The Guardian jumps the shark – compares nuns to suicide bombers

Here are the opening passages from a Guardian article by Giles Fraser published on June 6th.

Michael Gove, the education secretary, is apparently at war with Theresa May, the home secretary, over religious extremism. Gove thinks that May deals only with its consequences – ie, violence – and not with its root cause. For Gove, the May approach is some endless and fruitless game of whack-a-mole, just dealing with the consequences of religious extremism and not its ideological origins. He wants to drain the swamp and tackle the celebration of extremism long before it issues in violence. His target is Birmingham schools. But why not the Royal Opera House?

Opera, like religion, is obsessed with violence, often against women. Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des Carmelites – currently on a short run and broadcast live from the Royal Opera House tonight on Radio 3 – tells the story of a group of nuns during the French Revolution. Their convent is overrun by revolutionaries and desecrated. And the nuns are forced to choose between martyrdom and faith. By the end, all 16 sisters have been guillotined, defiantly singing the Salve Regina on their way to having their heads removed. The whole thing is beautifully presented, with minimal staging and extraordinary musical sensitivity. And the fact that Simon Rattle is wielding the baton will guarantee to pack in the genteel, well-heeled audience.

Keep the self-sacrificing nuns clearly in mind when you read the continuation of Fraser’s tale:

But I wonder if they would have turned up to an opera about Islamic martyrdom? Or been so enthusiastic in their applause if 16 shahida had chosen a violent death over conformity to their new and unsympathetic political/social norm? I bet there would have been walkouts. And I very much doubt that Rolex would have been a sponsor. 

Fraser adds:

Yet nobody complained that Christian martyrdom propaganda was being staged at one of our elite cultural institutions.

And, he then asks:

But isn’t this also a version of Gove’s religious extremism, too?

No, it is not!  

The nuns in the story are willing to sacrifice their own lives rather than defy the principles of their religious faith, while the Islamic shahida (suicide bombers) chose to take their own lives during the course of murdering as many innocent men, women and children as possible – in the name of their religious faith.

While you may want to read the rest of his meditation on martyrdom – as it includes another gem of moral equivalence – we’d like to know if it’s even possible that such a profoundly obvious moral distinction (between nuns and suicide bombers) can really elude the reasoning of those Guardian readers who share Fraser’s ideological persuasion.

Sometimes it feels as if the Guardian’s sole purpose is to sow moral confusion, and make the sensible majority doubt their own political sobriety. Indeed, we can think of no other explanation for their consistent pattern of running interference for the most reprehensible ideologies in the world by blurring the line between victim and victimizer – thus undermining the West’s natural instinct to resist the onslaught of homicidal and decidedly reactionary extremists.

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43 replies »

  1. This is what is known as a fallacious argument.
    It’s a crime to stab someone. Surgeons carrying out operations use knives to create incisions. Ergo all surgeons are criminals.

  2. Fraser is a disgrace to the Anglican Community which he is supposed to represent as a Canon of the Church.
    I wonder why Archbishop Justin does not discipline this person who brings ridicule onto the Church of England.
    Whatever happened to ‘Bell, Book, and Candle’?

  3. The King David Hotel bombing was an attack carried out on Monday July 22, 1946 by the militant right-wing Zionist underground organization, the Irgun, on the British administrative headquarters for Palestine, which was housed in the southern wing[1] of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.[2][3][4] 91 people of various nationalities were killed and 46 were injured.[5]

    The hotel was the site of the central offices of the British Mandatory authorities of Palestine, principally the Secretariat of the Government of Palestine and the Headquarters of the British Forces in Palestine and Transjordan.[5][6] The attack initially had the approval of the Haganah (the principal Jewish paramilitary group in Palestine). It was conceived as a response to Operation Agatha (a series of widespread raids, including one on the Jewish Agency, conducted by the British authorities in the British Mandate of Palestine) and was the deadliest directed at the British during the Mandate era (1920–1948).[5][6] The explosion caused more casualties than any subsequent bombing carried out in the Arab-Israeli conflict.[7]

    The Irgun planted a bomb in the basement of the main building of the hotel, whose southern wing[8]housed the Mandate Secretariat and a few offices of the British military headquarters. Warnings were sent by telephone, including one to the hotel’s own switchboard, which the hotel staff decided to ignore, but none directly to the British authorities.[6] A possible reason why the warning was ignored was that hoax bomb warnings were rife at the time.[6] From the fact that a bomb search had already been carried out, it appears that a hoax call or tip-off had been received at the hotel earlier that day.[5] Subsequent telephone calls from a concerned Palestine Post staff member and the police caused increasing alarm, and the hotel manager was notified. In the closing minutes before the explosion, he called an unknown British officer, but no evacuation was ordered.[6] The ensuing explosion caused the collapse of the western half of the southern wing of the hotel.[6] Some of the inflicted deaths and injuries occurred in the road outside the hotel and in adjacent buildings.[6] Controversy has arisen over the timing and adequacy of the warnings and the reasons why the hotel was not evacuated.[6]

    • ‘ChickenShit’ enthral me with your erudition.
      What exactly does your post have to do with the subject of the thread?

  4. I guess the Guardian would be OK then with the IDF beheading suspected suicide bombers….. and their whole villages…. just bring back the old guillotine Kosher style !

  5. Gerald are you tht dumb – we are talking terrorists are we not so why should we not talks about the Argun terrorists?

    • “Gerald are you tht dumb – we are talking terrorists are we not so why should we not talks about the Argun terrorists?”

      If you had bothered to read the title you would see it refers to ‘Nuns and suicide bombers’

      And you call me dumb, you illiterate anti-Semitic festering pox scab.

        • ChickenShit copies and pastes from Wikipedia. ChickenShit doesn’t even site the sources. ChickenShit is a mindless, brainless, Israel bashing automaton. ChickenShit’s only point is to say Israel Makes My Head ‘Splode.

  6. Gerald let us not leave these ones out either –
    The Deir Yassin massacre took place on April 9, 1948, when around 120 fighters from the Irgun Zevai Leumi and Lohamei Herut Israel Zionist paramilitary groups attacked Deir Yassin near Jerusalem, a Palestinian Arab village of roughly 600 people. The assault occurred as Jewish militia sought to relieve the blockade of Jerusalem by Palestinian forces during the civil war that preceded the end of British rule in Palestine.[1]

    Dier Yassin massacre 1948 Egyptian commemoration stamp issued in 1965
    Around 107 villagers were killed during and after the battle for the village, including women and children—some were shot, while others died when hand grenades were thrown into their homes.[2] Several villagers were taken prisoner and may have been killed after being paraded through the streets of West Jerusalem, though accounts vary.[3] Four of the attackers died, with around 35 injured.[4] The killings were condemned by the leadership of the Haganah—the Jewish community’s main paramilitary force—and by the area’s two chief rabbis. The Jewish Agency for Israel sent Jordan’s King Abdullah a letter of apology, which he rebuffed.[1]

    Dair yassin Albert Einstien letter condeming the “Terrorists” attack
    The deaths became a pivotal event in the Arab–Israeli conflict for their demographic and military consequences. The narrative was embellished and used by various parties to attack each other—by the Palestinians against Israel; by the Haganah to play down their own role in the affair; and by the Israeli Left to accuse the Irgun and Lehi of violating the Jewish principle of purity of arms, thus blackening Israel’s name around the world.[5] News of the killings sparked terror within the Palestinian community, encouraging them to flee from their towns and villages in the face of Jewish troop advances, and it strengthened the resolve of Arab governments to intervene, which they did five weeks later.[1]

        • Why isn`t this nick blocked as this dumb person constantly equates Jews to nazis.

          • He raises some interesting points: that is the cost of free speech.

            If you propose eradicating free speech, then perhaps you are a Nazi?

            • Other than this is a website and by blocking a Nazi piece of shit doesn’t mean sending that Nazi piece of shit to jail. So minus you misunderstanding the definitions of Free Speech, Irony, and Nazis, you sure said something.

              But I won’t call you an anti-Semite because, y’know, I don’t want you to start crying like the pathetic assmonkey you happen to be.

              • Yet I’ve also a PhD in Political Science and work for an NGO & have worked at the UN. I guess that makes you more informed, especially with your creative naming policy for fellow posters….you must be relieved!

                No wonder people read this blog and think ‘thank goodness it keeps the idiots self-contained’ while the rest of the world goes out and does so good….

                Spanking off with like-minded twerps accomplishes very little. Those that read this blog *for a laugh* know this all too well.

                • You antisemite equate Jews to Nazi which is hate speech and an offense you wouldn`t dare to commit under your real name, coward.

                • You have a PhD in PoliSci, and have worked for the UN, and show up at websites using anonymous monikers such as “Oh, the Irony!” and “I am an ‘arsemonkey’…” ?

                  All I can say is, Oh, the irony, you’re an assmonkey. (But the NGO thing does fit.)

                • I think that says a lot more about your NGO and university than your supposed superiority over others. Love the anonymity of your cowardly bullshit.

                  So tell us, Professor, why is it okay to blow up a pizzeria less than a month after rejecting a peace deal? Because a Jewish man you don’t like decided to take a stroll around the Western Wall?

                  Yes. That’s some NGO you lead. Verrrrrrrrrry impressive.

                • So you have a PhD in political science and you think that freedom of speech means the right to publish your hate mongering on any website? Which academic institution gave you your degree? Maybe the LSE? They have a way selling academic degrees to mass murderers, why shouldn’t they give one to a half-literate idiot too if the price is good…

            • No. He does not raise ‘some interesting points. The Guardian article in question has nothing to do with the Irgun, so the CIFWatch response also has nothing to do with the Irgun. Bringing up an organization disbanded more than 60 years ago that has nothing to do with either article is just an attempt to confuse the issues. All it tells us is that he (and you, assuming you are not him, which is unlikely) has an obsessive hate of Israel and a need to say ‘Israel is worse!’ no matter the context.

    • The moniker you use describes the content of your argument technique very aptly. Well done.

    • An interview with Hazem Nusseibeh, a member of one of Jerusalem’s most prominent Arab families. In 1948 he was an editor of the Palestine Broadcasting Service’s Arabic news.

      In this interview with the BBC he admits that in 1948 he was instructed by Hussein Khalidi, a prominent Palestinian Arab leader, to fabricate claims of atrocities at Deir Yassin in order to encourage Arab regimes to invade the expected Jewish state. He made this damming admission in explaining why the Arabs failed in the 1948 war. He said “this was our biggest mistake”, because Palestinians fled in terror and left the country in huge numbers after hearing the atrocity claims.
      In the video clip Abu Mahmud, who was a Dir Yassin resident in 1948, told the BBC that the villagers protested against the atrocity claims: We said, “There was no rape. But Khalidi said, We have to say this, so the Arab armies will come to liberate Palestine from the Jews.”

  7. 120 terrorists were involved – not sure whether they were willing to die for the cause or were just interested in killing for the cause –
    According to the Haganah, the attack force consisted of about 120 men—80 from the Irgun and 40 from Lehi.[24] They met for briefings on April 8, a few hours before the attack began. Lehi met at the Etz Hayim base, and the Irgun at Givat Shaul. Lapidot writes that the mood at the Irgun meeting was festive. It was the first time a large number of underground fighters had met openly, and the collaboration between the groups increased their sense of solidarity. They chose a password to reflect the mood, “Ahdut Lohemet” (“Fighters’ Solidarity”). This was the phrase that would signal the start of the attack. According to Lapidot, Mordechai Raanan, the Irgun commander in Jerusalem, stressed that women, children, and the elderly must not be harmed, and that the villagers were to be warned by loudspeaker to give them a chance to escape. The road to Ayn Karim would be left open so they could head there.[16]

    • “120 terrorists were involved – not sure whether they were willing to die for the cause or were just interested in killing for the cause –”
      If I gave this statement to 120 people picked at random, the image it would conjure in their heads would be that of Arabs or Islamists, and not for no good reasons.

      • Have you tried 119 members of LEHI? See whether you and they can recognise themselves. Jeff

        • You defend the Palestinian terrorists aka nuns? I wonder how the birthrate is keeping up, by the Hamas nuns, the DFLP nuns, Islamic Djihad nuns or the PFLP nuns.
          It must be parthenogenesis.

          • Fritz you got it wrong – I did not defend anybody – I exposed the terrorists gangs that have caused so much havoc in Palestine over 6 decades. Perhaps your English is not very good. Mind your comments are very difficult to decipher.

            • ChickenShit you write “Perhaps your English is not very good. Mind your comments are very difficult to decipher.”
              Yet you also wrote in your post above, June 8, 2014 @ 3:27 PM “Gerald are you tht dumb – we are talking terrorists are we not so why should we not talks about the Argun terrorists?”

              A well known Advocate, and devout Republican, was clearly thinking of your kind of anti-Semitic fool when he wrote ” It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others and to forget his own.”

                • ChickenShit my reflections on that perception are that you are not only a fool but an anti-Semitic one as well.

        • CS,
          No, I was thinking maybe of people picked at random – normal, intelligent people with common sense. You know, people who read newspapers, watch the news, but are too busy with practical decisions for their own lives to dedicate the time needed – time which you obviously have on your hands – to recreate themselves as slaves of the type of irrational ideological idiocy as you have.

    • In response to the UN resolution, Arabs launched attacks against Jews everywhere in the country and in particular placed the city of Jerusalem under siege. The Jewish population of Jerusalem was quite literally starving. The only road into the city passed through the area of Deir Yassin, and the Arab militiamen in the town were stopping all convoys from passing through.

      Since Israel had yet to be formally proclaimed, the only Jews doing the fighting were members of three poorly-armed militias. The main one was the Hagana, commanded by David Ben Gurion and the socialist Zionist party. There were two smaller ones operating independently under the command of the dissident “revisionist Zionist” movement, the Etsel and the Lehi.

      Poorly-trained irregulars of the two latter militias were ordered to attack Deir Yassin to relieve the siege. They did so in ferocious hand-to-hand fighting, in which some Deir Yassin villagers were killed. The Bash-Israel lobby has always maintained that the villagers were “massacred” in cold blood, despite a distinct lack of evidence.

      Those who participated in the battle claim the villagers were killed when the Jewish militiamen fired into homes from which fire was directed at them. The village was successfully taken and the siege of Jerusalem was lifted. Large numbers of Jewish militiamen had been killed in the house-to-house battle for the village. Approximately 100 Arabs in the village died, a number that was later greatly inflated by anti-Jewish propagandists to 250.

  8. Maybe Fraser is nunophobe, the poor guy,and Al Guardian is a sort of therapy institute for nuts.

  9. Dying for your faith = killing for your faith.

    The Royal Opera is a hotbed of fundamentalists and promotes violence against women.

    The man is a foaming moral-equivalence lunatic. Which is what guarantees him a spot at the BBC and the Guardian

  10. Giles Fraser is soft in the head. There can be no other explanation for writing such risible tripe. I’ve seen him on TV and he does come across as emotionally feeble. You can hear a sort of whine in his voice all the time.

  11. By the way, ANYBODY can run an NGO. Non-Governmental Organization. Doesn’t really mean much, does it?

    Yes, little coward, this is another thread opened to display just how laughably dense and futile you really happen to be.

    • Remember that NGO guy who spent his career bashing Israel while he maintained a collection of Iron Cross artifacts at his home which he chose to display via social media? Man, that guy was a douche.

    • That’s true. I worked for an NGO that was mostly staffed by people either still in college or just about to start college. We were all volunteers.

  12. Dear “ChickenShit and/ or” I am an arsemonkey”,
    I have read your unenlightened responses to the issues raised by the Guardian article. You have imported Deir Yassin, Lehi, Irgun and a host of non sequitur errant rubbish that of course bears no real connection to what this blog has raised. We get it. You want to say “Israeli terrorism” is no better or even worse than “Islamic terrorism”. The even worse point being that Jews should not complain. We get it. Wrong and boring.

    So why do you keep labouring this point? So that Gerald or anyone will start to agree with you? No? Well they don’t agree with you . They have explained why they can’t agree with you. If there’s any truth in the assertion that you hold a PhD in anything, is it not a disgrace to your identity behind the moniker you use to write in such a puerile manner? Is it just your intention to “annoy” just for the sake of it? Read back your answers to yourself: Are you proud of this nonsense? The idiot would answer ” yes”. The honest response however raises deeper questions about the likes of you and the kind of person you are. You need help mate.

  13. After having a go at the nuns, poor Giles is going nuts over Samson and Delilah (in reference to the title: ‘Samson was like a suicide bomber’): ‘Samson’s trip to Gaza, as explained in the book of Judges, is clearly a martyrdom operation. ‘ – I think it works, if you read the aricle as satire, otherwise I would recommend an extended break for the summer (heat getting to him?) to restore his sanity?