People outside the U.K. sometimes wonder how the BBC became so viciously anti-Israel.
One important factor is that the BBC news staff’s daily paper of choice is The Guardian, whose coverage of Israel has on more than one occasion verged on spilling over into outright anti-Semitism.
The Guardian doesn’t have a particularly high circulation (it attracts considerably fewer readers than The Times and The Daily Telegraph, for example) but Britain’s liberal elites at the BBC and in higher education, view it as something of a bible. (That explains, for example, why it is in Britain rather than in other countries that misinformed university lecturers are constantly arguing for a boycott of Israeli students.)
Among the daily dose of anti-Israel invective in The Guardian, the following letter therefore comes as a welcome surprise:
Colin Green claims lawyers threatened to bankrupt anyone who criticises Israeli policy. In fact Alan Dershowitz threatened to sue anyone who initiated an exclusion of scholars who work in Israel from British campuses. Anthony Lester confirmed that such an exclusion would violate British anti-discrimination law.
Criticising policy is not the same as setting up a racist exclusion. The Guardian should not print self-evident falsehoods. The Guardian should be extra careful when the falsehoods it prints constitute part of an antisemitic narrative of global Jewish conspiracy. The incurables will read this letter as a threat from the “Israel lobby” against a paper which “courageously” allows criticism of Israel. Others will read it as a warning, from someone who is, himself, a critic of Israeli policy, against the accelerating contemporary danger of anti-Jewish racism. If the left can’t recognise the threat, then we are in trouble, because nobody else can be relied upon to oppose racism. The Guardian needs to stop hosting a debate between antisemitic and antiracist points of view. It is time to take sides.
David Hirsh, University of London
The Guardian – like the BBC – is trying to increase its audience in the U.S. This is partly for commercial reasons but it is also, say the editors, because it wants to influence U.S. politics and society which they believe (wrongly, of course) to be in the grip of “Zionists” and “neo-Conservatives”.
To further this aim The Guardian last week launched an American edition, with an initial team of eight journalists based in Washington.
But if you want to know just how nasty The Guardian
can get, consider the paper’s cartoon strip today when for the second time in three days
, The Guardian
’s award-winning cartoonist Steve Bell draws President Bush having sex with a goat
. (The first time was on Monday.)