Johann Hari, a writer for The Independent, should be a familiar name to HonestReporting subscribers. Having compared Israel to excrement in 2008, Hari then launched an attack on HonestReporting, accusing us of attempting to shut down his freedom of speech. Last year, Hari produced one of the most vicious columns of 2010, which included historical revisionism, false quotations, downplaying of Palestinian terror and Holocaust analogies.
In his latest offering at the Huffington Post addressing the Egypt crisis, Hari once again demonstrates his visceral loathing of Israel. He claims:
Of the three worst human rights abusers in the Middle East — Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Iran — two are our governments’ closest friends, showered with money, arms and praise.
Can Hari really be serious?! As an openly gay man, he is fully aware that there is only one country in the Midde East where his rights are fully protected. Meanwhile, in Iran, according to its President Ahmadinejad, there are no gays. He, of course, neglects to mention the horrible fate of those gays caught by the regime’s security apparatus, a situation similar to that of Saudi Arabia.
And what of women’s rights, minority rights, religious freedom, freedom of expression and the media, an independent judiciary, democratic elections, a dynamic civil society? Again, there is only one Mideast country where these ideals exist.
Hari claims that “It’s well known that Israel illegally blockades Gaza.” Is it really “well known” and is it “illegal”? Israel is quite within its rights to seal off a hostile territory that continues to fire rockets and mortars towards the civilian population on a regular basis. Hari has simply declared it “illegal” on the basis that he doesn’t like it.
On the Gaza issue, Hari writes:
There are 1.5 million people imprisoned on the Gaza Strip, surrounded on all sides, and denied access to necessities like pasta and centrifuges for their blood transfusion service. They are being punished for voting “the wrong way” in a democratic election. Israeli officials refer to it with a snigger as “putting the Palestinians on a diet”. Challenged about the legality of this, Tzipi Livni, as Israeli foreign minister, bragged: “I am against law — international law in particular. Law in general.”
The people of Gaza are certainly not denied access to necessities and there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Tonnes of aid passes through the border every day and only items that have a potential dual use that Hamas can utilize to build weapons or ground defenses are banned from entering. The people of Gaza are not being punished for their votes but for the actions of their government, which is openly hostile towards Israel as well as the wellbeing of its own people.
Having been previously willing to use false quotations, it is little surprise that Hari is prepared to make blanket attributions to “Israeli officials” and then to make his own interpretation of an unsubstantiated Tzipi Livni quote straight from the Palileaks papers with no context.
Referring to Israel, Hari states:
we are so servile to the demands of the country’s self-harming government, and to its loudest and angriest lobbyists here, that our governments obey.
Indeed, where would such a polemic be without some reference to Western governments being under the insidious influence of that all powerful “Israel Lobby”?
Overall, Hari’s opinion piece follows his trend of placing responsibility for Middle Eastern terrorism on the West and particularly the US. In Hari’s eyes, the people of the Middle East are incapable of determining their own fate in the face of Western and Israeli power.
Having been given the opportunity to spread his views on a platform as large as the Huffington Post, we wait to see if Hari will once again try to accuse us of silencing him instead of addressing his warped opinions.