Independent’s list of most read articles in 2014 features anti-Jewish columnist

In studying and posting about UK media coverage of the summer war between Israel and Hamas, we concluded that the Independent arguably surpassed the Guardian in the level of malice and vitriol directed towards Israel and its ‘Zionist’ supporters in articles and op-eds.

Over a the course of a few days in mid-July, the Indy published an article by Adam Withnall seemingly characterizing a few dozen Sderot residents applauding attacks on Hamas targets as an act of almost unparalleled human cruelty; one op-ed by Robert Fisk which actually blamed the Western media for being too soft on Israeli “blood-letting”, and another op-ed by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown which accused Israel of engaging in a policy of ethnic cleansing.

But, perhaps the most egregious example of unrestrained anti-Zionist malice during that period was provided by Mira Bar-Hillel, in an op-ed on July 11th titled Why I’m on the brink of burning my Israeli passport‘, which suggested that the views towards Palestinians by some Israeli leaders were arguably on par with the genocidal rhetoric espoused by the Nazis.


Well, on Dec. 30th, the Indy published the paper’s 10 Most Read Articles for 2014.


Topping their list (with 2.4 million page views) was the ‘Nazi-Israel’ op-ed by Bar-Hillel.

Continue reading

Indy journo Mira Bar-Hillel Tweets about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

To get up to speed on Mira Bar-Hillel – a journalist who contributes to the ‘progressive’ British newspaper, The Independent, and whose sage insight about Israel was recently solicited by The BBC and Sky News - and her well-documented antisemitism, read this and this.

After doing so, you can now better understand the following Tweets by Bar-Hillel.

It started with this Tweet from someone named Emma Isitt, “quoting” a fictitious Israeli who evidently ‘confirmed’ that antisemites have been right all along.


Spoiler: even antisemitic extremists know that this quote is a Pakistani hoax.


Then the Twitter exchange:


“Hoax or not”, says the Indy columnist, “the message is entirely true, and increasingly so”.

Here are the next series of exchanges:


Does Bar-Hillel believe in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

“Look at the facts”, replied the Indy columnist, “and you will too”.

More Tweeters attempt to determine if the Indy columnist really is defending the Protocols.


Is she only joking?


So, to recap: Bar-Hillel believes that “the message” of Jews controlling America is “entirely true” and “increasingly so”, and that Jewish lobbyists appear to be picking up some of the ideas from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and using them.

Thanks for clarifying that for us, Mira.

What about the Grand Mufti’s desire to ‘liquidate the Jews’ doesn’t Robert Fisk understand?

Fisking “Middle East expert” Robert Fisk can be especially challenging, as he often pivots seamlessly between mere distortions and outright fabrications within the same essay.  His latest op-ed at The Independent, The real poison is to be found in Arafat’s legacy, Nov. 18, represents a great example of his talent for such multi-faceted misrepresentations.


Though he dismisses recent accusations that Arafat was poisoned, Fisk, in attempting to explain the legacy of the late Palestinian leader, whitewashes his decades-long involvement in lethal terrorist attacks against Israelis, and risibly claims that his biggest character flaw was that he was in fact ‘too trusting’ of Israeli leaders.

Fisk writes:

He made so many concessions to Israel – because he was growing old and wanted to go to “Palestine” before he died – that his political descendants are still paying for them. Arafat had never seen a Jewish colony on occupied land when he accepted the Oslo agreement. He trusted the Americans. He trusted the Israelis. He trusted anyone who appeared to say the right things. And it must have been exhausting to start his career as a super-“terrorist” in Beirut and then be greeted on the White House lawn as a super- “statesman” and then re-created by Israel as a super-“terrorist” again.

However, the most egregious lie by omission appears later in the essay when he addresses comments Arafat reportedly made about the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, per a conversation he had with Edward Said:

Edward Said told me that Arafat said to him in 1985 that “if there’s one thing I don’t want to be, it’s to be like Haj Amin. He was always right, and he got nothing and died in exile.”

Hunted by the British, Haj Amin, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, went to Berlin during the Second World War in the hope that Hitler would help the Palestinians.

His claim that the pro-Nazi Haj Amin was merely attempting to “help the Palestinians” represents an extraordinary obfuscation.  

As a CAMERA report (based on documentation in a book by Jennie Lebel titled ‘The Mufti of Jerusalem: Haj-Amin el-Husseini and National-Socialism‘) makes clear, Haj Amin’s desire to ‘help the Palestinians’ was superseded by a greater passion – to annihilate the Jews.

Haj Amin El-Husseini, who was appointed Mufti of Jerusalem in 1921 aided by sympathetic British officials, advocated violent opposition to Jewish settlement in the Mandate for Palestine and incited the Arabs against the growing Jewish presence. Lebel describes the violence of 1929, where Haj Amin spread the story that the Jews planned to destroy the Dome of the Rock and the Aqsa mosque. Using falsified photos of the mosque on fire and disseminating propaganda that borrowed from the anti-Jewish forgery, the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the mufti instigated a widespread pogrom against Jews in Palestine. On Aug. 23, Arabs streamed into Jerusalem and attacked Jews. Six days later, a second wave of attacks resulted in 64 dead in Hebron


The Mufti injected a religiously based anti-Jewish component into the emerging Palestinian national consciousness….Presaging modern boycott proposals against Jewish settlement, Haj Amin called on all Muslims to boycott Jewish goods and organized an Arab strike on April 10, 1936.

He saw in the Nazis and Italian fascists natural allies who would do what the British were unwilling to do — purge the region of Jews and help him establish a unified Arab state throughout the Middle East…Believing that the Axis might prevail in the war, the mufti secured a commitment from both Italy and Germany to the formation of a region-wide Arab state. He also asked for permission to solve the Jewish problem by the “same method that will be applied for the solution of the Jewish problem in the Axis states.” 

On Nov. 28, 1941, he met for the first time with Adolf Hitler, relaying to the German leader the Arab conviction that Germany would win the war and that this would benefit the Arab cause. 
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, meets Hitler for the first time. Berlin, Germany, November 28, 1941.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, meets Hitler in Berlin

While Hitler shared the mufti’s belief that the present war would determine the fate of the Arabs, his priority was the struggle against what he saw as Jewish-controlled Britain and the Soviet Union. Lebel reveals Hitler’s promise that when the German army reached the southern borders of the Caucasus, he would announce to the Arab world their time of liberation had come. The Germans would annihilate all Jews who lived in Arab areas.

[Haj Amin’s] conspiratorial view of Jewish ambitions are reflected in the widespread dissemination of such publications as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” in the Arab and Muslim world. The view of the Jews as contaminators of society and malevolent conspirators resonate today in the founding Charter of Hamas.

In a radio broadcast from Germany on Nov. 16, 1943…Haj Amin laid out his vision of the conflict with the Jews:

“The Jews bring the world poverty, trouble and disaster … they destroy morality in all countries… they falsify the words of the prophet, they are the bearers of anarchy and bring suffering to the world. They are like moths who eat away all the good in the countries. They prepared the war machine for Roosevelt and brought disaster to the world. They are monsters and the basis for all evil in the world ….” 

As Nazi official Wilhelm Melchers testified after the war:

The mufti was an accomplished foe of the Jews and did not conceal that he would love to see all of them liquidated.

It’s clear that Haj Amin’s relationship with Hitler was no mere ‘alliance of convenience’, but was based on shared eliminationist antisemitic fantasies.  As Jeffrey Herf wrote in his 2009 book, ‘Nazi Propaganda for the Arab world‘, the Mufti “played a central role in the cultural fusion of European with Islamic traditions of Jew-hatred [and] was one of the few who had mastered the ideological themes and nuances of fascism and Nazism, as well as the anti-Jewish elements within the Koran and its subsequent commentaries.”

Robert Fisk’s innocuous description of Haj Amin as ‘pro-Palestinian’ is as morally perverse as characterizing Adolf Hitler as merely  ‘pro-Aryan’.

The Middle East, Hate and the Vice of Moral Equivalence

Written by Gidon Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem-based Freelance Writer 

The Middle East is renowned as the birthplace of some the world’s great fables. Who hasn’t been enchanted by ‘One Thousand and One Nights’ or dreamt of adventure on the high seas of the Persian Gulf with Sinbad and his sailors?

The ancient tradition of telling tall tales has proven particularly potent in a part of the world where escape from life’s brutalities is necessary in order to just get through the day. It is thus not surprising that dry, academic, historical truths fall by the way side; they simply serve no purpose where a nation’s bare bone facts are replete with blood drenched tyrants, intolerance, oppression, torture and worse.

In nations founded on cruelty and maintained by fear, the huddled masses turned inward and away in the hopes of even temporary relief from life’s hellish fate.

While the Enlightenment bequeathed unto the world rational thought, religious freedom and the primacy of human dignity, much of the Middle East has, to a large measure, remained mired in the muck of the Dark Ages, trapped inside a mindset of superstition, misogyny and religious intolerance.

And the ramifications are felt until this day. While U.S. history books sparkle with the names of ‘Washington’ ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Jefferson’, countries across the Middle East routinely put ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ at the top of the best seller list. While the words and deeds of such giants as Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko are taught and debated across the West, the Middle East offers up such tin pot dictators as Moammar Kaddafi, Gamal Nasser and many more.

And while Israeli school children are taught about how their ancestors made the harsh desert bloom, kids in the surrounding countries are essentially taught the virtues of hate.

What better way is there for unelected oppressors to maintain their hold on power and treasure then by creating latter-day fables for their long-suffering citizens that can be used as an outlet for pent-up frustrations, dashed hopes and, worst of all, trampled humanity.

Whereas the tales of yore extolled the virtues of honor, modesty and bravery, today’s government-sanctioned fibs of mass distortion merely provide a panacea for all that ails.

It’s true; Bashar Assad, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Benjamin Netanyahu are all heads of state. It’s also true that Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill were all heads of state at precisely the same time in the 1930s and 1940s. And? Nothing.

The deadening of distinction between democratically elected leaders and tyrants is, of course, the greatest fable ever told. This outrageous cartoon serves this purpose well. When the virtues of open elections, freedom of expression, independent branches of government and the superiority of civilian rule over the military are eschewed, one is inevitably left with a world view that sees life as “nasty, brutish and short.”

This perpetual state of war has been the trademark of a land once renowned for its philosophers, scientists and engineers, whose contributions to technology and culture both preserved earlier traditions while adding their own innovations.

By denying the existence of a moral hierarchy, we are simply perpetuating the post-colonial paradigm, with“we are just as bad as… or worse than them” serving as leitmotif. 

Guardian changes course & (permanently) removes Gilad Atzmon’s book from their online shop

H/T Al

A quick summary:

Within 24 hours of our post in October of 2011 on the fact that the Guardian’s online bookshop was selling Gilad Atzmon’s egregiously antisemitic book, The Wandering Who?, they removed the book from their shop.

However, as we noted recently, at some point following October the Guardian placed the book back on their online shop.

Last week, however, we learned that, following an email exchange with the Guardian’s book editor by a CiF Watch reader, the Guardian reversed course and, noted that “The Wandering Who has now been removed from the Guardian Bookshop site”. They attributed the availability of the book to “a problem with [their automated] feeds.”

Yesterday, Chris Elliott, the Guardian’s Readers’ Editor, addressed the issue in “…On the inclusion of controversial titles in our bookshop“, March 11.

Wrote Elliott:

If you put the words Mein Kampf into the search function of the Guardian’s online bookshop you get two editions offered for sale…the second carries the following text:

“Hitler’s infamous political tract…contains a detailed introduction which analyses Hitler’s background, his ideology and his ruthless understanding of political power.”

It espouses a rabidly antisemitic view of the world among other things….I am entirely convinced that it is a book that should be available to be read because it has an important lesson from history; suppression would only lend an unjustified mystique. In this area waders or a wet suit are more suitable than a standard pair of wellington boots to navigate through the depths of this subject. 

Should every book legally published be available in the Guardian’s online bookshop? This is where it becomes even more difficult. Part of me says, yes. I am opposed to the suppression of books and believe in the power of readers to make rational and intelligent decisions. Bring things into the light. But even where the sale of a book is legal, there will always be a selection process. Where the Guardian is involved in that selection process, it has the right to do what all good bookshops do and select what it offers according to its own principles such as when it is publishing its own books. Where the Guardian is not involved in selecting the title, then it has a duty to tell potential shoppers that that is the case.

…Gilad Atzmon’s The Wandering Who? was removed because of the controversy it has caused. Atzmon says he is anti-Zionist but he has been accused of making antisemitic remarks, including past praise for the “prophetic qualities” of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a falsified tract purporting to show plans for Jewish domination of the world that was written by agents of Tsarist Russia. [emphasis added]

…After strong protests last November about the inclusion of Atzmon’s book in the Guardian’s online bookshop, we removed it from the electronic feed but it was later restored on our bookshop lists and therefore other newspapers’ feeds. One reason was the technological problem but the others were considered to be broader issues. At the time Guardian executives considered that:

• If a book is removed, the impression may be created that the Guardian “approves” of all the other books on the Guardian’s bookshop feed.

• Removing a book lends an unjustified cachet to it.

When the book was restored to the list, a much clearer explanation of what the list represents for the Guardian was used:

“In addition to our recommendations, our browsable selection of books also includes a feed of the top 5,000 bestselling titles through independent booksellers (not including Amazon) as supplied by Bertrams. Inclusion in this automated feed does not necessarily denote recommendation by GNM.”

Now the book is off the list again following renewed protests.  It will remain so. [emphasis added]

While I applaud their decision to remove Atzmon’s book from their shelves, it is necessary to address Elliott’s comparison with Mein Kempf.  As Elliott noted, the synopsis of Mein Kempf on their site notes, “Hitler’s infamous political tract…contains a detailed introduction which analyses Hitler’s background, his ideology and his ruthless understanding of political power.”

That is, the book is being characterized as a hateful book, whose availability is owed to its historical significance in understanding the Nazi regime’s murder of six million Jews.

The Guardian synopsis of Atzmon’s book, however, included the following:

So, the publisher’s synopsis characterized an overtly antisemitic book – by an author who has claimed that Hitler’s views about Jews may one day be proven right, and who explicitly charges that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world – as a “unique crucial book” which tackles the issues of Jewish “ideology and their global influence”. [emphasis added]

Finally, unsurprisingly, a Guardian reader wrote the following below Elliott’s post:

Yes, the Guardian cravenly caved to the weight of “pressure” exerted by groups who fight antisemitism!

As I noted in a subsequent comment on the thread, the word “censorship” refers to a government which legally prohibits certain books from being sold. What we’re dealing with here is an independent bookseller making the decision not to sell a truly vile book. That is their right. 

As I’ve argued before, if David Duke’s books (or books by the BNP, or other extremist groups) were among the top 5000 in their automated feed, would the Guardian be obligated to sell them?  

Of course not.

“Censorship” or “Zionist pressure” has absolutely nothing to do with it.

The Guardian places Gilad Atzmon’s book back on its shelves

H/T Harry’s place

While we’re, of course, not privy to the Guardian’s decision-making process, within 24 hours of our post in November about their promotion of Gilad Atzmon’s book (The Wandering Who?) on their online bookshop, the Guardian removed the title from their site.

The Guardian bookshop page displayed this when you tried to open the link:

“sorry this product is not listed”

As we’ve noted repeatedly about Atzmon, he engages in explicit antisemitism which is indistinguishable from what is found on the extreme (white supremacist) right,

In brief, Atzmon repeatedly refers to Judaism as “supremacist“‘ faith, has questioned whether the Holocaust occurred, while simultaneously arguing that, if Hitler’s genocide did occur, it can partly be explained by Jews’ villainous behavior.  (On this latter note, he claimed that Hitler’s views about Jews may one day be proven right.)

Atzmon also explicitly charges that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world, and has endorsed of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, arguing about the document that “it is impossible to ignore its prophetic qualities and its capacity to describe” later Jewish behavior.

The CST characterized ‘The Wandering Who?’ as “quite probably the most antisemitic book published in this country in recent years.”

However, at some point since November, the book was again made available on their site,

Note the synopsis.

However, the Guardian now has a disclaimer which reads:

The Guardian Bookshop makes nearly 200,000 books available to our customers with 20% discount or better available on the majority of titles. Within this wide selection, we aim to highlight a tailored selection of handpicked books in each genre that reflect the Guardian and Observer’s well-respected literary coverage and reviews. In addition to our recommendations, our browsable selection of books also includes a feed of the top 5,000 best-selling titles through independent booksellers (not including Amazon) as supplied by Bertrams.Inclusion in this automated feed does not necessarily denote recommendation by GNM.

Though a search on the website they cited (Bertrams) lists “The Wandering Who?” with a “sales rank” of 185, it’s difficult to determine whether that ranking places Atzmon’s book among the top 5,000.

But, more importantly, the Guardian online bookshop is not run by a third-party or outside contractor. They maintain editorial control and can choose to include, or not to include, whatever they wish. Their decision, following our original post on the subject, to remove Atzmon’s book from their site is proof of this. If David Duke’s book, Jewish Supremacism, was within the top 5,000 would the Guardian similarly make it available? 

Further, even if the synopsis was written by the publisher, it is certainly within the Guardian’s authority to edit such book quotes as needed, and you don’t need to be a philo-Semite to understand how insidious it is to include a blurb championing the cause of exposing the injurious influence of “global” Jewish ideology.

While I wasn’t able to locate the editor responsible for such decisions, you may wish to Tweet the Guardian @GuardianBooks and ask how they can defend selling and promoting such explicitly antisemitic material. 

The Guardian, Khaled Diab and the Gilad Atzmon antisemitism test

Khaled Diab’s essay at CiF, “Hacking away at Arab and Israeli stereotypes“, is quite misleading. His objective isn’t to tear down stereotypes about Israelis, but to highlight and promote them. 

Diab, commenting on recent reports of Saudi hackers who “scaled up their cyber offensive against Israel by paralysing the websites of El Al airline and the Tel Aviv stock exchange”, quoted an Israeli journalist observing that such Arab tech prowess shattered the “feeling that Israel is a technological ‘superpower’ and a hi-tech nation”.  And, later, Diab saw Israeli surprise at the adeptness of the hackers as evidence that Israelis “apparently do regard their nearest [Arab] neighbours as being backward.”

While Diab, later in the essay, acknowledges (albeit in a perfunctory manner) Arab stereotypes of Israelis (which he suggests have nothing whatsoever to do with antisemitism), it’s in the following passage where his polemical veneer of  ‘peace and reconciliation’ vanishes.

Commenting further on the Israeli reaction to the apparent Saudi hacking, Diab writes.

Some commentators went even further. “The Jewish state is pretty devastated by the idea that a bunch of ‘indigenous Arabs’ are far more technologically advanced than its own chosen cyber pirates,” Israeli jazz musician Gilad Atzmon observed wryly on his blog.

The “Israeli jazz musician”, Gilad Atzmon, whose blog Diab evidently reads, is the author of a book, The Wandering Who?, which the Community Security Trust characterized as “probably the most antisemitic book published in this country in recent years.”

But, as I noted in a previous post, merely characterizing Atzmon as antisemitic doesn’t do him justice.  Atzmon advances crude, hateful, and demonizing rhetoric about Jews which is on par with the most vile Judeophobic charges ever leveled.

In that one video I linked to earlier, Atzmon leveled charges against Jews which are identical to the charges he routinely advances on his blog – the site which Diab refers to.

They include:

  • The explicit charge that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world, and an endorsement of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Gilad Atzmon’s antisemitism, quite simply, is as odious as anything you can find on a white supremacist or neo-Nazi website.

So, here’s a friendly suggestion to Guardian Readers’ Editor Chris Elliott, on how (per his mea culpa in Nov.) he can “avert accusations of antisemitism“, at his paper:

Don’t publish essays which approvingly cite the wisdom of one of the most notorious antisemites of our day!

Nick Cohen’s masterful deconstruction of the Israel-obsessed Guardian Left

This is perhaps the first time I’ve posted an essay from the Guardian without critical comment, but Nick Cohen’s post on the hypocrisy of the Israel-obsessed Guardian Left is a masterpiece.  So, here it is:

The Arab revolution is consigning skip-loads of articles, books and speeches about the Middle East to the dustbin of history. In a few months, readers will go through libraries or newspaper archives and wonder how so many who claimed expert knowledge could have turned their eyes from tyranny and its consequences.

To a generation of politically active if not morally consistent campaigners, the Middle East has meant Israel and only Israel. In theory, they should have been able to stick by universal principles and support a just settlement for the Palestinians while opposing the dictators who kept Arabs subjugated. Few, however, have been able to oppose oppression in all its forms consistently. The right has been no better than the liberal-left in its Jew obsessions. The briefest reading of Conservative newspapers shows that at all times their first concern about political changes in the Middle East is how they affect Israel. For both sides, the lives of hundreds of millions of Arabs, Berbers and Kurds who were not involved in the conflict could be forgotten.

If you doubt me, consider the stories that the Middle Eastern bureau chiefs missed until revolutions that had nothing to do with Palestine forced them to take notice.

• Gaddafi was so frightened of a coup that he kept the Libyan army small and ill-equipped and hired mercenaries and paramilitary “special forces” he could count on to slaughter the civilian population when required.

Lieila Ben Ali, the wife of the Tunisian president, was a preposterously extravagant figure, who all but begged foreign correspondents to write about her rapacious pursuit of wealth. Only when Tunisians rose up did journalists stir themselves to tell their readers how she had pushed the populace to revolt by combining the least appealing traits of Imelda Marcos and Marie-Antoinette.

Hearteningly, for those of us who retain a nostalgia for the best traditions of the old left, Tunisia and Egypt had independent trade unionists, who could play “a leading role”, as we used to say, in organising and executing uprisings.

Far from being a cause of the revolution, antagonism to Israel everywhere served the interests of oppressors. Europeans have no right to be surprised. Of all people, we ought to know from our experience of Nazism that antisemitism is a conspiracy theory about power, rather than a standard racist hatred of poor immigrants. Fascistic regimes reached for it when they sought to deny their own people liberty. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the forgery the far-right wing of the decaying tsarist regime issued in 1903 to convince Russians they should continue to obey the tsar’s every command, denounces human rights and democracy as facades behind which the secret Jewish rulers of the world manipulated gullible gentiles.

Read the rest of the essay here.