Guardian publishes letter by supporter of Gilad Atzmon, refuses to publish rebuttal

Tanya Gold’s essay at ‘Comment is Free’ (LSE Nazi games in context: Antisemitic discourse is more acceptable now than at any time since the 1930s, I just can’t laugh it offJan.  16.) was really exceptional for a CiF piece for one reason: It not only took antisemitism seriously, in the context of commenting on LSE students playing a Nazi-themed party game, but included this Guardian apostacy:

“Leftwing antisemites despise Israel…”

Gold, unfortunately, didn’t flesh out that sentence to the degree warranted, failing to note that, per her passage, there are comprehensive studies which demonstrate this correlation. One, titled, “Anti-Israel sentiment predicts Antisemitism in Europe” is a must read for those interested in understanding that, while not every anti-Zionist is an antisemite, such anti-Zionists are dramatically more likely to hold antisemitic views than the rest of the public. 

Gold’s essay elicited furious criticism from commenters below the line, which included an appearance by antisemitism sympathizer Ben White (whose criticism of Gold’s condemnation of anti-Zionism garnered nearly 500 “Recommends”).

Further, the Guardian saw fit to publish two letters in response to Gold’s piece, both which were critical of the essay: (Letters: Israel, Palestine and the meaning of antisemitism, Jan 17).

Here is one such letter:

Once again a Jewish writer (Tanya Gold, 17 January) complaining about antisemitism deliberately ignores the distinction between false accusations against Jews over the centuries and justified criticism of the Jewish takeover of Palestine, a land that in living memory had a population that was 90% Arab, including my grandparents. Should the victim of a crime keep quiet because false accusations have been made against the criminal in the past? Let it be said loud and clear – it is entirely possible to criticise Israel without being antisemitic. To deny this is to argue against freedom of speech.
Karl Sabbagh
Newbold on Stour, Warkwickshire

The following letter was submitted to the Guardian by Mrs L Julius, in reply to Sabbagh’s complaint of “Jews’ takeover of Palestine”.  She agreed to publish it here after concluding that the Guardian was not going to publish it.

Karl Sabbagh  justifies ‘criticism  of the Jewish takeover of Palestine, a land that in living memory had a population that was 90 percent Arab, including my grandparents.’ He implies that if the critic gets carried away and punches the Jew in the nose for the ‘crimes’ of his fellows in Palestine – the blame lies with the criminals. 

 It is a stretch to argue that the land was 90 percent Arab: contemporary records show the land was sparsely populated at the turn of the last century. The Arab population was equivalent to that of a small town of perhaps half a million – wandering Bedouin or recent Muslim immigrants from Bosnia, Libya, Algeria, Syria and Egypt.   

 The fact that there were  Arabs living in a land designated by the Balfour Declaration of 1917 to be the Jewish homeland, does not mean that Arabs were automatically entitled to sovereignty in Palestine. The Arabs already have 21 states in the region, while other indigenous peoples such as Kurds, Assyrians and Berbers have none. For the likes of Karl Sabbagh, a single Jewish state is one too many.

Precedence in itself does mean much.  My parents were brutally expelled from Iraq, where the Jewish community dates back 2,700 years – predating the Arab invasion by 1,000 years. Yet I do not see Jews from Iraq loudly abusing Arabs for their crimes. 

 Mrs L Julius

Julius’s letter is spot-on, but the story doesn’t end there.

A brief search of Karl Sabbagh demonstrates that he is prolific anti-Zionist who proves Gold’s thesis.  Sabbagh (a ‘Palestinian-British’ writer and journalist), in 2011, participated in a panel discussion with Alan Hart (who has described Zionists as “the new Nazis“) and one of the most prolific antisemites, Gilad Atzmon.

In the video, Sabbagh praises Atzmon’s book, The Wandering Who?, and fails to render even the slightest objection while Atzmon characterizes Judaism as a “supremacist ideology fueled by chosenness”, opines that Jews control the world, suggests that Jews were responsible for fomenting the Nazi genocide, and even mocks Holocaust victims.

The sickening video serves to prove Gold’s thesis that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are, in reality, more often than not ugly ideological bedfellows.

You can read a summary of the hate fest at The JC.

(UPDATE: Dave Rich at the CST has more on  Karl Sabbagh, here)

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