Guardian

Who’s afraid of the Jewish state? Guardian editorial derides Israel’s ‘enthusiasism’ for war


If the latest Guardian editorial about talk of war between Israel and Iran, ‘Israel and Iran: Lethal game of bluff‘, Aug. 14, represented your sole source of information about the conflict, you’d be forgiven for not knowing that Iran is the largest exporter of terrorism on the planet.

And, more relevant to the debate over Iran’s quest to acquire nuclear weapons, you’d also be able to plead ignorance regarding the fact Iran has been engaging in proxy wars against Israel on its southern and northern borders for years, representing the chief supplier of arms and training for both Hamas (and Iran’s other terrorist clients in Gaza) and Hezbollah – the former of which has launched thousands of rockets into Israeli territory.

You’d also be given a pass for not realizing that Iran’s top political, military and spiritual leaders have explicitly called for the annihilation of the Jewish state – the latter going so far as to openly publish a religious decree (fatwa) justifying the murder of Israel’s six million Jews on, yes, religious grounds!

In other words, the Guardian would have you believe that it is the Jewish state, and not the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is the military aggressor.

The strap line of the editorial says it all:

“The enthusiasm of Israel’s prime minister and defence minister for an air strike on Iran appears to have united their country’s defence and security establishment against them.”

The editorial begins, thus:

“The war drums have been beating – again – in Israel.”

Later, the editors write:

The enthusiasm of Israel’s prime minister and defence minister for an air strike on Iran… depends only partially on Iran’s alleged actions, and the latest US intelligence assessment that Tehran now possesses 170 kilograms of medium-enriched uranium, from which it is relatively easy to produce bomb-grade material. Barak is worried that so many centrifuges are being hidden underground that they will soon be out of Israel’s military reach. After that point, Israel will have to rely on a US president it suspects will never order an attack .” [emphasis added]

So, while it almost seems like the Guardian, by acknowledging Iran’s progress towards achieving a nuclear threshold, inadvertently admits the rationale for war, they then pivot to a rhetorical spin akin to mere sophistry.

“Barak’s case for an airstrike now is peppered with inconsistencies – not least the calculation that if Israel attacked, Iran would be rational enough not to retaliate against US military targets in the Gulf and hence the regional war everyone feared would not materialise…”

“…to take Barak’s war-gaming at face value, if Iran were rational enough to contain its response, it would prove that deterrence works for a state Netanyahu continues to describe as an irrational actor motivated by Messianism. If Barak is right, the deterrence of mutually assured destruction would work all the more if Iran acquired a bomb, particularly as Israel has several hundred of them.”

I’ll attempt to unpack this.

First, contrary to the Guardian’s suggestion, an Iran “rational enough” to contain its response (and not cause a regional war) now would likely be inspired in their restraint by the fact that they don’t, as yet, have the capacity to do any real damage to either Israel or its allies – a military calculus which would necessarily change if they were nuclear armed.  

Iran’s messianic desires are necessarily predicated upon the capacity for a truly apocalyptic  war with Israel, which would require the military capacity currently, as a non-nuclear power, beyond their reach.

In other words, it’s not inconsistent of Israeli leaders to assume that Iran may be rational enough to know their current military limits, though malevolent enough to still, in time, seek Israel’s annihilation.

The specious logic of the Guardian’s op-ed then devolves, however, into something much darker.

“Loud talk of an impending airstrike could be no more than an attempt to twist Washington’s arm.If it is, nothing should stiffen Barack Obama’s resolve to prevent it happening more than the thought that Netanyahu is not just playing politics in his own country but in America too. Netanyahu foolishly dares Obama not to cast his veto, because if he did, Mitt Romney his Republican challenger would make hay with the idea that the Democrat in the White House endangers Israel’s security. [emphasis added]”

In addition to evoking the caricature of a manipulative Jewish state attempting to push the world’s greatest superpower unwillingly to war, the suggestion that the Prime Minister of Israel is not truly concerned for the well-being, indeed survival, of this country, but is merely playing cynical politics is a classic example of the imperiousness which continually informs the Guardian’s view of Jerusalem.

There’s nary a word in their polemical assault on Israel acknowledging the staggering amount of rhetorical, moral and spiritual energy expended by Iran, and it’s anti-Zionist allies around the world, beating their chests, begging their creator for the chance to annihilate the Jews.  Islamic antisemitism is always, at the Guardian, the hatred that dares not speak its name.

Indeed, in the Guardian’s supreme moral inversion, what they feel “must be said” is that it’s not the Islamist reactionaries but, rather, the Jews who endanger peace, and lust for war.

As Efraim Karsh recently wrote:

“If prior to Israel’s establishment Jews had been despised because of their helplessness, they are now reviled because of their newly discovered physical and political empowerment.

For millennia, the Jewish people, in the words of the eminent philosopher Martin Buber, was a sinister, homeless specter. This people, which resisted inclusion in any category, a resistance which the other peoples could never become quite accustomed to, was always the first victim of fanatical movements and vile prejudice and branded as the cause of mass misfortunes.”

One need not be a political enthusiast of Binyamin Netanyahu to understand intuitively that there’s nothing “political” about the sober insistence of the current government in Jerusalem that a fanatical, racist movement which rises up against us can not be allowed the means to carry out their destructive designs.

Israel’s existence is a constant reminder that the Jewish people have categorically rejected the role which history has assigned to them as pitiful victim – the ethos of ‘Never Again’ in it’s most ethically urgent manifestation. 

60 replies »

  1. Guardian editorial derides Israel’s ‘enthusiasism’ for war

    Except it does not refer to “Israel’s enthusiasism for war”, of course.

    • What do you call a bombastic, title, like: “The war drums have been beating – again – in Israel.”
      Or: “The enthusiasm of Israel’s prime minister and defence minister for an air strike on Iran”…(Trying to indict Netanyahu and Barak as some lurid warmongers).
      It’s very clear that the position of the Guardian editors, reeks of contempt for a legitimate Israeli concern; interestingly, one shared by the British intelligence staff.

      • I’m no fan of the G.’s Israel coverage.

        But you claim that the entire British intelligence staff.have an approach that “reeks of contempt for a legitimate Israeli concern”.

        That sounds – a bit – like the wackos who claim that the Guardian is the same as Der Stürmer.

        And where is that contempt on the G. homepage?

        • No, I fear you misunderstood me… :D…
          I meant that the Intelligence staff shares Israel’s wariness of Iran’s nuclear program…
          As for the contempt… you can see that this Editorial, is well, less than conciliatory… shall we say? 😉

          • A-ha. It was, after all, a very ambiguous statement.

            But what do you think of those here who equate the G. with Der Stürmer?

            Idiots – right?

            • Certainly(though I wouldn’t call anyone an idiot, unless it could be certified :)); as I noted earlier, that the Guardian, as you observed yourself, doesn’t feature Israel on its front page, every waking hour, is what still separates it from the “Socialist Worker”, or “Der Sturmer”…
              It is however, as you have seen yourself, gravely biased and distorted, in its coverage of Israel.

              • the Guardian, as you observed yourself, doesn’t feature Israel on its front page, every waking hour, is what still separates it from the “Socialist Worker”, or “Der Sturmer”…

                Excuse me? That’s what separates it from Der Stürmer??

                Why not just condemn those idiots who make such a ludicrous comparison?

                • Well, wouldn’t you find it surprising, and at least, worrisome, if a British newspaper, devoted its affairs to one subject, in obsessive repetition, a foreign country – Israel?
                  As for Der Sturmer, I completely agree that such parallels are uncalled for, under any scenario.(We’re not living in a time, anywhere near the horrors of the ’30s-’40s)

                  • a) I would indeed. But the G. does no such thing.
                    b) Indeed. So why so reluctant to call out the idiots?

                    • I definitely reject any such allusions; and I think those who make them, are misguided.
                      What I don’t like to do – is call anyone an idiot, unless he/she thoroughly deserves it.

                    • Pretzel,
                      You have a talent for splitting hairs. Down right pedantic. And you still fail to see what this site is about. But I’ll give you a ten oudda ten for enthusiasm.

            • Well, I thank you for the correction. I thought the semicolon made it clear I was referring to the assessments made by the Israeli gov. and those echoed by the British int. establishment.
              I’ll be more careful next time.
              Thanks! 😀

    • “The enthusiasm of Israel’s prime minister and defence minister for an air strike on Iran”

      • Still I see no reference to “Israel’s enthusiasism for war”.

        To paraphrase you: If CifWatch represents your sole source of information about the Guardian, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the rebirth of Der Stürmer.

        • That’s juts a non sequitor. What we’ve been arguing is that the Guardian has been consistently warning against Israeli (as opposed to Iranian) belligerence…like I said, a classically Guardian moral inversion.

          Here are some examples from a previous post I published: (you can get the links here: http://cifwatch.com/2012/06/28/the-guardian-ideology-where-reporting-iranian-antisemitism-is-counter-revolutionary/)

          A Guardian editorial warning Israel against saber-rattling against Iran and arguing that the Jewish state should just learn to live with a nuclear armed Iran (Iran, bolting the stable door, November 9th, 2011)

          Mehdi Hasan’s tear-jerking tale of a beleaguered Iran threatened on all sides, which understandably desires a nuclear weapon in order to defend itself from U.S. and Israeli aggression (If you lived in Iran, wouldn’t you want the nuclear bomb, November 17th, 2011).

          Seumas Milne’s polemical attempt to obfuscate Iranian nuclear ambitions, which included an urgent plea for readers to prevent a “covert US-Israeli campaign against Tehran” from exploding into a global war (War on Iran has already begun. Act before it threatens all of us. December 7th, 2011).

          Simon Jenkins’ argument that the Israel lobby is pushing an unwilling Obama into militaristic policies towards Iran, (“Why is Britain ramping up sanctions against Iran?, January 3rd, 2012).

          Saeed Kamali Dehghan’s warning against covert actions by the West and Israel to prevent Iran from acquiring nukes, which will “ruin any chance of dialogue with Tehran” (The covert war on Iran is illegal and dangerous, January 11th, 2012).

          In a ‘Comment is Free’ piece on November 9th, 2011 titled “Why do the US media believe the worse about Iran?”, Whitaker not only ignored the most recent IAEA report – available on the Guardian website – which stated that Iran has carried out “a structured program to develop an explosive nuclear device”, but suggested that the clandestine program may not be nuclear at all: merely a project to manufacture nanodiamonds.

          • Yes, the G. is biased against Israel on the political front.

            But it did not refer to “Israel’s enthusiasism for war”. You might want to alter the above headline.

            Your headlines are in general far more inflammatory – and misleading – than the Guardian’s.

            • “But it did not refer to “Israel’s enthusiasism for war”. You might want to alter the above headline.”

              You may have a point there, technically at least. This time it set up Bibi and Barak as straw men in opposition to “everyone else,” in a simplistic, shallow and, as usual, misleading way.

              “Your headlines are in general far more inflammatory – and misleading – than the Guardian’s.
              How about looking at the substance and stop harping about the headlines.
              Netanyahu and Barak are “enthusiastic?” Playing politics?
              I think Adam’s headlines call the G. out on what it’s doing.

              • As you might expect, I do not like the tone of the G. editorial.

                But both there and here, of course headlines are crucial. The G. has had many inflammatory and irresponsible headlines – as does CiFW. Deliberate misquoting is likewise common to both.

          • That’s juts a non sequitor. What we’ve been arguing is that the Guardian has been consistently warning against Israeli (as opposed to Iranian) belligerence…like I said, a classically Guardian moral inversion.

            Yes Adam. That is the bottom line. The Guardian seeks out any possibility of representing Israel as the instigator of any violence. Israel’s enemies on the other hand, are presented as just standing up to a bully so to speak. Reading the Guardian, one would never know that Iranian leaders never miss an opportunity to state quite clearly their intention of wiping Israel from the map. (No doubt a euphemism that all Israelis are gay)

            Standard Guardian and CiFfallist misrepresentation and omission.

            • Tell that to PRETZL. He simply ignores comments and keeps on trucking regardless. Maybe he is lonely?

  2. Adam’s headline is spot on. BBC/Guardian’s anti-Semitism is hard to contain. There is no doubt in my mind that they’re both supporting Iran in its quest to kill all Jews.

    • I find it hard to believe that the Guardian official stand is wishing all Jews dead.

      Maybe they wish the Jews would go back in time to being helpless…

      • You two are delusional. fortunately there can’t be many reading this site judging by the amount of times the same names recur in the comments section.

        • ” fortunately there can’t be many reading this site judging by the amount of times the same names recur in the comments section.”

          Alex, by all means, feel free to remove yourself from that short list of commenters.

          By the way, the bigger the site, the more commenters there are, the greater number of delusional people you are bound to find. As long as their delusions match yours I’m sure you’ll feel at home.

      • And the many Jews who work at the Guardian are just itching to get back to the ghetto??

        Why not call out Terry’s post for the delusional nonsense it is?

        • “And the many Jews who work at the Guardian are just itching to get back to the ghetto??”
          I took it as a dig that means that those people have a ghetto mentality.
          If you want to know if he’s being literal, why not just ask him?
          Then again, there are those who are on some level itching to get back to the ghetto. If one can romanticize the “downtrodden Palestinians,” Hamas, Hezbollah, etc., one can certainly romanticize the ghetto. Sick yet true.
          Don’t think it’s so far fetched.

          • What – the entire staff of the G. has a “ghetto mentality”?

            My impression is that ItsikDeWembley was going out of their way to come up with apologetics for Terry’s bizarre” they want to kill the Jews!” nonsense.

            I hope you’re not doing the same.

            • “What – the entire staff of the G. has a ‘ghetto mentality’?”

              That’s not what I said. Of course, some could, but my point was that it was a dig at them. There is a human impulse for such things as self-destructive behavior.

              As far as Iran is concerned, the Islamic Republic certainly does want to hurt Jews. One has to, at the very least, question why any Jew, in any way, would want to carry water for a government of backward, reactionary clerical fascists, whose ideological make up from the time of its rise to power till today as an integral part of its program has called for an end to a genuine democracy, Israel, sends rockets and missiles to hostiles along Israel’s borders, bombs Jewish community centers in South America, has a program currently to build nuclear bombs and has stated its desire to use them for a genocidal purpose, and is a prominent cheerleader for, and disseminator of, anti-Semitism in all its nauseating variations, including the post WWII variation, Holocaust denial.

              I didn’t think Itsik was apologizing, but rather disagreeing, and then taking his own shot at Jews at the Guardian who go along with its editorial line.

              • taking his own shot at Jews at the Guardian who go along with its editorial line.

                Except that ItsikDeWembley was talking about the entire G. staff.

                What do you make of this rather hateful comment?
                http://cifwatch.com/2012/08/13/i-am-nothing-without-them-what-the-guardian-will-never-understand/comment-page-1/#comment-82613

                Hadley Freeman? Jason Solomons? Nobblystick is claiming that these people aren’t even really Jewish. Why? Because they write for the Guardian.

                Isn’t that pathetic?

                And why don’t you condemn the delusional likes of Terry and their claim that the BBC and Guardian want to kill Jews?

                • Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you before now. I was out all evening.

                  “Hadley Freeman? Jason Solomons? Nobblystick is claiming that these people aren’t even really Jewish. Why? Because they write for the Guardian.”
                  You’re misrepresenting what Nobblystick wrote.

                  “And why don’t you condemn the delusional likes of Terry and their claim that the BBC and Guardian want to kill Jews?”

                  I agree with ItsikDeWembley’s comment regarding this. But I do think that the G. and BBC are responsible for promoting an anti-Israel narrative with a smug political correctness, and that this narrative can lead to lethal consequences.

                  • Where am I misrepresenting what Nobblystick wrote?

                    And you actually believe that the Guardian wishes “the Jews would go back in time to being helpless”? While having nothing to say about the “misguided” likes of Terry?

                    • You misquote and misrepresent all the time. In fact I think most of your posts are a waste of time. Since they often give away your ignorance.

                    • “Where am I misrepresenting what Nobblystick wrote?”

                      He didn’t say they weren’t jewish.

                      “And you actually believe that the Guardian wishes “the Jews would go back in time to being helpless”?”

                      Go back and read what I actually said.

                      “While having nothing to say about the “misguided” likes of Terry?”

                      What is it about what I wrote you don’t understand? I’ll try and spell it out for you. I, like ItsikDeWembley, have a hard time believing that the Guardian and BBC “want all Jews dead.” Yes, I thought Terry made a sweeping and somewhat rash statement. That’s my opinion. I’m not usually enamored of such sweeping statements. I guess you could say therefore that I felt it to be somewhat misguided. But I also found the statement sloppy, and not very interesting. It’s not evident in the text exactly what he means by “supporting Iran in its quest to kill all Jews.”
                      If I were you (I’m not, of course) and I wanted to flesh him out about it, I would ask him, and not me.
                      I think you found something blatant there, whereas I saw something fuzzy.

                • I wonder why it is so important if Jews are working for The Guardian or not. They are no proof for anything, especially they have not the function you and other design that the reproach of ant-Semitism is refuted by their engagement at this peculiar newspaper even if some are using their Jewish background for that function. But this is their problem with being or defining Jewish in an anti-Semitic environment.
                  In the diverse communist movements there were a lot of Jews, many of them heavy antizionists or even worse and left extremists often use them for refuting the reproach of anti-Semitism.
                  Not to forget the open anti-Semitism in the Soviet bloc and the spreading of antizionist propaganda.

                • PRETZL,
                  You miss the point at every turn and the change tack when someone points this out to you. Where are you going with this? Splitting hairs, looking for definitions nobody, at least in this thread cares about. This is less about the subject at hand and more about some sort onanism on your behalf.

            • There Certainly is a ghetto mentality at the Groan. It ain’t the Jewish one, but the Left ghetto.

      • One thing I actually find very telling in the writing of many anti-Israel types is that they rarely envision really bad things actually happening to Israelis. In the past several days, as people chat about the possibility of war with Iran, I’ve seen repeated references to Israelis ‘running for planes’, or crowding the airports in various places around the world, but seldom do they actually seem to acknowledge the idea of Israeli civilians dying in war.

        I think this derives from the common fantasy Israel-haters have, that being Israeli is somehow an optional activity. All Israelis, in their minds, are affluent Anglos, who could just move back to Brooklyn, and all wold be well in the Middle East.

        On the other hand, they could be gloating over imagined Israeli deaths. I guess that is something. Not much, but you know, something.

    • There is no doubt in my mind that [the BBC/Guardian are] both supporting Iran in its quest to kill all Jews.

      What a bizarre world you live in – and the four people who gave your post the thumbs up.

  3. The Guardian seems to be advocating a nuclear armed Iran, and justifies this, as is popular now amongst the formerly “ban the bomb left” with MAD. And somehow this is supposed to be more desirable than a non-nuclear Iran. And this is so because…why? Oh right, the word is it’s supposed to create some nebulous and undefined “regional balance,” meaning it creates another threat to the ongoing existence of Israel. If you’re into that, then it all sounds good. I found the editorial’s reference to the ‘rationality argument’ (as well as the entire Guardian editorial) nauseatingly shallow.
    Hey Guardian,

    Iran isn’t looking for the deterrence of a mutually assured destruction, it wants to destroy Israel and still be around to tell the tale. We know this because they keep saying it. Please stop you’re scare mongering of a regional war with zero specifics. And please stop the two dimensional misrepresentations of Israeli deliberations on how best to stop Iran. Likewise on the anti-Semitically tinged “they’re twisting poor Obama’s arm” rubbish. And as I recall, you’ve been saying “it could be weeks instead of months” for over a year now. Maybe it’s time to put that little trope to bed as well.

    • Jeff,
      Weeks can go all the ways the thousands… 🙂

      They’ve been saying Gaza’s population is duying of starvation back in 2006.

      So far they increased in numbers.

      Bizarre.

      • No, Itsik, you have that all wrong. The Gazans and West Bank Arabs are no longer there, since 1991 when Israel used the “fog of war” during the first gulf war, to drive all the Palestinians off the land. It just looks as if the starving Gazans with the high obesity rate are still there. It’s all a mirage. I don’t know for sure if they drove out the Israeli Arabs, but I’ll check with Chomsky and get back to you. : )

  4. In a speech on 28th October 2010 the following was said;

    “The risks of failure in this area are grim. Stopping nuclear proliferation cannot be addressed purely by conventional diplomacy. We need intelligence-led operations to make it more difficult for countries like Iran to develop nuclear weapons.”

    Not by an Israeli, if it had been the cries of ‘warmonger’ would have been all across the pages of a well known UK rag, but by Sir John Sawers the Chief of S.I.S. (MI6).

    If anyone wants confirmation of his remarks they are available on the S.I.S. website.

    • Gerald,

      You miss understood Sir John.
      He was talking about sending Rowan Atkinson (AKA Johnny English) and while obtaining harmless information he can elevate their suffering by having them laugh before bed time (on an empty stomach of course).

      Seriously, could you operate machinery while watching Mr. Bean?

      Nuclear problem solved, Guardian style…