To get an idea of just how outrageous a recent Guardian editorial (on Dec. 7) defending President Morsi and criticizing the liberal opposition truly was, here are two tweets by commentators with otherwise unimpeachable Guardian Left credentials:
Here’s Guardian Cairo correspondent Jack Shenker.
Let me say once again, I totally disassociate myself from this@guardian editorial on #Egypt - it’s offensive & wrong: guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/…
Here’s ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Rachel Shabi:
What is the Guardian thinking with this awful, misleading editorial on #egypt? bit.ly/VDYy6T
Here are a few excerpts of the Guardian editorial in question:
[The crisis in Egypt] is not about the proposed constitution,
[The opposition is engaged in] a power battle in which the aim is to unseat a democratically elected president, and to prevent a referendum and fresh parliamentary elections being held, both of which Islamists stand a good chance of winning. Morsi, for his part, is determined that both polls be held as soon as possible to reaffirm the popular mandate which he still thinks he has.
The opposition on the other hand has never accepted the results of freely held elections, parliamentary or presidential, and is doing everything to stop new ones being held
So, the Guardian, when faced with a choice between a Muslim Brotherhood which is ideologically opposed to true democracy and individual freedoms – a political predisposition clearly on display in Morsi’s recent decision to assume dictatorial powers - and a political opposition which is at leastmarginally progressive, chose the reactionary Islamists.
The following post by a Lebanese writer, who blogs at Karl reMarks, wrote the following piece titled ‘The Guardian’s Editorial on Egypt Re-Imagined‘, which is based on the same Dec. 7 Guardian editorial re-imagined as if it were written in January 2011, with minor changes like replacing Morsi with Mubarak.
As the crisis in Egypt develops, it is becoming increasingly clear what it is not about. It is not about the elections, or the economic crisis, or Egypt’s relationship with Israel. Nor is it about the arrangements for a successor to the president. Nor even is it about the temporary but absolute powers that the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, assumed for himself – for a mere thirty years, and which will lapse the moment the Egyptian people stop making a fuss.
Urging the opposition to shun dialogue, Mohamed ElBaradei said that Mubarak had lost his legitimacy. So the target of the opposition is not the constitution, or the emergency law, but Mubarak himself. What follows is a power battle in which the aim is to unseat a democratically elected president, with 88.6% of the vote, and to prevent fresh parliamentary elections being held, both of which the ruling NDP stand a good chance of winning. Mubarak, for his part, is determined that both polls be held as soon as possible to reaffirm the popular mandate which he still thinks he has.
In weighing who occupies the moral high ground, let us start with what happened on Wednesday night. That is when the crisis, sparked by yet another Mubarak decree when he was at the height of his domestic popularity over the role he played in stopping the yet another Israeli assault on Gaza, turned violent. The NDP party sanctioned a violent assault on a peaceful encampment of opposition supporters in Tahrir Square. But lethal force came later, and the NDP was its principle victims. NDP offices were attacked up and down the country, while no other party offices were touched. This does not fit the opposition’s narrative to be the victims of state violence. Both sides are victims of violence and the real perpetrators are their common enemy.
Mubarak undoubtedly made grave mistakes. In pre-empting decisions by the courts to derail his reforms, his decrees were cast too wide. His laws have many faults, although none are set in stone. The opposition on the other hand has never accepted the results of freely held elections, parliamentary or presidential, and is doing everything to stop new ones being held.
The Guardian is not only supporting a racist, antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-West Islamist movement, but are remaining loyal even when a more liberal alternative is possible.
At least two writers for the Guardian newspaper have distanced themselves from an editorial in the Guardian in which the paper criticizes the liberal opposition to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi who seeks the ratification of a constitution protesters say does not protect individual rights from religious persecution, according to the CiFWatch organization.
In the editorial, the Guardian characterized the opposition as merely seeking power, saying the crisis was not about the constitution but a “power battle” against a “democratically elected president.”
In response, the paper’s Cairo correspondent wrote on his twitter account, I “totally disassociate myself from this @guardian editorial on #Egypt - it’s offensive & wrong.”
A contributor to the Guardian‘s “Comment is Free” opinion section, Rachel Shabi wrote “What is the Guardian thinking with this awful, misleading editorial on #egypt?”
Adam Levick, the managing editor of the CiFWatch website, wrote that, “The Guardian is not only supporting a racist, antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-West Islamist movement, but are remaining loyal even when a more liberal alternative is possible. ”
CiFWatch monitors bias against Israel in the British publication the Guardian as well as other UK publication. It is affiliated with CAMERA. Its entries are often featured on the Jewish Press website.
Earlier this week, we demonstrated that Guardian columnist Harriet Sherwood’s allegation that proposed Israeli construction in the area of land (known as E-1) between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim would cut off eastern Jerusalem from the West Bank is simply untrue.
“The development of [land east of Jerusalem known as] E1 has been frozen for years under pressure from the US and EU. Western diplomats regard it as a “game-changer” as its development would close off East Jerusalem – the future capital of Palestine – from the West Bank.” [emphasis added]
As CAMERA noted:
[It is not true that] construction [in E-1] would cut off Palestinian areas from Jerusalem. Access to Jerusalem through Abu Dis, Eizariya, Hizma and Anata is not prevented by the proposed neighborhood, nor would it be precluded by a string of neighborhoods connecting Ma’aleh Adumim to Jerusalem.”
In an official editorial today, Dec. 4, ‘Israel-Palestine: Concreting over the solution,’ the Guardian repeats Sherwood’s erroneous claim that the E-1 construction “would sever the Palestinian state from its capital in East Jerusalem” and takes the false charge even further, arguing thus:
“Having spun the line that European governments had misunderstood Israel‘s plan to create a settlement that would cut the West Bank in two and separate it from East Jerusalem, the prime minister’s office vowed that nothing would alter their decision.” [emphasis added]
The Guardian was under no obligation to consult Israel before making allegations that the proposed construction would cut the West Bank in two, but when making a specific geographical claim it does seem reasonable that (as “journalists”) they consult a map which could empirically prove or disprove their assertion.
So, would construction connecting Jerusalem to Ma’aleh Adumim cut the West Bank in two:
Here’s a map created by HonestReporting completely disproving the Guardian’s allegation:
As HR observed:
“The Palestinian waistline — between Ma’ale Adumim and the Dead Sea, is roughly 15 km wide. That’s a corridor no different than the Israeli waistline. Indeed, that has never caused a problem of Israeli territorial contiguity.”
We will be in contact with Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott over this egregious error, and we suggest that you consider doing the same.
A group of Nobel peace prize-winners, artists and activists are calling for a military boycott of Israel following the recent attempt by the Jewish state to protect its citizens in the south from rocket barrages from Gaza.
In a letter signed by 52 prominent figures, including Nobel Prize winners Nelson Mandela, Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Perez, Pink Floyd performer Roger Waters, movie directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach and others, the group called the US, EU, and other countries “complicit” in the death of Palestinians in Gaza due to their purchase and sale of weapons to Israel.
An article by England’s Guardian newspaper quotes the letter as saying:
“Horrified at the latest round of Israeli aggression against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip and conscious of the impunity that has enabled this new chapter in Israel’s decades-old violations of international law and Palestinian rights, we believe there is an urgent need for international action towards a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo against Israel,” the letter says.
“While the United States has been the largest sponsor of Israel, supplying billions of dollars of advanced military hardware every year, the role of the European Union must not go unnoticed, in particular its hefty subsidies to Israel’s military complex through its research programmes.”
The letter calls Brazilian, Indian, and South Korean military ties “unconscionable given their nominal support for Palestinian freedom”.
On Nov. 16, we posted about a political cartoon in the Guardian by Steve Bell, Nov. 15, depicting British foreign minister, and former PM Tony Blair, as puppets being controlled by Israeli PM Netanyahu, in the context of expressions of support for Israel from both British leaders during operation ‘Pillar Of Defense.’
We noted the strong similarities to other cartoons evoking the historical canard that Jews secretly control of non-Jewish world leaders, such as this from 2008 in a Saudi paper depicting a sinister Jew controlling both McCain and Obama as puppets.
Among those who complained to Guardian editors about the cartoon by Bell was Mark Gardner of the CST, whose letter appeared in the Guardian on Nov. 16, and read thus:
“The Guardian has, in recent years, editorialised against the use of antisemitic language, publishing strong articles on this subject by Chris Elliott (the readers’ editor), Jonathan Freedland and others. They have rightly noted that such language may well be inadvertent on the part of the user, while retaining its offensive power. Nevertheless, too many Guardian contributors continue to get away with using antisemitic imagery and tropes, the latest example being Steve Bell’s cartoon (16 November) showing Tony Blair and William Hague as puppets of Bibi Netanyahu. This is an unoriginal way of visualising the old antisemitic charge that Jews are all-powerful. (The notion of Jewish power and conspiracy has long distinguished antisemitism from other racisms, which tend to depict their targets as idiots.) The paper’s integrity and reputation is seriously compromised by its continuing failure to get a grip on its own content.”
The cartoonist himself, Steve Bell, defended his cartoon against charges of antisemitism, arguing as follows:
“I can’t be held responsible for whatever cultural precepts and misapprehensions people choose to bring to my cartoon.”
On Sun, Nov. 25, the Guardian’s readers editor, Chris Elliott, addressed the row in a column titled ‘The readers’ editor on… accusations of antisemitism against a political cartoon’.
Here are relevant excerpts from his post:
Bell … is adamant that the cartoon, based on an agency picture of a Netanyahu press conference, is neither intentionally, nor unintentionally antisemitic.
There are two paths to the argument about the imagery of the cartoon. The first is that it is an incontrovertible fact that, during the 1930s and 1940s, Nazis and their supporters deployed propaganda devices about Jews. One of those images was that of a grotesquely drawn Jew shown as a puppeteer, with exaggerated features, as in the cartoon portraying Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin as puppets of the Jews in a 1942 issue of the Nazi paper Fliegende Blätter.
The image of Jews having a disproportionate influence over the US and British governments has often been replicated by anti-Jewish cartoonists in the Middle East since the end of the second world war.
Secondly, one of the difficulties is that pictorial stereotypes are the stock in trade of a cartoonist, an aspect of caricature that has an entirely legitimate centuries-old tradition. Bell has used the theme of a puppet master on many occasions in the past to represent his view of Presidents Mubarak and Putin, as well as leaders in Iraqi and Afghan politics.
Bell is aware that the image of Jews as puppet masters is an antisemitic theme. However, he does not accept that this should prevent him using that imagery to address the actions of Netanyahu, the man. Bell says: “The problem with this whole debate is that the premises are all wrong. The cartoon isn’t antisemitic. People may proclaim that it is and [that it] stands in some kind of nefarious line: it has been lifted [from the Guardian website] without permission, and run alongside some terrible examples of nasty cartoons from the Nazi period (which clearly are [antisemitic]). That does not make the cartoon antisemitic. Here lies the problem: once people start dignifying this utterly unfair and unreasonable comparison with faux intellectual terms like ‘antisemitic trope’ it blots out the fact that my cartoon lacks the central ‘trope’ of actually being antisemitic. It doesn’t generalise about a race, a religion or a people; it doesn’t try to characterise any such generalisation: it is a very specific cartoon about a very specific politician at a very specific and deadly dangerous moment. It does employ the trope of ‘puppeteer’, but that is a trope, not an antisemitic trope… It uses the Star of David because that’s what is on the flag, and the menorah because that’s what’s on his podium. They both say: ‘State of Israel’, not ‘The Jews’. There is a crucial difference. It is not subtle or coded antisemitism to make this point.”
Western government support for Israel’s right to defend it’s citizens against Hamas really infuriates some people.
Those who routinely demonize the Jewish state and parrot the most ludicrous claims about Israeli villainy – and excuse or ignore the racism, incitement and violence of Islamist extremists in the region – simply can’t wrap their mind around the fact their anti-Zionist view is extremely marginal.
The mind of Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell was evidently ready to explode upon hearing the expressions of support for Israel by British foreign secretary William Hague and former PM Tony Blair. So, Bell expressed, in cartoon form, his belief that the only possible explanation for this maddening political dynamic is the puppeteer like control exercised over the subservient British leaders by Israel’s Prime Minister.
Another ‘anti-Zionist head-exploding’ moment occurred when the U.S. House and Senate overwhelmingly passed non-binding resolutions backing “Israel’s right to self-defense.”
There’s nothing unusual about such a resolution, as popular support for Israel in America, based on polling by Gallup over the last 45 years, has been consistent and overwhelming - a fact which CiF contributor Glenn Greenwald, whose fear of powerful Jewish forces in the U.S. borders on the conspiratorial, simply can’t fathom.
He expressed his frustration today, thus:
Poor Glenn. The Congressional resolutions, which audaciously affirmed that “no nation”, including Israel, “can tolerate constant barrages of rockets against its civilian population”, actually passed unanimously.
In his essay on Nov. 2011, on ‘averting accusations of antisemitism‘, Guardian readers editor Chris Elliott warned Guardian journalists and commentators to avoid “antisemitic tropes such as Jews having too much power and control.”
Elliott also noted that “three times” he had “upheld complaints against language within articles [which] could be read as antisemitic”, such as his decision to delete the term “slavish” (to describe the US relationship with Israel) from a report by Chris McGreal.
Glenn Greenwald’s characterization of the democratically elected U.S. legislative body as “subservient” to Israel (and/or the Jewish lobby) similarly contains antisemitic undertones, but also represents, to quote Walter Russel Mead, a sign that the ‘Comment is Free’ contributor is among those who are “baffled, frustrated and the bewildered” and therefore “seek[s] a grand, simplifying hypothesis that can bring some kind of ordered explanation to a confusing world.”
“Anti-Semitism”, wrote Mead, “is one of the glittering frauds that attract the overwhelmed and the uncomprehending.”
The anti-Zionist left is increasingly defined as much by their intellectual laziness as they are by their blind subservience to the logic of historically right-wing Judeophobic narratives regarding the dangers of Jewish control.
On March 8, the Guardian published “International Women’s Day highlights hurdles obstructing women,” (co-authored by 12 Guardian correspondents, including the paper’s Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood), on the subjugation of women around the world.
Sherwood’s contribution, on the abrogation of women’s rights in the region she covers, didn’t mention female genital mutilation, honor killings , an endemic culture of misogyny, nor the impunity granted to men who physically and sexually abuse their spouses, throughout in Gaza and the PA.
Harriet Sherwood not only ignored the egregious violation of womens’ rights in the Palestinian territories, but, instead, devoted 118 words to the alleged injustice meted out to a female Palestinian terrorist affiliated with Islamic Jihad held in an Israeli jail named Hana Shalabi.
Hamas police violently attacked a group of women who were peacefully protesting on Tuesday in front of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza. The women were calling for Palestinian reconciliation and sent a request to protest to Hamas which was ignored. Using sticks and batons, Hamas police attacked the women and dispersed the protest.
Another report included the following information:
The protest, organized by women’s organizations including the general union of Palestinian women, was held outside the parliament building.
Iktimal Hamad, a member of the union’s secretariat, told Ma’an that police ordered protesters to leave the area.
“Women refused to leave, because this is a right for every human being to express their opinions and demand their rights,” Hamad told Ma’an.
“We were verbally insulted and hit by fists and sticks. Police tried to arrest some of us but despite that we will continue with our campaign which calls for ending the division,” she added.
Journalist Samya al-Zubeidi said female police officers hit her and ordered her to stop filming.
“They beat me up, in addition to female police officers, (male) police officers also attacked women protesters,” al-Zubeidi told Ma’an.
Interestingly, a Gulf News report on the incident quoted a Fatah spokesperson condemning the attack on Gazan women, thus:
Hamas’ violent attack against the women gives the entire Palestinian population a bad reputation internationally,”
However, any negative publicity for the Palestinian cause in response to the beating of peaceful female protesters in Gaza could only be created if “liberal” media institutions such as the Guardian actually reported the story.