Shortly after Julie Burchill’s January commentary, titled ‘Transsexuals should cut it out‘, at the Observer (a Guardian sister publication) was completely removed after thousands of readers complained that her piece was bigoted towards transsexuals, the Observer’s editorial decision was defended by their readers’ editor, Stephen Pritchard. Pritchard called the decision a rational one, based on his contention that Burchill’s essay was “needlessly offensive” and “gratuitously insulting”.
Though some in the media were highly critical of the Observer’s decision to pull Burchill’s piece, Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian’s putative defender of free speech, was mostly silent on the Burchill Affair. Indeed, his Tweet, on Jan 13, shortly after Burchill’s piece was published should give some indication as to why.
What an ugly disgusting rant – plus the conceit that they’re being brave by scorning the all-powerful “trans lobby” is.gd/ppA9Sd
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 13, 2013
‘An ugly disgusting rant’ would certainly be one way to characterize Joseph Massad’s despicable essay in Al Jazeera on May 14, which argued the following:
- Zionism not only equals racism, but the ideology itself is antisemitic.
- Zionists cooperated and collaborated with the Nazis during the 30s and 40s.
- Zionism should be understood as the fulfillment of the Nazis’ dream, and that the there is a strong “ideological similitude” between the two movements.
As Petra Marquardt-Bigman has argued, the writings of Massad (who has contributed to ‘Comment is Free‘ and Electronic Intifada) can easily be confused with material found on extremist racist websites.
There is one exception to this paradigm, however. Massad is of Palestinian origin, so his otherwise boilerplate extreme right narrative about Israel and Jews is compromised a bit by these howlers:
- Unlike Zionists, who, by virtue of their Zionism, are antisemitic, “Palestinians have remained unconvinced and steadfast in their resistance to anti-Semitism“.
- Unlike ‘Zionist anti-Semites’, “the Palestinian people have mounted a major struggle against…anti-Semitic incitement”.
Whilst there were no Tweets by Greenwald expressing outrage over Massad’s pseudo intellectual racist assault against Jews, the decision by Al Jazeera to remove the Massad article from their site sent Greenwald into a fury:
Al Jazeera publishes an article by Columbia Professor Joseph Massad, then deletes it when usual suspects complain electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abun…
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) May 19, 2013
In case there is any doubt who Greenwald is referring to by “the usual suspects“, in the Tweet he links to a piece criticizing AJ’s decision (and defending Massad) by Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada – whose support for Massad is not surprising as he advanced the Zionism = Nazism narrative in a Tweet in 2010 – which accused Al Jazeera of caving in to “Zionists extremist” Jews, such as Jeffrey Goldberg, John Podhoretz and Rahm Emmanuel.
It really takes a mind occupied by the most crude antisemitic stereotypes about the danger of Jewish power to conjure a scenario by which a Qatari based pro-Sunni Islamist media group was strong-armed by a small gang of powerful Jews into censoring an otherwise meritorious essay.
Greenwald is a Jew by birth, and though we don’t possess some sort of piercing mentalism which would allow us to see the bigotry which may lurk in his soul, it should be clear to anyone who has seriously studied the “liberal” Guardian’ commentator that his moral sensibilities are – at the very least – compromised by a callous indifference to even the most explicit and malicious expressions of Jew hatred.
Adam Levick is the managing editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)