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The Guardian’s Becky Gardiner Celebrates Holocaust Memorial Day By Defending Blood Libeler

In the Guardian’s op ed by Raed Salah, the following footnote has been added:

In the thread below, there has been some discussion about statements that Raed Salah allegedly made. The Comment editor Becky Gardiner has commented, setting out the judgement here and here. Raed Salah has also replied here.

This is what Becky Gardiner says:

Sprindew asks:

Are you guilty of inciting anti-semitism or not? Because the judge in your deportation case said you are

I have read the judgement. On the blood libel point it is complex, so bear with me.

First the judge notes the context:

the sermon was given on a somewhat turbulent day when [Salah] had been refused permission to pray at one of the holy sites of his religion

Having been barred from entering the al-Aqsa mosque, Salah gave a speech, or sermon, in the street outside.

In it he said:

We have never allowed ourselves to knead the bread for the breaking fo fasting during the blessed month of Ramadan with the blood of the children. And if someone wants a wider explanation, then he should ask what used to happen to some of the children of Europe, when their blood used to be mixed in the dough of the holy bread.

Unlike the version relied on by the home secretary, the speech did not contain a reference to “Jewish holy bread”. Salah denies that he was referring to the blood libel; in Salah’s article he did originally have this paragraph explaining this passage, which I cut:

I don’t believe in the “blood libel” against Jews and I reject it in its entirety. What I was really referring to in my sermon was the killing of innocents in the name of religion, including children, from the time of the Inquisition to as recently as Bosnia and elsewhere in Europe whose governments support Israel’s action.

The judge did not accept Salah’s explanation, saying he found it “wholly unpersuasive”. He said the speech “would offend and distress” Jews. However, he also noted that the sermon as a whole “was against the actions of the state of Israel” rather than Jews as such.

To conclude, the judge said that:

“…there is no reliable evidence of [Salah] using words carrying a reference to the blood libel save in the single passage in a sermon delivered five years ago. … The absence of other evidence is striking … [Salah] is a prominent public figure and a prolific speaker. … his speeches are of interest to the authorties in Israel. … We think it can be fairly said that the evidence before us is not a sample, or ‘the tip of the iceberg’: it is simply all the evidence there is.”

And later:

“the matters raised by the Secretary of State are not a fair portrayal of [Salah's] views or words as a whole; they are in essence confined to words on one day, that are not shown to have caused any difficulty at the time or since. There is no evidence that the danger percieved by [Theresa May] is perceived by any of the other countries where [Salah] has been, nor, save for the very tardy indictment, is there any evidence that even Israel sees the danger [she] sees.”

Raed Salah’s amanuensis adds in his name:

After a 10-month legal battle, I have now been cleared on “all grounds” by a senior immigration tribunal judge, who ruled that May’s decision to deport me was “entirely unnecessary” and that she had been “misled”. The evidence she relied on (which had been given to her by the Community Security Trust, a British charity, and included a poem of mine about oppression which been doctored to make it appear anti-Jewish) was not, he concluded, a fair portrayal of my views. The judge said the one short passage in a speech that May used as evidence that I had repeated the so-called “blood libel” [the medieval accusation that Jews use the blood of Christian children to make bread] “was not a sample [of my views], or ‘the tip of the iceberg’: it is simply all the evidence there is.” In reality, I wasn’t referring to any such thing. I reject any and every form of racism, including anti-Semitism. I don’t believe in the “blood libel” against Jews and I reject it in its entirety. What I was really referring to in my sermon was the killing of innocents in the name of religion, including children, from the time of the Inquisition to as recently as Bosnia and elsewhere in Europe whose governments support Israel’s action. In fact, what May has neglected to consider in respect of the speech is that I also said in the speech ‘we are not malicious and we will not be malicious, thus we will also protect the honour of the Jewish synagogues.’ I have no doubt that, despite this, Israel’s cheerleaders in Britain will continue to smear my character. This is the price every Palestinian leader and campaigner is forced to pay.

So, that’s the Guardian’s position.

On Holocaust Memorial Day.

There is a whole bunch of evidence, unused in the trial and unquestioned, that shows the nature of Raed Salah. Becky Gardiner is very much aware of it herself, because I know that “a senior Guardian figure” took it to her, in an attempt to get her to publish just ONE piece explaining why liberals and progressives ought not to back Raed Salah.

Articles were written. They were submitted by a number of people to the Guardian. They weren’t even acknowledged.

Becky Gardiner’s view, I’m afraid to say, was that Comment is Free should not offer a platform to those who wanted to oppose Raed Salah’s incitement and racism. She saw opposition to Zionism as a sort of Manichean struggle, in which she was on the side of the angels.

The “senior Guardian figure” was quite surprised. But obviously, he did nothing about it because, you know, we mustn’t make a fuss.

This is the year in which antisemitism became a mainstream “progressive” cause. Fancy joining the fightback?