General Antisemitism

The Guardian admits error, but still remains clueless about the danger of Judeophobic invectives


H/T Harry’s Place

As we noted (here, & here), and as CST also commented on, the Dec. 29 CiF piece by John Whitbeck was not only another egregious example of hateful Israel bashing at the world’s leading liberal voice.  It crossed that line by leaps and bounds by advancing the classic anti-Semitic narrative of a dangerously powerful American Jewish community controlling the reigns of government.

In his CiF column, Whitbeck, a 9/11 truther, and someone who’s been quite explicit in his desire to see Israel’s destruction – referring to Zionism as a “racial supremacist settle colonial experiment” which is inconsistent with “human decency” – actually characterized the U.S. as submitting to a slave-like (“slavish”) subservience” to Israel. (He also referred to “Israel-American Global Domination”.)

Sometime after Whitbeck’s vitriol was published, the CST’s Mark Gardner wrote to the Guardian’s Readers’ Editor, and said the following:

“Can you please explain to me how this notion that the USA is subservient / slavishly subservient to Israel is any different in its rationale to the old antisemitic myth about Jews running the world through domination of politicians, finance and media?…I do not mean this as a joke, although it does read like a sick joke when it appears upon the website of a publication such as yours.”

In response to Gardner’s exchange with the Guardian, the word “slavish” has been removed from “slavish subservience to Israel”; and the phrase “Israeli-American global domination” has been entirely removed. The new piece is here and carries this at its end:

“This article was amended on 17 January 2011. Language that is inconsistent with the Guardian’s editorial policy has been removed.”

We commend our friends at CST for their persistence, and are glad to see the above acknowledgment.

However, it is still appalling that the editors at the Guardian don’t understand that it wasn’t merely the language which was offensive but, rather, the IDEA which the language served to convey.  Language is merely a conduit – a means to achieve ideological ends.  One could even say that the language in any CiF column is inextricably subservient to the political agenda of the author.

Guardian editors made a decision to publish an essay by a known conspiracy theorist; a man who accepts and propagates dangerous tropes about the injurious effects of Jewish power; and someone who views Zionism – the very notion of Jewish national sovereignty – as something which (justice demands) should perish from the earth.

That they chose, weeks after the fact, to delete words which made explicit anti-Semitic narratives typically advanced only implicitly doesn’t in any way absolve them of their broader decision to provide a platform for such historically lethal and odious ideas.

21 replies »

  1. Yesterday I discussed the contention by Merav Michaeli that the NGOs in the West Bank exist because of a vacuum created by the government itself.

    Here is a perfect example of government created vacuum in East Jerusalem, which is legally part of Israel and not ‘Occupied Territory”, yet as I said yesterday – the govt simply doesn’t enforce its own laws:

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/court-gives-jerusalem-30-days-to-explain-lack-of-schools-for-arabs-1.64580
    “The High Court of Justice yesterday ordered the Jerusalem Municipality to explain why it refused to register thousands of East Jerusalem schoolchildren in the city’s schools, or at least fund their tuition at private schools.
    Represented by attorney Danny Seidemann, they claim the Compulsory Education Law is not being implemented systematically and in East Jerusalem and that there is a shortage of hundreds of classrooms.”

    The Jerusalem Municipality has systematically avoided building elementary and high schools in East Jerusalem since 1967 despite being obliged to by the Compulsory Education Law and despite the fact that legally there is NO DIFFERENCE between East and West Jerusalem.

    This is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In reality the Jerusalem Municipality provides little or no services to the East side of the city, thereby creating its own local vacuum, into which the Palestinian Authority is more than willing to step in. The result: every few months we see an article in the paper that the police have closed down unofficial P-A offices in Jerusalem, offices that offer services that the city legally should have provided, but deliberately did not.

    What Michaeli says about the NGOs and the WB vacuum is equally relevant for the East Jerusalem vacuum:
    “All of them were created in order to fill the gaps left by the state, which for its part was all too happy to continue walking away from problems that someone else was there to take on. ….
    Now comes the backlash. The Knesset and the cabinet have suddenly discovered the power these groups have, and they want it back.
    But in this war the cabinet and the Knesset have chosen to ignore the reasons these groups became powerful. They can make false claims about foreign funding, but that is not the source of their power. The source of their power is the vacuum, the criminal policies of Israel’s governments over the last 40 years.”

  2. MTC

    They can make false claims about foreign funding, but that is not the source of their power.

    Why do you say repeatedly that they are false claims? Even the involved organisations don’t deny this fact. Do you know their financial sources better than the involved NGOs themselves?

    Michaeli took some real and some imagined facts and used them to write a laughable and extremely stupid article as usual. You are digging your hole deeper and deeper with your obsession of promoting here the Ha’aretz. The only reasonable contributors there are Moshe Arens, Ari Shavit and sometimes Carlo Strenger. Experienced readers simply scroll over the opuses of Levy, Michaeli and their fellow travellers.

  3. Peter:
    Are you saying that the court case involving East Jerusalem schools is a “false claim” ?
    Are you saying that the fact that the PA is trying to exploit this vacuum is a “false claim” ?

    Why do you repeatedly fall into the Bibi-Avigdor trap of attacking the messenger instead of dealing with the issues themselves ?

  4. MTC, why does the UN at the same time call “East” Jerusalem and part of “the West Bank” “annexed” and at the same time “occupied Palestine territory”?

    Shouldn’t you be attacking both the labels and the discrepancy?

  5. Ariadne:
    The point here is that Israel considers East Jerusalem to be an integral part of Israel, therefore according to Israel, Israeli law in its entirety applies to E.J’m, unlike the West Bank. This has nothing to do with the UN , etc.

    So if East Jerusalem is an integral part of Israel according to the Israeli govt, why isn’t it providing the services to the residents there as it is obligated to do by its own laws ?

  6. MTC, I know the UN deserves no attention whatever but governments have to operate in a world that includes it. Most of the world seems to believe it.

    I wish Israel would be very clear and drown out out those who wish to deny Israeli rights. It’s hard to believe that there ever was a Mandate for Palestine and a UNSCR 242. But those are the legal bases and externally they do matter. And Israeli governments do pay attention to externals. I wish they didn’t.

    According to a UNISPAL map I saw the “West Bank” is included right up to Ramallah. Is that wrong for the annexation?

  7. Talking of subservience: whenever I see that photograph of Obama bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia I think of Menachem Begin saying “Saudi Arabia is the most corrupt country in the world. Four thousand princes.”.

  8. “Saudi Arabia I think of Menachem Begin saying “Saudi Arabia is the most corrupt country in the world”

    True … The Likud had a lot of “princes” and it had its fair share of corruption too …

  9. Ariadne:
    So Israeli govts are discriminating against residents of East Jerusalem, i.e legalised discrimination by the only democracy in the Middle East. I assume that you approve.

  10. MTC
    Germany considers the area of the Bayrische Wald as integral part of Germany. As best I know government services in the remoter areas of that part are sorely lacking, the same applies to parts of bigger cities.

    You are demanding a degree of perfectionism from your government that makes me suspect that accusing, accusing, accusing gives you some kind of pleasure.

  11. Silke:
    So the historic and perpetual capital of Israel and the Jewish people is a “remote area” ? As usual you miss the point: Israel speaks a lot about Jerusalem as the “undivided capital” yet treats half of it like ‘occupied territory’ and then complains when others act accordingly.

    Here are some statistics (admittedly all written by traitors who should be banished to Gaza):
    http://www.btselem.org/english/jerusalem/infrastructure_and_services.asp
    http://www.ir-amim.org.il/eng/?CategoryID=368

    So is East Jerusalem part of the undivided capital of Israel or is it part of the Occupied Territories ?

  12. MTC

    Are you saying that the court case involving East Jerusalem schools is a “false claim” ?
    Are you saying that the fact that the PA is trying to exploit this vacuum is a “false claim” ?

    Are you sure do you read your own posts?

    You wrote:

    They can make false claims about foreign funding, but that is not the source of their power.

    Repeat: “false claims about foreign funding” once again:”They can make false claims about foreign funding”…

    And you are speaking about reasonable discussions….

  13. Peter:

    That is what Merav Michaeli wrote in her article.

    So I assume that you too support official government discrimination in the education of Arabs by the only democracy in the Middle East.

  14. MTC

    So I assume that you too support official government discrimination in the education of Arabs by the only democracy in the Middle East

    Could be useful to explain the logic of your assertion.

    Saying that these NGOs have been funded by different international sources – so this is not a false claim – means that I support official government discrimination in East-Jerusalem.

    And you want reasonable discussions…