Fisking a Guardian claim that Bibi believes in “Israeli exceptionalism”.

Nicholas Blincoe’s bio at the Guardian notes that he is an author, critic, screenwriter and former advisor to Nick Clegg – who “divides his time between the UK and Palestine”.  Naturally, his time in Palestine is devoted to anti-Israel activism, as he is an enthusiastic supporter of BDS and has written a book sympathetic to the terrorist-abetting International Solidarity Movement – which he risibly suggested is a non-violent group.

His other observations about the region include a claim that Christians are leaving Bethlehem due to Jewish persecution, and that the mission of Israeli archeology is “to erase the traces of non-Jewish civilizations.”

He also once claimed, at Comment is Free’, that the Har Homa neighborhood (in Jerusalem) is in fact located in Bethlehem.

Blincoe has even praised the writing of a neo-Nazi style racist named Gilad Atzmon. 

Additionally, some of his Tweets include even more fanciful claims:

Recently, he managed to criticize Israel in the context of Russia’s military aggression in Crimea, suggesting the existence of unnamed Israelis who (he claims) support Russia’s military’s actions.

There was also this, complaining of Labour’s historic support for Israel’s existence:

Then, there was this bizarre accusation that Israelis steal land from Palestinians to help prevent the country from going into a recession.

Here, he repeats a lie advanced at Mondoweiss, definitively refuted by Elder of Ziyon, that Israeli forces viciously attacked innocent Palestinian footballers – an assault, it is claimed, which included firing at the athlete’s feet in order to end their athletic careers.

Here, he can be seen legitimizing a comparison between Israeli occupation of the West Bank and US slavery.

So, with such a tortured relationship with the truth, our Guardian Spin detector was set to maximum when reading his March 14 essay (Cameron at the Knesset: helping to burst the bubble of Israeli politics?) at ‘Comment is Free’ on David Cameron’s speech before the Israeli Knesset.

After reflecting on a few relatively minor details of Cameron’s address, he pivoted to his primary argument: Israelis are a stiff-necked, arrogant people who don’t care much what others think about their delusional beliefs.

If Cameron learned anything from his visit, it ought to be that Israelis are fully engaged in arguing with other Israelis; the rest of the world does not get a look in. Israel’s political class exists inside a bubble in which only their views matter, no matter how detached from reality they might be.

These are small points to take from a long speech, true. But debates around Israel have tended to emphasise Israeli exceptionalism. The idea that Israel can create its own reality flows naturally from the idea that this is a young country, founded upon religious and/or revolutionary zeal less than 70 years ago. Yet the longer that Israel is allowed to operate by its own, different rules, the less chance for peace in a region and a world of equals, trading openly and negotiating freely.

He then made a specific charge about Netanyahu that we decided was worth investigating: 

Twenty-five years ago, Netanyahu wrote a book for the US market entitled A Place Among the Nations, which argued that it was time Israel was welcomed into the international fold. It seems a laudable thesis, but the argument was disingenuous. Netanyahu actually argued that Israel’s exceptionalism – its right to act according to its own principles rather than international norms – was the thing that the world should learn to love and embrace.

First, a Google Books search of the text in ‘A Place Among the Nations‘ does not turn up any references to the term “Israeli exceptionalism”, “exceptionalism” or “exception”.  Moreover, in several reviews of the book we read (some which were decidedly hostile to the Likud leader), not one echoed Blincoe’s claim that Bibi expressed a belief that Israel should not have to act according to “international norms”. 

Also, here’s a passage suggesting that Bibi complained that Israel is judged unfairly by the international community, and that he’d prefer it if Israel WAS judged (fairly), according to “international norms”, as you can see in this passage on page 170 – again, from a text search in Google Books:

normsIt’s possible Blincoe’s claim rests on a misinterpretation of the following passage, from page 376:

religious rightHowever, the necessary context relates to the fact that, as other sources demonstrated, Bibi’s not outlining his own views, but laying out (and clearly criticizing) the religious right view.  The passages in this chapter included criticism both of the far right and far left – positioning himself as representing the centre, against two-states (at the time that wasn’t right-wing), but also opposed to annexation and other policies likely to alienate the ‘international community’.

Here’s the full passage:

A mirror image of this [left-wing] messianism is found on the religious right, where it is believed that the act of settling the land is in and of itself sufficient to earn divine providence and an end to the country’s woes. If Israel were merely to hang tough and erect more settlements, it could dispense with world opinion and international pressures.

It’s unclear if Blincoe actually read ‘A Place Among the Nations’, but he certainly has mischaracterized Netanyahu’s argument, as there seems to be no evidence that he ever used the term “Israeli exceptionalism”, or a similar term, nor argued that Israel has the “right to act according to its own principles rather than international norms.

Unless he can produce a quote from Bibi’s book we weren’t able to locate, it certainly looks as if Blincoe’s brand of pro-Palestinian politics includes smearing the Israel’s leaders with fabricated evidence in service of predictable anti-Zionist conclusions.

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32 replies »

  1. Blincoe belongs to the school of division of labour where the poor Palestinians have to do all that heavy whining while Israelis get the blame.

    • To write that ISM is a “terror abetting” group is grotesque. Their action is based on non-violence. Their ideas may be weird and controversial but they bear no arms.

      Me think the author of this article has had too much Purim wine before writing this article… And maybe a few others.

  2. Blincoe’s blinkered concept of “international norms” is entirely based on what HE considers normal : Israel should not enjoy the rights ofthat other nations are entitled to enjoy (and we should all accept that) , because having those rights interferes with his own personal agenda- the destruction of the Jewish State.

    And the Guardian is the perfect forum to express this trash, because that is what it(many of its readers) desire.

    • No other nation is allowed to occupy the territory of the state next door and to build illegal settlements in it.

      • Ever hear of a place called Mexico? Besides that the “nation” of “Palestine” did not exist before 1967 and the “state” of “Palestine” never has.

      • Israel has no settlements in Jordan, Egypt or Lebanon. But China has settlements in Tibet to name but one example.

  3. Superb rebuttal of Blincoe’s article, and a well-researched exposure of his history of bigotry. Thanks. It is important to know the enemy and his motivations.

  4. The UK seems to spawn more anti-Israel mendacity than another country in the western world. While the press in countries like Sweden may be just as bad, the use of the world’s most internationalized language to spread their propaganda makes the British press a more insidious foe.

      • That could be Itsik however, as I stated the British press uses the most internationalized language in the world to spew its lies. Having the #2 and #3 languages do the same thing is very bad as well, just not as much.

        It’s actually the trifecta of mendacity.

        I should add that I earn a partial living teaching English online. The vast majority of my students, probably more than 95%, are French and the second largest group is Spanish, since I’m fluent in both those languages. During introductions, I always inform new students that I live in Israel. In over 8 years of teaching, I’ve only had 4 adverse reactions.

        • That’s good to hear Michael.
          I would advise you to follow, if you have the time of course, some of the Spanish and French media coverage.
          I’d like to remind who it was that started the 2nd Intifada (and no, it was not Sharon).
          Yes, it was France2 as you might suspect, with their sloppy (to put it mildly) coverage of Al Doura incident.

          To this day they refuse to acknowledge their responsability to the violence caused by their ill coverage of that day using a Palestinian politicaly engaged camera man’s biased cover of a cooked story.

  5. I don’t know if he still is but he, used to be or still, is married to Leila Sansour a Palestinian (born in Moscow) film maker

  6. You have to bear in mind he is married to the Bethlehemite Leila Sansour, so a tendency to follow the Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian, but anti-Jewish, national/nationalist narrative is all but inevitable.

  7. no matter how detached from reality they might be.

    Guardian writers, contributors, posters, really should put some distance between that expression and themselves.

  8. Blincoe’s tweets there are just silly.

    Some Israeli commentators see link with West Bank, praise Putin.

    OK. And some UK commentators want to bring back hanging for double parking. Some UK commentators have a clear bias against Israel etc.

    What’s his point?

    • Pretz, “silly ” is not the word I would use. His whole ideoloical stance indicates that his mind processes is infected with an anti-Israel virus. It’s a disease by someone to keep connecting Jews with every problem in the world.

  9. His claim that the Labour party was pro-Israel in 1948 is directly contrary to the truth. In the 1945 election campaign, Labour had a pro-Zionist platform. But when they got into power they were very harsh on the Jews, preventing Jewish refugees/survivors of the Holocaust from coming into Israel. The refugee boat Exodus was stopped by the Labour govt which took the passengers off and sent them —- to Germany!!!!

    • Eli,
      Labour also signed handing over much of the high ground militery and police compounds to the Arabs, arming the Jordanian legion and refusing to intervene in riots betweeen 1947 -48.
      After 1949 armistice agreement the UK was indeed somewhat more pro Israel yet used the Israelis as in the Suez crisis etc.

      Many of the claims made by Blincoe on the above post are beyond te pale.
      They are lies, which is beyond the expected level of Bias one would expect from someone married to a Palestinian – let alone a Christian lady.

      But just like Zoabi, she needs to push to pretend the Jews are the enemy, thinking that should the Jews leave she’d be better off.

      Fool is what fool does.

  10. Unless he can produce a quote from Bibi’s book we weren’t able to locate

    Of course this is where it would be useful to challenge him BTL on his own article.
    Or be able to, at least.

  11. As if the international norms are something worth following. Their standards are still very low.

  12. Blincoe thinks it’s all the Guardian cif where whatever you say about Israel’s behaviour to the Palestinians is acceptable because any rebuttal that mentions Palestinians is almost automatically deleted. This is how you create a lying reality.

  13. Blincoe is the same know-nothing cretin who visiting Netanya thought that he is in Tel-Aviv. Probably he learnt geography in the same class with Harriett. But taking into account the Guardian’ journalistic requirements his mistake is understandable.

  14. My guess would be that Blincoe got his so-called evidence from some secondary source, an Israel bashing book written by a fellow traveler, as was the case in Rashid Khalidi’s falsification of the history behind the writing of Leon Uris’ “Exodus.”