by Alan Simons
Many years ago in the UK, I worked for The Guardian. I have to admit I didn’t actually work in the editorial department, but I had day-to-day contact with many of the paper’s columnists and journalists. I even had to pay for the occasional round of drinks at the ‘local,’ around the corner from the office.
Unlike now, many of the editorial staff were media icons in their own right. Mark Arnold-Forster, Clare Hollingworth, Victor Zorza, John Cole, Mary Stott, Norman Shrapnel and of course Alistair Cooke in the USA, to name a few.
Editors of the past such as Alistair Hetherington who continues to be regarded as one of the leading editors of the second half of the twentieth century and Peter Preston both strove to present a balanced view. Since then the paper has steadily strengthened its biased anti-Israel position. As Greville Janner the former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews has stated, the paper is “viciously and notoriously anti-Israel.”
It may surprise some readers to learn that C. P. Scott, one of the most famous editors of The Guardian had a strong friendship with Chaim Weizmann. It is believed that friendship played a role in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. In 1948 The Guardian was a supporter of the new State of Israel.
With Alistair Hetherington at the helm, The Guardian‘s favourable view of Israel continued, as illustrated in their Leader of Monday, June 12, 1967 16.44 BST:
Future security is their first concern. They will not give up the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank of the Jordan, or the heights over looking the upper Jordan valley until they know what the Arabs will accept. If there is no peace settlement, will they ever give them up?
Israel wishes to live in peace. She does not want hostile neighbours on her borders, whoever they are, for another hundred or two hundred years. She wants normal trading relations with her neighbours. The offer of generous terms is therefore still worth trying – especially if, through the United Nations and all the Great Powers, Israel’s future frontiers are effectively guaranteed.
In 2002 the paper ran a Leader which, in part said, “the Jewish community is right to fear that the repulsive antisemitism… in many Arab countries… can find an alarming echo within some British Muslim communities.” But, that was The Guardian of the past. And now, in 2014 The Guardian breaks all the barriers in stoking the fire of antisemitism that twelve years ago it found quite alarming.
Here below is a video link to the speech given by Seumas Milne, the paper’s associate editor. Prior to working for The Guardian, Milne was the “business manager of Straight Left, a monthly publication of… the Communist Party of Great Britain.” I suppose it’s a no-brainer to figure out where he’s coming from.
This associate editor of The Guardian “in front of tens of thousands of anti-Israel protesters at Hyde Park in London, explicitly justified Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis (a refrain from his Guardian column in mid-July), and accused ‘terrorist’ Israel of ‘industrial scale’ killing in Gaza.” (As reported by CiF Watch)
To quote Tarek Fatah, the Canadian writer, broadcaster and secular Muslim activist: “Any nation, any society, any country that is created on the basis of a hatred towards the others, will soon run out of people that it can hate or groups it can decimate and it will devour itself.” In response, I say to the Seumas Milnes, The Guardians and antisemites of this world. Hurry up, my people haven’t got all day!
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SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”