Guardian legitimizes claim that Jews are responsible for European antisemitism

For every letter published at the Guardian, presumably there are hundreds which, due to space limitations and editorial decisions, don’t get published.  Thus, their letters editor must carefully choose a select few based (one would think) the seriousness of the argument, and conversely omit letters which promote or excuse racism, or otherwise fail to abide by their community standards.

Yet, as we have exposed on several occasions, they have sometimes chosen letters from writers with extremist and/or racist views.

Here are a few examples:

  • The Guardian published a letter by a philosophy professor named Ted Honderich which justified, on moral grounds, the Palestinians’ right to murder Jews in the ‘occupied territories’.
  • They also published a letter by Alison Weir, whose notoriety stems from her spirited defense of the hideous libel that Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian to harvest their organs, and in fact further defended her blood libel in the body of the letter.
  • And, they published a letter by a neo-Nazi style racist named Gilad Atzmon which defended his book ‘The Wandering Who?’, a work which the CST characterized as “probably the most antisemitic book published in this country in recent years.”

Today (June 25th) the Guardian published three letters all taking aim at a recent op-ed published at the Guardian’s blog, ‘Comment is Free’, by Noreena Hertz warning of an upsurge in antisemitism in the EU (Europe must face up to the new antisemites, 21 June), and included one letter by a Londoner named Benedict Birnberg.

letters

Here’s the full text of his letter:

Antisemitism is an age-old phenomenon long preceding the emergence of Israel – with the role of churches playing a part – and Noreena Hertz is right to talk of individual responsibility in combatting it (Europe must face up to the new antisemites, 21 June). But it is odd that she is silent on Israel’s own responsibility in fomenting antisemitism and that she castigates leftists for “kneejerk anti-Zionism”.

Israeli policies have often fanned the flames of antisemitism with their obdurate denial of justice to the Palestinians and, indeed, a large part of the radicalisation of Muslims and “the increasingly violent cadres of Islamic extremists”, which she describes as one of the three prongs of antisemitism, can be attributed to Israeli government policies. It is the kneejerk responses of Israel towards the Palestinians that bear a heavy responsibility for antisemitism today. The Israeli journalist Ari Shavit has recently spoken of Israel sitting on a volcano; it behoves individual Jews, wherever they happen to be, to use their influence to change Israel’s policies.

First, per the final sentence of the letter, Birnberg holds Jews worldwide responsible for the actions of Jews in Israel – a doctrine (“accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group”) codified as antisemitic by the EUMC Working Definition.  

Moreover, in blaming the Jewish State for “fomenting” (inciting) antisemitism and the radicalization of violent Islamist extremists, he’s both infantilizing antisemites and Jihadists by denying them moral agency, and, most troubling, implicitly blaming Jewish victims of European antisemitism (most of whom, remember, are Zionists) for the hatred directed at them.

Birnberg’s screed is simply a textbook case of antisemitism, and represents a perfect illustration of the racist impulse to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.”  

It’s instructive to wonder if Guardian editors would have published a letter which, say, excused Islamophobia as a rational response to Muslim behavior around the world, or blamed ‘immodestly dressed’ women for inciting men to commit rape.

As the late Norman Geras said in the context of condemning the Guardian’s appalling editorial on the Toulouse Massacre which avoided so much as mentioning the word “antisemitism”, but which reflected the media group’s broader ideological blind spot:  

It is “incomprehensible” that “a liberal newspaper, committed to racism’s never being acceptable anywhere, can find the words to name the poison that is rightwing anti-immigrant xenophobia, but not the word for hatred of Jews”.

We look forward to the day when the Guardian Left applies universal standards to their professed opposition to racism in all its forms, and becomes as intolerant towards rationalizationsexcuses and alibis for antisemitism as they are towards senseless hatred directed towards all other historically oppressed groups.

Guardian culture critic characterizes Six Day War as the ‘Israeli invasion of the West Bank’

nbNicholas Blincoe is an author, critic, screenwriter and former advisor to Nick Clegg who now devotes much of his time to various forms of anti-Israel activism.  Indeed, Blincoe is an enthusiastic supporter of BDS, and has written a book sympathetic to the terrorist-abetting International Solidarity Movement.  

He also has a troubled relationship with the truth, having once opined that the mission of Israeli archeology is “to erase the traces of non-Jewish civilizations” and, as we revealed in a recent post, falsely claimed in a Guardian op-ed that Binyamin Netanyahu argued (in his book A Place Among the Nations) that Israel shouldn’t have to abide by international legal norms.

Blincoe has even praised the writings of a neo-Nazi style racist named Gilad Atzmon. 

So, we obviously weren’t expecting much – by way of adherence to journalistic and professional norms – when we came across his recent Guardian review of a new film by “Palestinian” film-maker Annemarie Jacir (Annemarie Jacir: an auteur in exile, June 5).

Sure enough, the second paragraph of his review included this ‘historical’ howler.

When I Saw You is the tale of a 12-year-old boy and his mother – though comparisons to About a Boy stop there. Set in the aftermath of the 1967 Israeli invasion of the West Bank, the film follows Tarek, a refugee living in a UN camp within sight of the land he and his mother have lost

As anyone even vaguely familiar with the war would surely know, to characterize the Six Day War in June 1967 as an “invasion of the West Bank” is supremely dishonest.  First, there is no historical debate about the fact that Israeli leaders, in the weeks leading up to the outbreak of hostilities on June 5, tried desperately to avoid a military confrontation with Arab nations which, in addition to blocking the Straits of Tiran, amassed massive quantities of troops and heavy weaponry along its borders while issuing bellicose statements predicting Israel’s imminent destruction.

More relevant to the passage at hand, even when the war began, Israeli officials – trying desperately to avoid having to fight on another front – appealed to Jordan’s King Hussein to not enter the war. It was only when – buoyed by erroneous reports of Egyptian success on the first day of the war - Jordan initiated offensive actions against Israel from east Jerusalem and the West Bank (Jordanian artillery began shelling Israeli targets from Jerusalem to Tel-Aviv) that Israeli forces counter-attacked.

Of course, Nicholas Blincoe knew exactly what he was doing in obfuscating the real sequence of events in the Six Day War.  Indeed, the Palestinian narrative – especially regarding the fate of the “refugees” – requires that such activists mislead readers into believing that the occupation was the result of an Israeli war of aggression, rather than a desperate Jewish fight for survival against multiple Arab nations openly calling for Israel’s “eradication”.  

The ‘occupation’ of the West Bank and east Jerusalem was the direct result Israel’s defensive war fought during six days in June, and based on the sober determination that, absent a real peace treaty with its Arab neighbors, the state would never again allow itself to be at such a strategic disadvantage as was the case with its indefensible pre-June boundaries.

Characterizing the Six Day War as the “Israeli invasion of the West Bank” is ahistorical and dishonest, and represents the style of pro-Palestinian propaganda we’ve come to expect in almost any Guardian report, op-ed or literary criticism which so much as touches upon the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Gilad Atzmon slams the Guardian as a ‘Lame Zionist Mouthpiece’.

Before we realized the identity of the author of the an essay published a various fringe websites on March 17th, it almost seemed to us like a Purim Spiel.  

Here’s the classic opening passage:

The once well-respected Guardian has been reduced in recent years into a lame Zionist mouthpiecea light Jewish Chronicle for Gentiles consumption.

 So, what did the Guardian do to run afoul of the sensibilities of the following prolific critic of international Jewry?

atzmon

Atzmon explains:

Last week, the paper launched an attack on Martin Heidegger, the 20th century’s most influential philosopher.

Heidegger’s ‘Black notebooks’ reveal antisemitism at core of his philosophy” the paper’s headline read.  But what does that mean? Was Heidegger really a Jew hater? Did he oppose people for being ethnically or ‘racially’ Jewish or was he, instead, critical of Jewish politics, culture, ideology and spirit?

According to the ‘progressive’ British Guardian, the newly published Black Notebooks reveals that Heidegger saw ‘world Judaism’ as the driver of “dehumanising modernity”.

Heidegger was a German patriot. As such he knew very well that it was Zionist leadership and German Jewish bankers in America that facilitated the entry of the USA into the first world war (in return in part for the 1917’s Belfour Declaration that promised a national home for Jews in Palestine). In that regard, Heidegger, like his contemporaries, had good reason to believe that Germany was betrayed by its Jewish elite.

Indeed, Philip Oltermann, the author of the Guardian review, explained that the notion of the dehumanizing influence of world Judaism was propagated in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the forgery purporting to reveal a Jewish plan for world domination, which would explain why Atzmon – a blogger and Jazz Saxophonist who dabbles in neo-Nazi style politics – was so appalled by the attack on Heidegger.  

Though the Guardian – or the ‘Guardian of Judea’ as Atzmon risibly calls it – is no slouch when it comes to legitimizing the toxic narrative warning of the ‘injurious influence’ of Zionist power in the US, they’re clearly not at the level of Atzmon, a staunch defender of Jewish conspiracy theories who’s written the following:

Interestingly enough, the political morbid conditions in which we live was actually described by an unusual fictional text that was published in 1903 namely, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The Protocols is widely considered a forgery. It is a manual for a prospective new member of the “Elders”, describing how they will run the world through control of the media and finance, replacing the traditional social order with one based on mass manipulation. Though the book is considered a hoax by most experts and regarded as a vile anti-Semitic text, it is impossible to ignore its prophetic qualities and its capacity to describe both the century unfolding and the political reality in which we live I am referring here to: AIPAC, the Credit Crunch, Lehman Brothers, Neocon wars, interventionist ideology, a British Foreign Secretary listed as an Israeli Propaganda (Hasbara) author trying to amend Britain’s ethical stand, a Zionist by admission put on an inquiry panel to investigate why Britain launched a Zionist war and so on.

As it happens staunch Zionists such as David Aaronovitch, Nick Cohen, and Alan Dershowitz use a very banal spin to divert the attention from the devastating prophetic reality depicted by The Protocols. A reality in which they themselves promote interventionist wars in our midst. Again and again they stress the fact that The Protocols was a forgery. They insist that we look at its anti-Semitic origin while evading its content and meaning. However whether or not The Protocols is a fictional text or a forgery doesn’t change the fact that it explores our disastrous contemporary reality. A reality in which we are killing en masse the enemies of Israel in the ‘name of democracy’, a reality in which Dershowitz himself puts enormous effort into cleansing academia of any critical voices of Israel, Zionism, and Jewish power in America and the West.

The Guardian’s biggest sin, in Atzmon’s eyes, it seems, was talking about the ideas laid out in The Protocols as if they were a bad thing!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Fisking a Guardian claim that Bibi believes in “Israeli exceptionalism”.

Nicholas Blincoe’s bio at the Guardian notes that he is an author, critic, screenwriter and former advisor to Nick Clegg – who “divides his time between the UK and Palestine”.  Naturally, his time in Palestine is devoted to anti-Israel activism, as he is an enthusiastic supporter of BDS and has written a book sympathetic to the terrorist-abetting International Solidarity Movement – which he risibly suggested is a non-violent group.

His other observations about the region include a claim that Christians are leaving Bethlehem due to Jewish persecution, and that the mission of Israeli archeology is “to erase the traces of non-Jewish civilizations.”

He also once claimed, at Comment is Free’, that the Har Homa neighborhood (in Jerusalem) is in fact located in Bethlehem.

Blincoe has even praised the writing of a neo-Nazi style racist named Gilad Atzmon. 

Additionally, some of his Tweets include even more fanciful claims:

Recently, he managed to criticize Israel in the context of Russia’s military aggression in Crimea, suggesting the existence of unnamed Israelis who (he claims) support Russia’s military’s actions.

There was also this, complaining of Labour’s historic support for Israel’s existence:

Then, there was this bizarre accusation that Israelis steal land from Palestinians to help prevent the country from going into a recession.

Here, he repeats a lie advanced at Mondoweiss, definitively refuted by Elder of Ziyon, that Israeli forces viciously attacked innocent Palestinian footballers – an assault, it is claimed, which included firing at the athlete’s feet in order to end their athletic careers.

Here, he can be seen legitimizing a comparison between Israeli occupation of the West Bank and US slavery.

So, with such a tortured relationship with the truth, our Guardian Spin detector was set to maximum when reading his March 14 essay (Cameron at the Knesset: helping to burst the bubble of Israeli politics?) at ‘Comment is Free’ on David Cameron’s speech before the Israeli Knesset.

After reflecting on a few relatively minor details of Cameron’s address, he pivoted to his primary argument: Israelis are a stiff-necked, arrogant people who don’t care much what others think about their delusional beliefs.

If Cameron learned anything from his visit, it ought to be that Israelis are fully engaged in arguing with other Israelis; the rest of the world does not get a look in. Israel’s political class exists inside a bubble in which only their views matter, no matter how detached from reality they might be.

These are small points to take from a long speech, true. But debates around Israel have tended to emphasise Israeli exceptionalism. The idea that Israel can create its own reality flows naturally from the idea that this is a young country, founded upon religious and/or revolutionary zeal less than 70 years ago. Yet the longer that Israel is allowed to operate by its own, different rules, the less chance for peace in a region and a world of equals, trading openly and negotiating freely.

He then made a specific charge about Netanyahu that we decided was worth investigating: 

Twenty-five years ago, Netanyahu wrote a book for the US market entitled A Place Among the Nations, which argued that it was time Israel was welcomed into the international fold. It seems a laudable thesis, but the argument was disingenuous. Netanyahu actually argued that Israel’s exceptionalism – its right to act according to its own principles rather than international norms – was the thing that the world should learn to love and embrace.

First, a Google Books search of the text in ‘A Place Among the Nations‘ does not turn up any references to the term “Israeli exceptionalism”, “exceptionalism” or “exception”.  Moreover, in several reviews of the book we read (some which were decidedly hostile to the Likud leader), not one echoed Blincoe’s claim that Bibi expressed a belief that Israel should not have to act according to “international norms”. 

Also, here’s a passage suggesting that Bibi complained that Israel is judged unfairly by the international community, and that he’d prefer it if Israel WAS judged (fairly), according to “international norms”, as you can see in this passage on page 170 – again, from a text search in Google Books:

normsIt’s possible Blincoe’s claim rests on a misinterpretation of the following passage, from page 376:

religious rightHowever, the necessary context relates to the fact that, as other sources demonstrated, Bibi’s not outlining his own views, but laying out (and clearly criticizing) the religious right view.  The passages in this chapter included criticism both of the far right and far left – positioning himself as representing the centre, against two-states (at the time that wasn’t right-wing), but also opposed to annexation and other policies likely to alienate the ‘international community’.

Here’s the full passage:

A mirror image of this [left-wing] messianism is found on the religious right, where it is believed that the act of settling the land is in and of itself sufficient to earn divine providence and an end to the country’s woes. If Israel were merely to hang tough and erect more settlements, it could dispense with world opinion and international pressures.

It’s unclear if Blincoe actually read ‘A Place Among the Nations’, but he certainly has mischaracterized Netanyahu’s argument, as there seems to be no evidence that he ever used the term “Israeli exceptionalism”, or a similar term, nor argued that Israel has the “right to act according to its own principles rather than international norms.

Unless he can produce a quote from Bibi’s book we weren’t able to locate, it certainly looks as if Blincoe’s brand of pro-Palestinian politics includes smearing the Israel’s leaders with fabricated evidence in service of predictable anti-Zionist conclusions.

Enhanced by Zemanta

On Jews & Nazis: The hateful tweets of Irish “journalist” Frank McDonald

FrankThis blog’s previous experience with Irish Times journalist Frank McDonald involved our success at prompting a correction at the paper last August to a false allegation he made concerning BDS.

Despite the correction, however, the Aug. 3rd story on renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations was slanted against Israel to such a degree that it truly could have been written by the Palestinian Ministry of Propaganda.

And, based on a series of recent Tweets by the “environmental journalist”, not only isn’t he too fond of Israel, but he’s not above engaging in ugly smears regarding the Jewish state’s alleged similitude with Nazism which are indistinguishable from what’s leveled by antisemitic extremists.

Indeed, among the most malevolent lies spread by anti-Zionists is that Israelis today are behaving like Nazi Germany did during the Holocaust.

There’s been much written about this insidious moral inversion – a charge made with varying degrees of explicitness recently by two British MPs –  but there are two dynamics worth noting, leaving aside for the moment that such charges are deemed antisemitic by the EUMC Working Definition on Antisemitism.

First, there is the suggestion – again, with varying degrees of explicitness – that Israel is engaging in genocide in Gaza.  This charge, as we demonstrated in a previous post (‘Are Jews the Most Incompetent Ethnic Cleansers on the Planet?), is so counter-factual that only those who possess a crippling hatred towards the Jewish state could even conceive of it.  

During the Shoah, half of Europe’s Jews (including 1.5 million children) were systematically exterminated by the Nazis.  

In Gaza, a blockade on weapons is being enforced by Israel to prevent the flow of rockets and other weapons from getting into the hands of Hamas, a group which launched thousands of such deadly projectiles at Israeli town over the years and is dedicated to the state’s destruction. The population of Gaza has increased from 82,000 in 1949 to more than 1.7 million today. 

Second, there is the moral inversion, in which a vocal minority of putatively liberal commentators see no moral difference between an Islamist extremist group whose founding charter calls for the mass murder of Jews, and the Jews who represent object of their immutable racism. Indeed, some have even convinced themselves that it is the Islamist extremist group which is the victim of Jewish aggression.

This brings us to the following Tweets by Frank McDonald.

The comparison between The Warsaw Ghetto is almost beyond comprehension, but a few facts need to be noted: in 1941 many Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were limited to a diet of less than 200 calories a day, and in 1942 up to 5,000 Jews in the Ghetto were dying every month due to starvation. 

Not only is there no humanitarian crisis (yet alone starvation) in Gaza, but obesity has actually been a problem in the strip since at least the late 1990s.

However, in case you’re in any doubt as to whether McDonald believes that Israelis behave like Nazis, here’s one final Tweet – one of several which evoke the Holocaust that you can see on his Twitter feed over the past several days.

Of course, if post-Holocaust taboos against demonizing Jews were still the norm, the suggestion that Israeli Jews behave like Nazis would render the author of such a hateful invective politically toxic to the progressive journalistic community. 

But, we clearly don’t live in such a place.

Rather, the political realm we inhabit – a mere 69 years since the liberation of Auschwitz - allows for such odious charges in the name, often, of liberal, pro-Palestinian political commentary.

Leon Wieseltier, in The New Republic, made the following observation about those who demonize Israel and characterize its Jewish citizens as morally beyond the pale:

“A whole country and a whole people have been expelled from the realm of imaginative sympathy…there is a poison in the air.”

The  ideological toxins which inform the views of Frank McDonald will likely not be challenged by liberal left opinion leaders, and we can be all but certain that his editors at the Irish Times won’t blink an eye or even demand an explanation for his appalling racist smear of Israel’s six million Jews.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Guardian publishes letter by Gilad Atzmon ally Karl Sabbagh

Karl Sabbagh, the British academic and author of Palestine: A Personal History, had a letter published at the Guardian on Jan 9:

Harry Goldstein’s assertion (Letters, 7 January) that the Palestinians were “offered [a state] in 1947 and refused, preferring to make war on Israel“, must be challenged. The Palestinians were told that 56% of their existing state of Palestine was to be taken away and made into a Jewish state, even though half of the population of the “Jewish” area was Arab. Since the Jews made it clear they wanted even more than the 56% and would take it by force, the Arab armies, far smaller in number and less well-armed than the Jews, moved up to the border of the Jewish state, in an attempt to protect the remaining territory they had been allocated, and stop Israel taking those areas by force. They failed either to stop the Jewish armies or to prevent them expelling Palestinian Arabs from a land in which they had once formed 90% of the population. - Karl Sabbagh

Even by Guardian standards, this is an especially egregious distortion of historical reality.  

First, contrary to what Sabbagh implies, there was never an “existing state of Palestine”. Further, the suggestion that Jews were the belligerent party in 1947-48 represents a remarkable inversion, as it was the Jews (and not the Arabs) who accepted partition, despite the fact that it gave them only a small portion of the land previously promised to them. (Indeed, 77% of the landmass of the original Mandate for the Jews was excised in 1922 to create a fourth Arab state – today Jordan.)

Arab leaders didn’t unleash their armies merely to adjust the borders, but were completely clear that their goal was the total annihilation of the nascent Jewish state.

“I personally wish that the Jews do not drive us to this war, as this will be a war of extermination and momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Tartar massacre or the Crusader wars”. - Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League, October 11, 1947

To Arab leaders in the months before and after partition, a Jewish state of any size was intolerable.

Of course,  Sabbagh’s historical distortions concerning Israel’s creation aren’t at all surprising when you consider that he wrote a blurb for one of the most antisemitic books to be published in several years.

“Gilad Atzmon’s book, The Wandering Who? is as witty and thought-provoking as its title.  But it is also an important book, presenting conclusions about Jews, Jewishness and Judaism which some will find shocking but which are essential to an understanding of Jewish identity politics and the role they play on the world stage.” Karl Sabbagh 

(You can see more about Atzmon’s extreme antisemitism here.)

Finally, here’s a video of Sabbagh in a panel discussion about the book ‘The Wandering Who?’ heaping more effusive praise on Atzmon.

Enhanced by Zemanta

News that Bugs Bunny may be Jewish sends Gilad Atzmon into a rage

CiF Watch contributor Gidon Ben-Zvi broke the news yesterday for the Algemeiner that a noted Jewish-British cinematic historian has claimed that Bugs Bunny may in fact be Jewish.

bugs

Ben-Zvi:

According to film scholar David Yehuda Stern, Bugs Bunny was created by a Jewish producer, lived in a Jewish neighborhood, has a distinctly New York/Jewish accent and uses his wit and sense of humor to avoid all attempts to eliminate him.

Stern, who watched thousands of animated shorts that feature Bugs Bunny, noted in his presentation that there are Jewish fingerprints all over the smart aleck cartoon character, including the very voice of Bugs Bunny – Jewish actor Mel Blanc.

The New York neighborhood Bugs grew up in is teeming with obviously Jewish characters, such as ultra-Orthodox Jews and other stereotypically Eastern European figures from the turn of the 20th century.

The Algemeiner’s cheeky Christmas ‘revelation’ about the “Wascally Wabbit” was shared widely yesterday on social media sites such as Twitter and, in fact, this writer’s link to the story on Facebook garnered more than few comments by Jewish and non-Jewish friends alike, all eager to dissect this animated genealogical controversy.

However, there was at least one antisemitic extremist who didn’t find the news at all amusing.

atzmon

Writing at Veterans Today, an aggregator for conspiracy-oriented and right-wing extremist websites, Atzmon wrote the following:

On Christmas Eve the ultra Zionist Algemeiner decided to break out the news to the world -“Bugs Bunny might be Jewish”

The Jewish outlet reported today that, ‘a noted Jewish-British cinematic historian has claimed that the world’s most famous rabbit displays prominent Jewish characteristics.” According to the Jewish scholar David Yehuda Stern, Bugs Bunny was “created by a Jewish producer, lived in a Jewish neighbourhood, has a distinctly New York/Jewish accent and uses his wit and sense of humour to avoid all attempts to eliminate him.”

I guess that when we talk about Hollywood’s indoctrination in the context of Jewish Power, we should feel free to refer to the Zionist outlet as well as the ‘noted Jewish cinematic historian’.

Of course, Atzmon’s response to Ben-Zvi’s article wouldn’t come as a surprise to readers of this blog. As we’ve noted previously, Atzmon is a prolific anti-Semite who has engaged in ‘Holocaust Revisionism’ while simultaneously arguing that, if Hitler’s genocide did occur as historians “claim”, the mass murder of six million Jews can at least partly be explained by Jews’ villainous behavior.  On this latter note, he’s claimed that Hitler’s views about Jews may one day be vindicated.  

Atzmon also has explicitly charged that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world, and has endorsed of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, arguing about the antisemitic forgery that “it is impossible to ignore its prophetic qualities and its capacity to describe” later Jewish behavior.

He also once accused CiF Watch of being a “Jewish Supremacist” site after we influenced the Guardian to remove his book, The Wandering Who?, from their online bookshop.

Interestingly, Atzmon ends his piece at Veteran’s Today by posting the following YouTube clip of Bugs ‘shilling’ for what he terms the “USA propaganda machine”.

And, really, what self-respecting Jew hater wouldn’t be outraged by such an insensitive and stereotypical portrayal of Nazi mass murderers.

Finally, in light of Atzmon’s political sympathies, we did some research and found what we believe to be a suitable alternative to the dangerously Semitic toon – a rabbit who definitely could not be accused of being part of the Jewish power structure:

Rabbit120208_468x338

Naturally, the Jews who control Hollywood (and the Zionist lobby) would never allow American TV to air such marginalized genocidal voices.

Guess which British journalist re-tweeted Gilad Atzmon?

Say you’re a British Jew and work professionally as a journalist.

And, though you are highly critical of both Israel and many Jews, you still fancy yourself a progressive and anti-racist.  Indeed, you are buoyed by the fact that a mainstream “enlightened” British newspaper continues to publish your commentaries about Israel.

Again, supposing that you were such a “progressive”, ‘independent’ Jewish voice, what would your response be to an article written by Gilad Atzmon, an extremist who has advanced the following arguments?

  • Jews stifle debate about the scope of the Holocaust.
  • The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a prophetic document which accurately characterizes (and predicts) Jewish behavior.

You would completely distance yourself from the views of such an extreme racist, wouldn’t you?  Further, you would emphatically denounce his views at every opportunity, right?

Well, there is one British Jew (who contributes to the London Evening Standard and the Independent) claiming the mantle of anti-racism who, when encountering the commentary of Mr. Atzmon decided to tacitly endorse it.

retweet

If you’re entertaining the notion that Bar-Hillel’s re-tweet of Atzmon did not in fact ‘imply endorsement’, consider that Atzmon’s post (The Milibands, The BBC and The Proloteriat, Oct. 13) included passages which are quite consistent with Bar-Hillel’s own complaints about the stifling of debate about Israel.

Atzmon’s post, which Bar-Hillel re-tweeted, included the following:

Now, is this a legitimate concern or, is socialism, like Jewishness, beyond any criticism or scrutiny?

Of course this is a rhetorical question. Apparently in Britain 2013, any attempt to question the intellectual foundations, history and meaning behind Marxism and socialist thinking is reduced simply to ‘antisemitism’. So, it looks like Marxism and cosmopolitanism, like Jewishness and Israeli racism, have been merged into one vague entity removed from our public discourse, let alone criticism.  

Now, here’s Bar-Hillel in an interview published in Haaretz:

Any criticism of the policies of Israel…is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash

Also of note, this was not a one-off between Atzmon and Bar-Hillel, as you can see in this ‘enlightened’ exchange in September:

tweet convo

One of the most common deceits advanced by many Jewish critics of Israel is that, though they may demonize Israel and even reduce its Jewish citizens to grotesque caricatures, they are nonetheless passionately opposed to “real” antisemitism.

Though there are some Jewish critics of Israel who can credibly claim to walk such a moral tightrope, Bar-Hillel’s decision to engage (and legitimize) a vile neo-Nazi style anti-Semite like Gilad Atzmon demonstrates that she can no longer fancy herself a principled anti-Zionist and a principled anti-racist.  

Her tolerance towards one of the most repugnant promoters of Jew hatred should, at the very least, disqualify her from contributing to any publication which takes its moral reputation seriously

Did CiF Watch “browbeat” Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson into submission?

Two days ago, I discovered that CiF Watch, a Jewish supremacist site interested solely in cleansing British press of any criticism of Israel and Jewish power, was boasting that the Guardian surrendered to their pressure – Gilad Atzmon (Jan. 25, 2012)

You can’t win – [antisemitism is] the ultimate trump card. No matter how many innocent people the Israeli state kills, any criticism is automatically proof of anti-semitism. No wonder idiots like Ahmadinejad want to deny the holocaust. They are jealous. They’d love to silence their critics like that. - Martin Rowson (Dec. 2011)

Though Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson is obviously in no way comparable to extremist Gilad Atzmon, we were reminded of both our battle with Atzmon last year and our periodic critiques of Rowson’s depictions of Israeli villainy following a brief Twitter conversation this morning with the ‘visual artist’.  

rowson

This social media tête-à-tête with Rowson reminded us that we were remiss in failing to note a pithy exchange with him a few months ago which would no doubt inspire ‘fear and trembling’ in those, such as Atzmon, who routinely do battle with the cabal of hegemonic, perfidious Jews and their philo-semitic friends.  

rowson

So, per Rowson’s sage advice, we shall now endeavor to “big ourselves up” with the satisfaction of knowing that our “campaign” to stifle the Guardian’s anti-Israel creativity “has worked”, and contemplate the possibility that the global Zionist ‘conspiracy’ to “cleans the British press of any criticism of Israel and Jewish power” may indeed be as far reaching as our enemies claim.  

Praise for Max Blumenthal’s ‘I hate Israel handbook’ from David Duke and the usual suspects

Cross posted by Petra Marquardt-Bigman 

Coinciding with last weekend’s 75th anniversary of the “Kristallnacht” pogrom by the Nazis, several institutions in Berlin, including the Jewish Museum, organized an “International Conference on Current Phenomena of Antisemitism in Europe.” Given that the focus of the conference was supposedly on “current” manifestations of antisemitism in Europe, it was not at all promising that the keynote speaker – Oxford University philosopher Brian Klug – has made a name for himself by arguing that the demonization of the Jewish state is not “necessarily anti-semitic.” And while Klug has spent much energy opposing the notion that there is a “new antisemitism” that targets Israel, he seems eager to embrace the relatively new concept of “Islamophobia.” 

When critics of Klug published a dossier detailing their objections to his views, the Oxford professor immediately hinted that he might take legal action, because his “attorney…confirmed that the dossier is defamatory.” That left me wondering if Klug (and his attorney, of course!) feels there is anything “defamatory” about the fact that he is being enthusiastically defended and cheered on by a site like Mondoweiss, which has often been accused of publishing antisemitic material.

In recent weeks, one of the biggest stories at Mondoweiss was the publication of a new book by Max Blumenthal, one of the site’s heroes. As one critical reviewer elsewhere noted, Blumenthal’s “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” is really a “I Hate Israel Handbook” brimming with implicit equations of Israel with Nazis, which “could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed) without a single word change once it’s translated into Arabic.”

Unsurprisingly for those of us who are less sophisticated about antisemitism than Brian Klug, there is a big market for a new “I Hate Israel Handbook.” The Israel-haters at the Electronic Intifada jubilantly announced that the book was at one point “the number one seller on Amazon.com in the category of Israeli history.” So perhaps we can imagine that just as Brian Klug shared his thoughts on “Current Phenomena of Antisemitism” with his audience at the Berlin conference, some Mondoweiss (and Brian Klug) fans and other Israel-haters were savoring Blumenthal’s screed – and perhaps they even happened to read the chapters on the Israeli-run concentration camp and the Israeli-perpetrated Kristallnacht?

Blumenthal Goliath

It is arguably no coincidence that a site like Mondoweiss would champion both Oxford philosopher Brian Klug and anti-Israel propagandist Max Blumenthal. Indeed, the fairly impressive endorsements Blumenthal has been able to get for his screed could be seen as the fruit of Klug’s endlessly repeated mantra that there should be precious few red lines when it comes to criticizing Israel. In one of his first articles on this subject Klug wrote some ten years ago:

“In his book, The Case for Israel, Alan Dershowitz argues that when criticism of Israel ‘crosses the line from fair to foul’ it goes ‘from acceptable to anti-semitic’.

People who take this view say the line is crossed when critics single Israel out unfairly; when they apply a double standard and judge Israel by harsher criteria than they use for other states; when they misrepresent the facts so as to put Israel in a bad light; when they vilify the Jewish state; and so on. All of which undoubtedly is foul. But is it necessarily anti-semitic?

No, it is not.”

Let’s imagine for a moment how Professor Klug would feel about this version:

“when critics single Islam out unfairly; when they apply a double standard and judge Islam by harsher criteria than they use for other religions; when they misrepresent the facts so as to put Islam in a bad light; when they vilify the Muslim religion…[this] undoubtedly is foul. But is it necessarily Islamophobic?

No, it is not.”

Of course, one could try this with Blacks, Roma, gays, or whatever other group or entity one would like to vilify while claiming the authority of Oxford philosopher Brian Klug to argue that none of this means that one is “necessarily” bigoted.

However, as we all know, the Klug-definition for bigotry is considered acceptable only when it comes to Israel. So Max Blumenthal and many others can apply double standards and judge Israel by harsher criteria than any other state; they can misrepresent the facts so as to put Israel in a bad light; and they can freely vilify the Jewish state without risking to be denounced as “necessarily anti-semitic.”

Now let’s have a look at some of those who were happy to endorse Blumenthal’s “I Hate Israel Handbook.”

The top editorial endorsement featured on the book’s Amazon page is unsurprisingly from ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Antony Loewenstein: “Goliath…shows in forensic detail the reality of the Israeli mainstream’s embrace [of] blatant racism against Arabs and Africans.” It is noteworthy that the ‘CiF’ contributor is saying here that the vast majority of Israelis are blatantly racist: the rightwing is racist by definition (certainly by The Guardian’s definition), and since the mainstream is also racist, only a small minority of far-left Israelis are perhaps not racist. It’s also safe to assume that Loewenstein is only talking about Jewish Israelis here – so at least Arab Israelis may not be racist…

Ironically enough, another warm endorsement for Blumenthal’s screed comes from The American Conservative (TAC), nicely illustrating that when it comes to the evils of Israel, a supposedly “progressive” publication like ‘Comment is Free’ and a paleoconservative publication like TAC can see eye to eye.

Then there is an endorsement from Stephen Walt – with his full institutional affiliation: Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Walt praises Blumenthal’s “[b]rave reporting,” adding: “Makes me wish he wrote for the New York Times.” Given that earlier this year, Walt served as guest contributor for the Hamas mouthpiece MEMO, it is arguably not surprising that he would happily endorse a book that “could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club.”

Another high-profile academic endorsement for Blumenthal’s screed comes from Rashid Khalidi, though the Columbia professor apparently didn’t want his institutional affiliation displayed. Khalidi praises the book because he feels it “lifts the carefully maintained veil concealing the reality of Israel as it actually is today” and he deplores that this reality “is elided in most reportage from the region.” Obviously Khalidi has a point: with all the bad press Israel is getting, the ‘unveiling’ of its concentration camps and Kristallnachts is still something that is usually found only on the lunatic Jew-hating fringes.

Needless to say, Blumenthal also made sure to collect endorsements from some well-known Jews. Charles H. Manekin, Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center of Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland, likes to describe himself as a “cultural Zionist” – that is to say, a “Zionist” who cares about Jewish culture but not about a Jewish state (– and non-philosophers might think that makes him an anti-Zionist…). His enthusiasm about Blumenthal’s “I Hate Israel Handbook” was such that he professed: “I would like to send a copy…to every Jew I know.”

In addition to these endorsements from academics, there is much praise from writers who work or worked for influential publications: Glenn Greenwald, who has just left The Guardian, apparently found it “stunningly insightful” to read about Israel’s concentration camps and Kristallnachts; David Hirst, also affiliated with The Guardian, worries that Israel will be destroyed by the “virulence of a cancer, both institutional and popular, which [is….] essentially of its own racist and colonialist making;” award-winning former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges considers Blumenthal’s screed one of the most “fearless and honest books ever written about Israel;” and long-time Ha’aretz columnist Akiva Eldar also couldn’t help feeling impressed by Blumenthal’s relentless demonization of Israel.

Naturally, Blumenthal’s “I Hate Israel Handbook” was also warmly praised by his trusted comrades from Mondoweiss and The Electronic Intifada. And unsurprisingly, Blumenthal’s work is also much appreciated by Gilad Atzmon and David Duke.

Here’s a passage of praise from Duke’s site:

“Blumenthal’s writings and videos are extremely valuable in the study of Jewish extremism, as he is not shy about using his Jewish name and looks to gain access to Jewish extremists in order to document the ugliest side of Zionism…as it pertains to Israel.”

While this is an endorsement Max Blumenthal chose not to quote on his Amazon page, I think that this is exactly the company the people who praised Blumenthal’s screed deserve. But I have no illusions that any of them would feel embarrassed by the fact that a propaganda tract they endorse is also praised by far-right antisemites. Moreover, even those who have prestigious academic positions know that, thanks in part to efforts like those of Oxford philosopher Brian Klug, there is no price to pay for cheering the vilification of the Jewish state – and therefore inevitably the Jews who sustain it – in ways that would be completely unacceptable if any other group with a long history of persecution and discrimination was the target.

Morality undetectable: Gilad Atzmon says farewell to Helen Thomas

Merely characterizing Gilad Atzmon as antisemitic simply doesn’t do justice to the degree of hatred he spews.  Atzmon advances demonizing rhetoric about Jews which is on par with the most vile Judeophobic charges that have ever been leveled, and which is often as crude and malevolent as what would be heard at a meeting of neo-Nazis.

In brief, he repeatedly refers to Judaism as “supremacist” faith, a term popularized by David Duke, and has questioned whether the Holocaust occurred, while simultaneously arguing that, if Hitler’s genocide did occur, it can partly be explained by Jews’ villainous behavior.  On this latter point, he claimed that Hitler’s views about Jews may one day be proven right.  Atzmon also has suggested that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world, and has endorsed of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, arguing about the notorious antisemitic forgery that “it is impossible to ignore its prophetic qualities and its capacity to describe” later Jewish behavior.

(The Guardian’s history with Atzmon – the “Jazz Saxophonist” – includes their decision, in 2011, to publish his letter defending the ideas in his book, The Wandering Who? – a work which the CST characterized as one of the most antisemitic books published in the UK in years.)

Yesterday, July 23, Atzmon wrote the following at his blog, in a post titled ‘Farewell to Helen Thomas’.

Helen Thomas, one of the last truth tellers, died last Saturday. Thomas was the longest-serving White House correspondent, she grilled 10 USA presidents in an astonishing career that started in 1943. She was 92.

The heroic lady survived 10 American presidents but was cornered by a single Rabbi who videotaped her suggesting that Israelis should “get out of Palestine” and “go home” to Poland, Germany and America. This truthful comment brought down widespread condemnation that ended Thomas’ White House career. The way in which Thomas was treated was just another indication of the power of the Jewish Lobby and the manner in which it interferes with freedom of speech and other elementary freedoms.

I met Thomas last year in Washington DC, she attended an event with Norton Mezvinsky [Connecticut State University Professor of History Emeritus, at Washington's Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church] and myself that was organised by The Washington Report. Thomas was very weak but her brightness and humanism were shining.

The event, which took place in March, was organized by The Washington Report.  As you’ll see in the video below, which was posted on Atzmon’s blog, Thomas launched the Q&A session.

In case you couldn’t hear her, Thomas asked Atzmon:

What motivated you to change your views [about Zionism and Judaism]?

 Atzmon’s answers, reflecting on the problem of “structural Jewish indoctrination” and the difficulty many Jews evidently face in not adequately understanding their role within what he terms the larger “Jewish organism”, are actually relatively tame in contrast to his previous meditations on Jewish malevolence. 

Note also that Thomas asked one more follow-up question at the 5:42 mark in the video. She asks:

Do they [Jews] have any morality?

Anti -Semites, of course, have been asking such “questions” about Jews throughout the ages, and it’s not surprising that Thomas, who has accused Jews of “owning” Congress, the White House, Hollywood and Wall Street, chose to query Atzmon on whether there were any exceptions to Jews’ seemingly immutable villainy.

Finally, however, let the record note that Thomas (praised by many of her peers for asking the tough questions, ‘grilling’ U.S. Presidents and, more generally, standing up to authority), when offered the opportunity to challenge a loathsome Nazi sympathizer threw two softball and decidedly friendly questions.

If there is any justice, this display of craven deference to an extreme racist will serve to define the legacy of this ‘icon of American journalism’. 

‘CiF’ contributor John Pilger lashes out at America’s “fascist” tendencies

Cross posted at the blog, Nick Nipclose 

John_pilger_large

John Pilger

John Pilger, who has legitimized 9/11 conspiracy theories, suggested that Hezbollah’s resistance represented “humanity at its noblest” and supports neo-nazi Gilad Atzmon, claims, in his July 4 CiF essay, that the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales was “forced down” on “suspicion” that it was carrying a “political refugee” (Edward Snowden) to safety. The episode, he argues, is “a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world and the cowardice and hypocrisy of bystanders.”

Pilger, in contextualizing the incident, describes the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as “a vast Orwellian police state apparatus servicing history’s greatest war-making machine…engaging in criminal activity on an epic scale“. And, though, for instance, the NSA cannot wiretap without warrants, Pilger quite fancies Hugo Chavez whose party passed legislation allowing warrantless wiretapping, and whose government engaged in manipulation of the judiciary and intelligence agencies – the latter which had spied on the country’s tiny Jewish population.

Additionally, Pilger’s central allegation regarding Morales’ plane seems to be highly questionable according to Philip Bump at The Atlantic, who notes that such claims seem to be relying on “reporting comes from a single source, the Bolivian government”, and that some of it has already been contradicted. The “tall tale of the re-routed Bolivian president’s plane is falling apart,” according to Michael C. Moynihan at the Daily Beast, and “does not make sense,” citing, for instance, an audio recording of the Bolivian pilot telling an air-traffic controller that they needed to land because they were unable to get a correct indication of the fuel indication.

Taking his bizarre narrative a step further, Pilger then argues that the incident reveals that “the democratic facades of the US now barely conceal a systematic gangsterism…historically associated with fascism.”

Pilger is a leftover from 20th century faux radicalism, evoking Buster Keaton in the twilight zone episode ‘Once Upon a Time’, a comical relic from a bygone era. Pilger engages in antisemitic tropes with abandon, produces lies in service of Baathists in Syria and runs interference for Iranian tyrants, yet is moved to liberal outrage by ‘American imperialism’ which he believes most people, unguided by his enlightened morality and keen intellect, are unable to detect.

Extremists like Pilger play populist games but reveal that they have a very low opinion of the masses they imagine themselves fighting for.

Glenn Greenwald, Matt Hill and Pat Buchanan’s ideological convergence on ‘Jewish control’

CiF Watch engaged in a series of Twitter conversations yesterday – based on our post earlier in the day about ‘Guardian Left’ antisemitism – which, in addition to a few interesting Tweets by Rosanne Barr over her endorsement of Gilad Atzmon, included an exchange with Liberal Conspiracy blogger (and Indy contributor) Matt Hill.

hill

Hill – who we posted about last month when CiF Watch prompted Indy editors to remove his wild and completely false accusation, in an April 16 essay about Israel’s 65th anniversary, that Israel engaged in “forced sterilisation” of Ethiopian women – engaged with us over our Tweets last night challenging him to acknowledge the antisemitism of, among other Guardian contributors who we cited, Glenn Greenwald.

Here is his reply:

The link which Hill opened was a Times of Israel piece I wrote which included several examples of Greenwald advancing antisemitic narratives.

As I noted in my CW post yesterday, being a Guardian Left anti-Semite is partially defined by the belief you are a champion of progressive politics  and yet often use (or at least defend) terms and tropes indistinguishable from classic right wing Judeophobia - such as the argument that Jews are too powerful, use their money to control politics, and are not loyal citizens.

Before we get to Greenwald’s quotes, which, again, Hill claimed were free of antisemitism, here are a few quotes from a right-wing paleoconservative racist by the name of Pat Buchanan.

  • Israel and its Fifth Column in this city [Washington, D.C.] seek to stampede us into war with Iran. Bush should rebuff them, and the American people should tell their congressmen: You vote for 362, we don’t vote for you.”
  • They charge us with anti-Semitism…The truth is, those hurling these charges harbor a ‘passionate attachment’ to a nation not our own that causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country and to act on an assumption that, somehow, what’s good for Israel is good for America.”
  • “Who would benefit from these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America-save oil…Who would benefit from a ‘war of civilizations’ with Islam? Who other than these neoconservatives and Ariel Sharon? Indeed, Sharon was everywhere the echo of his American auxiliary….”
  • “We charge that a cabal of polemicists and public officials seek to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interests. We charge them with colluding with Israel to ignite those wars and destroy the Oslo Accords. We charge them with deliberately damaging U.S. relations with every state in the Arab world that defies Israel or supports the Palestinian people’s right to a homeland of their own. We charge that they have alienated friends and allies all over the Islamic and Western world through their arrogance, hubris, and bellicosity.”“A list of the Middle East regimes that Podhoretz, Bennett, Ledeen, Netanyahu, and the Wall Street Journal regard as targets for destruction includes Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and ‘militant Islam.’ “Cui bono? For whose benefit these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America save oil, which the Arabs must sell us to survive? Who would benefit from a war of civilizations between the West and Islam? Answer: one nation, one leader, one party. Israel, Sharon, Likud.” What these neoconservatives seek is to conscript American blood to make the world safe for Israel
  • There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in The Middle East – the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States.”
  • Capitol Hill is Israeli occupied territory.”

Now here is Greenwald:

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

And, finally, (though not included in my ToI essay), here’s a case of Greenwald using the term “Israel-Firster” to characterize a Jewish American politician, a term which ignited a row last year involving MJ Rosenberg and other bloggers associated with the Center for American Progress. 

  • “Meanwhile, one of the many Israel-Firsters in the U.S. Congress — Rep. Anthony Weiner, last seen lambasting President Obama for daring to publicly mention a difference between the U.S. and Israel — today not only defended Israel’s attack

Matt Hill evidently sees nothing morally problematic about such attacks on American Jews. 

As I’ve argued elsewhere, Even before the birth of the modern state of Israel, Jews have stood accused of not possessing sufficient loyalty to the nations where they reside.  Its contemporary manifestation however almost always centers around the notion of dual loyalty – a charge that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own nation.  Often, such charges of dual loyalty are infused with a narrative imputing enormous power to Jewish communities which typically represent a tiny fraction of the population. 

Such a synthesis of disloyalty and exaggerated power allows the accuser to charge the Jewish community of working to undermine the nation – often alleging that such Jews are dangerous aliens who represent nothing short of a Fifth Column.

It’s remarkable that, while in much of the 20th century such tropes about Jewish power and dual loyalty were associated with the xenophobic and nativist far right, there’s been an ideological evolution such that these toxic ideas have gained popularity among self-styled ‘progressives’ – some of whom believe as a matter of faith that Jews exercise too much power in the US, put “Israel first” over their own country and even control US foreign policy.

This blog devotes a good deal of space to monitoring Glenn Greenwald because he, perhaps more than any other columnist at the site, represents the most egregious example of a popular and putatively liberal commentator who advances Judeophobic narratives seemingly without the least bit of concern about the racist ideological tradition which inspires his prose.

Our efforts to combat antisemitism at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’ is premised on the understanding that there is nothing even remotely liberal (yet alone “brave”) about engaging in ad hominem, scurrilous and bigoted attacks against Jews.

Genuine liberals, it certainly seems, would intuitively understand this.

Conspiracy theory about Jewish donors funding anti-Islam film is variation on ancient theme.

A version of this essay, written by Joseph Weissman, was published at The JC.


On the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, the American diplomat to Libya Chris Stevens was murdered by Islamists in Libya. Coincidentally, protests flared throughout many Muslim-majority states in protest at a film trailer “The Innocence of Muslims” which insulted Mohammed and the Muslim faith, casting both in a negative light. 

The murder of Mr Stevens has since been shown to have been pre-planned, and therefore separate from the protests surrounding the fourteen-minute-long YouTube video. Yet this past week, many within the mainstream media and within social media apportioned heavy blame for the murder of Ambassador Stevens, to the apparent provocation of The Innocence of Muslims.

Attention turned from the motives, background and identity of the murderers, to the motives, background and identity of the filmmaker. The YouTube user had uploaded his video using the name “sambacile”.

Hours after the murder in Libya, “Sam Bacile” identified himself to reporters as an Israeli Jew, claiming that his film project had been enabled by one hundred Jewish donors, who had contributed five million dollars to the film collectively. The Wall Street Journal – a usually balanced and trustworthy news source on the Middle East – first presented Bacile as an Israeli Jew.

The assertion that the director and his benefactors were rich Jews, rapidly spread across the internet. There were many obvious problems with this theory. The trailer began depicting a slaughter of Christians. Crosses featured prominently throughout the film.

A huge wooden cross was used as a backdrop, to a key scene involving an actor portraying Mohammed. It was not possible that the film should have cost five million dollars to make, given the obvious use of cheap backdrops, the poor acting, and the farcical dubbing. The trailer consisted of key parts of different scenes linked together, without any voiceover, textual effects or music which would really make it look like an actual trailer.

All this prompted a Channel 4 reporter to quip that the film was so poor, that if they existed, the Jewish donors might want their money back.

Whilst these mysterious donors – always alleged and never confirmed – continued to be mentioned amongst the images of burning effigies, the angry rioters, and obituarial clips of Ambassador Stevens, it became evermore unsettling to see how readily Bacile’s lie was believed.

It seems incredible, now, that people could possibly have thought that the film project and its  director were Jewish, and that rich Jews would spend so much money-making this film, which seemingly led to so much chaos. Why would news outlets as lofty as the BBC, repeat Bacile’s unsubstantiated claims? There were so many clear signs that the Jewish link was untrue.

The film looked like it cost a few thousand dollars to make, at most. Yet people believed that it cost millions, because of the added detail of the Jewish donors. Unfortunately, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that, if you removed the Jewish donors, no-one would believe it cost five million dollars. This is because there is an unsettling assumption lurking in some parts of Western society, which casts Jews as rich, politically powerful, and highly motivated to push their own agendas, to the detriment of others. Jewish avarice and obsession with money can be a casual topic of humour in Britain.

Through these jokes, we get an insight into how some people perceive Jews.

If we hear such a joke, we might be tempted to think nothing of it. But when we see people readily believing that Jews could spend thousands of pounds on pamphlets, or millions on amateur Youtube films, we realise that we are dealing with an issue that goes way beyond humour. We should remember that antisemitic ideas about Jews being rich or obsessed with money, have existed for centuries. It would be dangerous to assume they have disappeared suddenly.

To do so would be to ignore a mountain of concerning evidence.

For its part, The Guardian carried a headline labelling Bacile an “Israeli director”, again mentioning the omnipresent “Jewish donors” within its article. When Bacile was shown to have Coptic rather than Jewish connections, The Guardian did not alter its headline.  Why would The Guardian hold to a false idea, even when it has been proven to be false?

Just days earlier, The Guardian had made claims about Jewish donors in a different setting. In a news piece about the Democratic convention re-affirming its support for Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, published on September 6th, you could read matter-of-factly: “Jewish donors, particularly in New York, and pro-Israeli lobby groups are generous supporters not only to Obama but to individual senators and members of the House, who are also facing election in November.”

There are donors of all colours and creed to American politicians, so it is remarkable that The Guardian should choose to focus on the Jews. If unaware of political donors of other ethnic and religious backgrounds, readers might conclude from this article that rich Jews act as a hidden hand behind American politics.

So when “Sam Bacile” began to spin yarns of a hundred rich Jewish donors financing his project, the idea struck a chord with those who tacitly accept theories about rich Jewish money leading to unrest in the Middle East.

It is tempting to feel incredulous, and to laugh and mock the absurdity of educated people so readily believing a lie about Jews. Yet there is a clear enough pattern emerging, which ought to concern us more than it amuses us. 

Earlier this year, the Anglican Church voted at their annual Synod to support the anti-Israel religious and political group Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), which is run by the World Council of Churches. Duly, Jewish deputies and community leaders expressed their concerns to the Synod.

In doing so, they were met with accusations from vicars, of “powerful lobbies” seeking to influence the Synod. Significantly, the proposer of the pro-EAPPI motion John Dinnen, claimed that an unremarkable A4 protest leaflet “must have cost £1,000”. The unspoken assumption was clear. The fingerprints of collective Jewish financial and political efforts were evidence that the case against the EAPPI motion was corrupted in its origin. Clearly the leaflet did not cost a thousand pounds, just as the Innocence of Muslims film trailer did not cost five million dollars.

When Ken Livingstone campaigned to become London mayor back in May, he expressed his belief that Jews would not vote for him because they are rich, and the rich vote for the Tories.

In the end, Livingstone lost by just over 60,000 votes. In the aftermath, some gleefully suggested that if Ken had not alienated so many with his unfair comments about Jews being rich, he might have run Boris Johnson far closer. However, it seemed unfathomable as to why Livingstone would deliberately risk upsetting voters, just to make his point about Jewish money.

In a documentary commissioned by Channel 4, Peter Oborne asked who funded the website CiF Watch, which holds the Guardian to account over its coverage on Israel. CiF Watch is a blog about a specialist subject, and to that extent, it is unremarkable. Bloggers set up blogs on all sorts of specialist subjects, from football teams, to musicians they like, to political causes. 

Set to sinister music, Oborne imagined CiF Watch to be part of an organised Israel lobby exercises “financial muscle” that holds sway over the BBC and Parliament. It was not enough that a few “mysterious” bloggers could just be people with a particular interest, but Oborne had to tell us that one of the CiF Watch bloggers lived in New York, and that he had upset a Guardian journalist by explaining what he thought was anti-Semitism.

When free-to-run blogs are seen as part of a collective financial project to undermine British politics, it is clear how absurd the lie about rich Jews really is.

In the wrong hands, the lie can prove fatal. 24-year-old Ilan Halimi was kidnapped in 2006, in France. Halimi’s kidnappers tried to extort money from his family. They thought that the young Jew was rich, as he was from a Moroccan Jewish family. However, Halimi’s family was of the same wealth as the families of kidnappers. When no ransom money could be provided, he was tortured to death and murdered.

The infamous Hamas charter asserts that the Jews, “with their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press […] they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein […] they formed secret societies [..]for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests.”

When we see Westerners march in solidarity with Hamas, we should not assume that they do so whilst ignoring these unsavoury parts of the Hamas charter. It is far more likely, that Hamas accusations about Jewish money chime with something about Jews that many educated people quite readily believe.

In this context, surely the media has a responsibility not to sustain prejudices, but rather to challenge them. Yet in recent years, we have seen a more subtle version of this concept, slowly creeping into mainstream political thinking.

The respectable version of the theory that Jews are rich and that their influence poisons politics, is that there is an “Israel lobby”, which seeks to sway leaders in the USA into taking pro-Israel positions.

This was the theory of American academics Mearsheimer and Walt, which quickly became popular amongst many left-wing British academics. So when John Mearsheimer expressed support for Gilad Atzmon by endorsing his book, and then defending his decision on Stephen Walt’s blog, it seemed shocking. Atzmon’s writings were overtly anti-Semitic.

He had claimed that modern Jews were the living embodiment of Fagin and Shylock, and that the Jews had effectively caused the Second World War by declaring war on Nazi Germany and seeking to boycott Nazi products. Mearsheimer had supported Atzmon’s writings, as if they were respectable. All of a sudden, the gap between intellectual Leftist anti-Zionism, and crude, aggressive antisemitism seemed infinitesimally small.

We will have to come to terms with the uncomfortable and distressing fact that in the twenty-first century, ludicrous claims about Jewish money and influence are a fact of life. The conspiracy theory about a hundred Jewish donors is the latest variation on this theme.

 Media outlets are only tempted to publish wild ideas about Jewish money, because they are readily believed within wider society. The longer this vicious circle continues, the more Jews will be forced into a corner, bound and trapped by the stereotypes which are readily thrust upon them.

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

The following was published at Times of Israel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of my essay, here.