In his latest attack on Israel, and, by implication, diaspora Jews who support the state, the Guardian’s Chris McGreal uncritically promoted an extreme and, at times, antisemitic anti-Israel petition signed by hundreds of academics titled “Elephant in the Room”.
However, instead of writing about the piece (“US Jews urged to condemn Israeli occupation amid Netanyahu censure”, Aug. 15), we’ll scrutinise the petition itself, so that it’s clear what dishonest, ahistorical and antisemitic ideas are effectively being endorsed by the Guardian.
We, academics and other public figures from Israel/Palestine and abroad, call attention to the direct link between Israel’s recent attack on the judiciary and its illegal occupation of millions of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
As CAMERA has demonstrated by virtue of corrections prompted in response to similar assertions in the media, while settlement construction in the territories are considered illegal by much (though not all) of the international community, Israel’s mere control of those territories (independent of the settlements) is not considered to be illegal.
The petition continues:
Palestinian people lack almost all basic rights, including the right to vote and protest.
The dishonesty here is difficult to overstate.
The overwhelming majority of West Bank Palestinians live under Palestinian Authority (PA) rule, while Palestinians in Gaza are ruled by the terrorist group Hamas. As the PA hasn’t held elections since 2006, its Palestinian leaders who’ve denied Palestinians the right to vote. The same is true of “the right to protest” and other basic civil rights, which are denied to Palestinians by virtue of the authoritarian rule of the PA and, especially, Hamas.
The petition continues:
They face constant violence: this year alone, Israeli forces have killed over 190 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and demolished over 590 structures. Settler vigilantes burn, loot, and kill with impunity.
As we’ve revealed in our detailed database, the overwhelming majority of the 190 Palestinian fatalities in 2023 have been affiliated with proscribed terrorist groups or otherwise involved in violent clashes when killed. By contrast, all but a few of the 27 Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists this year have been civilians.
Further, contrary the claim that violence committed by Jews in the settlements is committed with “impunity”, there have been arrests and indictments, both regarding the violent riot in Huwara earlier in the year, and in a more recent incident in which a Palestinian was killed.
The petition continues:
There cannot be democracy for Jews in Israel as long as Palestinians live under a regime of apartheid, as Israeli legal experts have described it.
First, Israel is a democracy for both its Jewish and non-Jewish citizens.
Further, calling the extreme anti-Israel ideologues at B’Tselem “legal experts” doesn’t address the fact that their accusation that Israel is an apartheid state was based on a historically, legally and logically flawed report, one which was clearly a pre-determined conclusion in search of supporting evidence.
The petition that goes from grossly dishonest to completely unhinged.
Indeed, the ultimate purpose of the judicial overhaul is to tighten restrictions on Gaza, deprive Palestinians of equal rights both beyond the Green Line and within it, annex more land, and ethnically cleanse all territories under Israeli rule of their Palestinian population.
Judicial overhaul has absolutely nothing to do with Israeli policies security restrictions implemented to prevent the flows of deadly weapons to the territory ruled by an antisemitic extremist group Hamas.
But, the claim that Israel’s ultimate goal is to ethnically cleanse millions of Palestinians, is the most revealing, demonstrating again that anti-Zionist extremists operate without boundaries.
Their dogma – redolent of antisemitic conspiracy theorists through the centuries – demands that they impute the most malevolent designs to the Jewish state. Unburdened by the need to justify their accusations, knowing full well that sycophantic allies in the media and academia won’t bother pushing back against, or in any way critically scrutinising, their libels, nothing is off-limits.
Just as anti-Semites have historically imputed the worst motives and hurled the most incendiary, fantastical and conspiratorial charges to warn of the global danger posed by this miniscule minority, anti-Zionists employ a similar tactic towards the Jew writ large.
Finally, lest we think that the charges in the petition are narrowly aimed at the current Israeli government, it then proceeds with the following:
The problems did not start with the current radical government: Jewish supremacism has been growing for years and was enshrined in law by the 2018 Nation State Law.
As we’ve demonstrated previously, the term “Jewish supremacism” is a term of abuse popularized by history’s most hardcore anti-Semites. The idea of “Jewish supremacy”, as historian Gil Troy has explained, was once the antisemitic rhetoric only the extremist and white supremacist right (including the Nazis) used. Troy noted that Washington’s Holocaust Museum houses a photograph of a Hitler Youth proclamation that “Adolf Hitler which translates to “Hitler breaks Jewish supremacy with his movement.”
As the 2018 Nation State Law basically just codifies Israel as a Jewish state, hurling the accusation of Jewish supremacy in that context is simply another way of making the antisemitic argument that Zionism (that is, Israel’s right to continue existing as the world’s only Jewish state) is a racist endeavor. So, if Zionism is racism, Israel, where a plurality of the world’s Jews live, is ultimately irredeemable – its sin being original and immutable.
The fact that the Guardian has once again put its imprimatur on an antisemitic screed should surprise nobody. But, the mere ubiquity of their endorsement of anti-Jewish racism under the guise of mere ‘criticism of Israel’ doesn’t render it any less odious.