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Johann Hari has written an article headlined ‘Palestinians should now declare their independence’ in today’s edition of The Independent. It includes a distortion in nearly every paragraph. Here is a selection:

Until 1948, the Palestinians were living in their own homes, on their own  land – until they were suddenly driven out in a war to make way for a new state for people fleeing a monstrous European genocide.

Driven out? A misrepresentation of what really happened. Furthermore many Jews arriving in Israel didn’t come from Europe but from Arab states which had brutalised and in many cases expelled them.

They lived huddled and dazed in the 20 per cent of their land they were allowed to keep.

Allowed to keep? As Hari surely knows they had been offered a deal giving them a far, far higher percentage of the land and they rejected it.

They hardly fought back: they wept and dreamed of return.

Hardly fought back? Oh please…

Day by day since then, the remaining Palestinian land has been taken and given to fundamentalist settlers who claim it was given to them by God.

True, some settlers believe that. Many believe nothing of the sort. If he wants to write about religious fundamentalism he could write more about Hamas.

There are two peoples – the Palestinians and the Israelis. Let them live in two states, with 1967 borders, with full compensation for the victims of 1948. Although it is painful to accept swathes of your own dispossession, the Palestinian leadership has supported this programme since 1978, and even Hamas – the ugly fundamentalist group – tacitly accepts it….

Hamas accepts nothing of the sort. Many would argue that the same goes for Fatah.

…Yet it has not been offered to the Palestinians.

Absolute nonsense. The Palestinians have been offered a state many times including 1936, 1947, 1967, 2000 and 2008. Each time they have outright rejected it. When Israel gave them Gaza back they responded with increased rocket fire on southern Israel.

For a long time, I believed that the Israeli people – with their own history of unimaginable suffering – would change their behaviour on their own.

The nasty trick of turning the memory of the Holocaust against its victims.  Howard Jacobson wrote of this trend that it is “the latest species of Holocaust denial”.

International pressure – applied intelligently, without hyperbole – can strengthen [the Palestinians'] hand.

Intelligently and without hyperbole? There’s a thought, Johann. Actually, the tragedy is that Hari is clearly a very intelligent and educated man who writes and commentates superbly on so many issues. Which makes his regular and willful distortions against Israel all the more baffling.

44 Responses to “'Intelligently and without hyperbole'”

  1. chairwoman says:

    How much longer do we have to put up with this crap?

  2. DF says:

    International pressure – applied intelligently, without hyperbole – can strengthen [the Palestinians'] hand.

    Well yes indeed. But Mr Hari – patronising the Palestinians by believing that the only way to support them is to bullshit on their behalf only weakens their hand.

  3. The Crip says:

    I don’t think he’s an intelligent man Chas. Have you read his articles on other issues too? He is well known for stringing together other people’s ‘clever-sounding’ arguments (even if they’re blatantly untrue upon even cursory investigation) and the most you could say for him is he edits things together in a nice fluid style. That’s the sign of a good writer maybe, but not an intelligent thinker.

    For my money he’s just a classic example of someone who wants to side with the under dog and has fallen for the Palestinian spin. Very UNintelligent.

  4. DF says:

    I tend to agree with ‘The Crip’. You might like to read this about his ‘form’: http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/45884734/critiques/new/The_Stench_Spreads_Johann_Haris_Stinking_Op-Ed.asp

  5. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    I stand by what I wrote about Hari’s writing and commentating on other issues. And I’m keen to avoid personal attacks here.

  6. Duvid Crockett, King of DeLancey Street says:

    “Intelligently, without hyperbole…” Duvidl couldn’t agree more and endeavours to keep this maxim in mind, while avoiding personal attacks during the following song:

    At T.A. Gay Pride
    (to the tune of “Side By Side” Hat tip: Harry Woods)

    Didn’t give Mum a barrel of naches;
    She’s still afraid for his tuches.
    Hari’s rolling along,
    Toting his shrivelled schlong
    At TA Gay Pride.

    Hari’s a trifle world-weary;
    His Pravda-style scribbling’s so dreary;
    Tells an Israel-hate joke;
    Gives Andrew Pierce a poke,
    At TA Gay Pride.

    Hari, Parris and Pierce; Tres Amigas,
    Play kiss-chase, show others a clean ass.
    Hari’s tuches goes wonkey, pinning tail on donkey
    At TA Gay Pride.

    Each has a style much too banal, and
    Over-stretched alimentary canal.
    Each colon on scan; three inches diam.,
    At TA Gay Pride.

    DS Al Coda

  7. Daniel says:

    As Chas N-B admitted, he included just a selection of Hari’s distortions. I found plenty more.

    Hari claims Netanyahu won’t negotiate: “No compromise. Never.” Meanwhile back in the real world such negotiations are due to start next week.

    Hari’s account of the situation in Gaza shows that he has, as stated above, fallen hook, line and sinker for the Palestinian lie machine. For instance, he writes: “Every time I go there, I think it can’t be worse, yet it is. They used to use cars. Now it’s donkeys.” Nonsense. Watch any news footage, even on anti-Israel networks like Press TV, and you will see that they do indeed still have cars in Gaza today. If Hari has been there then he knows that. What contempt he has for his readers if he is happy to mislead them.

    He goes on: “It culminated in an offer of a series of broken Batustans controlled forever by Israel – one no Palestinian leader could accept.” His description of the offer is woefully inaccurate. His insistence that Arafat was right to refuse it suggests Hari is happy with the bloodshed on both sides that followed his refusal. (I am mindful of Chas N-B’s wish to avoid personal attacks but is there another way of interpreting Hari’s words?)

    Finally (for now) Hari’s attempt to put Rwanda and the Holocaust in the same bracket is wrong on many levels, but at least it shows it is not just brutalised Jews that he will wave his finger at.

  8. I can see why the “Independent” refuses to allow comments on its website.

    Another biased and badly researched piece. It does the Palestinians a disservice by placing them as “victims”. Rather than focus on resenting what the Israelis have built, Mr Hari should give us his views on how to provide a homeland for the Palestinians somewhere.

    It rather smacks of the American Family Association nonsense who believe that every right LGBT people are given, denigrates their own rights!i

  9. Shmuel says:

    I can only echo what everyone else has said. But also thanks Chaz for caring enough to do this.

  10. Gabby says:

    Yes Shmuel but I am weighed down by the relative futility of this. Johann has got his manipulative article out and few who read it will also read these rebuttals. Misinformation such as Johann’s leads to the hatred we face in this country growing ever more bitter, threatening and menacing. Shame on him.

  11. Jonathan Hoffman says:

    Demonisers of Israel always give themselves away by using false or doctored quotations, allegedly from Israeli or Zionist leaders. (That is because they are stupid). Hari is no exception. Ben White does the same. So do the haters on Guardian “Comment Is Free.”

    Hari says that Menachem Begin called the Palestinians “beasts walking on two legs”.

    The “quote” can be traced to a speech Begin made in the Knesset on June 8 1982. He was speaking in response to a no-confidence motion about the invasion of Lebanon. He talked about defending the children of Israel and (according to a June 9 1982 AP report) “his voice quaver[ed] with anger and sadness.” According to the minutes of the session, Begin stated:

    “The children of Israel will happily go to school and joyfully return home, just like the children in Washington, in Moscow, and in Peking, in Paris and in Rome, in Oslo, in Stockholm and in Copenhagen. The fate of… Jewish children has been different from all the children of the world throughout the generations. No more. We will defend our children. If the hand of any two-footed animal is raised against them, that hand will be cut off, and our children will grow up in joy in the homes of their parents.”

    As you can see, when speaking about any “two-footed animal” Begin was talking not about “the Palestinians” but about terrorists who target children within Israel.

    Hari’s respect for the facts in the rest of the piece is no greater than his respect for historical accuracy. Shame on his rotten twisted journalism and shame on the Independent for publishing it. No wonder it is losing money hand over fist.

    CAMERA has a great ‘Quotebusting’ site. It needs someone to amplify it though – there are so many from Hari and the other fabricators. Any volunteers?

    http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=22&x_article=775

  12. W Baker says:

    Be fair, Johan Hari did get one thing right in the article. The Six Day War was in 1967. Mazel tov for that Johan!

  13. Duvid Crockett, King of DeLancey Street says:

    Didn’t think you’d like it Chas, but Duvidl’s respects to you for putting it up anyway.

  14. A. Grace says:

    Your piece talks about hyperbole and then has the temerity to label Hari’s comments on the holocaust as tantamount to Holocaust denial, of which it is nothing of the sort.

    Hari is clearly talking about the way in which the holocaust shaped contemporary Israeli thinking in relation to perceived enemies of the Israeli state. This is an important point to make and in no way downplays the horrors of the holocaust but simply looks at the way it’s victims have been shaped by it.

    To what extent has the holocaust moulded the aggressive policies of Israel since it’s inception? To ask such a question is not to downplay or deny the holocaust, and those who claim it is perhaps need to re-evaluate their own capacities for objective thinking. Rebuttal is not simply a case of pointing out that the Palestine cause has hardly been honourably represented, but actually making an active defence of the actions of the Israeli state, which you have failed to do.

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      Would you like to make an active defence of the numerous distortions in Hari’s article? Please defend all the distortions, including those listed in my post and those listed in the comments from Daniel at 4.02pm and Jonathan Hoffman at 8.48pm.

    • A. Grace says:

      The article may or may not contain mistakes, or things that have been interpreted differently to yourself. To label them wilful distortions and misrepresentations carries the implication that Hari is acting out some kind of personal agenda against Israel. If you want to legitimately claim that Hari is unbalanced in his approach, then you need to provide some balance of your own in your rebuttal. You need to make some concessions with regard to admitting the Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians.
      Too often with journalism that criticises the actions of Israel, the writers in question are accused of furthering an anti-Israel agenda, or worse, of furthering an anti-semitic agenda. This is nothing more than a conspiracy theory.

      To sum up Hari’s article from my view, it is a defense of the many millions of displaced and nationless Palestinians. The fact that there is no Palestine on the map, the fact that land continues to be illegally claimed by Israel and the fact that the lives of people living in Gaza and the West Bank are ultimately controlled, not by a sovereign Palestinian government but by Israelis are all irrefutable truths. This is where the basis of your rebuttal needs to lie.

      We could argue about whether those in Gaza have cars or donkeys, or about the interpretation of what ‘hardly fought back’ actually means, but this would only serve to suggest that the entire article is based on mistruths which it is not.

      I would not ever claim that the Palestinian resistance has any moral superiority. The calculated murder of civillians is sub-human and entirely indefensible, and without putting words in his mouth, I’m sure Hari would agree. However if you want to gain the appearance of credible objectivity, you need to acknowledge the crimes that the state of Israel has committed against the Palestinian people, and if you so wish, defend them.

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      The article may or may not contain mistakes, or things that have been interpreted differently to yourself.

      There is no ‘may or may not’ about it. The distortions are listed clearly in my post and the comments. You cannot defend them so you just gloss over them.

      To label them wilful distortions and misrepresentations carries the implication that Hari is acting out some kind of personal agenda against Israel.

      His long tradition of anti-Israel articles and the distortions therein are well documented on numerous websites and publications.

      Too often with journalism that criticises the actions of Israel, the writers in question are accused of furthering an anti-Israel agenda, or worse, of furthering an anti-semitic agenda. This is nothing more than a conspiracy theory.

      So you are saying such accusations are never anything more than a conspiracy theory? That no writer is anti-Israel or antisemitic?

    • A. Grace says:

      So you are clearly suggesting that Hari is acting out an anti-Israel agenda. I’m not aware of the long tradition of supposedly distorted articles he has published, but then I’m not widely familiar with everything he has written. Also, would you care to consider some of the points I made past the first paragraph of my last reply?
      Let me take some of the points regarding misrepresentation from your original piece.
      You say Palestinians were not ‘driven out’, or rather you say that to claim they were is a ‘misrepresentation’. In what way were they not driven out? The truth is they were driven out and occasionally massacred by the villageful in the process of waging the 1948 war. You then claim that Hari seems unconcerned with the brutalisation of Jews in Arab countries prior to the establishment of Israel, this ‘they were as bad as us’ argument does not disprove that Palestinians were driven from their land.
      You say “Oh Please..” in response to the claim that they “Hardly fought back”. Aside from the fact that ‘hardly fought back’ is open to interpretation, “Oh Please..” is no kind of rebuttal.
      A couple of your points claim that Palestinians have rejected the offers for increased land and statehood. The truth is that almost all of the proposed peace deals have been welcomed by the moderate elements of both sides and rejected by the extreme elements of both. Take the Oslo accords which were opposed by the Israeli right and Hamas and welcomed by the Israeli left and Fatah.
      You say in regard to the belief that land was promised to the settlers by God; “True, some settlers believe that. Many believe nothing of the sort. If he wants to write about religious fundamentalism he could write more about Hamas. But again he seems only passingly concerned with them.”
      He’s not talking about Hamas though, is he? The strong implication here is that he should only talk about Palestinian fundamentalism and not Israeli. He does however refer to Hamas as fundamentalists and does not flatter them in any way. You concede that some of the settlers believe that the land has been promised to them, but others don’t. What is it that those who don’t, think is the justification for the settlements, and for that matter where are the poll results that certify these apparent beliefs of the settlers that both you and Hari claim to have knowledge of?
      I believe I have already dealt with the point that suggests that Hari’s points about the holocaust are tantamount to holocaust denial. It is a perfect example of the hyperbole which you attribute to Johann Hari’s article.
      As for the final part of your last reply. I said that “too often” is criticism of Israel broadly dismissed as anti-semitic or anti-Israel. I did not say that no writers are anti-semitic, or anti-Israel, but to claim this is true of all those who author such criticism is, in fact, a conspiracy theory. This is because, despite the existence of anti-semitism in modern society (although this is not widely maifested in the media), criticism of the actions of the Israeli state are often perfectly just and well reasoned. Once again I will say that if you wish for your discourse to gain the appearance of objectivity, you need to acknowledge these criticisms.
      Again, I should suffix these points by saying that I am not denying the possibility that there are inaccuracies in Hari’s article. I am merely claiming that if you are complaining about a lack of balance, then you need to present some yourself. You can’t argue against one polarised viewpoint with one that is equally as polarised.

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      The truth is they were driven out and occasionally massacred by the villageful in the process of waging the 1948 war.

      Please tell us more about how you reached this generalised conclusion, together with your solid references for concluding this and your reasons for rejecting other versions of the story.

      The truth is that almost all of the proposed peace deals have been welcomed by the moderate elements of both sides and rejected by the extreme elements of both. Take the Oslo accords which were opposed by the Israeli right and Hamas and welcomed by the Israeli left and Fatah.

      Fatah flatly rejected the last deal offered (in 2008). Yasser Arafat (Fatah’s founder) rejected (without even making a counter-offer) the astonishingly generous offer made in 2000. The Arab states issued the infamous “three nos” in 1967. I could go on… But can you explain exactly how you define Fatah as “moderates”? How much of their ideology and of the history and views of their leader do you know?

      What is it that those who don’t, think is the justification for the settlements, and for that matter where are the poll results that certify these apparent beliefs of the settlers that both you and Hari claim to have knowledge of?

      They don’t have to justify them. I don’t have poll results, but I write about these issues every day. I personally know numerous settlers. I read widely about the issue. I’ve been to Israel. Yes, I know Hari has been to the region many times too.

      I did not say that no writers are anti-semitic, or anti-Israel, but to claim this is true of all those who author such criticism is, in fact, a conspiracy theory.

      Neither I, nor anyone else here, has accused Hari of being antisemitic. This is a regular tactic of Israel-bashers: to accuse Israel’s supporters of accusing a critic of being antisemitic when we have done nothing of the sort.

      This is because, despite the existence of anti-semitism in modern society (although this is not widely maifested in the media), criticism of the actions of the Israeli state are often perfectly just and well reasoned.

      LOL.

      (On a sidenote, check Jonathan Hoffman’s additional comments below. Another of Hari’s ‘quotes’ is shown to be false, for instance.)

    • A. Grace says:

      “Please tell us more about how you reached this generalised conclusion, together with your solid references for concluding this and your reasons for rejecting other versions of the story.”

      I’ll list just a few of the massacres of Palestinian civilians that occurred during the 1948 war.
      -The village of Saf Saf, where following the surrender of the village to Israeli forces, 70 civilian men were murdered.
      - The village of Deir Yassin was depopulated and 107 of the villagers were massacred by Israeli paramilitaries.
      -The village of Al-Husayniyya, where 30 children and women were murdered by the Haganah, with the rest of the village’s population fleeing into Lebanon and Syria.
      -The village of Arab Suqrir, Haganah forces were issued with a directive to “… Destroy the well… destroy the village completely, kill all the adult males, and destroy the reinforcements that arrive.”
      These are just some examples, also I could talk about the villages of Al-Tantura, Al Kubri, Saliha and several more but I won’t continue. Also, for the sake of the balance that seems to evade your arguments, there were 2 massacres of Israeli’s by Arab forces, namely the Haifa oil refinery massacre and the Kfar Etzion kibbutz massacre.
      When you mention ‘other versions of the story’, I should say that I am going with what are widely accepted historical accounts. I suppose you could be a revisionist and question the truth of these massacres, which are widely accepted to have been accurately reported. If you begin down the path of historical revisionism then I won’t be able to debate you any further because we would be straying into that ‘conspiracy’ territory in which historical accounts are fabricated to serve an anti-Israel agenda.

      “..Fatah flatly rejected the last deal offered (in 2008). Yasser Arafat (Fatah’s founder) rejected (without even making a counter-offer) the astonishingly generous offer made in 2000. The Arab states issued the infamous “three nos” in 1967. I could go on… But can you explain exactly how you define Fatah as “moderates”? How much of their ideology and of the history and views of their leader do you know?..”
      The offer by Israel in 2008, contained as I understand it, no provision for curbing the expansion of settlements which you must surely recognise as a pre-requisite for any deal. The ‘three nos’ as I understand them were a part of a resolution issued by a collective of Arab states and came without the offer of land or Palestinian statehood. In fact, many would argue that the Khartoum resolution was issued due to the refusal of Israeli forces to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza. I am not denying that there has been some resistance to peace deals amongst Palestinian leadership, but then for the sake of balance we must also recognise the Arab Peace Initiative, which was flatly rejected by Israel partly due to the refusal to consider the return of refugees.
      The labelling of political groups as ‘moderates and extremists’ is always relative to any given situation. As for Fatah. I would define them as moderates in the wider context of Palestinian leadership. Perhaps some of their ideology is anti-semitic, perhaps many (myself included) would consider some of their views to be less than acceptable, but it remains that they represent a more acceptable form of representation for the Palestinians, relative to Hamas. Fatah and the PLO (who I should have mentioned previously) are not currently considered internationally as terrorist organisations, while the democratically elected Hamas are. While it’s true that Fatah does not recognize Israel, the PLO, of which Fatah are a part, broadly recognize the right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security, and is accepting of UN resolutions 242 and 338, as outlined by Arafat’s letter to Yitzhak Rabin in 1993.

      “They don’t have to justify them.”
      Why not? Considering that the settlements are illegal under international law.

      “Neither I, nor anyone else here, has accused Hari of being antisemitic. This is a regular tactic of Israel-bashers: to accuse Israel’s supporters of accusing a critic of being antisemitic when we have done nothing of the sort.”

      This is getting ridiculous, you are spectacularly misunderstanding what I have written. I did not suggest or even imply that you were accusing Hari of being anti-semitic. I was clearly talking generally about the reaction to criticism of Israel, I said that such criticism was often dismissed as being anti-semitic OR anti-Israel, your dismissals are clearly based upon the latter rather than the former. I hope I’ve cleared this up.

      “LOL.”

      So you would argue than no criticism of Israel is justly founded? Or you would argue that there is an anti-Israel bias manifested in the media. I am not sure exactly which point you ‘LOLed’ at. Either way, I’d like you to mount a defence of some Israeli policy, or explain to what end there would be an anti-Israel agenda in the media, if you perceive there to be one?

      I am a person who sees no particular right to moral superiority on either side of the conflict. If you, however are claiming that Israel has acted in a morally superior way to the Palestinian resistance, then your arguments must mature past the claims that Palestinians are equally as guilty of x,y and z as the Israelis, and that journalists are biased against you.

      Again I will assert that you, as a supporter of Israel, clearly have no interest in providing a balanced argument that is willing to consider the actions of Israel as being equally, or even partly responsible for the lack of peace in the region. On what basis then do you have the right to suggest that Johann Hari should be balanced in his support of the Palestinians? This is fundamentally illogical.

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    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      Either way, I’d like you to mount a defence of some Israeli policy, or explain to what end there would be an anti-Israel agenda in the media, if you perceive there to be one?

      I write about these very issues every day so if you want to read my views just check back through this blog. This isn’t a lap-dancing club and anyway you’ve shown your true colours in your latest comment. I suggest you read Jonathan Hoffman’s and Jonathan S’s comments below and learn something.

    • Shmuel says:

      Enough already. ‘A Grace’ is EXACTLY the sort of naive numpty Johan Hari plays to… He thinks a 10-second copy and paste job is intelligent evidence of ’48. And I’ve noticed him write ‘maybe there were mistakes in Hari’s article’ & ‘perhaps some of Fatah’s ideology is anti-semitic’ so casually, as if neither important or problematic. Plus he used the ‘democratically elected Hamas’ line so beloved of terror sympathisers (just before he claims to be neutral!!!).

    • A. Grace says:

      I have made lots of comments on this page, so I’m not sure which ones exactly you believe to be truly demonstrative of my ‘true colours’. As for Jonathon Hoffman’s points, they are quite unrelated to the points I have been making, which are in response to your comments and not his. I do, however, recall a quote by an IDF soldier (the same soldier who spoke about the sniper shooting the civilians) in Gaza who claimed that Israeli forces treated Palestinian civilian lives as being of far less importance than those of Israeli soldiers. If an Israeli paper claimed that his remarks about that specific incident involving the sniper were based on rumour, then maybe that’s the case. However it is broadly agreed Internationally that the IDF approach to the Gaza conflict in Jan’09, did in fact violate international law and show scant regard for civilian life. Do you agree with this, or do you claim that the reports issued by independent International agencies such as the United Nations, have misrepresented the true nature of the conflict and by implication, are part of an anti-Israel agenda?

      For what it’s worth, I attended a Jewish secondary school in the UK and many of my friends are a part of the Jewish community in my city of birth. I was educated from age 12-18 in a Jewish environment and have since made up my mind about the conflict from hopefully an objective standpoint, rather than one rooted in any feelings of natural alleigance to one side or another.

    • A. Grace says:

      In response to Shmuel. None of my remarks have been cut and pasted. I clearly said that I find some of Fatah’s beliefs to be unacceptable, but the group must be relativised in relation to other organisations representative of Palestinians, such as Hamas.
      And, yeah Hamas are democratically elected, so what exactly is wrong with saying so? How does it affect my neutrality by stating a plain truth?

    • A. Grace says:

      NB. I also have condemnded Hamas in very strong terms.

    • Shmuel says:

      Do you agree with this, or do you claim that the reports issued by independent International agencies such as the United Nations, have misrepresented the true nature of the conflict and by implication, are part of an anti-Israel agenda?

      I think we’ve already spotted your game. You want us to reply in a way that allows you to accuse us of promoting a conspiracy theory. Because at heart you resent Israel having support. You’re such a mug, no wonder you love Hari.

      PS – glad ‘some of your best friends are Jewish’.

    • A. Grace says:

      Shmuel. I’m a mug? Maybe we should keep this civil and save ourselves from hurtling cheap insults.

      I want you to reply in a way that answers the question. Either you endorse the views of several international and independent agencies in regard to Operation Cast Lead, or you say they are inaccurate and if so.. I would like to know for what reason you believe them to be inaccurate, and what motivation such agencies would have for issuing disingenuous reports. I’m not trying to draw you affirm any pre-determined conclusions that I have made. I’m just trying to get to know your beliefs a little better.

  15. Dan says:

    It’s truly amazing how much crap the UK media is filled with. What’s astonishing to me is that the people who read the Independent are not interested in hearing the other side of the story, these people are religious when it come to Israel, they’re hate is as blind as that of Hamas.

    • Dan F says:

      That is an interesting point Dan. I am currently reading a book called Irrationality and one of the chapters covers the type of thing you describe. It is irrational for someone to avoid reading or listening to points which contradict their own long held veiws. They are happy to bury their heads in the sand rather than challenge their own beliefs, content in their ignorance. They are fully prepared to defend their corner without actually examining whether they are correct because they fear what they may find.

      It is what annoys me about the Liberal-Left. I consider myself to be on the Liberal-Left spectrum and even though I have a Jewish father who was born in Israel I spent ages going along with the whole Israel does bad things all of the time, while Palestinians are just freedom fighters etc. It took alot of courage and reading opinions contrary to my own to actually face up to the real facts and examine the history more closely. I think what started me on this path was not only an interest in my heritage, but also becoming suspicious of all the bias I kept seeing! (Reading Nick Cohen helped too!)

      Anyhow, thank you for this post Chas. I read Hari’s article last night and it annoyed me so much because of all the obvious bias and inaccuracies. I was preparing to write a step by step rebuttal of it, but I have clamed down since. I have actually liked alot of what Johann Hari has written previously and do think he is an intelligent chap, especially him standing up to Richard Littlejohn, but I am doubting his integrity more and more.

      Anyhow, sorry for the long reply!

  16. The European left hates Israel, as it hates all independent nation states.

    It will not rest until we are all thrown into a blender and served up as racial and cultural soup.

  17. Jonathan Hoffman says:

    Hari’s Twisted Quotes: #2

    Hari: “Yitzhak Shamir said they [the Palestinians] should be “crushed like grasshoppers… heads smashed against the boulders and walls.” ”

    Now for the truth. Amid riots in the West Bank, Shamir “standing atop an ancient West Bank castle, told reporters: “Anybody who wants to damage this fortress and other fortresses we are establishing will have his head smashed against the boulders and walls”. He was speaking about the rioters, not all Palestinians. He was referring to the rioters when he said: “We say to them from the heights of this mountain and from the perspective of thousands of years of history that they are like grasshoppers compared to us.”

    He never said “crushed like grasshoppers”.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1988/04/01/world/shamir-promises-to-crush-rioters.html

  18. Jonathan Hoffman says:

    Hari’s Twisted Quotes: #3

    Golda Meir never said “there are no Palestinians”. She was making a historical statement.

    Here is her interview (Sunday Times June 15 1969):

    Q: Do you think the emergence of the Palestinian fighting forces, the Fedayeen, is an important new factor in the Middle East?

    A: Important, no. A new factor, yes. There was no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state? It was either southern Syria before the first world war and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country from them. They did not exist.

    The historian James L. Gelvin says that Meir was neither denying indigenous Palestinian people nor the existence of the Palestinian nation. Rather, her remarks are directed at the Fedayeen’s causing of the nation to exist. Gelvin states that while Meir’s “assertion that a Palestinian nation did not exist until after 1967 war is absurd, the sketch she provides of the historical nationalism that engendered that nation — and her implicit understanding of the unpredictable and conditional evolution of nationalism in general—is, in the main, accurate.”

  19. Jonathan Hoffman says:

    As others note above, Hari has ‘form’ as a manipulator of the truth in the interest of demonising Israel. Here is my lettter published in the Independent on 23/3/09:

    Quelle surprise: Donald Macintyre and Johann Hari (“Israel’s dirty secrets in Gaza”, 20 March) jumping on the Haaretz report about supposed IDF atrocities in Gaza.

    Of course they do not tell us that Danny Zamir – the head of the Rabin pre-military academy whom they quote – has a long history of conscientious objection in a country where military service has been existentially necessary throughout the 60 years of its existence.

    Of course they do not tell us that the old woman was approaching the soldiers after being warned not to. She was probably innocent, but could have been a suicide bomber. Moreover it is not clear that she was shot; it may simply have been the case that there was an argument over whether to shoot someone who was approaching soldiers in a suspicious way.

    Of course in the context of the woman and two children who were reportedly shot by a sniper after soldiers ordered them from their house, they do not tell us that civilians have been frequently used as suicide bombers.

    And of course they do not tell us that further investigation by Israeli media suggests both incidents may not even have happened: the soldier who reported both alleged events did not even witness them – he heard them as a rumour.

    How far are you prepared to lower your editorial standards, in the interests of demonising Israel?

    Jonathan Hoffman
    Co-Vice Chair, Zionist Federation,
    London N12

  20. Jonathan S says:

    and just to set the record straight on Fatah…

    Many (especially in Israel, and on the Israeli ‘left’ especially) would *like* them to be moderates, committed to a two state solution as the basis for a peaceful coexistence of Israel and its Arab neighbours. But sadly that does not make it so.

    Check out this short piece from Melanie Phillips for a telling example of Fatah’s true form:

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/5837916/is-this-why-the-palestinians-deserve-a-state-mr-biden.thtml

  21. Avarahm Reiss says:

    Hello Charles,
    I apologize for writing this in the wrong area, but I couldn’t find a place on your superb blog which would fit.Please feel free to move this to a more suitable location within your blog.

    This is to bring to your attention creation of a new blog – JCWatch – which sadly has had to be set up to counteract many anti-Israeli sentiments currently being published by the London Jewish Chronicle on its blogs site.

    I am not accusing the Jewish Chronicle newspaper of being anti-Israeli, but it is publishing many anti-Israeli comments by blog-readers and writers. You can see a compilation of about 25 such anti-Israeli comments published in the last month alone, at:

    http://jcwatch.wordpress.com/articles/anti-israelisms-in-the-jcs-blogs/

    Also, see the vilest of all so far – by one Tom Eisner – on JCWatch’s Editorial Page, at:

    http://jcwatch.wordpress.com/e-d-i-t-o-r-i-a-l/

    The Editor of the JC has been sent three open letters so far and has ignored them all, apparently in the hope that JCWatch will ‘go away’. It won’t.

    You assistance in publishing the existence and url of JCWatch is greatly appreciated.

    http://jcwatch.wordpress.com/

    Avraham Reiss – Jerusalem

    • Kumiko says:

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  22. Highnlonesome says:

    “They don’t have to justify them.”
    Why not? Considering that the settlements are illegal under international law.

    If they were built on land that had been confiscated from individual Palestinian owners, then they would undeniably be illegal, but as I understand it they were built on land that was previously unoccupied and unowned.

  23. Jonathan Hoffman says:

    Verdict of Arab Media Watch on Hari’s article: “It is arguably the best commentary to be published in the British press since Israel’s latest announcements of new settlement construction”

    http://tiny.cc/grHYJ

  24. Jill says:

    Hari’s piece reads like a PR release from a Paliprop organisation.

  25. NB says:

    Although he often does write very well Hari is at his worst when he loads his columns with emotional language and this particular article is bursting at the seams with emotional manipulation.

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