The Guardian’s increasingly pro-Hamas editorial slant apparently hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Israeli government. Recently, the paper published a letter defending Palestinian terrorism. And in response, Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs minister, is now demanding that the paper apologize:
Edelstein wrote Guardian editor Ian Black that he was amazed that his newspaper would agree to publish a letter that calls for the murder of innocent civilians. He demanded that Black print an apology and clarification stating that the newspaper did not condone terrorism in any form and did not consider it a legitimate tool in a struggle for freedom.
“I expect you to make clear to your readers that you believe that terrorism is a violent and despicable act, directed mainly toward innocent civilians with the intent to strike fear and anxiety in a society,” Edelstein wrote. “Certainly this was the goal of those who employed terrorism in the London bombing of July 2005.”
Edelstein has also called on the Government Press Office to “urgently summon” the Guardian’s Israel correspondent Harriet Sherwood so that they can discuss the issue in person.
But while it’s great to see the Israeli government acknowledge the Guardian’s aggressively anti-Israel slant, it’s hard to believe that any changes will come of it. The paper seems to take pride in its regular attacks on the Jewish state, so it honestly wouldn’t be a surprise if it found Edelstein’s criticism somewhat flattering.
CiF Watch, which provides some of the most comprehensive coverage of the Guardian’s anti-Israel bias, is also skeptical that this will prompt the paper to make any reforms. “While we’re heartened to see that more and more people, from across the political spectrum, are beginning to realize how morally reprehensible the Guardian’s commentary on Israel truly is, there is no sign at this point that their correspondents, editors, or management are any closer to engaging in any serious reflection on the issue.”
There is little that the Israeli government can do to bring about changes at the Guardian. A better way to push for reforms would be if influential groups within the Jewish community started a campaign against the paper’s obsessively anti-Israel (and at times anti-Semitic) news coverage. Criticizing Israel government policies is one thing; publishing pro-terrorism letters and cartoons of Palestinian leaders dressed as Orthodox Jews is another. Jewish leaders should firmly and publicly condemn the endorsements of violence and outright bigotry that are becoming staples in the Guardian.