Weekend long read

1) The CST has published a research briefing titled ‘Coronavirus and the Plague of Antisemitism’.

“For centuries, antisemitic propagandists have depicted Jews as dirty, unclean and associated with disease. Genuine media stories about the relatively high prevalence of coronavirus in some Jewish communities, and early reports that British Jews have been disproportionately represented amongst those who have died from COVID-19, have encouraged antisemites to assume that Jews are the primary spreaders of the virus, either deliberately – to try to kill white people – or inadvertently. Having initially nicknamed coronavirus the ‘Wu Flu’ (referring to Wuhan as the geographical origin of the virus), some of these online haters have now dubbed it the ‘Jew Flu’, implying either that Jews are behind it, or that it is most closely associated with Jewish victims and spreaders.”

2) At the INSS Yohanan Tzoreff and Kobi Michael analyse ‘The Corona Pandemic and the Palestinian Arena’.

“The Hamas leadership, together with human rights organizations, are placing the responsibility for Gaza’s fate on Israel. Khalil Hayya, a Gaza resident and member of the Hamas Political Bureau, said on March 24, 2020 that Israel was responsible for providing the Strip with what it needs to fight the coronavirus, and that it must lift the closure and renew the transfer of assistance to those in need. This seeks to pressure Israel as well as countries in the Arab and international arenas to provide assistance, while also diverting responsibility from Hamas, which might face mass demonstrations if there is a serious decline in the situation.

Israel is very much aware of the risk in the Gaza Strip in the event of the broad spread of the disease. Therefore, Israel has increased the amount of medical equipment sent into the area, including 20 respirators to join the 80 already there, about 300 testing kits, about 50,000 masks, and a large supply of other equipment ordered from China.”

3) The ‘Jonny Gould’s Jewish State’ podcast has an interview with Prof Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor.

“The values of Human Rights are a modern-day point of international conflict. As the threat of hard war recedes, soft wars are being fought in many ways. Through social media, the United Nations and via NGOs or non-governmental organizations. “Soft power can be very deadly, I’ve seen it for myself”, says today’s guest Professor Gerald Steinberg and at the centre of this is the Israeli Palestinian struggle. Gerald set up NGO Monitor in 2001 because there was a need to “vigorously challenge” and bring to an end the promotion of “politically and ideologically motivated anti-Israel agendas by NGOs. In this fascinating episode, we discuss in detail the changes in Human Rights and how they came about and where organizations such as BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) started.”

4) Benny Morris reviews the latest book from occasional BBC interviewee Rashid Khalidi at the Jewish Review of Books.

“…during 1991–1993, Khalidi was an official, presumably salaried, advisor to the joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, later the (PLO) Palestinian delegation, to the Middle East peace conference in Madrid and during the subsequent Israeli-Palestinian-American negotiations in Washington, DC. Interestingly, this fact nowhere appears in Khalidi’s Wikipedia biography and goes unmentioned in the short biographies of Khalidi featured in his various books. Presumably, publicly acknowledging this PLO attachment might have harmed his image as a credible, impartial historian. Similarly, Khalidi has always rejected being described as a “PLO spokesman” during the 1982 Lebanon War, and he continues to do so in this book. However, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine has an autobiographical thread to it, and he does tell us that in summer 1982, “I acted as an off-the-record source for Western journalists.” The book also features a photo of Khalidi “helping out at a [PLO] press briefing at the Commodore Hotel, Beirut,” at least according to the caption.”

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