Guardian’s output of Israel related commentaries continues to decline

cifThough it isn’t easy to empirically measure how the Guardian’s coverage of Israel has changed over the years (in a qualitative sense), one quantitative metric we’ve used relates to the volume of Israel related news reports and commentaries published by the media group.  

Though in 2011 and 2012 we revealed the disproportionate degree of Israel related coverage at the Guardian and its blog ‘Comment is Free’ in comparison to their coverage of other countries, we thought it would be interesting this year to isolate just their Israel related commentaries, and see how the output has changed since 2010, the first full year of this blog’s operation.

The results are interesting, and consistent with our sense that their institutional obsession with Israel, for any number of reasons, has decreased in some respects.

  • In 2010 there were 143 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 289 for the entire year.
  • In 2011, there were 92 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 168 for the entire year.
  • In 2012, there were 61 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 143 for the entire year.
  • In 2013, there were 54 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 100 for the entire year.
  • In 2014, there have been 35 Israel related commentaries through June 26th (with a projection of 70 to 75 for the entire year if current trends continue).

Whilst this analysis doesn’t include straight news reports (and other Israel related content which does NOT appear at ‘Comment is Free’), it’s clear that Israel related commentaries decreased quite dramatically over the last four years.

Also of interest is the fact that some of the Guardian’s favorite Israel bashers (commentators who we’ve posted about continually) have been published far less frequently, or have disappeared completely – reflecting a slight improvement (and we use these words cautiously) in their overall output on issues concerning Jews and Israel. 

Rachel Shabi, an anti-Zionist Jew who once was a frequent contributor, hasn’t published a commentary about Israel at ‘Comment is Free’ since August 2013

shabi

Antony Lerman, another anti-Zionist Jew, hasn’t published a commentary at ‘Comment is Free’ since 2012.

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Seth Freedman has largely been silent on the topic of Israel at ‘Comment is Free’ for the past two years, save one quirky piece in August 2013.

seth

Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah (once a frequent contributor) has had only one commentary published at ‘Comment is Free’ since 2009.

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Richard (faux ‘scoop’) Silverstein (also once a frequent contributor) has been ‘silenced by the Guardian, and has had only one commentary which deals with Israel published at ‘Comment is Free’ since 2009.

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And, finally, Ben White, the notorious Israel hater who can understand why people would be antisemitic given Israeli behavior, and who once appeared at ‘Comment is Free’ several times a year, hasn’t been heard from since September 2012

ben

Though we are not shy about taking credit for Guardian corrections prompted by our correspondence with their editors, the cause of the decrease in Israel related commentaries – and the disappearance of some of their long time anti-Zionist contributors – is more opaque, and may involve editorial decisions (clearly influenced to some degree by the work of this blog) at the Guardian that we’re naturally not privy to.  

Additionally, the impact – to the editorial process at ‘Comment is Free’ – of the recent promotion of Jonathan Freedland (one of their more sober commentators) to the position of executive editor will not be clear for some time.

Finally, whilst the Guardian is still the most anti-Israel media group in the UK, it is nonetheless important to note such changes in their reporting and editorial decision-making, and recognize even modest improvements in their coverage of Israel and the larger region. 

‘Comment is Free’ contributor: Israel sparks fury with its postcards of falafel.

In a commentary focusing on food as a unifying element in the Middle East, (Could palates, rather than politics be the key to peace in the Middle East?, Aug. 13) ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Rachel Shabi couldn’t help but lament that ‘some countries’ in the region, for obtuse nationalist reasons, claim ownership of legumes that aren’t their own.

More often, we hear about the politics of Middle Eastern food in the context of nationalistic battles over ownership. Israel sparks fury with its ubiquitous postcards of falafel skewered with an Israeli flag and a strapline declaring the pitta-nestled chickpea balls to be their “national snack”. President Obama unwittingly picked that barely-covered scab when it was revealed that he’d be served falafel by the Israeli president on a recent regional trip.

The link provided by Shabi confirms that this is the offending postcard:

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Zionist Expropriation

While questions remain as to where precisely in the Middle East the deep-fried round patties (made from ground chickpeasfava beans or both) originated, as Shabi surely knows, nearly half of Israeli Jews are Mizrachi – descendants from Jewish communities in the Middle East.  So, to suggest that Israelis are ‘colonizing’ the ubiquitous street food is not only petty, but ahistorical.

Oh, and if you think I’m reading too much into Shabi’s passage about Israeli ‘culinary incitement’, you should note that this isn’t a one-off for the CiF contributor when it comes to complaints about such Zionist theft:

shabiHere’s the money quote from her post about a form of Israeli ‘fanaticism’ which evidently escapes the media’s radar:

it’s one thing to admire a neighbour’s cooking, quite another to name it your own national dish, as Israelis have done for hummus and that other Middle Eastern chickpea favourite, falafel.

Would you say it’s fair to conclude that when folks are truly driven to outrage by Israelis who promote falafel as their national dish it is a much greater commentary about the former than the latter? 

The intoxicated anti-Zionist rants of Rachel Shabi

Professional Jewish critics of Israel – those commentators who in some manner leverage their connection to Judaism to garner more credibility when launching often hysterical attacks on the Jewish state – are as much defined by their hubris as their political orientation.

Writers like Peter Beinart, Richard Silverstein, or Daniel Levy truly believe they are equipped with a superior intellect and moral understanding, and often suggest – when offering criticism indistinguishable from the rhetoric of the most ardent anti-Zionists – that they are actually engaging in a political form of ‘tough love’.  They are saving Israeli Jews from their own destructive tendencies – “saving Israel,” as it were, “from itself.”

The following is the headline from Rachel Shabi‘s latest ‘Comment is Free’ commentary, opining on recent news regarding European Union guidelines which restrict EU funding for Israeli projects across the green line.

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Whilst the quote concerning water thrown at a “drunk” was actually from the site of the far-left group Gush Shalom, it was specifically cited by Shabi (in the passage which follows) to illustrate Israel’s collective state of mind in refusing to bow to such international criticism over the construction of homes across the green line.

Israel sees international policy on settlements as simply a guideline or position statement, as opposed to actual law. This escalating sense of hubris over settlement expansion – and getting away with it – is what makes the EU move such a shock for Israel: Gush Shalom, Israel’s peace bloc, likened the EU decision to “a bucket of cold water poured on the head of a drunk”.

Of course such gratuitous pejorative depictions and smears of the Jewish state are nothing new for the frequent ‘Comment is Free’ contributor.

Since 2002 Shabi (born to Iraqi Jewish parents) has published over 100 essays at ‘Comment is Free’ on the topic of Israel, and the themes have been as predictable as they have been facile. Israelis (or Jews as such) are almost never the object of Shabi’s  sympathetic imagination, and she quite excels at imputing to Israel the the very worst motives, regardless of the issue being addressed.

Themes explored by Shabi at ‘Comment is Free’ include the following:

  • Israelis oppressing Palestinians
  • Israelis oppressing its Arab citizens and other minorities
  • Israelis oppressing foreign workers
  • Narratives attempting to deny Israel’s democratic advantages
  • Suggestions that Israel is moving to the extreme right politically

Themes not explored by Shabi:

In addition to downright petty critiques of even the most benign aspects of ordinary Israeli life – such as accusing the state of, in effect, ‘colonising’ hummus – her capacity to twist and turn prose in a way which assigns maximum malice to the Jewish state has few limits.  In one ‘CiF’ essay she mocked Israel’s efforts to unfairly ‘smear’ Hamas as a terrorist group, and once even managed to spin Israeli concerns over the potential rise of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood as evidence of Israeli racism – unmoved, it seems, by the genocidal racism expressed by the group’s spiritual leader, who called for Allah to literally kill every Jew on earth.

An essay she published at CiF last year, commenting on anti-immigrant rhetoric by some Israeli politicians, suggested Israeli parallels with European fascism.  But, perhaps her most insidious accusation was leveled in a piece which appeared shortly after the 2008-09 Gaza War, where she wrote the following:

Likewise, mention the civilian casualties in Gaza and the stock response is to blame Hamas, cast as a bloodthirsty, death-worshipping cult, a terror group that by definition forces Israeli soldiers to kill Palestinian children. One email that did the rounds during the assault was a cartoon depicting two fighters, facing each other. The Israeli fighter aimed his gun with a baby in a pram behind him, shielded; the Palestinian fighter had the baby in front of him, as a shield. What’s astounding is not how often this circular jammed email boxes, but how often Israelis repeat the cartoon set-up as though it were fact, or as though it thereby legitimises the bombing of civilians. 

Most Israelis, in other words, seem to have convinced themselves that their own moral superiority somehow sanctions and justifies their own acts of moral repugnance

In addition to her dangerous flirtation with antisemitic narratives of so-called ‘Jewish Supremacism‘, the final passage represents the ultimate projection, and anti-Zionist leftist critics’ most pronounced deceit: their belief that they are uniquely equipped with the penetrating moral intelligence necessary to see through the racism which informs Israelis’ “belief” in their state’s moral advantages over reactionary Islamist extremists.  Jewish anti-Zionist agitprop artists like Shabi, inebriated by post-colonial ideology, fancy themselves more sophisticated and politically enlightened than Israeli Jews, whose obtuse nationalism and ethnocentric loyalties, it is suggested, blind them to the dangerous folly of their path.

Such condescension and visceral animosity towards her fellow Jews, under the guise (of course!) of “progressive” political thought, is as risible as it is repugnant.  

Thoughts on the Guardian while at the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism

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Along with my CAMERA colleagues, I’ve been participating in the Global Forum for Combating Antisemtism, a three-day conference in Jerusalem organized to allow activists from around the world the opportunity to strategize on best practices in combating the various manifestations of anti-Jewish racism.

During one of the plenary sessions, I was able to ask Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch if he could shed some light on a phenomenon addressed often at this blog: the Guardian’s consistent failure, when reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, to report on the pervasive  antisemitism within the Arab and Muslim Middle East – what we’ve characterized as their glaring antisemitic sins of omission.

Marcus replied to my query concerning the putatively liberal media group’s silence in the face of such bigotry by suggesting that Guardian contributors may find it easier to accept the ‘grievance excuse’ rather than acknowledging the existence of hateful, violent ideologies.  Those who embrace the ‘grievance excuse’ argue, with varying degrees of explicitness, that it is indeed Jewish (or Israeli) behavior which often incites anti-Jewish racism and violence.

One moral corollary of the grievance excuse for antisemitism pertains to the similar tendency to contextualize terrorist attacks by radicalized Muslim citizens of Western countries  as understandable responses to U.S. or UK foreign policy – a narrative advanced, among others, by Glenn Greenwald, Seumas Milne and Rachel Shabi.  

Though the lethal terror attack against Lee Rigby in London by Michael Adebowale did not have an antisemitic component, the failure by these Guardian commentators to deal honestly with the extremist, reactionary interpretation of Islam which inspired his unimaginable savagery follows the same antisemitic logic, denying moral agency to the perpetrator while demanding a moral accounting from the victim.

‘Jews’, the Israeli Holocaust Studies professor Yehuda Bauer insisted during his keynote speech at the Forum, just a few minutes ago, “don’t cause antisemitism’.  ‘Only antisemitic logic and ideology causes antisemitism’, he declared.

While we should acknowledge our inability to know with any degree of certainty whether Judeophobia haunts the thoughts of the Guardian contributors we scrutinize, the intellectual poverty which feeds their polemical obfuscations and moral abdications in the face of even the most grotesque expressions of Jew hatred is undeniable, and shameful.

Fisking Rachel Shabi: How Dare the Israelis Suggest Palestinians Lied!

Cross posted by Richard Landes 

When the Guardian came out with their first article on the Israeli report on Al Durah, I thought that even though it was done by Harriet Sherwood, it was fairly neutral. I should have known that CiF would deliver the goods. Below the reaction of Rachel Shabi, with fisking.

dura“So low?” Lots of people and lots of governments have faked deaths. It’s not a particularly heinous or rare phenomenon. But wait, the Palestinians have done much worse: they’ve killed their own children and then made a media circus of trying to blame Israel.

Or wait, maybe the Israeli accusation of fakery is itself the indication of a horrifying new nadir. An Israeli report has concluded that Muhammad al-Dura, the 12-year-old Palestinian whose death in 2000 in Gaza was captured by a French public TV channel, was not killed by Israelis – and may in fact not be dead at all.

Back then, a short film of Muhammad and his father, both caught in a shootout, trying helplessly to shelter against a barrage of gunfire, was narrated by French Channel 2 correspondent Charles Enderlin and relayed around the world, turning the boy into a symbol of the brutality of the second intifada and the Israeli occupation. Now, Israel says those same images are yet more proof of a global campaign to delegitimise Israel – and are, additionally, attempts to invoke the blood libel.

Not invoke… deploy. If you look at the particularly vigorous life of all kinds of blood libels in the wake of Al Durah, from the extensive TV Ramadan series (2005) to the new variants on the old European variety (Muslim blood for Purim Humantashen in addition to Passover matzah), the blood libel is in the cognitive bloodstream of the Arab world.

And so begins another ugly bout of the endless propaganda disease that is so endemic to this conflict. Israel is reported to have killed 1,397 Palestinian children not involved in hostilities since the start of the second intifada, according to the NGO Defence for Children International in Palestine, but there are no investigations into their deaths because none have been as emblematic as Muhammad.

I’m in favor of an investigation of all of them, but I doubt that many of these statistics will hold up to scrutiny. B’tselem, whose figures are considerably lower, itself has a serious reliability problem. In any case I’m willing to bet that (had we serious evidence) we would find:

  • that the number is greatly inflated by including older teenagers (16-17) who are often combatants
  • that in no case were any of those children deliberately murdered (as Talal Abu Rahma explicitly accused Israel of doing)
  • that some of them were killed by Palestinians as herehereherehere, and here (not to mention honor-killings)
  • that a goodly number were killed in situations where their lives were deliberately endangered by Palestinian combatants firing at Israel from behind them

There is perhaps no society on earth with as dark a history of promoting a child death cult, sacrificing its children, encouraging its children to seek death, praising those who die, than the Palestinians. Any serious investigation here will not go well for the Palestinians, who systematically, indeed ghoulishly exploit the children whose deaths they cause.

kid killed by hamas

Egyptian Prime Minister Kandil and Hamas Chief Haniya kissing a baby killed by Hamas rockets aimed at Israeli children.

Shabi:

Those images of his terrified face seconds before his death were relayed around the world and are now burned into so many hearts: there are postage stamps of him, parks and streets named after him and screen-grab posters of that terrible moment raised on roads across the Arab and Muslim world.

And the most likely explanation for the terror is that Palestinian marksmen were firing bullets over their heads (but very close). Their expressions suggest that this was not what they had signed up for.

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The opening scene: the circular cloud over their heads indicates a bullet from head on, not from a 30 degree angle (i.e., from the Israeli position)

Shabi:

This investigation, commissioned by Binyamin Netanyahu last year, seems intended only to give fuel to rightist Israel supporters – any report seeking to get closer to the truth might have bothered to speak to Muhammad’s father, or Enderlin, or France’s Channel 2. Instead, what this document provides is spin and no new evidence. It has cued a flood of commentary, about lying Palestinians and a hostile foreign media, from rightwing Israeli commentators.

Is it to be ignored because it gives fuel to those who think that Palestinians systematically lie in their cognitive war against Israel (something easily documentable), and that the foreign media is hostile, specifically in their predilection for passing on Palestinian accusations, no matter how unsupported by the evidence – as real news to their audiences back home? If it’s not your take on matters, not interested?

If my take needs Al Durah as a symbol of Israeli brutality, I don’t care if its been faked, it’s true. If the Israelis paint Al Durah as a symbol of Palestinian malevolence and journalistic incompetence, they must be lying.

Shabi:

But what stands out, yet again, is the disregard for anything Palestinians might have to contribute to the story. In effect, this report is saying to Palestinians: your words, your pain and your losses are insignificant, erasable bumps in this narrative.

First of all, Palestinian testimony in this affair is ludicrous. Talal Abu Rahma has been caught in a continuous string of false statements and sly retractions. The other “witnesses,” whose testimony Enderlin bizarrely submitted to court, talk of helicopter gunships that never were.

Secondly, given that Palestinians systematically try to weaponize their pain against Israel, even when other Palestinians directly caused it (see above and below), it’s really a bit much for you to get indignant when someone tries to call a halt to the charade.

YE Mideast Israel Palestinians

Jihad Masharawi

Jihad Masharawi, BBC reporter, holding his baby, almost certainly killed by an errant Hamas rocket. I feel the pain, I just can’t get behind the way that it’s used to scapegoat Israel for Palestinian brutality.

Shabi:

It is no wonder that Muhammad’s father, Jamal al-Dura, has said: “What saddens me is that I feel alone in the face of the Israeli propaganda machine …”, going on to lament a lack of support from either the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah or the Hamas government in Gaza.

I would take that as a sign that even the PA and Hamas aren’t willing to take this one on. “Everyone” – even (or especially) the Palestinian elites know this is a fake.

Shabi:

With this investigation, Israel’s government exposes its obsession with trying to win the propaganda war, as though this will magically make everything OK. Netanyahu has called the al-Dura incident part of the “ongoing, mendacious campaign to delegitimise Israel”. But the problem is that nothing could possibility delegitimise Israel more than its prolonged and oppressive occupation of the Palestinian people – the escalating deaths;

Escalating? Actually deaths in this conflict are exceptionally low. You want “escalating deaths” try Syria next door, where in less than three years more people have been killed (70,000) than in the entire Arab-Israeli conflict over 65 years.

media-vs-casualty-footprint

Shabi:

…the daily, grinding humiliation.

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Ladies in a Gaza supermarket, humiliated in their open air prison.

Shabi:

The longer it continues, the more such attempts to obfuscate or detract from this reality – rather than bring about its end – will only make matters worse.

This is not reality that you’re talking about. This is a constructed lethal narrative, supported by statements that fly directly in the face of reality. (E.g., the Palestinians under occupation have the highest life expectancy, lowest infant mortality, and highest rate of higher education, than any other Arabs in the Middle East, except Israeli Arabs). Your article just illustrates the kind of reality-defying narrative that suits your purposes, the very epitome of the Al Durah Journalism that the Israeli report critiques.

Guardian editorial on Israeli vote ignores their own erroneous political predictions

While we’re quite accustomed to Guardian reporters and commentators completely re-writing Israeli history, an editorial on the results of the Israeli election re-writes their own history by ignoring their entire body of work on the subject prior to the Jan. 22 vote.

The official Guardian editorial, Israel: the new normal, is, to be sure, characteristically imperious and hubristic towards the “truculent” Jewish state, but also concedes – based on the likelihood that Netanyahu will be forming a centrist coalition – that “the Israeli voter rejected “the far right”.

However, the editorial also briefly touches on those political observers who didn’t for a second believe that the Israeli center would hold:

“In the end, the crown prince of Israeli politics was not the dotcom millionaire who would annex 60% of the West Bank. He was neither of the far nor the national religious right, as many had confidently predicted.”

So, who precisely were these arrogant prognosticators who got it so terribly wrong?

Here’s a graphic look back at the headlines and passages published by the media group which they may be referring to.

1

‘Comment is Free contributor, Rachel Shabi

2

Guardian’s Middle East Editor, Ian Black

9

Ian Black

4

Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood

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Ian Black is Gloomy and Inaccurate

5

Observer’s foreign affairs editor, Peter Beaumont

6

Again, Harriet Sherwood

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Harriet Sherwood cites a piece by the New Yorker’s David Remnick,  to confirm Israel’s rightward shfit

8

Guardian journalist, Jonathan Freedland

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Jonathan Freedland asks why the Israeli move right – which didn’t in fact happen – was happening.

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Freedland also cites wisdom of ‘New Yorker’ contributor on Israel’s “endless” move right 

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Once again, Harriet Sherwood

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Guardian’s Middle East ‘Live’ Blog post edited by John Henley 

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Guardian publishes two letters from readers affirming Guardian analysis of Israel’s move to the right

As Adam Garfinkle recently observed, in a thoughtful piece about coverage of the Algerian hostage crisis, much of the media often sees what they expect to see, and thus ignores all evidence that “does not fit with [their] framing of the situation”.

Whilst I’ve been following the Guardian far too long to be so foolish as to expect anything resembling a mea culpa from their editors in response to such an egregious misreading of the Israeli electorate, it would truly be a gift to their readers if they were to even briefly acknowledge the limits of their capacity to interpret Israeli political phenomena unfiltered by their preconceived, ideologically inspired, conclusions.

The Guardian gets it wrong: Exit polls indicate no rightward political shift in Israel

If exit polls (as reported by Times of Israel and other media outlets) turn out to be accurate, the Guardian mantra – parroted by nearly every commentator and reporter who’s been providing ‘analysis’ on the Israeli elections – warning of a hard and dangerous shift to the right will prove to have been entirely inaccurate.

In the final days before the vote, the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood seemed certain that the elections would bring “a more hawkish and pro-settler government“, and Guardian Middle East Editor Ian Black warned that “Netanyahu [was] poised to…head a more right-wing and uncompromising government than Israel has ever seen before“.

Rachel Shabi predicted that Israel would elect “the most right-wing government in its history“, while Jonathan Freedland expressed gloom that diaspora Jews would have to watch “the centre of gravity…shift so far rightward [in Israel] that Netanyahu and even Lieberman will look moderate by comparison.”

However, based on preliminary reports, not only does it appear that there has been absolutely no rightward shift, but the makeup of the next Knesset may be slightly more left than the current one.

While in 2009 the right-wing bloc bested the center-left bloc by 65-55, the tallies released tonight after polls closed in Israel at 10 PM showed that the new Knesset will have a narrower (61-59) right-bloc advantage.    

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Screenshot from Israel’s Channel 2, showing 61-59 right-left split based on exit polling

According various exit polls, the top three parties will be Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu with 31 Knesset seats, the centrist Yesh Atid with 19, and the leftist Labor Party with between 16-18. The rightist party, Jewish Home, headed by Naftali Bennett, came in fourth and will have 13 or 14, while Shas, the ultra-orthodox party, came in fifth with 12.

Some Israeli commentators are already predicting that Binyamin Netanyahu will attempt to form a centrist or even a right-center-left coalition.

Though the final results aren’t expected to be announced until the early hours of Wednesday, a few things are certain:

The Guardian invested heavily in promoting their desired political narrative of a Jewish state lurching dangerously towards the right.  

They got it completely wrong.

They will learn absolutely nothing from their egregious miscalculation.

   

Guardian readers, and Holocausts real and imagined

A guest post by AKUS

The Guardian’s attempt to provide a thoughtful and appropriate article about a praiseworthy attempt by UK footballers to provide schools with a serious and sensitive Holocaust educational film documenting what they learned from a trip to Auschwitz (‘England’s football stars feature in Holocaust educational video film for schools, Jan. 14), was quickly hijacked, as we noted earlier, by Holocaust deniers.

The first comment on the thread was a plea that the footballers’ efforts (and, presumably, reader comments) not be hijacked to demand “equal time” for other atrocities:

1

Despite SantaMoniker’s plea anticipating what was to follow, in addition to the subsequent Holocaust denial comments CiF Watch captured which were eventually deleted, for one person simply denying the Holocaust wasn’t not enough. He demanded (comment now deleted) that the educational authorities invent a new one to provide some balance to the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis.

Yes – if English children are to learn about the Holocaust that actually happened, at least one reader, whose comment garnered recommendations, demanded that they learn about the non-existent Palestinian Holocaust.

2For this commenter, and those recommending his comment, as part of the campaign against Israel it is necessary to create a myth about a Palestinian history to reinforce the lethal narrative that the Jews, “who should know better”, have killed millions of Palestinians.

Visiting the thread now, about 12:40 pm UK time, the moderators have removed most of the presumably inappropriate comments. But the striking lack of empathy remains at least in this one, the last at the time this is written, which has been there for over an hour:

 3

Apparently for some people it will remain a mystery why “the jews will bang on forever about their persecution, because they are under the impression no one as suffered like they have”.  For some it is too difficult to comprehend that this mass murder was so horrific that the special term “Holocaust” had to be created to refer to it and in which modern technology was used to eliminate an entire people by killing as many as 6 million of them – and why the annoying survivors keep “banging on about it”.

It is also worth noting that while holocaust-denying comments remained on the thread for hours, beneath Rachel Shabi’s tendentious and morally pretentious commentary alleging Islamophobia by the “the power-brokers of Hollywood”, comments which didn’t abide by the Guardian Left script were quickly deleted.

The appearance of both articles on the same day, and the totally different level of comment moderation, demonstrates the bias of Guardian editors and those they employ to moderate the threads. 

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.

Guardian editorial takes the side of Morsi (or Mubarak?)

To get an idea of just how outrageous a recent Guardian editorial (on Dec. 7) defending President Morsi and criticizing the liberal opposition truly was, here are two tweets by commentators with otherwise unimpeachable Guardian Left credentials:

Here’s Guardian Cairo correspondent Jack Shenker.

Here’s ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Rachel Shabi:

Here are a few excerpts of the Guardian editorial in question:

[The crisis in Egypt] is not about the proposed constitution,

[The opposition is engaged in] a power battle in which the aim is to unseat a democratically elected president, and to prevent a referendum and fresh parliamentary elections being held, both of which Islamists stand a good chance of winning. Morsi, for his part, is determined that both polls be held as soon as possible to reaffirm the popular mandate which he still thinks he has.

The opposition on the other hand has never accepted the results of freely held elections, parliamentary or presidential, and is doing everything to stop new ones being held

So, the Guardian, when faced with a choice between a Muslim Brotherhood which is ideologically opposed to true democracy and individual freedoms – a political predisposition clearly on display in Morsi’s recent decision to assume dictatorial powers - and a political opposition which is at least marginally progressive, chose the reactionary Islamists.

The following post by a Lebanese writer, who blogs at Karl reMarks, is titled The Guardian’s Editorial on Egypt Re-Imagined‘, and is based on the same Dec. 7 Guardian editorial re-imagined as if it were written in January 2011, with minor changes like replacing Morsi with Mubarak.

As the crisis in Egypt develops, it is becoming increasingly clear what it is not about. It is not about the elections, or the economic crisis, or Egypt’s relationship with Israel. Nor is it about the arrangements for a successor to the president. Nor even is it about the temporary but absolute powers that the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, assumed for himself – for a mere thirty years, and which will lapse the moment the Egyptian people stop making a fuss.

Urging the opposition to shun dialogue, Mohamed ElBaradei said that Mubarak had lost his legitimacy. So the target of the opposition is not the constitution, or the emergency law, but Mubarak himself. What follows is a power battle in which the aim is to unseat a democratically elected president, with 88.6% of the vote, and to prevent fresh parliamentary elections being held, both of which the ruling NDP stand a good chance of winning. Mubarak, for his part, is determined that both polls be held as soon as possible to reaffirm the popular mandate which he still thinks he has.

In weighing who occupies the moral high ground, let us start with what happened on Wednesday night. That is when the crisis, sparked by yet another Mubarak decree when he was at the height of his domestic popularity over the role he played in stopping the yet another Israeli assault on Gaza, turned violent. The NDP party sanctioned a violent assault on a peaceful encampment of opposition supporters in Tahrir Square. But lethal force came later, and the NDP was its principle victims. NDP offices were attacked up and down the country, while no other party offices were touched. This does not fit the opposition’s narrative to be the victims of state violence. Both sides are victims of violence and the real perpetrators are their common enemy.

Mubarak undoubtedly made grave mistakes. In pre-empting decisions by the courts to derail his reforms, his decrees were cast too wide. His laws have many faults, although none are set in stone. The opposition on the other hand has never accepted the results of freely held elections, parliamentary or presidential, and is doing everything to stop new ones being held.

The Guardian is not only supporting a racist, antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-West Islamist movement, but are remaining loyal even when a more liberal alternative is possible. 

You don’t need to agree with our critique of the paper’s coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict to acknowledge that the ‘Guardian Left’ ideology in many ways resembles the reactionary right more than anything truly progressive?

Rachel Shabi has “fresh hope” that the Jewish state may cease to exist

Perhaps someone needs to remind Rachel Shabi, and ‘Comment is Free’ editors, that the Peel Commission has adjourned, the Jewish nation is a wonderful reality, and the state’s radical bi-national reconstitution will never, ever be countenanced by its citizens.

Shabi’s Oct. 23 piece, ‘The death of the Israel-Palestine two-state solution brings fresh hope‘, pronounces the two-state principle dead, a victim, she claims, of the impossibility of removing “half a million Jewish settlers and infrastructure from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

However, this line of argument is absurd, as it implies that nothing other than the evacuation of 100% of Israelis from the territories would achieve a two-state solution.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s proposal in 2008 would have given the Palestinians an independent, contiguous state, with 94% of the West Bank (plus land swaps in pre-1967 Israel to make up for the 6% of the WB which would remain in Israel’s control), 100% of Gaza, and a capital in East Jerusalem. Tens of thousands of Jews would have been uprooted.

Yet, Olmert’s peace plan, the details of which have been confirmed by U.S. leaders active in the talks, were rejected by Mahmoud Abbas, who walked away from the deal - just as Yasser Arafat did in response to Ehud Barak’s offer of statehood in 2000.

Here’s a map representing the proposed deal.

As former U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice wrote in her autobiography:

“Although Palestinian negotiators spoke publicly about compromise on refugees privately they spoke of the “right of return” as a matter of individual choice that would have to be extended to each of over seven million people and with Palestinians retaining the open-ended right to try to negotiate additional “returns” beyond any number initially agreed upon in a peace treaty.

Abbas was simply unprepared to accept any offer that did not allow for the “right of return.” [emphasis added]

The Palestinians’ trickery on what they were actually willing to accept concerning the “refugees” completely fooled the Guardian in their contextualization of the ‘Palestine Papers’ in 2011.

Further, their maximalist, unlimited demand for a so-called “right of return” (for Palestinians refugees from 1948 and millions of their descendants) by Palestinian leaders  is perhaps the greatest indication that their “two-state” support is merely a chimera – that Palestinian leadership have never reconciled themselves to the continued existence of a Jewish state.  

A “right of return” for “7 million Palestinians”, back to places in Israel where the overwhelming majority have actually never lived, necessarily negates Israel’s continued existence as a state for the Jewish people.  

In her CiF piece, Shabi writes:

“…a new generation of Palestinian activists, in part inspired by the Arab uprisings in the region, are bypassing territorial demands to focus on civil rights and freedoms.

Shared-space [binational] alternatives have grassroots momentum, but no leadership support. “

Of course, the term “grassroots momentum” is one of those intentionally blurry words meant, in this case, to avoid having to acknowledge that, the overwhelming majority of Jewish Israelis would fiercely reject a bi-national solution. (Per a recent poll by the Israel Democracy Institute, 86% of Israeli Jews reject such a plan.)

Those who advocate for a one-state solution are either parroting the narrative of Palestinian rejectionists, or are indifferent to the fact that any attempt to impose a one-state “solution” would be met by fierce Jewish resistance, inspired by the historical lessons Jews have painfully learned on the political necessity and ethical imperative of Jewish sovereignty.

Such Utopian dreams represent a recipe for endless war – and certainly nothing resembling peace. 

The Jewish state has been re-established in our historic homeland, and those wishing to undo 1948 should get over it.  

Their malign fantasies are not going to be realized.

You don’t need to know Hebrew to write Israeli history backwards at the Guardian

A guest post by AKUS

As you know, Hebrew is written from right to left, not left to right. But the mere fact that the letters are arranged in the opposite direction should not imply that the logic is.

Apparently, however, when writing to the Guardian, it helps to transcribe the letters from left to right, but have the logic go backwards.

In a recent letter to the Guardian, arguing for a two-state Israeli-Palestinian solution against the one-state solution proposed in an article by   Rachel Shabi declaring the “Two-State Solution  Dead”, Dr. John Jennings wrote (my emphasis added):

“The opening sentence in Rachel Shabi’s article (The death of the two-state solution gives fresh hope, 24 October) underlines its central weakness. We are told: “We could argue who killed it but what’s the point.” But exaggeration aside, this is precisely what we should do, since it immediately highlights the principal cause: A COMPLETE ABSENCE of a sustainable high-powered PALESTINIAN resistance movement on the ground for over TWO DECADES and counting.

The literature on resistance in asymmetric conflicts over the last 100 years shows that, for the weaker protagonist, up to 50% of such conflicts are successful, not so much in the classical Castro sense, but more with respect to a meaningful and substantive reconfiguration of the power between the parties. Then and only then can negotiations become “realistic”, as the stronger party, succumbing to the cost factor, inevitably becomes attuned to the reality of a robust protagonist.

A classical paradigm is the Vietnam war, but PALESTINIAN RESISTANCE, especially in the late 1980s, is even more pertinent, since it effectively drove RABIN to the negotiating table, AS HE HIMSELF ADMITTED. The great pity was that Arafat threw away all the advantages of this initial success by disbanding the very resistance that prompted the Palestinian breakthrough in the first place.

In my view, a comprehensive, robust, nonviolent core resistance on the ground in Palestine, coupled with an international campaign akin to the boycott movement, in conjunction with an equally robust negotiating strategy will lead to an independent Palestinian state.”

Now, how about this version?

“We could argue who killed it but what’s the point.” But exaggeration aside, this is precisely what we should do, since it immediately highlights the principal cause: THE EMERGENCE OF A high-powered JEWISH/ZIONIST/ISRAELI resistance movement on the ground for over SIX DECADES and counting that led to an Independent Israeli state that could not be coerced into accepting an Arab fiat creating a Palestinian state under conditions unacceptable to Israel.

The literature on resistance in asymmetric conflicts over the last 100 years shows that, THE VASTLY OUTNUMBERED JEWISH STATE, was the best example of how to create a meaningful and substantive reconfiguration of the power between the parties.

A classical paradigm is NOT the Vietnam war, waged by the Vietnamese against foreign powers. ISRAELI FORTITUDE, especially in the late 1980s, is even more pertinent, since it effectively drove EGYPT AND JORDAN to the negotiating table, as THEY THEMSELVES admitted.

Any impartial reading of the last 64 years, since the State of Israel was founded, and also the 30 -40 years before that, must show that Israelis pulled off a textbook example of using self-reliance, economic development, willingness to sacrifice and flexibility in negotiations to achieve goals the Palestinians have never been able  to achieve. If one seeks a classic example of “asymmetric resistance” in the face of a vastly superior enemy, it is Israel’s ability to resist conquest by its Arab enemies.

Jennings’ call for the Palestinians to emulate the Vietnamese in order to create a Palestinian state is ludicrous and a complete misreading of the two conflicts. There is not the slightest resemblance to the Vietnam situation. In Vietnam, an existing nation beat off the armies of foreign powers led by the USA that came from thousands of miles away for ideological reasons (anti-Communism) to support a corrupt regime that had taken over half the country.  Obviously, Israel in this scenario is not in any sense a remote country under no threat from its opponent  like the USA and its allies in Vietnam, and certainly is not trying to support the corrupt and divided Palestinian regime. Moreover, Israel is not going to go away when the going gets tough.

Rather than having a “robust negotiating strategy” the Palestinians have either walked away from negotiations or refused to negotiate with a stronger power, Israel.  When Jennings proposes “a comprehensive, robust, nonviolent core resistance on the ground” he is dreaming. The only person to seriously attempt to implement this has been Salam Fayyad. He is regarded almost if not in fact as a traitor to “the cause”, which is really the destruction of Israel, not the creation of Palestinian State on the West Bank (and possibly in Gaza). The concept of “resistance”, in the Palestinian context, means the use of terror tactics against Israeli civilians, not non-violence.

Furthermore, Jennings’ proposal for a sort of “asymmetric” jiu-jitsu, i.e. an “international campaign akin to the boycott movement,” has been tried and like the BDS cult, has failed. The Palestinians can go to the UN as often as they like, but it is not the UN they must negotiate with, and the UN will not force Israel to withdraw from the West Bank in its entirety which is the only thing that might satisfy the Palestinians.

The Palestinians are not the Vietnamese or Cubans. They have not been a “robust opponent” able to “drive”  Israel to the negotiating table. On the contrary, Israel has begged the obdurate Palestinians to negotiate – which means accepting some compromises for both sides – and they have refused. One could argue, I suppose, that Israel has not been able to “drive” the Palestinians to the negotiating table – is this a measure of Palestinian power and success? It certainly does not seem to be.

The problem the Palestinians have is not how to “drive” Israel to the negotiating table. The most “unrealistic” aspect of the Palestinians’ aspirations for a Palestinian state (other than their desire to take over Israel) is that they have not learned how to say “yes” when offered 95% of the West Bank. But perhaps the problem is that what lies behind the “one-state” concept is that it is not even 100% of the West Bank that would satisfy them – it is 100% of Israel that they dream of taking.

 Israel is not America, the Palestinians are not a good example of a resistance or national liberation movement but Israel is, and they have no need of a “robust resistance”. If it is an “independent state” they want, as Jennings seems to believe, they can have 95% of what they want tomorrow if they can only bring themselves to take it.

What is becoming increasing apparent, hence the futile calls for the impossible “one-state solution”, is that the Palestinians are incapable of creating the conditions under which they will achieve a Palestinian state on the West Bank.  The conclusion seems to be that this is not what they want even if Jennings  and others think it is what they should want.

On the other hand, despite Shabi, since the “one state solution” requires Israelis to agree to it, they are unlikely to get that either. If one accepts that their leaders understand that, and are unwilling to negotiate with Israel, one can only assume that they do not, in fact, want an independent state. The true “one-state” for the West Bankers is federation with Jordan – a logical idea which is becoming more openly discussed by West Bank intellectuals and Jordanian leaders. The West Bank leadership should say so, and open negotiations with Jordan, with Israel entering the final status negotiations under the terms of the existing peace agreement with Jordan once those two parties have formulated their proposals.

As long as you can write the logic backwards, reinvent history, draw false analogies and make improbable claims about how to create a Palestinian state other than simply saying “yes” it appears that, like Dr. Jennings, you too can have a letter published in the Guardian.