If you Google the words “Israel’s ultra-nationalist government” you get almost no hits, save Richard Silverstein’s conspiratorial and widely mocked blog, and the radical left site CounterPunch.
Oh, sorry, we left one site out: The Guardian.
Today’s article by Jerusalem correspondent Oliver Holmes (“Will Trump’s major foreign policy legacy be Israel and Palestine?”, Nov. 19) opened with the following sentences:
Donald Trump has cast himself as an isolationist president focused on Americans. However, in one major foreign policy issue, Israel and Palestine, the US leader has possibly made more of an impact than any of his predecessors.
The list is long but has generally focused on making concessions to Israel’s ultra-nationalist government, weakening the Palestinians, and pressuring Arab states to end regional isolation of Israel.
The term “ultra-nationalism” is a term referring to “extreme” forms of nationalism, which is often associated with political parties promoting fascism, xenophobia and racism – such as the Greek party Golden Dawn. or the Alternative For Germany (AfD) party.
It can’t reasonably be argued that Israel’s government (rated democratic and free year after year by Freedom House) is fascist or in any way leaning towards such an undemocratic, extremist orientation. The current government is of course a unity government consisting of centrist Blue and White, right-wing Likud, ultra-Orthodox parties and a couple of smaller parties.
The only MK in the current government – consisting of 73 MKs – that can even arguably be described as “ultra-nationalist” is Education Minister Rafi Peretz of the Jewish Home Party.
It’s also quite instructive to note that the same Guardian correspondent used a different political term to describe the current government – in an article he published only hours earlier, about a visit to Israel by the US Secretary of State:
The top [US] diplomat’s visit has been widely reported by Israeli media but not confirmed by Washington. If it went ahead, it would be a parting gift to Israel’s nationalist government
Evidently, Jerusalem morphed from merely a “nationalist” government to an “ultra-nationalist” extremist government in the course of only a few hours!
As we wrote in a complaint to the Guardian’s Readers’ Editor earlier, to state, in a straight news article, that Israel’s government is “ultra-nationalist” blurs the distinction between fact and opinion – which is considered a violation of the accuracy clause of the Editors’ Code.