Robert Fisk: Condemn me, but get your facts right first

 

Share

Here we go again. This libellous and racist quotation comes from an email sent to The Independent by "Bernadette", a member of a pro-Israeli lobby group in Australia.

"Robert Fisk is the most anti-Semitic, rabid, prejudiced, blithering fool in Britain, if not the world – he is a non-journalist, in fact he's a raving idiot with a very small mind and a very large ego. He stops at nothing to put his personal anti-Semitic message across, which he gets sent to him from the where? [sic] the Middle East, not through any personal investigation; he tells any number of lies that gullible, unthinking people can't wait to agree with. He's a pawn of the Muslims – may he enjoy them when they set up sharia law in Britain and Europe – which is what they intend doing – chances are, if he makes one slip, they would turn on him and have him stoned to death, or even publicly behead him. Unfortunately far too many people are totally fooled because of people like him."

I don't care about the vicious personal abuse – that's what you get from pro-Israeli lobby outfits when they don't like you – though I do care about the appalling sloppiness in the letter's use of English grammar. But what really enrages me is the suggestion that my life is in danger, that I will be "stoned to death" or even publicly beheaded. Last time I faced this sort of filth, it came from the actor John Malkovich who told the Cambridge Union that he would like to shoot me and George Galloway. Quite apart from associating me with a jerk like Galloway, Malkovich spawned a heap of vileness on the internet from even less rational people, one of whom portrayed my face covered in blood with the caption: "Malkovich is jumping the queue."

I should add that The Independent took this matter up with the South Cambridgeshire police, who interviewed those present at the union but concluded that Malkovich had not spoken with "intent". So that's all right then. Yet in a subsequent interview in The Observer, he made no attempt to apologise for his threat and the paper itself repeated the libel of anti-Semitism against me. The Observer later carried a printed apology and withdrew the Malkovich interview from its website. None of this surprised me.

In 2001, after I was beaten by Afghan refugees on the Pakistani border, by men whose families had just been killed in a B-52 raid on Kandahar, Mark Steyn wrote an article about me in The Wall Street Journal under the headline: "A self-loathing multiculturalist gets his due." Steyn, who made much of my suggestion that, if I were an Afghan who had lost his family, I would also beat Robert Fisk, cackled – without mentioning the loss of the families, of course – that "you'd have to have a heart of stone not to weep with laughter". Steyn might be dismissed for such nonsense, but he doesn't stop. Last year, he claimed that the London bombings of 2007 and the Madrid train bombings were the "opening shots of a European civil war".

As Europe's white population fled, the continent would become "reprimitivised". Author Kenan Malik – incorrectly claiming that Steyn also said that Muslims "were expanding like mosquitoes" – has pointed out that there are currently 13 million Muslims in Europe out of a population of 491 million. To outnumber the majority by 2020, Muslims would have to increase their numbers 20-fold in just over a decade. I suppose this is why every act against humanity is now attributed so quickly to Muslims. Yes, of course, Muslims – or those who claim to be Muslims (though this is at times a dodgy argument) – have committed individual crimes against humanity, the 11 September 2001 attacks being the most terrible example. But did that merit The Sun's headline after right-wing Norwegian killer and self-styled crusader against Islam Anders Behring Breivik – who drew on Steyn's work in his proto-Nazi "manifesto" – murdered 77 people in Oslo and a nearby island last year. It read: "Al-Qa'ida Massacre: Norway's 9/11."

Needless to say, the Islamophobes, after ritual condemnation of Breivik, largely avoided referring to him as a "terrorist" – a term reserved for Muslims – and called him "mad" instead. I notice that this is exactly how Israel deals with its own "terrorists" (by their own definition of the word). The mass murderer Baruch Goldstein, who slaughtered 29 Palestinians in the Hebron mosque massacre in 1994, was always referred to as "deranged" rather than a "terrorist". Thus his act, like Breivik's last year, was de-politicised, de-"terrorised".

Back in 2006, a Brussels schoolboy, Joe Van Holsbeeck, was murdered at the city's central station for his MP3 player. Paul Belien, a far-right Catholic conservative journalist (now an adviser to the Dutch politician Geert Wilders), published an op-ed article headlined "Give Us Weapons". Muslims, Belien wrote, are "predators that have learned from childhood... how to slaughter warm herd animals". Imams were asked to hand over the Muslim murderer. Then newspapers revealed that the killers were Poles. And then – worse still – Roma! Ian Buruma found the real perspective when he wrote that "aggressiveness is seen as a sign of genuineness and the showing of anger a proof of moral integrity". Ergo Mr Belien, Dr Goldstein, Mr Breivik, Mr Steyn and even "Bernadette", the Aussie who predicts my public beheading. Be angry. Be right.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Magento Front End Web Developer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...

Investigo: management accountant

£250 - £300 per day: Investigo: Growing international marketing business requi...

Recruitment Genius: ORM / Online Reputational Consultant

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ORM Consultant is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Facilities Manager

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of educat...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Katie Price is due to divorce second husband Alex Reid today  

Lay off Katie Price – she’s entitled to state help for her disabled son

Rosie Millard
Burning vehicles are seen near the village of Ghajar on Israel's border with Lebanon January 28, 2015  

Israel vs Hezbollah: Why another war is unlikely

Maya Gebeily
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore