When white faces at the Guardian refuse to treat non-white faces as moral equals

Lara Pawson’s CiF essay on Oct. 20, When a white face becomes the face of the Congo, is a perfect illustration of the egregious double standards, operating under a veneer of anti-racism, which continues to deny moral agency to those categorized (often arbitrarily) as “people of color”.

Indeed, such reasoning, where victim and perpetrator in the Middle East is pre-assigned, continues to skew the Guardian’s coverage of Israel and the Middle East. 

Pawson opens her essay as follows:

“We have learned a lot about the 25-year-old Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit since his arrival in Egypt on Tuesday. We know the name of his father, Noam Shalit, his mother, Aviva Shalit, and that of his hometown, Mitzpe Hila. We know he was wearing a black baseball cap and a grey shirt when he was handed over to the Egyptian authorities. We know that despite looking gaunt, medical experts have judged him in good health. We also know the sound of this young man’s voice and what he said to journalists before finally returning home.”

Pawson then complains:

“What do we know about the 1,027 Palestinians for whom Shalit was exchanged? Can you name a single one? Beyond a summary of the crimes for which they were convicted in Israel, we know little else.”

Does Pawson really want to find out more about the terrorist history of such released prisoners?  Not likely. 

But, if she truly wants to know more about such faceless Palestinians, here’s a summary of the five top released terrorists, along with the Israeli victims of their ruthless acts.


The 49-year-old Gaza native, who is generally considered the most senior prisoner released, helped establish Hamas’s military wing in Gaza — including an internal security network that killed Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel — and was serving four life sentences for his involvement in the 1994 kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldier Nachshon Wachsman. According to Al Jazeera, Sinwar’s brother, Mohammed, may have helped engineer Hamas’s abduction of Gilad Shalit. Upon returning home to Gaza, Yehya Sinwar stated that capturing Israeli soldiers was the best way to free Palestinian prisoners. “For the prisoner, capturing an Israeli soldier is the best news in the universe, because he knows that a glimmer of hope has been opened for him,” he declared, per the New York Times.


The 31-year-old Hamas operative was serving 36 life sentences for his role in suicide bombings at Jerusalem’s Café Moment (11 killed) and the Rishon LeZion pool hall (16 killed) in 2002 during the Second Intifada. 

Here are the Israeli victims of Anajas’s actions:


The Hamas military leader helped plan many of the deadliest suicide bombings of the Second Intifada, including 2001 attacks on a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem (15 killed) and a disco near the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv (21 killed), and 2002 attacks on a Passover seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya (30 killed) and the Matza restaurant in Haifa (15 killed). Israel has decided to relocate Badran, who was serving over 17 years in prison, abroad rather than return him to the West Bank.

On June 1, 2001, a Hamas suicide bomber blew himself up outside a discotheque on a beachfront in Tel Aviv, Israel, killing 21 teenagers and injuring 132.

Here are the Israeli victims of Badran’s acts:

Israeli victims of suicide attack in 2001 at discoteque
More Israeli victims of discotheque bombing
Passover massacre

Here are the Israeli victims of the Passover massacre:

Israeli victims of Passover massacre
Suicide bombing in Matza Restaurant in Haifa (Mar 31, 2002)

Here are the Israeli victims.

Ron Aviel
Orly Ofir
Ofer Ron,
Anat Ron
Shimon Koren
Ran Koren
Gal Koren
Adi Shiran
Shimon Shiran
Suheil Adawi
Moshe Levin
Danielle Menchel
Ya'akov Shani
Daniel Carlos Wegman
Carlos Yerushalmi


The 30-year-old former television reporter helped plan and carry out the Sbarro pizzeria bombing, driving the suicide bomber, and the bomb, to the restaurant. Frimet Roth, the mother of a 15-year-old victim, wrote an editorial in Haaretz over the weekend criticizing the Israeli government for releasing Tamimi, who expressed no remorse for participating in the bombing in 2006 and has since vowed to carry out a similar attack if she has the chance.

Israeli victims of Tamimi’s act:


In 2000, a 20-year-old Salha arrived at a Ramallah police station where two Israeli reservists had been taken and beaten by a mob after they mistakenly drove their car into the West Bank city. As Haaretz tells it, Salha removed a knife from the back of one of the soldiers and stabbed him three more times. He then proudly waved his bloodied hands outside the window in what was one of the most horrifying images of the Second Intifada. He was sentenced to life in prison and will be relocated to Gaza

ABED EL-AZIZ SALHA holds his bloodstained hands aloft for the baying mob below
IDF Reservists Vadim Nurzhitz and Yossef Avrahami: Israeli victims of the Ramallah lynching

Pawson’s perverse logic concludes:

[The way the stories are told by the MSM] tell us who holds power and how it is reproduced, and how closely today’s hierarchies are connected to centuries of history. They remind us that we have created a world in which a thousand Palestinians are equal to one Israeli. 

No, actually, something closer to the opposite is true. The reason why the media has provided a few sympathetic portrayals of Gilad Shalit is because, unlike the Palestinian terrorists noted above, he was being held captive for five years yet hadn’t committed a crime of any sort. 

The insistence of Pawson and her political fellow travelers to deny moral agency to the Palestinian terrorists who murdered so many Israeli civilians – and, upon their release, have vowed to commit more acts of violence – suggests a two-tier system of ethics and justice: one for Israelis (for whom they assign maximum moral responsibility), and another for Palestinians (whose crimes they minimize, rationalize, or simply ignore).

It is this profound moral pathos (which informs such blatant liberal racism) that, more than anything else, continues to define the rigid ideology known as the Guardian left.  

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