The Guardian’s lunatic fringe: Ian Williams lobbied for Syria to join UN Security Council (UPDATED)

A major H/T to UN Watch for pointing out that Guardian journalist Ian Williams was “one of the figures on the international stage shilling loudest for Bashar al-Assad’s election to the U.N. Security Council”  in 2001.

Williams is a prolific anti-Israel conspiratorialist and a long-time contributor to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs; a publication known for consistently running interference for Libya, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East dictatorships – and also for advancing explicit antisemitic tropes.


“The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, for example, regularly describes American supporters of Israel with such words as “cancer,” “alien intrusion,” “Israel-firsters,” “subversion,” and “perversion.” It has referred to the State Department and Congress as “Israeli-occupied territory.” It has alleged that Israel’s “friends in the US government are working secretly for Israeli interests … against the interests of the US,” and that some “governmental and congressional personalities [are] so obsessed with helping Israel that they are ready to betray their colleagues, their employers and even their country.” 

Like any Guardianista in good standing, Williams – who once praised in a 2010 CiF essay the late Hezbollah spiritual leader, and Holocaust denier, Hussein Fadhallah as (yes) a liberal” –  is continually outraged by the reactionary forces of the American pro-Israel community; an anger he expressed in the following witticism in a January 2011 CiF essay titled “Obama must call Israeli settlements illegal“:

“Obama…must face not only a rabidly pro-Israeli Republican party but also a majority of his own party that would sign up to a resolution declaring the moon to be made of blue cheese if the Israeli lobby demanded it.”

Williams’ January CiF piece also evoked the ugly stereotype of the ruthless, money-grubbing Jew.

 “[Zionists such as]Irving Moskowitz…[who] recycles the proceeds of inner-city gambling in the US to buy and demolish property in East Jerusalem, such as the Shepherd Hotel….”

A Williams’ essay at CiF in November 2011, titled “Obama will rue his lack of principle on Palestine’s UNESCO membership“, argued that only the “lunatic fringe” would oppose the Palestinians’ UNESCO bid.

Regarding Williams’ role in pimping for Syria, UN Watch notes:

Writing a few months before the U.N. vote, Williams’s role in the well-circulated Washington report was to bolster Bashar al-Assad’s chances of victory by pressuring U.S. State Department officials to drop any idea of opposing Syria’s bid — which is exactly what American diplomats did last year, successfully, to keep Assad off the Human Rights Council.

Using the same methods as the Assads themselves, Williams reframed the discussion away from Syria’s despicable record by pointing at the Israeli bogeyman. It worked: Syria was elected by a huge majority of 160 out of 177 votes.”

Williams, in his WRMA essay defending Syria’s bid to be on the Security Council, wrote:

“When Israeli politicians get a bee in their bonnet, the buzzing usually can be heard loudly around the domes of Capitol Hill. The credibility of this Israeli administration, however, must leave something to be desired—or perhaps the Knesset’s angry froth has subsided in the face of reality. For, regardless of Israel’s campaign to discredit Syria, Damascus is pretty much assured of a place in the Security Council next year.

The Council’s temporary seats are allocated according to regional groups. Because the Arab states straddle Asia and Africa they have a complex rotation system which ensures that candidate states usually are elected unopposed. To block the election, Israel and the U.S. would have had to find another Asian Arab state prepared to contest the seat. Amazingly enough, none of them is rushing to fulfill Israeli whims.”

“Israeli accusations about Syria being a “terrorist” state will carry little weight in the international community, coming as they do from a country whose cabinet has just blithely sat down and publicly authorized the assassination of several dozen Palestinian leaders and officials—not to mention a country that itself is in defiance of so many U.N. resolutions! So far, the State Department seems wisely to have resisted any urgings to launch a campaign against the Syrian candidacy that would so surely fail. Arab unity is often almost an oxymoron, but in this case, at least, it should hold the line.”

As UN Watch observed:

“How is it that the Assad regime, led by father and son, was able to retain the international legitimacy needed to retain power over 42 years, despite perpetrating systematic brutality, such as the killing of an estimated 20,000 citizens of Hama in February 1982, and being listed as a leading state sponsor of terrorism?

A key factor was that the world body mandated to hold such criminal regimes to account — the United Nations — turned a blind eye to Syrian murder.”

The current death toll in Assad’s bloody campaign against the Syrian opposition is now reported to top 17,000 – nearly 12,000 of whom have been civilians.

Interestingly, Williams’ Guardian profile notes the following:

“[Williams] is currently writing a book on the Americans who blame the UN for all the US’s ills.”

Perhaps Williams can write a follow-up on Brits who blame Israel for the Middle East’s woes, while advocating that brutal Arab dictators who slaughter their own citizens should gain important leadership roles at the UN.

UPDATE: Williams left a comment beneath the original UN Watch post which motivated ours.  Here it is.

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