Guardian buries and distorts story about US Ambassador’s excuse for Muslim antisemitism

I was wondering if the Guardian would even cover the row over US Ambassador Howard Gutman’s remarks in Brussels excusing antisemitism by European Muslims as an understandable reaction to, among other dynamics, the construction of Israeli homes across the Green Line.

As we noted yesterday, Gutman distinguished between “hatred and violence against Jews, from a small sector of the population” which is “pernicious and… must be combated” on one hand, and “the more complex phenomena of Jew hatred which reflected “tension…over the…Israeli-Palestinian problem” on the other.

This later I-P Conflict-inspired hatred against Jews, argued Gutman, was different than classic antisemitic bigotry.

The following, in Richard Adams’ Guardian live blog on US politics, represents the sole entry on Gutman’s remarks about antisemitism in the Guardian.

Missing from Adams’ blog entry was these passages from Gutman’s prepared speech:

“It is the area where every new settlement announced in Israel, every rocket shot over a border or suicide bomber on a bus, and every retaliatory military strike exacerbates the problem and provides a setback here in Europe for those fighting hatred and bigotry here in Europe.”

the largest part of the solution for this second type of problem – too often lumped under a general banner of anti-Semitism – is in the hands of Israel, the Palestinians and Arab neighbors in the Middle East”

Yes, Gutman blamed Israel for fomenting antisemitism in Europe, a narrative advanced by, among others, Ben White in his 2002 CounterPunch essay, “Is it possible to understand the rise in antisemitism?“.

And, yes, the Guardian not only barely noted this apologia for racism, but omitted the most relevant passages in Gutman’s overall argument.

But, beyond the Guardian’s characteristic white wash of such politically inconvenient facts, we’re still left with a U.S. Ambassador who suggested that “tensions” and “violence” between Muslims and Jews in Europe is equally distributed between the two groups;  hatred against Jews stemming from the I-P Conflict should not be simplistically placed in the same category as regular antisemitism; and Israeli behavior drives the rise of antisemitism in Europe.

Perhaps this is a simple and intuitive point to make, but if Jewish history has demonstrated anything it’s that antisemitism has never been a commentary on the behavior of Jews but, rather, on the hate in the hearts of antisemites.

Attributing Muslim antisemitism to Israeli behavior is akin to blaming Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Afghanistan for fomenting racism against Muslims in the U.S.

True anti-racists, it seems, would never provide a moral pass to proponents and perpetrators of such dangerous bigotry.

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