The Guardian on Ken Livingstone: their best editorial on antisemitism…ever.

Complimentary blog posts or tweets about the Guardian represent the opposite of clickbait for our many loyal followers.  That is, those familiar with the Guardian’s decades-long history of institutional anti-Israel bias – which sometimes crosses the line into outright antisemitism – are understandably wary of suggestions that otherwise ideologically rigid editors have changed course on matters of concern to British Jewry.  But, it is our view that a modest editorial pivot concerning antisemitism is evident.  Though it’s difficult to explain with any degree of certainty the reason for the slight shift, noting the radically different tones of two Guardian editorials on the issue of antisemitism within five years of each other is instructive.  

Twin Guardian editorials published in 2012 on the Islamist-inspired murders of four innocent Jews in the French city of Toulouse represented an example of great accomplishments in obfuscating antisemitically motivated violence.  In over 900 words of text in the two pieces, the Guardian failed to use the word “antisemitism” even once, and somehow even managed to avoid acknowledging the Jewish identity of the victims.  Editors responsible for the piece seemed more concerned about the possibility of an Islamophobic reaction to the attack by a French Muslim than to the disturbing fact that a 23-year-old French-born citizen was so inculcated in Jew hatred that he chased a small, terrified innocent Jewish girl into a corner and shot her three times in the brain.

Though the current row over toxic remarks, falsely suggesting a “collaboration” between Zionists and Nazis, by Ken Livingstone represents a far different dynamic than what occurred in Toulouse, today’s powerful Guardian editorial on the Labour Party’s failure to expel the former London Mayor does however represent an unmistakable break from previous moral abdications.

The editorial, (“The Guardian view on Labour and Ken Livingstone: wrong decision, terrible message”, April 6) should be read in its entirety, but here are excerpts – some of which surreally sounds as if they’re acknowledging their own previous failures.

In modern times it is not Labour’s normal practice to belittle the views of those who say they have been victims of racial prejudice, to query their motives and to reject the premises of their complaint. For good reasons, the party’s default position has become a determined readiness to define racism as its victims would like it to be defined. But there is arguably now an exception to this basic ethos of sensitivity: Jews. When the allegation is antisemitism and a Labour politician is being accused, the dynamic is often reversed. A presumption can take hold that the offence cannot have been committed because the left is opposed to all racism.

Warped logic then unfolds: anti-racists cannot be guilty of prejudice against Jews, so it follows that Jewish complaints about prejudice are dishonest. The offence is pushed back on to the people who thought they had been offended. It is reconfigured as a plot to discredit political foes; part of a hidden agenda connected to Israel-Palestine. This argument then feeds the idea that an accusation of antisemitism is a weapon deployed by Jews (usually for decorum’s sake recast as “Zionists”) for nefarious purposes. Thus the ancient racist narrative of kosher conspiracy and shadowy machination thrives even among those who imagine they are policing racism.

This pattern has played itself out in public view in the case of Ken Livingstone’s disciplinary hearing. He was charged with bringing the party into disrepute over remarks he made last year – and has repeated subsequently – bundling Zionism and Nazism together in a mangled retelling of the 1930s, depicting Hitler’s supposedly more nuanced attitudes “before he went mad”. Even aside from the grotesque misreading of history, this kind of language is deeply offensive. Its rhetorical purpose is to imply intellectual or actual Jewish complicity with the perpetrators of their genocide, diminishing the crime of the Holocaust, and so undermine the moral foundations of the state of Israel.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of Middle East conflict, that is a malicious way to handle matters of enormous complexity and cultural sensitivity. Mr Livingstone’s statements and unapologetic stances ooze contempt for the Jewish community.

Though the Guardian did also publish three appalling defenses of Livingstone by cartoonist Steve Bell, today’s official editorial does at least – within the context of the current row – put the media group on the side of Jewish Britons, and indeed on the only moral side within the ongoing battle against antisemitism in its modern form.  


33 replies »

  1. Also note the publication in a prominent position of the print edition of letters criticising Bell for his antisemitic strip. Not censoring such criticism of an insider is very unusual for The Grauniad. I wonder what’s changed at King’s Place (and why!), and whether the positive change will be permanent.

  2. The Guardian is preparing for a time when there will be a judicial inquiry into the part played by The Guardian in shielding antisemites, Especially Muslim antisemites. They will be forced, by law, to answer on a public stage. With that in mind, they do have the occasional realistic article with a reasonable and fair interpretation of ‘difficult facts’.

    With that in mind, this is one of that kind of article.

    Basically the Guardian fosters unrest, dislocation, anarchy and social conflict. It wants ‘resistance’. Revolution. It believes that Muslims are a great ‘medium’ for this ‘change’. It doesn’t accept Islam at all. Doesn’t really care about them on any humanitarian level. Just wants to keep Muslims safe for their role in destroying the Western Liberal Democracies that have rejected socialism as they see it.

  3. No need to worry at all There is an other article in the Guardian on the subject also criticizing the Labour Party leadership and Corbyn. Read the BTL comments and you will be relieved, they are the same Jew-hating heap of shit as they have been in the last decades. Main arguments: They are not antisemites because they have Jewish friends and anyway the Semites are the Arabs so they can’t be antisemites.
    Anyway Livingstone won. He successfully turned the history of the Holocaust into a media circus and his critics are accusing him with “offending” people. Not with Holocaust denial what he did and apparently does and will do in the future but being offensive and hurting the interests of the party.

  4. In your earlier article you linked to two of Bell’s cartoons defending Livingstone. Is there a third, or was that a typo?

    Also, I actually enjoy it when you have the chance to say something nice about The Guardian. I think the comparison between better and worse articles gives a greater degree of insight. It probably makes the critiques more effective too; people need the carrot as well as the stick.

  5. The phrase “Regardless of the rights and wrongs of Middle East conflict” ooozes contempt for Israel and Jews. I do not accept that the Guardian has changed its Jew-hating stance.

  6. Naturally The Guardian is upset because of the US attack on Assad.
    And they don’t like the name “Tomahawk”…
    But what will the US’s military strike – a barrage of at least 59 (offensively named) Tomahawk cruise missiles aimed at a lone airfield – really accomplish?
    Some alternative versions as names for offensive weapons: “LoveYou”, “Hope”, “SafeSpace” etc.

    • I don’t find Tomahawk offensive at all. In fact, I like it. Had one as a boy (not the missile, obviously). Who gins up all this nonsense? The Iranians write something like “Kill the Jews” on their missiles and “Tomahawk” is what upsets the Guardian types? They’re drowning in koolaid.

    • Stephen I would like to see the evidence that substantiates your claim that Owen Jones is bought and paid for.
      By evidence I mean verifiable proof of who bought and paid for him and evidence that they did so. I do not want to see links to your ‘blog’ which has no credibility whatsoever.

      If you have proof of your allegations then show it, otherwise once again you are making unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations. Or to put it less diplomatically you are shooting your mouth off then running away.

      • Gerald you seem to have difficulty grasping that I have as much interest in what you would like and what you wouldn’t like as I have in last Sundays results in the 4th division of the Albanian basketball league.

        • Stephen rather than resort to your usual puerile attempt to divert attention away from your inability to answer questions or more importantly provide evidence to substantiate your claims, why not be honest and admit that you are unable to do anything other than make wild and unsubstantiated claims.
          Admit to yourself, that which is obvious to everyone who reads your posts, that you are a liar and Bullshit merchant with zero credibility.
          Admit to yourself that you clearly have serious and ongoing personality disorder issues then go and get the help you need urgently.

          Of course I have no difficulty in grasping that you have no interest in the opinions of others that is one of the symptoms of one of your disorders. As you have clearly demonstrated time and time again you are a prime example of an anti-Semitic, sociopathic, piece of shit.