Guardian

Lessons in Whitewashing


This is a guest post from Margie in Telaviv


The above weasel words pretend that all was equal and it was all gentlemanly negotiation. The stench of the blood shed by the Palestinians during the course of their bloody intifada didn’t reach Camp David however. Ehud Barak’s prime ministership didn’t ‘run out’, the most liberal of governments, offering the most liberal of terms to the Palestinians was forced out by its inability to come to agreement with the kind of people performing and justifying the actions pictured on this page. Moratinos talks of how near the two sides were to agreement. Could it be that that is what terrified the Palestinians, who had run out of excuses not to accept Israel’s offers?

A few incidents out of the many, a glimpse of the horrors should suffice. Amazing how people can lie to themselves and to others and attempt to foist their own picture of events on to a gullible public who perhaps didn’t pay much attention to events in the first place.

The following two videos are not for those of tender years or tender stomachs, nor are they for those who want to fool the world that the Palestinians didn’t behave towards Israelis — Israeli civilians — like bloodthirsty barbarians.


On October 2000, while the extended talks were going on two young men strayed from their path and ended up in nearby Ramallah – the chief Arab city in the West Bank. This was the result, captured by an Italian photographer, who afterwards apologised to the PA for doing so, promising never again to show Palestine in a negative light. So successful were the Palestinians at hiding this that without the product of this one photographer the whole incident would have been unknown. I wonder what threat was used against him and the others.


It wasn’t only flesh and blood that was the prey of the terrorists. During the talks, while the second Intifada was raging, in the interests of peace and harmony that he thought would result, Barak ordered the guards who had been protecting the ancient and revered Tomb of Joseph in Schem, (or Nablus) in PA territory to hand it over to the Palestinian police, who didn’t do much to protect it since hours after the handover it had been overrun by gangs of hatefilled hooligans who attempted even to unbuild it, prising the stones out of the mortar. The attempted destruction of the grave was a warning note — it had stood for centuries undefiled and a centre for worship by adherents of all religions. There was a particular purpose to its desecration and attempted destruction at this particular time. The threat was the possibility of peace with Israel.

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137 replies »

  1. Sanity, to call Sharon “personally responsible” for the slaughter at Sabra and Shatila is a lie. Sharon was guilty of not reading minds and I am not sure that he was even in the country at the time. Guilty of not reading minds remotely?

    al-gharqad, Yes to Aznar and yes to the canary in the mine. Forgive me if I sound like a certain former commenter here. It’s just the form of the words.

  2. If it’s a lie, Ariadne, you may want to tell that also to the Israeli Government’s Kahan Commmission, who found that indeed Ariel Sharon was personally responsible for the Massacre.

    Now, something seems to be coming to me…what is it?…ah, yes, ‘why don’t you try studying some history’?

  3. Why can’t people recognise racism unless it’s in its most egregious and grotesque form?

    I guess because people have better things to do. Shameful, really.

  4. Sanity

    … the Israeli Government’s Kahan Commmission, who found that indeed Ariel Sharon was personally responsible for the Massacre.

    Actually it found that he “bears personal responsibility”, which is different to being “personally responsible”. The latter implies full responsibility, the former could well mean only partly to blame.

  5. Ariadne, so now you think Hamas are good, honourable people? You really need to try some introspection. I’m not sure how much more of your senseless babble I can bear to read. Jibes are really all I have for you. Anything else appears to be wasted.

  6. Ariadne, as I said, I have followed with interest the self-appointed movement for identifying and criticising anti-Semitism. Sometimes you go over the top and make out that things are anti-Semitic when they’re not. But on balance, I don’t mind, because I think it’s good to ensure that there’s no place for anti-Semitic discourse in today’s world.

    I wanted to test whether, confronted with another form of racism, you would be equally forthright in criticising it. Not only have I found that people are not willing to (except in the broadest and most meaningless terms) but actually, many of the people here appear to be prone to making racist statements against Arabs themselves. Now, it may be case of group-think or getting carried away with emotions, perhaps you are all well-meaning people. But the lack of introspection is startling. You see demons out there all over the place: Islamists, anti-Semites, anti-imperialists, ad infinitum. But there are never any problems at home. Blaming others for the world’s problems is, well, basically racist.

    Apply the same standards to yourselves. You are a parody of Animal Farm. You have become like the very same CiF commenters that you criticise. You bang on about the Arabs are untrustworthy, but I bet you have never been to an Arab country.

    What a sight, and what a site!

  7. Now that that has been settled have you noticed that Sanity showed no horror at the awful deeds described in the article? She was more interested in finding this site to be racist than in paying attention to what is being said.

  8. Sanity – your lack of sincerity or passion about the deliberate targeting of innocents is noted. It has been quite a lesson in hypocrisy meeting you.

  9. Sanity,

    A partial list of arguments and questions you ignored (only the ones that have to do with racism, without mentioning all the ones about the wider context of the I/P conflict):

    1.“Do I think Palestinian society is more racist than Israeli? I’m not familiar enough with either to make a judgment.”

    But I am. There’s racism in Israeli society, just like in any society – nowhere near as much as in the Palestinian society. Despite the fact that Israel has been under constant threat from its Arab neighbours, and many times Israeli Arabs aided suicide bombers, Israeli Arabs are represented in the Knesset, there was an Arab minister, there is an Arab embassador, they have all the freedoms that their brothers in the Arab world lack.”

    2. ““This site thrives on particular interpretations of the writings of journalists”.
    No. Pointing out the disgusting lies and double standards of the MSM, and particularly the Guardian’s is just one thing that’s going on here, for the main purpose of the site, check the headline: “Monitoring and exposing antisemitism on the Guardian newspaper’s ‘Comment is Free’ blog”.
    Can you give us some examples of what you perceive as “particular interpretations of the writings of journalists”? (If you insist on calling the likes of Mya Gurnieri “journalists).”

    3. ““Maybe some Palestinians and Guardian writers and readers are racist. That’s not surprising.” Maybe?????????????? Come on, I believe that beside arguing with me, you read at least some of the things on this site.
    And why isn’t it surprising that “some Palestinians and Guardian writers and readers are racist”? Do you think that it’s OK for (what once used to be) one of the leading newspapers in the UK to publish racist crap?”

    4. ““Sanity then goes on to lie. I wonder why.” (Ariadne said)

    You said: “What is the offending sentence(s)?”

    I’ll repeat, and would be happy if you explain this, instead of talking about ants, on a website dedicated to confront elephants:

    Your post from September 19, 11:08

    “An almost-perfect example of racism” (after quoting my post)

    Your post from September 20, 07:48

    “And this – True, not all Palestinians acted against Israeli civilians like bloodthirsty barbarians. But most of them supported it – shows profound ignorance, bigotry and racism, and is not worthy of a site set up to combat racism.”

    Your post from September 22, 4:51

    “…and I have not accused Gharqad and Margie of ‘being racist’, only that their statements appeared racist.”

    5. “Why do you consider pointing out the fact that most Palestinians voted Hamas – racism?????

    “yet you won’t condemn the labelling of Arabs as treacherous, untrustworthy, etc.”

    I’d condemn the saying “ALL ARABS are treacherous, untrustworthy, etc.”
    The only thing is that NOBODY said that.”

    Bottom line, instead of shouting “racism”, answer please, point by point.

  10. 1. I think you need to be careful about being complacent. I won’t deny that in all Arab states I’ve been to (basically, all Bilad ash-Sham), racism is a big problem. What I would say is that it’s not usually directed against Israelis or Jews. They don’t come into contact with them often enough. Racism is mostly against Africans and Indonesians, Filipinos. They have a real problem and they need to deal with it. Most Arabs tell me that they have no problems with Jews. I’m sure they sincerely believe it, but some of the cartoons you get in the newspapers tell a different story, and there is definitely an issue.

    But Israel has big problems with racism against Arabs. The segregation in the West Bank is one example. The Citizenship and Entry Law is another.

    All countries have a problem with racism. Let’s be honest about it and not be the first to cast stones.

    2. The comment above. Brian Whitaker makes a point about the Camp David talks. He may be right or wrong. That’s not the issue. Margie describes his statement as ‘weasel words’. That’s one interpretation. Another might have been, ‘I’m afraid I think Whitaker has it wrong this time’, or ‘Whitaker hasn’t given the full picture’. Tone is important.

    3. It’s not surprising because in any given group of people you will find racism, or at least racist discourses. It’s almost a universal human condition. It doesn’t make it right, but it’s true. Of course it’s not ok for the Guardian to publish racist material.

    I think there are two issues, however. First, you and I (and others) will have different views as to what actually constitutes racism, as this discussion has shown. There are comments here which I have found to be racist, but which you clearly don’t. I hope you’ll change your mind, but ultimately,. it’s possible that two different people, even two reasonable people, will disagree. So first, you have to give scope for leeway, and assume that the Guardian’s moderators will take a different view from you. This is not because they’re bad people.

    Second, there’s a difference between what the posters write and what the commenters write. I think there’s an order of magnitude issue here. If one of the actual posts is racist, it’s an elephant. If it’s one of the commenters, it’s more of an ant issue. Both types of racism are wrong, but you need to give the moderators time to delete offending comments. There are so many of them that I’m sure it’s a tough job. They have 100% control over what gets posted. That’s not the case with the comments. Now, if they leave anti-Semitic comments up then that’s a whole different ball game, but if it’s just a delay, then I think you need to give them some time to rectify it.

    (As an aside, looking at the aims of the site, I think that the conditions imposed on the Guardian are very very unclear. There are no targets set, no clear definitions given – in the business parlance, no performance indicators. Therefore it’s impossible to measure success against the criteria set – a clear problem.)

    4. I genuinely don’t understand what you mean here.

    5. Actually, it appears that’s exactly what Ariadne (via Sharon) was saying. She pointed out that Sharon did actually like Arabs, it was just that he didn’t trust them. Not some Arabs. All of them. So, will you condemn that? Seriously, this is a no-brainer. 🙂

  11. Duh Sanity. The ”segregation in the West Bank” is performed according to the Oslo agreements, agreed and signed by Arafat. Are you a greater advocate for Palestinian rights than he was?

  12. Gharqad, answers to your other questions. Sorry, the numbering is different, but hopefully that’s ok:

    1. It’s just not true that Palestinian Nationalism emerged in the 50s. You should read Rashid Khalidi’s book on the topic.

    2. Israel has clearly never allowed the PA to have the power that any normal state would consider a given. Yes, they gave some limited powers to them, but always with the ability, and sometimes the actions, to take it back. That’s why I say they were never given any real power. Surely you don’t disagree with that?

    3. I don’t believe that the reason the PA doesn’t function is because it isn’t brave enough to make peace with Israel. Israel has never offered it enough. The PA doesn’t incite Islamicism (in fact, Fatah itself is as secular movement, and the biggest threat to its own survival is Islamicism). Fatah is trying to strike a balance. It needs to brandish its Islamic resistance credentials at the same time as not letting them have too much influence at the same time as being a beacon of Arab nationalism. It has to do this to ensure its survival. Is it right? No. Is it realistic? Yes. Is Israel a contributor to Fatah’s problems with Islamic extremism? Yes—it supported Hamas in its infancy in order to weaken Fatah. Chickens and roosting anyone?

    4. Is real power in the hands of the Lebanese government? Not as much as, say, Syria, but then that’s not a bad thing. Stops it from being a brutal dictatorship. Lebanon has one of the most vibrant political cultures of any country I’ve visited. It’s up there with Israel on that count.

    5. Do you think we should be lauding Ariel Sharon? Do you think the fact that he was an expedient killer of opposition forces outweighs his personal responsibility for the massacres? I remind you that the IDF not only transported the militias to the refugee camps, but they also fired flares so that they could more easily kill the people in them. Of course, it was the militias themselves who did the killing. It was the Israeli military establishment who not only failed to prevent it (which they could easily have done, and which they had moral responsibility to do as the occupying power) but they facilitated it too. In my mind, that makes Sharon a war criminal—right up there with Rifaat Assad.

    6. “You think they are incapable of running a government. Imagine I said to you in 1947, ‘Israelis can’t run their own government – they can’t be trusted not to start a war with Jordan, Syria and Egypt either’?”

    Again, facts show you’re wrong. Israel did run its own government, and you know very well who were the ones who attacked.

    The fact you that recognise how wrong this is only goes to prove my point. People doubted that Israelis could create a state, just as they now doubt Palestinians. I hope Palestinians will be given the chance to prove doubters wrong.

    7. It’s great that you combat racism on this site. If you combat racism with another form of racism, then that’s a big problem. Maybe it’s done by accident, but I’ve seen clear evidence of anti-Arab racism. Fight anti-Semitism: it’s very important that you do. If you slip into racism yourselves, expect to be criticised.

    8. Your elephant / ant comment keeps coming up. Why are you trying to minimise the importance or significance of other forms of racism. I accept that this site may be dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism. That’s fine. But you can’t combat one form of racism with another. That’s what I’m criticising. It’s a great shame that you can’t see it.

    9. Whether the Guardian often has empathy for the suffering of Israelis is not the point—you’re diverting from the question. I find anti-Arab racism hugely offensive (though I’m not Arab myself, I know lots of Arabs). So when I see it, I try to combat it. I don’t understand why, if you consider yourselves anti-racists, you can’t just agree with me?

  13. Congratulations Ariadne, you know how to use Google! Can I suggest that the internet is not the best source of factual information in the world. For that you need to get yourself to a library.

    But you can start with the following more balance account: http://www.economist.com/node/16789290

    Also, I think you meant Freedom House, rather than Chatham House. The point of that comment is slightly lost on me, however. Have you ever visited Lebanon?

  14. Oh, dear. “Sanity” can’t respond to any acts of violence and murder but by insult.

    Know thyself, “Sanity” and come back if you ever achieve decency.

  15. Ariadne, I abhor violence. I abhor violence committed by Palestinians against Israelis, against Jews and against anyone else. It’s utterly disgusting.

    That is beyond question.

    That violence is not an excuse for racism towards Palestinians in particular nor Arabs in general. You don’t seem to understand that point.

  16. Sanity,

    1. “What I would say is that it’s not usually directed against Israelis or Jews.”
    How many intellectuals did you speak to? The problem is that exactly the intellectuals are the ones who promote (and who knows, maybe even believe) the Protocols and the rest of it.

    “But Israel has big problems with racism against Arabs. The segregation in the West Bank is one example. The Citizenship and Entry Law is another.”

    To quote Monolith: The ”segregation in the West Bank” is performed according to the Oslo agreements, agreed and signed by Arafat.

    The citizenship and entry law is only as racist as the entry law in ALL nation states of the world – Germans who for generations lived in Russia are entitled to German citizenship, just to name one.

    2. “Tone is important.” Well than, maybe you don’t look at the Guardian enough, which is probably for the best.

    3. “Of course it’s not ok for the Guardian to publish racist material.”
    I think “not OK” is an understatement. What was that you were saying about relativism? Call me a racist, but when I see antisemitic lies in the Arab press, it surprises me less than when I see it in a newspaper published in the UK. Oh, before you do call me a racist, if your Arabic is not good enough yet to read the Arabic newspapers yourself, trust me, as a speaker of Arabic, MEMRI’s translations are very good (and contrary to Whitaker’s lies, they don’t translate selectively, most of the liberals I mentioned in my article on this site were presented to the West by MEMRI). People here recommended that you check out MEMRI for a good reason.

    4. “There are comments here which I have found to be racist, but which you clearly don’t.”
    Margie in Tel-Aviv has already made herself clear. If you mean Matt and Ariadne, none of them said that ALL Palestinians and Muslims are barbaric, blood-thirsty or anything.

    “If one of the actual posts is racist, it’s an elephant. If it’s one of the commenters, it’s more of an ant issue. Both types of racism are wrong, but you need to give the moderators time to delete offending comments.”

    They had plenty of time, and still didn’t delete a lot of racist comments, while at the same time deleted many comments which didn’t have any racism (under any definition), unless you call support of Israel “racism”. If you read this site more (especially posts titled “Why were these deleted?” and “Why weren’t these deleted?”) you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    “Now, if they leave anti-Semitic comments up then that’s a whole different ball game, but if it’s just a delay, then I think you need to give them some time to rectify it.”

    Since they leave antisemitic comments up, we can agree that it is a “whole different ball game”.

    “As an aside, looking at the aims of the site, I think that the conditions imposed on the Guardian are very very unclear.”

    Unless “let’s spread some Islamofascist hatred”, which they do very well, is one of their aims, they failed miserably, for example in their quest to be “the world’s leading liberal voice”, as I tried to show in my article.
    Also, in their “community standards and participation guidelines” they state: “We will not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia or other forms of hate-speech, or contributions that could be interpreted as such.”

    I ask that before you try to fish for racism here, check the posts here that deal DIRECTLY with how CIF doesn’t moderate blatantly antisemitic comments.

    4. “I genuinely don’t understand what you mean here.”
    What I mean is that first you accused people (including me!) of racism and then changed the version: “and I have not accused Gharqad and Margie of ‘being racist’, only that their statements appeared racist.”

    5. “Actually, it appears that’s exactly what Ariadne (via Sharon) was saying. She pointed out that Sharon did actually like Arabs, it was just that he didn’t trust them. Not some Arabs. All of them. So, will you condemn that? Seriously, this is a no-brainer. 🙂

    If she had said “all Arabs” I would have condemned it. She didn’t say that. English isn’t my mother tongue, but I don’t think saying “Arabs” means “each and every single Arab”.

    You didn’t answer the following question: ““Why do you consider pointing out the fact that most Palestinians voted Hamas – racism?????”

    And now for the points in your next comment:

    1. “It’s just not true that Palestinian Nationalism emerged in the 50s. You should read Rashid Khalidi’s book on the topic.

    I haven’t read Khalidi, but in order to “get a feel” and see some quotes (that is what Wikipedia is for), I looked him up:” Khalidi demonstrates that a Palestinian national consciousness had it origins near the beginning of the twentieth century. Khalidi describes the Arab population of British Mandatory Palestine as having “overlapping identities,” with some or many expressing loyalties to villages, regions, a projected nation of Palestine, an alternative of inclusion in a Greater Syria, an Arab national project, as well as to Islam.[25] Nevertheless, “Palestinian Identity” was the first to demonstrate substantive Palestinian nationalism in the early Mandatory period.”

    In my humble opinion, he is self contradictory. Neither him, nor you or me was around here at the beginning of the 20th century, but tell me honestly: How would (apart from a very small minority of intellectuals in the cities), the overwhelming majority of the fallahin define themselves? I’d say, not necessarily in that order: belonging to a certain family, clan, village, religion.

    2. “Israel has clearly never allowed the PA to have the power that any normal state would consider a given. Yes, they gave some limited powers to them, but always with the ability, and sometimes the actions, to take it back. That’s why I say they were never given any real power. Surely you don’t disagree with that?”

    Of course I disagree! The PA was given the sole right to have security forces, and then used those forces against Israel in 1996 and 2000. This was given to them in accordance with the Oslo accords, which were meant to gradually make the PA “a normal state” as you said. Once again I repeat: these security forces turned against Israel.

    3. “I don’t believe that the reason the PA doesn’t function is because it isn’t brave enough to make peace with Israel. Israel has never offered it enough.”

    What Barak offered them in 2000 wasn’t enough? So what’s your definition of “enough”?

    “It needs to brandish its Islamic resistance credentials at the same time as not letting them have too much influence at the same time as being a beacon of Arab nationalism. It has to do this to ensure its survival. Is it right? No. Is it realistic? Yes.”

    No. Why can’t it be honest with its people and tell them that the time has come to accept what their forefathers have refused? Why can’t it be realistic and tell its people that Israel will never accept the Right of Return to its pre-1967 borders, but Palestinians could return to the WB and Gaza? Instead, it tells its kids about Jaffa, Lod, Accre and other places as theirs:

    http://cifwatch.com/2010/09/01/what-harriet-sherwood-or-mya-guarnieri-wont-report-palestinian-authority-denyies-israels-right-to-exist-on-childrens-tv-show/

    and the following:

    http://cifwatch.com/2010/09/12/what-the-guardian-wont-report-host-to-child-on-palestinian-authority-childrens-show-the-jews-are-our-enemies-right/

    But you should also check out http://www.palwatch.org/ for some double-talk by the PA leaders.

    4. “Is real power in the hands of the Lebanese government? Not as much as, say, Syria, but then that’s not a bad thing. Stops it from being a brutal dictatorship. Lebanon has one of the most vibrant political cultures of any country I’ve visited. It’s up there with Israel on that count.”

    Please tell me that you are not serious. You only had to answer two simple questions which I asked you and you didn’t answer:

    A. Is starting a war an important matter for a country?
    B. Did the Lebanese government decide about starting the 2006 war?

    “Lebanon has one of the most vibrant political cultures of any country I’ve visited”

    If you consider Hizbullah gangs enforcing their will although the majority didn’t vote for them “vibrant political culture”, than yes, I agree.

    About Sharon:
    “expedient killer of opposition forces” do you mean expedient soldier who defended his country from an invading army? I would differentiate between a misleading expression which you used and a soldier who had a major part in saving Israel.
    As for Sabra and Shatilla, it was a shame. Still, as opposed to any other country in the region, 10% of Israel’s population actively participated in a mass demonstration, which resulted in the Kahan comission.
    What is utterly disgusting, is that instead of pursuing the ones who committed the massacre, people usually ignore Robert Maroun Hatem, Elie Hobeika’s bodyguard, who stated in his book “From Israel to Damascus” that Hobeika ordered the massacre of civilians in defiance of Israeli instructions to behave like a “dignified” army!

    6. ” The fact you that recognise how wrong this (comparing Israel’s birth and Palestinian attempts at state building today) is only goes to prove my point.”

    No, it doesn’t. It shows that your comparison is wrong.

    “People doubted that Israelis could create a state, just as they now doubt Palestinians.”

    Who doubted the Jews’ ability to create a state????????

    “I hope Palestinians will be given the chance to prove doubters wrong.”

    I hope too, except I hope that this will be when their leadership will be courageous enough to sign a peace agreement with Israel as a JEWISH NATION STATE and strong enough to abide by that agreement. I don’t think they proved they are capable of any of those.

    7. ” It’s great that you combat racism on this site. If you combat racism with another form of racism, then that’s a big problem.”

    I think your pearl-fishing doesn’t yield too much, sanity, you might as well stop. The overwhelming majority doesn’t fight “racism with racism”.

    In addition, many liberal Muslims fight racism in their own society. Instead of supporting them, Whitaker in the Guardian, and all the other lying assholes at the MSM support anti-semitic Islamofascists, like the Hamas.

    ” I accept that this site may be dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism. That’s fine. But you can’t combat one form of racism with another. That’s what I’m criticising. It’s a great shame that you can’t see it.”

    No. The great shame is that you can’t differentiate between the elephant and the ant.

    9. ” I don’t understand why, if you consider yourselves anti-racists, you can’t just agree with me?”

    Because you’re trying to compare the elephant (antisemitism – including the denial of the Jews’ rights to a state – in the MSM, alongside HAMAS and HIZBULLAH SUPPORTERS MARCHING UNDER YOUR NOSE IN LONDON!!!!), with an ant (reminder: Margie made herself crystal clear).

    As for what you consider “a more balanced view”, the link that you posted to Ariadne, it includes the following piece of bullshit:

    “Only the more extreme thinkers embraced the Nazis as enemies of the Jews; most saw them as racist colonialists.”

    Bullshit. Shame the writer doesn’t provide a single example for the “most saw them as racist colonialists”.

    Can you guess why, sanity?

    “Muhammad Amin al-Husseini, the pro-Nazi Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who is the chief bogeyman of many pro-Israel histories, comes across as a weak leader with far less influence than is usually ascribed to him.”

    Again, a huge load of crap, and you know that very well, I suppose: you know what a central role he had in inciting for riots, and eventually for support of Hitler.

  17. al-gharqad, I read Palestine Papers 1917-1922 by Doreen Ingrams, a book based on letters and other documents including legal ones like the Mandate for Palestine. It is very clear from the collection that Weizmann and some British politicians always intended that there should be a Jewish state.

    It was also the case that Arabs were not interested in creating a state. They didn’t want Jews there though Jewish money was most welcome. Arabs even considered asking Turkey to take over the region once again. Not very realistic but illustrative of how anti-British and antisemitic they were. And how they changed their minds considering that some joined the British in WWI to get away from the Turks.

    We all know how Britain proceeded from 1922 to betray Jews in the Mandate. There was a great mess, of course but out of it came the 22 Arab countries with their vast lands. And out of it came the Jews with almost 80% less land than had been mandated fot the Jewish national home. Out of it came diminishing immigration of Jews and increasing immigration of Arabs.

    Sometimes it seems as if nothing ever changes. Arabs refused a state in 1937, 1947 and 2000. Despite this they have been given an awful lot.

    In the early years of the twentieth century quite a lot was made of “Jerusalemites”, the Arab minority who lived in Jerusalem (obviously). Not Palestians. Jerusalemites.

    There were quite a few refusals as has been said fairly frequently by Arabs to adopt a Palestinian identity. So much so that Palestinians until 1948 were Jews and Jews alone.

  18. It also seems worth saying that Israel did not support Hamas “in its infancy”. Israel supported a Muslim welfare organisation Gaza al-Mujamah, then the Muslim Brotherhood built the “resistance” organisation Hamas on that. Sheikh Yassin is the link and the Muslim Brotherhood is at the bottom of these successive organisations.

    When a hostage earlier than Gilad Shalit was taken by Hamas, Israel deported 400 Hamas leaders but was threatened by the UN and allowed them back. Hamas murdered that hostage.

    ‘One of the more cynical left wing talking points is that Israel was responsible for Hamas. Looking back to 1992, when the current Hamas leadership were sitting outside their Red Cross tents in Lebanon and the left was pounding on Israel’s door, demanding that they be let back in– it is all too clear who was and is responsible for Hamas. The people who saved Hamas 18 years ago, are responsible for it today. The media and the diplomats who 18 years ago were claiming that deporting Hamas would somehow “radicalize” the Palestinian Arabs insured that the Hamas leaders would return to radicalize all of Gaza and the West Bank.’

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/9614

  19. Gharqad,

    1. I’m telling you, Arab societies are much more racist towards blacks than Jews. I say this having lived in them for long periods.

    Whether Arafat signed off on it doesn’t change the fact that it is racist. Segregation is racist. Period. And the point of the Citizenship and Entry Law is that it is not like similar laws in other countries, because, most controversially, an Israeli Arab who marries an Arab from another country is not entitled to have his / her spouse nationalised as Israeli. This is indisputably a form of institutionalised racism.

    2. Stop deflecting. We’re talking about this site, not the Guardian’s.

    3. Not sure why you are arguing this point with me. Racism is unacceptable in the Arab Press, in the UK Press, in the Israeli Press, everywhere. You won’t get any arguments from me.

    I was talking about the aims of CiF Watch. The demands it makes of the Guardian are unquantifiable, and therefore liable to the goalposts moving. This is a big problem. And you can see by the way the site no longer even focuses on the Guardian anymore what a problem that is.

    4. I stand by those comments. I didn’t accuse you of being a racist, I said you made a racist comment. You haven’t retracted it, though Margie did. Even normal, nice people can sometimes make racist statements, especially in the heat of the moment. I’m sure, from interacting with you, that you are a nice person, but that doesn’t change the fact that what you said was racist.

    5. “It’s not that I don’t like Jews, I just don’t trust them.”

    Is that an ok sentence? In my defence, I wasn’t specifically referring to all Jews.

    No, of course it’s not ok, which just goes to show how silly your logic is. You should be condemning Ariadne’s racist comment, not defending it. You discredit yourself.

    I don’t consider it racist to point out that Palestinians voted for Hamas. I think it’s racist to try to say that all Palestinians are murderous / Fundamentalists / Racists / etc.

    Second batch of comments:

    6 (1). It’s not for you or me to define when Palestinians can and can’t be nationalistic. It’s for them. Would it be ok for me to say that since Israeli nationalism did not begin until the mid-19th century, that Israeli is not as valid a country as, say, Colombia? No. Palestinian nationalism exists, it has a longer history than some extremists like to make out, and Palestinians have just as much right as Israelis to their own state.

    7 (2). You are basically agreeing with me, though because it’s painful, you’re trying to make out that you aren’t. The PA has never been given all the competencies a state has been given (eg, the right to control airspace, control all its own territory, an army, etc.)

    8 (3). Israel offered a series of Bantustans at Camp David. Even Clinton’s negotiators now admit that the deal was unworthy, saying that in Arafat’s position they too wouldn’t have accepted it. Check out what Robert Malley has said.

    Incidentally, what would be enough? A state. A full state. A state fully run by Palestinians, without settler roads running through it, without Israeli warplanes flying over it, etc.

    9 (4). If you want to disparage Lebanon, please feel free to do so. But if you can make statements like: ‘If you consider Hizbullah gangs enforcing their will although the majority didn’t vote for them “vibrant political culture”, than yes, I agree’ you just show your ignorance of Lebanon. That’s probably not your fault. As an Israeli you can’t travel there, so are reliant on the media, especially the Israeli media, for your impression of the country. I have spent lots of time in Lebanon, so I know that it has a vibrant political culture. I have also spent time living in many Western capitals, and have traveled to TA. I know what I’m talking about. You don’t.

    Did the Lebanese government want to start the war in 2006? No. Is the Lebanese government in a much better position now? Yes. Since Syria’s withdrawal, and now with Saudi and Syrian partnership, the Lebanese government is making very good progress. I have been to southern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, etc. These are not military enclaves of Hezbullah. Please, don’t believe what they tell you on Fox News.

    10 (5). It’s to Israel’s great credit that they established the Kahan Commission. Sabra and Shatilla were not simply a ‘shame’, they were war crimes. Kahan recommended that Sharon never be allowed to hold elected office. What does Israel do? Elects him to Prime Minister! Brilliant.

    11 (6). You’re right that they have to show courage. The Israeli government too has to show courage and a desire for peace.

    13 (8). As I said, it’s a great shame that instead of trying to combat racism, you only care about anti-Jewish racism.

    14 (9). I know that you probably think Arabs are not human beings, but really, they are. You need to start recognizing that racism against Arabs is wrong, too, rather than simply covering up.

    It’s a shame that instead of welcoming new research summarised by one of the top media organisations in the world, because it doesn’t fit in with your prejudiced worldview and the political version of history that you were taught at Yisrael Beiteinu summer camp, you discard it. That is the action of someone with a closed mind.

  20. Sanity,

    “1. I’m telling you, Arab societies are much more racist towards blacks than Jews. I say this having lived in them for long periods.”

    Since you never answered it, I’ll repeat my question:
    How many intellectuals did you speak to? The problem is that exactly the intellectuals are the ones who promote (and who knows, maybe even believe) the Protocols and the rest of it.

    “Whether Arafat signed off on it doesn’t change the fact that it is racist. Segregation is racist. Period.”

    Arafat signed. Period.

    “And the point of the Citizenship and Entry Law is that it is not like similar laws in other countries, because, most controversially, an Israeli Arab who marries an Arab from another country is not entitled to have his / her spouse nationalised as Israeli. This is indisputably a form of institutionalised racism.”

    After the involvement Palestinians who got their citizenship by marrying Israeli Arabs in dozens of suicide bombings AND the declared aim of bringing about the end of the Jewish state through demography Israel was forced to enact a TEMPORARY law.
    Since you are a lot more worried about the Palestinians’ right, you consistently choose to ignore the Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, with a Jewish minority.

    “2. Stop deflecting. We’re talking about this site, not the Guardian’s.”

    It is you who is constantly trying to deflect. This site confronts the elephant-sized racism in the Guardian, while you’re trying to pick ants here.

    “3. Not sure why you are arguing this point with me. Racism is unacceptable in the Arab Press, in the UK Press, in the Israeli Press, everywhere. You won’t get any arguments from me.”

    It seems that you haven’t read ANY of the dozens of articles here on antisemitism in the Guardian.
    It’s a shame that you come here nit-picking for ants, while ignoring antisemitism at (what used to be) a respected newspaper in the West.

    “I was talking about the aims of CiF Watch. The demands it makes of the Guardian are unquantifiable, and therefore liable to the goalposts moving. This is a big problem. And you can see by the way the site no longer even focuses on the Guardian anymore what a problem that is.”

    Something else you might have overlooked:
    http://cifwatch.com/how-we-define-antisemitism/

    “4. I stand by those comments. I didn’t accuse you of being a racist, I said you made a racist comment. You haven’t retracted it, though Margie did. Even normal, nice people can sometimes make racist statements, especially in the heat of the moment. I’m sure, from interacting with you, that you are a nice person, but that doesn’t change the fact that what you said was racist.”

    My comments weren’t racist. The Palestinians as a group have failed to create a state, although given the possibility. Fact. You can shout “racist” till the Day of Judgment, facts remain facts.

    “5. “It’s not that I don’t like Jews, I just don’t trust them.”
    Is that an ok sentence? In my defence, I wasn’t specifically referring to all Jews.
    No, of course it’s not ok, which just goes to show how silly your logic is. You should be condemning Ariadne’s racist comment, not defending it. You discredit yourself.”

    Since I’m not Ariadne’s lawyer, you might as well ask her. I’m pretty convinced that she didn’t mean all Palestinians though.

    “I don’t consider it racist to point out that Palestinians voted for Hamas. I think it’s racist to try to say that all Palestinians are murderous / Fundamentalists / Racists / etc.”

    Again, I don’t think that anyone on this site, thinks that all Palestinians are murderous / Fundamentalists / Racists / etc.

    “Second batch of comments:
    6 (1). It’s not for you or me to define when Palestinians can and can’t be nationalistic. It’s for them. Would it be ok for me to say that since Israeli nationalism did not begin until the mid-19th century, that Israeli is not as valid a country as, say, Colombia? No. Palestinian nationalism exists, it has a longer history than some extremists like to make out, and Palestinians have just as much right as Israelis to their own state.”

    Israel wanted for them to exercise that right. The result: the PA’s weapons turned on Israel. Hopefully one day they’ll be able to exercise their right.

    “7 (2). You are basically agreeing with me, though because it’s painful, you’re trying to make out that you aren’t. The PA has never been given all the competencies a state has been given (eg, the right to control airspace, control all its own territory, an army, etc.)”

    Agree with you? No. Again: Israel wanted for them to exercise that right. The result: the PA’s weapons turned on Israel. Hopefully one day they’ll be able to exercise their right.

    “8 (3). Israel offered a series of Bantustans at Camp David. Even Clinton’s negotiators now admit that the deal was unworthy, saying that in Arafat’s position they too wouldn’t have accepted it. Check out what Robert Malley has said.”

    I wonder who you mean by “Clinton’s negotiators” when Clinton himself said that Arafat was the reason behind the failure of the talks.

    “Incidentally, what would be enough? A state. A full state. A state fully run by Palestinians, without settler roads running through it, without Israeli warplanes flying over it, etc.”

    See above.

    “9 (4). If you want to disparage Lebanon, please feel free to do so. But if you can make statements like: ‘If you consider Hizbullah gangs enforcing their will although the majority didn’t vote for them “vibrant political culture”, than yes, I agree’ you just show your ignorance of Lebanon.”

    Funny coming from someone who can’t even read an Arabic newspaper…

    “That’s probably not your fault. As an Israeli you can’t travel there, so are reliant on the media, especially the Israeli media, for your impression of the country. I have spent lots of time in Lebanon, so I know that it has a vibrant political culture. I have also spent time living in many Western capitals, and have traveled to TA. I know what I’m talking about. You don’t.”

    I was there for half a year, and talked to many Lebanese. Yes, as a soldier, so according to you, none of what I experienced has any validity.
    Of course you – who speak and read fluent Arabic and Hebrew and spent “lots of time in Lebanon” (how much was that: two or three weeks?) and in Tel-Aviv got the impression that it has a vibrant political culture – know what you’re talking about. And the earth is flat.

    “Did the Lebanese government want to start the war in 2006? No.”

    Finally, you managed to admit a fact….

    “Is the Lebanese government in a much better position now? Yes. Since Syria’s withdrawal, and now with Saudi and Syrian partnership, the Lebanese government is making very good progress.”

    I was too optimistic in my previous comment… I was talking about 2006!!! Who made the decision to go to war again?
    AS FOR NOW, obviously your great knowledge of Lebanon made you miss the “latest” developments in the Lebanese government’s competency in enforcing its will on the Hizbullah gang: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_conflict_in_Lebanon

    “I have been to southern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, etc. These are not military enclaves of Hezbullah.”

    I’m happy that after Hizbullah took you on a guided tour of southern Lebanon, you can reassure us that it isn’t a military enclave… and of course you know better than the Lebanese: http://www.yalibnan.com/2010/09/03/an-explosion-of-hezbollah-arms-depot-rocks-south-lebanon/

    “Please, don’t believe what they tell you on Fox News.”

    Why do you think that I watch Fox news? Again, although my knowledge of Arabic may not be as good as yours, but I watch Arab TV channels, read Arab press, etc.

    “10 (5). It’s to Israel’s great credit that they established the Kahan Commission. Sabra and Shatilla were not simply a ‘shame’, they were war crimes. Kahan recommended that Sharon never be allowed to hold elected office. What does Israel do? Elects him to Prime Minister! Brilliant.”

    Again, you ignore what you don’t like to hear: “Robert Maroun Hatem, Elie Hobeika’s bodyguard, who stated in his book “From Israel to Damascus” that Hobeika ordered the massacre of civilians in defiance of Israeli instructions to behave like a “dignified” army!”

    “11 (6). You’re right that they have to show courage. The Israeli government too has to show courage and a desire for peace.”

    It did. Nothing good came out of it.

    “13 (8). As I said, it’s a great shame that instead of trying to combat racism, you only care about anti-Jewish racism.”

    I worry more about elephants than ants. You nitpick here while Hamass and Hizbullah sympathizers march under your window in London.

    “14 (9). I know that you probably think Arabs are not human beings, but really, they are. You need to start recognizing that racism against Arabs is wrong, too, rather than simply covering up.”

    Aha. So now, in addition to being fluent in Arabic, you now also see inside my head.

    “It’s a shame that instead of welcoming new research summarised by one of the top media organisations in the world..”

    By “new research summarised by one of the top media organisations in the world” you mean the book-review you linked to in your comment to Ariadne?
    If yes, than instead of talking about your imagined “new research summarised by one of the top media organisations in the world”, try answer the following:
    Shame the writer doesn’t provide a single example for the “most saw them as racist colonialists”.
    Can you guess why, sanity?
    “Muhammad Amin al-Husseini, the pro-Nazi Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who is the chief bogeyman of many pro-Israel histories, comes across as a weak leader with far less influence than is usually ascribed to him.”
    Again, a huge load of crap, and you know that very well, I suppose: you know what a central role he had in inciting for riots, and eventually for support of Hitler.

    “…because it doesn’t fit in with your prejudiced worldview and the political version of history that you were taught at Yisrael Beiteinu summer camp, you discard it. That is the action of someone with a closed mind.”

    An open mind asks questions. It seems that you don’t. You know all the answers.
    I have never in my life attended political summer camps, but it seems that you did participate in at least two: Hamass and Hizbullah.

  21. al-gharqad, your efforts are valiant, but in (in)Sanity you are obviously dealing with an individual at once too smug and self-satisfied to realise the limits of his own knowledge. Sanity resorts to ad-hominem arguments against you — combined with foolish assumptions about your background and knowledge — in an arrogant attempt to hide his own ignorance.

    For example: “As an Israeli you can’t travel there”

    Quite a stunning bit of ignorance. As Israelis, fully half of Israeli Jews originate in the Arab countries, have as thorough or more thorough knowledge of Arabic culture(s) as Sanity, have full access to Arabic media, including Lebanese television, radio, internet, etc.

    Moreover, for most of the past 43 years, Israelis have had daily contact with the million Arab citizens of Israel (many of whom consider themselves Palestinian), with the two hundred thousand Palestinians who used to work daily in Israel, and with the major West Bank towns in which Israelis used to shop and do business.

    Another example: Sanity apparently doesn’t understand the meaning of the words neutrality or objectivity, and would be a failure as a reporter for any reputable journal. Criticism of Israel fo denying Palestinian spouses residence should have at least been accompanied by the acknowledgement that there are further issues involved — that the two parties are at existential war, that security issues are involved, and that every state has not only the right but the duty to control the ingress and residence of the foreign enemy under such circumstances. Imagine German spouses demanding the unfettered right to residence in the UK during the second world war. The issues are those of nationality and nations at war, not of racism.

  22. Ariadne

    “Israel supported a Muslim welfare organisation”

    An extensive Wall Street Journal inquiry came to that exact same conclusion.

  23. 1. There are very few intellectuals in the Arab world, so I think you overestimate their influence. Most of them have been silenced by despotic Arab regimes, and a new generation hasn’t replace them. Except in Beirut, one of the only centres of true pluralism in the Middle East, with two excellent universities and dynamic student population.

    Now you’re trying to justify racism. Surely that’s below you. I honestly believe you do care about racism against Arabs. If only you admitted there was a problem, we could move on to discuss how to deal with anti-Jewish racism. You know, the South Africans used to defend apartheid on ‘security’ grounds, too.

    2. ‘It is you who is constantly trying to deflect. This site confronts the elephant-sized racism in the Guardian, while you’re trying to pick ants here’. So you think racism against Jews is an ‘elephant’ whereas racism against Arabs is an ‘ant’. Seems clear which one you care about most.

    3. You didn’t really address my point. The elephants / ants dichotomy only really exists in a world where right and wrong are relative. Do you believe in that?

    4. Just because something is true doesn’t mean it’s not racist. Though for the record, I don’t think it’s true either.

    5. You didn’t answer my question. Is it ok for me to say: “It’s not that I don’t like Jews, I just don’t trust them.”

    6 (1). You seem to take a too one-sided view on what happened at Camp David. Can I suggest you read the following article and then discuss again?

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2001/aug/09/camp-david-the-tragedy-of-errors/

    7 (2). See point 6.

    8 (3). I mean Robert Malley. See point 6.

    9 (4). My Arabic is far from perfect. But I can read the press. But that’s not the point. I have spent much more than 6 months living in Bilad ash-Sham, an traveling widely, and independently. I don’t speak Hebrew.

    Can I ask when you were in Lebanon? And where? And what was your role exactly?

    I would be careful with the Arab press, by the way. Almost every single outlet is government owned, which is not a great recipe for transparency.
    Seriously, though, you have very much misunderstood the Lebanese situation.

    I haven’t been on a guided tour by Hezbullah. I did go to one of their martyrdom museums. It was pretty pathetic and ridiculous. I also enjoyed wine from one of the wineries in ‘Hezbullah territory’. Dare I say it, I got pretty drunk. Is that an Islamic caliphate? A cesspit of extremism? Not exactly.

    10 (5). I don’t dispute their roles. It’s you who is so keen to defend war criminals like Sharon.

    11 (6). See point 6.

    13 (8). The marchers in London are a joke. Though I don’t live there—I live in the Middle East.

    14 (9). I was a little unfair. I apologise.

    With the Economist, simply because it doesn’t agree with your views, you discard it as a ‘huge load of crap’. Very considered response. Come on, open your mind.

    I have no affiliation with Hamas or Hezbullah. I have never gone on a summer camp with either of them. I don’t know anyone who is a member of either.

  24. Toko LeMoko,

    I think that what I wrote to Ariadne at September 22, 6:35 is also what I would like to tell you.

    But then again, now I’m 100% sure… 🙂

  25. al-gharqad

    Sanity has clearly intended its moniker as parody.

    The type of execrable, anti-Israeli bigotry it displays has been amply analysed by two recent books:
    – Robin Shepherd’s on Europe’s Israel-hatred
    – Jamie GLazov on the left’s romance with tyranny and terror.

  26. al-gharqad: Since I’m not Ariadne’s lawyer, you might as well ask her. I’m pretty convinced that she didn’t mean all Palestinians though.

    Of course I didn’t but I don’t think we can expect “Sanity” to join dots.

  27. It’s just occurred to me that “Sanity”‘s claims ignore context although in my simple way I’d just call it reality.

  28. Yes, Toko LeMoko, anyone who disagrees with someone’s subjective support for Israel is doubtless an Israel-‘hating’ bigot.

    Actually, all you really do is show your own rabid bigotry up and testify to your own intolerance and ignorance. You’ve done us all a big favour.

  29. What Sanity really means is that he has been shown by al-gharqad, Toko, and Ariadne to be a dilettante with little actual knowledge of the Mideast, whoi upon challenge must rseort to ad hominem arguments.

    He has virtualy no knowledge of Israel and surprisingly little knowledge of the Arab world beyond their political extremism which he has adopted lock, stock, and barrel.

    All in all, a Guardianista.

  30. Toko LeMoko,

    I think that with sanity’s help, we can start editing the first “Guardinista-English” dictionary.

    subjective interpretation of facts – chanting empty slogans about “Beirut, one of the only centres of true pluralism in the Middle East” (usually after being confronted with facts as to who makes the decisions in Lebanon).