The Guardian’s Demonization Campaign

kasrilsIsrael is confronting a number of well-organized campaigns, including an academic boycott by a British teachers union, and continuing attempts by the Presbyterian and other churches to promote divestment.

Within the media, nowhere has been more virulently supportive of the campaign to demonize and delegitimize Israel than the Guardian. Adding to its long history of anti-Israel diatribes, the paper published a lengthy two-part feature in February 2006 comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa – a charge refuted by HonestReporting on a number of occasions.

Despite claiming to publish the viewpoints of both sides, the Guardian used the Palestinian commemoration of “al-Nakba” (the “catastrophe”) that represents the creation of the State of Israel, to publish one negative opinion piece on 12 May, swiftly followed on 15 May by another op-ed, highlighted by HonestReporting UK, that distorts the history of 1947-48 as well as present day events.

Following this trend, the Guardian has, only days later, on 19 May, published another anti-Israel piece by South African Intelligence Minister and anti-Israel campaigner Ronnie Kasrils and Victoria Brittain claiming: “Never in the long struggle for freedom in apartheid South Africa was there a situation as dramatic as in Palestine today.”

As documented by South African blog “It’s Almost Supernatural“, Kasrils has previously penned numerous anti-Israel articles. Falsely employing the apartheid comparison, Kasrils’ latest one-sided diatribe exonerates the Palestinians from any responsibility for their current plight, failing to mention the effects of terrorism or the corruption that has seen international aid disappear down a black hole. For Kasrils, “The root problem is the intensifying Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.” This, despite the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and the stated plans of new Israeli PM Ehud Olmert to undertake further withdrawals from the West Bank. Kasrils also rails against Israel’s security barrier while failing to acknowledge the Palestinian terrorism that necessitated its construction in the first place.

Kasrils continues:

“Meanwhile, Israel is withholding $50m a month in customs duties and tax owed to the Palestinians, and energy supplies have been cut off. Palestinian civil servants, teachers, doctors and security forces have not been paid for over two months. The potential for civil war between factions of armed, increasingly desperate men is so obvious that Palestinians are not alone in thinking that the US actually wants such self-destruction.”

In fact, while Kasrils fails to differentiate between the Hamas terror organization and the Palestinian people, Israel, along with other donor nations, has made such a distinction, preventing Hamas from getting hold of such funds and currently working to establish alternative channels to provide the Palestinian people with the necessary aid. Indeed, Kasrils does not even mention Hamas once in his article let alone acknowledge the organization’s refusal to recognize Israel, renounce violence and adhere to previously signed agreements. In addition, energy supplies have not been cut off as Kasrils claims – Israel continues to provide electricity to the Palestinian areas and a gasoline shortage was averted after Palestinian President Abu Mazen came up with the money to pay arrears to the Israeli energy supplier.

The security forces that Kasrils bemoans having not been paid actually include a new 3000 member Hamas militia set up to compete with Abu Mazen’s own security force – something that has contributed to an atmosphere of civil war. Yet, while Palestinian factions fight amongst themselves as a result of rising tensions since the Palestinian elections, Kasrils still manages to blame Israel for the increasingly violent and chaotic situation.

Kasrils goes on to call for UN sanctions against Israel and calls on “those who care for freedom, peace and justice must build a global Palestine solidarity movement to match the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s.”

Comments to the Guardian: letters@guardian.co.uk to refute this one-sided opinion piece and to question the Guardian’s zealous publication of such articles over the past week.

 

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