December 4, 2003
Objecting to Guardian’s Anti-Israel Bias
As you might have heard, I'm leaving The Guardian next year for The Times, having finally been convinced that my evil populist philistinism has no place in a publication read by so many all-round, top-drawer plaster saints. (Well, that and the massive wad they've waved at me.)
Once there, I will compose as many love letters to the likes of Mr. Murdoch and President Bush as my black little heart desires, leaving those who have always objected to my presence on such a fine, liberal newspaper as this to read only writers they agree with, with no chance of spoiled digestion as the Muesli goes down the wrong way if I so much as murmur about bringing back hanging -- public.
Not only do I admire The Guardian, I also find it fun to read, which in a way is more of a compliment. But if there is one issue that has made me feel less loyal to my newspaper over the past year, it has been what I, as a non-Jew, perceive to be a quite striking bias against the State of Israel. Which, for all its faults, is the only country in that barren region that you or I, or any feminist, atheist, homosexual or trade unionist could bear to live under.
I find this hard to accept, because crucially, I don't swallow the modern liberal line that anti-Zionism is entirely different from anti-Semitism -- the first good, the other bad. Judeophobia -- as the brilliant collection of essays, "A New Anti-Semitism? Debating Judeophobia in 21st Century Britain" (axt.org.uk), published this year, points out -- is a shape-shifting virus, as opposed to the straightforward stereotypical prejudice applied to other groups (Irish: stupid, Japanese: cruel, Germans: humorless, etc.).
Jews, historically, have been blamed for everything we might disapprove of: They can be rabid revolutionaries, responsible for the might of the late Soviet empire, and the greediest of fat cats, enslaving the planet to the demands of international high finance.
They are insular, cliquey and clannish, yet they worm their way into the highest positions of power in their adopted countries, changing their names and marrying non-Jewish women. They collectively possess a huge, slippery wealth that knows no boundaries --yet Israel is said to be an impoverished, lame-duck state, bleeding the West dry.
If you take into account the theory that Jews are responsible for everything nasty in the history of the world and also the recent E.U. survey that found 60 percent of Europeans believe Israel is the biggest threat to peace in the world today (hmm, I must have missed all those rabbis telling their flocks to go out with bombs strapped to their bodies and blow up the nearest mosque), it's a short jump to reckoning that it was obviously a bloody good thing that the Nazis got rid of 6 million of the buggers.
Perhaps this is why sales of "Mein Kampf" are so buoyant from the Middle Eastern bazaars unto the Edgware Road, and why "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" could be found for sale at the recent anti-racism Congress in Durban, South Africa.
The fact that many non-Jews and Arabs are rabidly Judeophobic, while many others are as horrified by Judeophobia as by any other type of racism, makes me believe that anti-Semitism/Zionism is not a political position (otherwise the right and the left, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Ku Klux Klan would not be able to unite so uniquely in their hatred), but about how an individual feels about himself.
I can't help noticing that, over the years, a disproportionate number of attractive, kind, clever people are drawn to Jews; those who express hostility to them, however, from Hitler to Hamza, are often as not repulsive freaks.
Think of famous anti-Zionist windbags -- [Vanessa] Redgrave, [Patricia] Highsmith, [George] Galloway -- and what dreary, dysfunctional, po-faced vanity confronts us. When we consider famous Jew-lovers, on the other hand --Marilyn, Ava, Liz, Felicity Kendal, me -- what a sumptuous banquet of radiant humanity we look upon!
How fitting that it was Richard Ingrams --Victor Meldrew without the animal magnetism -- who this summer proclaimed in The Observer that he refuses to read letters from Jews about the Middle East and that Jewish journalists should declare their racial origins when writing on this subject.
Replying in another newspaper, Johann Hari suggested sarcastically that their bylines might be marked with a yellow star, and asked why Ingrams didn't want to know whether those writing on international conflicts were Muslim, Christian, Sikh or Hindu.
The answer is obvious to me: poor Ingrams is a miserable, bitter, hypocritical cuckold, whose much-younger girlfriend has written at length in the public arena of the boredom, misery and alcoholism to which living with him has led her, and whose trademark has long been a loathing for anyone who appears to get a kick out of life: the young, the prole, independent women. The Jews are in good company.
Judeophobia: Where the political is personal, and the personal pretends to be political, and those swarthy/pallid/philistine/aggressive/cowardly/comically bourgeois/filthy-rich/delete-as-mood-takes-you bastards always get the girl. I'll return to this dirty little secret masquerading as a moral stance next week, and, rest assured, it'll get much nastier.
As the darling Jews themselves would say (annoyingly, but then, nobody's perfect), enjoy!
Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited.
Julie Burchill is a columnist for the British newspaper The Guardian.