Like the New York Times with its roster of anti-Israel contributors, such as the anti-Israel post-Zionist Peter Beinart, the Washington Post favors op-ed contributors on Israel-Palestine who are very much on the side of the Palestinians. A recent example, featuring the Palestinian Mariam Barghouti, is reported on here: “Washington Post Publishes Op-Ed by Mariam Barghouti, Who Compared Israel to Nazi Germany,” by Rachel O’Donoghue, Algemeiner, April 1, 2022:
It would appear that having a documented history that has included comparing Israel to Nazi Germany does not preclude one from offering their opinions on the editorial webpages of The Washington Post, a publication that prides itself on a self-stated commitment to fairness.
Mariam Barghouti, who describes herself as a “writer and researcher based in Palestine,” was recently invited to share her views with Post readers, in a piece titled, “Another group recognized Israel’s Palestinian apartheid. How will the world react?”
Barghouti, who has also previously written for and contributed to outlets including The New York Times, The Guardian, and Newsweek, came to HonestReporting’s attention last year after we uncovered a series of now-deleted tweets, such as one in which she asserted that “Israel has been beating Hitler at his own game since 1948,” and another that referred to former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as being “nothing more than a war criminal and a Nazi.”
Barghouti declared in her tweets that Israel was even worse – more murderous, more evil – than the Nazis, for the Jewish state “has been beating Hitler at his own game since 1948.” And Benjamin Netanyahu is a “war criminal and a Nazi.” Yes, we all remember how the Israeli police rounded up hundreds of thousands, or was it millions, of Palestinians and then sent them off to a series of death camps that that “Nazi” Netanyahu had built. Of course, once this grotesque series of tweets was discovered, Barghouti did the only thing she could do: she quickly deleted the tweets, but it was too late; they had already been seen and recorded.
Such remarks are evidence of anti-Jewish bigotry, and are a breach of the IHRA’s internationally-recognized working definition of antisemitism, specifically making comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis and claiming that Israel’s very existence is in itself a racist endeavor.
The IHRA definition of antisemitism includes making comparisons between Israeli policy and the genocidal program of the Nazis, and insisting that Israel is in its very essence a “racist” undertaking. Barghouti’s tweets, now taken down, make both claims.
The IHRA definition has been either adopted or endorsed by dozens of countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and Germany.
In her latest piece, Barghouti accuses the Jewish state of maintaining a “deep essence of apartheid;” suggests that Jerusalem’s decision to designate six Palestinian NGOs is part of a campaign to “discredit and vilify” critics; and claims that Israel “weaponizes charges of antisemitism to manipulate and gaslight.”
Hundreds of NGOs are active in Israel, many of them quite critical of the Jewish state. But they are not shut down. The six NGOs that Israel banned last fall were not merely critical of Israel, but their members had close ties to the internationally-recognized terrorist group the PFLP. In fact, there was an overlap of the personnel of these NGOs and the PFLP. These six NGOs were, in essence, working hand-in-glove with a known terrorist group, and thus deserved the “terrorist” designation themselves. Initially critical of Israel’s move, Washington asked Israel for more evidence to justify its banning of these six NGOs as “terrorist organizations.” Jerusalem supplied that evidence, which was apparently convincing enough for the Americans, for there have been no complaints ever since from Washington about Israel’s banning of those six NGOs.
Mariam Barghouti’s description of Israel maintaining a “deep essence of apartheid” reflects the latest fashion in anti-Israel propaganda: that Israel is an “apartheid” state. This charge is made ad nauseam, repeated all over social media. For too many, this charge is enough to blacken Israel’s image; the credulous, animated by hate, will believe. Not a shred of evidence is required.
There are a number of points that deserve to be noted in response to such allegations.
For starters, the accusation of apartheid, which has been primarily promulgated by three organizations — Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and B’Tselem — has previously been thoroughly debunked by HonestReporting.
Let’s repeat that debunking of the “apartheid” charge here. There is no apartheid in Israel. Arabs serve in the Knesset, sit on the Supreme Court, go abroad as Israeli ambassadors. The chairman of the largest bank in Israel, Bank Leumi, is an Arab. Jews and Arabs study in the same universities. Jews and Arabs work in the same offices and factories. Jews and Arabs are treated in the same hospitals, by the same Jewish and Arab medical personnel. Jews and Arabs play on the same sports teams (an Arab is the captain of Israel’s national soccer team), and in the same orchestras. Jews and Arabs own businesses together, everything from restaurants to high tech start-ups. Nothing here bespeaks “apartheid.” The only difference is that Israeli Jews must, while Israeli Arabs may, serve in the IDF.
In addition, two of the organizations, Amnesty and HRW, that have spread this libel have been accused of having a fixation on alleged misdeeds by Israel. For example, when Amnesty released its widely-publicized report last month, an analysis of its Twitter account over the next six days revealed it had posted no fewer than 132 tweets accusing the Jewish state of perpetrating various crimes, compared to just 13 about every other human rights issue in the world.
Human Rights Watch released a 5,000-word report about Israel in December last year, in which it claimed Israeli law enforcement responded to outbreaks of violence in May in an “apparently discriminatory manner.” Yet the same document completely ignored what had been described as “pogroms” by Arab-Israelis against Jews and their property during the same period.
Israel’s police did not “discriminate” in May when they arrested Jews and Israeli Arabs alike who had been attacking one another in such “mixed” cities as Lod and Ramle. But there were many more, and much more violent, attacks by Arabs on Jews than by Jews who, in response, attacked Arabs, during this unrest, which HRW did not see fit to disclose. And that’s why – the only reason – that more Arabs than Jews were arrested.
In April, HRW penned a 213-page report that peddled the “apartheid” canard and a third 6,500-word report was released in May that accused Israel of “war crimes” for its response to the barrage of indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas during last year’s conflict.
It would be fascinating to see how HRW managed to support its “apartheid” charge when all the evidence – see above — undermines that claim. As for the “war crimes” supposedly committed by the IDF in the May war, there were none. Hamas deliberately placed its weapons, rocket launchers, command-and-control centers, and fighters in civilian buildings, in schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings. It is Hamas that thereby put civilians in danger. Furthermore, Hamas launched its rockets indiscriminately into Israeli cities. The IDF made enormous efforts to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza. It warned civilians to leave, or get away from, buildings about to be targeted, using telephoning, emailing, and the “knock-on-the-roof” technique. No other military, according to Colonel Richard Kemp, commander of the British forces in Afghanistan and the veteran of a half-dozen military campaigns, makes such efforts to limit civilian casualties as does the IDF; it is, he has said, the “most moral” of militaries.
The NGOs that Barghouti claims Israel has unfairly targeted have proven links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terror group by most of the western world.
The six NGOs Israel banned as “terrorist groups” were not only were staffed by members of the PFLP, but served as the conduits for funds that they received from unsuspecting donors, and then were transferred to the PFLP.
The overlap of PFLP personnel with those staffing the six NGOs, and those NGOs also transferring donor funds to the PFLP, proved convincing enough for one European country, the Netherlands, which initially was doubtful about Israel’s charges against these six NGOs, to itself stop its funding of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) this past January; the UAWC is one of the six Palestinian NGOs Israel banned last year due to ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization.
In a letter to the Dutch parliament, two ministers wrote that their investigation found that 34 UAWC employees were active in the PFLP in 2007-2020, some at the same time as holding leadership positions in the terrorist group.
And after it had initially insisted that Israel provide more proof of its allegations about the six NGOs, Washington has gone silent on the matter, presumably because that proof was provided by Israel. The Bidenites still don’t want to follow Israel’s lead and designate those NGOs as terrorist organizations; they are trying to appease the P.A. just as they have been appeasing Iran in Vienna.
Finally, there is an irony in Barghouti accusing Jerusalem of weaponizing antisemitism, when she has manifestly spread anti-Jewish hatred online.
Just this week — mere hours before a Palestinian gunman murdered five people in the central city of Bnei Brak and amid a wave of terrorism — Barghouti tweeted that every year around the time of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Israel becomes “charged with intensified aggression” to create circumstances whereby Palestinians face violence or “the fear and crippling anxiety of anticipated attacks.”…
Ramadan is well known to be a time when Muslim violence erupts, and not just in Israel; it’s the Palestinians, not the Israelis, who during this Ramadan, as in all previous Ramadans, will demonstrate “intensified aggression” against the Israelis. Barghouti turns it upside down, claiming that the violence that erupts at Ramadan will come from the Israelis, and that is why the poor Palestinians, at such risk of terrible violence from the Jews, suffer this “fear and crippling anxiety of anticipated attacks.” That “fear and anxiety” is not felt by the Palestinians, but by their intended victims, Israel’s Jews, who know all too well how the Muslim Arabs customarily behave at Ramadan.
Will the Washington Post, following the “fairness doctrine,” allow an op-ed to be published in response to Mariam Barghouti? Such an article would answer her claim that Israel is an “apartheid” state, by citing all the ways that Israeli Arabs work, study, play, are treated medically, side by side with Jews, and serve in every part of Israel’s government, from the Knesset to the Supreme Court to the diplomatic corps.
And such an article would note that the evidence linking those six NGOs in Israel to the terrorist PFLP has now apparently been accepted by the Biden Administration, as it has ceased to criticize Israel’s banning of those six NGOs.
Finally, the editors of the Washington Post should ask themselves if they think it proper to run an op-ed on the sins of Israel by someone who clearly has exhibited a deep antisemitism, according to the IHRA definition. Shouldn’t such views have disqualified Mariam Barghouti from making her malevolent and baseless claims about Israel from the exalted heights of the Washington Post’s op-ed page?