Guardian

The Guardian again provides a platform to an extremist opposed to Israel’s very existence


Matthew Cassel’s CiF piece today, “Palestinians in Lebanon, at the lonlely end of the Arab uprisings“, which quoted notorious “historian” Ilan Pappe in describing Israel’s founding as an act of “ethnic cleansing”, and calls for the effective end of Jewish sovereignty through the return of millions of Palestinian “refugees”, and their descendents, to Israel, didn’t break any new ideological ground for the Guardian –  a paper which, for instance, during the Palestine Papers series, saw fit to publish a piece by a member of Hamas as well as letter by a philosophy professor which morally justified acts of Palestinian terrorism against Israeli men, women, and children.

Nor is it surprsing that an implicit call for the end of Israel was uttered by Cassel, who wrote a CiF piece in 2010 openly supporting Hezbollah.

But, as it is the mission of this blog to expose and combat anti-Semitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy at the Guardian and Comment is Free, it is important to note the viciousness of Cassel’s prose, commentary approved by Guardian editors.

While some of his assertions were simply abusrd – for instance, his claim that “Never is a refugee’s right to return brought into question…except when that refugee is a Palestinian” is utterly bizarre, contradicted by the history of millions of refugees, including 900,00 Jewish refugees from Arab lands, since the end of WWII who never returned to their former land – it was the following line which seemed like something issued in a propaganda statement of a radical Islamist movement rather than in a publications which aims, albeit comically, to be a “liberal voice”.

Referring to the Palestinians in Lebanon who marched to the border on “Nakba Day”, Cassel notes:

“For most, it was their first time even seeing the land that they’ve grown up hearing described in precise detail through the popular stories of elders old enough to remember life in what is today considered Israel.” [emphasis mine]

Robin Shepherd’s recent characterization of the Guardian’s animosity towards Israel as nothing short of “fanatical” is the only idea which seems sufficient to adequately describe their editors’ decision to sanction an essay which employs language  hauntingly similar to the most hateful, radical, reactionary ideologies in the world – those who refer to Israel as the “Zionist entity” and similar invectives in the service of suggesting that the state of Israel is unnatural, hideous, something which should be assigned to the dustbin of history.

Let it be noted far and wide that the Guardian, in their utterly perverse view of progressive thought, finds the moral negation of the Jewish state, at the very least, to be worthy of debate.

17 replies »

  1. There is no doubt that Palestinians were ‘ethnically cleansed’ in 1948. The ardent zionist historian, Benny Morris, has said so many times. His different take on the matter is that he now believes that it would have been better if ALL of the Palestinians had been driven out of their homeland. Look it up if you doubt me, or I’ll give you the references.

    • There is no doubt that the Arab settlers wishing to rob the indigenous Palestinians, the Jews, of their one and only tiny patch of land in the world were repulsed. And that was a good thing, otherwise none of us Israeli Jews would be here right now. Which, come to think of it, is the prime reason why the anti-Zionists decry it, and want to give the descendants of those Arab settlers a second chance at their failed endeavor (“Right of Return,” One-State or more truthfully the Rwanda Solution).

  2. @sencar,

    On the very first day of its existence 6 Arab armies tried to annihilate Israel and said so quite explicitly. The fact that Palestinian Arabs were displaced by this unsuccessful war of annihilation is not the fault of the state who was resisting attempts to ethnically cleans Jews from their historic homeland.

    Plus, contrary to what you assert, Morris makes no such claims about Israel “ethnically cleansing” Palestinians. I’d recommend reading his revised book on the refugee problem released in 2004. In it he says:

    “The war and not design, Jewish or Arab gave birth to the Palestinian refugee problem.” He concludes that “there was no pre-war Zionist plan to expel ‘the Arabs’ from Palestine….”

    The lack of a policy to expel the Palestinians is evident by the fact that a large minority – 150,000 Arabs – remained in Israel. Morris also relates that tens of thousands of wealthy Arabs left voluntarily, most before the war began.

    Morris documents how Palestinian leaders promoted the depopulation of many villages. He also shows how the Arab–initiated evacuations demoralized the remaining Arabs and stimulated their flight.

    So, please, read his book and get back to me.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0521009677/theamericanisraeA/

    • This is a fabrication. Morris’s contention has never been that there was a pre-war intent to expel the Palestinians. (Though some disagree with this.) People fled for a number of reasons, in some cases because Arab leaders encouraged it, in some because people simply do flee war zones, and in others because Israelis forced them out.

      Actually, the act of ethnic cleansing was exercised through the denial of refugees the right to return to their homes. This has always been Morris’s contention, so your little argument above is a total red herring. There is no doubt, and even strident Zionists admit it, that ethnic cleansing happened. Get with the programme.

  3. “There is no doubt that Palestinians were ‘ethnically cleansed’ in 1948. The ardent zionist historian, Benny Morris, has said so many times.”sencar

    Nuh? So, who started a war of annhiilation? The pals did. So, they paid for that. That´s what happens in war, everywhere, most recenly in europe and
    during the Pakistan-India partition. Some pals were expelled, some fled expecting to return to a judenrein paradise. However, many stayed and were
    granted full citizenship. That´s the kinds of facts that prof. sencar of “truth/logic” fame avoids mentioning. Very convenient.

    Also, you conveniently won´t mention the fact that 800.000 Jews, mostly not even zionists, were ethnically cleansed from Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the other islamic paradises, as a pure act of revenge on innocent people, destroying communities that predated the hordes of the schizophrenic-pedophiliac-mysogynistic-imperialist-assassin-pseudo-prophet.

    Yeah, “truth/logic” indeed.

    And, BTW, the ardent zionist Benny Morris also said that when the alternatives are to destroy or to be destroy, it´s better to destroy.

  4. “There is no doubt that Palestinians were ‘ethnically cleansed’ in 1948. The ardent zionist historian, Benny Morris, has said so many times.”

    Benny Morris has come hard on all the British academics and losers who manipulate his research. He lashed out at Finkelstein, Chomsky, and Mearshimer for misrepresenting his research.

    Morris states quite clearly his in his book “righteous victims” that the Arab-Palestinians were not passive victims to some master-Zionist ethnic cleansing campaign. Rather, Arabs were displaced in a war which he says is typical and not unique.

    The “cleansing” buzzword often used by propagandists was never stated by Morris. He says the Arab armies were defeated which led to the expulsion of Arabs – but there was NO master ethnic cleansing campaign and we know this because Arabs still reside in Israel.

    And in any case, those who fled literally walked 10 kilometers south or north. From one city in Palestine to the next. They never left their homeland.

    In any case, it is nothing compared to the 900,000+ Arab Jews who were systematically expelled from simply being Jews. Egypt, Libya, Iraq, and Syria both passed Nazi-era laws that forced the Jews out.

    Jordan kicked out the Jews who lived in their state.

  5. Lots of people have been “ethnically cleansed” from their homelands, Sencar, if that is what you choose to call it. Shall we start a list? It’s still happening. Nothing unique, why do these Arabs get more attention? Funny that?

  6. Well, its not only one essay – they went into overdrive with a dozen or so in their efforts to glorify these riots, so ably assisted by “activists” and Hezbollah – and the Syrian government.

    Just as Arab countries use the Palestinians to divert attention from their real problems, so does the Guardian use them to divert attention from the emerging horrors of the “Arab Spring” and the way Arabs treat other Arabs.

  7. sencar

    “There is no doubt that Palestinians were ‘ethnically cleansed’ in 1948. The ardent zionist historian, Benny Morris, has said so many times.”

    Rubbish. he has categorically denied ever saying that, and in his latest book has made it abundantly clear, as all responsible historians do, that the Arabs fled in light of the hostilities that broke out when the Mufti’s gangs followed by 7 Arab armies attacked the Jews and invaded the new State of Israel (as the rioters tried to do yesterday, with similar results).

    Moreover, he points out that had Israel, like every other country in a similar situation, continued into the West bank and driven the Arabs out of the West bank (and Gaza, while they were about it) in the long run there would have been far less bloodshed with two fewer wars and no intifadas.

    The Arabs took their chances three times, and lost. Its time for them to face reality, belatedly offer citizenship to the Arabs who remain in townships in their territories, just as Arabs who fled to America, Europe, South America, Canada, etc. have local citizenship (not too many of them trying use “the right of return” – they reserve that for their unfortunate brethren in Arab countries, with whom they wish to have nothing to do), and end this cruel charade.

  8. Matthew Cassel’s article was just a provocative piece of crap that was given a good kicking,it had no merit no meaning, and lucky for us that we have to respond to someone like this Matthew Cassel.Who isn’t the brightest,in fact quite dim.

    Matthew Cassel lives in Beirut,to please his masters he has to write articles for CiF like “Ahmadinejad deserves fair reporting” and “not all Iranians hate their regime” Matthew Cassel and the Guardian deserve each other……….

  9. As I noted on the CiF thread: when someone’s sole quote (from a historian or other observer) is from Ilan Pappe, then you know they’re biased.

  10. pretzelberg, I agree and to biased I would add “stupid.”

    Talking of the latter, it’s obvious that sencar is not well-informed about the people he hates so much, which makes him less than an effective advocate. Benny Morris began by condemning Israel as sencar says but has been intelligent and, in the face of the evidence which contradicted his original opinions, has not been slow to publicly change his mind.

    Pappe on the other hand, is too good at falsifying history rather than reporting it honestly and in the light of evidence.

  11. Adam Levick
    Sorry, I haven’t time to read Morris’ revised book. However you might be interested in this interview he gave to Haaretz around the time of its publication: http://www.logosjournal.com/morris.htm.

    Two quotes are relevant to my original post:

    1) Ari Shavit: “They (the Commanders of Operation Dani) perpetrated ethnic cleansing.

    Benny Morris: “There are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing. I know that this term is completely negative in the discourse of the 21st century, but when the choice is between ethnic cleansing and genocide—the annihilation of your people—I prefer ethnic cleansing.”

    2) Ari Shavit: “I’m not sure I understand. Are you saying that Ben-Gurion erred in expelling too few Arabs?”

    Benny Morris: “If he was already engaged in expulsion, maybe he should have done a complete job. I know that this stuns the Arabs and the liberals and the politically correct types. But my feeling is that this place would be quieter and know less suffering if the matter had been resolved once and for all. If Ben-Gurion had carried out a large expulsion and cleansed the whole country – the whole Land of Israel, as far as the Jordan River. It may yet turn out that this was his fatal mistake. If he had carried out a full expulsion – rather than a partial one – he would have stabilized the State of Israel for generations.”

  12. Morris’s contention has never been that there was a pre-war intent to expel the Palestinians. (Though some disagree with this.) People fled for a number of reasons, in some cases because Arab leaders encouraged it, in some because people simply do flee war zones, and in others because Israelis forced them out.

    Actually, the act of ethnic cleansing was exercised through the denial of refugees the right to return to their homes. This has always been Morris’s contention, so your little argument above is a total red herring. There is no doubt, and even strident Zionists admit it, that ethnic cleansing happened. Get with the programme.

    • What does this bit, “Get with the programme,” mean in practicality? I know you anti-Zionists are never content with just words of apology and admission of guilt from us; there is always a real-world price to pay.

      If you’re angling for the scenario where the descendants of the Arab settlers who fled in 1947-8 would be allowed to return, then forget it. Even a usually deluded Israeli Jewish Leftist like Nahum Barnea calls that scenario a no-show. Pressing on on all this “Nakba” stuff will only serve to bring more and more Israeli Jews to an unapologetically right-wing position–one that considers it no shame to maintain Israel as the exclusive nation-state of the Jews.

  13. Insanity

    My father (still alive aged 96) was a british soldier in palestine 45-48. the arabs he talked to confided in him that as soon as they (the brits) had gone, they were going going to kill all the jews. They tried. they failed. they tried again over and over. they failed over and over and cannot live with the consequences. That is another failure. Call it ethnic cleansing if you like but if you need to cast another slur on israel please try another tack because you are becoming a bore.