The Guardian's problem with anti-Semitism

Such is the Guardian's fanatical obsession with Israel that when it comes to anti-semitism, a different set of rules applies. Apparently Jewish victims of prejudice don't deserve sympathy

Are we supposed to ignore this bigotry?
Jeremy Havardi
On 17 May 2014 14:14

Let's imagine that an authoritative survey found evidence of widespread prejudice against black people. Let's suppose it found countries where a majority of people bought into anti-black stereotypes and prejudices, the kind promoted by the KKK or other white supremacist groups. We would be rightfully horrified and appalled by such attitudes, and would abhor those who sought to justify them.

But such is the Guardian's fanatical obsession with Israel that when it comes to anti-semitism, a different set of rules applies. Apparently Jewish victims of prejudice don't deserve sympathy and, in some ways, deserve the opprobrium heaped upon them.

That is the only conclusion one can draw from an appalling op-ed that appeared in the paper yesterday. The article, 'Anti-Semitism should not be waved around like a propaganda tool', by Donna Nevel and Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark was a response to a survey from the Anti Defamation League which found that roughly 1 in 4 adults around the world held deeply anti-Semitic beliefs. It was based on polling more than 50,000 adults in over 100 countries, representing nearly 90 percent of the world's adult population.

According to the survey, 1 in 3 believed that 'Jews have too much power in international financial markets' and 'Jews have too much control over global affairs' while 1 in 4 believe that 'Jews are responsible for most of the world's wars'. Some 41% also accept the proposition that 'Jews are more loyal to Israel than to [this country/to the countries they live in]'.

The worst offenders were all Arab or Islamic nations in the Middle East, with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza topping the hall of shame (93 percent harbouring anti semitic beliefs) followed by Iraq and Yemen. Given that the Middle East is the epicentre of Jew hate in today's world, the last finding is barely surprising.

Yet Nevel and Neimark choose to ignore such obvious conclusions. Instead the ADL is accused of 'ringing the alarm' about anti-semitism. They are accused of attempting 'to stir up fear that Jew-hatred is a growing global phenomenon that puts the world's Jews universally at risk, and that the biggest culprits are Muslims and Arabs, particularly Palestinians'.

In other words, this is all about paranoid and irrational Jews spreading unnecessary panic while giving vent to their uncontrollable 'Islamophobia'. But it gets worse. It turns out that the Palestinians' anti-semitic views are actually justified after all. It's only natural that the Palestinians think that Jews 'have too much power in the business world' because this is 'a group of people for whom the movement of goods, money and labor is controlled by Israel'.

The authors ask: "Were they really to be expected to answer anything but "yes"? Well perhaps not, but for a wholly different reason. The deeply entrenched Jew hatred reflects years of brainwashing by the PA media which has portrayed Jews as a dark, satanic force destroying the Muslim world because of their corruption and greed.

The images presented on Palestinian televisions, and in school textbooks and newspapers are so uniformly negative that it would be surprising if anti-semitism did not flourish among their population.

But for these authors, little more can or should be expected of ordinary Palestinians. Being 'victims', they are never responsible for their own attitudes. Even the fact that 78 percent of Palestinians think Jews are responsible for most of the world's wars merits no criticism.

The notion that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the countries they live in is described as an 'odd indicator of anti-semitism'. In fact, this is a perfectly fair indicator of anti-semitism because it reflects the charge of divided loyalty, whereby Jews are regularly accused of being unpatriotic and putting Jewish interests over and above those of their 'host' countries.

But the authors assert that Israel is to blame because its leaders, "consistently claim to speak for the global Jewish community and consider loyalty to Israel a precondition for being a good Jew". No evidence  is provided for this statement. But perhaps the authors should acquaint themselves with the infamous case of Alfred Dreyfus, which predated the birth of Israel by some decades.

For these Guardian writers, it's the Jews own fault they are hated. Deeply anti-semitic beliefs deriving from the twisted conspiracy theories of the Protocols are blamed on the victims, not the perpetrators. Why? Because the Jews have committed the cardinal sin of supporting Israel and being Zionist sympathisers.

Now imagine that black victims of racism supported African regimes that the liberal left considered beyond the pale. Would the intelligentsia really make excuses for the hateful prejudice directed towards black people, or worse, justify it? Would they defend hateful attacks on Muslims just because those victims supported Pakistan or Saudi Arabia? One needn't even ask the question.

Those who bash Israel in the West may not start out wishing to defend or justify anti-semitism. They purport to be against racism, after all. But this article reminds us just how easily one can lead to the other.

Jeremy Havardi is a journalist and the author of two books, Falling to Pieces, and The Greatest Briton

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