The Guardian’s continuing obsession with Mordechai Vanunu

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In 1985 Mordechai Vanunu left his job as a technician at Israel’s nuclear installation in Dimona.  Before leaving, however, he stole several rolls of film about the facility, which he then used to help the UK Sunday Times write a story that purported to expose Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

Vanunu was convicted of treason and espionage in 1988, and was released after serving 18 years in prison.  After his release, he exclaimed that he was proud of what he did.

Vanunu is still subject to travel restrictions (and other limitations) as he continues to be considered a serious danger to Israeli security - owing to the fact that he holds state secrets that have not yet been published, and which he reportedly said he would reveal.  Israeli courts have upheld the legitimacy of the state’s concerns, ruling that Vanunu has not changed his ways and has “repeatedly violated their injunctions” by maintaining ties and contact with the media and other parties.

Naturally, Vanunu is something of a cause celeb at the Guardian, which has published no less than 75 separate pieces (reports and commentary) on the convicted Israeli felon, including an official editorial lauding him, entitled “In Praise of…Mordechai Vanunu.

The latest Guardian entry is a boilerplate pro-Vanunu letter-to-the-editor entitled ‘Mordechai Vanunu’s Suffering‘, April 19, and is signed by the usual cast of UK anti-Zionists, including several Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) ‘Patrons’: Tony Benn (PSC Patron), Ben Birnberg (War on Want), Julie Christie (PSC Patron), Jeremy Corbyn MP (PSC Patron), Kate Hudson (Stop the War Coalition), Bruce Kent (PSC Patron), and Roger Lloyd-Pack (who played Trigger in BBC’s ‘Only Fools and Horses’). 

In a 2004 interview with Amy Goodman, published at the extremist site CounterPunch, Vanunu accused the Israeli government not only of unjustly imprisoning one man, but of “betraying all of humanity and the world”.

Is there really any mystery as to why Vanunu is so admired by the Guardian?

New Year’s Eve Reflections: On the Guardian’s disproportionate focus on Israel

israel obsession imageWith 2012 coming to a close, I decided to look back at some the more popular CiF Watch posts.

First, here are the posts read most by our loyal readers – and more than a few of our opponents – over the last year.

While interest in these posts are not surprising, there was one popular post which caught my eye.  Here’s a CW post from Jan. 2, 2011, which still continues to get an awful lot of traffic.  

It was published nearly two years ago but is still garnering new viewers.

The post illustrates – via data illustrated at the site ‘Views of the World‘ – the Guardian’s egregiously disproportionate focus on the Jewish state in 2010, using the Guardian’s own compilation of of tags by country.  Specifically, stories about Israel came in 6th – behind only the UK, USA, Afghanistan, Iraq and China – in the Guardian for 2010 (1,008 stories about Israel in all).

Not surprisingly, Guardian data for 2011 showed almost identical results - despite the political turmoil and violence in the region due to the upheavals of the “Arab Spring”.

While I expect that the results for 2012 will be much the same as the prior two years, we’ll, of course, let you know when the new data is released by the Guardian.

Until then, we’d love to know your thoughts. 

While we’re continually documenting the Guardian’s institutional bias against Israel, what factors do you think contribute most to their editorial decision to devote so much space to covering – via both straight news stories and in ‘CiF’ commentary – the Jewish state?

To all of our (virtual) friends and respectful foes, here’s wishing you a Happy New Year from all of us at CiF Watch. 

My ‘Times of Israel’ essay: ‘Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian and the anti-imperialism of fools’

The following was published at Times of Israel

The Guardian’s most egregious moral blind spot – especially in light of the media group’s claim to represent anti-racist values – pertains to their editors’ licensing of commentators who possess an antipathy towards Jews and routinely advance tropes indistinguishable from what is normally associated with far-right Judeophobia.

Such polemicists (who are granted the media group’s progressive kashrut license) are typically of the radical Islamic variety – those who espouse values which are incompatible with even the broadest understanding of progressivism yet are given a moral pass by virtue of their cynical use of the language of human rights. (Richard Landes refers to such political posers as “demopaths.”)

Indeed, Guardian editors often grant members of terrorist groups, or their supporters, space at the Guardian’s blog, ‘Comment is Free‘.

However, the Guardian-approved socially acceptable anti-Israel brand of reactionary politics isn’t limited to those of the Islamist persuasion.

Ben White, who penned an appalling apologia for anti-Semitism for the extremist publication CounterPunch, is routinely published at “Comment is Free” – and given a platform to advance his malign obsession with the Jewish state.

The Guardian even offered space, in their letters section, to Alison Weir - accurately characterized as one of the few modern-day promoters of the ancient anti-Semitic blood libel.

Gilad Atzmon, who has literally endorsed the conspiracies advanced in the Elders of the Protocols of Zion that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world, has been the subject of quite laudatory profiles at the Guardian – and also had a letter published.

More recently, it was announced that Salon.com blogger, Glenn Greenwald, will be moving to the Guardian.

Greenwald (who blogs at Salon.com) advances a brand of anti-imperialism, much in the tradition of Guardian Associate Editor Seumas Milne, informed by a palpable loathing of America, a nation he sees as a dangerous force of evil in the world. Greenwald’s anti-Americanism is so intense he once compared the US overthrow of Saddam Hussein to the Nazi conquest of Europe.

As is often the case with Guardian-brand commentators, Greenwald’s anti-imperialist ideological package includes a vicious anti-Zionism, and a corresponding belief on the injurious influence of organized US Jewry on American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Here’s a sample of his musings on the villainy of organized Jewry.

  • “So absolute has the Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy been that the US Government has made it illegal to broadcast Hezbollah television stations.”
  • “Not even our Constitution’s First Amendment has been a match for the endless exploitation of American policy, law and resources [by the Israel lobby] to target and punish Israel’s enemies.”

Read the rest of my essay, here.

Guardian’s Jewish problem: Paper praises extreme antisemitic site CounterPunch as ‘progressive’

Mainstream left-wing antisemites do not, typically, explicitly accuse Jews of engaging in global conspiracies.

They do not, typically, explicitly advance the narrative of the duplicitous money-grubbing Jew.

They do not, as such, advance the ancient antisemitic blood libel.

And they typically do not, per se, warn their readers of the injurious effects of Jewish power on society.

Nor do they deny the Holocaust.

However, as this blog is continually demonstrating, the most egregious antisemitic sin of far left broadsheets such as the Guardian is their legitimization – even praise – for antisemites who do advance such racist calumnies about the Jewish people.

The Guardian’s recent editorial in praise of Alexander Cockburn (In praise of the Cockburns, July 23rd) represents a perfect example.

In the editorial, the Cockburns (Alexander and his father and brother) are characterized as “…aristocratic radicals” who “have been pillars of progressive journalism for decades.” Here’s the editorial in its entirety. 

“When distinguished sons and daughters follow distinguished parents it is easy to mutter about charmed circles. Yet there are genuine family talents that span the generations. The Huxleys and Freuds are examples, and the death of Alexander Cockburn is a reminder that the Cockburns are another. These radical aristocrats – or aristocratic radicals – have been pillars of progressive journalism for decades. Claud Cockburn, although not without some blind spots, battered at received wisdom in the 1930s. His sons, Alexander and Andrew, continued the tradition in the United StatesAlexander indicating that continuity by calling one of his columns Beat the Devil, from the title of his father’s novel. Here, Patrick Cockburn has been for years one of the best Middle East reporters and analysts. Alexander’s writing has been praised as the key to “a life of joyful and creative resistance” – a fine phrase that could well be applied to them all.” [emphasis added]

To be begin with, Claud Cockburn joined the Communist Party and “worked closely with the Soviet agents who orchestrated both acts of violence against the anti-Stalinist left and the propaganda which whitewashed those acts.”  He could easily be characterized as an “intellectual hatchet man for Stalin”.  (Note that in 1936, Harry Pollitt, then General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain, asked Cockburn to cover the Spanish Civil War.  “Harry Pollitt” would later become the nom de guerre of Seumas Milne – prior to joining the Guardian – in his days working for the pro-Stalinist paper, Straight Left.) 

Regarding Alexander Cockburn’s site, that paragon of progressive thought known as CounterPunch:

  • Counterpunch has repeatedly run articles by prolific antisemite, Gilad Atzmon. Briefly, Atzmon has questioned whether the Holocaust occurred, while simultaneously arguing that, if Hitler’s genocide did occur, it can partly be explained by Jews’ villainous behavior.  Atzmon also explicitly charged that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world, and has endorsed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, arguing about the document that “it is impossible to ignore its prophetic qualities and its capacity to describe” later Jewish behavior.
  • Counterpunch published an article by Alison Weir which alleges that the blood libel, (the charge that Jews ritually murdered gentiles), is true and is related to the false  reports, in 2009, regarding Israeli thefts of human organs from Palestinians.
  • CounterPunch’s Alexander Cockburn has advanced the argument that Jews have a stranglehold on the U.S. media. 
  • CounterPunch published a rant by Jennifer Loewenstein, about a “Gazan Holocaust”, which included a passage referring to Israelis as “Neo-Jewish Masterswho used the Gaza war as a “pretext to carry out mass murder of the Arab Untermenschen.”

As Adam Holland observed, specifically regarding the Alison Weir blood libel charge, but also serving as relevant understanding of the ideology of CounterPunch and Cockburn:

“It is outrageous that they would present the anti-Semitism of the middle ages as progressive…portraying [Jews] as intrinsically reactionary and criminal. In doing this, Counterpunch has turned the definitions of “progressive” and “reactionary” on their heads.”

I can’t think of a better characterization of the Guardian Left: an institution which continually turns definitions of “progressive” and “reactionary” upside down. 

Finally, at times we’re asked why precisely we charge the Guardian with promoting antisemitism. We are also similarly challenged by well-meaning commentators who suggest that we may, at times, overstate the case regarding the institution’s Judeophobic sympathies.

Well, if you are among such critics, the Guardian’s characterization of CounterPunch – whose unapologetic vilification of Jews is simply part of their ideological DNA – as “progressive” should serve as a poignant illustration of the Guardian Group’s Jewish problem and, indeed, a vindication of the mission of this blog.

The Guardian-approved American Judeophobic Paleo-Conservatism of Glenn Greenwald

Pat Buchanan's extreme right magazine, The American Conservative

In contextualizing the Guardian daily, among the most troubling dynamics we’re continually commenting on is not, per se, their explicitly antisemitic commentary.

Rather, their supreme hypocrisy, an egregious moral blind spot in the context of their claim to represent anti-racist values, is their licensing of commentators purportedly advancing a “liberal” agenda (consistent with their left-wing political brand) who possess an unambiguous antipathy towards Jews – those who advance tropes indistinguishable from what is normally associated with far-right Jew-hatred.

Examples of the Guardian’s tendency to issue a political stamp of approval to exceedingly illiberal figures abound.

Such commentators granted the media group’s progressive kashrut license are typically of the Islamist variety – those who fully endorse values which are inherently incompatible with even the broadest understanding of progressive values yet are given a pass by virtue of their cynical use of the language of human rights in the service of demonizing Israel.

What else could explain their editorial decision to grant members of terrorist groups, or their supporters, space at ‘Comment is Free‘? 

However, the Guardian-approved socially acceptable anti-Israel brand of reactionary politics isn’t limited to those of the Islamist persuasion.

Ben White, who penned an appalling apologia for antisemitism for the extremist publication CounterPunch, is routinely published at ‘Comment is Free’ –  given a platform to advance his malign obsession with the Jewish state. 

The Guardian even offered space, in their letters section to Alison Weir - accurately characterized as one of the few modern day promoters of the ancient antisemitic blood libel.

Gilad Atzmon, who has literally endorsed the conspiracies advanced in the Elders of the Protocols of Zion that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world, has been the subject of quite laudatory profiles at the Guardian – and also had a letter published.

I’m not going to fisk Glenn Greenwald’s recent essay at ‘Comment is Free’, Afghanistan and American Imperialism, March 19, but, rather, provide a glimpse into the American blogger’s politics.

Greenwald (who blogs at Salon.com) advances an anti-imperialism, much in the tradition of Guardian Associate Editor Seumas Milne, informed by a seemingly insatiable loathing of America, a nation he sees a dangerous force of evil in the world – a malice so intense he even once compared the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein to the Nazi conquest of Europe.

But, more consistent with the mission of this blog, here’s a sample of his musings on the villainy of organized Jewry.

  • “So absolute has the Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy been that the U.S. Government has made it illegal to broadcast Hezbollah television stations.”
  • “Not even our Constitution’s First Amendment has been a match for the endless exploitation of American policy, law and resources [by the Israel lobby] to target and punish Israel’s enemies.”
  • “The real goal [of the Israel lobby], as always, was to ensure that there is no debate over America’s indescribably self-destructive, blind support for Israeli actions. [Charles] Freeman’s critics may have scored a short-term victory in that regard, but the more obvious it becomes what is really driving these scandals, the more difficult it will be to maintain this suffocating control over American debates and American policy.”
  • “The point is that the power the [Israel lobby] exercises [is] harmful in the extreme. They use it to squelch debate, destroy the careers and reputations of those who deviate from their orthodoxies, and compel both political parties to maintain strict adherence to an agenda that is held by a minority of Americans; that is principally concerned with the interests of a foreign country; and that results in serious cost and harm to the United States. In doing so, they insure not only that our policies towards Israel remain firmly in place no matter the outcome of our elections, but also that those policies remain beyond the realm of what can be questioned or debated by those who want to have a political future.”
  • “Anyone who has argued that a desire to protect Israeli interests plays too large of a role in our foreign policy has been subjected to some of the most vicious and relentless smears. Ask Juan Cole about that, or John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Those tactics have, as intended, prevented a substantive debate on this question, as most people have feared even approaching the topic.”
  • “[Eisenhower] told Israel that “we handle our affairs exactly as though we didn’t have a Jew in America” – and [this] was then likely an uncontroversial sentiment. Today, if an American politician said anything remotely like that – that American interests would take precedence over Israel’s…how many seconds would elapse before the full-scale and permanent destruction of their political career was complete?”
  • “If you don’t…pledge your loyalty to our policies toward Israel and to Israel, what will happen to you is what just happened to Charles Freeman. You’ll be demonized and have your career ended.”
  • “Large and extremely influential Jewish donor groups are the ones agitating for a U.S. war against Iran, and that is the case because those groups are devoted to promoting Israel’s interests.”
  • “Those [American Jews] who favor the attack on Gaza are certainly guilty…of such overwhelming emotional and cultural attachment to Israel and Israelis that they long ago ceased viewing this conflict with any remnant of objectivity.”
  • “The dominant narrative among neocons and the media is that, deep down in his heart, [Obama] may be insufficiently devoted to Israel to be President of the United States. Has there ever been another country to which American politicians were required to pledge their uncritical, absolute loyalty the way they are, now, with Israel?”
  • “[Charles] Freeman is being dragged through the mud by the standard cast of accusatory Israel-centric neocons (Marty Peretz, Jon Chait, Jeffrey Goldberg, Commentary, The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb, etc. etc., etc.).”
  • “It is difficult to find someone with a more psychopathic indifference to the slaughter of innocent people in pursuit of shadowy, unstated political goals than Charles Krauthammer.” 

As you read these quotes tell me one thing. How is such reactionary rhetoric dissimilar from the paleoconservativism of Pat Buchanan?

In fact, Greenwald has been published at Buchanan’s magazine several times, once on the topic of undue Jewish influence on American politics.

Glenn Greenwald, whose blog was initially called “UNCLAIMED TERRITORY,” styles himself as a bold new thinker, and a brave dissident who is willing to explore “taboos” about the national loyalty of Jews and their corrosive effects on the American body politic that others dare not go.

His narrative, however, full of poisonous, old, lethal tropes about the dangers of collective Jewry to the body politic is as ancient as the Jewish diaspora itself.

Greenwald’s toxic, Judeophobic ideological territory, absurdly framed as liberalism by the Guardian, has been claimed before.

Newt Gingrich, the Guardian, and the invention of a moral outrage.

The row over Newt Gingrich’s comments about Palestinian identity being “invented” has already generated three Guardian stories on the former Congressman’s “illiberal” views in the span of 24 hours, and has included quotes from outraged Palestinians that Gingrich’s arguemnt is a form of “incitement“.

However, a look into the coverage of an attack on the identity of another minority group is instructive in contextualizing the Guardian’s reports about Gingrich’s comments.

Shlomo Sand – a communist and post-Zionist, opposed to the existence of a Jewish state within any borders – wrote a book (published in 2009) called The Invention of the Jewish People‘.

Briefly, Sand’s book argues that Jewish nationalism is not justified as there is no such thing as a Jewish people; today’s Jews are descended from disparate groups of people who converted to Judaism and had no ties to the land of Israel; And, conversely, there was no exile of Jews from the land of Israel and that most Jews remained in the land, converted to Islam and were the progenitors of present-day Palestinians.

The wretched scholarship of Sand’s post-Zionist inspired agitprop was condemned by historians and literary critics.  

Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic, characterized it as “intellectually worthless”.

Hillel Halkin called assertions made in the book “the exact opposite of the truth”.

Yaacov Lozowick’s review deconstructed Sand’s “astonishingly unconvincing scholarship”.

Jeffrey Goldberg argued that “Sand… is dropping manufactured facts into a world that in many cases is ready, willing, and happy to believe the absolute worst conspiracy theories about Jews and to use those conspiracy theories to justify physically hurting Jews.”

In a commentary published in Ha’aretz, Israel Bartal, dean of the humanities faculty of the Hebrew University, wrote that Sand’s claims about Zionist and contemporary Israeli historiography are baseless, calling the work “bizarre and incoherent,” and that Sand’s “…treatment of Jewish sources is embarrassing and humiliating.”

A review by CAMERA noted that “When it comes to undermining the legitimacy of the Jewish state, there is no thesis too absurd to be published, regardless of how preposterous the underlying thesis…Such is the case with The Invention of the Jewish People, a book by Shlomo Sand.”

Of course, Sand’s book did receive critical acclaim by anti-Zionists ideologically predisposed to such a deconstruction of Jewish identity, and therefore Jewish nationalism. 

George Galloway’s interview of Sand on Iranian PressTV allowed the prolific defender of Islamism an opportunity to use Sand’s thesis to argue that since – as Sand argues – Jews were never exiled from the land of Israel there should be no right to return for Jews and no “Zionist right to scatter the Palestinians all over the world.” 

Sand agreed with Galloway’s statement but went one step further stating: “even if it was a people, even if it was an exile…why is it giving rights after two thousand years”. Sand categorically asserted that there was no justification for the “colonial” Zionist project.

Laudatory reviews can also be found at sites dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state, such as Electronic Intifada, Mondoweiss, CounterPunch, the blog of Gilad Atzmon, Al Arabiya, and the site of at least one neo-Nazi group.

In addition to the praise Sand’s work received by such fringe sites, there was at least one widely read “liberal” broadsheet similarly praising the book’s thesis.

The Guardian Group’s praise included Rafael Behr’s Observer review in January 2010, an Observer ‘Book of the Year mention by Eric Hobsbawm, and Ian Pindar’s review of the paperback edition for the Guardian in June 2010.

Behr:

“[Sand demonstrates that] the disappearance of converts from Israeli history books coincides with increased occupation of Arab land. This is not a conspiracy theory. Zionism was a typical modern nation-building exercise. It followed the pattern by which most European national identities were forged in the 19th and 20th centuries. Intellectual elites propagated myths that met “the deep ideological needs of their culture and their society”. In Israel’s case that was the myth of ethnic origins in a biblical kingdom based around Jerusalem.”

“Israel’s best hope is to acknowledge that its nationhood is invented, and modernise even more.” [emphasis mine]

Pindar:

“Sand wants [Israel] to abandon ethnic nationalism and to modernise and democratise, and as this controversial book was a bestseller in Israel, perhaps there is hope that some Israelis want this too.” [emphasis mine]

Hobsbawm:

“Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People (Verso) is both a welcome and, in the case of Israel, much-needed exercise in the dismantling of nationalist historical myth and a plea for an Israel that belongs equally to all its inhabitants. Perhaps books combining passion and erudition don’t change political situations, but if they did, this one would count as a landmark.”

Sand’s “incitement’ against the Jewish people is conveniently available in three separate editions at the Guardian’s Online Bookstore.

UK philosopher Ted Honderich repeats his Guardian refrain that Palestinians have the right to murder Israelis

Back in January of 2011, during the Guardian’s Palestine Papers series, Ted Honderich, a professor of philosophy at University College London, had a letter published in the Guardian which explicitly justified killing Israeli civilians.  

Honderich wrote:

“The revelations in detail (Report, 25 January) of the intransigent greed, the escape from decency, of Israeli governments in negotiation with our selected leaders of the Palestinians, serve one purpose among others. They provide a further part of what is now an overwhelming argument for a certain proposition. It is that the Palestinians have a moral right to their terrorism within historic Palestine against neo-Zionism. The latter, neither Zionism nor of course Jewishness, is the taking from the Palestinians of at least their autonomy in the last one-fifth of their historic homeland. Terrorism, as in this case, can as exactly be self-defence, a freedom struggle, martyrdom, the conclusion of an argument based on true humanity, etc.” [emphasis mine]

In a CounterPunch essay, published several days ago, “The Arab Spring and the coward’s war on Libya“, Honderich wrote the following, which is, word for word, what he wrote in his Guardian letter:

The Palestinians have a moral right to their terrorism within all of historic Palestine against neo-Zionism.”

Honderich has evidently achieved some degree of fame within Islamists circles for his pro-terror stance, as, in an interview with Iranian PressTV this month, he repeated his Guardian and CounterPunch refrain:

“What is happening in Palestine, what is being done by neo-Zionism is such that it gives Palestinians, I happen to believe this and it’s gotten me into trouble, a moral right to their terrorism against neo-Zionism within all of historic Palestine.

Honderich defended his pro-terrorism view, to his PressTV interviewer, thusly:

“I’m writing books. I’m not inciting people. I just give them the best possible reason to give them that the Palestinians have a moral right.”

As I noted at the time the Guardian published Honderich’s January letter:

“Honderich’s letter represented a decision by Guardian editors to publish, and therefore give license to, an explicit justification of terrorism – a call to violence against Israeli [civilians]“

In response to the criticism the Guardian received for publishing Honderich’s letter, Readers’ Editor Chris Elliott wrote the following:

“It is the policy of the Guardian not to publish letters advocating violence against others, but that does not – and should not – preclude a discussion about the nature of terrorism. [Honderich] is not advocating suicide bombing, he is questioning how it is regarded by most people in the west, and how it might be seen as something other than terrorism by people in other places and circumstances…It is a legitimate area of discussion.”

Yes, Honderich was, and still is, morally justifying – that is “advocating” – the murder of innocent Israelis by Palestinian terrorists.

And, yes, regardless of Elliott’s rhetorical obfuscations, the Guardian, by arguing that suicide bombing “could [reasonably] be seen as something other than terrorism by people in other places and circumstances”, provided moral license to Palestinian suicide bombing.

As Honderich might say: the Guardian did not incite people.

They just provided moral justification – in the name of “progressive” thought! – to those who aspire to murder innocent Jewish men, women, and children. 

Legitimizing antisemitism: Guardian provides platform to Alison Wier, blood libel promoter

CiF published a commentary by Andy Newman yesterday, “Gilad Atzmon, antisemitism and the left“, which took aim at the extreme antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon, as well as Alison Weir, an extreme anti-Israel activist who penned an essay for CounterPunch in 2009 lending support to the defamation against Israel regarding the trafficking of Palestinian organs.  

Newman’s piece, as we noted in post yesterday, elicited a high volume of antisemitic reader comments, several explicitly supporting the organ trafficking story.

Shamefully, the Guardian provided Weir a forum yesterday by publishing her letter, Antisemitism and the left – some facts, Sept. 26.

Weir, defending her promotion of the lie that Israelis harvest Palestinian organs from, and charges by Newman that her thesis is devoid of any evidence, writes, on the pages of the Guardian:

I quoted a speech on international organ trafficking by Dr Nancy Scheper-Hughes – Chancellor’s professor of medical anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, the founder of Organ Watch, and the world’s foremost expert on organ trafficking – in which she stated: “Israel is at the top. It has tentacles reaching out worldwide.” [emphasis mine]

Weir further responded to Newman’s argument that her CounterPunch essay legitimized the medieval antisemitic blood libel against Jews.

(The blood libel, the charge that Jews ritually murdered gentiles and used their blood to cast spells, was a mainstay of medieval European anti-Semitism. In Europe, the blood libel led to pogroms, mass slayings and expulsions.)

Writes Weir:

I am happy to point Mr Newman to a previous lengthy article I wrote on Israeli organ trafficking in which, near the end, there is a very short section in which I quote Israeli media reports that a prominent Israeli professor of medieval Jewish history had published a book on this subject.

So, briefly, who is Weir?

No mere anti-Israel activist, Weir, according to the Anti-Defamation League, advances classic Zionist conspiracy theories, such as the argument that the Israel lobby uses intimidation tactics, corrupts the American political system and prevents criticism of its conduct from being voiced by the mainstream media.  Weir also employs anti-Semitic imagery and portrays Israel “and its agents” as ruthless forces that control American policy through brutal intimidation and deception.

In an April 4, 2008, opinion piece she wrote in The Greenwich Citizen entitled, “What Our Taxes to Israel are Funding,” Weir characterized Judaism as “such a ruthless and supremacist faith.”

In her 2003 letter to Israel and Israel’s “frenzied defenders,” published at her own website and in CounterPunch, Weir claimed that Israel imposed its “uni-cultural nation, ridding yourself of hundreds of thousands of human beings who did not fit your national vision of purity.”  Weir added, “In this country [the U.S.]…you’ve killed careers. You’ve killed businesses. You’ve killed hope. You’ve weeded out sprigs of integrity from our Congress, journalists of principle from our press

The Aftonbladet Organ-Trafficking Accusations against Israel

In the Swedish paper, Aftonbladet, writer Donald Boström, in 2009, recounted a story that a young Palestinian man, wanted for terrorism, was shot dead in 1992, and how his body was returned a few days later to his family for burial. Boström then claims there are rumors that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) kills Palestinians and uses their organs for transplants – in collusion with the Israeli medical establishment. The article ends by saying it is time to look into this macabre activity, and urges the Israelis to investigate the allegations.

Medical experts have unanimously stated that the theft of organs from the dead for use in transplants, as alleged in the story, is medically impossible (read here).

However, Boström never outright asserts that Israel does any of these heinous things; he just reports rumors.

These initial responses were followed by a plethora of criticism of the paper, its editor in chief, and its cultural editor for publishing such an article. Politicians such as Gunnar Hökmark, member of the European Parliament from the Conservative Party, wrote that the article was shameful and that Aftonbladet had joined the ranks of papers that have published Nazi-like anti-Semitic propaganda.

The alleged witnesses to the events described in his article, including the families of the purported victims, have completely disavowed the story (read here)

In contrast, Boström’s article was welcomed in the Middle East – for instance, both in Iran and Syria.  In September, various Middle Eastern media published articles mimicking Boström’s, and, not surprisingly, took the conspiracy allegations even further.

The Algerian newspaper al-Khabar ran a story claiming that gangs of Algerians and Moroccans kidnapped Algerian children, took them to Morocco and then to Israel, where their organs were harvested and sold – all of this masterminded by Jews. Later that month, Iran’s Press TV charged that there was a Jewish conspiracy to kidnap children and harvest their organs, and that this activity was growing.

Weir, blood libel and CounterPunch:

The blog Counterpunch, which is edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, published an article in 2009 - based largely from articles written about the controversy by notorious anti-Semite “Israel Shamir” - which alleged that the blood libel is true and is related to purported Israeli thefts of human organs from Palestinians. 

Wrote blogger, Adam Holland:

Counterpunch alleges not only that such murders and thefts of organs in fact truly occur, but that they are part of a campaign which is sanctioned by the Israeli government and other Israeli institutions and that it is connected to religious traditions allowing the ritual murder of gentiles.”

“Weir’s article makes the case that Israel plays a disproportionate role in the illegal trade in human organs, that the government and military is involved, and (as indicated above) that this trade has its roots in Jewish religious traditions involving ritual murder of gentiles.”

“In Europe, the blood libel led to pogroms, mass slayings and expulsions.  The Counterpunch article [by Weir] may be the first instance of an American leftist media outlet promoting the blood libel.” [emphasis mine]

However, as CounterPunch has a marginal reach, the decision by the Guardian to publish Weir’s defense of her CounterPunch essay may represent the first instance of a “respectable”, popular, mainstream liberal broadsheet legitimizing the antisemitic blood libel. 

CiF piece critical of Gilad Atzmon elicits storm of antisemitic reader comments, including organ theft libels

H/T Margie

A good barometer of the depth of Judeophobia among many regular Guardian readers is observing how they respond to a CiF commentary condemning the most egregious and undeniable expressions of Jew hatred.

As such, the hostility towards Jews expressed in various forms by CiF readers in response to a commentary by Andy Newman “Gilad Atzmon, antisemitism and the left, Sept. 25, is a perfect illustration of this dynamic.

Newman, it should be noted, is a trade unionist and contributes to Socialist Unity website.  That is, he is a leftist in good standing – a fact that didn’t seem to at all protect him from a volley of hate and vitriol from Guardian readers outraged at any suggestion that there is a problem with antisemitism on the left.

Newman’s commentary focuses on Gilad Atzmon, whose bigotry towards Jews recalls the most classic expressions of Jew hatred and antisemitic conspiracy theories throughout history.

Here are a few quotes by Atzmon which demonstrate his anti-Jewish racism.

Jews trying to take over the world:

“we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously…. American Jewry makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world, by proxy. So far they are doing pretty well for themselves at least.”

Jews were responsible for their persecution by Nazis:

“Jewish texts tend to glaze over the fact that Hitler’s March 28 1933, ordering a boycott against Jewish
stores and goods, was an escalation in direct response to the declaration of war on Germany by the
worldwide Jewish leadership.”

“Jewish lobbies certainly do not hold back when it comes to pressuring states, world leaders and even super powers. AIPAC’s behavior last week reminded me of the Jewish declaration of war against Nazi Germany in 1933.”

Israel is worse than Nazi Germany:

“We have heard the comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany. I don’t like this comparison because I really think that Israel is far worse than Nazi Germany.”

As you read the CiF comments below, also note that Newman’s commentary also mentioned, as another example of leftist antisemitism, Alison Weir, who published a piece at CounterPunch defending the libels advanced by the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet about Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinians in Gaza to harvest their organs. 

(It’s worth noting that the writings of Atzmon have recently received an unqualified endorsement from John Mearsheimer, the darling of the Israel lobby- fearing left.)

Here is a sample of some of the commentary beneath the line of Newman’s commentary.

Support, to varying degrees, of Israeli organ theft libel:

Zionists support greater antisemitism, as they see it as benefiting Israel.

Criticisms of Atzmon is a cynical attempt to silence all critiques of the Jewish right wing. Commenter endorses Norman Finkelstein.

Atzmon is not antisemitic at all. He is, rather, a compassionate and wise man whose words are just taken out of context and selectively edited.

Neuman’s essay is part of Zionist neocon campaign to smear Atzmon, who is merely revealing the world’s most sinister and racist ideology – Zionism.

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The Guardian, and the company they keep

CiF’s “Best of the Web” included an essay published by Slavoj Zizek on the radical anti-Zionist publication, Counterpunch.



Slavoj Zizek, just to be clear, is a communist, who said:

“However, what one is tempted to add here is that, in the very case of Nazism (and Fascism in general), the constellation of violence is rather the opposite one: crazy, tasteless even, as it may sound, the problem with Hitler was that he was not violent enough, that his violence was not “essential” enough”

And:

“The only way to conceive of what happened on September 11….is to locate it in the context of the antagonisms of global capitalism.”

Let’s recall that Counterpunch published (CiF commentator) Ben White’s apologia for Jew hatred, entitled “Is it possible to understand the rise in anti-Semitism“?  In the essay, White said:

“I can…understand why some are [anti-Semitic]. There are, in fact, a number of reasons. One is the state of Israel, its ideology of racial supremacy and its subsequent crimes committed against the Palestinians.”

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