The cowardice of Peter Oborne.

Cross posted by Richard Millett

Peter Oborne loves the Jewish people. He loves us so much he wants to save us from ourselves. It’s a shame Oborne wasn’t around at any of the previous troubled stages of Jewish history to advise us where we were going so wrong, but we can only breathe a sigh of relief that he has taken an interest in our current predicament.

In his recent article for The Daily Telegraph The cowardice at the heart of our relationship with Israel he writes about the “cowardice” of the Conservative Party for not condemning Israel’s settlement policy in stronger terms. He’s concerned the door will soon be closed on the possibility of a two-state solution and that, eventually, Israel will either cease to be Jewish and democratic or will become an apartheid state.

Oborne quotes Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, a former British ambassador to Israel, who recently said that “anyone who has a real affection for the Jewish people will want to help them to avoid this looming disaster.”

Alarm bells start ringing when someone critical of Israeli policy then co-opts the “the Jewish people”. Are all “the Jewish people” really responsible for “this looming disaster”? Israel is a democracy and British Jews do not have a vote. And it’s not British Jews who have Hamas to their south and Hezbollah to their north.

It’s a fact that there are far more non-Jewish supporters of Israel in the world, and thank goodness when considering the tiny Jewish world population. So why don’t Cowper-Coles and Oborne think non-Jewish supporters of Israel require such “help”?

Their patronising attitude towards Jews brings to mind Lord Andrew Phillips of Sudbury’s quip that “the Jews aren’t lacking in intelligence”.

Oborne finishes his article by claiming that “Mr Cameron does not want to go down in history as the man upon whose watch all hope of a two-state solution died”. Oborne ignores the fact that the two-state solution died in 1937 when the Arabs rejected 80% of British Mandate Palestine, in 1948 when the Arabs rejected 45% of British Mandate Palestine and 2000 when the Palestinians rejected 22% of, what was, British Mandate Palestine.

Oborne’s allegation that Israel could eventually either cease to be Jewish and democratic or become an apartheid state bears no relation to reality when one looks at the demographics on the ground. A study by Bar Ilan University proves that should Israel ever decide to annex the West Bank then the 1.41 million West Bank Palestinians would, when added to Israel’s existing Arab population, still leave Israel a Jewish majority and democratic state.

Oborne slams David Cameron for devoting just 64 words to the settlement issue at the recent Conservative Friends of Israel lunch. Oborne thinks “This is cowardice”. But Oborne doesn’t criticise Hamas and even blames Israel for the recent conflict. Again Oborne ignores the hundreds of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza before Israel assassinated Hamas’ Ahmed Jabari.

And Oborne refuses to differentiate between Palestinian terrorists and civilians who were killed, but just repeats the mantra that “the number of Palestinian deaths vastly exceeded those on the Israeli side”.

Oborne ignores Hamas treatment of its own people in forcing them to become human shields. Hamas imports tens of thousands of rockets into Gaza but cannot build even one bomb shelter for the people it was elected by to govern.

Oborne also criticises Britain for not backing the recent Palestinian bid for enhanced statehood at the UN. It is morally reprehensible that Britain only abstained. How could a civilised country like Britain refuse to vote against enhanced statehood when considering that the Hamas Charter calls for the murder of Jews?

In 2009 Oborne made a television documentary called Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby. It opens with the menacing line “Tonight on Dispatches how British policy is influenced by supporters of a foreign power.”

Oborne sets out to investigate financial transactions between Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) and the Conservative Party and to investigate the influence of pro-Israel lobbyists like CFI, BICOMZionist FederationJewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. A not insubstantial part was dedicated to CiF Watch, which monitors anti-Semitism in The Guardian and its Comment is Free website.

Oborne investigated the claim that accusations of anti-Semitism by pro-Israel lobby groups are being used to silence criticism of Israeli policy. He put to Alan Rusbridger, The Guardian’s editor, an accusation by CiF Watch that the Comment is Free comments’ thread “is full of vile anti-Semitic sentiments”.

Rusbridger replied:

“I think it would be a terribly dangerous thing if the British press were made to feel that they couldn’t criticise Israel because they are going to be held up as anti-Semitic. I think it is a very disreputable argument.”

But since 2009 CiFWatch has proved time and again that some Guardian articles are anti-Semitic. Chris Elliot, the Guardian’s Readers’ Editor, has admitted as much.

The Guardian’s Deborah Orr was forced to apologise for describing Israel’s prisoner swap of Gilad Shalit in exchange for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners as proof “Zionists believe that the lives of the chosen are of hugely greater consequence than those of their unfortunate neighbours.” Elliot explained in response that “Historically it has been antisemites, not Jews, who have read ‘chosen’ as code for Jewish supremacism.”

A recent cartoon by The Guardian’s Steve Bell seemed to employ the anti-Semitic trope that Jews control the world. Elliot admitted that Bell’s cartoon could be considered anti-Semitic.

And under a very recent Comment is Free article there’s this and worse:

“The 9/11 WTC attack was done by the pro-slavery Zionist-Jew bankers…”

Despite all his efforts to uncover something sinister Oborne declares at the end of his Dispatches documentary:

“In making this programme we haven’t found even something faintly resembling a conspiracy, but we have found a worrying lack of transparency and the influence of the pro-Israel lobby continues to be felt.”

So, Oborne found the pro-Israel lobbies in Britain guilty of nothing more than…..doing their jobs effectively.

Instead of trying to save “the Jewish people” from ourselves Oborne could do worse than visit Gaza if he really wants to understand why there cannot be peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He could then ask Hamas:

1. Why it summarily executes alleged Palestinian collaborators and drags their bodies through the streets?

2. Why it oppresses Palestinian women, gays and political dissidents?

3. Why it doesn’t build any bomb shelters for its people?

4. Why its Charter calls for the murder of all Jews?

But we know he won’t go and ask such questions and that makes Oborne the only coward around here.

31 replies »

  1. This just has to be the most brilliant piece of journalism in the history of the world. Well done Richard.

  2. “Cowardice” is not what immediately comes to mind when evaluating Oborne’s reporting. But Richard on reflection I may be wrong. These guys belong to a “club” of likeminded individuals who have nothing good to say about israel. Perhaps the cowardice stems from the fact that were they to leave the club by saying something truly individualistic and perceptive, that they may find themselves beyond the pale and that they don’t have the guts to make the leap.

  3. This is classic British arrogance toward Jews. They want Jews to keep their mouths shut and run along. This has been the norm for centuries. To be sure, many people do not agree with this attitude, but much of the elite ruling class does.

  4. As a Christian, I suppose my views are biased;especially as I am English. But, for What it’s worth I’ll side with Israel every time against arabs and especially those who presume to live in the land of palestine. They are not wanted and certainly not needed. It’s fotrtunate I have no power because the socalled Israel palestinian question would be settled very quickly.

    • John, \what do you think of the settlements that the Governement of Israel built over Bethleem’s land in violation of international law? And what do you think of the Wall built directly around the houses of the Holy City, asphyxiating its economy?

      • Ah nat, there you are, one member of the progressive brigade above made homophobic insinuations about other contributors to this site. I seem to remember that this would usually draw your whole hearted condemnation. But not today. Moral indignation only when it serves to bolster you own sense of righteousness over the most ‘pressing issue of our time’? (y’know, Jews behaving badly n stuff). Such a shallow hypocrite.

  5. Deborah Orr proved two things with her comment on the prisoner swap:

    *That she is an idiot

    *That she is an anti-Semite.

    Only an idiotic anti-Semite could come to the conclusion that the Jews released 1027 Arabs, many of them with Jewish civilian blood on their hands, for one Jewish soldier out of an arrogant sense of the superior value of Jewish life over Arab life. As if the Israelis said to the Palestinians, “We don’t think a one-on-one prisoner swap is appropriate; we’ll give you over a thousand.”

    Orr’s joke of an “apology” simply compounded her earlier anti-Semitic idiocy, but the Guardian’s lack of censure of Orr and they way it swept the issue under the carpet was even more troubling. I doubt Orr was even reprimanded by the editors and, naturally, she is still happily posting her shallow articles at CIF.

  6. Actually, it’s most commonly the case that people like the good stewards of this hate site who equate Israel with the Jewish people. Also folks like Netanyahu are pretty keen to claim to speak for the Jewish people. In fact, so keen are you to speak for the Jewish people, that you’ll even criticise those Jews who don’t toe the party line, calling them all manner of nasty names. So by your own reasoning, as I have often pointed out in fact, you are anti-Semites. Disgusting really.

    • No one here speaks for the Jewish people.
      Bibi most certainly doesn’t. He does not speak for me!
      Can you give us examples that people in this site speak for the Jewish people?

      I don’t think anyone can speak for the Jewish people.
      It’s not for nothing that the saying goes “2 Jews in a room 3 opinions”.
      Had you have Jewish friends you’d know that.
      Hell we can hardly agree on festive recipees, you want us to agree on National matters?
      And be national i mean regarding the Jewish nation.
      Now what does it mean to you Sanity?

  7. Richard:
    “He’s concerned the door will soon be closed on the possibility of a two-state solution and that, eventually, Israel will either cease to be Jewish and democratic or will become an apartheid state.”

    This may well be true and could end up becoming a sad reality, but why does he use the word cowardice?

  8. Firstly, I want to thank Richard for finally dispelling the myth of “THE Jewish People”. It’s nice to see a pro-Israel writer finally acknowledge this.

    Secondly, whilst I don’t agree that the two-state solution died when “the Arabs” rejected having an imperial power turn over their land to European immigrants, it is nice to see a pro-Israel author acknowledge that the two-state solution is dead. So it would be nice to see Richard write about focusing on a two-state solution.

    Thirdly, it would be nice to see Richard explain what he means when he says “the Arabs” rejected their dispossession. Which Arabs? All Arabs? The Arab collective? He chastises people for holding all “the Jewish people” responsible for “this looming disaster” – but then precedes to hold all the “the Arabs” responsible for killing the two-state solution at a time when Israel didn’t even exist. Hypocrisy?

  9. Yes, it all went a bit quiet in Oborne’s corner after that spectacularly unrevealing film about the “Israel lobby”.