Immediate removal of Phillips’s article “Don’t fall for bogus claims of ‘Islamophobia'

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December 17, 2019


Re: Melanie Phillips’s article “Don’t fall for bogus claims of ‘Islamophobia’”.                              

Dear Stephen Pollard,

I was shocked and saddened this morning to read the article by Melanie Philips published in the Jewish Chronicle entitled “Don’t fall for bogus claims of ‘Islamophobia’”. Moreover, I am concerned that such an article full of hate and the dehumanisation of the Palestinians and Muslims was published in your newspaper.

We are all aware of how efficient a tool the media is in shaping public perceptions. It is especially crucial of how ‘the other’ is depicted in the newspapers of the Jewish community when it comes to the Palestinians and Muslims and likewise in Arab newspapers when it comes to Jews and Israelis. By allowing the publication of Melanie Phillips’s article, you took part in promoting hate towards Palestinians and Muslims. I therefore demand an apology and the immediate removal of the article.

The direct accusation of Palestinians and the support for the Palestinian cause of preventing the acknowledgement of antisemitism as Melanie Phillips described “the widespread moral confusion is hampering proper acknowledgment of antisemitism”, is malicious and hate-mongering. Moreover, it is a cynical way to silence the fears and complaints of Islamophobia which are very real.

Accusations against the whole Muslim society and Palestinian nation of Jew-hatred “The Palestinians constantly spew out medieval and Nazi-themed hatred of Jews, presenting them as the source of all evil in the world. They claim that the Jews were behind 9/11, that they are current-day Nazis and that they control US foreign policy and the world’s finances and media.” is racist in itself and lacks a factual basis. Beyond racist, it is dehumanising and creates a fertile ground for legitimising physical attacks on Muslims in the UK and supports the prolonged occupation of the Palestinian people.

The article draws a clear line of animosity, pitching the Jewish people against the Muslim community in the UK and the Palestinian people everywhere. Moreover, claiming that ‘Islamophobia’ facilitates anti-Semitism “’Islamophobia’ is not equivalent to antisemitism. It facilitates it.” deprives the Muslims their right to name their oppression.

Additionally, while rightly denouncing of anti-Semitism and wrongly negating Islamophobia it may be implied that you believe that only Jewish fears matter, which is racist.

As a Palestinian citizen of Israel and a Muslim I feel personally attacked by this article. It disturbs me even more having invested endless efforts in forging good relations with the Jewish community here in the UK for the past three years. I know that this article doesn’t represent the views of my many Jewish friends and one that doesn’t deserve to be most read on the Jewish Chronicle.

Here is the reaction of Rabbi David Mason, who is a friend and a partner in building bridges of trust between the Muslim and the Jewish communities.

“This is the most read piece at the moment on the The Jewish Chronicle website. This article is at minimum incredibly unhelpful, but really is full of generalisation, and portrays such a deeply problematic message to our Muslim brothers and sisters - that at our time of need for support in fighting antisemitism, this is what we publish. Well this piece is not in my name, and I hope it is rejected by most across our community. I know good Palestinian and Muslim friends of mine who are shocked by this piece. As the The Board of Deputies of British Jews have tweeted, the publication of this piece was an error. I am with them on this."

I look forward to the immediate removal of the article and apology for both the Palestinian and the Muslim societies in UK.