Antisemitism isn’t an immutable trait. It’s a habit of mind. Antisemitism is a conspiratorial way of understanding of how the world works, premised on the belief that ‘the system is rigged’ by an “elite using its control of the mechanisms of society” for nefarious purposes – and which of course imagines Jews at the center of this cabal.
Whilst we’re glad that Jonathan Freedland at least partially gets why Israelis vote as they do, the chance that the Guardian as a whole will undergo some sort of transformation and begin to take Palestinians seriously as agents of their own fate, thus modifying their myopic framing which views Israel as the only party in the conflict that matters, is pretty close to zero.
Though the idea of a ‘thaw’ in Arab antisemitism may sound good and seem attractive to editors as a good counter-intuitive regional analysis, it has little relation to reality.
Much like the apartheid smear, the Guardian’s use of the word ultranationalist in this context serves one major purpose: to reinforce the Corbyn-style left narrative which suggests that Zionism is illegitimate and that Israel – the most progressive state in the Mid-East – is not only moving ‘dangerously right’, but arguably lurching towards fascism and, thus, represents a state beyond the pale.
In 2011, we interviewed Jonathan Spyer about his book The Transforming Fire: the Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict. Our first question focused on his contrast between the real Israel and what he termed the […]
The Guardian’s secular dogma, which rests on a confidence in the the inherent superiority of their own virtue and the assumption that anyone who disagrees with them on how to create a more just Mid-East is not just wrong but evil, has inevitably led to the simply delusional belief that they, and they alone, posses insight into Israel’s security needs that has managed to elude millions of actual Israelis.
Whilst it’s not fair to label most Guardian journalists and editors antisemitic, one thing seems certain: Their obsessive criticism of Israel day in and day out, characterising the state as not only flawed but as some sort of organic obstacle to peace and progress, reinforces in the minds of those already prone to such thinking the idea that the Jew indeed remains “humanity’s greatest problem”.
Zionism is the belief that Israel has a right to continue to exist. Anti-Zionism is the belief that says Israel has no right to exist and shouldn’t continue existing. It is not a theoretical position. It’s an effort to forcibly dispossess over six million Jews of a right they currently have. It doesn’t say that nation-states shouldn’t exist, just that the Jewish state – the only safe-haven for Jews around the world – shouldn’t exist.
The cruel and inhumane treatment of Palestinians by Palestinian leaders, and the misery they impose upon the population by their strict adherence to an extremist ideology which prioritises the hatred of Jews and Israel over all else, isn’t the story the Guardian wants to tell. To tell such a story would require viewing Palestinians as not just victims, but as moral agents whose decisions impact their society’s economic and political outcomes, a story that those in thrall to the facile and reductive victimological explanations for complex problems are loath to tell.