Followers of this blog likely know that British journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown does not have a very good track record when addressing issues relating to Israel, Jews or antisemitism.
In a 2006 Independent op-ed, Alibhai-Brown claimed that Israel’s war against Hezbollah was motivated primarily by (Nazi-style) racism against Arabs, and further decried “hardened Zionists” who are so blinded by this hatred that they’re “unmoved by photos of dead infants in Beirut”.
In 2009 at the Independent, she complained that major British political parties were “lavishly entertained” by the “over-influential Friends of Israel”.
In a 2012 Independent op-ed, she defended Baroness Jenny Tonge after she told a student group that “Israel won’t be here forever”, and claimed Tonge was unfairly “savaged by Zionists”.
At the Independent in 2014, she attacked “hardline Zionists”of engaging in “paranoia, indiscriminate loyalty and odium towards any person or group opposed to Israel’s violent oppression of Palestinians”. She also seemed to compare jihadist attacks with the actions of the IDF and accused Israel of engaging in a plan of genocide.
A 2015 op-ed in the Independent, she seemed to suggest that “hard Zionists” were part of a conspiracy to smear the reputation of Jeremy Corbyn while he was running for Labour leader – and even defended the work of antisemitic cartoonist Carlos Latuff. (It appears that the Independent took down the op-ed, but you can see it here.) She also erroneously claimed that one of Corbyn’s backers, Ken Loach, is Jewish.
In her latest op-ed, published Aug. 24th at the newspaper i, about “rampant censorship” in Britain, Alibhai-Brown again goes after “hardline Zionists” as an example of “minority communities” that “can be authoritarian and frighteningly controlling”.
Here’s the relevant paragraph:
Westerners are convinced that freedom of expression, their inviolable birthright, is endangered by pesky incomers from backward places who are contemptuous of European enlightenment values. Now there’s some justification for these set ideas. In recent years there have been murderous attacks by intolerant Muslims on cartoonists, bloggers and artists. Hindu and Sikh fundamentalists and hardline Zionists have also objected to events, debates, theatrical productions and lectures. Organised intimidation has led to cancellations or withdrawal of artworks.
First, note how she conflates deadly Islamic terror attacks on cartoonists, bloggers and artists with the putative “objections” expressed by “hardline” British Zionists (or Jews) to unspecified “events, debates, theatrical productions and lectures”. Additionally, it’s impossible to know what her vague accusation of “organized intimidation” by “hardline” British Zionists is alluding to.
The only concrete example of such ‘Zionist subterfuge’ she provides is in the following passage in the op-ed:
This May, Leanne Mohamad, a 17-year-old British-Palestinian pupil at Wanstead High School won a regional final in a Speak Out competition. Her talk was on the ongoing pain of Palestine. The Speaker’s Trust denied her a place in the finals. The video of her speech was taken off the official website (it has now been reinstated).
However, as the CEO of Speakers Trust made clear, Leanne Mohamad was denied a place in the finals because her speech was deemed by judges to be inconsistent with two ground rules: that the speech must have a “positive and uplifting message” and that a speaker should never engage in propaganda or in any way “inflame or offend the audience or insult others”. (See the lies and propaganda about Israel in her speech in this video and judge for yourself.) Either way, “hardline Zionists” had absolutely nothing to do with her failure to secure a place in the finals.
So, while Alibhai-Brown provided no actual examples of “censorship” or “intimidation” by “hardline Zionists” in her op-ed, she did provide another perfectly clear example of her penchant for smearing British Jewish supporters of Israel with false accusations of racism, intolerance and extremism.