How a Guardian editorial on homophobia in Africa explains their Israel coverage

Post-colonial ideologies…blame the West (particularly the US and Europe) for the ills of the ‘global South’ or the under-developed world, and understate the criticism of dictatorships and terror groups (or liberation movements). In this political culture, Israel and Zionism (Jewish nationalism) are labelled as powerful aggressors intricately connected with Western ‘imperialism’ and ‘neoliberalism’, while Palestinians are automatically labelled as weak victims. – Gerald Steinberg, Fathom

Though the mission of this blog is to combat antisemitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy at the Guardian, at times it’s important to look beyond their reports and commentary on Israel and the Palestinian territories (and the broader Middle East) to fully understand the political persuasion which informs their coverage.

A case in point is a recent official Guardian editorial on Uganda’s new anti-gay law (and similar homophobic legislation throughout the continent) titled ‘Homophobia: hatred carried on a Westernly wind.

Here’s some of their March 9th editorial:

It doesn’t take a team of medical experts, such as that commissioned by Kampala, to establish that homosexuality predates western power in Africa, or to work out that far from encouraging homosexuality, the colonialists exported homophobia, in the form of anti-gay legislation then on European statute books. 

In the case of Buganda, the kingdom that formed the heart of present-day Uganda, the British deposed the male monarch on the pretext that he had a harem of page boys.

More recently, homophobia has travelled with a new band of westerners, the American evangelicals, exposed in the documentary God Loves Uganda, in which toothsome Midwesterners preach their message to Africa. Their influence is immense. As the newly out Kenyan novelist Binyavanga Wainaina has noted, whether “in the media, or in conversation” one can “quickly hear almost the exact wording that has been distributed … in the churches.”

In 2009, as their gay “curing” agenda was discredited in the US, three American evangelicals travelled to Kampala to “instruct” thousands of influential Ugandans on how gay men sodomise teenagers and how the gay movement promotes sexual promiscuity. A month after that, a Ugandan politician introduced a bill to create a capital offence of “aggravated homosexuality”. It is a version of this bill that has now been passed by Mr Museveni, and which will open up hundreds of thousands of gay Ugandans to persecution.

So, are three American evangelicals responsible for anti-gay legislation in Uganda, a country which has been independent for over 50 years? And, did the West export homophobia to Africa?

First, as the Washington Post reported, Evangelical leaders in the US have strongly condemned the Ugandan law. And, as one Evangelical who attended the conference in 2009 argued in response to others blaming his community for the legislation, it’s extremely insulting to the Ugandans to suggest that a few American pastors are so powerful that they overwhelmed the intelligence of an entire government.

Additionally, the Guardian editorial fails to note that homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda.  (What the new law did was greatly increase the sentences for such illegal acts.)

Even more relevant to the debate is a Pew Global Poll published in 2013 which showed that a staggering 96 percent of Ugandans don’t believe society should accept homosexuality, strongly suggesting that the new law merely reflected the existence of strongly held (and indigenous) anti-gay attitudes.  

Further, whatever the moral influence of European colonialism, those who are rightfully concerned with the persecution of gays in the world would have to acknowledge that the problem of homophobia is largely centered in Africa and the Middle East.  Though 51 African and Middle East countries have laws explicitly prohibiting gay sex, there is no country in Europe which has such a law. (Though, tellingly, the last holdout in Europe, which only two months ago dropped its law banning homosexuality, was Turkish-Occupied Northern Cyprus.)

Beyond the narrow issue addressed in the editorial, the dynamics at play whereby the Guardian fails to hold independent African states responsible for reactionary legislation passed by their own legislatures helps to understand the dearth of reports at the paper on human rights abuses committed by Palestinians against other Palestinians.  The criticism we direct towards Guardian reports often focus on their failure to hold Palestinians responsible for destructive behavior and cultural attitudes which are illiberal and inimical to peace - a failure to assign moral agency to Arabs and Muslims which is part of a broader ideological tick.  

Many Guardian contributors seem unable to countenance such a politically inconvenient human rights divide in the world – one fundamentally at odds with their post-colonial divide - and so often resort to the most tortured causation in explaining cruelty and violence meted out by ‘the formerly oppressed’. 

This ideology partly explains why the Guardian associate editor Seumas Milne blamed 9/11 on US foreign policy, why Glenn Greenwald similarly blamed terrorist attacks by American Islamists on “horrific violence brought by the US and its allies to the Muslim world”, and why the Guardian religion blogger Andrew Brown blamed the Muslim persecution of Christians in the Mid-East on “the establishment of the state of Israel and its support by Western Christian countries“.

Genuine progressives, it seems, who advocate passionately for a Palestinian state would have to acknowledge that Israel is by any measure the most liberal country in the region, and would have to address the likelihood that a newly independent Palestinian state – regardless of the merits of the Palestinian nationalist movement – will mirror the misogyny, religious intolerance and homophobia which permeates neighboring Arab states.

However, when you base your political analysis on pre-assigned moral roles – a victims’ casuistry in which the correct opinion is invariably derived by ordering the story by virtue of the powerful vs the powerless – then Palestinians are blameless victims, and Israelis (and often Jews qua Jews) will invariably fail to evoke your moral sympathy.

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Guardian fails to reveal that Brit arrested for terror is ‘Comment is Free’ contributor

As we first learned from Guido Fawkes, Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who became a spokesman for the “human rights” group Cageprisoners, was arrested by British police on Tuesday morning for terror offences which he is alleged to have committed in Syria.

Begg is widely believed by American intelligence officials to have been a jihadist involved with Al-Qaida and reportedly attended terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the UK “so he could assist in waging jihad against enemies of Islam.”  Begg reportedly assisted several prominent terrorists, recruited young operatives for jihad and provided financial support for terror camps.

AdditionallyBegg is believed to have been associated with the radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki, the senior al Qaeda recruiter who was involved with planning operations for the group, and later killed by U.S. forces.  Al Awlaki helped motivate at least three terrorist attacks inside the U.S. (Begg’s group actually lobbied to free Al Awlaki from Yemeni custody after he was detained in 2006, broadcast his live messages and reproduced his propaganda on their website.) 

Begg – who, you may recall, was promoted by the NGO Amnesty International - is also a frequent contributor to the Guardian’s blog ‘Comment is Free’, having penned 20 essays at the site since 2006, most of which were aimed at casting himself as an innocent victim of US and British intolerance and Islamophobia. 

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Interestingly, the Guardian’s report on Begg’s arrest by  (Moazzam Begg among four arrested in Birmingham terror raids, Feb. 25) didn’t even note this extremely inconvenient relationship.

While we don’t yet know the details of Begg’s alleged terror activity in Syria, if it turns out that he was fighting for jihadists it wouldn’t be at all surprising.  

As we’ve demonstrated previously, the Guardian is a media group which often promotes and defends Islamist extremists, and frequently welcomes into their ‘ ‘liberal’ salon ‘demopaths‘ such as Begg – those who cynically exploit the language of democracy when it serves their interests, and demand stringent levels of human “rights” of the West yet don’t apply these basic standards to their own behavior.

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Israel’s “beautiful resistance” to suicide bombers: A response to Lucy Winkett

A guest post by Richard Millett

St James’s Church’s Rector Lucy Winkett’s defence of her church’s installation of a replica of Israel’s security fence in a piece for ‘Comment is Free’ is a legal and moral failure (Bethlehem Unwrapped is about ‘beautiful resistance’, not taking sides’, Jan. 2).

First the legal side. She states that Israel’s security fence is “illegal under international law”. It is incredible that so many non-lawyers (and a few actual lawyers) state this with such ease when there is little proper evidence of such “illegality”.  Rector Winkett is relying on the 2004 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice. A frame repeatedly projected on to St James’s Church’s replica wall states “In 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague stated the security fence was illegal and it should be dismantled.”

But an advisory opinion is just that; advisory and an opinion. It sets no legal precedent.

Moreover, it is undeniable that Israel’s security fence has stopped Palestinian suicide bombers from attacking Israeli civilians, saving countless lives.

There are legal opinions for and against Israel’s security fence, but for Rector Winkett to declare the fence “illegal under international law” makes a mockery of her claim at ‘Comment is Free’ that “we are not ‘pro’ one side or another”.

On the moral side Rector Winkett derides as “irresponsible” those who claim “we are aligning ourselves with those who support the Holocaust, suicide bombings or that we are antisemitic”.

But Rector Winkett’s wish for Israel’s security fence to come down will encourage suicide bombers sent by the likes of Islamist terror group Hamas to resume their murder of Israeli civilians, including those living on the West Bank, which the fence has successfully disrupted.  (Indeed, the Hamas Charter specifically calls for the murder of Jews, and their leaders have explicitly called for the annihilation of the Jews.)

And then there are the organisations that St James’s Church has expressly aligned itself with for Bethlehem Unwrapped.

Rector Winkett writes that St James’s is supporting “a peaceful Palestinian principle known as ‘beautiful resistance’; expressed in theatres, music projects…”.

Sami Awad, director of the Holy Land Trust (a pro-Palestinian group with ties to Hamas and other terror groups), might believe in “beautiful resistance” but that doesn’t exclude a belief in violence. Awad is on record as saying that such non-violent resistance “is not a substitute for the armed struggle.

Incidentally, all net proceeds from Bethlehem Unwrapped go to the Holy Land Trust. (That is should there be any net proceeds, the cost of the 12 day replica security fence installation being an incredible £30,000.)

Meanwhile, recent news footage shows Interpal’s primary trustee Essam Mustafa with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

And War On Want and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions are part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a movement that campaigns for Israel’s destruction.

Rector Winkett writes in her ‘Comment is Free’ piece that all viewpoints are listened to without exception and that visitors have been allowed to write a prayer or message of peace on the wall and that anything offensive has been immediately removed. She also writes that most conversations have been respectful.

Sadly, many have not been. A woman going in to St James’s Church for Bethlehem Unwrapped’s comedy evening responded to a question about the Holocaust with “What Holocaust?” A supporter of Israel was called a “friggin Jew” and “quenelle4 ever” appeared on the replica security fence (see middle of replica fence below written in blue):

wallquenelle

Rector Winkett also writes that people have written “this wall saves lives”. However, this was subsequently changed to “this wall enslaves lives”.

Bethlehem Unwrapped is not a respectful project however much Rector Winkett is trying to convince us. It mocks Israel’s legitimate attempts to save precious lives.

And it fails to recognise even the possibility that the main problem for Bethlehem’s Christians is not the security fence at all but intimidation and violence by Hamas similar to that carried out by Islamists elsewhere.

Moreover, St James’s Church’s Bethlehem Unwrapped festival has attracted antisemites, Holocaust deniers, those campaigning for the destruction of Israel and those who condone violence to that end.

This may not have been St James’s Church’s intention but this is what has happened and for this Rector Winkett should apologise to Britain’s Jewish community which is bearing the main brunt of the backlash.

The biggest irony is that St James’s Church itself is protected by a security fence; a tall metal fence that contains a locked door. When the door is unlocked it is heavily guarded. Some may call this a checkpoint.

St James’s Church is, understandably, protecting itself from anyone harbouring ill feeling towards it and who may be inclined to carry out an atrocity similar to those carried out against Churches in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria and Egypt by militant Islamists.

Israel is doing the same.

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Guardian columnist blames the persecution of Mid-East Christians on Israel’s creation

Yes, the Guardian’s religion blogger Andrew Brown really did blame Israel for the Arab persecution of Christians in the Arab Middle East.

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Here are the relevant passages in his latest post on former president George W. Bush’s recent work with a group of Messianic Jews: 

…there is widespread confusion among evangelicals about whether Israel is really a kind of America overseas – a recent poll for the Pew Foundation found that twice as many American Evangelicals as American Jews were unwavering in their support for Israel. This is something that successive Israeli governments have deliberately cultivated.

But the links between Zionism and Christianity go much further and deeper than that. The conversion of the Jews, and their restoration to Jerusalem, was a great enthusiasm among English evangelicals in Victorian times. Barbara Tuchman’s marvelous book Bible And Sword chronicles some of the consequences.

It’s fair to say that without the belief of Victorian upper class evangelical Englishmen – almost exactly the equivalents of George W Bush – there never would have been a Balfour Declaration. And without that declaration, there could not have been the Jewish immigration to Palestine that laid the foundations for the state of Israel.

Some people will see this as an example of the destructive craziness of religion, and perhaps it is, but it is also an example of the way in which theology is only powerful and important when it is wrapped up in identity. Because if there is one group that has suffered as a result of the establishment of the state of Israel and its support by Western Christian countries, it is the historic Christians of the Middle East – who are now the victims of persecution throughout the region and scapegoats of an angry nationalism.

Whilst Brown’s characterization of the foundation of Zionism and the establishment of Israel is completely ahistorical, the magnitude of Brown’s fabrication regarding the cause of anti-Christian racism in the modern Middle East is simply difficult to comprehend. 

Christians are facing systemic persecution throughout the Arab and Muslim Middle East to the point where studies have predicted that “Christianity will disappear from its biblical heartlands”, or will at least “effectively disappear from the region as a cultural and political force within our lifetime”.  As The Telegraph commented on a recent study by the think-tank Civitas, “the most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam”. The report estimates that “between a half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have left the region or been killed in the past century.”  Some 2 million Christians have reportedly fled in the past 20 years alone.

Such racist oppression against the beleaguered Christians occurs daily in countries such as Egypt, Syria and Iraq – as well as in Palestinian controlled cities in the West Bank.  

Of course, the one country in the region where the Christian population is growing in total numbers is Israel.

Yet, the Guardian blogger not only ignores this statistical evidence, but views the disturbing news broadcast daily of Coptic churches being burned, Christians arrested for ‘blasphemy’, and clergy kidnapped and killed in Muslim dominated countries in the region, and somehow sees the root cause in Israel’s very creation.  

As Walid Phares, a Lebanese-American scholar who advises the U.S. on issues related to terrorism, said at a conference on protecting Christians in the Middle East in 2012 sponsored by CAMERA, the plight of religious and ethnic minorities in Muslim and Arab majority countries in the region is ignored due in part to political correctness, cultural relativism and a malign obsession with Israel.

In the future when we cite examples of how antisemitism manifests itself in unusual ways at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’, Brown’s astonishing moral inversion, in which Muslims persecute Christians but Jews are still to blame, will be near the top of our list.

In a nutshell: Why Guardian readers shouldn’t be so smug

Cross posted by Dan Coen at Trending Central

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The Guardian has a track record of gladly giving jobs to enemies of the state and fifth columnists.

In the mid-90′s, KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky identified prominent Guardian Editor Richard Gott as one of his agents. While Gott denied that he received cash, he confessed taking benefits from the KGB on a visit to the Soviet Union.

Gordievsky commented on the newspaper: “The KGB LOVED the Guardian. It was deemed highly susceptible to penetration.

More recently, following the 7/7 London bombings, the Guardian published an article by Dilpazier Aslam who is a member of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir radical Islamist group which regularly denigrates “non-believers” as sub-human, calls for a caliphate, and extreme sharia law across the world. Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s acolytes have regularly been imprisoned for terror offences.

Let’s not pretend it is the paper of the working class either. C.P. Scott’s (the Guardian’s most famous editor) son said: its “a paper that will remain bourgeois to the last”. Max Hastings wrote in 2005: “I write for the paper because its read by the new establishment.”

Let’s also not pretend it addresses the concerns of working class people – which tend to be things like unease over immigration and its knock on effects vis-a-vis the allocation of council housing, abuse of the welfare system and increased competition for low skilled jobs. Here is Assistant Editor Michael White speaking in 2011 and admitting just that:

“I have always sensed liberal, middle class ill-ease in going after stories about immigration, legal or otherwise, about welfare fraud or the less attractive TRIBAL habits of the working class, which is more easily IGNORED altogether. Toffs, including royal ones, Christians, especially popes, governments of Israel, and US Republicans are more straightforward targets.”

So there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth – it’s a paper which self-identifies as bourgeois, yet was a supporter of Soviet Russia (also known as champagne socialism), says it stands up for freedom but publishes freedom hating Islamists, says it stands up for racial tolerance but gives a platform to Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites, says its stands up for the working class but thinks they are “tribal” and admits it “ignores” them.

You can’t get more clear-cut than that.

A victory for Liberalism: Glenn Greenwald leaves the Guardian!

Glenn Greenwald is leaving the Guardian.

Statement of Glenn Greenwald:

“My partnership with the Guardian has been extremely fruitful and fulfilling: I have high regard for the editors and journalists with whom I worked and am incredibly proud of what we achieved.

“The decision to leave was not an easy one, but I was presented with a once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity that no journalist could possibly decline. 

“Because this news leaked before we were prepared to announce it, I’m not yet able to provide any details of this momentous new venture, but it will be unveiled very shortly;”


Statement of the Guardian’s Jennifer Lindauer:

“Glenn Greenwald is a remarkable journalist and it has been fantastic working with him. Our work together over the last year has demonstrated the crucial role that responsible investigative journalism can play in holding those in power to account. We are of course disappointed by Glenn’s decision to move on, but can appreciate the attraction of the new role he has been offered. We wish him all the best.”

Greenwald, the Guardian reporter who was instrumental in disseminating NSA leaks by Edward Snowden, which highest ranking British intelligence officials claimed represented the worst national security breach in history, said he is leaving to join a “a general media outlet and news site”.  (Reports indicate that the new site is financially backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and that it has sought to hire Laura Poitras, the filmmaker who linked Snowden to Greenwald.)

Official statements by the Guardian and Greenwald aside, it is still unclear what prompted Greenwald’s departure.  Though Greenwald’s far-left, anti-American, and anti-Zionist politics were naturally a good fit ideologically with the Guardian, it remains to be seen whether the chorus of criticism on the extreme harm done to British national security inflicted by the leaks influenced Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger (who had been under pressure from GCHQ officials) to take steps to facilitate Greenwald’s resignation.

Whilst we’ll continue to report on this developing story, we of course take immense pleasure in Greenwald’s departure, whose politics were so viscerally hostile to the West that he, on more than one occasion, found common ground with terrorists, and often amplified the message of Islamist extremists by advancing the toxic narrative suggesting that the West was at ‘war with Islam’. 

We hope that those on the left arduously attempting to save their movement from Greenwald’s Red-Green Alliance style ‘anti-imperialism’ – and other egregious betrayals of everything true “liberalism”, properly understood, has historically stood for – join us in celebrating this victory over faux left political extremism.  

This blog is of course dedicated to fighting antisemitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy, but you simply cannot separate the particular struggle against anti-Jewish racism with the broader fight in defense of the West, whose clear moral advantages in the area of democratic elections, religious tolerance, women’s rights, gay rights – and, of course, press freedom! – Greenwald tries so desperately to obfuscate.  

We are committed to the simple idea that even flawed democracies – whether in North America, Europe or the Middle East – are far preferable to their illiberal alternatives, and remain worth fighting for.   

Guardian engages in Rouhani Revisionism in report on “Holocaust” remarks

Suppose you were taking a college class on the history of the 20th century and during one lecture the topic of the Holocaust was introduced. Then, in the middle of a class discussion, one student explained to the lecturer that, in his view, though some crimes were committed against Jews (and other groups) by the Nazis, the scope of the killings is still unclear and needs further research by historians and scholars.  Suppose that this student further opined that such crimes committed by the Nazis (whatever the scope) shouldn’t be exploited by Jews today to justify sixty years of usurping the land of another group and committing murderous crimes against them.

What kind of reaction would you expect from the lecturer and the students upon hearing such views?  The chances seem high that the student would be condemned for lending credibility to Holocaust revisionism and evoking the Holocaust in the context of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians – remarks which would arguably fall within the EU Working Definition of Antisemitism.  As the Wall St. Journal noted recently, responding to reports of comments made by Iran’s new president in an interview with CNN that included questions about the Holocaust:

Pretending that the facts of the Holocaust are a matter of serious historical dispute is a classic rhetorical evasion. Holocaust deniers commonly acknowledge that Jews were killed by the Nazis while insisting that the number of Jewish victims was relatively small and that there was no systematic effort to wipe them out.

Whilst CNN’s translation of Hassan Rouhani’s much publicized remarks during his interview with Christiane Amanpour on Sept. 24 has been challenged by the Wall St. Journal and Al Monitor - both of which insisted that, contrary to the CNN translation which relied on an Iranian government interpreter, Rouhani never used the word “Holocaust” – opting instead for the more euphemistic term “historical events” -  here are the relevant remarks by Iran’s president based on CNN’s Sept. 25 transcript:

I have said before that I am not a historian personally and that when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust as such, it is the historians that should reflect on it.

But in general, I can tell you that any crime or – that happens in history against humanity, including the crime that the Nazis committed towards the Jews, as well as non-Jewish people, is reprehensible and condemnable, as far as we are concerned.

And just as even such crimes are – if they are to happen today against any creed or belief system or human being as such, we shall again condemn it.

So what the Nazis did is condemnable. The dimensions of whatever it is, the historians have to understand what it is. I am not a historian myself, but we – it must be clear here, is that when there is an atrocity, a crime that happens, it should not become a cover to work against the interests or – or justify the crimes against another nation or another group of people.

So if the Nazis, however criminal they were, we condemn them, whatever criminality they committed against the Jews, we condemn, because genocide, the taking of the human life, is condemnable and it makes no difference whether that life is a Jewish life, a Christian or a Muslim or what.

For us, it’s the same. It’s the taking of a human life and an innocent human life is (INAUDIBLE) in Islam. It’s actually something that we condemn and our religion also rejects.

But this does not mean that, on the other hand, you can say, well, the Nazis committed crimes against, you know, a certain group, now, therefore, they must usurp the land of another group and occupy it. This, too, is an act that should be condemned, in our view.

So there should be an even-handed discussion of this.

Here is the Sept. 25 Guardian report on Rouhani’s remarks:

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The Guardian celebration of Rouhani’s faux ‘acknowledgement’ relied entirely on quotes from the CNN transcript, and characteristically hasn’t been updated or revised to note to their readers the major dispute over the translation which came to light the day after their Sept. 25 story.  Interestingly, however, their story, written by , did include one observation by an Iranian-born Israeli named Meir Javedanfar which helps to explain how the remarks have been contextualized by media outlets friendly to the Iranian regime.

Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian politics lecturer at Interdisciplinary Centre (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel, interpreted Rouhani’s remarks as the limit he could go within the political and cultural constraints placed upon him.

Rouhani pushed the envelope as far as it could go, Javedanfar said, without infuriating the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other conservatives back home.

And, that’s really the point:  Holocaust deniers and revisionists typically understand that their animosity towards Jews and Israel can be seen more as more credible, and less morally suspect, if the historical understanding of the Nazi Holocaust – which serves to evoke sympathy for Jews – can be undermined.  Frankly acknowledging the systematic, and historically exceptional, attempt to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe would necessarily draw unwanted focus on the extreme antisemitism permeating Iranian life which has inspired their leadership to call for the annihilation of the Jewish state, and would provide credibility to those insisting that a nuclear armed Iran represents an existential threat to six million Jews, and must therefore be resisted at all costs.

‘Counter-revolutionary’ rhetoric which serves to evoke sympathy for the Jewish state, no matter how obliquely, would indeed, as Javedanfar argued, “infuriate” the supreme leader, and so any pronouncements by Rouhani which touch upon the politically inconvenient topic of the Holocaust must invariably include questions about the “scope” of the Nazi crimes, and further be contextualized with the Jewish state’s ‘comparable’ “crimes” against the Palestinians. 

Rouhani’s political dilemma in allowing Iran to achieve its nuclear ambitions with minimum Western resistance is to steer a careful course which avoids offending Khamenei while simultaneously staying in the good graces of the sympathetic Western liberal media. 

The Guardian’s fawning coverage of the “moderate”, “dovish” Iranian president thus far indicates that he has passed the latter challenge with flying colors.

Guardian Jerusalem Syndrome postscript: Jewish ‘provocations’ at the mosque

On Sept. 15th we posted in response to a ‘Comment is Free’ column by Giles Fraser which lent support to the often repeated lie that Israeli policy threatens to ignite tensions at the Temple Mount (the holiest site in Judaism). In An Israeli claim to Temple Mount Would Trigger Unimaginable Violence‘, Fraser played up the fringe view that the Jewish Temple should be rebuilt (at the site where the Al Aqsa Mosque now stands) and suggested that Jews who even visit such holy sites – prohibited for Jews when controlled by the Jordanians – was an act of extremism and an example of “the settler mentality”. 

Jews at Temple Mount, April 2013

Jews at the Temple Mount

Typical for Guardian journalists, Fraser completely ignored the Palestinians’ long campaign of incitement concerning the Temple Mount, and legitimized those who warn of a broader Israeli scheme to “Judaize” the city which represents the epicenter of the Jewish faith. 

Now, just this morning, it was reported that Muslim worshippers at the Temple Mount rioted and threw stones at Israeli police officers from inside the Mosque, injuring two.  The altercation reportedly broke out as the result of calls by the Islamist Movement (partly led by the Guardian’s favorite martyr Raed Salah) to create disturbances at the Mount. Salah, who has a history of antisemitic incitement which includes preaching to his followers that Jews use the blood of non-Jews to bake their “sabbath bread”, was recently arrested for incitement after he warned that Israel was going to torch the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  Salah’s latest attempt to provoke violence at the Mount was not reported by the Guardian.

(FILES)--Sheikh Raed Salah, the firebran

Raed Salah at the Temple Mount

As we’ve argued continually, noting the stories and incidents that the Guardian ignores or downplays is as important, in understanding their institutional bias, as it is to critically examine the stories they do report.

The paper’s coverage regarding the Temple Mount (and other holy sites) would lead the casual observer to not have the slightest clue about the steady stream of incitement spewing from Palestinian religious leaders, and believe that it is Jews – by merely demanding that their religious freedoms should not be abridged – who are the ones creating dangerous ‘provocations’.

Like so much of what passes for analysis at “the world’s leading liberal voice“, the impression created by their commentators and reporters about the root cause of tensions in the Holy Land represents the complete antithesis of reality.

Guardian columnist acknowledges Muslim Brotherhood’s antisemitism

Among the themes often addressed at the blog is the Guardian’s consistent failure to report on the pervasive antisemitism within the Arab and Muslim Middle East – what we’ve characterized as their antisemitic sins of omission.

This ideological proclivity to ignore explicit manifestations of Jew hatred in the region, we’ve argued many times, egregiously skews their coverage of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, as well as the regional political upheavals over the last few years.

So eager are many to view reactionary Islamist movements through a progressive lens that even Yousuf al-Qaradawi – one of the intellectual leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood - has been characterized as something akin to a moderate by Guardian contributors, despite his record which includes calling on Allah to murder every Jew on earth and literally endorsing the Holocaust.

 

 

Indeed, the Guardian’s coverage of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt last year ignored the group’s long and well-documented antisemitic record (consistent with the paper’s tendency to obfuscate other groups’ extreme Judeophobia), all of which makes Giles Fraser’s recent ‘CiF’ column on the Brotherhood quite unique.

Though Fraser still advanced some characteristic moral apologetics for the group, he did nonetheless include the following:

And, of course, I have no love in my heart for Islamist terrorism, nor the hateful antisemitism that is often present within the Muslim Brotherhood

Whilst this one painfully obvious acknowledgement wouldn’t ordinarily be notable, given that it represents such a rare expression of moral sobriety regarding the problem of Islamist antisemitism – at a paper with an institutional aversion to such clarity – the Guardian columnist should nonetheless be commended for his honesty. 

Peace through martyrdom: Muslim Brotherhood leader poses as a liberal at ‘Comment is Free’

‘Comment is Free’ published an essay today (Aug. 21) by Muhammad Al-Baltaji, “deputy secretary-general of the Muslim Brotherhood bloc in the Egyptian parliament”, titled ‘The Muslim Brotherhood will not turn to violence to fight the coup in Egypt‘.  

cif profile

Al-Baltaji used his Guardian platform to blast the military government of General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for “pushing the country to an unprecedented level of chaos and state violence”, in contrast to what he portrays as the Brotherhood’s progressive, pro-democratic non-violent Egyptian revolution.

Here are excerpts from his piece:

The Muslim Brotherhood is committed to peaceful protests and has pledged never to resort to violence in response to the violence perpetrated against it by the coup authorities.

I address world conscience and public opinion. I appeal to world humanitarian and human rights organisations. I appeal to the international delegations that came to see us in Rabaa and who testified that we were completely peaceful, to stand for democracy and expose these war crimes.

The sacrifices made so far by the defenders of legitimacy have been made in order to put an end to the military rule that humiliated the Egyptians and persecuted them for more than 60 years. We made these sacrifices in order for Egypt to become a true democratic civil state in which human dignity is sanctified and human rights respected.

Whilst Muslim Brotherhood-led attacks on Egypt’s Christians, and the burning of churches, since the July coup alone makes a mockery of such claims, it’s interesting to note that back in 2010, as one of two members of Egypt’s delegation to the Gaza flotilla, Al-Baltaji was singing a different tune concerning peace, justice and the dignity of man.

Per MEMRI:

Al-Baltaji…said at a March 2010 conference, “A nation that excels at dying will be blessed by Allah with a life of dignity and with eternal paradise.” He also said that his movement “will never recognize Israel and will never abandon the resistance,” and that “resistance is the only road map that can save Jerusalem, restore the Arab honor, and prevent Palestine from becoming a second Andalusia.

(Andalusia is of course Spain. Islamists believe that Palestine, or any land that was once part of the caliphate, can not ‘fall’ to infidels.)

Moreover, Al-Baltaji’s exaltation of the values of death and martyrdom demonstrate that, as with so many Islamist extremists, he cynically used his forum at ‘Comment is Free’ to run interference for the true goals of his movement – jihad as a means to religious tyranny. Here’s the protagonist of Al-Baltaji’s Guardian tale, former President Mohamed Morsi, explaining quite clearly the values of the movement:

 

‘Comment is Free’: continuing in its passionate mission to become the demopath’s platform of choice. 

The intoxicated anti-Zionist rants of Rachel Shabi

Professional Jewish critics of Israel – those commentators who in some manner leverage their connection to Judaism to garner more credibility when launching often hysterical attacks on the Jewish state – are as much defined by their hubris as their political orientation.

Writers like Peter Beinart, Richard Silverstein, or Daniel Levy truly believe they are equipped with a superior intellect and moral understanding, and often suggest – when offering criticism indistinguishable from the rhetoric of the most ardent anti-Zionists – that they are actually engaging in a political form of ‘tough love’.  They are saving Israeli Jews from their own destructive tendencies – “saving Israel,” as it were, “from itself.”

The following is the headline from Rachel Shabi‘s latest ‘Comment is Free’ commentary, opining on recent news regarding European Union guidelines which restrict EU funding for Israeli projects across the green line.

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Whilst the quote concerning water thrown at a “drunk” was actually from the site of the far-left group Gush Shalom, it was specifically cited by Shabi (in the passage which follows) to illustrate Israel’s collective state of mind in refusing to bow to such international criticism over the construction of homes across the green line.

Israel sees international policy on settlements as simply a guideline or position statement, as opposed to actual law. This escalating sense of hubris over settlement expansion – and getting away with it – is what makes the EU move such a shock for Israel: Gush Shalom, Israel’s peace bloc, likened the EU decision to “a bucket of cold water poured on the head of a drunk”.

Of course such gratuitous pejorative depictions and smears of the Jewish state are nothing new for the frequent ‘Comment is Free’ contributor.

Since 2002 Shabi (born to Iraqi Jewish parents) has published over 100 essays at ‘Comment is Free’ on the topic of Israel, and the themes have been as predictable as they have been facile. Israelis (or Jews as such) are almost never the object of Shabi’s  sympathetic imagination, and she quite excels at imputing to Israel the the very worst motives, regardless of the issue being addressed.

Themes explored by Shabi at ‘Comment is Free’ include the following:

  • Israelis oppressing Palestinians
  • Israelis oppressing its Arab citizens and other minorities
  • Israelis oppressing foreign workers
  • Narratives attempting to deny Israel’s democratic advantages
  • Suggestions that Israel is moving to the extreme right politically

Themes not explored by Shabi:

In addition to downright petty critiques of even the most benign aspects of ordinary Israeli life – such as accusing the state of, in effect, ‘colonising’ hummus – her capacity to twist and turn prose in a way which assigns maximum malice to the Jewish state has few limits.  In one ‘CiF’ essay she mocked Israel’s efforts to unfairly ‘smear’ Hamas as a terrorist group, and once even managed to spin Israeli concerns over the potential rise of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood as evidence of Israeli racism – unmoved, it seems, by the genocidal racism expressed by the group’s spiritual leader, who called for Allah to literally kill every Jew on earth.

An essay she published at CiF last year, commenting on anti-immigrant rhetoric by some Israeli politicians, suggested Israeli parallels with European fascism.  But, perhaps her most insidious accusation was leveled in a piece which appeared shortly after the 2008-09 Gaza War, where she wrote the following:

Likewise, mention the civilian casualties in Gaza and the stock response is to blame Hamas, cast as a bloodthirsty, death-worshipping cult, a terror group that by definition forces Israeli soldiers to kill Palestinian children. One email that did the rounds during the assault was a cartoon depicting two fighters, facing each other. The Israeli fighter aimed his gun with a baby in a pram behind him, shielded; the Palestinian fighter had the baby in front of him, as a shield. What’s astounding is not how often this circular jammed email boxes, but how often Israelis repeat the cartoon set-up as though it were fact, or as though it thereby legitimises the bombing of civilians. 

Most Israelis, in other words, seem to have convinced themselves that their own moral superiority somehow sanctions and justifies their own acts of moral repugnance

In addition to her dangerous flirtation with antisemitic narratives of so-called ‘Jewish Supremacism‘, the final passage represents the ultimate projection, and anti-Zionist leftist critics’ most pronounced deceit: their belief that they are uniquely equipped with the penetrating moral intelligence necessary to see through the racism which informs Israelis’ “belief” in their state’s moral advantages over reactionary Islamist extremists.  Jewish anti-Zionist agitprop artists like Shabi, inebriated by post-colonial ideology, fancy themselves more sophisticated and politically enlightened than Israeli Jews, whose obtuse nationalism and ethnocentric loyalties, it is suggested, blind them to the dangerous folly of their path.

Such condescension and visceral animosity towards her fellow Jews, under the guise (of course!) of “progressive” political thought, is as risible as it is repugnant.  

Abu Qatada: a lesson for British Jews

Cross posted by Mark Gardner at the CST

Finally, Abu Qatada is back in Jordan, facing questioning about terrorism. The extradition has been a lengthy legal saga, summarised by headlines such as “hate preacher” and “send him back”.

The Guardian Comment is Free website has two articles on Britain’s handling of Abu Qatada. The first of these, by Victoria Brittain, is simply a blanket defence of him. The second, by Simon Jenkins, is far more ambiguous. Neither article details Abu Qatada’s actual UK activities in the 1990s and early 2000s, such as his links to British Muslims who later became terrorists, or his links and financing with overseas “mujahideen”: despite these facts being well-known and having appeared in Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) judgements.

The SIAC evidence is extensive. The 2007 judgement reads like a 1990′s and early 2000′s who’s who of the global jihad movement. Section 84 is one of its more succinct paragraphs:

In short, his views are to be found linked to many terrorist groups and their actions, providing the religious cover they seek; he propagates radicalising views, and his fund-raising is aimed at advancing the Islamist extremist cause.

The SIAC judgements also reference Abu Qatada’s incitement for the murdering of British Jews (from 2007, section 28):

…even in December 1996, the Appellant was already proclaiming that it was acceptable to fight Jews within the UK.

Similarly, section 31, but now with Jewish children clarified as legitimate targets. Britons and Americans are also added (presumably this also includes British and American children):

In October 1999, the Appellant made a speech at the Four Feathers mosque [in Marylebone, London] in which he effectively issued a fatwa authorising the killing of Jews, including Jewish children.  He told the congregation that Americans should be attacked wherever they were, that in his view they were no better than Jews and that there was no difference between English, Jews and Americans.

The Guardian coverage is important because it shows how some liberal-left opinion makers and activists are blinding themselves (and others) to the realities of extremism. British Jews have long despaired at the failure of such people to acknowledge antisemitism when it comes from Arab or Muslim sources, but this coverage of Abu Qatada shows that selective blindness to antisemitism is only part of a wider failing.

For British Jews, the lesson is obvious. If these people are even soft on Abu Qatada, then we should expect absolutely nothing from them regarding any overseas hatred or incitement: whether that is Hizbollah terrorism against Diaspora Jews, Hamas terrorism against Israel, the appalling overall levels of antisemitic attitudes and hate speech, or visits by overseas preachers to the UK.

To return specifically to these two Guardian articles, Victoria Brittain’s is by far the more obviously ridiculous. It’s title is a classic of the genre:

I know Abu Qatada – he’s no terrorist

Usually, it is the Guardian sub-editors who choose how to entitle articles, based upon their reading of them. So, Victoria Brittain may not have actually called it this. Her article lauds Abu Qatada as “a scholar with wide intellectual and cultural interests. He wrote books while in prison”. He phones his kids from prison to encourage their homework etc, but Brittain does not explicitly say that Abu Qatada is no terrorist. Instead, it is Qatada’s family that is “innocent” and:

No one suggests Othman [ie Qatada] is physically dangerous himself.

Which may even be true, but it completely ducks the central allegation that he encourages many others whom we might describe as “physically dangerous”. 

Brittain also says, “no one has pointed to anything controversial that he is alleged to have said since the mid-1990s”. Perhaps Brittain does not regard the 1999 example of incitement to killing Jews (including their children and Britons and Americans) as controversial. She also says that the security services should have followed her lead:

If instead they had chosen to talk to him, as I have many times, they would have found that the man behind the myth is a scholar…I believe that, rather than being scapegaoted, his moral standards could have been useful in engaging Muslim youth.

British Jews should be deeply thankful that Muslim youth are no longer exposed to Abu Qatada’s “moral standards”. Besides, the security services did, repeatedly, speak to Abu Qatada. SIAC states (2007, section 29) that he:

…warned his congregation to be wary of MI5’s approaches and provided them with physical descriptions and names of MI5 officers approaching Muslims.

So much for Victoria Brittain, but is such a person really someone whom British Jews (and others) should take seriously? Sadly, almost unbelievably, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Brittain was associate foreign editor of the Guardian, is a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and offered £10,000 surety money for Sheikh Ra’ed Salah.

CST believed Sheikh Salah had preached a sermon in Jerusalem that included a blood libel, alleging that Jews need the blood of non-Jews for “holy bread”. CST supported the Home Secretary’s ban on him. The ban was condemned by the Guardian, which also misrepresented Jewish and Home Office concerns and actions. Salah eventually won his appeal, despite being found to have made the blood libel speech (see ruling pdf here, section 59). The Guardian’s defence of him never relented and they never did acknowledge the blood libel ruling (see CST pdf here, p.18-22).

If Brittain defends Abu Qatada, then is it any wonder she defended the far less clear-cut case of Salah? Ditto the comments pages of the Guardian.

The Guardian’s other comment piece on Abu Qatada is by one of its senior regular writers, Simon Jenkins. Chairman of the National Trust, former editor of the Times and Evening Standard, he is somewhat more establishment than Victoria Brittain.

Jenkins’ article differs markedly from Brittain’s piece, but is another important marker in how Qatada is viewed, and what we can therefore expect regarding all those other cases that are far less clear-cut. His position starts out promisingly enough:

The state is entitled to deport people it considers a threat…I have no problem in sending home people in the category of Abu Qatada, who arrived on false documents, became an ally and counsellor to terrorists and then cited fear of torture as a reason for not being deported…

However, it then turns very lazy:

That said, Abu Qatada by all accounts does not fall into the ranting cleric category of his contemporary, Abu Hamza. He is closer to the vagrant revolutionary tradition to which London has offered refuge throughout history. The city should be big enough to encompass him, even if his activities merited watching…

Jenkins knows enough to realise that the charges against Abu Qatada are extensive, but ultimately he seems to be simply failing to take Abu Qatada seriously. Whatever the cause of this ambivalence, it is yet another reason why British Jews can have no confidence in such circles to safeguard their wellbeing; and the rest of society ought to feel exactly the same.

Finally, for light relief, compare Victoria Brittain’s “He’s no terrorist” schtick with this brief Simpson’s excerpt below.

The ‘Guardian Spring’: Is ‘Comment is Free’ easing its ban on CiF Watch?

As we’ve noted previously, despite the relative improvement of the moderation of comments beneath the line at ‘Comment is Free’ over the years, moderators seem to have an at least unofficial policy of immediately deleting any mention of, and links to, this blog.  Indeed, as we recounted in a post, though I was for some time allowed to comment using my real name, with a bio noting that I spent my days guarding the Guardian, at some point I fell out of favor with the politburo and was banned – and my comments airbrushed from ‘CiF’ history.

Now, being the official nemesis of a paper cheekily yet accurately described by one prominent commentator as “the English-language newspaper least friendly to Israel on earth” is a badge we wear proudly, and, happy warriors that we are, we take their hostility in the face of our dogged efforts to chip away at their dwindling journalistic legitimacy as a sign of our effectiveness.  Though they may fancy the notion that they’re indifferent to our presence, the fact that even furtive attempts to allude to our presence are immediately flagged by their “professional” moderators would suggest otherwise.

However, yesterday, something quite curious occurred.

In the comment thread beneath the Guardian editorial praising the East London Mosque (fisked by Harry’s Place in a post cross-posted here), there was this, by a commenter responding to a comment (which, as you see, was deleted) that had dared to mention these blogging critiques of their apologia for radical Islam.

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And, then there was this:

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A few observations:

  • Yes, as the first commenter above argued, CiF Watch has indeed published a number of posts, which would disturb genuine progressives, about the Guardian’s licensing of illiberal, decidedly Judeophobic commentators at ‘Comment is Free’.
  • Yes, one would certainly expect the Editor to establish a transparent dialogue with these critics and take a closer look at the ideological extremism they are implicitly endorsing.
  • The two comments posted above have garnered nearly 200 recommends and, remarkably, have NOT been deleted by CiF moderators.

Will 2013 be remembered as the year in which the spirit of openness, tolerance and liberalization (what may be known as Glasnost and Perestroika to the Cold War brats among us) finally penetrated the anachronistic and suffocating radical chic political environment which has long dominated the Guardian’s London salon?

Have the liberal journalistic upheavals of the ‘Guardian Spring’ arrived? 

The Guardian: Enablers and defenders of hatred

Cross posted at Harry’s Place

The Guardian’s Editorial today:

In praise of … the Maryam Centre

It is heartening to see that East London Mosque in Whitechapel is expanding

A month after a mosque in north London was destroyed in an arson attack, it is heartening to see that East London Mosque in Whitechapel is expanding. When it gets fully under way, the Maryam Centre will offer a range of projects and services for women in the community – a prayer hall, counselling, a gym – as well as house a school and a visitor centre for non-Muslims. The centre will make the mosque very much more than just a provider of religious services. With 25,000 worshipers attending a week, and that is outside Ramadan, the mosque has already become a key hub for the community. Its original purpose in 1910 was as a place of worship for sailors and travellers who came to Tower Hamlets. It took most of the last century to establish a permanent base in Whitechapel.

Today it is the living and growing answer to those on the extreme right who vilify mosques as the home of fundamentalists.

Oh dear.

Oh dearie me.

As anybody who has paid any attention to the events hosted by the East London Mosque/London Muslim Centre will know, this institution is one of the primary outlets of hate preaching and bigotry in London. The East London Mosque is the home of the Islamic Forum Europe, which controls the institution, and indeed the DCLG which observed that the ELM/LMC is the base for the far Right Islamist party: Jamaat-e-Islami.  It was established by Choudhry Mueen Uddin, a Jamaat-e-Islami activist who is facing a war crimes trial in Bangladesh, where he is accused of having run death squads which abducted and murdered Bangladeshi patriots and intellectuals in the 1970s. In one particularly disturbing incident, these death squads sliced off the breasts of a woman journalist, and left her to die.

Those on the extreme right who vilify mosques as the home of fundamentalists have done terrible things, but I don’t believe that they have ever sliced off the breasts of of liberal Bangladeshis.

If you want to know more about the hatred spewed from the East London Mosque, every week, you need only browse some entries on the institution. Here are just a few examples from the past few months:

In July, the Friday sermon at the East London Mosque, was delivered by a hate preacher who has been banned from Sheffield Hallam university: Assim al-Hakeem. Assim al-Hakeem teaches that apostates must be killed. He’d like to see Christians and Jews executed in an Islamic state for “talking against Mohammed“. He is vituperatively anti-gay, and preaches that women have no place in political leadership.

In May, the ELM/LMC hosted Abu Abdissalam, a hate preacher who has been banned by Tower Hamlets from appearing on its premises. He discourages Muslims from working with the police, because he claims that they are engaged in a “war against Islam”. He is also a significant supporter of Ali al Timimi, who was convicted of recruiting young men for jihad against America in the aftermath of September 11. Timimi also called for the decapitation of Shia Muslims, and promoted hatred of Jews.

In March, the ELM/LMC hosted Khalid Al-Fikri, an  Islamist hate preacher. He is an outspoken supporter of terrorist organisations and convicted terrorists, and also spews hatred against Shia Muslims:

Shia are one of the worst and greatest enemies against our ummahnowadays

In February, the ELM/LMC held a rally for the convicted Al Qaeda terrorist, Aafia Siddiqui.

The ELM/LMC offers platforms, time and time again, against those who preach hatred and support the execution of gays. They do this, despite falsely claiming to have stopped.

Over the last six financial years the East London Mosque has received £2.9 million in public sector funding. They use this money to underwrite the propagation of this hatred.

The Guardian knows all this. The information has been in the public arena for years. The claim by the Guardian that:

Today it is the living and growing answer to those on the extreme right who vilify mosques as the home of fundamentalists.

… is true. Unfortunately, it provides all the evidence they need to rally support to their hateful cause.

As Hope not Hate has observed, Islamist and fascist hate mongers are two sides of the same coin“. You can’t fight one without the other.

But the Guardian goes one step further. It has thrown its lot in with one group of fascists.

Good luck in pointing this out, or posting any of the evidence in The Guardian comment thread. They’ve deleted every example which illustrates the disgrace of their politics.

Guardian’s former associate foreign editor: I know Abu Qatada – he’s no terrorist.

A Jordanian military prosecutor on Sunday filed charges against the radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada on suspicions of being a key al-Qaeda operative in Europe.  Abu Qatada, who had landed in Amman after being deported from the UK, was charged with conspiring to carry out attacks on Americans, Israelis and other Western targets.

The following is a ‘Comment is Free’ headline and strap line which introduces a July 7 commentary‘ by the Guardian’s former associate foreign editor (and Palestinian Solidarity Campaign ‘Patron), Victoria Brittain.

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Whilst I suggest you read the whole essay, here are some highlights:

the most recent phase of this long saga has left poison in our society. The home secretary, prime minister, mayor of London, countless MPs – including senior Labour party figures – have led the media in reckless and prejudiced comments, making [Abu Qatada] the most demonised individual in Britain.

The mantra of the home secretary, Theresa May, that “this is a dangerous man, a suspected terrorist”, has been repeated so often that the facts have been forgotten. No one suggests Othman is physically dangerous himself. No one has charged him with anything, except the Jordanians with the torture-tainted evidence. No one has pointed to anything controversial that he is alleged to have said since the mid-1990s.

Our security services and politicians turned this man into an Islamic counter-terrorism myth. If instead they had chosen to talk to him, as I have many times, they would have found that the man behind the myth is a scholar with wide intellectual and cultural interests. He wrote books while he was in prison. His home is filled with books. His children have excelled at school, with help and encouragement from his daily phone calls from prison.

I have been a friend of Othman’s wife and daughters for some years, and have had many opportunities to talk to him in prison and when he was at home on bail. I’ve been struck by his dignity and lack of bitterness over his family’s treatment, and I believe that, rather than being scapegoated, his moral standards could have been useful in engaging Muslim youth and healing the wounds in our divided society.

Even by Guardian standards, Brittain’s apologia on behalf of Abu Qatada is simply stunning.  And, briefly, for those who may not be completely familiar with Abu Qatada’s dossier, here’s a summary:

A 127-page report by the UK Home Office claims that from his base in London, Abu Qatada became a key al-Qaeda operative in Europe and a “godfather of global terrorism”, whose sermons and writing inspired several al-Qaeda members. Videos of his sermons were found in the Hamburg apartment of Mohammed Atta, a ringleader among the 9/11 hijackers.

Abu Qatada is accused of involvement in a failed plan known as the “millennium conspiracy” in 2000, to detonate explosives against Western and Israeli targets during millennium celebrations.

Abu Qatada became a “mentor” for international jihadists, who quoted his writings often.

In October 1999, Abu Qatada reportedly made a speech in which, as even the Guardian reported, “he effectively issued a fatwa authorising the killing of Jews, including Jewish children.”

In 1999 Abu Qatada told his congregation at Finsbury Park Mosque that Americans should be attacked, wherever they were because, in his view, they were no better than Jews.

In autumn 2002, a poem attributed to Abu Qatada appeared online praising Osama bin Laden and glorifying the 9/11 attacks.

In another sermon he is said to have stated that it was not a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-believer for the sake of Islam.

Abu Qatada is wanted on terrorism charges in the U.S., Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Algeria and his native Jordan. .

But, evidently none of this matters – not his association with al-Qaeda, or his fatwas calling for violence, including his authorising the murder of Jews and all non-believers – because, the Guardian’s former associate foreign editor assures us, Abu Qatada is a “scholar with wide intellectual and cultural interests” who has high “moral standards” and loves his children.

As we’ve argued previously, the most egregious problem at the Guardian is not, per se, explicitly Judeophobic commentary published by their contributors, but, rather, the insidious moral cover the media group often provides for the most extreme, reactionary Islamist anti-Semites in Europe and the Muslim world.  Those unable to summon outrage over an al-Qaeda supporter who sanctions the murder of innocent Jewish children in the name of Islam are – at the very least – morally guilty of abetting the most dangerous manifestations of Jew hatred.