Guardian Live Blog on Middle East riots legitimizes Arab op-ed advancing conspiracy theory

The Guardian’s September 13th Live Blog on the current violence in Middle East – edited by Matthew WeaverBrian Whitaker and Tom McCarthy – included this post at approximately 14:20 BST:

First, note that Guardian editors included a commentary implicitly advancing the original (now discredited) claim that the film incited the violence, when in fact evidence increasingly suggests that Islamist terrorists had planned the attack days or weeks ago.  

Shukrallah further suggests the film was part of a concerted effort to ignite a “clash of civilizations”, meant to “goad” Muslims into violent behavior which will darken the image of the Arab Spring.

But it gets worse. If you go to the full essayat Ahram Online, by Shukrallah (the managing editor of Ahram) you’ll find that the author acknowledges that he’s advancing a conspiracy theory, writing that he “strongly sense[s] conspiracy in the whole sordid “film maligning the Prophet” fracas…”.

He later adds this:

“Netanyahu’s Israel, of course, is the greatest beneficiary of all this.”

Yes, of course.  “Who benefits?”, the siren song for conspiracy theorists everywhere.

And, finally, the Mossad makes an appearance.

“Whether the film is a Mossad operation or not is beside the point, and such a claim cannot be made on the basis of conjecture, but tangible, solid information.” [emphasis added]

Later, Shukrallah writes:

“As for the image of Arabs and Muslims as fanatical, violent and irrational, that – it almost goes without saying – is a fundamental premise of Israel’s continuing enslavement and dispossession of the Palestinian people.”

While Shukrallah’s conspiracy theory suggesting the involvement of American Christians, Zionists, Israelis (and possibly the Mossad) is mild in comparison to the scare mongering about Jews and Israel typically found in the Middle East media, the Guardian’s decision to feature this commentary (in a blog largely consisting of straight news updates) is curious to say the least.

Anti-Zionist conspiracy theories, fed by the Arab world’s obsession with Israel, are indicative of an absence of reason and represent the sine qua non of continued despotism and underdevelopment. 

Those who sincerely wish to see the Arab Spring succeed must confront their socially crippling political vice.

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