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.