The Guardian welcomes back Ben White, tireless campaigner for the end of the Jewish State

My first guest post at CiF Watch, before becoming managing editor, was devoted to critiquing a Ben White essay published at ‘Comment is Free’.

I noted then, with intentional understatement, that White seemed an odd choice to provide “analysis” on anything having to do with the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict for ‘CiF’ readers.  

I observed that White, the author of “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide”, is on record expressing sympathy towards those who hold antisemitic views – as an understandable reaction to Israel’s “Racial Supremacy” and a justifiable frustration with the Western media’s “subservience to Israel”.

I similarly questioned why any media group which fancied themselves “liberal” would license a commentator who morally justified anti-Jewish racism, and opposes the existence of the Jewish state within any borders. 

White’s CiF essay on May 11, 2010, “Israel seeks to silence dissent” championed the cause of ‘human rights defender’, Ameer Makhoul, head of the Israeli NGO Ittijah, whose arrest by Israeli security officials White characterized as an attempt to stifle voices demanding accountability, and as a “crackdown on dissent and human rights work.”  

Strangely absent was any follow-up by White on the Makhoul case, owed, presumably, to the inconvenient fact that Makhoul is currently serving 10 years in prison for spying for Hezbollah, after pleading guilty to charges including contact with a foreign agent, conspiring to assist the enemy in wartime, and espionage.

White’s May, 2010 commentary defended Makhoul, but his broader polemical objectives were, as always, to attempt to delegitimize Israel by questioning its status as the region’s only democracy, and championing “heroic” anti-Zionist NGOs who are striving to bring about the end of Jewish self-determination.

In fact the protagonist in his current tale of Israeli villainy, “This smear against Israeli human rights activists is all too familiar“, Jan. 4, is one Hassan Jabareen, of the NGO Adalah, who is on record stating the following, in what could be White’s defining mantra:

“Activists should try to portray Israel as an inherent undemocratic state” and use that as part of campaigning internationally.”

Like White, Adalah – which, he noted, has received funds from NIF – also campaigns for the end of the Jewish state, which it has characterized as a “colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid”. Adalah also accused Israel of representing an “institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another.” 

Beyond the particulars of his efforts to delegitimize Israel, it needs reminding the degree of malevolence White possess towards Israel, which are restrained by few if any moral boundaries.  White is on record characterizing “pure” Zionism as an ideology of “extermination”, has conjured a villainous Israeli caricature which forces Palestinians on “death marches”, and has even defended Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from “charges” that he denied the Holocaust.

Beyond contextualizing White’s obsessive and malign anti-Zionism, and expressed sympathy for those who hold antisemitic beliefs, the decision by editors at ‘Comment is Free’ to continually sanction White’s campaign to rid the world of the malignancy of Zionism can not be easily dismissed.

Guardian Readers’ Editor Chris Elliott’s mea culpa “On averting accusations of antisemitism” warned the paper’s writers, reporters and editors to refrain from using language, and employing tropes, which evoke antisemitic narratives – a moral guideline, it would seem, that should similarly apply to commentators they chose to publish.

By licensing Ben White – whose antipathy towards the Jewish state, and comfort level with Judeophobia, is undeniable – as a voice somehow consistent with “respectable” liberal opinion, the Guardian again demonstrates that, whatever the solitary musings of one editor, the institution continues to be compromised by a callous disinterest in the dangers of modern antisemitic thought.

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