Israel’s Ambassador to UK singles out Guardian’s Deborah Orr for criticism at Manchester conference

While delivering an impassioned speech to the more than 700 attendees assembled at the Big Tent for Israel conference in Manchester on Sunday, Israel’s new Ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub, singled out the Guardian’s Deborah Orr as an especially egregious example of the media assault on Israel’s legitimacy.

Taub specifically mentioned Orr’s October 19th column in the Guardian, during the course of his keynote speech, paying particular attention to the following passage about Israel’s prisoner swap with Hamas to gain the release of Gilad Shalit:

“…there is something abject in [Hamas’s] eagerness to accept a transfer that tacitly acknowledges what so many Zionists believe – that the lives of the chosen are of hugely greater consequence than those of their unfortunate neighbors.”

The Guardian’s disproportionate role in the delegitimization of Israel was also the focus of presentations delivered by several panelists in the two conference sessions which I participated in, including Jonathan Hoffman, Richard Millett, and Michael Weiss (of the Henry Jackson Society).  

The event was inspired in large measure by a Reut Institute report which highlighted London as the international “Hub of Hubs” of the campaign of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) whose express purpose is to challenge and undermine the legitimacy and existence of the State of Israel.

While news of the Guardian’s notoriety in the UK is always welcomed, the fact that Orr’s contemptuous swipe at Zionist Jews continues to be the focus of so much opprobrium is especially heartening given her subsequent non-apology, and unwillingness to engage in anything resembling actual reflection.    

25 replies »

  1. As part of the definition of anti-semitism: ‘In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.’

    I wonder if you could give some guidance on how to criticise some actions of the government and/or armed forces of a state that claims to be Jewish without arousing an accusation of anti-semitism. It does sometimes feel like being stuck in a loop.

    • Herb, Balance coverage of Israel with coverage of rocket attacks on Israel by Hamass, genocidal rants by Nasrallah of Hezbullah and the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Coverage of Hamass childrens TV programs where Jews are compared to pigs and apes.

      Cover the Hamass charter which invokes all sorts of racist depictions of Jews.

      Cover racist rallies by Islamists in the UK, Islamists threatening the UK with attacks.

      Is the coverage of Syria match the coverage of Israel during its campaign against the rocket attacks by Hamass.

      Cover Muslim-Only roads and cities in Saudi Arabia.

      Cover the lack of non-Muslim houses of worship in Saudi Arabia.

      Expose the lies pushed by “the left” which claim that the people of Gaza are starving to death. Where are pictures, interviews of “starving” Gazans?

    • In the same way as you might criticise the actions rather than the existence of an Islamic state if you didn’t want to offend Muslims.

      You are already at a disadvantage, it seems from your post, because you appear not to realise that although Israel is a Jewish state it is a secular one (in much the same way as the UK is a secular Christian country), and it does not impose Judaism on any of its citizens. Every religion is allowed to worship freely.

      Supporters of Israel tend to be sensitive to questions like yours. For a start, Israel IS Jewish, she does not “claim to be” Jewish, but that alone does not define her except in the minds of those who believe that she should not exist.

      So you need to be very careful about the emphasis you give to the Jewishness of Israel and not to use that as an excuse for criticism in the same way as you would not use the Islamic/Islamist nature of Saudi as an excuse for criticising its policies.

      Going on from there, positive criticism without a sting in the tale, which does not preach, cannot be faulted by intelligent people. However, critics of Israel-as-a-Jewish-state in the Guardian invariably put both their feet in their mouths when they:

      (a) criticise Israel based on lies or information which is selective or one-sided and gives only part of the picture, without giving disinterested sources for their information or any context (see Thank God I’m an Infidel’s post below)

      (b) regurgitate all variations of the themes about alleged “Jewish power” (lifted variously from the rubbish in ISM and PSC leaflets and swallowed whole and unthinkingly) but substituting “Israeli” for “Jewish”. This is a dead giveaway of the wolf in sheep’s clothing which is the antisemite wearing “antiZionist” clothes.

      (c) accuse people in the west who support Israel of having dual loyalties

      You seem to be an intelligent person. The above is my take on your question, others might disagree and/or could probably add to the points but you are probably aware enough not to be wilfully offensive in the criticisms you make.

    • Personally, i wonder why people like you who purport to be just “criticizing the Israeli government” and claim it’s not a stalking horse for underlying antiSemitism, never seem at all upset by the unspeakable brutality and ongoing murder by Islamofascist terrorists around the world, and even in their own countries (see “Syria”)

      That total 1-sidedness, and constant criticism of the admittedly not perfect but still by far the best respecter of human rights in a very bad neighborhood, is what’s most telling about the real motivations of those who just want to “criticize the government of Israel”!

  2. Good for Daniel Taub. Deborah Orr’s comment was not only offensive, it was patently absurd.

    I am willing to bet that she doesn’t even believe what she wrote herself, and that her sole purpose was to stir up hatred for Israel. She is obviously a keen student of Goebbels.

    Even more disturbing however is that the Guardian saw fit to print her obscene dribbling piece. A decent newspaper would have rejected it as blatant hate-speech.

    • It’s horrible prose as well as being absurd, offensive, antisemitic and deceitful. She must have really laboured to get out “abject”. “eagerness” “accept” followed by those flatulent subordinate clauses where the “unfortunate neighbours” round off the whole pile of rotted fish.

    • She is obviously a keen student of Goebbels.

      Deborah Orr’s comment was indeed both offensive and absurd – but the above is just a stupid thing to say.

  3. I am proposing a motion at the Board of Deputies that the Board should lead an embargo of The Guardian by all right-thinking readers and advertisers.

    The suggestion was well-received in Manchester yeterday.

    • Bravo, Jonathan. I hope that the BoD carries the motion. The Guardian is a disgrace and, with the BBC, has played a large part in the “normalisation” of antisemitic discourse in the UK

  4. The Guardian is primarily concerned with its own survival. The Jewish population in the UK is very small – the same size as the Guardian’s circulation – so an embargo is not something that will concern the Guardian management. Their business focus is the much much larger arabic speaking market – I guess that is why they they use their internet platform to publish the occasional article written in arabic (rather than, say, Russian or Chinese) to test the water. They are pitching to this market.

    • Their business focus is the much much larger arabic speaking market

      Take a look at their homepage, and anyone can see that statement is complete nonsense.

      • Good morning pretzelberg
        On today’s CiF webpage right now – 12.57 British time – an article titled ‘Middle East and North Africa’ is published in Arabic. On the frontpage (Latest news, sport and comment), under ‘Record turnout in Egyptian elections’, there is an article published in Arabic.

        • Since the start of the Arab Spring the G. has started adding the very occasional article in Arabic – which seems to be aimed at the people on the street.

          But you said above “Their business focus is the much much larger arabic speaking market” – which is frankly laughable.

          Why not just retract your comment?

  5. You have to wonder about the morals and integrity of some of the Guardians writers that they are willing to belong to and are willing to write for a rag that is racist,that was writers like Ben White Deborah Jane Orr,and all the other low lifes that write for the Guardian……