Independent

Indy contributor Mira Bar-Hillel accuses British Jews of bombing Gaza


“Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” represents an example of modern day antisemitism, according to the EUMC Working Definition, a perfect example of what’s known as the new antisemitism, as it evokes the classic Judeophobic narrative ‘accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for the alleged wrongdoing committed by a single Jew or Jewish group’. 

To boot, the following Tweet by Indy contributor Mira Bar-Hillel:

Then there was this response:

We should point out (in the context of Bar-Hillel’s accusation to  that “you” bombed women and children) that Mr. Newmark is a British Jew and not an Israeli. 

To provide a little context, Ms. Bar-Hillel’s polemical history at the Indy has included the following:

  • She strongly suggested that Jews (per the Livingstone Formulation) often smear people unfairly with the charge of antisemitism to “gag into submission any critic of Israel”.
  • She evoked Nazi Germany in characterizing Israeli racism and IDF military actions in Gaza.
  • She admitted to being prejudiced against Jews.

Regarding her acknowledgement of being prejudiced against Jews, here’s the full quote 

The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles ) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes.”

Yet, despite Ms. Bar-Hillel’s concern that “most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash”, she continues to be published by the Independent, a paper which just last year wrote a spirited editorial claiming that “neither Israel nor the broader Jewish community is demonised by this newspaper”.

Sorry, but when, as an editor for a major UK daily, you make the decision to license a commentator who admits to being prejudiced against Jews – and one who continues to advance Judeophobic calumnies on your op-ed pages – your righteous indignation over charges of antisemitism ring a little hollow.  

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31 replies »

  1. Slight problem with calling her a clear antisemite – she is Jewish (as am I). Also, her point on collective responsibility was made in relation to unconditional support of all actions taken by IDF and Israeli government, which is debatable (but not outrageous).

    • I guess it is very strange when Israelis support actions to end rockets fired and end to terror tunnles who Hamas built under Israeli kibutizm and moshavim near the boreder with Gazv.
      We Israelis are really strange . I guess she prefer to see us all dead as long as her precious friends in gaza will be unharmed.

    • “Slight problem with calling her a clear anti-Semite – she is Jewish (as am I).”
      You may be Jewish, but you’re not very bright.

      • I’ve heard the phrase “do not feed the trolls” before, but it’s just so tempting! Would be great if you could address the points I made rather than an infantile quip? Cheers Jeff.

  2. Just heard Mira Bar-Hillel on the Today programme and would like to congratulate her as a lone voice of “not in my name”. I am a gentile who values life of all persuasions!

  3. I’m amazed by how much spite there is in these comments, even responding to very tame points. Obviously am aware that this site exists to monitor CiF – but absolutely no rational debates are possible here, which is a shame, as I’m presuming Adam and Hadar would prefer intelligent debates rather than petty childish [and also pretty crap] insults.

    @Fritz – I don’t think of myself as an anti-semite, unless by criticising any Israeli actions then I’m also criticising all Jews? But then, aren’t we also arguing that Jews shouldn’t be inexplicably linked to Israel – and doing so is a sign of lazy anti-semitism?

    Before I get another lazy quip, I have several close friends in the IDF, so am not exactly coming to this debate from a singularly pro-Palestinian point of view.

    • If you want to engage in intelligent debates than start by doing so. saying you support her as a jew and so does your friends is not an intelligent debate.

      • Could you start with engaging me over my response to Fritz? You’re essentially covering your ears and sticking your tongue out at the moment. I think knowing the social context of the person you’re debating with is quite important – not in a “I have loads of black friends way” but to show what element of the social spectrum they are part of. Presumably it would change your opinion of me and my opinions if you knew I was a Jew rather than a Muslim, or had friends in the IDF or Hamas.

        • “Presumably it would change your opinion of me and my opinions if you knew I was a Jew rather than a Muslim, or had friends in the IDF or Hamas”

          Jonny why should it change the perception of you and your opinions whether you are Jewish or not and whether you have friends in the IDF or have no friends at all?
          Surely you would agree that your opinions are either correct or not, irrespective of being Jewish or having friends?

          • Because Jonny is a victim. Or he wants to be a victim. Why can’t pasty white Euro/Americans be the victim for once? That’s what Jonny is expressing.

            Why indeed.

        • I don’t care if you’re Jewish. I don’t care that Bar Hillel is Jewish. If you find justification in the constant barrage of rockets, mortars, and missiles into Israeli cities, then you are a historical illiterate. Seriously. Not trying to insult you. Israel has a right to exist. Israel has offered peace multiple times. Israel has had her citizens kidnapped and murdered at the hands of nutjob extremists who feel they are justified by claiming Israel is an illegal entity. If you support these missile attacks, then you support that claim which is patently false. So, Jonny, that’s how I see it, and the chances are huge that everything I wrote ain’t gonna mean shit to a straight shooter such as yourself. Okay, Cowboy?

          • The responses tell a story – that there isn’t even a willingness to engage on either side. @koufaxmitzvah – why would I want to be the victim? What a bizarre way to think. Again, I think some context of who you’re debating with is useful, something that the internet always lacks.

            Let me try and give a brief summary of where I stand. You can rip apart each point individually if you want but I’d prefer that to personal and childish name calling, that won’t do anyone any favours.

            – I believe that Hamas intentionally wage guerrilla warfare and operate out of densely populated areas to maximise damage and causalities from any Israeli response. This is something I disagree with strongly – Hamas must in some way share the blame for many civilian deaths.

            – I also believe that Hamas are willing to sacrifice civilians where necessary to promote their strategic military aims. This is also something I find abhorrent.

            – I believe that rocket attacks on civilians from Hamas and its operatives are the key obstruction to a ceasefire. I think the international community should be more aware of this than currently.

            – I think that the blockade on Gaza is specifically to prevent rocket attacks, and is therefore broadly justifiable under international law

            – I believe that the IDF consider any civilian building or area a military target if there are militants operating in or near it. I strongly disagree with this approach. It is the equivalent to levelling a tower block because an Al Qaida operative lives within it.

            – I believe that the IDF make a genuine effort to minimise civilian casualties and offer warnings as much as humanly possible. This is particularly important to remember when militants and their supporters actively encourage young children and their friends to “protect” targets by crowding around it – in some cases after a specific warning has been given by the IDF.

            – If it is proven beyond doubt that the IDF use flechette, cluster or white phosphorous bombs, this is not acceptable in any circumstances – particularly in built up areas.

            – I believe that until rocket attacks on Israel can be completely stopped, Israel has a sovereign right to protect itself, but not to the extent of attacking civilian infrastructure. There must be another option than shelling and airstrikes, (contentiously I concede) even if it results in a greater risk to members of the IDF.

            Please let me know your thoughts on these points – I am genuinely interested to hear where people here stand.

            Cheers.

            • Jonny, everything you posted here makes sense. to me. But shouldn’t you give a war incident at least 24 hours to explain itself? If you get caught up in the Death Toll, or by the Images of Death paraded in front of cameras for intenational consumption, then you’re rash decisions. I believe Israel has targeted the civilian infrastructure of hospitals and schools when necessary because of the rockets being shot from there. It’s pretty obvious to me this is happening, and I’m on the sidelines, like you, reading the same reports and watching the same footage as you. I don’t think we’re on separate pages.

            • I believe that the IDF consider any civilian building or area a military target if there are militants operating in or near it. I strongly disagree with this approach. It is the equivalent to levelling a tower block because an Al Qaida operative lives within it.

              So if Hamas shot rockets or anti tank rockets from a school yard Israel should do nothning about it?

              I believe that until rocket attacks on Israel can be completely stopped, Israel has a sovereign right to protect itself, but not to the extent of attacking civilian infrastructure. There must be another option than shelling and airstrikes, (contentiously I concede) even if it results in a greater risk to members of the IDF.

              i would like your idea of how so stop those rockets attacks?
              YOU are asking us Israelis to sacrifice our son lives in order to prevent the death of civialians which Hamas stopped from leaving the area idf said will be attacked?
              I can give you the answer of I think every parent who have a soldier or 2 or 3 fighting in Gaza.
              The answer is no , we don;t agree with it. would you? would you prefer to see your son get killed in order that civilians which are use by Hamas won;t?

              • Obviously the first thing to say is that Israel is in an appalling position – if they don’t stop rocket fire from Hamas then the government looks weak and puts its citizens in danger. If it returns fire it will kill civilians.

                On your point here “So if Hamas shot rockets or anti tank rockets from a school yard Israel should do nothning about it?”

                I think the upper hand that Israel (and most Israelis) have is the value that they put on human life – the Gilad Shalit trade being one obvious example. When world support is so important to the safety and legitimacy of Israel, I personally think that the Israeli government have to realise that preventable civilian deaths are going to be used against it and will be incredibly damaging in the long term.

                On your point of ” would you prefer to see your son get killed in order that civilians which are use by Hamas won;t?” – I wouldn’t want my son or daughter to be put in danger of death from Hamas, but equally I wouldn’t want civilian blood on my conscience. Whether the civilians are “used” by Hamas or not is irrelevant – they’re civilians.

                A side point – If any civilians aid Hamas, for example, by storing weapons or transporting operatives in ambulances (as the IDF has reported), then they are no longer civilians. But if they are living in an area that also contains Hamas operatives, they are still civilians and should not be executed because it’s easier than sending in surgical ground troops. Israel is better than that.

                • I wouldn’t want my son or daughter to be put in danger of death from Hamas, but equally I wouldn’t want civilian blood on my conscience.

                  YOu didn;t really answer me. many soldeirs were killed as a result of Israel wanting to prvent killing civilians. they informed the people of Sajahia to leave few day before the assult begun. It gave Hamas the opportunity to get ready and ambush Israeli soldeirs. Few soldiers were killed entering a house suspected of being booby-trapped in order to avoid killing innocetns civilinas.They could have bombed it from the air.
                  Just few of the examples of the many more there are. Sending female suicde. Sending suicde bomber disgued as an old man. etc etc etc
                  So again I’ll to ask you to be honest would you prefer the life of someone from Gaza over the life of your son?

        • I don;t care if you have friends in the Israeli goverement and if you are an Israeli . The point is your posts which we answer to not who are your friends;.

  4. @koufaxmitzvah – agreed, think what you say makes complete sense. I read somewhere that judging a song while you’re listening to it is like judging a wine while you’re drunk. Taking this analogy, as you’ve said, moral judgements are impossible to make during a war.