It was a good old Independent doubly-whammy to nicely finish off International Israel Apartheid Week.

Robert Fisk

Last Friday (12 March) Johann Hari had a piece Palestinians should now declare their independence.

On Saturday (13 March) Fisk recommended books to help you understand the Middle East.

Fisk recommends and quotes from George Antonius’s The Arab Awakening:

“The cure for the eviction of Jews from Germany is not to be sought in the eviction of the Arabs from their homeland …”

Fisk sees this as “the first truly eloquent warning of what was to come”.

He didn’t recommend Benny Morris’ The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem but he mentioned it in passing:

“Benny Morris was the most prominent Israeli researcher to prove that it was indeed Israel’s intention to evict the Palestinians from their homes in their tens of thousands in 1948 – the fact that Morris has since gone completely batty by claiming the Israelis didn’t ethnically cleanse enough of them does not detract from his seminal work.”

But Morris did not prove any such intention!

Morris, for starters, quotes Ze’ev Jabotinsky, leader of a right-wing Zionist movement, who said in 1931: “We don’t want to evict even one Arab from the left or right banks of the Jordan. We want them to prosper economically and culturally.”

If anything it was the 1937 Peel Commission, which was under the auspices of the British government, that first recommended transfer of the Arab population out of areas earmarked for the Jewish population on partition.

Morris’ view is that there was no specific Zionist policy of transfer although there had been unofficial “transfer thinking” that preceded the war. But it was only once the Arabs rejected the 1947 UN partition resolution, civil war between the Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arabs and then the full-scale Arab invasion of Israel ensued that “Jewish hearts hardened towards the Palestinian Arabs who were seen as mortal enemies, and should they be coopted into a Jewish state, a potential Fifth Column”.

To be fair to Fisk has lived in the heart of Beirut for 30 years and so he is highly biased out of necessity.

Johann Hari does not live in the heart of Beirut and so has no such excuse for his bias (or is it just ignorance?).

Johann Hari

Hari suggests the Palestinians should declare their own state forthwith to concentrate the minds of the West and he narrates his own version of the Arab/Israeli wars including, like Fisk, that of 1948:

“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.”

Again there is no mention of the total Arab rejection of UN partition resolution 181, the consequent civil war started by the Palestinian Arabs against the Jews and the Arab invasion after Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948.

For Hari one side is evil while the other side is totally innocent. He continues this theme throughout the piece.

He quotes Golda Meirs’ “there are no Palestinians”. Well to Meir there were no Palestinians 40 years ago just like there were no Palestinians as such to the Jews that came to Palestine 100 years ago because they did not view the Arabs living there as a nation. But that doesn’t mean to say there is no Palestinian nation now. There is and one deserving of a country.

But it is a common anti-Israel tactic to take an ancient quote of an Israeli or Jewish leader and put it in today’s context to make the speaker look evil.

Hari also writes of “some heroic Israelis who argue back”, so painting the rest of Israel’s citizens as weak, ignorant and cowardly.

But Hari thinks he has found the answer to why there are so few “heroic Israelis”:

“It may be that surviving the most horrific atrocities doesn’t make you compassionate, but more often makes you hard, and paranoid. It may make you see the ghost of your murderer even in your victims: Adolf Hitler in a Gazan child.”

For Hari Jews are still so obsessed by the gas chambers that every one of us, apart from his “heroes”, has turned into our own self-contained irrational killing machine.

Not for Hari do Israelis fight back against thousands of deadly Kassam rockets fired by Hamas from Gaza towards Israel’s southern towns or against Katyushas hitting nothern Israel from Hezbollah bases in southern Lebanon.

And Hari thinks that Hamas, “the ugly fundamentalist group”, tacitly accepts a two-state solution but how ignorant can one be.

Accepting a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, as Hamas does, is not the same as accepting the existence of Israel.

But Hari has fallen for Hamas’ rhetoric hook, line and sinker.

Hari finishes off urging the Palestinians:

“They should declare independence. Then it is up to us – the watching billions – to pressure our governments to make it real, rather than a howl in the dark.”

Hari doesn’t understand that Palestinian society is in no state to declare independence. While building consruction is swiftly taking place in West Bank towns the hatred that persists between Hamas and Fatah will mean that civil war, bloodshed and revenge killings would not be far away.

Hari hasn’t thought the consequence of his logic through but, then again, for Israel’s haters the demonisation of Israel and Israelis far outweighs any concern they really have for the Palestinian people.

34 responses to “Fisk/Hari

  1. The fun people at Arab Media Watch (a group who really strive for fairness and accuracy in media reporting! Not) have asked their followers to thank the Hari for “the best commentary to be published in the British press since Israel’s announcements of new settlement construction.”

    Check out the email they sent to their database:

    —– Forwarded Message —-
    From: “”
    Sent: Sat, 13 March, 2010 1:47:57
    Subject: Thank Independent columnist Johann Hari!

    On 12 March 2010, the Independent published a commentary by columnist Johann Hari entitled “Palestinians should now declare their independence.” It is arguably the best commentary to be published in the British press since Israel’s latest announcements of new settlement construction. The Independent and Hari will no doubt be condemned for this, so please spare a few minutes to thank the newspaper and columnist.

    The article, which should be read in full, is available at:

    Write to and / or Please be concise and polite, and BCC letters to If you want your letter to be published in the newspaper, indicate this in the subject line of your email (do not copy and paste the subject or contents of this Action Alert) and provide your full name, address and contact details. Letter-writing tips can be found at:

  2. richardmillett

    Brilliant piece of sourcing, Ben Zona. I might have to publish it. Cheers.

  3. Richard:

    Just one point (the others I’ve already mostly responded too elsewhere):

    To be fair to Fisk has lived in the heart of Beirut for 30 years and so he is highly biased out of necessity.

    I wish pundits, journalists, commenters, pro-Israel folk and anti-Zionists alike would give up on the pretence of being ‘objective’ (implying others are biased is implying Self is objective).

    There is no such thing as objectivity: you and I, when supplied with the same set of facts (facts for instance we could completely agree upon), would still draw different conclusions and create a different narrative to try and explain and connect that fact set. It is inevitable that people from different backgrounds will come up with different explanations are there is nothing wrong with that: let all try and respect the facts and nail their colours to the mast all the same.

    Fisk, I believe is one of those journalists who rightly so will side with the oppressed, against the oppressors and has clearly stated so. It’s possible to do so while respecting the facts. He, at least is quite honest about his bias. Journalism as a form of activism against injustice.

    You however are hopelessly dishonest in your transparent claim of objectivity and ‘independence’ [cough!]: rarely have I seen a journalist roll out every talking point in the Hasbarah song book as you do, often in quite a cartoonish fashion, yet all the while holding on to the ludicrous contention that you’re ‘not a Zionist’. Hell, you even put bread on the table as compensation for defending Zionism: you’re one of Press TV’s resident Zionists!

  4. Gert accusing someone of being cartoonish.

  5. richardmillett

    Gert, you’re a real charmer.

  6. A real copy and paster also.

    Expect him to say that he does not take your blog seriously – and then expect him to return regularly despite that.

  7. richardmillett

    Don’t discourage him, Dan!

    I would really like him to explain, or try at least, his sinister-looking comment:

    “the many Jewish supremacist types that really do seem to follow that narrow interpretation of ‘chosenness'”.

  8. Dan:

    The fact that Richard, despite pretense to the contrary, is no more objective than anyone else on this subject doesn’t mean I don’t take him seriously. And no, I don’t expect to come here all that often in the future.

    I’ll leave that to the ‘well done, mate!’ type of commenters…


    That’s quite a counter argument you’ve developed there. Keep thinking you’re an objective news source when in reality you’re another emperor with no clothes on…

    I would really like him to explain, or try at least, his sinister-looking comment:

    “the many Jewish supremacist types that really do seem to follow that narrow interpretation of ‘chosenness’”.

    Sinister? You should get out more often, Sir. Into the sewers of the blogosphere with you for a few days, I say.

    Why do you find it inconceivable that Jewish supremacist types do indeed exist? Are Meir Kahane and Kach not perfectly equivalent to White Supremacists? Is there a shortage, do you think, of bloggers who still adhere to Kahane and Kach? (Would you like a list of examples?)

    You’d be the first to denounce anti-Jewish hatred by Arabs and rightly so.Yet, do you deny that anti-Arab feelings are vented loudly and proudly in some Jewish and/or Israeli circles? See for example those who sing (quite literally) the praises of Baruch Goldstein? Israeli kids scrawling messages of hate on 155 mm IDF artillery shells? ‘Death to the Arabs!’ graffiti on Arab properties in Hebron and other places? Swastikas included?

    Recently also some Mizrahim making the Hitler salute to some Ashkenazim protesting the further colonisation of East Jerusalem?

    Or is it your ‘objectivity’ that prevents you from seeing what frankly stares you in the face?

  9. richardmillett


    Kach and Kahane were outlawed by Israel. They were not voted into power like Hamas were! And I abhor all racism but all the examples you give are not just aimed at Arabs, as bad as that is, but they are aimed at Jews also.

    They aren’t “supremacist” groups but groups that use demonisation and violence to get their message across. Not only were Baruch Goldstein’s victims killed due to this ideology but Rabin, for example, was also.

    Yet it is convenient for you to twist a biblical statement and apply it to “the many Jewish supremacist types” as if this is an ideology widespread across international Jewry, or “Zionist Jews” to be more specific.

    And your shallow South Africa apartheid analogy is not lost on me.

    And if I do come across racists of any sort I do let them know what I think of them as does Jonathan Hoffman, who actively fights racism more than anyone I know.

    But then there is yourself, Gert. You talk of the many Jewish supremacist types yet you view Hamas as entirely legitimate. What does that say about you?

    Some extracts from Hamas Charter:

    Art. 7:

    “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

    Art. 11:

    The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up.

    Art. 13:

    Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.

    Art. 15:

    The day that enemies usurp part of Muslim land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Muslim. In face of the Jews’ usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised

  10. Richard:

    Yet it is convenient for you to twist a biblical statement and apply it to “the many Jewish supremacist types” as if this is an ideology widespread across international Jewry, or “Zionist Jews” to be more specific.

    And where do I do any of these things? Where did I/do I twist a Biblical statement? I note simply that the distortion of that Biblical statement is applied also by some Jews/Zionists.

    You talk of the many Jewish supremacist types yet you view Hamas as entirely legitimate.

    Two straw men for the price of one. I don’t support Hamas. I note that Hamas is a lot more complicated than you or their charter make out. I note that I support the Palestinian people’s right to elect who they see fit.

    I note that when you ask ‘independent and non-Zionist’ journalist Richard Millet a question about the weather, there’s some likelihood he’ll answer: ‘Well, according to Hamas’ Charter…

    Last time I saw you on ‘Middle East Today’, you were asked a question and started on a Hamas diatribe. The moderator had to shut you down, noting indeed correctly that you hadn’t answered the question. ‘Mr Hamas’, indeed…

    Was Hamas responsible for the Occupation of the West Bank?

    Is/was Hamas responsible for the continued settling of the West Bank?

    Is Hamas responsible for Netanyahu’s tendency to throw Obama under the bus?

    No Sir, these are all Zionist achievements.

  11. richardmillett


    You cannot even bring yourself to condemn them or their blatantly anti-Semitic/anti-peace/anti-negotiations Charter. You just have a go at me instead! And that is you summed up to the core; when you have no answer you play the man instead.

    You cry straw man but you are him/it/her personified!

  12. Richard,

    I have always said to all and sundry, including to you, that Hamas’ Charter is deeply antisemitic. This is not in dispute.

    It is nonetheless highly simplistic to ascribe to their motives to nothing but antisemitism, as if in their case they emerged out of a vacuum.

    Here’s an interesting piece on antisemitism and Holocaust denial in the Arab world that puts things into at least some perspective. By Gilbert Achbar, just one taster:

    Although it is far from representative of all public opinion in the Arab countries or even majority opinion, there has been in recent years a new outbreak of expressions of Holocaust denial among Arabs. Rather than an outlet for anti-Semitism, as Western denialism is, in most cases the Arab expressions are reactions we could call skin-deep, that is superficial, knee-jerk reactions to the way the State of Israel is “instrumentalizing” the Shoah (to use Pierre Vidal-Naquet’s expression) in order to legitimize itself, legitimize its actions and shield itself from any criticism.

    A distinction must be drawn between anti-Jewish attitudes that can be found among Europeans, which are purely and simply abject, and anti-Jewish expressions among Palestinians who are subjected to the terrible oppression we know of, from a State claiming to act on behalf of the “Jewish people”. To be sure, there can be no excuse for any form of Judeophobia, but the two attitudes can’t reasonably be put on the same level, just as we can’t put on the same level the anti-Semitism of a Slavic pogromist and the anti-Goyim racism of a persecuted Jew from the Pale of Settlement, or the anti-Black racism of a White lynch-mob and the anti-White racism of oppressed Black persons. All too often, the categories of European history are projected onto utterly different situations, such as the Palestinians’ situation in the territories. By rebutting all types of caricatures, I am attempting to contribute to a better mutual understanding, indispensable for a peaceful and fair settlement of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

  13. richardmillett


    The anti-Semitism is the least serious thing about the Charter. I am more worried about the horrendous ideology expressed in the Charter’s extracts above, which you never miss an opportunity not to comment on!

    You throw straw man at everyone but only address what you want to address yourself.

  14. Richard,

    Very well then, you go on playing ‘Mr Hamas’. I doubts if great journalistic dividends will flow your way though: there’s now ‘quiet in the South’ (as Olmert put it), the world is concentrating on the siege, Goldstone and Israel’s snubbing of US ‘soft power’ demands. Hamas is hardly a hot button issue today…

  15. Gert, do you think the man killed by a rocket today would agree with you that there is ‘quiet in the South’?

  16. richardmillett

    Exactly, if it wasn’t for Hamas the two sides could be closer to peace but Gert is too myopic to realise.

  17. Dan:

    Are you sure it was a rocket from Hamas and not one of the other groups?


    Talk about myopia. Perhaps you should investigate why and how Hamas came into being? What role Israel played in that? Why Efraim Inbar declared that ‘Hamas is good for the Jews?’ (He meant Israel, of course)

  18. richardmillett


    We have been through Hamas’ creation. I told you that Hamas would have been around anyway. If you hadn’t noticed Islamic fundamentalism is international. I don’t see why Israel would have escaped its clutches. But blaming everything on Israel, and I mean everything, is so easy for you isn’t it?

    Meanwhile, I am really am not a one trick pony. I do not believe Fatah wants a two-state solution either. The difference is that Fatah plays it politically while Hamas uses military means.

  19. modernityblog


    This is Gert’s general technique, it hasn’t changed in years.

    You are very tolerant of this Far Righter, I wouldn’t have your patience.

  20. Modders:

    Even in your attempts at insults you’re pathetic: the overwhelming majority of people, friend and foe alike, considers me Hard Left.

    Regarding the Right, but now also the Far Right including the BNP and the EDL, they overwhelmingly support Israel and Zionism.

    Let me ask you also one more time: are you opposed to the Occupation or not? This is what your friend ‘Bob from Brockney’ claimed. You seem unwilling to be drawn on this point…

    Regarding ‘tolerance’, well, not all bloggers resort quickly to banning commenters and deleting comments, all the while cackling on about the right of free speech of others.

    I was always under the impression that your type of blog was rather the preserve of the open sewers of the US Conservative blogosphere but I see there are some here in Old Blighty too.

    I also note that your buddies at Harry’s Place have finally endorsed Geert Wilders, will you be honest and follow suit quickly?

  21. modernityblog

    Anyone reading my blog will see what my comments policy is:

    “The comments policy on this blog is fairly simple, if you are a racist, a racialist, one of their mates, or someone who writes like them, then you are not welcome here.

    This blog implements a No Platform for Fascists policy.

    So if you are hung up about the existence of Jews, Muslims, the Roma, immigrants, “foreigners”, the French, the Irish, etc and feel the need to express your petty hatreds and xenophobia, do it elsewhere.”

    The above is one reason why I won’t have people like Gert on my blog.

  22. Modders:

    I remind you that to you Zionism is a codeword for Jews (you say so explicitly) and thus anti-Zionism (which undoubtedly you have a caricatural understanding of) to you equals antisemitism. This way it’s very easy to brand those you disagree with as racists. Banning people is not the answer to anything either.

    For the last time: what’s your stance on the Occupation?

  23. richardmillett

    Modders: The far right and the hard left meet around the back, i’m afraid. The hard left endorses the right of Hamas to govern despite the horrendous treatment by Islamic fundamentalists of woman and homosexuals, for example.

    The hard-left’s hatred and jealoust towards Israel and America outweighs any concern they have for human rights.

    Iranian homosexual men get hanged and yet their is no outcry from the hard left who claim to care about human rights.

    It is not only rank hypocrisy, it is truly sickening.

  24. Richard:

    Iranian homosexual men get hanged and yet their is no outcry from the hard left who claim to care about human rights.
    It is not only rank hypocrisy, it is truly sickening.

    Complete and utter tosh (no, not the bit about Iranian gays – Iran’s human rights violations are well documented). What the Left have been concerned with right from Ground Zero is that the fall-out from 9/11 would not on the heads of Muslims in general, the overwhelming majority of which are indeed completely innocent.

    Since 9/11 we’ve had the destruction of an entire Muslim country and all for the wrong reasons.

    Now Iran faces a similar threat and this after decades of messing with that country by Anglo Saxon Imperialists.

    ‘Mainstream’ blogs like HP now endorse people like Geert Wilders, who makes Nick Griffin blush!

    Iran needs reform, but considering its experience with ‘regime change’ directed from the outside, all changes must come from within that highly complex society. I fully support the reformists (even though through Western mis- and disinformation they’re not so easy to make out) but oppose war (hot or cold) against Iran.

    The US has a rap sheet the size of the Humber Bridge when it comes to ‘intervening’ in other peoples’ affairs for perceived self-interest, including the propping up of very some unsavoury regimes, among others Saddam Hussein, not to mention Israel.

  25. richardmillett

    You support them but you don’t actively support them. You are like the rest of the hard-left, you talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. You reserve your bile for Israel and its supporters instead. Total hypocrisy as i said.

  26. Richard:

    I’m not supporting a ‘coalition’ that includes US Neocons and Zionists of all stripes that call for regime change and much worse besides that and do this for their own nefarious purposes only. If it wasn’t for Iran’s opposition to Israel, these people (and you) couldn’t give a rat’s arse about Iran.

    It’s fine and dandy to decry Iran’s human rights violations but what about Israel’s? The US’s?

    After 1953, we must now allow Iran to find its own way. It will, I’m confident of it…

  27. richardmillett


    The hard-left is all about Israel, Israel, Israel.
    It started with Lenin and the hard-left has progressed no further since.

  28. Richard:

    It started with Lenin and the hard-left has progressed no further since.

    Man, you’re just toooo funny when you want to be! Why don’t you drag ‘The Protocols’ into too?

    Honestly. I’m beginning to see why you’re an ‘independent’ journalist, I mean who in their right mind would want you on their payroll indefinitely?

  29. richardmillett

    You’re such a charmer, as usual, Gert. Please don’t worry about me though.

  30. modernityblog


    I marvel at your patience.

    As you’ve pointed out before the language used by Gert and his ranting about “Jewish supremacy” is mirrored not unsurprisingly in various essays by David Duke.

    As for Iran, you might want to post the video of Galloway’s excuses for the hanging of those two gay teenagers, and remind Gert how few people criticised Galloway on that issue, and how Galloway’s in the pay of Ahmadinejad’s regime via PressTV.

    You might want to, but frankly you’d wasting your time, the last time Gert saw reason there was a blue moon.

    He’s impervious to argument and evidence, as most on the Far Right are, and not terribly well-informed.

  31. Modders:

    May I remind you that our host here also ‘works for Press TV’, as does your beloved Jonathan Hoffman, but also Geoffrey Alderman, Charlie Wolf, Carol Gould, Eric Lee and other prominent Zios? Gould wrote quite a glowing review of Press TV actually.

    Re David Duke, this is of course what I mean by your resemblance to US Conservative smear merchants. To deny that in the blogosphere there are Jewish supremacists is equivalent to denying that there are White supremacists, Muslim supremacists or Black supremacists. Whether David Duke says so or not simply doesn’t change that: they are there for all to see. And no, they are not important, I never said they were. But they exist. Your own semitophilia clearly makes you blind to even the most obvious of things.

    You are a Manichean nitwit.

    Now, do you have something to say about the Occupation or not? If not, I can only conclude that your case of semitophilia and your faked concern for antisemitism is in fact nothing more than blatant, blind Zionism.

  32. richardmillett

    As I said before Gert without the occupation kassams would soon be landing in Israel as we saw after the withdrawal from Gaza.

    Once there is a properly negotiated and agreed two-state solution the occupation will end.

    And a few appearances on Press TV slamming Iran and putting across Israel’s point of view is hardly “working for Press TV”. Even you said no one would want to bother having me on their payroll!

  33. Modder’s blatant refusal to answer a simple question (5 times now) speaks volumes. Perhaps I’m wrong: perhaps he’s not a semitophile, perhaps his blanket condemnation of all anti-Zionism as antisemitism is indeed just crude Zionism. Modders, the attack Chihuahua of British Zionism…

    I’ll also be keeping an eye on his blog to see if he implements his comment policy quite as rigorously as it sounds…