The Warped Mirror
22 November 09
Lavish praise was heaped on some of Britain's media in the English-language Saudi Arab News, where columnist Neil Berry hailed last week's screening of "a groundbreaking Dispatches documentary for Britain's Channel 4 television, trailed by an article in The Guardian newspaper, [that] investigated the covert influence of Britain's 'Israel lobby.'"
If you take Berry's word for it, Tony Blair was a Zionist stooge, the British Labor party is run by the "Israel lobby," and if the Conservatives come to power in Britain, things will get even worse - if that's at all possible. But Berry assures his readers that not all is lost: he describes the publication of the Mearsheimer/Walt book on "The Israel Lobby" in the US as "an epoch-making event" that has led over the past few years "to a sea change in the climate of Western intellectual, as well as general public opinion, vis-à-vis the boundaries of debate about the Jewish state."
Indeed, relating to another event that caused much debate in Britain last week - namely the publication of the English translation of Shlomo Sand's new book, The Invention of the Jewish People - Berry confidently asserts that this book "is of similarly cardinal significance."
So let's try to get this straight: first the Jews (or maybe the Zionists?) invented the Jewish people, then the Jewish people and/or the Zionists proceeded to invent the Jewish Lobby - no, make this the "Israel lobby" - and then all these inventions went on to control much of the world.
Obviously, the idea that every Jewish achievement, including nowadays the Jewish state, comes at the expense of non-Jews and is somehow due to one big conspiracy that needs to be uncovered and undone, is hardly new. It unmistakably echoes the idea "Die Juden sind unser Unglück," that is: "the Jews are our misfortune," a concept first made popular by the German historian Heinrich von Treitschke in the 1880s and later adopted by the Nazis.
The makers of the British documentary on the "Israel lobby" were clearly well aware of the sordid history of this calumny, and therefore emphasized in an article published before the program aired: "It is important to say what we did not find. There is no conspiracy, and nothing resembling a conspiracy."
Mind you, this statement comes right after a paragraph that includes claims of an "operation" that is supposedly "carried on against media organisations that criticise Israel's foreign policy," and there is also the assertion that "Israel has a long reputation for bullying the BBC." It's a pretty clever formulation, because all it says is that there are people who believe that Israel is bullying the BBC - and no doubt, there are people who believe that.
Criticism of the program's "barely concealed antisemitic undertones" is thus hardly unfair. That this criticism is indeed richly deserved is also illustrated in an excellent post at the CST blog that examines the question "Who liked Dispatches?"