What war is good for: Jonathan Freedland and the empty platitudes of ‘peace’

“War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things;
the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings
which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.
A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight,
nothing which is more important than his own personal safety,
is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free
unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

- John Stuart Mill

The memo at Guardian HQ explaining the ‘root cause’ of Israel’s operation ‘Pillar of Defense’ evidently has been distributed far and wide within their coven of activist journalists.

While Guardian reporters, and ‘Comment is Free’ contributors, have varied in the degree of malice they impute to the Jewish state for launching strikes against terror targets in Gaza, the message they’ve conveyed to their readers is clear: Don’t believe the Israeli ‘narrative’ that the state is acting to stop thousands of rockets from being launched at their cities by a malevolent Islamist terror group committed to its destruction.

Harriet Sherwood, Simon Tisdall,  and, of course Steve Bell, are among the Guardian reporters and commentators who are vexed by the idea that the Jewish state would see fit to defend its citizens from a well-armed terrorist movement on its border, and see something more cynical – indeed something much darker – in the decision to launch ‘Pillar Of Defense’.

Jonathan Freedland’s video commentary – ‘Why has Israel decided to attack Gaza now?‘, focusing almost entirely on the supposed electoral reasons behind the war – is a telling case because Freedland is a unique Guardian journalist; he’s a proud Jew who supports Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

Not that Freedland hasn’t in the past succumbed to ‘J Street/Yachad/Peter Beinart leftist narrative which mistakes love for Israel with obsessive criticism, but, by all accounts, he is a decent, reasonable and mostly sober commentator.

However, as you watch this video, you’ll note that Freedland spends about 2 minutes and 37 seconds (out of a 2 minute and 52 second interview) on the alleged electoral reasons, and only 15 seconds explaining the context of Hamas rocket fire.

Additionally, in a full commentary about the war at ‘Comment is Free’, Freedland, in ‘The battle between Israel and Gaza solves nothing, Nov. 15, repeats the same reasoning:

“Why did Israel hit back now? The Hebrew press immediately assumed the key date was political, not military: 22 January, when Israelis go to the polls. There are plenty of precedents for outgoing governments taking military action, hoping to create a wave of national unity that will carry them to victory: Cast Lead itself fits that pattern. Binyamin Netanyahu may well have wanted to push aside his Labor rival and prevent his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, making a planned comeback – forcing both to fall into line as patriotic cheerleaders. Similarly, Barak found a way to remind voters of his supposed indispensability.”

However, Freedland’s suspicion of Israeli motives is as notable as his facile understanding of the broader issues of war and peace. 

His commentary ends, thus.

“Above all, the pain and anguish inflicted by yet another round of civilian deaths and injury will sow hatred in the hearts of another generation, who will grow up bent on revenge and yet more bloodshed. This keeps happening, decade after decade, for one simple reason: there can be no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both sides will say the action they have taken is necessary. But it will solve nothing.” [emphasis added]

This last highlighted passage gets to the heart of the matter, and defines, as much as anything, the false, and dangerous, political assumptions of the Guardian Left.

A basic understanding of Israeli history, it seems, would inspire Freedland to take note of the fact that it was the use of force, and the credible threat of force, which has protected the Jewish state from Arab efforts, over the last 64 years, to ‘throw the Jews into the sea’.  Negotiations with its enemies didn’t occur organically, but only as the result of Israeli military victories which prompted its defeated foes to grudgingly accept that they did not have the capacity to fulfill their destructive aims.

By what means, other than through military force, would Jonathan Freedland suggest should be used by Israel to defang terrorist groups in Gaza (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Popular Resistance Committees, and others) which possess thousands of rockets and the will to martyr thousands of their citizens in the cause of Jihad?

The perception of weakness and a lack of resolve – for any nation, yet alone the tiny Jewish state –  represents a dangerous provocation.

‘Peace’, when dealing with an enemy committed to your destruction, is not a serious strategy, but merely an empty and quite dangerous platitude.

The overwhelming majority of Israelis, their passionate supporters abroad and defenders of Western democracy more broadly understand this intuitive moral and political fact. 

Guardian Proletariat Hotel: Accommodations for the 99%, managed by the 1% (A visual guide)

A huge H/T to Armaros

Harry’s Place alerted us earlier in the week that the Guardian is thinking about developing a hotel concept. 

A bible in every room, just like in traditional American hotels:

However, upon closer examination:

Or, to those who find Marxist inspired liberation theology too rigid, a masters class on the secular faith of the Guardian Left by Charolette Simpson may be more to your liking.

 

The Seumas suite is really special. It has a signed photo of Stalin and a rice cup rumoured to have been used by Mao himself. It also has a Ukrainian flag with Stalins portrait over it reading ” what Holdomor?”

 

One cannot go by without visiting the Tisdall Sudan Suite located at the bottom floor.

 

When filled with falafel, Janjaweed cafe and Taliban grill specials, one can work out at the Richard Gott exercise room. There guests can have a real reformation experience. Instead of weights, thread mills and medicine balls, one can shovel coal, break marble stones and carry wood to the freezer wearing striped pajamas.

 

The Galloway cigar lounge is also a must visit. There one can sample the finest tobacco products Gorgeous George endorsed.  Mostly Cuban cigars but lets not forget that the shisha can be shared with guests from the Iran room.

 

The Ben White Chapel is available for BDS-compliant secular services.

 

Tea with Gilad, every Sunday!

 

Don’t forget to visit the Guardian Hotel Gift Shop, where you can find ideological kitsch and education gifts galore!

Memorabilia from the Gaza flotilla.

 

Coffee Mugs:

 

Children’s Toys!

 

Boost your child’s imagination with additional replacement figures:-

  • Zionist occupier/collaborator
  • Generic capitalist exploiter

“Beat the imperialist enemy” is an award winning education toy.

 

And, a great selection of educational children’s cartoons in each room are run in a continuous loop. (Seen here, the East German classic, “Worker and Parasite”)

Guardian’s Simon Tisdall fears Romney’s belligerence (& Israel’s obsessive fears) may push U.S. to war

Simon Tisdall

His moral instincts are so refined, so sophisticated, and so unburdened by conventional thinking that he was able to see past the  universal enmity towards Sudan’s tragically misunderstood leader, Omar al-Bashir, charged with genocide for acting with intent to destroy non-Arab ethnic groups in the Darfur region.

Al-Bashir’s unimaginably bloody campaign resulted in up to 400,000 dead and resulted in 2.5 million refugees. 

Here’s the money quote from Simon Tisdall’s Dec. 27, 2010 apologia for Omar al-Bahsir.

“ostracised by western governments, [and] makes an easy target. America always needs bogeymen and Bashir fits the bill: big, bothersome, bad-tempered, black, Arab and Muslim.”

That final sentence should be placed in a museum of intellectual thought as a perfect representation of the Guardian Left’s capacity to synthesize anti-Americanism, post-colonialism and a perverse understanding of anti-racism in order to defend the morally indefensible. 

Such background should help partially contextualize Tisdall’s latest “analysis” of the foreign policy implications of the American elections, “You’ve been Romney-ed! Obama must beware of GOP foreign policy vortex“, Jan. 15.

Tisdall’s broad argument is that Obama should keep to his principles and not be pushed unwillingly into a regional war with Iran, as both the result of a political pressure (to be more hawkish and, thus, win re-election) from Mitt Romney’s increasingly confrontational and belligerent foreign policy positions regarding Iran – pressure partially caused by “Israel’s obsession “with eliminating the Iranian threat.”

Tisdall blames Romney for his “uncompromising hostility to the Tehran regime” – such as his support for an “increase [of] US military presence around Iran, stepped up covert warfare, support for Iranian opposition groups, and beefed up military co-operation with Israel” – which, he argues, would play right into Netanyahu’s hands.

Tisdall:

All this must be highly encouraging to Netanyahu, who does not get on with Obama, is obsessed with eliminating the Iranian threat, and fears Obama would use a second term to pursue a more forceful regional peacemaking agenda, on Palestine as well as on Iran. For Iranian leaders, pondering war or peace, it must all seem highly provocative.

In this passage Tisdall demonstrates his moral divide: a militaristic Israel which fears the specter of a “peacemaking agenda”, and is irrationally obsessed with the Iranian threat, versus an Iran (“pondering war and peace”) which understandably views such American and Israeli belligerence as “provocative”.

Tisdall’s empathy for the legitimate concerns of the Mullahs in Tehran, and condemnation of Israeli measures meant to thwart the Iranian threat, represents pretty much conventional wisdom at the Guardian.

Such moral reasoning has included:

  • A Guardian editorial warning Israel against saber-rattling against Iran, and arguing that the Jewish state should just learn to live with a nuclear armed Iran (Iran, bolting the stable door, Nov. 9).
  • Saeed Kamali Dehghan’s warning against covert actions by the West and Israel to prevent Iran from acquiring nukes, which will “ruin any chance of dialogue with Tehran” (The covert war on Iran is illegal and dangerous, Jan. 11).

Of course, strangely missing from any of these essays and editorials warning about the dangers of provocative acts by Israel and the US is any mention that Iran’s military is not only already engaged in routine belligerence acts, but routinely foments terrorism around the globe, and engages in proxy wars as a component of their foreign policy aims of exporting their Islamist revolution.

Iran is widely recognized as the world’s leading state sponsor of international terrorism.  Both directly and indirectly, Iran funds, trains and arms groups that share the regime’s stated goal of destroying Israel and the West, as well as overthrowing moderate Muslim regimes. Groups who have received the Islamic Republic’s largess include Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas. 

Iran also provides support to Islamist insurgent groups in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have inflicted casualties on American, British, Australian and other multinational forces.

In fact, Iran is attempting to expand its terror network beyond the Middle East, using Hezbollah and splinter groups of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to recruit and train sleeper cells in foreign countries.

The manner in which Tisdall and his Guardian colleagues almost uniformly contextualize the regional tension in a manner which frames Israel and the West as the warmongering aggressors and Iran as the victim of such (imperialist) aggression represents another instructive example of Guardian Left ideology.

The anti-imperialism which inspires such moral inversions, and informs their journalistic activism, is one of the more salient factors in properly understanding the institution’s near universal lack of moral sympathy for the Jewish state and the very real dangers the country faces.

The Guardian’s anti-Zionism doesn’t occur in an ideological vacuum and, as such, their coverage of the Iranian nuclear issue should necessarily be seen as part of their broader perverse understanding of what stances their “liberal” political package demands. 

Guardian warns of dangerous saber rattling by anti-Iranian Sunni-Zionist Alliance

There has, for some time, been something of a concerted effort by Guardian writers to dismiss the whole issue of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme as something unnecessarily hyped-up by reactionary neo-cons in Jerusalem and Washington.

Israeli motives are framed as deliberately bellicose and US understanding of Israel’s concerns is interpreted as a product of magical Israeli influence in the White House alongside confirmation of what the Guardian always suspected to be ‘redneck’ qualities.

And so we have seen, among others, Brian Whitaker chastising the American media for spreading ‘scare stories’, Simon Tisdall declaring Barak Obama ‘beyond redemption’ should he opt for military action against Iran,  a rather hilarious Observer editorial accusing Israel of ‘posturing dangerously’ and Simon Jenkins reprimanding the UK for even thinking of supporting an American ‘itch to brawl’.

But perhaps the best example of all came on November 9th in the form of a surreal Guardian editorial urging us to just get used to the idea of a nuclear armed Iran. On the same day it also published a letter from representatives of the ‘Stop the War Coalition’, including the famous ‘pacifist’ Hamas operative Mohammed Sawalha.

Guardian antipathy towards Israel and the United States is not new, although that does nothing to make the fact that such antipathy is allowed to colour analysis and judgement any the less unfortunate. What is interesting, however, is the manner in which the Guardian is dealing with the wave of ever louder opposition (which mirrors Israeli and American concerns) to the Iranian nuclear programme from the direction of the Gulf States over which it so often fawns.

This week’s release of the IAEA report has had the effect of making previously fairly low-key objections from the direction of the Gulf States more audible. These objections are nothing new; the Guardian itself published examples of them in the Wikileaks cables. However, a recent article by Mubarak al Hajri in the leading Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai reflects the worries of the states neighbouring Iran with previously rare frankness.

“Iran is close to gaining nuclear weapons, something which threatens the peace and security of the world.

The mentality controlling the policy in Tehran is an archaic, sterile one which looks further afield. Iran aspires to rule the Arab Umma (nation) as a whole.

Iran will not rest until it sees its flag flying above the capitals of the Arab world.”

 But Simon Tisdall’s November 8th article seems to indicate that the Guardian has decided that rather than address the concerns of the Gulf States in a serious manner, even they will  be defined as drama-queen hysterics if they express a stance similar to that of Israel and the US.

“While Perry and the pacemakers play drums, the Gulf’s Sunni-led monarchies, historical enemies of revolutionary Shia Iran, are on acoustic guitar. Their lament, orchestrated by Saudi Arabia, is music to the ears of tone-deaf neocons and oil executives everywhere: Iran is the snake skulking under every stone – backing Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the blood-drenched Alawite regime in Syria. An Iran armed with the bomb, they warn, would terrorise the region, threaten energy supplies, and provoke a pan-Arab nuclear arms race. Their solution? By “cutting off the head of the snake”, Washington would defang these troubles and maybe get Syria (and pro-Tehran Iraq) thrown in for free.”

It is probably very easy to be so wittily scathing about the environmental and security fears of the 90% Sunni majority in the Middle East from the safety of London.

Tisdall’s glib comments are, however, indicative of his and many other Guardian writers’ cultural handicap which becomes evident when they try to analyse Middle East affairs through their own limited blinkers.

The Sunni majority countries in close proximity to Iran understand very well that the ideology which drives Ahmadinijad and others in the Iranian regime does not answer to Western-style reason or logic.  They know only too well that the Shi’ite version of Judgement Day includes the slaughter of all Sunnis and that the messianic Hojatieh Society cult to which Ahmadinijad subscribes adheres to the belief that the Mahdi, or Hidden Twelfth Imam, will only appear during a time of war and mayhem in the world and that his followers can speed up his coming by creating such a situation. They have also no doubt noticed the  interpretations of the ‘Arab Spring’ by some Iranian leaders as heralding the coming of the Mahdi and the attempts to propagate that belief.

Click to see video at PJTV

Of course Ahmadinijad’s messianic beliefs seem ridiculous to a Western secular mind. That, however, does not justify the adoption of a position of normative relativism which leads to factoring them out of any analysis of current events in the region. Post Ghaddafi, Western journalists should also have learned by now that a whacky persona with comic elements and entertaining dress sense is no guarantee of benign actions.

It is reasonable to assume that the peoples and leaders of the Gulf States are, like the Israelis, very realistic with regard to the dangers of Western military intervention in Iran: they know that any such action would put them in immediate danger.

Instead of dismissing the concerns of the Middle East’s Sunni majority with precisely the same flippancy as it dismisses the concerns of Israelis, it is therefore appropriate for any journalist seeking to provide useful and relevant analysis rather than mere ‘progressive’ platitudes to understand the background to the Sunni call for foreign intervention in the crisis.

A good place to commence would be the corner-stone assumption in the latest Guardian editorial urging us to embrace a nuclear armed Iran which states that “Neither [Iran nor Israel] wants to disappear in a cloud of nuclear dust.” Logic would dictate that statement to be true, but logic plays no part in end of times messianic beliefs and will also play no part in the crucial ongoing power struggles within the Iranian elite.

Guardian’s Simon Tisdall, genocidal Arab dictator whisperer, takes aim at Israel’s Prime Minister

Simon Tisdall

The Guardian is well-known for providing space for proponents of radical Islam who advance politics which are decidedly racist and politically reactionary.

However, Simon Tisdall’s defense last year of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir - charged with genocide for launching attacks on the black non-Arab population of Darfur which resulted in up to 400,000 dead (much like Noam Chomsky’s defense Mao and Pol Pot) – is an exquisite example of where the extreme left becomes indistinguishable from the extreme right.

The money quote from Tisdall (in his Dec. 27, 2010 essay) pertained to his complaint that al-Bashar has been “ostracised by western governments, [and] makes an easy target. America always needs bogeymen and Bashir fits the bill: big, bothersome, bad-tempered, black, Arab and Muslim.”

That final sentence should be placed in a museum of intellectual thought as a representation of the far left’s capacity to synthesize anti-Americanism, post-colonialism and a perverse understanding of anti-racism in order to defend the morally indefensible. 

Tisdall’s appalling defense of al-Bashar provides the moral context by which to judge his recent “analysis” of Israeli politics, in “Gilad Shalit swap has split opinion on Benjamin Netanyahu“, Oct. 18.

Of course, bashing the Israeli right is something of a sport at the Guardian, and Tisdall’s piece certainly doesn’t break any new ground.

Tisdall criticizes Bibi’s lack of strategic vision which, he observes, manifests itself in the Israeli Prime Minister’s failure to “use resulting momentum [of the Shalit deal] to bridge the impasse over the blockade of Gaza or kickstart stalled peace negotiations.”

I read over that passage a few times and still don’t quite understand what it means, or, specifically, how precisely Israel’s decision to set free 1027 terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit relates to a blockade of Gaza necessitated by Hamas’s little habit of importing deadly weapons from Iran to use against Israeli civilians.

Even more unclear is how Tisdall’s squares his complaint that Bibi has failed to use the Shalit swap to “kickstart stalled peace negotiations” with his subsequent complaint, in the following passage, that “the deal has further weakened the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in relation to his more militant rivals.”

So, which one is it?

Is Bibi’s sin his failure to use the momentum of the Shalit deal to “kickstart the stalled peace negotiations” or, rather, his decision to sign off on the Shalit deal in the first place, which, Tisdall simultaneously argues, “further weakened the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in relation to his more militant rivals.”

Either Bibi’s decision on the Shalit deal weakened Abbas and the peace process or his decision created new opportunities to “kickstart stalled peace negotiations” which he failed to capitalize on.  Logically, the two suppositions are inherently contradictory.  

As further proof of Bibi’s villainy, he quotes a former U.S. Defense Secretary complaining that  “Netanyahu is not only [an] ungrateful [ally], but [is] also endangering his country by refusing to grapple with Israel’s growing isolation and with the demographic challenges it faces if it keeps control of the West Bank.”

Tisdall, like so many other experts in the West obsessively critical of Israel, frames his hyper-criticism as a form of paternalistic tough love – saving Israelis from their own worse destructive impulses.  Jews, crippled as they are by irrational fears and a lack of strategic thinking, are unable to see clearly what is painfully obvious in the salons of New York and London.  

The failure of Israel to overcome the animosity of Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran is merely owed to an appalling lack of Jewish sechel.

If only Israeli Jews will relent in their stubborn refusal to accept the collective wisdom of the intellectuals, poets, artists and journalist sages of our day, peace would be just around the corner.

Tisdall opened his surreal defense of Sudan’s genocidal madman, in 2010, by complaining:

“Bashing Omar al-Bashir is a popular pastime in progressive circles” 

And, bashing and demonizing Israeli leaders has become something approaching a secular religion among Guardian left circles. 

Berchmans’ off-topic Israel hatred of the day: On the IDF and dead Palestinian children

Berchmans is a frequent commenter beneath the line at CiF, and, as we’ve noted previously, though typically a man of few words, the words he does use are usually guaranteed to be used to vilify Israel and the state’s Jewish supporters.

Berchmans recently commented beneath a commentary by the Guardian’s Simon Tisdall, “Erdogen plays Palestinian savior, but what about the Kurds?“, Sept. 21.

In response to a commenter who argued that “Turkey must compensate the Armenian people for its deliberate genocide by Turkey…the Armenians’ children are still waiting”, Berchmans, never one to let the actual topic of a CiF commentary stand in the way of expressions of hatred towards Israel, wrote:

So, to Berchmans’, the IDF’s job is to kill and inflict suffering upon innocent Palestinian children.

While such a comment is clearly hateful and off-topic, it’s also (as its not been deleted) evidently consistent with the “community standards” at Comment is Free.

(Video) Mohamed ElBaradei stoned by Islamists in Cairo: An ominous story about the Arab revolution the Guardian won’t be reporting

H/T Elder of Ziyon

Here’s (Guardian Assistant Editor) Simon Tisdall’s “Arab street” in action:

From AFP, as reported by YNet:

Islamists hurled stones and shoes at Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel Peace laureate and a secular contender for Egypt’s presidency, as he tried to vote Saturday in a referendum on constitutional amendments.

ElBaradei was hit in the back by a stone thrown from the crowd of hundreds but managed to escape unhurt and slammed as “irresponsible” the holding of a referendum without adequate law and order.

“We don’t want you,” the mob shouted, throwing stones, shoes and water at the former UN nuclear watchdog chief as he turned up at a Cairo polling station, five weeks after president Hosni Mubarak was ousted by mass protests.

“He lives in the United States and wants to rule us. It’s out of the question,” one of them said.

“We don’t want an American agent,” said another.

Members of the crowd interviewed by AFP before the assault identified themselves as Islamists without elaborating on their precise allegiance.

Simon Tisdall’s “Arab Street” in action outside a synagogue in Tunis

H/T Atlas, Elder of Ziyon and Joshua Pundit.

In 1948 there were 120,000 Jews living in Tunisia. Today – after anti-Jewish government decrees were passed, synagogues destroyed, and Jews attacked and killed in the period following independence in the 50s and 60s – there are less than 1,000 remaining in a nation of over 10 million.

Yet even this minuscule remnant of that ancient community (which dates back to Roman Times) is too much for the recently emboldened Tunisian masses – what Simon Tisdall would no doubt wistfully refer to the as the authentic Arab Street – who recently saw fit to vent their frustration over one of the most repressive Arab regimes in the world by engaging in a hate fest outside one of the last remaining synagogues in Tunis.

Yes, the chant you hear in the video (Itbach al Yahud!) means “Death to Jews.”


The Guardian’s Simon Tisdall, anti-Semitism, and the “Arab street”

“He Who is Compassionate to the Cruel Will Ultimately Become Cruel to the Compassionate.” – Biblical Midrash

If there was a professional license for journalists with codified moral standards similar to physicians’ Hippocratic Oath, one which instructs those engaged in the polemical arts to, at the very least, do no harm, Simon Tisdall would have had his revoked the day he penned a passionate apologia for Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir – in a diatribe attacking (as racist and Islamophobic) those in the West who dared to hold Bashir accountable for the atrocities committed against the non-Arab black population in Darfur.

Such a moral inversion, of course, is nothing new, and indeed informs much of the ideological orientation of the Guardian Left.

But, Tisdall’s post-Colonial politics must be at least broadly understood to properly contextualize his framing of the Egyptian political upheaval, and the broader policy implications for the U.S. and the West –Out of Egyptian Protests a new Obama doctrine is born“, CiF, Feb. 11th.

In Obama’s support for Egyptian protesters, and his abandonment of Hosni Mubarak, Tisdall applauds what he sees as the end of a policy where “America has largely turned a blind eye to repression in pursuit of wider security…interests” – suggesting, I suppose, that there are nations in world who don’t act out of concern for their own national security, and failing to acknowledge that the political divide in the Middle East is rarely between dictators and democrats, but between secular autocrats and Islamic extremists.

Turning to Israel, Tisdall notes:

“Israeli leaders, too, are alarmed. They never quite trusted Obama. And repression of the Arab masses by Arab autocrats suited them quite well for, by and large, the Arab street has always been more hostile to Israel than the Arab elites.”

I ask that you read this passage a couple of times to really let the malice sink in.

The repression of the “Arab masses”, we are informed, is a desired outcome for Israeli leaders when, of course, what Israeli leaders are concerned about, as even the most casual observer must surely understand, is the fate of the peace treaty with Egypt, and the possibility that yet another extremist movement dedicated to their destruction will arise – adding another border state governed by a regime hostile to its very existence.  The mind spins at the capacity of those predisposed towards such hostility to frame even Israel’s desire to maintain peace with its neighbors in a negative light.

But, the last passage of the above quote, where we are instructed that the “Arab street” is more hostile to Israel than the ruling elite, is where the intellectual tick of his illiberal anti-Imperialism is mostly clearly revealed.  The “Arab street” he refers to has an overwhelming and unfiltered antipathy towards Jews (no, not just Israelis) that’s quite, let’s say, unenlightened. A Pew Global Research Poll in 2010 showed that anti-Semitism is nearly universal across the Middle East – with a staggering 97% of Jordanians, 97% of Palestinians, and 95% of Egyptians (for instance) openly expressing animosity towards Jews.  Tisdall’s authentic Arab street is more reactionary, it seems, in its level of tolerance towards the Jewish minority than its slightly more pragmatic despotic leaders.

But, saving the worse for last, Tisdall – clearly relishing the role of nurturing such “authentic” Arab enmity towards Israel – casually takes aim at the Jewish state’s clear advantage in the region in every measurable political and social category, by framing the nation as merely one which “hitherto” could “pose as the region’s only real democracy”, before warning that even this supposed advantage “is slipping.”

And, here is Tisdall’s moral confusion expressed is in its most acute form.  As with any rigid ideology, inconvenient political realities – ones which threaten the edifice you strive constantly to maintain – are merely rhetorical challenges to be dealt with.  Israel’s parliamentary democracy, free press, independent judiciary, and progressive mores concerning sexual and religious minorities which are on par with, and sometimes exceed, that of other Western democracies, are, as stubborn democratic parts, quite resistant to his assault. But, as a broader amorphous whole Israel’s democracy can be contorted to suit the abstraction that the Jewish nation-state has become for the Guardian Left.

Tisdall’s enmity towards Israel, like his romanticism of the mythical Arab street – as with all bigotries – robs its object of its uniqueness, its particularism, its fierce and undeniable reality.

His soft bigotry which denies moral agency to malevolent extremists is ultimately informed by the same intellectual currents which allows him to deny liberal democracies their moral advantage – a malady on full display in Tisdall’s fantastical musings on heroism and villainy in the Middle East.

Why were these deleted? (Does Berchmans work for the Guardian?)

Simon Tisdall’s atrocious CiF piece Jan. 3 “Now it is Palestine’s turn to create facts on the ground (which Israelinurse dissected very effectively) produced quite a few pro-Israel comments, some of which were inexplicably deleted.

And, then:

Also:

I don’t know about you but I think the question of whether Berchmans works for the Guardian is a perfectly reasonable one.

However, at least one Guardian moderator disagreed:

At the very least, the fact that this comment was deleted does raise some eyebrows. ;)

Simon Tisdall and the evil of banality

“The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.”

(Bertrand Russell, ‘Sceptical Essays’, 1928)

Fresh from executing the ethical acrobatics necessary to whitewash Omar al Bashir, Simon Tisdall is back on CiF America and doing his bit towards pushing the idea of a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.

The most abhorrent paragraph of his article has to be this one:

“Others suggest Palestinian political divisions make such a move impractical. Jonathan Schanzer, writing in Foreign Policy magazine, warned that “a declaration of statehood without Israeli approval … is an almost surefire recipe for war”. But if war is coming anyway, why not take the plunge?”  (my emphasis.)

Of course, Tisdall’s words are only shocking to people who do not enjoy the luxury of viewing war from the safety and comfort of their armchair in front of the TV; people whose experience of battle and destruction is not limited solely to the latest headlines on their Blackberry; people for whom war is not something just to write or moralise about. Or people who, apparently unlike Tisdall, can actually empathise with others.

For those of us who have to smell, feel, hear and see war in real-time, Tisdall’s cavalier attitude towards it is not only profoundly offensive,  it is also a reminder of the frivolity with which people like him – who will never understand that gut-wrenching feeling which takes over one’s body when an air-raid siren goes off – proffer unsolicited judgments and suggestions based on a multitude of ignorance and lacking in the humility to consider for one moment the people involved – as though they were some kind of laboratory rat in a maze.

In November 1988 Yasser Arafat unilaterally declared a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital whilst in Algiers. Almost 100 countries subsequently recognized that declaration, so – leaving aside the interesting question of whether it is possible to declare the same state twice – there is actually nothing novel about Tisdall’s proposition. The issue at hand is what would any contemporary declaration achieve and on that, Tisdall is predictably sketchy because the evidence points to the fact that his rallying call is based more upon his distaste for Israel than his love for the Palestinians.

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The Guardian’s Simon Tisdall feels Omar al-Bashir’s pain

Omar al-Bashir

Simon Tisdall, assistant editor of the Guardian, in his apologia for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (“Omar al-Bashir is no bogeyman”, The Guardian, Dec. 27 ), reached new depths of moral equivalence; showed himself, and the paper he represents, to be deeply, and irretrievably, embedded in the ideological abyss of post-Colonialism, Western guilt, and anti-Americanism.

 

The following passage by Tisdall should be used in textbooks as an example of how even the most ludicrous charges of racism against the United States hold weight among the hard left intelligentsia.

Bashing Omar al-Bashir is a popular pastime in progressive circles, not least in the conscience-flaunting milieus favoured by actor George Clooney and other celebrity campaigners. Sudan’s president, demonised by the UN over Darfur, pre-judged by the international criminal court’s chief prosecutor and ostracised by western governments, makes an easy target. America always needs bogeymen and Bashir fits the bill: big, bothersome, bad-tempered, black, Arab and Muslim.

Later, summing up al-Bashir’s actions, Tisdall drops this jaw dropping line:

Bashir, so far, is behaving reasonably well.

Al-Bashir, the first sitting head of state ever charged with genocide, was accused of being criminally responsible for:

“intentionally directing attacks [by the government backed Arab Janjaweed milita] against an important part of the [tribal black] civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians and pillaging their property”.

The violence in Darfur, the charges state, was the result of a common plan organized at the highest level of the Sudanese government.

Up to 400,000 people were killed as the result of Bashir’s actions, and millions have become refugees.

It takes a lot of ideological conditioning to truly believe that the U.S. government wakes up in the morning looking for a black man, or Muslim, to demonize, and that American policy in Sudan is indeed driven by such racism.

John Prendergast, director of African Affairs at the National Security Council for the Clinton White House, said:

“…these tribal blacks have been subjected to one of the most brutal campaigns of ethnic cleansing that Africa has ever seen.

The Janjaweed are like a grotesque mixture of the mafia and the Ku Klux Klan…These guys have a racist ideology that sees the Arab population as the supreme population that would like to see the subjugation of non-Arab peoples.”

Though this blog is concerned with anti-Semitism (and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy) at the Guardian, and their blog, Comment is Free, Simon Tisdall’s apologia for the man responsible for the most hideous crime in Africa’s history – under the banner of anti-racism! – should serve to put in perspective his paper’s continuing vitriol against the Jewish state.

The newspaper which aims to become the world’s leading liberal voice shows itself, time and again, to be viscerally hostile to a democracy under siege in a region dominated by despots, yet has a soft spot for genocidal tyrants.

Something is profoundly wrong if the Guardian’s fellow political travelers can’t find the courage to call such moral blindness for what it is – a tragic and dangerous distortion of everything it ever meant to be called a progressive.

This is 85-year-old Abu Hamid Omar. Not only was he burned and branded in an attack by the Janjaweed and Sudanese Government forces, but his village was burned to the ground. Abu Hamid Omar was the ONLY villager to survive the assault.

Toxic Mix of Antisemitism on Tisdall Thread

What happens when you deprive the Guardianistas for more than two days of an I/P thread from ‘Comment is Free’ to vent their Jew-hatred?

You get a toxic mix of antisemitism that is made up of the following ingredients:

You start off by pouring in a generous shot of Israel demonization.

MilesSmiles

18 Oct 09, 3:54pm

I think Israel’s strategy is quite clear. Ratchet up the use of force until Palestinians simply leave. An intifada would suit them nicely, it would just be an opportunity for another Gaza. After all, nothing really happened over Lebanon either. It’s sort of “we’ll keep going as long as we can get away with it”.

As usual the Americans are a sheep in clown’s clothing when it comes to the Middle East.

Then you throw in some false accusations of ethnic cleansing.

mc98

18 Oct 09, 4:02pm

The extreme zionists now seem to have things all their own way as they continue with the cleansing plan. Since they never come under any pressure to change their ways and agree to a way forward things will just continue downhill towards yet more conflict. Very sad really but unless real pressure is applied to the hardliners in Israel and the US the Middle East is going to get nowhere.

Add an argument for the “one state solution”.

david119

18 Oct 09, 4:30pm

An Administration that voted against the Goldstone report is not going to have the guts to stand up to the most “liberal” Zionist let alone the current Israeli regime.

Without any effective pressure from America, the Zionists will make excuses and steal more and more land.

We have passed the point where a viable two state settlement is possible.

One person one vote in a Unified State and a Palestinian right of return is the only long term solution.

Shake it up with spurious allegations of racism, genocide and more ethnic cleansing.

marget

18 Oct 09, 4:44pm

The only way to avoid another Israeli Jew massacre of the Palestinians is for Pres. Obama to use the leverage the US has over Israel to resolve the conflict between Jews and Palestinians. Afterall, the US created this conflict by keeping Israel in existence with US aid, weapons, support, and veto protection, and turning a blind eye to Israel’s apartheid policies, racism, land stealing, genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Now, it is incumbent upon the US to be an honest broker for once and resolve the conflict it created. It won’t be easy but anything less should require top US and Israeli officials to stand before the Hague for charges of Warcrimes and Crimes against Humanity.

Add another shot of Israel demonization.

zatar

18 Oct 09, 6:33pm

As usual some of the players, like US and Israel, in the “roadmap to nowhere” are successfully keeping up the status quo that enables Israel to continue it’s butchery and landgrabbing under the cover of phony democracy. There will never any peace because Israel simply don’t want peace. I wonder why we don’t hear about sanctions and violent measures that West readily uses against some countries, ever mentioned in case of violent Israel.

Mix in the denial of a right to a Jewish state.

lovemymod

18 Oct 09, 8:20pm

In 1966, there were no Jews living on the West Bank. By 2009, there are close   to 500,000 in all occupied territories.

occupied territories? Israel is an occupied territory.

Add a splash more demonization.

Garak

18 Oct 09, 8:54pm

The US can’t be refusing to deal with Hamas because it supports terrorism. Israel was born of terror. Israeli historians have made this abundantly clear. Hamas can only dream of having as much blood on its hands as do Zionists like Ben Gurion, Begin, Shamir, and Sharon.

The US needs to deal as directly with Hamas as it does with terrorists in the Isareli gov’t.

And finally garnish with some Jewish conspiracy theory.

zendancer

18 Oct 09, 9:04pm

@ bootboys

You forgot the Chief Rabbi of New York/New York Banking Houses (Goldman Sachs) who are the most powerful/ political group in America.All Presidential candidates must come to an accomodation with the above “Lobby,” or feel the heat of their opponent receiving a huge inflow of contribution dollars ,for their campaign.Guess what they want for their support? Up the coast in Boston the Irish Lobby do the same thing ,only their power is waning rapidly.The Kennedys have lost their way.

The best thing is that this is meant to be a big secret,no one talks about their influence but,votes in the U.N. are a clear sign that the US President has to pay “tribute” to them to keep his place.

And if you want to savor these individual ingredients, all but one of them is available for consumption on the Tisdall thread at the time of writing.

Stormfront eat drink your heart out!