Tyranny of the weak: Why the Guardian will support the next Palestinian Intifada

There are quite a few factors which lead us to believe that many Guardian reporters and editors will likely lend moral support to the Palestinians in the event they launch another deadly intifada.  

Specifically, the paper has shown a clear tendency in the past to license extremist commentators who reject peace and reconciliation with Israel and legitimize (if not justify) Palestinian terrorism.  Additionally, their binary moral paradigm in which Palestinians are seen as immutable victims of Israeli oppression further necessitates at least tacit support for the Palestinians’ recourse to violence. 

First, their promotion of extremism:

In 2011, the Guardian published the leaked ‘Palestine Papers’ and, in an official editorial contextualizing the thousands of pages of “confidential” Palestinian records covering years of negotiations with Israel, harshly criticized Palestinian leaders for showing some alleged reasonableness during negotiations, suggesting that they ‘sold out‘ on Palestinian “rights” such as ‘the right of return’ – characterizing such putative flexibility as “craven”.

The Guardian:

“It is hard to tell who appears worst: the Palestinian leaders, who are weak, craven and eager to shower their counterparts with compliments; 

A well-researched report by Just Journalism in 2011 demonstrated the consistent promotion of voices at ‘Comment is Free’ that reject peace negotiations and even Israel’s very right to exist:

Just Journalism:

The Guardian published more op-eds by Palestinians than by Israelis during  the first half of 2011, with eleven comment pieces by nine Palestinian contributors in comparison with six by four Israelis Three of the Palestinians who contributed op-eds during this period were  either members of Hamas or strongly affiliated with it, and have endorsed  terrorist attacks.  Four further Palestinians were secular nationalists who also reject Israel’s legitimacy and endorse policies that would turn it into an Arab majority state…

Here’s one example demonstrating that the Guardian continued to license even terrorists committed to murdering Jews.

Musa Abumarzuq is deputy head of Hamas's political bureau

Musa Abumarzuq is deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau

Editors also published a letter in 2011 by a philosophy professor which explicitly defended the right of Palestinians to murder Israeli civilians (including, presumably, children) in terror attacks – an editorial decision which was actually defended by their readers’ editor following the uproar which ensued.

Here’s the letter:

Also in 2011, the Guardian editorialized about the ‘Arab Spring’, and actually praised the Palestinians for launching intifadas. 

The Guardian:

The leaders of Fatah and Hamas were obliged to reconcile by the forces stirring the Palestinian street. The negotiators of Fatah had stopped negotiating, and the fighters of Hamas had stopped fighting. Both had to respond to a simple idea: if one million Egyptians can fill Tahrir Square demanding Palestinian rights, why can’t Palestinians, who taught the Arab world how to mount insurrections, and mounted two intifadas of their own.

In 2012, during the war in Gaza (Operation Pillar of Defense) Associate Editor Seumas Milne wrote an op-ed defending the right of Hamas terrorists to launch terror attacks against Israelis, and argued that Israel has no such moral right to defend itself. 

Seumas Milne:

“So Gazans are an occupied people and have the right to resist, including by armed force (though not to target civilians), while Israel is an occupying power that has an obligation to withdraw – not a right to defend territories it controls or is colonising by dint of military power.

Even if Israel had genuinely ended its occupation in 2005, Gaza’s people are Palestinians, and their territory part of the 22% of historic Palestine earmarked for a Palestinian state that depends on Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem. Across their land, Palestinians have the right to defend and arm themselves, whether they choose to exercise it or not.”

Emboldened by the wave of change and growing support across the region, Hamas has also regained credibility as a resistance force, which had faded since 2009, and strengthened its hand against an increasingly discredited Palestinian Authority leadership in Ramallah in Ramallah. The deployment of longer-range rockets that have now been shown to reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is also beginning to shift what has been an overwhelmingly one-sided balance of deterrence

Oppressor vs. Oppressed Paradigm: 

In addition to what seems to be an almost fetishization of Palestinian political violence, the binary, oppressor-oppressed political framework in which they see the conflict seems to necessitate that they suspend moral judgment when dealing with what they see as the ‘weaker party’.  This moral tick betrayed itself in their 2011 editorial on the Palestine Papers noted above, where they opined about the notes released from the 2008 negotiations between Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas:

Guardian:

It is hard to tell who appears worst: the Palestinian leaders, who are weak, craven and eager to shower their counterparts with compliments; the Israelis, who are polite in word but contemptuous in deed; or the Americans, whose neutrality consists of bullying the weak and holding the hand of the strong

More recently, an official Guardian editorial on the current peace process (Israeli-Palestinian talks: perpetual motion, Jan. 1, 2014), began thus:

The secret of perpetual motion eludes scientists but sometimes seems close to being grasped by those involved in the so-called Israeli-Palestinian peace process. That process has too often been about avoiding peace rather than about achieving it. Movement with no other purpose except to suggest something useful is being done mocks the Palestinians, who have been waiting for more than a generation for a measure of justice.

It is important that the responsibility for this failure is assigned correctly, with the greatest part belonging to Israel, the next largest share to the United States and only the smallest portion to the Palestinians. They have been difficult and sometimes slippery negotiators, and they may – it is arguable – have missed some serious opportunities in the past. But there are two points that must always be borne in mind with the Palestinians: they are the aggrieved party; and they are by far the weakest party.

Indeed much of the Guardian’s world view seems dictated by such platitudes about the virtues of the putatively powerless.

As Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson said in defense of his notorious cartoon (during the Mavi Marmara row) which used biblical imagery in depicting murderous Israeli troops killing the dove of peace, while another soldier aimed his weapon at two unicorns:

 I do my level best to stick to the protocols of alternative comedy of the early 1980s, as well as to HL Mencken’s useful nostrum about afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. In other words, I only attack people more powerful than me

Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian’s star reporter until late last summer, said at a conference of socialists recently that if you are pleasing the people in power…your job is not journalism.

Much of the Guardian’s shift editorially from the Zionist sympathies under its long time editor and owner CP Scott to their current pro-Palestinianism can arguably be traced to the way in which many on the left began to accept previously marginal theories on the necessity of understanding political affairs in the context of the relationship between the powerful and the powerless.  

Such elites soured on the Jewish State once (in the years following the Six Day War) they were no longer viewed as the underdog besieged on all sides by more powerful foes but, instead, as the confident, successful and militarily dominant modern state.  The Jewish people’s greatest sin, argued Pascal Bruckner, was “having emerged from their immemorial weakness” and, by “fearlessly resorting to force”, betrayed the role of victim that had always been assigned to them.

However, more sober minds would surely understand that Israel’s virtue is not dependent upon either its power relationship with its foes, but, rather, by the inherent justness of its cause: its exceptional tolerance towards religious, ethnic and sexual minorities; the strength, vitality and endurance of its democracy; the dynamism of its economy and disproportionate quantity of scientific advances, and the fact that it continues to faithfully carry out one of its primary missions, to serve as a refuge and safe haven for Jews everywhere – a role Theodore Herzl characterized as “the Guardian of the Jews”.  

Similarly, any intellectually credible assessment of the Palestinian people – one not compromised by the bigotry of low expectations – must avoid the temptation of seeing Palestinians as abstractions, and instead view them as complex political actors who are morally accountable for their decisions.  Those who suggest that Palestinians have no choice but to walk into pizza parlors and ignite suicide vests, sending thousands of pieces of shrapnel coursing through the limbs and organs of innocent men, women and children - all of whom are ‘powerless’ to resist the tyranny of such wanton violence – are not only negating the humanity of the Israeli victim, but denying the moral agency of the Palestinian perpetrator.

If negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians do break down, the Palestinians will still retain the power to freely decide whether to continue pursuing their interests through the political arena, or to return to the path of violence and destruction.  If they choose the latter, then Palestinians, and Palestinians alone, will bear moral responsibility for the unimaginable consequences.

And, if the worst does indeed happen, and Israelis are forced once again to bear the burden of a malicious campaign of terror, then the chances are good that Guardian editorials will fly off the presses ‘contextualizing’ the violence as understandable (if regrettable) last resort of the ‘downtrodden’, while all but ignoring their ‘more powerful’ victims.

Genuinely liberal voices, of course, would never countenance such a facile ethical response to a nihilistic, malevolent course of action, and would certainly never succumb to the fool’s moral calculus which equates weakness with virtue.

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Guardian Jerusalem Syndrome postscript: Jewish ‘provocations’ at the mosque

On Sept. 15th we posted in response to a ‘Comment is Free’ column by Giles Fraser which lent support to the often repeated lie that Israeli policy threatens to ignite tensions at the Temple Mount (the holiest site in Judaism). In An Israeli claim to Temple Mount Would Trigger Unimaginable Violence‘, Fraser played up the fringe view that the Jewish Temple should be rebuilt (at the site where the Al Aqsa Mosque now stands) and suggested that Jews who even visit such holy sites – prohibited for Jews when controlled by the Jordanians – was an act of extremism and an example of “the settler mentality”. 

Jews at Temple Mount, April 2013

Jews at the Temple Mount

Typical for Guardian journalists, Fraser completely ignored the Palestinians’ long campaign of incitement concerning the Temple Mount, and legitimized those who warn of a broader Israeli scheme to “Judaize” the city which represents the epicenter of the Jewish faith. 

Now, just this morning, it was reported that Muslim worshippers at the Temple Mount rioted and threw stones at Israeli police officers from inside the Mosque, injuring two.  The altercation reportedly broke out as the result of calls by the Islamist Movement (partly led by the Guardian’s favorite martyr Raed Salah) to create disturbances at the Mount. Salah, who has a history of antisemitic incitement which includes preaching to his followers that Jews use the blood of non-Jews to bake their “sabbath bread”, was recently arrested for incitement after he warned that Israel was going to torch the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  Salah’s latest attempt to provoke violence at the Mount was not reported by the Guardian.

(FILES)--Sheikh Raed Salah, the firebran

Raed Salah at the Temple Mount

As we’ve argued continually, noting the stories and incidents that the Guardian ignores or downplays is as important, in understanding their institutional bias, as it is to critically examine the stories they do report.

The paper’s coverage regarding the Temple Mount (and other holy sites) would lead the casual observer to not have the slightest clue about the steady stream of incitement spewing from Palestinian religious leaders, and believe that it is Jews – by merely demanding that their religious freedoms should not be abridged – who are the ones creating dangerous ‘provocations’.

Like so much of what passes for analysis at “the world’s leading liberal voice“, the impression created by their commentators and reporters about the root cause of tensions in the Holy Land represents the complete antithesis of reality.

Abu Qatada: a lesson for British Jews

Cross posted by Mark Gardner at the CST

Finally, Abu Qatada is back in Jordan, facing questioning about terrorism. The extradition has been a lengthy legal saga, summarised by headlines such as “hate preacher” and “send him back”.

The Guardian Comment is Free website has two articles on Britain’s handling of Abu Qatada. The first of these, by Victoria Brittain, is simply a blanket defence of him. The second, by Simon Jenkins, is far more ambiguous. Neither article details Abu Qatada’s actual UK activities in the 1990s and early 2000s, such as his links to British Muslims who later became terrorists, or his links and financing with overseas “mujahideen”: despite these facts being well-known and having appeared in Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) judgements.

The SIAC evidence is extensive. The 2007 judgement reads like a 1990′s and early 2000′s who’s who of the global jihad movement. Section 84 is one of its more succinct paragraphs:

In short, his views are to be found linked to many terrorist groups and their actions, providing the religious cover they seek; he propagates radicalising views, and his fund-raising is aimed at advancing the Islamist extremist cause.

The SIAC judgements also reference Abu Qatada’s incitement for the murdering of British Jews (from 2007, section 28):

…even in December 1996, the Appellant was already proclaiming that it was acceptable to fight Jews within the UK.

Similarly, section 31, but now with Jewish children clarified as legitimate targets. Britons and Americans are also added (presumably this also includes British and American children):

In October 1999, the Appellant made a speech at the Four Feathers mosque [in Marylebone, London] in which he effectively issued a fatwa authorising the killing of Jews, including Jewish children.  He told the congregation that Americans should be attacked wherever they were, that in his view they were no better than Jews and that there was no difference between English, Jews and Americans.

The Guardian coverage is important because it shows how some liberal-left opinion makers and activists are blinding themselves (and others) to the realities of extremism. British Jews have long despaired at the failure of such people to acknowledge antisemitism when it comes from Arab or Muslim sources, but this coverage of Abu Qatada shows that selective blindness to antisemitism is only part of a wider failing.

For British Jews, the lesson is obvious. If these people are even soft on Abu Qatada, then we should expect absolutely nothing from them regarding any overseas hatred or incitement: whether that is Hizbollah terrorism against Diaspora Jews, Hamas terrorism against Israel, the appalling overall levels of antisemitic attitudes and hate speech, or visits by overseas preachers to the UK.

To return specifically to these two Guardian articles, Victoria Brittain’s is by far the more obviously ridiculous. It’s title is a classic of the genre:

I know Abu Qatada – he’s no terrorist

Usually, it is the Guardian sub-editors who choose how to entitle articles, based upon their reading of them. So, Victoria Brittain may not have actually called it this. Her article lauds Abu Qatada as “a scholar with wide intellectual and cultural interests. He wrote books while in prison”. He phones his kids from prison to encourage their homework etc, but Brittain does not explicitly say that Abu Qatada is no terrorist. Instead, it is Qatada’s family that is “innocent” and:

No one suggests Othman [ie Qatada] is physically dangerous himself.

Which may even be true, but it completely ducks the central allegation that he encourages many others whom we might describe as “physically dangerous”. 

Brittain also says, “no one has pointed to anything controversial that he is alleged to have said since the mid-1990s”. Perhaps Brittain does not regard the 1999 example of incitement to killing Jews (including their children and Britons and Americans) as controversial. She also says that the security services should have followed her lead:

If instead they had chosen to talk to him, as I have many times, they would have found that the man behind the myth is a scholar…I believe that, rather than being scapegaoted, his moral standards could have been useful in engaging Muslim youth.

British Jews should be deeply thankful that Muslim youth are no longer exposed to Abu Qatada’s “moral standards”. Besides, the security services did, repeatedly, speak to Abu Qatada. SIAC states (2007, section 29) that he:

…warned his congregation to be wary of MI5’s approaches and provided them with physical descriptions and names of MI5 officers approaching Muslims.

So much for Victoria Brittain, but is such a person really someone whom British Jews (and others) should take seriously? Sadly, almost unbelievably, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Brittain was associate foreign editor of the Guardian, is a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and offered £10,000 surety money for Sheikh Ra’ed Salah.

CST believed Sheikh Salah had preached a sermon in Jerusalem that included a blood libel, alleging that Jews need the blood of non-Jews for “holy bread”. CST supported the Home Secretary’s ban on him. The ban was condemned by the Guardian, which also misrepresented Jewish and Home Office concerns and actions. Salah eventually won his appeal, despite being found to have made the blood libel speech (see ruling pdf here, section 59). The Guardian’s defence of him never relented and they never did acknowledge the blood libel ruling (see CST pdf here, p.18-22).

If Brittain defends Abu Qatada, then is it any wonder she defended the far less clear-cut case of Salah? Ditto the comments pages of the Guardian.

The Guardian’s other comment piece on Abu Qatada is by one of its senior regular writers, Simon Jenkins. Chairman of the National Trust, former editor of the Times and Evening Standard, he is somewhat more establishment than Victoria Brittain.

Jenkins’ article differs markedly from Brittain’s piece, but is another important marker in how Qatada is viewed, and what we can therefore expect regarding all those other cases that are far less clear-cut. His position starts out promisingly enough:

The state is entitled to deport people it considers a threat…I have no problem in sending home people in the category of Abu Qatada, who arrived on false documents, became an ally and counsellor to terrorists and then cited fear of torture as a reason for not being deported…

However, it then turns very lazy:

That said, Abu Qatada by all accounts does not fall into the ranting cleric category of his contemporary, Abu Hamza. He is closer to the vagrant revolutionary tradition to which London has offered refuge throughout history. The city should be big enough to encompass him, even if his activities merited watching…

Jenkins knows enough to realise that the charges against Abu Qatada are extensive, but ultimately he seems to be simply failing to take Abu Qatada seriously. Whatever the cause of this ambivalence, it is yet another reason why British Jews can have no confidence in such circles to safeguard their wellbeing; and the rest of society ought to feel exactly the same.

Finally, for light relief, compare Victoria Brittain’s “He’s no terrorist” schtick with this brief Simpson’s excerpt below.

CST report on antisemitic discourse slams the Guardian: Singles out Orr and McGreal

The CST, the official body advising the UK Jewish community on matters of security and antisemitism, just released a comprehensive report on antisemitic discourse in the UK for 2011 and singled out the Guardian for opprobrium.  In fact, CST devotes an entire section of their 36 page report to the Guardian.

CST noted the following:

In 2011, the Guardian faced more accusations of antisemitism than any other mainstream UK newspaper.

Here are some specific highlights from the full report:

Context:

CST:

Concerns within the Jewish community and elsewhere regarding the Guardian, relative to other mainstream media outlets, have persisted for many years now – a situation that will probably worsen as the paper’s Comment is Free website grows.

Comment is Free website: overview

CST:

Comment is Free website hosts many more articles than the Guardian’s actual print edition –and has lower editorial standards. Articles critical of Israel and its supporters are commonplace and routinely attract hundreds of comments from members of the public. Counter-articles are far less common.

The Guardian: overview

CST:

Specific accusations of antisemitism against the Guardian itself usually arise from opinion pieces that reflect the hostility of the writer to Israel or those they associate with it. These articles are rarely, if ever, explicitly antisemitic. Rather, they usually contain remarks and attitudes that echo antisemitic motifs, such as Jewish conspiracies of wealth and power, and the notion that Jews are loyal to no one but each other. In their hostility, these articles afford little or no room for mainstream Jewish voices or perspectives.

[Not] innocent in the war of words about Jews and Israel

A March 2011 opinion piece in the Jewish Chronicle by its deputy editor, Jenni Frazer, appeared to capture the feelings of many Jews and mainstream UK Jewish communal bodies towards the Guardian. She wrote: “…I cannot count the number of complaints we have had from readers who do not understand the Guardian’s obsession with Jews and Israel, the poisonous letters or op-eds it publishes.”

Typifying the Guardian’s problems regarding antisemitism, according to the CST, were comment articles by Washington correspondent Chris McGreal, a piece by weekly columnist Deborah Orr and its coverage of the Sheikh Raed Salah deportation case.

Chris McGreal: “George Bush slavishly refusing to pressure the Jewish state”

CST:

In an article concerning American Jewish voting patterns, senior Guardian correspondent Chris McGreal wrote: “Obama [told] American Jewish leaders that he would put some ‘daylight’ between the US and Israel after eight years of George Bush slavishly refusing to pressure the Jewish state to move toward ending the occupation.”Following protests that this risked reading as if former President Bush had somehow been a slave to Jews, the word “slavishly” was changed to“consistently”. The Guardian stated that this would“clarify the intended meaning” of the sentence.Given President Obama’s ethnicity, it seems unlikely that the Guardian would have allowed the word “slavishly” to be as readily used as in relation to former President Bush.

Nevertheless, the importance of conspiracy theory to antisemitism requires the newspaper (and others) to show sensitivity to risking such associations. In this regard, the Guardian’s alteration of “slavishly”to “consistently” maintained the overall meaning of the sentence, while reducing (but not entirely removing) the potential antisemitic sting.

Deborah Orr: “lives of the chosen”

CST:

In October 2011, Israel exchanged over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for a soldier, Gilad Shalit, who had been held captive in Gaza for five years.Guardian columnist Deborah Orr sparked outrage when she used the phrase “the chosen” in an article about the exchange:  “…there is something abject in their [Hamas’]eagerness to accept a transfer that tacitly acknowledges what so many Zionists believe –that the lives of the chosen are of hugely greater consequence than those of their unfortunate neighbours.”

Writing in the Jewish Chronicle, commentator David Aaranovitch explained his (and others’) concerns with Orr’s use of “the chosen…when the predicted complaint [about the Shalit exchange terms] was made in the predictable place (the Guardian’s opinion columns), the source surprised me. Deborah Orr is a clever, sensitive writer, as little given to bombast or prejudice as any columnist.“…What was so shocking to me about this phrase was its casualness – not its deliberation. The writer just didn’t realise, it seemed, that this charge about ‘chosenness’ – as applied specifically and categorically to Jews (whether ‘Zionists’ or not) is one of the most recurrent and poisonous tropes in antisemitism… Had she been confronted with the suggestion that, say, blacks were a bit childlike,undisciplined, sensual and physical rather than intellectual, she’d have recognised immediately the contours of old-time racism. The alarms would have gone off, the thought would have been interrogated, the problem noticed.“…Orr’s reaction seems to come from a place that deems all Zionism – all belief in a Jewish homeland– to be beyond respectability.“…What worries me here, as it increasingly has done for a decade, is the way in which the Palestinian issue is leading to a slippage in sensibilities, from concern, to partisanship, to an almost unconscious acceptance of the characterisation of Jews or Zionists or Israelis which replicates ancient libels….”

Blood libel allegation, Sheikh Raed Salah

CST:

Controversies concerning alleged antisemitism from Islamist sources were typified by the 2011–12 visit to Britain of Sheikh Raed Salah, a leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel. In particular, the Guardian newspaper was highly partial in its reporting of the case. Some coverage of the case (including, in part, by the Guardian) asserted or assumed that the Salah controversy had been engineered by the Israeli Government and carried out, at its behest, by its ‘local’ supporters and forced, somehow, upon the Home Secretary. These allegations about Israeli Government involvement were both unreferenced and untrue.

Guardian summary

The case exemplified the manner in which UK Islamists and pro-Palestinian activists defend their political allies from accusations of antisemitism. It is normal for such groups to act in this way and for them to misrepresent British Jewish concerns; but Blood libel allegation CST argued that Salah’s presence was unwelcome, primarily because of a speech he had made in Jerusalem in 2007 that had alluded to the “blood libel”, the notorious medieval charge that Jews kill Christian children in order to use their blood for religious practices.

These images, of medieval, Nazi, Syrian and modern day Hizbollah origin, each depict the notorious antisemitic blood libel charge.

As the controversy developed, Salah and his supporters claimed that Israeli officials had brought no charges against the speech, then said charges had been brought but dropped due to lack of evidence, before admitting that the case remained outstanding in Israel, but Salah and his supporters now claimed he had been discussing the Spanish Inquisition, not the behaviour of Jews.The final hearing (which Salah won) agreed with CST’s interpretation of the speech.

In February 2012, Justice Ockelton ruled in Salah’s favour against deportation, despite Section 59 of his own ruling finding that Sheikh Salah (“the appellant”) had indeed referred to the blood libel and that the Home Secretary had been right to consider this.  This finding has never been acknowledged…in any Guardian articles.”

Justice Ockelton’s statement included:

“In our judgment this [Salah’s counterargument] is all wholly unpersuasive. The appellant is clearly aware of the blood libel against Jews…The truth of the matter is that the conjunction of the concepts of ‘children’s blood’ and ‘holy bread’is bound to be seen as a reference to the blood libel unless it is immediately and comprehensively explained to be something else altogether.”.

“We have taken into account that the same sermon contained more moderate language and concepts and positive references to Jewish prophets and synagogues. Nevertheless we do not find this comment [by Salah] could be taken to be anything other than a reference to the blood libel against Jews…”

“The Guardian: pro-Salah bias:

Throughout the controversy, the Guardian…reported the views of Salah’s UK Islamist hosts and defenders, but failed to adequately ask for, report, or consider, the concerns of CST and the UK Jewish community.  It ran no articles countering Salah’s position.

Haneen Zoabi

On 29 June 2011, the Guardian ran an article by Haneen Zoabi, entitled, “An Israeli trap for Britain”.This framed the Salah controversy as being an Israeli ploy, carried out by its “supporters abroad”. It essentially reduced the allegations against Salah to the status of lies, concocted by Israel and its British supporters to defend racism and then forced upon the Home Secretary. Excerpts included: “…Unable to produce any legal evidence, the Israeli establishment and its supporters in Britain accuse him of antisemitism….It appears that the charge of antisemitism is being used as a way of suppressing criticism of Israeli policies…it seems that the British government has bowed to pro-Israel pressure even when it comes to inshore affairs.

Next, Zoabi alluded to Zionists being responsible for Islamophobia, repeated her dismissal of the allegations against Salah and ended by implying that “Zionist racism” and “the pro-Israeli lobby”were controlling UK policy: “Pro-Israel organisations in Britain and elsewhere are manipulating growing European Islamophobia to discredit us by falsely portraying the democratic Palestinian struggle against racism and discrimination in Israel as antisemitic.“…The British authorities have fallen into an Israeli trap…until now, Palestinian citizens of Israel have been struggling for our political rights in our country, and confronting Zionist racism inside Israel. But now it seems we have to confront Zionist racism abroad as well.“The pro-Israeli lobby must not be allowed to determine politics in Britain…

Official Guardian editorial

On 1 July 2011, the Guardian ran an editorial in support of Salah. Its title, “Muslim Brotherhood activists: unwelcome guests?” signaled the newspaper’s failure to properly address the antisemitism allegations against Salah, or what this meant for British Jews, Muslim-Jewish communal relations and the Government’s recently tightened anti-extremism guidelines.

The editorial echoed Haneen Zoabi’s opinion piece by crassly suggesting that the UK Government was moving against “all Palestinian activists Israel has a problem with”, before appearing to accept Salah’s denials at face value: “…he says [the allegations] were fabricated, and for which he has started libel proceedings…Mr Salah has not been convicted of antisemitism”.

Additional coverage of Salah by the Guardian.

On 26 September 2011, the Guardian reported upon Salah’s forthcoming appeal. The story summarised the antisemitism allegations against Salah and ran his lawyer’s rebuttals of them. This included implying that CST had “doctored”the Koranic poem and the “blood libel” speech to include mentions of “Jews”.

Following CST’s intervention, the story was altered on the Guardian website, clarifying that these were the lawyer’s claims, not the Guardian’s, and stating:“there is no suggestion that CST doctored the quotes”.  A line suggesting CST had not checked the quotes for accuracy was removed; but a further clarification that CST had actually found and supplied the accurate versions of the poem and speech was not included.

On 30 September 2011, the Guardian reported that Salah had won compensation for two days of wrongful immigration detention.  

On 26 October 2011, Salah lost his first appeal. Despite its extensive prior coverage (at least articles prior to this date), this verdict did not appear to be reported by the Guardian. Indeed, the paper seems to have made no further mention of Salah until 9 April 2012, when he won a further appeal. This was covered at length by the  two articles, which implied that Salah had won on all charges, whilst making no mention of the ruling dismissing Salah’s denial of having made a blood libel speech.

It also ran an article by Salah himself, entitled, Britain’s duty to the Palestinian people”.

Salah’s CiF piece included the claim that “The Palestinian issue can only be resolved if Israel and its supporters in Britain abandon the dogmas of supremacy…”

Conclusion:

CST’s 2011 Report on Antisemitic Discourse clearly demonstrates the Guardian’s continuing antisemitic sins of ‘commission and, just as dangerous, ‘omission’: their silence in the face of clear evidence of antisemitism when covering a story. 

While this blog’s mission is clear, and we’ll continue combating antisemitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’, we also have a related mission: to name and shame the Guardian as an institution which fancies itself the “world’s leading liberal voice” yet continues to display tolerance towards decidedly illiberal opinions about Jews.

It is incumbent upon all those who consider themselves passionate anti-racists to join us in this fight.

Raed Salah’s latest: Muslim demography will free USA and Europe from Zionist slavery

Cross posted by Mark Gardner at the CST

Sheikh Raed Salah has triumphantly declared that Muslim birth rates will free Islam-hating Europeans and Americans from “mental subjugation”, and enslavement to“global Zionism” , “Protestant Zionism” and “the Crusader hatred”. The speech was recently broadcast on Al Jazeera and an excerpt has been translated by MEMRI. It lasts just over 3 minutes and should be viewed here:

First, the quickest of recaps: Salah is an Israeli citizen and leading Islamist activist who entered Britain in June 2011, despite having been banned as ‘not conducive to the public good. Lionised by the Guardian and the usual suspects, Salah was very briefly imprisoned before losing his first appeal against deportation. He won his second appeal in April 2012, then promptly left the UK.

The case, like that of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, typified how UK Jewish concerns about overseas Islamists are traduced by the anti-Israel mob. For example, none of Salah’s many defenders have yet explicitly acknowledged that the judge who granted his appeal, did so despite having found that he had repeated the Blood Libel. (Yes, that Blood Libel – the one about Christian children’s blood and matzos. See judgement, sections 57, 58 and 59.) Most disgracefully, this includes his champions at the Guardian.

This footage is the kind of wild rhetoric that renders Salah’s presence here as not conducive to the UK public good, and in breach of Home Office guidelines against extremist preaching: regardless of whether or not one believes him to be an out-and-out Jew-hater.

It begins with Salah declaring:

…you haters, you midgets, you little insolent people – whether in America, in France, or in Denmark – listen to us, so we can show you who you really are.

You are slaves to global Zionism. You are slaves to Protestant Zionism. You are slaves to the Crusader hatred.

You should know that we are coming to you with the compassion of Islam to deliver you from the ignominy of your slavery.

This continues an intensifying trend in both leftist and Islamist circles, whereby anti-Muslim hate is blamed upon the mind-bending power of Zionism. We saw it, for example, in the case of Norwegian mass murderer, Anders Breivik. The potential impact of such a narrative upon inter-communal relations is obvious: as is the underlying belief in a Zionist conspiracy that holds entire continents in mental slavery.

It is disgusting that Jewish concerns about such hatreds should be treated with contempt.

Next, Salah exults:

“You should know that Muhammad is the most popular name in Asia. Muhammad is also the most popular name in Africa. Very soon, Muhammad will be the most popular name in Europe.

…I say to you who harbor hatred towards the Messenger of Allah that it will not be long before Allah grants us victory over you. Then, when you ask us, terrified and afraid, what we will do to you, we will say to you: You are free to go, because our goal is to shatter the subjugation of your minds to the enterprise of Herzl and David Ben Gurion.”

Watch the speech and how it is delivered. Consider Salah’s increasingly feverish triumphalism as he yells about Muhammad becoming the most popular name in Europe. If others had made such a speech, in such a manner, we can well imagine how it would have been correctly publicised and condemned by the Guardian, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Robert Lambert, David Miller, Victoria Brittain etc and their pals in the UK Muslim Brotherhood. Instead, they will likely note that Salah’s speech has been translated by an Israeli outfit – and that will be the target of their outrage.

Finally, the Guardian has still not told its readers that Salah’s UK arrest came shortly before he was due to brief some of its senior staff. Had the briefing happened, it is unlikely that Salah would have mentioned midgets enslaved to “global” and/or“Protestant” Zionism, or that he would have gone off on a triumphalist Islamist rant about Muhammad being the most popular name in Africa, Asia and (soon) Europe.

Nevertheless, if the Guardian’s staff, or Corbyn etc, want to know about Salah, his ideology, and why Jews and non-Jews, (including even Zionists and Conservative Home Secretaries), have every right to be concerned about him, then they should watch the video. Of course, this won’t change their behaviour in the slightest: so perhaps they could consider the potential racist backlash against ordinary European Muslims, should Salah’s kind of Islamist demographic threat rhetoric become the norm.

The likeliest outcome: a memo to Salah from the UK Muslim Brotherhood, saying,‘with respect, try not to give the game away when TV cameras are present…as you well know, the Zionists are watching’.

Guardian series on “Racism in a digital age” indicative of the media group’s hierarchy of victims

The Guardian recently launched a series of essays at ‘Comment is Free’ titled Racism in a digital age“.  

The objective of the series is as follows:

“The aim of this series is to explore the changing nature of racism and racist politics, particularly as it relates to online behaviour. Racism continues to dominate the headlines, from the rise of the far right to the status of racial abuse on social media. Nevertheless, not only is the nature and impact of racism disputed, the very idea of racism is contested. This series of articles will investigate these disputes. What is recognised as racism and, in diverse and unequal societies, who gets to decide?”

Here are the essays published since the launch of the series on July 8th:

Here is a very brief textual and thematic analysis of the 10 essays, which encompass nearly 7,000 words:

  • Use of the words “Muslim”, “Islam”, “Islamophobia” etc.: (87).  Essays in the series which primarily focused primarily on anti-Muslim bigotry: (5) 
  • Use of the word “Black” or term “people of color” (19). Essays in the series which primarily focused on anti-black racism: (3) 
  • Use of the words “gay”, “homophobe”/”homophobia”, etc.: (16). Essays in the series which focused primarily on bigotry against gays: (1) 
  • Use of the words “Jew”, “antisemite”/”antisemitic”, etc.: (10).   Essays in the series which focused primarily on bigotry against Jews: (0)

Is the fact that a Guardian series about bigotry disproportionately focuses on anti-Muslim racism, and all but ignores anti-Jewish racism insignificant?

Hardly.

The greater context pertains to a dynamic at the Guardian we’re continually commenting on: The media group’s silence in the face of Muslim antisemitism, in the Palestinian territories and the wider Muslim and Arab world, and their corresponding moral sympathy towards Islamists with decidedly reactionary agendas.

Here are a few examples:

So why does the Guardian choose not to see Islamist antisemitism and how can it continue to frame adherents to such dangerous movements as victims and protagonists?

It almost seems as if Guardian editors fear that even accurate characterizations of racist or intolerant Muslims are manifestations of Islamophobia.

Indeed, Jonathan Freedland, in his contribution to CiF’s series on racism, which focused primarily on anti-Muslim bigotry, wrote the following:

“…we should call [blatant examples of Islamophobia] by its name: it is racism, of the crudest kind. [But] subtler [forms of Islamophobia]…can be confusing, because they often dress up in progressive, Guardian-friendly garb – slamming Islam as oppressive of gay and women’s rights, for example – but the thick layer of bigotry is visible all the same. Call it progressives’ prejudice.” [emphasis added]

While Freedland didn’t cite ‘slamming Muslims as antisemitic’ as an example of progressives’ anti-Muslim racism, a clue into his thinking on the subject can found in an expansive essay he wrote about the persistence of antisemitism in the world, in 2011, titled “Antisemitism: the hatred that refuses to go away“.

In an ambitious, serious meditation on “the world’s oldest hatred” Freedland failed to mention where such Judeophobic invectives enjoy the most fertile ideological ground and most hospitable political climate, where the most vile and ingrained anti-Semitism is not considered aberrant: The Arab and Muslim world.

As I’ve noted previously, polls of Muslim countries in the Middle East clearly demonstrate that animosity towards Jews (not merely Israel) often exceed a staggering 95% of the population – based on empirical data compiled by one of the more credible global polling organizations.

Historian Robert Wistrich, Director of the International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism, has argued:

“The scale and extremism of the literature and commentary available in Arab or Muslim newspapers, journals, magazines, caricatures, on Islamist websites, on the Middle Eastern radio and TV news, in documentaries, films, and educational materials, is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany at its worst.”

Indeed, unlike in previous eras where decent people could reasonably have claimed ignorance about antisemitic attitudes, it is incomprehensible, in an era of the internet and mass communications (and with sites which consistently document such racism), how anyone can seriously argue that they are unaware of the extent to which this malignant animosity towards Jews dominates the public discourse in places like Cairo, Damascus, Amman, Islamabad, Riyadh, Tehran and Ramallah.

Jonathan Freedland and his colleagues at the Guardian seem to possess something of an ideological aversion to honestly confronting and exposing Muslim antisemitism.

As the epicenter of  of anti-Jewish racism in the world has certainly migrated since WWII from Christian Europe to the Muslim Middle East, the Guardian’s Left’s hierarchy of victims seems to prevent an honest assessment of this disturbing dynamic.

Of course, anti-Muslim racism is never justified.

But, neither is it ever acceptable to bury, ignore, or otherwise refuse to confront painful and politically inconvenient truths about Muslim culpability in perpetuating hatred and intolerance.

Such moral abdication in the face of racism is cowardly for sure, but, as history has clearly demonstrated, also supremely dangerous.

Request to CiF Watch readers: Ask Guardian to remove Raed Salah’s ‘Jewish supremacism’ smear

In a quasi mea culpa which, appearing to vindicate the work of CiF Watch, but now seems less serious with each passing day, Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott, in a post titled ‘On averting accusations of antisemitism“, published on Nov. 6, 2011, sought to address the following complaints about the Guardian:

“…that [the paper] is carrying material that… lapses into language resonant of antisemitism or is antisemitic”, citing “organisations monitoring the Guardian’s coverage” which “examine the language in articles – and the comments posted underneath them online – as closely as the facts.” [emphasis mine]

Elliott continued:

“Two weeks ago a columnist used the term “the chosen” in an item on the release of Gilad Shalit, which brought more than 40 complaints to the Guardian, and an apology from the columnist the following week. “Chosenness”, in Jewish theology, tends to refer to the sense in which Jews are “burdened” by religious responsibilities; it has never meant that the Jews are better than anyone else. Historically it has been antisemites, not Jews, who have read “chosen” as code for Jewish supremacism.” [emphasis added]

Here, Elliott was referring to Deborah Orr’s mocking use of the phrase “the chosen”, in an essay she published in the Guardian on Nov. 21  (to evoke the notion that Jews are inherently racist).  However, Elliott’s last passage was an admission not only that such pejorative uses of “the chosen” are code words used by antisemites, but, additionally, that the idea of “Jewish supremacism” is understood to be necessarily, indeed by definition, antisemitic.

The idea of Jewish supremacy is an explicitly antisemitic narrative, one which was popularized by David Duke and Gilad Atzmon, and is indeed similar to the ‘chosen people’ canard, suggesting that Jews are racist (as is the Jewish faith itself) and see themselves as a superior race.

 Along comes Raed Salah (the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel), who publishes a CiF piece, Britain’s duty to the Palestinian people“, on April 19.  His essay represented a moral victory lap of sorts, in the institution which had obsessively  championed his cause since he  prevailed in a series of appeals following his arrest by UK Immigration due to his history of hate and extremism.

His record on this account includes: Imprisonment for funding Hamas, reciting a poem advancing the antisemitic medieval  blood libel, and propagating the antisemitic conspiracy that  the attacks on 9/11 were an Israeli plot (i.e., Jews were warned not to go to work at the World Trade Center on that day).

Salah’s essay, titled “Britain’s duty to the Palestinian people” contains this complete lie:

“After a 10-month legal battle, I have now been cleared on “all grounds” by a senior immigration tribunal judge, who ruled that May’s decision to deport me was “entirely unnecessary” and that she had been “misled”. The evidence she relied on (which included a poem of mine which had been doctored to make it appear anti-Jewish) was not, he concluded, a fair portrayal of my views.” [emphasis added]

As we’ve  noted previously, the UK Immigration tribunal, in ruling that Salah indeed engaged in the antisemitic blood libel, wrote, in the final ruling (sec. 59):

“…we do not find this comment [by Salah] could be taken to be anything other than a reference to the blood libel against Jews and nothing said by the appellant explains why it would be interpreted otherwise from the original Arabic text or in the English text before us…”

Salah’s blatant lie, in the pages of CiF, claiming vindication, is followed by this simply risible line:

“….In reality, I reject any and every form of racism, including antisemitism.”

Ok, leaving aside his proclivity to engage in antisemitic blood libels, and advancing 9/11 conspiracy theories alleging an international Jewish plot, Salah isn’t able to contain his antipathy towards Jews for even the length of the very essay he was writing. In fact, a mere nine paragraphs later, there is this:

“The Palestinian issue can only be resolved if Israel and its supporters in Britain abandon the dogmas of supremacy…”

It’s this simple.  Raed Salah is accusing Jews of being supremacists, an accusation Elliott acknowledged was an explicit expression of anti-Jewish racism.

Either Chris Elliott was serious in his Nov, 2011, moral warning to Guardian staff or he wasn’t.  

While I’m not at liberty to reveal the details of my ongoing correspondence with Mr. Elliott regarding this matter, the exchanges suggest a failure to take Salah’s antisemitism seriously.

I ask our readers to contact Mr. Elliott and respectfully request that he consider deleting Salah’s characterization of Jews as “supremacists” from his April 19th essay.

We don’t intend to let up until this hideous passage is removed.

Here is Elliott’s contact info:

chris.elliott@guardian.co.ukreader@guardian.co.uk

CST secures amendments on the ‘Comment is Free’ website.

Readers may remember that back in February of this year, CiF Watch ran a cross post from the blog of the Community Security Trust regarding an article by Rachel Shabi posted on the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ website, the title of which suggested that “Israel’s rightwing defenders” make false accusations of antisemitism

The Guardian has now amended that headline but, as the CST blog observes:

“So, after contact from CST, this particular false accusation has been removed. It is very little and it is very late.

The damage is done: to Guardian readers’ perceptions of antisemitism and to many Jews’ perceptions of the Guardian (yet again).”

The full CST blog post on the subject can be read here.

More recently, also on the ‘Comment is Free’ website, the Guardian ran an article by Raed Salah in which he claimed to be the victim of a “smear campaign” run by “Israel’s cheerleaders in Britain” and that a poem written by him “had been doctored”. 

No reference was made in the article itself to the CST, but in a comment posted under the article in Raed Salah’s name, it was falsely suggested that the “doctored” version of the poem had been provided to the British Home Secretary by the Community Security Trust. 

That comment has now been removed from the website. Details can be read on the CST blog here

Guardian’s Becky Gardiner Celebrates Holocaust Memorial Day By Defending Blood Libeler

Cross posted by Alan A at Harry’s Place

In the Guardian’s op ed by Raed Salah, the following footnote has been added:

In the thread below, there has been some discussion about statements that Raed Salah allegedly made. The Comment editor Becky Gardiner has commented, setting out the judgement here and here. Raed Salah has also replied here.

This is what Becky Gardiner says:

Raed Salah’s amanuensis adds in his name:

After a 10-month legal battle, I have now been cleared on “all grounds” by a senior immigration tribunal judge, who ruled that May’s decision to deport me was “entirely unnecessary” and that she had been “misled”. The evidence she relied on (which had been given to her by the Community Security Trust, a British charity, and included a poem of mine about oppression which been doctored to make it appear anti-Jewish) was not, he concluded, a fair portrayal of my views. The judge said the one short passage in a speech that May used as evidence that I had repeated the so-called “blood libel” [the medieval accusation that Jews use the blood of Christian children to make bread] “was not a sample [of my views], or ‘the tip of the iceberg’: it is simply all the evidence there is.” In reality, I wasn’t referring to any such thing. I reject any and every form of racism, including anti-Semitism. I don’t believe in the “blood libel” against Jews and I reject it in its entirety. What I was really referring to in my sermon was the killing of innocents in the name of religion, including children, from the time of the Inquisition to as recently as Bosnia and elsewhere in Europe whose governments support Israel’s action. In fact, what May has neglected to consider in respect of the speech is that I also said in the speech ‘we are not malicious and we will not be malicious, thus we will also protect the honour of the Jewish synagogues.’ I have no doubt that, despite this, Israel’s cheerleaders in Britain will continue to smear my character. This is the price every Palestinian leader and campaigner is forced to pay.

So, that’s the Guardian’s position.

On Holocaust Memorial Day.

There is a whole bunch of evidence, unused in the trial and unquestioned, that shows the nature of Raed Salah. Becky Gardiner is very much aware of it herself, because I know that “a senior Guardian figure” took it to her, in an attempt to get her to publish just ONE piece explaining why liberals and progressives ought not to back Raed Salah.

Articles were written. They were submitted by a number of people to the Guardian. They weren’t even acknowledged.

Becky Gardiner’s view, I’m afraid to say, was that Comment is Free should not offer a platform to those who wanted to oppose Raed Salah’s incitement and racism. She saw opposition to Zionism as a sort of Manichean struggle, in which she was on the side of the angels.

The “senior Guardian figure” was quite surprised. But obviously, he did nothing about it because, you know, we mustn’t make a fuss.

This is the year in which antisemitism became a mainstream “progressive” cause. Fancy joining the fightback?

Guardian’s duty to Jews on Yom HaShoah? Don’t publish accusations that we’re “supremacists”!

While you should read Hadar Sela’s superb take down of the reprehensible decision by Comment is Free editors to provide a forum, on Holocaust Heroism and Remembrance Day, to the recently released Islamist Raed Salah, (Britain’s duty to the Palestinian people, April 19) one particular passage in Salah’s claim of moral vindication deserves scrutiny.

Here’s the relevant passage:

After a 10-month legal battle, I have now been cleared on “all grounds” by a senior immigration tribunal judge, who ruled that May’s decision to deport me was “entirely unnecessary” and that she had been “misled”. The evidence she relied on (which included a poem of mine which had been doctored to make it appear anti-Jewish) was not, he concluded, a fair portrayal of my views. In reality, I reject any and every form of racism, including antisemitism. [emphasis added]

Here’s the version of the poem as cited in the recent UK Immigration Tribunal ruling:

“We are not a nation that is based on values of envy.  We are not a nation that is based on values of vengeance.  We have never allowed ourselves, and listen carefully; we have never allowed ourselves to knead the bread for the breaking [of] fasting during the blessed month of Ramadan with the blood of the children.  And if someone wants a wider explanation, then he should ask what used to happen to some of the children of Europe, when their blood used to be mixed in the dough of the holy bread.  God almighty, is this religion?  Is this what God wants?  Allah’s curse be on you: how you are deluded away from the Truth.  How dare you to lie to God?  How dare you to fabricate things on God?” [emphasis added]

However, contrary to Salah’s claim in CiF, the UK Immigration Tribunal did not vindicate the poem at all.

Here’s the text from the ruling, regarding the poem:

we do not find this [poem] could be taken to be anything other than a reference to the blood libel against Jews and nothing said by the appellant or Professor Pappe explains why it would be interpreted otherwise from the original Arabic text or in the English text before us. 

Finally, perhaps the most risible claim in Salah’s CiF essay is that he rejects antisemitism.

While we’ve commented on his undeniable record of Jew hatred on many occasions, a later passage in his own CiF essay further demonstrates how absurd his claim is.

Salah writes

Despite the Israeli policy of “transfer” – another term for ethnic cleansing – the Palestinians will not go away. The Israeli state can occupy our lands, demolish our homes, drill tunnels under the old city of Jerusalem – but we will not disappear. Instead, we now aspire to a directly elected leadership for Palestinians in Israel; one that would truly represent our interests. We seek only the legal rights guaranteed to us by international conventions and laws.

The Palestinian issue can only be resolved if Israel and its supporters in Britain abandon the dogmas of supremacy and truly adhere to the universal values of justice and fairness. [emphasis added]

As we’ve noted several times in the context of commenting on Gilad Atzmon, imputing “supremacist” ideology to Zionists and Jews is a morally hideous idea which was, unsurprisingly, popularized by David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

And, yes, when Salah refers to “Israel and its supporters in Britain“, the supporters he’s talking about are Jews.

Guardian Readers’ Editor Chris Elliott, in his quasi mea culpa, “On Averting Accusations of antisemitism“, in Nov., wrote:

Three times in the last nine months I have upheld complaints against language within articles that I agreed could be read as antisemitic…Two weeks ago a columnist used the term “the chosen” in an item on the release of Gilad Shalit, which brought more than 40 complaints to the Guardian, and an apology from the columnist the following week.“Chosenness”, in Jewish theology, tends to refer to the sense in which Jews are “burdened” by religious responsibilities; it has never meant that the Jews are better than anyone else. Historically it has been antisemites, not Jews, who have read “chosen” as code for Jewish supremacism. [emphasis added]

Evidently Salah didn’t feel the need to even use such a code word for Jewish supremacism.

And, evidently, Guardian editors have not gotten Elliott’s memo, and continue to show themselves either incapable of recognizing, or indifferent to, even such explicit anti–Jewish racism – on Yom HaShoah, and each day the broadsheet continues in their simply comical mission of being the “liberal” paper of record.   

The Guardian, Raed Salah and Yom HaShoah.

A whole nation is at this moment remembering the slaughter of two-thirds of its members’ population in Europe.

That genocide was fuelled and enabled by the spreading of a racist supremacist ideology which sought to rid its subscribers’ country from ‘contamination’ by Jews.

That ideology was propagated in the minds of another nation by the spreading of false tales about Jewish evil-doing and coordinated scheming and by the dehumanisation of Jews to such a degree that even if they did not directly take part, millions stood by and watched as one of the most shocking events in human history took place.

Barely had the strains of the memorial siren which was sounded this morning all over Israel as a mark of respect for the six million victims of racist hatred faded away, when the Guardian chose to publish an article on its ‘Comment is Free’ website penned by Raed Salah – a man who holds beliefs and ideologies virtually indistinguishable from those which caused the events that siren commemorates.

The editors of the Guardian have fought in Raed Salah’s corner ever since the affair began. 

Now, once again, their immature “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” stance has caused them to tarnish the battered reputation of a once respected newspaper (and prove themselves to be eminently lacking in taste) by publishing Salah’s bizarre claims of being the victim of a “smear campaign” by “Israel’s cheerleaders in Britain” and that his anti-Semitic ‘poem’ “had been doctored” in order to frame him.

Those editors also permit Salah to launch a tirade of lies and distortions on everything from marriage laws, municipal and government budgets and equal pay laws to the well-worn subject on Guardian pages of Al Arakib and deliberate misrepresentation of the Balfour Declaration.

More gravely still, they allow Salah an unfettered platform from which to make the ridiculous – and dangerous – claims that official Israeli policy includes transfer and ethnic cleansing and that Israel is destroying the al Aqsa mosque.

There can be little doubt that some at the Guardian actually subscribe to at least parts of the genre of lies propagated by Raed Salah. There can be even less doubt that those who do not must be so intimidated by the prevailing organisational culture that they cannot curb the publication of such a blatantly outrageous article by a religious supremacist and separatist who subscribes to Hamas ideologies and aspirations alarmingly similar to the one the victims of which are being commemorated today.

Raed Salah has made a career out of extremism and incitement. That is who he is and what he does. However uncomfortable it may be, it is necessary to admit that – as his planned speaking tour proves – there is an audience for that kind of extremism in the United Kingdom as well as the Middle East.

But extremists do not get very far without the middle-men who re-package and re-brand their ideas and move them into the mainstream.

There are too many of these middle-men in Britain today.

Some of them sit in the House of Lords and in Parliament whilst others hold office in churches or so-called human rights organisations and charities.

Still more are members of Trade Unions, the academia or the media.

These people take the lies and dehumanisation of extremists such as Raed Salah and wrap them in a veneer made possible by their own standing which allows pernicious ideas to be spread to a general public which would otherwise not come into contact with them.

This is not to suggest that the editors of the Guardian and others are plotting a new genocide against the Jews. Indeed they would doubtless be horrified by the very suggestion. But what they are doing by uncritically publishing and promoting the lies and libels of extremists such as Salah and various Hamas functionaries and supporters is shifting hate-speech against Jews and Israelis alike into the realm of mainstream opinion.

As we should all (Guardian editors included) know by now and as we are reminded today, Yom HaShoah, such hate-speech does not exist in a vacuum.  

“The power of the media to create and destroy fundamental human values comes with great responsibility. Those who control the media are accountable for its consequences.”

Why is the ‘liberal’ Guardian still rooting for a reactionary antisemitic Islamist named Raed Salah?

The Guardian’s infatuation with Raed Salah is not new. When the story of his arrest in the UK  broke last year, the paper produced a plethora of articles, all eerily similar in their support for Salah and his British patrons and in the whitewashing of who Salah is (the various articles  uniformly described  him as a ‘Palestinian activist’) and what he stands for.

The Guardian’s Ian Black went so far as to describe the organisation its cause celebre heads in the following anodyne terms:  

“The Islamic Movement campaigns for the rights of those citizens who refer to themselves as the “Arabs of 1948″ – those left behind while 700,000 others became refugees when Israel was founded. It fights discrimination and campaigns for the right of Palestinian refugees to return, as well as against house demolitions and expulsions in Jerusalem.”

Notably, the Guardian failed to report the fact that Raed Salah lost an appeal against the deportation order in October 2011.

Now however, in the wake of the recent decision by the UK immigration tribunal judge, the Guardian is back on the case, with two articles (so far) on the subject in one day.  Along the way, the Guardian did not miss the opportunity to lash out once again at the CST, quoting David Miller and apparently having learned little from the last time it relied upon information provided by that known purveyor of outlandish conspiracy theories .

There are many reasons why a newspaper which likes to describe itself as both ‘Left’ and ‘liberal’ should not be trumpeting the cause of the leader of a religious ultra-nationalist movement which practices ethnic separatism, sex segregation and suppression of the rights of homosexuals, women and religious and ethnic minorities.

One of those reasons is that Raed Salah and his Northern Islamic Movement stand for everything which the liberal Left supposedly abhors. But the Guardian’s puerile ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ stance means that it is dazzled by the fact that Salah is feted in anti-Israel circles as a leading ‘activist’, and so it is prepared to sell out its once firmly held Leftist and liberal principles and avoid exposure of Salah’s real background and agenda at all costs.

In 2003 the Or Commission – appointed by the State of Israel to investigate the riots of October 2000 in which 12 Arab Israelis, one Jewish Israeli and one Palestinian were killed – published its report.

 “..thousands of demonstrators paralyzed the country, destroying Jewish property and attacking Jewish citizens on Israel’s main roads. In a number of instances Jewish citizens were just inches from death at the hands of an unrestrained mob.” One elderly Jewish man, Jan Bechor, was stoned to death as he sat in his car at an intersection on one of Israel’s main roads. The report also documented the use of firebombs, gunfire, rocks, and slingshots against both Israeli citizens and police.”

The report noted the incitement within the Arab sector which preceded the deadly riots:

“On September 18, 2000, two weeks prior to the outbreak of violence, more than 35,000 Israeli Arabs attended the seventh annual Northern Islamic Movement “peace” rally on the theme: “Al Aksa [Mosque] is in Danger,” hosted by Um el Fahm Mayor Sheikh Raed Salah. “

“Salah reportedly told the crowd, “the Islamic world has exclusive rights to all the holy sites in Jerusalem and Israel has none.” The crowd responded with the chant, “In spirit and blood, we shall redeem Al Aksa.” Islamic affairs expert Dr. Guy Bechor noted that the entire rally took place as an act of incitement against the very existence of the State of Israel.”

The Or Commission did not recommend legal action against Raed Salah – a move which was severely criticized across the Israeli political spectrum.

“Former Meretz MK Amnon Rubenstein noted that “the Or Commission’s credibility was damaged by its refusal to recommend action against Arab MKs Abdel Malick Dehamshe, Azmi Bishara, and Um el Fahm Mayor and Northern Islamic Movement leader Raed Salah for inciting the Arab sector.”

“Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens wrote in Ha’aretz, “It is difficult to believe that the Or Commission ignored the rapid rise of subversive activities and incitement against the state that occurred among a part of Israel’s Arab community since the Oslo Accords.” Druze MK Ayoub Kara said, “Israel must stop ‘touching up’ an ugly picture: the Israeli Arabs engaged in a civil rebellion to demonstrate their national solidarity with the Palestinians.”

Far from being the type of ‘human rights’ or ‘civil liberties’ movement as Ian Black suggested in his article quoted above, the Northern Islamic Movement is in fact the Muslim Brotherhood’s branch in Israel.

In 1997 it created controversy by attempting to build an unauthorized mosque on church-owned land outside the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. A year later it gained control of the local council and Christian residents of the city and visitors to it are still confronted by Islamist propaganda as they approach their holy sites. 

Like its sister organization Hamas – also a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood – the Northern Islamic Movement rejects the existence of Israel completely and advocates the establishment of an Islamic state run on Sharia principles in its place.

Raed Salah’s ‘activism’ must be examined by any objective observer in that context, rather than in the cherry-picking manner adopted by those who choose to present him merely as a pro-Palestinian activist.  Their support of Salah and, by extension, his movement’s aims is in fact support for an aspiring non-democratic theocratic regime with in-built persecution of minorities and discrimination against numerous sectors, not least moderate Muslims.

As cited in the Or Commission report, Raed Salah is well known for his ability to incite violence, conflict and unrest either through his signature rabble-rousing speeches or by other – sometimes imaginative – methods. Here he is speaking at a rally after his participation in the Mavi Marmara flotilla, glorifying ‘martyrdom’.

Salah’s support for Hamas and its genocidal aims is not, however, confined merely to inflammatory rhetoric and boat trips. Its practical side includes the Northern Islamic Movement’s links to terror attacks.

“Nonetheless, three terrorist attacks have been carried out during the past decade by members of the Islamic Movement, primarily by its radical faction: The murder of soldiers near Kibbutz Gal-Ed in 1992; the murder of an Israeli couple in the Meggido Forest in August, 1999; and the explosions of the bomb-carrying cars in Tiberias and Haifa in September, 1999.”

Whilst the Northern Islamic Movement may not have provided the logistic support for these terror attacks (that apparently came from Hamas) it certainly did provide the background atmosphere to them.

“Members of the extremist faction maintain contacts with HAMAS in the Territories. Dr. Saliman Aghbariyya, an activist in this faction from Um el-Fahm, has been arrested more than once for having financial connections with HAMAS. Sheikh Ra’id Salah, leader of the extremist faction, is a member of the board of governors of the Islamic University in Gaza; the most important stronghold of the HAMAS in terms of organization and education. Sheikh Ra’id rushed to Jordan, at the head of a mission, to congratulate Khaled Mash’al for surviving an attempt on his life by Israel’s Mossad in September 1997. Similarly, he and his supporters went to Gaza to congratulate Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the leader of HAMAS, upon his return home after being released from prison in Israel.”

As is well known, Raed Salah has spent time in prison in Israel due to his role in the transferal of funds to Hamas. That, of course, is no coincidence: Salah has been named as sitting on the board of trustees of Yusuf Qaradawi’s ‘Union of Good’, the raison d’etre of which is to provide financial support for Hamas. On the basis of that support to a terrorist organisation, the ‘Union of Good’ was outlawed by the United States and by Israel – along with its various supporting charities.  

Several of those supporting charities are based in Britain and, despite repeated public pressure, continue to function openly; rubber stamped by the Charity Commission of England and Wales.

Raed Salah’s 2011 speaking tour of the UK (cut short by his arrest) was promoted by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Palestinian Forum in Britain. The advertisements show that it was also a fundraiser for ‘Human Appeal International’ which is one of the members of the ‘Union of Good’. 

‘Human Appeal International’ was named in the trial of Ahmed Salatna of the Jenin Zakat Committee as one of the organisations via which funds were transferred for Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist activities.

Raed Salah’s supporters (the Guardian included) in the UK have tried very hard throughout the entire affair to confine discussion of the case to semantic wrangling over his anti-Semitic statements and A-level English Literature-style dissections of his ‘poetry’. In that, they appear to have largely succeeded. 

That ‘victory’ should, however, send chills down the spines of any genuine members of the liberal Left remaining in the UK. By focusing the public and legal discussions on the various interpretations of Raed Salah’s sermons and writings, interested parties have managed to create a smoke-screen of ‘Jewish over-reaction’, with an added measure of anti-Semitic conspiracy theory-style ‘untoward Jewish influence’, adding fuel to the fire of an already intimidating atmosphere as perceived by many British Jews and non-Jews alike.

But the ins and outs of British immigration law and Salah’s so-called poetry should – in theory at least – be of far less interest to Left liberal commentators than the fact that there are groups within their own society (some with members in very high places) who laud and support a man whose beliefs and ideas are the antithesis of the values of liberty, equality and human rights which Western liberals claim to embrace.

It is possible to agree or disagree with the principle behind Salah’s banning from the UK, but there is certainly no reason for any genuine liberal to invest as much energy as the Guardian has done into trying to disguise the fact that the aim of his visit was to spout his incitement, promote his ideas of theocratic-based separatism and do a bit of round-about fundraising for a terror organisation on the side.

The Guardian’s treatment of the whole protracted Salah affair shows how meaningless a term ‘Left liberal’ has become in the ‘progressive’ circles it inhabits. But that writing was on the wall right from the beginning of the saga when a Guardian editorial on the subject informed us that “[i]f the home secretary is unwise enough to start applying her “prevent” policy to all Palestinian activists Israel has a problem with, Britain will face a backlash in the Arab world.”

And that is precisely the trouble with the Guardian’s Israel obsession: it blinds it from seeing the world – and its own little corner of it – in focus and causes it to sell out the principles to which it – and too much of the liberal Left – used to once adhere. 

Guardian again defends Islamist antisemite Raed Salah, attacks Community Security Trust

We’ll have much more to say about this tomorrow, but here’s a press release by Community Security Trust on recent news that Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the northern branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement, has won his appeal against the decision of Home Secretary to exclude him from the UK.

It is being reported that Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the northern branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement, has won his appeal against the decision of the Home Secretary to exclude him from the UK.

CST is disappointed that Salah’s exclusion has been overturned, but we have not yet seen a copy of the judgement of the Immigration Tribunal and therefore we cannot make a general comment on the ruling or the reasons for the decision. However, there is one aspect of the media coverage of this ruling which cannot pass without immediate comment from CST.

The tribunal is being quoted as stating that the Home Secretary was “misled” and “acted as to a misapprehension as to the facts” in deciding to exclude Salah. This appears to relate to the government’s use of a poem that Salah wrote in 2002, an inaccurate version of which was reported in the Jerusalem Post in 2009. Some of the media coverage (for example in the Guardian) has noted that CST provided several pieces of evidence to the Home Office regarding Salah’s previous statements and activities, and carries the implication that CST is responsible for misleading the Home Secretary by providing her with inaccurate information.

Read the rest of the CST press release here.

CiF gives platform to Sarah Colborne to promote terrorist-organized ‘Global March to Jerusalem’

Global March to Jerusalem, scheduled for this Friday, March 30, is an anti-Israel publicity stunt that aims to have a million people marching on Israel’s borders from surrounding countries – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt – with the aim of reaching Jerusalem. Concurrently, demonstrations are planned against Israel’s diplomatic missions in major cities throughout the world.

The organizers of GMJ are made up of members of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, far-left extremist groups and are backed by the Iranian government. Senior organizers include:

  • Zaher Birawi, a prominent Hamas activist in the UK and senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood linked Palestinian Return Center.
  • Abdul Maqri, head of the Algerian delegation aboard the Mavi Marmara who in 2010 said “all our blood is Palestine” and declared that “Israel will be annihilated soon”.

Advisory board members include George Galloway, Mahathir Mohammed and Sheikh Raed Salah.

Official statements of the organizers of GMJ attempt to portray the movement as a peaceful protest aimed at highlighting the so-called “Judaization of Jerusalem”.

In 2011, GMJ general coordinator, Ribhi  Halloum stated “[t]he protest aims to move the right of return possessed by Palestinian refugees from theory to practice”.

In practice, the right of return is subterfuge for the destruction of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Coupled with that, employment of the term “Judaization of Jerusalem” is hateful rhetoric designed to negate thousands of years of Jewish history and incite the Muslim world.

Combined with the terror groups behind GMJ and the rallying cry of “saving Al Aqsa (Jerusalem) from the Jews”, it seems likely that sufficient numbers the organizers will seek violent confrontation with Israeli forces with the aim of sparking another Intifada.

The Guardian, undeterred by such quotidian concerns as the possibly deadly results of such a terrorist provocation on Israel’s borders, provided a platform to Palestinian Solidarity Campaign’s Sarah Colborne, “Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian struggle“, CiF, March 27.

Sarah Colborne is both a member of the GMJ International Executive Committee, its International Central Committee, and is also the GMJ national co-ordinator for the UK.

Colborne’s Lie #1, in CiF essay

“Jerusalem is a city that embodies the cultural heritage of three religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Yet Palestinians – both Christian and Muslim – are being driven out of Jerusalem….Just one example of this ethnic cleansing”

Since 1967, when Israel united Jerusalem, (based on the Israel Central bureau of Statistics) there were:

Jews: 195,700

Muslims: 54,963

Christians: 12,646

Then, by 2009:

Jews: 479,756

Muslims: 278,568

Christians: 15,476

So, far from being driven out of Jerusalem, the Muslim population of the city has increased roughly 5 fold, while the Jewish population has increased roughly by a factor of 2.8.  So, the Muslim population has grown dramatically faster than the Jewish population.

Obviously, there is nothing resembling ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem.

Colborne’s Lie #2

“Jerusalem, the traditional centre of Palestinian social, religious and economic life , is increasingly being isolated and restricted by Israeli policies.”

Such a moral inversion, suggesting that religious life in Jerusalem for Palestinians is increasingly restricted, represents the nadir of anti-Zionist propaganda.  Jerusalem, since 1967 – in stark contrast to Jordanian control of the city from 1949 to 1967, when Jews were forbidden from visiting Judaism’s most holy sites – has never been more free for citizens of all faiths to worship.

Muslim rights on the Temple Mount, the site of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aksa Mosque, have not been infringed, and the holy places are actually under the supervision of  the Muslim Waqf. Although it is Judaism’s holiest site, Israel has left the Temple Mount itself under the control of Muslim religious authorities.

Colborne Lie #3

“The Global March to Jerusalem is bringing together an impressive coalition of Palestinian voices and organisations, with supporters from dozens of countries around the world travelling to Jerusalem, and to the border countries, to participate in the peaceful actions.”

“The struggle for Palestinian rights is at the core of the global movement for social and economic justice.”

As our research has demonstrated (which can be seen at our site, Exposing the truth about the Global March to Jerusalem), this coalition is led by  members of proscribed Islamist terror organizations with backing from the Iranian regime. 

Here are the real goals of GMJ, contrary to Colborne’s supremely dishonest polemic at ‘Comment is Free’.

  • Destroying the “Zionist edifice”: Some idea of the mindset of the event’s organizers can be gleaned from statements made in the following e-mail exchange between two of them regarding a previous identical project. 

“Imagine a situation where we have more than a million people streaming in from four borders & Israel fails to stop the human tide…next time we will have 5 million who will be marching…This is exactly the nightmare situation for Israel…Thus will undermine the Israeli state, like no other strategy & then it will all begin to unravel & the Zionist edifice which is unraveling as we speak, will soon fall. 

  • Using GMJ as a catalyst to begin a 3rd Intifada: Feroze Mithiborwala is a member of both the GMJ International Executive Committee and its International Central Committee was even more explicit regarding the movement’s aims, writing:

“..the Arab Revolution presents new possibilities & the epic 94-year-old struggle of the Palestinian people, a proud & ancient nation, which has inspired the world for generations, will finally see a new awakening & with it, a new hope, a new Intifada, the Third Intifada!!”

  • Rejection of a two-state solution, seeking the elimination of Israel from the “river to the sea. GMJ promotional material refers to the 1948 occupation and supports the so-called “right of return” of Palestinian refugees, both euphemisms for the destruction of the State of Israel.
  • Legitimizing Antisemitic ideology in the name of human rights: Organizers of GMJ have engaged in vile antisemitic discourse, such as Ahmed Abo Halabiya, a GMJ organizer and Hamas member, who gave a sermon which included“Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them.”

Here’s an image on the official GMJ Facebook Page, portraying Jews as rats (a popular Nazi antisemitic motif) undermining the al-Aqsa Mosque:

Jews portrayed as rats, infiltrating the Al Aqsa Mosque

Finally, equally as absurd as characterizing the GMJ as an endeavor consistent with peace, liberalism and human rights is the suggestion that Colborne embodies anything resembling such progressive values.

Her organization, PSC, has demonstrated, at best, a tepid approach to Holocaust denial and racism among its members.  And, Colborne has shared a platform with the homophobic and racist leader of the Northern Islamic Movement Raed Salah, and leapt to his defence when he was apprehended by the British authorities.

Colborne and Salah also sailed together on the ‘Mavi Marmara’ in 2010 as part of the ‘Freedom flotilla’, during which Islamist incitement to violence was documented in , in which Salah can be seen in the first row, wearing a white skull-cap.

The Guardian’s decision to provide a platform to the organizer of a violent provocation – an organized act of incitement – led by terrorists with the explicit aim of destroying Israel represents a further erosion of the media group’s increasingly absurd veneer of liberalism.

The Islamists, terrorists, and their apologists who have planned and are behind the March to Jerusalem can only be described politically (based on their broader ideological orientation) as representing the antisemitic extreme right.

As such, Guardian Left politics is increasingly defined by this tendency to allow nearly anyone willing to mouth platitudes about “Palestinian rights” moral impunity for their reactionary, malign, racist agendas.

Fascist Chic: Pippa Bartolotti moves into the world of Reality TV

Our old acquaintance Pippa Bartolotti (best known perhaps for her fight last year with a pair of sliding doors at Ben Gurion airport) appears to have made a career move from agitprop to reality TV.

For those unfamiliar with the British Channel 4 show ‘Come Dine With Me’, the format involves a group of people holding dinner parties for each other which are then graded by the participants, with the winner receiving a cash prize. This week Ms. Bartolotti – described in the blurb as a ‘peace activist’ (which appears to have become an occupation; other contestants are described as a radio journalist and a housewife) hosted the meal.

Although it is not possible to view the show from outside the UK, the comments on the program’s Facebook account appear to suggest that Pippa did not make much of an impression on some of  the viewers with her locally sourced  spicy lettuce soup and egg curry.

Commenters’ remarks included “If i had that at my indian i would have sent it back”, “No offence but looked totally minging”, “Sounds disgusting”, “she mad as a box of frogs”, “That was a truly awful menu!!” and “Pippa’s food was slightly odd”.

The trick with important dinner parties is, of course, to stick to tried and trusted recipes one has used frequently in the past. Here then, is a suggestion for Pippa’s next soiree.

 

Menu:

Sliding Door Soup with Suitcase Croutons

Fascist Flag Fricassee served with a side dish of Steamy Islamist Rhetoric

Greens Salad

 Flambe a la Flynn with Dual-Loyalty Sauce

Ethically-sourced Free Trade Organic Caffeine-free Coffee substitute (produced in Merthyr Tydfil to reduce food-miles) with ‘Not the kind, loving British Jews I have known all my life thin mints

And for entertainment, rather than fortune-telling with witch-doctor bones, perhaps Ms Bartolotti could go for something more conventional and show her guests some holiday snaps.

Pippa Bartolotti holding the flag of the Syrian Socialist National Party – a fascist organization: http://www.danielpipes.org/5788/radical-politics-and-the-syrian-social-nationalist-party.

Pippa Bartolotti with Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar

Pippa Bartolotti with Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh