Guardian silent about Labour candidate’s suspension for racist tweets

British Labor Party Parliamentary candidate Vicki Kirby was suspended on Saturday by Party leaders after it emerged that she was responsible for a series of hateful Tweets about Israel.

One tweet read:

“We invented Israel when saving them from Hitler, who now seems to be their teacher.”

Another claimed:

“Hitler might be the “Zionist God”

And, one pledged:

“I will never forget and I will make sure my kids teach their children how evil Israel is!”

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London Times rejects anti-Hamas advert for fear it could upset their readers

A full-page advert was recently published by Elie Wiesel (and purchased by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach through his organization, This World: The Values Network) titled “Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago. Now it’s Hamas’s turn”.  The ad condemns the Islamist group for using children as human shields, and invokes the Sacrifice of Isaac to frame the war between Israel and Hamas.

Here’s part of the ad:

ad

(click here to see the full ad)

The ad will reportedly appear in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, but NOT in the London Times (aka, The Times).

A representative of The Times said: “In brief, [The Times] [feels] that the opinion being expressed is too strong and too forcefully made and will cause concern amongst a significant number of Times readers.”

Interestingly, The Sunday Times (sister publication of The Times) didn’t seem so concerned with the feelings of their readers when they published a cartoon Holocaust Memorial Day in 2013, depicting the bloody trowel wielding Israeli Prime Minister torturing innocent souls.

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Though The Sunday Times later apologized for the cartoon following heavy criticism, it was not retracted.

Additionally, The Sunday Times evidently saw nothing wrong with this advert by Save the Children that they published on July 25th, which all but accuses Israel of intentionally killing Palestinian children:

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The Sunday Times, Save the Children advert, July 25th, 2014

Finally, in their apology for the Scarfe cartoon, Sunday Times editors expressed concern that the cartoon offended many Jews, which begs the question concerning the decision to reject the Elie Wiesel advert:

Who were Times editors concerned would be offended? Hamas?

 

Read Adam Levick’s latest article in The Jewish Chronicle

Here are the first few paragraphs of Adam Levick’s latest article in the Jewish Chronicle:

“You have to keep an eye on who you are following on Twitter and where the picture you’re tweeting came from,” warned a BBC journalist in a short video that accompanied an article posted on BBC Trending, a section on the corporation’s website which selects stories that are popular on social media around the world.

The article was entitled, “Are #GazaUnderAttack images accurate?”, and looked at images shared on social media by pro-Palestinian activists during the current war in Gaza.

The short post focused on the above Twitter hashtag, which, the BBC noted, “has been used hundreds of thousands of times, often to distribute pictures claiming to show the effects of the air strikes”.

The BBC warned that a “BBC Trending analysis has found that some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq”.

Read the rest of the article here.

Guardian op-ed: Mordechai Vanunu is a hero ‘like Snowden’

Before leaving his job as a technician at Israel’s nuclear installation in Dimona, Mordechai Vanunu had smuggled in a camera and covertly took dozens of photos of the secret facility – information he later used to help the UK Sunday Times write a story purporting to expose Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

Vanunu was convicted of treason and espionage in 1988, and released after serving 18 years in prison.  After his release, he claimed that he was proud of what he did.

Vanunu is still subject to travel restrictions  as he is still considered a serious danger to Israeli security.

Naturally, Vanunu is something of a cause célèbre at the Guardian, which has published no less than 76 separate pieces (reports, op-eds and letters) on the convicted felon (dating back to 1986), including an official editorial entitled “In Praise of…Mordechai Vanunu.

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Vanunu page at the Guardian

The Guardian’s latest celebration of Vanunu comes in the form of an op-ed written by Duncan Campbell (a long time Guardian contributor), one which evokes Edward Snowden in characterizing Vanunu as nothing less than a hero:

heroThough the narrative advanced in this latest op-ed overlaps considerably with the the previous 75 Guardian reports and commentaries on Vanunu, Campbell’s evocation of Snowden – whose Guardian-facilitated leaks were characterized by the GCHQ as “the most catastrophic loss suffered by British intelligence” in history – suggests an effort to grant Vanunu the ‘martyr’ status only bestowed by the Guardian Left upon those Israelis sufficiently hostile to their state.

Despite the predictability of Campbell’s apologia, there was at least one passage – containing a classic Guardian obfuscation – worthy of comment.

Last December, he failed in the high court of justice in his latest bid to be allowed to leave. Does Edward Snowden, as he adjusts to life in Moscow, wonder whether he will still be haunted and hunted by the US government for decades to come?

 No one seriously claims that the man who was exhaustively debriefed by the Sunday Times nearly 30 years ago has any secrets up his sleeve. The decision to restrict his movements seems to be based more on a desire to inflict punishment on an unrepentant man than for security concerns.

However, Campbell is either being lazy or dishonest, as the Haaretz article he linked to in the above passage quite clearly indicates that there are indeed ‘serious claims’ that Vanunu has more ‘secrets up his sleeve’.  Here are the relevant passages from the very report cited by Campbell:

In his latest petition, filed by attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sfard, Vanunu argued that a considerable amount of time had passed since he had worked in the Dimona center and committed the offenses for which he was convicted, and that not enough weight was being given to this passage of time. Vanunu also claimed that information about Israel’s nuclear capabilities published since his release “immeasurably exceeds” what he could add today…

The state countered through lawyers Dan Eldad and Aner Helman that Vanunu still possesses unpublished classified information and that he is trying to get the information published. To this end, the state’s lawyers presented classified material that was not made public.

In the decision, written by Supreme Court President Asher Grunis on behalf of himself and justices Miriam Naor and Isaac Amit, the court said that “after examining the extensive material submitted to the court, we are convinced that there is no reason to intervene in the decision of the respondents to extend the validity of the orders for another year.”

Grunis added, “One cannot say that the orders constitute a means of punishment, as claimed by the petitioner. The orders were designed to prevent future dissemination of classified information. In recent years, the court has examined several times the necessity of the orders, and has been convinced, time after time, that they are needed to protect national security.”

Grunis said that from the privileged material shown to the justices it emerges that Vanunu “is still collecting classified information and has not backed down from his plans to disseminate the information.”

So, contrary to Campbell’s contention, the Israeli court evidently not only has reason to believe that Vanunu has national security ‘secrets up his sleeve’, but has seen evidence indicating he intends to disseminate the information if given the opportunity.

Of course the broader truth pertaining to the Vanunu affair – and the media coverage of his ongoing legal battles – relates to the obvious fact that there isn’t a country in the world which wouldn’t act aggressively to prevent national security secrets from being revealed.

Further, characterizing as a “hero” those who betray an oath of secrecy and attempt to bypass established legal means to redress grievances against a particular government policy makes a mockery of  the term, and conflates felons convicted of betraying the national security of a democratic state with genuine political dissidents in truly repressive regimes.

 

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Steve Bell has fun with antisemitic tropes

 

Here’s a Steve Bell cartoon published on Feb. 4, in response to an apology by Sunday Times’ owner Rupert Murdoch over the controversial Gerald Scarfe cartoon.

bell (1)(The second frame is a reference to a comment by Murdoch in November, complaining that the “Jewish owned media” is consistently anti-Israel.  The final frame is a reference to Sooty, a popular glove bear and TV character from the 50s.)

As we noted in our post, the cartoon could arguably be interpreted as suggesting that Zionists have a significant degree of control over the media.

Today, Feb. 5, Bell revisited the trio of Murdoch, Bibi and Sooty, and published this, titled ‘On Murdoch, Netanyahu and the little bludger.

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If, Bell is indeed perplexed – or, perhaps, amused – with the notion of “antisemitic tropes”, I know just the right person to help him understand its significance.

Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott – who criticized Bell’s cartoon in Nov. which depicted Netanyahu controlling Blair and Hague like puppets, and warned: “…using the image of a puppeteer when drawing a Jewish politician inevitably echoes past antisemitic usage of such imagery” – wrote the following in Nov. 2011, in a post titled ‘On averting accusations of antisemitism“:

[Comment is Free] moderators…are experienced in spotting the kind of language long associated with antisemitic tropes such as Jews having too much power and control, or being clannish and secretive, or the role of Jews in finance and the media.

However, regardless of whether Bell understands (or takes seriously) the lethal history of such racist tropes employed against Jews, a bit of research into his work may provide some insight into why (per his BBC Radio debate with Stephen Pollard) he was so dismissive of accusations that the Scarfe cartoon arguably evoked the antisemitic blood libel.

These cartoons are on Bell’s website: (Below each cartoon is the exact caption used by Bell to identify and date the image.)

2002, blood motif.

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2001, blood motif.

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1560-7-2-01 SHALOMSHARON

 

2001, blood motif

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1561-8-2-01 WAILINGWALL

Finally, here are two Bell cartoons which evoke an entirely different trope.

1998, Jews as ‘Chosen People’. 

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1998, Jews as ‘Chosen People':

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4293-6-5-98 GODSCHOSEN

Here’s another relevant passage from Chris Elliott’s post on antisemitism noted above:

“Two weeks ago a columnist [Deborah Orr] 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.”

The Guardian, Steve Bell, Bibi and more puppet-like control

Here’s the cartoon published by Steve Bell, Guardian on Nov. 15, titled: Tony Blair and William Hague’s role in Israel-Gaza clash.

Steve Bell 16.12.2012

As we noted in a post the day after the cartoon was published (a graphic depiction of the puppet-like control Bibi had over Blair and Hague in the context of the two British leaders’ expressions of support for Israel’s recent war in Gaza) the cartoon evoked the antisemitic canard of Jewish control over non-Jewish British politicians.  Further, Bell’s cartoon was almost indistinguishable from what is routinely published in the Arab media (in cartoons and in prose) alleging unimaginable Jewish control over world leaders.

Bell defended the cartoon, arguing thus:

“I can’t be held responsible for whatever cultural precepts and misapprehensions people choose to bring to my cartoon.”

Today, February 4th, evidently in response to an apology by Sunday Times’ owner Rupert Murdoch – over the controversial Gerald Scarfe cartoon (published on Holocaust Memorial Day), which depicted mangled, tortured bodies being buried over with bricks laid by the bloody trowel of a murderous Netanyahu – Bell published the following, titled: Steve Bell’s If … on Rupert Murdoch’s apology to Israel.

(Note: the second frame is a reference to a comment by Murdoch in November, complaining that the Jewish owned press is consistently anti-Israel.  The final frame is a reference to Sooty, a popular glove bear and TV character back in the 50s.)

bell

Is Bell mocking Murdoch’s complaint that media companies with Jewish owners are anti-Israel by noting that indeed the opposite is the case – that powerful Zionist Jews in fact exercise too much control over the media?

Admittedly, such graphic depictions inevitably leave a lot open to interpretation.  

However, after the row following Bell’s cartoon in November, Chris Elliott – the Guardian’s readers editor – responded to complaints, noting that the image of Jews having a disproportionate influence over the US and British governments has often been replicated by anti-Jewish cartoonists in the Middle East since the end of the second world war, and concluded thus:

“While journalists and cartoonists…should not use the language – including the visual language – of antisemitic stereotypes.”

Given Bell’s reaction to the row over the Scarfe cartoon – where he mocked the notion that the cartoon was antisemitic during a BBC debate with Stephen Pollard and refused to answer Pollard’s question as to whether he was even aware of the history of antisemitic cartoons in the Arab media – it seems clear that the Guardian cartoonist remains, at the very least, breezily unconcerned with the damage caused by “using visual language” which evokes “antisemitic stereotypes”.

Awaiting Hillary’s ‘robust’ condemnation of offensive cartoon

A Guest Post by AKUS

cartoonI am an admirer of both Hillary and Bill Clinton, and not only because both have been supportive of the American Jewish community and Israel. 

Bill Clinton worked tirelessly trying to bring a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Hilary Clinton may go down as one of the most successful and influential Secretaries of State the US has known and has also worked hard – and as fruitlessly – to try to bring some closure to that conflict. Their daughter is married to a Jewish man, son of friends of theirs.

But this week, they and the branch of the US administration that Hillary heads have failed the Jewish community in the UK, and, indeed, around the world.

When some Muslims rioted across the world following the 2005 publication (in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten) of Mohammed cartoons, Bill Clinton was swift to respond, and absurdly compared cartoons depicting Mohammed to deadly anti-Semitic cartoons depicting Jews:

[Former President Bill] Clinton: “Totally Outrageous Cartoons Against Islam”

DOHA (AFP) – Former US president Bill Clinton warned of rising anti-Islamic prejudice, comparing it to historic anti-Semitism as he condemned the publishing of cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper.

“So now what are we going to do? … Replace the anti-Semitic prejudice with anti-Islamic prejudice?” he said at an economic conference in the Qatari capital of Doha.

“In Europe, most of the struggles we’ve had in the past 50 years have been to fight prejudices against Jews, to fight against anti-Semitism,” he said.

Clinton described as “appalling” the 12 cartoons published in a Danish newspaper in September depicting Prophet Mohammed and causing uproar in the Muslim world.

“None of us are totally free of stereotypes about people of different races, different ethnic groups, and different religions … there was this appalling example in northern Europe, in Denmark … these totally outrageous cartoons against Islam,” he said.

The (George W. Bush-era) State Department also weighed in on the Europeans’ cartoon controversy. It too hastened to reference anti-Semitism and claimed equivalence with the horrendously anti-Semitic cartoons that appear daily in Arab media:

Bush Administration on 2006 Danish Cartoons: “We Certainly Understand Why Muslims Would Find These Images Offensive”

The Muslim world erupted in anger on Friday over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published in Europe while the Bush administration offered the protesters support, saying of the cartoons, ”We find them offensive, and we certainly understand why Muslims would find these images offensive.”

… The State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, reading the government’s statement on the controversy, said, ”Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images,” which are routinely published in the Arab press, ”as anti-Christian images, or any other religious belief.”

Still, the United States defended the right of the Danish and French newspapers to publish the cartoons. ”We vigorously defend the right of individuals to express points of view,” Mr. McCormack added.

When some Muslims rioted over a film made by an Egyptian born Copt living in America that mocked Islam, Hillary Clinton showed understanding for their anger:

HILLARY CLINTON: Anti-Muslim Film Is ‘Disgusting And Reprehensible’

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday called the film that helped provoke protestors to riot “disgusting and reprehensible.”

“Let me state very clearly — and I hope it is obvious — The United States government had nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message,” Clinton said in a statement at a State Department.

Clinton said that the video’s intended purpose seemed to be inciting violence.

So now I ask – where is the condemnation from either Bill or Hillary Clinton or the US State Department that Hillary heads over the rabidly anti-Semitic cartoon that appeared in the UK’s Sunday Times on no other day than Holocaust Memorial Day?

Even if we agree that the concept of freedom of speech means that Scarfe can create and the Sunday Times publish anti-Semitism, why has Bill not found time to say something like this?

“None of us are totally free of stereotypes about people of different races, different ethnic groups, and different religions … there was this appalling example in Europe, in Great Britain … this totally outrageous cartoon directed at the Jewish people.”

Why hasn’t the State Department’s issued a statement with criticism such as this?

”We find the Sunday Times cartoon offensive, and we certainly understand why Jews would find these images offensive … anti-Semitic images are unacceptable.”

Why has Hillary not found the time to “absolutely reject” Scarfe’s cartoon as “disgusting and reprehensible … with the intent of inciting violence”?

Hillary – if it takes a village to raise a child properly, what does it take in our global village to get your attention to the increasing anti-Semitism that has become such a staple of European media and as weighty a condemnation of this “typically robust cartoon” by Gerald Scarfe” as Bill, you, and the State Department have found for other cartoons and a poorly made and initially widely ignored film promo?

A place where Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell can find “real” antisemitism

On the ‘Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Tuesday 29th January, there was a debate between Stephen Pollard of the Jewish Chronicle and Steve Bell, political cartoonist for the Guardian, over the Gerald Scarfe cartoon in the Sunday Times published on Holocaust Memorial Day – depicting mangled, tortured bodies being buried over with bricks laid by the bloody trowel of a sinister Israeli leader.

Pollard advanced an argument similar to the one he made so eloquently in The JC today, arguing that the cartoon slips into antisemitism because it invokes the blood libel, and while papers should always have the right to publish offensive material, possessing such freedom to offend doesn’t mean that it is always the correct decision to do so.

Bell disagreed, and argued as follows:

“Apologising for this cartoon – for once it wasn’t a bad cartoon – I think Stephen Pollard invokes terms like “the blood libel” and kind of ‘genocidal hate rage’…. he’s attributing this to a cartoon which is actually … it’s sort of like a mirror image of the cartoon Scarfe did the week before … President Assad clutching the head of a baby … not a squeak about that …

The problem with the State of Israel and the Zionist Lobby is that they never acknowledge the crime of ethnic cleansing upon which the State was founded …”

Bell’s fictitious history of Israel’s founding is as characteristic as it is malicious, as it was the tiny Jewish state which was forced, a couple of years after the Holocaust, on the day of its founding, to defend against five invading Arab armies intent on extinguishing their presence from the river to the sea.  Bell’s revisionism also excludes the shameful episode after Israel’s founding, in which hundreds of thousands of Jewish citizens of Arab countries were punished for the crime of Israel’s continued existence by being systematically expelled – that is, ethnically cleansed – from land where their ancestors had lived for hundreds of years.

Also during his debate with Pollard, Bell the historian also warned against using “the term ‘blood libel’ loosely and ridiculously”, and then added:

“Extraneous notions like ‘blood libel’ are dropped in and sensitivities are talked up .. the very word ‘antisemitic’ becomes devalued .. ‘they’ throw it around with such abandon, if there really is antisemitism it’s actually getting ignored.”

So, what does Steve Bell know about “real” antisemitism? My guess is that he doesn’t know too much. 

While Bell was all too willing to publish a cartoon (during Israel’s military operation in Gaza) depicting weak, cowardly British leaders being controlled like puppets by a powerful Jewish leader, when has he ever employed such graphic agitprop to mock “real” antisemites who occupy the landscape of the Arab Middle East?

Did the “populist” liberal satirist ever fancy the idea of caricaturing Egypt’s President Morsi, for instance, who characterized Jews as descendants of apes and pigs, and who told his fellow citizens to nurse their children on Jew hatred?

Additionally, has he ever thought to ridicule Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for engaging in Holocaust denial?

Finally, has it ever occurred to Bell to mock the ubiquitous commentators and clerics in the Arab and Muslim world who still peddle in the most bizarre Jewish conspiracy theories, such as the charge that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children to bake their ‘Sabbath’ bread? 

If he ever decided to do so, Bell could have used text from an actual poem by a radical and quite well-known Islamist preacher – demonstrated in a UK Immigration Tribunal ruling on Feb. 8, 2012, to be a clear reference to the antisemitic blood libel – which included the following: 

“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.”

Of course, if Bell did decide to direct his righteous ire at those who engage in such “real” antisemitism – and perhaps even at arrogant, hypocritical media groups which have actually championed the cause of such crude and unrepentant racists – he’d be hitting just a wee bit too close to home.

A ‘Comment is Free’ essay by the extremist who evoked the “real” medieval blood libel cited above, Raed Salah, was published on April 19, 2012, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial day.

salah

Outrage over a cartoon…and yet no one died

Cross posted by Raheem Kassam, Executive Editor of The Commentator

Only on a BBC radio call-in show in Britain could you have heard listeners phoning in to express how the West would get what it has coming to it for a peasant-like film being uploaded to YouTube by some anonymous character in the United States. 

But that is precisely what I heard, when as a guest on the BBC Asian Network last year, I was asked to take part in a phone-in discussion with listeners about the “Innocence of Muslims” film. 

At the time, protests in Pakistan, Libya and other Muslim countries terrified pusillanimous Western leaders into apologising for the freedom of expression, or freedom to offend. The fallout was the death of an American ambassador and diplomatic staff, although the links to the protests in this case are spurious.

The same of course can be reflected upon of the firebombing of the Charlie Hebdo office in 2011, and of the response on the streets of Britain when a Danish newspaper published a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. Hundreds died. Property was burned. Unknown numbers of people were injured.

Against this backdrop, I have been assessing the implications of the Benjamin Netanyahu cartoon over the past 48 hours. 

The Commentator, as you know, first reported the extraordinarily offensive cartoon on Sunday morning, noting the invocation of the long-standing blood libel against the Jewish people. Many have argued, that the cartoon depicting a big-nosed, blood-loving Netanyahu is nowhere near as offensive as depicting Prophet Muhammed as a terrorist, or similar.

I would argue that actually, the Netanyahu cartoon was worse. Not for ‘criticising’ the Israeli leader, but rather, for invoking the Der Stumer-esque view that the Jews have big noses and dabble in the blood of Arabs or Muslims. This is outright racism. The Mohammed cartoons, were (distasteful) parodies against a singular religious figure, not the demonisation of an entire people.

But even if you don’t buy that – and really, I understand if you don’t because it’s quite a fine line – then upon taking the two incidents as equal, and asserting that the freedom to offend should remain paramount, I would tend to agree with you

The fact is, the Sunday Times exercised its right to offend this past Sunday, on Holocaust Memorial Day, thus making its blood libel doubly, trebly, quadruply more offensive. And indeed, the appropriate levels of offence were taken.

But you didn’t see rioting in the streets, or the calls for the beheading of the perpetrators of the cartoon. You may have heard moans of the decline of Western civilisation, but you never heard encouragement towards it. In fact, the response to the Sunday Times cartoon was quite the opposite of what we’ve seen in recent years when religions take offence.

There were articles, quotes, comments, letters, political interventions and more. But never did the outcry overspill, and only ever was there a call towards more civility, not less.

Now, to be clear, we know full well that Muslim communities around the world, by and large, were not rioting and inciting violence after Mohammed was depicted in a provocative fashion – but it is these ‘moderate Muslims’ who must work to bring their house in order, casting out the crazies, expunging the extremists, declaring vehemently and repeatedly, “Not in my name.” 

It is these demons that Muslims in West still have to overcome – and until they do, they can claim no moral high ground over offences they feel are perpetrated towards them. 

Matt Seaton’s caricature of courage

The highly criticized cartoon published in The Sunday Times on Holocaust Memorial Day – depicting mangled, tortured Palestinians being buried over with bricks laid by the bloody trowel of a sinister Israeli leader – was defended by  in Haaretz on Jan. 28 as “grossly unfair” but “not antisemitic”.

Here’s the cartoon by Gerald Scarfe that we posted about yesterday, and which The Sunday Times editor has since defended as “typically robust“.

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While much has been written about the cartoon – and the timing of its publication – the Haaretz contributor offers a dissenting view, one which, though I believe to be misguided, is nonetheless clearly thought through, well-informed and serious.

However, one particular word used by a Guardian editor on Twitter to characterize Pfeffer’s defense of Scarfe’s work caught my eye.

Here’s the Tweet by Matt Seaton, the Guardian’s editor of the US edition of ‘Comment is Free’.

Seaton’s Tweet, suggesting that it took ‘courage’ for Pfeffer to defend Scarfe, represents a good illustration of the moral conceit often displayed by such contrarians – those whose opinions about Israel, antisemitism and other issues place them outside the mainstream of Jewish opinion and thus must face some level of opprobrium for their views. 

However, whether we’re discussing Peter Beinart’s advocacy for boycotting Israeli companies across the green line, Ben Murane struggling with the ‘chauvinism’ of Jewish particularism, or even Antony Lerman’s polemical assaults against the very right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, the truth is that such Jews can confidently dissent from mainstream opinion with impunity.

Similarly, the only penalty that the contributor for the leftist Israeli daily will have to face for arguing that Jews, and others, are mistaken in their characterization of the Scarfe cartoon as antisemitic is, of course, dissenting opinions from those who take issue with his view.

Writers who trade in unpopular ideas within the political safety net that liberal, democratic societies provide them shouldn’t be so thin-skinned as to expect that freedom of speech requires freedom from criticism, and so vain as to fancy themselves, or their political fellow travelers, courageous for having to withstand such critiques.

How one British paper decided to depict living Jews on Holocaust Memorial Day

H/T to Raheem at The Commentator

In my 2010 report published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs about antisemitic cartoons, I noted that political cartoons often have more of an immediate impact in reinforcing negative stereotypes than a lengthy essay.  They express ideas which are easy to understand, and thus represent an efficient way to transmit hate and prejudices, including antisemitism.

While the largest output of antisemitic cartoons nowadays comes from the Arab and Muslim world, some “respectable” European papers have published graphic depictions of Jews evoking classic Judeophobic stereotypes.

Some of the core motifs of antisemitic cartoons are Jews as absolute evil; imagery equating Israel with Nazi Germany; Jewish conspiracies; Zionists controlling the world; and variations of the blood libel.

While mainstream Western papers avoid explicitly promoting the blood libel, variations of this theme – suggesting in cartoon and in prose that bloodthirsty Israeli Jews intentionally kill innocently Palestinians (often children) – have been published at popular sites.  For instance, one of the most popular news sites in the Anglo world, The Huffington Post, posted a cartoon in 2012 by notorious antisemitic cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, which clearly conveyed the idea that the Israeli Prime Minister was murdering Palestinian babies to gain votes in the upcoming election, suggesting that baby killing was supported by the Israeli public.

A similar motif of infanticide appeared in a 2003 cartoon by Dave Brown in the progressive British daily The Independent. The cartoon shows Sharon eating the head of a Palestinian baby and saying, “What’s wrong? Have you never seen a politician kissing a baby? It won Britain’s 2003 Political Cartoon of the Year Award.

The following cartoon was published at The Sunday Times (the largest-selling ‘serious’ British national Sunday newspaper) today, Jan. 27, International Holocaust Memorial Day.

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In case you didn’t notice, the text reads ‘Will Cementing Peace Continue?’, an apparent allusion to Israeli construction across the green line.

However, the Sunday Times cartoonist decided to depict such building as not only injurious to peace, but (as the bloody, mangled bodies being buried over with cement, laid by the bloody trowel of a sinister Israeli Prime Minister) as a sadistic act of violence against innocents in order to gain votes in the Israeli election.  

In light of the Sunday Times’ decision to publish a cartoon on Holocaust Memorial Day depicting a blood-lusting Jewish leader, as well as recent comments by British MP David Ward suggesting that, on Holocaust Memorial Day, Jews should learn to stop “inflicting atrocities on Palestinians”, as well as other routine debasements of Holocaust memory, here’s a simple, if counter-intuitive request to those who believe that the Holocaust means anything at all:

Spare us your Holocaust pieties, your monuments, your memorials, museums and days of remembrance, and consider that, instead of honoring Jews murdered over 65 years ago, you may want to begin, instead, to honor Jews who are still among us.

There are many ways to show reverence for a tiny minority which has somehow survived despite the best efforts, past and present, of practitioners of homicidal antisemitism. However, the especially morally righteous among you may wish to gain a basic understanding of the precise manner in which Jews have been caricatured, vilified, demonized and dehumanized prior to pogroms, massacres and genocides, studiously avoid advancing narratives or creating graphic depictions which evoke such antisemitic imagery, and righteously condemn those who do so.

You can not undo the horrors inflicted upon six million souls, but you can live your life with a steely determination to never again allow lethal, racist narratives about living Jews to go unchallenged, and to assiduously fight efforts to reintroduce such toxic calumnies into the “respectable” public discourse. 

Guardian continues to champion the ’cause’ of convicted Israeli traitor, Mordechai Vanunu

In February 2001 Robert Philip Hanssen was arrested by US federal agents for passing thousands of pages of classified documents on US nuclear war defense secrets, and other sensitive information, to foreign agents.  He pleaded guilty to espionage and was sentenced to life in prison.

In a Guardian report in 2002, Julian Borger, FBI’s most damaging spy get’s life sentence“, in reporting on Hanssen’s sentencing in US Federal Court, characterized him as “one of the most damaging traitors in US history” and commented quite matter-of-factly on his sentence, noting that Hanssen could have received the death penalty. The story quoted Hanssen apologizing for his reckless, and traitorous acts during sentencing.

Indeed, other mentions of Hanssen at the Guardian’s site were passing references, none which even hinted there was anything unjust about his sentence.  There certainly weren’t any editorials condemning the U.S. for their harsh treatment of Hanssen.

However, when it comes to Israelis, an entirely different standard is employed by the Guardian.

Mordechai Vanunu, the former Israeli nuclear technician who served 18 years behind bars for revealing Israeli nuclear secrets to the British media, declared after his release that he was proud of what he did.  

In 1985, Vanunu left his job as a  technician at Israel’s nuclear installation in Dimona and, before leaving, stole several rolls of film.  He then helped the UK Sunday Times write a story exposing the extent of Israel’s nuclear weapons program. 

Subsequently, Vanunu has become a cause celeb at the Guardian, which has published no less than 71 separate pieces (reports and commentary) on the Israeli. 

In 2010, the Guardian even devoted an official editorial highlighting Vananu’s cause, titled, “In Praise of…Mordechai Vanunu“.

Most recently, the Guardian’s Duncan Campbell, commenting on Israel’s reluctance to allow Vanunu to leave the country, “Mordechai Vanunu deserves freedom from Israel“, Nov. 9, writes:

“Only the most cynical Israeli politicians and their most supine spokespeople still claim that he might have information that would damage Israel’s security.”

However, Vanunu is still considered a real danger to the security of Israel, as he holds state secrets that have not yet been published, which he said in the past he would reveal as soon as the opportunity presented itself.  And, indeed, the Israeli courts have upheld the state’s concerns, ruling that Vanunu has not changed his ways and repeatedly violated their injunctions by maintaining ties and contact with the media and political bodies.

Campbell, in calling for Vanunu’s release, characterized Israeli officials who seek to limit the possibility that Vanunu could inflict more damage on Israeli national security, as “vindictive”.

Of course, in an Arab country, (or, likely, even nations such as Russia), such a traitor would be long executed for such acts of betrayal compromising national security. In the US, where the Rosenbergs were executed and where Jonathan Pollard continues to serve a life sentence for far less serious acts, Vanunu would still be in prison. 

Campbell’s final passage most clearly reveals his antipathy towards the Jewish state, as he writes:

“The moving sight of…Palestinian prisoners returning to their families in Gaza and the West Bank should be mirrored now with a picture of Vanunu, a man who has already paid a very heavy price for his principles…”

It certainly stands to reason that those “moved” by the site of Palestinian terrorists – many responsible for the murder of innocent Israelis – returning to their families would see in a convicted Israeli traitor a sympathetic man of principle.

In a 2004 interview with Amy Goodman, published at the radical anti-Zionist site, CounterPunch, Vanunu accused the Israeli government of “betraying all of humanity and the world, the human beings of all the world.”

As such, is there really any wonder why Vanunu represents one of the Israelis most admired by the Guardian? 

Little has changed since 2001

I recently rediscovered the following, an Editorial in The Times”, dated 15th March 2001, and I reproduce it below in its entirety.   The quality of the writing and its honesty seem to me to have come from a bygone age of reportage, one in which intelligent journalists wrote without hyperbole or bias and in thought-provoking ways about issues which concerned us all.

Most saddening, as I reread it and reproduced it here, is the realisation that little has changed for the Palestinian people whose leadership still uses them and gets them killed to make political points, that indeed much has worsened, but that very few journalists have the moral courage any longer to tell us the truth about why that is.  Nowadays Ashrawi’s “crude forgery” below would not be questioned, but promulgated across the media and the internet as an honest account of what was “really happening.”   And Palestinian children, always vulnerable, are even more brutalised and deliberately brainwashed by Palestinian leaders:

“Arafat’s Children:   Protests at last from the weak who protect the strong”:

“Stone-throwing, flag-waving Palestinian youths ripped through the town of Ramallah yesterday in the first of two “days of rage” declared by Yassir Arafat’s Fatah organisation.  It will have been no trouble to recruit this rent-a-mob; there is rage to spare, after nearly six months of futile battling against the Israeli occupation.   But rage, the most nihilistic of impulses, has done nothing but harm to the Palestinians.

“A few powerless people, as they mourn children killed in the crossfire or pushed, like human shields, ahead of rioters attacking Israeli troops, are beginning to whisper the truth – that they are being deliberately exposed to danger and death, exploited by their own side’s gunmen.   As The Times reported yesterday from El Bireh, the Palestinian area where people’s flats are daily used by snipers attacking a nearby Jewish settlement, locals have appealed to gunmen not to expose their families to returning fire.  For response, they get official banners proclaiming their dead infants as martyrs.  They too hate Israel.  But they do not want to be martyrs to an unending, unwinnable confrontation.  They want to be left alone.

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