While I was on vacation last week, the Guardian’s hiring of columnist Josh Treviño sparked outrage from some on the left (liberals are for diversity — except when they’re not.) The attacks were in many ways predictable (some resent giving a conservative this forum and hope to strangle the baby in the crib) and in some cases (such as in calling Treviño a “white supremacist“) entirely spurious.
As an occasional, if infrequent, contributor to the Guardian, myself — as well as someone who has known Treviño for years — mine is an informed perspective. Treviño and I don’t agree on everything (no two writers could), but he is a smart analyst and a terrific writer. What is more, the Guardian’s readers could benefit from a more diverse selection of opinions, and Treviño is well-equipped to provide a steady diet of this commodity.
But let’s be honest: The real problem is that Treviño’s critics disagree with him over one of his most strongly-held opinions — his support for Israel.
Over at Al Jazeera, Ali Abunimah wrote,
A colleague suggested that, by hiring Treviño, The Guardian was returning to its Zionist roots – indeed it had long championed the cause of Israel and Zionist settlement in Palestine. That might be true incidentally, however the motive appears to be something more mundane, but just as worrying for public discourse.
And an open letter to the Guardian, signed by twenty-seven signatories, complains that Treviño
served on the board of the pro-Israel group Act for Israel, and was listed on its website as being “a staunch digital advocate of Israel”. This former speechwriter for George W Bush will no doubt be bringing his one-sided political views to the Guardian and using it as a platform for his propaganda.
It’s pretty obvious what is happening here. This isn’t about Treviño. It’s about his silencing a pro-Israel voice.