Editor of anti-Palestine Jewish Chronicle accused of inciting anti-Muslim hatred with false tweet – Middle East Monitor

The Editor of the London based Jewish Chronicle (JC), Jake Wallis Simons, has been slammed and accused of inciting hatred against Muslims and Islam for posting a tweet propagating the false news that Palestinian Muslims had launched an attack on a Church near Bethlehem.

“Palestinian Muslims launch Ramadan attack on Church of the Annunciation in Beit Jala near Bethlehem,” said Simons in a tweet, which he later deleted. Screenshots of the tweet was shared on social media, where many asked Simons if he had issued a correction and an apology to Muslims for spreading misinformation.

As well as being the editor of the JC, Simons has also written for the right-wing outlet accused of meddling Islamophobia, the Spectator. The JC, too, has a history of making false allegations about Muslim groups and is often accused of inciting anti-Muslim racism. One of the more shocking articles by the JC called Islamophobia “bogus” and even claimed that the concept of “Islamophobia” is “profoundly anti-Jew.”

As it turned out, there was no such attack by Muslims on the Church. The incident is reported to have been a spill over from a dispute in a nearby restaurant. Simon’s failure to verify the incident before sending out a highly provocative anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian tweet exposed his bigotry according to immigration, human rights solicitor, Fahad Ansari.

Ansari said that Simons tweet sought to equate anti-Christian violence with Islam and Palestinians. According to the UK based solicitor, using the phrase “Ramadan attack” at a time of collective worship across both Christianity and Islam was particularly emotive and designed to foment division between the two communities.

“So why did Simons do it?” asked Ansari in the series of tweets debunking the fake news spread by Simons. “Perhaps he was so outraged by the footage against the Christian community that he could not hold back. But if that’s the case, one would have expected comment by either Simons or @JewishChron on stories about the persecution of Palestine’s Christians?”

There does not appear to be any comment by Simon or the JC about the attack on Palestinian Christians by Jewish extremists.  The Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III warned of “unprecedented attacks on the Christian presence by radical Israeli groups,” according to the BBC, which highlighted the growing rate of attack on Christians. Church buildings and Christian cemeteries have been desecrated. Israeli extremists have been chanting “Death to Arabs, Death to Christians”.

According to the Greek Orthodox Church “Terrorist attacks, by radical Israeli groups, targeting churches, cemeteries, and Christian properties … have become almost a daily occurrence that evidently increases in intensity during Christian holidays.”

Ansari shared links to several articles about the attack on Christians by Israelis and asked why Simons and the JC have not issued a condemnation. “One would have thought that mobs attacking churches and Christian owned businesses, chanting ‘Death to Christians’, would have triggered some sort of newsworthy comment by Simons,” said Ansari.

“It is evident Simons’ concern for Palestine’s Christians was performative and his real intention was to incite hatred against Muslims and Islam, thereby exposing his own bigotry and Islamophobia.”

Details of previous anti-Muslim articles by Simons were shared by Ansari, including one where he allegedly tried to hamper Sadiq Khan’s mayoral election campaign by painting him as an extremist. The JC has also tried to paint the new Scottish First Minister, Humza Yousaf, as a sympathiser of the Palestinian group, Hamas.

The regulatory group, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), was urged to open an investigation into Simons for the “horrific tweet”, and questions were raised over whether he should still be invited by Sky News on the show.

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