Daily Mail’s defence of an extremist: He just holds “strong views”

Here’s the headline of an article published in the Mail on Sunday (sister site of the Daily Mail) on March 29, written by their chief political correspondent Ian Gallaghar.

The Invictus Games, launched by the Duke of Sussex – himself a veteran – in 2014, allows wounded or sick military personnel and veterans to compete in sporting events.  The inclusion of wounded Israeli veterans in the next biennial (in 2022), the Mail on Sunday article claims, echoing the headline, has caused a “backlash”.

However, as blogger Elder of Ziyon noted in a post that day, when you read the article, you learn that the only “backlash” Prince Harry received was by one Arab journalist with a history of supporting violence and antisemitism: Palestinian-born Abdel Bari Atwan

For instance, Atwan enthusiastically supported a brutal 2008 Palestinian terror attack which killed eight Jewish religious students in a Jerusalem Yeshiva, saying it was “justified” and that celebrations in Gaza following the attack symbolized “the courage of the Palestinian nation.”

As Daily Mail’s own associate global editor Jake Wallis Simons reported, in a post about an event Jeremy Corbyn attended that included Atwan and other extremists, Atwan once said he’d ‘dance with delight’ in Trafalgar Square if Iran attacked Israel with a nuclear weapon.

In 2010, Atwan engaged in antisemitism at an event at LSE, when he accused British Jews of “bombing Gaza”.

We complained to Mail on Sunday editors, arguing that the headline and article was misleading because the “backlash” claim was based entirely on the predictable comments of one anti-Israel extremist, and that readers weren’t informed about Atwan’s record.

Their response, by managing editor John Wellington, is outrageous.

You describe Mr Atwan as having a history of supporting violence and anti-Semitism. Others would describe him as a respected Editor-in-Chief of an Arab world news website and former Editor of the London based newspaper Al Quds. Doubtless he holds strong views, but he is frequently quoted by other newspapers and broadcasters and many of his views are undoubtedly shared among respectable people.

We are aware that others besides Mr Atwan have been concerned about the invitation to Israel to join the Invictus Games.

Nonetheless, we are grateful to you for taking the trouble of writing and I have shared your concerns with the author of the article.

First, we didn’t merely “describe” Atwan” as an extremist and anti-Semite, we demonstrated it.

Further:

Blaming British Jews for the bombing of Gaza isn’t merely a “strong view”. It’s antisemitic.

Justifying the murder of eight Jewish civilians (mostly teenagers) isn’t a “strong view”. It’s supporting terrorism. 

Celebrating a potential Iranian nuclear attack on Israel isn’t a a “strong view”. It’s an endorsement of genocide.

We ask that you consider contacting editors to politely but firmly object to their failure to note Atwan’s record of support for terror and antisemitism, and what amounts to the legitimisation of an extremist.

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