CST report slams Indy columnist Mira Bar-Hillel’s ‘abusive antisemitism denial’

Mira Bar-Hillel is a journalist for the London Evening Standard (on property and land issues) who’s been a frequent contributor at The Independent on issues pertaining to British Jewry and antisemitismthis despite the fact that Bar-Hillel acknowledged being prejudiced against Jews and, as this blog has demonstrated, has a long record of engaging in anti-Jewish racism. 

(To get a sense of Bar-Hillel’s hateful rhetoric, see this post she wrote – cross posted at the blog of an antisemitic extremist named Gilad Atzmon – in which she characterized Israelis as baby-killing “JudeoNazis”.)

Indeed, one of Bar-Hillel’s most offensive op-eds during Israel’s 2014 war against Hamas was the most read article (2.4 million page views) at The Independent that year.

Here’s what CST wrote about that very op-ed in their newly released annual report on antisemitic discourse in Britain:

Mira Bar Hillel Mira Bar Hillel’s opinion article 30 of 7 August 2014 for the website of The Independent, was perhaps the most extreme example of abusive antisemitism denial to be published by a mainstream media outlet during the conflict. Entitled, “Despite claims that antisemitism is on the rise in the UK, its Israel’s critics who need protection”, the article included: “…Around the world, Jewish communities are now trying to regain the sympathy they forfeited by blindly supporting the devastating Israeli offensive. The traditional way of doing this is to announce a rise in anti-Semitism and whipping up fears of “another holocaust”

Hillel also stated that antisemitism had not increased. Following aCST’s intervention this was amended by The Independent to clarify that it was her own opinion.

Regarding another Indy op-ed by Bar-Hillel, CST wrote the following:

On 1 September 2014, The Independentt published another Bar Hillel article, responding to a Jewish Chronicle article by David Aaronovitch, noting the need for a vocal “Jewish lobby” to oppose antisemitism. Bar Hillel used this to make various accusations about the supposed concealed power of the “pro-Israel lobby”, naming the Conservative and Labour Friends of Israel groups and describing the pro-Israel lobby as “multi-tentacled and incredibly powerful”: imagery that echoed traditional antisemitic themes of Jewish power.

Having discussed the supposed power of the pro-Israel lobby, her article ended by referencing “the Jewish” lobby saying, “Maybe it is for this covert use of power that has led Aaronovitch to wonder where the UK’s Jewish lobby is. But for many of us, it is becoming clearer and clearer that it has been here all along.” The Independent subsequently removed Bar Hillel’s “multi-tentacled” reference from the article, but did not publicly acknowledge this (despite publicly apologising for having inserted an incorrect hyperlink to Conservative Friends of Israel in the same sentence).

Though Bar-Hillel’s latest pieces at the Indy have avoided the topics of Israel and Jews, we still don’t understand how a mainstream publication like The Independent (which claims to take antisemitism seriously) can continue to publish op-eds by someone with such a well-documented history of advancing explicitly antisemitic tropes.

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