Islamism, and the Guardian left’s moral complicity with antisemitism

“In the Middle East, [antisemitism] has taken on a particularly dangerous, toxic and potentially genocidal aura of hatred…

Islamist anti-Semitism is thoroughly soaked in many of the most inflammatory themes that initially made possible the atrocities of…the Holocaust.

For example, the pervasive use of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion with its perennial theme of the “Jewish conspiracy for world domination;” or the medieval blood-libel imported to the Muslim world from Christian Europe; or the vile stereotypical image of the Jews as a treacherous, rapacious, and bloodthirsty people engaged in a ceaseless plotting to undermine the world of Islam”.Professor Robert Wistrich

It is time to take seriously the question asked by the prolific Robin Shepherd  in the June 8th edition of The Commentator – following the publication at ‘Comment is Free’ of an essay by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh – Is the Guardian the most bigoted newspaper in Britain?

Shepherd writes:

“Which of these propositions do you think is correct; and can you identify a moral distinction between them?

The Guardian newspaper has just run an article by someone advocating that black people be returned to the status of slaves.

The Guardian newspaper has just run an article suggesting that landlords be allowed to put up notices saying that Irish people and dogs need not apply for housing.

The Guardian newspaper has just run an article by a political leader whose foundational charter advocates the murder of Jews and promotes conspiracy theories that would not have looked out-of-place in Nazi Germany.

No prizes for guessing that the third of those propositions is correct on a factual basis. The morality? It’s a race to the bottom.

But given that anti-Semitism gave rise to the greatest single crime in human history, and that the Holocaust was the culmination of a series of horrific crimes that shame every civilisation that has been a party to it… well, you make up your own mind.

On Friday, the Guardian ran a piece in its opinion section by none other than Ismail Haniyeh, leader of Hamas in Gaza and now, it appears, a perfectly acceptable room-mate for the leading voice in Britain’s Liberal-Left.

Let’s not even get into the question of Hamas‘s attitude to gays and women – they support hanging the former and suppressing the latter. (By the way, it’s the gay pride festival today in Tel Aviv, and of course Gaza – no, sorry that last bit was a joke, a sick one, but not as sick as the Guardian editors who commissioned Hamas to write a piece for them.)” 

Shepherd’s question is an urgent one and it demands seriousness of mind.

Here is our case, based on evidence accumulated over the last several months (but certainly consistent with similar coverage of the Guardian, and its blog, Comment is Free, since the launch of CiF Watch in 2009).

The Guardian has published multiple essays by leaders of Hamas: a group which advocates genocidal antisemitism. 

As I noted in my post in reply to Haniyeh’s CiF essay (The Guardian and Hamas: Willing dupe and immutable victim), June 8th, this is not a Guardian one-off. In fact, since 2011 the broadsheet which aspires to be the “world’s leading liberal voice” has published essays by the Islamist terror group’s head of international relations (Osama Hamdan), its advisor (Azzam Tamimi), and the deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau (Musa Abumarzuq).

As Shepherd noted, the Guardian – by publishing articles by Hamas members – is in essence endorsing, as consistent with liberal thought (insofar as they oppose Zionism), a highly reactionary, religious extremist and violent political movement which advocates the murder of Jews and promotes conspiracy theories about the dangers of world Jewry in a manner indistinguishable from history’s most lethal antisemitic movements.

The Guardian ‘Live Blog from Gaza’ included a Palestinian blogger who advocates violence against Israelis and writes for an extreme right antisemitic Palestinian publication.

Their recent Live Blog from Gaza included a piece by Nader Elkhuzundar (whom the Guardian describes as a ‘Young Gaza blogger’) on Jun 8th.  

As Harry’s Place noted, Elkhuzundar maintains a blog called Sleepless in Gazawhich (in one entry) suggests Palestinians should “kill a Zionist“. 

Elkhuzundar is also a writer for the Palestine Telegraph; a racist paper known for praising Gilad Atzmon’s “courageous” new book, publishing an antisemitic video by former KKK grand wizard David Duke, as well as running an article claiming that World Wars 1 and 2 were both Jewish plots.

The Guardian’s advocacy for antisemitic Islamists: charge of ‘supremacy’ against the UK Jewish community at ‘Comment is Free’.

The Guardian produced a plethora of articles – all eerily similar in their support for an antisemitic Islamist extremist named Raed Salah (the various articles  uniformly described  him as a ‘Palestinian activist’) – despite undeniable evidence of Salah’s support for Hamas, reciting a poem advancing the antisemitic medieval  blood libel and propagating the antisemitic conspiracy that  the attacks on 9/11 were an Israeli plot (i.e., Jews were warned not to go to work at the World Trade Center on that day).

Further, after his hearing in the UK, Salah took a moral victory lap on the pages of ‘Comment is Free’ where he accused Zionists and their Jewish supporters in the UK of subscribing to the doctrine of ‘supremacy’: Britain’s duty to the Palestinian people, April 19th 2012.

Despite the hideous antisemitic pedigree of the charge that Jews are supremacists (which, as we noted in several emails to Guardian readers editor Chris Elliott, represents the ideas of David Duke and Gilad Atzmon), the passage remains on the pages of CiF to this day.

The Guardian refused to acknowledge the antisemitic motives of Islamist murderer of Jews in France.

In an official Guardian editorial – published after the Islamist background and antisemitic motivation of the Toulouse murderer Mohammed Merah (a self-styled al Qaeda jihadist) became known – the word “antisemitism” was not used, nor was the Jewish identity of four victims mentioned. It should be noted that it was widely reported in the press that Merah admitted antisemitic motivations, and said he attacked the Jewish school to avenge Palestinian children, stating “The Jews kill our brothers and sisters in Palestine.”

A pattern of the Guardian burying evidence of Palestinian/Islamist antisemitism. 

All of the recent stories represent a clear pattern. There exists a ubiquity of Islamist antisemitism in the Middle East which scholar Robert Wistrich has compared to Nazi Germany at its worst:

Wrote Wistrich:

“The scale and extremism of the literature and commentary available in Arab or Muslim newspapers, journals, magazines, caricatures, on Islamist websites, on the Middle Eastern radio and TV news, in documentaries, films, and educational materials, is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany at its worst.”

A six month study of the Guardian’s ‘Palestinian territories’ page, published here, for example, demonstrated that there was not one article published on the subject of Palestinian antisemitism. (Though this blog has limits in terms of our capacity for research, my working assumption is that a much longer survey would produce similar findings on the paucity of reports by Guardian reporters on rampant Jew hatred in the region.)

In addition, nowhere on the Guardian’s Iran page, for instance, will you find mention of the fact that a website with close ties to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei, had outlined why it would be religiously acceptable to kill all Jews in Israel – a doctrine, as reported by the Mail Online, which details why the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of all its people would be legally and morally justified and in accordance to Islamic doctrine.

Also not reported by the Guardian: per a recently released WikiLeaks cable:

‘[In] January [2009], during a sermon broadcast on Al Jazeera Arabic, [Muslim Brotherhood Spiritual Leader] Imam Yousef Al-Qaradawi condemned Jews for spreading “corruption in the land,” and for victimizing the Muslim people. He said “We wait for the revenge of Allah to descend upon them, and, Allah willing, it will be by our own hands…Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one.” [emphasis mine]

In conclusion, the Guardian’s faults of commission and omission, include: 

  • Licensing Islamist terror movements which openly seek the murder of Jews and advance antisemitic conspiracy theories.
  • Framing as ‘progressive”, and often as victims, Islamists who support the anti-Zionist cause while ignoring their clear record of Judeophobic rhetoric.
  • Burying even the most undeniable evidence of antisemitic Islamist motivation for violence in Europe.
  • Failing to report on antisemitism in the Middle East, hatred which would could serve to better contextualize, for the Guardian’s readers, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

So why does the Guardian choose not to see Islamist antisemitism and how can it continue to frame adherents to this dangerous movement as victims (and often protagonists) even when engaging in the most cruel, racist and reactionary political behavior against Jews?

Is it due to a political orthodoxy, informed by Western guilt, which sees Israel and the Middle East through a facile post-colonial (and morally pre-assigned) victim-perpetrator paradigm?

To some degree such questions of ideological ‘first causes’ are moot.
For whatever reasons, by failing to report (to their enormous liberal readership) the political pathologies of the Middle East – those whose malign obsession with Jews represent the central address of antisemtism in the modern era – the Guardian, and all who legitimize this media institution, are morally complicit with anti-Jewish racism.
One simply cannot claim the mantle of passionate opposition to racism whilst turning a blind eye to its Islamist variety.

The bottom line is that the Guardian consistently enables, covers for, excuses, and (mostly) ignores, Islamist Judeophobia.  By framing Ismail Haniyeh, Raed Salah and Shiekh Yousef Qaradawi – the intellectual heirs to Streicher and Goebbels – not as would-be  homicidal Jew haters but as the oppressed and downtrodden, the wretched of the earth – “activists”, liberals and reformers – the Guardian is engaged in a dangerous cognitive assault on the Jewish people.

Islamism is the most dangerous antisemitic movement in the world today, and it pains me that it pains so many to read those words. The Third Reich was defeated sixty-seven years ago and it is time for true liberals to fight the good fight and not cower in the face of a supremely politically inconvenient – yet enormously dangerous – enemy.  

In the classic ‘fight or flight’ instinct which history records with merciless accuracy often years too late, the Guardian represents the instinct to succumb to intellectual fads and enforced political orthodoxies over serious moral thought and urgent action. Cowardliness in the face of danger: life’s ultimate moral and intellectual abdication.

Those who understand the stakes, fancy themselves liberals, and consider themselves unabashed friends of the Jews, should not have to think hard when pondering the danger Islamism represents in the context of the age old battle against antisemitism (from antiquity to the modern day).

And, finally:

It should not be mentally taxing to understand intuitively that it is never Islamophobic to be unapologetically philo-Semitic.

The Guardian has failed miserably to comprehend these vital truths – are indeed hostile, and stand athwart, from the actions they demand – and so the institution should rightfully be seen as representing, to the Jewish people and their allies, an enemy in our midst. 

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