Daniel Finkelstein, associate editor at Times of London, provided an extremely lucid, measured and penetrating look into antisemitism in the UK, in a column published in August. It’s behind a pay wall, and we thought it was valuable enough to provide excerpts.
Mira Bar-Hillel is a journalist for the London Evening Standard and op-ed contributor for The Independent, who’s also been interviewed by both the BBC and Sky News on the topics of Israel, British Jewry, and antisemitism – this despite the fact that Bar-Hillel acknowledged being prejudiced against Jews and has a record of engaging in anti-Jewish racism.
Here is a list of her anti-Jewish claims, which we’ve compiled during the course of frequent posts about her op-eds, media appearances and Tweets:
1. She 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.
2. She complained (in an op-ed at The Independent) that Jews smear people unfairly with the charge of antisemitism to silence and “gag into submission any critic of Israel”.
3. She evoked (in an op-ed at The Independent) the ugly Nazi-Zionism analogy in characterizing Israeli racism and IDF military actions in Gaza.
4. She accused British Jews (in a series of Tweets) collectively of ‘bombing Gaza’.
5. She argued (during a BBC interview) that British Jews don’t criticize Israeli actions in Gaza out of fear of being “ex-communicated” from the Jewish community.
6. She expressed (in a series of Tweets) her belief that “the message” of Jews controlling America is “entirely true” and “increasingly so”, and that Jewish lobbyists appear to be picking up some of their ideas from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and using them.
As we’ve argued previously, it’s truly difficult to understand how a reputable publication like The Independent (which claims to take antisemitism seriously) can continue publishing op-eds by someone with such a well-documented history of advancing explicitly antisemitic tropes.
- Mira Bar-Hillel falls for phony ‘IDF’ tweet ‘admitting’ to murdering children (cifwatch.com)
- Sky News asks admitted anti-Semite her views on the rise of UK antisemitism! (cifwatch.com)
- Read Adam Levick’s op-ed at The Independent (cifwatch.com)
- Indy contributor Mira Bar-Hillel accuses British Jews of bombing Gaza (cifwatch.com)
- Indy journo Mira Bar-Hillel Tweets about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (cifwatch.com)
The Independent experienced some problems of late in facing the decision all UK newspaper editors who understand the Judeocentric road to increased web traffic: whether any given story should be framed as pertaining to Jews, or merely Israel.
On Aug. 29th, the Indy published a story about Angelina Jolie’s recent wedding to Brad Pitt which originally included a headline suggesting that Jolie’s father, Jon Voight, wasn’t invited because of his pro-Israel views. However, the subsequent text in the article didn’t at all support this claim, and the headline was later amended.
Remarkably, however, the author of the article about Jolie’s wedding, Jen Selby, still managed to devote 325 words (in a 800 word piece) about Voight’s views on Israel.
Earlier this month, Voight stirred controversy when he accused Penelopé Cruz and her husband Javier Bardem of ‘inciting anti-Semitism’ after they signed an open letter condemning the Israeli government’s Palestinian ‘genocide’.
In response, Voight, who is famously pro-Israel, penned a strongly-worded letter published on Variety.com.
“My name is Jon Voight and I am more than angry,” it begins. “I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused
“They are obviously ignorant of the whole story of Israel’s birth, when in 1948 the Jewish people were offered by the UN a portion of the land originally set aside for them in 1921, and the Arab Palestinians were offered the other half.
“The Arabs rejected the offer, and the Jews accepted, only to be attacked by five surrounding Arab countries committed to driving them into the sea.”
He goes on to claim that Israel, after years of being at war with the Palestinian people, gave them the Gaza strip as a gesture of peace. He ends the piece by pleading for famous names in the entertainment industry to re-address their anti-IDF stances.
“I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives. Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now?
“You have been able to become famous and have all your monetary gains because you are in a democratic country: America. Do you think you would have been able to accomplish this in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, et cetera?
“You had a great responsibility to use your celebrity for good. Instead, you have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel.
“You should hang your heads in shame,” he concludes. “You should all come forth with deep regrets for what you did, and ask forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel.
The misleading nature of the original headline was actually revealed in the last sentence in the article:
Sure, now you tell us!
Then, on Sept. 1st, Indy editors decided to reward their loyal readers by publishing more timeless wisdom from Mira Bar-Hillel, in an op-ed originally titled ‘The truth about the UK’s powerful Jewish lobbies‘. (You can see this writer’s rebuttal at the Indy here.)
The headline was later quietly changed, and the words “powerful Jewish lobbies” became “pro-Israel lobbies”, as the former perhaps was deemed by editors to evoke calumnies about Jews which are inconsistent with their “enlightenment” values.
Finally, the disproportionate focus on Jews and Israel within the media was the focus of an amusing blog entry by Jeffrey Goldberg, in a post (published at The Atlantic in 2011) with the following headline:
Here’s the post:
The headline above was produced by the Instamash-Bloginator3000, a device, invented by Israeli scientists working in the Jewish settlement of Neve Manyak, that can reduce thousands of blog posts to a single thought. And it also corrupts Iranian centrifuges! I plugged 3,000 of my blog posts into this wonder machine, and this is the headline that came out!
No, no, I kid! (I kid because I love.) There is no Jewish settlement named Neve Manyak. The headline above actually refers to the disproportionate interest drunks and lunatics take in Jews and their meddling and mysterious ways.
In the last several days, we’ve had Charlie Sheen angrily outing his producer, Chuck Lorre, as “Chaim Levine“; Glenn Beck accusing Reform rabbis of conspiring to build a Muslim caliphate (or something); John Galliano drunkenly praising Hitler (advice to Galliano’s lawyer: Tell the press your client was referring to another Hitler, maybe a hitherto-obscure designer of hats); the Iranian regime complaining that the 2012 Olympic logo secretly spells out the word “Zion” (they’re wrong, of course; the logo secretly spells out “Mark Spitz is Jewish, and Jason Lezak is Too, So Go Drown Yourselves in the Caspian Sea); and now, Julian Assange is allegedly arguing that The Guardian — the English-language newspaper least friendly to Israel on Earth — is engaged in a Jewish-dominated conspiracy to smear him.
One of the great advantages of being Jewish — and there are many (we invented both ethical monotheism and whitefish salad, after all) — is that though there are only about 14 million of us on the whole planet (18 million before World War II, Mr. Galliano), people can’t stop talking about us! It is very exciting to be a part of so many different fantasies.
We don’t know for sure if the Indy uses a device as sophisticated as the Instamash-Bloginator3000 to assist their editors in crafting headlines, or whether they just realize on their own the great click-bait advantages generated by generous use of the terms “Jew” and “Israel”. However, in the rarely dull field of pro-Israel media criticism nothing much surprises us anymore.
After all, if you had told us just last week that we would be publishing a post with a headline that included the names Angelina Jolie and Mira Bar-Hillel we would have certainly, at the very least, raised an eyebrow and scratched our collective
Jewish Israeli Zionist heads.
We first noticed commenter ‘Eileen Kuch’ on a ‘Comment is Free’ thread about the Ukrainian-Russian crisis in April, where she vehemently supported Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.
This comment, putting aside the “Zio-controlled” trope (that can be explained off as some kind of anti-Zionism – she didn’t write “Jewish controlled”; did she?), reminded us of a crazy conspiracy theory – on some completely off the mental spectrum website – alleging that Barack Obama’s stepfather Lolo Soetoro must have been Jewish because “soetoro” is a Hebrew word used in the Hebrew Bible.
We were mildly surprised that the Guardian allowed such a bizarre claim on their site, and, wishing to understand the very generous flexibility of the moderators, searched for her other comments.
Reading her writings taken from her public profile on CIF is a beautiful example of the level of racist hate speech that the World’s Leading Liberal Voice is evidently ready to tolerate, completely disregarding their own ‘community standards’. Here are a limited number of examples of her comments, along with the ‘source’ of her knowledge.
Israel and its puppet the USA are the instigators of all ongoing unrest and upheaval in the world:
Another comment puts some light on her ‘sources’.
Her suggested useful reference on the mass murder of “Christians” by the hands of Lenin and Trotsky is a book of a certain Estonian author – Juri Lina – titled ‘Under the Sign of the Scorpion‘. To illustrate what she considers ‘an important source’, we will only quote the well-known neo-Nazi and conspiracy theorist Henry Makow:
Estonian journalist Juri Lina has examined the recently opened Soviet archives and documented the connection between the Bolshevik Revolution and Jewish Illuminism in his book “Under the Sign of the Scorpion.” (1994)
I will probably devote a separate column to this book. Suffice to say here that Communism was the outcome of the plan outlined in Protocols. No wonder this book was banned in the USSR on pain of death! Its informal ban in America is a measure of our condition.
Karl Marx, Lenin and Trotsky, were all Jewish Freemasons, dysfunctional losers who were employed by the Illuminist bankers to hoodwink the masses. Lenin for example had been an unsuccessful lawyer who had only six cases in which he defended shoplifters. He lost all six cases. A week later he gave up the law to become a highly paid revolutionary.
Ms Kuch can’t be fooled; she knows the real name of the players in Ukraine:
This is cross posted from the blog of The CST, and was originally titled ‘Opposing antisemitism: an appeal to put words into action’.
The past two months have seen the number of antisemitic incidents in Britain approach record levels Much of this has been due to extreme reactions to the conflict between Israel and Gaza that reached its latest ceasefire yesterday. This problem, and its link to extreme manifestations of anti-Israel sentiment, has been covered extensively in the British media.
Some pro-Palestinian activists have recognised this problem and spoken out against it.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has said that antisemitism has no place in its activities, and Owen Jones wrote a column for the Guardian in which he warned of the need to take antisemitism seriously. In particular, he wrote:
Antisemitic themes are depressingly constant: of Jews being aliens, lacking loyalty to their countries, acting as parasites, wielding disproportionate influence. Sometimes this hatred is overt, other times more subtle and pernicious.
We welcome these statements from supporters of the Palestinian cause, just as we previously welcomed PSC’s rejection of the equation of Israel with Nazi Germany. And because we consider these statements to be important and necessary, we hope and expect that the people who made them will live up to their words and the sentiments behind them.
It is for this reason that we appeal to PSC and to Owen Jones to reconsider the inclusion of Tim Llewellyn as a speaker at a PSC meeting tomorrow evening, 28th August, on “Gaza: let down by the BBC and mainstream media?” We appeal to PSC as the organiser of the meeting and to Jones as one of the other speakers.
Our objection is not to the meeting itself. We do not oppose your right to hold public meetings in support of the Palestinians, or to criticise Israel, or to critique media coverage of the conflict between the two.
Our objection is specifically to the inclusion of Llewellyn as a guest speaker on this topic because he has a record of statements that illustrate exactly what Jones warns against: themes “of Jews being aliens, lacking loyalty to their countries, acting as parasites, wielding disproportionate influence.”
For example, last year at a meeting in London that was also about media coverage of Israel, Llewellyn claimed that the BBC is intimidated by the “Jewish lobby”. When he was challenged on this by the chair of the meeting, he resisted criticism of his choice of phrase. The full exchange ran as follows and can be viewed here on the CST Blog:
Llewellyn: “Is it because… I can see it in the BBC. They’re frighten’, these people are quite aggressive, right. The Jewish Lobby is not much fun. They come at you from every direction.”
Off camera, another speaker says “no”, then, “its the pro-Israel lobby”. It is not exactly clear who says what after this, but it includes the chair Mark McDonald talking over Llewellyn, stating:
“I mean that’s a very important thing to say, that it’s not a Jewish lobby. Can I interrupt a second. It’s not a Jewish lobby. It might be a Zionist lobby. It may be a pro-Israel lobby.”
Llewellyn replies: “Yes, but they use Jewish connections to get you.”
This statement by Llewellyn was not a one-off. It fitted a long record of statements and writings that mix “Jewish” with “Zionist” while alleging that both hold undue and nefarious influence in British public life. For example, in 2006, Llewellyn wrote the following in the Foreword to a new edition of Publish It Not: The Middle East Cover-Up by Michael Adams and Christopher Mayhew:
No alien polity has so successfully penetrated the British government and British institutions during the past ninety years as the Zionist movement and its manifestation as the state of Israel…the Zionists have manipulated British systems as expertly as maestros, here a massive major chord, there a minor refrain, the audience, for the most part, spellbound.
…this cuckoo in the nest of British politics…
… Israel had worked its spells well, with a lot of help from its friends: these lined the benches of parliament, wrote the news stories and editorials, framed the way we saw and heard almost everything about the Middle East on TV, radio and in the press. History, the Bible, Nazi Germany’s slaughter of the Jews, Russian pogroms, the Jewish narrative relayed and parlayed through a thousand books, films, TV plays and series, radio programmes, the skills of Jewish writers, diarists, memoirists, artists and musicians, people like us and among us, all had played their part.
…the fervent Zionist Labour MPs, some of them little better than bully-boys, Richard Crossman (not a Jew), Ian Mikardo, Maurice Edelman, Emmanuel “Manny” Shinwell, Sidney Silverman, Konni Zilliacus et al, are, mercifully, not only no longer with us but have not been replaced, not in such virulent form.
… the Union of Jewish Students, which elbows and induces Zionistically inclined undergraduates towards influential positions in British public life, especially the media, the banking sector and information technology.
Llewellyn mixes “Zionist” with “Jewish”, describing both as “alien” to Britain; and alleges undue and negative influence and manipulation of the media, politics and “the banking sector”. These allegations all have clear antecedents in antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Another example: in 2004, Llewellyn was quoted in the Jewish Chronicle as describing former US ambassador Dennis Ross in these terms:
He also denounced broadcasters who invited the “insidious” former US ambassador to the Middle East Denis Ross, without fully identifying him.
Mr Llewellyn said: “What a lovely Anglo-Saxon name! But Denis Ross is not just a Jew, he is a Zionist, a long-time Zionist… and now directs an Israeli-funded think tank in Washington. He is a Zionist propagandist.”
The suggestion that broadcasters should identify an interviewee as “a Jew”, lest their viewers be fooled by an “Anglo-Saxon name”, is scurrilous and prejudiced.
In 2012, Llewellyn wrote of
massive media distortion, and … Zionist penetration and manipulation of our institutions – the media, universities, local education, political parties…
He went on to describe as Britain’s
real enemies… the ambitious and greedy British politicians and insidious political influence, in this case spawned by an alien state and strengthened by its friends in our midst, people who put Israel’s interests above that of their own nation.
(From The Battle for Public Opinion in Europe: Changing Perceptions of the Palestine-Israel Conflict, eds. Daud Abdullah & Ibrahim Hewitt, not online). Again, this echoes the classical antisemitic allegation of ‘dual loyalty’, whereby British Jews are accused of lacking loyalty to the country of their birth.
If the important and welcome statements by PSC, Owen Jones and others about their opposition to antisemitism and determination to exclude it from pro-Palestinian activism have real meaning, then there should be no place for Tim Llewellyn at a PSC meeting. This is not an abstract argument: the sharp increase in antisemitism in Britain in recent weeks demonstrates that fact. Words lead to actions, good and bad. We now invite PSC and Owen Jones to put their valuable and worthy statements and principles into practice. A discussion of media coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict must not give room to those who believe that there is a Zionist conspiracy to control, manipulate or influence the British media, politics, banking and education, as Tim Llewellyn has suggested. Nor should pro-Palestinian activism be a home for those who believe that Jews are an alien presence, disloyal to Britain, who change their names to disguise their true loyalties.
Put your words into action, and remove Tim Llewellyn from your platform.
To get up to speed on Mira Bar-Hillel – a journalist who contributes to the ‘progressive’ British newspaper, The Independent, and whose sage insight about Israel was recently solicited by The BBC and Sky News - and her well-documented antisemitism, read this and this.
After doing so, you can now better understand the following Tweets by Bar-Hillel.
It started with this Tweet from someone named Emma Isitt, “quoting” a fictitious Israeli who evidently ‘confirmed’ that antisemites have been right all along.
Spoiler: even antisemitic extremists know that this quote is a Pakistani hoax.
Then the Twitter exchange:
“Hoax or not”, says the Indy columnist, “the message is entirely true, and increasingly so”.
Here are the next series of exchanges:
Does Bar-Hillel believe in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?
“Look at the facts”, replied the Indy columnist, “and you will too”.
More Tweeters attempt to determine if the Indy columnist really is defending the Protocols.
Is she only joking?
So, to recap: Bar-Hillel believes that “the message” of Jews controlling America is “entirely true” and “increasingly so”, and that Jewish lobbyists appear to be picking up some of the ideas from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and using them.
Thanks for clarifying that for us, Mira.
- Indy contributor Mira Bar-Hillel accuses British Jews of bombing Gaza (cifwatch.com)
- Indy’s Mira Bar-Hillel complains on the BBC about Jews and CiF Watch trolls! (cifwatch.com)
- Antisemitic reporter Mira Bar-Hillel pens op-ed (on antisemitism!) for The Independent (cifwatch.com)
- BBC Radio 4′s ‘Today’ airs falsehoods on Gaza medicine shortage (and the ramblings of Bar Hillel) (bbcwatch.org)
The argument that Israeli leaders or pro-Israel groups in Washington drive US policy in the Mid-East represents something akin to conventional wisdom at the Guardian, and a recent op-ed in the paper by Carne Ross, about Barack Obama’s May 28th foreign policy speech, contributes to the media group’s impressive body of work in perpetuating this reactionary narrative.
The Obama administration can hardly be blamed for the descent of Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and much of Northern Africa into fratricidal and sectarian violence. But you can challenge it for supporting the Al-Sisi regime in Egypt, the repressive behavior of which tragically mimics that of Mubarak, who was the perfect recruiting sergeant for al-Qaida. As Egypt drifts into a persistent low-level civil war, and thousands of Muslim Brothers are imprisoned with barely the pretense of judicial process, the soil is being fertilized for yet another generation of anti-Western terrorists.
There’s a legitimate suspicion that US foreign policy on this front is not being driven by America’s own needs. Even Obama said as much
Then, to buttress his claim, Ross quotes a small excerpt from Obama’s May 28th speech:
In Egypt, we acknowledge that our relationship is anchored in security interests – from the peace treaty with Israel, to shared efforts against violent extremism.
However, as you can see, Obama is certainly not acknowledging, as Ross suggests, that his administration’s foreign policy “is NOT being driven by America’s own needs”. The president is merely saying that his administration’s policy is driven by US security interests in the region – the desire to maintain peace between historic adversaries and the effort to fight violent extremism.
Next, Ross contextualizes – and grossly distorts – the Obama excerpt further:
Indeed, Israel prefers “stability” in Egypt – just as it resists military intervention in Syria or significant game-changing arms supplies, like MANPADs, to the pro-democracy Syrian opposition.
First, Israel has not resisted US military intervention in Syria, and indeed openly supported possible US strikes against Syrian defense capabilities (in response to Assad’s chemical weapons attack against civilians) last year.
Additionally, Israeli and US opposition to MANPADs (sophisticated shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles – or SAMs) is not, as Ross suggests, driven by fear that such “game changing weapons” will get in the hands of “the pro-democracy Syrian opposition”, but is driven by concerns that these SAMs will eventually get in hands of non-democratic extremists like Hezbollah or jihadists groups.
Moreover, even if there is a significant degree of overlap between Israeli and US interests in the Mid-East, policy agreements between two countries are of course not evidence of causation.
Indeed, perhaps someone should remind Ross of the painfully obvious fact that Barack Obama is the President of the United States, and that it is Obama and his advisers – not political leaders in Jerusalem – who determine US foreign policy, based on what they determine to be, rightly or wrongly, “America’s own needs”.
How would you characterize someone who believes that Jews have too much power over the global media and global political affairs, that Jews are responsible for most of the world wars and that people only hate Jews because of the way Jews behave?
Wouldn’t it be fair to label such a person an extreme anti-Semite?
Ok, now let’s suppose that 93% of this person’s fellow citizens feel the same way?
Wouldn’t it be fair to say that such a place is plagued by endemic Jew hatred?
Well, no doubt the mainstream media would agree with these characterizations – if, of course, the country which holds such repulsive views were European. But, as we have documented repeatedly, even the most extreme and often violent manifestations of such Judeophobia within the Arab world rarely pique the interest of putatively anti-racist news editors.
The tendency of the UK media to bury news which paints an unflattering picture of groups deemed a priori to be ‘victims’ – not possessing “privilege‘ – will be illustrated by the dearth of MSM stories on the results from a new international survey commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League which gauged antisemitism in over 100 countries. As with previous polls conducted by ADL, respondents who believe that at least 6 out of the 11 antisemitic statements (below) are “probably true” are considered to hold antisemitic views. The Index Score for each country represents the percentage of citizens in that country who answered “probably true” to a majority of the statements.
Here are the statements:
So, how antisemitic are the Palestinians?
Well, 93% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza surveyed answered “probably true” to a majority of these statements, the largest percentage of any country in the world which was surveyed.
Remarkably, Palestinians are not only dramatically more antisemitic than the citizens in every Western country surveyed (for instance only 8% of UK citizens, and 9% of Americans, are antisemitic) but are even more antisemitic than citizens in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan and Iran.
Here are some highlights:
- 88% of Palestinians believe Jews have too much control over global affairs.
- 89% believe Jews have too much power over international financial markets
- 88% of Palestinians believe that Jews have too much control over the global media
- 78% of Palestinians believe that Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars.
- 87% of Palestinians believe that people hate Jews because of the way Jews behave.
We decided to highlight these statements (and not the results of the other statements), because these especially represent antisemitic tropes which overlap perfectly with the ideas laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and can’t be fairly characterized as anything other than the historical, conspiracy-driven racism which fueled pogroms, massacres, and even genocide throughout the long history of antisemitism.
Palestinian antisemitism is arguably one of the more under reported political pathologies of our day, and the failure of presumably sophisticated Middle East commentators to grapple and deal honestly with the injurious impact of this enduring hatred contributes to the public’s egregious misunderstanding of both the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the endemic backwardness and underdevelopment within Palestinian society.
The failure of the Guardian and other UK media sites to report on Palestinian antisemitism not only harms Jews – the object of their hatred – but, as Walter Russell Mead explained, such crippling irrational antipathies also do grave harm to Palestinians themselves. “Attributing global events to the machinations of an all-conquering Jewish conspiracy”, argued Mead, “is the sign of profound mental and social failure—and a harbinger of more failures and errors to come”. “Societies”, he continued, that are “in thrall to this kind of darkness…and whose intellectual leaders cannot understand how power works in the modern world…are unlikely to develop the vigorous, forward-looking and competent civil societies that can promote true democracy”.
Even in the event a Palestinian state is created, it is difficult to imagine how such political sovereignty will result in the diminution of such medieval thinking about Jews and their alleged toxic impact on the world.
Those who advocate on behalf of Palestinian rights and yet don’t confront this crippling pathos occupying their collective consciousness are creating an environment whereby Palestinians have no incentive to embark on a path to real progress, and thus will almost certainly be consigned to generation after generation of political, social and economic failure.
UPDATE: The Guardian did in fact publish a datablog report on the ADL’s findings, here.
- Arabs hate Jews more than anyone else does (Elder of Ziyon)
- Resolved: Antisemitism is the main obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace (cifwatch.com)
We’ve previously written about Irish Times columnist Eamonn McCann, a Trotskyist activist and commentator who has employed the “chosen people” canard to suggest that Israeli attacks are arguably inspired by a belief in their own superiority, claimed that Zionism is racism and prophesized on the Jewish State’s ultimate demise.
In his April 10 Irish Times op-ed, the ‘truth telling’ radical expressed his disgust at Sheldon Adelson – or, more precisely, a recent episode involving New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in which the possible Presidential contender apologized to Adelson (a Republican donor) after giving a speech in which he referred to Judea and Samaria as ‘occupied territory’.
Here’s how McCann characterized the episode:
In a desperate effort to clamber his way back into the race for the Republican presidential nomination for 2016, New Jersey governor Chris Christie last week kowtowed to Zionism and apologised for telling the truth.
Later, McCann wrote this in an attempt to contextualize Christie’s apology to Adelson:
There is a common view which this episode will reinforce that rich Zionists have captured US policy on the Middle East and use their financial clout to deliver uncritical support from the political elite for Israeli outrages against dispossessed Palestinians. There may be truth in this, but not the whole truth.
First, McCann fails to explain how the charge that “rich Zionists have captured US policy” is “not the whole truth”.
Moreover, Adelson is Jewish, and it seems undeniable, given the context (as well as McCann’s previous expressions of contempt for ‘Zionists), that “rich Zionists” is a thinly veiled euphemism for “rich Jews’.
Of course, saying outright that ‘rich Jews control the US government’ would represent the babbling of an anti-Semite.
And, we all know that editors at the Irish Times would never, ever allow such crude bigotry on the pages of their ‘progressive’ newspaper, don’t we?
Imagine if you read the following passages – an interview with politically conservative actor Jon Voight – in the New York Times culture section:
So why do affirmative action policies continue to be pervasive at university admission committees, in the procurement of government contracts and even at Fortune 500 companies? According to the acclaimed conservative actor Jon Voight, the power of black groups within the Obama administration makes it increasingly tough for there to be a rational discussion on the issue.
“I considered campaigning against affirmative action myself,” he told The New York Times. But, he said he was informed by others that choosing to do this could have a bad impact on his livelihood.
“I think the reason that even the Republican Party doesn’t actively challenge the status quo on minority set-asides is because blacks and the politics of black victimhood exerts a suffocating grip on our political culture“, he said.
“The main problem for me in all this is that kind of black radicals. That extreme belief by blacks that they are entitled. They will label you a racist if you resist such an idea. It’s worse than McCarthyism.
Then, imagine, in such a hypothetical scenario, if the NYT culture critic responded to Voight’s words by dryly adding:
Hurt’s comments could stoke controversy.
Impossible to imagine, isn’t it?
Any liberal NYT journalist who encountered such bigotry would surely not let it go unchallenged. Further, in such a scenario, Voight’s views on the ‘corrupting influence of African-Americans in the US’ would likely be the story’s lead, and surely not be downplayed or minimized. It’s also likely that the liberal media would – quite justifiably – be abuzz with news of the Republican actor’s racist meltdown.
While the exchange above was obviously fictional, the following (Rankin on Scarlett Johansson’s SodaStream advert: Why Hollywood stars can’t afford to be linked to Pro-Palestinian causes, Feb. 13) was actually published at The Independent:
So why did the actress [Scarlett Johansson] with the cleanest PR track record in Hollywood opt for the latter and part ways with [Oxfam]? According to [Rankin] the acclaimed photographer and director – who has not only worked with Johansson on a number of occasions, but has also shot for Oxfam in the Congo and in Kenya – the power of a far-right pro-Israeli lobby within the US makes it increasingly tough for creative artists to take the ethical high ground in favour of Palestinians.
“I asked, actually, Oxfam if I could go to Palestine because I’m interested in what happens in Palestine,” he told The Independent. But speaking of his desire to shine a light on the plight of the Palestinian people, he said he was informed by others that choosing to do this could have a bad impact on his livelihood.
“I think the reason that she has not backed down is because in America, the Jewish zealots are so powerful. Especially in the entertainment industry… What they could do to her career,” he added, admitting he had “negative views” on SodaStream’s West Bank operation.
“The main problem for me in all this is that kind of extreme Judaism. That extreme belief that this is their homeland and those people are worthless to them. That’s very powerful in America. They will blacklist you. It’s worse than McCarthyism…
The Indy’s Jenn Selby then merely added the following:
Rankin’s comments could stoke controversy, judging by the reaction to Seth McFarlane’s performance hosting the Oscars last year, when his character Ted suggested that only Jewish actors would be able to get jobs in Hollywood.
Has antisemitism become so socially acceptable within the media and among the cultural elite that most don’t blink an eye when a political figure, journalist or artist explains social or political problems by evoking the specter of powerful, malevolent Jewish forces in Hollywood and in Washington?
Whilst there is of course nothing wrong with the Indy publishing the interview – odious bigotry and all – we can’t help but be disturbed by the banality of the manner in which it was contextualized, indeed normalized.
As we’ve continually documented, narratives regarding the injurious influence of powerful Jews - previously relegated to the margins of the far right – have become increasingly acceptable within left-wing political discourse, and is often packaged as ‘progressive’, anti-establishment commentary.
The continuing failure of otherwise sober and putatively enlightened voices to unequivocally condemn such rank expressions of anti-Jewish racism represents, at the minimum, an appalling moral abdication.
- ‘CiF’ reveals anti-SodaStream agenda: Harming the livelihood of 500 Palestinians (cifwatch.com)
- Yes, boycotting the goods and services of six million Jews is certainly antisemitic. (cifwatch.com)
- Win for co-existence, eco-friendly products & Scarlett Johansson = BDS Fail (cifwatch.com)
- Times reporter Catherine Philp falsely claims Oxfam cut ties with Johansson (cifwatch.com)
Last week we posted about the following cartoon by Peter Schrank published at The Economist – used to illustrate an article about negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 – which evoked the antisemitic narrative on the supposed injurious influence of Jewish power on U.S. foreign policy.
Later in the day we learned that The Economist had removed the cartoon from the online edition of the article, and issued the following addendum:
Today, we noticed that they revised their editor’s note and addressed the specific question posed by this blog and several other commentators:
While it’s unclear what Peter Schrank believes about the criticism directed towards his cartoon, we’re of course glad that editors at The Economist distanced themselves from such racist (and increasingly prevalent) beliefs about the ‘corrupting influence’ of Jewish power.
Harry Goldstein’s assertion (Letters, 7 January) that the Palestinians were “offered [a state] in 1947 and refused, preferring to make war on Israel“, must be challenged. The Palestinians were told that 56% of their existing state of Palestine was to be taken away and made into a Jewish state, even though half of the population of the “Jewish” area was Arab. Since the Jews made it clear they wanted even more than the 56% and would take it by force, the Arab armies, far smaller in number and less well-armed than the Jews, moved up to the border of the Jewish state, in an attempt to protect the remaining territory they had been allocated, and stop Israel taking those areas by force. They failed either to stop the Jewish armies or to prevent them expelling Palestinian Arabs from a land in which they had once formed 90% of the population. – Karl Sabbagh
Even by Guardian standards, this is an especially egregious distortion of historical reality.
First, contrary to what Sabbagh implies, there was never an “existing state of Palestine”. Further, the suggestion that Jews were the belligerent party in 1947-48 represents a remarkable inversion, as it was the Jews (and not the Arabs) who accepted partition, despite the fact that it gave them only a small portion of the land previously promised to them. (Indeed, 77% of the landmass of the original Mandate for the Jews was excised in 1922 to create a fourth Arab state – today Jordan.)
Arab leaders didn’t unleash their armies merely to adjust the borders, but were completely clear that their goal was the total annihilation of the nascent Jewish state.
“I personally wish that the Jews do not drive us to this war, as this will be a war of extermination and momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Tartar massacre or the Crusader wars”. – Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League, October 11, 1947
To Arab leaders in the months before and after partition, a Jewish state of any size was intolerable.
Of course, Sabbagh’s historical distortions concerning Israel’s creation aren’t at all surprising when you consider that he wrote a blurb for one of the most antisemitic books to be published in several years.
“Gilad Atzmon’s book, The Wandering Who? is as witty and thought-provoking as its title. But it is also an important book, presenting conclusions about Jews, Jewishness and Judaism which some will find shocking but which are essential to an understanding of Jewish identity politics and the role they play on the world stage.” Karl Sabbagh
(You can see more about Atzmon’s extreme antisemitism here.)
Finally, here’s a video of Sabbagh in a panel discussion about the book ‘The Wandering Who?’ heaping more effusive praise on Atzmon.
Israeli security officials recently presented the annual “Palestinian Incitement Index” which includes findings from recent months in which peace talks have been taking place. The findings demonstrate that incitement against Israel (and Jews as such) is continuing in the state controlled Palestinian media, and that during the period of negotiations, not only did incitement not lessen, but in certain areas even increased.
The data suggests that incitement encompasses several main messages:
- Israel has no right to exist, and Jews have no link to the holy Land;
- The Jews are sub-human creatures and must be dealt with accordingly;
- In principle, all forms of struggle, including terrorism, are legitimate in order to realize the final goal.
Though the documentation on Palestinian incitement was made available to foreign journalists – and subsequently covered even by the New York Times – the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood, never shy about framing every Israeli announcement on housing tenders across the green line as an obstacle to peace – has not, as of yet, reported on the disturbing findings.
Here’s the sideshow that was released by the government:
(Note: The video clips seen in some slides can be viewed by clicking on the image.)
Cross posted by Dave Rich from the blog of The CST
The quenelle salute given by West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka when he scored in their Premier League match on Saturday is an antisemitic gesture, and he should be punished accordingly by the FA.
In the Luis Suarez and John Terry cases the FA established the ‘zero tolerance’ principle, that a player’s intention does not excuse the use of racist language. The same principle must be applied in this case. Anelka says that he is not racist or antisemitic and that he did not intend his quenelle to have an antisemitic meaning, but this is beside the point: just as the FA accepted that Luis Suarez is not a racist person while banning him for eight matches after he used racially abusive language towards Patrice Evra.
That the quenelle is antisemitic is beyond dispute. In France it has become part of a social media craze in which people find ever-more offensive places to insult Jews by doing a quenelle: this blogpost shows photographs of people performing quenelles at Auschwitz, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, at the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, outside synagogues and Jewish shops and at dozens of other Jewish sites. There is even a photograph of someone doing a quenelle outside the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, where Mohammed Merah murdered three children and a teacher in March 2012:
If the people in these photographs did a Nazi salute at any of these sites they would risk instant arrest and prosecution. The quenelle is a way of getting around the law, while still getting the same thrill of breaking the taboo against antisemitism.
The quenelle was invented by French comic Dieudonné Mbala Mbala. Anelka has excused his quenelle by saying that it was “just a special dedication to my comedian friend Dieudonné”; but this is no excuse, it just confirms the offence. Dieudonné has numerous convictions for antisemitism in France. One of these was for a sketch in which he gave a heroism award to French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson. The ‘comedy’ was that the award was presented by a man in a concentration camp uniform, complete with a yellow star.
Dieudonné claims that the quenelle is anti-establishment and anti-Zionist, not antisemitic. This is true, but also misleading – because Dieudonné believes that the establishment is run by “Zionists”. He told Iran’s Press TV:
The Zionist lobby … have taken France as hostage and we are in the hands of ignorant people, who know how to structure themselves into a mafia-like organisation and… have now taken over a country.
This is not the anti-Zionism of people who think that the Palestinians get a raw deal from Israel: it is the anti-Zionism of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, of a conspiracy theory that believes “the Jews pull all the strings”, as French extremism expert Jean-Yves Camus put it. (There is more background about Dieudonné’s political journey here).
It is also a political worldview that has led Dieudonné into a friendship with leaders of the far right Front National (FN). In 2006, Dieudonné attended the FN’s annual festival, and in 2008 veteran FN leader Jean Marie Le Pen became godfather to one of Dieudonné’s children.
Here is Le Pen (centre) with the FN’s Bruno Gollnisch (left) and friends, doing a quenelle:
The quenelle was unknown in Britain before this weekend, but it has been at the centre of a public storm in France due to the viral spread of people doing it at Jewish sites and posting the photos on social media. Government ministers are talking of banning Dieudonné’s public appearances because they believe that he incites hatred of Jews and poses a threat to public order. Dieudonné denies this, but when Nicolas Anelka did his quenelle during a match that was broadcast live on French TV, he inserted himself into a race row in his home country – on the side of the alleged racist.
This does not mean that Anelka intended to make an antisemitic statement, or even that he understood the meaning of what he did: but now that the quenelle has entered British football, the FA need to set a clear precedent by acting swiftly and unequivocally to punish those who do it.
Here they are in order of popularity:
On the occasion of our 4,000th post, we’d like to thank you – our supporters, volunteers, contributors and readers – for your loyalty over the years as we’ve continued ‘speaking truth to power’ in carrying out our primary mission: Combating antisemitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’.
Here’s looking forward to the next 4,000!
Adam Levick, Managing Editor
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