The Guardian’s most egregious moral blind spot – especially in light of the media group’s claim to represent anti-racist values – pertains to their editors’ licensing of commentators who possess an antipathy towards Jews and routinely advance tropes indistinguishable from what is normally associated with far-right Judeophobia.
Such polemicists (who are granted the media group’s progressive kashrut license) are typically of the radical Islamic variety – those who espouse values which are incompatible with even the broadest understanding of progressivism yet are given a moral pass by virtue of their cynical use of the language of human rights. (Richard Landes refers to such political posers as “demopaths.”)
However, the Guardian-approved socially acceptable anti-Israel brand of reactionary politics isn’t limited to those of the Islamist persuasion.
Ben White, who penned an appalling apologia for anti-Semitism for the extremist publication CounterPunch, is routinely published at “Comment is Free” – given a platform to advance his malign obsession with the Jewish state.
Gilad Atzmon, who has literally endorsed the conspiracies advanced in the Elders of the Protocols of Zion that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world, has been the subject of quite laudatory profiles at the Guardian – and also had a letter published.
More recently, it was announced that Salon.com blogger, Glenn Greenwald, will be moving to the Guardian.
Greenwald (who blogs at Salon.com) advances a brand of anti-imperialism, much in the tradition of Guardian Associate Editor Seumas Milne, informed by a palpable loathing of America, a nation he sees as a dangerous force of evil in the world. Greenwald’s anti-Americanism is so intense he once compared the US overthrow of Saddam Hussein to the Nazi conquest of Europe.
As is often the case with Guardian-brand commentators, Greenwald’s anti-imperialist ideological package includes a vicious anti-Zionism, and a corresponding belief on the injurious influence of organized US Jewry on American foreign policy in the Middle East.
Here’s a sample of his musings on the villainy of organized Jewry.
- “So absolute has the Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy been that the US Government has made it illegal to broadcast Hezbollah television stations.”
- “Not even our Constitution’s First Amendment has been a match for the endless exploitation of American policy, law and resources [by the Israel lobby] to target and punish Israel’s enemies.”
- “The real goal [of the Israel lobby], as always, was to ensure that there is no debate over America’s indescribably self-destructive, blind support for Israeli actions. [Charles] Freeman’s critics may have scored a short-term victory in that regard, but the more obvious it becomes what is really driving these scandals, the more difficult it will be to maintain this suffocating control over American debates and American policy.”
- “The point is that the power the [Israel lobby] exercises [is] harmful in the extreme. They use it to squelch debate, destroy the careers and reputations of those who deviate from their orthodoxies, and compel both political parties to maintain strict adherence to an agenda that is held by a minority of Americans; that is principally concerned with the interests of a foreign country; and that results in serious cost and harm to the United States. In doing so, they insure not only that our policies towards Israel remain firmly in place no matter the outcome of our elections, but also that those policies remain beyond the realm of what can be questioned or debated by those who want to have a political future.”
- “Anyone who has argued that a desire to protect Israeli interests plays too large of a role in our foreign policy has been subjected to some of the most vicious and relentless smears. Ask Juan Cole about that, or John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Those tactics have, as intended, prevented a substantive debate on this question, as most people have feared even approaching the topic.”
- “[Eisenhower] told Israel that ‘we handle our affairs exactly as though we didn’t have a Jew in America’ – and [this] was then likely an uncontroversial sentiment. Today, if an American politician said anything remotely like that – that American interests would take precedence over Israel’s…how many seconds would elapse before the full-scale and permanent destruction of their political career was complete?”
- “If you don’t…pledge your loyalty to our policies toward Israel and to Israel, what will happen to you is what just happened to Charles Freeman. You’ll be demonized and have your career ended.”
- “Large and extremely influential Jewish donor groups are the ones agitating for a US war against Iran, and that is the case because those groups are devoted to promoting Israel’s interests.”
- “Those [American Jews] who favor the attack on Gaza are certainly guilty…of such overwhelming emotional and cultural attachment to Israel and Israelis that they long ago ceased viewing this conflict with any remnant of objectivity.”
- “The dominant narrative among neocons and the media is that, deep down in his heart, [Obama] may be insufficiently devoted to Israel to be president of the United States. Has there ever been another country to which American politicians were required to pledge their uncritical, absolute loyalty the way they are, now, with Israel?”
- “[Charles] Freeman is being dragged through the mud by the standard cast of accusatory Israel-centric neocons (Marty Peretz, Jon Chait, Jeffrey Goldberg, Commentary, The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb, etc. etc., etc.).”
- “It is difficult to find someone with a more psychopathic indifference to the slaughter of innocent people in pursuit of shadowy, unstated political goals than Charles Krauthammer.”
Even before the birth of the modern state of Israel, Jews have stood accused of not possessing sufficient loyalty to the nations where they reside. The contemporary manifestation of this canard, however, almost always centers on the notion (advanced by Greenwald) of dual loyalty — a charge that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own nation.
Often, such charges of dual loyalty are infused with a narrative imputing enormous power to Jewish communities, which typically represent a tiny fraction of the overall population. Such a synthesis of disloyalty on the one hand and exaggerated power on the other allows the accuser to charge the Jewish community of working to undermine their nation, often alleging that such Jews are dangerous aliens who represent nothing short of a Fifth Column.
Yet, the new breed of Judeophobic polemicists such as Glenn Greenwald, whose blog was initially called “Unclaimed territory,” style themselves as bold new thinkers - brave dissidents who are willing to explore “taboos” about the national loyalty of Jews and their corrosive effects on the American body politic that others dare not touch.
His narrative, however — full of poisonous, old, lethal tropes about the dangers of collective Jewry to the body politic — is as ancient as the Jewish Diaspora itself.
Greenwald’s toxic, Judeophobic ideological territory — evidently deemed consistent with liberal thought by the Guardian — has been claimed before.