Sky News reporter Adam Boulton asked Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis three separate times if Israel causes antisemitism, during a short interview conducted on International Holocaust Memorial Day. As Boulton was interviewing Mirvis about the significance of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, viewers saw video in the background of Palestinians in the rubble of Gaza during the summer war, under the headline: “Auschwitz remembered”.
Here’s a screenshot from a YouTube clip of part of the interview:
Today marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Roughly one out of every six Jews killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust died between 1940 and 1945 at the Auschwitz camp complex in south-west Poland – a facility known as “the largest mass murder site in human history”.
The official Jan. 27th Guardian editorial on the significance of commemorating the anniversary of the camp’s liberation seems determined to honor the memory of the Jewish victims, yet appears at a loss to explain why they were murdered, and thus fails in the most important task of any serious meditation on the Holocaust: what moral lessons we must learn.
We’ll include the entire text of the editorial in order to fully contextualize the omission.
Last Tuesday I attended yet another anti-Israel event at the London Middle East Institute based at SOAS. The last LMEI event I attended beautified Hizbollah. And last Tuesday I had another anti-Jewish insult hurled at me, to add to the long list, for merely asking a question during a Q&A.
The guest speaker last Tuesday was retired British Diplomat Sir Vincent Fean, a man who has served as a diplomat in Paris, Brussels, Libya, Damascus, Baghdad and amongst the Palestinians. Fean said he wanted to “speak about how peace could come about in the Holy Land” and he said that he believed in “the two state solution”.
However, after his 40 minute talk I realised that Fean did not believe in Israel’s safety or its existence at all. He wanted Israel emasculated and indefensible.
Fean demanded that the “settlements” be disbanded and called the “illegal settlement enterprise” the “single most significant threat to the two state solution”.
As proof of “illegality” he invoked the Geneva Convention claiming that Israel gives inducements for Israelis to move to the West Bank. That is hardly “transfer” but it is enough for the likes of Fean to conclude that Israel is committing a breach of international law.
Fean called for Israel to dismantle its security fence, for Israel’s forces to be withdrawn from “Palestinian soil” and for Egypt to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.
As we noted previously, The Independent published a story on December 24th about the ongoing Sony hacking scandalby the newspaper’s Deputy People Editor, Ella Alexander.
However, in attempting to explain the nature of a series of leaked emails (a reply-all chain argument featuring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Russell Simmons and Ryan Seacrest) from film producer Ryan Kavanaugh, who is Jewish and avocal Israel supporter, the Indy flubbed a key passage in the story.
Here are the relevant passages in the Indy article:
The claim that Kavanaugh compared the situation in Gaza to the Holocaust is grossly inaccurate.
Yesterday, we posted about a Guardian op-ed by David Conn on Jan. 20th which accused British Jews who, in his view, express unwarranted alarm about the threat of antisemitism in the UK of being “ungrateful” to their country.
It turns out that, on the very same day, a similar charge was leveled by another British Jew, journalist Matthew Norman.
Writing in The Independent, Norman first notes the putative dearth of any fatal antisemitic attacks in the country.
Norman’s internet research was indeed flawed. In 2008, a Manchester Jew was fatally stabbed by a man who later told police that he “needed to kill a Jewish person”. CST characterized the attack as antisemitic.
Conn not only responds with disbelief to polls purporting to show that 25% of British Jews have considered leaving the country because of antisemitism, that 58% believe Jews may have no future in Europe and that over half feel “antisemitism now echoes the 1930s”, but counters that he personally has never experienced meaningful antisemitism in his entire life.
The magazine, available in print, digital and online editions, describes itself thusly:
How it Works’ expert explanations, dynamic cutaways and breathtaking images provide fuel for imaginations across all ages, helping its eager audience to understand and explore the wonders of the modern world, and making complex topics into accessible entertainment. How it Works stands for clarity, authority, intelligence and knowledge, which is why the brand is successful worldwide in all its forms – print, digital and online.
The latest edition, Volume 5, is currently on sale. A friend purchased one this week at a Toronto bookstore.
It includes a two page feature about the history of Jerusalem.
The piece includes a timeline, graphics and a short article explaining the city’s historic significance.
Deborah Maccoby… yeah, I know, my American friends will question my preoccupation with such minor and generally obscure elements of British society. And I don’t think that next picture will change their opinion significantly:
Deborah Maccoby bills herself on some occasions* as “Executive, Jews for Justice for Palestinians”. Alternatively she presents herself as “a member of the Executive Committee of Just Peace UK, the Israeli-Palestinian peace group and the UK branch of ICAHD (the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions)”. At the same time she is gainfully employed “at the BBC World Service as a Production Assistant and has written book reviews for the Arabic Service”. Which is a significant point, showing a person with access to one of the heaviest propaganda juggernauts out there.
So, if after looking at the pictures, you have conjured in your mind an image of one of these slightly demented aunts that are very good in making their own preserves or jams, overcook the roast and are afraid of spiders – perish the thought. Deborah Maccoby is a very strong anti-Zionist presence on many fronts and, as a prominent member of the British “AssaJew” community, has quite a few ideas to offer on many subjects.
One of such subjects is a solution for antisemitism, which Ms Maccoby hinted about as early as 2009. In this letter that starts with predictable “Sir: I am a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and have participated in every one of the national demonstrations against Israel’s brutal onslaught against Gaza”, she offers the magic recipe in the last sentence:
Beaumont’s report begins with these opening paragraphs, which lead to a passage blaming Israel for the breakdown:
This was a year that tested – largely to destruction – the notion you can have stability and quiet in the absence of a Middle East peace process. Instead, 2014 in Israel and the Palestinian territories was marked by a return to conflict in Gaza, which claimed over 2,200 lives, by increasing violence and tension on both sides, continued Israeli settlement building, and the introduction of a worrying religious aspect to the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
The fulcrum around which all this turned was the breakdown of renewed US-brokered attempts to move towards a final settlement of the conflict, which collapsed in April amid mutual recriminations after Israel reneged on an agreement to release a third batch of long-term Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
However, as Peter Beaumont acknowledged in a Guardianreport published on April 29th, the circumstances surrounding Israel’s reluctance to release the final prisoners were much more complicated, and can’t reasonably be framed as an Israeli failure to abide by its commitments.
This Saturday saw George Galloway MP and his wife Gayatri interview Israeli saxophonist Gilad Atzmon on their Russia Today TV show, ‘Sputnik’. The significance of Galloway hosting Atzmon, a man whose views regarding Israel, Zionism and Jewish identity are so extreme that he is shunnedbymost of theanti-Israelmovement in this country, should not be underestimated.
Last week, we posted about an article at The Independent reporting on a recent Delta flight from New York to Tel Aviv which was delayed after some ultra-Orthodox Jewish passengers refused to sit next to women. The story, by Jon Stone, included the following passages:
Of course, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, not (as the passage suggests) Tel Aviv.
(As we noted previously, other UK media outlets, including the Guardian and Times of London, have made that same mistake over the years.)
GUPS representative, Martin Linton, Dibyesh Anand, Sarah Apps, Murad Qureshi
The panel consisted of Sara Apps, Campaigns Officer for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Martin “tentacles” Linton, chair of Labour Friends of Palestine, Murad Qureshi, a Labour Party Member of the London Mayoral Assembly and, finally, a representative from the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS – UK).
The panel was chaired by Dr. Dibyesh Anand, Head of Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster.
As ever there were repeated calls from the panel for a boycott of Israeli “settlements”. When it came to the Q&A I raised my arm and asked one simple question:
“Isn’t it racist to call for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank especially when considering that 1.7 million Muslim and Christian Arabs reside fairly happily in Israel ?”
In studying and posting about UK media coverage of the summer war between Israel and Hamas, we concluded that the Independent arguably surpassed the Guardian in the level of malice and vitriol directed towards Israel and its ‘Zionist’ supporters in articles and op-eds.
Over a the course of a few days in mid-July, the Indy publishedan article by Adam Withnall seemingly characterizing a few dozen Sderot residents applauding attacks on Hamas targets as an act of almost unparalleled human cruelty; one op-ed by Robert Fisk which actually blamed the Western media for being too soft on Israeli “blood-letting”, and another op-ed by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown which accused Israel of engaging in a policy of ethnic cleansing.
But, perhaps the most egregious example of unrestrained anti-Zionist malice during that period was provided by Mira Bar-Hillel, in an op-ed on July 11th titled ‘Why I’m on the brink of burning my Israeli passport‘, which suggested that the views towards Palestinians by some Israeli leaders were arguably on par with the genocidal rhetoric espoused by the Nazis.
The Independent published astory on December 24th, by their Deputy People Editor Ella Alexander, about the ongoing Sony hacking scandal.
Here’s the headline, photo and strapline.
So far so good.
As Alexander reports, “Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Seacrest were among a select few to receive emails from Relativity Media CEO and The Social Network executive producer Ryan Kavanaugh about anti-Semitism in relation to the Gaza conflict”.
However, in attempting to explain the nature of those emails (a reply-all chain argument leaked by Sony hackers about Gaza, featuring Russell Simmons, Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Ryan Seacrest) from Kavanaugh, who is Jewish and a passionate Israel supporter, the Indy reporter gets a serious element of the story wrong.