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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Imagine: A Guardian letter by ‘liberal’ Palestinians condemning Hamas calls for genocide

No, Palestinians did NOT have a letter published at the Guardian condemning Hamas for its antisemitic, pro-genocide ideology.

However, the Guardian, in an especially egregious abuse of Holocaust memory, did publish a letter (originally posted by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network titled ‘Over 300 Survivors and Descendants of Survivors of Victims of the Nazi Genocide Condemn Israel’s Assault on Gazacondemning alleged Israeli pro-genocidal policies.

We’re not sure which is more unlikely: that ‘liberal’ Palestinians would ever conceive of writing a similarly self-critical letter, or that the Guardian would ever publish it. But, here’s what such a letter – let’s say written by Palestinian Nakba survivors – condemning Hamas’s real plan of genocide against the Jews would possibly look like:

As Palestinian survivors and descendants of survivors of the Nakba, we unequivocally condemn Hamas’s genocidal ideology and statements by their top political and religious leaders attesting to their ongoing plan to exterminate the Jews.

We further condemn Western states more generally for failing to use their diplomatic muscle and moral authority to forcefully denounce this extreme form of anti-Jewish racism at every opportunity.  

Genocide begins with the silence of the world.

We are similarly alarmed by the extreme, racist dehumanization of Jews within Palestinian society, which has reached fever-pitch.

We are saddened by polls indicating that 93% of Palestinians hold antisemitic views, that Politicians and pundits in the state-controlled Palestinian media (in Gaza and the West Bank) have openly called for genocide, and that innocent Palestinian children are indoctrinated on the necessity of murdering Jews. 

Furthermore, we are outraged by the media’s failure to adequately inform readers, in the ubiquitous articles and commentaries published about the current war, that Hamas has no discernible political objectives, save of course the extermination of Jews from the Middle East.

Though we continue to mourn the loss of our homes at the hands of Israeli forces in the war of 1948, and hope for a just solution to the refugee problem, nothing can justify firing rockets at Israeli civilian communities, targeting Jewish children in mass terror attacks and nurturing Palestinian men, women and children on the virtues of Jihad.

We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to condemn the scourge of Palestinian antisemitism and say ‘Not in our name’!  

Hamas does not speak for us and does not represent our values.

“Never again” must mean “Never again”.

Signed,

Survivors of the Palestinian Nakba and their descendants

 

Robert Fisk plagued by hypocrisy in ugly smear of B’nai Brith Canada

On July 2nd we posted about a shameful smear, by the Independent’s “award-winning” Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, of Canada’s leading Jewish human rights organization, B’nai Brith.

B’nai Brith’s crime, per Fisk, is that they used the “disease” metaphor when characterizing antisemitism – in the context of commenting on an ADL commissioned poll which found that 4 million Canadians are antisemitic.

Fisk:

Not long ago, I was handed the most outrageous, vile, dishonest and slanderous calumny uttered against the people of Canada. It was contained in a full-page advertisement in the National Post (founder, Conrad Black), a newspaper handed out – free, I’m happy to say – on my Air France flight out of Toronto. Here is the headline: “Almost 4 million Canadians are afflicted by this disease.”

the “disease” afflicting “almost 4 million Canadians” is “anti-Semitism” and this disgusting advertisement – published without comment by one of Canada’s leading right-wing newspapers – was produced by B’nai Brith Canada and the “Jewish Christian Alliance”.

But what, we have to ask, possesses Israel’s “friends” to publish this pernicious material about 4 million “diseased” Canadians? Does B’nai Brith Canada not realise that these very same despicable lies were used by the Nazis in their hate propaganda against the Jews of Europe? In Hitler’s Germany, Jews were described as microbes. Jews, according to Julius Streicher, were “the carriers of disease and vermin among men”. In August 1941, Goebbels called Jews “the carriers of infectious diseases” and two weeks later referred to Jews as “parasites”. By November, he was calling them “lice”. But now, 4 million Canadians carry “disease”. Undiagnosed “infections” will be passed on to children and grandchildren. The “community” is in danger of being “contaminated”. 

We noted that Fisk’s facile logic suggested that since both groups (B’nai Brith and the Nazis) used the disease metaphor in some manner – albeit one to characterize Jews and another to characterize those who hate Jews – both are nonetheless guilty of using Nazi-style propaganda. 

Following our post, the Indy published a letter by Yiftah Curiel, Spokesperson for the Israel Embassy in London, which also demonstrates Fisk’s egregious hypocrisy in leveling such a charge:

Robert Fisk (30 June) is disgusted at the use by B’nei Brith Canada of terms such as “disease”, “contamination”, and “infection”, to describe the worrying phenomenon of anti-Semitism. He bemoans the fact that these terms were used by the Nazis against Jews.

Interestingly, Fisk has used the same terminology himself, referring to his wish “not to be contaminated by the war crimes of Israel’s pilots” (Voices, 20 November 2012), and when referring to Israel’s “cancerous threat of war” against Iran (24 November 2013).

The logic is as follows:  a Jewish organisation is wrong to use terms used by the Nazis, while he, Fisk, is at liberty to use these very “Nazi” terms when discussing Israel.

Yiftah Curiel

Spokesperson, Embassy of Israel, London W8

Robert Fisk accuses B’nai Brith Canada of peddling lies “used by the Nazis”.

The latest column by Robert Fisk – the Independent’s “award-winning” Middle East correspondent – contains the usual distortionshalf-truths and fabrications, as well as an especially appalling smear of Canadian Jewry’s largest human rights organization, B’nai Brith.

The inspiration for his latest polemical tirade – oddly titled ‘How on earth can Israel tolerate this filth from B’nai Brith Canada?‘ – was an advert in the National Post.

Fisk begins:

Not long ago, I was handed the most outrageous, vile, dishonest and slanderous calumny uttered against the people of Canada. It was contained in a full-page advertisement in the National Post (founder, Conrad Black), a newspaper handed out – free, I’m happy to say – on my Air France flight out of Toronto. Here is the headline: “Almost 4 million Canadians are afflicted by this disease.”

Beneath this title is a half-page, very blurred and uncaptioned colour photo of a large crowd – they could be football supporters, rush-hour commuters in Vancouver, you name it; they are mostly white males but include women and with at least one dark-skinned man close to the camera. Beneath the picture, this incredible ad continues: “Left unchecked, it [the disease] can result in violence tendencies. Many times, those infected haven’t been diagnosed and may pass it on to their children, grandchildren, colleagues or friends. Please help stop the spread of this disease before it contaminates your community.”

the “disease” afflicting “almost 4 million Canadians” is “anti-Semitism” and this disgusting advertisement – published without comment by one of Canada’s leading right-wing newspapers – was produced by B’nai Brith Canada and the “Jewish Christian Alliance”.

Fisk fails to note that the advert’s claim is based on a well-publicized poll commissioned by Anti-Defamation League which, in gauging antisemitic attitudes around the word, determined that 14% of Canadians hold antisemitic views.

He then begins his tirade against the ‘false’ accusation of antisemitism:

In other words, this pro-Israeli Jewish group – whose exaggerations and hateful propaganda have been rightly condemned by Jewish Canadians – claims that four million of their fellow-countrymen and women are sick, racist neo-Nazis

Of course, B’nai Brith does not claim that 4 million Canadians are “neo-Nazi” style racists.  In fact, the group’s press release on the ADL poll contextualized levels of antisemitism in Canadian society quite soberly in arguing that “these results clearly show that Canadians are being exposed to mediums containing antisemitic messaging, since almost a third of respondents have little to no contact with the Canadian Jewish community directly”.  Another B’nai Brith press release on the ADL poll correctly noted that the levels of antisemitism in Canada are “relatively low” compared to other parts of the world. 

Fisk continues:

Now let’s forget that B’nai Brith regards any criticism of the state of Israel – however justified, however mild, made by Jews and non-Jews alike – as anti-Semitic.

Again, this is a lie, one typically peddled by those who downplay antisemitism.  B’nai Brith has often used language which clearly distinguishes between legitimate criticism of Israel and that criticism which evokes anti-​Semitic canards.  In fact, on the site of B’nai Brith Canada there’s a fact sheet by the group’s senior legal counsel David Matas which makes their position quite clear:

 It is legitimate to criticize discriminatory practices wherever they are found, whether in Israel or elsewhere.

However, to criticize alleged discrimination only in Israel and in no other country of the world becomes a political act of selective criticism, itself a form of discrimination against Israel.

Fisk is fighting a straw man. As, there is no major Jewish organization we are aware of which has ever claimed – explicitly or implicitly – that “any criticism of Israel” is antisemitic.

Fisk’s rant continues:

 Let’s forget previous protests by Jewish Americans against the organisation’s grotesque exaggerations. Let’s even ignore its equation of Palestinians with Nazis…

However, the ad in question did not equate “Palestinians with Nazis”, only the antisemitic goals of Radical Islamic groups (such as Hezbollah) with that of the Nazis.

Further in the article, after criticizing Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s condemnation of antisemitism, Fisk throws in a Nazi comparison of his own:

But what, we have to ask, possesses Israel’s “friends” to publish this pernicious material about 4 million “diseased” Canadians? Does B’nai Brith Canada not realise that these very same despicable lies were used by the Nazis in their hate propaganda against the Jews of Europe? In Hitler’s Germany, Jews were described as microbes. Jews, according to Julius Streicher, were “the carriers of disease and vermin among men”. In August 1941, Goebbels called Jews “the carriers of infectious diseases” and two weeks later referred to Jews as “parasites”. By November, he was calling them “lice”. But now, 4 million Canadians carry “disease”. Undiagnosed “infections” will be passed on to children and grandchildren. The “community” is in danger of being “contaminated”. If this stuff was not so revolting, it could be laughed off.

In addition to the shameful smear, his logic is stunning – and goes something like this: 

  1. Nazi propagandists used the “disease” metaphor to characterize the threat posed by world Jewry.
  2. B’nai Brith Canada used the word “disease” to characterize the threat posed by anti-Jewish racism.
  3. Ergo, since both groups used the disease metaphor – albeit one to characterize Jews and another to characterize those who hate Jews – both are nonetheless guilty of using Nazi-style propaganda.

It really is stunning that the Independent – a newspaper which prides itself on being guided by “enlightenment values” – can ‘tolerate such filth’

Fisk is certainly correct about one thing: ‘If this stuff was not so revolting, it could be laughed off’!

 

Guardian film critic downplays Hitler comments of director Lars von Trier

Here are a few passages from a Feb. 20 review by the Guardian’s  of a new film by Danish director Lars von Trier called ‘Nymphomaniac':

For the very first time, I think Von Trier has given us a film without any of the tiresome hoax provocation that has always been a part of even his most admired works. heartfelt and even passionate, especially in one image of Joe, utterly alone in a stark landscape, reaching towards a gnarled tree trunk: the part her father had once told her was the “soul” of a tree. That is not to say that the director has gone without any of his old tricksiness. He playfully alludes to his earlier films Breaking the Waves and Antichrist, and is still clearly very prickly about the “Nazi” controversy of two years ago, when he was thrown out of the Cannes film festival for making a Hitler joke at a press conference.

Bradshaw is referring to a press conference in 2011 at the Cannes Film Festival, for the film Melancholia, where Von Trier was asked to expound on a recent interview in which he expressed interest in his German roots.

Here’s a video clip of the press conference with Von Trier and the film’s star Kirsten Dunst. 

Though Von Trier apologized after the row, he later retracted his apology during an interview with GQ.  

Moreover, as you can see in the clip, the director may have attempted a bit of humor towards the end to break the tension, but seemed quite serious when stating that he sympathized with Hitler “a little bit”.  And, the French Police evidently didn’t think it was merely a joke when they investigated Von Trier for a possible violation of French laws against the justification of war crimes.

Finally, this episode may evoke memories for some CiF Watch fans of a previous episode in which a Guardian culture critic downplayed remarks by an artist which were sympathetic to Adolf Hitler.

 

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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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What about the Grand Mufti’s desire to ‘liquidate the Jews’ doesn’t Robert Fisk understand?

Fisking “Middle East expert” Robert Fisk can be especially challenging, as he often pivots seamlessly between mere distortions and outright fabrications within the same essay.  His latest op-ed at The Independent, The real poison is to be found in Arafat’s legacy, Nov. 18, represents a great example of his talent for such multi-faceted misrepresentations.

fisk

Though he dismisses recent accusations that Arafat was poisoned, Fisk, in attempting to explain the legacy of the late Palestinian leader, whitewashes his decades-long involvement in lethal terrorist attacks against Israelis, and risibly claims that his biggest character flaw was that he was in fact ‘too trusting’ of Israeli leaders.

Fisk writes:

He made so many concessions to Israel – because he was growing old and wanted to go to “Palestine” before he died – that his political descendants are still paying for them. Arafat had never seen a Jewish colony on occupied land when he accepted the Oslo agreement. He trusted the Americans. He trusted the Israelis. He trusted anyone who appeared to say the right things. And it must have been exhausting to start his career as a super-“terrorist” in Beirut and then be greeted on the White House lawn as a super- “statesman” and then re-created by Israel as a super-“terrorist” again.

However, the most egregious lie by omission appears later in the essay when he addresses comments Arafat reportedly made about the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, per a conversation he had with Edward Said:

Edward Said told me that Arafat said to him in 1985 that “if there’s one thing I don’t want to be, it’s to be like Haj Amin. He was always right, and he got nothing and died in exile.”

Hunted by the British, Haj Amin, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, went to Berlin during the Second World War in the hope that Hitler would help the Palestinians.

His claim that the pro-Nazi Haj Amin was merely attempting to “help the Palestinians” represents an extraordinary obfuscation.  

As a CAMERA report (based on documentation in a book by Jennie Lebel titled ‘The Mufti of Jerusalem: Haj-Amin el-Husseini and National-Socialism‘) makes clear, Haj Amin’s desire to ‘help the Palestinians’ was superseded by a greater passion – to annihilate the Jews.

Haj Amin El-Husseini, who was appointed Mufti of Jerusalem in 1921 aided by sympathetic British officials, advocated violent opposition to Jewish settlement in the Mandate for Palestine and incited the Arabs against the growing Jewish presence. Lebel describes the violence of 1929, where Haj Amin spread the story that the Jews planned to destroy the Dome of the Rock and the Aqsa mosque. Using falsified photos of the mosque on fire and disseminating propaganda that borrowed from the anti-Jewish forgery, the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the mufti instigated a widespread pogrom against Jews in Palestine. On Aug. 23, Arabs streamed into Jerusalem and attacked Jews. Six days later, a second wave of attacks resulted in 64 dead in Hebron

Hebron_massacre_newspaper

The Mufti injected a religiously based anti-Jewish component into the emerging Palestinian national consciousness….Presaging modern boycott proposals against Jewish settlement, Haj Amin called on all Muslims to boycott Jewish goods and organized an Arab strike on April 10, 1936.

He saw in the Nazis and Italian fascists natural allies who would do what the British were unwilling to do — purge the region of Jews and help him establish a unified Arab state throughout the Middle East…Believing that the Axis might prevail in the war, the mufti secured a commitment from both Italy and Germany to the formation of a region-wide Arab state. He also asked for permission to solve the Jewish problem by the “same method that will be applied for the solution of the Jewish problem in the Axis states.” 

On Nov. 28, 1941, he met for the first time with Adolf Hitler, relaying to the German leader the Arab conviction that Germany would win the war and that this would benefit the Arab cause. 
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, meets Hitler for the first time. Berlin, Germany, November 28, 1941.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, meets Hitler in Berlin

While Hitler shared the mufti’s belief that the present war would determine the fate of the Arabs, his priority was the struggle against what he saw as Jewish-controlled Britain and the Soviet Union. Lebel reveals Hitler’s promise that when the German army reached the southern borders of the Caucasus, he would announce to the Arab world their time of liberation had come. The Germans would annihilate all Jews who lived in Arab areas.
… 

[Haj Amin’s] conspiratorial view of Jewish ambitions are reflected in the widespread dissemination of such publications as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” in the Arab and Muslim world. The view of the Jews as contaminators of society and malevolent conspirators resonate today in the founding Charter of Hamas.

In a radio broadcast from Germany on Nov. 16, 1943…Haj Amin laid out his vision of the conflict with the Jews:

“The Jews bring the world poverty, trouble and disaster … they destroy morality in all countries… they falsify the words of the prophet, they are the bearers of anarchy and bring suffering to the world. They are like moths who eat away all the good in the countries. They prepared the war machine for Roosevelt and brought disaster to the world. They are monsters and the basis for all evil in the world ….” 

As Nazi official Wilhelm Melchers testified after the war:

The mufti was an accomplished foe of the Jews and did not conceal that he would love to see all of them liquidated.

It’s clear that Haj Amin’s relationship with Hitler was no mere ‘alliance of convenience’, but was based on shared eliminationist antisemitic fantasies.  As Jeffrey Herf wrote in his 2009 book, ‘Nazi Propaganda for the Arab world‘, the Mufti “played a central role in the cultural fusion of European with Islamic traditions of Jew-hatred [and] was one of the few who had mastered the ideological themes and nuances of fascism and Nazism, as well as the anti-Jewish elements within the Koran and its subsequent commentaries.”

Robert Fisk’s innocuous description of Haj Amin as ‘pro-Palestinian’ is as morally perverse as characterizing Adolf Hitler as merely  ‘pro-Aryan’.

Robert Fisk unleashes characteristic fabrications and hyperbole about Israel

Robert Fisk’s latest work of fiction at The Independent is titled ‘US cowardice will let Israel’s isolated right off the hook‘.

fisk

Here are the lowlights from his characteristic hyperbole and outright misrepresentations about Israel and the state’s supporters:

First, here is the hyperbole:

1. Fisk accuses “thieving” Israelis of conspiring to steal more Palestinian land for “Jews only”:

Fisk:

For there was President Obama at Monday’s meeting, praising Mr Netanyahu for his support for a two-state solution. And what did President Obama actually say? That there was “a limited amount of time to achieve that goal”.

So why was there only a “limited amount of time”? Not a single scribe asked the poor fellow.

There is, of course, only a “limited amount of time” – in my view, no time at all – to achieve this illusory goal because the Netanyahu government is thieving, against all international law, yet more Palestinian Arab land for Jews and Jews only, at a faster rate than ever, to prevent just such a Palestinian state ever existing.

2. Fisk decries Israel and the Israel lobby for bullying and intimidating the US:

Fisk:

These are hard times for the Israeli right. Used to bullying the US – and especially its present, shallow leader – the Likudists suddenly find that the whole world wants peace in the Middle East rather than war.

the Israelis know that [Obama] is still a groveller. This is what real “appeasement” is all about. Fear.

…when Congress hesitated to strike Damascus, “the hounds of hell were let loose. Aipac (the largest Likudist pro-Israeli lobby group in the US) sent its parliamentary rottweillers to Capitol Hill to tear to pieces any senator or congressman who objected”.

Now, the misrepresentations:

1. Fisk misrepresents Hassan Rouhani’s remarks about the Holocaust:

Fisk:

These are hard times for the Israeli right. Used to bullying the US – and especially its present, shallow leader – the Likudists suddenly find that the whole world wants peace in the Middle East rather than war. Brits and Americans didn’t want to go to war in Syria. Now, with the pleasant smile of President Rouhani gracing their television screens, fully accepting the facts of the Jewish Holocaust

However, even if Fisk were to uncritically accept the false CNN’s translation of Rouhani’s replies to questions posed by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, he certainly did not “fully” accept “the facts of the Jewish Holocaust”.  As we argued previously, his qualifications (seen in the following relevant passages from Rouhani’s speech) are quite consistent with the narrative advanced by revisionists in questioning the “scope” of the Holocaust.  

Rouhani, per CNN:

I have said before that I am not a historian personally and that when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust as such, it is the historians that should reflect on it.

But in general, I can tell you that any crime or – that happens in history against humanity, including the crime that the Nazis committed towards the Jews, as well as non-Jewish people, is reprehensible and condemnable, as far as we are concerned.

And just as even such crimes are – if they are to happen today against any creed or belief system or human being as such, we shall again condemn it.

So what the Nazis did is condemnable. The dimensions of whatever it is, the historians have to understand what it is. I am not a historian myself, but we – it must be clear here, is that when there is an atrocity, a crime that happens, it should not become a cover to work against the interests or – or justify the crimes against another nation or another group of people.

So if the Nazis, however criminal they were, we condemn them, whatever criminality they committed against the Jews, we condemn, because genocide, the taking of the human life, is condemnable and it makes no difference whether that life is a Jewish life, a Christian or a Muslim or what.

For us, it’s the same. It’s the taking of a human life and an innocent human life is (INAUDIBLE) in Islam. It’s actually something that we condemn and our religion also rejects.

But this does not mean that, on the other hand, you can say, well, the Nazis committed crimes against, you know, a certain group, now, therefore, they must usurp the land of another group and occupy it. This, too, is an act that should be condemned, in our view.

So there should be an even-handed discussion of this.

As ADL has argued, the success of Holocaust deniers does not depend on convincing people that the murder of six million Jews didn’t occur; rather, just the idea that the genocide’s scope can be doubted means that “the deniers have scored propaganda points”.

2.  False claim that Netanyahu called Rouhani an “anti-Semite”.

Fisk: 

What we do know is that when Mr Rouhani started saying all the things we had been demanding that Iran should say for years, Israel went bananas. Mr Netanyahu condemned him before he had even said a word. “A wolf in sheep’s clothing.” “An anti-Semite.” 

However, whilst it was widely reported that the Israeli prime minister called Rouhani “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, we were unable to find any record of him accusing Rouhani (either at the UN speech or elsewhere) of being an “anti-Semite.” Netanyahu did end his UN speech with a tale of the antisemitism suffered by his grandfather and his subsequent Zionism, but this was only meant to illustrate the moral urgency of the Zionist mission to build and maintain a Jewish homeland.

Of course, none of this is anything new, as Fisk is a well-known anti-Israel ideologue who’s been accused of unethical and unfactual reporting in the past.  

However, whilst Fisk is entitled to engage in all the scaremongering and vitriol about the Jewish state that he wishes, editors at The Independent have the ethical obligation to hold their contributors – both reporters and commentators – responsible when they engage in mischaracterizations, distortions or lies.  

Revealed: What Google could have told Observer editors about their NSA ‘source’

As Harry’s Place, Guido Fawkes and others noted earlier, The Observer today published, and then pulled, a ‘bombshell’ report by Jamie Doward alleging that the UK and other EU countries conspired with the United States over the “harvesting of personal communications data.”

(Here’s how the story, which is no longer available on their main website, looks on their digital paper edition.)

revealled!

Editors at The Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) evidently began questioning the report when it was “revealed” that the sole source which the lead was based on, Wayne Madsen, a former Navy intelligence officer, is a ‘Birther’ and all around crazy conspiracy theorist – who (not surprisingly) is also obsessed with the Zionist, Israeli, and Neocon influence on the world.

Here are excerpts from The Observer’s faux scoop:

At least six European Union countries in addition to Britain have been colluding with the US over the mass harvesting of personal communications data, according to a former contractor to America’s [NSA], who said the public should not be “kept in the dark”.

Wayne Madsen, a former US navy lieutenant who first worked for the NSA in 1985 and over the next 12 years held several sensitive positions within the agency, names Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Italy as having secret deals with the US.

In an interview published last night on the PrivacySurgeon.org blog, Madsen, who has been attacked for holding controversial views on espionage issues, said he had decided to speak out after becoming concerned about the “half story” told by EU politicians regarding the extent of the NSA’s activities in Europe.

Madsen said he was alarmed at the “sanctimonious outcry” of political leaders who were “feigning shock” about the spying operations while staying silent about their own arrangements with the US, and was particularly concerned that senior German politicians had accused the UK of spying when their country had a similar third-party deal with the NSA.

Although the level of co- operation provided by other European countries to the NSA is not on the same scale as that provided by the UK, the allegations are potentially embarrassing.

“I can’t understand how Angela Merkel can keep a straight face, demanding assurances from Obama and the UK while Germany has entered into those exact relationships,” Madsen said.

Madsen said all seven European countries and the US have access to the Tat 14 fibre-optic cable network between Denmark and Germany, the Netherlands, France, the UK and the US, allowing them to intercept vast amounts of data, including phone calls, emails and records of access to websites. He said the public needed to be made aware of the scale of the communication-sharing arrangements between European countries and the US, which became of strategic importance during the cold war.

“A lot of this information isn’t secret, nor is it new,” Madsen said. “It’s just that governments have chosen to keep the public in the dark about it. The days when they could get away with a conspiracy of silence are over.

Speaking of “conspiracies”, here are a few classic Madsen “revelations”:

Here’s Madsen at the antisemitic site Veteran’s Today, on the global Zionist conspiracy:

The Israeli Lobby owns the Congress, media, Hollywood, Wall Street, both political parties, and the White House. This kind of talk will get people fired by this lobby, as we have seen recently with White House correspondent Helen Thomas and CNN anchor Rick Sanchez. However, many Americans are growing tired of the arrogance of the Israel Lobby and their bigoted attitudes toward anyone who challenges their influence-peddling and their ridiculous insistence that Israel must be supported because of some ancient fairy tales involving some tribes who wandered the deserts of the Middle East and saw and heard non-existent things because of sun stroke, drinking bad water, and smoking local hallucinogenic plants.

Here’s Madsen at Iranian PressTV (where he’s been published numerous times), in a piece titled ‘Zionist regime practising Nazi-style occupation policies“.

Adolf Hitler and other top Nazis were fond of saying, “Heute Deutschland, morgen die Welt!” (“Today Germany, tomorrow the world!”), when describing the Nazi Party’s goals for global domination.

Many of Israel’s dominant political parties espouse the same goals for Zionism, which many observers believe take a page from the Nazi playbook when it comes to expansion not only in the occupied territories of Palestine but beyond to the Golan Heights of Syria, southern Lebanon, Sinai, eastern Libya, northern Iraq, and even further afield.

And any country where Jews once lived or played a role is seen as a potential area of expansion for some Zionists who dream of a one-world Zionist state. Although Israel is bent on expelling as many non-Jewish black Africans and brown-skinned Asians from the Jewish state as possible, it has given citizenship to Falasha Jews from Ethiopia and Bnei Menashe from India. The latter, originating in Mizoram and Manipur on the Indian-Myanmar border, claimed they were banished to India in the 8th century B.C. and, therefore, are a “lost tribe” of Israel. As Israeli passport holders, these “new Jews” will be permitted to return to India, a nation already overrun with Chabad House-cover Mossad operatives and Israel Defense Force regulars involved in cross-border operations in Pakistan, protective services for the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, and drug and gem smuggling.

It is only a matter of time before Israel stakes a claim to Afghanistan as more oil and rare earth mineral reserves are discovered and as Western military forces retreat from the country. After all, some Jewish scholars claim the Pathans of Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan represent another “lost tribe of Israel.” Conveniently for Israel, many Pathans are also members of the Taliban.

His Twitter feed also has a treasure trove of ‘revelations’.

Birtherism:

FDR “assassination” conspiracy?:

Simply bizarre:

Remarkably, Madsen has been quoted multiple times by Guardian and Observer reporters going back to at least 2000 on matters relating to U.S. national security, and was characterized obliquely by the paper in one story as merely “a commentator on intelligence-gathering”.  

Finally, in addition to the well-deserved mockery now coming the Guardian’s way, the episode does also raises serious questions about the media group’s fact-checking and their commitment to checking sources before publishing sensational charges which just so happen to have the added benefit of affirming their desired narrative.  

The term ‘confirmation bias‘ doesn’t begin to adequately describe the Guardian’s style of investigative reporting.

An ugly disgusting rant: Joseph Massad and Glenn Greenwald attack ‘the usual Jewish suspects’

Shortly after Julie Burchill’s January commentary, titled ‘Transsexuals should cut it out‘, at the Observer was completely removed after thousands of readers complained that her piece was bigoted towards transsexuals, the Observer’s decision was defended by their readers’ editor,  Stephen Pritchard.  

Pritchard called the decision a rational one, based on his contention that Burchill’s essay was “needlessly offensive” and “gratuitously insulting”.

Though some in the media were highly critical of the decision by the Observer (a Guardian sister publication) to pull Burchill’s piece, Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian’s putative defender of free speech, was mostly silent on the Burchill Affair.  Indeed, his Tweet, on Jan 13, shortly after Burchill’s piece was published should give some indication as to why.

‘An ugly disgusting rant’ would certainly be one way to characterize Joseph Massad’s despicable essay in Al Jazeera on May 14, which argued the following:

  • Zionism not only equals racism, but the ideology itself is antisemitic.
  • Zionists cooperated and collaborated with the Nazis during the 30s and 40s.
  • Zionism should be understood as the fulfillment of the Nazis’ dream, and that the there is a strong “ideological similitude” between the two movements.

As Petra Marquardt-Bigman has argued, the writings of Massad (who has contributed to Comment is Free‘ and Electronic Intifada) can easily be confused with material found on extremist racist websites.

There is one exception to this paradigm, however. Massad is of Palestinian origin, so his otherwise boilerplate extreme right narrative about Israel and Jews is compromised a bit by these howlers:

  • Unlike Zionists, who, by virtue of their Zionism, are antisemitic, “Palestinians have remained unconvinced and steadfast in their resistance to anti-Semitism“.
  • Unlike ‘Zionist anti-Semites’, “the Palestinian people have mounted a major struggle against…anti-Semitic incitement”.

Whilst there were no Tweets by Greenwald expressing outrage over Massad’s pseudo intellectual racist assault against Jews, the decision by Al Jazeera to remove the Massad article from their site sent Greenwald into a fury:

In case there is any doubt who Greenwald is referring to by “the usual suspects“, in the Tweet he links to a piece criticizing AJ’s decision (and defending Massad) by Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada – whose support for Massad is not surprising as he advanced the Zionism = Nazism narrative in a Tweet in 2010 – which accused Al Jazeera of caving in to “Zionists extremist” Jews, such as Jeffrey Goldberg, John Podhoretz and Rahm Emmanuel.

It really takes a mind occupied by the most crude antisemitic stereotypes about the danger of Jewish power to conjure a scenario by which a Qatari based pro-Sunni Islamist media group was strong-armed by a small gang of powerful Jews into censoring an otherwise meritorious essay.   

Greenwald is a Jew by birth, and though we don’t possess some sort of piercing mentalism which would allow us to see the bigotry which may lurk in his soul, it should be clear to anyone who has seriously studied the “liberal” Guardian’ commentator that his moral sensibilities are – at the very least – compromised by a callous indifference to even the most explicit and malicious expressions of Jew hatred. 

Attacks against Jews on Yom HaShoah follow traditional antisemitic path

A guest post by AKUS

One of the grimly curious features of traditional antisemitism, in its most violent forms, has been the way antisemites frequently launched violence (including pogroms and ethnic cleansing) against Jews on Jewish holy days.

Jewish holidays, no matter how joyful or how sadly meaningful, have often been accompanied with a bitter memory of antisemitic violence.  The most famous example, of course, was the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans on Tisha B’Av which by chance or not, was also the date, 655 years earlier, of the destruction of the First Temple.

There are many other examples, from every period in recorded history.

On Saturday March 16, 1190, in York, England, on the special Shabbat before Passover (Shabbat Hagadol), many Jews taking refuge from an antisemitic mob were burnt to death, and the survivors massacred. Easter, which of course commemorates among other thing the Last Supper, which was a Passover Seder, has always been a favorite occasion for antisemitic riots by Christians inspired by their priests to believe that “the Jews killed Christ”. One well-known example was the three-day Kishinev pogrom that started on Easter Sunday, April 19th, 1903.  The infamous pogrom in Iraq on June 1, 1941, was coincided with the festival of Shavuot. Yom Kippur has also frequently been a day when Jews would fear antisemitic violence.

The Nazis, who obsessively studied the customs of the Jews they wished to exterminate, were especially skilled at timing their actions to coincide with Jewish holidays. For example, Nazi attacks against Jews often coincided with Jewish festivals such as Purim to “avenge” Jewish victories over their enemies. On Purim 1942, ten Jews were hanged in Zduńska Wola to avenge the hanging of Haman’s ten sons. In a similar incident in 1943, the Nazis shot ten Jews from the Piotrków ghetto. On Purim eve that same year, over 100 Jewish doctors and their families were shot by the Nazis in Częstochowa. The following day, Jewish doctors were taken from Radom and shot nearby in Szydłowiec.

Not to be outdone, modern cyber-haters, armed with the best technology they can acquire or create, also searched for a particularly meaningful day to attack the Jews. The group calling itself “Anonymous” decided that the most appropriate day to launch a cyber-pogrom against the Jews would be Holocaust Remembrance Day. Their goal was to “wipe Israel off the map of the Internet”.

#OpIsrael Screenshot

#OpIsrael Screenshot

Given the language they used in their announcements, there can be little doubt that they saw a connection between the attempt to murder every Jew physically in the Holocaust with an attempt to remove the ability of Israelis to use the Internet – even if, ironically, they were using technology that has been, in large part the fruit of Israeli development.

Despite their bravado, Israel was not particularly affected by their efforts. After all, trying to attack the world’s second-leading information technology powerhouse is not an easy task. Within hours, the “Operation Israel” attack site had been penetrated by Israeli hackers and was playing “Hatikvah” while websites affiliated with Hezbollah and the Syrian government were disabled through a distributed denial of service attack.

But this cyber attack was not the only attack against Israel on this solemn day. A Gazan group decided it would be the most appropriate day to attempt to kill Israelis gathered to commemorate the 6 million dead in the Holocaust by firing rockets at an evening commemorative service.

Somewhere in southern Israel, near the border with Gaza, a gathering of civilians was forced to scatter as Israel’s enemies, following the tradition of attacking precisely on a day which, if not holy in a religious sense, is the only day other than Yom Kippur in which Israel comes to a halt.

Here is what happened. For those not familiar with the sudden burst of sound, you first hear the sound of the kassam rocket being fired, then the automatic warning system broadcasts “Tseva Adom” and you will see children and adults scattering as they run for cover:

Yes, “Anonymous” and the Palestinians in Gaza did their best to continue the “tradition” of attacking Jews on their holy days.  The “new antisemitism” seems very much like the traditional version.

Glenn Greenwald airbrushes the bigotry and extremism of Noam Chomsky

Glenn Greenwald’s latest post includes a spirited defense of Noam Chomsky, one of his intellectual inspirations, titled ‘How Noam Chomsky is discussed‘,  March 23.

Greenwald has previously cited the wit and wisdom of the extremist MIT professor, and now is evidently devoting significant space in his new book to explaining how Chomsky’s “exclusion” from mainstream political debate represents a good example of how “media systems” restrict “alternative” views.

Greenwald argues, thusly: 

Nobody has been subjected to…vapid discrediting techniques more than Noam Chomsky. The book on which I’m currently working explores how establishment media systems restrict the range of acceptable debate in US political discourse, and I’m using Chomsky’s treatment by (and ultimate exclusion from) establishment US media outlets as a window for understanding how that works. As a result, I’ve read a huge quantity of media discussions about Chomsky over the past year. And what is so striking is that virtually every mainstream discussion of him at some point inevitably recites the same set of personality and stylistic attacks designed to malign his advocacy without having to do the work of engaging the substance of his claims.

Greenwald further complains that Chomsky has been smeared with horrible slurs, such as the claim that he is an antisemitic (self-hating) Jew, “due to defending some 35 years ago the right to free speech of a French professor who was later convicted  [in a French court] of Holocaust denial”.

However, the French “professor” Chomsky defended, Robert Faurissonwasn’t merely a Holocaust denier, but also “a proponent of Nazi-style bigotry and apologist for Hitler’s regime who had also written for neo-Nazi publications and spoken at neo-Nazi meetings”.

Additionally, as Paul Bogdanor observed:

The petition [which Chomsky signed] dignified Faurisson’s writings by (a) affirming his scholarly credentials (“a respected professor” of “document criticism”); (b) describing his lies as “extensive historical research”; (c) placing the term “Holocaust” in derisory quotation marks; and (d) portraying his lies as “findings.”

Chomsky not only defended Faurisson but offered the following views about those who engage in Holocaust denial:

I see no antisemitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the holocaust.

As Bogdanor argued, denying the existence of gas chambers and the Holocaust “was the brainchild of antisemites and neo-Nazi activists” and “a propaganda tactic of antisemitic and neo-Nazi individuals and movements all over the world.”

Additionally, arguing that the Holocaust is a myth is necessarily antisemitic, as it suggests an elaborate global Jewish conspiracy which, over the course of nearly seven decades since the end of WWII, popularized a grand historic “fiction”: that Nazis systematically murdered six million Jews. 

Further, this wasn’t a one-off for Chomsky. Here are other quotes from the esteemed radical professor on Jews, Zionism and Israel. 

On American Jews:

“Jews in the US are the most privileged and influential part of the population… privileged people want to make sure they have total control, not just 98% control. That’s why antisemitism is becoming an issue.”

On Zionism:

“Hitler’s conceptions have struck a responsive chord in current Zionist commentary.”

On Judaism:

“In the Jewish community, the Orthodox rabbinate imposes its interpretation of religious law… Were similar principles to apply to Jews elsewhere, we would not hesitate to condemn this revival of the Nuremberg laws.”

In addition to his hostility towards Jews, Chomsky has argued that the U.S. is “the world’s greatest terrorist state, has praised the Vietcongdefended the Khmer Rouge, and expressed support for Hezbollah – all of which Greenwald would no doubt characterize as “personality and stylistic” quirks which in no way detract from the righteousness of his “progressive” advocacy.