Update, 11 August:
Despite an outcry from its own readers, The Guardian went ahead and published this disgusting ad in today’s print edition.
And it emerged today that they did so very consciously. A spokesperson for the paper told The Morning Star that the “decision to run any display advertisement in the Guardian is made on a case-by-case basis and there was a full discussion about accepting the advert in question.”
Owen Jones, ones of the paper’s left-wing columnists, today said on Twitter that the ad was “vile.”
The decision to run this virulently anti-Palestinian ad is symptomatic of a relatively recent turn at The Guardian. The Jewish anti-Zionist blog Jews Sans Frontieres Saturday looked at several recent problematic pieces there and concluded someone is “pulling out all the stops to place The Guardian firmly in the Zionist camp.”
Any newspaper that published an advertisement accusing Jews of “child sacrifice” would rightly be condemned as anti-Semitic.
How is it, then, that Britain’s leading “liberal” newspaper is set to publish just such an ad about Palestinians on Monday?
This holds no water.
Newspapers can pick and choose the ads they run, and often turn down offensive submissions. As The Guardian notes, right-wing London newspaper The Times has, to its credit, rejected the ad.
The ad was composed by US TV personality Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Nobel prize-winning author Elie Wiesel.
Wiesel has been a chair of the advisory board of Elad, a group of fanatical religious Israeli setters actively involved in ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the eastern sector of occupied Jerusalem.
The ad, already run in some US newspapers, is incitement to genocide.
Its dog whistle reference about “child sacrifice” will be clearly understood by religious fundamentalists.
Despite Israeli propaganda refrains about Palestinian resistance fighters supposedly using the population of Gaza as “human shields,” zero evidence has been presented.
This is a calumny, and a blood libel against the Palestinian people – one readily accepted by too many journalists.
In fact the BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen wrote last month:
I saw no evidence during my week in Gaza of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields. I saw men from Hamas on street corners, keeping an eye on what was happening. They were local people and everyone knew them, even the young boys. Raji Sourani, the director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, told me that Hamas, whatever you think of it, is part of the Palestinian DNA.
Like so many Zionist propaganda accusations against the Palestinian people, the “human shields” calumny is a projection.
Abuse of history
A statement signed by more than one hundred Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors of the Nazi holocaust condemns “Elie Wiesel’s abuse of our history … to promote blatant falsehoods used to justify the unjustifiable: Israel’s wholesale effort to destroy Gaza and the murder of nearly 2,000 Palestinians.”
Circulated by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network yesterday, organizers are hoping to be able to raise enough money to run the statement as an ad in The New York Times, which published the Elie Wiesel ad.
The dog whistle in the ad will be clear to anti-Palestinian religious fundamentalists from the language used. The reference to alleged “Canaanite practices of child sacrifice to Moloch” is explicit.
In the Hebrew Bible, known to Christians as the Old Testament, the Canaanites were people who lived in the land before the mythical figure Joshua drove them out. The Bible depicts this as a bloody genocide.
(Most modern biblical scholars consider these accounts of genocide and ethnic cleansing to be mythical. The ancient Hebrew people of history arose gradually from a Canaanite milieu.)
Leviticus 20:2 says: “Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek [another way to transliterate Moloch] is to be put to death. The members of the community are to stone him.”
Jeremiah 49 warns, “Ai is destroyed! Cry out, you inhabitants of Rabbah! … for Molek will go into exile, together with his priests and officials.”
The story goes that Ai was a Canaanite city Joshua burned to the ground, leaving “a permanent heap of ruins.” After defeating its armed forces, Joshua “returned to Ai and killed those who were in it. Twelve thousand men and women fell that day — all the people of Ai.”
The implication of all this is clear: the Canaanites deserved to die, because they killed their own children.
This racist ad makes an explicit parallel between these ancient myths and modern-day Palestine, casting the Palestinian people as the modern-day Canaanites.
The implication of this disgusting ad is that the Palestinians, too, deserve to die during Israel’s ongoing brutal assault in the Gaza Strip.
“The Canaanite practices of child sacrifice to Moloch are forever left behind … Except they are not,” the ad reads. “I call upon the Palestinian people to find true Muslims to represent them.”
Cries for genocide
While the ad is ostensibly addressed to “Hamas,” the implication is clear: the hundreds of Palestinian children that Israel has killed were actually “sacrificed” by Hamas. Israel must have been forced to kill them.
The deputy speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, last week published a plan calling for the “conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters.”
The Israeli press has recently printed calls for “dismantling Gaza,” claiming there is “no such thing as ‘innocent civilians’” in Gaza and even, in one now-deleted blog post on the Times of Israel website, musing on “When genocide is permissible.”
That The Guardian, a supposedly liberal newspaper, seems to want to add fuel to these deadly flames by publishing such a disgusting ad speaks volumes about its anti-Palestinian agenda.