Lerman’s Hidden Agenda

This is a guest post by AKUS

Lerman has been using the Guardian as his (only?) way of furthering the dispute which caused him to leave the Institute of Jewish Policy Research or IJPR. His support for the Oborne documentary, and the litany of one sided accusations and “discoveries” about “the Jewish lobby” could be hurled at a long list of pro-Palestinian organizations. But, leaving aside his obsessive hatred of Israel, which of course makes him a welcome guest on CiF, that does not really interest him as much as having an avenue, in his fevered anger, with which to attack his former employer in a newspaper that has nothing to do with his departure from IJPR:

Thus, buried in his angry article, we see:

Sadly, acting director of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research Jonathan Boyd’s recounting of the contemptible attack he experienced falls into the category of irresponsible scaremongering. He uses a distorted version of Alan Rusbridger’s comments in the programme on press coverage of Israel as a stick to beat the media for rising levels of anti-Semitism – a classic case of blaming the messenger.

It doesn’t end with the attack on Jonathan Boyd. In an earlier column, he used the Kaminski affair as the basis for his attack on the IJPR. At the time, in a previous article, I wrote:

Lerman’s appointment in early 2006 as Director (for the second time) of a Jewish community think-tank, the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (IJPR) precipitated the resignation of four IJPR directors and of one of its honorary patrons, the Conservative peer Lord Kalms. This was because Lerman had questioned the viability of Israel as a Jewish State. In 2008 Lerman “left” the Directorship of the IJPR and he is now futilely trying to strike back at mainstream Jewish leadership, using the Kaminski affair as a crutch to justify himself:

Having played the Kaminski card against Lord Kalms once, Lerman uses the Guardian to further his attack on this person. Lord Kalms is apparently a personal nemesis of Lerman’s who resigned from the IJPR, presumably taking his (considerable?) financial support with him, in protest against Lerman’s virulent bias against Israel. Lerman uses this latest article, ostensibly in support of the Oborne documentary, to take aim at Lord Kalms

These same businessmen and entrepreneurs who support and drive the Israel lobby organisations are sought after to chair major Jewish charitable institutions. They’re not kept hidden in boxes. They’re lionised. We should have the guts and the confidence to allow the robust but fair discussion of their involvement in politics. Peter Oborne investigated Lord Ashcroft. Why shouldn’t he do the same with Lord Kalms?

Not only is Lerman disguising his campaign via these articles in the Guardian against his former employer and a person whose resignation likely precipitated Lerman leaving the organization (since his views and direction were opposed to the aims of the organization and its supporters), he is, it seems being deliberately provided with a platform to do so. I cannot help wonder why the Guardian insists in inserting itself into a spat that should be taking place, if at all, within the Jewish community.

Perhaps Lerman, this broken reed, is the best stick they can find to beat the IJPR for the “crime” of employing people who support Israel.

Mr Disraeli, Mr Oborne, Mr Gladstone and Mr Lerman

This is a guest post by Professor Geoffrey Alderman. Professor Alderman is the Michael Gross Professor of Politics & Contemporary History at the University of Buckingham

In 1876 Bulgarian Christians rebelled against their Ottoman oppressors. Tsar Alexander II determined to exploit this crisis to further Russian influence in south-east Europe. Benjamin Disraeli, the British prime minister, determined to stop him. At a peacemaking congress held in Berlin in 1878 Disraeli sided with Muslim Turkey against Christian Russia, and made it clear that he would only agree to recognise the independence of Bulgaria, along with Rumania, Serbia and Montenegro, if the Christian (and pro-Russian) leaders of these countries agreed to recognise and respect the rights of minorities – in particular Jewish minorities.

The anger of Disraeli’s arch-rival, William Ewart Gladstone, knew no bounds. “I deeply deplore [he proclaimed] the manner in which what I may call Judaic sympathies … are now acting on the question of the East.”  Because, of course, Disraeli, though then a Christian, had been born a Jew and had never ceased to advertise and be proud of his Jewish origins. Gladstone decided to make political mischief out of this fact. He – and a group of leading intellectuals and socialists – jumped eagerly upon an anti-Semitic bandwagon: Jewish interests, they alleged, were undermining British politics and subordinating British interests to international Jewry’s Jewish preoccupations.

I recalled these events as I watched Peter Oborne’s rather boring documentary Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby. And I recalled them again as I read Tony Lerman’s equally boring – and very lame – defence of it on the Guardian website.  The documentary told us nothing that we did not already know.  So there’s the Conservative Friends of Israel and the Labour Friends of Israel. So there’s the Conservative Friends of India and the Labour Friends of Iraq. So there’s the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre (BICOM) and the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding.  So there’s the Lord’s Day Observance Society and the British Humanist Association. So what?

Many years ago (1984) I wrote a book examining Pressure Groups and Government in Great Britain.  Two points that I made in that volume are worth repeating here.  The first was that in a liberal democracy pressure groups – lobbies if you like – are the lubricants that oil the machinery of government. They are as necessary to democracy as is freedom of expression.  The second was that more transparency was needed in respect of the manner in which such groups went about their work. Well, we have come a long way since I published that book, and we certainly have more transparency now than we did then.

I agree that there is still room for improvement. But the Dispatches documentary produced not a single skeleton in the cupboard. Instead we had a succession of moaners – including, I regret to say, academics (such as professor David Newman of Ben Gurion University) who should know better – bemoaning the fact that their opinions did not carry much weight within Britain’s Jewish communities. Newman’s assertion that groups such as BICOM “tend to close down” debate on Israeli policies vis-à-vis Judea and Samaria is – frankly – fatuous to the point of absurdity. As for Oborne, he himself was forced to admit, near the end of the programme, that although there were indeed “conspiracy theories” surrounding the influence of pro-Israel lobbies, such theories “have no basis in fact.” And in his dissection of political donations made by CFI board members Oborne was at pains to point out that such donations were “entirely legal.”  Indeed, Oborne even documented cases where donations had been made to politicians who, nonetheless, had continued (would you believe?) to publicly voice sentiments critical of Israel.  And Oborne certainly missed a trick when he failed to follow up instances of failure on the part of pro-Israeli lobbies – the UK’s recent refusal to condemn the Goldstone report being a case in point.

It’s in this light that I reject Tony Lerman’s defence of the programme. Just because anti-Semites might exploit the programme, says Lerman, that’s no reason not to make it, and not to air it. “Does that mean [he asks in his Guardian CiF blog] you can never shine an objective, critical light on any Jewish activity for fear of giving succour to antisemites?”

Tony, boychick, of course it doesn’t. Jewish lobbies are as fair game for the investigative journalist as are non-Jewish lobbies.  But – by his own admission – Peter Oborne had no story to tell, did he? Nothing illegal.  Nothing illicit.  Nothing conspiratorial. Mind you, some of his logic was questionable: X funds Y; X funds Z; therefore Y controls Z. This type of reasoning defies common sense. But we’ll let that pass, for now. The point is – Tony – that Oborne had no story to tell.

Or did he? According to Mr. Lerman, Oborne produced “strong evidence that the Israel lobby maintains and pursues a view of Israel’s interests that is neither conducive to furthering the cause of a genuine Israel-Palestine peace nor helpful for British Jewry, in whose interests the lobby claims to operate.”  Well, of course, that all depends on the opinions you hold on the wider issues.

So let’s return to William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli.  Gladstone accused Disraeli of operating British foreign policy in the interests of international Jewry rather than in the interests of the United Kingdom. Disraeli demolished this mischievous thinking. It was – he and his supporters argued – in Britain’s interest to support the rights of oppressed minorities in the disintegrating Ottoman Empire and resist Russian designs both on broad humanitarian grounds and because of Britain’s long-term strategic interests in what we would now call the Middle East.

Disraeli was right. And so are those contemporary politicians who, whilst they may be critical of individual actions of individual Israeli governments, support Israel’s right to a peaceful existence within defensible borders. Of course, when Lerman asserts that the activities of Britain’s Israel lobby are not “helpful for British Jewry” what he really means is that they’re not helpful for British Jews who think like him. Or – to put it another way – when push comes to shove all that Mr. Lerman can offer us in defence of Mr. Oborne is a large bunch of sour grapes.

“Fair and Balanced”…Yeh Right

Take a look at what Matt Seaton, editor of “Comment is Free”, wrote in the Boyd thread earlier this week.

mattseaton

18 Nov 2009, 6:52PM

Staff Staff

@ Ranong:

Why is the writer of this piece given the opportunity to traduce the programme -makers in The Guardian so soon after another anti (but polite) article by another writer?

I don’t accept that the programme-makers are traduced by Boyd. That would imply a wilful misrepresentation, whereas I don’t doubt that Boyd sincerely believes they made a bad and borderline antisemitic programme. No one is obliged to accept his POV on that.

The fact is that Oborne and James were given the first word in the Comment pages (reproduced online here, of course). Further, there will be a response to Cesarani and Boyd here before the end of the week. We are naturally wary of publishing too much on the topic, but we do aim to give a fair balance of views overall. So please look at our comment coverage in the round.

Let me first take issue with this: “Oborne and James were given the first word in the Comment pages (reproduced online here, of course).”

Yes where else! Don’t you feel just proud of yourself to have republished the writings of Oborne and James that reeked of Jewish conspiracy theory. Moreover, you published the Oborne and James piece prior to the airing of the Channel 4 documentary that no doubt gave it a huge boost in terms of viewership and you primed the prejudices of those susceptible who watched the program. Good job Matt.

You then go on to say that you are “[n]aturally wary of publishing too much”.

What utter BS. You published four articles during the week that generated over 1,500 comments in the aggregate (and the comments are still coming in at the time of writing). The amount of antisemitic discourse in each of these threads was simply astonishing. And you’re wary. You’re not wary of anything. You’ll publish anything that will get guardianistas riled up against the Jews and boost the Guardian’s much needed click thru rate.

And you then claim that you  “aim to give a fair balance of views overall”. More BS. What utter audacity.

Lets take a look at your comment coverage on Israel in CiF Middle East during the month prior to the Oborne report (Nov 16, 2009 – Oct 16, 2009):

13 Nov 2009 – Antony Lerman “The Community Leadership We Deserve” (anti-Israel)

13 Nov 2009 – Charles Grant “Israel’s Dark View of the World” (anti-Israel)

12 Nov 2009 – Ben White “Fragmenting Palestinian Land” (anti-Israel)

11 Nov 2009 – Seth Freedman “Erdogan’s blind faith in Muslims” (anti-Israel)

9 Nov 2009 – Hussein Ibish “Abbas’ Mixed Messages” (pro-Palestinian)

2 Nov 2009 – Hussein Ibish “Palestinians Must Prepare for Statehood” (pro-Palestinian)

1 Nov 2009 – Richard Silverstein “Obama Must Try Harder” (anti-Israel)

1 Nov 2009 – Jeremy Sharon “Writing Jews Out of Jerusalem’s History” (pro-Israel)

30 Oct 2009 – Seth Freedman “The Far Right That Killed Rabin” (anti-Israel)

29 Oct 2009 – Seth Freedman “Israeli Military Gives Settlers Free Rein” (anti-Israel)

28 Oct 2009 – Michelle Goldberg “Driving Up J-Street” (anti-Israel)

28 Oct 2009 – Ahmed Khalidi “The Palestinian Authority’s State’s First Mistake” (anti-Israel)

26 Oct 2009 – Editorial “Roadmap or Roadblock?” (anti-Israel)

26 Oct 2009 – Isi Leibler “J Street’s ‘Pro-Israel’ Stance is Phoney” (pro-Israel)

22 Oct 2009 – Simon Tisdall “Israel is in Denial Over Turkish Rage” (anti-Israel)

22 Oct 2009 – Antony Lerman “The Liberal Jewish Challenge” (anti-Israel)

21 Oct 2009 – Seth Freedman “Palestinians Send Blair a Wake Up Call” (anti-Israel)

21 Oct 2009 – Richard Goldstone “Israel’s Missed Opportunity” (anti-Israel)

21 Oct 2009 – Michael Lerner “A War Crime Whitewash” (anti-Israel)

20 Oct 2009 – Seth Freedman “Filling Up Israel’s Jails to No Avail” (anti-Israel)

20 Oct 2009 – Harold Evans “A Moral Atrocity” (pro-Israel)

18 Oct 2009 – Olivia Hampton “Reviving Hope for Middle East Peace (neutral)

Out of 22 articles there are a mere 3 pro-Israel articles and about half of the 22 articles were penned by the Guardian’s coterie of Theobald Jews.

Very fair. Very balanced.

Why the Jews?

This is the second in a series of articles by David Solway. David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity, and is currently working on a sequel, Living in the Valley of Shmoon. His new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, has just been released by Mantua Books. This article was originally published in Frontpage Magazine on March 26, 2009.

Antisemite: The Jews are responsible for the world’s suffering.
Jew: And also the bicyclists.
Antisemite: Why the bicyclists?
Jew: Why the Jews?

Jewish joke

One of the strangest and, at first blush, inexplicable aspects of the current social and political scene, remarked upon by many writers, is the “unholy alliance” that has been forged between the proponents of Western secularism and the armies of Islam ranged against it. Various reasons have been suggested for this bizarre collaboration between ostensible foes: the inability of many public intellectuals to temper what Paul Hollander in Political Pilgrims has described as a species of “moral indignation and compassion set and guided by their ideologies and partisan commitments”; the liberal delusion of multicultural equivalencies; the shared contempt for the doctrines, practices and symbols of the Christian faith and its supposedly crusading instinct; and, as Jamie Glazov argues in his new book, United in Hate, the Left’s misprision of Western civilization and its consequent “romance with tyranny and terror.”

Making sense of the liberal-left communion with an implacable theological adversary seems nevertheless a puzzling proposition. To quote Nick Cohen’s What’s Left: How Liberals Lost Their Way, we seem to have forgotten about the belief of majority Muslims “in the literal truth of an early medieval book, the elevation of their god over free men and women, their hatred of intellectual freedom, their homophobia, their antisemitism, their supernatural conspiracy theories, their misogyny, their use of state oppression.”

Worse, we do not seem to be overly concerned that we may one day find ourselves living in a Press-1-for-English world. Although it is moot whether the liberal-left has been punk’d by Muslim window-dressing or is, in fact, fully aware of the Islamic commitment against the weal of the democratic West, there is little question that it has come to behave like the cadet branch of Islam, assuming the proper qibla line (direction of prayer).

A glaring and most disturbing feature of this growing entente is the rising swell of antisemitism in the West, particularly in Europe but increasingly on this side of the Atlantic as well. This phenomenon is especially baffling when one considers that almost everything that Islam stands for, certainly in its present embodiment, is inimical to the welfare of the liberal West, while Judaism with its emphasis on the concept of a universal moral law, the exercise of skeptical inquiry into the claims of arbitrary authority, and the importance of individual choice and judgment in taking responsibility for personal salvation would appear to be our natural confederate.

But, upon reflection, perhaps the Western tendency to come to the defence of Islam, under the sign of combatting a non-existent “Islamophobia,” while simultaneously countenancing Jew- and Israel hatred, accusing Jews in the West but not Muslims of “double loyalty,” targeting a presumably nefarious “Israel lobby” for condemnation, regarding Zionism as a form of racism and falsely castigating Israel as an “apartheid state” is not all that difficult to account for.

To begin with, there’s the census. Muslims weigh in at one and half billion people, Jews at a paltry 12 million, many of them lapsed and many of them frankly self-hating. What we are observing is a conflict between an ever bigger Goliath and an ever smaller David. But, of course, like the caricature of the proverbial dumb blonde, the world goes where the muscle is.

Then there is the fear factor. Jews do not issue fatwas, attend violent protests, scream obscenities and threats, outfit suicide bombers, hijack airliners, kidnap foreigners, launch terrorist raids and blow up buildings. This obviously puts them at a distinct disadvantage with the Western media, political classes and large segments of the general public who cringe before the menace of Muslim reprisals for perceived offences.

Allied to this faintheartedness is a corresponding element which is nothing less than admiration for and envy of a world-historical force convinced of its own righteousness and unafraid to stampede the public square. The other face of our timidity is the capacity to be impressed by the genuine passion and sincere conviction we are unable to muster in ourselves. Paralyzed in the deepest recesses of the self, we piggyback along for the ride, experiencing vigor by proxy. In a debased and timorous age, Jews cannot compete with Muslims as carriers for our repressions and undisclosed lusts.

I am reminded in this connection of Eugène Ionesco’s play Rhinoceros in which we observe the metamorphosis of an entire population, with the exception of a single refusenik, into primitive pachyderms. Having grown tired of their common humanity, people begin to feel that the calloused, dark-green armour of the rhinoceros is preferable to the pale flabbiness of their own skins and welcome the transformation, rejoicing in the group feeling of the trampling herd. What has afflicted the West today is merely a variant of galloping rhinoceritis. The refusenik Jew, like the Bérenger character in the play, has little luck persuading the multitudes to re-think their fellow-traveling mutation of sensibility.

Then we have the petroleum factor, which is so obvious as to scarcely require comment. An Arab/Muslim embargo would have a disastrous effect on Western economies. At the same time, we fail or refuse to understand that should Israel, the national incarnation of the Jew, ever decide to boycott the world rather than vice versa, our cellphones would stop ringing, our computers would shut down, and many people with serious illnesses would be deprived of their medications. (The Israeli pharmaceutical company, Teva, is the world’s foremost supplier of antibiotic drugs.) But Arabs are conspicuous in the power of their oil cartels. Israelis, like the Intel microchips, Pentium microprocessors and Google search algorithms developed in the country, are hidden inside their technology.

Yet another issue involves the spectacle of Western venality. Universities and their Middle East Studies departments, practising academics, “peace” centers, former diplomats, ex-Presidents and many other individuals and institutions are the grateful recipients of Arab largesse—mainly Saudi-Arabian, but the Emirates have ponied up as well. Even if it were the intention of some putative Jewish cabal, there simply isn’t enough Jewish money to go around to accomplish the same result, despite the universal canard of shadowy Jewish financiers secretly controlling the dispensation of the world’s fortunes. So the Muslims have the field. Ask Jimmy Carter. Ask Charles Freeman. Ask Ramsey Clark. Ask George Galloway. Ask Rashid Khalidi. Ask John Esposito. But don’t hold your breath if you’re waiting for an honest answer.

Glazov adduces still another factor to account for the “war against Jews.” Jews are guilty “because as a people, they are synonymous with liberty and the veneration of life on earth.” Thus, for “Islamists—as for leftist believers,” who personify “the impulse to destroy and perish…such a disposition is tantamount to a declaration of war.” We have, in essence, betrayed our own civilizing imperative of which Judaism, along with classical Greece, is the fount and origin.

Add these factors to the motherlode of ancient and doggedly irrational Jew-hatred that has always subtended the world’s transactions with its scattered Jewish communities, and that continues to sustain its animus against the state of Israel, and we should have no trouble making sense of what might otherwise seem an insoluble paradox. Together, they serve to explain why we collude with our antagonists and favor those who would destroy us rather than embrace and defend the very people with whom we share a common civilizational patrimony.

It is as if the existential core of our collective being has become so viscous that we no longer have identities, only itineraries. Like Paul Hollander’s “political pilgrims,” we migrate not where reason, integrity and survival might dispose, which should in all propriety be our stable and collective address, but where fear and avarice dictate. And in so doing, we bow the knee to our enemies while kneecapping our friends and allies.

Another Vast Jewish Conspiracy

Robin Shepherd has an excellent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today discussing how the British media has embraced Jewish conspiracy theory in the wake of the Oborne documentary. According to Shepherd,

[i]n the media, the Guardian newspaper has stepped up its already obsessive campaign against the Jewish state to the extent that the paper’s flagship Comment is Free Web site frequently features two anti-Israeli polemics on one and the same day. The BBC continues to use its enormous influence over British public opinion to whitewash anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in the Middle East. Its Web site, for example, features a profile of Hamas that makes no mention of the group’s virulent hatred of Jews or its adherence to a “Protocols of Zion”-style belief in world-wide Jewish conspiracies.

Nice to see that someone else is shining the spotlight in the international media on the depths to which  “Comment is Free” has sunk. You can read the full op-ed here.

We have disabled comments for this post. If you wish to comment, please join the discussion over at Robin Shepherd’s blog.

Inside Britain’s Irish Lobby

Good evening. My name’s Peter O’Boring of Channel 4. I’m in this bar in Queens, New York to investigate a little known but very rich and powerful lobby group: the Irish Lobby. In every city in the world there is an Irish bar, often called O’Flanagan’s. A Channel 4 production company, Hardcore Productions, has sent incognito cameramen into these bars in New York, Chicago and other US cities with cameras in their skirts and they have photographic evidence that Americans of Irish extraction meet in these bars to drink Guinness – sometimes to excess. We stress that we have no evidence that any kind of IRA conspiracy to blow up parts of London and murder thousands of innocent civilians mercilessly in cold blood takes place in these bars (but since when did we let a small thing like lack of evidence get in the way). Ireland is a wonderful and extraordinary country with a rich and flourishing democratic history. It has a profound right to exist. But this moral legitimacy does not mean that the foreign and internal policies of Ireland should be exempt from the same kind of probing criticism that any independent state must expect. Nor does it mean that the rights of Ulstermen to their own state in Northern Ireland can be ignored. Nor does it mean that critics of Ireland should be branded haters of Catholics.

David Cameron has never commented on IRA atrocities. It is impossible to imagine any British political leader showing such equanimity and tolerance if British troops had committed even a fraction of the human rights abuses and war crimes of which the IRA has been accused.

The fact that Michael O’Leary, the owner of Ryanair, lives in a house called Gigginstown House which is worth £3 million only heightens suspicions.

Our researchers have established that the American-Irish and their businesses have donated more than £10m to Irish clubs and lobby groups in the UK over the past eight years – that’s more than to any other lobby. It is surely a matter of profound concern that UK foreign policy may be being influenced by a group which opposes British policy in Northern Ireland.

The pro-Ireland lobby, in common with other lobbies, has every right to operate in the UK. But it needs to be far more open about how it is funded and what it does. This is partly because the present obscurity surrounding the funding arrangements and activities of organisations such as O’Flanagans Bar, Cricklewood Broadway, the London Irish Centre and the Conservative Friends of Ireland paradoxically give rise to conspiracy theories that have no basis in fact. But it is mainly because politics in a democracy should never take place behind closed doors. It should be out in the open and there for all to see.

The All Powerful Israel Lobby?

This is a guest post by Joy Wolfe

If the ‘lobby’ was one-tenth as strong as Peter Oborne and the motley crew of anti-Israel whiners who featured in the disreputable programme on Monday night would have us believe, then the attitude to Israel in the UK would be demonstrably different.

It wasn’t just the content of the programme – it was the whole tone of its presentation. Direct quotes were spat out at the camera, and the menacing face of the presenter pushed into the faces of viewers with absolute venom.

And what is this lobby with its alleged huge power accused of?

Taking MPs and journalists to Israel and giving them the opportunity to meet Israelis and Palestinians to see the reality on the ground!

What about the trips funded by CAABU and wealthy supporters in the strong pro-Palestinian lobby ?  One big difference of course. They are  only exposed to the negative aspects of the conflict and not given the opportunity to see things from the perspective of the victims of rocket attacks in Sderot and northern Israel. When is someone going to do an exposé of that?

Providing funding for political parties and individual MPs? Do a little digging into which MPs accept funds for their pro-Palestinian views and activities, either in the UK or from the Saudis and other interested wealthy Arab sources.

Another accusation was that the appeal for victims of Gaza was not broadcast on the BBC as the result of pro-Israel Jewish pressure. On the contrary, many of us wanted it broadcast because we foresaw just that reaction if it wasn’t. And perhaps the most ludicrous of all was the suggestion that the Jewish lobby was responsible for the witholding of the Balen report on the BBC. What a joke. It was Israel supporters who went to court to try to get it released!

Most despicable were the personal attacks on Jewish philanthropists who not only support Israel, but who are also at the forefront of charitable giving to so many important UK causes. Could it be that the reason that many have never heard of Poju Zablodowicz is because he is a quiet, unassuming man who goes about his business in a perfectly legitimate way, choosing to financially support a cause in which he passionately believes? As for citing the value of his house, now that really is pure antisemitism, and I am one who uses that label very sparingly. There are a good few pro-Palestinian houseowners whose wealth  and the value of their homes never hits the headlines, and rightly so in my view.  It’s only when wealth can be used to stigmatise Jews that you will see it broadcast or in print…..

Is it a surprise that Conservative and Labour Friends of Israel fight Israel’s corner, any more than it is a surprise that CAABU, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Muslim Public Affairs Committee that promote antisemitism and demonise Israel and anyone who supports her, pushes the Palestinian side of the conflict?

That is their raison d’etre.

Where is the outrage about and denigration of THEM?  When is Alan Rusbridger going to allow the truth about them to grace the columns of the Guardian or be written about on “Comment is Free”?  His contribution to the programme was not exactly stellar.

Apart from much innuendo, clear bias, deliberate choice of known Jewish anti-Israel activists such as Liberal Rabbi David Goldberg, Avi Shlaim and Antony Lerner, and a selection of unsubstantiated and, in many cases, purely mythical claims, what did this programme achieve other than reinforcing the anti-Israel bias of those who already hate the Jewish state, or, sadly, inciting further antisemitism?  As for trying to suggest that constantly stirring anti-Israel feeling does not lead to increased antisemitism, that is pure and unadulterated rubbish.

Hopefully the Channel 4 audience will have been mostly the entrenched anti-Israel bunch and us – because we couldn’t resist watching to see how bad it would be – and there were relatively few whose minds could have been changed by such flimsy and unconvincing material.

“Israel Controls the BBC” – Jewish Conspiracy Theory from the Jewish Conspiracy Thread #2

I am sure that some of you were amused that in the David Cesarani piece rebutting Oborne’s peddling of Jewish conspiracy theory that Cesarani highlights some of the antisemitic comments that were posted on the Channel Four comment thread publicizing Oborne’s “investigation” into the so-called “UK Israel lobby”.

Here’s what Cesarani writes:

At 21.34 Stuart Downie posted his congratulations to the brave programme makers who showed that “the UK parliament has, like the USA senate and congress, become Israel’s occupied territory”. It showed that British MPs “buckle under pressure from people whose first loyalty is not to the UK but to the State of Israel”. So in a few lines this posting accused Jews of dual-loyalty and echoed the name ZOG – Zionist Occupied Government – that the far right in the US uses to designate Washington.

A few comments further on and Detta asked, “why does Israel have such power? Why do most of the world seem afraid of upsetting them?” Nazir, posting at 12.11, chimed in that it is “time to reclaim British policy from those working for a foreign country”.

Funny that because those comments have a strong resemblance to comments that appear on a certain site operated by the premier left-wing media publication in the UK run by a certain journalist that recently resigned from the PPC code committee. So lets see what we discover “below the line”.

First off there is this comment from General X to get us warmed up.

GeneralX

17 Nov 2009, 4:08PM

Guess what, I couldn’t care less about Israel, if Iran invaded them tomorrow, I couldn’t give a toss.

Yeh. Who cares if another 5 million Jews are slaughtered in a nuclear holocaust.

Then there is this idiotic comment from raymonddelauney that thinks that we along with HP and MEMRI are part of the Israel lobby.

raymonddelauney

17 Nov 2009, 4:27PM

BigNowitzki

What did you think of Undercover Mosque?

From a long line of distinguished Dispatches journalism – compelling viewing.

Which doesn’t change the fact that after last night’s programme Harry’s Place and CifWatch and MEMRI can begin to be perceived for what they truly are.

I’m still perplexed why I haven’t made CiFWatch’s hate list…

Then we have the old Zionism=Racism trope mixed in with a Nazi analogy.

Constituent

17 Nov 2009, 4:26PM

Israeli racialism is as evil as Nazi racialism

[recreated from Berchman’s 17 Nov 2009, 4.43PM comment]

Oh and rather than responding to that comment with “No to antisemitism on CiF”, Berchmans, the self-appointed defender of antisemitism, states “This is counterproductive and an own goal”.

Why is that counterproductive and an own goal Berchmans? Is it because Consitituent fails to adequately conceal the antisemitism behind antizionism?

And it gets even worse (if thats possible!) with this comment from chomskyite that sounds a lot like the antisemitic 9/11 conspiracy theories.

chomskyite

17 Nov 2009, 4:32PM

By the definition of “Terrorism” passed on a vote of 182 in agreement, versus 1 abstention (Honduras) and 2 votes against (The USA and Israel) in December 1987 at teh UNited Nations, both The USA and Israel are deemed to be Terrorist States. If that is so, then surely those MPs and others who support Israel and the War Crimes they have perpetrated are guilty of supporting terrorism as defined in the UK Anti-Terrorism Legislation.

Why then have they not all been brought to justice??

The lack of a independant and on-oath investigation of Dr Kelly and the 7th July 2005 attacks on London must be reviewed in a different light. What part did members of the Labour administration and the Conservative party have in these actions and what did they know about them BEFORE the incidents??

Then we have this comment, which speaks for itself.

ThePrompter

17 Nov 2009, 4:44PM

The Israelis treat the Palestinians like shit and then tries to silence anyone who points this out with the charge of anti-semitism, so I will say in advance that I am anti Israel, anti Zionist, anti anyone who supports Israel, and anti all religions including the Jewish religion. But I am not anti the Jewish race just because they are Jewish.

I object to Israel having any influence at all in British politics and I believe that the fact that they pay for that influence is corruption. If British Jews are so tied to Israel that they are prepared to subvert the British political system to get the Israeli point across then I suggest that they should be charged appropriately. If it is illegal for commercial organisations to pay MPs for influence over legislation, it should be illegal for anyone to do it. The people who tried to get the BBC to gag Jeremy Bowen should be told in no uncertain terms to stick their gag where the sun doesn’t shine.

The Israeli abuse of the Palestinians cannot be justified.

We then have this comment which while not overtly antisemitic provides an interesting insight into the sheer ignorance of Guardian anti-Israel posters:

zendancer

17 Nov 2009, 4:45PM

The sad fact is that British and American Jews feel they must support Israel ,though the thought of living there never crosses their mind.You have to ask is this a way of getting “forgiveness ” from God, as they survived and thrived ,while others died.

The question is, will Israel ever be able to make a future for itself,as it has grouped a huge number of people in a very small area but,there seems very little that will help them build a Nation.

Finally,if you insist Israel must exist why treat the Palestinians so badly ?.Jews claim to have been victimised for years but,does that allow them to take revenge on a group, so weak they can hardly survive even before Israel takes their land etc.Take revenge on your tormentors ,do not repeat history,in the future it may be weak Israel that has to face World fury (after USA loses some of its power and has to compromise).What is happening at the moment is hardly an “eye for an eye ” situation,unless we are talking Crusades era again ?.

A disinterested bystander must wonder what happens when religious zealots meet western exiles ,how will they find common ground to settle disputes.As long as they are threatened they will stand together against the foe but,peace will be more difficult.

And check this comment out. The antisemitism is quite astonishing.

JAH62

17 Nov 2009, 5:27PM

I recall in primary school at the age of 6 being called anti-semitic by the only jewish boy in my class. I was totally unaware at that point what it meant. He called me this because I wouldn’t let him in on our game of football because none of us liked him for who he was, not what he was.
Peter Oborne’s programme last night was important not because of who was involved but because of the implications for British foreign policy and democracy itself. It could have been the nuclear industry or the coal industry lobbying for more power stations, the point being that policy should not be dictated by MP’s who have effectively been bought. David Cesarani’s article simply re-enforces the point that any criticism of Israel is anti-semitic. Indeed you could be pilloried by Israelis for saying you don’t like lox or baegels.
There is a strong jewish community here in the UK and our government’s willingness to listen to them over matters like the West Bank is truly worrying. If Israel feels isolated it is only because they take the view that they are right and everyone else is wrong. It’s the ‘chosen people’ line they cling to. I can remember going out with a very attractive Jewish girl and being mortally offended when I was handed different cutley and crockery than everyone else because I was not Jewish and they wonder why people don’t like them.
Tony Blair’s role in the invasion of Iraq has become abundantly clear now he has dropped the pretense that religion was not part of his life. It was infact key to his agreement to take the UK to war because of his sympathy with the US Judao-Christion faction that is the Republican party. The person that mentioned ZOG is in a sense quite right in that it seems that the same thing has happened to both the Labour Party and now the Conservatives.
We may then say that all our MP’s are corrupt or indeed corrupted unless proven otherwise.
Vote then not for them but for someone who will treat our democracy with some sense of of honour.

Then here are some comments that play on Jewish conspiracy theory (surprise surprise).

forthurst

17 Nov 2009, 5:29

What I find truly disgusting is that our elected representatives allowed themselves to be bought by a pressure group for a foreign power. I believe this group has also had a thoroughly malign influence on our internal politics and the course of our post war history. We need politicians who will not engage with traitors for cash.

antimutoid

17 Nov 2009, 5:30

In a representative democracy, any organisation seeking to subvert that function should be surgically resected and disposed of. However, the electorate lacks the scalpel to perform surgery by choice, instead we flip-flop between different factions of the same party. Indeed, these are two factions dedicated to one thing, to sustain the upward chain and transfer of wealth from the public to private sector. As long as the “Israel Lobby” has a confluence of interest in this aim, it can continue to function and also coincidentally ensure Britain’s “support” of Israel. If however, like its supreme leader the US has shown in the past, should Israel do anything to perturb the pre-existing balance of power, the “Israel Lobby” would be rendered into a talking shop.

Today, Israel has authorised 900 further units to be built in the illegal settlement of Gilo on Occupied Palestinian Territory. I expect the response of the UK government will be a very tepid (at best) displeasure of such actions, and this moderation exists due to necessity. Otherwise, both parties risk losing critical funding. Already CNN has been pressured into calling Gilo a “neighbourhood” rather than a settlement – something discussed in the Israeli press but ignored widely here (as usual).

Its about the the survival of 2 parties, Labour and Conservative, which would would disappear if not kept resuscitated by rich donors and backing by corporate media.

sayonara2

18 Nov 2009, 9:43AM

They forgot to mention Mandelson’s links to Rothscgild and the oligarchs.

he situation is even more extreme in the USA.

Whiting

18 Nov 2009, 9:58AM

David Cesarani’s objections to the programme seem to be based on the fact that the pro-Israel lobbyists are only doing collectively what Murdock and Goldman Sachs are doing, and that it’s all perfectly legal. So that’s O.K. then.

HAMOURABI

18 Nov 2009, 11:38AM

It is really surprising to me that Israel needs a lobby here at all……………..
when they have Daveed Miliband as the British Foreign Secretary !!

He is at this moment in time, too tied up with his assualts on Muslims to make any comment about the latest word from Israel about the additional Al Quds illegal settlement they have just announced !
Perish the thought that you would ever hear a bad word spoken from his forked tongue about Israel and their 110 oustanding resolutions!

Seems as if he is in the right job but the wrong country

Hammie

Then we have the most laughable (and disgustingly antisemitic) comment of the thread with this:

29numbers

17 Nov 2009, 5:57PM

For one thing, BBC is controlled by the Israeli government.

Then we’re back to more Israel-bashing with this virulently antisemitic comment (undeleted I note) invoking, among other things, Nazi analogies.

Conie

18 Nov 2009, 3:22PM

This programme was long overdue and explains the terrible imbalance there has been in government attitudes to the Palestine question and the media’s uncritical support for Israel’s apartheid policies which are illegal and nazi-like in inhumanity. Israel has been getting away with illegality and murder for too long with the shameful acquience of Western governments – with the honourable exception of the Swedes. The Zionists game is being exposed for the evil that it is – hopefully it will go the same way as the racist south africa which failed to maintain itself despite its equally brutal apartheid policy. This will be no thanks to those who make the loudest claims to ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’.

And yet despite all of the above, this is what the despicable Berchmans writes on the thread.

Berchmans

18 Nov 2009, 3:30

SE26lad

## Many people use attacks on Israel as a cloak for being rude about Jews. ##

Who are the many people doing this??? please identify them so we may all condemn them..if not no to vague , anonymous allegations of anti Semitism on CIF ..

B

And then he writes this.

Berchmans

18 Nov 2009, 3:38PM

contrarian2

## The Guardian is unremitting in its hostility to Israel, ##

This is another totally unreferenced allegation of bias…I dont know know why the Guardian allows this …this could be dangerous for her reporters if Zionist loopies are being fed this tripe.

The pro Israel lobby is alive and well on CIF.

B

And then we have this comment which competes with the “BBC comment” for comment of the thread.

Principled

18 Nov 2009, 3:47PM

Isn’t the very fact that Israel is destined, if the Zionist regime has its way, to become a “Jewish State” (as opposed to a Semitic State) and Britain is still in effect a Christian State (until completely absorbed by the EU, against the wishes of the majority of British people it seems), our two “States” are founded on a gross incompatibility? The very reason Jesus Christ is the foundation of Christianity is because he (and, according to the Bible, God) forsook the then “Israelites” their convenant as they acted contrary to God’s Law – the Law Christians are supposedly bound by.

The heavy presence of Jews (some Zionists) in British and US (and no doubt therefore EU) politics, and the undoubted (according to Oborne et al) insidious influence of Zionism throughout Labour and Conservative politicking – not forgetting Bliar’s previous (till sacked having been “outed”) advisor who amongst others foretold of a government that may well be a “Scottish Freemason collaboration with Zionism” – does not gel within a religious context let alone a “what is best for Britons” context. The concept of a Secular Britian, US and Europe may even be driven by Zionism – after all Christianity must be anathema to fundamentalist Jews and I can think of several prolific outspoken “secularism- demanding” politicians of Jewish origin.

Britain and Brits realised, through turbulent and oft-selfish times, a parliamentary and political system founded on democracy and free speech – I support those ideals, but they are being eroded rapidly and will soon become extinct post Treaty of Lisbon. The EU does not hold with those fundamental principles. There is no reason why people of all faiths and all beliefs might reside humbly and peacfully in British shores, and political parties evolve out of all those peoples, but our system (and therefore those currently in power) must scrupuously cleanse their parties and their policies of any other than those whose intention and drive is purely Britain for the British – not US, nor Israel, nor EU, nor any other – charity begins at home. Only when we have sorted out own obvious mess in this region can we move forward to engage with others in a mature humane and honest way.

All parliamentary presence, voting and politicking must avoid non-Briton interests without fear or favour; not long since we saw 3 Conservative candidates resign at the eleventh hour to make way for a Jewish Leader – Michael Howard – under circumstances suspicious to any reasonable person. Two candidadtes enjoyed polls of around 28%, another around 15%, whilst Howard was only 5% – the three suddenly resigned and Howard became Leader. Where was democracy in the Conservative party that day? Bliar appointed a string of Jewish supremos in various roles of influence, some still there; “appointed” has no place in those roles in a British democracy. Where was democracy in Labour that day?

There are many moderates in all religions and all politics in Britain, they are the people Britons should find in favour of once again.

And what would a thread like this be without deletions of pro-Israel comments:

blockthekick

17 Nov 2009, 4:35PM

I don’t get it. Are you saying that the Jews control Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, William Hague and Boris Johnston?

That would be quite some accomplishment. Then maybe we can have them declare the United Kindom as the latest Israeli settlement.

I see, The Jews control the world. I’ll bet the do it using their MONEY. Isn’t that right raymonddelauney?

My god, they just keep coming out of the woodwork. The Guardian is alllowing straight forward anti-semetic diatribes to be openly shared and promoted in their forum.

[recreated from raymonddelauney’s 17 Nov 2009, 4.38PM comment]

blockthekick

17 Nov 2009, 6:02PM

WilliamBapthorpe
said “Oh? You are above empiricism all of a sudden? Berchmans, bless his cotton socks, sometimes writes in quite an odd way, if he’ll forgive me for saying so, but he is not alone in these pages in being fed up to the back teeth with allegations of anti-Semitism being thrown around like confetti with not an iota of evidence. “

Want an example of anti-semitism? Just look at GiyusandTrolls703
above.

And yes, claiming that the Jews control everything from gold mines to the british government is anti-semetic.

What I find particularly sad is that every day that goes by, the anti-semetic comments on this board get more numerous, and the commenters get more bold, and the Guardian seems pretty content just letting it fester.

BertyShalom

18 Nov 2009, 4:07PM

Where is my comment? Why has it been removed? I’m sorry I criticised your precious newspaper editor and said I have seen a lot of anti semitic comments on this website. (as well as intelligent posts critising some of Israels policies).

Why can’t we see how much hatred is wipped up by your correspondents?

Jubilation1

18 Nov 2009, 4:09

People who deny the existence of Palestine are history twisters along with Holocaust-deniers and other evasive criminals.

Just like those who deny the existence of Kurdistan

Let me end this by leaving you with some thoughts from wordsareimportant.

wordsareimportant

17 Nov 2009, 4:25PM

Shermanator and MindTheCrap

After last night’s Channel 4 Documentary, I’m just tired of shouting. There is no point in arguing or discussing. The posts go off topic so quickly and back to anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism at its core.

I am really scared that in ten years, 200,000 Jews will HAVE to make aliyah.

I really don’t know what they win but keep up the good work on other CiF posts. I’m off. Bye.

Oh and I’m waiting with bated breath for Cesarani’s follow up piece on the comments in this thread.

Guardian’s Israel Obsession Reaches New Heights

There is a new Seth Freedman article on CiF about the problem of teen drinking in Israel, a problem hardly unique to many countries of the world.

Now we know that substance abuse is a subject close to Seth Freedman’s heart as he was a former user in his days of “Binge Trading”. Here’s an excerpt from his book:

So I’d unlocked the gates of Cocaine Towers, and I could see myself becoming a permanent resident. I forged a friendship with my new dealer, a loaded, Knightsbridgedwelling fi nancier with a Masters in International Banking. He sold, I bought, we went out drinking together and became mates. Meanwhile, I noticed that my sleeping habits had changed. I used to sleep at night. I didn’t any more. For cocaine was a jealous god; if I was going to get on it, I had to give up all activities that got in the way – and sleep was the first to go.

But does this really justify an article on the subject-matter?

I think the first comment in the thread sums this up (except about the part of enjoying Seth Freedman’s “journalism”).

Hullabamoo

18 Nov 2009, 11:40AM

I enjoy Seth Freedman’s journalism, but is anyone other than Israelis really concerned with teen drinking in Israel? There’s a commissioning editor somewhere who’s in need of a slap.

If  you bother to visit the thread, click recommend on Hullabamoo’s comment but of course don’t comment in the thread.

Update

The Guardian has kept the thread open all night no doubt to boost the number of comments on the Freedman thread which have been on the wane since our launch. Anyway, for your amusement, here are a selection of some of the comments demonstrating that both the anti-Israel and pro-Israel crowd are getting tired of Seth Freedman.

WhatRecession

18 Nov 2009, 11:52AM

Israel isnt in Europe.
Who really gives a damn about Israeli teenage drinking other than Israelis?

No wonder Israel can’t sort out a fair peace deal for the oppressed Palestinian people they are too busy trying to sort out the drinking problem. The wall is there to hide their shame about the drinking rather than cause problems for the Palestinian people.

speaker

18 Nov 2009, 11:59AM

a quite pointless article for the majority of Guardian readers, butg for what its worth, I was in Tel Aviv two weeks ago for a wedding and spent a few night out and about in the evening. I can categorgly state that Tel Aviv is nothing like London. At no point did i feel threatened, have to avert my gaze in the direction of a group of teenagers for fear of being stabbed, slashed, botteled, beaten up or mugged. Which is often the case in London. The drinking culture in Israel and i could point out Jews in general is not really an issue, as its well know we cant handle our booze. Yes you’ll always get kids drinking under-age but thats growing up for you.

JJ139

18 Nov 2009, 12:25PM

I think this article is totally pointless except in trying to equate Israel as a ‘western/European democracy’. Well it is neither in Europe nor does it display European values in things like the free movement of goods and services and human rights for minorities etc.

Batleymuslim

18 Nov 2009, 12:26PM

Seth I think (As others have written) that 90% of the CIF population are more concerned about binge drinking in the Uk than in Israel.

blankedout

18 Nov 2009, 2:02PM

bloody hell how much negativity does this site have to post about Israel

some suggestions for new articles:

Israeli busses run late
Israeli weather is a bit too hot in August
Israeli man heard swearing in public
dog fouling a problem in Tel Aviv
football in Israel is crap

etc etc etc

this is all getting a bit boring

saltyfishismydish

18 Nov 2009, 2:43PM

World news is important. But this, and a quite a few of Seth’s recent articles are getting pretty much like blogging for blogging’s sake. What has this told me that is important? Where is the investigation here? where is the journalism?

This is nothing but a – not particularly informed – opinion piece on an issue that isn’t very important or interesting. The same thing with the last one he wrote on Erdogan – what on earth are we supposed to learn from these blogs that we couldn’t find out in 10 minutes on Wikipeadia?

I can remember from his other articles he is a reasonably good writer and it is very interesting to learn about Israeli life, Jewish culture and the war with Palestinians. but what a lot of disappointments recently. I hope the standards improve soon.

BigNowitzki

18 Nov 2009, 2:47PM

Obviously a slow news day, unless there are ulterior motives for this article.

afancdogge

18 Nov 2009, 2:52PM

Elephants like to get drunk on rotten plums – what of lion grass and catnip ?

L

amcinwashington

18 Nov 2009, 9:53PM

Two questions for Mr. Freedman. (1) Why is teen drinking in Israel more worthy of attention in the Guardian than teen drinking in other countries, like, say, Britain? And (2) is there any subject, issue, topic, or field of human endeavor that you might ever be interested in writing about that does not involve saying bad things about Israel or Jews? Bonus question: have you ever entertained the possibility that you might benefit from a few sessions of analysis?

Poor Sethele.