The bigotry of Guardian columnist Gary Younge

Gary Younge, a feature writer and columnist for the Guardian based in the US, went to visit the mythical land his colleagues had written so much about – a dark land of oppression, colonialism and racism.

Younge occasionally likes to prove that his rhetorical tool bag of leftist agitprop isn’t limited to the narrow, parochial issues of the US – as there are only so many stories you can file about the evils of the Tea Party and a limit to the number of times you can engage in race baiting – and thought he found a clever metaphor for the mendacity of the Jewish state in contrast to immutable Palestinian victimhood – “a faceless corporation ruthlessly pursuing small family businesses.”

Younge’s tale of Israeli villainy (For Israelis and Palestinians, the status quo is neither sustainable nor desirable, CiF, April 25) is a polemical epic, one which spans two continents, from Peru and Florida all the way to Jerusalem, but begins in territory much more familiar to Younge’s boilerplate Guardian Left populism, an evil US corporation, Disney.

After noting that the company filed a million-dollar lawsuit against a Florida couple (who, we are told, is on public assistance) who unwittingly purchased knock-off costumes of Tigger and Eeyore from an e-Bay site based in S. America, Younge asks why such a large and powerful corporation would engage in such heavy-handed tactics”, before opining:

“for Disney that is precisely the point. They want people to witness the ferocity with which they pursue their interests” [emphasis mine; heavy-handed and glaringly obvious metaphor Younge’s]

Now that the theme has been established, the moral of his parable firmly planted, Younge pivots to the real object of his wrath, and takes the comically absurd road less traveled:

“After a week in the West Bank participating in the annual Palestine Festival of Literature, you get the feeling Israeli security services are using the same public relations team as Disney…. at the Israeli-Jordan border, we were kept several hours…”

That his evidently horrific several hour wait to cross a border into a country besieged with terrorist threats is treated as a corporate public relations debacle is certainly precious, and my guess is that sometime during those agonizing hours Younge’s temper got the best of him, but was eventually able to channel his rage to summon all of the penetrating, anti-Zionist tropes at his disposal to detect, in one brief encounter, the moral temperature of the entire Israeli nation:

“At the crossing into Nazareth, only brown-skinned people had their passports held.”

Of course, Younge’s brief sophomoric meditation on Israeli “whiteness” would come as quite a surprise to the Mizrachi, Ethiopian, and other Jews of color, who make up about half of the state’s population, but who needs such pesky, dry demographic data when you have three full hours of observation?

In fairness though, Younge is quite emphatic that it wasn’t personal, and that his main concern is for the locals:

“Families with small children waiting for hours before putting the entire contents of their car in shopping trolleys and wheeling that through security so they can get home. Grown men and women being shouted at by teenagers with guns. We got only a glimpse.”

Yes, Younge got only a “glimpse”, he acknowledges, enough to understand the “intimidation, humiliation and harassment” – the malevolence of Israeli “teenagers with guns” – but evidently not enough to see what those Jewish teens stubbornly defending their homeland more than occasionally glimpse – such as the young Palestinian woman, disguised as pregnant, who was recently sent to blow up a hospital in Israel. (Her explosive device, by the way, was found during a routine security check at Erez checkpoint, and captured on video.)

Younge, evidently working without the services of an editor, and not satisfied with the quantity of tortured Disney analogies in his laborious diatribe, reflects upon the fact that Israel and her supporters occasionally engage in spirited moral defenses of the Jewish state – those who have the gall to point out Israel’s breathtakingly obvious political advantages over her neighbors –  and likens such efforts to “ Tinker Bells sprinkl[ing] their fairy dust to blur the view or to beautify the ugly.”

Of course, the dust which blurs Younge’s view, what his acute political myopia doesn’t allow for, is the necessity of contextualizing Israeli policies though a broader prism of regional threats such as Palestinian terrorism and incitement, or Hamas and Hezbollah’s increasingly sophisticated military arsenal (which occurred after Israeli withdrawals), and these groups’ explicitly anti-Semitic and even genocidal founding charters.  No, assigning moral agency to Palestinians would be committing  the single most egregious sin in his leftist post-Colonial paradigm: “To suggest that Palestinians are equally responsible for this state of affairs would suggest the two sides hold equal power to shape events.”

In Younge’s Middle East, its Israel, and only Israel, who is responsible for shaping events.  If the anti-Semitic narrative of near omnipotent Jewish power conjures a tiny community with the cunning to shape world events to their designs, Younge’s equally fantastical political musings on the Jewish state’s malevolent hegemony proves the adage of Israel as “the Jew writ large”.

Younge closes by warning that Israel simply may not be a sustainable project, its “occupation” having irreparably ”nullif[ied] Zionism – a state, he implies, which may be morally beyond the pale, and which may soon forfeit  international recognition of its very right to exist.

If Younge’s denial of Palestinian responsibility represents the soft bigotry of low expectations, his suggestion that Israel – alone among the nations of the world – may not have a right to statehood, and that Jews must continually morally justify its national enterprise, represents the hard bigotry of impossibly high expectations.

As has been codified continually:

Denying Jews the right of self-determination, claiming that Zionism is a racist endeavor, and/or holding Israel to standards which no other state is held to are all not merely criticism of Israel; they are anti-Semitic.

Jews don’t require Gary Younge’s moral approval for the continued existence of their national homeland, but moral decency requires that those who peddle in such racist double standards be named and shamed as the bigots they are.  

43 replies »

  1. I think you missed the reference to Nazarene checkpoints, which got Younge thoroughly trashed in the thread, as well as his racist comment about “brown-skinned people”.

    What a piece of work is [this] man.

  2. Younge is one of those who shows the codependency Mitnaged has written about. He doesn’t drool at the mouth with it but his far too willing acceptance that the Palestinians can’t help themselves and that they have no alternative but to resort to violence at the drop of a hat is racist towards them and shores up their professional victim status.

    Wonder what’s on his cv to be able to write this trash and have it accepted. “Hate Israel” is usually enough.

    Heaven forbid that Jews need the approval of anyone from the Guardian to do anything.

    And if anyone looking for a failed state should stay tuned to Abbas’ intentions as regards declaring Palestinian statehood unilaterally. What on earth makes him believe that, having abandoned Palestinians to their fate hitherto, the Arab world will rush to his support?

    My main nervousness is around Israel being far too helpful to the swine, instead of pulling out the plug on the West Bank if Abbas is daft enough to try it.

  3. Can’t someone make a cartoon of it? The more overblown the myth of Palestine gets the smaller Israel becomes. An ant to be trampled underfoot.

    And then they meet Israelis…

    I hope these halfwits get the really big shock they need. Even the murder of a pair of them hasn’t dented the miasma.

  4. Younge also states, without a glimmer of self-awareness:

    A Palestine that is independent, non-contiguous and home to thousands of foreigners who do not respect its laws is not viable.

    Just change the word “Palestine” to “Israel” and you get the exact same result. But somehow that doesn’t seem to bother the Younge’s of this world.

  5. anneinpt,

    Change “Palestine” to any Western country and the average Guardian reader would be roasting him quicker than you could say “PC.”

  6. Crossing into Nazareth? Doesn’t he mean Betlehem?
    Funny how often these half-baked Christians confuse the two different places..

    Meanwhile the slaughter continues in Syria amidst embarrassed silence from the West.

  7. He guardianspoke here (at least):

    “Local youth responded to Israeli teargas with a hail of stones”

    Israelis puff teargas just through being Israeli?

    And they went prepared with onions! Is he with ISM?

  8. What a joker. There is nothing racial about Israel’s presence in the West Bank. And not racist about the security procedures. They save lives. Jordan places the same restrictions on Palestinians going to and from Jordan. Lebanon doesn’t even allow Palestinians to enter their country.

    Are they racists??? What is hilarious is the Palestinians are totally racist against each other. Blacks are hated, but don’t expect the guardian to talk about the racist cartoons the Palestinian Authority and Hamas print of Barack Obama.


  9. It seems that that small business was not too honest. Those people could have complied with the legal requirement but they wanted to have their cake and eat it. Disney doesn’t seem a good equivalent to Israel either. A duff comparison.

  10. How ironic that Younge is writing from Silwan (Shiloah), ethnically cleansed of its Yemenite Jewish community in 1938.

  11. Abban Aziz said:

    “And not racist about the security procedures. They save lives.”

    Every AIRPORT in the world needs checkpoints to save lives.

    I wonder whether the BBC or Der Guardian has CHECKPOINTS

  12. He made an absolute fool of himself on that thread,this is what happens when you stray too far away from your handler.He got trashed,and he didn’t even have the guts to apologize for that stupid and wrong remark about brown people and check points in Nazareth.

    The Guardian I/P threads had some really dumb blogs and bloggers lately.BTL and above the line.

    A bigot,an ignorant racist,and an absolute fool.

  13. I wondered whether he actually did go to Israel or was all that just pure fantasy.

    Or he might have got his information from reading Moeran posts,both their writing style and content is identical.

    Both mention teen age soldiers who are abusive,and then there is Moeran’s favorite Silwan,and stoned palestinian kids throwing stones.

  14. Any criticism of Israel and its crimes is anti- Semitic, eh? Let’s just ignore the documented proof and numerous UN resolutions broken by the state and shriek & accuse. I’m Jewish. You people sicken me.

  15. Aunty ASHamed as-a-Jew: If you would read the post above you would see that no one is calling criticism of Israel anti-Semitic. But you knew that didn’t you? The post only quotes the EU working definition of anti-Semitism. You knew that as well, didn’t you.

    Now show us documented proof of Israel’s crimes. Were you intending the disgraced and retracted Goldstone report perhaps?

    Which UN resolutions were you talking about? Binding Security Council resolutions, I mean.

  16. “One need not embrace Palestinian self-determination to challenge this situation. A simple demand for equality and human rights for Palestinians will do.” Is this (sorry if someone made the same point and I missed it) a call for a one as opposed to two state solution?

  17. “Any criticism of Israel and its crimes is anti- Semitic, eh?”

    The old lie spread by haters of Israel. It is typically employed when said haters use anti-Semitic imagery when deligitimising the Jewish state. It is their get out of jail free card.

    “Let’s just ignore the documented proof and numerous UN resolutions broken by the state and shriek & accuse.”

    Israel is in breach of no binding UN resolution. If you are referring to General Assembly resolutions then I am proud that Israel has ignored the numerous mad resolutions which have been passed by a blatantly bigoted assembly pathogically obsessed with the Jewish state. Abba Eban put the point well: “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.” Put another way, just look at some of the many grossly criminal actions carried out by Britain since 1939 which have been ignored by the world:

    — Collaborated in the Holocaust.
    — Committed mass-murder at Dresden.
    — Collaborated in genocide at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    — Conducted herself in a manner that would have done credit to the Nazis in post-war Palestine.
    — Committed countless terrible war crimes in Kenya and Malaya.
    — Brutally suppressed the Irish liberation movement which has been legitimately fighting a ruthless and bloodthirsty colonial oppressor.
    — Conducted an illegal war in order to sieze back the colonial possession that is the Islas Malvinas from the rightful owner. Murdered hundreds of sailors on the General Belgrano during the course of that war.
    — Bombed Serbia with a complete disregard for the safety of civilians.
    — Responsible both directly and indirectly for the deaths of countless civilians during the illegal conflict that is the Iraq War and the invasion of Afghanistan.

    “I’m Jewish.”

    Even if true, what possible difference does that make?

    “You people sicken me.”

    The only thing that doesn’t sicken you people is Jews walking meekly into the gas chambers.

    “Aunty Zionist”

    More like “Uncle Nazi”.

  18. anneipt – self-awareness is inimical to the Younges of this world and those who write on CiF. Had Gary Younge a shred of self-awareness or insight, he would probably not be able to sleep at night.

    The things people do to earn £70.00. Myself, I’d stack supermarket shelves, but this schlemiel sells his soul to the Guardian, which is the equivalent of the devil.

    Aunty Zionist, you have all the first line symptoms of pathological masochism. If we people sicken you, why are you here? Do you enjoy being sickened?

  19. Benorr I doubt that Younge knows the first thing about Israel, given the samey nature of his article. Stephanie Gutmann’s excellent “The Other War: Israelis, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy”, points up how the internet enables second rate “journalists” to concoct “eye-witness” accounts from the disjointed ramblings of other equally second-rate “journalists” and then write an article as if they know what they are talking about, on what is going on in other countries, without ever leaving their offices. We have seen the cumulative error resulting from this again and again.

    Younge may have been to the West Bank but given his closed-mindedness and bigotry he will have seen only what he wanted to see and which supported his view that Israel is evil.

    He should join the ISM, if he isn’t already a member, and go into Gaza to report from there.

  20. @Aunty Zionist. The tired straw man you and your political fellow travelers constantly drag out – that we infer anti-Semitism in the mere criticism of Israel – has little to do with my post, as I made it quite clear where criticism of Israel crosses the line into anti-Semitism – holding Israel to standards which no other nation is held to; asserting that Zionism is racism; and suggesting that Israel doesn’t have the right to exist. Further the volume of criticism against Israel is so high, the invectives hurled against the state so unhinged, that I honestly don’t understand how reasonable people can suggest that Israel and her supporters “stifle” critics. Even if that indeed was our goal, the evidence would suggest that we’re failing miserably at such an objective.

  21. Regrettably bigots like Younge wear accusations of anti-Semitism as a badge of honour. In their world, if you don’t get the ‘pro-Israelis’ spitting blood, you ain’t doing your job properly.

  22. Gary Younge doesn’t take criticism very well.

    I asked him why he didn’t respond to the crits here point by point and in return he blocked my Twitter account.

  23. @Margie in Tel Aviv

    Younge blocked our Twitter account too. A known Guardian tactic – if you disagree with your critics, you silence them.

  24. He’s in good company,Rachel Shabi is one of his followers on twitter.The guy is a jerk,and a dumb one to boot.

    Credibility and sanity,these are two words that Gary Younge should never ever use.

  25. Younge is just following the usual CiF, CensorshipIsFree partyline.

    Delete or block anything that disagrees with their fascist/socialist world view.

  26. He even derived his tweet from the comments on his post. The article’s only virtue seemed to be that it was calm. So what do we get in his tweet? We are tonally shrill!

  27. benorr, not at all. The common denominator which unites every low life that writes for CiF is that they do NOT learn from the experience of being mauled by better debaters and more knowledgeable people than themselves.

    On the contrary, they tend to keep trotting out variations of the same poisonous themes again and again in the hope that they can magic them into “truth.” Trouble is, the majority below the line (present company excepted) have long ago lost the distinction between truth and fantasy and have the critical thinking capability of a stone.

  28. The anti-Zionists frequently suggest that really Jews should know better. I wonder how Younge would feel if I suggested to him that as a black man he really should know better?

  29. Aunty Zionist,

    “Any criticism of Israel … is anti- Semitic, eh?”

    No, just the ones based on anti-Zionism, the view that the Jews have no right to political sovereignty in Palestine.

    “Let’s just ignore…”

    Let’s just ignore the Islamic way of warfare, involving putting women and children in the line of fire (win-win: Either the enemy doesn’t fire, or it does and the dead bodies can be used for propaganda), which makes a mockery of the whole concept of international “law,” at least with regard to armed combat.

    Let’s ignore that and make the world safe for Islamic imperialism, safe for the most immoral portion of humanity to remake the whole world in their image.

    “I’m Jewish. You people sicken me.”

    No people sicken me more than quislings like you. You’ve been the bane of the Jewish nation since its very beginning. (Assuming you’re really a Jew. On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.)

  30. Aunty Zionist (a euphasism for anti-Zionist right?)

    Is there a pro- israeli propaganda machine re-writing history and churning out lies about the palestinians and their so-called ‘friends’?

    have you not noticed that the IP propaganda war consists of pro-israelis defending israel against the slanders and libels laid by its enemies?

    fair and constructive criticism is one thing. but that is not what is being railed against here. your stance appears to be that israel is so vile it may not speak in its own defence when libelled.

    now that’s not right, is it?

    have you also noticed that there exist anti-israelis and anti-zionists and there are also pro-palestinians and pro-israelis but there don’t seem to be any anti-palestinians? Everyone knows the palestinians got a raw deal. The reality is, that if the arabs had got on top or won any of their wars against israel no jew would have been offered citizenship in the new state. It would have been leave or die.

    If the ‘friends of the palestinians’ were truly friends they would expend their resources on improving standards within palestinian communities. That would be more compassionate than supporting the belligerents who will never accept the reality of israel and are willing to fight the israelis to the last drop of palestinian blood.

  31. I had this feeling that this Gary Younge character is a fool,I just didn’t realize how big a fool that he was.

    Just throw him a spade and let him keep digging.