Revisiting the day when Tom Gross escorted Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger around Israel

We just came across a fascinating post by the prolific Tom Gross describing his experience in 2001 escorting Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger (and Ian Katz) around Israel and the Palestinian territories.

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What especially stands out is how much worse their coverage was during the early 2000s compared to today – which says a lot in light of the egregious institutional anti-Israel bias we’ve been exposing since our blog’s launch in 2009.

Gross begins:

LAST May, I escorted the editor of London’s Guardian newspaper, Alan Rusbridger, and his features editor, Ian Katz, round West Jerusalem and into Palestinian-controlled Bethlehem. It was Rusbridger’s first trip to Israel. His paper had been singled out by critics of press coverage of Israel – even in the context of highly selective and biased reporting across virtually the entire European media – as one of the most unfair. [Ian Katz is now editor of BBC’s Newsnight.] 

Unlike many other journalists who have climbed aboard the anti-Israeli bandwagon over the last months without having ever even been to Israel, Rusbridger – to his credit – took five days off work to see the situation for himself. He is, after all, heir to the great C.P. Scott, editor of The Guardian for 57 years, who (in Rusbridger’s words) “fought tirelessly alongside Chaim Weizmann for the creation of the state of Israel.” (Indeed it was Scott who introduced Weizmann to Arthur Balfour).

A few days before our meeting, the Guardian’s chief Jerusalem correspondent, Suzanne Goldenberg, had been presented with Britain’s prestigious Edgar Wallace Trophy by Prime Minister Tony Blair in London. In a front-page announcement, The Guardian said that the London Press Club had decided to award her the prize, for her “courageous and objective journalism.”

Even though the prize is meant to cover reporting in general, and has no particular connection with the Middle East, the runner-up was another media crusader against Israel, Robert Fisk, of the Independent newspaper. Goldenberg’s news report in the Guardian on the morning the prize was announced, was titled “Mutilated Children of a Crippled Palestine,” which gives a flavor of the kind of writing which had so impressed her fellow journalists.

Guardian, May 1, 2001

Guardian, May 1, 2001

See our post (published last year) which fisked Goldenberg’s appalling 2001 report on the al-Dura incident.

Rusbridger, Katz and I crossed by car into Bethlehem. It wasn’t clear whether it was safe to go there that morning. The mutilated bodies of two 13-year-old Israeli boys had been found in a nearby cave just hours earlier, and tension was high. My car had Israeli, not Palestinian, license plates, and over the previous weeks several motorists had been shot dead for just such an offence.

The boys murdered in the cave were Yosef Ish Ran and Koby Mandell.

Two Israeli soldiers, aged about 18, were standing guard on the Israeli side of the border. When we showed our journalist identity cards and asked if we could cross, one of them said in English “But of course if you are journalists you must come in.” Then he added, with a wry smile, “You are the bodyguard of democracy, after all.” Rusbridger jotted down the soldier’s observation in his notebook.

“Is it safe to go in this morning?” I asked the soldier. “Yes, the Palestinians don’t start shooting until lunchtime these days,” he replied. Katz was worried: “You mean they have shooting here!”

We were pressed for time, so our foray into Bethlehem was a short one. But it was long enough for Rusbridger and Katz – a contemporary of mine at Oxford who told me that he hadn’t been to Israel “since his bar mitzvah” – to see with their own eyes that the Israeli soldiers were courteous and polite to Palestinians. They saw that Palestinians were allowed to cross the checkpoint by both car and foot in a matter of seconds. And they saw by contrast how the same soldiers were refusing religious Jews, who wished to go and pray at the nearby holy site of Rachel’s Tomb, entry to Bethlehem.

On our drive down one of Bethlehem’s main streets, we passed Palestinian-owned cars of a similar standard to those we had just seen being driven by Israelis in Jerusalem. Rusbridger and Katz also had a chance to observe that the local Arab shops were well stocked. And when we drove back out from Bethlehem into Israel, they could see that Palestinians were allowed to pass quickly – in about the same time it takes an average Israeli to enter a Tel Aviv shopping mall or movie theatre, as his bags are searched for explosive devices. At the same time the religious Jews we had seen before were still on the other side of the road, still pleading with the soldiers to be allowed entry to Bethlehem.

“BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL”

Two weeks later, Rusbridger wrote about his trip in a cover story for the Spectator magazine in London. The Spectator was an unexpected choice. It is owned by Conrad Black, one of the few prominent non-Jews in the West to have openly denounced media coverage of Israel. “The BBC, Independent, Guardian, Evening Standard and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are rabidly anti-Israel,” Black had written in The Spectator a few weeks earlier, “and wittingly or not, are stoking the inferno of anti-Semitism.”

Pay close attention to Rusbridger’s words:

Rusbridger began his Spectator article as follows: “In the last, dying days of apartheid I visited South Africa… A couple of weeks ago I made my first trip to another much-written about country, Israel. As with my earlier journey I found a lot that was shocking, but this time I was genuinely surprised. Nothing had prepared me for finding quite so many echoes of the worst days of South Africa in modern Israel.”

The Apartheid lie would later be advanced by Guardian reporters and commentators, including their former Jerusalem correspondents Chris McGreal and Harriet Sherwood.

He went on to give some examples – taken out of context – of shooting incidents, and of Palestinian poverty he had witnessed in what he called the “large prison” of Gaza. He wrote of the “endless humiliating queues waiting to pass through Israeli army checkpoints.” There was no mention of our very different experience crossing into the “occupied West Bank.”

Not content with drawing analogies with South Africa, Rusbridger also made a comparison with Northern Ireland, implying that the situation is worse in Israel because Israelis don’t know what’s going on. He wrote – mistakenly – that “The difference in Israel is that almost no Jewish-Israeli journalists ever report firsthand on life and death on the West Bank or Gaza today… The exceptions – I think there are three – are brave and, by and large, despised by Jewish Israelis.”

He seemed to have forgotten our conversation about the workings of Israeli democracy, in which I had pointed out that every Israeli newspaper – without exception – has regular and comprehensive reporting about life in Gaza, some of it highly critical of Israel; that both national Israeli TV channels have correspondents in Gaza; that senior advisors to Yasser Arafat, and even spokespersons for Hamas, are regularly interviewed on Israeli television and radio; and that Israeli Arabs play a significant role in the Israeli media. Indeed, as I had told Rusbridger, probably the single most influential journalist in Israel, Rafik Halaby, the Director of News at Israel’s state-run Channel One TV, is an Arab.

In his article Rusbridger also made no reference to the many progressive elements of Israeli Jewish society which we had discussed in some detail. I had asked him why, if Israel is “an affront to civilization” – the headline given to a comment piece written by a former British Defense Secretary in The Guardian’s sister paper, the Observer, a few days before Rusbridger’s visit – the Jewish state should, for example, have some of the most liberal laws in the world for homosexuals, far more liberal than those in the US and Britain.

affront

Observer headline, May 13, 2001

As for his claim that “nothing had prepared me for finding quite so many echoes of the worst days of South Africa in modern Israel”, it made me wonder, for a moment, how carefully he reads his own paper, given that comparisons between present day Israel and South Africa in the apartheid era have become part of the Guardian’s stock in trade.

Take, for example, Goldenberg’s report of Saturday June 3, 2000. It was headlined, “Palestinians feel the heat as police enforce beach apartheid: With peace looming, Israel is keen to establish areas for Jews only”, and the article itself began: “In these early days of a sweltering summer, the long palm-dotted beaches of Tel Aviv are a natural escape. But if you are a Palestinian, a family day out can mean a night in jail. As Israeli Jews lolled on the sand yesterday, the Tel Aviv police were out in force in a zealous enforcement of beach apartheid… [an] operation to create Jewish-only beaches. Palestinians were arrested near the dolphinarium before they could even set foot on the sand…”

Guardian, June 3, 2000

Guardian, June 3, 2000

As someone who lives in Tel Aviv, and goes to the beach most days, I have never seen anything of the kind. Jews and Arabs mix freely on the beach, and did so when the article was written in June 2000, as any resident of Tel Aviv will confirm. This includes the area around the dolphinarium, site of a deadly Palestinian suicide bomb at a beachfront teenage disco exactly a year after Goldenberg wrote her piece.

About the same time that Rusbridger published his Spectator article, he wrote a massive editorial in The Guardian, running to well over 2,000 words, entitled “Between Heaven and Hell.”

Guardian, May 21, 2000

Guardian, May 21, 2000

A pull quote was reproduced in large type in a box on The Guardian’s front page. It read:

We are forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about how the dream of a sanctuary for the Jewish people in the very land in which their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped has come to be poisoned. The establishment of this sanctuary has been bought at a very high cost in human rights and human lives. It must be apparent that the international community cannot support this cost indefinitely.”

You can read the rest of Gross’s post, here.  

You can continue to read about the Guardian’s hostility towards the Jewish state on these pages.

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Shocker in London: Guardian reporter refers to some Palestinians as ‘terrorists’ (without quotes)

The Guardian – like other UK papers – seems to have an unwritten rule against using the term ‘terrorist’ to characterize Palestinians – even those affiliated with groups designated as ‘terrorists’ by the US and Europe – except when safely surrounded in quotes.  Typically, the word ‘militant’ is used instead – reflecting the sage advice of their Style Guide which counsels their journalists that “the most important thing is that, in news reporting, we are not seen – because of the language we use – to be taking sides”. 

Indeed, banish the thought that Guardian journalists may be taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict!

In fact, some Guardian journalists have taken the politically correct terminology to a whole other level. Last year, Harriet Sherwood initially referred to the 104 pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners who are to be released by Israel as a good will gesture to the PA as “political prisoners” – suggesting that these Palestinians are arguably nothing less than prisoners of conscience. 

Ahead of a three-hour session with Kerry on Tuesday morning, Netanyahu stated that he was “determined not only to resume the peace process with the Palestinians, but to make a serious effort to end this conflict once and for all”…But he has refused to meet the Palestinians’ key precondition of freezing settlement expansion, although it is thought that Israel may avoid announcing any new construction projects in the coming weeks….The Palestinians also want the release of 123 political prisoners who have been in jail since before the Oslo accords were signed…

The Guardian only revised Sherwood’s propagandistic euphemism after this blog demonstrated to their editors quite convincingly that every single prisoner was convicted in an Israeli court for murder, attempted murder or being an accessory to murder.

So, given their history with such terms, we were left scratching our collective Zionist heads after reading the following passage in a Guardian report by their political editor Patrick Wintour, in a March 13th piece titled ‘Tony Blair briefs David Cameron for meeting with Palestinian president‘.

Israel and the Palestinians are preparing to confront the issue of whether Israeli Arabs will be included in the next prisoner release later this month. Palestinian officials have said in recent days that they expect Israel to release Israeli Arabs in the final group of 26 prisoners due to go free on 28 March…Under the framework agreement from last July that led to the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Israel was to release 104 convicted terrorists in four stages. Israel has already released 78 prisoners.

However, we’re not entirely convinced that the counter-revolutionary act of referring to Palestinian murderers in the pejorative is consistent with the papers ‘editorial standards’.  So, we took a snapshot of the page in case the inevitable complaint from a Palestinian hasbaraist is upheld by Guardian editors and the offending term is removed. 

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Economist removes antisemitic cartoon; apologizes for ‘inadvertent’ offense

Earlier today we posted about the following cartoon published at The Economist – used to illustrate an article about negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 – which evoked the antisemitic narrative complaining of the injurious effects of Jewish power on U.S. foreign policy.

Within the past hour, we learned that the Economist removed the cartoon from the online edition of the article, and issued the following addendum:

econ

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New CST report on antisemitic discourse in Britain slams the Guardian

The last time we posted about the annual report on antisemitic discourse in Britain by the Community Security Trust (the charity organisation advising British Jews on matters of security and antisemitism) we focused on the fact that the Guardian was singled out for opprobrium.  

cst 2011

In fact, CST devoted an entire section of their 21 page report to the Guardian, noting that “in 2011, the Guardian faced more accusations of antisemitism than any other mainstream UK newspaper.”  Specifically, CST focused on an article by Chris McGreal characterizing US government support for Israel as “slavish” and a widely condemned ‘chosen people‘ slur by columnist Deborah Orr.

(See CiF Watch’s commentary on McGreal’s “slavish” comment here and here, and our take on Deborah Orr’s ‘chosen people’ slur here and here.)

In the latest CST report on antisemitic discourse, released just today, the Guardian again was singled out.  

cst 2012

Specifically, the CST wrote the following:

The largest antisemitism-related controversy concerning mainstream media content in 2012 was a cartoon in the Guardian, by Steve Bell. This depicted Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary William Hague MP as glove puppets of the Israeli Prime Minister. Bell resolutely denied any antisemitic intent and the cartoon was not removed.

Steve Bell cartoon, Guardian. Nov. 15, 2012.

(See CiF Watch’s commentary on the Steve Bell cartoon, here and here.)

The CST report also singled out a ‘Comment is Free’ commentary by Juan Cole, and included the following:

An intervention by CST caused the Guardian Comment is Free website to partly amend an article that had echoed antisemitic charges of Jewish conspiracy and warmongering.

(See CiF Watch’s posts about the row here and here)

Also of note, Robert Fisk was singled out for making “a highly insulting allegation about people supposedly being called antisemitic Nazis for writing the “truth” about Israel.”

(CAMERA posts about Robert Fisk can be found here)

CST’s summary of their annual report is here, while you can see the full 36 page PDF here.

Guardian evokes caricature of powerful Jewish state manipulating Western leaders

Last November we posted about a political cartoon at the Guardian by Steve Bell depicting British foreign minister William Hague and Tony Blair as puppets being controlled by Binyamin Netanyahu, in the context of expressions of support by these leaders during the war in Gaza.  Bell’s image evoked the canard of powerful Jews controlling western politicians for their own nefarious purposes and was hauntingly similar to more explicitly antisemitic cartoons routinely found in the Arab and Islamist world.  

Guardian: Nov. 15, 2012

The Guardian’s readers’ editor, Chris Elliott, addressed the row a couple of weeks later, and actually rebuked Bell for ‘unintentionally’ using the visual language of antisemitic stereotypes.

While such cartoons often have more of an immediate impact in reinforcing negative stereotypes about Jews than lengthy essays, the damage done by such toxic ideas regarding ‘Jewish control’, in any form, should be taken seriously.  The Guardian narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, in news reports and commentaries, often includes passages with the unmistakable  suggestion that Israel (and the pro-Israeli lobby) wields enormous power over ineffectual Western leaders – a theme present in a report by Harriet Sherwood and Julian Borger titled ‘Iran nuclear programme deal in danger of unravelling’, Nov. 11.  The story centered on nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) which ultimately unraveled largely due to concerns that the agreement would have eased sanctions on Iran without requiring that it cease enriching uranium.  

The report by Sherwood and Borger included the following:

In a bid to contain the danger, the lead US negotiator, Wendy Sherman, flew straight from the talks in Geneva to Israel to reassure Binyamin Netanyahu’s government that the intended deal would not harm his country’s national interests.

The hastily arranged trip represented an acknowledgement of Netanyahu’s power to block a deal through his influence in the US Congress and in Europe. Egged on by the Israelis, the US Senate is poised to pass new sanctions that threaten to derail the talks before they get to their planned next round in 10 days’ time.

More immediately, Netanyahu demonstrated over the weekend that he could sway the Geneva talks from the inside through his relationship with Paris.

These passages of course strongly suggest that US congressional leaders take their marching orders from Jerusalem and that the French government’s position was not motivated by what it saw as its own national interests but, rather, as a result of the influence of the Israeli prime minister.  

However, the deal was fatally flawed, according to many experts, due in part because it would have fallen short of the requirements in six resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council over the years which called on Iran to suspend ALL uranium enrichment – resolutions passed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, rendering them binding under international law.

As Adam Chandler observed in an essay published at Tablet about the superficial analysis by Sherwood and Borger: 

[Their argument] smacks of that paranoid, evergreen charge that all wars and international campaigns are waged on behalf of Israel, a claim that devolves from Israel into “the Jews” as it goes through portal after conspiratorial portal. 

You don’t even need to believe that antisemitism is at play to nonetheless be contemptuous of the extraordinary myopia displayed in the Guardian report.  As Walter Russell Mead observed recently about the broader intellectual dynamic which unites antisemitism with anti-Zionism:

Weak minds…are easily seduced by attractive but empty generalizations. The comment attributed to August Bebel that anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools can be extended to many other kinds of cheap and superficial errors that people make. The baffled, frustrated and the bewildered seek a grand, simplifying hypothesis that can bring some kind of ordered explanation to a confusing world.

Guardian “journalists” may fancy themselves sophisticated, erudite and worldly, but their frequent ‘Zionist root cause’ explanations betray both their ideological bias and the extraordinarily facile nature of their reasoning.

CiF contributor ‘reveals’ Bono’s neoncon-inspired rock ‘n roll imperialism

Though what likely first comes to mind to most when thinking about the rock star known as Bono are the many memorable songs from his band’s long and successful career, or perhaps his humanitarian work on behalf of the poor of Africa.

bono-picture-1

However, when ‘Comment is Free’ contributor (and British marxist literary critic) Terry Eagleton looks into the soul of the widely admired cultural icon he sees something much darker. His latest Guardian contribution, a June 26 review of a book about the U2 front man by Harry Browne, explores the the dark, capitalist underbelly of the Dublin born star. 

title

After a few introductory paragraphs, Eagleton goes on the attack.  

For all [Bono’s] carefully crafted self-irony (how ridiculous for me, an overpaid rock star from working-class Dublin, to be saving the world!), the inside is a place he has never betrayed any great reluctance to occupy. Since an outsider is unlikely to know much about global economics, he is likely to take his cue from the conventional wisdom of the insiders, which is why Bono is both maverick and conservative.

 he inherited the social conscience of the 1960s without its political radicalism, which is why he has proved so convenient a front man for the neo-liberals.

In fact, as Browne points out, he has cosied up to racists such as Jesse Helms, whitewashed architects of the Iraqi adventure such as Tony Blair and Paul Wolfowitz, and discovered a soulmate in the shock-doctrine economist Jeffrey Sachs. He has also brownnosed the Queen, sucked up to the Israelis, grovelled at the feet of corporate bullies and allied himself with rightwing anti-condom US evangelicals in Africa

Browne’s case is simple but devastating. As a multimillionaire investor, world-class tax avoider, pal of Bush and Blair and crony of the bankers and neo-cons, Bono has lent credence to the global forces that wreak much of the havoc he is eager to mop up. His technocratic, west-centred, corporation-friendly campaigns have driven him into one false solution, unsavoury alliance and embarrassing debacle after another.

Of course, Eagleton’s righteous outrage towards Bono’s rock ‘n roll imperialism is quite understandable when you consider that (as we’ve noted previously) he is an advocate of the marxist-inspired “religion” known as ‘Liberation Theology‘, a vocal ‘Occupy‘ supporter and Shlomo Sand enthusiast.  The anti-Bono activism of the literary critic also seems a bit more comprehensible when you contemplate that he once cast Jesus, in a book he wrote about the Gospels, as a proto ‘Palestinian insurgent‘ and (most memorably) recently characterized a quite well-known antisemitic Jew named Karl Marx as nothing less than a “Jewish prophet”.  

All of this seems to demonstrate once again that armchair communist revolutionaries never die, at least as long as their discredited, destructive theories can continue to find fertile ground on the cultural pages of the Guardian. 

Guardian cartoonist draws upon antisemitic stereotypes in depicting Henry Kissinger

Here’s a recent photo of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

kissinger

Now, here’s how Kissinger was depicted on June 8th by Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson, in a cartoon about the annual meeting of the Bilderberg Group in Watford. (The Bilderberg Group is  a policy forum consisting of influential people in business, finance and politics which consistently provides fodder for conspiracy theories due to the relative secrecy of the meetings.)

Martin Rowson cartoon 8.6.2013

Here’s a closeup.

rowson

A few observations:

  • Though the Bilderberg meeting includes other former political leaders vilified by some due to their involvement in foreign wars, such as Tony Blair for instance, Rowson chose only Kissinger (A German-born Jew) to depict as having blood on his (oversized) hands – inspired, presumably, by his role under President Nixon during the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • Despite the antisemitic history of such caricatures – historically, the ‘big hooked nose’ (often in conjunction with a sneering expression) on a Jew is typically meant to suggest his depravity – Rowson chose to include such a stereotypically exaggerated nose among Kissinger’s other grotesque features. 
  • Rowson’s history at the Guardian includes cartoons which have employed similar motifs, including such facial features and the gratuitous use of blood to illustrate putatively sadistic Jewish behavior. Here’s one, titled Mindless in Gaza”, of Ariel Sharon from 2001:

GraunSharonSampson.jpg

Additionally, to provide further visual context, here’s a collection of Nazi and Arab antisemitic depictions – focusing on the hooked nose and oversized hands – which CAMERA published during the row over Gerald Scarfe’s ‘Sunday Times’ cartoon.  (Scarfe’s cartoon, which Rowson defended in an essay at the Guardian, is on the top right.)

anti semitic cartoons

Indeed,  if you compare Rowson’s cartoon with the most extreme racist depictions of Jews in the 20th century it isn’t difficult to see the overlapping facial features.  Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Rowson’s Kissinger with the infamous Nazi antisemitic caricature published by Julius Streicher’s Der Sturmer, titled ‘The Poisonous Mushroom':

mushroom

Whilst we’re not suggesting that Rowson was intentionally evoking such comparisons, the Guardian’s readers’ editor Chris Elliott, in a post responding to criticism over Steve Bell’s Nov. 15 cartoon depicting William Hague and Tony Blair as puppets being controlled by Bibi Netanyahu, wrote the following:

I don’t believe that Bell is an antisemite, nor do I think it was his intention to draw an antisemitic cartoon. However, using the image of a puppeteer when drawing a Jewish politician inevitably echoes past antisemitic usage of such imagery, no matter the intent.

The Holocaust and its causes are still within living memory. While journalists and cartoonists should be free to express an opinion that Netanyahu is opportunistic and manipulative, in my view they should not use the language – including the visual language – of antisemitic stereotypes.

Echoing Elliott, whether or not Martin Rowson had racist intent is not as relevant as the more fundamental point: that a cartoonist for a “liberal” broadsheet should possess the moral decency to strenuously avoid employing visual language which historically represented the major antisemitic motifs in the long and bloody persecution of Jews.

The antisemitic reflex: A Jew-baiting Tweet by the Guardian’s Michael White

Today, pending an investigation, the Labour Party suspended Baron Ahmed, a member of the House of Lords and the first male Muslim peer in the UK, for claiming that his prison sentence several years ago for dangerous driving resulted from pressure placed on the court system by Jews “who own newspapers and TV channels”.

He reportedly said the following during a TV interview last year.

“My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this.”

Ahmed was imprisoned for 3 months in 2008 after sending text messages while driving.

Today, on Twitter, as news of Ahmed’s suspension was reported, there was this exchange between veteran Guardian journalist Michael White and Daniel Finkelstein, a journalist for The Times.

The exchange continued:

continues

Let’s be clear about what just transpired.

A reporter for The Times expressed surprise that news of a Labour Party investigation into racism against a member of Parliament was not in BBC radio news summaries.

A Guardian journalist, noting that Finkelstein was Jewish, immediately engaged in an ad hominem and completely irrelevant attack, raising the topic of settlements in the state of Israel.

The Guardian reporter’s ugly response to Finkelstein’s Tweet represents the classic antisemitic “reflex” of holding Jews collectively responsible for the perceived sins of the state of Israel – a bigoted association he’s made on at least one other occasion in a column at the Guardian.

Daniel Finkelstein is not an Israeli.

He happens to be a Jew but is no less British than Michael White.

Guardian claims Hamas scored political points from photo of Egypt PM cradling dead baby

An official Guardian editorial (Gaza: storm before the quiet, Nov. 21) on talks of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas cited legitimate claims of victory both sides could make if a truce is signed.

[Netanyahu] can say that while Gilad Shalit is back with his family, the man who kidnapped him, Hamas’s military chief Ahmed al-Jaabari, is dead; he can say that the stock of missiles in Gaza is depleted and that the Iron Dome missile defence system proved itself. He can say the operation gave the lie to those who claimed Israel cannot act militarily now that the regional environment has been changed by the Arab spring. 

Now, here’s the Guardian assessment of what Hamas will gain:

“Hamas has a different narrative. Whether a ceasefire takes effect or not, they will say their rockets established their reach over the majority of the population from Jerusalem to north of Tel Aviv. And far from being wiped out in the initial Israeli bombardment, they kept firing to the very end.”

Then, parroting Seumas Milne’s recent triumphant polemic about Hamas’ ‘victory’ in establishing themselves as the main Palestinian resistance movement, the editorial continues:

“At home, Hamas will have reaffirmed its role as the main resistance to the occupation – a role which it was in danger of surrendering to competitive militant groups in the Gaza Strip.” [emphasis added]

The editorial continues:

“More significant, Hamas claims, would be the political gains achieved during the past traumatic week – the pictures of the Egyptian prime minister and Turkish foreign minister clutching dead Gazan children, the stream of visits and support from the entire Arab League. What did the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, sitting all on his own in Ramallah get? Tony Blair.” [emphasis added]

It is worth noting that the Guardian is once again suggesting that Hamas, unlike the “craven” Palestinian leaders in Fatah, is more deserving of our moral sympathy, more justified in claiming the mantle of the authentic Palestinian resistance movement. 

Further, the picture of the Egyptian prime minister clutching a dead Gazan child, which the Guardian is referring to, is an incident which was revealed to be a fraud.

Though media reports initially claimed the child in question, 4-year-old Mahmoud Sadallah, was killed by an Israeli strike, it later was revealed that he was almost certainly killed by an errant Hamas rocket.

This cynical manipulation of a dead Palestinian boy to score public relation points should be a source of shame for Hamas, not a source of pride.  

However, as long as the Guardian remains enamored of Hamas, and sympathetic to their claims of legitimacy, don’t expect even the most specious moral and political claims by the Islamist group to be subjected to critical scrutiny.

US Congressional resolution supporting Israel makes Glenn Greenwald’s head explode

Western government support for Israel’s right to defend it’s citizens against Hamas really infuriates some people.

Those who routinely demonize the Jewish state and parrot the most ludicrous claims about Israeli villainy – and excuse or ignore the racism, incitement and violence of Islamist extremists in the region – simply can’t wrap their mind around the fact their anti-Zionist view is extremely marginal.

The mind of Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell was evidently ready to explode upon hearing the expressions of support for Israel by British foreign secretary William Hague and former PM Tony Blair. So, Bell expressed, in cartoon form, his belief that the only possible explanation for this maddening political dynamic is the puppeteer like control exercised over the subservient British leaders by Israel’s Prime Minister.

Another ‘anti-Zionist head-exploding’ moment occurred when the U.S. House and Senate overwhelmingly passed non-binding resolutions backing “Israel’s right to self-defense”.

There’s nothing unusual about such a resolution, as popular support for Israel in America, based on polling by Gallup over the last 45 years, has been consistent and overwhelming – a fact which CiF contributor Glenn Greenwald, whose fear of powerful Jewish forces in the U.S. borders on the conspiratorial, simply can’t fathom.

He expressed his frustration today, thus: 

Poor Glenn. The Congressional resolutions, which audaciously affirmed that “no nation”, including Israel, “can tolerate constant barrages of rockets against its civilian population”, actually passed unanimously

In his essay on Nov. 2011, on ‘averting accusations of antisemitism‘, Guardian readers editor Chris Elliott warned Guardian journalists and commentators to avoid “antisemitic tropes such as Jews having too much power and control.”

Elliott also noted that “three times” he had “upheld complaints against language within articles [which] could be read as antisemitic”, such as his decision to delete the term “slavish” (to describe the US relationship with Israel) from a report by Chris McGreal.

Glenn Greenwald’s characterization of the democratically elected U.S. legislative body as “subservient” to Israel (and/or the Jewish lobby) similarly contains antisemitic undertones, but also represents, to quote Walter Russel Mead, a sign that the ‘Comment is Free’ contributor is among those who are “baffled, frustrated and the bewildered” and therefore “seek[s] a grand, simplifying hypothesis that can bring some kind of ordered explanation to a confusing world.”

“Anti-Semitism”, wrote Mead, “is one of the glittering frauds that attract the overwhelmed and the uncomprehending.”

The anti-Zionist left is increasingly defined as much by their intellectual laziness as they are by their blind subservience to the logic of historically right-wing Judeophobic narratives regarding the dangers of Jewish control.

Guardian publishes cartoon showing Israeli leader as puppet master controlling Hague & Blair (Updated)

Here’s a cartoon by Steve Bell, Guardian, Nov. 15., titled “Steve Bell on Tony Blair and William Hague’s role in Israel-Gaza clash – cartoon”.

Some relevant background:

Here’s a cartoon in Al-Ahram Weekly, October 4-10, 2012 (Egypt) depicting both Romney and Obama kissing Bibi’s hands.

Here’s another Al-Watan cartoon of Obama nad Romney on Sep­tem­ber 10, 2012.

The Saudi paper Al-Watan, on October 11, 2008, published this, depicting Jews were puppet masters, controlling both McCain and Obama.

The message the Guardian cartoon is trying to convey – similar to the Arab cartoons posted above – is unambiguous.

Bell is complaining that recent expressions of support for Israel’s operation in Gaza by UK foreign secretary William Hague (and Tony Blair) suggest they are being controlled by the Prime Minister of the Jewish state. 

Walter Russel Mead summed it up best in response to a BBC journalist who stated recently that “The American Jews influence US foreign policy and that explains Washington’s unwavering support for Israel.”

“…weak minds…are easily seduced by attractive but empty generalizations. The comment attributed to August Bebel that anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools can be extended to many other kinds of cheap and superficial errors that people make. The baffled, frustrated and the bewildered seek a grand, simplifying hypothesis that can bring some kind of ordered explanation to a confusing world; anti-Semitism is one of the glittering frauds that attract the overwhelmed and the uncomprehending.”

Steve Bell simply couldn’t accept that British expression of support for Israel’s action in Gaza is based on their understanding of the threat posed by Hamas and other terrorists movements, or other strategic considerations.

He needed an easy explanation as to why his nation’s leaders don’t share his hostility towards Israel, and the temptation to attribute such a vexing dynamic to sinister Israeli control was too great for him to resist.

The Guardian cartoonist has succumb to historically antisemitic (and necessarily reactionary) narrative which imputes Jewish power and Jewish control to the decisions of non-Jewish world leaders.

(Bell, and the Guardian, needs to be held account, so please consider emailing the Guardian’s readers editor, Chris Elliott, reader@guardian.co.uk, to respectfully voice your complaint.)

UPDATE: Per The JC, Steve Bell responded to criticism that his cartoon is antisemitic, thus:

“I can’t be held responsible for whatever cultural precepts and misapprehensions people choose to bring to my cartoon. My intention, I think, is fairly clear.”

UPDATE II: The Guardian published a letter (21.00 GMT, Nov. 16) protesting Bell’s cartoon by the CST’s Dave Rich.

Guardian’s David Hearst equates Israeli war against Hezbollah to Syria’s ongoing civilian massacre

This is cross posted by our friend Anne, who blogs at Anne’s Opinions.

Attacks by Syrian troops led by President Bashar al-Assad has resulted in up to 6000 dead

David Hearst, one of the Guardian’s “foreign leader writers” according to his bio, has never met an Israel-hater or delegitimizer he didn’t love.

In his article yesterday at “Comment is Free, in which he addressed the Russian and Chinese veto of a UN Security Council vote against Syrian President Bashar Assad, he correctly described the unpopularity of Putin’s decision to use his veto power and the strategic error in such a move.

But Hearst being Hearst, how could he leave Israel out of this issue? Even though Israel is not connected in any way to the uprising in Syria, the revolutions in the Arab world and the violence committed in these countries, Hearst managed to work Israel into his first sentence.

If anyone thinks the international opprobrium heaped on Russia and China for vetoing the UN resolution condemning Syria’s violent repression of its people is unusual, they should cast their minds back to 13 July 2006. George Bush and Tony Blair spent the best part of the following 33 days dismissing calls for an end to Israel’s bombardment of southern Lebanon in response to a cross-border raid by Hezbollah.

Note how Hearst compares Israel’s defensive war against Hezbollah’s terrorist bombardment of Israel’s northern cities with a dictator slaughtering his own civilians.

Hearst continues:

On 3 August Sir Rodric Braithwaite, a former British ambassador to Moscow, wrote that Blair’s premiership had descended into “scandal and incoherence”. Nor were serving Foreign Office officials quick to leap to Blair’s defence. The government’s policy of resisting calls for a ceasefire [in Lebanon, in 2006] was “driven by the prime minister alone”, they said.

Such a position is today occupied by Vladimir Putin

Now he compares Putin’s cynical decision to play the role of Assad’s Guardian with Blair’s stand against calls to save the Iranian backed Islamist terror group in Lebanon.  Blair preferred to back a democratic ally acting in self-defense, and withstood enormous political pressure rather than cave in to the predictable chorus of “right-thinking” (or should we call it “left-thinking”) calls to condemn Israel whenever it has the temerity to defend its citizens.

One of the commenters on Hearst’s article, who calls him/herself “external”, remarked so acutely:

Wow ! You managed to mention Israel in the first paragraph. Good work, even by Guardian standards !

As I have said before, the man is execrable, but oh so suitable for the Guardian’s World View™.