Guardian once praised Israeli activist who ‘helps kill Palestinians selling land to Jews’

In 2009, the Guardian published an official editorial titled ‘In Praise of Ezra Nawi’.

Nawi is a Jewish Israeli ‘human rights activist’ with the group Ta’ayush, a “grassroots movement of Arabs and Jews working to break down the walls of racism and segregation”.


Here’s the entire Guardian editorial.

He is a rarity, even among that most endangered of species, the Israeli peace activist. Born in Basra to an Iraqi Jewish family, Ezra Nawi lives on the modest wages he earns as a plumber. As such, he comes from the same background which generates the hardline views in Israel. So he was speaking to his own kind when he told laughing border police who had just demolished Palestinian Bedouin shacks that all they would leave behind was hatred. Not content with the Bedouin shacks, the prosecuting authorities are now trying to demolish Mr Nawi’s life by threatening him with a prolonged stay in prison. His arresting officers claim that the non-violent resister had assaulted them – although the alleged assault was not included in their original statements. The whole incident (barring the alleged assault, of course) was caught on film, but the presiding judge believed the police. The sentencing was delayed on Wednesday because so many supporters turned up in court, some bearing a petition with 15,000 signatures. Mr Nawi is asking a bigger question of his countrymen: who is perpetrating the greater violence? Is it people like him, or is it a state which bulldozes Palestinian shacks while protecting the homes of South Hebron settlers which the rest of the world considers illegal? As Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu trade in the semantics of a settlement freeze, it falls to a humble plumber to focus the world’s attention on the routine brutalities of occupation.

Prior to the editorial, the Guardian had published an op-ed by contributor Neve Gordon which was even effusive in its praise of the “pro-democracy, human rights activist”.

Fast forward to 2016.

Uvda, a respected news magazine on Israel’s Channel 2, just revealed that two Israeli “human rights activists” – including Ezra Nawi – bragged, in an exchange caught on film – that they “entrapped” Palestinians interested in selling land to Jews and subsequently turned them in to the Palestinian Authority.  

Remarkably, they turned these Palestinians in even though they acknowledged – in the video secretly recorded by another NGO – that they likely faced torture or murder by the Palestinian secret police.

Here’s an English translation, from Tablet, of the chilling exchange:

“He’s not the first to call me, he’s maybe the fourth,” Nawi bragged on tape, while speaking of a Palestinian real estate agent who contacted him with offers of land for sale to Israelis. “And right away I send their pictures and their phone numbers to the Palestinian security services.”

Speaking off camera, an unnamed Ad Kan activist asks Nawi what the PA does then.

“They catch these guys and they kill them,” Nawi says.

“Physically kills them?” asks the Ad Kan activist, sounding surprised.

“Yes,” Nawi replies, grinning widely.

As Michael Rubin, at Commentary, concluded about the revelations concerning Nawi:

Nawi might look at himself as a left-wing human rights activist, but if the report…is true, he is no different than the terrorist or death squad commander torturing an unarmed farmer or pulling the trigger to murder him in front of his family.

Indeed, the characterization of Nawi – who claims to champion Palestinian rights but will coldly sacrifice the lives of actual Palestinians who ‘betray the cause’ – as a “peace activist” represents another example of the hijacking of the language of human rights by a regressive left promoting radical agendas which are neither progressive nor peaceful. 

63 replies »

  1. The trouble with this story is that it involves believing that convicted child molester, assaulter of police, braggart and serial liar Ezra Nawi is telling the truth.

    Stand back. Ask yourself what Palestinian land agent looking for Jews to buy Palestinian land for sale would look to Ezra Nawi, a veteran Israel hater and anti-Jewish settler activist, to find him potential buyers.

    This is a bit of self promotional bragging by Nawi looking to big himself up and make himself look good to naive B’Tselem NGO funded activists.

    They may be starry enough to take his story seriously. So may Tablet Magazine’s Weselitier. But should we be?

  2. What kind of man would make such boasts? I’d suggest the sort of publicity hungry narcissist who loves the adulation of the Guardian and people like Peter Tatchell and hugs himself at his undreamed of success in seeing himself at the centre of a worldwide story which bumps up his cred with the sort of Palestinian Fatah thugs who’ll keep him safe from the Hamas thugs who want to murder him for his child rapist activities.

  3. Look at the hat! I do believe that this stinker has Gorgeous George as a role model! That in itself shows lack of insight.

    As for the Guardian, little else can be expected from a rag which offers column space to Islamist supporters of terror and even writes obituaries for them when they are despatched to the hell they so richly deserve?

  4. Israeli peace activists are rare? Well, Israeli peace activists did lead to Oslo and the two subsequent peace deals which the Palestinians rejected. Maybe that’s what the Guardian means.

        • P”eace and justice are 2 different things : you lefters adore mixing up everything into a disgusting uneatagble soup. After all by using words like justice, court of justice etc you think you can mislead people. You say 1 + 1 are 8 as the court of justice said… problem it is a lie the court of justice never said it, YOU said it.

      • Where’s the justice in rejecting peace? They could have had their own state 8 years ago, 15 years ago, 67 years ago.

        Sounds like hate driven counterproduction to me.

        • OK your an American so let me offer you something you might understand. The genocide of the native Americans was inevitable given the distribution of power. Yet both peoples were sincerely attached to the notion of freedom. The problem was that the settler conception of freedom was the right to put a little white fence round a piece of land and say ” this is mine”, while the concept of freedom of the native was the right to wander wherever he wanted.

          I think both Israelis and Palestinians want peace. The Israelis want peace and quiet. The quiet to enjoy their ill gotten gains. After all, the burglar isn’t looking for trouble is he ? And he sure as hell isn’t looking for justice. The Palestinians are, in my opinion, well justified in rejecting Israeli offers of Pax Israeliana.

          • The quiet to enjoy their ill gotten gains.
            Could have Jews any other kind of gains?
            The Palestinians are, in my opinion, well justified in rejecting Israeli offers of Pax Israeliana.
            Of course you agree with their rejection Bellamy. It is their blood, their continuing suffering, their continuing voyage to nowhere but back to the dark ages. What is here to disagree for you? They can fight your fight against the Jews to the last drop of Palestinian blood while you can sit back happily seeing their demise – on the way they make some damage to your enemy.

          • Here’s part of your problem. I am concerned about the Native population in America. Does my living in America make me a supporter of their genocide? As far as I’m concerned, Christopher Columbus is the biggest POS to ever embark upon our shores. Also, my family arrived here late 19th, early 20th centuries, i.e. long past my government made it’s final, long lasting lie to the folks who were once proud. Those folks, btw, never saw themselves as owners of property. They used the land, lived off the land, but never owned the land. I believe in that even though I own my home, you know?

            More wrinkles…. I live in Texas which not too long ago was Tejas. I’m also on the Eastside of my very cool town, meaning I live in a neighborhood that is watching it’s original inhabitants be replaced by “new white people”. Am I guilty of something even if I bought my home from a white guy who was using the backyard to make softcore porn?

            There comes a time when you have to live in the Now for the Now in which you can carve your Future. But you can’t go back in the Past and explain why your Future must be to eradicate the Now.

            I’m being as serious as I can with you, Steve. You are in charge of your own destiny. That’s a real Jewish perspective, so feel free to shoot it down for sake of wallowing in your misery.

  5. If the Guardian has taught us anything, its that Ezra Nawi is not a bad person, despite his few vices. After all:

    Just because someone lies for a living and commits slander on an entire people doesn’t make him a bad person.
    Just because someone threatens other people, grows drugs, and illegally uses firearms doesn’t make him a bad person.
    Just because someone has devoted his life to keeping a region free of Jews doesn’t make him a bad person.
    Just because someone attacks police officers with the intent to harm doesn’t make him a bad person.
    Just because someone sleeps with children and commits statuary rape doesn’t make him a bad person.
    Just because someone entraps people with the intent that they get tortured and murdered doesn’t make him a bad person.

    Where was I? I lost my train of thought.

  6. Bedouin Arab Israelis are “Palestinians” in the Guardian’s view because they’re not Jews. That means these great nuanced thinkers and champions of rights can basically only slam people into two categories. The first are the Jews and the second is some bullshit category that gives Guardian readers the feeling they are standing up for something, even if it’s nothing.

    Also according to the Guardian’s slap-dash judgment and sloppy journalistic instincts 7 billion people have a considered legal opinion on whether Jews and only Jews are legally barred from residing on historically Jewish land, and those 7 billion “consider” it illegal.

    And the Guardian falls all over itself for a lunatic that brags that he turns in Arabs, and in effect has them murdered, for selling land to Jews.

    All in the name of “progressive” anti-racism. Ain’t it a hoot?

    • Pretty sure the ‘Guardian’ is going by the considred legal opinions of the International Court of Justice, the United States government, the British Government, the European Union, the Israeli Supreme Court and other distinguished international jurists, rather than assuming anything about “7 billion people”?

      • Kinory : what “mess”? the fact arabs keep squatting the jewish provinces or that they have no state in Western Palestine which would be a 3rd State in Palestine where arabs should have had NO state at all by the San Remo and other Treaties confirmed by international law and article 80 of the UN chart? you think you understand a “mess” clearly BUT YOU UNDERSTAND NOTHING AT ALL. Probably not even what you are talking about!

      • The ICC? That bunch of politically-appointed ignorant hacks who think the Green Line is an international border in law?
        The antisemitic FCO? The antisemitic State Department? The antisemitic EU?
        None of the above are even properly legally trained.
        The Israeli supreme court is populated by publicity-seeking lefty loons. Look at the background and history of quite a few of them to see who they are.

        • 1. I never mentioned the ICC.
          2. You can, if you like, assert that every foreign ministry in the world that disagrees with you must be actuated by antisemitism, but that sounds rather desperate.
          3. I’m interested to eat your source for your claim that none of the entities I mentioned “I’ll properly legally trained”: as far as I can see they all have rigourous academic, training and appointment processes. Also, out of interest, what is your legal training?
          3. I don’t think you can ignore the legal views of the Israeli Supreme Court just by saying it’s biased. Israel is a democracy and the judiciary is a big component of that. Even Bibi has said that he “will not tolerate” (his words) attacks on the Supreme Court’s integrity. Perhaps you don’t believe in Israeli democracy then.

          • – Wow, so I misspelled ICJ. I’ll sit in the naughty corner.
            – The FCO and SD are antisemitic on plenty of empirical evidence spanning many decades. Resorting to the phrase ‘every foreign ministry in the world’, which I haven’t used, is rather desperate. You have heard of fallacies and strawman arguments, I take it – or have you?
            – Again, on the evidence. Anyone who claims that the Green Line is legally an international border is an ignorant moron who has no business issuing ‘legal’ rulings. I suspect my legal (and logico-philosophical) background is far beyond yours, but at any rate I am able to analyse propositions from first principles, which evidently you (and the ICJ) cannot.
            – Even Bibi? He is a politician. His pronouncements on the SC’s supposed ‘integrity’ are made for political reasons. I prefer to look at the evidence, and once again it is not pretty.
            Out of interest: do you even understand what evidence, facts and analysis actually mean?

            • Why was it necessary for you to use the following phrases? As far as I can tell, you could have made your points perfectly adequately without them:
              – “You have heard of fallacies and strawman arguments, I take it – or have you?”
              – “ignorant moron”
              – “Do you even understand what evidence actually means”

      • Consensus that’s based on inaccurate/incomplete/both information doesn’t have much value. Also, trying to threaten people to do what you want by lying to them has even less. If your side could start by defining Resolution 242 correctly we might be able to get off this non-merry go around and move away from the hyperbole.

  7. To be clear, the putative scandal here is that the ‘Guardian’ once said something vaguely complimentary about someone *SEVEN years before* they were proved to be a discreditable person?

    • Are you trying to make some kind of soup? perhaps a french bouillabesse? the governments you cite and the courts of Justice are 2 things quite different : those leftist governments are trying to destroy Israel thru their LIES WHICH HAVE NO LEGAL VALUE. The Court of Justice say otherwise. For example the french Cour d’Appel de Versailles stated last year that Judea/Samaria are NOT occupied territory. You cannot put them all in the same bag and draw the conclusion that suits…you.

            • Not to mention that acceptable anti-Semitic discourse doesn’t rely on Bad Naughty Words (oh-my!) but rather Stupid Unfit and Unfair Characterizations.

              See, Webster, if you were really a Journo worth your salt, you wouldn’t have to make up any conclusions. You would be able to cut through the bullshit knowing this world (and especially this debate) is filled with people looking to expose emotion rather than sift through history.

              But, I’m sorry…. You were saying, all Jews on this site with whom you disagree are Racists and such?

              • Now you’re being rude: there’s no reason for you to use language like “if you were really a Journo worth your salt”, there’s no need to mischaracterise my position, no need deliberately to miss-spell my name. You are perfectly able to make your point (such as it is) without resorting to those rude devices. I really don’t see any reason why, therefore, you are using them.

                • Maybe you don’t like the fact that I know so much about you. But does it really matter? Oh noes, I refer to you by a nickname.

                  Must be that I’m rude. Weird, though, as I believe wholeheartedly in an open society for all to achieve their hopes and dreams. So I’m into Love? Well, I am a Jew, so right there is sign that all must second guess my true intentions of any online conversations regarding those dastardly Israelis who won’t sit down on flights for some crazy religious story or other.

                  Yes, Webster, I’m “rude” for calling you by nickname, and you’re “so swell” with your casual observations that all Jews are racists.

                  I guess you’re more important than the 10 million Jews you deride in these discussions? To each his own.

                  • You don’t know anything about me that I haven’t deliberately shared, so that’s not my concern. Nor do I think I’m more important than your alleged “10 million Jews” (where does that figure even come from?)

                    My concern is that you are being repeatedly and gratuitiously rude, and that is not a civilised way to behave. Nor does it accord with the Jewish tradition of respectful debate.

                    • The Jewish tradition of debate includes, among others, people who don’t respect the debate, its forum, or format. My being gratuitously rude is done so because, see, some of us are tired of the whining, petulant Israel bashing assholes who tink they are so much smarter than the rest of us who live in Reality. Do you know people like that? I do. They show up on the computer every day, taking shits on Jews. The 10 million of us willing to fight for Israel’s right to succeed and continue living on this planet. This number is just a number. A saying, if you will, and is used to highlight the roughly 1 billion of Muslims who really don’t think Israel has a right to exist.

                      BTW, Gabe, how many Jews are on this planet? And in the Jewish tradition of debate, does lying come into play? How about rehashing the same bullshit time and again. When, oh when, do we get to move from lazy, bullshit assessments derived by assholes for mass consumption?

                    • Gabe-y, you probably don’t want my advice and I don’t care whether you listen to it or not, but as someone who disagrees with your basic points of view but doesn’t hate you (too much–I’m going to work on just pointing out you’re wrong instead of calling you names, because this is too important for me to just be an arsehole), here it is: stop whining. The people here don’t like you because your default modes are to combine criticism of the (almost entirely accurate) work on this and or defenses of the (almost entirely inaccurate) UK reporting they’re tearing up, and also because you tend to pivot to irrelevant or context-less criticisms of Israeli/Jewish actions whenever your favored sources have been completely humiliated (the Daily Express-Christians in ME case is Door #1). I wouldn’t kick you out or even suggest that you leave. What I, and others on this site, can do and have done and will CONTINUE to do is dismantle your arguments when they’re simply, factually not up to snuff. If that happens a lot–so far it has–that’s a reflection of you trying to defend people who can’t be defended and crafting apologia for stories that aren’t sorry for anything, not that the people here are right-wingers and Hasbara artists (BTW, Hasbara is not an insult to me; feel free to call me one for the rest of your time here). You wanted to enter this debate, good for you. So please grow a pair and get used to being an opponent, because there’s no crying in ME advocacy. Have a nice day.

  8. These far left activists are not breaking any racism they are trying to break Israel’s borders which are its LIFE. Breaking its borders means killing Israel, I am not sure they understand this.