The anti-Zionist malice of ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Mya Guarnieri

At an October protest against legislation commonly referred to as the loyalty oath – a bill that would require non-Jews seeking Israeli citizenship to pledge allegiance to a “Jewish and democratic” state – Gavriel Solomon, a prominent academic and peace activist, likened Israel to Nazi Germany, circa 1935...That was the year that the Nuremberg Laws – racist legislation that led to the systematic and deadly persecution of Jews – were created….There were no [concentration] camps yet but there were racist laws,” he said. “And we are heading towards these kinds of laws.” [emphasis mine] – Mya Guarnieri, Al-Jazeera, Feb. 6, 2011

Mya Guarnieri is nothing if not ambitious.

In a 2010 ‘Comment is Free’ piece she characterized the bigoted comments of a few dozen Israelis as an event which portends the rise of a Jewish state lurching towards fascism. Her polemical crusade aspired to nothing less than saving the “very soul Judaism” – a quite messianic ambition for a secular Jew like Guarnieri, and even more impressive when you consider that our Hebrew-speaking activist’s goal of earthly salvation was executed in a quite thrifty 636 words!

It’s important to note that Guarnieri seems intent on saving “Judaism”, not Israel – the Jewish state whose stubborn wish to exist she fiercely opposes in the name of all that is sacred to her understanding of progressive values.

She supports, instead, a quite modest proposal: the radical reconstitution of the world’s only Jewish state into the 51st majority Muslim state, with Jews living as the minority.  

When Guarnieri isn’t calling for the demise of the 3rd Jewish Commonwealth, she can be seen, on the pages of Counterpunch all but calling for a new Intifada, warning that Israeli Jews are engaged in a ‘war of attrition against non-Jews‘, and suggesting that anti-BDS legislation passed by the Knesset was arguably “proto-fascist“. 

Guarnieri has even published an essay accusing Israel of institutionalized “destruction of Muslim religious properties” in the pro-Hezbollah propaganda site, Al-Akhbar.

So, it wasn’t at all surprising that ‘Comment is Free’ provided Ms. Guarnieri a platform to criticize Israel’s anti-terror operation against Zuhair al-Qaissi, in a manner thoroughly consistent with the Guardian’s recent egregiously biased coverage of both the IDF action, and subsequent Gaza rocket fire.

In “The killing of Zuhair al-Qaissi exposes Israel’s attitude to its supreme court” CiF, March 14, Guarnieri criticizes the killing of al-Qaissi – a senior Popular Resistance Committee operative responsible for planning a multi-pronged terror attack that was to take place via Sinai within a few days.

Guarnieri’s complaint centers around the fact that Israeli intelligence on the planned terrorist attack by al-Qaissi – who was among the leaders who planned, funded, and directed the combined terror attack that took place on Route 12 in August 2011, in which 8 Israelis were killed and 40  injured – was based on “secret evidence”.

Guarnieri’s piece deals with what she claims are Israeli violations of supreme court rulings more broadly. However, she argues, about the attack on the PRC leader, that though the court has indeed ruled in favor of such preemptive acts to prevent terror attacks, on a case-by-case basis, “depending on the evidence”, she counters that “…without seeing the security forces’ secret evidence, it’s impossible to know if al-Qaissi was indeed planning an attack.”

Of course, to treat Guarnieri as a serious interlocutor, and assume good faith in her query about Israeli intel on the PRC terrorist, would be an act of supreme foolishness – as most of what the “progressive” journalist writes represents merely anti-Zionist conclusions in search of supporting evidence. For Guarnieri, Israel’s sin is original and immutable – her polemical inquiries merely representing an edifice by which to impute guilt.

However, just as a point of comparison about a democracy’s right to protect its citizens from terror groups intent on murdering its citizens, the U.S. presents a good example.

The U.S. military, from 2004 till 2012, carried out 290 drone strikes in northwest Pakistan against al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders (attacks which have significantly increased in the Obama years), and killed between 1,778 and 2,764 people, of whom around 1,485 to 2,293 were terrorists. (So, roughly 17% of those killed are believed to have been civilians).

It’s important to note two things: First, such attacks (controlled by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Activities Division) are largely based on the desire to prevent potential attacks, as opposed to actionable intelligence that an attack was to be imminently launched on U.S. soil; And, evidence regarding the terror affiliations of the roughly 2000 terrorists killed are not made public by the U.S. military, nor subject to review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

However, beyond the specious legal arguments she puts forth, Guarnieri concludes that the IDF targeting of such PRC leaders represents “a war on Palestinians – and anyone that Israel deems an ‘other‘” [emphasis added] – that is, further evidence of Israeli racism.

About the Palestinian “other”:

The Popular Resistance Committees are trained, funded and provided weaponry by Hamas, refuses any form of reconciliation with Israel, and acts as a sub-contractor for Iranian and Hezbollah agents in Lebanon, carrying out terror attacks against Israelis in return for funding.

According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, PRC is split into three factions, two of which collaborate with Hamas and operate under its auspices. The third faction, called the Army of Islam, is affiliated with global jihad movements.

PRC has a radical Islamist ideology similar to Hamas, argues that Muslims are obligated to wage violent Jihad, and specifically believes that killing Israelis is the only way to “liberate” Palestine.

Finally, to further contextualize Guarnieri’s politics, she, in a piece for Mondoweiss in May of 2011, described Israel as “a place that is Jewish in numbers but utterly lacking a Jewish soul.” Zionism, she argues, “in [claiming] that the Jewish people cannot exist without [a Jewish] state, denies hundreds of years of Diaspora history, culture, and languages”, and is, therefore, itself, a form of antisemitism. 

The moral inversion is now complete. 

Guarnieri’s malign obsession with Israel is so intense that she views Zionists as the true antisemites – representing, by definition, a reactionary element which should inspire moral outrage – while terrorist groups who openly advocate the murder of Jews evoke progressive sympathy.

If you want to know how debased the anti-Zionist left has become, simply follow the supremely callous musings of Mya Guarnieri – whose lazy stereotypes (crude, ugly caricatures) about Israel, and Israelis, embody a movement’s hateful, and simply insatiable, fixation on the sins, real and imagined, of living Jews. 

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