Bad news for Ali Abunimah: UK gov’t reports continued use of ‘Antisemitism Working Definition’

Late last year we noted that Ali Abunimah – an American born, anti-Zionist commentator who’s been legitimized by both the New York Times and the Guardian despite a record compromised by antisemitism – falsely characterized the Working Definition of Antisemitism as “an abandoned draft text.”

aliWhile it’s narrowly true that the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the successor to the European Union Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), doesn’t include the Working Definition on their website (since their mandate differs from EUMC), a significant number of American and EU government and law enforcement agencies continue to use it to help determine whether incidents are antisemitic.

Here are the relevant bullet points from the Working Definition:

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Lost in in Translation? Guardian omits key word in Israeli Facebook page (Updated)

CAMERA consistently demonstrates (with their ‘Lost in Translation‘ series) that news reports which include an erroneous translation can completely alter the meaning or political context of the events being described. And, a recent Guardian story, which notes a marginal Israeli Facebook page provides a good example of such misreporting. 

The report by Orlando Crowcroft (‘Israeli leader meets families of missing teenagers as search continues, June 17th) notes the social media battles being waged by Israeli and Palestinian activists over the terrorist kidnapping of three Israeli teens last Thursday:

The battle is not only being waged by the IDF inside the West Bank, but on social media, where an outpouring of rival hashtags, comments and campaigns have revealed how strongly the incident has resonated with Israelis and Palestinians.

The hashtag #BringBackOurBoys has featured in thousands of tweets from both Israel and abroad since news of the disappearance of Yifrach, Frankel and Shaar broke on Friday, referencing the global Twitter campaign calling for the release of hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria by rebel group Boko Haram earlier this year.

Crowcroft then pivots to the ‘less benign’ social media campaigns:

Not all the online responses to the incident have been benign. A Facebook page calling for Israel to kill one Palestinian an hour until the three teenagers are returned has received more than 18,000 “likes” since it was set up on 13 June.


However, as other media reports have indicated (and as a quick Google translate of the Facebook page would similarly demonstrate), the name of the page accurately translates to:

‘Until the teens are returned, every hour we shoot a terrorist.

Crowcroft omitted the word “terrorist” and added the word “Palestinian”. 

Remarkably, even Electronic Intifada got the translation correct in their story on the Facebook page.

To be clear, even the correct name renders the Facebook campaign morally offensive.  However, news consumers have the right to expect stories at putatively serious news sites which translate a foreign language into English not be compromised by such highly misleading and completely avoidable errors.

UPDATE: Following our complaint, the Guardian corrected the mistranslation.

Guardian caves to anti-Israel bigots, revises SodaStream article to please Ben White

Yesterday, CiF Watch prompted a correction to a false claim by Guardian Middle East editor Ian Black that the SodaStream main office was located in Ma’ale Adumim, when in fact that industrial park in greater Ma’ale Adumim (known as Mishor Adumim) is simply the location of one of their 20 factories. Their headquarters, as we noted, is in Lod, near Ben Gurion Airport.  (CiF Watch prompted a previous correction to the same error, by another Guardian contributor, in Oct.)

However, upon reviewing the language of the correction we prompted on the Guardian’s Correction page, we noticed an additional editor’s note relating to another SodaStream related story:


According to (occasional) ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Ben White, per his following post at Electronic Intifada, he was the activist who prompted the revision:

Responding to my correspondence, The Guardian’s Readers’ Editor has amended an article written last week by Matthew Kalman.

Kalman’s article reported on the controversy over Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson ditching her role as humanitarian ambassador for the charity Oxfam, which objected to her endorsement deal with SodaStream, an Israeli company with a factory in a settlement in the occupied West Bank.

The piece, “Oxfam under pressure to cut ties with Scarlett Johansson over SodaStream ad,” now appears with the following appended text:

“In a sub-heading and in the body of the text campaigners seeking to pressure Oxfam to sever ties with Scarlett Johansson were described as “anti-Israel.” To clarify: the campaigners are opposed to settlements”

Remarkably, the Guardian Readers’ Editor upheld the objections to Kalman’s original characterization of the anti-SodaStream activists as “anti-Israel”, and bought the argument that they are only opposed to ‘the settlements’.  

To give you a sense of how extraordinarily misleading such a benign characterization is, here’s a brief summary of the ideological background of some of the more prominent BDS activists and groups involved in the anti-SodaStream campaign:

Ben White: White, who evidently prompted the Guardian correction and is one of the most vocal activists campaigning against SodaStream, opposes the existence of a Jewish State within any borders, and is even on record expressing sympathy towards anti-Semites:

Ali Abunimah: Abunimah is the co-founder of Electronic Intifada, has expressed sympathy towards Hamas, rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State within any borders, has likened Zionism with Nazism and has explicitly called for the start of a 3rd deadly Palestinian intifada.

Here are additional anti-SodaStream campaigners – that is, those who would prefer that 500 Palestinians workers get laid-off, rather than there be any Jewish presence at all across the green line:

Palestinian BDS National Committee, a radical movement which opposes all forms of normalization between Palestinians and Israelis, and supports the unlimited ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants, a tactic designed to erase Israel’s Jewish identity.  

Palestine Solidarity Campaign: a marginal, radical movement based in the UK, which supports the cultural, academic and economic boycott against Israel, and opposes the existence of a Jewish State within any borders. Further, PSC members have taken  part in convoysflotillasflytillas, and various demonstrations and events organized by supporters and members of terrorist organisations. 

Code Pink: A radical left group whichworks with the pro-Hamas Free Gaza Movement, and signed the so-called Cairo Declaration to End Israeli Apartheid, a document which opposes Zionism and calls for the unlimited right of return for millions of Palestinian ‘refugees’. (See this clip of Hamas welcoming a Code Pink delegation to Gaza in 2009)

To recap: Most of the activists aligned against SodaStream have either expressed sympathy or outright support for Islamist terror groups, support the boycott and complete isolation of Israel, oppose any cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, and reject the very right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State. 

Only in the mind of Guardian editors would such hateful views – some which are indistinguishable from the ideologies of violent extremist groups – not qualify as “anti-Israel”.

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CiF Watch prompts correction to false Indy claim about “caged” Palestinian kids

A couple of hours ago we posted about a horribly misleading report in The Independent (Israel government tortures Palestinian children by keeping them in cages, human rights group says, Jan. 1) which included the following:

  • The broad, unsubstantiated insinuation, based on very vague wording in a report by the radical NGO PCATI, that Palestinian kids detained by Israeli security personnel are “tortured”.
  • The charge, based on completely uncorroborated allegations, based on a PCATI report, that Palestinian children are sexually abused while in custody.
  • The completely erroneous charge that Palestinian children were cagedfor months” -  an allegation which was not even leveled by PCATI, nor by anyone involved in the story.

Following our complaint to Indy editors, the word torture in the headline was placed in quotes and, more importantly, the false charge that Palestinian children were caged for months has been amended.

First, the strap line has been revised. Here’s the original:

strapNow, here the revised version:

revisedAlso, they revised the opening sentence of the story. Here’s the original:

unnamedNow, here’s the revised sentence:

new sentenceDespite this modest improvement, it’s still shameful that such sophomoric agitprop – which, as we noted, engages in a far greater degree of hyperbole than even Electronic Intifada’s post on the same story – saw the light of day in the first place, and evidently got past the eyes of Indy editors.

You may want to Tweet Adam Withnall, the Indy reporter responsible for the story, to respectfully note your objections.


More hate courtesy of Ali Abunimah: Tweets about Israel ‘harvesting children’

Ali Abunimah is the co-founder of Electronic Intifada - and occasional ‘Comment is Free’ contributor – who opposes the existence of a Jewish state within any borders.  

He had this to say on Twitter yesterday about the reported death of a child in Gaza after three separate terrorist incidents on the Israel-Gaza border, which included the murder – by a Palestinian sniper - of an Israeli Bedouin named Saleh Abu Latif:

The term “harvest” in the context of a dead Palestinian child was clearly not used randomly, and quite possibly is an allusion to the antisemitic libel that the IDF kills Palestinians to provide the Israeli medical establishment with organs.

Previously, Abunimah – the American-born, Ivy league educated radical whose blog has published extremists such as Ben WhiteSonja Karker and Steven Salaita – has suggested that Zionism represents a unique and immutable evil.

Abunimah – from the safety of his Chicago home – has also Tweeted his support for another violent Palestinian Intifada.

Interestingly, his blog is still included in the Guardian’s ‘useful links’ section of their Israel page. (Open link and scroll down.)

For more background on Abunimah, click here.

Visualizing anti-Zionism: Site used by Guardian data blog calls Haifa “Palestinian”

Yesterday, we posted about an extraordinarily misleading Guardian data blog entry on the Palestinian economy – a piece by Mona Chalabi titled ‘How does Palestine’s economy work?‘, Oct. 14 – which assigned blame for Palestinian economic woes almost entirely on Israel, and never once so much as mentioned the injurious economic impact of Palestinian terrorism.


Many of the claims made by Chalabi were quite specious, including her reference to a report which purported to quantify the number of olive trees “uprooted by Israeli authorities since 1967″.   To illustrate the number of olive trees allegedly destroyed by “Israeli Authorities” – which Palestinians have evidently methodically been counting over the past 46 years – she referred readers to a site called ‘Visualizing Palestine‘.

Visualizing Palestine describes itself as a site dedicated to using “creative visuals to describe a factual rights-based narrative of Palestine/Israel.” It is funded by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, the Jerusalem Fund, and the Shuttleworth Foundation.


As you can see from their recent Tweet, editors at Visualizing Palestine were quite proud that their statistics were used by the Guardian:

Sites other than the Guardian – such as the anti-Zionist hates sites Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada – have also featured their work:

used by

The graphic purporting to illustrate the impact of so many uprooted trees cites, as its source, not Oxfam (as Chalabi claims) but a report by the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy and a radical NGO called Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ). Moreover, a review of Visualizing Palestine indicates that it serves as a clearinghouse of anti-Zionist propaganda , replete with misleading quotes from Israeli leaders, false claims about Israeli and Palestinian water use, and graphics imputing comic book villainy to Israelis, such as this graphic created from stats at the site US Campaign to End the Occupation:


And, then there is this graphic from their site, illustrating the false story earlier in the year about Israel’s alleged “racially segregated” bus service.


There’s also this illustration – showing Israeli soldiers aiming their weapons at a Palestinian child – on a page at their site devoted to the propaganda film about the Bil’in protests called ‘Five Broken Cameras’.


Finally, if you contribute a mere $110 to Visualizing Palestine, you get this cool pendant:


Here’s the list of pendants (of 16 cities in “Palestine”) you can choose from:


Eight* of the “Palestinian cities” are actually Israeli, and have been so since 1948. (Bi’r as-Sab is Arabic for Beer Sheva)

The use of ‘Visualizing Palestine’ as a serious source by Chalabi serves as additional evidence that the claim made in the Guardian Data Blog logo, that “facts are sacred“, is, to put it politely, simply absurd.  

(*As Judge Dan, a blogger at Israellycool, pointed out, we originally neglected to note that Beisan is Bet She’an, an Israeli city in the north.)

Guardian publishes essay on Oslo by one-stater who blames Jews for antisemitism

It doesn’t take too much insight into the far-left political climate to conclude that if current talks between Israel and the Palestinians fail, there is little doubt that – regardless of the actual factors involved – the Israelis will be blamed for the outcome by Guardian commentators.  Additionally, despite the fact that Mahmoud Abbas finally agreed to engage in talks without any preconditions regarding settlements, such Israeli building across the green line concurrent with the current talks will be singled out with particular opprobrium in their political post-mortems.

In fact, some who subscribe to this far-left political faith have already begun laying the groundwork for this narrative.  A case in point is a ‘Comment is Free’ essay by Avi Shlaim on Sept. 12, (It’s now clear: the Oslo peace accords were wrecked by Netanyahu’s bad faith) which reads as if it was written in the future, where talks have already broken down.


Avi Shlaim

The 20 year history of Oslo, Shlaim claims in his CiF essay, has vindicated Edward Said’s characterization of the agreement “an instrument of Palestinian surrender, a Palestinian Versailles”, and predicts that “as long as Netanyahu remains in power, it is a safe bet that no breakthrough will be achieved in the new round of talks.”

Shlaim, it should be noted, perfectly represents the Guardian’s institutional hostility to Zionism, as the Oxford affiliated new Israeli historian (who’s been roundly criticized for his shoddy research) has characterized Zionism as the greatest single threat to Jews, blaming Israeli Jewish behavior for the upsurge of anti-Semitism throughout the world.  He has written the following at Electronic Intifada:

It is this brand of cruel Zionism that is the real enemy of what remains of liberal Israel and of the Jews outside Israel. It is the enemy because it fuels the flames of virulent and sometimes violent anti-Semitism. Israel’s policies are the cause; hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism are the consequences.

Shlaim has also explicitly expressed his support for the dissolution of the Jewish state. In an interview with MEMO (the Hamas supporting British group) Shlaim was quoted as saying the following:

There is a solution to this conflict – a two-state solution – but Israel has systematically undermined the possibility of a viable Palestinian state. Today we have reached a point where it is barely conceivable, given the magnitude of the presence of the Israeli state on the West Bank. I have shifted therefore to supporting a one-state solution with equal rights for all the state’s citizens.

He has also, on the pages of Comment is Free, in 2009, demonized Israel as a “rogue state” which practices terrorism:

This brief review of Israel’s record over the past four decades makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that it has become a rogue state with “an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders”. A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practices terrorism – the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. 

Shlaim concludes his latest ‘CiF’ essay by claiming that “Oslo faltered and eventually broke down [sic] because Likud-led governments negotiated in bad faith.” 

‘Bad faith’ is also an accurate characterization of a CiF contributor who has assaulted Israel’s very moral legitimacy, blamed Jews themselves for the resurgence of Jew hatred, and though claiming to be concerned about the peace process, failed to reveal to his readers that he opposes the existence of a Jewish state within any borders.

Of course, the decision by CiF editors to publish Shlaim is par for the course for an institution with a history of providing disproportionate space in their paper to those who openly oppose the peace process and seek, by the gradual erosion of its legitimacy or even by violence, the Jewish state’s demise.

CiF asks Palestinian supporter of ‘armed resistance’ her views on the peace process

bakerAn August 1 essay at ‘Comment is Free’, titled ‘The Middle East peace talks are back to disappoint‘, by Gaza based blogger (and Electronic Intifada contributorRana Baker didn’t include anything particularly surprising – at least by ‘CiF’ standards.  

In her column, Baker, an activist from Gaza, demonizes Israelis as ‘colonisers’ who administer an “apartheid-like system in impoverished Bantustans”, dismisses the newly relaunched peace talks as an act of surrender and exercise in futility, and mocks as “irrelevant”, weak and spineless Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Baker’s views on the peace process are evidently considered especially worthy by the Guardian brass, as, in addition to her CiF commentary, Harriet Sherwood also featured the “Gaza blogger” – in a Aug. 3 story in The Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) – as one of the five “Voices from Palestine”, ‘Do Israelis and Palestinians think time is right for peace?’. In the space allotted to Baker – in a column which includes the views of five Israelis and five Palestinians – she again blasts the negotiations as useless, and actually praises Hamas’ refusal to engage in talks with the Jewish state.

So, other than face to face negotiations, what strategy does Rana Baker prefer?

Well, there are at least two indications that the Guardian’s ‘voice from Gaza’ clearly prefers violence to diplomacy – the first of which is the following post published at Electronic Intifada on Jan. 19, 2012:


Here are some excerpts from Baker’s post:

Negotiations have more than once proved to be useless. In fact, they proved to be damaging to the very essence of the Palestinian popular struggle i.e. the Right of Return.

People everywhere are born to be free. Enslavement is not only illegal because it causes human miseries, but because it essentially opposes the sound human nature that views fellow human beings as brothers and sisters not as slaves or second-class citizens. Unfortunately, Israel is singling itself out of this category.

Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, more Palestinian land has been expropriated and the Nakba never ceased. The Palestinian leadership, whether in Gaza or the West Bank, proved to be politically disabled; a broken record at best. Israel’s Apartheid is breaking new grounds passing new racist laws every day. World leaders are becoming more biased than they have ever been turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people on a daily basis. Isn’t it the time for a popular Palestinian revolution in the form of a third intifada?

Finally, in case there’s any doubt as to what kind of “Palestinian revolution” she’s proposing, there’s an update on her Facebook account which seems to reveal the orientation of her political sympathies.  The following graphic and text, and her accompanying English translation, was posted to her 1,474 friends on Nov. 8, 2012:


The image (possibly depicting Leila Khaled, the former PFLP terror operative noted for being the first woman to hijack an airplane) of course suggests that the reason why Baker isn’t ‘hopeful’ about the peace process is pretty clear: violent resistance is the only legitimate path to the ‘liberation’ of Palestine.

Perhaps Guardian editors may wish to inform readers of Baker’s ideological proclivity towards violence the next time they legitimize her views on the pages of The Observer and ‘Comment is Free’.

‘CiF’ contributor: Israel launched Operation Cast Lead “from the heart of Cairo”

Electronic Intifada contributor Rana Baker just published a commentary at ‘Comment is Free’ (‘Egypt’s coup does not bode well for Palestinians‘, July 10), which should have been titled ‘Egypt’s coup does not bode well for Hamas‘ – for it’s the autocratic leadership in Gaza City whose fortunes clearly evoke her sympathies.

However, whilst the essay itself – arguing that, whichever political movement ultimately attains power in Cairo, the Islamist led territory will suffer – is unspectacular, the opening paragraph contained two remarkably dishonest claims.  Baker writes, thusly:

When Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February 2011, Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip joined the celebrations of millions of Egyptians. Mubarak, after all, was the enforcer of Israel’s siege on Gaza and allowed Tzipi Livni, then Israeli foreign minister, to initiate “Operation Cast Lead” from the heart of Cairo.

The first claim, that Mubarak enforced Israel’s siege on Gaza – suggesting that his decision to keep the Rafah crossing mostly closed after Hamas ousted Fatah was made at the behest of Israel – is extremely dishonest, imputing Israeli control over Egypt’s government and ignoring the real factors, such as Cairo’s refusal to recognize Hamas due to concern over their own Islamist opposition. 

As AP reported in 2009:

[Egyptian Foreign Minister] Aboul Gheit repeated Egypt’s argument that it cannot open Rafah unless Abbas’ Palestinian Authority – which runs the West Bank – controls the crossing and international monitors are present.

He said Hamas wants Rafah opened because it would represent implicit Egyptian recognition of the militant group’s control of Gaza. Of course this is something we cannot do, Aboul Gheit said, because it would undermine the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority and consecrate the split between Gaza and the West Bank.

Further, whatever additional considerations were at play in Egypt’s policy vis-a-vis the Rafah crossing, to suggest that Jerusalem was pulling Cairo’s strings borders on conspiracy.  

However, the second claim made by Baker in the sentence – that Mubarak “allowed” former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni “to initiate Operation Cast Lead from the heart of Cairo” – is even more bizarre.  Indeed, Baker’s link from the sentence leads to a Guardian report which doesn’t even suggest such a thing.

The only report even hinting at this seems to be a 2010 WikiLeaks cable (from the U.S. State Department) which claimed that “Israel had tried to coordinate Operation Cast Lead with Egypt and Fatah, offering to allow [Egypt] and the Palestinian faction to take control of Gaza after an Israeli defeat of Hamas.” However, the report concludes by stating quite clearly that “the GOI [government of Israel] received negative answers from both.” The WikiLeaks document does include a vague and unsurprising observation that “Israel, the PA and Egypt were in contact before [Cast Lead],” but nothing to support Baker’s absurd allegation that Livni launched Cast Lead “from the heart of Cairo.”

Baker’s dishonest narrative alleging Israeli control of Arab lives – in an essay which, interestingly, doesn’t appear on the Guardian’s Israel page – may play well on the streets of Cairo and Gaza City, but you have to scratch your head over the credulity in the face of such risible claims by “professional” editors in London.  

Ali Abunimah goes to Gaza

Cross posted by Petra Marquardt-Bigman 

He tried and failed several times before, but this week, Ali Abunimah finally made it to Gaza.

Obviously, the co-founder of the Electronic Intifada and passionate anti-Israel activist has devoted fans in the Hamas-ruled territory, and they eagerly awaited his arrival. Everyone – including Abunimah himself – was apparently a bit worried that there might be problems crossing the Egyptian-controlled border, which had been recently closed by Egyptian police to protest the kidnapping of several colleagues by Islamist gunmen. And it’s safe to assume that the fact that Israel couldn’t be blamed for the closure and other problems at the crossing made it all so much harder to bear.

Obviously, during his stay in Gaza, Ali Abunimah will do his very best to come up with many reasons to blame Israel. Indeed, his popular “narratives” about the bottomless evils of Israel and Zionism have presumably led to his invitation to the currently ongoing Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest) – though it is a bit strange that an activist who likes to present himself as a serious reporter and political commentator would be invited to a festival that is supposedly devoted to literature and the arts. But perhaps Ali Abunimah’s advocacy should indeed be regarded as an art form that deserves to be featured in an event supported by organizations like the British Council and the Arts Council England?

I for one would never accuse Ali Abunimah of sticking to facts or bothering much with reality.

And sure enough, one of his first tweets after crossing from Egypt into Gaza illustrated one of Abunimah’s favorite fairy tales: that Israeli cities like Ashkelon are “occupied” Palestinian towns.


Of course, Hamas terrorists have similar views:


Unsurprisingly, Ali Abunimah is an outspoken supporter of the kind of “resistance” Hamas advocates and practices, and just like Hamas, he doesn’t waste time pretending that he is for peaceful co-existence: Hamas claims a Palestine extending “from the river to the sea,” and Abunimah wants to see this territory as “One Country.” Similarly, while Hamas denounces the Jews as the incarnation of evil, Abunimah makes his living demonizing “the Zionists” as inhumane Nazi-type racists who like nothing better than inflicting untold suffering on the poor Palestinians.

Given the fact that most Israeli Jews are committed  Zionists, it’s of course a bit puzzling why Abunimah would want to condemn the Palestinians to share “One Country” with such evil people.

Moreover, Abunimah’s claims that his “One Country” would be a democratic secular paradise with equal rights for everyone are laughable given the well-documented reactionary and even extremist views of many Palestinians.  As blogger Elder of Ziyon highlighted, a recently published Pew survey of Muslim views demonstrates that Palestinian Muslims “are among the most religiously conservative and intolerant” of the Muslim publics polled by Pew.

It is noteworthy that this preference is reflected in the proposed constitution for a Palestinian state, which stipulates that “Islam is the official religion in Palestine” and that the “principles of Islamic Shari’a shall be the main source of legislation.”

While Ali Abunimah is usually very good at ignoring the unpleasant Palestinian realities that can’t be blamed on Israel, he seemed somewhat upset to come across examples of Sharia enforcement in Gaza. Thus, he was clearly dismayed to find out that for web users in Gaza, “Dating sites are blocked!” – but naturally, he was reluctant to blame Hamas and suggested that “the censorship is done by the PA,” i.e. the Palestinian West Bank authority that he despises so heartily.

However, a Twitter user from Gaza contradicted him, asserting that “Hamas blocked dating sites recently. Part of their ‘modesty’ policing.”

just like

datingBy and large however, Ali Abunimah energetically focused on what he was invited for: demonizing Israel and advocating the abolition of the world’s only Jewish state in favor of his “One Country”-fantasy. Judging from some of the images that were tweeted, it unfortunately looks as if just a handful of people attended his workshop, but there were clearly some enthusiastic fans who listened attentively to @AliAbunimah debunking the two-state solution. Awesome #PalFest.”


In addition to fulfilling his PalFest obligations by sharing his tips on creating “narratives” to demonize Israel, Abunimah was busy looking out for any new material that could somehow be used to rail about Israel. Among his finds was a sign in Hebrew that he promptly photographed and tweeted with the devastating comment: “Hebrew is still omnipresent in Gaza. #colonialism.” He was also appalled to find out that Gazans use Israeli currency.

Then it was time to echo the popular Palestinian “blood-and-soil”-theme. Visiting Khuza’a in the southern Gaza Strip right at the border with Israel, Abunimah tweeted a picture of a handful of grains with the melodramatic comment: “Palestinian wheat grown in #Gaza with sweat and tears under the occupier’s guns.” Another picture of the area, showing what seems to be a tower in the distance, comes with the claim: “New occupier watch tower regularly fires on farmers working their land in Khuza’a.” However, tweeting yet another picture of apparently the same area, Abunimah lamented that “Land once full of olive trees now barren thanks to occupier bulldozers and tanks.”

While in the real world the plight of Khuza’a’s farmers is due to the unfortunate fact that Gaza terrorists like to use their farmlands to launch attacks on Israel, in the world of Ali Abunimah and his fans, there is of course no reason whatsoever to wonder why the “occupier” would be so cruel to poor, innocent, hard-working Palestinian farmers – it goes without saying that shooting them and making their lives hell is what the evil Zionists like to do just for fun!!!

Let’s all hope that Ali Abunimah will be able to avoid any encounter with farmers in Gaza who attend Israeli fairs and workshops to improve their production – and hopefully, he will not ingest any of their produce! Admittedly, though, should any such misfortune befall him, he surely would find a creative way to spin it into an edifying story about oppressive-colonial-supremacist-racist-Zionist subjugation, exploitation, occupation and much worse…

* * *


Thanks to some hardworking – surely female – artisans in Gaza, Ali Abunimah has found an embroidery of his “One Country:”


An ugly disgusting rant: Joseph Massad and Glenn Greenwald attack ‘the usual Jewish suspects’

Shortly after Julie Burchill’s January commentary, titled ‘Transsexuals should cut it out‘, at the Observer was completely removed after thousands of readers complained that her piece was bigoted towards transsexuals, the Observer’s decision was defended by their readers’ editor,  Stephen Pritchard.  

Pritchard called the decision a rational one, based on his contention that Burchill’s essay was “needlessly offensive” and “gratuitously insulting”.

Though some in the media were highly critical of the decision by the Observer (a Guardian sister publication) to pull Burchill’s piece, Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian’s putative defender of free speech, was mostly silent on the Burchill Affair.  Indeed, his Tweet, on Jan 13, shortly after Burchill’s piece was published should give some indication as to why.

‘An ugly disgusting rant’ would certainly be one way to characterize Joseph Massad’s despicable essay in Al Jazeera on May 14, which argued the following:

  • Zionism not only equals racism, but the ideology itself is antisemitic.
  • Zionists cooperated and collaborated with the Nazis during the 30s and 40s.
  • Zionism should be understood as the fulfillment of the Nazis’ dream, and that the there is a strong “ideological similitude” between the two movements.

As Petra Marquardt-Bigman has argued, the writings of Massad (who has contributed to Comment is Free‘ and Electronic Intifada) can easily be confused with material found on extremist racist websites.

There is one exception to this paradigm, however. Massad is of Palestinian origin, so his otherwise boilerplate extreme right narrative about Israel and Jews is compromised a bit by these howlers:

  • Unlike Zionists, who, by virtue of their Zionism, are antisemitic, “Palestinians have remained unconvinced and steadfast in their resistance to anti-Semitism“.
  • Unlike ‘Zionist anti-Semites’, “the Palestinian people have mounted a major struggle against…anti-Semitic incitement”.

Whilst there were no Tweets by Greenwald expressing outrage over Massad’s pseudo intellectual racist assault against Jews, the decision by Al Jazeera to remove the Massad article from their site sent Greenwald into a fury:

In case there is any doubt who Greenwald is referring to by “the usual suspects“, in the Tweet he links to a piece criticizing AJ’s decision (and defending Massad) by Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada – whose support for Massad is not surprising as he advanced the Zionism = Nazism narrative in a Tweet in 2010 – which accused Al Jazeera of caving in to “Zionists extremist” Jews, such as Jeffrey Goldberg, John Podhoretz and Rahm Emmanuel.

It really takes a mind occupied by the most crude antisemitic stereotypes about the danger of Jewish power to conjure a scenario by which a Qatari based pro-Sunni Islamist media group was strong-armed by a small gang of powerful Jews into censoring an otherwise meritorious essay.   

Greenwald is a Jew by birth, and though we don’t possess some sort of piercing mentalism which would allow us to see the bigotry which may lurk in his soul, it should be clear to anyone who has seriously studied the “liberal” Guardian’ commentator that his moral sensibilities are – at the very least – compromised by a callous indifference to even the most explicit and malicious expressions of Jew hatred. 

‘Comment is Free’ contributor Antony Lerman plays ‘Israel-Nazi’ card

Antony Lerman is a ‘Comment is Free’ contributor. 


Lerman lectured on ‘The Revival of Jewish Culture in Europe’ at Cambridge University on Feb. 28.  I know this because I saw his Tweet to this effect.

Though Lerman is not a frequent Tweeter he found time today to retweet this lovely 140 character ‘meditation’ by David Sheen.


Sheen is referring to Israel’s interior minister, Eli Yishai, and is presumably responding to news that Yishai recently confirmed that more than 2,000 migrants in Israel have recently been repatriated back to Sudan.

I had never heard of David Sheen, but this Zionism – Nazism analogy was not a one-off, as you can see by looking at his Tweets for the day.

In fact, he was kind enough to post the following graphic on his Twitter page to help illustrate the ‘comparison’ between Yishai and Adolf Hitler.


Sheen, a filmmaker, is quite prolific in the social media world, as you can see by the bio on his website.


Here’s a photo of the “documentarian”:


While one of his videos was briefly noted in a Guardian live blog on the Nov. war in Gaza, Sheen hasn’t formally contributed to the Guardian or ‘Comment is Free.  However, he has contributed to Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada, and has worked as a reporter and content editor at

Lerman, a far-left British Jew who has used his position at ‘Comment is Free’ to justify antisemitism, penned his most recent essay at CiF, titled The abuse of dissenting Jews is shameful.  In the post, he complained of being ostracized, and smeared by the UK Jewish establishment due ‘merely’ to the fact that he’s an opponent of the Jewish state’s continued existence.  He ended with the following flourish:

That dissenting Jews are still demonised is shameful and undermines Jewish pluralism. But it’s manageable. Because the Jewish diaspora’s support matters so much to Israel’s leaders, the quest for serious, open and civil debate among Jews about what is really best for Israel must continue.

Evidently, Lerman’s expansive understanding of what constitutes “civil debate” about Israel includes not only calling for the state’s dissolution, but likening an Israeli government official to a Nazi.

Guardian story on Bab al-Shams falsely suggests Israeli PM violated court order

Yesterday, we reported on a Guardian correction, prompted by an earlier CiF Watch post, to a story written by Harriet Sherwood on Jan. 13 about the recent removal of Palestinian protesters from a tent city named Bab al-Shams – located in an area between the cities of Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim known as E-1.

Less than 24 hours after our post, which challenged claims made in the story that Palestinians were arrested by Israeli police during the evacuation, Guardian editors removed the inaccurate information and noted the correction in the ‘Corrections and clarifications‘ section of their website.

However, there’s one additional substantive mistake in Sherwood’s story which requires correction.

Note the language used in the strapline:


So, is Sherwood suggesting that the eviction carried out, under the orders of the prime minister, in violation of an Israeli Supreme Court ruling and thus not in accord with the rule of law?

Here are the relevant passages from the report which mention the Supreme Court:

On Saturday evening, Netanyahu demanded the Israeli supreme court overturn an injunction preventing the removal of the protesters, and ordered the area to be declared a closed military zone.

The activists sought legal protection from the supreme court, which granted an injunction against eviction and gave the state of Israel up to six days to respond.

Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti, who was among those detained, said the eviction was “proof that the Israeli government operates an apartheid system. Firstly it decided that supreme court decisions do not apply to Palestinians.

A reasonable person reading the strapline and subsequent text would likely conclude that Netanyahu, furious at a court’s decision explicitly forbidding the removal of Palestinian protesters from the tent city, decided to simply ignore the court order. 

However, such a conclusion would be erroneous.

As CAMERA reported, “the court injunction, issued Friday (Jan. 11) by Justice Neal Hendel, and available in Hebrew on the High Court’s Web site, merely forbade the removal of the tents that the Palestinian activists had set up”, and not the protesters themselves.

Further, per the Supreme Court ruling, even the tents could be legally removed “so long as the state replied to the court within six days that there was a security need”.

Here’s the text from the ruling:

“After studying the petition I hereby impose a temporary injunction according to clause 1 — preventing the evacuation or destruction of tents that were erected by the petitioners on a-Tur lands, east of Kfar al-Azeem, unless an urgent security need arises.

The respondents [the state] will respond to this temporary injunction within six days.”

The bottom line is that, contrary to the clear suggestion in Harriet Sherwood’s report that Palestinians were removed from the protest site illegally (a narrative also parroted by Ali Abunimah at Electronic Intifada), the court order pertained to the tents, not the people.  

Any way you parse it, the Guardian clearly needs to make another correction to the story.

The Guardian’s Pathetic Excuse for Firing Joshua Treviño

A guest post by AKUS

Since we are now supposed to believe that the Guardian’s entire case for firing Josh Treviño rests on the basis of an undisclosed conflict of interest, I wish to make a full disclosure before continuing:

“I had never heard of Treviño before this, to the best of my knowledge. I have never read anything by him, not even his articles in the Guardian.”

There – now we’ve got that out-of-the-way  let’s turn our attention to Chris Elliott’s bizarre attempt to brush this scandal under the carpet: The readers’ editor on… the bruising fallout from a writer’s offensive tweet.

Actually, we don’t really need to read any further than this strap line to understand why Treviño was pink-slipped. Clearly, it was the “almost 200 complaints” the Guardian received from its loyal if rapidly shrinking readership, and not the excuse given – that he omitted to reveal a conflict of interest

What seems to have been overlooked in the commentary about this affair is that in order to justify the dismissal the Guardian seized on a complaint from an undisclosed source about lack of disclosure on another topic altogether that pre-dated Treviño’s new role as a contract columnist by 18 months:

“There was a second complaint on Thursday 23 August received by senior editorial staff in the US and referred to the readers’ editor. This concerns another blogpost Treviño had written as a contributor to the Guardian’s US site – before he was on contract – on 28 February 2011 about a Republican congressman’s inquiry into Islamic radicalisation, which quoted the Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak.”

Quite simply, the Guardian built a case for caving in to the Electronic Intifada and Palestinian Solidarity Campaign mob by noting Treviño did not footnote an article written some 18 months earlier (NOT the recent article) that had nothing to do with his first article under contract.

The Guardian states: 

“[Treviño] had been a consultant for an agency retained by Malaysian business interests and ran a website called Malaysia Matters, which should have led to a footnote disclosing the relationship.” 

Good Lord! Treviño quoted the Malaysian prime minister 18 months before he was contracted “on the eve of the Republican convention and in the middle of an already vicious and highly partisan election campaign, [to] explain and analyse the politics of the US Republican party.” Nothing to do with Malaysia. They simply were handed a hook to hang him on by their undisclosed source that they used to pretend they were not caving in to anti-Israeli bigots.

Had Treviño continued writing for the Guardian he might even have quoted a Republican without adding a footnote that he was a US citizen or Republican, thus once again breaching the Guardian’s “necessarily broad” guidelines, as Treviño put it in the joint statement he released with the Guardian.

Just to make sure they dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s, the Guardian has updated Treviño’s 2011 article:

But what was the horrifying quote from the Malaysian PM that Treviño used without disclosing his conflict of interest?

In fact, the “conflict of interest” was so tenuous as to be essentially non-existent. You couldn’t make this up – the man who anti-Israeli activists Ben White and Ali Abunimah and the rest of them fought to have dismissed called for the US Congress to view Muslims and Islam in a more positive light!

Trevino wrote:

“Consider, too, what Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told me this past Wednesday in Istanbul (from where I am writing), when we discussed the Muslim Brotherhood in a group conversation about Islam and democracy [see footnote (i.e., the new Guardian footnote)].

The Brotherhood, said the PM, “shouldn’t be part of the [democratic] process as long as they don’t reject violence and extremism … Anyone who wants to be part of the political process should adopt values that are compatible with democracy.”

That’s a Muslim democratic head of state affirming some very Burkean basic principles. We shouldn’t fall prey to the conceit that Muslims abroad speak for Muslims at home, nor vice versa – but might Congressman King’s hearings note that there are grounds for optimism in both camps?”

Noam Cohen, writing for the New York Times, noted the irony of Abunimah’s success in shooting Muslims in the foot in The Guardian Backtracks From a Bold Move in Hiring.

“The post that caused Mr. Treviño’s departure was in fact a defense of American Muslims against Congressional hearings, a bit of irony not lost on Mr. Abunimah. When asked if having The Guardian part ways with Mr. Treviño over an article sympathetic to Muslims was akin to convicting Al Capone on tax evasion (my clarification of the appropriateness of this particular metaphor will appear next week), Mr. Abunimah said the thought had already come up among his friends.

Nevertheless, there was only happiness on Mr. Abunimah’s blog that The Guardian “has done the right thing.”

Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief of Guardian US (the Guardian has layers of  bureaucracy that the USSR would have envied), apparently dissatisfied with Chris Elliott’s honest revelation of the real reason for dropping Treviño had this to say in a final attempt to pretend it all did not happen the way it so obviously did:

“This has been an eye-opening week. We knew that there are dangers inherent in attempting to be fair-minded and allow our opponents as well as our friends a voice and we have learned several lessons. But I hope we will continue to try and find ways to engage with honestly held philosophies and opinions.”

Not so eye-opening for those of us who have had the jaw-dropping experience of watching a paper once known for its willingness to tolerate the opinions of others ban and dismiss all those who disagree with its Stalinist line.

Treviño joins alumni like Melanie Phillips and Julie Burchill in the honorable list of those who are personae non grata at the Guardian because they support Israel. Treviño was kicked out simply because the Guardian could not bring itself to live up to its founder’s philosophy and protect him from the Electronic Intifada unleashed upon him.

Since Elliott, at least, clearly understands why he was forced to drop Treviño, if he finds his backbone I would not be surprised if he resigned after this shameful episode. But the Guardian has no shame, facts are no longer sacred, the voices of opponents must be crushed, and that may be too much to expect.

Footnote: I have never run a website that consulted for anybody that was retained by somebody. Or whatever.


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

The following was published today at Times of Israel.

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

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

MJ Rosenberg and Richard Silverstein also condemned the appointment.

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of the essay, here.