Der Sturmer in the UK?

What would Israel do if a journalist from Der Sturmer was filing reports from inside the country? Despite the fact that there is remarkable press freedom in Israel, extending to and including Arab media such as Al-Jazeera, it’s a safe bet that Israel would find it extremely hard to swallow.

Yet there is such a foreign media outlet represented in Israel, publishing propaganda and openly supporting Israel’s worst enemies. It’s called The Guardian.

While I wouldn’t begin to credit The Guardian’s reporter on the ground as being the ultimate evil, perhaps Harriet Sherwood might like to reflect on the twisted ideologues at work in The Guardian’s London office.

The latest example sees The Guardian focusing on five years since Hamas won Palestinian elections and took over the Gaza Strip. Cue a sickening piece of propaganda by Gaza’s Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh:

We as a people want to live in our homeland, the land of our ancestors, in freedom, dignity and democracy, and with a just peace that restores our rights. We do not want to attack anyone and do not accept anyone attacking us. As we have said on more than one occasion, the key to security is the end of occupation. As a people we have been historically wronged and subjected to dozens of massacres; tens of thousands of us have lost our children for no other reason than that we demand our rights as clearly stipulated under international laws.

Less than five months ago, Haniyeh celebrated Hamas’s 24th anniversary by boasting of the numbers of Israelis the terror group had murdered (civilians as well as soldiers) and the amount of rockets fired from Gaza aimed at Israeli civilian targets.

Does this sound like a man who does not want to attack anyone? As for “dozens of massacres” and “tens of thousands” having lost their children, this sort of language is straight out of the Joseph Goebbels playbook – tell a big enough lie and it will be believed.

I shouldn’t need to deconstruct Hamas propaganda but I can ask why The Guardian feels the need to give a platform to terrorism. Granted, the New York Times and LA Times have done the same in the past. But neither publication has demonstrated a consistent and obsessive hatred towards Israel to the point of open activism against the country.

Otherwise, how to explain The Guardian’s open criticism of the Palestinian Authority’s apparent willingness to compromise with Israel as outlined in leaked documents relating to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations? Referring to the so-called “Palileaks,” The Guardian hauled the PA over the coals for daring to contemplate possible concessions in exchange for peace, taking a similar line to Hamas.

The Guardian was also the paper of choice for anti-Semitic Sheikh Raed Salah to spread his vicious hatred of Israel during his ultimately successful effort to challenge his deportation from the UK.

The Guardian even went as far as to publish an op-ed in January 2001 titled, “Israel simply has no right to exist.” This, in a nutshell seems to typify The Guardian’s attitude towards Israel. The paper can no longer be regarded as a mainstream left-wing progressive media outlet. It has, instead, allied itself with the worst reactionary, illiberal and, dare I say, Islamofacist forces, legitimizing radical anti-Israel and sometimes anti-Semitic discourse.

And what of the outrage generated in October 2011 when Guardian columnist Deborah Orr resorted to anti-Semitic tropes concerning the “chosen people,” twisting Israel’s desire to pay such a high price for the life of one soldier, Gilad Shalit?

That particular article led to The Guardian’s readers’ editor acknowledging that the paper needed to be more careful about the language used when writing about Jews or Israel.

There’s very little evidence that anything has been taken on board in the months since, with Ismail Haniyeh’s offering just the latest example of The Guardian’s utter disdain for Israel.

Why should we care? The Guardian is still the paper of choice of the liberal “chattering class” in the UK, influencing politicians, academia, the BBC and the elites. And the poison is spreading across the Atlantic through The Guardian’s popular website and Comment is Free blog site.

Despite seeing many unpalatable things in the media over the years working for HonestReporting, I’ve always tried to err on the side of caution before branding any media outlet as an avowed enemy of Israel.

When it comes to The Guardian, however, the paper deserves to be treated as a modern-day Der Sturmer.

About the Author
Simon Plosker is the Editorial Director of HonestReporting, returning to the media watchdog in October 2022, having previously been part of the organization’s management team from 2005 to 2020. Prior to his first spell at HonestReporting, Simon worked in Israel for NGO Monitor, BICOM, and served for a short period in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. He was Managing Editor of the Geneva-based NGO United Nations Watch for two years before deciding to rejoin the frontline defending Israel from media bias. Simon has a BSoc.Sc in International Studies and Political Science from the University of Birmingham and an MSc in History of International Relations from the London School of Economics. He immigrated to Israel in 2001 from London.