There is nothing special about the Daily Express’ Leo McKinstry. He is one of many journalists who will go to any length to defend Israel’s actions, however brutal, disproportionate or unjustified they may be. In his latest Daily Express column, a little unpicking highlights the extremist ideology that sits behind his words that allows for such unwavering support of a massacre of innocent Palestinians.
This is not the first time Hynd’s Blog has taken issue with Leo McKinstry’s writing. Back in 2012 my friend and social commentator Eugene Grant wittily quipped that if there was a fit for work test for journalists, McKinstry would surely fail it for his coverage of the debate around benefit claimants.
Fast forward two years and I have once again had the misfortune of stumbling across one of his deeply misleading diatribes. This time the case in point is the Gaza/Israel conflict – a subject that lends itself all too easily to hyperbole, hatred and crass generalisations.
Within a few paragraphs McKinstry throws out a paragraph that, although must be saluted for its invariably inventive alliteration, must also be picked apart:
“In practice denouncing the Jewish state means siding with the malevolent, murderous forces of jihadism, a stance that not only represents a complete inversion of morality but a suicidal disdain for the interests of western civilisation.”
Three words in and we have a problem…’denouncing’. No mainstream politician in the UK has denounced Israel. In fact the opposite, politicians have gone out of their way, even when criticising Israel’s actions, to reiterate that they are ‘friends of Israel’ – whatever that actually means.
But, even if you do ‘denounce Israel’, as some people (but not the politicians McKinstry is referring to) do, then how this then leads people to inevitably ‘siding with the malevolent, murderous forces of jihadism’ is a mystery that remains sadly locked in the inner depths of the editorial room of the Daily Express.
The vast majority of human rights organisations that are then invariably are used and quoted by the politicians McKinstry is so desperate to attack, go to great lengths to highlight human rights violations by both the Israeli actors and Palestinian ones.
Criticising one side’s human rights abuses does not act to excuse the others. This complex moral concept is, I will admit, a difficult one to grasp when smashing your fingers in fury at your keyboard.
But all this is just the tip of iceberg. Next, McKinstry offers us a journalistic lesson in the importance of context stating:
“The present conflict was started by Hamas firing rockets at Israeli civilians and since the beginning of July more than 2,800 of these missiles have been launched.”
That’s right, he actually says that this ‘conflict was started by’. In true playground philosophising McKinstry throws out the perpetual eight year old’s defence of ‘he started it’. Some might consider the origins of this modern conflict to stem from deep rooted differences, understandings of history, claims of land, hurt and loss through generations of war dead….but nope, McKinstry assures us it was ‘started by’ Hamas firing rockets.
Now might be a good time to remember that Hamas only officially came into existence in the late 1980’s, some 20 years after the start of the military occupation of Gaza that still, technically, exists today.
This is not to say that Hamas is not partially to blame for the present conflict, far from it. All that is being addressed here is this bonkers assertion that Hamas could solely be blamed for ‘starting the conflict’ like McKinstry suggests.
Britain would not tolerate an aerial assault without striking back so why should Israel?
Putting aside my own pacifist leanings for one second to glance over at what most mainstream politicians and commentators are saying…we can see that most people are not saying that Israel can’t or shouldn’t defend itself, only that it should do this in line with International Humanitarian Law. This in short says things like, try not to kill civilians, don’t bomb schools and mosques etc. Not big asks, but apparently too big for the Israeli Defence Force to comply with as the list of alleged war crimes now runs longer than one McKinstry’s titillating tabloid tirades.
But, Israel’s actions are justified by the morally bankrupt McKinstry as he implies that if Israel didn’t kill civilians, keep an entire population under a harsh military occupation and repeatedly commit war crimes then a global Islamic jihad would come and impact us all…
Instead of traducing Israel western politicians and the media should face up to the terrifying global threat of fundamentalist Islam, of which Hamas is a key part. We see that threat all over the world from the turmoil in Libya to the kidnapping of girls in Nigeria, from the stoning of women in Afghanistan to the savage persecution of Christians in Iraq.
Some really concerning issues he raises, but once again, in McKinstry’s eyes we only have 2 choices to address these issues:
- traducing Israel western politicians or
- facing up to the terrifying global threat of fundamentalist Islam
Remember, there is no either or here. It is one or the other. You choose.
And once again, let’s not get bogged down in the specific geo-political circumstances that might have given rise to very different factions of radical Islam that now manifest themselves in violence in different parts of world…why would we want to do that…let’s instead use a term that I honestly don’t think McKinstry knows the meaning of ‘Jihad’ and suggest they are all the same.
Of course, there is an irony here. These violent forms of radical Islam are, at least in part, a reaction of blinkered extremists and reactionaries who are unable to deal with the multicultural societies the modern era has ushered in. It doesn’t take much to spot that this description fits comfortably with someone else this blog post addresses…
But that’s unfair I hear you cry, many Islamists are violent in their small minded idiocy. Well, stick with me, we haven’t got to McKinstry’s finale yet…
In a comically dire reinforcement of his extremist ideology used throughout his article that justifies any action, however brutal, by Israel, McKinstry goes onto say:
“Only by defeating terrorists can peace be achieved.”
Violence you see dear reader, is the only solution to violence. We must go to war to prevent war.
The logic of a lunatic fanatic that looks to justify Israel’s action no matter how horrific they are.
3 responses to “Israel/Gaza, Leo McKinstry and his lunatic extremist violent ideology”
The bottom line is that Israel has a right to defend it’s citizens as any other state would. Why is Israel any different? It is a tragedy that so many innocent people have been killed and no-one with any humanity can fail to be moved by the pictures we have seen. However, it is a terrible fact that, in war, innocent people get killed. What Hamas does well is use these images to maximum effect to win the propaganda war and gain world sympathy and demonise Israel. We now know that Hamas has been firing rockets from schools, hospitals, residential areas and using its own children as human shields. Many have been killed by their own missiles. We also now know that Hamas has threatened journalists if they report the truth or forced them to leave Gaza. So apart from a few foreign journalists we have only been getting a one-sided view of the conflict.
The media reporting of the conflict is extremely one-sided. This has not helped and has given rise to an increase in antisemitism all over the world. If the issue is a humanitarian one, why do we not see an outcry at similar levels to the killing if innocents by Hamas – not only Israelis but also their own people including children women, the hundreds and thousands murdered by ISIS, Syria and Sudan? Where is the outrage by the liberal left and Islamists at the crucifixions and beheadings we have seen in the media currently taking place in Iraq and Syria? The same people quick to single out and demonise Israel through anti-Israel demonstrations and boycotts when all Israel is doing is defending itself and it’s citizens. The silence is deafening.
It is immoral to equate Hamas with Israel. There is no moral equivalence. Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel and the killing of all Jews. Therefore, anyone who supports Hamas supports the killing of Jews.
I ask again then – why is Israel being singled out and judged differently from other countries? What would you expect your government to do if
Hamas was firing rockets at your cities indiscriminately and your children are traumatised daily? If Hamas builds terror tunnels to murder innocents- tunnels, incidentally, they used their own children to help build where at least 160 children died in the process.
Why this obsession with Israel?
What would you do?
I don’t suppose it will surprise you to learn that there are elements of this analysis which I either disagree with or am uncertain about. But I agree with you about McKinstry’s false binary – it reminded me of that Geller bus ad debate.
I agree that ‘denounce’ muddied the waters here, by occluding many critics of Israel’s actions who, as you say, are generally well disposed to the country. Although some critics of Israel are soft on, or even condone, Hamas, obviously that’s by no means true of all. And I agree that one can perfectly well criticise both Israel and e.g. ISIS.
But, bearing in mind your reasonable caution against hyperbole, I find the implied parallel between Israeli society and (say) ISIS rather challenging – i.e. in the paragraph beginning ‘of course there is an irony here.’
Finally – do you think Israel should end the blockade or simply modify it (e.g. by allowing exports) and, if it did end the blockade, what do you think the effects would be?
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Hi Sarah, the parallel was mean to be between radical Islamists and McKinstry – and you’re right, I was being a bit naughty making that comparison! It wasn’t meant as a comparison between Israeli society and ISIS!
Re the blockade, I feel more comfortable talking about how the status quo must change than pointing to a solution (it is easier to criticize than offer solutions). Israel obviously has an imperative to protect it’s population but I don’t believe the punitive blockade as it currently is completely a reflection of a security need. As I often do, I would go back to IHL and human rights standards as a min standard that Israel must abide by in its response to their security concerns.