A guest post by AKUS
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224
But tides go out, as well as come in. Is it possible that the Guardian leadership, desperately trying to save its livelihood at a once proud paper, is hoping that the tide of rising anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli activity in Europe will be the incoming tide that it can surf to the safe shore of large salaries, pensions, and early retirement?
Until recently, until, in fact, June 8th, 2012, it might have seemed that their ploy was working. Article after article has appeared obsessively attacking Israel over matters that are at worst no different than can be found in all Western countries – the struggle to deal with the refugee influx, the rise of the right wing in response to terrorism, the clash between ultra-religious and secular, just to name three recent examples whose analogues can be found in the USA or Europe. Even as the Middle East goes up in the flames of the “Arab Spring”, with deaths now clearly closing in on 100,000, thanks in large part to NATO’s intervention in Libya and the mass-murder continuing in Syria, the Guardian focuses on Gaza and blames Israel for what Hamas is doing there.
With the publication of a column which has rapidly become notorious, in which the head of Hamas, Ismail Haniyah, laid out his thoughts on how the Palestinians are reclaiming their destiny, the Guardian planted its masthead firmly in the camp of terrorism, misogyny, religious intolerance, jihad, Jew-slaughter, and all the other elements of the Hamas creed with which every person in the West has become familiar.
There is much to criticize and even mock in Haniyah’s puff piece, obviously ghost-written since his English is known to be deplorable, but without a doubt the portion that will be remembered, to the everlasting shame of the Guardian, is the paragraph so especially full of lies and evasions that reads:
“We as a people want to live in our homeland, the land of our ancestors, in freedom, dignity and democracy, and with a just peace that restores our rights. We do not want to attack anyone and do not accept anyone attacking us. As we have said on more than one occasion, the key to security is the end of occupation. As a people we have been historically wronged and subjected to dozens of massacres; tens of thousands of us have lost our children for no other reason than that we demand our rights as clearly stipulated under international laws.”
“Our homeland” and “our destiny” clearly mean the whole of Mandatory Palestine, except for Trans-Jordan, which the British gave up in 1923 to the Hashemites from Saudi Arabia.
In other words, Israel must cease to exist. As rockets continue to be fired into Israel by Hamas’ proxies, if not its own identifiable members, the claim that “We do not want to attack anyone” cannot be read with a straight face. The desire to see “the end of occupation” when, in Gaza, there is no occupation is so transparent that it is incredible that someone can even write rubbish like this – unless one accepts Haniyah’s thesis, as the Guardian obviously does, that the very existence of Israel is “occupation” and saying it makes it so.
Finally, the exaggerated claim that tens of thousands have lost their children is not only verifiably absurd, flying in the face of recorded facts, but rings particularly cynical and hollow as we read about the current massacres in Syria where, indeed, tens of thousands have been killed by the two Assads making war on their own citizens, actually killing tens of thousands of citizens and children.
The article and the Gaza-live blog that accompanied it (“A day in the life of Gaza”) replete with ‘touching human interest’ stories, brought to the web by two of the Guardian’s weakest straws, Harriet Sherwood and Phoebe Greenwood, ignored the evil that is Hamas and provided a bizarre example of cognitive dissonance that must have jarred any reader capable of rational and critical thinking.
Clearly, this piece by Haniyah, so replete with falsehoods, misrepresentations and exaggerations, can only be considered an example of a “Big Lie” so beloved by the Nazis – tell a lie big enough, and often enough, and eventually people will believe it. But it is not enough to point out the resemblance to something Goebbels could have written – one must also consider where it is published, and who published it, and why they did so.
The response on the Web has been immediate and harsh. The finger is pointed directly at the Guardian, for no-one expects more of Haniyah or Hamas. The Times of Israel published a direct attack comparing the Guardian to “Der Sturmer” – Der Sturmer in the UK? Pulling no punches, Simon Plosker wrote:
“What would Israel do if a journalist from Der Sturmer was filing reports from inside the country? Despite the fact that there is remarkable press freedom in Israel, extending to and including Arab media such as Al-Jazeera, it’s a safe bet that Israel would find it extremely hard to swallow.
Yet there is such a foreign media outlet represented in Israel, publishing propaganda and openly supporting Israel’s worst enemies. It’s called The Guardian. .. When it comes to The Guardian, however, the paper deserves to be treated as a modern-day Der Sturmer.”
Over on Harry’s Place, Joseph W. came out with Hamas leader writes for the Guardian leaving no doubt about how he sees Hamas - “Hamas is an organisation dedicated to killing Jews” – and the Guardian’s role in publishing Haniyah’s article as part of the same anti-Semitic ethos.
Robin Shepherd’s blog, “The Commentator”, published Is the Guardian the most bigoted newspaper in Britain? and opened with:
“Which of these propositions do you think is correct; and can you identify a moral distinction between them?
The Guardian newspaper has just run an article by someone advocating that black people be returned to the status of slaves.
The Guardian newspaper has just run an article suggesting that landlords be allowed to put up notices saying that Irish people and dogs need not apply for housing.
The Guardian newspaper has just run an article by a political leader whose foundational charter advocates the murder of Jews and promotes conspiracy theories that would not have looked out-of-place in Nazi Germany.
No prizes for guessing that the third of those propositions is correct on a factual basis. The morality? It’s a race to the bottom.”
Here on CiFWatch we reposted Charlotte’s Giving up the Guardian from her blog “Digital Politco”. Her reason for giving up the Guardian?
“I might even have been able to stomach a proper interview with Haniyah published in the Guardian. He has been elected Prime Minister, despite his organisations vile beliefs.
Essentially though this is the equivalent of the paper giving a column to the leader of the KKK, and giving someone like Ismail Haniyah an unanswered column should be as totally unthinkable to the Guardian.
As it wasn’t, I cannot support or read this product.”
Clearly aware that they were publishing something that was so false, so rotten, so biased, and so supportive of a terrorist and anti-Semitic organization in their Live Blog, the Guardian took unusual action by prefacing the blog with an editor’s note – Gaza Live: editor’s note. The need for a note of explanation is an uneasy admission that something smells fishy about the live blog, and it is not only the odor of rotting fish in the Gaza fish market. The note itself contains a series of whoppers stating the Guardian’s position:
“The Guardian’s leader line is that the Gaza blockade is illegal in international law, that it constitutes collective punishment, and that it has not had its intended political outcome, which was to kill support for Hamas, drive a permanent wedge between it and Fatah and divide the Palestinians.”
How can any informed person read this farrago of lies and misrepresentations without concluding that the Guardian serves as apologists for Islamists like Hamas?
The Palmer Report to the UN made it clear that the Gaza blockade is NOT illegal (it has never, ever, been challenged in an international court of law because no lawyer believes he or she can make the case).
Considering the luxurious lifestyle of so many in Gaza it is not surprising that visitors from Egypt have been amazed by the prosperity there, against which Egypt compares unfavorably.
The dearth of support for Hamas is due to Hamas’ actions, not Israel’s, as can be read in one of the blogs the Guardian provides in direct contradiction to its own line,
Iyad al-Tom says he blames the Gaza government for the continuing blockade, and the militants who fire rockets from nearby fields into Gaza for the Israeli military incursions. “Of course I’m angry. We never see the militants, but if we did we would throw stones at them.”
Finally, Israel had nothing to do with driving a wedge between Hamas and Fatah – they have managed to do that themselves.
All this aside, the readers of the Live Blog also had their say, and were overwhelmingly critical of the Guardian. Scan the comments below the line on Haniyah’s article and the Live Blog to read comments like the following from among just the first comments to appear:
Click image to read full comment at CiF
Click image to go to read complete comment at CiF
Click image to go to read complete comment at CiF
Click image to read complete comment at CiF
Comment is free; facts are sacred. Not in this paper they’re not.
Reading the ferocious responses in the blogosphere and the angry and pointed comments below the line on the Guardian website accusing it of anti-Semitism and Israel-hatred, it is clear that for many people the Guardian crossed a line with its support for Hamas and its one-sided Gaza blog.
The Guardian’s actions even raise a question for those of us who strongly support freedom of expression – when does freedom of expression, as demonstrated by an article published by the leader of a proscribed terrorist organization who calls for the death of Jews wherever they can be found, go beyond what is acceptable and become treason and a call to genocide? If the Guardian is recognized as the 21st century’s “Der Sturmer”, as Simon Plosker avers, at what point does the British government need to intervene?
Finally, one has to wonder why this incessant, obsessive, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel attack goes on and on. It is hard to believe that it is truly out of concern for the UNRWA supported, EU supported, Palestinians when far worse situations are notably under-reported by the Guardian. Ever since Deep Throat said it to Woodward and Bernstein, either in life or in the movie about Watergate, I have been a believer in “Follow the Money”.
What is in it for the Guardian? Is someone funding this unending effort so reminiscent of Nixon’s paranoid attacks against those he believed to be his opponents? Is there a belief at the leadership level that the only way to retain their dwindling paying readership is to use the oldest distraction in the book – attacking the Jews? Is the Guardian simply following the line of the assassin Brutus:
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
There is a tipping point in the affairs of men, when that tide does go out, dragging the would-be “venturers” so far out to sea that they disappear never to be seen again, like Nixon after Watergate. With its support for Hamas, the article by Haniyah, and the Gaza Live blog, the Guardian may finally be facing the tipping point that takes down the abominable attack dogs it has been cursed with as leaders for a decade or two.