Snow Business Like Shmo Business – Jon Snow treads the boards with Gideon Levy

This is cross-posted at the blog, Daphne Anson

If, like me, you’re owned by a cat or dog, chances are that you associate Frontline with a veterinary product which with super-efficiency zaps fleas and tapeworms. However, for metropolitan champagne socialists, whether scribes or non-scribes, Frontline is just as likely to signify the Frontline Club, motto: “Championing Independent Journalism”. The club seems particularly fond of inviting as speakers journalists known for their harsh criticism of Israel – inevitably, therefore, Jeremy Bowen of the BBC and Jon Snow of Channel 4 have both featured on its guest list. (Al Beeb’s College of Journalism website has links to both resultant videos – funny about that, eh?)  And not only journalists – Frontline also hosted, on one inglorious occasion, that professorial trio of Jewish Israel-loathers Jacqueline Rose, Shlomo Sand, and Avi Shlaim.

It’s been said of Bowen that he comes across as a thwarted thespian, but I reckon that it’s Snow who’s the actor manqué. Yes, he really ought to be in show business, did histrionic Jon. Authoritative voice raised in pompous indignation, arms flailing to emphasise a point, the well-connected university drop-out (actually, he was rusticated when his leftist political activism went too far ) who admits to getting his start as a television reporter owing to nepotism, has almost become a pastiche of himself. A few years ago, around Remembrance Day, with the dismissive phrase “poppy fascism”, he announced his refusal to conform to etiquette (some might say “decency”) and wear a British Legion poppy in honour of Britain’s fallen service personnel – the people who gave their lives so that democracy and free speech might endure. His hammiest performances have included shouting in self-righteous anger at Israeli media spokesman Mark Regev regarding Cast Lead and the Mavi Marmara affair, performances that reinforced Snow’s cult status in anti-Israel circles and made him the darling of those hateful types who post nasty judeophobic messages on YouTube whenever a video of Regev appears there.

Gideon Levy, an Israeli journalist writing for Ha’aretz, where he has a column called “Twilight Zone”, is of a decidedly thespian disposition too. He’s an assured and accomplished speaker with a flair for the dramatic and an instinct for working an audience that many a budding actor at RADA would envy. A “hate-mongering post-Zionist” is the veteran international Jewish leader Isi Leibler’s assessment of him (Jerusalem Post, 8 December 2008).  Levy demonises his own country, saying how ashamed he is to be Israeli, how brutal and indifferent to human suffering his countrymen are, and how he appreciates the boycott movement – all the usual obscenities and maybe a little bit more. Here’s how Leibler described him more recently:

“For those who are unaware, Levy is regarded as one of the most extreme and outspoken of the Israeli anti-Zionist journalists, notorious for demonizing Israel and supporting the most anti-Israeli groups. He repeatedly brackets Israeli behavior with that of the Nazis, accuses Israel of practicing apartheid and committing war crimes, and defines himself as anti-Zionist. He accuses Meretz, Peace Now and others on the far left in Israel of lacking the courage to open “the 1948 file.”‘

Levy came Britain to appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and to promote his tome The Punishment of Gaza, an anthology of his Ha’aretz screeds, and he’s had plenty of opportunities to do so outside the Scottish capital, and to carry on the task of spreading hate against Israel, having (to quote Snow) “played to packed houses at last-minute events in both Manchester and London”.

This evening both Snow (as interviewer) and Levy (as speaker) are appearing before the Frontline Club, reprising the roles that they filled last evening when they appeared, at the premises of Amnesty International UK’s Human Rights Action Centre and under the auspices of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Jews for Justice for Palestinians (a motley collection of idealistic naive Jews, hard left Jews, as-a-Jews, and conveniently-for-the-purpose-of-bashing-Israel-halachic-but-not-raised-as-Jews/practising-a-religion-other-than-Judaism-Jews [delete as appropriate]). Seeing the 350 persons present (who judging from their questions proved in the main to be every bit as hostile to Israel as the speaker himself ), Levy wryly remarked “No-one would show up if I spoke in Tel Aviv”, and then launched into his usual charm offensive and demonisation of Israel and its (Jewish) inhabitants.

Snow made it easy for him, gushing “How brave you are!” and being – in the words of a pro-Israeli present, one of the few people in the audience to pose a tough question – “cloyingly obsequious” and an “unctuous sycophant”.

And in his Snowblog posted this morning, headed “An increasingly lone Israeli voice”, Snow continues his adulation of Levy, appearing to have swallowed his canards hook, line, and sinker. Just as well, then, that better informed voices, such as those of Jonathan Hoffman and Yisrael Medad, have been commenting over on that blog to set the record straight.

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17 replies »

  1. Daphne Anson has Levy down pat – he is a self-dramatising egocentric. His op-ed articles are despised by most leftist Israelis and printed by Haaretz I presume to gather the anti-Zionist hordes who adore him, praising him to high heaven in their ‘Talkback’ sections, in order to increase their advertising revenue. While those who actually know the facts on which he bases his highly-coloured fabrications try to restore sense to the proceedings.

    It would have seemed obvious that Levy should be an ideal as-a-Jew and what’s more an ideal as-a-Jewish-Israeli for the Guardian to publish in order to lambaste its target scapegoat. Why this does not happen cannot be due to the fact that Levy is too patriotic for them, so I presume that it must be that he is too expensive. It must be very gratifying to him that the Electronic Intifada is his fan however and is presumably happy to pay his fees.

  2. This idea that someone like Levy and others of his ilk are “brave” never ceases to amaze me.

    They are, in fact, cowards, hiding behind Israel’s determination to protect freedom of expression even for those who call for the destruction of the very state that allows them to state their hate-filled views.

    He is absolutely no danger at all.

    In Israel.

  3. The “played to packed houses at last-minute events in both Manchester and London” is what caught my eye. Notwithstanding all the decent people in England and elsewhere, it’s unfortunate that so many impressionable minds have been sold on the anti-Israel campaign, hook, line and sinker.

  4. Here is Duvidl’s Snow-stopping opening number. Cue intro music:

    There’s Snow Business like Shmo Business
    (to the tune of: “There’s no Business like Show Business”)
    (Hat tip: Irving Berlin)

    There’s Snow business like shmo business,
    Like Snow business, so low.
    Everything about him is congealing.
    All his cholesterol levels will allow.
    Through narrowing arteries his blood cells run squealing;
    With his revealing Hamas kow-tow.

    There’s Snow business like shmo business;
    Like Snow’s blood pressure’s low.
    Everything about him’s geriatric.
    Looks like he has brittle-bone disease.
    Anti-Israel bias, psychiatric.
    TV’s Snow “hat-trick”, nepotist squeeze.

    There’s Snow business like shmo business;
    By Dan, Peter and Jon Snow.
    Time for those two last old codgers to retire.
    Jon for starters; Israel-bashing liar.
    He’s still wading through that C4 Marxist mire.
    He’s mired under the snow;
    An avalanche of old Snow.
    Should be fired from under that snow;
    That avalanche of old Snow.

    DS Al Coda

  5. I think Gideon Levy is the most mentally ill, deranged, Israel-hating writer in all of Israel. He has competitors, but he’s still probably the best at being a psychotic anti-Israel hate-writer

  6. Gideon Levy crossed a line in my eyes making his appearance in London preaching to obvious haters of Israel.

    I always strongly disagreed with his lunatical naivete and ideology but I appreciated his effortts trying to convince the Israelis in Hebrew and in an Israeli newspaper.

    After recognizing that the Israeli public belive the reality and he is a nobody in opinion forming – from an extremist idealist he became a moral nobody – kind of a lord Haw-Haw.

    What do you want with im Tirtzu here?

  7. MTC. Duvidl listens to Im Tirtsu regularly and draws considerable strength from Hertzl’s great lyrics and Debbie Friedman’s brilliant music. Glad it became a movement, rather like Arlo Guthrie suggests in “Alice’s Restaurant.” Hit it boys:

    Im Tirtzu

    Im tirtzu, Im tirtzu
    Ein zo agada, ein zo agada (yagadagadada)
    L’hiyot am chofshi b’artzeinu
    B’eretz (Eretz!_ Tzion (Tzion!) Virushalayim
    If you will it, it is no dream;
    to be a free people in our land,
    in the land of Zion, and Jerusalem.

    Here is just one interfaith performance in Pittsburgh.

  8. MTC

    About three years ago Gideon Levy simply went off the rail and diconnected himself totally from the reality. At that I stopped to waste my time to read his articles.

  9. Peter:
    I agree with you in general – it is getting harder to separate the wheat from the chaff, but the wheat is still worth reading.

  10. MTC

    There are many Israeli opinionmakers worth to read even if their worldview is far from my own without chewing through a lot of psychiatry.
    Why to waste the time for Levy et al?
    A similar example is Yossi Sarid writing in the Haaretz. He has very good points sometimes, but it takes a lot of reading to separate them from the crap caused by his deep frustration being ousted from political life.

  11. By publishing Gideon Levy, Haaretz is basically an opponent of Israel

    What sucks is, no one seems to hold Haaretz accountable, or do anything about it