Why is the Guardian ignoring recent antisemitic attacks in France? (Update)

Racist attacks targeting French Jews over the last week have included a firebomb attack on a synagogue in Paris and an individual assault on a Jewish teen, representing the latest in a wave of such antisemitic violence in France since the start of 2014.

Times of Israel reported the following in two reports on July 13:

A firebomb was hurled at a synagogue near Paris, part of a string of anti-Semitic incidents in Western Europe coinciding with Israel’s assault on Hamas in Gaza

The firebomb went off Friday night at the entrance to the synagogue of Aulnay-sous-Bois, a northeastern suburb of the French capital, according to the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA. No one was hurt and the fire resulted in minor damage, Le Monde reported.

Also, in a separate incident on the same day:

…clashes erupted at the end of [a pro-Palestinian] march on Bastille Square, with people throwing projectiles onto a cordon of police who responded with tear gas. The unrest was continuing early Sunday evening.

Media reports said that hundreds of Jews were trapped inside a synagogue in the area and police units were sent to rescue them.

A person in the synagogue told Israel’s Channel 2 news that protesters hurled stones and bricks at the building, “like it was an intifada.”

Media reports said that hundreds of Jews were trapped inside a synagogue in the area and police units were sent to rescue them.

A person in the synagogue told Israel’s Channel 2 news that protesters hurled stones and bricks at the building, “like it was an intifada.”

A day earlier, on Saturday, July 12:

In Belleville, an eastern suburb of Paris, a demonstration Saturday by a few dozen people against Israel’s attack on Hamas featured calls to “slaughter the Jews,” according to Alain Azria, a French Jewish photojournalist who covered the event. The crowd also chanted “death to the Jews,” he said.

These attacks come on top of an earlier assault on a Jew in France, on July 8:

On July 8, the day that Israel launched Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza, a man described as having a Middle Eastern appearance assaulted a Jewish 17-year-old girl on a Paris street near the Gare du Nord train station by spraying pepper-spray on her face, BNVCA also reported.

The girl, identified by her initials, J.L., wrote in her complaint to police that the man, who was in his 20s, shouted: “Dirty Jewess, inshallah you will die.”

Further, these attacks haven’t occurred in a vacuum.  Though these latest assaults may have been inspired by the war in Gaza, it’s undeniable that France (and the Paris region in particular) has seen an elevated level of antisemitic attacks even before the start of the conflict seven days ago.

Though they make up only 1 percent of the French population, Jews are the object of 40 percent of all hate crimes in the country, one of the factors which explain why a record number of French Jews looked set to emigrate to Israel in 2014.

Yet, if you look at the France and Israel pages of the Guardian, there are no reports on the disturbing racist attacks on French Jews.

Guardian France page, July 14th, 10:00AM (Israeli time)

france page

At the very least, it seems quite odd that a media group which fancies itself a champion of anti-racist values would ignore such attacks on innocent Jews.  

Indeed, we’ve often noted that the Guardian’s single biggest problem, as a media institution, relates to such antisemitic sins of omission – their tendency to bury or downplay even the most egregious displays of Jew hatred, both in the Middle East and the West.

Indeed, in light of the Guardian’s ubiquitous reports on Jewish ‘price tag’ attacks against Arabs in the West Bank, moral consistency would seem to demand that such putatively progressive voices at the Guardian would devote as much space to similar instances of ‘collective punishment’ against innocent Jews in the diaspora. 

UPDATE: Several hours after this post, the Guardian published an article about one of the antisemitic attacks in France.  However, it didn’t mention the firebombing of the synagogue in Paris. 

Another Guardian post lamenting that news of misogyny in Gaza deflects focus from Israel

On March 7 we posted about a ‘Comment is Free’ essay by Nabila Ramdani titled ‘Hamas’s ban on women running Gaza marathon is a missed opportunity, March 6. We noted that the main concern of Ramdani, a Paris based journalist, was that Hamas’s decision to ban women from running in the UNRWA sponsored charity run, which resulted in the cancellation of the competition, would deflect attention away from the Israeli “occupation”.

The decision by Hamas, argued Ramdani, wastes what should have been yet another huge blow against Israel’s illegal [sic] occupation and blockade of the Palestinian territories.”

Ramdani isn’t alone in her political myopia.

The Guardian published a piece on March 9 titled ‘Format photography festival: from sharks to axe-wielding women – audio slideshow, which includes photos from a cultural event in the UK called ‘Format photography festival, as well audio from four of the festival’s photographers.  Here’s a clip from the first woman, Tanya Habjouqa, which I edited from a longer Guardian audio. Especially note what Habjouqa says at the 1 minute mark.

Habjouqa advances a truly a remarkable argument.  Like Ramdani, she seems especially concerned that those focusing on the oppression of women by a reactionary Islamist terror group are deflecting attention away from the Israeli blockade.

The sensitive artist evidently is unconcerned about hundreds of thousands of Palestinian women who suffer under a Hamas regime which has imposed personal status law derived from Sharia, placing them at a stark disadvantage in matters such as domestic abuse.  And, she would much rather discuss the “siege” than the misogynistic social mores in the Palestinian controlled territory which results in rape, domestic abuse, and “honor killings” often going unpunished by Gaza’s courts.

Habjouqa may fancy herself a feminist, but her selective outrage, which obsesses over Israel while ignoring the backwardness of Hamas’s theocratic tyranny – which promotes gender apartheid – undermines any claim she may have to being a genuine defender of women’s rights.  

“I am going to start an Intifada.”

The narrative regarding the deadly terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, which the MSM and the Guardian advanced, but which soon was proved to be completely erroneous, suggested that an obscure anti-Muslim film – which, it was claimed, was produced by an Israeli Jew – triggered a “spontaneous” protest outside the embassy, leading to an assault which left four people dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

It soon became apparent that the film – which was actually created by a Coptic Christian – had absolutely nothing to do with the attack.  

It is now known that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was a premeditated act of terrorism committed by al Qaeda-linked terrorists.

On September 28, 2000, an Israeli Jew was blamed for inciting what would become known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada – a brutal five-year campaign of Palestinian terrorism, directed largely against Jewish civilians, which claimed over 1,100 innocent lives and injured thousands more.

The Intifada was defined by the hideous tactic of suicide bombing, in which the Palestinian terrorists detonated explosive belts in crowded public places (in order to maximize the loss of life), sending thousands of pieces of shrapnel tearing into human limbs and organs. 

parkh1

On March 27, 2002, a Palestinian suicide bomber named Abdel-Basset Odeh murdered 30 people at a Seder meal at the Park Hotel in Netanya, including several Holocaust survivors

Most who truly understand the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict would have known already that Yasser Arafat started the Second Intifada, but the latest admission by Arafat’s widow, Suha, about the origins of the Intifada – which she similarly acknowledged last year – serves to completely discredit those who continue denying the obvious.

Suha Arafat in an interview in December on Dubai TV, said the following:

“Yasser Arafat had made a decision to launch the Intifada. Immediately after the failure of the Camp David [negotiations], I met him in Paris upon his return, in July 2001 [sic]. Camp David has failed, and he said to me: “You should remain in Paris.” I asked him why, and he said: “Because I am going to start an Intifada. They want me to betray the Palestinian cause. They want me to give up on our principles, and I will not do so. I do not want Zahwa’s friends in the future to say that Yasser Arafat abandoned the Palestinian cause and principles. I might be martyred, but I shall bequeath our historical heritage to Zahwa [Arafat's daughter] and to the children of Palestine.”

suha

Click on image to go to video

Here’s permanent content on the Guardian’s Israel page, The Arab-Israel conflict:

headline

The photo story consists of 22 photos illustrating the history of the conflict.

Here’s the photo representing the Second Intifada. (Note the caption)

intifada

Click to Enlarge

Here’s a photo and caption from a 2006 Guardian piece titledAriel Sharon: A life in pictures‘.

sharon

Indeed, among the more common erroneous narratives advanced by the mainstream media (and, of coursethe Guardian) is that Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, “sparked” the Second Intifada and that the Intifada began organically – lies repeated so often that causal observers could be forgiven for believing them.

However, commentators of good faith can no longer make such a claim.

Arguing that an Israeli Jew sparked the Second Intifada, however, often serves a broader polemical objective: to deny Palestinian terrorists, and their leaders, moral responsibility for the five-year war of terror against Israeli civilians, and its injurious political consequences, in a manner consistent with an anti-Zionist narrative which rarely assigns such moral agency to the Palestinians under any circumstances.  

The claim that, in 2000, Jews incited Palestinians to kill Jews, like so much of what passes for conventional wisdom about the conflict, is a total lie.