In March we posted about a completely unsubstantiated claim by veteran Guardian foreign affairs commentator Simon Tisdall that Israel urged President Biden to launch air-strikes on Iranian targets in Syria in response to rocket and drone attacks in Iraq. We complained to Guardian editors, asking that they provide a source, but we didn’t receive a reply.
The following month, we commented on a piece by Tisdall – who, 11 years earlier, defended Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, the first sitting head of state charged with genocide, by claiming he was a victim of Western racism – suggesting that Benjamin Netanyahu (not, say, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s Ali Khamenei) was the most dangerous man in the Middle East.
His most recent idea about Israel so stupid that only a Guardian journalist can believe it is in an article condemning the US ‘war on terror’ (“Lives lost, poverty, an arms race, rights destroyed … the continuing cost of 9/11”, Sept. 12):
Civilians continue to die in large numbers in lesser conflicts in fragile regions indirectly related to, yet facilitated by, the “war on terror”. One such is Yemen, where US-backed Saudi and United Arab Emirates’ forces initially attacked Houthi rebels, whom they deemed terrorists, in pursuit of a wider struggle with Iran. Israel often describes Palestinian civilians killed in the occupied West Bank as terrorists. Russia does the same with anti-Assad fighters in Syria, and China with Uyghur Muslims.
It would be a mistake to get too deep into the weeds of his word choices, but we should note that a Palestinian can be a “civilian” – meaning they aren’t affiliated with a known terror group – yet, on their own, carry out an attack on Israeli civilians that would be defined as “terrorist” in nature in any other political context.
Moreover, Tisdall is either extraordinarily ignorant or morally indifferent to the continuous onslaught of Palestinian terrorism – attacks that have been at least as ubiquitous during times of peace talks and optimism as they have when relations between Ramallah and Jerusalem reach their nadir. Since September 2000, Palestinian terrorists have murdered 1,375 Israelis, whilst injuring and maiming thousands more. There are also, year in and year out, countless planned terror attacks – at varying stages of completion – that are thwarted by Israeli security personnel.
One final note: when we described Tisdall as a “veteran” journalist, we’re referring to the fact that he began his Guardian career – which included a stint as foreign editor – back in 1979. That was around the same time that the historically Zionist publication was morphing into the obsessively anti-Israel media outlet we know today.