Guardian legitimises Craig Murray’s anti-Israel conspiracy theory on Russian spy poisoning

By linking to Murray's wild, completely unsubstantiated and incendiary charges, and uncritically citing it as grounds for readers to be skeptical of the government's assessment, the Guardian has legitimised a full-out anti-Israel conspiracy theory - the kind of malign, obsessive and often delusional Israel root-cause explanations for international events which continues to fuel antisemitism in the UK. 

On our Facebook page, we recently linked to a post at Harry’s Place focusing on a blog post by the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray bizarrely alleging that Israel may be behind the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Murray wrote:

“Israel has the nerve agents. Israel has Mossad which is extremely skilled at foreign assassinations. Theresa May claimed Russian propensity to assassinate abroad as a specific reason to believe Russia did it. Well Mossad has an even greater propensity to assassinate abroad. And while I am struggling to see a Russian motive for damaging its own international reputation so grieviously, Israel has a clear motivation for damaging the Russian reputation so grieviously. Russian action in Syria has undermined the Israeli position in Syria and Lebanon in a fundamental way, and Israel has every motive for damaging Russia’s international position by an attack aiming to leave the blame on Russia.”

As Harry’s Place noted, Murray – author of the book “Zionism is Bullshit“, and a former member of the pro-Palestinian Facebook group shown by David Collier to be saturated with antisemitism –  has a history of defending people who’ve engage in antisemitism.

Murray’s current risible claims also echo tweets and Facebook posts, circulated hours after the Salisbury attack, by Russian troll accounts blaming the Mossad.

However, it’s especially troubling that Murray’s blog post was amplified in a March 15th piece in the Guardian, by their Defence Correspondent Ewan MacAskill, in an article questioning assertions by the British government that Russia was to blame for the attack in Salisbury. 

MacAskil wrote:

The former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray…is among those advocating scepticism about the UK placing blame on Russia.

In a blog post, he wrote: “The same people who assured you Saddam Hussein had WMDs now assure you Russian ‘novichok’ nerve agents are being wielded by Vladimir Putin to attack people on British soil.”

The Guardian correspondent’s selective quoting of Murray’s post omitted his central thesis: that Israel is likely responsible.  Further his claims regarding Israel’s likely role in the attack was accompanied by broader libels.  Murray, in the same post, accuses Israel of engaging in genocide against the Palestinians, and evokes the Livingston Formulation by suggesting that his views on Israeli culpability for the Salisbury attack won’t be publicized by the MSM because mere criticism of Israel is often falsely characterised as antisemitism.

By linking to Murray’s wild, completely unsubstantiated and incendiary charges, and uncritically citing it as grounds for readers to be skeptical of the government’s assessment, the Guardian has legitimised a full-out anti-Israel conspiracy theory – the kind of malign, obsessive and often delusional Israel root-cause explanations for world events which continues to fuel antisemitism in the UK. 

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