Britain’s far-left newspaper/website the Guardian with its media group (which also includes the Observer) has been called “more hostile to Israel” than any “mainstream media outfit in the Western world.” That description was offered by The Commentator, the site run by Robin Shepherd, author of A State Beyond the Pale.
British media expert Tom Gross, noting that the Guardian has “acknowledged (or at least partly acknowledged) that [it] ha[s] a problem with anti-Semitism,” cites
the paper’s long track record of being at or near the forefront of efforts to demonize the Jewish state: its decades’ long policy of greatly exaggerating any wrongdoing by Israel while ignoring, downplaying or even romanticizing attacks on her.
That has included headlines such as “‘Netanyahu turns to Nazi language’ (July 10, 2009) or ‘Israel simply has no right to exist’ (Jan. 3, 2001),” as well as the term “‘proto-fascist’ (Feb. 12, 2009) to describe the Israeli cabinet….”
In its report on “Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2011,” the Community Security Trust (CST), which advises the UK Jewish community on security and antisemitism, devoted a whole section to the Guardian. “In 2011,” CST noted, “the Guardian faced more accusations of antisemitism than any other mainstream UK newspaper.”
The CiF Watch site does an excellent daily job of “monitoring and combating antisemitism, and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy, at the Guardian and its blog, ‘Comment is Free.’”
The Guardian, with about 50 million unique visitors per month and about twelve times that many page views per month, has immense reach. It is one of the significant reasons that so many people in the West view Israel as an evil country. Claiming Israel should not exist, praising its terrorist attackers, and defaming its people and ethos are some of the Guardian’s contributions over the years.
Down with Israel
When the Israel-hating Electronic Intifada site accused the Guardian of failing to support the “one-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian issue—whereby Israel and surrounding Arab populations would blend into a single Arab state and Israel would cease to exist—longtime Guardian columnist and associate editor Seumas Milne sprang to his paper’s defense.
“We have,” he asserted, “had numerous articles supporting the Palestinian right to return (including by regular columnists)….”
“One-state solution” and “Palestinian right of return”—they mean the same thing. The latter variant entails millions of descendants of Arabs who fled Israel during the 1948-1949 Arab-Israeli war “returning” to Israel and demographically swamping its Jewish population. The result is the same: perhaps some Jews living (very precariously) in a majority-Arab state, but no Israel.
And lest there be any remaining doubt where the Guardian stands, its editorial on October 21 this year declared: “Amid deepening despair as to the viability of a two-state solution, [the one-state] option…is only going to attract more attention.”
It may not have been, as CiF Watch noted, an explicit endorsement of “one state,” but “at least…a step in that direction….”
A step, that is, in a blatantly antisemitic direction. Among “the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself,” the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism cites: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination….”
Or, to put it differently, promoting a Middle East where the 21 Arab states of the Arab League, plus at least one state dubbed “Palestinian,” continue to exist—but no Israel. For the radical, Palestinian-enamored left that the Guardian represents, that would be one Jewish state too many.
Praising terrorists and genocidists
Considering the Guardian’s hostility toward Israel, it makes sense that it takes a favorable view of those who work most fervently to destroy it.
As Tom Gross points out, the Guardian
ran a front page article…describing Yasser Arafat (known to many as the “father of international airline terrorism”) as “cuddly” and “erotic,” adding that “the stubble on his cheeks was silky not prickly. It smelt of Johnson’s Baby Powder” (Nov. 12, 2004).
Guardian deputy editor Katharine Viner found a similar charm in Leila Khaled, a Palestinian terrorist who hijacked and blew up part of a TWA plane and held two Israeli passengers hostage for half a year. Viner was taken with:
The gun held in fragile hands, the shiny hair wrapped in a keffiah, the delicate Audrey Hepburn face refusing to meet your eye.
When, last November, after hundreds of rocket firings on towns and villages, Israel waged a one-week war against Hamas in Gaza, the Guardian continued its tradition as a platform for Hamas. This organization, indeed the apple of the eye of many progressives, is busy imposing sharia law on Gaza; its charter states: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it….”
On that occasion the Guardian published a piece by Musa Abumarzuq, deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, who declared: “With the approach of the Israeli elections, the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, wanted to trade with the blood of the Palestinians….”
As CiF Watch noted:
Other than Abumarzuq, who published a previous essay at CiF in 2011, the list includes Hamas ‘Prime Minister’ Ismail Haniyeh, their head of international relations Osama Hamdan, and their ‘advisor’, Azzam Tamimi.
But if there was one anti-Israeli figure who seemed beyond the pale even for the Western left, it was—one may have thought—Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Not so for the abovementioned Seumas Milne, who complained that the Western media presented Ahmadinejad as
nothing but a Holocaust-denying fanatic. The other Ahmadinejad, who is seen to stand up for the country’s independence, expose elite corruption on TV and use Iran’s oil wealth to boost the incomes of the poor majority, is largely invisible abroad.
One can conjecture what Milne might have written in the 1930s about another anti-Jewish genocidist who, after all, got the trains running on time.
Trashing “the chosen”
In October 2011 Israel traded a thousand Palestinian security prisoners, who included convicted murderers and mass murderers, for its captive soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held by Hamas in Gaza for five years. For decades Israel has been on a slippery slope of making ever-more-lopsided deals to free captive Israeli soldiers or civilians.
Guardian columnist Deborah Orr had her own take on the deal, asserting:
…there is something abject in their [Hamas’s] eagerness to accept a transfer that tacitly acknowledges what so many Zionists believe—that the lives of the chosen are of hugely greater consequence than those of their unfortunate neighbours.
Reality check: “Zionists” believe no such thing. Every last one of them would have been much happier if the deal had been less lopsided, or if Shalit could have been freed in a military rescue with no deal at all. It is the lack of humanism of Israel’s foes that confronts it with dilemmas about making such deals. Orr’s words are rank antisemitism that doesn’t even try to hide behind the usual progressive camouflage of high-minded ideals and “justice.”
It comes as no surprise, considering that Orr had earlier written that believing “Israel is a shitty little country” did not make her an antisemite. Perish the thought. As Cif Watch commented:
…only someone with a simply immutable hatred for Israel could frame the nation’s willingness to release over a thousand terrorists, many with the blood of innocent Israeli lives on their hands—the large majority of which possess a sociopathic absence of remorse for their murderous acts—in exchange for just one of its own citizens as evidence of the state’s racism.
This overview would not be complete without some samples of Guardian graphics.
In this one from Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell in 2010, Jews are again a violent, demonic force of evil:
Cif Watch elaborates:
Notice the skull in the middle of the Star of David in the blue flag designed to associate Judaism’s most well known symbol with death….
Then there is the barbed wire to depict the Star of David and the two stripes in the Israeli flag, an obvious allusion to Auschwitz.
That this is an antisemitic cartoon is clear: the EUMC working definition of antisemitism provides that “[d]rawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is an example of antisemitism.
And here’s another Steve Bell opus, this one from 2012. Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, as Britain’s Jewish Chronicle noted, is “a puppet-master, controlling tiny versions of Foreign Secretary William Hague and Tony Blair”:
There is, of course, no more classic antisemitic trope than the all-powerful Jew who pulls the strings of world politics.
Unlike far-right antisemites featured earlier in this series—such as David Irving, Greece’s Golden Dawn Party, or Hungary’s Jobbik Party—progressive antisemites like the Guardian tend not to flaunt Nazi or fascist allegiances. By their own account, they’re simply noble people seeking a better world, a fair shake for the Palestinians. But one doesn’t have to look long for the mask to fall.