In 2011, we interviewed Jonathan Spyer about his book The Transforming Fire: the Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict. Our first question focused on his contrast between the real Israel and what he termed the “mythical Israel” – evoked by delegitimisers – which he characterised as a place of “uninterrupted darkness and horror, in which every human interaction is ugly, crude, racist, brutal.” It’s this mythical Israel – divorced from any trace of nuance, balance or context – which informs much of the Guardian’s coverage of Israel.
Further, as is evident in their take both before and after the elections, the dominant view at the Guardian is that, unless Israelis follow their advice and radically change course on what is arguably an Israeli political consensus on security issues, the future will be bleak for Palestinians and Israelis alike.
Though the putative topic is the re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu, the depiction of a black hole – the darkest entity in the cosmos, from which light can’t escape – in the prime minister’s eye, with the flag in the background, aptly illustrates the publication’s broader narrative suggesting the country is always on the verge of falling into the abyss – prophecies of doom which of course never materialise.
Despite the fact that Israelis are – by any standard – increasingly prosperous, secure and content, and markedly less isolated internationally, Guardian editors never seem prone to examining their faulty predictions in an attempt to understand why they got things wrong. Rather, evoking the behavior of doomsday cultists who insist their fundamental beliefs are sound even after a prophecy failed, the Guardian continually doubles-down on their belief that Israelis are on a dangerous path and must be ‘saved from themselves’.
Moreover, don’t be fooled into believing that their gripe is only with one Israeli leader, as opposed to the country as a whole. Their extreme anti-Israel coverage – which includes a consistent amplification of and support for BDS, the promotion of the apartheid smear and the legitimisation of those rejecting Israel’s right to exist – was no different during Labour and other non-Likud governments.
Israeli prime ministers may come and go, but the Guardian’s mythical Israel endures.
- NY Times errs on Oslo and the two-state solution (CAMERA)
- BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – March 2019 (BBC Watch)
- Guardian to Israeli voters: trust us with your security (UK Media Watch)