This is a guest post by Tom Wonacott
The recent article by Nicholas Blincoe (“Welcome to Palestine, Avigdor”) is surely not a heavy weight read, but the author does promote the typical Guardian agenda. Blincoe sarcastically criticizes racism in Israeli society as well as Israel’s controversial settlement activity. He chides Israel’s new Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, for living in an “illegal”settlement and for purportedly racist statements that he made in the past, and then he sensationalizes Lieberman’s comments by comparing him to mass murderers, Slobodan Milosevic and Josef Stalin. Blincoe then berates the Jewish-majority state:
I have no doubt that it is possible for Israel to place the pursuit of a happy and secure Jewish life at its centre, while also offering equality, de facto and de jure, to all its citizens. Yet it has failed to do this, so far.
Blincoe is really advocating a bi-national or single state solution in Palestine. This is classic Guardian above the line delegitimization of the Jewish state. Blincoe’s tone is one of sarcasm, and he seems to enjoy calling Israel a racist society.
The Guardian has a knack for publishing anti-Israel articles. These are not just articles that legitimately question settlement expansion, but articles meant to undermine the legitimacy of Israel, itself – to demean Israel as a Jewish state. Some writers question Israel’s right to exist while promoting a single or bi-national state solution. Some compare Israel to apartheid South Africa and use apartheid terminology like “ethno-religious supremacist” state to describe Israel. Some seek to undermine Israel’s democracy, attacking the laws that favor Jewish immigration and land use, and some writers attempt to portray the very fabric of Israeli society as racist. The attacks on Israel have been ruthless and relentless, and have covered all walks of Israeli life.
While I’m not sure what all this subject material has to do with settlements, one thing is certain, what has been written and promoted above the line at the Guardian has also been written and promoted below the line. The Guardian fosters hate and antisemitism with their articles which, as a consequence, generate unfettered hate and antisemitism below the line. Netanyahu has demanded that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Maybe he should demand the same from the Guardian. Why do I suspect he would get the same answer?
The Israel-bashing articles have done far more damage to Israel than posters like the (useful) idiot, William Bapthorpe, but the Guardian must take credit for creating the environment where this hatred of Jews has flourished. This was best exemplified by William Bapthorpe, but other examples are posted by CiF Watch on a regular basis. Everyone is familiar with WB’s post calling for the murder of Jewish settlers, but he had a couple of others on the same thread that need to be highlighted as well.
6 Jan 2010, 2:59PM
Are you seriously suggesting that the large and prosperous Israeli Arab population, many of whom are fiercly proud to be Israeli but nonetheless critical (as are many, many Israeli jews, such as Ha’aretz’s readers) of some of their government’s policies, are there because the Jews somehow are failing in their bid to kill them all?
No, I am seriously suggesting that they are there because SOME Jews, IN THE PAST, failed in their bid to kill them all. This isn’t remotely controversial, I mean, obviously you can’t build a democratic Jewish state in a country populated 80% by Arabs without using some pretty crude methods.
Here, William advances the hypothesis that the Jews tried to exterminate the Palestinians. He promotes this as fact because its not “remotely controversial”.
6 Jan 2010, 2:37PM
you might want to explain to me the miraculous survival of Israel’s million muslims
Um… because the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in the ’40’s was not 100% effective?
I think that you can surmise here that William mistakenly believes that ethnic cleansing means “murder”, yet hatred of Israel is the overriding message from WB.
Mr. Lieberman’s past inflammatory comments have not only been a rich source of criticism for detractors of Israel, but an embarrassment at times for many liberal-minded Jews. So the below the line targeting of Lieberman was predictable. Blincoe compared Lieberman to two historical mass murderers, but as we’ve seen in the past, Guardian writers never let the truth stand in the way of a good anti-Israel story. Lieberman was called a fascist or compared to Hitler a number of times.
6 Jan 2010, 1:31PM
What does this remind anyone of?
Im sensing Austrian….Im also seeing a tiny moustache !
6 Jan 2010, 1:35PM
OK, I’ll take the plunge and risk the wrath of the moderators.
1) Lieberman’s comments are very reminiscant of things the Nazis said (and did) to the Jews and other victims of the Holocaust
2) They are also very similar to comments made by Haj Amin, the most prominent leader of the Palestinians and the first “President of Palestine” in 1948 before and during that first war.
It would seem that both sides are perfectly capable of making the most bloodthirsty threats of genocide.
Editor’s note: One “minor” difference between Lieberman and Haj Amin al-Husseini is that Haj actually worked for Hitler and was convicted of war crimes after WWII. Mr. Husseini has a long history of Jew hatred backed up by the murder of Jews. Other than that, these two are like two peas in a pod. Indistinguishable. In fairness to Keo2008, I think that he was misguided with this comparison since his comments are normally unbiased and moderate.
7 Jan 2010, 11:20AM
fascists such as lieberman (i.e. the rest of the israeli cabinet), do not deserve to live on this planet, never mind Palestine…..
6 Jan 2010, 1:22PM
If I were a Palestinian I wouldn’t want Lieberman living anywhere near me. He’s obviously not ideal neighbour material, unless you happen to be a fascist.
Classic victimization of the Palestinians justifying murder of Israeli civilians (isn’t the Goldstone report about targeting civilians?) was also a feature of the thread:
6 Jan 2010, 1:00PM
No, but plenty who think the skills developed in sending people to blow up a bar full of Jewish kids are.
What are kids doing in a bar?
6 Jan 2010, 1:17PM
Excellent article. of course if Avigdor doesn’t like the Palestinian state he could move back to his country of origin – Moldova. Or he could just skip over the border to ‘the project’.
Bethlehem is indeed a beautiful place, and its true the surrounding area is rather unsightly because of the apartheid wall….sorry, i mean ‘Hafrada’ wall and the sniper towers etc. I had a lovely stay in the Bethlehem Star hotel last Nov, very warm welkcome.
“No, but plenty who think the skills developed in sending people to blow up a bar full of Jewish kids are.”
I think if your going to make such a emotionally charged comment, its only fair to put it into context, wouldn’t you agree?
So I’ll leave it to Avraham Burg (former speaker of the Knesset)
?It is very comfortable to be a Zionist in West Bank settlements such as Beit El and Ofra. The biblical landscape is charming. You can gaze through the geraniums and bougainvilleas and not see the occupation. Travelling on the fast highway that skirts barely a half-mile west of the Palestinian roadblocks, it?s hard to comprehend the humiliating experience of the despised Arab who must creep for hours along the pocked, blockaded roads assigned to him. One road for the occupier, one road for the occupied.
This cannot work. Even if the Arabs lower their heads and swallow their shame and anger for ever, it won?t work. A structure built on human callousness will inevitably collapse in on itself. Note this moment well: Zionism?s superstructure is already collapsing like a cheap Jerusalem wedding hall. Only madmen continue dancing on the top floor while the pillars below are collapsing.
We have grown accustomed to ignoring the suffering of the women at the roadblocks. No wonder we don?t hear the cries of the abused woman living next door or the single mother struggling to support her children in dignity. We don?t even bother to count the women murdered by their husbands.
Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centres of Israeli escapism. They consign themselves to Allah in our places of recreation, because their own lives are torture. They spill their own blood in our restaurants in order to ruin our appetites, because they have children and parents at home who are hungry and humiliated. We could kill a thousand ringleaders a day and nothing will be solved, because the leaders come up from below ? from the wells of hatred and anger, from the ?infrastructures? of injustice and moral corruption.
If all this were inevitable, divinely ordained and immutable, I would be silent. But things could be different, and so crying out is a moral imperative?
6 Jan 2010, 2:25PM
6 Jan 2010, 2:06PM
“…The Israeli kids were killed on busses, in schools, restaurants and parks, quite deliberately, and absolutely becaue of their race.”
Dispossession (sometimes twice), illegal acquisition of territory, illegal annexation, illegal settlements, bulldozing homes are a racial trait?
And then there are the supporters of the one-state solution:
6 Jan 2010, 12:26PM
If only. It will take an imaginative solution this problem. Banging on the same way like a demented and bloody Groundhog;s Day is not going to help.
The idea of two people’s i one land is less outlandish than the current madness.
Now i suppose the usual suspects will come out of the woodwork to say the same old thing and point those cruel unforgiving fingers at each other.
6 Jan 2010, 1:38PM
The Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad has offered settlers such as you the option of making your home in a future Palestinian state. Last week, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz urged its government to embrace the offer and draw the poison out of the settler problem.
I’ve been observing (and doing my little bit towards creating mutual understanding) for a number of years now – and quite frankly I think whatever Salam Fayyad or the likes of Abbas come up with, it’s too late for the ‘Two State Solution’ – in fact, we are way past the point of no return, and Zionism has well and truly shot itself in the foot.
In my opinon, Mehdi Hasan got it about right in his article entitled: I’ve changed my mind about a two-state solution.
The truth is that the dream of “two states for two peoples”, born in the 90s, died in the noughties. The two-state solution, the popular and principled option for so long now, is neither practical nor possible. In the words of Israeli academic Jeff Halper, “Israel by its own hand has rendered a viable two-state solution impossible.” Its time has passed. So the moment has come, as we enter the teenies, to forget the idea of a Palestinian state existing side by side with a Jewish state, and to argue and agitate instead for the only remaining, viable and democratic option: a single, secular and binational state for Israelis and Palestinians. No longer “two states for two peoples”, but “one person, one vote”.
And I just love the biting (no pun intended) analogy from Palestinian lawyer Michael Tarazi:
“It’s like you and I are negotiating over a piece of pizza. How much of the pizza do I get? And how much do you get? And while we are negotiating it, you are eating it.”
6 Jan 2010, 2:32PM
Perhaps if palestinian leaders had genuinely offered to allow Jewish people to remain in 1947 instead of proclaiming how they would push them into the sea ..”
Declaration on the Invasion of Palestine says: ?The Governments of the Arab States emphasise, on this occasion, what they have already declared before the London Conference and the United Nations, that the only solution of the Palestine problem is the establishment of a unitary Palestinian State, in accordance with democratic principles, whereby its inhabitants will enjoy complete equality before the law, [and whereby] minorities will be assured of all the guarantees recognised in democratic constitutional countries, and [whereby] the holy places will be preserved and the right of access thereto guaranteed.
Democracy!! Equal rights!! How dare they!
And then we have a twist on the Nazi-analogy with a comparison of Israel’s policies to the Soviets under the rule of Stalin:
6 Jan 2010, 12:56PM
It is refreshing to see that Mr Briscoe is apparently at liberty to draw analogies between some Israeli actions and Stalin.
He further uses the words mass murder.
Why do we below the line have to tip toe around Israeli sentiment and their use of the abuse button to further their argument?
No double standards above and below the line.
Strong language provokes strong response.
And then there’s blaming the Jews for antisemitism.
6 Jan 2010, 1:48PM
But the Arab Muslims managed to kill or eject all their Jews in the last 50 years, but not before they stole their property first.
For what it’s worth, I condemn utterly the mistreatment of any group because of their ethnicity or religion… but you don’t think that the ill treatment of Jews in Arab countries might be related to the creation/behaviour of the State of Israel? Or the Western backed suppression of Arab nationalism in the 50’s? Or countless other double standards. I’m not excusing it but you seem to not even acknowledge that their might be an underlying cause. If Israel can eject a whole population…
You’re busy shouting “they want to kill us” but ignoring the fact that when it comes to killing other people in the region, the IDF is peerless. The real threat to Israel’s existence ended in 1973 but they’ve made it an unchallengeable belief, Now, it’s as if crimes against Jews are automatically worse and completely unrelated to anything else that might have happened.
Perhaps if Israel took the first step and stopped shooting innocent people as policy, they might not want to shoot you? Just an idea.
And finally we have the inevitable comparison of Israel to apartheid South Africa
6 Jan 2010, 12:28PM
zimbabwe – interesting comparison, tho i think apartheid south africa is much closer