General Antisemitism

Jew hatred? What Jew hatred? A tale of two Guardian editorials on the Toulouse murders

The Guardian’s two editorials on the Islamist inspired murders of four innocent Jews in the French city of Toulouse really should win an award in great accomplishments in rhetorical propaganda.

Here are the official editorials:

France: republican ideals: On Saturday, thousands will march together through Paris in the face of an assault on its minorities by the Toulouse gunman  – published the day after the murders.

Toulouse shootings: in the line of fireNicolas Sarkozy reacted properly to a week of terrible events in France which ended in a hail of bullets in Toulouse –  published after the Islamist motivation of the perpetrator was known.

In over 900 words of text in two editorials a few tendencies are difficult to miss.

Use of the word “antisemitism”: 0

Number of times the names of the Jewish victims were used: 0

Number of times the Jewish identity of the victims was mentioned: 0

Number of times “right wing” was used in the pejorative:

Number of ties “Islamism” or “radical Islam” was used in a negative or pejorative context:

Number of times anti-immigrant rhetoric was blamed for the shootings: 3

  • “Mr Sarkozy and his ministers had wandered cynically into the terrain of the far right, with their nods and winks about immigrants, the ubiquity of halal meat, and France’s superior civilisation” (written after Jihadist motivation of killer was known)
  • “Nicolas Sarkozy’s lurch to the right has included such claims as there being too many immigrants in France, and that the French were secretly ingesting halal meat.”
  • “France’s main concern, like Britain’s, is jobs. Its problem, like ours, is curbing the super-rich not immigrants. Mr Sarkozy may now try to move to the centre ground. But let us hope he does not fool too many voters.”

Two Guardian editorials: Neither even attempted to address the disturbing dynamics of a malign Islamist ideology which would prompt a 23-year-old man, raised in France, to chase a small, terrified innocent Jewish girl into a corner, look her in the eye and shoot her three times in the brain.  

But the more urgent question, wrote Frida Ghitis in commentary, “is what we can do to stop it from happening again. And the answer is that the first requirement is telling the truth about anti-Jewish ideologies.”

As such, the failure of the Guardian to engage in the urgent task of confronting  the threat posed by Islamist antisemitism represents, perhaps, their most appalling moral abdication.

21 replies »

  1. “Use of the word “antisemitism”: 0
    Number of times the names of the Jewish victims were used: 0
    Number of times the Jewish identity of the victims was mentioned: 0”

    Full details on all these matters were given in Guardian news reports – where they belong – eg:

    The first editorial was written when many commentators thought it probable that the killer was a right wing extremist and the link with Sarkozy’s resort to anti-immigrant politics was a logical one. The second is about the need for all communities to work together in combating terrorist violence and to avoid stigmatising any one group. It starts with Toulouse but brings in other evidence from France and Britain to address these broader issues. Reference to anti-semitism in such an article would have been irrelevant.

    • you think, sencar?

      “all communties to work together..” yada yada yada

      What about this, sencar?


      Scores of young people, mostly girls, gathered Saturday in the district of Toulouse Izards, where Mohamed Merah grew up, “to honor the memory of the killer of seven people shot dead by police Thursday:

      Young people honor the memory of Mohamed Merah in Toulouse

      Google translation of this article: TOULOUSE | | 24/03/2012

      TOULOUSE (Reuters) – Thirty young people, mostly girls, gathered Saturday in the district of Toulouse Izards, which grew Mohamed Merah, to honor the memory of the killer of seven people shot dead by police Thursday, comparing their pain to those victims’ families.

      One hundred members of security forces have surrounded this event static during which a woman wearing a full veil harangued the group.

      “We are what we ask today is that we stop demonizing Mohamed, that’s it, he died,” she said.

      “We share the pain and suffering of the families because it is the same pain for us here,” said the girl, who declined to give his name. “I think what influenced him is what he has seen in his many travels. He could not manage all that. It was still a teenager in his head, despite his 23 years.”

      The police had detected Toulouse calls to demonstrate Saturday morning and prevented the group to join another. The demonstration was dispersed in the late afternoon without incident.

      A teacher of a college of Rouen was suspended Friday after asking his students to observe a minute’s silence in memory of Mohamed Merah.

      The initiative, backed by the students to the headmaster and the education office in Rouen (Normandy), was immediately condemned by the Education Minister Luc Chatel.

      The Rector of the Academy of Rouen, Florence Robine, assured that the comments had been “extremely shocking” and that the teacher “does not perceive the seriousness”. (my comment: what sort of an idiot “does not perceive the seriousness” of the fact that an Islamist psychopath hunted down and shot a little Jewish girl in broad daylight? Worse, what sort of idiot tries to make excuses for the moron who sympathised with such infamy?)

      Florence Robine said the English teacher in question would be subject to disciplinary proceedings and that 16 students on a class of 20 were out of class in protest, the others remaining for explanations.

      Nicholas Vinocur, edited by Yves Clarisse

      Now sencar you may want to unite with these dregs and make excuses for them but I don’t. I want nothing to do with them and they’ll have to do much, much more to prove to me that they are decent and human. Murder is murder and this psychopath actually enjoyed shooting a little Jewish girl in the head.

  2. Mohamed Merah is an authentic impersonator of his Palestinian terrorist friends: Shooting little girls in the head and defenseless people.

  3. Let me see if I have this right. A French born Muslim shoots French born Jews, said he’d enjoyed it, wanted to do more of it, and the Guardian says it’s all really just about right wing talk about limiting unrestricted immigration, because that and only that is racist. It certainly shoots my theory out of the water. I’d thought that maybe he’d just had a few to many Twinkies that morning – sugar rush, you know.
    Anti-Semitism doesn’t exist in Europe, they just call it something else – anything else will do.

  4. as an israeli,
    i’m happy that you correct some misconceptions about israel,
    but i would also suggest that u won’t be so over sensitive to the issue and ansemitism and couple it with pro-palestine view,
    because this only hurts israel’s image in the world.

    I can tell u for a fact that palestines living in israel are by no means antisemitists, and that racial hate for jews is still mainly expressed by white conservatives either in Europe and the US.

    Please, this oversensitivity is hurtful, u call the commercial of hitler in turkey antisemitist while u have jews in israel making jokes of the hitler dubbed video.

    Believe me, if an incident like the one happened in Malcha mall last week against arabs would have happened against jews in europe, the whole international community would have jumped. But here even the Prime Minister doesn’t comment against violence towards arabs anymore.

    Let’s show both sides of the story, because as an israeli jew, the last thing i want is to become an isolated hated community. and i am certainly not a victim

    • poxipa, you have this back to front:

      Are you saying that antisemitic Muslims and their useful idiots in Europe and elsewhere don’t make capital out of the “oppression” of their not-so-poor (courtesy of UNRWA) Palestinian brethren?

      Are you saying that because (according to you, and I think you are wrong) here in Europe there is no Islamic antisemitism which uses your lovely country, your very existence there, as an excuse to inflame hatred against all Jews? Don’t you notice that Islamists and their pro-Palestinian travellers don’t care to distinguish between “Israeli” and “Zionist” and “Jew” and use all interchangeably?

      Are you actually arguing that we should not call out antisemitism which masks itself under threadbare anti-Israel sentiment for what it is? Do you actually know what it is? Would you recognise it for what it is?

      As you say, you live in Israel, and with all respect, you don’t have the first idea about Islamic antisemitism in Europe which uses your existence in Israel as an excuse to threaten me and my family, not because we are Zionists, and we are, but because we are Jews

      • So how can you explain the fact that there was no muslim antisemitism before the 20th century? In order to overcome fear an misconception, I suggest that you find a time to communicate with Muslims and acknowledge a more complex picture. Sure, there is hatred towards jews that is derived from negative generalizations about Israel that takes place in the Arab world, but not only. Jews are working in Al Jazeera and even sitting in the Iranian parliaments…

        anyway, if you care about Israel, then the best pro-Israeli propaganda is to show the positive peace promoting side of the Israeli society, just like the Israel-loves-Iran campaign does, even if it is naive. Ethnocentric history speeches are not the way as every side has its own narratives. Israel is strong and I certainly do not feel like a victim. As a human being I feel compassion to everyone that suffers, and at least here, people in Gaza have a worse life than I do. And if you suffer, if someone truly threatens your life, I would be more than glad to hear about it (you can write to my mail).

        • So how can you explain the fact that there was no muslim antisemitism before the 20th century?

          Poxi you must be a history expert a la dubitante.
          al-Muqtadi Xi. century
          ibn Hazm and Abu Ishaq, the Granada massacres, the Fez pogrom X-XIII century
          The Damascus affair 1840
          Pogroms spread through the Middle East and North Africa. Pogroms occurred in: Aleppo (1850, 1875), Damascus (1840, 1848, 1890), Beirut (1862, 1874), Dayr al-Qamar (1847), Jerusalem (1847), Cairo (1844, 1890, 1901–02), Mansura (1877), Alexandria (1870, 1882, 1901–07), Port Said (1903, 1908), Damanhur (1871, 1873, 1877, 1891), Istanbul (1870, 1874), Buyukdere (1864), Kuzguncuk (1866), Eyub (1868), Edirne (1872), Izmir (1872, 1874).[15] There was a massacre of Jews in Baghdad in 1828.[12] There was another massacre in Barfurush in 1867.[12]
          Allahdad incident 1839 etc.etc.

          I’ll be happy to help you to learn some basic facts before you demonstrate your absolut, total and unlimited ignorance again.

          • so u r saying that every where is a result of antisemitism? is israeli attacks a result of muslim hatred? was Dir Yasin a result of Muslim hatred? I’m just asking that we check each case and not jump to conclusions so rapidly. There are a lot of political manipulations both in the arab and israeli world, but anyhow it’s not black and white and u can’t persist on having clashes of different narratives. And anyway i see no harm in communicating with muslims about it, it might show you a more complex picture, and also give them something to think about.

            my grandparents (needless to say Shoah survivors), used to be furious at politician that tell us to be fearfull and paranoic, as if nothing has changed, as if we don’t have a strong army and great land today (if you guys choose to stay in Europe, then go ahead). I love my identity, but I do not feel superior to anyone.

            I tell you what I have told others here; i would be more than glad to here about your own experience, situations when u were attacked, threatened, etc. I think these stories have much more value that rhetoric propaganda or history lessons.

    • Poxipa,

      Your comment has left me baffled, are you seriously suggesting the following:

      A) That Jewish people are being over sensitive to the continued attempts to smear them as the aggressor by the let-wing media?

      B) That if a Jewish person had carried out an identical attack on innocent Muslims children that the worlds media would not have given 24/7 coverage to the story?

      C) You also suggest that both sides of the story should be heard, I don’t understand what you mean by this?, are you suggesting that any story in which Jews and Arabs are involved has some inbuilt bias against Arabs and that their perspective is under-reported (which is such a ridiculous claim that it leaves me shaking my head in wonder), or and more worryingly that the actions of the killer in Toulouse can somehow be explained in a rational manner?

      D) That it is people with right of center views who are the ones making the racial comments about Jews?, which again is a ridiculous suggestion to make, clearly Poxipa you are unaware that the Guardian is a left leaning newspaper, the left wing press across Europe is always sympathetic towards the Palestinians objectives and that many let wing politicians are happy to share a platform with representatives of Hamas etc.

      I should also point out that making negative comments about Jews is not in itself racist, it is impossible to be racist against a religion but making extreme derogatory remarks about Jewish people could be classed as antisemitism.

      It seems on balance reading your post that you are either extremely naive, not really Jewish or both.

      • you are clearly trying to do political marketing and not open a place for sincere discussion. and concerning your last comment, you can check my blogs and see whether I am jew or not. If you need hebrew lessons, then they are free of charge, but I guess you enjoy protecting a country you really know little about

  5. It sounds as if you are afraid, poxipa, that the “oversensitivity” of people to antisemitism will harm Israel. Perhaps you are even afraid of calling out the antisemitism which uses the existence of Israel as an excuse for the murders in Toulouse and elsewhere? Why is that?

    Can you argue with any certainty and proof that little or none of the off the wall criticism of Israel is antisemitic? Can you tell me what, say, in the Guardian, is reasonable criticism of Israel? Is obsession with Israel reasonable? Is linkage between Israel and alleged world wide Jewish power reasonable? Why should we not be “sensitive” to that and work to undermine it?

    And you are quite wrong that antisemitism is mainly expressed by white conservatives outside Israel. You should read more widely, particularly some of the sickening rubbish which is preached in mosques in Europe and elsewhere, and about the growth of Islamist jihadi networks online which have little care about coupling together “Israel” and “Jews” and hating both equally.

    You actually know very little. May I respectfully suggest that you read more before you comment?

    • I know nothing about the Guardian so I won’t comment about that.

      I hate when every instance when a arab get hurts in Israel is immediately understood as ‘Apartheid’ by the arab world. Even if someone has a heart attack it seems to be a result of anti-arab racism 🙂 … I don’t like it, and I don’t intend to do it myself also. Blaming someone with racism is very extreme, very offensive and it often leads to antagonism. We are strong enough people to contain complexity. It’s not a battle of who shouts louder, at least not for me.

      Islamist Jihadi networks are awful and I think the argument whether they target jews for being pro-israeli or the other way around is already meaningless for many extremist. But for the sake of the majority that is more mild in its opinions, i suggest that we express ourselves with more caution. I believe that we both seek the same peaceful outcome.

      Happy Peshach!

      • “But for the sake of the majority that is more mild in its opinions”


        1. The majority of Palestinians support violent attacks against Israeli CIVILIANS, as proven by polls conducted by Palestinians.

        2. Hamas won the elections

        3. Our “peace partners” continually glorify terrorists:

        In short, try not to confuse wishful thinking with facts.

        • You know that there are 1000 contradicting poles and all of them are biased to either direction.Im not confusing any wishful thinking. I engage in activities and actually TALK with Palestinians very often. I do not try to portray a nice image but get close to reality. I experience hatred, fear, suspicion, etc. But overall I know that the solution is in our hands and that Israel is strong enough to sustain a two state solution. I also know that having a one state solution will cause much more danger to israel, the palestinians and to humanity. Israeli leaders also know that, but they also know that their only way to maintain power is to promote fear among their people (same goes for most arab leaders). Politician’s desire for power is always stronger than anything else. Obviousy the US also makes a profit of our conflict. I also know for fact that Unlike users of this blog, i am not trying to market a certain opinion or promote propaganda but to really understand reality. And unlike users of this blog i was Born in Israel, Grew Up in israel and planning to Raise my Kids in Israel, so with all due respect, do not preach me

  6. and even if people here are not interested in my life experience, i am interested in yours, so anyone who experienced prejudice, please share it with me. I am truly open for a dialogue. But i want this dialogue to be about our lives, our experiences, about emotions, not about history lessons and info someone propagated in wikipedia

  7. so i guess u gave one star for my request to open a true dialogue here. ok, i leave, u can spread your agenda without me interfering. Too bad, because even if u do believe in naive realism when one side is evil and the other is a saint, u should know that if we want to improve the reputation of israel among the non-biased spectators, we must show that we can contain some complexity and ability to engage in a sincere dialogue, instead of just pointing fingers. Elsewhere i express loads of criticism towards platforms that propagate against israel in a generalizing fashion. Sadly, some of the responses here are a mirror image of such views in terms of rhetoric and expression style. If u are trying to improve israel’s reputation among non-biased bystanders, after years of experience in doing that i can tell u that this attitude leads to an opposite outcome.

    you and I speak on different frequencies, but on this day i do wish to reduce argument, and hope that one day we will win regain some faith in humanity. afterall, i believe we are all aspiring the same peaceful outcome. if anyone wants to open a dialogue with me you can find me through my profile. thanks for allowing me to express my opinions on this blog.