Guardian op-ed defends the view that Israel has no right to exist.

The headline of a Guardian op-ed by Ahmad Samih Khalidi (Siding with the Palestinian struggle is not antisemitic), extracted from text, is of course a straw man, as nobody claims that merely “siding with the Palestinians” is antisemitic.  Khalidi, a former adviser to both Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, has a broader goal, to defend those who object to the continued existence of a Jewish state, based on the “profound injustice” at the root of Zionism.

In an effort to legitimise his anti-Zionism, Khalididi grossly misleads by claiming that “Jewish opposition to Zionism has a long and distinguished history”.  In fact, whilst there was a lively debate before Israel declared independence on the question of Zionism, today, Jewish opposition to the living, breathing state of Israel represents a minuscule, politically irrelevant fringe.

Khalidi further charges that the “insidious goal of the ‘anti-anti-Zionist’ campaign is to silence the Palestinians and their supporters”, which would only hold true if you characterise as “silencing” attempts to delegitimise extremists who wish to wipe the world’s only Jewish state off the map.

Following a brief moral throat clearing on the legitimacy of fighting ‘real’ antisemitism, Khalidi then suggests that Jews are only “pretending to be offended” by expressions of hostility towards Israel’s existence by Corbyn and his defenders.

In an attempt to justify his anti-Zionist stance, Khalidi then cites a laundry list of so-called Israeli ‘massacres’ since 1948. This includes an “Israeli massacre” in Lydda in 1948 that never in fact occurred, and an equally fictitious “massacre” of Egyptian prisoners during the Six Day War in 1967.  Likewise, Khalidi charges Israel with “shooting down a Libyan civilian aircraft in 1973”, without mentioning that the incident was widely understood to have been caused by Libyan pilot error and miscommunication, and that it actually elicited very little international criticism.

However, the broader problem with Khalidi’s allegations, as is the case with so many rhetorical assaults on Israel’s legitimacy in the Guardian, is that, in his condemnation of Israeli violence, he completely erases the context of Arab war, terror and rejectionism. In his myopic tale of Israeli villainy, it’s as if Arabs and Palestinians don’t exist at all, or at least not in any meaningful sense that would suggest they posses moral agency, and that the decisions they’ve made over the last 70 years have had a profound impact on their current predicament.   

Finally, let’s remember what exactly Zionism is, and what anti-Zionism is.

Zionism is the simple recognition that Israel has a right to exist.  Anti-Zionism is the belief that Israel doesn’t have a right to exist and shouldn’t exist. It’s not a theoretical discussion, but a radical campaign which seeks the destruction of an actually existing nation-state.  Anti-Zionists such as Khalidi don’t say nation-states shouldn’t exist.  They say that only the Jewish state shouldn’t exist.  Anti-Zionism also necessarily disregards and is hostile to the values and aspirations of the overwhelming majority of Jews in the UK and around the world.

Though, as Khalidi argues, siding with the Palestinian struggle is not inherently antisemitic, the struggle against the continued existence of the world’s only Jewish state most certainly is. 

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20 replies »

  1. Out of interest, does this paper think Liberia has a right to exist? What about pakland? Or Belgium? Or other countries?

  2. Khalidi cherrypicks his grievances, devastated by the Partition yet ignoring the huge 80% lion’s share of the Mandate given to Arabs and colonised as Jordan.

    As for heinous crimes a smidgeon of morality would have him gasping at the vile pay for slay, of which not a word

  3. Firstly, to deal with “Davy”‘s insinuations – I give fellow readers a link to David Collier’s detailed analysis:

    Secondly, I would recommend to followers of UK-Media Watch one of Professor Stillman’s books, “Sephardi Religious Responses to Modernity”, which shows that there was no widespread opposition to Zionist ideas among the religious and non-religious elites (there may have been doubts about practicalities).

    The expression used by ex-Oslo negotiations trickster Khalidi – “Jewish opposition to Zionism has a long and distinguished history” – is completely at odds with the complex historical realities.

  4. I wish the Anti-Zionist neturi karta would pack up and move to Gaza to demonstrate how Authentic Jews, Anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews can live in peace and tolerance – and build the necessary infrastructure that Authentic Orthodox Jews need (synagogues, yeshivas, markets and the rest.

    Let’s see how things work out for them. 😉

    Iexpect them to be massacred by angry mobs of “palestinians” who want Infidel/Yahood blood – but I am willing to be proved wrong. 🙂

  5. I got a kick out of Khalidi whining about how the “Zionists” displaced Palestine’s “indigenous population”.

    He didn’t mention that his boss Yasser Arafat was born in Egypt.

  6. Just to play devils advocate, abbass was born in mandatory Palestine in 1935 and his family moved to Syria shortly after..

  7. The “struggle” to destroy the one and only Jewish State in the world in order to replace it with an additional Arab State sounds pretty damn antisemitic.

    • Where they had family. Mandate borders meant nothing at all prior to 1922 and were quite permeable likely up until the 2nd world war.

  8. The Guardian, by giving space and prominence to Khalidi only reinforces the view that the paper itself is virulently anti-Semitic.

  9. hmm. how many arab and muslim countries? how many christian countries? is it safe for any jews or christians in any muslim country or arab country? do not the arabs practice genocide against their christian and jewish neighbors? but a jewish state for the safety and return to their own land for the jews–no, this is too much for these sick and rabidly anti-semitic nut-jobs. as Martin Luther King said, may he Rest in Peace, yes he said so eloquently, when people talk about israel, being against the state of israel, they’re talking about the Jews–that’s just antisemitism plain and simple, make no mistake about it.

  10. The zionist point of view is certainly underrepresented at the Guardian. How do they explain this non-inclusiveness?