Featured Post

In firing Treviño, Guardian’s hypocrisy laid bare

All it took for the British paper to terminate its freshly hired US elections commentator was a deluge of complaints from the usual suspects in the anti-Israel crowd

The Guardian’s August 15 announcement that Joshua Treviño would be joining its US politics team provoked predictable outrage by some of the most virulent Israel-haters.

One of the first screeds published on the appointment of Treviño was by “one-stater” racist Ali Abunimah, himself a contributor at the Guardian’s “Comment is Free” through June 2009, who wrote a piece for Al Jazeera, as well as several others at his own Electronic Intifada site, to protest the Guardian’s apostasy.

MJ Rosenberg and Richard Silverstein also condemned the appointment.

On August 19, the Guardian published a letter criticizing the appointment of Treviño, by a who’s who of anti-Israel campaigners, chastising the Guardian for employing someone they characterized as holding “extremist views.”

The main complaint of all Treviño’s critics is the now-famous flotilla-related tweet by Treviño in June 2011 – 106 characters which, according to Abunimah and his anti-Zionist friends, represent “incitement to murder:”

The hypocrisy of this group of hardcore Israel-haters and apologists for Islamist extremists — who comically wear the mantle of “anti-racists” — is staggering.

None of these sensitive souls was the least bit bothered by “Comment is Free” publishing, for instance, Azzam Tamimi — who supports suicide bombing against Israelis. Indeed, in 2011, Guardian editors published a letter by a UK professor explicitly endorsing, on ethical grounds, deadly terrorist attacks by Palestinians on Israeli civilians — a decision which was later defended by Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott.

And none of those protesting Treviño’s appointment have seen fit, of course, to object to the fact that the Guardian has repeatedly published articles by Hamas leaders.

Abunimah opened his Al Jazeera article of August 18 with these words:

Something has gone badly wrong at The Guardian. In the name of “robust debate”, the venerable left-leaning liberal newspaper has effectively given its stamp of approval to speech that goes beyond mere hate, speech that clearly crosses the line into incitement to murder unarmed civilians and journalists.

Yet, Abunimah himself has Tweeted the following:

He’s also Tweeted this:

Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust but its continuation in spirit.

Joshua Treviño
Joshua Treviño

The Guardian’s recent addition to its stable of writers of anti-Zionist blogger Glenn Greenwald, who has a long record of advancing explicitly anti-Semitic tropes on his blog at Salon, about the power of the Jewish lobby over the US government, is another example of the institution’s selective tolerance of bigotry.

Sure enough, the Guardian fired Treviño, citing a completely bogus conflict of interest as the cause, when the fact is that the paper gave in to pressures from extremists and those who wish the Guardian to remain an echo-chamber for shrill and malign anti-Zionist rhetoric.

The supreme hypocrisy of the Guardian has been laid bare, as it demonstrates that it is morally unburdened by hideously anti-Semitic, pro-terror commentators and journalists but will cravenly give in to arguments by extremists suggesting that those on the mainstream American right — commentators who take the threat to Western values posed by Islamist terrorism seriously — are beyond the pale.

The Guardian is so institutionally hostile to Israel — an entire people that falls outside its sympathetic liberal imagination — that its editors seem to operate under the assumption that any and all opponents of Zionism, regardless of their racist baggage, must, ipso facto, be progressive, and thus consistent with the paper’s stated political orientation.

During the course of my work I am sometimes asked if I think the Guardian has the capacity to change, and one day transcend its ideological rigidity to allow for a truly diverse array of opinion. I am asked whether liberalism in the true sense of the word — meaning the democratic values of tolerance and pluralism — will ever likely reign.

The Guardian’s decision to fire Josh Treviño provides us with a clear and unambiguous answer to such questions.

About the Author
Adam Levick serves as Managing Editor of CiF Watch, a CAMERA affiliate. He has published essays for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, The Algemeiner, The Jewish Chronicle, The Jewish Press, (South African) Jewish Affairs and PJ Media. Adam made Aliyah in 2009 and lives in Modi'in.