“What the Israeli army (like the Israeli state) needs to reproduce in its soldiers is either sheer racism – that is, faith in ‘the murderous nature of the Arabs’ – or a brand of religious messianism, neo-Nazi ideology wrapped in Judaism” – Yitzhak Laor (writing in London Review of Books, July 2004)
When I explain what I do to folks unfamiliar with the Guardian I sometimes – in an attempt to explain just how egregious the anti-Israel bias is at the “world’s leading liberal voice” cheekily say: “The Guardian makes the New York Times look like Arutz Sheva.” Well, after reading this comprehensive new report by Just Journalism, I think I’ll have to come up with a similar quip about London Review of Books (LRB). LRB (funded by the British government), often by utilizing the service of Theobald Jews, has, per the report, consistently demonized Israel and engaged in apologetics towards Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian terrorism, more broadly.
The anti-Israel editorial stance of LRB can be best understood by the following quote from the publication’s long time editor, Mary Kay Wilmers:
“I’m unambiguously hostile to Israel because it’s a mendacious state. They do things that are just so immoral and counterproductive and, as a Jew, especially as a Jew, you can’t justify that.”
Per the executive summary of JJ’s report:
- A Freedom of Information request revealed that since its inception the LRB has received over £767,000 from Arts Council England, funded by the public purse.
- Between 2000 and 2010, over £188,000 was received by the LRB specifically for the purpose of paying contributing writers. In this period 92 articles on Israel-Palestine were produced by contributors.
- More than one-third (36%) of articles were written by Jewish Israelis and more than half (53%) of all articles were written by people known to be Jewish. On only one occasion was a mainstream Jewish and Israeli perspective on the conflict showcased by this (or any) contingent.
- The LRB consistently portrayed Israel as a bloodthirsty and genocidal regime out of all proportion to reality, while sympathetic portraits abounded of groups designated as terrorist organisations by the British government such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
- While the Palestinian narrative was fully represented, Israel’s narrative on its legitimate security concerns, Arab rejectionism and terrorism was near absent.