Why does the Guardian portray Hamas as a victim of Israeli aggression?

“Our narrative has gained the upper hand in the media” – Hamas deputy political leader Ismail Haniyeh

As Jews in the UK and across the world were welcoming in the new year on Wednesday evening, the Guardian Group published yet another official editorial reminding readers which party was to blame for the 50 day war between Israel and Hamas.

Whilst nobody familiar with the political leanings of the media group would be surprised that they judged the Jewish state guilty, their September 24th polemic (The Guardian view on the human, economic and political costs of the Gaza war) is noteworthy as a reminder that their top editors in London believe that even the most extreme elements within Palestinian society aren’t responsible for their actions.

The Guardian editorial parrots Hamas talking points in claiming that the movement was strengthened by the war; sows doubt over Hamas culpability for the murder of three Israeli teens, despite a claim of responsibility from one of their leaders as well as an admission by the cell’s ringleader that Hamasniks in Gaza funded the “operation”; falsely characterizes Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli cities as a “response” to Israeli aggression; and challenges “Israel’s reasons for going to war“, completely erasing the history of the conflict.

In response to their claim of Israeli responsibility for the start of hostilities, it’s notable that, even the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent acknowledged that Netanyahu “had shown a marked reluctance to be drawn into a military operation” in the first place, and that Hamas rejected a July 15th ceasefire initiated by Egypt (accepted by Israel) which would have prevented the IDF ground invasion as well as roughly 90% of the total fatalities in the war.  (Remarkably, this July 15th proposal was essentially the same terms as the ceasefire that was accepted by Hamas on Aug 26th.)

So, two important questions need answering:

What are the Guardian’s reasons for portraying Hamas as victims of Israeli aggression? 

What was Hamas’s reasons for going to war with Israel?

The answer to both questions takes us back to former AP correspondent Matti Friedman’s analysis in Tablet Magazine.

First, the Guardian’s framing:

The Israel story is framed in the same terms that have been in use since the early 1990s—the quest for a “two-state solution.” It is accepted that the conflict is “Israeli-Palestinian,” meaning that it is a conflict taking place on land that Israel controls—0.2 percent of the Arab world—in which Jews are a majority and Arabs a minority. The conflict is more accurately described as “Israel-Arab,” or “Jewish-Arab”—that is, a conflict between the 6 million Jews of Israel and 300 million Arabs in surrounding countries. (Perhaps “Israel-Muslim” would be more accurate, to take into account the enmity of non-Arab states like Iran and Turkey, and, more broadly, 1 billion Muslims worldwide.) This is the conflict that has been playing out in different forms for a century, before Israel existed, before Israel captured the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, and before the term “Palestinian” was in use.

The “Israeli-Palestinian” framing allows the Jews, a tiny minority in the Middle East, to be depicted as the stronger party.

Second, Hamas’s reasons for going to war:

A knowledgeable observer of the Middle East cannot avoid the impression that the region is a volcano and that the lava is radical Islam, an ideology whose various incarnations are now shaping this part of the world. Israel is a tiny village on the slopes of the volcano. Hamas is the local representative of radical Islam and is openly dedicated to the eradication of the Jewish minority enclave in Israel, just as Hezbollah is the dominant representative of radical Islam in Lebanon, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and so forth.

Understanding what happened in Gaza this summer means understanding Hezbollah in Lebanon, the rise of the Sunni jihadis in Syria and Iraq, and the long tentacles of Iran. It requires figuring out why countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia now see themselves as closer to Israel than to Hamas. Above all, it requires us to understand what is clear to nearly everyone in the Middle East: The ascendant force in our part of the world is not democracy or modernity. It is rather an empowered strain of Islam that assumes different and sometimes conflicting forms, and that is willing to employ extreme violence in a quest to unite the region under its control and confront the West. Those who grasp this fact will be able to look around and connect the dots.

This represents a morally intuitive and historically accurate way to explain the ‘root cause’ of the summer war that Guardian journalists and editors will never provide, which explains why scores of Guardian readers will continue to feel sympathy for Hamas, impute the worst motives to the Jewish state, and never, ever be able to assess the region soberly, objectively and accurately.

16 replies »

  1. This editorial got short shrift from the majority of the below-the-line posters and after only 186 comments, the Guardian moderators shut it down, presumably to avoid even more criticism. Comment is free- but only as long as the moderators permit it.

  2. “What are the Guardian’s reasons for portraying Hamas as victims of Israeli aggression? ”

    We know the reasons but do we know the motives behind them?

  3. It is historically accurate that Hamas started firing rockets at Israel and not the other way around. So, Hamas initiated the fighting. Since that’s the case, I want to ask the Guardian editors under what scenario exactly could Hamas ever lose a war, i.e., how would Hamas not be strengthened under this scenario? Is that possible under the rules of Guardianthink?
    My feeling is that the Guardian editors see Hamas as strengthened in any and all circumstances, the result of one having one’s head stuck so far up one’s own ass and thinking you’re smelling roses.

  4. The Guardian has made a ‘Series’ of ‘The Guardian view on ….’. Having read a few, it is clear to me that the Guardian is feeling that it has moved out onto a precarious limb and is trying to persuade the reader that it is nowhere near as radical extreme delusional morally inverted left wing as it actually is. The ‘Guardian View’ articles/posts provide a much more rational view of the world than the majority of posts that they enthusiastically host.

    I stress ‘more rational’. I feel that the Guardian will only return to ‘rational’ when the whole top echelon of decision makers in the Guardian organisation, (media group, newspaper and perhaps other holdings), are replaced with the kind of left wingers who would subscribe to the Euston Manifesto.

  5. Why? Perhaps because you continue to illegally build on Palestinian Sovereign territory.

    Oh yes, forgot. The current ‘border’ of Israel is never intended to be the permanent border of ‘Greater Israel’.

    While those same people gradually destroy Europe they manipulate the goyim into using the accumulated military might of Europe in pathing out a state which was decided upon round conference tables in the late 19th century.

    As a Native European I hope for the day that Europe unites with Iran, Syria and all Arabs in leaving each other be and for us Europeans not be used in for the interest of a group who have no loyalty to us…

    • Steven, AKA Captain Fruit-loops, I’ve told you before that you need to wear the special tin foil hat that protects against goyim-controlling mind rays! It’s on its way in the mail but until then DON’T leave the underground bunker no matter what! The Jews are airborne!

    • “us Europeans not be used in for the interest of a group who have no loyalty to us…”

      Now where did I hear this before? mmm…

      Sieg Heils Herr Steven!
      Or shall I call you Herr Flick…

  6. Cultural and ethical relativization at hits best, all the time, 24/7.
    The good that will come out of these truths is that the Guardian clearly marks a space for itself. It will be held accountable as the Islamists march into years of hell across many battlefields. Similar to Steven Salaita we have a Left taking clear position’s in regards to the action of Islamofascism. This will come back to haunt them.
    As Edward Snowden is haunted in a nationalistic KGB driven Russia. He simply could not take living in the USA anymore. Russia seemed like the more just and pluralistic deal to him.