UK Media Watch

Guardian provides platform for War on Want’s unbridled hate against the Jewish state

Often, the Guardian allows its Israel page to peddle Electronic Intifada style propaganda – fact-free hyperbole and hate that has no place at a serious ‘respectable’ news site.  Today is one of those days, as editors decided to publish a diatribe against Israel by the director of a radical anti-Israel NGO (Israel’s BDS blacklist is straight out of apartheid. The UK can’t condone it, Jan. 10).

The big lie in the op-ed, by War on Want (WoW) director Asad Rehman, in response to Israel’s decision to ban leaders from 20 pro-BDS groups from entering the country, that Israel is an apartheid state, shouldn’t drown out the ‘smaller’ lies, which begin in the opening paragraph, when readers are told that Israel’s “blacklist…bans 20 charities and human rights groups from entering the country…”.

However the groups banned, such as WoW, are not “human rights” organisations in any real sense of the term, but rather highly politicized radical anti-Israel pressure groups.  Indeed, in 2016, the British government stopped funding WoW, a sponsor of ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ in the UK.  The decision was reached following revelations that a speaker at a WoW event legitimised the lie that Israelis were harvesting dead Palestinians’ organs. At another WoW event, radical professor Steven Salaita justified Palestinians terror attacks against Israelis.

Other groups subject to the Israeli ban, such as Jewish Voice for Peace, have hosted and praised Palestinian terrorists, and have promoted antisemitic messages.  One JVP video included the outrageous suggestion that Jewish organizations are responsible for the killings of blacks in the U.S. by police.

In his op-ed, Rehman compares Israel’s ban on pro-BDS groups to restrictions imposed by South Africa during Apartheid.  However, whatever the merits of the Israeli law, as our colleague Gilead Ini recently demonstrated, it is in fact not substantially different than restrictions imposed by democracies such as the US.

Section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act says that an alien “whose entry or proposed activities in the United States the Secretary of State has reasonable ground to believe would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States is inadmissible.”

As Ini noted, that’s much broader than Israel’s language.

The Immigration and Nationality Act also bars members of the Community party: “Any immigrant who is or has been a member of or affiliated with the Communist or any other totalitarian party (or subdivision or affiliate thereof), domestic or foreign, is inadmissible.”

And finally, it bars those who would break laws for the purpose of “opposition to ..  the United States.”

Professor Gerald Steinberg, of NGO Monitor, observed:

All democracies have regulations governing the issuance of visas and border entry regulations — there are inherent in state sovereignty. Countries [such as the UK] routinely ban racists; individuals who incite to violence and create social disorder/polarization etc. Tourist visas are not natural rights.

In an effort to provide more context to the ‘Israeli oppression’ narrative of his op-ed, Rehman writes:

 This year we remember that it is 70 years since more than 800,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes; they are still denied their right to return by Israel.
However, no serious historian claims that all of the 800,000 [sic] Palestinian refugees from the 1948 War were “forcibly” expelled.  Most fled – in, let’s remember, what was an Arab war of annihilation – out of fear, or because of instructions from Palestinian Arab leaders.  Historian Benny Morris has concluded that there was no Israeli policy of “ethnic cleansing”.  “At no stage of the 1948 war”, he wrote, “was there a decision by the leadership of the Yishuv or the state to “expel the Arabs”.
 
Further, Rehman’s claim that Palestinians “are still denied their right to return to Israel” is extraordinarily misleading.  First, there are only tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees, from the 1948 war, still alive. And, there is no legally recognized “right of return” for the millions of Palestinian descendants of refugees (children, grandchildren, etc) who, though still qualifying for “refugee” benefits from UNRWA, are NOT actually refugees themselves.  Of course, if Rehman is indeed suggesting an unlimited right of “return” for 5 million non-refugee Palestinians to a country where most never once stepped foot, he’s essentially calling for the elimination of the Jewish state.
 
Rehman also falsely characterizes BDS as merely “a non-violent means of winning peace and justice”, when, as prominent BDS leaders have made clear, “peace” and “justice” are not their objectives.  The BDS movement’s co-founder, and lead spokesman, Omar Barghouti has not only justified the Palestinian “right” to “armed resistance”, but made clear that he would never accept the continued existence of a Jewish state within any borders.
 

Tellingly, Rehman himself has been revealed as someone who doesn’t merely advocate for Palestinian rights, but demonises Zionism and suggests its supporters are necessarily beyond the moral pale.

Graphic by Guido Fawkes

Contrary to the narrative promoted by the Guardian, BDS is not a ‘progressive’ civil rights movement, but represents quite the opposite: a regressive campaign by radical activists, all of whom seem to share an unhealthy fixation on Jews ‘behaving badly’, and some of whom openly seek to turn back the clock on civil rights by denying Jews, and only Jews, the right to freedom and self-determination.

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