General UK Media

Never Again? The moral abdication of journalists ignoring Palestinian antisemitism


We’ve often argued that the British media’s anti-Israel bias is just as evident in the stories they ignore as in the skewed nature of the stories they do cover.

As such, the nearly complete failure of journalists assigned to region to report on the endemic antisemitism within Palestinian society, and the deleterious impact such anti-Jewish racism has on efforts at peace and co-existence, represents one of the more egregious problems with their reporting.

This failure is even more problematic when you consider that instances of Israeli racism, real and, often, imagined, is frequently the focus of media reports, as is the narrative that Israeli society is getting increasingly racist.

Though we’re accustomed to this institutional media blind spot and such double standards, at times there are instances of anti-Jewish racism so extreme that we’ve held out hope that it would possibly pique the interest of Jerusalem correspondents.

A case in point is a recent op-ed published in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, a Palestinian newspaper controlled by the Palestinian Authority and whose editor was appointed by Mahmoud Abbas, literally calling for someone to shoot and kill a Jew during events in Jerusalem commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz – in order to disrupt the commemoration.

That’s not all.

Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, reported recently that Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement just produced a propaganda video about Jewish history in Europe (which it publicized on Fatah’s official Facebook page) claiming that Jews “led the project to enslave humanity”, and that Jewish behavior lead to European antisemitism:

“[Jews] were hated because of their racism and their filthy behavior.”

Further, important religious figures have given sermons on official, PA-owned TV channels going even further, with one cleric even warning that Jews pass on evil in their genes, and that the Jewish threat to humanity can be stopped only by exterminating all Jews.

Yet, none of the British media outlets we monitor have reported on any of these odious examples of hatred and incitement.

So, what accounts for the failure of journalists to report on such extreme racism, including even an explicit call for genocide?

It’s hard to boil it down to one single cause, but we’ve often written about the infantilization of Palestinians, and the failure to impute agency to them – a liberal racism that’s just as pernicious as the right-wing variety.

We also believe one major factor is the influence of intersectional theories based on an intellectually incoherent yet often blindly accepted moral calculus that creates a hierarchy of victimhood, whereby ‘white’ Jews are near the bottom and Palestinians ‘of colour’ often near the top.  It suggests that such victim statuses are immutable, that such power relations explain contemporary racism and thus the only racism that truly matters is that perpetrated by the ‘strong’ against the ‘weak’.

Paul Pagano has written about a related dynamic, which not only applies to the media’s failure to take Palestinian racism against Jews seriously, but also is relevant in understanding why so many in Corbyn’s Labour Party continue to be blind to antisemitism:

…the left is blind to anti-Semitism [because] anti-Semitism differs from most forms of racism in that it purports to “punch up” against a secret society of oppressors, which has the side effect of making it easy to disguise as a politics of emancipation. If Jews have power, then punching up at Jews is a form of speaking truth to power — a form of speech of which the left is currently enamored.

In other words, it is because anti-Semitism pretends to strike at power that the left cannot see it, and is doomed to erase — and even reproduce — its tropes.

Regardless of the factors motivating such omissions and obfuscations, journalists who ignore genocidal antisemitism are not merely doing a profound disservice to their readers in denying them information regarding a key cause of continuing failure of both parties to arrive at a peaceful solution.

It also represents another, far more troubling failure.

As we view coverage of Holocaust commemoration events today in Jerusalem, the lofty rhetoric by world leaders, diplomats and intellectuals evoking the oft-repeated idea of ‘never again’ – the moral imperative to never again allow Jew hatred to go unchallenged, because we know now where this leads – will ring hollow if the principle of anti-antisemitism is not applied universally.

Jerusalem based journalists who fail to adhere to this intuitive principle in their own reporting are guilty of a shameful moral abdication.

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11 replies »

  1. “…the left is blind to anti-Semitism [because]…” it buys into antisemitic conspiracy theory, which is what antisemitism is. IOW, the Left is blind to antisemitism because so much of the Left is antisemitic.

    Pagano’s description of antisemitism of the Left sounds eerily similar to antisemitism on the right and antisemitism amongst those Arabs of the “Palestinian” Authority, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc., and the Iranian imperialist hegemonic wannabes.
    There really isn’t a dime’s worth of difference.

    • An argument can be made the right is not only blind to anti-Semitism (“Trump can’t possibly hate Jews. He may ridicule them, but his grandkids are Jewish!”) but created anti-Semitism. (Or do you think Jews killed Jesus is a left-wing doctrine? I kid. Of course you do.)

      To help remember, I wrote a little jingle:

      The best part of right wing anti-Semitism…. is that they blame the left wing for it!

    • And there are necessary Checkpoints, metal detectors, bomb sniffing tech, X-Ray scanners at EVERY airport in the World to prevent another 9/11, Pan Am 103, sneaker, underwear bombers.

    • In US I have to go through metal detector at the airports and whenever entering any government buildings. There is a good reason for it: 9/11/2001 when 20 Musilms plunged planes into WTO and Pentagon, and over 30,000 subsequent terrorist attacks by the Musilms. Muslim tribes hate each other bust are united in hating Westernerfs and particularly Jews, If Muslims were not attracted to terrorism there would be no need for metal detectors…

  2. “The Sons of Pigs and Apes”: Muslim Antisemitism and the Conspiracy of Silence …

    “The Sons of Pigs and Apes”: Muslim Antisemitism and the Conspiracy of Silence Hardcover – November 1, 2012. … Kressel argues convincingly that Muslim antisemitism provides an acid test of the seriousness of Western liberalism. … Harvard-trained social psychologist Neil J. Kressel’s …

    From the 1950s through the 1990s, antisemitism everywhere seemed to be on the wane. But as Neil Kressel documents in this startling book, the Muslim world has resurrected in recent decades almost every diatribe that more than two millennia of European hostility produced against the Jews, and it has introduced many homegrown and novel modes of attack. Though it is impossible to determine precisely how many of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims hold anti-Jewish beliefs, Much of this Muslim antisemitism and bigotry comes from the highest levels of religious and political leadership in 56 Muslims occupied countries and their supporters, who had “hijacked” UN to defame Israel.

    Mohamed Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood ex-head and ex-president of Egypt from June 2012-July 2013, who recentyly died, was in jail for his crimes against Egyptian people, and a friend of B. Hussein Obama, called Jews “descendants of pigs and apes” (Google had removed video with his antisemitic speech). Imams and mullahs around mosques riled against Jews and Israel and Mahmud Abbas is a Holocaust denier and in Arabic promises that peace treaty with Israel is just a first step in elimination of the Jews from Palestine. Iran had been given a chance to “wipe “Zionist entity” from the map of the world” courtesy of Obama/Kerry/Clinton’s “nuke deal” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGBVg2nUWMw)