Guardian publishes repulsive letter evoking Israel-Nazi analogy

Alvin Rosenfeld, in a recent essay at The Forward (Moral Emptiness of Holocaust Survivors Who Took on Israel, Aug. 28), argued that “stamping” Israel-Nazi analogies “with the moral authority that supposedly belongs to Holocaust survivors does not turn these lies into truth”.

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Guardian publishes letters legitimizing terrorism & evoking Israel-Nazi analogy

Before posting two of the letters that Guardian editors decided to publish, on July 30, first let’s look at the headline.

headline

Again, remember that these are not simply comments below the line, but letters to the editor that Guardian editors believed had merit, and provided “historical context” to help understand the conflict.

Moral justification of Palestinian terrorism / Genocide charge.

letter 1

A few observations: First, the letter is comparing Israel’s war against Hamas (and, presumably their conflict with the Palestinians more broadly) with genocides in the Balkans, Rwanda and Sudan.  However, what particularly stands out is the implicit justification of Palestinian terrorism. Of course, we should remember that the Guardian has, on several occasions, amplified and legitimized voices which justified, on moral grounds, the Palestinians’ right to murder Israelis.

  • In 2011, the Guardian published a letter by a British philosophy professor which explicitly defended the right of Palestinians to murder Israeli civilians in terror attacks – an editorial decision which was actually defended by their readers’ editor following the uproar which ensued.
  • Also in 2011, the Guardian editorialized about the ‘Arab Spring’, and actually praised the Palestinians for launching intifadas.
  • In 2012, during the war in Gaza, Associate Editor Seumas Milne wrote an op-ed  of Hamas terrorists to launch terror attacks against Israelis, and argued that Israel has no such moral right to defend itself.
  • On July 16, 2014, Seumas Milne again revisited the same topic in a column about the current war in Gaza, and reiterated his belief that Palestinians have the right to engage in deadly acts of terrorism, while Israelis have no such right to defend themselves against Hamas.
  • On July 25th, a Guardian journalist and British priest named Giles Fraser published a column which defended, on moral grounds, ‘just’ acts of Palestinian terrorism.

We should point out that there is absolutely no international law which legally codifies the right to commit terrorism.

Israel-Nazi analogy

There was one more letter worth examining, one which evoked Nazi Germany in contextualizing Israeli crimes.

second letter

We have deconstructed such comparisons in the past, but let’s suggest to Mr. McCulloch that the only relevant analogy to Nazi Germany in the current conflict is that the world is once again silent in the face of expressions of openly genocidal Jew-hatred by Islamist extremists such as Hamas.  And, if anyone out there believes our characterization of Hamas is over-the-top, here’s a speech delivered by Mahmoud al-Zahar, senior leader and co-founder of the group, on Al-Aqsa TV in 2010:

If you’d like a more recent example, here’s Hamas’s Friday Sermon which aired on Al Aqsa TV on July 25th.

Of course, as anyone who has taken the time to look at sites such as Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI would surely know, homicidal (and often genocidal) antisemitism is not the exception within Palestinian society.

Those in the Western media who legitimize narratives suggesting that Israelis are engaged in a project akin to genocide against Palestinians, thus justifying acts of violent resistance, are engaging in a profound historical inversion – blinded perhaps by a far-left ideology which can’t morally distinguish between antisemitic extremists and the Jews they’re trying to kill. 

 

Protesting Palestine, targeting Jews

Cross posted from The CST

CST wrote last week about the danger of anti-Israel protests in the UK involving or encouraging antisemitism, either by targeting British Jews or by featuring antisemitic language and imagery.

Since then, several more examples of antisemitic incidents and other activity in relation to anti-Israel protests have been reported to CST:

  • Demonstrators on a march through central London assaulted and verbally abused a Jewish woman who expressed her support for Israel as they walked past. Marchers surrounded her, called her a “Jew Zionist” and stole her phone. Later the same afternoon, demonstrators from the same march verbally abused another Jewish woman who was with her two young children, telling them to “Burn in hell.”
  • A pro-Israel demonstrator at a rally in central London was knocked unconscious by a group of assailants who were part of a counter-protest. While it is not believed that anything antisemitic was said, this level of violence from pro-Palestinian protestors is a worrying development.
  • A Rabbi walking in north London was verbally abused by a group of youths who shouted “Free Palestine”, “F*** the Zionists”, “F*** the Jews” and “Allah Akhbar.”
  • A brick was thrown at the window of a synagogue in Belfast.
  • “Baby murderers” was shouted at a synagogue in Liverpool.
  • A pro-Israel organisation in London received a telephoned bomb threat.
  • A visibly Jewish boy was cycling in north London when a woman wearing a black niqab threw a stone at him, hitting him on the head.

These are just a handful of over 70 antisemitic incidents reported to CST since the beginning of July. This is roughly double the number we would expect to be reported during this period under ‘normal’ circumstances. Approximately ten of these incidents have involved violence. Approximately 14 have involved the use of social media.

Roughly two-thirds of the incidents reported since 1 July have been related to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza, and the number of incidents reported to CST has escalated since the beginning of Israel’s operation in Gaza on 8 July.

Another disturbing factor is that the proportion of antisemitic incident perpetrators described to CST as being of south Asian appearance has been much higher during this period than is normally the case. Antisemitism in Muslim communities is something that others have written about before; the incidents reported to CST suggest that it is playing a significant role in the high level of antisemitic incidents currently being reported. In these circumstances, last week’s statement from the Muslim Council of Britain warning against such behaviour was most welcome.

There have also been several examples of antisemitic incitement on anti-Israel demonstrations and on social media since the conflict between Israel and Gaza began. Last week the hashtag #HitlerWasRight trended on Twitter worldwide. One protestor took this theme onto an anti-Israel demonstration in London:

1

It should be noted that the antisemitic incidents recorded by CST since 1 July do not include antisemitic placards or chants on demonstrations.

Other protestors have used Nazi imagery to abuse Israel:

1

Comparing Israel to Nazi Germany is antisemitic. It abuses the memory of Holocaust victims and offends contemporary Jews. It attacks Israel on the basis of its Jewishness. It should have no part in pro-Palestinian campaigning.

This flag commits the same offence, and compounds it by using a Star of David next to the phrase “Baby Killers”. The Star of David is a Jewish symbol. It is found on the Israeli flag, but it is also found on synagogues all over the UK. To use it in the manner it is displayed on this flag risks inciting hatred against British Jews.

????????

This incitement has also been seen on social media. This cartoon is from the Facebook page of UK Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Taji Mustafa. it evokes the antisemitic blood libel, in which Jews are accused of murdering non-Jewish children and consuming their blood in religious rituals. The Arabic on the knife reads “Arab silence”, but the person holding the knife bears a Star of David. The Stars and Stripes on the fork also suggests an antisemitic conspiracy theory regarding alleged Jewish control of America.

1

CST has also received several reports of antisemitism on Twitter. These two tweets are clear examples of incitement against Jews in the Stamford Hill area of north London:

 

It has been suggested by some people that hate and abuse on social media is not as serious as other forms of hate crime and should not be included in hate crime statistics. We do not agree. Firstly, if a victim considers a tweet to be offensive or threatening enough to report it to CST, we will respect their feelings and their reaction to what they have seen. Secondly, if somebody shouts an antisemitic comment at a Jewish person in the street, it may only be heard by one person; if that same comment is put on Twitter, it can be seen by an unlimited number of people and it has a permanent record.

This pattern of antisemitic incidents in relation to the current conflict in Israel and Gaza is replicated in several countries around the world, most notably in France where Jewish shops and synagogues in Sarcelles were attacked last night. The antisemitic incidents and incitement seen in Britain over the past two weeks suggest that this danger is getting more, not less, acute. There should be zero tolerance within pro-Palestinian groups, and wider society, for anybody who targets Jews in word or deed.

London protesters compare Gaza to Auschwitz outside Israeli Embassy

Cross posted by Richard Millett

Yes, that really does say Auschwitz, Iraq, Dachau, Palestine.

Yes, that really does say Auschwitz, Iraq, Dachau, Palestine.

Some mocked the Holocaust, others disfigured the Israeli flag, a few screamed “Allahu Akbar”, they all called for the destruction of the Jewish state.

That was the scene outside London’s Israeli Embassy yesterday afternoon as many thousands thronged to hear blood-curdling speeches calling for the end of Israel.

Kensington High Street was closed off to traffic leaving London buses stranded by the protesters who requisitioned them and covered them with anti-Israel slogans.

The protest against Israel’s latest attack on Hamas in Gaza was a toxic mix of Islamists, trade unions like Unison, charities like War On Want, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and, of course, the extreme religious Jewish sect Neturei Karta.

I knew I had outstayed my welcome when a protester grabbed me and shouted “A Zionist!”. I shook him off and made for the relative safety of the tube station.

Here’s a clip for you to savour some of yesterday’s toxicity and some photos:

Disfiguring Israel's flag. At least they didn't burn it.

Disfiguring Israel’s flag. At least they didn’t burn it.

"Cheap Jewish settlements" because Jews are tight money grabbers of course!

“Cheap Jewish settlements” because Jews are tight money grabbers of course!

War On Want's Executive Director John Hilary.

War On Want’s Executive Director John Hilary.

Agreed! Palestinians should be freed from their Hamas oppressors.

Agreed! Palestinians should be freed from their Hamas oppressors.

Is that because Israel builds bomb shelters but Hamas doesn't bother, possibly?

Is that because Israel builds bomb shelters but Hamas doesn’t bother, possibly?

Courageous guy climbs a traffic light.

Courageous guy climbs a traffic light.

They're the stars of the show at these hate events.

They’re the stars of the show at these hate events.

Will she be off to protest against Assad, Iran, ISIS and Boko Haram now?

Will she be off to protest against Assad, Iran, ISIS and Boko Haram now?

Police under pressure and looking under-numbered for once.

Police under pressure and looking under-numbered for once.

Libyan support despite things not looking too rosy in Libya either.

Libyan support despite things not looking too rosy in Libya either.

One of our buses gets occupied. Tell Boris!

One of our buses gets occupied. Tell Boris!

Remind me to invite him over for Friday night dinner soon.

Remind me to invite him over for Friday night dinner soon.

War On Want flags. WOW to be renamed War On Israel anyone?

War On Want flags. WOW to be renamed War On Israel anyone?

Not too sure what to say about this, so I think I'll leave it at that.

Not too sure what to say about this, so I think I’ll leave it at that.

Hmm, they mean Iran, Saudi, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq don't they? Oh wait...

Hmm, they mean Iran, Saudi, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq don’t they? Oh wait…

Can we have our bus back now please?

Can we have our bus back now please?

Errr, the problem is not Gaza, the problem is Hamas.

Errr, the problem is not Gaza, the problem is Hamas.

Ask them to ring back, you're at an anti-Israel protest!

Ask them to ring back, you’re at an anti-Israel protest!

War On Want No! Who can argue with that?

War On Want No! Who can argue with that?

Oh really. Now where does it say such a silly thing like that?

Oh really. Now where does it say such a silly thing like that?

"Cover up, sweety, it's getting a bit chilly". Aw.

“Cover up, sweety, it’s getting a bit chilly”. Aw.

(I dedicate this blog to the memory of my recently deceased mum whom I loved and miss and who, before she lost the ability to speak due to her terminal illness, always gave me one piece of treasured advice when she knew I was going to an anti-Israel event: “Be careful.”)

On Jews & Nazis: The hateful tweets of Irish “journalist” Frank McDonald

FrankThis blog’s previous experience with Irish Times journalist Frank McDonald involved our success at prompting a correction at the paper last August to a false allegation he made concerning BDS.

Despite the correction, however, the Aug. 3rd story on renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations was slanted against Israel to such a degree that it truly could have been written by the Palestinian Ministry of Propaganda.

And, based on a series of recent Tweets by the “environmental journalist”, not only isn’t he too fond of Israel, but he’s not above engaging in ugly smears regarding the Jewish state’s alleged similitude with Nazism which are indistinguishable from what’s leveled by antisemitic extremists.

Indeed, among the most malevolent lies spread by anti-Zionists is that Israelis today are behaving like Nazi Germany did during the Holocaust.

There’s been much written about this insidious moral inversion – a charge made with varying degrees of explicitness recently by two British MPs –  but there are two dynamics worth noting, leaving aside for the moment that such charges are deemed antisemitic by the EUMC Working Definition on Antisemitism.

First, there is the suggestion – again, with varying degrees of explicitness – that Israel is engaging in genocide in Gaza.  This charge, as we demonstrated in a previous post (‘Are Jews the Most Incompetent Ethnic Cleansers on the Planet?), is so counter-factual that only those who possess a crippling hatred towards the Jewish state could even conceive of it.  

During the Shoah, half of Europe’s Jews (including 1.5 million children) were systematically exterminated by the Nazis.  

In Gaza, a blockade on weapons is being enforced by Israel to prevent the flow of rockets and other weapons from getting into the hands of Hamas, a group which launched thousands of such deadly projectiles at Israeli town over the years and is dedicated to the state’s destruction. The population of Gaza has increased from 82,000 in 1949 to more than 1.7 million today. 

Second, there is the moral inversion, in which a vocal minority of putatively liberal commentators see no moral difference between an Islamist extremist group whose founding charter calls for the mass murder of Jews, and the Jews who represent object of their immutable racism. Indeed, some have even convinced themselves that it is the Islamist extremist group which is the victim of Jewish aggression.

This brings us to the following Tweets by Frank McDonald.

The comparison between The Warsaw Ghetto is almost beyond comprehension, but a few facts need to be noted: in 1941 many Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were limited to a diet of less than 200 calories a day, and in 1942 up to 5,000 Jews in the Ghetto were dying every month due to starvation. 

Not only is there no humanitarian crisis (yet alone starvation) in Gaza, but obesity has actually been a problem in the strip since at least the late 1990s.

However, in case you’re in any doubt as to whether McDonald believes that Israelis behave like Nazis, here’s one final Tweet – one of several which evoke the Holocaust that you can see on his Twitter feed over the past several days.

Of course, if post-Holocaust taboos against demonizing Jews were still the norm, the suggestion that Israeli Jews behave like Nazis would render the author of such a hateful invective politically toxic to the progressive journalistic community. 

But, we clearly don’t live in such a place.

Rather, the political realm we inhabit – a mere 69 years since the liberation of Auschwitz – allows for such odious charges in the name, often, of liberal, pro-Palestinian political commentary.

Leon Wieseltier, in The New Republic, made the following observation about those who demonize Israel and characterize its Jewish citizens as morally beyond the pale:

“A whole country and a whole people have been expelled from the realm of imaginative sympathy…there is a poison in the air.”

The  ideological toxins which inform the views of Frank McDonald will likely not be challenged by liberal left opinion leaders, and we can be all but certain that his editors at the Irish Times won’t blink an eye or even demand an explanation for his appalling racist smear of Israel’s six million Jews.

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Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi apologises for comparing Gaza to the Holocaust.

Cross posted by London based blogger Richard Millett

Well done, Tal Ofer! After I reported on Thursday that during Wednesday’s parliamentary debate on Gaza Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi had compared the situation of the Palestinians in Gaza to that of Jews living in Nazi Germany Labour Party activist Ofer immediately reported her remarks to Labour’s HQ and brought it to the attention of the media generally.

Qureshi had said:

“What has struck me in all this is that the state of Israel was founded because of what happened to the millions and millions of Jews who suffered genocide. Their properties, homes and land—everything—were taken away, and they were deprived of rights. Of course, many millions perished. It is quite strange that some of the people who are running the state of Israel seem to be quite complacent and happy to allow the same to happen in Gaza.”

You cannot get more offensive to the few remaining Holocaust survivors and to those who lost loved ones in Auschwitz, Belsen etc.

Gaza is no Belsen. And the suffering in Gaza is at the behest of Islamist-terror organisation Hamas which is happy to oppress its own people so that useful idiots in the West will blame Israel.

The response to Qureshi’s remarks from the Labour Party itself was an utter disgrace:

“These remarks were taken completely out of context. Yasmin Qureshi was not equating events in Gaza with the Holocaust. As an MP who has visited Auschwitz and has campaigned all her life against racism and anti-Semitism she would not do so.”

However, soon after, Qureshi must have had a pang of conscience and came out with this apology:

“The debate was about the plight of the Palestinian people and in no way did I mean to equate events in Gaza with the Holocaust. I apologise for any offence caused. I am also personally hurt if people thought I meant this. As someone who has visited the crematoria and gas chambers of Auschwitz I know the Holocaust was the most brutal act of genocide of the 20th Century and no-one should seek to underestimate its impact.”

So Qureshi is “personally hurt”? Poor her. Not as “personally hurt” as those who were in Auschwitz or Belsen etc or lost family there.

But let’s all feel sorry for Qureshi instead!

It is also pretty frustrating that Labour List’s Mark Ferguson thinks “Qureshi’s apology should draw a line under this, and rightly so. If there was no intention to cause offence or equate events in Gaza with the Holocaust I am happy to accept that.”

How can there have been “no intention”? Her words are 100% clear. There is no nuance!

And then what does Ferguson think of Gerald Kaufman MP’s words about Israelis?:

“Go to Tel Aviv, as I did not long ago, and watch them sitting complacently outside their pavement cafés. They do not give a damn about their fellow human beings perhaps half an hour away.”

The remainder of Qureshi’s speech was also disgraceful, especially the way she frames Jews solely by religion. She said, referring indirectly to Kaufman:

“I want to praise the people in Israel and the Jewish people in this country who campaign actively for the rights of Palestinians. Like my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Gorton, I am sure that they are criticised by other Jewish people perhaps for trying to betray the state of Israel”.

But the likes of Kaufman are criticised not just by “Jewish people” but people of all religions and none. It is this division of Jews into “good Jew/bad Jew” that is almost tantamount to inciting racial hatred.

Meanwhile, these Holocaust comparisons are slowly, slowly becoming the norm.

American Professor Joel Beinin told a student audience at SOAS recently that Israel is putting the Bedouin into “concentration camps” and at a recent War On Want talk at SOAS students were told that the Palestinians are living in “apartheid ghettos”.

Thanks to the rhetoric of Beinin, Qureshi, War On Want and others Israeli Jews (and, by extension, any Jew that supports Israel) are slowly becoming thought of as Nazis.

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Guardian readers commemorate the Holocaust in their own special way

h/t to the ‘global network’ of CiF Watchers

A commendable essay by Hila Shachar was published at ‘Comment is Free’ yesterday (Jan. 27) titled ‘The Holocaust is not your metaphor to use in modern political debates – one in a series of appropriate articles which appeared in the Guardian on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorated annually on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Here’s an excerpt from the essay:

In thinking about what it actually means to honour the victims, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the best ways to do this is to continue reminding ourselves that those victims were individual human beings. This should seem obvious, right? And yet, the victims of the Holocaust continue to be appropriated as political metaphors and dehumanised in the process.

Specific examples can be both well-meaning or purposefully disrespectful. Take the animal rights group PETA, which is known for its insensitive shock tactics when it comes to its marketing. In 2004, the group created the Holocaust on your plate campaign, using images of emaciated victims of Nazi concentration camps and comparing meat-eaters and those working in the meat-production industry to Nazis. I hope I don’t need to explain why this is wrong. But as I’ve been watching Facebook and Twitter conversations about the Tony Abbott government’s treatment of refugees degenerate into comparisons with the Nazis, I have to wonder if perhaps I do.

Recently, I came across this Facebook post that uses an image of a child who was killed in Auschwitz next to an image of a baby who was born in Christmas Island detention centre. It’s highly emotive and also, in my view, highly unethical. Using images of those who were killed by the Nazis to make a point about the Australian government’s policies is demeaning to those who died. It is essentially saying that their deaths are not to be remembered for their own sake, but rather because they are useful tools as points of reference and comparison in contemporary political debate. It turns Holocaust victims and survivors into concepts, decontexualised imagery and generalisations, and erases their individuality as human beings – even when the intentions behind it are sincere and well-meaning.

As part of our mission, we often monitor reader comments below the line of ‘CiF’ essays to see if moderators promptly remove antisemitic commentary (consistent with their own stated ‘community standards) and, more generally, to get a barometer of the hate often elicited by any Guardian or ‘CiF’ entry which focuses on Jews or Israel.  Here are just a few samples of the less than enlightened reader responses to Shachar’s essay:

Israel-Nazi comparison: 36 ‘Recommends’ and NOT deleted by ‘CiF’ moderators:

oneIsrael-Nazi analogy:

oneIsrael-Nazi analogy:

one

Jewish conspiracy/general antisemitism

oneDavid Ward, MP?

oneInevitable “Zionist Lobby” comment:

one

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Proof of official Palestinian incitement and antisemitism the Guardian won’t report

Israeli security officials recently presented the annualPalestinian Incitement Indexwhich 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.)

More hate courtesy of Ali Abunimah: Tweets about Israel ‘harvesting children’

Ali Abunimah is the co-founder of Electronic Intifada - and occasional ‘Comment is Free’ contributor – who opposes the existence of a Jewish state within any borders.  

He had this to say on Twitter yesterday about the reported death of a child in Gaza after three separate terrorist incidents on the Israel-Gaza border, which included the murder – by a Palestinian sniper - of an Israeli Bedouin named Saleh Abu Latif:

The term “harvest” in the context of a dead Palestinian child was clearly not used randomly, and quite possibly is an allusion to the antisemitic libel that the IDF kills Palestinians to provide the Israeli medical establishment with organs.

Previously, Abunimah – the American-born, Ivy league educated radical whose blog has published extremists such as Ben WhiteSonja Karker and Steven Salaita – has suggested that Zionism represents a unique and immutable evil.

Abunimah – from the safety of his Chicago home – has also Tweeted his support for another violent Palestinian Intifada.

Interestingly, his blog is still included in the Guardian’s ‘useful links’ section of their Israel page. (Open link and scroll down.)

For more background on Abunimah, click here.

Email shows The Independent got it wrong on Antisemitism working definition

Recently we posted about a peculiar essay about the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism at The Independent, written by a journalist who’s admitted to being prejudiced against Jews.  Though you can read our post to see several of her erroneous claims about antisemitism, and Israel more broadly, we recently were provided evidence which refutes one specific claim made in the article – that the EU retired the Working Definition.

indy headline

First, here’s the EUMC Working Definition:

Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:

  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Despite Bar-Hillel’s enthusiastic suggestion that the Working Definition was retired, which she claimed (per the Livingstone Formulation), served to allow Jews to stifle the free speech of Israel’s critics, we pointed to the following facts:

  • In 2010, the UK All-Party Inquiry into antisemitism recommended that the Working Definition should be adopted and promoted by the Government and law enforcement agencies.
  • An official document published by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) recommends the Working Definition as a valuable hate crime data collection tool for law enforcement agencies, and for educators.

Recently, a CiF Watch reader forwarded us her email exchange with a representative from the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) – the successor agency to the EUMC (European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia). 

email 1

Now, here’s the FRA reply:

email 2

The next time a commentator hostile to Jews or Israel claims that the EU “retired” or “repudiated” the EUMC Working Definition, you can definitively respond that their Fundamental Rights Agency – per their own words – did nothing of the sort.  

As we’ve noted on numerous occasions, the Working Definition is not law.  

However, it does represent a widely respected and practical guide (formulated by NGOs and reps from the Tolerance and Non-Discrimination section of the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in 2005) used by law enforcement agencies and human rights bodies in the EU to help determine what constitutes anti-Jewish racism. 

Those committed to defending the fundamental human rights of Jews would be wise to follow their lead. 

Guess who endorsed Max Blumenthal’s ‘I hate Israel handbook’?

‘Goliath’, the new anti-Zionist book written by Max Blumenthal – a Mondoweiss blogger who wants the Jewish state to disappear – is replete with odious chapter headings such as “The Concentration Camp” and “How to Kill Goyim and Influence People”, and was recently attacked by (among other writers) leftist commentator, and frequent Israel critic, Eric Alterman. (Both Blumenthal and Alterman contribute to The Nation, which published ‘Goliath’.)

Alterman condemned the book in a review for The Nation titled ‘The I hate Israel handbook’ for “analogizing of the behavior of Israeli Jews to that of the war criminals who led Nazi Germany”, and wrote the following:

It is no exaggeration to say that this book could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed) without a single word change once it’s translated into Arabic. (Though to be fair, Blumenthal should probably add some anti-female, anti-gay arguments for that.) Goliath is a propaganda tract, not an argument as it does not even consider alternative explanations for the anti-Israel conclusions it reaches on every page. Its implicit equation of Israel with Nazis is also particularly distasteful to any fair-minded individual. 

Not surprisingly, Antony Loewenstein, an Australian ‘Comment is Free’ contributor who similarly opposes the Jewish state’s existence, has promoted Blumenthal’s book on his personal blog, and recently wrote the following in a ‘CiF’ piece titled ‘To support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is not antisemitic‘, Nov. 7:

Also absent from the debate is the reason BDS exists. It is growing due to a complete lack of faith in US-led peace talks. American journalist Max Blumenthal recently published a book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, which shows in forensic detail the reality of the Israeli mainstream’s embrace blatant racism against Arabs and Africans.

But, that’s not all.

If you go to Amazon.com and use the digital ‘Look Inside‘ feature, you can see the endorsements on the back of the actual print edition – which includes one by the Guardian’s former Middle East correspondent David Hirst, and another by a “journalist” we’ve commented about quite often:

gg

It’s of course not surprising that the former Guardian columnist – whose history of engaging in antisemitic tropes is well-documented – endorsed a book by such a hateful anti-Zionist.  However, in light of Greenwald’s star status within a segment of the progressive media, it’s important to continue documenting his propensity to sympathize with commentators who characterize Jews and the Jewish state in a manner indistinguishable from the rhetoric of decidedly illiberal extremists.   

‘Comment is Free’ contributor Antony Lerman plays ‘Israel-Nazi’ card

Antony Lerman is a ‘Comment is Free’ contributor. 

lerman

Lerman lectured on ‘The Revival of Jewish Culture in Europe’ at Cambridge University on Feb. 28.  I know this because I saw his Tweet to this effect.

Though Lerman is not a frequent Tweeter he found time today to retweet this lovely 140 character ‘meditation’ by David Sheen.

lerman

Sheen is referring to Israel’s interior minister, Eli Yishai, and is presumably responding to news that Yishai recently confirmed that more than 2,000 migrants in Israel have recently been repatriated back to Sudan.

I had never heard of David Sheen, but this Zionism – Nazism analogy was not a one-off, as you can see by looking at his Tweets for the day.

In fact, he was kind enough to post the following graphic on his Twitter page to help illustrate the ‘comparison’ between Yishai and Adolf Hitler.

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Sheen, a filmmaker, is quite prolific in the social media world, as you can see by the bio on his website.

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Here’s a photo of the “documentarian”:

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While one of his videos was briefly noted in a Guardian live blog on the Nov. war in Gaza, Sheen hasn’t formally contributed to the Guardian or ‘Comment is Free.  However, he has contributed to Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada, and has worked as a reporter and content editor at Haaretz.com.

Lerman, a far-left British Jew who has used his position at ‘Comment is Free’ to justify antisemitism, penned his most recent essay at CiF, titled The abuse of dissenting Jews is shameful.  In the post, he complained of being ostracized, and smeared by the UK Jewish establishment due ‘merely’ to the fact that he’s an opponent of the Jewish state’s continued existence.  He ended with the following flourish:

That dissenting Jews are still demonised is shameful and undermines Jewish pluralism. But it’s manageable. Because the Jewish diaspora’s support matters so much to Israel’s leaders, the quest for serious, open and civil debate among Jews about what is really best for Israel must continue.

Evidently, Lerman’s expansive understanding of what constitutes “civil debate” about Israel includes not only calling for the state’s dissolution, but likening an Israeli government official to a Nazi.

The SS-headache of Carlos Latuff

Cross-posted by Petra Marquardt-Bigman, who blogs at The Warped Mirror‘.

Among “pro-Palestinian” activists, the cartoonist Carlos Latuff is a widely admired artist. Like most of his fans, Latuff expresses his support for the Palestinian cause with an intense hatred for Israel, which is reflected in his large output of images comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. Unsurprisingly, Latuff’s achievements also include a winning entry for the 2006 Iranian “International Holocaust Cartoon Contest.”

The fact that comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany are generally regarded as antisemitic doesn’t seem to bother Latuff and his fans – quite the contrary: for them, it’s apparently just another reason for ridicule and amusement.

This flippant reaction was well illustrated when Latuff responded to his inclusion in a list of this past year’s “Top Ten Anti-Israel/Anti-Semitic Slurscompiled by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Tweeting his “Thanks to Rabbi Marvin Hier and @simonwiesenthal for the award for my toons on #Gaza slaughter,” Latuff attached a cartoon depicting himself being “awarded” a third-place medal by Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Wiesenthal Center.

latuff-wiesenthal-ss1As you can see in the screenshot of Latuff’s cartoon above, there is an unmistakable SS-symbol next to Rabbi Hier’s head. When I noted this in a tweet, Latuff quickly responded, claiming that I was wrong and that the “bolts are cartoon representation of headache.” To support his claim, he linked to the following picture:

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For comparison, here is the SS-symbol:

adlSince Latuff immediately blocked me, he didn’t have to face up and respond to the evidence showing just how flimsy his “headache”-explanation looked.

After all, for somebody like Latuff who works with images, it is hardly credible to claim that he was unaware of the obvious SS-reference in this cartoon. How about this very similar “headache” in an undeniably antisemitic cartoon from 2006?

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Screenshot showing part of a Russian cartoon from a report by Tom Gross on anti-Israeli and antisemitic cartoons published in the international media in the summer of 2006

It is also noteworthy that Latuff didn’t link to any of his own images to illustrate his claim that an SS-symbol look-alike was a common cartoon representation of a headache. But his claim is most severely undermined by the fact – illustrated here – that he has made it something of a specialty to work Nazi-symbolism into his cartoons relating to Israel. He now has only himself to blame if it seems that this has become second nature to him.

The Guardian and the “Zionist SS”

The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland wrote a superb essay for ‘Comment is Free’ on Oct. 19 titled “We condemn Israel. So, why the silence on Syria?“.

Here’s an excerpt:

 “Nearly four years ago Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, designed to halt Hamas rocket fire from Gaza. It resulted in some 1,400 Palestinian deaths. For nearly a month that story was never off the front page, and it often led the TV news, here and around the world. There were large and loud public demonstrations. The DEC set up a fund and sought to air a televised appeal, famously refused by the BBC.

There is no such clamour now. The Stop the War Coalition is not summoning thousands to central London to demand an end to the fighting, as it did then. On the contrary, its statements are content simply to oppose western intervention – of which there is next to no prospect – while politely refusing to condemn Assad’s war on his own people. Caryl Churchill has not written a new play, Seven Syrian Children, exploring the curious mindset of the Alawite people that makes them capable of such horrors, the way she rushed to the stage to probe the Jewish psyche in 2009. The slaughter in Syria has similarly failed to move the poet Tom Paulin to pick up his pen. Apparently, these Syrian deaths are not worthy of artistic note.”

Freedland’s argument is unassailable, and represents a welcome dose of polemical sanity at a media group mired in a culture of obsessive anti-Zionism. 

However, also of note was Freedland’s critical reference to the Irish “poet” Tom Paulin. 

Freedland links to a vile poem written by Paulin in response to the Al-Durah incident, on Sept. 30, 2000, titled “Killed in Crossfire.” (See a good summary of the Al-Durah hoax here.)

First, for some background, here’s a brief collection of quotes by Paulin, courtesy of CAMERA:

On the validity and existence of the Jewish state:

“An historical obscenity.”

“I never believed that Israel had the right to exist at all.”

“It is an artificial state.”

On Palestinian violence:

“The Palestinians need good anti-tank weapons. They have got to meet force with force. They have to be cunning and forceful.”

On suicide bombers:

“I can understand how suicide bombers feel. It is an expression of deep injustice and tragedy. I think — though — that it is better to resort to conventional guerrilla warfare. I think attacks on civilians in fact boost morale. Hitler bombed London into submission but in fact it created a sense of national solidarity.”

On killing Jews:

“[Brooklyn-born Jewish settlers] should be shot dead. I think they are Nazis, racists, I feel nothing but hatred for them.”

The particular poetical smear by Paulin which Freedland linked to in his recent essay explicitly compared Zionism with Nazism.

However, even more noteworthy was the site where the poem appeared in 2001.

If you follow Freedland’s link it takes you to the following British newspaper.

Interestingly, these days, reader comments below the line at ‘Comment is Free’ which accuse Zionists of being Nazis will typically be deleted by CiF moderators, as such insidious antisemitic defamations are deemed inconsistent with the Guardian’s “community standards”.

Evidently, in years prior, such ‘observations’ were not only judged to be morally acceptable by Guardian editors, but worthy of cultural merit.

This is not an attack on Abdel Bari Atwan

This essay was written by Arnold and Frimet Roth and originally published at their blog, ‘This Ongoing War

Nearly two years ago, here on this blog, we posted an article we called 4-Dec-10: Should this man be accorded the respect due to an objective, professional journalist?” It opened with these words:

“As newspaper editors go, Abdel Bari Atwan gets more than the average amount of prominence. Given the nature of his political views, he gets a surprisingly respectable degree of respect from such mainstream media channels as NPR, Sky News, CNN and the BBC (who call him Abdel-Bari Atwan) which have hosted him frequently and which, for reasons which can only leave us wondering, present him as an objective observer on events in this part of the world…”

We then quoted a small handful of offensive, racist and/or hate-based statements attributed to Atwan over a period of some years. (There are plenty to choose from.) We ended this way:

“Atwan said the March 2008 point-blank, cold-blooded shooting-massacre by a Palestinian Arab gunman of eight unarmed high school students, most of them aged 15 or 16, at Jerusalem’s Mercaz HaRav yeshiva “was justified“… Atwan says the celebrations in Gaza that followed the massacre symbolized “the courage of the Palestinian nation.” [Source: The Jerusalem Post] Depending on where you stand, justifying a terrorist massacre is not the worst of crimes. On the other hand, given what is at stake when it comes to defeating the practitioners of terror and their supporters, is Abdel Bari Atwan the kind of person who should be given public platforms in highly prominent settings? Or is Abdel Bari Atwan simply the innocent victim of some atrocious misquoting?”

To be blunt, any intelligent observer reviewing the work product of this toxic man realizes it’s not about misquoting. On his Wikipedia page, there’s this revealing anecdote:

“Following an October 2003 article in which Atwan claimed that the U.S. is to blame for the Arab world’s hatred of it, a Yemenite journalist and columnist for the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Munir Al-Mawari, stated: “The Abd Al Bari Atwan [appearing] on CNN is completely different from the Abdel Bari Atwan on the Al Jazeera network or in his Al Quds Al Arabi daily. On CNN, Atwan speaks solemnly and with total composure, presenting rational and balanced views. This is in complete contrast with his fuming appearances on Al Jazeera and in Al Quds Al Arabi, in which he whips up the emotions of multitudes of viewers and readers.” [Wikipedia's source]

Now, today, there’s a report [Times of Israel] that Atwan’s London-based daily paper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, one of the world’s leading Arab-language dailies and a news channel that focuses on Palestinian issues (the name literally means ‘Arab Jerusalem’), has run an editorial entitled “The only thing left is to send them to the gas ovens.”

The piece is unsigned, but the Twitter handle of editor-in-chief Atwan (@abdelbariatwan) appears at the bottom. He dominates the paper as its editor since 1989. Here’s a taste:

The Israeli army, through its inhumane treatment of over two million Palestinians besieged by land, sea and air, reminds us of similar treatment by the Nazi army of Jewish inmates in the Nazi camps. The only difference is that the Israeli army hasn’t sent the Palestinians to the gas ovens, at least not yet’

Holding out Israel’s defence forces as equivalent to the Nazis, and their intentions as genocidal, is not his invention. Other foaming-at-the-mouth polemicists and unadorned antisemites do it a lot and have done for years. And as our title suggests, we’re not attacking Atwan here. The man is what he is.

What we are taking this opportunity to criticize, this time with the disgusting Nazi analogy of today’s Atwan editorial in mind, is the way in which this unpleasant individual with his noxious views continues to be given public platforms in respectable places.

We think this can only be because the people in those places (a) don’t know what he writes in Arabic, (b) don’t care or (c) share Atwan’s self-opinion (on his website) that this is actually a function of his “lively and passionate debating style“.

Examples of the respectable places that give Abdel Bari Atwan a platform? His website lists some of them here: BBC News (as recently as two weeks ago); Al Jazeerah; BBC Dateline; BBC News Review; RT (“Russia Today”); Chatham House London. His website describes him as “a regular contributor to a number of UK, US, Middle Eastern and Turkish publications including ‘The Guardian’, ‘The Scottish Herald’, ‘Gulf News’ and ‘Star Gazet’“. 

These are the people who need to be criticized. We don’t say Atwan should be shut up or shut out. Many of us live in free societies, and obnoxious views like his are part of the price. What we do say is that presenting him as a sober and objective stakeholder in the robust public marketplace of ideas is irresponsible, dishonest and disingenuous.

His viewpoints on terrorism alone should have taken out of the mainstream broadcast media years ago. The fact that he keeps on popping up suggests a serious degree of systemic prejudice at work inside Bush House and other such places of huge global influence.