Media Watch 9 August 2014
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.”
This despite an online petition against the ad, which the Stop the War Coalition says was signed by 140,000 people within 24 hours.
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?
The Guardian’s media columnist yesterday justified publishing the ad, saying it does not mean “that it endorses the views and claims made within it.”
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.
It is Israel that has a long record, documented by local and international human rights groups, of using Palestinians as human shields.
A new piece by journalist Max Blumenthal this week documents how Israel even uses its own civilians as human shields.
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.
In the context of ever-increasingly explicit cries in Israeli society for complete genocide in the Gaza Strip, such incitement must be taken most seriously.
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.”
Israeli army officers have recently called for “holy war” against Gaza by “God’s army” – supposedly the Israeli army.
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.
Editor’s note: On 17 September 2021 we were informed by a reader that Owen Jones had deleted the tweet referred to in the update to this article, above, in which he called the ad “vile.”
After investigation, we ascertained that Jones appears to have a done this as part of a mass-delete of old tweets at some point in the past few years. An advanced Twitter search shows that Jones appears to have deleted all his tweets from 2014.
We have consequently updated this post to add a screenshot of Jones’ tweet, as well as a link to an archived copy of the original thread.
- Elie Wiesel
- New York Times
- Guardian (UK)
- human shield
- International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)
- Shmuley Boteach
- Jeremy Bowen
- Hebrew Bible
- Owen Jones
The Guardian ad by Eli Wiesel
Permalink Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky replied on
Please see below the letter that I sent to the Guardian today:
August 11, 14
Following your decision to publish in the Guardian the inflammatory, Islamophobic and deceiving ad written by Elie Wiesel, I decided neither to buy nor to subscribe to the paper from tomorrow (I have been a regular reader until today). Your coverage of the barbaric and cruel Israeli onslaught on Gaza has been actively pro-Israeli with the exception of the excellent (but rare) articles by Seumas Milne. Yet, by agreeing to publish this provocative and defamatory ad you have sunken even further transgressing the boundaries not only of ethical journalism but also of humanity itself. I strongly believe that your decision will lead to a large number of people cancelling their subscription to the paper.
As a concluding remark I would like to mention that, as a newly born baby, I was also sacrificed to the Moloch and used as a human shield by my Holocaust survivors, Jewish parents. After all I was born in the HaKirya hospital, at the centre of Tel-Aviv’s most densely populated neighbourhood, a few yards from the headquarters of the Israeli army and from the Hamal (war cabinet, known in Israel as “the bunker”) where, currently, attacks on Gaza are planned and monitored. Until 1998 the large birthing center where I was born, HaKirya Maternity Hospital, was still operating. It was closed when the newer Lis Maternity Hospital was opened in the adjacent Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, commonly referred to as Ichilov Hospital.
Professor Yosefa Loshitzky
Permalink Khan replied on
Palestine are the innocent ones. You have to be sick in the head to think they are terrorists.
Permalink Humanity replied on
How many children of #israel killed by HAMAS am sure none. than why you have posted this topic. Well and as far as Palestine is concerned it has been proved since 48 by UN and other media resources that Israel is killing innocent people including children which means they are still sacrificing the life's of children but not their own blood. thats a shame !!
decrypt israeli propaganda
Permalink Reader replied on
How to counter the israeli propaganda, including the "human shield" fabrication :
Who calls the shots at the Guardian?
Permalink tom hall replied on
I've just learned that Jonathan Freedland was appointed editor of the Guardian Comment section- presumably with oversight at Comment is Free- in May of this year. Freedland is a prominent Zionist, BBC presenter, and outspoken advocate for the cause of Israel. I don't think I'm alone in detecting a chilling effect coming into play around that time on comment threads relating to Israel/Palestine. The level of censorship, always high, seemed to redouble in force and frequency. Curiously, posts which cited authors, thinkers and dissidents from within Israeli society began to disappear at a higher rate. Ordinary "moderators"- journalism students just entering the profession, probably working as unpaid interns, would be unlikely to recognise the names of such figures or the significance of their positions. Thus, they wouldn't recognise the ideological danger to the present regime in heterodox Jewish views. But someone like Jonathan Freedland would. I find myself wondering whether a list of topics and references was drawn up and distributed, underscored with the legend, "Forbidden".
Specifically, I note that Freedland seems not to have publicly addressed the matter of this reprehensible piece of propaganda published in the Guardian. Perhaps readers would consider contacting him for a clarification of his role, if any.
Finally, the paper in recent years has undergone a cultural reorientation towards an American audience and American advertisers. Alignment with Zionist norms prevailing in the US would seem to be a part of that business strategy.
Permalink M Weinberg replied on
I am confounded that a paper I respected for would publish this piece of propaganda.
Very sad to go, it's been nice knowing you, but Goodbye Guardian
Heres the info about Israel using Palestinians as Human Sheilds
Permalink K-Bird replied on
I specifically remember Israel making the same claim last time they invaded Gaza in 2012, with no evidence to back it up...
Amnesty International seem to have been the only the org that have looked into these baseless Israeli claims and have stated otherwise:
'However, contrary to repeated allegations by Israeli officials of the use of “human shields”, Amnesty International found no evidence that Hamas or other Palestinian fighters directed the movement of civilians to shield military objectives from attacks. It found no evidence that Hamas or other armed groups forced residents to stay in or around buildings used by fighters, nor that fighters prevented residents from leaving buildings or areas which had been commandeered by militants.'
But Israel on the otherhand...
IDF forces a 9 year old boy to open suspicious bags...
IDF uses a handcuffed teenager as a human shield while shooting at other teenagers for throwing stones.
UN criticises Israel for using children as human shields to clear buildings, stand in front of military vehicles, and check suspect bags.
A 13 year old boy was beaten then tied to the front of an IDF vehicle, left there for 4 hours.
Israeli defense minister PERSONALLY appears in court to defend the use of human shields by the IDF: