For every letter published at the Guardian, presumably there are hundreds which, due to space limitations and editorial decisions, don’t get published. Thus, their letters editor must carefully choose a select few based (one would think) the seriousness of the argument, and conversely omit letters which promote or excuse racism, or otherwise fail to abide by their community standards.
Yet, as we have exposed on several occasions, they have sometimes chosen letters from writers with extremist and/or racist views.
Here are a few examples:
- The Guardian published a letter by a philosophy professor named Ted Honderich which justified, on moral grounds, the Palestinians’ right to murder Jews in the ‘occupied territories’.
- They also published a letter by Alison Weir, whose notoriety stems from her spirited defense of the hideous libel that Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian to harvest their organs, and in fact further defended her blood libel in the body of the letter.
- And, they published a letter by a neo-Nazi style racist named Gilad Atzmon which defended his book ‘The Wandering Who?’, a work which the CST characterized as “probably the most antisemitic book published in this country in recent years.”
Today (June 25th) the Guardian published three letters all taking aim at a recent op-ed published at the Guardian’s blog, ‘Comment is Free’, by Noreena Hertz warning of an upsurge in antisemitism in the EU (Europe must face up to the new antisemites, 21 June), and included one letter by a Londoner named Benedict Birnberg.
Here’s the full text of his letter:
Antisemitism is an age-old phenomenon long preceding the emergence of Israel – with the role of churches playing a part – and Noreena Hertz is right to talk of individual responsibility in combatting it (Europe must face up to the new antisemites, 21 June). But it is odd that she is silent on Israel’s own responsibility in fomenting antisemitism and that she castigates leftists for “kneejerk anti-Zionism”.
Israeli policies have often fanned the flames of antisemitism with their obdurate denial of justice to the Palestinians and, indeed, a large part of the radicalisation of Muslims and “the increasingly violent cadres of Islamic extremists”, which she describes as one of the three prongs of antisemitism, can be attributed to Israeli government policies. It is the kneejerk responses of Israel towards the Palestinians that bear a heavy responsibility for antisemitism today. The Israeli journalist Ari Shavit has recently spoken of Israel sitting on a volcano; it behoves individual Jews, wherever they happen to be, to use their influence to change Israel’s policies.
First, per the final sentence of the letter, Birnberg holds Jews worldwide responsible for the actions of Jews in Israel – a doctrine (“accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group”) codified as antisemitic by the EUMC Working Definition.
Moreover, in blaming the Jewish State for “fomenting” (inciting) antisemitism and the radicalization of violent Islamist extremists, he’s both infantilizing antisemites and Jihadists by denying them moral agency, and, most troubling, implicitly blaming Jewish victims of European antisemitism (most of whom, remember, are Zionists) for the hatred directed at them.
Birnberg’s screed is simply a textbook case of antisemitism, and represents a perfect illustration of the racist impulse to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.”
It’s instructive to wonder if Guardian editors would have published a letter which, say, excused Islamophobia as a rational response to Muslim behavior around the world, or blamed ‘immodestly dressed’ women for inciting men to commit rape.
As the late Norman Geras said in the context of condemning the Guardian’s appalling editorial on the Toulouse Massacre which avoided so much as mentioning the word “antisemitism”, but which reflected the media group’s broader ideological blind spot:
It is “incomprehensible” that “a liberal newspaper, committed to racism’s never being acceptable anywhere, can find the words to name the poison that is rightwing anti-immigrant xenophobia, but not the word for hatred of Jews”.
We look forward to the day when the Guardian Left applies universal standards to their professed opposition to racism in all its forms, and becomes as intolerant towards rationalizations, excuses and alibis for antisemitism as they are towards senseless hatred directed towards all other historically oppressed groups.
- Why the Guardian’s new Jerusalem correspondent won’t take Palestinian antisemitism seriously (cifwatch.com)
- Economist imperiously lectures Europe’s Jews on their exaggerated fears of antisemitism (cifwatch.com)
- Repulsive Guardian op-ed justifies Palestinian antisemitism (cifwatch.com)
- What the UK media won’t report: Poll reveals Palestinians are most antisemitic people in the world (cifwatch.com)
- Islamism, and the Guardian left’s moral complicity with explicit antisemitism (cifwatch.com)
- The Guardian deploys Tony Greenstein ‘as-a-Jew’ to defend the morally indefensible (cifwatch.com)
- No reports of Jewish riots after grossly antisemitic show begins airing on Arab TV (cifwatch.com)
- Guardian cartoonist draws upon antisemitic stereotypes in depicting Henry Kissinger (cifwatch.com)