Azzam Tamimi, Hamas Special Envoy in Guardian Row

The Jewish Chronicle reports:

The Guardian has refused to publish a letter from the press counsellor of the Israeli Embassy complaining that the writer of a comment article had not been properly identified as Hamas’ de facto London representative. The newspaper called the Israeli diplomat’s description “highly defamatory”.

On November 21, the Guardian ran a comment piece entitled “End the Siege of Gaza” by the Palestinian academic Azzam Tamimi, arguing that Israel, and not Hamas, was to blame for the recent escalation around the Gaza Strip and the humanitarian conditions within.

Mr Tamimi was described as “Director of the London-based Institute of Islamic Political Thought, author of Hamas: Unwritten Chapters, and has advised Hamas on media strategy.”

Elisabeth Ribbans, managing editor of the Guardian, said: “The letters editor receives hundreds of submissions every day and is not obliged to publish any letter, nor in fact give any reasons for not doing so.

“The bottom line is that the descriptions of Azzam Tamimi were defamatory and we think that it’s clear to any journalist why that is.

“That’s why we didn’t publish them. We wrote that he was an adviser for Hamas, but we don’t really say what the writer advocates, we simply described his relationship to Hamas.”

Look let’s get something straight.

The only reason that anybody listens to Azzam Tamimi is that he is – as the Malaysian news service put it – the “Hamas special envoy“. That is surely the reason that the Guardian publishes him, after all.

If it weren’t for that, he would just be a ranting nutter with a beard:

And can somebody explain this the following to me?

1.  Why would Azzam Tamimi think that it was defamatory to describe him as  “Hamas’ de facto London representative”? Surely this is the sort of thing he’d be hugely proud of.

2. In any case, why is it defamatory to say that Tamimi is “Hamas’ de facto London representative”, but acceptable to say that  he is an “adviser for Hamas”?

Why is the Guardian being so bizarre?