The Jewish News July 31 2009. There’s an article called “Anti-Semitic crimes double in Britain”. They have a picture of an outdoor cabinet with “Boycott Apartheid Israel” with a picture of a bulldozer facing a house. The caption is “anti-Israel graffiti covers an outdoor cabinet in Southampton, England”. They say the record high levels of anti-Semitism are connected to the latest attack on Gaza, and other high rates of anti-Semitism occurred during Israel’s attack on Lebanon. It printed my letter, under the heading New Matilda and anti-Semitism.
First, the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) complained to newmatilda (NM) privately. It had printed various articles critical of the Israeli government. Underneath these articles, some people had written racist comments. The ADC complained that there had been an increase in anti-Semitism, and sought to link this to the “prejudiced” journalism of NM. The ADC urged newmatilda to abstain from what it called “disproportionate” focus on Israel, and “partisan” coverage which only argued for the “Palestinian narrative”. This was basically ADC urging that NM stop printing criticisms of Israel. In Stone’s report on NM (AJB 24/07) [ed – this is not the source I referred to], she singles out two serial offenders in particular, who happen to be Jewish (Antony Loewenstein and myself).
NM recognised that many comments that were being submitted were offensive, and responded at first by deleting some, and then banning comments altogether. Yet the ADC is not happy, and is now happy to reveal the real issue: criticising the Israeli government “feeds” anti-Semitism.
Why would that be the case? Someone who isn’t anti-Semitic would obviously accept that Jews and Israel are not the same thing, and holding Jews responsible for Israel’s actions is anti-Semitic.
By collapsing the distinction between Jews and Israel, the ADC legitimises anti-Semites.
Furthermore, charging two Jews who disagree with Deborah Stone on Israel with anti-semitism is frivolous. Doing sotrivialises anti-Semitism, which deserves to be taken more seriously.
I usually don’t comment on Jamie Hyman’s “Media Week”. It is generally unbelievable. Yet I will quote this week’s second item in full.
On July 20, Herald Sun columnist Alan Howe showed sympathy and udnerstanding for the dilemmas facing Israel in Gaza. Having commented on the Palestinian housing reduced to rubble in Israel’s incursion, Howe continued, “Israelis created that rubble when they reluctantly launched Operation Cast Lead seven months ago to silence the endless bombing campaign against its southern cities, which reside so near the festering malevolence that is Gaza.” He explained the effect of the rockets on the residents of Sderot, the favoured Palestinian target: “No one in Sderot drives around listening to CDs or the radio. They are permanently tuned to the possibility they’ll hear a calm, disembodied woman’s voice announcing “Tseva Adom” – Code Red. Because they have just seconds to get from their vehicle to a shelter, seat belts are never worn. No one has a shower unless there is someone else in the house”. He also gave a further explanation of why the Israeli campaign resulted in rubble: “Hamas fighters, like their Hezbollah colleagues in Southern Lebanon, hid out in, fired from and operated around sensitive populated areas – and even a cemetery of Australian war dead – hoping to goad the Israeli army into an indiscriminate response”
Okay, so Hyams quotes approvingly the view that Gaza is a “festering malevolence”. He thinks this article is sensitive to Israel. It begins:”THE people of Gaza are set to be the first to bomb themselves back to the Stone Age. Serves them right.”
This article “showed sympathy and understanding for the dilemmas facing Israel in Gaza”.
There’s an article by Alan Gold. I feel cautious about commenting, so I will simply quote some passages. Ida Lichter is quoted as saying: “To liberated women in the West, the reformers would appear to be challenging a medieval environment of cultural restrictions and misogynistic regulations scripted by religious and patriarchal authorities on impounding women’s lives.”
The second quote is by the writer, Alan Gold. “Reading Dr Lichter’s book, the difference between Judeo-Christian and Islamic societies becomes stark to the point of obscenity. While the lack of human rights in societies, such as Sudan and Somalia, can be understood as primtive tribalism, no such reason is justifiable in countries like Saudi Arabia or Iran.”
The book has an endorsement by Daniel Pipes. Perhaps I should stop reading the Jewish News, as I find it difficult to put into words my tremendous admiration for their nuanced views of certain groups of people. Emphasis in bold by the way was added by me.