It doesn’t take too much insight into the far-left political climate to conclude that if current talks between Israel and the Palestinians fail, there is little doubt that – regardless of the actual factors involved – the Israelis will be blamed for the outcome by Guardian commentators.  Additionally, despite the fact that Mahmoud Abbas finally agreed to engage in talks without any preconditions regarding settlements, such Israeli building across the green line concurrent with the current talks will be singled out with particular opprobrium in their political post-mortems.

In fact, some who subscribe to this far-left political faith have already begun laying the groundwork for this narrative.  A case in point is a ‘Comment is Free’ essay by Avi Shlaim on Sept. 12, (It’s now clear: the Oslo peace accords were wrecked by Netanyahu’s bad faith) which reads as if it was written in the future, where talks have already broken down.

Avi-Shlaim
Avi Shlaim

The 20 year history of Oslo, Shlaim claims in his CiF essay, has vindicated Edward Said’s characterization of the agreement “an instrument of Palestinian surrender, a Palestinian Versailles”, and predicts that “as long as Netanyahu remains in power, it is a safe bet that no breakthrough will be achieved in the new round of talks.”

Shlaim, it should be noted, perfectly represents the Guardian’s institutional hostility to Zionism, as the Oxford affiliated new Israeli historian (who’s been roundly criticized for his shoddy research) has characterized Zionism as the greatest single threat to Jews, blaming Israeli Jewish behavior for the upsurge of anti-Semitism throughout the world.  He has written the following at Electronic Intifada:

It is this brand of cruel Zionism that is the real enemy of what remains of liberal Israel and of the Jews outside Israel. It is the enemy because it fuels the flames of virulent and sometimes violent anti-Semitism. Israel’s policies are the cause; hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism are the consequences.

Shlaim has also explicitly expressed his support for the dissolution of the Jewish state. In an interview with MEMO (the Hamas supporting British group) Shlaim was quoted as saying the following:

There is a solution to this conflict – a two-state solution – but Israel has systematically undermined the possibility of a viable Palestinian state. Today we have reached a point where it is barely conceivable, given the magnitude of the presence of the Israeli state on the West Bank. I have shifted therefore to supporting a one-state solution with equal rights for all the state’s citizens.

He has also, on the pages of Comment is Free, in 2009, demonized Israel as a “rogue state” which practices terrorism:

This brief review of Israel’s record over the past four decades makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that it has become a rogue state with “an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders”. A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practices terrorism – the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. 

Shlaim concludes his latest ‘CiF’ essay by claiming that “Oslo faltered and eventually broke down [sic] because Likud-led governments negotiated in bad faith.” 

‘Bad faith’ is also an accurate characterization of a CiF contributor who has assaulted Israel’s very moral legitimacy, blamed Jews themselves for the resurgence of Jew hatred, and though claiming to be concerned about the peace process, failed to reveal to his readers that he opposes the existence of a Jewish state within any borders.

Of course, the decision by CiF editors to publish Shlaim is par for the course for an institution with a history of providing disproportionate space in their paper to those who openly oppose the peace process and seek, by the gradual erosion of its legitimacy or even by violence, the Jewish state’s demise.