Journalists, activists and personalities have issued an open letter condemning the Guardian’s agreement to run a “wildly inaccurate and inflammatory” advert yesterday after papers like The Times refused to publish it.
The ad — which has also been featured in US newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post — was penned by Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and Zionism supporter Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.
Its headline accused Palestinian resistance movement Hamas of “child sacrifice.”
The open letter was issued by the Stop the War Coalition (STWC) and counts former Guardian foreign leader writer David Hearst and writer Tariq Ali among the signatories.
STWC convener Lindsey German told the Star that “It is astonishing that Murdoch's Times has refused this ad but the Guardian is accepting this anti-Palestinian diatribe.”
The advert published in today’s edition of the Guardian charges Hamas with using children as human shields, a fact that has been repeatedly denied by local observers.
Pro-Palestinian online publication Electronic Intifada associate editor Asa Winstanley labelled the accusation “a calumny and a blood libel.”
“It's time the Guardian stopped its pro-zionist editorial policies and stopped branding protests anti-Semitic”, added Ms German.
But Guardian media commentator Roy Greenslade argued in his latest column that the publication of the advert does not amount to support for the views expressed in it.
A Guardian News & Media spokesperson said: "The decision to run any display advertisement in the Guardian is made on a case-by-case basis and there was a full discussion about accepting the advert in question. However, the acceptance of advertising from any organisation does not equate to support or endorsement for the views expressed in that advert. The Guardian is fully committed to reporting from the Middle East and our coverage will continue to be independent and robust."
The National Union of Journalists declined to comment before the Guardian union chapel had the time to discuss the issue.