General Antisemitism

Guardian editorial delegitimizes Jewish right of self-determination


The Guardian editorial from October 11th leaves the reader in absolutely no doubt as to where the loyalties of the management of that newspaper lie with regard to the existence of the Jewish state. When dissected, the strident objections raised to a proposed amendment of Israel’s Law of Citizenship reveal an ideological commitment to the creation of conditions which would promote the Palestinian ‘right of return’ as a means of bringing about Israel’s demise. They also provide evidence of an anodyne willful blindness regarding the political situation which exists under the Guardian’s own nose in the United Kingdom and much of the rest of Europe.

In typical Guardian style, the editorial declares as fact numerous putative points in order to lead the reader to the desired conclusions.

“There are two narratives at work in Israel that have a bearing on the capacity of its leaders to negotiate the creation of an independent Palestinian state next to it. The first is official and intended for external consumption. It is the one that claims Israel is ready to sit down with the Palestinians in direct talks without preconditions and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, should not have wasted so much of the 10 month partial freeze on settlement building before he did so. On Saturday, America was given another month by the Arab League to persuade Binyamin Netanyahu’s government to halt settlement building, the bare minimum required for talks to continue.”

In other words, the Guardian has decided that the Israelis have one narrative for foreign audiences and another, presumably the authentic one, for internal use. This figment of Guardian imagination has no bearing on reality and of course conveniently ignores almost 20 years of prior peace negotiations. Revealingly, it also completely overlooks the fact that for much of the last two decades, it has been the Palestinians who repeatedly put out conflicting messages for foreign and domestic audiences; a practice continuing to this day. Then there is the interesting description of a continued building freeze as a ‘bare minimum’ requirement for the continuation of talks. Taking into account that at no other time in the past 20 years has construction by Israelis prevented the Palestinians from negotiating; it is clear that this current insistence is nothing but an excuse for procrastination.

“There is however a second narrative, which could be called business as usual, and it has nothing to do with occupation, Iran’s nuclear programme, Hizbullah’s rocket arsenal, or any threat which could be called existential. This was evident in all its glory yesterday when the Israeli cabinet approved a measure requiring candidates for Israeli citizenship to pledge loyalty to “the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state”. The naturalisation oath would not apply to Jews, who are granted automatic citizenship under the law of return, so it is, by definition, discriminatory. The existing text binds individuals to declare their loyalty to the state of Israel. The new version requires future citizens to declare their loyalty not just to a state but an ideology, one specifically designed to exclude one fifth of its citizens who see themselves as Palestinian.”

Here, the Guardian is making the highly offensive and inaccurate suggestion that Israel’s main, albeit concealed, preoccupation is discrimination against its non-Jewish citizens. Had whoever wrote this editorial bothered to read the Israeli Declaration of Independence and familiarize him or herself with Israel’s basic laws, the depth of the inaccuracy of this suggestion would be abundantly apparent. Obviously, the temptation to present Jewish Israelis as racists was too great to resist. Obviously too, whoever wrote this buys into, and wishes to promote, the disgusting and erroneous narrative of Israel as an ‘apartheid’ state.

Significantly, the concept of Palestinian ‘right of return’ is not included in the Guardian’s list of existential threats to Israel, although it most definitely does belong in that category. Neither are the facts surrounding the proposed amendment made clear; it still has a long way to go and must pass the Knesset, its exact wording is still under discussion and may yet be modified to include Jewish new immigrants. The mention of the 20% of Israel’s population who are not Jewish and their supposed ‘exclusion’ is clearly irrelevant to the subject at hand as the proposal would not apply to existing citizens, but would apply to future non-Israeli spouses of Israelis of any religion or ethnicity.

So what exactly is the Guardian’s problem with this proposed new law? If it is the concept of a pledge of allegiance in itself, that would seem to be a case of singling Israel out for criticism not applied to other democracies including New Zealand, Australia, The United States, Norway and indeed The United Kingdom itself. That, of course, could be deemed anti-Semitic according to the EUMC Working Definition:

“Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

If, however, the Guardian is taking issue with the concept of a pledge of allegiance to a state with a defined majority religion or ethnicity, then logic would demand that it also address the subject of the numerous Islamic states in the world (including the proposed Palestinian one according to its constitution)  and the position of non-Muslim minorities living in them, as well as the requirement demanded of non-Anglican new citizens of the United Kingdom to swear allegiance to the supreme governor of that church and ‘defender of the faith’.

Clearly, given the Guardian’s reticence on the above subjects, the problem as far as it is concerned is neither the actual issue of a pledge of allegiance nor the subject of religion as part of a definition of statehood. Only when we reach the last paragraph of the editorial do we find out what is really bothering the Guardian and so many others about this proposal.

“It seeks to pre-empt negotiation on the third core issue after borders and the division of Jerusalem – the right of return of Palestinian refugees to sovereign Israeli territory.”

In other words the problem, in the Guardian’s view, is specifically the concept of Israel as a Jewish state, which it is trying to suggest is a discriminatory and racist project: a suggestion also deemed anti-Semitic by the EUMC Working Definition:

“Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

It is obvious to anyone on either side of the argument that a wholesale return of Palestinian refugees to Israel would sooner or later bring about an end to the definition of Israel as the only Jewish state and of course there are those who promote that goal precisely for that reason. The Guardian’s acceptance of the subject as a legitimate one for negotiation indicates its true agenda in no uncertain terms. Not only does this expose its faux-liberal calls for peace, but it indicates with terrifying clarity exactly within which camp the Guardian’s feet are firmly placed, and that is the camp of the ‘one-staters’.

The proposed amendment to the Law of Citizenship does not demand that new citizens of Israel become subscribers to an ideology, but it does require them to recognize the status quo by expressing a commitment firstly to upholding the democracy of the state and secondly to the existence of Israel as the place in which Jews can exercise their right to self-determination and to the important concept of Israel as a refuge for Jews. Tragically, even after 62 years of statehood, these existing definitions of Israel, as laid out in its Declaration of Independence, are today under threat as maybe never before and in a manner which no other country has to put up with.

It is to a large extent due to the ongoing delegitimisation of Israel as practiced by the Guardian and its ideological fellow travelers that Israel finds itself today in a position in which some very tricky subjects must be discussed.  Among those subjects are the level of commitment of some of its citizens to the basic concepts of Israel as a democratic and Jewish state, the influence of foreign funding of organizations dedicated to dismantling the state and the refusal of most of the surrounding Arab states to recognize Israel’s existence under its present definition. Whilst this proposed amendment to the Law of Citizenship does not address those weighty issues, the wave of outcry it has prompted from some sources does indicate the full extent of the problem in that it shines a light on those inherently opposed to the idea of Jewish self-determination. Despite the claims in the Guardian editorial, that is the real obstacle to peace in the Middle East because until the Arab states and their Western supporters accept the notion of one tiny Jewish state in their midst, and abandon all designs for Palestine ‘from the river to the sea’, there can never be peaceful co-existence in the region.

This case also raises subjects for discussion which are by no means confined to the eastern end of the Mediterranean, such as the legitimacy of the use of principles of freedom of expression to promote the negation of the basic human rights (including self-determination) for certain groups and the subject of the limits of the definition of democracy when it comes to the employment of the tenets of that democracy in order to destroy it. Israel is wrestling with these questions at present, possibly with somewhat greater urgency than in many other countries. The time for others will, however, come as elements which reject the concept of pluralistic and liberal democracy seek to impose their ideology on existing societies. This is a discussion which Europe too will not be able to avoid for much longer, despite the best attempts of many, including the Guardian.

28 replies »

  1. “..The time for others will, however, come as elements which reject the concept of pluralistic and liberal democracy seek to impose their ideology on existing societies…”

    Meaning the imposition of Islam?

    I agree, and I am worried for my children’s future here in the UK.

  2. As per usual and as I have come to expect, another excellent piece by Israelinurse.

    As for The Guardian and their subscribers/readership? I am immensely looking forward to the leftie liberal toffs having to live and deal with those they pander too. Those who wish to impose their way of life (oppression) more and more. By the time this happens I will be sat in Israel laughing my Zionist head off at them shouting “you didn’t see that one coming did you? Next time pull your heads out off your backsides and wisen up” And then I would head down the road and have a shawarma and dance the hora.

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it Guardian Schmardian.

  3. Hairshirt. Excuse my seeming insensitivity to those many good people who will be affected by the Guardian readers (totalitarian liberals) of this world.

    While I am here, rest assured that I do my bit in fighting against them and will continue to from Israel. I hope you are able to also, if anything, for the sake of your children.

  4. Israelinurse, excellent article.

    I know that your reply was to HairShirt and I hope that s/he won’t mind if I join in:

    My late Professor (RIP) used often to say that in order to understand and gain power over something – a mood or a feeling – you have to articulate it and name it for what it is. Then you know what you are dealing with and can take action.

    Our trouble has been, I think (and in this I include many Jewish communities and organisations which persist in burying their heads in the sand) in actually speaking up and speaking out about the threat from Islamism, loud and clear from the beginning, when their demands began to be bothersome.

    We can still do it, although our task in declaring what is going on as often as is necessary will be so much harder the longer we delay.

    Islamism is undermining us and the fabric of our society. The extent of the threat it imposes is ignored or made light of and even mentioning it in certain circles brings accusations of racism and islamophobia. Black has become white and white black. We are indeed living, as Melanie Phillips has put it, in a world turned upside down because we are gagged from naming the Islamist menace exactly for what it is.

  5. ‘The Palestinian Israeli experience of inequality and discrimination only promotes the view that being a minority in a state with a Jewish majority is rapidly becoming untenable.’

    By promoting a Palestinian Israeli nationality, the Guardian is promoting their alienation. Most Israeli Jews are not going to feel particularly inclusive towards Palestinian nationals, who reject the legitimacy of Jewish nationalism, with a Palestinian nation state next door which does exactly the same thing.

    Did Ben White write that editorial? I doubt it, but he could have done (more likely Raphael Behr).

  6. “The time for others will, however, come as elements which reject the concept of pluralistic and liberal democracy seek to impose their ideology on existing societies.”

    Very true, and very cogently put.

    What goes around, comes around, and those trying to play nice will eventually realize the futility of their position – reminiscent of Churchill’s famous analogy of the crocodile. Europe will eventually mimic Israel, as it now does on security issues. Israel is simply the tripwire, or point of the spear, in a growing resistance to Islamization of the West.

    Europe’s actions against the Roma, a conveniently small trial target, is a foretaste of what they wish to do with the growing Moslem population, but so far have not dared to. France has already been mentioning its desire to maintain its special social creed, for lack of a better word, and Holland demands that new citizens pass what amounts to a test of basic beliefs (e.g., its bad to beat your wife!). Italy is well on the way, and I do not doubt that Germany and Austria will follow suit when it is no longer possible for others to point fingers at them. Even Sweden – Sweden! – the home of the Malmo actions against Jews – has decided to crack down on immigration.

  7. Zkharya – at the risk of sounding like Seth Freedman by referring to taxi drivers, this is a true story…

    Last week my sister was here in Israel on business. At some point she found herself on a long drive with an Arab Israeli taxi driver and she decided to ask him what it is like being an Arab in Israel.

    His reply was “I am with Yahud (Jews). Yahud action people.”

    She asked him what he meant and he talked about the economic development of the state and his own standard of living which is of course considerably higher than that of surrounding states.

    Then she asked him how he would feel if the Jews were no longer in the majority in Israel for whatever reason.

    His reply was “I leave. I go America.”

    Of course he is the kind of Israeli Arab to whom a Guardian reporter would never give an opportunity to voice his opinion. In my experience, he’s also part of the silent majority who just want to make a decent living and bring up their children in the best way they possibly can – like millions of people the world over, regardless of colour, creed or ethnicity.

  8. I believe that all new comers should pledge loyalty (if this must be the case).

    Jews and others.

    But giving Jews that oppose Zionism or the state free entry on asylum ground of the Jewish home while giving non Jews the red card should they choose not to take the oath on grounds that others (Jews) who are against the state principles free entry is wrong on all ground.

    This is why I believe this law should not have come to life.

    There was no need for it until now and there is no need for it now in my opinion.

  9. Nurse
    “Of course he is the kind of Israeli Arab to whom a Guardian reporter would never give an opportunity to voice his opinion. ”

    Or maybe he is the kind that can tells easily which tourists are after what answer.
    He might have been able to tell your sister is either Jewish or likes Israel simply by where she is going to or where is she coming from.

    Had he been alone with a Guardian reporter who asked the questions differently he might have answered differently, and the Guardian reporter might have taken the parts he / she needed to make their case.

    “In my experience, he’s also part of the silent majority who just want to make a decent living and bring up their children in the best way they possibly can – like millions of people the world over, regardless of colour, creed or ethnicity.”

    Exactly.

  10. Israelinurse, good article. Guardian has given up all pretences of being neutral or fair, they are now just a blatant mouth-piece of Hamas.

    Although a checkmate is a long way away, and they are in no delusions about it, the progressives are putting their pieces in place and are now looking at the end game in which Israel will cease to exist and the whole region will be taken over by Islamic rule.

    But on your sister’s experience with the Israeli Arab taxi driver though, I wouldn’t put too much credence on his opinion, because if I know anything of taxi drivers (yes even the distinctly uncouth New York ones) it is that they’ll say anything to please their customers. This guy would probably say completely the opposite to someone else.

    And that is why I would never rely on any public opinions either, because people lie.

  11. I wonder why affirmative action is so heartily accepted for blacks in South Africa – as I noticed in the comments following Ronnie Kasril’s article in cif – and yet any hint of affirmative action for Jews in Israel is condemned as discrimination against Palestinians.

    There are two sorts of prejudice in this world — that involving Jews and all other.

  12. This is an inaccurate, even extremely inacccurate comparison with the pledge being demanded of non-Jewish immigrants to Israel.

    “the requirement demanded of non-Anglican new citizens of the United Kingdom to swear allegiance to the supreme governor of that church and ‘defender of the faith’.”

    The UK does not define itself as “an Anglican state”. Indeed, the Church of England is only the established church in one of the four countries that make up the UK (which is also not a nation-state). There is no established church in two of the other countries (Wales, Northern Ireland), and the established Church in Scotland is somewhat (even very) different in nature from that in its southern neighbour. So, in fact is it quite clear that regardless of all that (or for that matter the presence of CofE bishops in the House of Lords), the UK is decidedly a non-Anglican state. There is no preferential treatment of any kind (well, apart from the inability for a Catholic to become Sovereign) for Anglicans (and if one was in such a position, and felt strongly enough about it, one could always convert. Anglicanism is not particularly demanding, or, indeed, consistent, in the expectations of its adherants)

    But most importantly one is swearing allegiance to the Sovereign in her role as Head of State. Her religion is irrelevant. And it is dishonest to imply otherwise.

    The point is that ANYONE regardless of their ethnic or religious background who wishes to become a British citizen is treated equally; that is clearly not the case under Lieberman’s proposal that the Israeli govt have just taken up from those who wish to become an Israeli citizen. THAT is why it is objectionable and, yes, quite probably, effectively racist.

    So I’m afraid the parallel you draw is ludicrous.

    One can believe that without falling into a mire of anti-Zionism , anti-Semitism or any kind of dubious or unpleasant extemism

  13. “Guardian editorial delegitimizes Jewish right of self-determination”

    Only if you consider that settlement building in the occupied West Bank (which is what this is really all about) is an integral part of “Jewish right of self-determination”.

  14. Pretzel could you explain that what have the pledge of allegiance, the nature of the Israeli state and the Right of Return to do with settlement building?
    Maybe you are not aware of the fact that the words settlement, occupation, occupied territories can’t be found anywhere in the original CIF editorial and Israelinurse’s article.
    I suggest you read the relevant articles before commenting on them, it could help not to embarrass yourself like you did last time qualifying MEMRI and CAMERA without having the slightest idea about their activity…

  15. pretzelberg

    “Only if you consider that settlement building in the occupied West Bank (which is what this is really all about) is an integral part of “Jewish right of self-determination”.”

    Considering the cost in lives and money to build and maintain these settlements (and will all know that most of them will be removed or abandoned in the future), perhaps it would be better to call it “selfish-determination”.

  16. Israel is the state of those who would have been completely wiped out had the Nazis’ plans come to fruition. A whole world was not big enough to allow the Jews protection against predators.

    There is no reason that they should not protect themselves by making sure that those who would live in their state accept that this principle underlies the state’s security. There is no requirement that they adopt the religion or that they even agree with it. All they have to do is to accept it.

    Had the people of the UK been in danger of being wiped out I would be wholly supportive of her making the same conditions

  17. From Just Journalism:

    ‘Common to almost all coverage of these developments was the emphasis given to how they would affect Israel’s Arab minority. The New York Times noted: ‘many critics say that it will add to the sense of alienation from the state felt by many Arab citizens, who make up 20 percent of Israel’s population.’ The Financial Times, the BBC and The Guardian likewise pondered the significance for the 20 percent strong minority, the latter citing the Israeli Arab claim that the amendment is ‘provocative and racist’.

    Absent from this media characterisation of Israel’s more than one million Arabs is the fact that their representatives in Israel’s parliament have done as much as the rabble-rousing Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (who tabled the loyalty pledge amendment) to drive a wedge between Israel’s Jewish and Arab populations. Israeli Arab Khaled Abu Toameh specifically singles out Arab MKs for the strained relations that exist between Jews and Arabs in Israel: ‘by openly siding with the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Hizbullah against their state, the Arab representatives of Israel have put the Arab citizens in a very uneasy situation.’

    http://justjournalism.com/featured/the-media-on-israel-as-a-%E2%80%98jewish-state%E2%80%99/

  18. Could anyone point me to a Guardian editorial similarly critical of Mahmoud Abbas and his “we won’t allow a single Jew to live in Palestine” statement?

    THAT’s racism, not an oath of allegiance for new citizens.

  19. But I still think Netanyhu has fluffed the possibility of peace by dealing in crude terms with an issue that needed to be more nuanced e.g. the PA recognising the formula, ‘two states for two peoples’, because he allowed himself, spineless, as he is, to be painted into a rhetorical corner by the unspeakable creature Lieberman. Lieberman belongs in a mental home, or only allowed out on pills with a minder. And that is putting it politely.

    Two clowns, leading Israel to disaster.

  20. ‘and will all know that most of them will be removed or abandoned in the future)’

    No, most won’t. Not those that comprise suburbs of Jerusalem (which populationwise is most) and others too, in exchange for territory within Israel, as per the Geneva Accords.

    The Guardian has played its part in inflaming hatred of Israel to boost sales.

  21. The Guardian has played its part in totally misrepresenting what most ‘settlements’ are, where and why.

    Most comprise Jewish East Jerusalem, when Palestinian Arabs ethnically cleansed Jews from 1929 on, indeed consolidating a Jewish hold on a Jerusalem whence Christians and Muslims largey excluded them for nigh on 2000 years, and Arabs expelled them in the 1930s and 1940s.

    The Guardian constantly harps on Israeli Jewish prejudice and racism, but largely lets Arab and Islamic racism and prejudice, especially towards Jews, off the hook, again because it boosts sales or hits.

    TG has played its part in alienating Israel, thereby boosting extremism within. But that is how paleo- and classical antisemitism was spread, too.

  22. TG’s focus on Israeli settlements is vastly disproportionate to the actual area involved, which, compared to other conquests, annexations and colonizations e.g. Northern Cyprus, tiny. It is also unjust in that any kind of Israel, Jewish state or otherwise, faces existential threats that virtually no other state in the world faces.

    It is a wicked, vicious hypocrisy.

  23. zkharya: “The Guardian has played its part in inflaming hatred of Israel to boost sales”

    The entire International “Left” also bears a huge responsibility for the plight of the Palestinians, with their hypocritical promises of solidarity and supporting warped dreams that “one day together we will bring Israel down” so “one day you Palestinians can have it all”.

    The IL is perfectly willing and happy to combat Israel (and indirectly the US) to the last drop of Palestinian blood.

  24. Great article.

    BTW is CifWatch under attack? The website seems very slow today and the stylesheets aren’t loading.