Sky News asks admitted anti-Semite her views on the rise of UK antisemitism!

We haven’t been monitoring Sky News long enough to provide a broader analysis of their coverage of the war in Gaza, but their decision (yesterday) to interview Mira Bar-Hillel (a British journalist who has admitted to being prejudiced against Jews), on the question of whether antisemitism in the UK will rise as a result of the conflict, reads like something in the parody site, The Onion.

Briefly, for those unfamiliar with Ms. Bar-Hillel (who contributes to the Independent), here’s a few facts about her own views about Jews:

She has complained that Jews (per the Livingstone Formulation) smear people unfairly with the charge of antisemitism to “gag into submission any critic of Israel”.

She recently evoked Nazi Germany in characterizing Israeli racism and IDF military actions in Gaza.

She has accused British Jews (collectively) of ‘bombing Gaza’.

She bizarrely claimed that British Jews don’t criticize Israeli actions in Gaza out of fear of being “ex-communicated” from the Jewish community,

She has admitted to being prejudiced against Jews. Here are her exact words:

The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes. 

Now, let’s go the simply surreal Sky News interview:

Here are a few observations:

  • Bar-Hillel claims that the failure of British Jews to speak out about Israeli ‘crimes’ in Gaza is what causes antisemitism – a perfect example of holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel, an accusation defined as antisemitic by the EUMC Working Definition.
  • The female Sky News co-host asks a follow-up question (at roughly the 1:40 mark) to Bar-Hillel which parrots the claim that Jews label all criticism of Israel antisemitic.
  • Neither Sky News host challenges her when she smears the UK Jewish community, by suggesting that British Jews are culpable for not speaking out against Israel.
  • Neither Sky News host challenges her claim (at roughly the 5:05 mark) that the only reason why the West supports Israel is because of guilt over the Holocaust.
  • More broadly, note that in a Sky News program about antisemitism, they didn’t seek the expertise of The CST (the British charity tasked with protecting Jews against antisemitism), or any official body which actually represents UK Jews, but, rather, a marginal commentator who has admitted to not being part of the Jewish community. If, for instance, they would have asked representatives from The CST, they would have provided data demonstrating that antisemitism has indeed increased in the UK since the beginning of the war.

Finally, if you believe, as we do, that this Sky News segment not only had the effect of smearing the UK Jewish community, but violating Ofcom’s rules on impartiality in news and current affairs, please consider filing an Ofcom complaint.

Indy’s Mira Bar-Hillel complains on the BBC about Jews and CiF Watch trolls!

Briefly, here are a few highlights from our posts about Mira Bar-Hillel, a columnist at the Independent:

  • She complained that Jews (per the Livingstone Formulation) often smear people unfairly with the charge of antisemitism to “gag into submission any critic of Israel”.
  • She evoked Nazi Germany in characterizing Israeli racism and IDF military actions in Gaza.
  • She recently accused British Jews (collectively) of ‘bombing Gaza’.
  • She admitted to being prejudiced against Jews.

In the following BBC interview with Bar-Hillel, she claims that Jews don’t criticize Israeli actions in Gaza out of fear of being “ex-communicated” from the Jewish community, and criticizes this blog for ‘trolling’ her.

You can listen to the whole interview here:

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(See recent post at Harry’s Place about Bar-Hillel, here)

Chloe Valdary: ‘When we speak Zionism, we speak freedom’ (Video)

Chloe Valdary is a New Orleans-based pro-Israel student activist.  Here is a clip of her short yet powerful speech at a Rally for Israel on July 18th held at Boston Common.  (Valdary was reportedly assaulted at a rally last week outside the Israeli Embassy when 100 or so pro-Palestinian counter-demonstrators swarmed Israel supporters.)

Indy contributor Mira Bar-Hillel accuses British Jews of bombing Gaza

“Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” represents an example of modern day antisemitism, according to the EUMC Working Definition, a perfect example of what’s known as the new antisemitism, as it evokes the classic Judeophobic narrative ‘accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for the alleged wrongdoing committed by a single Jew or Jewish group’. 

To boot, the following Tweet by Indy contributor Mira Bar-Hillel:

Then there was this response:

We should point out (in the context of Bar-Hillel’s accusation to  that “you” bombed women and children) that Mr. Newmark is a British Jew and not an Israeli. 

To provide a little context, Ms. Bar-Hillel’s polemical history at the Indy has included the following:

  • She strongly suggested that Jews (per the Livingstone Formulation) often smear people unfairly with the charge of antisemitism to “gag into submission any critic of Israel”.
  • She evoked Nazi Germany in characterizing Israeli racism and IDF military actions in Gaza.
  • She admitted to being prejudiced against Jews.

Regarding her acknowledgement of being prejudiced against Jews, here’s the full quote 

The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles ) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes.”

Yet, despite Ms. Bar-Hillel’s concern that “most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash”, she continues to be published by the Independent, a paper which just last year wrote a spirited editorial claiming that “neither Israel nor the broader Jewish community is demonised by this newspaper”.

Sorry, but when, as an editor for a major UK daily, you make the decision to license a commentator who admits to being prejudiced against Jews – and one who continues to advance Judeophobic calumnies on your op-ed pages – your righteous indignation over charges of antisemitism ring a little hollow.  

Related articles

CiF Watch prompts Indy correction to false claim by Mira Bar-Hillel

We recently posted about an op-ed by Mira Bar-Hillel (a Jewish commentator who has acknowledged being antisemitic) which erroneously suggested that the Israeli media demanded the IDF bomb Gaza “back to the Stone Age” (see here), and accused Israelis of believing that “Palestinians aren’t quite human”.  

As we pointed out, she also made a patently false claim concerning the 2012 Gaza War.

Here’s the relevant passage:

Over the past decade we have had “Operation Cast Lead” (2008/9) in which illegal white phosphorus was employed, 1,400 Gazan civilians were killed including one family whose children bled to death on the roof because Israeli aircraft prevented their evacuation. The Israelis lost 11 soldiers. In “Operation Pillar of Smoke”, (2012) hundreds more died, all Palestinian.

Of course, her claim that ALL of those who died during the war (Operation Pillar of Defense) were Palestinian is not true. Four Israeli civilians and two soldiers were killed in that war.

After contacting Indy editors, they agreed to revise the passage accordingly.

It now reads:

Over the past decade we have had “Operation Cast Lead” (2008/9) in which illegal white phosphorus was employed, 1,400 Gazan civilians were killed including one family whose children bled to death on the roof because Israeli aircraft prevented their evacuation. The Israelis lost 11 soldiers. In “Operation Pillar of Smoke”, (2012) hundreds more Palestinians died.

We commend Indy editors for promptly correcting Bar-Hillel’s false claim.

Two Guardian cartoonists agree: Jewish life is overvalued by the media

Guardian cartoonists Steve Bell and Martin Rowson had nothing artistically to say during the 18 days in which the fate of the three kidnapped Israeli teens was unknown, and nothing to say since their bullet-ridden bodies were found near Hebron, victims of a savage attack in which the terrorists sang and cheered after shooting the Jews to death. 

However, a day after the funeral for Eyal, Naftali and Gilad, Steve Bell – who, in past cartoons has mocked those who complain that his cartoons advance antisemitic tropes, and has indeed demonstrated his ‘courage’ to speak truth to Jewish power – suddenly found his creative muse in what he evidently fears is the lack of symmetry between the value placed on Jewish and Palestinian lives:

Here’s the Bell cartoon published in the Guardian on July 2.

bell

Of course, Bell’s cartoon – which curiously depicts ‘hilltop settlements’ in the background – is attempting to impute a moral equivalence between the cold-blooded murder by Hamas terrorists of three innocent boys and the deaths of Palestinian combatants in the West Bank during IDF operations to rescue the teens, and complaining on the unequal attention paid to both sets of victims.  Jewish life, it seems, has become too valuable in the eyes of the international community.

Following Bell’s cartoon, we came across a Tweet by their other cartoonist, Martin Rowson, who previously has demonstrated that he won’t be silenced despite the ‘fact’ that Jews often attempt to silence their critics with false accusations of antisemitism.  Rowson, like Bell, fancies himself a truth teller who refuses to bow down to the pressure of a small but powerful minority.

Here’s the Tweet by Rowson on July 2, commenting on his colleague’s artistic efforts and comparing it with his own cartoon published by the Guardian on January 7, 2009 – during the war in Gaza (Operation Cast Lead). 

rowson

Here’s a side by side comparison:

side by side

The interesting thing about the consistency between the two cartoonists in depicting the loss of Jewish and Palestinian life is how their visual agitprop comports with the broader Guardian narrative of the conflict.  

The Guardian sees its mission as, to quote Rowson, ‘afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted'; The Palestinians, so says the Guardian, are the weaker (“afflicted”) party in the conflict, while Israeli Jews represent the comfortable; Therefore, when contextualizing the loss of life on both sides, it is the duty of ‘progressive’ political cartoonists to advocate for the weaker Palestinians.

Of course, it would have been news to Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar that they represented the ‘comfortable’ and their kidnappers were the ‘afflicted’ as multiple shots were fired at them at point-blank range, penetrating their bodies and ending their young lives.  

Guardian legitimizes claim that Jews are responsible for European antisemitism

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

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

Here are a few examples:

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

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

letters

Here’s the full text of his letter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revisiting Daily Mail journo Max Hasting’s Guardian-inspired take on antisemitism

Over the past year or so, we’ve been exposing anti-Israel bias, and the legitimization of antisemitism, at UK news sites other than the Guardian – examining coverage at The Independent, Daily Telegraph, The Times, Financial Times and the Economist.  So, when interest was expressed by some concerned readers about the Daily Mail (the most popular newspaper in the UK), specifically an article published by Max Hastings examining the role Western policy has played in the extreme violence taking place in the Middle East, we decided to take a look.

mh

Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings

Though, in fairness, his conclusion – save one throw-away line about the alleged injurious impact of Israel’s birth – is measured, and admirably avoids the Guardian Left narrative by holding Arabs responsible for their own political dysfunction, in briefly examining Hastings’ past writings we encountered a decidedly ‘Guardianesque’ op-ed on antisemitism published at the Guardian’s blog ‘Comment is Free’ in 2004.

Indeed, his conclusions about the root cause of the rising tide of antisemitism which plagued Europe in the early to mid-2000s overlapped perfectly with an op-ed by the Guardian’s new Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont which we fisked recently at this blog.  

Our post last month, titled Why the Guardian’s new Jerusalem correspondent won’t take Palestinian antisemitism seriously‘, highlighted an op-ed he wrote for the Observer (sister site of the Guardian) in 2002 titled ‘The new anti-Semitism?’ which suggested that Israel’s “heavy-handed” response to the al-Aqsa intifada fomented anti-Jewish racism across the continent.

So, it was quite interesting to read Hastings own 2004 Guardian op-ed titled ‘A grotesque choice‘, which included a strap line (“Israel’s repression of the Palestinian people is fueling a resurgence of antisemitism”) that perfectly comports with Beaumont’s view. In addition to arguing that the “Israeli government’s behaviour to the Palestinians breeds a despair that finds its only outlet in terrorism” and accusing some in the Jewish community of cynically using the charge of antisemitism to silence critics of Israeli policy (The Livingstone Formulation), which he blasts as a form of “moral blackmail”, he makes the following argument:

If Israel persists with its current policies, and Jewish lobbies around the world continue to express solidarity with repression of the Palestinians, then genuine anti-semitism is bound to increase.

This chilling line perfectly embodies the moral calculus which has been employed by defenders of antisemitism for ages, one which grotesquely assigns blame for antisemitic attacks not on the perpetrators of such racist violence, but on the behavior of Jews themselves – an insidious example of blaming the victim which overlaps with Ben White’s notorious 2001 CounterPunch essay titled ‘Is it possible to understand the rise in antisemitism?“.

We have only just begun to monitor the Daily Mail’s coverage of the Middle East, but as we do so, we will – consistent with our posts on the Guardian – avoid looking at their reports and op-eds in a vacuum.  Instead, as this expose of Hastings’ shameful justification of antisemitism demonstrates, we believe it is far more instructive to contextualize their reports and op-eds by attempting to explain how their often pronounced ideological biases color their coverage of Israel and the Jewish people. 

If Palestinians don’t respect 6 million murdered Jews, how can they co-exist with 6 million living ones?

UK media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict typically imputes good faith to Palestinians – operating under the premise that most truly want a peaceful resolution with the Jewish State.

However, what if this assumption is misplaced?  

How would media coverage of  boycotts, lawfare and other forms of Palestinian ‘resistance‘ change if journalists took seriously the possibility that the Palestinians’ end goal was not to live in peace with their neighbors, but, rather, perpetual war, the only desirable end result being the elimination of the Jewish state?

Well, an independent Catholic news site asked that very question (Do Palestinians Want Peace?, June 19), in the context of linking to a Guardian report by their Middle East editor Ian Black about the forced resignation of a Palestinian professor who led a group of his students on a trip to Auschwitz.

Black – as Guardian editors are wont to do – framed the depressing episode, in which a Palestinian professor was vilified for merely attempting to evoke sympathy amongst Palestinians for Jewish victims of Hitler’s genocide, as a story of ‘competing narratives of victimization.

Black:

Dajani resigned from his post at Jerusalem’s Al-Quds University this week after failing to win the unequivocal support of his employers in a row which highlighted the darkest taboos of the conflict with Israel and each side’s enduring sense of victimhood.

The visit to the concentration camp was part of a project to study the Holocaust and teach tolerance and empathy. “It is about understanding the other,” Dajani told the Guardian during a conference in the Qatari capital, Doha. “You need to understand the other because reconciliation is the only option we have. And the sooner we do it the better. Empathising with your enemy does not mean you sanction what your enemy is doing to you.”

Organised in conjunction with three other universities, one German and two Israeli, the project also arranged for Israeli students to meet Palestinians living in refugee camps.

Dajani faced abuse, intimidation and death threats over the visit. Al-Quds dissociated itself from the project but defended his right to be involved. It insisted he had not been dismissed and supplied him with bodyguards. But in the end it accepted his resignation.

Implacable in the face of the uproar, he rejected accusations that he intended to promote the Zionist narrative of the conflict rather than respecting the primacy of the Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic) – the flight, expulsion and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that was the price of Israel’s independence in 1948.

Black then adds his own spin:

Propaganda that conflates antisemitism with opposition to Israel has also played a role. Israel’s foreign minister, Abba Eban, famously talked about the country’s “Auschwitz borders”. Menachem Begin, the prime minister who invaded Lebanon in 1982, described Arafat “cowering in his bunker” in Beirut like Hitler in Berlin.

Indeed, it’s the line about ‘conflating antisemitism with opposition to Israel’ where Black loses the plot and promotes the Guardian narrative – one which suggests that Jews cry antisemitism in the face of ‘mere’ anti-Zionism, or, in its more troubling form, that Jews cry antisemitism with the cynical intent of deflecting criticism of Israeli policies (The Livingstone Formulation).

However, a more holistic understanding of Palestinian attitudes – one which takes into account empirical data on Palestinian attitudes about Jews and Israel – would lead those not swayed by such pronounced ideological biases to contextualize the Palestinians’ “resistance” to Holocaust education in a much different way.  

We’re alluding to a recent survey commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League demonstrating that Palestinians have the highest rates of antisemitic attitudes in the world – a survey consistent with polls about antisemitism conducted in previous years by Pew Global .

Here are the highlights from the ADL survey which, let’s remember, did NOT ask any questions about Palestinian attitudes about Israeli policy:

  • 88% of Palestinians believe Jews have too much control over global affairs.
  • 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.

But, perhaps most troubling – even worse than the belief that Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars (an attitude consistent with libels found in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) – is the following:

  • 87% of Palestinians believe that people hate Jews because of the way Jews behave.

Of course, on one hand, it likely stands to reason that those who believe that Jews control the world would justify ‘hatred of Jews’ by explaining it as a rational reaction to Jewish villainy.  However, there’s a more important point about the 87% of Palestinians who believe that Jews are hated because of the way Jews behave, one which relates to Black’s article about Palestinian rejection of the ‘Holocaust narrative’.

Even the most parve forms of Holocaust education begin with the premise that 6 million murdered Jews were innocent victims of a grotesque manifestation of anti-Jewish racism, and that there is no justification whatsoever for the crimes committed in the name of Nazi ideology.

So, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Palestinians – who believe, per the poll results, that their own acceptance of historic antisemitic canards about Jewish perfidy is justified as a rational response to Jewish behavior – would reject efforts to encourage them to accept a Holocaust ‘narrative’ premised on Jewish innocence.

The manner in which Palestinians relate to the Holocaust has significance for those who wish to understand Israelis’ nuanced views of efforts to achieve a two state solution.  Though the overwhelming majority of Israelis accept in principle a two-state solution, most are also skeptical, in light of the persistent problem of Palestinian incitement, terror glorification and antisemitism, that two states will actually result in peace.

Even if a treaty is signed by the two parties, why are we expected to possess confidence that Palestinians will stop inculcating their children with the values of resistance, and truly see the agreement as a final end to all historical claims?

Finally, what, in light of the Palestinian rejection of even the most benign efforts to humanize six million murdered Jews, should provide us with hope that a piece of paper signed by Palestinian leaders will actually result, after seven decades of hostility, in a diminution of Palestinians antipathy towards the Jewish other, and create a society which humanizes – and accepts the existence of – six million living Jews?

Whilst it is perhaps not surprising that UK journalists – those with the luxury of dealing with such matters as amorphous political abstractions –  uniformly ignore such questions, those of us who will have to live the real-world consequences of Palestinian sovereignty cannot breezily dismiss this seemingly immutable Palestinian enmity, nor allow ourselves to be seduced by the chimera of peace.

Focus below the line: Guardian readers ‘reflect’ on Israel and the Jews

cifThough the large volume of articles and op-eds at the Guardian and its blog ‘Comment is Free’ (CiF), and elsewhere in the UK media, containing distortions or false claims naturally keep us pretty busy, we have also – since our founding in 2009 – regularly monitored reader comments below the line at ‘CiF’ to see if the moderation process is fair and consistent with their ‘community standards‘.  

This post is part of a series which will re-focus on the problem of biased moderation at CiF – particularly, reader comments which are off-topic, ad hominem or antisemitic, and yet not deleted by moderators.

Today we focus on a ‘CiF’ contributor with the moniker MikePilgrim, who left quite a few comments over the last few days.

(The following comments were not deleted by CiF moderators at the time this post was published.)

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The wolf is real. Don’t let it eat you: A reply to the charge that Jews ‘cry antisemitism’ too readily

Written by Chas Newkey-Burden at the blog OyVaGoy. (This originally appeared at The Jewish Chronicle)

 “No gentile – and certainly no antisemite – should ever dictate to Jews how to guard against [antisemitism]“. – Chas Newkey-Burden

I think most of us will have heard the allegation that Jewish people “cry antisemitism” too readily. Or the implication that you are over-vigilant against another great flare-up of this ancient, ever-present hatred.

It is basically a suggestion that you cry wolf. And it is ridiculous for so many reasons.

Most fundamentally, I would personally dispute that Jewish people tend to cry wolf.

Although I’m a goy from a very goyish Berkshire village, I have a lot of contact with Jewish people, because of my interest in Israel and Jewish mysticism.

What is ‘just vigilant enough’? Who says so?

Most of that contact centres on food and chat. Talk usually drifts on to political matters. Along with our shawarma and hummus we chew over issues such as anti-Israel prejudice and antisemitism, and the increasing tendency of the two to merge.

As an outsider who has regular contact with the community, I’ve never personally known a Jewish person whom I would describe as over-vigilant regarding antisemitism or tending to cry wolf on it.

Such people probably exist somewhere but I’ve never met them. If anything, the opposite is often the case.

Which makes it all the more galling that it is the Jewish community as a whole that, of all minority groups, is most often accused of crying wolf.

Certain individuals from, say, the gay, black or Muslim communities are sometimes similarly accused. Occasionally with good reason; every community has its members who have lost themselves in an eternal quest for self-righteousness.

Their shrieking drown out the many sincere voices in those communities, who are able to distinguish between real and imagined prejudice.

Yet no other community faces the “crying wolf” accusation en masse as regularly as the Jews. This, despite the fact that the Jews are surely the least homogenous of people. The “two Jews, three opinions” gag did not emerge from nowhere.

But, you know what? I am not sure that “crying wolf” is the worst thing you could do. Here’s why.

If you are not to be over-vigilant against antisemitism, then you are left with only two options: to be less than vigilant, or to be just vigilant enough.

The idea that you would be seriously expected forever to be just vigilant enough, never to miss the mark by even a metaphorical millimetre, is ridiculous.

It would be just as ludicrous to expect such precision in other contexts. Do we genuinely expect a parent forever to be precisely vigilant enough over their children? We would hope they would be, but would not seriously expect it.

What even is “just vigilant enough”? What does it look like, and who decides where it rests? It would be no less bizarre to request of a widow that she grieves just the right amount.

So if we agree that getting it right every time is unrealistic, it means you have to be either over- or under-vigilant.

Well, as history shows, the price to be paid for being under-vigilant against Jew-hatred can be colossal.

That price dwarfs the price to be paid for being over-vigilant. Because it is unlikely that anyone making the “crying wolf” accusation would be doing so out of good faith.

No, the “crying wolf” allegation is almost exclusively made by those who do not take antisemitism seriously – or by those who take it so seriously that they to some degree endorse it.

After all, it is easy to criticise the manner in which someone is guarding a community against a wolf if you either don’t believe the wolf exists, or if you want it to devour the members of that community. The wolf is real. Arguably no gentile – and certainly no antisemite – should ever dictate to Jews how to guard against it.

Economist imperiously lectures Europe’s Jews on their exaggerated fears of antisemitism

In fairness, a characteristically anonymous article in the June 7th print edition of the Economist, titled ‘Of guns and ballot boxes‘, about European antisemitism, does partly acknowledge the seriousness of the problem – exemplified most dramatically by the recent jihadist shooting attack in Brussels (and the 2012 attack in Toulouse), as well as the success of some extreme-right parties in the EU elections.  

However, it doesn’t take long for the author to descend into PC-inspired obfuscations.

The Economist writes:

There was a time when the new Europe opening after the fall of the Berlin Wall seemed to augur a golden age for European Jewry. Jewish life was restored where it had been extinguished, and the expanding borders of a post-national Europe offered new opportunities to Jews scattered across borders. Plainly, nationalism is reasserting itself. And lingering anti-Semitism of the old, Christian-based sort is now mixed with radical Islamism among disenchanted Muslims.

However, a survey by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), cited by the Economist elsewhere in the article, contradicts the claim that “Christian-based” antisemitism “is now “mixed” with antisemitism by “disenchanted Muslims”.  Here’s breakdown of the relevant data from the FRA on the perpetrators of antisemitic harassment:

Perpetrators of the most serious incidents of antisemitic harassment were described by FRA respondents: Across Europe, 27% of perpetrators were perceived as someone with “Muslim extremist views”; 22% were perceived as “left-wing political views”; and 19% as “right-wing views”, and 7% as ‘someone with an extremist Christian view’.

Note that, contrary to the Economist claim, not only did very few victims of antisemitic harassment characterize the perpetrator as “Christian” (7%), but nearly 50% described their perpetrator as either a Muslim extremist or someone with “left-wing political views”.   Indeed, as should be obvious to commentators who take modern antisemitism seriously, while the extreme right continues to present a serious problem, the newly resurgent European antisemitism is increasingly a leftist and Islamist phenomenon

In addition to such rhetorical slights of hand, later in the article the Economist author begins lecturing Jews on the alleged folly of taking too seriously warnings that “Europe is no longer safe for Jews”.

Whilst the Economist putatively acknowledges Jewish fears in this passage:

A survey last year by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency showed that nearly a third of Jews had considered leaving in the previous five years because they did not feel safe. Three-quarters felt that anti-Semitism was worsening, with the situation in Hungary and France especially bad.

They then reach the following conclusion:

Yet, worrying as such changes are, they may not be a signal for Jews to pack up and leave. To state the obvious, anti-Semitism in Europe is not sponsored by governments, and there are no organised pogroms or Nuremberg laws. Berlin boasts the world’s fastest-growing Jewish community. Jews are free to stay or leave. Moving to Israel may fulfill a religious, cultural or political need for many Jews, but it is not safer than staying in Europe.

So, the Economist seems to be telling the large number of Jews (up to one-third of the total Jewish population) who have considered leaving Europe – and moving to Israel – because they don’t feel safe, that their fears are irrational.  In addition to the hubris of such a suggestion, additional data from the FRA survey paints a very clear picture of why Jews would feel freer and safer in Israel.

  • One third (33%) of Jews in the EU worry about being physically attacked because of being Jewish. The UK has the lowest levels of fear, with 28% worrying about verbal abuse and 17% worrying about physical attack. Highest is France, at 70% and 60% respectively.
  • Across Europe, 27% of Jews in the EU at least occasionally avoid local places because they do not feel safe there because they are Jewish. Belgium (42%), Hungary (41%) and France (35%) are the worst places for this.

And, most disturbingly:

  • 68% of Jews in the EU at least occasionally avoid wearing items in public that might identify them as Jewish. The figure for the UK is 59%; the highest figures were in Sweden (79%) and France (75%).

Though there are of course a small number of anti-Jewish incidents in the state perpetrated by a minuscule number of Israeli Arabs, all Jews living in Israel (and European Jews considering emigrating there) are secure in the knowledge that the government will use the power of the state – a nation whose very raison d’être is to serve as a Guardian of the Jews – to fiercely protect their freedom.

One needn’t resort to unserious hyperbole about the “return to the 1930’s” to take Jewish fears seriously, and be gravely concerned that – 70 years after the Holocaust – a disturbingly high percentage of what’s left of European Jewry once again feel themselves under the yoke of the continent’s oldest hatred.

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Why the Guardian’s new Jerusalem correspondent won’t take Palestinian antisemitism seriously

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Peter Beaumont

The Guardian’s response to a recent Anti-Defamation League poll demonstrating that Palestinian society was compromised by unparalleled levels of antisemitism – results which overlaps with other polls on antisemitism by Pew Global – was two-fold.

First, they published a straight forward post at their data-blog accurately reporting on the ADL figures, including the fact that Palestinians have the highest levels of antisemitism based on results from the 100 states they surveyed.  However, they also published a quite repulsive op-ed by two anti-Israel activists (Donna Nevel and Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark) which justified Palestinian antisemitism and accused ADL – a US based Jewish civil rights group – of cynically using the poll to silence and intimidate those who don’t share their views on Israel – in spite of the fact that the poll didn’t ask any questions about Israeli policy.

Though we were able to convince Guardian editors to remove the most offensive paragraph of the op-ed in question, the broader views expressed by the co-authors of the piece are in many ways consistent with the Guardian’s myopic coverage of the region – reporting which consistently fails to take Palestinian antisemitism seriously when contextualizing news within the framework of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.  

As we’ve argued previously, Palestinian antisemitism does grave harm to Palestinians themselves.  When Palestinians attribute “global events to the machinations of an all-conquering Jewish conspiracy” (Mead), they demonstrate evidence of profound social failure, and are unlikely to develop the vigorous, progressive and competent civil societies that can promote real democracy. Moreover, holding views about Jews which are indistinguishable from the narrative found in the Elders of the Protocols of Zion makes it extremely unlikely that they will ever truly come to terms with a permanent Jewish presence in the region. 

As such, the Guardian’s former Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood, not only characteristically framed nearly every Palestinian failure as a result of the occupation, but failed (as best we can tell) to ever so much as mention the injurious impact of Palestinian antisemitism on their society and on the peace process – a pattern of antisemitism denial we believe will continue with their new regional correspondent, Peter Beaumont

Our pessimism is based partly on our firm belief (per his work at the Observer/Guardian to date) that Beaumont seems clearly cut out of the same ideological cloth as Sherwood, and also on a very revealing piece he wrote about antisemitism in 2002 for the Observer (sister site of the Guardian), titled ‘The new anti-Semitism?’.  His essay was written at a time when scores of Israelis were being murdered by Palestinian suicide bombings, and when antisemitic attacks against Jews in Europe were reaching dangerous levels

After noting an example (in December 2001) of a violent antisemitic attack “by a group of Arab-speaking youths” in Brussels, and citing complaints by Jewish leaders about the dangerous increase in such attacks across Europe, Beaumont then advances an argument (similar to what’s known as the Livingstone Formula) indistinguishable from what was advanced in the Guardian op-ed on May 15.

But the problem with all this talk of a ‘new anti-Semitism’ is that those who argue hardest for its inexorable rise are dangerously conflating two connected but critically separate phenomena. The monster that they have conjured from these parts is not only something that does not yet exist – and I say ‘yet’ with caution – but whose purported existence is being cynically manipulated by some in the Israeli government to try to silence debate about the policies of the Sharon government.

So, already, Beaumont steers the conversation away from antisemitic attacks against innocent Jews in Europe, and engages in an ad hominem attack against those who, it is claimed, “cynically” use such examples to stifle criticism of Israel. 

It gets worse.

Beaumont:

As data collected by the Stephen Roth Institute at Tel Aviv University, and other research, makes clear, the rise in anti-Semitism in Europe coincided with the beginning of al-Aqsa intifada – and Israel’s heavy-handed response – with most of these attacks limited to acts of vandalism on synagogues and cemeteries. As the institute also makes clear, the perpetrators of these attacks, like those who attacked rabbi Gigi, were largely disaffected Islamic youths, a group itself that is the victim of some of the worst race hate and discrimination in Europe.

First, Beaumont suggests that Israel’s alleged “heavy handed response” to Palestinian terrorism can help explain (if not justify) the rise in antisemitism.  Also, note that Beaumont imputes significance to the fact that the perpetrators of the attack in question were “disaffected Islamic youths” who, we are told, are themselves victims of racism – suggesting, perhaps, that antisemitic attacks by white Europeans (non-minorities) would somehow be more troubling.

However, perhaps the worse element of his essay can be found in his final rhetorical flourish. After insisting that “governments of Europe must attack real anti-Semitism wherever it is found”, he writes the following:

The Jewish community worldwide must be honest too about what is really being done in Israel, ostensibly in its name. For the rest of us who campaign and report and commentate and legislate on Israel and Palestine – we should not be cowed in our criticism of policies of which we disapprove by the threat of being accused by Sharon and his friends of being practitioners of the last taboo.

Beaumont, in the first sentence of the passage, is pointing the accusatory finger not at the antisemites, but at the Jewish community worldwide – millions of Jews who, he suggests, are guilty of insufficient honesty regarding the Israeli crimes committed ‘in their name’.  The victims have become the accused!  

True, it was only one essay 12 years ago, but it says so much about the Guardian worldview, and at least provides a glimpse into their reporters’ crippling moral blind-spot when it comes to even the most egregious examples of Palestinian Jew hatred. 

 

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UK media silent about Pope’s meeting with Mufti who claimed that Muslims’ destiny is to kill Jews

A report at the Independent by Ben Lynfield focuses on Palestinian activists who are “scathing about the Pope’s plans to make the first visit by a pontiff to the tomb of Theodor Herzl”, the founder of Zionism – the political movement, Lynfield explains, “that established Israel and displaced the Palestinians.”

Lynfield continues:

Omar Barghouti, a Ramallah-based member of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, termed the planned visit to the grave “nauseating”.

“Laying a wreath on the grave of the founder of Zionism, a patently racist ideology that has served to enable and justify the ethnic cleansing of most of the indigenous people of Palestine, is a nauseating, offensive act of complicity that Palestinian civil society cannot but condemn,” Mr Barghouti wrote in an emailed statement. He added that the gesture would “serve to whitewash Israel’s occupation and apartheid”.

Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s central council, also questioned the Pope’s choice. He said that if the Pope is to visit Herzl’s tomb, he should make a visit to the Yasser Arafat mausoleum in Ramallah for “balance”

Of course, neither Lynfield nor any of his colleagues within the UK media have yet noted that, though the Pope will not be visiting the grave of the ‘father of modern terrorism‘, he will be meeting with the Grand Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein. The Grand Mufti is the most senior religious figure in the Palestinian Authority (the Palestinian equivalent of the Israeli Chief Rabbi), and has an appalling record of extreme antisemitic hate speech and support for suicide bombings.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported the following:

What Pope Francis may not be aware of is that the Mufti has an ongoing record of vicious Antisemitic hate speech, which has been condemned internationally. In 2012, the Mufti preached that it is Muslim destiny to kill the Jews. On a different occasion, in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, he taught that Jews were “enemies of Allah,” and in another speech he said that the souls of suicide bombers “tell us to follow in their path.”

PMW recently cited a speech, broadcast on PA television in January 2012, from a Fatah celebration in East Jerusalem, where the Mufti endorsed the murder of Jews.

Here’s the transcript:

Moderator at Fatah ceremony: “Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs (i.e., Jews) is a war of religion and faith.

Long Live Fatah! [I invite you,] our honorable Sheikh.”  

Palestinian Authority Mufti Muhammad Hussein: 
“47 years ago the [Fatah] revolution started. Which revolution? The modern revolution
of the Palestinian people’s history.
In fact, Palestine in its entirety is a revolution,
since [Caliph] Umar came [to conquer Jerusalem, 637 CE],
and continuing today, and until the End of Days.
The reliableHadith (tradition attributed to Muhammad),
in the two reliable collections, Bukhari and Muslim, says:
‘The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews. 
The Jew will hide behind stones or trees. 
Then the stones or trees will call: 
“Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” 
Except the Gharqad tree [which will keep silent].’ 
Therefore, it is no wonder that you see Gharqad [trees] 
surrounding the [Israeli] settlements and colonies.
[Gharqad trees] surrounding, surrounding and surrounding.
That’s the Palestine we are talking about,
with the beginning of the Jihad and the continuation of the Jihad,
with the struggle and the procession of the Martyrs.”

[PA TV (Fatah), Jan. 9, 2012] 

As PMW explained, not only didn’t the Grand Mufti retract or condemn these statements by the moderator, but instead cited the Hadith to buttress the narrative that Palestinians are indeed destined to murder the Jews. 

Though the UK media often characterize mainstream Israeli politicians who are on the right side of the political spectrum as “ultra-nationalist”, “far-right”, or even “extreme”, it seems certain that journalists working for the Independent, Guardian, Economist, Telegraph, or other newspapers covering Pope Francis’s visit to Israel, will fail to use similar pejoratives when reporting on his meeting with the PA Mufti who incites Palestinians to kill Jews.

As was demonstrated recently by a Guardian op-ed’s shameful justification for unparalleled antisemitism within Palestinian society, such egregious double-standards in moral accountability (the bigotry of low expectations) continue to skew media’s coverage of the region, and deny news consumers the opportunity to fairly assess those dynamics which truly represent the ‘root cause’ of the conflict. 

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CiF Watch prompts revision to Guardian op-ed justifying Palestinian antisemitism

On May 15th we commented on an op-ed at the Guardian (written by two pro-Palestinian activists) which morally justified Palestinian antisemitism – in the context of poll which demonstrated that Palestinians are the most antisemitic people among the 100 countries surveyed.  

The op-ed not only defended the Palestinians’ belief that Jews have to too much power in the world, and that Jews in the diaspora are more loyal to Israel than to the countries where they reside, but actually accused ADL, the Jewish civil rights group which commissioned the poll, of using the results to “silence and intimidate those who don’t share their unwavering support for Israel”.

Shortly after our post, we contacted Guardian editors and pointedly asked them how the op-ed could possibly be read as anything other than a defense of classic antisemitic tropes, and whether they were comfortable tacitly legitimizing such racism.

To their credit, they at least partially agreed with our analysis – and decided to delete the entire paragraph justifying the dual loyalty canard.

Here’s the paragraph that no longer appears in the Guardian op-ed:

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 And, the following addendum was added:

addendum

Though we commend Guardian editors for their decision to revise the op-ed, we believe that it should never have seen the light of day in the first place.  To those who disagree, we offer the following brief thought experiment:  

Suppose there was a comprehensive poll indicating that 93% of Brits held racist beliefs towards Muslims.  In such a scenario, is it even conceivable that the Guardian would publish an op-ed justifying such widespread British Islamophobia as an understandable reaction to Islamist terror attacks in the UK?

We believe the answer to this question should be painfully obvious to anyone who’s ever so much as glanced at the opinion pages of the “liberal” London broadsheet. 

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