The Guardian welcomes back Ben White, tireless campaigner for the end of the Jewish State

My first guest post at CiF Watch, before becoming managing editor, was devoted to critiquing a Ben White essay published at ‘Comment is Free’.

I noted then, with intentional understatement, that White seemed an odd choice to provide “analysis” on anything having to do with the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict for ‘CiF’ readers.  

I observed that White, the author of “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide”, is on record expressing sympathy towards those who hold antisemitic views – as an understandable reaction to Israel’s “Racial Supremacy” and a justifiable frustration with the Western media’s “subservience to Israel”.

I similarly questioned why any media group which fancied themselves “liberal” would license a commentator who morally justified anti-Jewish racism, and opposes the existence of the Jewish state within any borders. 

White’s CiF essay on May 11, 2010, “Israel seeks to silence dissent” championed the cause of ‘human rights defender’, Ameer Makhoul, head of the Israeli NGO Ittijah, whose arrest by Israeli security officials White characterized as an attempt to stifle voices demanding accountability, and as a “crackdown on dissent and human rights work.”  

Strangely absent was any follow-up by White on the Makhoul case, owed, presumably, to the inconvenient fact that Makhoul is currently serving 10 years in prison for spying for Hezbollah, after pleading guilty to charges including contact with a foreign agent, conspiring to assist the enemy in wartime, and espionage.

White’s May, 2010 commentary defended Makhoul, but his broader polemical objectives were, as always, to attempt to delegitimize Israel by questioning its status as the region’s only democracy, and championing “heroic” anti-Zionist NGOs who are striving to bring about the end of Jewish self-determination.

In fact the protagonist in his current tale of Israeli villainy, “This smear against Israeli human rights activists is all too familiar“, Jan. 4, is one Hassan Jabareen, of the NGO Adalah, who is on record stating the following, in what could be White’s defining mantra:

“Activists should try to portray Israel as an inherent undemocratic state” and use that as part of campaigning internationally.”

Like White, Adalah – which, he noted, has received funds from NIF – also campaigns for the end of the Jewish state, which it has characterized as a “colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid”. Adalah also accused Israel of representing an “institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another.” 

Beyond the particulars of his efforts to delegitimize Israel, it needs reminding the degree of malevolence White possess towards Israel, which are restrained by few if any moral boundaries.  White is on record characterizing “pure” Zionism as an ideology of “extermination”, has conjured a villainous Israeli caricature which forces Palestinians on “death marches”, and has even defended Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from “charges” that he denied the Holocaust.

Beyond contextualizing White’s obsessive and malign anti-Zionism, and expressed sympathy for those who hold antisemitic beliefs, the decision by editors at ‘Comment is Free’ to continually sanction White’s campaign to rid the world of the malignancy of Zionism can not be easily dismissed.

Guardian Readers’ Editor Chris Elliott’s mea culpa “On averting accusations of antisemitism” warned the paper’s writers, reporters and editors to refrain from using language, and employing tropes, which evoke antisemitic narratives – a moral guideline, it would seem, that should similarly apply to commentators they chose to publish.

By licensing Ben White – whose antipathy towards the Jewish state, and comfort level with Judeophobia, is undeniable – as a voice somehow consistent with “respectable” liberal opinion, the Guardian again demonstrates that, whatever the solitary musings of one editor, the institution continues to be compromised by a callous disinterest in the dangers of modern antisemitic thought.

27 replies »

  1. After watching the usual posters attack one specific commentator for allowing Mr White to spout his ridiculous conclusions, I have to laugh at the Guardian readership. The poster has stuck to his guns even with Brian Witt deciding to come below the line to take the posters comments out of context, yet still the usual attack dogs keep distorting his / her posts.

    The even more funny thing is that the commentator makes his position clear that he / she feels that everyone should have equal rights, yet because he / she disagrees with the lack of detail about who Ben White actually is (e.g his pro-Palestinian activism) the attack dog have decided to try and stifle his opinion!

    • Chloe, stick around here and you will learn about this particular aspect of what regulars call the Guardian World View (GWV) ie that Palestinians, particularly terrorists are always good and their behaviour, however heinous is always excusable, whereas Israelis (except those who undermine Israel to the world) are always bad, particularly when they defend themselves in word and deed.

  2. That must be a photo of Big Ben White? What a shock to see him not as a 67-year-old man who has seen it all in terms of Israel, but rather as a 20-30-year-old-somethingorother who has decided to deny reality. By now, everyone should know pro-Palestinian as equating anti-Israel, as in, be for the Palestinian Arab by ridding the world of the Israeli Jew. Ben White is racist trash, and those who post like him (with virulent anti-Israel doublespeak that claims, for example, Israeli babies would not be killed if the Israelis didn’t deserve it) are the dimmest bulbs on the planet.

    I hope Israel’s continued existence brings these people even more problems. May they never find peace on this planet.

  3. White is ridiculously biased, but let’s look at this response:

    Like White, Adalah – which, he noted, has received funds from NIF – also campaigns for the end of the Jewish state, which it has characterized as a “colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid”.

    a) That quote specifically refers to the occupation. So why mislead readers into believeing it characterised Israel thus?
    b) It is from a report by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa.

    And Adalah seems to be primarily interested in civil rights. So why the hostility towards them?

    • Read and appreciated all your comments on the CIF thread, mate. I think you might be interested in mine, at 04.45 pm.


      • I thought your posts in general were well-reasoned. The recurring “I hope I will not be deleted” for some reason had me thinking of “For Brutus is an honourable man”.

        As for Adalah: do you believe they (as claimed above) “campaign for the end of the Jewish state”?

        You will have seen from my comments that I have no truck with White, however. After all the dodgy things he’s said before, the appalling “death march” allegation linked to in this article was new to me.

        • I think Adalah genuinely does pursue human rights issues. But there is no question it also seeks the end of the Jewish state (or Zionism) by the constitutional measures I elucidate in my 4.45pm CIF comment e.g. no Jewish right of return, yes a Palestinian right of return; fundamental Zionist culpability for the conflict enshrined in the constitution.

          Thus this is a case where human rights issues are being pursued, or are being claimed to be pursued, to a nationalist political end, or the two aspects are being assimilated, one to the other.

          It does seem Adalah and Ben White share the notion that the fundamental ‘apartheid’ at play is the Jewish right of return, an offshoot of Zionism which is fundamentally displacing or dispossessive of Palestinians, a fundamental, a priori injustice against them.

        • Pretz – they’re one-staters who advocate a bi-lateral ‘state of all its citizens’, including the right of return for Palestinian refugees (including restoration of property/compensation) and the banning of Jewish immigration except for in ‘humanitarian’ circumstances.
          That scenario would, of course, bring about a rapid end to the Jewish State.

          • Where is the “right of return for Palestinian refugees” in the proposed constitution?

            And Chapter 2 clearly refers to the continued existence of the state of Israel. Where are they “one-staters”?

            • My reply is below. Yes, Adalah accepts Israel’s existence, but only so constituted, I suggest, to make a Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian majority highly likely in a short space; thence the end of any kind of Israel sometime thereafter.

              The acceptance of even the Israeli state is, I think, as, ultimately, a temporary one.

              This is not Hamas. This is not the P.L.O (except the P.A. and Hamas do seem to be about to cooperate on instigating an international siege of Israel). This is not Al Qaida. But it is, i think, another Palestinian nationalist strategy to end or reverse the sin, stain, crime, whatever of Zionism. In fact I think it fits in very nicely with the P.A.’s current strategy.

              This is not the E.D.L. This is not terrorism (except most Israeli Jews would scarcely welcome becoming a minority in their state, that founded, after all, in no small part for the sake of the Jewish people). But I think it is, none-the-less, an expression of Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian, but anti-Jewish, nationalism.

              By other means.

              • but only so constituted, I suggest, to make a Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian majority highly likely in a short space

                Where do you see that in the proposed constitution?

                • Well, couldn’t that be the result of implementing a Palestinian ror while ending a Jewish one?

                • I certainly don’t see it explicitly stated in the constitution, I never made that claim. I mean that the net consequence of implementing its principles makes that outcome by no means unlikely.

  4. pretzelberg, White is an antisemitic Israel-hater. Once you hate so much you are blind to everything else and will bend any facts to provide grist to your mill of hatred. Let’s face it, present company excepted, most regular readers and contributors to CiF are ripe to be misled.

    Perhaps any hostility of White’s towards Adalah is because they are interested in civil rights?

  5. It’s symptomatic of the banal, shallow and petulant attitude of the Guardian that antisemitism only comes in the guise of a swastika or white working-class skinhead. A deeper understanding of the evolution of this particular form of hatred with myriad tropes and libels ingrained into European culture are completely lost on the Guardian. It is a classic case of how dogma trumps intellectual thought, and anything contrary to the Guardian worldview can be dismissed as Zionist propaganda.

  6. I take it you wouldn’t ask me that question without having read Adalah’s proposed Israeli constitution, so I assume you think my interpretation mistaken.

    “Article 4

    The State of Israel must recognize, therefore, its responsibility for the injustices of the Nakba and the Occupation

    [which I suggest amounts to an effective admission of fundamental responsibility for the conflict, given the absence of a corollary requirement of other parties; but I realise you may disagree with me on that]

    recognize the right of return of the Palestinian refugees based on UN Resolution 194.”

    = Palestinian ror

    “Article 15

    The laws of citizenship and immigration will be established on the basis of the principle of anti-discrimination and will define the arrangements by which the State of Israel will grant citizenship to

    A. Anyone who was born within the territory of the State of Israel and whose parent
    was also born within the territory of the State of Israel;
    B. Anyone who was born to a parent who is a citizen of the state
    C. The spouse of a citizen of the state;
    D. Those who arrive or remain in the state due to humanitarian reasons, including
    those who are persecuted on the basis of political background.”

    = the end of a Jewish ror (there being no mention of or allusion to a distinct Jewish ror in the document)

    It is not hard to see, I suggest, how that might (even be wished to) end in a Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian majority Israel; and no Israel sometime thereafter.

    I suggest that the end of Zionism, and a Jewish state, are among Adalah’s ultimate goals (some of which seem to me undoubtedly in the field of human rights) or, at the very least, not-so-sublimated desires.

    As I said, the document was written in 2007, when Ben White openly espoused a single, Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian state, citing the impossibility of partition (I do not impute the constitution to him, merely suggest a coincidence of views). Having deviated from that somewhat, especially during the period of publication of his first book, he seems to be returning to form (and no, I haven’t the links to hand; I am writing on the basis of what I recall of what he has written of late).

  7. Just looking at that face of this piece of garbage makes me want to throw up. He has changed his looks the cropped blond hair has gone,the Nazi look has been modified,the smirk too has gone.

    But he has stayed the same piece of garbage that he always was.Employed by the same garbage collectors in the Guardian that employ and promote these pieces of human excrement……….