That pig a ta Roger Waters concert (jpost.com)
That pig at a Roger Waters concert (jpost.com)

By Richard Millett

It seems the Guardian wants to shut down all social and cultural life in Israel. Last week it published an article which accused the Jewish state of “sportswashing” its reputation by hosting the Giro d’Italia‘s first leg, irrespective of the fact that Israel had obviously been invited to host it!

Implicit in the accusation of “sportswashing” is the historical antisemitic trope of “dishonest Jews” manipulating the world via unethical business practice.

This antisemitic trope has reared its ugly head yet again today with the Guardian publishing a letter by artists. The letter is about the Seret International Film Festival currently underway in London. The letter states:

“Art, media and culture are being employed to give an apparently acceptable face to a brutal reality.”

Again there’s the implicit notion of “dishonest Jews” manipulating others in an unethical manner.

The artists then use Israel’s dealing of the current unrest in Gaza to “call on our cinema, media and cultural institutions to uphold basic ethical standards: they should refuse to provide platforms for national celebrations sponsored by a regime that is guilty of systematic and large-scale human rights violations.”

This is a call for a racist boycott. The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) is simply a call for the destruction of the Jewish state (mainly via the so-called Palestinian “right of return”). In 2014 the Tricycle Theatre cancelled the Jewish Film Festival in response to similar pressure but London’s Jewish community protested outside. The Tricycle eventually apologised.

The artists in this letter claim “large numbers of unarmed protesters in Gaza are killed or maimed with impunity by Israeli snipers”. However, it seems, 80% of those killed in the recent Gaza riots have been terrorists. And the two “journalists” cited in the letter who died, Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein, seem to have had links to terrorist groups; Murtaja with Hamas and Abu Hussein with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

As for some of the signatories to the letter let’s remember that Roger Waters arranged for the posting of the Star of David on to the side of a pig at one of his concerts (see above), and Ken Loach, when asked whether it was acceptable to discuss whether the Holocaust happened, answered  “I think history is for us all to discuss, wouldn’t you?”

Victoria Brittain is a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and Peter Kosminsky wants to boycott Israelis simply because “they hate the idea” (see below).

In 2011 Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott pointed out that describing Jewish people as “chosen” is usually code for the ancient antisemitic trope of “Jewish supremacism”. Elliott is no longer at the Guardian but the current readers’ editor should point out why accusations of “sportswashing” and that “Art, media and culture are being employed to give an apparently acceptable face to a brutal reality” are also ancient antisemitic tropes.