The Guardian’s false accusation of “false accusations of antisemitism”

February 24th, 2012 by Mark Gardner

The Jewish community has probably had more run-ins with the Guardian than every other British newspaper combined. This matters on two levels: emotionally, because the Guardian exemplifies the kind of liberalism that many Jews instinctively feel; and, politically, because of the moral tone that the Guardian sets within British life.

In recent years, Jewish upset has been exacerbated by the Guardian’s Comment is Free (CiF) website, which carries many more articles than the print edition; and is fundamental to the paper’s future.

CiF’s initial growth was tarnished by failures to adequately moderate readers’ comments underneath the actual articles. After much effort, this was largely remedied. Nevertheless, from a Jewish perspective at least, problems persist with the actual CiF articles themselves.   

It was refreshing to see CiF recently feature a particularly spiky anti-antisemitism piece by Tanya Gold, but last week it reverted to type with a particularly poor and offensive article by Rachel Shabi. Its title claimed to reveal how “Israel’s rightwing defenders” make false accusations of antisemitism.

Shabi is welcome to her opinion, but after all the grief between the Jewish community and the Guardian, you might hope that they would hesitate before publishing such a shabby piece of work. Its extremely ugly headline and sub-headline (see below) are plain insensible; it has utterly inadequate levels of proof; it has utterly partial summaries of the sources that it links to; and it refuses to acknowledge that opposition to the phrase “Israel firsters” might be something other than an evil deception to defend Israel.

Shabi’s article can be read here. The title and subtitle:

False accusations of antisemitism desensitise us to the real thing.

Attacks on the New York Times’s new Jerusalem correspondent undermine the credibility of Israel’s rightwing defenders.

So, surely the article is about how the NY Time’s new Jerusalem correspondent has been falsely accused of antisemitism by “Israel’s rightwing defenders”?

Well, no actually. The article’s first three paragraphs deal with the new correspondent, Jodi Rudoren. Shabi claims Rudoren has been called an “anti-Zionist”, but there is no mention here by Shabi of antisemitism, none whatsoever. The word doesn’t feature, nor in any of the three articles linked to by Shabi’s article (here and here and here). It isn’t even hinted at in any of them. The headline and sub-headline are simply wrong and insensible. This, despite their being so provocative and insulting.

Less importantly, the word “anti-Zionist” appears in quotation marks, as if this is what Rudoren has been called. No source is given for this claim. Click on the links provided by Shabi’s article, and you still won’t find it: you’ll find criticism of Rudoren, strong criticism of whom she has tweeted with, people saying she gives the impression of being partial, but you won’t find the simple “anti-Zionist” accusation –  and, I repeat, far less anything mentioning antisemitism.

The closest you’ll find to a plain “anti-Zionist” accusation is this quote taken from Tablet online magazine: but Tablet is a centre-left US Jewish publication, so what does it have to do with the “rightwing defenders” of Shabi’s article? (And, again, nothing here remotely connected with ”false accusations of antisemitism“.) 

Next, Shabi moves from Rudoren to an argument in America over the use of the phrase “Israel firsters”. This is a phrase that denotes those who put Israel’s interests above those of their own country. (Former American Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke, is an especially notorious user of the term.)

Given the centrality of the ‘dual loyalty’ motif and attendant Jewish conspiracy and treason charges to antisemitism through the centuries, the antisemitic resonance and potential of “Israel firsters” is starkly obvious: as is the right of Jews (and others) to complain about its use. Not here, according to Shabi. Her take on it, as published by Guardian CiF:

“Witness the recent storm over the phrase “Israel firsters”: used to accuse people of putting policy on Israel above US interests, it sparked a row among liberal commentators on whether it carries connotations of dual loyalty that feed into antisemitic tropes. This was just another attempt to smear liberal American critics of Israel, and fed into the frustration over such blockading – best expressed in the title of one recent post: “Dear Israel lobby, we give up – please give us an acceptable way of insulting you.”

Yet the real danger in all this is that the rush to throw charges of antisemitism at people who criticise Israel will desensitise vigilance over the real thing. Such tactics are meant to intimidate and paralyse, choke and divert the discussion over Israel’s occupation and policies in the Middle East.”

And there you have it, CiF is happy to publish that concerns raised about the expression “Israel firsters” were “just another attempt to smear…intimidate and paralyse, choke and divert” liberal criticism and discussion of Israel. No question about it and seemingly no requirement from CiF that Shabi should explicitly explain the rationale behind her “smear” claims, which derive from this at Salon.com, linked to via Shabi’s above link at “liberal commentators“. Incredibly, the former AIPAC spokesman quoted in it didn’t even directly call anyone an antisemite, he merely says of US Democrats using the expression “Israel firsters”: “these are the words of anti-Semites, not Democratic political players.

And that is the false accusations of antisemitism as stated in the title.

All of this, brought to you by Guardian Comment is Free: which is why it matters.

Postscript

When the AIPAC spokesman was asked to explain himself by Salon.com, he gave the following answer – and it is as strikingly appropriate for the Guardian, as it is for the Democratic Party (especially the final sentence): 

Those who accuse pro-Israel advocates and American Jews of having “dual loyalties” and being “Israel Firsters” are engaged in anti-Semetic hate speech. Period. These are age-old canards and anti-Semetic smears that go back centuries, suggesting that Jews are disloyal, alien and cannot be trusted. This kind of rhetoric has no place in civil dialogue and anyone’s politics, but especially among progressives.

The organizations who pay the salaries of those using such hate speech, (see below for specific examples), and who have clearly had it brought to their attention, must either confront it and end it, or take full responsibility for it. In this case, that choice belongs to both CAP and Media Matters. This is a free country and people can say what they want, but the question for those organizations is whether they are an appropriate home for such discourse.

Ahmadinejad: Holocaust Denial, destroy Zionism, “Imam Ali, help us”.

February 23rd, 2012 by Mark Gardner

As tensions increase concerning Iran’s nuclear capabilities and its use of global terrorism, a BBC Monitoring transcript shows President Ahmadinejad denying the Holocaust, “a legend by the name of Holocaust“, whilst giving a somewhat apocalyptic address to a rally in Tehran’s Azadi Square on 11 February, the 33rd anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

(This was also the day that the Iranian conference on Hollywood and Zionism concluded, as reported here by Press TV; and as shown here on CST blog, with President Ahmadinejad meeting French denier, Robert Faurisson and members of Neturei Karta, the Jewish sect that is so cherished by British anti-Zionist far leftists and Islamists, alike. French performer Dieudonné Mbala Mbala was also present.)

The BBC translation is taken from the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Tehran, in Persian 0759gmt on 11 February, 2012.

It includes the use of the word “eidolon”. This is of Greek origin and basically means an apparition, a phantom, or an idealised figure. 

Ahmadinejad states:

In order to dominate the world, arrogant powers, slaveholders and dominance-seeking powers created an eidolon under the name of the Zionist regime. The cell and spirit of this eidolon is composed of a legend by the name of Holocaust. The Iranian nation destroyed this eidolon with courage, vigilance and acumen and paved a way for the freedom of nations.

The remainder of the speech is too lengthy to repeat here, but below are some sections that relate to Ahmedinejad’s anti-Zionism / antisemitism; sections relating his hatred of Marxism and Capitalism; and his worryingly apocalyptic sounding appeal for the 12th Shia Imam to appear.

…The Iranian nation has carried out another task and ruined a new and modern eidolon. In order to dominate the world, arrogant powers, slaveholders and dominance-seeking powers created an eidolon under the name of the Zionist regime. The cell and spirit of this eidolon is composed of a legend by the name of Holocaust. The Iranian nation destroyed this eidolon with courage, vigilance and acumen and paved a way for the freedom of nations.

[People chanting God is great].

My beloved ones, these are only part of achievements of the beloved Iranian nation. Certainly, we are still at the beginning of the way and we should come together and unify our efforts in order to reach peaks and ideals.

In the final part of my speech, I want to talk about the current global situation, as well as the situation in the region.

…The regional governments should be aware that enemy is seeking to sow discord. They want to save the Zionist regime and are seeking to sow discord among governments, nations and followers of various religious.

…They issue resolutions. On the one hand, this is a very bitter occurrence. However, on the other hand, it is a most sarcastic joke that has ever been observed in history. I address them: You can change yourselves by respecting nations and their rights. Otherwise, those, who are standing today close to America and some European countries to save the Zionist regime and are suppressing the resistance of freedom-seeking people, should know that their turn will come tomorrow.

…All nations and politicians should be aware that great changes are taking place…My dears, we should first and foremost believe in God and reach purity. 

…All our problems are because of US domination and the existence of the Zionist regime. All dictatorships in the region and the world are supported by the USA and the Zionist regime.

…Do not support Zionists. They are like a junk car. They are not useful any more… Let Palestine be free.

…I can tell you compassionately that great awareness is on its way, a storm is on its way, as well as the storm of global awareness. If you do not join people, the storm will uproot oppression and injustice in the world.

…So far, human history has been full of oppression, injustice and humiliation. Marxism and Capitalism are on the top of oppressors in history. They committed crimes and injustice incomparable with any period of history. They theorized operations, plunder, occupation, and robbery of nations. They have integrated them in the form of different schools and doctrines, imposing them on nations. But I would like to say that, by divine grace, their era has come to its end. Marxism failed and the sound of the breaking bones of inhumane capitalism can be heard in the world.

The world needs new discipline that provides justice and purity, welfare, security and dignity for all humans and nations with everyone having a constructive role in global management. Of course, this needs a new rule.

My dears, human beings belong to the world and need global rule for every human being and every nation irrespective of the colour of their skin, race, language, region, and tribe. Human beings need a rule that is based on monotheism, justice, knowledge, and love and kindness, and the recognition of the dignity of all human beings.

The question is as follows: who is to establish discipline and rule. Will those, who have no sign of justice and kindness, be able to give these values to the world? Do you think the head of the US government, some European governments, or Zionists behind the stage are able to establish justice in the world? The answer is clear! Justice needs righteous and just rulers. I would like to say in a loud voice and in the name of the whole nation [of Iran] and all free nations of the world that the replacement of unfair discipline and current inhumane rule of the world is nothing but perfect Mahdavi society.

The righteous global rule will come with the Imam of the Age [12th Shi'i Imam Mahdi], peace be upon Him, who will come with Jesus Christ, peace be upon Him, and all those, who are righteous. They will come with tact and grace and fill the world with justice and love. He, who is the embodiment of justice and a perfect innocent human being far removed from mistakes and full of love of humans, will come. This is humans’ historical and innate desire. This is the point of contact for all humans and the only way of solving problems and humans’ historic hardships, the way leading to the climax of perfection and pure life. This thought and reality is the pillar for all those, who seek unity and justice, freedom and perfection, and monotheism in the world.

May you come together and insist on monotheism, justice and love. Make this desire come true sooner. Oh, Imam Ali, help us!

…Oh, Great God! May You save our nation and our dear Leader under the protection of the Imam of the Age!

[People chanting: Oh, God! Amen]

Oh, Great God! The world is full of oppression. The oppressors act impertinently. Justice-seekers are alone. You promised that if the world was filled with oppression, You would send a justice-spreader. All hearts, eyes and hands are towards You, oh, Almighty God. May You send the Saviour, the Promised, the Only One, Love – the Imam of the Age.

Be dear, glorious, and victorious.

Tell MAMA – Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks launched today

February 21st, 2012 by CST

CST today attended the launch meeting of Tell MAMA – Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks, a new project from Faith Matters which will record anti-Muslim hate crime. The keynote speaker was the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles MP, whose department is funding the project as part of its integration strategy which was published today.

The government’s integration strategy singles out CST as the best model for community-based hate crime recording and victim support, and several of the speakers at today’s launch praised CST’s work in this area.

Tell MAMA is one of several different organisations, from a wide range of communities, that CST has advised on hate crime recording or other matters of community security over many years, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future. Hate crime is a blight on many communities and where possible, CST will always help others who are trying to tackle this problem.

 

 

Ayatollah Khamenei: “bloodsucker capitalists and Zionists” are behind attacks on Iran

February 17th, 2012 by Dave Rich

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei gave a speech on Wednesday to encourage Iranians to participate in the Parliamentary elections that are due to take place next month. While this is quite normal for any politician, a transcript from BBC Monitoring reveals that Khamenei claimed there is a “hostile and vicious enemy” that is attempting to undermine Iranians’ faith in their political system.

Who, you might ask, could this enemy be? And you may not be surprised to discover that it is none other than the good old international Zionist conspiracy:

The front of a hostile and vicious enemy, who holds the entire communications and media facilities of the world on its palm, and most of the Western politicians are the puppets of this hostile front, which is the front of capitalists, cartel holders, trust holders, large company holders, bloodsucker capitalists and Zionists, and the global Zionist network, which possesses most of the global media, the super-modern media of the day, like these TV channels and more important Internet channels, concentrated their propaganda on making the Iranian people disappointed by the system, Islam and the announced aims.

Just a reminder that President Ahmadinejad is far from the only senior political figure in Iran who peddles this dangerous nonsense.

The Iranian President and the Holocaust Denier

February 14th, 2012 by Dave Rich

Two years ago, this blog reported on the growing relationship between French performer Dieudonné Mbala Mbala and Iran. Dieudonné repeatedly plays on antisemitic themes in his writings and performances, has previously worked with the French Holocaust Denier Robert Faurisson, and former Front National leader Jean Marie Le Pen is the godfather of one of his children. In 2009 he announced that Iran was funding his work.

A conference in Iran earlier this month, hosted by President Ahmadinejad, seems to be part of the product of this relationship. Dieudonné was present, as were Faurisson, Aharon Cohen and Yisroel Weiss from the Jewish anti-Zionist sect Naturei Karta (more often seen on anti-Israel demonstrations in the UK), and various other writers and activists from around the world. The conference discussed “Hollywoodism“, which seems to be a familiar argument that American cinema is part of a global Zionist conspiracy.

Here is President Ahmadinejad presenting Faurisson with an award:

Naturei Karta members waiting to meet President Ahmadinejad:

Dieudonné and Faurisson share a quiet moment:

As Dieudonné said to Press TV two years ago, “Iran has become a place where anti-Zionists can meet and communicate and develop.”

CST Security Advice: possible terrorist incidents in India and Georgia

February 13th, 2012 by CST

According to media reports, an Israeli diplomat’s car has exploded in New Delhi, India, today, injuring one person, and explosives have also been found near the Israeli Embassy in Tblisi, Georgia.

While the exact circumstances of these two incidents are not yet clear, CST advises all Jewish communal organisations and buildings in the UK to ensure that all security measures are followed rigorously, and that the fullest co-operation is given to security personnel.

Suspicious activities and antisemitic incidents should be reported to Police on 999, and then to local security personnel, or the nearest CST office.

London CST can be contacted on 020 8457 999/emergency 24 hour number 07659 101668; Manchester CST 0161 792 6666/emergency 24 hour number 0800 980 0668.

SECURITY REMINDERS

  • Be alert to suspicious people and activities including parked cars and unattended bags.
  • Challenge and question all strangers and visitors to your building even if they are accompanied by
    someone you know.
  • DO NOT accept unexpected post, deliveries etc until they have been cleared by the intended
    recipient.
  • Items must be kept OUTSIDE your location until cleared as suitable for acceptance.
  • If you cannot confirm that it is genuine, DO NOT ACCEPT THE DELIVERY – send it back with the
    courier.
  • Encourage all members of staff to tell security, reception, and caretaker personnel of expected
    deliveries, including the names of senders and couriers.
  • If you see anything which you deem suspicious, call the Police immediately – dial 999 and then contact CST

Countering online hate on Safer Internet Day

February 8th, 2012 by CST

CST and the All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism used Safer Internet Day 2012 to promote the online reporting of hate crime via the True Vision reporting website to Members of Parliament yesterday.

True Vision, which can be found at http://www.report-it.org.uk, is a website run by the Ministry of Justice where all forms of hate crime can be reported quickly and easily online. The report will then be passed directly to the relevant police force to investigate. It is particularly useful for reporting hate crime that take place on the internet: to date over 1,300 reports have been made to the site with just over 300 of these relating to Internet offences.

True Vision also offers helpful information, advice and downloadable resources regarding hate crime.

Several MPs of different parties visited the CST/APPGAA event yesterday, including Communities and Local Government Minister Andrew Stunnell, seen here with Superintendent Paul Giannasi, Manager of the True Vision programme.

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