It should be noted that this blog tries arduously to avoid the hyperbole and rhetorical excesses which defines so much of the political blogosphere. While we are unapologetic in our support of Zionism and opposition to anti-Semitism, we back up every claim we make.
While we’re not shy in calling out those CiF and Guardian contributors who advance arguments which fall squarely into the accepted definition of anti-Semitism, we have also soberly noted the distinction that, while the institution has allowed ‘Comment is Free’ to become a platform where antisemitism and the delegitimization of Israel thrives, management and editors likely do not themselves hold anti-Semitic views.
However, their obsessive coverage of the Sheikh Raed Salah row over the last few days have – consistent with the editorial line of the paper we have monitored and attempted to contextualize since our founding in August of 2009 – has led me to reconsider our characterization of the institution as one which merely passively accepts anti-Semitism to one whose ideological impulses may indeed represent something much darker.
Today’s official Guardian editorial in defense of Raed Salah (Palestinian activists: unwelcome guests?) is the sixth apologia of the radical Islamist preacher they’ve published in three days.
To sum up the cut and dry case against Salah:
He has endorsed classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about 9/11, reportedly advanced the Medieval blood libel in a sermon, spent time in Israeli jails after acknowledging providing funds to Hamas, has often used his authority as leader of the Islamic Movment’s Northern division to incite thousands of his followers to riot under the absurd pretense that the Al-Aksa is in Danger of being destroyed and that Israeli authorities were planning to build a new Temple on the Temple Mount, and has called for a Third violent Intifada in response.
And, as an interview in 2003 made clear, Salah’s views on the rights of women and gays (and the virtues of Jihad) represent the nadir of religiously inspired extremism.
More broadly, The Islamic Movement, which he leads, have clear goals of indoctrinating Israeli Arabs with his Islamist ideology (an effort the Movement calls da’wa).
In short, Raed Salah is a Islamic extremist, and an unrepentant anti-Semite, misogynist and homophobe who associates with terrorist movements and encourages his followers to engage in violence.
Yet, for some reason, none this easily obtainable information about Salah’s record of extremism, hate, and incitement found its way in the Guardian editorial, a polemic which, however, did find a way to weave into the story the alleged stray racist remarks by a few Israelis during the last Jerusalem Day march in the Old City – in an editorial which also characterized as an example of Israeli “far right-wing” intolerance a proposed a Knesset bill that would merely prohibit Israelis convicted of aiding terrorist organisations from entering government-funded educational institutions.
The decision by the UK Home Office to deport Salah was based on a quite sober and rational decision that his presence could “threaten community harmony and therefore public safety”. Salah is not a citizen of the UK and the government is under no obligation to allow him admission into their country.
Moreover, the Guardian’s reaction stands in stark contrast to their coverage, in 2009, of Geert Wilder being denied entry into the UK for much the same fear of incitement and the possible disruption of public order – a story which was covered quite matter-of-factly, and non-controversially.
Upon reading the Guardian’s latest defense of Raed Salah, and their attack on Israel and the UK’s decision to detain him, it’s becoming harder and harder to avoid reaching the conclusion that Guardian management, at the very least, is unable to make moral distinctions between democracies and those who manipulate the language of democracy and human rights to undermine those very democratic institutions; evidently deems as perfectly acceptable the view that the Jewish state should cease to exist; and is complicit in excusing and ignoring anti-Semitism;
Far from the the “liberal voice” they claim to represent, the Guardian (under the ideological cover of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, and anti-racism!) glorifies violence, has become apologists for reactionary radical Islam and – more relevant to the mission of this blog – a driver, legitimizer, and, yes, enabler of anti-Semitism.
- Haneen Zoabi defends anti-Semitic Islamist preacher: Accuses UK Zionist lobby of controlling British politics (cifwatch.com)
- The Guardian’s bias in covering Sheikh Raed Salah (cifwatch.com)
- The Guardian, Haneen Zoabi and Raed Salah – a Case Study of the Red-Green Alliance (cifwatch.com)
- Conal Urquhart quotes Ben White as a source in Guardian’s second whitewash of anti-Semitic preacher (cifwatch.com)
- What the Guardian won’t report: Raed Salah’s not so liberal views on women, gays, and Jihad (cifwatch.com)