No, our headline is not an exaggeration.
Jeff Sparrow, a columnist for Guardian Australia, leveled this accusation in a May 21st op-ed titled “There is no justification for firing into crowds of protesters”. Of course, the headline itself is a lie. Characterizing thousands of violent rioters attempting, at the behest of a proscribed terror group, to breach the border of a sovereign democratic state as placard-waving “protesters” is the height of dishonesty. But, despite this and numerous other canards, distortions and smears throughout his piece, we’ll narrow our discussion to the ‘subhuman’ comment.
After beginning his piece by noting that only Australia and the US voted against a UN investigation into Israel’s actions during the border riots, Sparrow expressed outrage over his country’s putative moral abdication thusly:
There really isn’t much wiggle room here. If you defend Israel’s actions in Gaza, your ethical impulses are, according to the Guardian columnist, not those of an ordinary human being. It would be difficult to find a better illustration of why so many Jews believe that media coverage of Israel often incites antisemitism than a column suggesting that they, by virtue of their pro-Israeli political views, are morally deranged, even sub-human.
Let’s remember also that such self-described ‘progressive’ voices, such as Sparrow, typically warn against dehumanising ‘marginalised’ groups – such as the LGBT community, people of color, migrants, Muslims, etc – seen as unfairly vilified by the privileged and powerful. Indeed, we’d argue that the Guardian brand is in large measure dedicated to the principle – articulated by their longtime cartoonist Martin Rowson – of ‘comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable’. But, with regard to Jews, a group which – by any historical standard – has been among the most oppressed groups in history, and today represent a mere two tenths of one percent of the world population, there appears to be an entirely different standard of what constitutes the maligning of an ethnic and religious minority.
We’ve contacted the Guardian Readers’ Editor and asked if such vitriolic rhetoric is consistent with their editorial standards.