Doesn’t The Guardian Ever Stop Promoting Antisemitism?
Peddling in anti-Israel propaganda by publishing lies and distortions of the truth is one form of antisemitism that seems to be justified by much of the world as their declared right to criticize Israel. Criticizing the Israeli government is legitimate for sure and at the moment most Israelis are hard at it given that it looks like we either may get a coalition few really want or we go to a fifth election in two in a-half years. But there is the kind of criticism that blames Israel for all that ails society in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and tells lies in order to do so. And when Israel is singled out by the media and international organizations as a monster that needs taming, ignoring the human rights abuses perpetrated by other countries, even questioning Israel’s right to exist, that is antisemitism. Many journalists and academic scholars earn salaries putting out antisemitic materials the truth of which the general public has no way of ascertaining or debunking.
The Guardian seems to be one such outlet.
On 9 April, they published an article entitled:: “The US media is touting Israel’s Covid recovery. But occupied Palestinians are left out” written by post-doctoral fellow Yara M. Asi, a researcher in the topic of global health development in conflict-ridden regions.
The title is misleading in that there is no obligation for Israel to provide vaccines for the PA population (see also here). While so many use the term, “occupied Palestine”, there is debate about whether it is really legally true that the Palestinians live under an occupation (see Blecher’s comprehensive treatment of this subject), especially given the fact that they signed an agreement of division of land and powers with Israel, an agreement called the Oslo Accords, that created the previously unheard-of “Palestinian” political entity. I would like to see an example of such an occupation anywhere else in the world.
According to the Oslo Accords, health is under the auspices of the PA government. Does denial of PA responsibility for the vaccine, a health matter, mean that the Oslo Accords are selectively illegitimate and/or not binding? To imply such a thing would have far-reaching implications for the conflict between the PA and Israel.
In view of the legitimacy of the Oslo Accords and the acceptance of responsibility for the population on the part of the PA for health, welfare, education, and more, with no expectations that Israel will be involved in these, there is no excuse for The Guardian to accept Asi’s statement: “two populations living under one regime”. There is the PA regime and the Israeli regime.
At some point in the article, Asi accuses Israel of sending vaccines to countries who have, or soon will, move their embassies or diplomatic offices to Jerusalem. She ignores the fact that, in February 2021, The New York Times published an article about ‘vaccine diplomacy’ on the parts of at least China and India, seeking to gain favours from particular other countries in exchange for a supply of vaccinations.
The coronavirus vaccine — one of the world’s most in-demand commodities — has become a new currency for international diplomacy.
Is it not antisemitic to say that this is an illegitimate behaviour only for Israel, the Jewish state? On the other hand, perhaps Israel should offer a substantial supply of vaccinations to PA residents in exchange for them ceasing all terrorist activity against Israeli citizens? Would this meet world approval in the off chance that the PA would agree? In fact, the PA rejected Israel’s overtures for help and even refused to accept humanitarian medical supplies sent by the UAE because it landed in Ben Gurion Airport; the PA has no airport of its own. They clearly stated that they would not accept the supplies because having it come through Israel implies normalization of relations with Israel. It thus appears that political considerations weigh far heavier than care for the health of the population. But The Guardian sees no reason to let readers know that and form their own opinions.
The article also cynically claims that Israel may be to blame if the upcoming elections have to be cancelled:
The return of the pandemic also has significant political implications. Palestinian officials have already floated the idea that the elections scheduled for summer 2021, the first in more than a decade, may be delayed or even canceled if the rise in cases continues.
It is interesting that Asi acknowledged that elections have not been held in over a decade but the way she puts it makes it seems as if holding elections after 14 years is something of a unique accomplishment that Israel is now endangering. Letting the statement above stand without also making it clear that the author of the article she cites above gives another reason for the potential election delay that has nothing to do with Israel:
Palestinian sources, on the other hand, said infighting in Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction may prompt the PA leadership to delay or postpone the elections.
Asi makes much about the disparity in health between the PA and Israel:
These stark imbalances are almost entirely manmade. The entrenchment of the occupation and the length of the blockade affect every social determinant of health, including increased psychological trauma, environmental health risks, food and water insecurity, and insufficient access to quality health care facilities.
I agree that this imbalance is manmade, just not made-by-Israel. When these kinds of articles refer to a blockade, they are referring to Gaza only since there is absolutely no blockade between Israel or Jordan and the so-called West Bank. They never mention that Egypt has a hermetic blockade of Gaza given their legitimate desire to keep terrorists out of the Sinai and other parts of Egypt. Seemingly such a desire is illegitimate when terrorism targets Jews in Israel. In any case, this is the nature of the blockade in Gaza:according to the most recent report by COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories):
While I do not expect The Guardian to debunk academic articles such as that cited by Asi above, I do expect them to know the nature of the restrictions on deliveries to Gaza. There is no restriction of movement of essential goods, just a restriction of anything that can be used to build terrorist tunnels into Israel or to make weapons that will be fired upon Israeli civilian population centers.
Global attention must remain on the core issues causing Palestinians to be less healthy than their Israeli counterparts. Asking Palestinians, nearly half of whom are children, to pay for political stagnation with shortened and less healthy lives has been tolerated for too long and should remain unacceptable when the pandemic is over.
In the past, I have debunked academic articles that seek to blame the Israeli “occupation” for schizophrenia or heart attacks, for example. “The core issues” affecting the health of Palestinian Arabs under the PA have to do with the corrupt PA leadership that siphons off international aid donations for building palaces rather than improving medical education and infrastructure, for example. Mahmoud Abbas even prefers to forego American aid because accepting it makes him liable to be sued in American courts for the terror murders of American citizens under the 2018 American Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act.
And just for a final example of how much the PA cares about the health of its population, let us see what they are doing with free vaccinations donated for the people:
The Palestinian Authority is charging 20 Shekels for each vaccination certificate. pic.twitter.com/cMf3BLGcA7
— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) March 24, 2021
Here is another misrepresentation:
Israel faced further criticism when Israeli politicians delayed, and debated blocking completely, a small shipment of vaccines from Palestinians in the West Bank to Gaza, citing a desire to extract political concessions in exchange.
First of all, remember that India’s and China’s vaccine diplomacy was not criticized, but only Israel’s. Secondly, what are these political concessions? Reading the article cited by Asi shows that some members of the government wondered if perhaps they could be exchanged for the release of two Israelis believed held by Hamas in Gaza. That is not even accurate: Hamas is holding onto the bodies of two soldiers captured by Hamas and three living Israeli civilians with mental health issues who crossed the border into Gaza and are now being held for years without communication with their families or visits by the Red Cross. Surely the editors at The Guardian are aware of the fact that Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons have regular family visits, conjugal visits, cable TV, and more:
There is more that I could find fault with but this article is already too long. You see, one of the things that frustrates me is that it is so easy and takes fewer words to vilify Israel with lies and distortions than it does to give the correct context and a balanced view that would allow readers to make up their own minds.