Johann Hari: The loathsome smearing of Israel’s critics

Johann Hari: The loathsome smearing of Israel’s critics May 14, 2008

Examples like this is why I get such a kick out of the complaints about the supposedly inordinate influence of CAIR and Muslims in general in American politics. As if Muslims can generate a fraction of the heat constantly unleashed by all these pro-Israeli pressure groups.

But frank discussions of the predations against open debate by the imaginary yet curiously powerful and visible Israeli Lobby is to traffic in conspiracy theories, so I’ll shut up. Conspiracy theories about pro Israeli pressure groups whose influence is legendary in Washington and who’ve even been demonstrated to be extremely conspiratorial (Does plotting to infiltrate Wikipedia count?) are offensive, you see. The only conspiracy theories permitted today are those concerning American Muslims and organizations like CAIR.

HT: Omer Subhani

Johann Hari: The loathsome smearing of Israel’s critics – Johann Hari, Commentators – The Independent

In the US and Britain, there is a campaign to smear anybody who tries to describe the plight of the Palestinian people. It is an attempt to intimidate and silence – and to a large degree, it works. There is nobody these self-appointed spokesmen for Israel will not attack as anti-Jewish: liberal Jews, rabbis, even Holocaust survivors.

My own case isn’t especially important, but it illustrates how the wider process of intimidation works. I have worked undercover at both the Finsbury Park mosque and among neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers to expose the Jew-hatred there; when I went on the Islam Channel to challenge the anti-Semitism of Islamists, I received a rash of death threats calling me “a Jew-lover”, “a Zionist-homo pig” and more.

Ah, but wait. I have also reported from Gaza and the West Bank. Last week, I wrote an article that described how untreated sewage was being pumped from illegal Israeli settlements on to Palestinian land, contaminating their reservoirs. This isn’t controversial. It has been documented by Friends of the Earth, and I have seen it with my own eyes.

The response? There was little attempt to dispute the facts I offered. Instead, some of the most high profile “pro-Israel” writers and media monitoring groups – including Honest Reporting and Camera – said I an anti-Jewish bigot akin to Joseph Goebbels and Mahmoud Ahmadinejadh, while Melanie Phillips even linked the stabbing of two Jewish people in North London to articles like mine. Vast numbers of e-mails came flooding in calling for me to be sacked.

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