Independent

Independent editorializes against Israel’s “EVIL” blockade of Gaza


When British Jews continue to claim in overwhelming numbers that media coverage of Israel incites antisemitism in the UK, they typically refer to hyperbolic and grossly misleading headlines, demonizing rhetoric and context-free imagery used by major British news outlets to characterize the Jewish state’s actions vis-à-vis the Palestinians.  

Such coverage sometimes evokes classic antisemitic tropes.  However, far more typical is coverage which focuses entirely on the Israeli response to Palestinian violence, while erasing the context of incitement, antisemitism and terror. This can incite attacks by Islamist extremists against Jewish Britons, insofar as anti-Semites view Jews and their communal institutions as ‘legitimate’ targets in light of their identification with a ‘cruel’, ‘brutal’, ‘illegitimate’ state that is ‘oppressing Muslims‘.

Indeed, the connection between the dramatic rise in antisemitic incidents in Britain in 2014, and the media’s sensationalist, inflammatory and, at times, extraordinarily misleading coverage of the summer war between Hamas and Israel is quite intuitive for most Jewish Britons. 

A small but effective illustration of the media’s use of vilifying and extremely misleading characterizations of Israeli policy to impute maximum malice can be found in an official editorial published on Jan. 11th at The Independent titled ‘The bishops visit to the isolated community of Gaza is welcome.

indy ed

No, the editorial didn’t rail against the persecution of Christians by Islamists in Gaza, the Palestinian territories and throughout the region. Rather, the Indy applauded the bishops for highlighting the “evils” of Israel’s blockade.

Here’s the entire editorial.

Hats – or perhaps one should say mitres – off to the group of mainly Catholic bishops, four of whom come from Britain, who have been visiting the abandoned people of Gaza and drawing attention to the dismal conditions in which they are made to live.

The outside world all but forgot Gaza’s 1.8 million people after war began to engulf Syria. This was good news for Israel, which – with Egypt’s connivance – continues to subject the Palestinian enclave to a relentless economic blockade.

The Hamas movement rules Gaza in an autocratic and undemocratic fashion – there is no denying that. But the way in which the Israeli government uses the hardline anti-Israeli ideology of the Hamas regime as an excuse to maintain the territory as a form of open-air prison is shameful.

Apart from reminding people of the evils of the blockade, the bishops’ visit to their small flock in Gaza is poignant and welcome for another reason. At a time when Muslim-Christian relations are strained, and when Islamist militants are doing their best to drive Christian minorities out of the Middle East, it is useful to remember that some Christian communities in the Arab world are staying put.

That is the case with the 2,000 or so Christians in Gaza, most of whom are Greek Orthodox – about 200 are Catholic. They live amicably with their neighbours and so demonstrate that co-existence between people of different faiths remains possible even in trying economic circumstances. By showing their solidarity with the people of Gaza, the bishops have given their important cause a much-needed lift.

First, to claim that Christians in Gaza “live amicably with their [Muslim] neighbours” is gross distortion.  There are between 1,500 – 2000 Christians in Gaza, “while in the mid-1990s there were an estimated 5,000” – the result of years of violence, intimidation and forced conversions mirroring the ongoing persecution of Christians in the greater Middle East.

Additionally, hyperbole about Gaza being an “open air prison” has little relation to reality in light of the fact that tons of food, consumer goods and medical equipment are transported freely into the Palestinian-run territory on a weekly basis.  The only items which are restricted are weapons and dual-use materials – putatively civilian or humanitarian products which can be used for the production of weapons or other military purposes. Additionally, thousands of Palestinians leave Gaza each week to conduct business outside the territory, or to receive media treatment in Israeli or Palestinian hospitals.

However, that’s not the worst element of the editorial.

The most egregious example of the editors’ bias is the manner in which they obfuscate Hamas’s responsibility for Gaza’s plight.

The Israeli government, editors claim, “uses the hardline anti-Israeli ideology of the Hamas regime as an excuse to maintain the “evil” blockade.

So, not only does the Indy avoid so much as mentioning that the blockade was implemented to stop the flow of weapons to a proscribed terror group which had fired thousands of deadly rockets at civilians, and sanitize Hamas’s hardcore antisemitic ideology as ‘merely’ an “anti-Israel” orientation, but further suggests that the blockade was implemented out of malice – a sadistic policy, not based on security, but motivated by the desire to inflict suffering.

We can think of many examples of cruelty, barbarism and genocidal incitement in the Palestinian territories and the greater Middle East which can be fairly characterized as “evil”, but a legal blockade, by the region’s only progressive democracy, to restrict the flow of weapons to violent extremists is certainly not one of them.

The Independent’s editorial reduces the world’s only Jewish state to a cartoon villain – a crude caricature which has little resemblance to reality, and one which reinforces toxic calumnies that are injurious to the lives of British Jews.

34 replies »

  1. ” When British Jews continue to claim in overwhelming numbers that media coverage of Israel incites antisemitism in the UK,”

    Adam behave.

    Even the most rabid Hasbarafiosi have distanced themselves from that poll and declared the CAA to have been wholly discredited by it.

  2. Say what you will about the poll, evidence abounds demonstrating this link.

    1. The Report of the All-Party Parliamentary inquiry into Antisemitism (.pdf) in Britain during July and August 2014 notes that:

    “…there was an overwhelming consensus amongst those that submitted evidence or gave personal testimony at the regional meetings we held, that the media, and in particular the BBC, had a role to play in whipping up anger through emotive content in the news and analysis that was broadcast.”

    2. The Community Security Trust (CST) reveals a direct link between media reporting and antisemitic incidents in its annual report for 2014:

    “For example, CST recorded 16 antisemitic incidents on 21 July, the day after intense fighting in the Gaza district of Shuja’iyya and also a day when media reported that a hospital in Gaza had been shelled. On 28 July, a day when media reported an explosion at the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, CST recorded 22 antisemitic incidents in the UK. The following day, when a power station in Gaza was reported to have been hit, CST recorded 18 antisemitic incidents.”

    3. Richard Kemp:

    https://ukmediawatch.org/2015/06/09/col-richard-kemp-medias-egregiously-biased-coverage-of-israel-incites-violence/

      • Adam

        1) The overwhelming consensus among those that gave evidence to APPGAA is not the same thing as an overwhelming consensus of British Jews. Those that gave evidence were self selecting. You may as well say that the overwhelming consensus among those that gave evidence in Fraser v UCU was that the Union was institutionally anti-Semitic. There were 40 witnesses in total, 34 for the complainant who put themselves forward to testify that the Union was anti-Semitic. So the ” consensus” was in built.

        2) The less said about CST the better ( for the moment.)

        3) Richard Kemp is a man with an opinion( you know what they say about opinions). It is worth noting that Richard is an ardent Christian Zionist closely associated with John Hagee’s Christians for Israel. And we are all too familiar with what Hagee’s ultimate plan for the Jews is. Richard also cheerfully tells us that he gets his best information by talking to dead Generals in Arlington ( serious )

        • Mr Bellamy you are a typical anti-Jewish terrorist sympathiser. Your pathetic attempt to malign Richard Kemp since you are obviously intellectually incapable of addressing what he has to say only reinforces that description.

          • Richard would not deny anything I have said. But that is not really the point. Richard is a man with an opinion. He is entitled to it. The fact is the world is awash with opinions and Richard’s don’t carry any more weight than most others.

        • UCU is institutionally antisemitic, your deluded rants notwithstanding.
          You would need to stand on several encyclopaedias to reach the shoelaces of Kemp’s integrity and expertise.
          You are a waste of space.

          • ” UCU is institutionally antisemitic, your deluded rants notwithstanding.” The employment tribunal emphatically disagreed with you. But this is all a distraction. Exactly what is Richard’s area of expertise ?

            • I don’t give a flying fuck about employment tribunals. I once took a prospective employer to one, supported by the racial equality people, and it was rejected on a ‘technicality’ (my barrister refused to be ‘lectured’ by me when I tried to teach him the very basics of Jews as an ethnicity and a religion, which he was 100% ignorant about –on the morning of the tribunal–; but then, so were the adjudicators); plus the other side had wheeled out a very expensive barrister (they were a wealthy organisation and knew all the right people); plus the tribunal was hostile to me from the start.
              Again, I look at the facts. You are just spewing bigotry.

    • @Adam Levick –

      1. Neither the CAA poll nor All-Party Parliamentary report provided much – if any – evidence that the media “had a role to play in whipping up anger through emotive content in the news and analysis that was broadcast”.

      These investigations only showed that most people polled/testifying BLAMED what they considered to be “whipped up” anger on journalism they identified as “emotive”.

      No evidence was presented regarding how widely – or not – the sole two specifically complained-of reports/commentaries (an open letter the Lancet Medical Journal and Jon Snow’s C4 video) were seen by the public and thus were – or weren’t – significantly influential. No consideration was given to the possibility that media reports adjudged to be factually accurate, well-balanced, satisfactorily contextualized and appropriately prioritized might nonetheless have aroused public anger. No attempt was made to examine the diversity of media opinion, or what impact Israel-friendly articles and broadcasts may have had in quelling anti-Israeli feeling – or, for that matter, in “emotively whipping up” anti-Palestinian anger…

      These poll and inquiry findings were, in other words, far too limited in both scope and depth to provide anything more than a springboard for further (and I mean a LOT further) study.

      2. For much the same reasons as above, the Community Security Trust (CST) report, which asserts a “direct link between media reporting and antisemitic incidents” is deficient.

      While there may well have been spikes in antisemitic incidents around the times of the reports you cite, without knowing the motivation of the individual assailants involved, it cannot conclusively be said that these reports – uniquely – acted as the spur.

      What other I/P news appeared on the days in question, for example? Did person X desecrate a Jewish cemetery because – for the very first time – his attention had been grabbed by news of a Gaza hospital shelling and his wrath aroused? Or had he been simmering for weeks (maybe after seeing a video of yobs celebrating the deaths of Gaza children) and this was “the last straw”? Was an assault by person Y on the same day prompted by reading a Guardian op. ed on the shelling – or by a text message informing him that a relative had been injured in the bombardment? Did person Z spit at a Jew on that day for no other reason than he spits at Jews whenever the opportunity arises…?

      We simply don’t know, because the CST didn’t explore further than a crunching of raw statistical data.

      3. Richard Kemp: https://ukmediawatch.org/2015/06/09/col-richard-kemp-medias-egregiously-biased-coverage-of-israel-incites-violence/

      You’ll be glad to hear I’m now completely lost for words having listened to Kemp’s load of simplistic, self-contradictory bollocks. Maybe another time when I’ve got over the shock …

  3. How many editorials has the Independent written about the starving people (including Palestinians) in Syria?

    Just wondering, of course. I’m sure I know the answer.

    • He was UK forces commander either in Bosnia or Afghanistan – he has the expertise. What concerns me is that you appear to be incapable of responding to comments outside of your own prejudices. The definition of antisemitism is very very simple – so simple in fact that any non-bigoted individual can understand it. If any activity is undertaken that is against and unique to Jews then it is antisemitism. If that does not work for you then you are an antisemite. I am Jewish, if I cannot walk around a university campus without feeling under threat then I am encountering antisemitism. It is fundamentally, ethically of no consequence whether the a-hole who threatens me makes an excuse that it is anti-Zionism that he or she is against. Her majesties senior judiciary and the students in the UCU can pontificate as much as they like about how i am not subject to duress or prejudice and they are all speaking through their rear-sections as soon as state that I FEEL that I am.

      • Yeah yeah I am familiar with the idea that if you feel it is so, it is so.

        Richard Kemp was a commander in Afghanistan. I guess that makes him an expert on brain surgery. ( I won’t mention how well Afghanistan turned out ).

        ” If any activity is undertaken that is against and unique to Jews then it is antisemitism. If that does not work for you then you are an anti-Semite” . That works fine for me actually. It is close enough to the well understood notion, the meaning of which is arrived at by observation of the sum force of the uses of the expression by the billions of speakers of the language.

        • “He was UK forces commander either in Bosnia or Afghanistan” – please, Maury, how can that possibly compare to Stephen’s expertise, behind his spittle-flecked keyboard in his mother’s basement? The fact that he has never been inside a military facility is irrelevant, surely. He still knows more than a colonel on active duty during hostilities.

        • “Yeah yeah I am familiar with the idea that if you feel it is so, it is so” – you really are a moron, aren’t you? Being intimidated because one is Jewish is not a ‘feeling’. It is an empirical fact.

    • Then tell me, Steve. How many editorials published by the Independent chose to highlight starving Syrians?

      I’m guessing it’s between 0 and 3 over this four year war. Can you find out for me?

      Thanks!

    • That’s an article, not an editorial. And not that you can read, but I said I could guess, because it wouldn’t surprise me if, I suggested, the real number was between 0 and 3.

      Meanwhile, I’m sure you can’t wait for the next Mavi Marmara. Because Gaza. And Jews.

      Such a waste of time you are, Steve. Sad, stupid, pathetic. Which is why the Palestinians are stuck, innit?

    • This got the ball rolling…. and you’re proud of it?

      War is 4 years old. These people have (obviously) been starved for months, if not years. But go toot your horn about the Western Press getting rid of starvation in Syria by highlighting the issue a mere 1200 days after they could have.

      Good stuff for a sad, stupid, and pathetic schmuck, dontchathink?

        • Bellamy are you, at long last, ready to answer the questions I put to you several weeks ago?

          You have had more than ample opportunity to reply. Your continued failure to do so clearly demonstrates that you lack a backbone as well as being low in the number of brain cells you possess.

          Don’t waste my time by asking me to repeat the questions, they are on other threads look them up.

          As for putting you out of your misery, that is a job I will gladly undertake or better still fly to Switzerland there are clinics there that will put you out of your misery and make the World a better place by your departure from it.

  4. I’m not sure why the Jews deserve so much attention. There are thousands, now millions. of wretched Palestinians and their puppet masters, the Arab League; the 865,000 Jews expelled from all Muslim countries in 1948, and the1946 over 15,000,,000 displaced persons world wide who better deserve our attention.