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Guardian’s ‘cowardly’ move over Israel joke not reasonable but predictable

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Guardian columnist Nathan Robinson who was fired in February 2021 after he joked about the US arms sales to Israel

A senior American journalist has strongly criticized the Guardian’s “cowardly” decision to fire the columnist Nathan Robinson after he joked about the US arms sales to Israel.

The British newspaper fired Nathan J. Robinson after he said in a post on Twitter that US Congress is legally obligated to buy weapons for Israel.

Robinson’s tweet read, “Did you know that the US Congress is not actually permitted to authorize any new spending unless a portion of it is directed toward buying weapons for Israel? It’s the law.”

“Or if not actually the written law then so ingrained in political custom as to functionally be indistinguishable from law,” another tweet said. 

In an exclusive interview with Press TV, American journalist and political commentator Helen Buyniski slammed the Guardian’s move and said it was not reasonable, but entirely predictable that the newspaper tied itself in logical pretzels by trying to claim that Robinson was not “fired” as he was not technically an employee.

According to Buyniski, Robinson’s tweet, delivered in an obviously satirical tone, was followed up by a second tweet in which he apparently felt compelled to point out the original was a joke.

“Sensing weakness, the Guardian did what the lockstep defenders of Israel do when they smell an apology or any sort of second-guessing uncertainty - it pounced,” she said.

“It’s important to note that Robinson’s editor didn’t fire him immediately, but first sent him an email with an unsourced, apparently wildly-offended quote (claiming his joke inflames ‘the myth of ‘Jewish power’’ which in turn supposedly ‘informs murderous hatred’) and called Robinson’s joke tweet ‘fake news’,” added the journalist who works for RT.

Both responses constitute an absurd overreaction to a tweet he had admitted was a joke. Instead of defending himself, Robinson began groveling obsequiously, according to Buyniski.

“There’s nothing the Israeli lobby likes more than a big, juicy apology, and while his editor thanked him, even - according to Robinson – ‘suggesting that the incident could be put behind us,’ Robinson’s fate was clearly sealed when he obediently deleted the tweet and said he was ‘sorry to cause you trouble’,” she noted.

Guardian editor John Mulholland who described the tweet as misleading and inappropriate called on Robinson to delete the post and apologize.

Robinson said he was “appalled and depressed to see new funding for Israeli missiles being passed at the same time as pitifully small COVID relief.”

He said that the tweet was a “joke,” in which “I relieved my anger.”

Impact on Guardian’s reputation

Buyniski says the Guardian’s decision to fire Robinson was “cowardly” at best.

However, she added, it is unlikely to significantly influence the outlet’s reputation among its readers, who mostly hail from that spineless segment of the British (and American) Left who, while insisting they are liberals who truly care about freedom of speech, the plight of the working class, and world peace, regularly make excuses to avoid standing up for Palestine or any other of Israel’s neighbors who bear the brunt of its aggression.

“These were the readers who fell short in defending Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn when he himself was being torn to shreds by the Israeli lobby’s sharks over baseless allegations of ‘antisemitism’ at a time when he had a chance at becoming Prime Minister and actually helping those whom Israel had oppressed for so long,” she noted.

“While braver outlets like Al Jazeera were running quality content like the eye-opening documentary ‘The Lobby’ - which exposed how exactly a popularly-beloved candidate like Corbyn could be transformed into an antisemitic demon in the eyes of British leftists in the space of mere months, the Guardian was satisfied limply trying to carve out a spot just a few centimetres to the left of the BBC, which was gleefully eviscerating Corbyn, who’d been duped into apologizing for a crime of which he was not at all guilty, ending his political career.”

Israel’s influence on US foreign policy

She further highlighted the fact that Israel has long called the shots regarding US foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East.

“Generally seen as one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, its influence is felt chiefly through funding. A candidate who does not bow and scrape before the Israeli lobby will not get elected, period, and their opponent will be showered in cash. As former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney exposed years ago - on Press TV among other places - American candidates seeking national office had to literally sign a loyalty oath to Israel in order to win an election, and once that was exposed, they were subsequently asked to write fulsome, simpering paragraphs about ‘what Israel means to them’,” she said.

“The US continues to shower Israel in military aid because proposing an increase in such aid is a surefire winner in an election season, and even hinting at a decrease in such payments is heresy. It’s the one issue on which nearly every candidate agrees, and come election season, one is regularly treated to the unwholesome spectacle of a stage full of candidates engaging in competitive sycophancy for the sake of Israel,” Buyniski noted, pointing to the US huge arms sales to Israel.

Earlier this month, Israel approved a nearly $3 billion arms deal with the United States. Under the agreement, Washington will provide Tel Aviv with F-35 and F-16 fighters and Chinook helicopters.

According to Buyniski, especially since the “war on terror” - a misnamed misadventure launched under hostile occupation of the White House by the faction of Israel agents known as neoconservatives - the US has had few friends it can count on in the Middle East.

“While Israel is not truly a friend to Washington - it regularly sells the top-secret American military technology it buys with US taxpayer dollars to China and other geopolitical rivals, for example - it has considerable leverage over the country, both overtly and covertly in the form of blackmail,” she noted, referring as an example to the recent exposure of the sex trafficking ring operated by Jeffrey Epstein, whose handler Ghislaine Maxwell is the daughter of Israeli superspy Robert Maxwell, was merely the tip of an enormous iceberg implicating many of the most powerful figures in American politics.

Israel has long been the largest cumulative recipient of the US military aid. To date, Washington has provided Israel with $146 billion in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding, according to a report published by the US Congress in November.

It said that almost all US assistance to Israel is in the form of military aid. The regime had also been receiving significant economic assistance from 1971 to 2007.

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