An appeal to Owen Jones: don’t associate with anti-Semites

This is cross posted from the blog of The CST, and was originally titled ‘Opposing antisemitism: an appeal to put words into action’.

owen jones

Owen Jones

The past two months have seen the number of antisemitic incidents in Britain approach record levels Much of this has been due to extreme reactions to the conflict between Israel and Gaza that reached its latest ceasefire yesterday. This problem, and its link to extreme manifestations of anti-Israel sentiment, has been covered extensively in the British media.

Some pro-Palestinian activists have recognised this problem and spoken out against it. 

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has said that antisemitism has no place in its activities, and Owen Jones wrote a column for the Guardian in which he warned of the need to take antisemitism seriously. In particular, he wrote:

Antisemitic themes are depressingly constant: of Jews being aliens, lacking loyalty to their countries, acting as parasites, wielding disproportionate influence. Sometimes this hatred is overt, other times more subtle and pernicious.

We welcome these statements from supporters of the Palestinian cause, just as we previously welcomed PSC’s rejection of the equation of Israel with Nazi Germany. And because we consider these statements to be important and necessary, we hope and expect that the people who made them will live up to their words and the sentiments behind them.

It is for this reason that we appeal to PSC and to Owen Jones to reconsider the inclusion of Tim Llewellyn as a speaker at a PSC meeting tomorrow evening, 28th August, on “Gaza: let down by the BBC and mainstream media?” We appeal to PSC as the organiser of the meeting and to Jones as one of the other speakers.

Our objection is not to the meeting itself. We do not oppose your right to hold public meetings in support of the Palestinians, or to criticise Israel, or to critique media coverage of the conflict between the two.

Our objection is specifically to the inclusion of Llewellyn as a guest speaker on this topic because he has a record of statements that illustrate exactly what Jones warns against: themes “of Jews being aliens, lacking loyalty to their countries, acting as parasites, wielding disproportionate influence.”

For example, last year at a meeting in London that was also about media coverage of Israel, Llewellyn claimed that the BBC is intimidated by the “Jewish lobby”. When he was challenged on this by the chair of the meeting, he resisted criticism of his choice of phrase. The full exchange ran as follows and can be viewed here on the CST Blog:

Llewellyn: “Is it because… I can see it in the BBC. They’re frighten’, these people are quite aggressive, right. The Jewish Lobby is not much fun. They come at you from every direction.”

Off camera, another speaker says “no”, then, “its the pro-Israel lobby”. It is not exactly clear who says what after this, but it includes the chair Mark McDonald talking over Llewellyn, stating:

“I mean that’s a very important thing to say, that it’s not a Jewish lobby. Can I interrupt a second. It’s not a Jewish lobby. It might be a Zionist lobby. It may be a pro-Israel lobby.”

Llewellyn replies: “Yes, but they use Jewish connections to get you.”

This statement by Llewellyn was not a one-off. It fitted a long record of statements and writings that mix “Jewish” with “Zionist” while alleging that both hold undue and nefarious influence in British public life. For example, in 2006, Llewellyn wrote the following in the Foreword to a new edition of Publish It Not: The Middle East Cover-Up by Michael Adams and Christopher Mayhew:

No alien polity has so successfully penetrated the British government and British institutions during the past ninety years as the Zionist movement and its manifestation as the state of Israel…the Zionists have manipulated British systems as expertly as maestros, here a massive major chord, there a minor refrain, the audience, for the most part, spellbound.

…this cuckoo in the nest of British politics…

… Israel had worked its spells well, with a lot of help from its friends: these lined the benches of parliament, wrote the news stories and editorials, framed the way we saw and heard almost everything about the Middle East on TV, radio and in the press. History, the Bible, Nazi Germany’s slaughter of the Jews, Russian pogroms, the Jewish narrative relayed and parlayed through a thousand books, films, TV plays and series, radio programmes, the skills of Jewish writers, diarists, memoirists, artists and musicians, people like us and among us, all had played their part.

…the fervent Zionist Labour MPs, some of them little better than bully-boys, Richard Crossman (not a Jew), Ian Mikardo, Maurice Edelman, Emmanuel “Manny” Shinwell, Sidney Silverman, Konni Zilliacus et al, are, mercifully, not only no longer with us but have not been replaced, not in such virulent form.

… the Union of Jewish Students, which elbows and induces Zionistically inclined undergraduates towards influential positions in British public life, especially the media, the banking sector and information technology.

Llewellyn mixes “Zionist” with “Jewish”, describing both as “alien” to Britain; and alleges undue and negative influence and manipulation of the media, politics and “the banking sector”. These allegations all have clear antecedents in antisemitic conspiracy theories.

Another example: in 2004, Llewellyn was quoted in the Jewish Chronicle as describing former US ambassador Dennis Ross in these terms:

He also denounced broadcasters who invited the “insidious” former US ambassador to the Middle East Denis Ross, without fully identifying him.

Mr Llewellyn said: “What a lovely Anglo-Saxon name! But Denis Ross is not just a Jew, he is a Zionist, a long-time Zionist… and now directs an Israeli-funded think tank in Washington. He is a Zionist propagandist.”

The suggestion that broadcasters should identify an interviewee as “a Jew”, lest their viewers be fooled by an “Anglo-Saxon name”, is scurrilous and prejudiced.

In 2012, Llewellyn wrote of

massive media distortion, and … Zionist penetration and manipulation of our institutions – the media, universities, local education, political parties…

He went on to describe as Britain’s

real enemies… the ambitious and greedy British politicians and insidious political influence, in this case spawned by an alien state and strengthened by its friends in our midst, people who put Israel’s interests above that of their own nation.

(From The Battle for Public Opinion in Europe: Changing Perceptions of the Palestine-Israel Conflict, eds. Daud Abdullah & Ibrahim Hewitt, not online). Again, this echoes the classical antisemitic allegation of ‘dual loyalty’, whereby British Jews are accused of lacking loyalty to the country of their birth.

If the important and welcome statements by PSC, Owen Jones and others about their opposition to antisemitism and determination to exclude it from pro-Palestinian activism have real meaning, then there should be no place for Tim Llewellyn at a PSC meeting. This is not an abstract argument: the sharp increase in antisemitism in Britain in recent weeks demonstrates that fact. Words lead to actions, good and bad. We now invite PSC and Owen Jones to put their valuable and worthy statements and principles into practice. A discussion of media coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict must not give room to those who believe that there is a Zionist conspiracy to control, manipulate or influence the British media, politics, banking and education, as Tim Llewellyn has suggested. Nor should pro-Palestinian activism be a home for those who believe that Jews are an alien presence, disloyal to Britain, who change their names to disguise their true loyalties.

Put your words into action, and remove Tim Llewellyn from your platform.

Guardian fauxtography: Chris McGreal pulls a Jon Donnison

You no doubt recall when, during the last war in Gaza in 2012, BBC’s Jon Donnison tweeted a photo of a girl with the title “Pain in Gaza”, to which Donnison added his own commentary – “Heartbreaking”.  It of course turned out that the genuinely heartbreaking image was actually from Syria and not from Gaza – a mistake for which Donnison subsequently apologized. 

Well, within the last hour, the Guardian’s Chris McGreal just retweeted the following, to his nearly 4,000 followers, a Tweet by Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director, Middle East and North Africa Division, for Human Rights Watch.

syria

However, this photo of a boy (8 year old Eid) holding his new prosthetic leg was taken in Syria, not Gaza.

pcrf

The article posted at the site of Palestine Children’s Relief Fund explains:

Thanks to the support of donors all over the world, the hard work of the PCRF Jordan Chapter, and Mr. Charl Stenger, an orthotics specialist working in Dubai, 8-year-old Eid from Syria got his new artificial legs after losing them from a bombing earlier this year (his mother was killed and his 5-year-old sister also lost a leg).  The PCRF is dedicated to helping any child in need, regardless of their nationality, religion or ethnicity.  

No doubt, apologies from McGreal and Whitson will be forthcoming.

UPDATE: Whitson deleted her tweet and wrote this:

delete

No word yet from McGreal.

Mira Bar-Hillel falls for phony ‘IDF’ tweet ‘admitting’ to murdering children

For those unfamiliar with the British ‘journalist’ Mira Bar-Hillel (who contributes to the Independent), here are a few facts about her views on Jews and Israel:

  • She complained that Jews smear people unfairly with the charge of antisemitism to “gag into submission any critic of Israel”.
  • She evoked Nazi Germany in characterizing Israeli racism and IDF military actions in Gaza.
  • She accused British Jews (collectively) of ‘bombing Gaza’.
  • She bizarrely argued that British Jews don’t criticize Israeli actions in Gaza out of fear of being “ex-communicated” from the Jewish community. (She later admitted that she had no evidence to back this claim up.)
  • She has admitted to being “prejudiced against Jews”. (See her exact words)
  • She believes that “the message” of Jews controlling America is “entirely true” and “increasingly so”, and that Jewish lobbyists appear to be picking up some of the ideas from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and using them.

Now, the latest.

Here are two tweets from today by Bar-Hillel, which included a graphic purporting to represent an “IDF tweet”:

Here’s Bar-Hillel’s first tweet, with the “IDF tweet” attached.

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And, then, 8 minutes later she asks a few more of her Zionist nemeses to justify the ‘IDF tweet':

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We’re not sure if anyone out there, except Bar-Hillel and her motley crew of retweeters, could possibly believe in the authenticity of this “IDF” tweet “acknowledging” child murder, but, briefly:

It was clearly photoshopped from this real IDF tweet from Aug. 21:

And, the graphic was almost certainly taken from this IDF tweet

Mira Bar-Hillel wants so badly to believe that Israel murders children that she was willing to believe this absurd hoax tweet.

Tell us again why Bar-Hillel continues to pen op-eds for British newspapers (on the topics of Israel and antisemitism!) and lands interviews with the BBC and Sky News, on similar topics, as a ‘representative’ of the British Jewish community.

ISM propaganda film update: What being killed by a sniper really looks like

(Here’s an edited version of the latest installment from Thomas Wictor, fisking a widely reported ISM video purporting to show the ‘killing’, by an unseen IDF sniper, of Salem Shemaly in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya on July 20th – A.L.)

In the past twenty-four hours, I’ve gotten dozens of messages from Jewish Britons, telling me that the fake Gaza sniper video is suddenly coming up over and over in the UK.

indy

Op-ed at the Independent, Aug. 22, focusing on the “killing” of Shemaly

British Jews are being called murderers. Does that make sense on any level? Am I now allowed to call all Arab-Americans in Detroit murderers because of the atrocities committed by the Islamic State? So, I’m going do something I wanted to avoid. Let me show you the harsh reality of being killed by a sniper.

Don’t watch any of the videos if you’re sensitive. I’ll describe them so that you don’t have to subject yourself to the imagery and sounds if things like this are too hard for you to take.

Last night I was interviewed by an Israeli news program. The interviewer had read my posts on the fake Gaza sniper video put out by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), but she said it was difficult for people to understand what I was saying without visual imagery.

I disagree. People are being deliberately obtuse in order to have more “war crimes” to pin on Israel.  But to satisfy the wishes of the masses, I’ll provide visual imagery.

First the original ISM video, which you may need for comparison purposes

To give ISM the greatest possible leeway, I’ll restrict myself to discussing the M24 Sniper Weapon System, the lightest-caliber such rifle in the Israeli arsenal.

sniperIsraeli designated marksmen have rifles that fire a less-powerful cartridge, but the accusation is that a sniper killed Salem Shamaly from a house several hundred meters away.

Minaret.1

In the foreground is the alleged sniper’s position, according to while the red arrow marks where Salem Shamaly is said to have been shot. Therefore a trained sniper would’ve had to have taken the shots. I’ll assign him the M24 Sniper Weapon System instead of the massively more powerful .338-caliber HTR-2000 that Israel uses.

One of my criticisms of the ISM video is that the “shots” don’t sound like a rifle. Here are IDF snipers firing the M24 at targets. Nobody gets hurt.

Do you hear anything in the ISM video that sounds remotely like that? The M4 has a strangely legato report. What I hear in the Pallywood production are the high-pitched, stacatto pak! of small explosives detonated electrically. They’re used to simulate bullet impacts in movies.


Now the “Israeli sniper’s” bullet. The green arrow identifies the .300 magnum cartridge that the M24 fires.

300_Magnum

One of the ways that I know the ISM video is fake is that we see no wounds on Salem Shamaly. I’ve said this several times, but people don’t seem to understand. Fine. Now I’ll show you what I mean.

This is what the .300 magnum bullet does to the living flesh of a deer.

deer

Salem Shamaly was said to have been shot three times. This deer was shot once with a .300 magnum bullet.

300_magnum.1

Since he was on his back, Salem Shamaly would’ve had to have been hit in the front. He has no injuries whatsoever, much less the gigantic, exploded holes you see on the deer.

According to the ISM fiction, Salem Shamaly lay on the ground and was shot repeatedly by an Israeli sniper. Here’s genuine video of a Syrian man lying on the ground and being shot repeatedly by a Syrian Arab Army sniper.

He was initially hit in the right forearm, before the video began. At 0:32 he’s shot in the right ankle. He jerks violently from the shock. Salem Shamaly makes no such movements as the .300 magnum bullets allegedly slam into him.

At 1:12, the Syrian man gets up and runs for cover. His right forearm and ankle are shattered from the impact of the bullets, and the front of his sweater is smeared with blood. He makes it around the corner and is rescued at 2:06.

That man was shot at least three times by a sniper. He has blood, injuries, and involuntary reactions to prove it.

This next video shows another Syrian man shot by a sniper. Before the camera began rolling, he was hit in the torso, on the front of his body. Unlike the shirt of Salem Shamaly, this man’s garment is soaked in blood.


At 0:07 he’s hit in the back of his left thigh, in exactly the place where ISM claims that Salem Shamaly was shot. When the bullet strikes this Syrian man, it raises a cloud of dust because the force slams his leg into the ground. The man’s thigh blows apart, and a substantial amount of blood is visible. As the man tries to crawl away, the sniper fires four more times. More clouds of dust are raised. It’s certain that the man didn’t survive.

And here’s the final reason I know the ISM video is fake. This is a Syrian rebel dying on camera after being shot in the chest. Unlike Salem Shamaly, this man is covered with blood.

At 0:28 he raises his legs in cadaveric spasm, an involuntary muscle reaction that occurs at the moment of traumatic death. This also causes his fists to clench. Cadaveric spasm signifies intense emotion. He begins Cheyne-Stokes respiration at 0:44; it’s a classic symptom of the dying process. The wound in his chest damaged his heart, causing fatal cardiac arrest.

Not only does Salem Shamaly show no signs of being shot or of dying, the activists filming him don’t behave as though he’s dying. 

Fakery belittles the suffering of genuine war victims. Superficial, safe, uninformed First Worlders who think the ISM video is real should have their faces ground into the reality of death until they scream for mercy.

The ISM are con artists who’ve told so many lies that they can’t even keep track of them. Here’s what NBC News said about Salem Shamaly.

Ayman Mohyeldin: At the morgue, even after a week of decomposing in the sun, Khalil quickly recognized his son’s body and that green shirt.

Actually, that means that Salem spent a week decomposing in the sun, but never mind. The Palestinian Authority has a different story.

Salem_Shemaly1

To Israelis and Jews everywhere, don’t feel anything except disgust at this infantile playacting. When somebody brings up this video, just point them toward this post. And then cut them out of your lives.

Israelis don’t shoot unarmed civilians as a matter of policy. Their neighbors are the ones who do that. The ISM video is pure psychological projection.

Guardian cartoon juxtaposes ISIS and Netanyahu

No, this is not, by a long stretch, the worst Guardian cartoon (Martin Rowson on the Bárðarbunga volcano – cartoon, Aug. 24). And by that we mean, unlike other cartoons published by the media group that we’ve highlighted, this one is not antisemitic.  

However…

rowson

Here’s a close up of the relevant section of the cartoon, which references recent news regarding a possible volcanic eruption in Iceland to make a point about ‘human sacrifice’ (a possible allusion to the row over the Elie Wiesel Anti-Hamas ‘Child Sacrifice’ Ad), violence and ‘savages’ among us:

snapshot

First, note the cartoon’s placement of evidently equally abhorrent “savages” – the ISIS jihadist, Netanyahu, the Hamasnik, Russia’s Putin, Egypt’s al-Sisi, Syria’s Assad, President Obama, Saudi’s King Abdullah and (possibly) Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau. 

Moreover, let’s remember one thing. This is the Guardian, and their cartoonist’s decision to place the Israeli Prime Minister right next to the ISIS jihadist is certainly not an accident.

Indeed, the mere absence of overt Judeophobic calumnies does not lessen the injurious editorial impact of Rowson’s graphic agitprop: by blurring the profound moral distinctions between antisemitic extremists and the Jewish target of their hate, it is hostile to the most elementary understanding of what opposing antisemitism means.

Condemning antisemitism in the abstract while failing to name, shame and condemn actual anti-Semites is the anti-racism of posers and cowards.

Dishonourable Brits: Why the Guardian can’t distinguish between Semites & anti-Semites

If a radical right-wing U.S. group possessed an ideology which was homophobic, misogynistic, and anti-democratic, and continually attempted to murder a historically oppressed minority to clean the region of their ‘pernicious influence’ – due to their fundamentalist interpretation of a religious text – anti-racist commentators at the Guardian would stand proudly on the side of the besieged minority and rightfully demonize the racist extremist group.

Transplant this scenario to the Mid-East (and replace the white sheets with black face masks and green headbands) however, and such moral clarity – which distinguishes between a racist extremist group and the minorities they’re targeting – often gets blurred.

hamas_talks_a_0305

In a review of BBC2’s The Honourable Woman, the Guardian’s diplomatic correspondent Julian Borger (Can The Honourable Woman teach us anything about the Gaza conflict?, Aug. 20) presents another example of media group’s profound moral confusion when interpreting conflicts between Israel and Islamist extremists.

Borger characterizes the show as “a tale of intrigue, betrayal and silk blouses set against the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, and then adds: “Whether we will have learned anything about Gaza or the Israeli-Palestinian struggle is another matter”.

Border then writes:

So the ruthless and omnipotent assassin, a regular plot device of political thrillers, is in this case a Palestinian militant. Just like the show’s American inspiration, Homelandit revives the spectre of the Arab bogeyman as the evil genius among us, ghosting across borders on false passports. 

This is understandably vexing for Palestinians. After all, it is Mossad that has won itself the reputation in recent years for sending assassins to kill abroad on forged identity papers. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have largely fought their battles on home turf with much blunter methods.

Likewise, the agony of liberal British Jews looking on in horror at the bloodletting in Israel and the Palestinian territories is true to life. What feels like a sentimental anachronism is the central premise in the plot: that they can do anything to change it. It is hard to imagine in these dark times that it would be so easy for a well-meaning Jewish philanthropist to breeze through the West Bank and for her saccharine, slightly condescending speeches to be received so admiringly by Palestinian students. Hard to imagine, too, that Nessa Stein would have such an easy time of it in Netanyahu’s Israel. These days, there would be rightwing mobs outside her doveish events, chanting: “Death to the Arabs.”

Leaving aside Borger’s risible suggestion that Palestinian jihadist groups have shown more restraint than Israel when carrying out attacks on their enemies, the Guardian editor’s review is notable in which political actor in the Middle East is identified as the racist (Jewish mobs chanting “death to Arabs”) and which one is the unfairly stereotyped minority (the “Arab bogeyman”).

It’s important to read such passages in the context of the Guardian overall coverage of both the current war between Hamas and Israel, and the broader Israeli-Islamist Conflict.

Though Guardian correspondents sometimes note that Hamas is ‘considered’ a terrorist group by much of the West, their reporters, editors and commentators almost never explain to their readers that Hamas is an antisemitic extremist group - a reactionary racist, violent, fundamentalist movement at odds with the liberal, enlightenment values they claim to champion.

Whilst the Guardian never tires in highlighting racism (real or imagined) expressed by the most unrepresentative fringe elements in Israeli society, they almost uniformly avoid mentioning that the group currently ruling Gaza literally calls for the extermination of Jews.  It simply isn’t possible for UK news consumers to clearly understand the battles being waged in Israel and Gaza while ignorant of this fundamental fact about Hamas’s eliminationist antisemitism.

Reports about ceasefire negotiations between the two parties in Cairo which merely emphasize that Hamas demands a loosening of the Israeli blockade, while ignoring that their end goal continues to be the annihilation of the only Jewish state, are akin to media reports during WWII noting Germany’s territorial aspirations without any context regarding Hitler’s belief in Aryan racial supremacy and his wish to exterminate Jews and other ‘undesirables’.

On the other hand, it is heartening to see the support – among many Guardian contributors – for the West’s efforts to rein in an apocalyptic and genocidal Middle-East based, Sunni extremist offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood with a global expansionist worldview, which targets civilians, ruthlessly murders its enemies, possesses a pathological hatred for Jews and advocates Sharia Law over universal human rights.

However, whilst we’re of course referring to ISIS (Islamic State), we also just accurately described the fundamental ideological orientation of Hamas.

So, what accounts for such a profound moral inconsistency? Why are Palestinian jihadists not like the other jihadists?   

Though antisemitism is one factor which partly explains this phenomenon (among some Guardian contributors and journalists), the more widespread political dynamics at play are moral relativism, an egregiously skewed understanding of anti-imperialism, a glorification of ‘Palestinian resistance’ and an obsession with Jews and Israel  - in short, the signature ideological ticks of the Guardian Left.

There is, however, one more factor. 

We are often asked if we believe the Guardian to be institutionally antisemitic.  While their obsessive and almost entirely negative coverage of the Jewish State fans the flame of antisemitism, this writer, for one, does not believe the media group is compromised institutionally by anti-Jewish racism.

It may be more accurate to observe in the Guardian worldview a capacity to forcefully condemn antisemitism in the abstract, but an inability to summon such righteous indignation when doing so would require parting company with other ‘historically oppressed’ groups, and indeed challenge their very ideological identity.

In their failure to condemn Hamas, and morally distinguish antisemitic extremists from the Jews they’re trying to kill, lies not a visceral antipathy towards Jews as such, but a tragic lack of courage to follow their convictions into uncomfortable political places – cowardliness which continues to bring dishonour to their once proud journalistic community. 

Imagine: A Guardian letter by ‘liberal’ Palestinians condemning Hamas calls for genocide

No, Palestinians did NOT have a letter published at the Guardian condemning Hamas for its antisemitic, pro-genocide ideology.

However, the Guardian, in an especially egregious abuse of Holocaust memory, did publish a letter (originally posted by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network titled ‘Over 300 Survivors and Descendants of Survivors of Victims of the Nazi Genocide Condemn Israel’s Assault on Gazacondemning alleged Israeli pro-genocidal policies.

We’re not sure which is more unlikely: that ‘liberal’ Palestinians would ever conceive of writing a similarly self-critical letter, or that the Guardian would ever publish it. But, here’s what such a letter – let’s say written by Palestinian Nakba survivors – condemning Hamas’s real plan of genocide against the Jews would possibly look like:

As Palestinian survivors and descendants of survivors of the Nakba, we unequivocally condemn Hamas’s genocidal ideology and statements by their top political and religious leaders attesting to their ongoing plan to exterminate the Jews.

We further condemn Western states more generally for failing to use their diplomatic muscle and moral authority to forcefully denounce this extreme form of anti-Jewish racism at every opportunity.  

Genocide begins with the silence of the world.

We are similarly alarmed by the extreme, racist dehumanization of Jews within Palestinian society, which has reached fever-pitch.

We are saddened by polls indicating that 93% of Palestinians hold antisemitic views, that Politicians and pundits in the state-controlled Palestinian media (in Gaza and the West Bank) have openly called for genocide, and that innocent Palestinian children are indoctrinated on the necessity of murdering Jews. 

Furthermore, we are outraged by the media’s failure to adequately inform readers, in the ubiquitous articles and commentaries published about the current war, that Hamas has no discernible political objectives, save of course the extermination of Jews from the Middle East.

Though we continue to mourn the loss of our homes at the hands of Israeli forces in the war of 1948, and hope for a just solution to the refugee problem, nothing can justify firing rockets at Israeli civilian communities, targeting Jewish children in mass terror attacks and nurturing Palestinian men, women and children on the virtues of Jihad.

We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to condemn the scourge of Palestinian antisemitism and say ‘Not in our name’!  

Hamas does not speak for us and does not represent our values.

“Never again” must mean “Never again”.

Signed,

Survivors of the Palestinian Nakba and their descendants

 

Former Guardian staffer reflects on the media group’s ‘vicious’ anti-Israel bias

The following was written by Alan Simons, and originally posted at his blog, Jewish Info News

the-guardian-a

Many years ago in the UK, I worked for The Guardian. I have to admit I didn’t actually work in the editorial department, but I had day-to-day contact with many of the paper’s columnists and journalists. I even had to pay for the occasional round of drinks at the ‘local,’ around the corner from the office.

Unlike now, many of the editorial staff were media icons in their own right. Mark Arnold-Forster, Clare Hollingworth, Victor Zorza, John Cole, Mary Stott, Norman Shrapnel and of course Alistair Cooke in the USA, to name a few.

Editors of the past such as Alistair Hetherington who continues to be regarded as one of the leading editors of the second half of the twentieth century and Peter Preston both strove to present a balanced view. Since then the paper has steadily strengthened its biased anti-Israel position.  As Greville Janner the former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews has stated, the paper is “viciously and notoriously anti-Israel.”

It may surprise some readers to learn that C. P. Scott, one of the most famous editors of The Guardian had a strong  friendship with Chaim Weizmann. It is believed that friendship played a role in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. In 1948 The Guardian was a supporter of the new State of Israel.

With Alistair Hetherington at the helm, The Guardian‘s favourable view of Israel continued, as illustrated in their Leader of Monday, June 12, 1967 16.44 BST:

Future security is their first concern. They will not give up the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank of the Jordan, or the heights over looking the upper Jordan valley until they know what the Arabs will accept. If there is no peace settlement, will they ever give them up?

Israel wishes to live in peace. She does not want hostile neighbours on her borders, whoever they are, for another hundred or two hundred years. She wants normal trading relations with her neighbours. The offer of generous terms is therefore still worth trying – especially if, through the United Nations and all the Great Powers, Israel’s future frontiers are effectively guaranteed.

In 2002 the paper ran a Leader which, in part said, “the Jewish community is right to fear that the repulsive antisemitism… in many Arab countries…  can find an alarming echo within some British Muslim communities.” But, that was The Guardian of the past.  And now, in 2014 The Guardian  breaks all the barriers in stoking the fire of antisemitism that twelve years ago it found quite alarming.

Here below is a video link to the speech given by Seumas Milne, the paper’s associate editor. Prior to working for The Guardian, Milne was the “business manager of Straight Left, a monthly publication of…  the Communist Party of Great Britain.” I suppose it’s a no-brainer to figure out where he’s coming from.

This associate editor of The Guardian, in front of tens of thousands of anti-Israel protesters at Hyde Park in London, explicitly justified Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis (a refrain from his Guardian column in mid-July), and accused ‘terrorist’ Israel of  ‘industrial scale’ killing in Gaza.”

Paraphrasing Tarek Fatah, the Canadian writer, broadcaster and secular Muslim activist: movements created on the basis of a hatred towards others will soon run out of people that they can hate and will devour themselves.

In response, I say to the antisemites of this world. Hurry up, my people haven’t got all day!

ISM propaganda film update: Discrepancy in accounts of Salem Shemaly’s retrieval

Yesterday, after we cross-posted Thomas Wictor’s latest post on the ‘killing’of Salem Shemaly (which fisked a Channel 4 News report on the ISM propaganda film), we noticed that the list of Gaza war casualties noted that Shemaly’s dead body was retrieved two full days after the videotaped ‘killing’ on July 20th:

shelamy

Why, we asked, would it take two days to retrieve Shemaly?

Could the ISM activists (and Palestinian rescuers) who accompanied him have been afraid of similarly being targeted by the ‘IDF sniper’ if they retrieved the body, even though they were, let’s remember, easily able to get within a few meters of him (without incident) during the moment of his death? 

Well, evidently there’s now a different version of the time period between Shemaly’s death and the date his body was retrieved.

In this NBC News report from July 27th, it’s claimed (at roughly the 2 minute mark) that Shemaly’s father was able to identified the body of his son even after it “decomposed in the sun” for a full week.


So, while the official death list claims that Shemaly’s body was retrieved after two days, this NBC News report claims it was retrieved a week after his death.

You can get up to speed on the other major inconsistencies and apparent fabrications in the ISM propaganda film of Shemaly’s death herehere and here.

Why did it take 2 days to retrieve the body of Gazan ‘killed’ by IDF sniper?

Last month we published a post based on Thomas Wictor’s fisking of a International Solidarity Movement (ISM) video purporting to show the ‘killing’, by an unseen IDF sniper, of Salem Khalil Salem Shemaly in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya (on Sunday, July 20th) as he was looking for missing relatives.  

Despite the inconsistencies and seeming fabrications in the the highly edited ISM video, the story was reported throughout the mainstream media – at the New York TimesNewsweek, Times of London, Daily Mail, Vice News and elsewhere

Today, shortly after we cross-posted Wictor’s latest post on the ‘killing’of Shemaly (which fisked a Channel 4 News report on the ISM video), we noticed that, per the list of Gaza war casualties, Shemaly’s ‘dead’ body was retrieved two full days after the videotaped ‘killing':

Salem Khalil Salem Shemaly, 22, Sheja’eyya – Gaza (Killed Sunday, Body Located Tuesday)

Why would it take two days to retrieve Shemaly?

Are we to believe that the Palestinian rescuers (in the yellow vests) and the ISM activists filming the incident were all afraid to retrieve Shemaly out of concern for their own lives?

If so, how can this concern be reconciled with the fact that they were extremely close Shemaly at the time of the alleged shooting, and yet weren’t touched by the ‘IDF sniper’?

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Palestinian rescuers observe Shemaly’s ‘death’

Here’s a close up of the ISM crew filming Shemaly’s ‘death’.  

Capture

Are we to believe that, shortly after the moment captured in this frame, the ISM activists and Palestinian rescuers decided against retrieving the body, turned around and simply fled the scene?

Why won’t ISM publicly release the full unedited video, so that these questions – and those posed by Thomas Wictor – can be answered?

Channel 4 News ‘report’ legitimizes ISM propaganda video

The following is an edited version of a post published by Thomas Wictor

Someone asked me if I’d seen Channel 4 News’s report “What Really Happened to Salem Shamaly?” I hadn’t. Now I have, and I believe that it should make reporter Inigo Gilmore the laughingstock of the news profession. But of course it won’t. It’s a followup to the fake Gaza sniper video I wrote about on July 21, 2014. I’m stunned that a supposedly reputable news outfit would put out such propaganda, but it did.

First, the Channel 4 News video. 

Here’s the original International Solidarity Movement (ISM) video for your reference.

At 4:18 in the Channel 4 News video, Inigo Gilmore says, “The first shot that hit him is not caught on camera.”

It most certainly is. At 2:23 in the fake sniper video, you hear a gunshot and its echo. Mohammed jostles the camera to add crappy Blair Witch Project drama, and then you see this.

white screen

 

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Independent posts op-ed by Ilan Pappe calling Israel a ‘supremacist’ Jewish state

The Times of Israel recently published a story titled ‘Israeli soldiers sperm in hot demand‘, which reported an increase in the number of Israeli women seeking sperm donors with a military background, likely reflecting the fact that the war in Gaza may have given many of the women new insights into the value of heroism and patriotism.

However, as we’ve seen time and time again, the most popular anti-Zionists among British news editors tend to be those who can take a relatively innocuous fact about the Jewish State, and manage to impute the most malevolent and racist motives.

To boot, an Aug. 17th op-ed at the Indy by the anti-Zionist Israeli historian Ilan Pappe (What a rising demand for the sperm of IDF soldiers and a “fun” questionnaire reveal about Israel) takes the Times of Israel story about sperm donation trends into a predictable direction.

Here are the relevant passages in Pappe’s op-ed:

The first is the present drive among infertile Jewish parents to seek the sperm of the combatant elite units who fought in Gaza. This is to ensure the purest and most supreme DNA possible for their prospective children. And it is fully supported by the official Israeli Sperm Bank.

To be honest, these soldiers did not do too well in the battlefield. Conventional armies are inept when it comes to battling face-to-face with desperate guerrillas dug deep in tunnels and bunkers. Possibly the HAMAS DNA would have been a bit more fitting for this purpose, if one wishes to take ad absurdum this Israeli Jewish obsession with human engineering.

It was bad enough to base the whole Zionist idea on the wish to create an exclusive and supremacist Jewish democracy, in a land where the Jews were not and are not going to be ever such a majority (unless they genocide the local population).

There are other enormously problematic elements of Pappe’s op-ed, but the charge leveled against Israel that those Jewish Israeli women who want the father of their children to be Israeli soldiers reflects some sort of endemic Jewish racism should briefly be put in context.

The term “Jewish supremacism” – an especially vile form of the ‘Zionism = Racism” charge – has been popularized by extreme antisemites such as former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke and a neo-Nazi style extremist named Gilad Atzmon. Indeed, the doctoral thesis written by Duke was titled ‘Zionism is a form of ethnic supremacism’. 

But, at the heart of Pappe’s charges is something much darker than merely a commentary on Zionism.  If you recall, back in 2011 the Guardian’s Deborah Orr achieved well-deserved notoriety for complaining that so many Zionists believe “that the lives of the chosen are of hugely greater consequence than those of their unfortunate [Palestinian] neighbors” – “Zionists” of course being a euphemism for “Jews”.

Such an ugly distortion of the Jewish ‘chosen people’ idea often suggests that the Jewish faith, in practice if not by theological design, arguably shares an ideological similitude with other odious, exclusivist 20th century ideologies in that they see their group as a superior race.

Ilan Pappe had to be aware of the ideological baggage associated with that the term “supremacist” in relation to the state of the Jewish people, and editors at the Indy – which claims to be a champion of enlightenment values – should certainly not have allowed its editorial pages to be used as a repository of such reactionary, racist notions about Jews and Israel.  

Guardian readers’ editor claims that Hamas ‘denies’ using human shields

Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott, in an Aug. 18th column on the Hamas ‘child sacrifice’ advert featuring Elie Wiesel, wrote the following in the context of suggesting that his paper’s decision to publish the ad was not a wise one.

whatever the intention, the biblical language, the references to child sacrifice, all evoke images of that most ancient of antisemitic tropes: the blood libel. The authors may believe that they have steered a careful course by aiming these matters at an organisation, Hamas, rather than all Palestinians, but the association is there. If an advertisement was couched in similar terms but the organisation named was the IDF rather than Hamas, I can’t imagine the Guardian would run it – I certainly hope it wouldn’t. I think that’s the issue.

Of course, the difference between charging soldiers of the Jewish State with a blood libel (the historic allegation that Jews murder non-Jews, especially children, and use their blood for religious rituals, part of a broader narrative regarding Jewish “murder-lust”) vs leveling such charges at Hamas is that there is no history of racist anti-Palestinian blood libel tropes.

However, there’s another claim in Elliott’s critique of the ad which is even more dubious:

Each advertisement has clearly got to be decided on a case-by-case basis, bearing in mind not just specific criteria but the context of the times as well. I entirely support the argument that freedom of expression means the freedom to offend. On that basis I don’t think it was wrong to run an advertisement that expressed a viewpoint, with which the Guardian has no sympathy, about the alleged use of human shields by Hamas, which the organisation has strenuously denied. But there are always limits. 

So, Hamas has “strenuously denied” the charge? Really?

Evidently, Elliott didn’t see this widely circulated MEMRI clip of Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri (from Al-Aqsa TV on July 8th) commenting on one of the many well-documented ‘human shield’ incidents.

Contrary to Elliott’s claim, the official Hamas spokesman couldn’t possibly have been clearer about the use of human shields: “We in Hamas call upon our people to adopt this policy“.  

CiF Watch prompts revision to Economist claim about MK Zoabi’s suspension

Earlier in the month we posted about a curious omission in an Economist article titled ‘Us and Them‘, Aug. 2.  

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Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi

To buttress their broader theme on the putative ‘erosion of Israel’s democracy’, the characteristically anonymous article made the following claim about Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi:

This week the Knesset banned an Arab member, Haneen Zoabi, for six months for “aggressive behaviour” in anti-war demonstrations.

However, as we noted at the time, this is an inaccurate statement as it omits key information about the suspension.

MK Zoabi was suspended for six months from the Knesset (while still maintaining her voting rights in the Israeli legislative body) for two reasons – one of which the Economist completely omitted. 

While Zoabi’s suspension was in part due to an incident with a police officer at a protest rally (as they noted), the main reason was related to her assertion, in mid June, that the kidnappers of three Israeli teens (Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrah, and Gilad Shaar) were NOT terrorists – a comment she evidently didn’t amend, even after the boys’ bullet ridden bodies were discovered partially buried near Hebron on June 30.

Shimon Peres

We complained to Economist editors, and, in addition to slightly revising the text to note that Zoabi’s behavior at the protest was only one of the reasons for her suspension, they added the following addendum.

corexThough the text still doesn’t include the main reason for Zoabi’s suspension, editors’ acknowledgement that the original language was misleading is of course welcomed. 

Giles Fraser finds one righteous Jew – and his name is Gideon Levy

One of the most edifying political experiences I had before making Aliyah occurred in 2007 when I observed an anti-Israel event outside Philadelphia, in which an anti-Zionist Jew named Marc Ellis was asked by an anti-Zionist non-Jew, at the Q&A after the event, how many ‘righteous Jews’, like him, there actually were in the world.  

Ellis’s answer: “Sadly, not very many“.

Indeed, many within the Guardian Left often insist upon the virtue of ‘left-wing’, ‘peace activist’, ‘human rights-advocating’ Israelis, in contrast to the living, breathing obstacles-to-peace represented by the ‘right-wing’, ‘settler’, ‘ultra-Zionist‘, ‘war-hungry’, ‘anti-Arab’ variety Israeli – a paradigm that’s been compromised of late by the near universal Israeli support for their country’s war against an extremist movement which calls for the mass murder of Jews known as Hamas.

Israeli writer Amos Oz, a founder of “Peace Now,” explained recently why he supports the war, by stating quite simply: “The only way to repel aggression is unfortunately by force”.

This clearly presented a dilemma for the Guardian’s Giles Fraser, in his Aug. 7 op-ed, “Against the war: the movement that dare not speak its name in Israel“. 

The Guardian’s Giles Fraser

So, what to do?  

Find a ‘brave’ Israeli peace activist.

Gideon Levy

Gideon Levy

Fraser’s protagonist is Ha’aretz’s prolific anti-Zionist, Gideon Levy, whose infamous record of baseless claims includes falsifying a poll to suggest Israeli support for apartheid (for which he was forced to apologize) and parroting the ‘Zionism = Racism’ canard in declaring that “a Jewish state means a racist, nationalistic state, meant for Jews only.”

Much like an interview with Levy in 2010 at the Independent (by the radical anti-Israel journalist Johann Hari)Fraser presents the Ha’aretz columnist as a courageous voice who strives to expose Israel’s immutable sin.

Fraser writes:

In his column in Haaretz, [Levy] has long since banged the drum for greater Israeli empathy towards the suffering of the Palestinians. He is a well-known commentator on the left, and one of the few prepared to stick his head above the parapet

Levy’s unpardonable crime is vocal opposition to the war and to the bombing of Gaza. According to recent polls, support for the military operation in Gaza among the Jewish Israeli public stands somewhere between 87% (Channel 10 News) and 95% (Israel Democracy Institute). Even those who are secretly against the war are cautious about voicing their opinion openly.

Of course, the suggestion that Israelis who oppose the war are “cautious about voicing their opinion openly” would be news to the thousands who have turned out for anti-war protests in Tel Aviv over the past several weeks.

 Fraser then seeks an alternative explanation for the overwhelming Israeli support for their country’s war with Hamas.

Most newspapers and TV channels are simply cheerleaders for the government line, offering a constant diet of fear and fallen heroes, with little evidence of any of the atrocities going on in Gaza. The problem is, ordinary Israelis have little idea what has been going on. I know so much more about what is happening in Gaza when I’m sitting in London than I do in Tel Aviv. Under this level of information manipulation, how can ordinary Israelis be expected to be critical?

Fraser’s hubris is extraordinary. Not only does he fail to empathize with the citizens of a nation sharing a border with an Islamist extremist group which seeks their annihilation, but actually seems to think that Israelis don’t share his views because they don’t live in London, and therefore evidently aren’t privy to what’s ‘really’ happening in Gaza.

Fraser continues: 

Later I go for a drink at a friend’s flat in Tel Aviv with a group of broadly leftwing activists in their late 20s and early 30s, NGO types that I was expecting would share my exasperation. And I make a mistake, assuming too much common ground. I ask whether their fear of rockets is properly calibrated to reality, given that people are so much more likely to die in a car accident in Israel than at the hands of Hamas. And there is an awkward reaction. The question was insensitive. 

‘Insensitive’, indeed.  In addition to the psychological terror which countless Israelis – including young children – suffer from the thousands of rocket attacks since Hamas’s rise to power in 2006, over the past fifteen years alone more than 1,200 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian terror attacks. An additional 8,500 or so were maimed and wounded.

Finally, after expressing his dismay at the failure of even peace activists to condemn their country, Fraser’s protagonist again speaks:

Levy had warned me earlier. “The young people are the worst. More ignorant. More brainwashed. They have never met a Palestinian in their lives.”

However, the suggestion that young Israelis are uninformed because they have never met Palestinians is absurd. There are (to cite just one example) more than 370,000 Palestinian residents of Israel in east Jerusalem alone – permanent residents of the state who Jewish Israelis meet in cafes, shops, places of work, hospitals and every conceivable public and private venue. 

Indeed, if you want to throw around words like “brainwashed” and “ignorant”, we could certainly point to fact that the Guardian’s resident Anglican Priest came to the Jewish state in search of righteous Israeli Jews and, save Gideon Levy, found ‘sadly not very many‘.