Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Distortions and Outright Lies

It wouldn’t be a Yasmin Alibhai-Brown column on Israel if it didn’t include some sort of disclaimer. Usually we are told that some of her best friends are Jews. Only the “good Jews” of course – the ones who have a serious problem with Israel.

In her latest piece for the International Business Times, “Israel marks some dark anniversaries in 2017 – It must make this year about hope not hate,” Alibhai-Brown states:

After the Second World War, the case for a Jewish state was absolute. I read Anne Frank as a teenager and understood why Israel had to exist. I even believed the appealing myth that Israelis made the desert bloom. I support the right of this state to exist, and yes, bloom. But I do not, cannot, on humanitarian grounds, back all Israeli actions since they settled on their promised land.

That’s awfully nice of you Yasmin.

Except that the rest of her article is full of distortions and outright lies.

In critiquing the 1917 Balfour Declaration that paved the way for a Jewish homeland, she writes:

In that tide of history, five million inhabitants were displaced – and the suffering of the Palestinians only got worse.

Where does this figure of five million come from? In 1948, the creation of the State of Israel witnessed the displacement of some approximately 750,000 Palestinians. A greater number of Jews from Arab countries subsequently arrived in Israel having been thrown out of their homes.

But that’s not the only exaggeration:

Propped up by its western allies, Israel ignores international laws and obligations and does what it wants. I think the country has been harmed more by its unwavering friends than by its unforgiving enemies. The US, UK and EU should have tempered Israel’s excesses which at times befit a rogue state.

Alibhai-Brown then switches tack, as lack of context and selective omission become the preferred method of attack:

This year is also the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War. Tensions had been building up between Israel and its neighbours – Egypt, Syria and Jordan. The Arabs were thrashed by the well-armed, well- trained Israelis, who took over Gaza, the Sinai peninsula, West Bank and the Arab part of East Jerusalem.

The casual reader would have no idea that it was, in fact, Israel that faced an existential threat in 1967. In Alibhai-Brown’s historical revisionism, the Israel Goliath simply launched an attack against the weak Arabs with the intent of grabbing as much land as possible:

The victors will, for sure, be celebrating this massive takeover. People around the world witnessed this expansion with shock and awe – and did nothing.

Alibhai-Brown then moves on to outright lies, claiming:

the rights of non-Jewish people are not protected by the state which sees itself as an exemplary democracy.

In fact, the rights of non-Jews are absolutely protected by Israeli law.

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Referring to the 10th anniversary of the Israeli restrictions on Gaza, according to Alibhai-Brown, these:

began after Hamas, which refuses to recognise Israel, won the Palestinian legislative elections. Hamas terrorises Israeli civilians and in retaliation, Israel collectively punishes everyone living in Gaza.

Look at numbers of casualties and deaths on both sides and it is clear who is David and who Goliath. This month, Israel slashed electricity supplies.

  • The blockade of Gaza did not begin after Hamas won elections, which was in 2006. The blockade began after Hamas launched a coup, took over Gaza by force and killed or threw out Fatah-affiliated members of the Palestinian Authority in 2007.
  • Israel does not collectively punish everyone living in Gaza. Despite restrictions, tens of thousands of truckloads of supplies cross into the Gaza Strip while Hamas steals in order to prioritize building weapons and attack tunnels over the welfare of ordinary Gazans. Israel continues to treat Palestinians in need of urgent medical care.
  • As for the simplistic and misleading use of casualty figures, this fails to take into account the real math. How many Israelis would have died were it not for the measures that Israel takes to defend its population e.g. the Iron Dome system and reinforced shelters? Many of the Palestinian civilians killed during IDF operations were a direct result of Hamas employing human shields and operating from within densely populated areas. Alibhai-Brown also fails to note how many of those casualties were active combatants.
  • And as for the charge that Israel has slashed electricity supplies, the Gaza electricity crisis is a direct result of the conflict between Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority after Hamas refused to pay the PA for supplying Israeli electricity. But that would ruin Alibhai-Brown’s framing of Israel as the overwhelming bad guy in her narrative.
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Alibhai-Brown prepares to defend herself from valid criticism:

This column, which I have penned with some trepidation, officially “proves” me an anti-Semite. Why? Because last December the British Government adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHLA) definition whereby disagreement with or condemnation of Israeli policies and actions are now assumed to be anti-Semitic.

While the column may not prove that Alibhai-Brown is an anti-Semite, it does prove that she is an inveterate liar. The IHLA definition expressly states that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

Having distorted the definition of anti-Semitism, Alibhai-Brown pushes the ridiculous notion that supporters of Israel have abused the definition to limit freedom of speech when it comes to Israel:

The media has become overly conscious of the anti-Semite slur as have other institutions. Universities and charities are now exceedingly nervous of discussing or debating Israel/Palestine issues.

Only human rights agencies and some activists now, it seems, dare to expose and question what Israel does to Palestinians.

Unfortunately there are plenty of avenues for Israel-bashers such as Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to spread hatred and distortions. The International Business Times is only one. At a time when anti-Israel activities are the norm on campuses and support for Israel turns one into a pariah within left-wing political circles, it is utterly disingenuous of Alibhai-Brown to plead victim status.

The real victim is the uninformed reader who has the misfortune to come across such a perversion of reality.

You can exercise your rights by sending your complaints to the International Business Times – [email protected]

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Source material can be found at this site.

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