The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes. – Mira Bar-Hillel
Yet, despite this explicit admission of racism, editors at The Independent deemed her qualified to comment on the Ralph Miliband–Daily Mail antisemitism controversy in October – a column which dismissed charges of racism against the DM and accused Jews (per the Livingstone Formulation) of trying to “gag into submission any critic of Israel…”.
In her latest Indy op-ed (an essay addressing the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism), Bar-Hillel again regales British readers with her ‘penetrating insights’ into the danger posed by ‘false accusations of antisemitism’ by organized Jewry – a piece riddled with distortions.
False claim that ‘EU Working Definition of Antisemitism’ has been “retired”
Here’s the headline of the op-ed:
However, as we noted in a previous post on the issue, it is untrue that “the EU has retired its working definition”.
To cite a few examples:
- The Working Definition was endorsed by the London Declaration of the Inter Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism in 2009.
- In 2010, the UK All-Party Inquiry into antisemitism recommended that the Working Definition should be adopted and promoted by the Government and law enforcement agencies.
- An official document published by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) recommends the Working Definition as a valuable hate crime data collection tool for law enforcement agencies, and for educators.
False claim about Israeli Bedouin
There was not, in that lengthy and detailed definition, anything new or that I would disagree with – apart from a dangerous sting in the end. This stretched the definition of anti-Semitism from the simple 2,000-year-old Jew-hating and baiting to “attacking Israel … by requiring of Israel a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, or holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel.”
It was this dubious extension which has been used recently to gag, or at least mute, free speech and most criticism of Israel in the UK media and beyond.
For example, the Prawer Plan, now being enforced in Israel. Under it, between 40,000 and 70,000 Bedouin, nomads who became Israeli citizens in the 1950s, will be forcefully removed from land they roamed for centuries to make way for “military firing zones”.
First, Bar-Hillel (much like Glenn Greenwald) implicitly smears the Jewish community with charges that they work to stifle free speech.
Further, as we demonstrated in a post last week, the number of Israeli Bedouin who will be relocated is not “between 40,000 and 70,000” as Bar-Hillel claims. Under what’s known as the Prawer-Begin Plan, most (about 60,000) of those currently living in unrecognized villages in the Negev will have their land legalized, while a much smaller number (30,000) will be moved a few kilometers (from their current encampments) to planned communities.
Additionally, her claim that the land where some of these Bedouin currently reside will “make way for IDF “military firing zones” seems to be completely untrue. Though new Israeli cities will be built where these encampments now stand, nobody is claiming that “military firing zones’ will be established in its place. (It’s possible Bar-Hillel is conflating the Israeli Negev with the South Hebron Hills, an area in the West Bank where a row over IDF “firing ranges” has indeed been reported.)
Almost no reports about the Bedouin issue in the British media?
Bar-Hillel, commenting more broadly on the Prawer-Begin plan for the Bedouin and the protests surrounding the row, also makes the following claim:
Moreover, only one newspaper in this country covered the proposal – or the extremely violent protests which followed.
‘Jewish pressure’ on the media?
Bar-Hillel then provides an explanation for the (erroneous) ‘fact’ that “only one newspaper in the country covered the proposal”.
I can only speculate on the reasons why, but suspect that the “working definition”, which has recently allowed all those who criticise Israel – including myself – to be labelled anti-Semitic, had something to do with it.
Get it? Bar-Hillel not only comes to the risible conclusion that British newspapers don’t provide enough coverage of Israel, but that this putative dearth of coverage is inspired by fear of being labeled antisemitic.
Of course, her working theory is undermined by recent studies on British media coverage of Israel (and, more specifically, the Guardian’s own data) which demonstrates quite the opposite: that news relating to the Jewish state represents something approaching an obsession to UK editors, reporters and commentators.
Conclusive proof that British papers don’t fear accusations of antisemitism can of course also be found in the simple fact that Indy editors felt no hesitation in publishing an essay – on the topic of antisemitism – by a journalist who has admitted to possessing an antipathy towards Jews.
If the organized Jewish community is indeed trying to stifle the free speech of anti-Semites, they’re clearly failing miserably at this task.
- In Praise of the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism (cifwatch.com)
- British journalist who admitted to anti-Jewish prejudice plays ‘dual loyalty’ card (cifwatch.com)
- Yes, boycotting the goods and services of six million Jews is certainly antisemitic. (cifwatch.com)
- BBC Trust ESC exploited for anti-Israel faux point scoring (bbcwatch.org)