Guardian

As Islamic extremists take power in ME, New Statesman publishes vicious attack on Israel by Ben White


This was written by Robin Shepherd, the owner/publisher of @CommentatorIntl. You can follow him on Twitter @RobinShepherd1

Ben White has taken to the New Statesman to attack Israel yet again

Of all the bigotries in the world today, one stands out for special consideration. That is not simply because it is so odious, though it is certainly that. It is because it is the one bigotry that presents a clear and present danger of translating into a genocidal outcome. It is also the one form of bigotry that has been openly accepted and internalised by large sections of a British and West-European political intelligentsia that remains dominated by the liberal-Left.

I am talking, of course, about anti-Zionism – a uniquely discriminatory agenda aimed at deligitimising the State of Israel and ending that country’s existence as the national homeland of the Jewish people.

In the context of Iranian threats to destroy the country, the loss of Turkey as an ally and the new pre-eminence of extreme, anti-Israeli Islamists in Egypt, the rantings of Western anti-Zionists have now acquired a new and more dangerous significance.

Think of it this way: it’s one thing to spout abuse about black people to a group of equally bigoted but basically passive racists when nobody else is listening; it’s quite another to do exactly the same thing in front of a frenzied, knife-wielding mob of skinheads heading towards a black neighbourhood.

I make no direct analogy, but enter Ben White, author of, “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide”. On Sunday, he published an extensive piece in the leading weekly magazine of the British Left, The New Statesman. Essentially, it’s a trash job on Israeli democracy. It, perversely, charges a British pro-Israel grouping, BICOM, with having unwittingly revealed, in a series of recent essays, that Israel is not in fact a proper democracy at all: it’s a racist“ethnocracy“ run by and for Jews.

You’ve heard it all before, of course. And I will come to the “substance“ (if such a word is appropriate in the circumstances) in a moment.

But let me first re-emphaise the point made above, and make it relevant to the fate of Israel in the Middle East.

For there is nothing new about fanatical hostility to Israel in the British and European mainstream. The Guardian newspaper – the media-intellectual home of the British Left and, effectively, the house journal of the BBC – has been at it for years.

What is new is the context in the Middle East where Israel now looks set to be ensnared in a potentially deadly triangle of annihilationist regimes. On one point on that triangle is Turkey – a country that in little more than a blink of an eye has moved from being an ally to an enemy; a country whose leadership is increasingly using anti-Israeli rhetoric as a rallying cry and which has even gone so far as to threaten sending its warships to protect pro-Hamas “aid“ flotillas to Gaza.

Now draw a straight line from Ankara to Cairo for the second point on the triangle. Egypt’s parliamentary elections were resoundingly won by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists – both of which combine extreme forms of anti-Semitism with resolute opposition to the existence of the Jewish state. Together, they took over 70 percent of the seats.

Now go to Tehran, drawing the line necessary to complete the triangle from both Ankara and Cairo. (Iranian hostility to Israel surely needs no elaboration.)

Read the rest of the essay here.

12 replies »

  1. What is really interesting concerning Bin White is what doesn’t seem to bother him. We all know that he supports the dissolution of the one Jewish state in the world because an ethnic- or religious-based state cannot be democratic (see the New Statesman article, for example). But what about other states that are non democratic which seeks to preserve the ethnic or religious basis for the state?

    Armenia doesn’t bother Bin White.

    Armenia is an ethnic-based “democracy”. In addition, it doesn’t seem to bother White that Turkey stole about 50% of the Armenian state in war after committing genocide against the Armenian population in WWI (in Turkey). What if the Jews had murdered 1-1.5 million Palestinians (even in WWI)?

    South Ossetia and Abkhazia don’t seem to bother Bin White

    Abkhazia and South Ossetia are both newly founded ethnic-based states/democracies. In addition, both used a great power (Russia) to break away from Georgia in the same way that a Jewish homeland became incorporated into the British Mandate for Palestine under the protection of the British. IIsrael was not a colonial venture, but a Zionist one. Israel was helped by the great colonial powers in the same way as South Ossetia and Abkhazia were helped by a modern power (and Kosovo the same).

    Bahrain doesn’t bother White

    In Bahrain, the minority Sunni rule over the majority Shia population. For the Sunnis to maintain power in Bahrain as a religious minority, Bahrain will never be democratic. That is apparently OK with Mr. White.

    Iran doesn’t bother Bin White.

    In fact, at one time, Bin White defended the Holocaust denier, Ahmadinejad. Iran is a theocracy – and never has been even close to a democracy. I have yet to see an article on Iran written by Bin White which seeks to destroy Iran – or even question the theocracy.

    The fifty-seven members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference doesn’t bother Bin White.

    Most of these states are Islamic. Many have sharia law. Almost all are non democratic. Some still execute homosexuals. None of this seems to matter to Bin White who is focused on criticizing the “democracy” of the one “democracy” in the Middle East.

    Bin White is obsessed over Israel. The Guardian is attempting to mainstream White as an authority on the democracy of Israel. Bin White is a classic far left hypocrite.

    • I’ll get my small fly swat for this one. Ben White writes about Israel / Palestine. Nigella Lawson writes about cooking.

      There are plenty of writers and publications raising awareness of all the regimes you describe – which is a good thing. There are very few raising awareness of the true nature of the Israeli regime.

      • mostly harmless once again you are correct.

        “There are very few raising awareness of the true nature of the Israeli regime.”
        Very true, most of them spew out lies and helf-truths in their attempt to undermine and de legitimise Israel. Such as the obnoxious Ben White.
        Glad to see you are seeing the light at last.

      • Mostly Hamas,

        “I’ll get my small fly swat for this one.”

        You’re too big to be caught by a small fly swat.

        “Ben White writes about Israel […]. Nigella Lawson writes about cooking.”

        Right. The day Nigella Lawson devotes her columns to incessant preaching of the immorality of cooking pasta beyond the al dente phase, those two will be equivalent.

        “There are plenty of writers and publications raising awareness of all the regimes you describe…”

        Not in the Graun, there aren’t. Right at the top of this page, there’s this image titled “Guardian’s Israel obsession in one image” to show you how “plentiful” the writers and publications in the Graun about states other than the Jewish one are in relation to the Graun’s whipping-boy.

        Heck, why refer to that image? The whole CiFWatch website wouldn’t exist if the Graun kept to an occasional frequency of writing about Israel same as about other states.

        “There are very few raising awareness of the true nature of the Israeli regime.”

        What Gerald said.

    • I guess a mere BA in literature somehow qualifies “Ben” White to speak with authority on international relations.

      Just to remind that obnoxious Jew-hater: Japan’s settled population is roughly 95 percent ethnically homogeneous, Yet, Japan is a working liberal democracy. .

      The same thing can be said about Iceland.

      Ireland (Eire) was put together primarily to benefit Irish Catholics. Should Japan, Iceland or Ireland, to name just some in this category, wither away on account of their respective ethnic homogeneity?

      On the flipside, 20 percent of Israelis are not Jewish. This stat alone busts up ” Ben” White’s primary thesis.

  2. ‘These laws shaped an institutionalised regime of ethno-religious discrimination by extending Israel’s ‘frontiers’ to include every Jew in the world (as a potential citizen)’

    Israel has a Jewish right of return, some kind of which was assumed by UNSCOP’s provision for the founding of a ‘Jewish state’ (not to mention that of the Balfour Declaration or the League of Nations Mandate).

    That does not mean Israel’s ‘frontiers’ extend to every Jew in the world, anymore than does an Italian or German right of return the corollary.

    That logic suggests Israel is ‘invading’ (speech marks to imply a metaphor, as does Ben White) other states.

    That resembles the logic that led to the discriminatory legislation in the Arab, Islamic world that precipitated the flight/expulsion of most Arab Jews.

    I think this takes ‘understanding antisemitism’ a little too far.

    Ben White clearly has a problem with UNSCOP and the founding of a ‘Jewish state’ a priori i.e. international law.

    Does Ben White allow that +any+ Jews who became Palestinian Israeli had a right of return?

    If not, I am not sure how he can legitimately complain Israel does not extend a right or courtesy to Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians that neither the latter nor Ben White have ever extended to Jews.

    ‘at the same time as explicitly excluding expelled Palestinians.’

    Then Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians denied Jews +any+ kind of right of return, as they do now, indeed Resisted Jews living in the land in above the tiny numbers imperial Christian and Islamic apartheid decreed, from the late 19th century.

    This ’shaped’, as Ben White might say, Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalism that evolved from exclucivism to expulsionism and/or to eliminationism against Palestinian and Israeli Jews.

    In the case of the PLO, until arguably 1988; in the case of Hamas, until arguably today.

    Not that one would know any of this from reading Ben White.

  3. I cannot stand Ben White – but Robin’s article is OTT.

    anti-Zionism … ending that country’s existence as the national homeland of the Jewish people … genocidal outcome … openly accepted and internalised by large sections of a British and West-European political intelligentsia that remains dominated by the liberal-Left.

    Only a tiny minority of the liberal-Left are against the existence of Israel. And only a miniscule fraction thereof want to see a new genocide of the Jews.

    Robin talks a lot of sense re. the hypocrisy of many anti-Israel voices. But this is too much. He works, of course, for a right-wing think tank.

    • “Only a tiny minority of the liberal-Left are against the existence of Israel. And only a miniscule fraction thereof want to see a new genocide of the Jews.”

      Strictly speaking this may be correct. However, the anti-Zionists on the Western Left delegate the dirty work to their allies the Islamic anti-Zionists and provide the excuses, pretexts and moral justifications for the actions of the latter.

      As it were: “Of course I don’t want Israel destroyed and the Jews butchered, but you must understand, that’s exactly the comeuppance you’re going to get if you don’t stop oppressing blah blah blah…”