Guardian condemns “antisemitic tropes” targeting George Soros. Pot, Kettle, Black.

On Feb. 8th, we were among those who tweeted our objections to a Telegraph headline accompanying an article about George Soros’s funding of an anti-Brexit group.

Though it’s troubling that the paper didn’t revise the headline, which falsely suggests that the Jewish billionaire’s activities are “secret”, and evokes tropes about ‘Jewish cabals’, we didn’t believe that editors (or the journalist who wrote the piece) intentionally evoked an antisemitic narrative.  Further, the Telegraph, on the whole, is a responsible publication that’s usually on the right side of the debate about antisemitism, and is typically careful to avoid anti-Israel rhetoric which crosses the line to antisemitism. Perspective and nuance, when calling out media outlets on such matters, is important.

Equally important to those inclined to pounce on the Telegraph are the qualities of self-reflection, honesty and moral consistency – traits clearly absent when Guardian editors chose to publish an official editorial about the Soros row.  The editorial (The Guardian view on George Soros: the best of the 1%, Feb. 12) didn’t condemn the Telegraph by name, but the ‘right wing’ paper was clearly their target when it complained that “Soros has…been the target of organised hate campaigns, often coloured with antisemitism”, and further called out, as “utterly unforgivable” such “antisemitic tropes in the attacks on his policies and his ideas.”

The hypocrisy of the Guardian calling out the Telegraph is staggering, as the use and legitimisation of antisemitic tropes by their editors and commentators has been continually documented on this site. 

In Dec. 2017, a Guardian book critic evoked the “Jesus chasing money changers from the Temple” theme to affirm the claim by a pro-Palestinian writer that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank was a “commercial real estate project that conscripts Zionist rhetoric for profit”.  As we noted, many scholars of antisemitism trace the age-old antisemitic charge of “Jewish greed” to the New Testament story of Jesus and the money changers cited by the Guardian journalist.

In May, an official editorial in the Observer (sister publication of The Guardian) on Donald Trump’s visit to the Middle East suggested that Israel’s prime minister was ‘pulling the strings’ of US foreign policy on Iran.

In an example quite similar to the Telegraph’s Soros headline, in 2016, during the Republican Primaries, the Guardian published a political analysis warning that another Jewish billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, represents “the invisible hand that guides Republican fortunes”.

Though the headline was later revised without comment, the words “invisible” and “invisible man” still appear in the text and photo caption to characterise Adelson – a narrative of wealthy Jews nefariously influencing political outcomes which mirror the Telegraph headline.

But, there are far worse examples over the years of the Guardian legitimising or promoting antisemitic ideas.

In 2014, they published a letter suggesting that Jews (Israeli Jews and Jews in the diaspora) themselves bear responsibility for the rise of European antisemitism. 

That same year they published an op-ed justifying Palestinian antisemitism as a natural reaction to Israeli behavior.

In 2012, they published this cartoon by Steve Bell – who has a history of mocking charges of antisemitism and employing visual language reflecting historic calumnies about Jews –  titled “Tony Blair and William Hague’s role in Israel-Gaza clash” which evokes the antisemitic canard of Jewish control and over non-Jewish politicians – in this case, the Israeli Jewish leader manipulating, like puppets, British leaders to support his policies.

That same year, the Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill’s wrote an analysis alleging that President Obama’s need for Jewish money explains a throw-away line in his State of the Union address affirming America’s “iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security”.

Also in 2012, the Guardian’s Simon Jenkins alleged that US sanctions against Iran were the result of the influence of the Israel lobby. (Jenkins thus far hasn’t commented on how the ‘powerful’ Israel lobby somehow failed to kill the Iran Deal.)

In 2011, the Guardian published a letter by Alison Weir defending the hideous libel that Israeli soldiers kill Palestinians to harvest their organs. That same year, the Guardian’s Chris McGreal suggested that American Jews exerted slave-like (“slavish”) control over the Bush administration. (The language was eventually amended, but there was no apology from McGreal or editors acknowledging the antisemitic history of this idea.)

2011 was also the year the Guardian ran to the defense of Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, who was attempting to visit the UK.  Despite the fact that Salah was found in a British court to have promoted the antisemitic libel that Jews use the blood of non-Jews to bake “their holy bread”, the Guardian, as CST noted, suggested that efforts to deny Salah a visa to visit the UK “had been engineered by the Israeli Government and carried out, at its behest, by its ‘local’ supporters and forced, somehow, upon the Home Secretary”.  

That same year, they published a letter by notorious anti-Semite Gilad Atzmon which defended his book ‘The Wandering Who?’, a work which the CST characterized as “probably the most antisemitic book published in this country in recent years.”

Also in 2011, Guardian journalist Deborah Orr penned a bizarre and widely condemned piece arguing that Israel’s decision to release more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for one Israeli (Gilad Shalit) was evidence of the state’s inherent bigotry, a racist, supremacist calculus which was informed, she suggested, by the Jewish notion of being the “chosen people”.  (Though Orr was forced to pen an apology of sorts, the language wasn’t amended.)

In 2010, two Guardian critics gave a positive review to Caryl Churchill’s play, Seven Jewish Children, and then published an online version of the play at their site.  In this piece of anti-Israel, and anti-Jewish, theatrical agitprop, Anthony Julius noted, “Jews confess to lying to their own children and killing Palestinian children”, “confess to something close to a project of genocide” and “acknowledge the source of their misanthropy to be Judaism itself”.  CST, in their annual report on Antisemitic Rhetoric, observed that the Guardian’s online production of the play was “illustrated by a photograph of a Jewish Passover Seder meal, showing participants dipping their fingers in red wine that is reminiscent of blood”.  The report concluded that “this rooted the play in Jewish family tradition, rather than anything to do with Israel”.

In 2009, the Guardian published an article by Peter Preston, chief editor of the Guardian from 1975 to 1995, titled “Israel barks, the US media wags its tail”, alleging that the Zionist lobby dominates US foreign policy and the media.

Of course, these are simply some of the more blatant examples.  Though editors are now (due in part to our efforts) less likely to publish explicitly antisemitic rhetoric (or allow antisemitic comments below the line) than in years past, their obsessive criticism of Israel – coverage which many believe fuels antisemitism – and consistent tendency to obfuscate antisemitism from Palestinian leaders, or pro-Palestinian activists in the West, continues unabated.

Our blog’s work to date has shown that, despite modest improvements, the Guardian still has little credibility on the issue of anti-Jewish racism, and we feel justified in being extremely skeptical that the editor responsible for the piece condemning attacks on Soros was motivated by a genuine anger towards antisemitic expressions.  


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25 replies »

  1. Guardian says “Soros is open and usually right”

    This is a person who still sees nothing wrong in having profited from the enforced sale of the houses of the oppressed Jews declared to be untermenschen, the victims to the nazi filth

    Shocking and repulsive, Guardian lives down to its usual standard

    • Oh this the portion of the segment where we eviscerate the man based on supposed actions he took as a child during the early days of World War II? The last I checked, no one here lived there during that time and got hassled by Mr. Soros. Also, the last time I checked, the Media will showcase its biases one way or the other.

      Character assassination is the most fun….

        • We’re talking as a child during World War II, yes?

          Sorry. That doesn’t have legs unless you insist it does. And you, of course, insist it does.

          I do not insist it has legs. See?

      • This man betrayed the Jewish people .
        He was a Nazi collaborator !
        By his own admission he is not religious
        Soros thinks Soros first and always
        He admits in a sixty minute interview of not looking to the consequences of social disruptions in order to earn money!
        He destroys countries to earn a piece of silver!
        He has no morals!

      • He has been meddling ever since in all counties! Not least East Europe and if I remember correctly broke the bank of England, causing hardships for ordinary people! Now – he is trying to meddle with Brexit! He has a fight on his hands – New generation is here to stay, one of which he is not used too. More awakened and less suppressed. Fearless!

  2. Soros is so open that J-Street tried to hide and deny his support according to his own request. But one thing is true – he is always right if being right means having identical worldview with the Guardian.

  3. I’m no fan of J-Street, but I trust Soros more than I trust the Right Wing billionaires who have done nothing but confuse the masses with their own rejection of science, morals, and basic human logic.

    • It’s “Battle of the Billionaires” with your host, koufaxzmitzvah. Koufax, what prizes do we have for our winners today?

  4. Soros is a nasty peace of work, as is his son Alexander. If you need more info about Soros see how the Soros leaks exposed his penchant for secrecy and anti israel obsession which he feeds with as much money as the NGO’s need. That man does democracy no favor’s. Tablet magazine also wrote some good articles about Soros. Worth a search…..

  5. Just try to discuss Labour antisemitism and Corbyn’s inaction in The Guardian’s BTL comments and see how quickly they’re moderated out, even if they refer to information from PoliticsHome.

  6. “The hypocrisy of the Guardian calling out the Telegraph is staggering, as the use and legitimisation of antisemitic tropes by their editors and commentators has been continually documented on this site.”
    That’s absolutely true; still, when you catch a bad person doing something right you should praise him for it – positive reinforcement is the most effective teaching tool.
    You can’t expect to get journalists to listen to you if you only condemn them.

  7. It shows that even atheists and socialists are influenced by classic antisemitism and anti-Judaism. Someone whose name escapes me said that Christianity has a theology of contempt for Judaism. It affects all Christians even the ones who are now atheists and/or socialists.

  8. What to watch a Right Winger melt down? Just say something different. Don’t even address them. Just say something like, “Children during wartime do the darndest things!” and watch them lose their shit.

    It’s fun. Right, Jeff? Leah gets drunk, and then you play backup. Like, suddenly, you’re the Smart Guy here, even though you can’t get away from tripping over yourself.

    You were talking about This Week In Billionaires…. Well, on This Week In Billionaires, we’re going to discuss the 18th school shooting in America since January 1, 2018, and how the Republican Party (i.e. The Fox News Party, and the Anti-Dem and Lib Party, and the BIG STRONG MANLY MAN PARTY EXTRAORDINAIRE) continues to take NRA money rather than vote on gun and ammo control, an urge of over 85% of Americans polled.

    Because the Billionaires are smart!

      • “It’s “Battle of the Billionaires” with your host, koufaxzmitzvah. Koufax, what prizes do we have for our winners today?”

        Do you ever get tired of being a double talking hypocrtical fool within the same thread, Jeff?

        Just wondering. I know it’s hard for an old man like you to keep his head in the game when he’s got a drunk wife yelling and screaming nonsense all over the Interweb all day long, but don’t you think you should be aware of what you say 10 minutes after you say it? If you don’t want to fish, don’t cut the bait, Slick.

      • Because I typed What and not Want?

        Because you must’ve made me so mad to that?

        Pot. (Yes please!) Kettle. (Chips?) Black. (Like Obama! Who was too black for Jeff.)


  9. Just so we’re clear about this, George Soros, who as a child, ran around the streets of Eastern Europe doing nasty things at the behest of Nazis, is a terrible man. Donald J Trump, son of a Klansman, supporter of Klansmen, and a huge, gaping ass of an anti-Semite, is simply misunderstood. Just because he said there are “good people” who happen to be neo-Nazis sometime last year. I mean, come on.

    Soros, who supports Liberals, is the very worst. While Donald J Trump, who has become a bigger, lazier, fatter toad ever before, is so much better than that black guy.

    The stuff this website oozes. Mmmmmmm…. Tastes like chicken. You know what I mean?

    Drunk chicken.