Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott, in an Aug. 18th column on the Hamas ‘child sacrifice’ advert featuring Elie Wiesel, wrote the following in the context of suggesting that his paper’s decision to publish the ad was not a wise one.
whatever the intention, the biblical language, the references to child sacrifice, all evoke images of that most ancient of antisemitic tropes: the blood libel. The authors may believe that they have steered a careful course by aiming these matters at an organisation, Hamas, rather than all Palestinians, but the association is there. If an advertisement was couched in similar terms but the organisation named was the IDF rather than Hamas, I can’t imagine the Guardian would run it – I certainly hope it wouldn’t. I think that’s the issue.
Of course, the difference between charging soldiers of the Jewish State with a blood libel (the historic allegation that Jews murder non-Jews, especially children, and use their blood for religious rituals, part of a broader narrative regarding Jewish “murder-lust”) vs leveling such charges at Hamas is that there is no history of racist anti-Palestinian blood libel tropes.
However, there’s another claim in Elliott’s critique of the ad which is even more dubious:
Each advertisement has clearly got to be decided on a case-by-case basis, bearing in mind not just specific criteria but the context of the times as well. I entirely support the argument that freedom of expression means the freedom to offend. On that basis I don’t think it was wrong to run an advertisement that expressed a viewpoint, with which the Guardian has no sympathy, about the alleged use of human shields by Hamas, which the organisation has strenuously denied. But there are always limits.
So, Hamas has “strenuously denied” the charge? Really?
Contrary to Elliott’s claim, the official Hamas spokesman couldn’t possibly have been clearer about the use of human shields: “We in Hamas call upon our people to adopt this policy“.
- Hate emerges from beneath the surface: Antisemitism in the UK (July 2014) (cifwatch.com)
- London Times rejects anti-Hamas advert for fear it could upset their readers (cifwatch.com)
- The Anti-Jewish Riots Have Exposed Hamas (algemeiner.com)
- Owen Jones, and the Left’s blind spot over antisemitism (cifwatch.com)
- Britain’s The Guardian Blocks Dershowitz Ad on Hamas Tactics (algemeiner.com)
- Buried by the Guardian: Hamas War Crimes (cifwatch.com)