Guardian propagandist Jonathan Steele egregiously distorts the Israeli position on Iran

The politics of veteran Guardian “journalist” Jonathan Steele are so off-the-charts that he’s accused Muslims who opposed Islamist rule in Tunisia of ‘Islamophobia’, written a spirited defense of the ‘tragically misunderstood’ Robert Mugabe and has even run interference for Kim Jong Un’s totalitarian cult in Pyongyang.  And, not surprisingly considering the ideological package he shows fealty towards, he’s also warned darkly of the Zionist influence on the U.S. media.

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So, whilst nothing he writes anymore can surprise us, it’s nonetheless important to note that his Nov. 11 ‘Comment is Free’ essay (Iran: don’t let the naysayers prevail) blatantly misrepresented Israel’s position on the current talks to reach an interim nuclear deal with Iran.  Here’s the relevant passage:

In Saudi Arabia the reactionary monarchy has long been worried that calls for internal liberalisation will radicalise the large Shia populations who live in its oil-producing areas. Against all evidence it claims an Iranian hand behind their demands for justice. Riyadh also stands to gain from continuing sanctions on Iran and the higher world oil prices they bring. Whether they are cynics or victims of their own propaganda, the Saudi rulers, like Israel, want no deal with Tehran.

In fact, as the most rudimentary research would confirm, Israel is not opposed to a deal with Iran.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has clearly made the distinction between what he calls a “bad deal” and a “good” deal, and has expressed strong support for the latter.

After meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Netanyahu said:

Iran is in economic distress and it is possible to get a better deal. Before easing sanctions we need to get a good deal, not a bad deal.

At his weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu stated:

This is a historic process and these are historic decisions. I asked to wait. It is good that this is what was decided in the end but I am not deluding myself – there is a strong desire to reach an agreement, I hope not an agreement at any price, and if there is to be an agreement then it needs to be a good agreement and not a bad agreement. I hope that they will reach a good agreement and we will do our utmost to convince the major powers and the leaders to avoid a bad agreement.

At the Bloomberg Fuel Choices Summit, Netanyahu stated:

With every passing day, Iran is under growing economic pressure. One need not be hasty to conclude a bad deal. The time that has been achieved must be utilized for a good deal which dismantles Iran’s military nuclear capabilities.

In an address to the Knesset, Netanyahu stated:

There are not just two possibilities on the Iranian issue: A bad deal - or war. This is incorrect. There is a third possibility – and that is continuing the pressure of sanctions. I would even say that a bad deal is liable to lead to the second, undesired, result. There is no reason to submit to Iranian diktat; neither is there any reason to be hasty. Iran is under very harsh economic pressure and the advantage is with those applying the pressure. It is possible to achieve a good deal to dismantle Iran’s military nuclear capability. This cannot be achieved by the proposal now being discussed in Geneva. That proposal would make a gaping hole in the sanctions through which the air could escape from the pressure of the sanctions.

In fact, even the Guardian implicitly acknowledged that Bibi is seeking ‘a better deal’ in an official editorial they published the day before Steele’s own CiF essay:

Israel considers a bad deal with Iran to be worse than no deal at all. “Bad” would be any deal which leaves the Iranian capacity for making enriched uranium intact – Israel wants Iran to surrender the centrifuges it has created to enrich uranium. “Good” would be anything that sets the enrichment clock back.

Whether Steele is ‘a cynic or a victim of his own propaganda’, let the record show that his claim that Israel wants “no deal” with Iran is categorically untrue.

‘Comment is Free’ on the ‘Anonymous’ and “heroic” cyber-attack on Yad Vashem

What ‘progressive’ goal inspired the group calling itself “Anonymous” to make the decision to launch a cyber-attack against the the Jewish state on Holocaust Remembrance Day?

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A Palestinian looks at a screenshot depicting the “#Op_Israel” campaign launched by the activist group Anonymous on April 7, 2013. (Said Khatib/AFP/Getty)

I was contemplating the ‘liberal case for Anonymous’ after reading an entry at ‘Comment is Free’, by the Chicago-based journalist titled ‘How Anonymous have become digital culture’s protest heros‘, April 15.  

In her post, Eordogh characterized the ‘hacktivist collective’ as “the white knights of the digital realm”, citing their efforts to seek justice for the now deceased teen victim of a brutal gang-rape in Nova Scotia, an operation they termed  #OpJustice4Rehtaeh.

Whilst Eordogh devotes most of her CiF column to the tragic case of Parsons, she later pivots to an entirely different agenda in the following passage:

Besides #OpJustice4Rehtaeh, in the last week ‘Anonymous’ attacked North Korean social media accounts, then Israeli websites in solidarity with the Palestinians. While both operations apparently caused no substantial impact (North Korea is still a dictatorship, and Israel hasn’t changed its stance on Palestine), they were both highly publicised…

Though ‘Anonymous’ is considered a blanket term for a loosely linked sub-culture of internet hackers without a central decision-making body, they are widely understood to be united in their opposition to internet censorship and surveillance.  Thus, while an attack on the ultra-secretive, repressive regime in Pyongyang makes sense, what is their rationale for targeting Israel – a democratic country which, unlike scores of totalitarian states around the world, does not police its citizens’ internet use?

Further, though Anonymous’s spectacularly unsuccessful cyber-attack on Israel was said to have been motivated, in part, by opposition to Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians, it strains credulity to suggest that such a putatively benign goal can be reconciled with their decision to include on their list of targets in the Jewish state on Yom HaShoah, Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the Jewish victims of the Nazis and the world’s largest repository of information on the Holocaust.

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A photo of Yad Vashem’s Children’s Memorial

Many words come to mind when contemplating how best to characterize the willful decision by ‘Anonymous’ hackers to target Holocaust memory, but “heroic” is certainly not one of them.

What the Guardian won’t report: Israel wins at the UN. Israeli culture wins in the Middle East

On Dec. 21, 2012, a UN resolution on “Entrepreneurship for Development” was proposed by Israel, along with 97 co-sponsors.

The resolution encourages private and public sector entrepreneurship, “developing new technologies and innovative business models, and enabling high, sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth while protecting the rights of workers as the best way to deal with the challenges of poverty and job creation.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, said the following:

“The Israeli spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity prevailed at the UN today.  As a state that was founded in difficult circumstances, we have been able to create opportunities for talented people and have become an enterprising superpower. Creating a culture of entrepreneurship can work miracles and drive economies forward. Investing in human resources is a real message that Israel conveys to the developing world.”

The UN adopted it by a vote of 141 in favor to 31 against, with 11 abstentions.

The Guardian – which continually informs their readers when the UN censures the Jewish state – hasn’t reported the Israeli sponsored resolution.

Why does it matter?

If you recall, there was a huge row over comments during the US Presidential campaign suggesting that Israeli culture is a major factor in the state’s economic and social prowess in the region.  

Many commentators on the far left (including ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Rachel Shabi) scolded those who would suggest a connection between culture and success – imputing racism to such arguments.

Shabi characterized the broader narrative that Israeli culture may be more conducive to success than Palestinian culture as “standard-issue superiority complex racism”.

To those so easily manipulated by au courant post-colonial causation, the stubborn reality of Israeli success (as with Western success more broadly) must be explained by Western hegemony or other global injustices.

To the far-left crowd which occupies the Guardian, the word “racism” – typically understood as a belief in the inherent, immutable, biological or genetic inferiority of a group, race, or ethnicity – has been defined so expansively as to even impute such bigotry to those observing intuitively that some cultural habits are necessarily inimical to economic achievement and social development.

Now, take a look at the countries who voted against the Israeli resolution advocating “entrepreneurship for development”.

Algeria, Bahrain, Bolivia, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Yemen.

Do you see a pattern?

A strong majority of these states are plagued by poverty, under-development and despotism – and would greatly benefit from the ‘development through entrepreneurship’ growth strategy recommended by Israel.

Unfortunately, the majority of these states are opposed to Israel’s very existence, and some have a shameful history of having ethnically cleansed their Jewish citizens in the twenty years following 1948.

The resolution, based on the most intuitive reasoning, was opposed because it was the Jewish state which proposed it.

By obsessing over Israel, refusing to concentrate on the real problems plaguing their societies, and failing to instill the liberal cultural habits necessary to alleviate poverty and throw off the yoke of tyranny – as well as ignoring the lessons on how a small, innovative, Jewish country accomplished so much in just six and a half decades - they ensure that little progress will likely be achieved.

Those in the West who continue  to indulge such nations in the fantasy that their anti-Zionist delusions are justified, even righteous, are complicit in condemning millions to poverty, tyranny and hopelessness.

A Passover question: Why is this rocket different from all other rockets?

 A guest post by AKUS

Since it is Passover, and organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah, and a country like Iran, have thousands of rockets which they launch into Israel with great regularity, you may have been wondering why this single North Korean rocket is different from all other rockets.

If you’ve been able to avoid the endless repetition on US TV of the Trayvon saga, you have probably been watching the media obsessing over the North Korean rocket launch.

For example, this is the headline in the Washington Post:

 

Our friends at the Guardian also reported the launch, pointing out that the North Korean have defied “international warnings” about this “provocation”:

 This is what Time Magazine had to say about it in the build-up to the “scarier than you think” launch:

North Korea’s Space Threat Is Scarier Than You Think

But just the idea of North Korea aiming for space — and having the missile muscle to get there — led to hair-on-fire panic in east Asia and a more measured but very real angst in the rest of the world. A loonytoons country with nuclear weapons and global reach is no one’s idea of a good thing. The key questions — still unanswerable — are whether North Korea may soon have the technical chops to reach orbit and if they do, does that mean anything?

But, for example, this blasé mention of 300 Israeli casualties is how Guardian ace reporter Harriet Sherwood reported on the threat Hezbollah’s thousands of Iranian-supplied rockets represent to Israel:

So why is one rocket from North Korea creating such panic, while thousands aimed at Israel are not?

Well, you see, it turns out that Hezbollah’s rockets cannot reach Europe or the USA.

But North Korea’s rockets, eventually, will be able to.

It’s funny how attitudes change when the possibility of a rocket crashing through your roof becomes more real.

Lest I forget – the issue being hyped up now that the rocket launch failed is that in the past this kind of show-piece has been the lead-up to an underground nuclear test by North Korea.

It’s also funny how upset some countries seem to be about this, while being rather complacent about Iran’s nuclear program and assistance from North Korea to various Islamic countries. But perhaps they feel that Iran’s nuclear threat is, shall we say, more local at this time. It will be interesting to see if that changes when Iran launches its first intercontinental ballistic rocket and conducts its first underground (we hope) nuclear test.

And that, dear reader, is why a North Korean rocket, launched coincidentally during Passover, is different from all other rockets.