Guardian columnist complains about those who “cry wolf” over antisemitism

In Guardian op-ed claiming that many on the right routinely make false claims of antisemitism (“Hatred of Jews terrifies me. So do false accusations of antisemitism”, May 14), NY based writer Aaron Friedman made a number of misleading and outright false claims.

Here they are:

Claim: Israel is guilty of apartheid…in Gaza.

Rather, it was flung at a burgeoning movement in the US and UK to hold Israel responsible for the apartheid it was perpetuating in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Though the lie that Israel practices apartheid in the West Bank is common among pro-Palestinian activists (and Guardian contributors), we don’t believe we’ve ever seen the claim – in any publication – that Israel is practicing apartheid in Gaza – due of course to the fact that every Jew was removed from the territory in 2005.

Claim: Marc Lamont Hill was fired for expressing a reasonable view about Israel.

Marc Lamont Hill…was fired by CNN for espousing a position that Jews have held for longer than the state of Israel: there should be one, democratic, multiethnic state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

First, the ubiquitous chant for a free Palestine from the “[Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea” is a widely used call by extremists for Israel’s destruction, not some utopian vision of peace and co-existence.  Additionally, Friedman fails to note that Hill was also fired in part for expressing support – during a speech at the UN – for violent Palestinian resistance.  Finally, his claim that Jews have supported a one-state solution “for longer than the state of Israel” is both misleading and irrelevant.  (The link he uses to support his argument actually goes to a Wikipedia page for a  Socialist Zionist youth movement.)  Moreover, there’s a huge moral difference between taking an anti-Zionist position prior to May 14, 1948, as some Jews did, and taking such a position after that date, which very few Jews do. The former is a theoretical position, whilst the latter is a call for the elimination of an actually existing Jewish state – a position considered antisemitic by the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism

Claim: Ilhan Omar has NOT evoked antisemitic tropes.

Next was Representative Ilhan Omar, whose innocuous critiques of the pro-Israel lobbying group Aipac led to a campaign of character assassination

This is dishonest.  In January, the freshman lawmaker expressed regret for, and later deleted, a 2012 tweet complaining that “Israel has hypnotized the world”, and asking that “Allah awaken the people and help them see [their] evil doings”.  As NY Times columnist Barri Weiss aptly observed, “the conspiracy theory of the Jew as the hypnotic conspirator, the duplicitous manipulator, the sinister puppeteer is one with ancient roots and a bloody history”.  A more recent tweet by Omar suggested the only reason the US supports Israel is because AIPAC money buys politicians’ support.  But, worst of all were tweets and comments by Omar which evoked the dual loyalty trope in suggesting that Americans who support Israel are acting out of “allegiance” to a foreign country – a toxic antisemitic charge that even partisan Democrats criticised

Claim: Cartoonist Eli Valley has NOT engaged antisemitism.

Then, last week, Stanford University Republicans accused the Jewish comic artist Eli Valley of antisemitism. His crime? He had drawn a caricature of conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, mocking his anti-immigrant rhetoric. Though he embodies a Jewish tradition of internal debate and fiery critique going back to the rabbis of the Talmud, Valley was branded an antisemite by the New York Times columnist Bari Weiss

Friedman fails to mention this cartoons by Valley which depict two Jewish Trump administration officials as Kappos:

Here’s another one by Valley titled “Haggadah for Nazi-friendly Jews”.  Among the “Nazi-friendly Jews”, according to Valley, are Jewish NY Times columnists Barri Weiss and Bret Stephens, Benjamin Netanyahu, Alan Dershowitz and Ben Shaprio.

Claim: Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib was correct in asserting that Palestinians welcomed Jews who were fleeing the Holocaust with open arms.

But Monday the absurdity reached a fever pitch, with Trump and Republicans slamming Representative Rashida Tlaib as an antisemite for acknowledging the safe haven that her ancestral home of Palestine provided to Jewish refugees after the Holocaust.

This is a complete inversion of reality – and in fact we haven’t come across anyone who’s defended this entirely ahistorical claim. The Palestinian Arab leadership allied themselves with the Nazis and actively encouraged Hitler’s goal of murdering Jews en masse, whilst the Palestinian population violently resisted Jewish immigration – even as they were fleeing genocide in Europe.  In fact, Arab violence against Jewish immigrants dates as far back as the early 1920s.  It was Palestinian pressure which influenced the British to severely limit Jewish immigration during the worst years of the Holocaust, consigning hundreds of thousands to their deaths.

Claim: Ben Shapiro is an “alt-right darling”.

Right now the most prominent commentators on antisemitism are either avowed conservatives like the New York Times’ Bret Stephens, alt-right darlings like Ben Shapiro or establishment Zionists like Jonathan Greenblatt.

It’s clear that the Guardian contributor did hardly any research on his piece, as a few Google searches of “Ben Shapiro” and “alt-right” would have revealed that the Jewish commentator is despised by the “alt-right”.  Shapiro was – according to research by the ADL – the Jewish journalist most targeted for antisemitic harassment by the alt-right in 2016.

Providing a voice for: demonisation of Israel and ‘right wing’ Jews; defence of anti-Zionists; gaslighting of Jews who complain of antisemitism; the legitimisation of even the most indefensible pro-Palestinian claims – all in a days work for Guardian editors.

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17 replies »

  1. ‘But Monday the absurdity reached a fever pitch, with Trump and Republicans slamming Representative Rashida Tlaib as an antisemite for acknowledging the safe haven that her ancestral home of Palestine provided to Jewish refugees after the Holocaust.’

    This has to be one of the most dishonest claims ever to appear anywhere about Palestine in the later Mandate period and that it’s made by a Jew who tells us how his family died in the Holocaust is infuriating.

    • “Palestine” is the ancestral home of the Jews. Rashida Tlaib is an Arab.
      Mr. Freedman wants to tell us about massacre by German Nazis and the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre, and that is all well and fine, but he cannot be bothered to mention the massacre by Arabs at Gush Etzion a few short years after the Holocaust, or the present day physical attacks on Orthodox Jews by racial minorities in Brooklyn, NY, where he lives. I think the reasons for this are all too obvious.

  2. There are no Jews left in Gaza moron and its typical for anti-Semites like you to label any Jew in Israel as a “settler.” Furthermore, if Hamas hadn’t attacked Israel as soon as the western cameras left following the pullout, there wouldn’t be any need for Israel to control the skies and waters. Of course, if Israel didn’t do so, it would lead to Jews being terrorized and perhaps murdered, not that you would care. And by the way, Israel does not patrol Egypt’s border with Gaza, but then again you value on Arabs’ lives and convenience, as opposed to your attitude towards Jews.

    You don’t even address the gist of Adam’s original post, because you cannot deny that he’s right.

    You are a dishonest troll.

  3. Good write up. What is with this Valley guy? That man is unhinged. Like Farmer, he obsesses. Always a warning sign.

    • Unhinged, ya think? He referred to Alan Dershowitz, one of the last civil libertarians standing, as “Muslim ban strategist.”
      I think that he and his friend Friedman overdosed on caffeine at Starbucks, from where their knowledge and wisdom springs forth as the two of them obviously mistook it for a university.

  4. “Hatred of Jews terrifies me. So do false accusations of antisemitism”
    This is where Mr. Friedman and I differ. I’m not nearly as concerned with “false accusations of antisemitism” as he is, especially when the alleged false accusations are coming from peddlers of antisemitic folk tales such as Ilhan Omar and the rest of the rogues gallery Mr. Friedman is covering for, such as intellectual poseur and antisemitic nitwit Marc Lamont Hill, and accompanying myth of the “dispossession of the Palestinian People.” The Arabs ganged up on the Jews. Arabs fled the scene whereas Jews had nowhere to go. End of story.
    The truth is that Mr. Friedman isn’t very concerned about antisemitism or false accusations such, IMV, but rather what constitutes a good leftwing pawn.

  5. Aaron Friedman is comparing so-called comic artist Eli Valley to the Rabbis of the Talmud. I’d call that comparison a stretch. And judging from the cartoons I see on this page by Valley, I am quite positive that his mocking of Ben Shapiro’s supposed anti-immigrant rhetoric is a gross misrepresentation of Mr. Shapiro’s actual position. Then we’re told that he was unjustly accused of antisemitism by Bari Weiss of the New York Times. Is she supposed to be one of these allegedly “Nazi friendly Jews” like those in Valley’s cartoons? I guess Guardian readers who no nothing about Ms. Weiss might be tempted to see her as some right wing fascist. What I see here is an unhinged writer of the far left, Aaron Friedman, being published by a publication that has been drifting further and further away from rationality and common sense toward the abyss of antisemitic fantasy.
    Both Friedman and Valley seem to me to be lunatics. This anti-Zionist not antisemitic trope is losing so much ground that the Guardian is turning to these extremists in desperation to keep pushing this nonsense. It’s red meat for the crazies.