The Guardian. “Britain’s viciously and notoriously anti-Israel newspaper.”

Stoking the fire of antisemitism and anti-Israel hate

   by Alan Simons

Many years ago in London, England, 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 strengthened its biased anti-Israel position.  A former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews once stated, the paper is “viciously and notoriously anti-Israel.”

 It wasn’t always this way. C. P. Scott, one of the most famous editors of The Guardian had a strong friendship with Chaim Weizmann. It is believed their 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:

“Future security is [Israel’s] first concern. They will not give up the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank of the Jordan, or the heights overlooking 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.” The Leader of 16 years ago could easily have been written yesterday. Mind you, I doubt if it would have been published in The Guardian!

“One of the main purveyors of anti-Israel bias in the UK and abroad.”

But, that was The Guardian of another period.  For today in 2018, The Guardian continually breaks all the barriers in stoking the fire of antisemitism and anti-Israel hate that in 2002 it found quite alarming.

UK Media Watch is “dedicated to combating antisemitism and promoting accurate reporting about Israel in the UK media.”  They believe “The Guardian has long been identified as one of the main purveyors of anti-Israel bias in the UK and abroad…”

Earlier this week, Adam Levick, Managing Editor of UK Media Watch, wrote a scathing article titled, “The Guardian View’ on the Gaza protests: one of their worst editorials on Israel ever.”  His article concludes, “The Guardian once again has demonised Israel, smearing the state as one defined primarily by racism and violence – an ugly caricature which has little resemblance to reality.  Moreover, the notion that Jerusalem should take security advice from the Corbyn-sympathising London intelligentsia is as risible as their suggestion that its citizens should take seriously the moralizing tales of Israeli darkness by the Hollywood left.” 

I urge you to read Levick’s article in full to appreciate the depth and viciousness of this once respected British newspaper.

Which brings me to Seumas Milne. Milne, The Guardian’s former far-left of centre associate editor and columnist has for many years had his fingers in the pie denouncing Israel at every possible occasion. 

Here is a 2014 video link to a speech given by Milne. 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. Milne, “in front 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 UK Media Watch formerly CiF Watch). All this while being employed by The Guardian.

“Two Peas in a Pod!”

Milne is no longer The Guardian’s associate editor. In January 2017 he was appointed the British Labour Party‘s Executive Director of Strategy and Communications under Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is also well-known for his anti-Israel stance and as someone who has not publicly denounced antisemitism.

It’s been said that the ethical challenges faced by journalists-turned-political advisers can be a challenging experience for the individual. But not for Milne. He must relish it! In Milne’s case,  it would seem the utter contempt he has for Israel continues to remain an indelible mark of approval at The Guardian, as seen by the paper’s incessant thirst to publish anti-Israel content.

And now, Milne’s opinion of Israel has been opportunistically transferred to his latest employer Jeremy Corbyn, as well as to many of Corbyn’s followers, both from within the British Labour Party and from the Party’s far-left anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and antisemitic followers.

According to Peter Wilby, writing in the New Statesman in March 2018, Milne as Corbyn’s spin doctor “has proved rather good at it… Wilby writes Milne is the closest of the leader’s team to Corbyn, after John McDonnell, the UK shadow chancellor and confidant of Jeremy Corbyn.”

G. M. Trevelyan, the British historian and academic, once said, “A little man often casts a long shadow.” Could it be Wilby has it wrong? With shadowy motives and murky desires could it be that Milne is actually now the closest confidant to Corbyn? Heaven help British Jewry!

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Fighting the good fight. Has it left the Jewish Community?

“Diaspora Jews. I have a sense we just don’t care anymore!”

by Alan Simons

Why is it, I wonder, Diaspora Jews are willing to show as a group how philanthropic and ardent they are towards raising funds and giving their time and support towards non-Jewish distresses, such as the Rwandan Tutsi, the people of South Sudan, the ethnic rights of minorities in Burma, Canada’s First Nations, and currently Syrian refugees? Yet, as individuals, why do we continue to be uncomfortable to willingly expose ourselves, to open our arms favourably, towards Christian, Muslim and other individuals? Why do many in the Diaspora treat non-Jews with utmost suspicion?

Yes, our long standard tradition of tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedek (righteousness) and gemilut chassadim (acts of lovingkindness) are renown and respected by non-Jews. But more and more these days we repetitively remain on the sidelines in showing support to those who fight the good fight.

JIN RCMP dThis past Sunday I had the honour of being invited to the inaugural 2017 Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)/IDI GTA Intercultural Ramadan Friendship Dinner. Organised by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute GTA., the event was held at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.

To put the importance of this Canadian event into perspective, the RCMPs media advisory reported:

“This occasion demonstrated a gesture of mutual respect and partnership between community and law enforcement.

In attendance were the Chiefs of Police and dignitaries from Government offices. This occasion also included Canada’s 150 year celebration.

The IDI has been working closely with the RCMP and policing partners in the Greater Toronto Area to promote social cohesion, personal interaction, respect and mutual understanding among people through dialogue and partnership. The RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Team – Public Engagement Unit has been very active in developing trusting relationships in the community to improve engagement and implement community programs.

‘What an incredible opportunity for us to interact with so many from the diverse communities we support,’ said Superintendent Lise Crouch, Assistant Criminal Operations Officer for National Security. ‘It is events such as this one that continues to remove barriers for our police officers. The police are members of so many communities and contribute both on and off duty. This friendship dinner highlights the strength in collaboration and respect.’ ”

JIN RCMP cOut of the countless hundreds attending from many faiths and cultures, I would hazard a guess there were no more than four Jews present, and certainly, no rabbi found the time to join the clergy from other faiths.

To my mind, I regard in the eyes of the Diaspora, this to be one further example of how the Jewish community has become more entrenched in its attitude of “us” and “them” and less willing as individuals to show where they stand on issues relating to interfaith/cultural (call it what you will) dialogue at the grass roots level.

What a missed opportunity to support those who are attempting to fight the good fight. As Elie Wiesel once said, “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Diaspora Jews, take heed! Mutual respect and partnership are an integral part of our very being. I have a sense we just don’t care anymore!

(Photo credit: RCMP)

Alan Simons can be reached at alan@alansimons.info

COMMENTS

“I could not agree more, Alan Simons. Well said. Same issues here in Winnipeg. Proud of our Muslim Jewish Interfaith dialogue group, but we are not representative of the attitude of the “institutional Jewish community.” It’s more than just caring, Alan, it is massive ignorance about each other. We might be willing to donate a little money to make ourselves feel better but most Jews know nothing about Islam or Christianity and frankly harbour some horribly incorrect notions, yet purport to “know the truth.” However, other cities are doing better – Calgary for instance because of the example of true leadership by strong clergy in the Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities. The recent recognition by King Abdullah of Jordan reflects their exemplary achievement.”

-Belle Jarniewski, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Congratulations jewishinfoNews!

It’s our 10th birthday! A no mean feat for an Internet news site that has consistently kept to its original mission statement.

by Alan Simons
by Alan Simons

Two years ago Tarek Fatah, the Canadian secular, progressive and liberal activist said: “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.”

Yesterday evening in Toronto there was not a ripple of hate or intolerance. I had the good fortune of participating in Ve’ahavta’s 16th Annual Community Passover Seder. The event, under Jewish and Aboriginal leadership, was in effect one of the most important social justice events held in Canada for sometime. In excess of 295 people attended the evening which brought together adults and children of all religions without community or family, to share equally in a Seder with Jews of numerous denominations.

“Tonight we concentrate on those who are without community or family, and we ask ourselves, how we can play a role in changing such hardship using our own resources.”  – Avrum Rosensweig

As Avrum Rosensweig, President and CEO of Ve’ahavta succinctly put it: “Our unique and interactive Seder allows people of all faiths to come together in order to recall this historic biblical event which teaches us about bravery, faith, and ultimate freedom. We take this opportunity in the Jewish calendar to unite as a community and to band together to remind ourselves that the comparable atrocities of today are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated by any of us!”

Ve'ahavta's 16th Annual Community Passover Seder. Toronto April 2015. -photo (c) jewishinfoNews

Ve’ahavta’s 16th Annual Community Passover Seder. Toronto April 2015. -photo (c) jewishinfoNews

Ve’ahavta describes itself as a “Jewish charitable social service organization dedicated to promoting positive change in the lives of people of all faiths who are marginalized by poverty. Ve’ahavta (Hebrew for ‘and you shall love’) is committed to engaging community members in a meaningful and hands-on way to support our collective mission of tikun olam (repairing the world). Ve’ahavta delivers poverty alleviation programs that break down barriers, restore human dignity, foster capacity-building, and empower marginalized individuals to break the cycle of poverty.”

My observations, listening and talking to many of the guests and eighty-ish volunteers present last evening, suggests that at least in Toronto there is a willingness from all societies to outstretch their hands and come together in dialogue, without hate and intolerance. Rosensweig’s Ve’ahavta has a formula that works well.  Let others take note of it!

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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"

SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

Thank God there’s an Israel!

بفضل الله، هناك إسرائيل

ہم اسرائیل کے پاس خدا کا شکر ہے

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