European Jew-hatred too deep to identify ‘even after years of therapy,’ Douglas Murray says

The British journalist, who is one of Israel’s most articulate defenders, talked to JNS about media bias and antisemitism.

By Dave Gordon | | Topics: Antisemitism
British journalist and author Douglas Murray speaks at a Tafsik event in Toronto, Canada, on Feb. 28, 2024. Credit: Shawn Goldberg/Tafsik.
British journalist and author Douglas Murray speaks at a Tafsik event in Toronto, Canada, on Feb. 28, 2024. Credit: Shawn Goldberg/Tafsik.

Traveling in the Arab world, the British journalist Douglas Murray has found “fanatical obsessives” who know something about Israel but still criticize the Jewish state. And then there are those who peddle “counterfactual history,” he told JNS.

“For instance, Egyptians think they won the war in 1973. Smart, Egyptian, young professionals will think that they won the war in 1973,” Murray told JNS, of the Yom Kippur War, during an interview in Toronto on Feb. 28 prior to his remarks at a Tafsik event.

“I had to break it to a friend in Cairo once that they lost badly. He said, ‘Really. I thought we whipped their ass?’” Murray said. “I said, ‘No, they whipped your ass. Seriously.’”

Since Oct. 7, Murray, 44, a best-selling author and associate editor of The Spectator, has done a lot of explaining about Israel on television—often on Piers Morgan’s show—and at speaking engagements. The Anglican-turned atheist’s largest social-media following includes many pro-Israel accounts that regularly share video footage of him denouncing Hamas, defending Israel and debating antisemitic guests.

Knesset member Danny Danon, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, has called Murray a “great friend of Israel and of the Jewish people.”

“We need a special designation for those bravely standing with Jews and Israel in facing the greatest surge of Jew-hatred in decades. Let’s call them ‘Heroic Friends of the Jewish People,’” wrote former American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris, now vice chair of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy. “My first candidate is Douglas Murray.”

Murray told JNS that many people aim to distance themselves from the Jewish state “because they don’t want Israel to be their problem.”

“Maybe if we come up with a perfect argument,” he said. “Maybe if we inform people about the history, and broadly speaking, you’re talking about trying to educate or inform people who are not educated or informed.”

Most anti-Israel people aren’t informed about the Peel Commission or the Balfour Declaration, according to Murray. “You’re talking about people who have never heard of any of these things,” he said.

“Among non-Muslims in the West, there’s a lot of ignorance, too. They fall into this psychopathy, in which they knowingly or unknowingly, usually unknowingly, desperately want to be able to accuse Jews of something,” Murray added. “That motivates them, and, of course, it makes them think that they’re good people.”

British journalist and author Douglas Murray. Credit: Courtesy.

Media bias

Murray told JNS that the media gets things so wrong about Israel for two main reasons—one technical and journalistic, and the other moral.

Very few in the journalism business like to discuss it, but “there are wars you can cover and wars you can’t,” Murray said. “Ever since Marie Colvin at the Sunday Times was killed in Syria in 2012, there were effectively no foreign reporters in Syria.”

“It’s the same in a number of conflicts—the conflict in Congo being an obvious example, with vast loss of life and untold numbers of dead. But Western journalists aren’t interested in it,” he said. “That’s in part because of the extreme danger of operating in some of those situations.”

The war in Gaza is rare in having a military that “wishes to inform the media, actually gives the media answers to questions,” Murray said. “It’s not like Bashar al-Assad in Syria is very good at the comms department.”

Beyond logistics that facilitate international media coverage of the Israel Defense Forces, Murray told JNS that there is “a desire of people to blame Israel for almost everything.”

“Israel is accused of committing genocide every time it engages even in the most minimal conflicts, such as conflicts in 2009 and 2012,” said Murray. “The same people who are saying that Israel is committing genocide now were saying the same thing then. They always say it. They always accuse Israel of behaving in a Nazi-like fashion. They always say that Gaza is a concentration camp, that sort of thing.”

British journalist and author Douglas Murray at the Knesset on Jan. 22, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

European Jew-hatred

Asked why there is so much antisemitism in Europe, Murray replied that many are “working out to have some kind of guilt complex, which ends up attacking the victim.”

“It is a desire so deep down, they probably could never identify it even after years of therapy—to blame the Jews and accuse them of the same thing done to the Jews,” Murray said.

He thinks there are other factors as well.

“Many Muslims attack Israel because they hate the Jews, and they hate the Jewish state,” Murray told JNS. “They can’t bear to see the Jewish state winning, ever. And that’s what sends them bananas, every time Israel is engaged in anything.”

Murray thinks that hatred comes from a “general obsession with Israel with any military action.”

“There are terms which just don’t crop up and ideas that don’t crop up in other wars, like the idea that proportionality is more important than victory,” he said. “Or indeed the idea that fighting to a draw is a desirable conclusion after you’ve been attacked.”

In an interview in late October with Rita Panahi, of Sky News Australia, Murray said that proportionality in war is absurd.

“It’s something which I think Western countries and the UN, who always gang up on Israel whenever Israel is attacked, it’s something that these people always obsess about only in the case of Israel,” Murray said. “We in Western democracies, whenever we’ve had to wage war in the past, do not say, ‘Is this entirely proportionate in a response, because proportionate is an abstract idea. What is proportionate in a conflict?”

“Proportionate in this conflict would mean that the response to the massacre of more than 1,000 Israelis in cold blood by Hamas a couple of weeks ago should be responded to by Israel by sending Israeli forces to rape exactly the same number of women as Hamas raped, and to decapitate exactly the same number of babies Hamas decapitated, and to steal hundreds of Palestinians and hold them in dungeons, and torture them as Hamas did,” he added. “It’s obscene to even think in these terms.”

Murray also told JNS that “if people have any doubt that that’s the case, they should just compare the international obsession that is going on at the moment.”

“If America would have the same proportion of its population murdered as Israel did on Oct. 7, it would have been something in the region of 130,000 Americans. No one’s going to tell me that if 130,000 Americans were butchered, raped and abducted in a single day, America would not tear up the earth,” he said. ‘The same with Britain and Canada.”

 

South Africa

Murray told JNS that South Africa, in bringing its case alleging genocide against Israel before the International Court of Justice—the main UN judicial organ—primarily stood to gain Iranian money.

“The South African government brought this frivolous, ridiculous, defamatory case to the ICJ because Iran is giving them money to do so,” he said. “They act as one of the many proxies of Iran.” (Both Johannesburg and Tehran are members of BRICS.)

“The South African government can’t keep the lights on in Johannesburg. So I don’t think they’re best placed to lay down what their views on a conflict are that they have no business butting into,” he said.

Looking at the United Kingdom and the United States, Murray sees noted differences between Jewish activism in support of Israel and against antisemitism.

“Jews, particularly in Britain, which I know very well, think that they should kind of keep their heads down. They shouldn’t complain too much. They’re lucky to be here,” Murray said. “I say, ‘No. This is your country, and it has been through centuries.’”

“In America, American Jews are much more outspoken, much more organized,” he added. “Much braver, I think.”

Members

Israel Today Membership

Read all member content. Access exclusive, in-depth reports from Israel! Free Zoom events. Connect with Israel right from your home! Raise a voice of truth and hope. Support Faith-based journalism in Jerusalem!

Monthly
Membership

$5
/ month
Full access to Israel Today's Member-only content on all Digital Platforms.
Become a Member

Yearly
Membership

$46
/ year
Full access to Israel Today's Member-only content on all Digital Platforms.
Save 18% Per Month.
Become a Member

Six Months
Membership

$28
every 6 months
Full access to Israel Today's Member-only content on all Digital Platforms.
Save 9% Per Month.
Become a Member

Leave a Reply

Israel Today Newsletter

Daily news

FREE to your inbox

Israel Heute Newsletter

Tägliche Nachrichten

KOSTENLOS in Ihrer Inbox

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter