Contrasting editorials from the Sun, Independent and Evening Standard

April 15, 2002

CONTENTS

1. Contrasting editorials from the Sun, Independent and Evening Standard
2. “Fury over UK pundit’s ‘kill Jews’ comment” (UPI, April 15, 2002)
3. “A Paulin sentiment” (Daily Telegraph, April 13, 2002)
4. “Poet told to apologise for remark on Israelis” (Daily Telegraph, April 16, 2002)
5. “The Jewish faith is not an evil religion” (Sun, Editorial, April 2002)
6. “A demo we can’t afford to ignore” (By A.N. Wilson, Evening Standard, April 2002)



ISRAEL AS THE TALIBAN, AND OTHER LIES

[Note by Tom Gross]

A leading columnist in today’s Evening Standard (London’s main newspaper) compares Israel to the Taliban, accuses Israel of “the poisoning of water supplies” and writes “we are talking here of massacre, and a cover-up, of genocide.”

More details on this further down this email, but first today’s edition of The Sun newspaper, published in London, which has a lengthy editorial headed “The Jewish faith is not an evil religion.”

The Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch, is one of Europe’s two highest circulation newspapers (with the German paper Bild).

The editorial makes veiled reference to the anti-Semitism now rife elsewhere in the British and European media, some of it under the guise of anti-Israel reporting, and some of it blatantly anti-Semitic, such as the comments posted on the internet chat rooms run by so-called respectable newspapers that claim to be liberal, like The Independent and The Guardian.

The Sun states: “Israelis are scared to death. They have never truly trusted Britain and with some of the people we employ in the Foreign Office why the hell should they? Now they see even America joining the bashing of Sharon.”

It adds that countries throughout Europe are still “in denial about murdering their entire Jewish population.” It states that it is time to dispel the conspiracy theory that Jews “run the world.”

While all this may seem obvious to those of you on this email list who reside in America, it is, alas, still rare for mainstream European publications to state these elementary truths.

The full editorial is at http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2002170720,00.html

Elsewhere in Britain, the media is still taking at face value Palestinian propaganda about “mass executions” of unarmed Palestinians by “death and torture squads” and the “disappearance” of many others. The Independent compares these so-called missing Palestinians to the disappeared in Argentina (although informing their readers elsewhere in the paper that the missing men have been found in detention!)

Typical of columnists in these kinds of newspapers is Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (in today’s Independent, April 15): “I would suggest that Ariel Sharon should be tried for crimes against humanity in Sabra and Shatila and Jenin and be damned for so debasing the profoundly important legacy of the Holocaust, which was meant to stop forever nations turning themselves into ethnic killing machines.”

Even papers which (wrongly) have reputations for not having anti-Israeli news coverage, such as the Daily Telegraph, have headlines (today) such as “Horror stories from the siege of Jenin” (Daily Telegraph), and “Besieged church faces ‘psycho terror’” (Daily Telegraph).

The Independent’s three stories today are headlined “Survivors of Jenin creep home to see destruction” (Independent), “Palestinian captives ‘tortured and humiliated’ at Israeli army base” (Independent), “Ramallah Diary: Rampaging tank crushes a brief taste of freedom” (Independent).

A day earlier (April 14), the Independent on Sunday’s five news reports were headlined “The camp that became a slaughterhouse,” “Franciscans refuse to quit besieged birthplace of Christ,” “Israel’s bloody intransigence silences Bush,” “The bloody evidence of the tragedy that is Jenin,” and “Israel’s war of words gets dirty.”

Independent columnist Robert Fisk (April 14) stated: “Why, for God’s sake, can’t Mr Powell do the decent thing and demand an explanation for the extraordinary, sinister events that have taken place in Jenin? Does he really have to debase himself in this way? Does he think that meeting Arafat, or refusing to do so, takes precedence over the enormous slaughter that has overwhelmed the Palestinians?”

A leading columnist at London’s main newspaper, the Evening Standard goes one better than Fisk. A.N. Wilson writes in today’s edition (April 15, 2002) that:

“Tens of thousands of Britons marched through London to protest the terrorising of the old, of women and children, the poisoning of water supplies.

He continues “We are talking here of massacre, and a cover-up, of genocide.”

He then makes the peculiar statement “Many young Muslims in Palestine are the children of Anglican Christians, educated at St George’s Jerusalem, who felt that their parents’ mild faith was not enough to fight the oppressor.”

Wilson accuses Israel of “the wilful burning of several church buildings.”

Then, before casually switching to write about how much money Catherine Zeta-Jones is paying her nanny, Wilson says “Last week, we saw the Israeli troops destroy monuments in Nablus of ancient importance: the scene where Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman at the well. It is the equivalent of the Taliban destroying Buddhist sculpture.”

The full text is at
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/dynamic/news/top_story.html?in_review_id=552987&in_review_text_id=519549

* * *

The Daily Telegraph editorial page is more sympathetic to Israeli concerns. It had an editorial on Oxford university professor Tom Paulin the day after I sent out the Al Ahram interview. It states (Daily Telegraph, April 13): “Does the University of Oxford wish to be seen as the madrassah of British terrorism? We are confident that Colin Lucas, the vice-chancellor of Oxford, will investigate the matter, and that Mr Paulin’s colleagues will dissociate themselves from him, just as they would if a faculty member were to incite people to murder blacks, homosexuals or anybody else. Or do Oxford dons treat Jews differently?”

-- Tom Gross


FULL ARTICLES

FURY OVER TOM PAULIN’S “KILL JEWS” COMMENT

Fury over UK pundit’s ‘kill Jews’ comment
United Press International
April 15, 2002

An Oxford University lecturer and television pundit has triggered outrage in Britain over an Arab newspaper interview in which he allegedly said American Jews who move to Israel should be killed.

In the interview with the influential Al-Ahram publication in Egypt, Tom Paulin also was quoted as expressing support for suicide bombers, whose attacks on civilians “boost morale.”

The 53-year-old lecturer, essayist and poet, an outspoken critic of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians, makes regular appearances on British Broadcasting Corp. television’s arts programs. He could not, however, be reached Monday for comments on the Al-Ahram interview.

Jewish leaders immediately threatened to have Paulin prosecuted under Britain’s anti-terrorism laws. “We will be running it past our lawyers,” said Mike Whine, a spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

What touched off the fury was Paulin’s remark in the interview that Jews who migrate from the United States to Israel “should be shot dead. I think they are Nazis, racists. I feel nothing but hatred for them.”

The Arabic-language newspaper also quoted Paulin as saying, “I can understand how suicide bombers feel. It is an expression of deep injustice and tragedy ... I think that attacks on civilians, in fact, boost morale.”

As an example, he cited Adolf Hitler’s bombardment of Britain at the start of World War II. “Hitler bombed London into submission,” he said, “but in fact it created a sense of national solidarity.”

Whine said the part of Paulin’s interview “where he is quoted as suggesting that Israel has no right to exist and he would like to kill American-Jewish immigrants to Israel is, technically at least, illegal.”

Jewish leaders said they were consulting their lawyers to see if Paulin could be prosecuted for inciting to violence. “We would like a criminal prosecution, but that is up to the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.”

Scotland Yard police said they would investigate any complaints made but declined further comment on the case. Conviction under Britain’s anti-terrorism laws carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

A BBC spokesman said Paulin was “a regular independent contributor ... on arts issues, where we always take full responsibility for comments made,” but added the “appropriateness” of his continued appearance on television would be assessed.

An Oxford spokesman told the Daily Mail newspaper the university “would be examining the text” of Paulin’s interview in Al-Ahram and that no comment would be made until then.

 

A PAULIN SENTIMENT

A Paulin sentiment
The Daily Telegraph
April 13, 2002

http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2002/04/13/dl1302.xml

Tom Paulin is one of the most prominent poets and critics in Britain. Thanks to his regular television appearances, his face is familiar to millions. As G M Young Lecturer in English at Hertford College, Oxford, he has a prestigious platform from which to influence the young.

The same Tom Paulin has just given an interview to the leading Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram. In it, Mr Paulin is quoted on Israel thus: “I never believed Israel had the right to exist at all.” On the Palestinians: “I can understand how suicide bombers feel. It is an expression of deep injustice and tragedy. I think, though, that it is better to resort to conventional guerrilla warfare.” On the Brooklyn-born Jewish settlers: “They should be shot dead. I think they are Nazis, racists, I feel nothing but hatred for them.”

Mr Paulin is entitled to his opinions, however repulsive. He has expressed such views before, in verse and prose, and we should be the first to defend his right to free speech. However, in calling for Jewish settlers to be “shot dead”, Mr Paulin appears to have crossed the line that separates legitimate polemic from incitement to murder.

The Terrorism Act 2000, section 59, states: “A person commits an offence if he incites another person to commit an act of terrorism wholly or partly outside the United Kingdom.” The first such “act of terrorism” cited is murder. Moreover, “it is immaterial whether or not the person incited is in the United Kingdom at the time of the incitement”. In other words, to incite Palestinians on the West Bank to kill Jewish settlers is to break the law.

Whether Mr Paulin is in fact prosecuted is a matter for the authorities. But another question arises: does the University of Oxford wish to be seen as the madrassah of British terrorism? We are confident that Colin Lucas, the vice-chancellor of Oxford, will investigate the matter, and that Mr Paulin’s colleagues will dissociate themselves from him, just as they would if a faculty member were to incite people to murder blacks, homosexuals or anybody else. Or do Oxford dons treat Jews differently?

 

PAULIN TOLD TO APOLOGISE

Poet told to apologise for remark on Israelis
By Neil Tweedie
The Daily Telegraph
April 16, 2002

Academics at Oxford University expressed disquiet yesterday over an interview with the poet Tom Paulin in which he was reported as saying that American-born Jewish settlers in Israel should be shot dead.

Vernon Bogdanor, professor of government at the university, said Mr Paulin, a lecturer at Hertford College and regular panel member on the BBC2 arts programme Late Review, should apologise immediately if his comments to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram Weekly had been accurately reported.

In the interview, Mr Paulin was quoted as saying that he never believed in the right of Israel to exist, before giving his opinion on what were described as “Brooklyn-born” Jewish settlers.

He said: “They should be shot dead. I think they are Nazis, racists, I feel nothing but hatred for them.”

Yesterday, Mr Paulin appeared to sound the retreat from that position in a letter written to The Daily Telegraph.

He wrote: “I have been and am a lifelong opponent of anti-semitism and a consistent supporter of a Palestinian state.

“I do not support attacks on Israeli citizens under any circumstances. I am in favour of the current efforts to achieve a two-stage solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”

In the letter, Mr Paulin said his views as reported in Al-Ahram, and repeated in The Daily Telegraph, had been “distorted”. But when pressed to explain how they had been distorted, he refused.

Prof Bogdanor said: “Obviously, different political views can be held on the Middle East in a liberal society, but if he said that Jewish settlers should be killed then that is inexcusable and unacceptable in any university teacher.”

 


“THE JEWISH FAITH IS NOT AN EVIL RELIGION”

The Jewish faith is not an evil religion
The Sun Says (Editorial)
The Sun
April 2002

http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2002170720,00.html

Two days after September 11 The Sun ran a leader headlined: Islam Is Not An Evil Religion.

As we said then, the men who attacked America seek to foster hatred. They thrive on it.

It simply cannot be the case that all Muslims hate the West and desire its destruction.

All Muslims have a right to practise their religion. British Muslims are part of the fabric of this country not an enemy.

The media has a vital role in not demonising any faith or any racial group history has surely taught us that great dangers follow from such primitive prejudice.

In the light of yet another suicide bomber attacking Israel on Friday, and looking at the terrifying rise of anti-Jewish feeling anti-Semitism around the world we would like to offer an equally important thought:

Judaism the Jewish faith is not an evil religion.

Imagine, for a minute, that you are Jewish. Go further. Imagine you are an Israeli living in a country bedevilled with suicide bombers.

How would you feel as your family was threatened day after day by bombings in shops and restaurants?

Very frightened. That’s what.

But because of your Jewish faith you would feel something else, too.

You would feel alone, unloved and hated around the world.

To be Jewish is to know what can happen when hatred comes your way.

To be Jewish is to understand that anti-Semitism can turn very quickly into something chilling.

To be Jewish is to have family ties recent ties within one or two generations to what happened here in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s: the Holocaust.

Nazi Germany together with far too many accomplices some Ukrainian, some Italian, some French, ALL now in denial set about murdering the entire Jewish population.

In all, six million died. Many non-Jews too.

This was the most systematic RACIST act in the recent history of the world.

If you were Jewish chances are you would have treasured family pictures of family members who were lost in the camps.

Think about that. Think about the effect on the psyche. Think about the pressure Israeli voters therefore put on their leaders to defend them.
After the war a guilty world allowed the Jews their own state: Israel.

There are two fundamental untruths about Israel that, far too often, go unquestioned:

They are that the Israelis will not share their land with the Palestinians and that the rise of Jewish power, wealth and influence is all down to some “plot” or “conspiracy”.

Both need to be dealt with.

Firstly the land. We will return to the accusation of “conspiracy” later.

The fact is that Israel HAS offered the Palestinians huge concessions.

Ehud Barak, the Israeli Prime Minister from 1999 to 2001, did just that in a peace deal negotiated by President Clinton and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Sadly, Arafat turned down the offer. When the crunch came, he would not sign. In his heart of hearts, he prefers the way of terror.

As President Bush said two weeks ago Arafat’s leadership of his people has been lamentable.

He has led them into darkness; not the light.

Arafat and his allies have encouraged the suicide bombers instead of campaigning against them. Every bomber who dies worships Arafat. His allies even compensate the terrorists’ families for their loss.

The Western media loves to use the term cycle of violence. This is, indeed, what is happening.

But to use that term equates the region’s only elected democracy (Israel) with the terrorists.

The bombing of Coventry and Dresden was a cycle of violence; so was Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, Hiroshima and Nagasaki; so was the Occupation of Europe and the Battle of Britain.

But one side was in the right and one was in the wrong.

Fundamentally, Israel has a RIGHT to exist. Once you accept that there can be no justification for the suicide bombers.

Israel has not acted perfectly. There have been excesses as admitted by President Bush.

But the Israelis are not the aggressors here. They HAVE offered land to their enemies. They do not WANT war.

Ariel Sharon, the ex-general who the Israelis elected as prime minister, is charged with the responsibility of defending his people.

No nation has any right to tell him he cannot do so. Not Britain. Not the United States.

We must make an effort to understand the isolated Israeli people. We must understand, like them, that it is POSSIBLE for an enemy to wish the END of your entire faith, people and nation.

This is what Hitler tried to do.

This is what the terrorists, including Osama bin Laden, ultimately wish.

They do not seek to negotiate. AT ALL.

This is not some turf war that can be settled by Eurotroops in United Nations blue berets.

This is a declared war by men of terror on a people who know the meaning of annihilation.

At the same time the Jews see a rise in anti-Semitism around the world. Especially in mainland Europe.

Consequently, Israelis are scared to death.

They have never truly trusted Britain and with some of the people we employ in the Foreign Office why the hell should they? Now they see even America joining the bashing of Sharon.

Israeli people are reasonable people. Most of them. The media there is liberal and divided. In the United States the Jewish vote shifts to the Left not the Right.

Which brings us to the issue of “conspiracy” the too-often stated assumption that Jews, especially in America, dominate power and “run the world”.

It is true that Jewish individuals have risen to much power and wealth in the United States.

But this has been done within a few generations; it is down to HARD WORK not a “conspiracy”.

Many of the Jews running America’s real estate, media and financial empires started out in the ghettos of New York.

Calvin Klein, to take just one example, has built one of the world’s biggest fashion brands. He was a poor Jewish boy from the Bronx.

New York is full of these incredible success stories; so is Hollywood; so is Britain for example Amstrad’s Sir Alan Sugar, Dixons’ Sir Stanley Kalms and many others.

These people made something of themselves by themselves. There is no “plot”.

We would be wise to follow the Jewish example, not allow their success to fuel our worst prejudices.

If you were Jewish you would understand all this. Indeed, it would be written on your heart.

The rest of us would do well to try to understand the Jews.

They are not an evil people.

They are, frankly, just very scared people.

And history has shown they have good reason to be scared.

 


“WE ARE TALKING HERE OF MASSACRE, AND A COVER-UP, OF GENOCIDE”

A demo we can’t afford to ignore
By A.N. Wilson
The Evening Standard
April 2002

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/dynamic/news/top_story.html?in_review_id=552987&in_review_text_id=519549

On Saturday, I stood in Piccadilly, and watched a march that filled the width of the street and stretched all the way from Hyde Park Corner to the Haymarket. It was a huge, peaceful demonstration by British Muslims against the behaviour of the Israeli government. It was followed by a rally in Trafalgar Square. Had these Britons been running a fun marathon or demonstrating about the rights or wrongs of killing foxes, their march would have occupied hours of TV news and many column inches of the newspapers the next day. As it was, the demo was given about 20 seconds on the TV news on Saturday night.

I have scoured the Sunday papers for a single mention of the event. Not a word is said about the fact that tens of thousands of Britons marched through London to protest about the unlawful killing not of foxes, but of hundreds of Palestinians; they were protesting against the wreckage of property, the terrorising of the old, of women and children, the poisoning of water supplies, the destruction of the Palestinian police, administrators, infrastructure.

Yesterday’s Mail on Sunday reports by Bob Graham confirmed the assertions made in speeches in Trafalgar Square that we are talking here of massacre, and a cover-up, of genocide.

Many young Muslims in Palestine are the children of Anglican Christians, educated at St George’s Jerusalem, who felt that their parents’ mild faith was not enough to fight the oppressor. For that reason, it was a pity that the demo yesterday was entirely Muslim, apart from a few Socialist Workers.

Am I very naive to have wished that some Jews could have joined us in the demo, just as horrified as any gentiles by the sheer folly of Ariel Sharon’s terror-policy? As an unbelieving Anglican, I wanted the presence on the podium of an Archbishop to protest against the disgusting behaviour of the Israeli government to my old church - including the wilful burning of several church buildings and the harassment of our cathedral in Jerusalem - and its staff when they try to visit their people in the camps in Gaza.

Some Orthodox and Catholic bishops should have been there in Trafalgar Square, too. Last week, we saw the Israeli troops destroy monuments in Nablus of ancient importance: the scene where Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman at the well, and where the Israelis not long ago killed the Greek Orthodox priest, is now rubble. It is the equivalent of the Taliban destroying Buddhist sculpture but our papers don’t seem interested. Only the other day, Israeli troops started firing into the very church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Even Mandela was a terrorist

The spurious justifications for Israeli action by some newspapers is quite stomach-turning. There is said to be a war against terrorism. If “we” don’t win the war, then there will be explosions on the streets of European cities. But, hang on. What do “we” mean by terrorism? And why do terrorists do what they do?

When Nelson Mandela was arrested all those years ago, he was loading a truck with boxes labelled “Oranges”, which, in fact, contained high explosives. In numerous incidents before this, the ANC had let off bombs that killed civilians. Yet we all, rightly, regard Mandela as one of the few world leaders of true moral greatness. The state of Israel itself, whatever you think of it now, began with terrorist assassinations of British Army officers. Terrorism is the war that poor people fight against rich people because they see no other way. The more I think about the world, the less sure I am that I am an anti-terrorist. Is it always “right” to support powerful people against weak people, rich people against poor people?

Welsh roots in Hollywood

Catherine Zeta-Jones is paying her nanny, Judy Cole, 70,000 a year to bring up her son, Dylan, now resident in Los Angeles. She is determined that her boy should learn “British table manners” and not lose touch with his Welsh roots. She is going to teach young Dylan the rudiments of the Welsh language and culture. She sounds absolutely wonderful.

You might ask why, if Miss Zeta-Jones is so anxious that her boy should not lose touch with Swansea, she does not go and live in the Mumbles. There she could meet real people whose dads could remember the real Dylan Dylan Thomas, a poet with not one word of Welsh, who lived in South Wales when not propping up bars in Soho.

In Thomas’s day, Wales was culturally thriving. Wittgenstein used to go to the Mumbles for his holidays. Kingsley Amis worked, and Martin Amis was born, in Swansea. There wasn’t so much fuss about whether you spoke the Welsh language, so Welsh and English people were happy to live there.

The insistence on Welsh language and culture had the paradoxical effect of isolating Wales from the rest of the world. Now, Wales is depopulated and if you wish to be brought up with Welsh “roots”, your safest bet is to live in Los Angeles.

Zeta-Jones is going to send her boy to a Welsh boarding school Llandovery College, presumably. I don’t know the school but I suspect they will be very surprised if he turns up crying for laver bread and quoting from the Black Book of Carmarthen. They’ll be much more interested in finding out how many filmstars he’s met in LA.

I was never bitten by the Mo Mowlam magic. I was on an Any Questions? show with her once and, like almost every other politician I ever met, she seemed both vain and boring. Now she is making a nice little earner for herself by writing a book which tells us what we knew already that her colleagues in the New Labour Cabinet were all vicious and nasty. “I’ve never been a knifer or a moaner,” she assures us. Oh, no, of course not. She then goes on to moan about her lot and to knife all her old friends with the manic glee of Cassius setting about Julius Caesar on the Ides of March. She has got in just in time, with the sale of her memoirs. If she’d left it another year she really would have sunk without trace as almost all politicians, thank God, do.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.