In the past year I have noticed that my very occasional sojourns into the Guardian’s “Comment Is Free” discussion have been deleted by the moderator when saying something as innocuous as: “The Palestinians, perennially complaining about lack of opportunity, have had next door to them for sixty-one years an example of a people who rose from oppression and created a high-tech democracy where gays can march and women do as they please without fear of being stoned to death.” Unless you live on Mars you will be aware that it is obviously not in the Guardian’s house style to laud the achievements of tiny, oil-impoverished Israel.
So, presto! In October 2009 Simon Rogers of the Guardian finally eradicated Israel. How did he do this?
The day after Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Guardian decided to publish a chart showing the nations and people who had won the prize in the past century. To the utter disbelief of those who saw it, the list omitted the Israeli names. There was Yasser Arafat in 1994, clearly listed as a winner from a country that does not actually exist, “Palestine,” but there was no Shimon Peres or Yitzhak Rabin of Israel. There was Anwar Sadat of Egypt, but no Menachem Begin of Israel. The aforesaid Israelis had worked as tirelessly as their Muslim counterparts to forge a new generation of peace and prosperity amongst the warring nations. Who could forget Prime Minister Rabin’s impassioned speech about “no more blood and tears,” as he signed agreement after agreement with his nation’s former enemies? Who could forget the embrace of Egyptian President Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Begin — a sight no one would have believed possible just a few years before they signed the historic Camp David Accords? It was this scenario that was to cost Sadat his life. It was the handshake in the Rose Garden of the White House that would lose Rabin his life.
Readers of this site may think I have become a crazed supporter of Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), but my point is that no matter how one despised the coming together of Begin and Sadat and Arafat and Rabin, the omission of the Israeli Nobel winners is shocking and unforgivable. As far as I am concerned it was deliberate and malevolent. The Guardian used the excuse that there had been a glitch in the entering of data in the Nobel listings. Oh, please.
What I do like about this staggering omission is that it corroborated my belief that Israel hatred in the liberal press is obsessional. The Nobel omissions corroborate Julie Burchill’s courageous journalism protesting what she perceived as the “vile anti-Semitism” around her during her departure from the Guardian-Observer. People who have scoffed that Julie Burchill and I see an anti-Semite and Israel-hater in every corner can now please be silent. In National Review Online Tom Gross reported that the Guardian “has wiped Israel off the Nobel Prize map, much as Iranian despot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would like to wipe Israel off the real map.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has issued a formal complaint to the Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, telling him they consider the omission of Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, and Menachem Begin as akin to the Nazis’ delegitimization of Jews.
It is significant that non-Jews were angered by the omissions. The Daily Telegraph’s bemused Tim Collard, a retired diplomat, wrote a short but sweet editorial entitled “The Jewish Names Missing from a Guardian List of Nobel Prize Winners.” (Note he says “Jewish,” not Israeli or Zionist. There is a growing school of thought that folks who spurn Israelis don’t have much love for Jews either.) Tongue in cheek, he suggests that the “vermillion-faced” Rogers quickly rectified the “oversight.” The liberal media are happy to bestow self-determination on every oppressed minority group in the universe, but when Jews make a country, get tough, and outshine everyone else in their neighborhood, they are just brutal Zionist imperialists.
In January 2001 the Guardian ran an editorial entitled “Israel Simply Has No Right to Exist” by Faisal Bodi. The author, one of a long list of anti-Israel journalists employed by the paper, has been ubiquitous over the years in his relentless attacks on the Jewish state and in his complaints about rampant Islamophobia. Among the more memorable nuggets from his missive were: “There is no moral case for the existence of Israel.” Bodi reminds us that a few years before the 2001 article he had incurred the wrath of the Anglo-Jewish community by saying in his student union newsletter that “the sympathy evoked by the Holocaust was a very handy cover for Israeli atrocities.”
The October 2009 Guardian Nobel Peace Prize “glitch” is disturbing. Notwithstanding its dismissal by Tom Gross as a left-wing rag, the episode has left me feeling uncomfortable. It is worrying enough that the huge British TUC (Trade Union Congress), led by, of all groups, the firemen, has voted to support the Israel boycott movement. That a mainstream newspaper would set about removing the names of Israeli Nobel Prize winners indicates to me that Britain is moving in a direction that ought to inspire Anglo-Jewish youth to depart the shores of Eurabia and the streets of what Melanie Phillips so aptly calls Londonistan.
I leave the last word to a Harry’s Place blogger, Augie:
“Does anyone need any more proof that the Guardian is anti-Semitic?”