Guardian

The Pin-Up Girl


This is a guest post by Israelinurse

Did the champagne corks pop at The Guardian over the weekend with the announcement that Amira Hass had won a lifetime acheivement award from the International Women’s Media Foundation?

Judging by the gushing editorial over the weekend, one could certainly think so.

Amira Hass is of course a perfect example of The Guardian’s ideal pin-up girl. She is an Israeli-born woman who not only adopts the ‘asaJew’ stance in virulently attacking Israel, but also employs the memory of her Holocaust survivor parents as a means of supposedly adding moral weight to her arguments.

Indeed Hass seems to embody all that The Guardian holds dear, but even excessive admiration for all that she symbolises does not explain the mindset of the Guardian editor who wrote the following words:

“Only a Jew can invert the “never again” logic of the Holocaust that is used to justify Israel’s least justifiable actions.”

The ambiguity of this sentence leaves us no choice but to try to interpret the writer’s words. Does the writer wish to tell us that one has to be Jewish in order to turn upside down and demolish some perceived cynical use of the memory of the Holocaust on Israel’s part in order to justfy its actions?

If so, this would not only imply that Israel knowingly and deliberately abuses the memory of the Holocaust, it would also seem to suggest that any Jew not speaking out against Israel is morally compromised. Strangely, it also appears to exclude non-Jews from the equasion altogether.

Alternatively, does the writer wish to suggest that there exists some sort of moral perversion both exclusive to and universal to all Jews – not only Israelis –which compels them to distort the “never again” lesson of the Holocaust and thereby transforms them from abused into abusers?

Whichever way one choses to interpret these words, it is clear that antisemitic stereotypes are at play, in addition to the now tediously familiar tactic of linking Israel’s actions to those of Nazi Germany.

The invocation of the Holocaust as a means of criticising Israel’s actions is never done naively. The implied moral comparison of Israel to a racist, genocidal, totalitarian regime which aspired to eliminate entire groups of people from the face of the earth is not only repugnant and factually redundant, but clearly antisemitic as defined by the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism.

This is not some editorial from a fringe publication on the extreme Left or Right of the political spectrum. This is the ‘We Believe’ of a supposedly mainstream newspaper being set out for all the world to see, and it contains very worrying bigotry and antisemitism.

British society currently has its anntenae on high alert on the subject of the BNP’s despicable racism, but are Britain’s leaders and influencers of opinions capable of identifying racism from less obvious sources too?

33 replies »

  1. ## the now tediously familiar tactic of linking Israel’s actions to those of Nazi Germany. ##

    .

    Not just tedious and insulting but an own goal. Such comparisons show that the writers have no historical sense what so ever … they are counter productive and deliberately incendiary. .

    .

    ## British society currently has its anntenae on high alert on the subject of the BNP’s despicable racism ##

    .

    I am pleased people here are noticing that a real Nazi group is emerging in the UK ….not sandle wearers but Jackboot boys

    B

  2. Amira Hass has lived in Gaza and the WB, maybe still does. Someone wrote that Amira Hass is married to a Palestinian..

    If true, and had she tempered her virulent attacks against Israel, I might have some sympathy or admiration for her, as an example of coexistence at the most basic level.

    As it is, she is indeed the pin-up girl Israel basher that the Guardian looks for – an Israeli, daughter of Holocaust survivors – who can dispute her comapring gaza to a concentration camp?

    Great article, IsraeliNurse!

  3. Nurse

    As I wrote on an other thread I don’t agree withe almost anything what Amira Hass believes, I have very serious doubts regarding her credibility, but there is a huge difference between her and the Guardian real pin-up boys and girls and anything in between. She is speaking in Hebrew, in the Israeli media – and what is most iצportant – to Israelis. and not to the Guardian pseudo leftist Jew haters.

  4. Oh, even before reading the article, I was totally ecstatic to see “This is a guest post by Israelinurse”!!! All I can say is I want Encore, Encore, Encore — and I’m sure that anyone who knows Israelinurse’s comments from HP will feel the same.

    As to the sentence from the editorial that is the focus here, it’s quite unbelievable that they would really write something like this. Some people here have protested the use of the term “House Jews” for Cif’s favorite Jewish Israel “critics”, but by writing this editorial, the Guardian is basically confirming that this is an entirely appropriate label.

  5. “Amira Hass is of course a perfect example of The Guardian’s ideal pin-up girl. ”

    So I am curious why Amira Hass has never had an article on CiF.

    One minor point about this article, but very typical of articles in the Guardian, is that it is hard to discern initially whether certain sentences should be attributed to Hass or whether they are the invention of the editorial writer.

    IsraeliNurse’s pinup analogy is 100% correct – what could better for the Guardain than Israeli-Jewish-Holocaust ? But the claim that this gives people like Hass more “moral authority” is simply a fraudulent one deliberately foisted upon a naive audience; thare are millions of people with the same background, most of whom disagree with Hass.

  6. b752i

    As opposed to our favourite Seth Freedman

    Plus his competitors like Richard T. Silverstein, Anthony Lerman, the “rabbi”
    Lerner, Neve Gordon, Rachel Shabi, “leftwing orthodox” Rickman, etc.etc.

  7. PeterTheH:

    I singled out Seth Freedman specifically because he lives in Israel but doesn’t write for Israeli audiences.

  8. Thank you Israelinurse for the clarity with which you dissect that sentence which, as you point out, is left deliberately ambiguous by the ethical cretin who wrote it.

    The invocation of the Holocaust as a means of criticising Israel’s actions is never done naively.

    There is nothing naive about the Guardian – it and its writers are the acme of sophistication. They know what they are doing. They despise crude Jew-baiters after all.

    ‘What’s the ugliest part of your body? Some say your nose and some say your toes but I think it’s your mind, I think it’s your mind..(my darling).’ (Frank Zappa)

    As always, I also agree with peterthehungarian on the ancillary point about Amira Hass writing for her fellow-citizens as opposed Freedman etc.

  9. I singled out Seth Freedman specifically because he lives in Israel but doesn’t write for Israeli audiences.

    Probably bekoz hiz Hebrew is not up to it. Or perhaps, nobody will print his sanctimonious rubbish. Even HaAretz. Which still has some standards. Though not many.

    They told me only very few days ago that very few Turks actually watched the soap that denigrated the IDF and Israel. As if this is verifiable and almost as if it excuses the showing of the series.

  10. Journalistic work as done by Amira Hass is actually noble and commendable. She is one of the very few who go “behind enemy lines” to bring a picture that is rarely seen or heard by the general public. In such a complex conflict where the consensus sweeps some ugly aspects under the mat her work is vital.

    The problem lies in her inability (or unwillingness) to write a balanced analysis based on her findings. To acknowledge that the situation is problematic without painting Israel all black and the Palestinians all white. Her style, as Gideon Levy’s, is wholly one-sided and biased to the point where it’s almost impossible for most people to take her seriously.

    By doing that she is shooting her own cause of promoting more accommodation to the Palestinians in the leg. One wonders about such journalists whether their interests lie in helping the Palestinians or promoting themselves by giving the audience what it wants.

    I heard Gideon Levy once blurt out in an interview on channel 1, without flinching, that he doesn’t care about the Palestinians- He cares about “us” and what “we” do. He actually said that.

    Is that praiseworthy or reprehensible? The fact that he admits that “our” moral choices mean more to him than actual Palestinian death and suffering? How does that paint him?

  11. Jerusalemite: They told me only very few days ago that very few Turks actually watched the soap that denigrated the IDF and Israel. As if this is verifiable and almost as if it excuses the showing of the series.
    ———–
    And nobody reads Amira Hass’s columns either. Of course I understand the motivation of the Turks: they want Israeli armaments again and their tourist industry is missing those waves of Israelis who crowded so enthusiastically into their hotels but who stay away when Israel is insulted.
    ————
    Here is a typical America article. Notice that she writes as Goldstone writes. She believes every word she is told by the Palestinians and disregards Israel in every aspect other than as a ”brutal occupier”.

  12. Margie:

    “And nobody reads Amira Hass’s columns either. ”

    I think that a lot of people do because, as FoolMeOnce said, she is the only one writing with that perspective.

    The only columnist in Israel that I cannot read (I get physically ill) is Caroline Glick.

  13. FoolMeOnce: Gideon Levy has no confidence in the IDF or in the future of Israel at all and is preparing for the day we are conquered. If you watch his television appearances it becomes apparent that he is afraid of the Palestinians and that his articles are his way of appeasing them and gaining sympathy for all of Israel when they wreak their vengeance on us.

    Though you may categorise Gideon’s writings with Amira’s I believe that their motivations are totally different. She completely rejects us and our point of view. She writes as a committed Palestinian and even being thrown out of Gaza by Hamas has not weakened her fervour. She seems to believe every word she is told by them or she may have bought into their culture of exaggeration, humiliation and pride. She was found guilty of libel in her reporting and was fined IS250 000 by an Israeli court.

    I don’t think that Amira is married to a Palestinian. Here is an interview with Riz Kahn. Note her description of how the Gazans (not Hamas) view Israelis.

  14. B752i I was being ironical in saying that nobody reads Amira. Of course people read Amira Hass, just as the Turks watched the serial denigrating the IDF and Israelis.

  15. FoolMeOnce – The problem lies in her inability (or unwillingness) to write a balanced analysis based on her findings. To acknowledge that the situation is problematic without painting Israel all black and the Palestinians all white. Her style, as Gideon Levy’s, is wholly one-sided and biased to the point where it’s almost impossible for most people to take her seriously.

    Very much encompasses any extremist mindset. They cannot see anything of value in the ‘other side’s’ point of view whichever side they are standing on.

    You can certainly transpose that to the majority of the ‘Hate Israel’ crowd who post on CI(F). Some of what they say has some value but they simply cannot relate to the whole. And anything posted that is appreciative of Israel is denigrated by them. If you write, ‘Israel made the desert bloom’, their answer would probably be, ‘It’s not your desert’, or ‘Who asked you to’ or ‘Yes. Using Palestinian water’.

    Such is their mindset.

  16. bmw: The Palestinians are despised by most of the Arab states. A child born in Arab states of someone designated a Palestinian does not receive citizenship. It is no miracle that the Turks continue this tradition. On the other hand it is true that Palestinians receive very bad treatment at the hands of other Palestinians. We have probably all heard of the knee cappings, of people being shot at point-blank range, of blinding and of people being shoved off a roof. I have not heard about the rapes.

    Incidentally, when it comes to rape Israeli soldiers just don’t indulge. This led to a confusing and Kafkan result where a prize winning Hebrew University sociology thesis concluded that not raping indicated lack of respect and therefore had the same degrading intention as rape itself.

    The true winners in the situation are the Palestinian women who are not put to death for being chosen to suffer the indignity of rape but it also indicates how Israel is damned if we do and equally damned if we don’t in all fields.

  17. Amira Haas is a hack writer who hasn’t had an original thought in 30 years. She has no audience in Israel but she learned early on that foreign media like the Guardian will give a forum to Jews who disparage everything about all other Jews. If this is what it takes to get published Hass will do it. Haas lives to see her name in the paper and she will pay any price to achieve it. Haas can not put a coherent sentence together and could not get a job at high school student paper. She does has perfect qualifications for the Guardian.

  18. margie

    That’s a great example, about the rape issue. Instead of coming to the immediate conclusion that IDF soldiers don’t rape simply because the great majority of them are normative and are not living under any prolonged or extreme circumstances of war that might trigger such violence, the researchers came up with… that.

    It’s really quite pitiful. It’s also universally insulting.

  19. PetertheHungarian – good point about her writing in Hebrew for an Israeli audience. That definitely sets her apart from the Guardian’s house-Jews.

    The Guardian picks her up via Ha’aretz’s attempts to be a mini-Guardian by translating her into English on the web, which is where the vast majority of its readership resides:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,599005,00.html

    Abroad, Haaretz is known for its strong position against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Its English-language Web site registers a million users each month. At home, however, only 66,000 Israelis buy the paper.

    Gideon Levy is despicable. In his case, words fail me.

    For those who read Hebrew, Irit Linor’s letter ending her subscription to Ha’artez which made the e-mail rounds about a year ago says it all, however:

    http://www.news1.co.il/archive/0019-D-1068-00.html?tag=14-23-47#PTEXT1597

    Here’s a snippet from wiki:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gideon_Levy

    [b]Translation: When Gideon Levy accuses Israel of turning Marwan Barghouti from a peace seeker to an impresario of suicide bombings, it is as logical an interpretation, just as the claim that the wave of attacks on the September 11 were a plot by the Mossad. In a private conversation with him, he told me one time that he would not travel a hundred meters to save the life of a settler, and it seems to me that his loves and hates have been long tainting his heart-rending reports from the occupied Palestinian territories. Original:

    כשגדעון לוי מאשים את ישראל בהפיכתו של מרואן ברגותי משוחר שלום לאמרגן פיגועי התאבדות, זו פרשנות הגיונית, ממש כמו הטענה שגל הפיגועים ב-11 בספטמבר הוא מזימה של המוסד. בשיחה פרטית איתו, אמר לי פעם שהוא לא היה נוסע מאה מטר כדי להציל את חייו של מתנחל, ונראה לי שאהבותיו ושנאותיו מכתימות כבר מזמן את דיווחיו הנוגעים ללב מהשטחים הפלשתינים הכבושים.

  20. The Palestinian Authority’s state-first mistake

    The Palestinian Authority is intent on a kind of Zionism in reverse. The approach is badly flawed

    Ahmad Samih Khalidi
    The Guardian, Wednesday 28 October 2009

    “KrustytheKlown

    28 Oct 09, 11:18am (about 2 hours ago)

    Precisely.

    Which is why, as I’ve long been saying, the PA needs to be disbanded and the Palestinians (of whatever ‘faction’) need to return to unashamed resistance”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/28/palestinian-authority-israel-state-first

    Time and again CiF mods let third world fascists openly advocate terrorism against civilians.

  21. Foolmeonce

    Unwillingness. Plain and simple.

    This site exposes plenty of “unwillingness” in the Guardian, and the editorial discussed by Israeinurse exposes more than just “unwillingness”.

  22. A new article praising JStreet. Thank god I don’t have an active user to participate in that junk, so I can write what I REALLY think, here.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/oct/28/j-street-conference-liberals

    In it, we’ve got the line:
    “The idea of liberal Zionism will become an outright contradiction.”

    I’d like to articulate an intellectual retort, but I’ll settle for:
    You can stuff your contradiction down your pompous self-righteous pie-hole. Realistic liberalism and you are on two very separate planets. Enjoy your Beverly Hills spa treatment.

    There’s more self-righteous “moral outcries”:

    “How does a liberal justify the fact that a middle-class American, like me, has the right to become an Israeli citizen tomorrow, but that Arabs refugees born within its borders don’t.”

    First of all, if it were up to me- you don’t have a right. Stay in Beverly Hills.

    Now I’m sure we can work something out, allowing the few thousand remaining Palestinians who were BORN within the borders to come back. The rest won’t. that’s because if they will, they’ll be no more Israel left for your As-a-J-Street pals to get money blabbering their s@#t-holes about.

    “Most of the Jews who came to the J Street conference love Israel, but not with the kind of militant, unquestioning love one finds in the Aipac crowd. Most of them don’t love Israel more than they love righteousness”

    Yes, most of them don’t love Israel more than they love (self) righteousness.

    “An end to the settlements and the creation of a coherent Palestinian state are absolutely fundamental to the future of an Israel worth supporting.”

    That’s fine and dandy, tell it to Hamas.

    “Liberalism may sit uneasily with Zionism”

    Only for stupid little bored Stepford wives like yourself. For thinking people it is the very epiphany of justice and liberalism.

    P.S. Sorry for being blunt 😉

  23. Amira Hess is a Richard Goldstone without the South African accent or the snobbery. Hess is nominally Israeli. I have never seen any proof that she served in the IDF as all Israeli Jews and Druze do. Maybe she did have some army service. If she produces a record of having done her military service, I will credit her for it. Hess is actually a very sad case. Amira Hess is a woman in late middle age still acting out some teenage rebellion against her mom and dad. All her attempts to identify with the Arabs and especially the Palestinians are pathetic. The Arabs don’t want her and when she goes to Gaza or the West Bank, Hess is treated as a nuisance to be humored and then gotten rid of. Hess is a useful dupe for feeding disinformation but Palestinians do not want to socialize with Hess or even break bread with her. She is like the nerdy kid in high school who wants to hang out with the athletes no matter how shoddily she is treated.

  24. I knew a lot of BBC and print journalists at one time (1980s/1990s). Indeed one of them was a very close friend.

    What was interesting was the fierce competion there was about ‘being chosen’ (ha!) to cover the Israel/Palestine ‘story’ in particular. The BBC and the newspapers couldn’t get enough. The ease of the whole damn thing! Especially for the lazy and the immature. A modern country, state of the art facilities for journos, everyone speaking English, fixers everywhere, the ability to get access to the decision makers, good hotels (especially the American Colony – good bar and yet so very edgy) and the range of opinion available from everyone – from Amira to taxis drivers to extreme settlers. And what a morality tale! It was the 60s generation’s idea of heaven. Journos made and continue to make their reputations by covering this story.

    Amira at least walks the walk.

  25. Thanks to you all for your support of my debut scribblings!

    Peter: your point about Amira Hass writing for an Israeli audience is a good one, however the (to my taste) overly emotional style and lack of objectivity coupled with the rather theatrical attempted boat trip to Gaza cause me to ponder the dividing lines between journalism and political ‘performance art’ so typical of, but not exclusive to, the Guardian.
    We are all too aware that journalism has been hijacked in many instances by politics and the Guardian obviously has no ethical qualms about that, judging by this editorial.

  26. I see that Brian Whitaker has been caught bending the truth again on the Michelle Goldberg thread, defending the Guardian’s “accurate” reporting on Gaza.

  27. Oh no – Brian bending the truth? Tell me it ain’t so, Joe!

    Brian is my favourite. He follows the Israel/Jew/Judaism threads closely, anxiously and intervenes to add inbalance at every opportunity. He commissions the Lerners and Silversteins, the Ben Whites and Freedmans of this world – can’t get enough of that funky stuff – and never misses the opportunity to insult those who may have a different opinion as paid agents of Israel/the Elders. He speakstruthtopower – what would we do without his courage? Well he has a book to sell, after all.

  28. Nurse

    I agree with you regarding Amira Hass’ style and unfortunately I don’t expect her to be credible because I don’t consider her a reporter but a political activist who instead of organizing a party writes in the papers. But until she speaks to me and not to the Islamofascists of CIF I consider her a very extremist political opponent and not an enemy.
    Congratulations to your excellent debut on Cifwatch.

  29. There is a difference between Amira Hess and Tony Lerman. Hess has a romanticized view of Palestinians and of Arabs. To Hess, all Palestinians are angelic. No Palestinians can do anything wrong. If Palestinians do things like blow themselves up at a disco and kill dozens of school kids, it is only because Israel pushed them over the brink and made them do it. When Hamas media engages in the most vile antiSemitic rhetoric, to Hess this is all an understandable byproduct of Israel. Hess actually is condescending to Palestinians and Arabs. She does not really expect adult behavior from them. Hess suffers from the soft bigotry of low expectations.
    For Lerman, his obsessive antiIsrael views are the result of a maniacal hatred of everything Israeli. He loathes the IDF which to hess represents the apotheosis of everything evil in the world. Lerman loathes the idea of Jews actually defending themselves. Lerman has what is called a “galut mentality”. Lerman is so eager to be accepted as part of the genteel WASP world of country clubs and faculty clubs that he renounces any identity with Israel. Indeed, Lerman wrote a column urging Jews outside of Israel to reject Israel.
    Hess is motivated by an almost libidinous interest in all things Arabic. Lerman is motivated by selfloathing and an misguided obsession with social climbing. But together they form a witches brew.

  30. Amira Haas is not even a competent writer. Her writing is juvenile, filled with poor grammar, and boring. She could not get a job as a cub reporter covering small town school board meetings. Haas learned (like Seth Freedman and Tony Lerman) that an unaccomplished person could have a career in journalism if she is willing to repeat any lie about Israel or Jewish people in general. Every Haas article is the same. In Haas world, the IDF is always doing something terrible and only she, Amira Haas, is willing to stand up to them. When Has is asked if she will investigate the human rights situation in Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia etc she glares and say it is irrelevant. Haas is a propagandist and nothing more.