Peter Beaumont is concerned that Israel isn’t criticized enough. Yes, really.

Cartoon by anti-Israel extremist, Carlos Latuff

There are many absurd charges leveled against Israel and her supporters but,  of these, perhaps the most comical are suggestions, in one form or another, that “you’re not allowed” to criticize Israel, Israel isn’t criticized enough, Israel is spared its share of critical scrutiny, and the Jewish state behaves with something approaching moral impunity.

Yet, Peter Beaumont, the World Affairs Editor for The Observer, The Guardian’s sister publication, recently published a CiF essay, Israel’s right to exist doesn’t mean it can act with impunity, which not only suggests that Israel’s behavior could reasonably be seen as eroding its legitimacy but also complains that “[Israel’s supporters] make an essentially undemocratic argument utilising Israel’s right to exist as an argument for impunity.”

Of course, this is classic straw man, as those who passionately defend Israel never make anything even approaching such an argument but, rather, have demanded that Israel not be held to a higher standard than other nations.

How do we quantify such egregious double standards which are consistently employed against Israel?

United Nations

Since the  UN Human Rights Council’s  founding in 2006 (the successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights), more than 80% of all the UNHRC’s condemnatory resolutions (27 out of 33) have been against Israel – the only nation in the Middle East listed as free year after year by Freedom House.

From 2009-2010, the U.N. General Assembly passed 22 resolutions that were “one-sided or blatantly anti-Israel,” while a mere handful of the UN’s other 191 countries have been cited only once.  And, of their 10 emergency sessions, six were about Israel. No emergency sessions were held on the Rwandan genocide, ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia or the two decades of atrocities in Sudan.

The UK Media

Closer to Beaumont’s home, a report by Just Journalism on the UK media’s coverage of the Middle East demonstrated the following about the Guardian:

Guardian coverage of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia combined and doubled in 2010, but still fell far short of the total coverage of Israel.

News reporting about Israel by the Guardian in 2010 was nearly six times the volume of the next most reported Arab country, Egypt.

Comment is Free pieces in 2010 on Egypt, Libya and Tunisia combined to less than half those published about Israel.

Sixteen Guardian editorials were published on Israel, whereas none were published on Egypt, Libya or Tunisia.

Just Journalism’s report also found similar biased coverage by the BBC and Daily Telegraph.


In the NGO world – as NGO Monitor is continually demonstrating – groups which claim a humanitarian non-political agenda often spend a disproportionate amount of energy and resources singling our democratic Israel for condemnation.

This graph by NGOM on country specific reports by Amnesty International, in 2010, is quite instructive.

Another 2010 report by NGOM on Human Right’s Watch (Middle East):

Indeed, the Guardian’s own data for 2010 (stories by country tags) demonstrated Israel not only fails to escape critical scrutiny but, indeed, such criticism – at the Guardian, as in much of the MSM – often rises to the level of obsession.

No serious observer of the Middle East can honestly believe that Israel acts with impunity – which I guess speaks volumes of The Observer’s World Affairs Editor.

10 replies »

  1. “Israel’s right to exist does not mean its government can act with impunity. Legitimacy in international relations relates not to a single idea but to overlapping concepts, one of which is appropriate conduct.”

    Just another in the CIF deligitimization series of articles. The headline could apply to all nations in the world, not just Israel. not surprisingly, Beaumont got into serious diificulty with defining “appropriate conduct”, which is mostly if not entirely subjective. Most posters panned the article.

  2. When reading this nonsense it’s hard not to find yourself tripping over examples of the bias, inaccuracy, evasion, abuse and downright mendacity with which events in Israel are reported, and the hysterical unreason that dominates any discussion of the subject almost everywhere now. As has been said many times, vociferous criticism of israel is not antisemitic, but to single Israel out for condemnation and vilification in ways which are utterly disportionate (dare I use that word?) to anything that is said about any other regime or state, not only in the Middle East but across the entire planet, and even to suggest that Israel’s crimes are somehow ‘unparalled in history’ – a not unfamiliar cry – that is antisemtic and honest men and women have a responsibility to say so, even honest men and women who are highly critical of Israel. As a new ‘Peace Flotilla’ is shaping up it is hard not to remember the blatant denial of visually verifiable facts by even the least hysterical and least biased media outlets. Let’s see how no one is ‘allowed to crticise Israel’ as the media follows this new flotilla. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the anti-Israel superlatives NOT to start flying. Here’s something the flotilla might use next time round, to the tune of the ‘Horst-Wessel-Lied’. Guardianistas might want to join in.


    The flag at the masthead! Our ranks tightly formed!
    With hammers and steel spikes we wait to be stormed.
    The blood of the martyrs who’ve died killing Jews
    Demands we kill more of them! How can we lose?
    Clear the decks for our violent peace pantomime,
    Clear the decks and we’ll take a few with us this time!
    Millions will see our flag dyed red with blood,
    Hope, freedom, love in the nose of a Scud.
    One more call to battle screams peacefully out:
    ‘Khaybar! Kill the Jews!’ That should bring peace about.
    From river to sea the Hamas flag will fly
    And the whole Holy Land will be Judenfrei.
    The flag at our masthead! Our ranks tightly formed,
    With hammers and steel spikes we wait to be stormed!

  3. ‘Israel’s right to exist doesn’t mean it can act with impunity’

    But if your enemies (which are most of your neighbours

    a) don’t recognise your right to exist, fundamentally, or
    b) profess eternal jihad eternal jihad until your extinction (which are fair number do)

    then you are entitled to do pretty much anything to thwart that.

    Including go after Peter Beaumont, if he constituted an existential threat (which he doesn’t).

  4. Quantifying anti-Israel bias in Al-Guardian is necessary, not least because it shouts out the obsessive focus on Israel.

    Harder to do, however, is to get some sort of qualitative measurement of the anti-Israel animus above and below the line in Al-Guardian, which at times shades into Jew-hatred. In order to quantify that there would have to be some way of conveying the general atmosphere of paranoia and visceral hatred on CiF particularly of Israel, America and Jews.

    Can we use particular phrases repeated without questioning (most of them culled from PSC/ISM leaflets without the writers having given them a second, or often a first thought) as indices of the climate in which such hatred festers? Would that be a good way to begin assessing the steady erosion of the capability of such people to question what they are told, so that every time such rubbish is repeated it becomes more and more “true” for them because it chimes with their own warped thinking?

    And then we could set out to challenge, publicly and as often as is necessary, every single untrue allegation, or opinion-as-fact, or antisemitic statement so as to erode their impact?

    All of us, whenever we come across them.

    CiFWatch does some excellent work, but I think it’s time to call out the hatred which is based on paranoid fantasy for what it is and to crank up its impact.

    • Excellent idea, Mitnaged. 1. the phrase. 2. its implication, which serves to indicate the strength of the sentiment expressed. 3. its quantification shown as the frequency with which it is encountered.

  5. @Mitnaged

    I posted this on another thread.

    There are a number of reasons why these gross distortions of history refuse to die and it can be difficult to assign one of them to a commentator who provided them with the consummate confidence of error. Is he a Muslim Arab and therefore able to accommodate logical inconsistencies with ease lubricated by Jew hatred? Or is he well meaning but mislead by the lies of ‘anti Zionists’ that buzz around him on campus and in school? Is he incapable of the effort needed to pursue truth or is truth too painful for him to admit to?
    We come back time and time again with a refutation of the many libels that now abound and the hope must be that some readers are swayed towards truth for its own sake. The perpetrators are impenetrable.

    • Israel is subject to more criticism than all Muslim states COMBINED.

      how can anyone in this reality not see this as wrong?

      and suggesting that there isn’t ENOUGH talk about israel? dear GOD.