One of the more infuriating aspects of the Guardian’s continuing efforts to paint Israel as a state moving to the far right – and even legitimizing such unserious characterizations of the Jewish state as “fascist” and “totalitarian” – is the moral inversion of such a narrative.
Agree or disagree with a particular piece of legislation – and there is much to oppose, for instance, in the recent anti-BDS legislation – but to suggest that Israel represents “reactionary” values ignores that, by any objective standard, Israel remains the only bastion of freedom and tolerance in the Middle East, and stands in stark contrast to the religious intolerance (and antisemitism in particular) which is normative behavior in much of the Arab, and Palestinian, world.
Any journalist at the Guardian who honestly seeks to understand the undeniable reality of this dynamic need not take our word for it, nor even study the work of the renowned scholar Professor Robert Wistrich (who has characterized antisemitism in the Islamic world as comparable, in scale and degree, to Nazi antisemitism), but merely needs to occasionally visit the sites of Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI, which continues to document this phenomenon.
A recent report in the Jerusalem Post, citing polling data on Palestinian opinion (compiled by American pollster Stanley Greenberg), which highlighted the fact that 73% of Palestinians agreed with a quote from the Hamas Charter (and a hadith, or tradition ascribed to the prophet Muhammad) “about the need to kill Jews hiding behind stones and trees” should come as no surprise to CiF Watch readers, but as such chilling reports rarely, if ever, find there way into the Middle East section of the Guardian, it’s urgent that such information be widely disseminated.
The report also notes that “Seventy-two percent backed denying the thousands of years of Jewish history in Jerusalem, 62% supported kidnapping IDF soldiers and holding them hostage, and 53% were in favor or teaching songs about hating Jews in Palestinian schools.”
It’s simply impossible to properly contextualize the Israeli-Palestinian (and Israeli-Islamist) Conflict without understanding the degree of hostility in the Arab world not merely to Israelis, but to Jews as such.
And, while Israel should, of course, continue to be scrutinized as any country should (and policies Israel adopts which may be inconsistent with its overall democratic nature criticized), it is equally vital that those who wish to operate under the presumption of good faith when criticizing the Jewish state not ignore the fact that the animosity towards Zionism in much of the Arab world is inspired not by any particular policy or act but by a broader opposition to the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East, within ANY borders.
The Guardian’s continuing willful blindness to such explicit antisemitism (as with their failure to hold Arab regimes to the same standards they hold Israel) represents – for a paper which aspires to be “liberal” – an appalling moral abdication.
- Harriet Sherwood, and the Guardian’s continuing ideologically inspired sins of omission (cifwatch.com)
- Conal Urquhart quotes Ben White as a source in Guardian’s second whitewash of anti-Semitic preacher (cifwatch.com)
- Harriet Sherwood’s talent for avoiding use of term “terrorist” when characterizing Palestinians who’ve murdered Israeli civilians (cifwatch.com)
- On why many liberals continue to ignore explicit anti-Semitism in the Palestinian media (cifwatch.com)
- Professor Robert Wistrich: “The Guardian is second to none when it comes to the delegitimization of Israel” (cifwatch.com)
- Hamas calls for “end of Zionist project”: CiF’s Tareq Baconi promotes the group’s moderation (cifwatch.com)