swedish Boat to Gaza campaign, fellow passenger also on the 2010 flotilla Vangelis Pissias, no fewer than two spokesmen for the ‘French Ship to Gaza’ campaign, a couple of French politicians – one communist, one Green – and Omeyya (Oumaya) Seddik of the Tunisian FTCR.

The captain of the yacht had reportedly declared to the Greek authorities prior to departure that his destination was an Egyptian port of, but predictably, upon being challenged by the Israeli navy, his destination suddenly changed to Gaza.

Apparently, it is an offence under Greek law for a vessel to proceed to a port different to the one for which it has received authorization to sail and on that basis the Israeli NGO ‘Shurat HaDin’ has already registered a complaint with the Greek coastguard.

As the Israeli navy boarded the boat, the Twittersphere was of course humming with weird and wonderful interpretations of ‘international law’ and ‘piracy’. Notably, ‘journavist’ Joseph Dana – whose intentions to sail aboard the American boat had come to nothing – was whipping up fervor among his followers early on in the day with one of his signature snide insinuations.

ibnezra Joseph Dana

Communications with the boat are cut, the army has a window of time to do what it pleases against the unarmed civilians on board #flotilla

Another notable Tweet came from an organization calling itself ‘UK Friends of Palestine and (moderate) IsraeI’ :

UKFPI AdamFlude &Friends

@

rt @lukeshore Report on #Dignite from @AJEnglishenglish.aljazeera.net/news/middleeas… #flotilla WHATEVER HAPPENS, PLZ PUT UP THIS POSTER: ukfpi.org/documents/A4OP…

Given the use of a drawing by Carlos Latuff and other offensive antisemitic imagery on that website, it is significant that the poster being advertised in the Tweet urges its readers to join the Palestine Solidarity Campaign or Jews for Justice for Palestinians – no strangers to maritime escapades of their own. Equally interesting (and by now, unsurprising) is the fact that the sender of the UKFPI Tweet, Adam Flude, would appear to have connections to Amnesty International.

As the Dignite al Karama was directed to Ashdod port, having come peacefully under Israeli control without the slightest resistance by the activists, calls were issued by flotilla organizers and sympathizers for supporters to hit the streets with demonstrations throughout Europe and North America.

Adding to the surrealism of the desperate attempts by flotilla organizers and supporters to milk some kind of media exposure from the whole non-event of the flotilla flop, Hamas issued a statement condemning the seizure of the boat and calling the action “piracy, a war crime and a violation of the principles of human rights”. Not to be outdone, the Arab League took time off from doing nothing about the killing of Syrian, Yemeni and Bahraini citizens to issue its own condemnation of what it termed “an act of piracy” and to demand action from the international community and the UN Security Council.

 

Whether or not today’s events mark the end of this year’s flotilla season remains to be seen, but certainly we can already come to the conclusion that much has been learned and internalized on the Israeli side since the 2010 flotilla. The diplomatic efforts, the legal actions by ‘Shurat HaDin’ and others, the intensive training on the part of the IDF and its vastly increased efficiency in getting information out almost in real-time have all contributed to make this summer’s flotilla provocation a resounding failure.

When even the Guardian barely gives the flotilla the time of day, something is working well.

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