This is the letter I’ve just sent to The Guardian’s ‘Readers’ Editor’, Chris Elliott. I invite you to do the same. I’ve made one revision in para 2, which appears in brackets.

Dear Mr Elliott

I write to express my shock about the ‘advertisement’ The Guardian intends to run in tomorrow’s edition under the headline ‘Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago. Now it’s Hamas’ turn’, which features a quote from Elie Wiesel ‘[calling] upon President Obama and the leaders of the world to condemn Hamas’ use of children as human shields.’

Since you are a journalist, I’m sure you know that this so called ‘advert’ is factually incorrect, not to mention inflammatory and profoundly racist. (That is, unless you consider eating dinner at home with your family using them as ‘human shields.’ This appears to be the current Israeli definition.) You must also know that last year the United Nations published a report showing that the Israeli Defence Force routinely uses Palestinian children as human shields, strapping them to the hoods of army jeeps, for instance, and forcing them into ‘suspect’ buildings ahead of IDF soldiers.

Of course, this is in addition to Israel’s detention and torture of literally hundreds of Palestinian children each year for such crimes as stone throwing and – in one infamous case – playing on a road intended solely for the use of Israeli settlers. These are carefully documented claims which have been verified by numerous international bodies, not the hysterical assertions of failed PR strategists.

If you would like to learn more about the UN findings, I invite you to read this article from the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, about which The Guardian ran one of its ‘In praise of’ leaders just last week.

What’s clear here is that the deaths of more than 400 Palestinian children since these latest attacks on Gaza began have focused the world’s attention on the plight of the Palestinians who live in an ever-shrinking territory under an eight year blockade. The attempt by the sponsors of this advert to deflect blame for these deaths from the people who actually committed them – while their cheerleaders in Tel Aviv danced and sang ‘There is no school tomorrow. There are no children left in Gaza’ – is deeply cynical.

It is deplorable that Mr Wiesel is trading on his Nobel credentials to create a smokescreen for genocide, and your shameful collusion in this sinister enterprise calls into question the reasons I have been a regular Guardian reader for many years.

I’m afraid that relationship has ended, and judging from the responses I’ve read on social media I am not alone.


Juliana Farha