The Guardian’s Ewan MacAskill and Jewish money

Walter Russell Mead, in an essay at his blog, cited the following quote:

“American Presidents have long been criticized for being too in thrall to the Jewish lobby. The American Jews influence US foreign policy and that explains Washington’s unwavering support for Israel.”

He then posed the question: “Who made this statement? (a) A disgruntled fringe neo-Nazi (b) Some poor soul ranting on their Facebook page (c) The BBC?”

Mead then wrote:

Sadly, as you can see in [this] clip…the answer is C. This ugly assertion is the host’s opening line in an episode of this past week’s BBC HARDtalk program. This vicious garbage isn’t “sort of” or “almost” anti-Semitic; it is the real thing: vivid, unapologetic, odious and wrong.

Explicitly antisemitic commentators often complain that Jewish money distorts U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and warn of the broader danger posed by Jewish influence in politics.

Such narratives can be found on the extreme left, the Jewish far left, the extreme right, and Islamic /Arab sites. 

And the Guardian is certainly no slouch when it comes to employing such corrosive rhetoric in their attempt to explain the U.S. political process. 

In two separate Guardian reports (both published on January 28th, 2012), Paul Harris and Arun Kundnani evoked the injurious effects of (Zionist) Jewish money on the American body politic.

Harris’s “The Secrets of the billionaire bankrolling Gingrich’s shot at the White House and Arun’s piece, ”Newt Gingrich’s agenda-setting big donor, both took aim at the political activities of a Jewish pro-Israel billionaire named Sheldon Adelson – warning of his nefarious influence on the American political process.

The Guardian’s new U.S. correspondent Glenn Greenwald has gone even further, complaining (in a post at his former blog) of the “Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy [and] the US Government.”

However, Greenwald represents an especially egregious example and most commentators do not employ such tropes so explicitly. 

Ewen MacAskill, the Guardian’s Washington DC bureau chiefwriting on January 25th about Obama’s State of the Union address, argued thus:

“On foreign policy, a president who has been at loggerheads with the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, over a Middle East peace process promised unflinching support for the state.With an election looming and in need of votes and funds from American Jews, some of whom have been unhappy over his approach to Israel, Obama referred to “our iron-clad, and I mean iron-clad, commitment to Israel’s security”. “

More recently, MacAskill posted a story about the Democrats’ decision to reinsert language into their party platform – which appeared in 2008 – supporting Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, in ‘Democratic convention erupts over reinstatement of Jerusalem to policy‘, September 6th.

MacAskill writes:

” Barack Obama intervened personally to try and head off a mounting clamour from Jewish donors and pro-Israel groups who objected to the dropping of a line supporting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel from the Democratic policy platform.

Jewish donors, particularly in New York, and pro-Israeli lobby groups are generous supporters not only to Obama but to individual senators and members of the House, who are also facing election in November. The changes were pushed through after Obama contacted party leaders asking for their reinstatement.” [emphasis added]

MacAskill would have us believe that Obama feared money from Jews might dry up over the language in the Democratic Party platform, failing to explain why such Jews, inclined to vote for Obama anyway, would suddenly – after 4 years of his presidency – abandon ship over text which has no effect on policy decisions of the government.

But, moreover, it is difficult to understand why evoking the specter of ‘New York Jewish money’ now often passes for respectable liberal opinion.  

When you watch the following clip of liberal journalist Seymour Hersch explaining to Amy Goodman why so many Democrats have expressed grave concern about the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran, please consider what, in your mind, stands out.

Here’s the text:

“Money. A lot of the Jewish money from New York. Come on, let’s not kid about it. A significant percentage of Jewish money, and many leading American Jews support the Israeli position that Iran is an existential threat. And I think it’s as simple as that. When you’re from New York and from New York City, you take the view of — right now, when you’re running a campaign, you follow that line. And there’s no other explanation for it, because she’s smart enough to know the downside.”

Antisemitic reasoning, broadly speaking, is often the product of lazy minds attempting to find simple answers to complex questions.

However you couch it, a narrative which warns that ‘Jews deploy extraordinary wealth with almost superhuman cunning in support of the Jewish agenda’ is necessarily inconsistent with the liberal values of tolerance and anti-racism.

Walter Russell Mead, further along in the essay cited above, wrote:

“anti-Semitism is both a cause and a consequence of a basic failure to comprehend the way pluralistic and liberal societies behave. As a result, nations and political establishments warped by this hatred tend to make one dumb decision after another — starting at shadows, warding off imaginary dangers, misunderstanding the nature of the problems they face.

Failing societies and weak minds, on the other hand, are easily seduced by attractive but empty generalizations. The comment attributed to August Bebel that anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools can be extended to many other kinds of cheap and superficial errors that people make. The baffled, frustrated and the bewildered seek a grand, simplifying hypothesis that can bring some kind of ordered explanation to a confusing world; anti-Semitism is one of the glittering frauds that attract the overwhelmed and the uncomprehending.” [emphasis added]

Such grand, simplifying and bigoted hypotheses – on the root causes of political phenomena –  are what routinely pass for sophisticated, liberal thought at the Guardian Left.

41 replies »

  1. Perhaps the BBC/Guardian are learning from the masters.

    Ever since Obama’s victory, antisemitism has gone mainstream. It is now just as acceptable to spit on a Jew or break his shop glass window as it was in Munich of 1938. BBC/Guardian would promptly blame the Jew.

      • I have not alluded to the Holocaust at all, merely pointing to the similarities in conditions and attitudes facing Jews in Nazi Germany and the liberal, progressive, socialist West of today. I think it is you who has Holocaust on the mind all the time. Seek help.

        • Your attempt to conflate the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany with BDS is, let’s face it, at best, lame, at worst and insult to every Jew who suffered persecution in the 30’s.

          • And, who appointed you as their spokesperson? What happened in Nazi Germany and what’s happening now have eerie similarities. BBC/Guardian are today’s Der Stürmer.

            • Who appointed me their spokesman? Who gave you permission to abuse the memories of their suffering to score political points?

              Your contempt for Jewish suffering is sickening.

              • The only person abusing the memories of Jewish suffering is you, seeing that you can’t help bringing up Holocaust every now and again.

                The Jews don’t need characters like you watching over them Avram. You are an evil man. Don’t tell others about their feelings and history. As you distort the present as it is.

                • Just like you are hard wired for racist thought Daniel, I am hard wired to oppose the exploitation of Jewish suffering.

                  • You’re a freak. I think it’s the new blog fashion of the sick Leftist antisemite, who says in public that he wants to save the Jews from themselves.
                    Like Richard A , you know NOTHING about Jewish history and therefore have a redundant understanding of Jewish suffering.

            • What happened in Nazi Germany and what’s happening now have eerie similarities. BBC/Guardian are today’s Der Stürmer.

              Are the BBC/Guardian calling for Jews to be rounded up and packed off to death camps? Or even “only” calling for Jews to be removed from all prominent public posts?

              You are indeed soiling the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust.

          • Avram,

            Not so long ago, you made a comment in which you appeared to readily agree with the Corrie family’s lawyer absurd comment about “rule of law” in Nazi Germany trumping the Israeli system, at the beginning or otherwise of the regime.

            Your new comment a few days later, and in contesxt with the last if I may say so , is so breathtaking, (your prediliction for German wartime photos aside), in its audaciousness to attack a comment that tries to illustrate a single point about attacking Jews with impunity, a feature that was of course a common occurence in Germany in the 30s that of course got immeasurably worse than just spitting as time progressed – that one cannot take anything you say, seriously.

            You write stuff without really thinking about what you say. The overriding purpose seems to be to “attack”, not moderate or disagree or agree.

            • Joshua,
              You have it in a nut shell. In previous threads Avram has fallen back on Pappe, finkelstein, dr Patrick wolf, brenner and others. He seems very confused and manipulates the conversation in primitive and sickening faux humanistic ways. The man is freaky. Those claiming to save humanity from itself are best kept at a distance.

    • It is utterly preposterous to suggest that the BBC/Guardian take cues from the Nazis.
      And would you be trying to suggest that Obama is responsible for an upsruge in antisemitism?

      It is now just as acceptable to spit on a Jew or break his shop glass window as it was in Munich of 1938. BBC/Guardian would promptly blame the Jew.

      What a disgusting thing to say. Shame on you.

      • So, Pretzelberg, you would say that the slant of the BBC and the Guardian in no way contributes to a rise in anti-Semitic attitudes?
        Have I got that right?

      • Try quite fairly blaming Palestinians for some phenomenon on cif and see
        what the mods’ reaction is, Pretz and at the same time blame Israel fairly for the same thing.

        This should prove their bias quite conclusively to you as it does to me. The blame for Israel will stand although some pro-Israelis might object. The blame for the Palestinians will be deleted tout suite.

        Don’t object until you’ve tried it.

        • Nothing you’ve said supports the claim that the preposterous claim that the BBC/Guardian are “today’s Der Stürmer”.

          And why don’t you challenge the similarly laughable – and dishonest – suggestion that the Hardtalk presenter is an “explicitly antisemitic commentator”?

    • I just noticed its from Democracy Now! Americas closet socialists with Amy ‘Good’man. Nough said. What do you expect? Have you seen who they give the floor to? Press TV might well be more balanced. Although ‘Good’man’s monotone voice makes me want to slash my wrists.

    • I have no idea what’s happening in Britain, but as an American Jew…no. Obama’s presidency has not caused anti-Semitism to go mainstream, and my life in no way resembles anything going on in Munich in 1938. If someone spits on me–hasn’t happened yet–I will call the cops, and they will make an arrest.

      • But see the huge amount of agreement with Terry’s bizarre comment.

        The question is: do these people genuinely believe that e.g. Scotland – or indeed the US – today is akin to Nazi Germany?
        If so, you have to feel sorry for them, because they must lead pretty miserable lives.
        If not, why do they bother posting and agreeing with this delusional crap?

  2. This same Hardtalk “revelation” has appeared before on CiFWatch – and is now no less ridiculous.

    My response now is the same it was back then:

    Obviously the presenter – as anyone who watches Hardtalk regularly will know – is opening the show with an approximation of the guest’s views.

    Norm [Finkelstein]’s a nut, but it’s plain dishonest – or delusional – to claim that the BBC “made this statement”.

    • “American Presidents have long been criticized for being too in thrall to the Jewish lobby.”
      Really? By whom? She doesn’t tell us. Can you?

        • “She is quite clearly referring to the views of Norm Finkelstein.”

          No, she’s not. Notice the passive voice in the quote. She doesn’t say who “American Presidents have long been criticized” by.
          So I’ll ask you again, who it is that’s been doing this particular criticism for such a “long” time? Some inquiring American minds would like to know.

          • Hardtalk often begins (as to many other such shows!) with a summary of the guest’s views. This is no exception.

            Notice the passive voice in the quote.

            Exactly! She is paraphrasing Finkelstein’s views!

            A shame you – and others here – didn’t watch the clip without being influenced by this CiFW artice and its ludicrous distortions.

            In fact the presenter might have a case for libel here.

  3. This highlights the irony of the pro-Palestinian position. It is simply impossible to find peace and justice when the premises of the argument are, indeed, false and full of hate.

    There is no Israel lobby. Any media establishment that allows such nonsense as a talking point from its reporters should be put on notice as supporting a hate narrative.

    Not that this does any good. But peace never sold papers or paid for a whole bunch of steel and ammunition.

  4. Are the BBC/Guardian calling for Jews to be rounded up and packed off to death camps? Or even “only” calling for Jews to be removed from all prominent public posts? –

    That was yesterday’s antisemite approach,overt,unsophisticated.
    The post referred to “todays” version of it,ie,covert,sophisticated,subtle,nuanced.