In the context of the Guardian’s coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the word “rightwinger” is essentially meaningless, as it is often merely a pejorative meant to signify views their contributors personally find distasteful. Interestingly, even Nick Watt, Guardian chief political correspondent acknowledged that “quite often on the left the term rightwing is just used to mean ‘bad’”.
Of course, most Guardian editors and correspondents characterize Israeli politicians such as Binyamin Netanyahu, Naftali Bennet and Avigdor Lieberman as “right-wing” – or even, in the case of Bennet and Lieberman, “far-right“.
However, even self-identified left-wing journalist Ben-Dror Yemini was recently described by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent as “rightwing”. Yemini’s “rightwing” sin seems to be that he takes the delegitimization campaign against Israel – an industry which the Guardian is heavily invested in – very seriously.
Yet, tellingly, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas – and other leaders within the Fatah movement who praise suicide bombers – are sometimes described as “moderate”, and rarely if ever characterized as “rightwing”.
Terrorists from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah are typically described in the Guardian as “militants“.
So, how then should they characterize supporters of these two “militant” groups?
Enter Jeremy Corbyn MP, who was the focus of this June 15th Guardian article:
Corbyn is a Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) Patron and an obsessively anti-Israel campaigner who participated in a meeting organized by the openly pro-Hamas group MEMO, and has actually spoken out (at a Stop the War Coalition meeting) in defense of Hamas.
“The idea that an organisation that is dedicated towards the good of the Palestinian people, and bringing about long-term peace and social justice and political justice in the whole region, should be labelled as a terrorist organisation by the British government, is really a big, big historical mistake.”
- Corbyn hosted an event organized by PSC in the British House of Commons with Mousa Abu Maria, an activist with ties to the terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
- Corbyn was a guest speaker at an event hosted by Palestine Return Centre, a British group reportedly associated with Hamas.
As Sam Westrop has argued, though Corbyn fancies himself a human rights activist, his support for reactionary terror groups reveals that his “putative commitment to human rights is nothing more than a façade – one that hides a far more sinister support for ideological forces with a sworn aversion to peace”.
Labeling Corbyn a ‘leftwinger’ represents a rhetorical obfuscation – an ideological inversion which serves to hide his well-documented record of supporting extremists.
- An open letter to Jeremy Corbyn (Left Foot Forward)