What the Guardian Doesn’t Publish: How many Seas…? by Denis MacEoin

This is a guest post by Denis MacEoin.

Denis MacEoin is the editor of the Middle East Quarterly. This article was originally submitted to Brian Whitaker for publication in the Guardian and was rejected by him on the basis of there being too many articles on the subject. Given the 37 articles, editorials and cartoons published over the course of the flotilla incident, I leave it to CiF Watch readers to speculate as to the real reason behind the rejection of this piece from such an esteemed commentator in the field.

Those of you who take an interest – and, in most cases, that’s going to be a malign interest – in matters relating to Israel, Palestine, and the strangely lovable terrorists of Hamas and Hezbollah – will have been greatly stirred by the troubling episode of the boat that tried to break a blockade imposed by a state acting within its legal rights, but which ended up with nine of its activists dead. What a rush to judgement this has been. Within hours of the event, half the world had decided it knew all the facts and wasn’t going to back down, regardless of any new facts that may come to light. I have some of those for you, but wait a little. What you need first is context, something in short supply in discussions of these matters.

If, like myself, you have a serious interest in Middle East affairs, you can’t be unaware of an accusation that has infected the Arab world and beyond. It’s very simple: take a war (any war will do), a revolution (ditto), a tragedy, and, lo and behold, the Jews are behind it. Here’s a string of such claims from a bog-standard white supremacist website [Warning hate site]. And here’s a representative (and much shortened) statement from Egyptian general Hasan Sweilem:

‘The Jews stood behind wars and internal strife, and that caused European rulers to expel them and kill them. For example, the Crusader armies, passing through the Rhine basin on their way east, massacred them and burned their houses as an act of repentance to their God. When the Crusaders entered Jerusalem, they collected the Jews in a synagogue and burned them live. Their kin in Russia suffered a similar fate….They were expelled from France, England, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Slovakia, Austria, Holland, and finally from Spain, after they underwent the Inquisition trials for their conspiracy to penetrate Christian society like a Trojan horse….The Jewish conspiracy to take over Europe generated civil revolutions, wars, and internal strife….The Cromwell Revolution failed in 1649 in England, following the Jewish conspiracy to drag England into several wars in Europe….Then the French Revolution broke out, which the Jews had planned, based on the first conference of their rabbis and interest-loaners that had been convened by the first Rothschild in 1773 in order to take over all the world resources….That conference adopted twenty-four protocols, including the uprooting of the belief in God from the hearts of the Gentiles, distracting people by distributing among them literature of heresy and impurity, destruction of the family and eradication of all morality….’

The Jews went on, he says, to start the First and Second world wars and to lay the foundations of both communism and Nazism.

The thing about these claims is that everything bad that has ever happened to Jews has been legitimate defence by those whom the Jews have harmed. The Holocaust, for example, was the deserved punishment for a people mired in every sort of treachery and hatred for mankind.

A lot of this is rooted in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a plagiarized fake that is still a bestseller in the Muslim world. And just as European anti-Semitism joined forces with existing Islamic tropes of evil Jews, taken from the Qur’an and the life of Muhammad, it has mutated and found expression in anti-Israel speech. Why otherwise did protesters on the streets of European cities following the 2008-09 war on Gaza chant ‘Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas’? And why did activists on board the Mavi Marmara singKhaybar, Khaybar, Ya Yahud, Jaysh Muhammad Sa-ya‘ud’? ‘Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews: the army of Muhammad will return.’ Khaybar was the last of several Jewish settlements attacked by Muhammad and his forces, after which the Jewish inhabitants were either massacred or sold into slavery or deported. Just what sort of ‘humanitarian activists’ issued this threat on board a ship carrying ‘aid’?

The Mavi Marmara is just the latest in a string of allegations that take for granted Jewish or Israeli malignity. The fabled ‘massacre’ of Deir Yassin in 1948 has remained in anti-Israeli propaganda, despite the fact that a host of Arabs, many eye-witnesses, have admitted that a wartime battle was exaggerated out of all proportion both to embolden and to frighten the native population. The other famous ‘massacre’ was at Jenin refugee camp in 2002 still lives in memory as a butchery of hundreds or even thousands of innocent Palestinian. According to one Palestinian source, it was the ‘massacre of the 21st century’. In fact, a UN enquiry established that 52 Palestinian fighters died, along with Israeli soldiers. According to the Weekly Standard, ‘That same day, you could hear breathless reports of the supposed Israeli atrocities in Jenin being spread by Palestinian sources on NPR, CNN, and elsewhere.’ The old adage holds true: ‘A lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on.’

That’s exactly what happened last Monday. There was a rush to judgement that took the world by storm. The UN Security Council was in session almost before the boats reached Ashdod. There had been no time to hold an enquiry, to question the commandos, or to question the activists. The Jews, as usual, were responsible for everything, even the vicious attacks on their own troops. But now that a few days have gone by, the picture is changing. On Tuesday, the IDF found a cache of ceramic bulletproof vests, night-vision goggles and gas masks on board the Mavi Marmara. As well as these, the ship contained large quantities of metal and wooden batons, powerful catapults (with marbles to use as stones), many of which were used to attack Israeli soldiers. A group of fifty passengers have actually or possible terror connections, others are linked to extremist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and possibly al-Qaeda. Many were carrying very large (and identical) sums of money on their persons. And some have admitted that they had been organized into cells throughout the ship and had gone in, prepared to fight and die as martyrs.

These were not humanitarian do-gooders. They used genuine (if misguided) humanitarians to launch what they knew would be an assault on the Israeli navy, and their aim was to break the blockade. The ships were generously offered the chance to berth at Ashdod and transfer their aid to lorries, which would take it to Gaza, yet they refused and set their faces hard for conflict. It was, in truth, little more than a stunt that fell under the control of extremists and ended tragically for that reason. Instead of the tens of thousands of tons of aid the activists are now boasting, they carried less than one thousand, all of it items already easily available in Gaza, some of utterly useless, like medicines that are out of date. Anyway, that’s all moot now, considering that Hamas have refused to let in any of the aid. A dangerous game is played, yet large numbers, including Guardian readers, don’t even begin to get it. Decades have passed, yet the anti-Israel crowd still doesn’t see what’s in front of their eyes. The Mavi Marmara incident should have woken them up; instead it has reinforced them in their hardline beliefs.

The Mavi Marmara lie has been running round the world and is impressing itself on people’s consciousness. It is another false stain on Israel. It is a falsehood printed on another falsehood, that the people of Gaza are in extremis, starving and dying because of the Israeli blockade. All film and photographs of contemporary Gaza show markets exactly like the ones I used to shop in when I lived in Morocco and Iran, but rather better stocked. There are expensive restaurants and clubs and an Olympic-size swimming pool. Traffic is heavy on the roads: there is no shortage of fuel. Every day, long lines of lorries bring supplies into Gaza. And every day Hamas tries to bring in rockets and explosives and other weapons. That’s why the controls are there, to stop the weapons and not the food, which is there in such abundance you can have a five-star gourmet meal in more than one place.

The organizers of the flotilla have no excuse. They know that Gaza is well supplied and that no-one is suffering unduly. They know that there are countries in Africa where people really do starve and have few resources. Why didn’t they send their supplies there, why don’t some of them stay to build some schools, some hospitals, some homes, dig some wells? But that wouldn’t be a stunt, and nobody gets to be a martyr and real welfare work is for soft-hearted do-gooders, whereas real activists get to support Hamas and make life for ordinary Palestinians unendurable.

70 replies »

  1. Mitnaged
    beware! I think Davy is angling there for you to supply him with what we call in German a “Wichsvorlage” (it is said that sperm donors get magazines but magazines are probably beyond a postman’s income and so he comes here trying to get his abuse for free)

    that said Davy:
    right, left or both hands?

  2. Hey, Mitnaged, have you seen Berchmans’ post at 12.26pm in which he refers to “my cause”???

    Delusions of grandeur or what?

    (Hmm…. can he really be the mastermind behind the mayhem on the Mavi Marmara and the “peaceful” protests at Bil’in???? Nah…. but maybe they borrowed his braincell which might explain a lot).

  3. Yohoho

    HairShirt, I think you are right about Berchmans’ post at 1.49

    Definitely. That is not the Berchmans that we have come to know.

    I hope that Hawkeye is aware of this.

    I have noticed different personalities amongst ‘the clown’ personality. The 1:49 post is one of the different personalities.

  4. I’ve just come across “levels of physical/mental resistance….” too!

    I suppose it helps when you’re p*ssed.

  5. Arabella Meller

    .” I never read his posts ”

    This is a shame . Some are only average …but some are really funny and I could explain them to you when you dont understand them.


    I only get a postman’s salary but I am richer than you will ever be. I dont need to snipe behind sexual slurs . This is invaluable and worth more than some guilt ridden embarrassing attempt to get in with people.

    J. Lingard, History of England, vol vi, p.714

  7. “No you must be trained …like anti discrimination cannot just assume you know what it is . “

    Well quite frankly, you are trained in antidiscrimination, which presumably was a work requirement and not done voluntarily, it hasn’t exactly helped you to obtain some enlightened state.

    In fact, quite the opposite.

    If ever anyone wanted to study misanthropic attitudes and anti-Jewish racism they could do worse than peruse you’re perpetually ignorant and sneering remarks.

    Heres to Davy/Abandon hope/Berchmans, having only read your post here, it is fairly obvious that you know next to nothing about anti-Jewish racism, the motifs, the racial imagery or its history, other than what can be gleaned from wiki or questionable sources on the Internet.

    So please don’t try to lecture other on the topic of “antidiscrimination”, when you yourself come across as an ignoramus and bigot

  8. I have just been forwarded an email sent out by Philippe Karsenty who when accused of defamation by Charles Enderlin of France 2 when he whistle blew about the latter’s deliberate falsehoods in the Mohamed Al-Dura case, took the case to appeal in the French high court and won. The appeal found that Enderlin and France 2 had falsified the camera footage of the incident which led to al-Durah becoming the poster boy for the Second Intifada. It is now doubtful that he was killed or even that he was there – in other words the “murder” of al-Durah by the IDF was a modern day blood libel and a hoax.


    The email is self-explanatory. I reproduce it because in its own way it echoes Dr MacEoin’s message, and there are the all-too-familiar attempts to undermine Karsenty’s good name:

    Another judicial victory on the al Dura battle: the French private TV Canal + found guilty of defamation against me

    “Dear Friends,

    “Two years ago, the private French TV Canal + aired a documentary in support of France 2, France’s government-sponsored television station that broadcast the al Dura hoax.

    “I sued them and the verdict came today: Canal + was found guilty of defamation.

    “This outcome confirms that the French court system is the last great hope for justice in French society today.

    “The French courts are our only hope for justice to prevail over anti-Semitism.

    “Notwithstanding my single victory today, the French media continues to broadcast more and more anti-Semitic propaganda, and the French government doesn’t seem willing to fight it effectively.

    “The verdict found that the Canal + news documentary was defamatory and that the journalist who made it wasn’t objective, even though he had access to all the necessary information to know the truth about the al Dura hoax.

    “This documentary had been broadcast intentionally 4 weeks before the verdict on the trial, which I ultimately won, against France 2 on the al Dura hoax. Fortunately, the judges were not influenced by this blatant attempt to sway public opinion against me.

    “If you can understand French, here are 3 links to watch the slanderous documentary:

    “1st part

    “2nd part (the section related to the al Dura hoax starts at the 19th minute of this 2nd part and extends to the 3rd one)

    “3rd part

    “In case you don’t understand French, here are some statements that were made about me in the documentary.

    “According to this film, I am:

    – “faking information”;

    – “pressuring journalists in order that they self censor themselves”;

    – “manipulating the information in order to promote extremist political views without any interest in the truth”;

    – “using the internet to dupe, falsify facts and to serve a cause and promote a despicable ideology”;

    – “using all sorts of strategies and unfair practices to attain my objectives”;

    – “diffusing fake information, fake images and fake documents on the Internet”;

    – “an active member and partisan of an immoderate ideology”;

    – “forcing journalists to denounce their colleagues”;

    – “threatening journalists in order to prevent them to reveal some information”.

    (My comment: does any of this sound familiar? They are the sort of tactics employed by CiF against anyone who criticises the GWV)

    “This court victory is just another step in our journey to keep the press honest. The French media finds every opportunity to paint Israel in a negative light, and even though I prevailed in court, the damage has already been done.

    “So, my friends, we must remain vigilant, and we must continue to speak out against anti-Semitism and dishonesty in the press.

    “Warm regards,

    “Philippe Karsenty”

  9. Thanks SilverTrees. Karsenty’s description of Canal + is reminiscent of the Channel 4’s outrageously and blatantly biased Dispatches programme about the “Israel (and by that they meant Jewish, same trope) Lobby” blatantly cranked up beforehand by CiF

    This sort of Jew-hatred is like a virus. What can be the inoculation against it?

  10. I have just had time to read this excellent article.

    Of course the Guardian didn’t have space to print it – they are too busy churning out article after article by Harriet Sherwood, who, like every Brit that lands at BG airport for the first time with a laptop is an immediate expert on all the flaws in the country – never mind that within the space of one day she essentially had to retract (the Guardian would never use that term) her first article.

    Or, in the “Culture” section a weird rant about Melanie Phillips book – – by someone who would seem to be certifiably mad,occupying even more space (under Georgina Henry’s control, there are now only two kinds of reporting on “culture” – anything someone can write that is anti-Israeli, and all the rest).

    You, Robin Shepherd, Melanie Phillips and I am sure some other elements of the saner part of British society have more support than you might think, I believe. Or, at least , I hope.

  11. “I am sorry I thought “blood libel” had a specific meaning. How silly of me not to know it means whatever you say it means.”

    Come on Berchmans, this really is obtuse. Thinking that the blood libel had a specific meaning, and therefore had no operative potency in modern discourse, is in itself an admission of reluctance to see in the foul invective of Israelis enemies, the echoes of a not too distant but equally revolting sentiment. The blood libel against the dignity of Jews, is the repeated assertion by you and others as morally compromised, that Jews are capable of calculated atrocity as an expression of their nature as Jews. Your insistence that the fight for Deir Yassin was gratuitous massacre, typical of Jews, and that the ridding of Jenin of its verminous murderers was similarity driven, is an example of the casual and ill-informed anti-Semitism that takes to its liberal heart the perpetrators of dreadful wickedness, and restores them as victims, in place of the real victims of 2000 years of your kind of soft bigotry.

  12. Berchmans, look up “analogy” in your dictionary.

    Then smack yourself over the head with a plank of wood until you can apply the analogy of the blood libel as applied to Jews down the ages thanks to the Catholic Church to the al-Durah and other hoaxes.

    You’ll probably have one hell of a headache but it’ll be worth it to have learned something won’t it?

  13. Actually epidermoid’s assertion is true of you too Berchmans, although the analogy there is probably way above your head.

  14. Silke

    Im glad you didnt get it as I now regret it. I was making a snide comment about your nationality which was uncalled for. Germans are good people I lived there in the 60s. I had thought you were being sexist.


    “anti-Jewish racism they could do worse than peruse you’re perpetually ignorant and sneering remarks. ”

    There are many posts here hinting that my stance is anti Jewish… using a long series of “that sounds like you might mean ” or ” that could ..if considered through a telescope be” ..anti Jewish..but no one can even vaguely prove this.

    .”sneering” I accept… as the posts here often display comically low world consciousness wrapped in earnest servility . I will try to stop this.But posts applauding violence I will attack without hesitation.



    ” Your insistence that the fight for Deir Yassin was gratuitous massacre, typical of Jews ”

    Who said this was ” typical of Jews ” Why do you lie lie this.You should not have to to prove a point.How old are you FFS?

  15. ” said this was ” typical of Jews ” Why do you lie lie this.You should not have to to prove a point.”

    My point is not that you personally think all Jews likely to massacre innocents on a whim, but that the constant drawing of attention to mythical massacres is predicated on the assumption that your audience will draw such conclusions. Its purpose is to reinforce in the minds of those predisposed to hatred, that such sentiments may once again be permissible, for the Jews have shown that perhaps they deserve the ancient opprobrium of their sinister desire for blood.

  16. Davy
    enigmatism doesn’t turn me on
    praise (from you) doesn’t turn me on
    insults (from you) leave me cold

    Germans are Germans and it is not for you to judge what adjective describes us as a collective.

    I for one am proud to be a mean vicious vindictive teutonic “Germania” for whom it is fun to abuse people like you

  17. epidermoid

    “My point is not that you personally think all Jews likely to massacre innocents on a whim, but that the constant drawing of attention to mythical massacres”

    If I had a pound for every post that said….”what Berchmans wrote cannot be described as anti Semitism… but if you stretch it…put it through a grinder and reform it into a whole again it could be seen through a kaleidoscope as anti Semitism”…I would have one pound! 🙂