Guardian writer George Monbiot: “Time for an air war against Israel.”

By CiFWatch Editorial Team.

In a deeply ironic article The Guardian’s George Monbiot asks why, in light of NATO’s current air war against Islamic State, the west doesn’t “bomb the Muslim world – all of it” and possibly “flatten the entire Middle East and West Asia” his thesis being that with there being so many human rights abusers in the region why concentrate solely on Islamic State/ISIS.

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What do Angelina Jolie & Mira Bar-Hillel have in common? Both caused Indy headline fails

The Independent experienced some problems of late in facing the decision all UK newspaper editors who understand the Judeocentric road to increased web traffic: whether any given story should be framed as pertaining to Jews, or merely Israel.

On Aug. 29th, the Indy published a story about Angelina Jolie’s recent wedding to Brad Pitt which originally included a headline suggesting that Jolie’s father, Jon Voight, wasn’t invited because of his pro-Israel views.  However, the subsequent text in the article didn’t at all support this claim, and the headline was later amended.

pitt

Remarkably, however, the author of the article about Jolie’s wedding, Jen Selby, still managed to devote 325 words (in a 800 word piece) about Voight’s views on Israel.

Earlier this month, Voight stirred controversy when he accused Penelopé Cruz and her husband Javier Bardem of ‘inciting anti-Semitism’ after they signed an open letter condemning the Israeli government’s Palestinian ‘genocide’.

In response, Voight, who is famously pro-Israel, penned a strongly-worded letter published on Variety.com.

“My name is Jon Voight and I am more than angry,” it begins. “I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused

“They are obviously ignorant of the whole story of Israel’s birth, when in 1948 the Jewish people were offered by the UN a portion of the land originally set aside for them in 1921, and the Arab Palestinians were offered the other half.

“The Arabs rejected the offer, and the Jews accepted, only to be attacked by five surrounding Arab countries committed to driving them into the sea.”

He goes on to claim that Israel, after years of being at war with the Palestinian people, gave them the Gaza strip as a gesture of peace. He ends the piece by pleading for famous names in the entertainment industry to re-address their anti-IDF stances.

“I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives.  Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now?

“You have been able to become famous and have all your monetary gains because you are in a democratic country: America.  Do you think you would have been able to accomplish this in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, et cetera?

“You had a great responsibility to use your celebrity for good.  Instead, you have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel.

“You should hang your heads in shame,” he concludes.  “You should all come forth with deep regrets for what you did, and ask forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel.

The misleading nature of the original headline was actually revealed in the last sentence in the article:

Neither Angelina Jolie, norBrad Pitt, have publicly shared their views on the conflict.

Sure, now you tell us!

Then, on Sept. 1st, Indy editors decided to reward their loyal readers by publishing more timeless wisdom from Mira Bar-Hillel, in an op-ed originally titled ‘The truth about the UK’s powerful Jewish lobbies‘. (You can see this writer’s rebuttal at the Indy here.)

The headline was later quietly changed, and the words “powerful Jewish lobbies” became “pro-Israel lobbies”, as the former perhaps was deemed by editors to evoke calumnies about Jews which are inconsistent with their “enlightenment” values.

miraInterestingly though, the term “Jewish lobby” can still be seen twice in the article. 

Finally, the disproportionate focus on Jews and Israel within the media was the focus of an amusing blog entry by Jeffrey Goldberg, in a post (published at The Atlantic in 2011) with the following headline:

headline

Here’s the post:

The headline above was produced by the Instamash-Bloginator3000, a device, invented by Israeli scientists working in the Jewish settlement of Neve Manyak, that can reduce thousands of blog posts to a single thought. And it also corrupts Iranian centrifuges! I plugged 3,000 of my blog posts into this wonder machine, and this is the headline that came out!

No, no, I kid! (I kid because I love.) There is no Jewish settlement named Neve Manyak. The headline above actually refers to the disproportionate interest drunks and lunatics take in Jews and their meddling and mysterious ways.

In the last several days, we’ve had Charlie Sheen angrily outing his producer, Chuck Lorre, as “Chaim Levine“;  Glenn Beck accusing Reform rabbis of conspiring to build a Muslim caliphate (or something); John Galliano drunkenly praising Hitler (advice to Galliano’s lawyer: Tell the press your client was referring to another Hitler, maybe a hitherto-obscure designer of hats); the Iranian regime complaining that the 2012 Olympic logo secretly spells out the word “Zion” (they’re wrong, of course; the logo secretly spells out “Mark Spitz is Jewish, and Jason Lezak is Too, So Go Drown Yourselves in the Caspian Sea); and now, Julian Assange is allegedly arguing that The Guardian — the English-language newspaper least friendly to Israel on Earth — is engaged in a Jewish-dominated conspiracy to smear him.

One of the great advantages of being Jewish — and there are many (we invented both ethical monotheism and whitefish salad, after all) — is that though there are only about 14 million of us on the whole planet (18 million before World War II, Mr. Galliano), people can’t stop talking about us! It is very exciting to be a part of so many different fantasies. 

We don’t know for sure if the Indy uses a device as sophisticated as the Instamash-Bloginator3000 to assist their editors in crafting headlines, or whether they just realize on their own the great click-bait advantages generated by generous use of the terms “Jew” and “Israel”.  However, in the rarely dull field of pro-Israel media criticism nothing much surprises us anymore.  

After all, if you had told us just last week that we would be publishing a post with a headline that included the names Angelina Jolie and Mira Bar-Hillel we would have certainly, at the very least, raised an eyebrow and scratched our collective Jewish Israeli Zionist heads. 

Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent slammed for misleading Tweet about Iranian arms shipment

Last night the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont tweeted an article from Haaretz/Reuters about a new UN report (obtained by Reuters) on the shipment of rockets intercepted in the Red Sea by the Israeli Navy in March. 

Here’s the text of Beaumont’s Tweet:

“Despite Israeli claims, UN panel decides missiles on the seized ship Kos were for Sudan NOT Gaza

However, here’s headline to the Haaretz story by Louis Charbonneau, published earlier in the day, that Beaumont linked to:

‘UN panel: Arms ship seized by IDF came from Iran, but not bound for Gaza

First, note Beaumont’s distortion of the Haaretz headline.  Though the headline only claimed, per the article, that the UN had determined that the ship itself (carrying the arms) was heading for Sudan, Beaumont twisted it to appear as if the UN had concluded that the arms (that the ship was carrying) were destined for Sudan – and not Gaza.

Indeed, if you read the article you’d see that the UN panel didn’t even address the question concerning the final destination of the arms, and certainly didn’t conclude that they were not heading for Gaza.  The article in fact noted Sudan’s role as a conduit for arms to Gaza.

The experts do not speculate in the report about why the arms were being sent to Sudan, a country which Western diplomatic and intelligence sources have told Reuters has in the past been a conduit for Iranian arms shipments to other locations in Africa, as well as the Gaza Strip.

In fact, the article clearly states that the UN report was primarily concerned with the narrow question of whether Iran was responsible for the shipment of arms, and thus in violation of the international arms embargo.

A UN expert panel has concluded that a shipment of rockets and other weapons that was seized by Israel came from Iran and represents a violation of the UN arms embargo on Tehran, according to a confidential report obtained by Reuters on Friday.

“The Panel finds that the manner of concealment in this case is consistent with several other cases reported to the (Security Council’s Iran Sanctions) Committee and investigated by the Panel,” the experts said.

“The Panel concludes that the shipment of arms and related material found aboard the Klos C is a violation of Iran’s obligations under paragraph 5 of resolution 1747,” they added, referring to the U.N. arms embargo on Tehran.

Indeed, the IDF never claimed – at the time of the interception – that the ship itself was heading to Gaza, only that the arms on the ship were to be smuggled by land from Sudan into Gaza via the Sinai.

 

Beaumont’s tweet twisted the text of the Haaretz/Reuters article to make it appear as if the UN had ruled out Gaza as a final destination for the arms – a distortion pointed out by a few Tweeters, including Yiftah Curiel (Spokesperson of the Israel Embassy in London), Peter Lerner (IDF Spokesman), Judge Dan (blogger at Israellycool) and this writer. 

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It doesn’t appear as if Beaumont has thus far responded to any of his critics.

Update: At some point following my reply (above) to Beaumont’s misleading Tweet, he blocked my account.

Repulsive Guardian op-ed justifies Palestinian antisemitism

Yesterday we posted on the results of a new international antisemitism poll by ADL, which demonstrated that Palestinians are the most antisemitic people among the 100 countries surveyed. We noted that Palestinians are even more antisemitic than citizens in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan and Iran.  

Here are some of the highlights:

  • 88% of Palestinians believe Jews have too much control over global affairs.
  • 89% believe Jews have too much power over international financial markets
  • 88% of Palestinians believe that Jews have too much control over the global media
  • 78% of Palestinians believe that Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars.
  • 87% of Palestinians believe that people hate Jews because of the way Jews behave.

It would seem that true anti-racists would have a pretty difficult time defending such views – as some of the tropes are indistinguishable from the notorious Czarist forgery, Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

To boot, a Guardian op-ed published today by pro-Palestinian activists  and  begins with this headline and photo:

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The photo is surreal.  An op-ed about antisemitism doesn’t depict Jews, but Palestinians, who, we are told, are denied their basic human rights.

It gets worse, much worse.

Here’s the opening passage, employing a modified version of the Livingstone formula, in which it’s claimed that Jews try to silence and intimidate those who don’t share their views on Israel:

This week the Anti-Defamation League – an organization with a long history of trying to silence and intimidate those who don’t share their unwavering support for Israel and its policies – published a survey ringing the alarm about antisemitism.

So, to the authors of the op-ed, a poll demonstrating dangerous levels of antisemitism among Palestinians is itself an attempt to silence debate.

They continue:

Rather than advance our understanding of this serious issue, the survey seems predictably designed to stir up fear that Jew-hatred is a growing global phenomenon that puts the world’s Jews universally at risk, and that the biggest culprits are Muslims and Arabs, particularly Palestinians.

This is remarkable.  The ADL is evidently of guilty of ‘stirring up fear’ by demonstrating that Arabs and Muslims are the biggest culprits of antisemitism. Do the authors take issue with the methodology of the poll, or do they simply not fancy the results?

The following passage is even more astonishing:

The most striking example of a leading question undergirds the ADL’s claim that the highest percentage of anti-Semitism is among Palestinians who live in the occupied territories. The ADL asked a group of people for whom the movement of goods, money and labor is controlled by Israel, “Do Jews have too much power in the business world?. Were they really to be expected to answer anything but “yes”?

Evidently, according to Nevel and Kleinberg Neimark, Palestinians possess no moral agency and can’t be held accountable for standards of decency. It’s impossible not read that passage as a justification for Palestinian antisemitism.

The op-ed continues:

In its press release, the ADL states that “The most widely accepted anti-Semitic stereotype worldwide is: Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country/the countries they live in.” It’s an odd indicator of anti-Semitism given that Israeli leaders consistently claim to speak for the global Jewish community and consider loyalty to Israel a precondition for being a good Jew. So it’s actually not surprising that this constant assertion has penetrated the consciousness of the rest of the world.

Again, the authors of the op-ed are justifying a historic antisemitic trope – the dual loyalty canard.  Do Guardian editors really find this morally defensible? Do they not know a thing about the injurious effects of questioning Jews’ loyalty to the state in which they’re citizens? The charge of dual loyalty could be seen in the Dreyfus Affair through the Nazi’s rise to power – and, yet, it’s as if the dark history of this idea doesn’t bother the authors of the piece, nor the Guardian editors who approved it.

Then there’s this amazing charge:

These questions, and many others in the ADL survey are designed to gin up paranoia.

Seventy-eight percent of Palestinians believe that Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars, but ADL is the party stirring up paranoia!

We’ve been monitoring the Guardian and Comment is Free for over 4 and half years now, and this is arguably one of the most repulsive op-eds we’ve come across.  The media group’s inability to take Jew hatred seriously represents a shameful moral abdication and makes a mockery of their claim to be a leading liberal voice.

 

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CiF Watch prompts Guardian correction over Iran Sanctions Bill claim

Earlier this month we criticized a Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood and Dan Roberts (Binyamin Netanyahu visit will test strains in US-Israel relationship, March 2) that included the following claim regarding efforts in the US Senate to pass a new Iran Sanctions Bill:

…the failure of an Aipac-supported effort to pass legislation blocking Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security.

We noted that this represented a significant mischaracterization of a bill (S.1881 – Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013) which, by all accounts, was designed to increase sanctions against Iran only in the event negotiations with the six world powers failed to produce an agreement, or if Iran failed to abide by the terms of any agreement.

Following our communication with Guardian editors, they agreed to revise the relevant passage. It now reads:

But the failure of Aipac to garner enough support in the Senate to oppose the Obama administration over its nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security.

Additionally, the following addendum was added to the article, noting the change:

amended

Though we are not totally satisfied with the revised passage – which still fails to clearly state the intent of the legislation  – it nonetheless represents an improvement over the original, and we commend Guardian editors on their positive response to our complaint.

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Following CiF Watch post, Guardian removes reference to ‘powerful Jewish lobby’

Though our complaint to the Guardian this morning has thus far gone unanswered, we’re pleased they removed an extremely gratuitous (and pejorative) reference to Jews in a column by Ian Black and Martin Chulov (Israeli forces seize rockets ‘destined for Gaza’ in raid on Iranian ship in Red Sea, March 6).

Here’s the original passage which we highlighted in our post:

The seizure follows a visit this week by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to Washington, where he used a meeting with Barack Obama and a stump speech to the powerful Jewish lobby AIPAC to underscore his reservations about a nuclear deal with Iran.

Here’s the passage now:

The seizure follows a visit this week by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to Washington, where he used a meeting with Barack Obama and a stump speech to the powerful pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC to underscore his reservations about a nuclear deal with Iran.

As we argued earlier, AIPAC is not a Jewish organization, and the decision by Black and Chulov to use the term “powerful Jewish lobby” is inconsistent with the warnings of the Guardian Readers’ editor Chris Elliott (in a column in 2011) to their journalists and commentators to avoid “language long associated with antisemitic tropes such as Jews having too much power and control”.

Whilst, unfortunately, there’s no editor’s note below the article explaining the new wording, we’re of course glad they saw fit to make the revision. 

UPDATE: Guardian editors did respond to our email, and noted that the article includes the following addendum:

update

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Guardian report on IDF rocket seizure includes gratuitous reference to ‘powerful Jewish lobby’

We’ve commented previously on the Guardian’s tendency to see the nefarious machinations of AIPAC (and the broader pro-Israel lobby) in a myriad of US foreign policy decisions which run afoul of their far-left ideology.  Usually, their contributors don’t go as far as blaming Jews as such – instead, merely characterizing this political force, which evidently wreaks havoc on the US and the world, as merely AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, or the Israel lobby. 

However, they typically aren’t shy about imputing the worst motives to the organized pro-Israel community, often suggesting their members have a thirst for war.  At times, there’s even the thinly veiled charge that Americans who associate with such lobbies are more loyal to Israel than their own country.

Here are a few examples:

elements of the lobby vilify Jewish critics of Israel and intimidate the media – ‘Comment is Free’, Antony Lerman, Nov. 20, 2009 (Affirming comments made by Peter Oborne, presenter of Channel 4’s Dispatches documentary Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby)

“Just as important is the pressure that pro-Israel campaigners put on the mainstream US media. They warn people off the very word Zionist as though only antisemites use it and demand Israel be treated as a special country whose politics deserve more sympathy than others….In fact US publishers, editors, and reporters carry the biggest responsibility for the rotten state of US policy in the Middle East. The pro-Israel lobbies are powerful and Obama weak mainly because Americans rarely get an alternative view.” - Guardian, Jonathan Steele, Aug. 10, 2010

What do Nebraska and Iran have in common? Not much – but enough to cause big trouble for former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, whose possible nomination to be secretary of defense is being challenged by the powerful bomb-Iran-yesterday lobby.”…Militarists in Washington, taking their cue from pro-Israel lobbyistsare trying to derail the appointment because Hagel doubts the wisdom of starting another war in the Middle East.” - Comment is Free, Stephen Kinzer, Dec. 31, 2012

The Israel lobby has a “stranglehold” over the American debate about Israel – Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 22, 2012 (You can see Greenwald’s history of scaremongering about ‘the lobby’ here)

Obama…established a position his critics may find hard to assail. He forced those many members of Congress and beyond who have conflated America’s interests with Israel’s on to the back foot by saying that on Iran there are differences – and he will serve US interests first. – Guardian, Chris McGreal, March 9, 2012

“President Obama must show America’s pro-Israel lobby that he is tough somewhere in the Middle East - Guardian, Simon Jenkins, Jan. 3 2012 (On why Obama imposed economic sanctions on Iran)

But the failure of an Aipac-supported effort to pass legislation blocking Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security. - Guardian, Harriet Sherwood and Dan Roberts, March 2, 2014

Interestingly, not only did the Guardian manage to slip in a negative reference to ‘the lobby’ in a March 5 story, by Ian Black and Martin Chulov, on the IDF’s interception yesterday of an Iranian shipment of rockets destined for Gaza, but let the veil of respectability slip in neglecting to use the familiar euphemism:

The high seas interception is the fourth of its kind by Israel in the past 12 years and the first since the start of the Syrian civil war three years ago. It comes after a spate of air attacks on weapons warehouses and arms convoys in the past 18 months that officials in Tel Aviv had hinted were destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The seizure follows a visit this week by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to Washington, where he used a meeting with Barack Obama and a stump speech to the powerful Jewish lobby AIPAC to underscore his reservations about a nuclear deal with Iran.

Of course, AIPAC is not a Jewish organization, as anyone familiar with their racially, ethnically and religiously diverse membership – which includes African-Americans, Latinos, and evangelical Christians – would understand. Moreover, it’s telling that even the most prolific promoters of ‘AIPAC root cause theory, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, use the term ‘Israel lobby’ (and not ‘Jewish lobby’) when speaking of AIPAC and other assorted groups they claim are distorting US foreign policy.

More broadly, writers who chronicle the evolution of political thought may one day look back at our era and marvel over the popularity, among presumably “enlightened” voices, of narratives which impute to organized Jewry both immense power and disloyalty – those characterized by Leon Wieseltier as “the herd of fearless dissidents who proclaim in all seriousness, without in any way being haunted by the history of such an idea, that Jews control Washington”.  

Perhaps such intellectual historians will explain how Judeophobic tropes typically associated with the far-right became politically fashionable at a paper which – no matter how risibly – continues to claim the mantle of the ‘world’s leading liberal voice‘. 

Finally, it’s worth recalling an article titled ‘Averting accusations of antisemitism‘, published in 2011 by Guardian Readers’ Editor Chris Elliott, which in many ways vindicated the work of this blog, and included explicit warnings to their reporters and commentators to stay clear of “language long associated with antisemitic tropes such as Jews having too much power and control”.

Evidently, Black and Chulov didn’t get the memo.

(UPDATE: The Guardian revised the article early this afternoon, and deleted the original reference to “powerful Jewish lobby”.)

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Harriet Sherwood completely mischaracterizes Iran sanctions bill

A March 2nd Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood and Dan Roberts (Binyamin Netanyahu visit will test strains in US-Israel relationship) included the following claim regarding efforts in the US Senate to pass a new Iran sanctions bill:

…the failure of an Aipac-supported effort to pass legislation blocking Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security.

This is a complete mischaracterization of a bill (S.1881 – Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013) which, by all accounts, is designed to put more pressure on Iran so that they’ll comply with any nuclear agreement that is reached with the six world powers.

The bill (sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez, along with 58 co-sponsors) has been accurately described by multiple media sources:

Washington Post

The measure introduced Thursday, if approved, would impose harsh new sanctions on Iran’s petroleum industry while also threatening U.S. allies and partners with financial restrictions unless they sharply curtail trade with Iran. The sanctions would go into effect if Iran violated the terms of the temporary accord reached last month or if it failed to reach a permanent agreement with world powers in a timely manner.

New York Times

A bipartisan group of senators, defying the White House, introduced a bill on Thursday to impose new sanctions on Iran if it failed to conclude a nuclear agreement, or stick to the terms of its interim deal, with the United States and other major powers.

The bill would seek to drive Iran’s oil exports down to zero and penalize its engineering, mining and construction industries. But the sanctions would not take effect before the six-month term of the interim deal expires, and they could be deferred for up to another six months, at Mr. Obama’s request, if the talks looked promising.

ABC News:

A bipartisan group of 26 senators introduced new legislation today proposing potential sanctions against Iran if the country fails to uphold the P5+1 agreement made last month or if it fails to reach a final agreement to terminate its nuclear weapons program.

The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., which calls for additional reductions in purchases of Iranian petroleum and creates more penalties for parts of the Iranian economy, including engineering, mining and construction.

The bill also provides the administration with up to one year from implementation of the agreement to try to reach a diplomatic solution that would completely end Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Business Insider

The legislation proposes sanctions in the event that Iran breaches the terms of the interim agreement reached last month in Geneva — or if world powers fail to come to a comprehensive agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear energy program. 

Politico:

The sanctions legislation would impose conditional economic penalties on Iran if the country fails to follow through on an interim deal or pulls out of ongoing global negotiations to permanently curtail its nuclear ambitions in return for some sanctions relief.

CNN

Bipartisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday that would authorize new economic sanctions on Iran if it breaches an interim agreement to limit its nuclear program or fails to strike a final accord terminating those ambitions.

Clearly, the bill would increase sanctions against Iran only in the event negotiations with the six world powers (P5+1) fail to produce an agreement, or if Iran fails to abide by an agreement.  So, the claim made by Sherwood and Roberts that the bill would “block Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran” is untrue.

If you still have doubts that the Guardian misled readers about the nature of the bill, you can read the full text at the site of the US Congress, here.

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‘Guardian AIPAC theory’ regarding Hillary’s position on Iran is proven wrong

On Feb. 2nd we commented on a ‘Comment is Free’ essay by frequent Israel-lobby critic Stephen Kinzer which criticized Hilary Clinton’s alleged failure to take a position on a bill which would increase sanctions against Iran if negotiations with the six world powers failed.

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Guardian, Jan. 29 (Stephen Kinzer)

Kinzer wrote the following:

Here lies the dilemma. A strong statement by Clinton [against sanctions] would be a game-changer in Washington. She would be giving a centrist, establishment endorsement of her former boss’s most important foreign policy initiative. That would provide political cover for moderate Democrats terrified of antagonizing the Netanyahu government and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is leading the anti-reconciliation campaign in Washington.

Such a statement, however, would risk outraging pro-Netanyahu groups and individuals who have been among Clinton’s key supporters since her days as a Senator from New York. Having spent years painstakingly laying the ground for a presidential campaign, she does not want to risk a misstep that would alienate major campaign contributors.

However, the entire assumption of Kinzer’s thesis was proven wrong, per a Guardian report by their national security editor Spencer Ackerman – a relatively moderate and sober voice by Guardian standards – on Feb. 2nd which included the following title: 

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Guardian, Feb. 2. (Spencer Ackerman)

Ackerman noted that Clinton sent a letter to the Senate on Jan. 26 – three days prior to Kinzer’s op-ed complaining of her alleged “silence” on the issue – urging her former Senate colleagues NOT to pass the new ‘Iran Sanctions’ bill

Clinton’s Jan. 26 letter included the following:

“[Sanctions] could rob us of the international high ground we worked so hard to reach, break the united international front we constructed, and in the long run, weaken the pressure on Iran by opening the door for other countries to chart a different course,”

…I have no doubt that this is the time to give our diplomacy the space to work…

Kinzer got it wrong.  

Ackerman’s report clearly indicates, contrary to Kinzer’s claim, that Clinton evidently was NOT afraid to “risk outraging pro-Netanyahu groups and individuals who have been among Clinton’s key supporters since her days as a Senator from New York”.

Of course, such evidence – undermining the ‘Israel-lobby root cause theory’ constantly promoted by Kinzer and his Guardian Left colleagues – will not make a dent in such ideologically inspired articles of faith.

Kinzer is a Guardian/’Comment is Free’ contributor after all, and so we can be assured that not the slightest cognitive dissonance will be felt.  No lessons will be learned.

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Irish Times op-ed: ‘Zionist ultras’ see antisemitism everywhere

We’ve recently been commenting on op-eds by Irish Times columnist Eamonn McCann, the socialist (and former Trotskyite) who regales readers with anti-Zionist rhetoric so vitriolic that it could have originated from Soviet Department for Agitation and Propaganda.  

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Eamonn McCann, Marxism Conference 2013

In one memorable column, McCann prophesied on the inevitable demise of the Jewish State – the natural result, he suggested, of the corrosive effects of its official racist ideology.

His latest ‘meditation‘ on Israeli villainy appeared in the Irish Times on Feb 6, and included the following headline:

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Here’s the simply risible – and, of course, fact-free – opening passage:

We are all anti-Semites now, including US secretary of state John Kerry. That’s according to a clutch of ministers in Binyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, plus a mixum-gatherum of colonial settlers, super-Zionists and most US senators.

What evidence does he produce to back up his claim that a “clutch of ministers in Netanyahu’s cabinet” and “most US senators” believe ‘everyone’ is antisemitic?

Well, here are some passages which evidently represent supporting text for his hysterical opening passage:

Influential Israeli politicians have come within an inch of smearing Kerry as an anti-Semite. What he’d said to earn this censure was: “The risks are very high for Israel. People are talking about boycott . . . Do they want a failure [in parallel negotiations on Palestine] that then begs whatever may come in the form of a response from disappointed Palestinians and the Arab community?”

So, McCann is now only claiming that the cabal of super Zionists came close (“within an inch”) of smearing Kerry as an anti-Semite.

McCann continues:

In response, Israeli industry minister Naftali Bennett declared: “We expect of our friends to stand by our side against the attempts to impose an anti-Semitic boycott on Israel, not to be their mouthpiece.” What he’d said to earn this censure was: “The risks are very high for Israel. People are talking about boycott . . . Do they want a failure [in parallel negotiations on Palestine] that then begs whatever may come in the form of a response from disappointed Palestinians and the Arab community?”

Again, even by McCann’s account, Bennett didn’t accuse Kerry of engaging in antisemitism, only that boycotts were antisemitic, and that Kerry didn’t stand by Israel’s side in the fight against such boycotts.

He continues:

Senior official of the colonial settlers’ council Adi Mintz accused Kerry of “an anti-Semitic initiative. The anti-Semites have always resorted to a very simple method – hit the Jews in their pockets.”

Netanyahu refused to condemn Bennett, Mintz and others who had spoken along the same lines, but was himself rather more circumspect, telling his cabinet that promotion of a boycott was “immoral and unjust”.

While Mintz did suggest that Kerry’s comments about boycotts were antisemitic, the most McCann could muster against Netanyahu was to accuse him of not directly condemning Bennett, who, per the quote above, did not in fact accuse Kerry of antisemitism.

And, what about the US senators’ alleged belief that ‘everyone’ opposing Israel is antisemitic?

Well, McCann’s introduction of US senators into the tale begins when he strangely pivots away from Israeli reactions to Kerry’s comments about boycotts and addresses another unrelated topic, the response in the Senate to recent negotiations between Iran and the P5+1:

The statement quoted here most clearly reflective of stereotypical anti-Semitism was Mintz’s. However, it’s the viewpoint of the Zionist ultras which has been adopted by a majority of US senators. Forty-three Republicans and 16 from Kerry’s Democrats responded to the breakthrough in Munich by introducing a Bill imposing even harsher sanctions, with the option of war if Iran doesn’t surrender the modest gains achieved in Munich.

Whilst McCann grossly distorts the tentative agreement reached on Jan. 20 between Iran and the six world powers, he offers no evidence that any of the “Zionist ultra” senators supporting the bill – which would impose harsher sanctions on Iran if they failed to abide by a potential long-term agreement – ever uttered a word about antisemitism.

McCann’s villains – those who evidently casually accuse anyone and everyone who opposes Israeli positions of engaging in antisemitism – consist of straw men, conjured to support his polemical construct and advance his continuing Irish Times approved smears of Israel and its supporters.

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The Economist: We do not believe Jews control Congress

Last week we posted about the following cartoon by Peter Schrank published at The Economist – used to illustrate an article about negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 – which evoked the antisemitic narrative on the supposed injurious influence of Jewish power on U.S. foreign policy.

cartoonOur blog post included the following headline:

headline

Later in the day we learned that The Economist had removed the cartoon from the online edition of the article, and issued the following addendum:

Today, we noticed that they revised their editor’s note and addressed the specific question posed by this blog and several other commentators:

update econ

While it’s unclear what Peter Schrank believes about the criticism directed towards his cartoon, we’re of course glad that editors at The Economist distanced themselves from such racist (and increasingly prevalent) beliefs about the ‘corrupting influence’ of Jewish power.

h/t Gidon 

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The UK media again show their obsession with the ‘Israel lobby’

Just yesterday, we posted about a cartoon published at the Economist on Jan. 18 (which they later retracted) with imagery suggesting that pro-Israeli (or Jewish) interests control US Congress.  We noted that such narratives, on the injurious influence of organized Jewry (and their money), have become something akin to an enforced orthodoxy within many circles, especially among the “enlightened” British opinion elite.

Additionally, Donald Macintyre (Jerusalem correspondent for the Independent) published a report on Jan 21 titled ‘William Hague swims around the fishy issue of Iran‘, which began thus:

To contrast the attitudes of the US Congress and the British Parliament, start with Iran. Today, the palpable welcome by MPs for Tehran’s suspension of high-level  uranium enrichment was matched only by anxiety about the UN excluding Iran from the Syria talks that start today in Switzerland.

The unease emanated not only in Labour but on the government benches. John Baron, who pressed William Hague for early “normalisation” of UK-Iran diplomatic relations after an “encouraging start” to nuclear negotiations, is his own man. But he was backed by fellow Tory Phillip Lee who deplored the “overnight debacle” of the cancelled invitation and wanted “a Gorbachev-like” approach to “reform-minded Iranian politicians”.

Many MPs, in other words, want to go further, faster in rapprochement, with Iran. Contrast that with Congress, where many members have been pressing for sanctions to be tightened. All of this makes it hard not to conclude that one difference is the much greater power wielded by the Israel lobby in the US legislature than in its British counterpart.

First, the Indy journalist conflates two separate issues: talks taking place in Switzerland today aimed at resolving the Syrian Civil War (known as Geneva II) on one hand, and an interim nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers (the P5+1) on the other.  While the role played by the ‘Israel lobby’ in influencing Congressional support for increased US sanctions against Iran is itself far less than clear, there is no evidence of any such lobbying on either side of the Atlantic to scuttle Iran’s participation in Geneva II.

More importantly, it’s quite remarkable that Macintyre – a journalist known for his exclusive investigations – failed to provide even a hint of evidence to back up his claim that only the contrasting strengths of the US and British ‘Israel lobbies’ could explain the differing government approaches to issues related to Iran. It’s as if, for Macintyre and those similarly subscribing to “the party of Mearsheimer and the clique of Walt“, no other explanation is even conceivable.  

A more astute observer of the American political scene, however, would of course recognize that the “power” of the lobby is primarily merely a reflection of the organic popularity of the issues they’re campaigning for. In fact, polls of American public opinion consistently demonstrate that Israel is extremely popular among all groups, while Iran is consistently disliked.  The following poll of Americans conducted by Gallup in 2013 reveals that Iran is in fact the least popular foreign country, while Israel is the sixth most popular foreign country.

gallup

Such data indicating that Iran is extremely unpopular would of course help contextualize more recent polls indicating that a plurality of Americans disapprove of the agreement between the U.S. and Iran over its nuclear program due, it seems, to their skepticism that Tehran would actually abide by the terms of any such deal.  Gallup reported that “62% of those polled believe that Iranian leaders are not serious about addressing international concerns about their country’s nuclear enrichment program compared with just 29% who think they are serious.”

It should be clear to the Indy journalist that Congressional support for Iran sanctions accurately reflects American public opinion on the issue, and, more broadly, that the conventional wisdom about supposed ‘root causes’ of US policy – which risibly often passes as ‘progressive’ political thought – is facile, often tinged with bigotry and empirically inaccurate. 

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