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.


 

 

Jewish Conspiracy Theory on the Jewish Conspiracy Thread

The CST has done a great job at deconstructing the Oborne piece published on CiF yesterday. Our focus here will be on the accompanying comment thread which comes  fresh off the heels of the Channel 4 comment thread promoting the Oborne Dispatches program that was replete with antisemitic comments. Commenting on the Channel 4 thread, the CST stated,

“we do have concerns, based on the language used by Channel 4 to promote the programme on their website, and the comments that have been posted there by members of the public, that the programme may unwittingly play up to antisemitic stereotypes, and thereby excite and encourage antisemites to think that their views have been validated by a mainstream broadcaster. These concerns have only been strengthened by today’s Guardian opinion piece, written by Oborne and Dispatches journalist James Jones.”

Knowing the types that frequent CiF, it should come as no surprise that the CiF Oborne thread generated large numbers of antisemitic comments so much so that shortly after the thread opened, Matt Seaton, editor of “Comment is Free”, was forced to intervene with this:

mattseaton

16 Nov 2009, 9:33AM

Staff Staff

Because this is such a sensitive and potentially inflammatory topic, I would like to take this early opportunity to remind users to abide by our talk policy. In this context, that requires people to make the distinctions Oborne and James do in their article ? for example:

It is important to say what we did not find. There is no conspiracy, and nothing resembling a conspiracy.

Thus commenters who use this thread as an opportunity to apply antisemitic tropes to an otherwise legitimate discussion of influence and transparency are liable to find their posts deleted by moderators.

I, for one, will be following this thread with interest. But I won’t hesitate to r’eport abuse’ if I see it.

Now besides the fact that this is a massive admission that the Guardian has a problem with antismitism on its threads (otherwise why would such a comment be necessary?), consider this: Matt Seaton, a fairly senior Guardian staff member thinks that just because Oborne and James attempt to insulate themselves from accusations of antisemitism by stating that what they write has nothing to do with a conspiracy, that this is automatically so despite the fact that their report is rife with conspiracy theory. Did Seaton actually read Oborne and Jame’s third rate Walt and Mearsheimer wannabe rubbish? Or does he have a massive blindspot when it comes to antisemitism?

And Matt Seaton digs himself a deeper hole with this:

mattseaton

16 Nov 2009, 9:46AM

Staff Staff

WhatRecession:

theres a fine line between abuse and legitimate points of debate though. Seems to me you should only be reporting any openly anti-semitic remarks rather than ones you might think allude to such attitudes.

Of course, and it’s always a judgment call ? exercised by our moderators. But people who look as though they are deliberately testing the limits may find that the call goes against them.

Judgment call. Interesting. If it comes down to that, I’m not sure I trust the “judgment” of the Guardian moderators given the “judgment” that a certain daughter of a certain someone displayed recently.

Anyway, lets take a look “below the line” to see a selection of the comments posted:

First off we have some conspiracy theory mixed in with apartheid analogies to get us warmed up.  

WhatRecession

    16 Nov 2009, 9:16AM
    I read about this in Peston’s book Who Runs Britain? Lord Levy used to be Blair’s main fundraiser and also one of the main fundraisers for Jewish charities in the UK.
    I’d always hoped that this lobbying culture was an American phenomenon and that we had more integrity in the UK. Sadly little by little this hope has been eroded.
    This is just more evidence that history will judge us to be the bad guys being in cahoots with an apartheid state amongst other shameful things.

Then  LaRit, one of the vilest of CiF’s “protected”, gets in an early comment that sounds like she’s overdosed on Naomi Klein

LaRitournelle

16 Nov 2009, 9:26AM

La Rit

What we really need really to have is an open debate and discuss Israel in terms of its real ‘value’ to the West – that of a strategic military outpost in the ME.

Whilst it remains so, the prominence of the CFI and LFI will remain a powerful feature of British Parliamentary life on both sides of the House.

Let’s be under no illusions here – Brand Israel needs to keep its representatives to the fore as much as any other Corporate organisation and unfortunately, this valued customer for military supplies and British-made WMD needs to be kept sweet and therefore, any open debate about the grotesque continuation of the Occupation or Invasion of Gaza will be supressed and played down in order to keep the customer happy and digging deep into its pockets.

Money talks, as always.

And here’s a familiar trope on CiF that has echoes of the blood libel, a comment which was posted on three separate occasions in the same thread by Sorcey.

Sorcey

    16 Nov 2009, 9:28AM
    meet3456:
    …cant find any rabbis who will stand at the pulp[it and call for the killing of infidels…
    Oh, I don’t know, the Chief Rabbi of the UK did a pretty good job in January saying that Israel killing children is justified.

Then there’s this “Israel is evil” comment from RoHa2:

RoHa2

16 Nov 2009, 11:32AM

The pro-Israel lobby, in common with other lobbies, has every right to operate and indeed to flourish in Britain.

No it does not.

Israel is evil in conception, evil in creation, and evil in conduct.

There is no right to support evil.

And my my I wonder what chingwu and corrocamino are hinting at here.

chingwu

    16 Nov 2009, 11:41AM
    Nerdy boris
    be very afraid, do you know how difficult it is to eavesdrop on their secret meetings with all that click clack click clack of the knitting needles going?
    Even sophisticated listening equipment can’t block that sound out, so their sneaky meetings go unrecorded!
    good tactic, and if they really have nothing to hide then why make all that noise to cover up the sound of their ‘so called innocent’ conversations?
    eh?
    eh? eh?

corrocamino

16 Nov 2009, 12:34PM

Something is happening behind a closed door, comment by comment.

And then there is the ever popular sandlout, Shlomo Sands, peddling the lie that the Jews are not a nation.

presidio

    16 Nov 2009, 12:12PM
    On radio 4 program Start the Week last week the historian Shlomo Sand raised a very controversial topic that questions the entire premise on which Israel is based . That is the diaspora and the right of return to the motherland. He says there is not any evidence that the Jews were exiled , instead they were converted in the lands they and their ancestors grew up in and never had any ties to the Holy Land. Of course Sand was met with a furious backlash, not questioning the evidence, but personal attacks.
    Here is an interview in the Israeli paper Haaretz :
    Shattering a ‘national mythology’
    According to Sand, the description of the Jews as a wandering and self-isolating nation of exiles, “who wandered across seas and continents, reached the ends of the earth and finally, with the advent of Zionism, made a U-turn and returned en masse to their orphaned homeland,” is nothing but “national mythology.” Like other national movements in Europe, which sought out a splendid Golden Age, through which they invented a heroic past – for example, classical Greece or the Teutonic tribes – to prove they have existed since the beginnings of history, “so, too, the first buds of Jewish nationalism blossomed in the direction of the strong light that has its source in the mythical Kingdom of David.”

And here’s xxxxx posting a link to a virulently antisemitic site.

xxxxxx

    16 Nov 2009, 12:28PM

http://islamozionism.blogspot.com/

And here’s one from the Brian Whitaker school of conspiracy theory:

WhatRecession

16 Nov 2009, 12:55PM

SantaMoniker
Comments like these make me seriously suspect the sanity of some of those commenting on these threadfs. What alternative universe do they inhabit?

yes but this comment is in itself paranoid if you look at it that way!

The Israeli government is known to use people to defend particular points of view on blogs and sites like CiF. Its not some dirty secret. All political parties do it these days. Media warfare I believe its called.

Then we have london38 obsessing about the Zionists oops I mean the Jews.

london38

16 Nov 2009, 12:57PM

Amusing that someone should say the Zionist experiment is now fact and that anyone with a contrary view should get over it. Presumably Zionists would proudly state that the idea of a Zionist state had to exist in the minds of generations so that it could finally become fact. Surely they should realise how important for people with a contrary view it is that such a view remains present in the public conscious. Given Israel’s current military hegemony, isn’t it this battle which the lobbyists are engaged in (so successfully in the case of the Jewish lobby)?

And what would a CiF thread be without an accusation that Israel is racist.

Ranong

16 Nov 2009, 1:17PM

i am amused by the comments about Israel tourism. Some people aren’t exactly “up to date” with the regulations.

Try entering Israel with a Muslim name; or if you have family in Palestine; or if you have friends in Palestine; or if you admit you are going to the “other side” of the annexation wall. You won’t be allowed back into Tel Aviv airport.

Try leaving without hassle if you buy a keffiah, a picture of Al Aqsa or a Palestinian souvenir.

Perhaps many of those “tourists” are on their way to Bil’in to help with the campaign for human rights and justice.

And here is xxxxx trying to distinguish between Zionists and Jews, never mind that he invokes familiar antisemitic tropes in doing so.

xxxxxx

16 Nov 2009, 1:18PM

Yet another variation on “..the Jews have unlimited power and are plotting……”

no its not. there is a significant difference between being jewish and being a zionist. one could argue that the israeli lobby is in fact a zionist ideologically led lobby and its patronage would suggest that it is so since zionism does not exclude anyone of any faith or of no faith – what matters is the ideology , power and greed.

And then there is london38 who slipped up mentioning “Jewish occupation” instead of “Zionist”. I guess its all this conspiracy theory talk that gets london38 confused.

london38

16 Nov 2009, 3:32PM

“Israel exists primarily because of what was done to Jewish innocents in the Pale of Settlement over a long period of time.”

Why should that matter to the people who’s land they occupy?

“Palestinians sit within closed borders partly at the behest of their Arab neighbour states.”

The biggest lie of all (and a particular favourite of Melanie Philipps). Why should it be up to Palestine’s Arab neighbours to clean up the mess made by Jewish occupation?

Then we have Papalagi in true form posting a comment which echoes the Protocols.

Papalagi

16 Nov 2009, 2:42PM

If this were the case of a lobby in favour of poor children in India nobody would care about the matter.

We understand the needs of poor people. But the question is that people who are minimally informed, who read the newspapers, books, watch news, normally have more and more reasons to question Israel’s politics towards the Palestinians. Only people who are willing to delude themselves actively still support this politics. We know that it’s unjust to a very high degree. We know that the situation of the Palestinians is scandalous.

So, the people who support this politics (calling it abusively “Pro-Israel”) are effectively supporting a lot of human rights abuses, crimes against international right and sheer brutality and violence. They are effectively agains peace and pro-war. If they acted normally, Israel would have been submited to a boycott and embargo like Serbia, like Indonesia because of East Timor and so on. But this doesn’t happen and the amount of support for this oppressive politics is astonishing. This lobby is not a lobby in favour of poor children and that’s the difference.

Exactly because their cause has less and less respectability (and I repeat that this is not a pro-Israel lobby, but a pro-war, pro-occupation, pro-oppression, anti-humanity and so on, ), they have to act in ways that would be unconceivable in the case of a lobby for humanitarian causes. And this is the case. They are only effective when their influence is out of proportion (this is the case considering that Israel is a tiny, unimporant, country). They have to count with a torrence of propaganda. Their arguments are outlandish, and some times get out of control. Their style is agressive and irrational.

Of course the whole result of this is grotesk and pathetic. It’s really a bit sad to see a large group of men and women acting systematically against justice, against commmon sense and I ask if this is also not acting against decence). They are effectively justifying violence, prolonging a conflict in which we have no interest, acting against human interests. That’s the reason why people question the cause of this lobby and the results that they achieve.

And here is another comment echoing the  Protocols.

yorkandy

16 Nov 2009, 5:20PM

you should be covering the many other “friends of israel” branches………this would, of course, refute your opinion that there is no israel cabal operating in UK/Europe……

And here’s a CiF all time top ten –  invoking the Livingstone Formulation.

doobydo

16 Nov 2009, 6:03PM

This will indeed make intersting viewing, make no mistake Channel4 will be hit with a million accusations of Anti Semitism from the well trained and funded Hasbarah crowd.

And finally here is Godseye accusing Israel of being a nation of blood lust.

Godseye

16 Nov 2009, 7:19PM

Taking money from lobbyist is a form of corruption all MPs who are funded in any way by a firm or in this case a national interest should be charged with corruption and treason if it conflicts with the British national interest. This behavior is rife in America and Europe and should end immediately. One cannot serve two masters and in this day and age mammon appears to be the master.
The worst aspect of the expenses scandal was petty theft. Yet allowing another nation or their agents to influence policy via ‘allowed bribes’ is worse by far. I can understand firms or other interest groups wanting to make their particular point and maybe influence through rational discourse but to give decision makers financial or any other form of gratuity is bribery. We should pay our representatives well enough to be able to manage their affairs without resorting to any corrupt means of extending their income. That is why judges are paid so well.
All Israel has to do to make itself better received is to act more humanely at the moment it is a nation in a state of blood lust that never seems to be sated. Save money Israel and try to be more neighborly. There has to be something wrong with the character of a nation when it is so disliked and feared by its neighbors. when we appoint MPs they are there to represent their constituents yet as time has proved during the tenure of this and previous governments the true voice of the people has been routinely ignored, they even ignore sound advice from reputable scientific sources. Let us begin to bring some honor back into the public arena and have people with true integrity in the seats of government.

And remember whatever you do don’t criticize the Guardian because you know what happens….

Liraz

16 Nov 2009, 1:12PM

Lobbying political parties and governments is what citizens of free democracies do. All parties have their financial backers.
I’m sorry that you have reported this story as if some kind of sinister plutocratic conspiracy is at work, and, indeed, as if supporting the State of Israel is somehow verboten, or should be.
I used to respect the Guardian as a bastion of liberalism, tolerance, and fairness, but lately you appear to be sailing close to the wind – nay, the stench – of anti-semitism.

Let me end though with my favorite comment of all in the thread from Matt Seaton which speaks volumes about the parallel universe of the Guardian:

mattseaton

16 Nov 2009, 7:03PM

Staff Staff

I’m sorry I haven’t been around as much as I’d have liked today in this thread. But I’ll be back tomorrow and in the meantime just wanted to thank users for (mostly) staying within the bounds of civility and on topic in a very sensitive area. I guess those of who can will be watching the Dispatches programme and be back for further discussion.

We will also be running some responses to the Oborne/James article, and the programme and issues raised more generally.

And this is civil discourse…


Update

Here are a selection of comments from the thread today:

 LaRitournelle

17 Nov 2009, 9:25AM

ackclothandsashes:

You will have probably garnered from my comments yesterday that I deeply detest ALL forms of lobbying of our so-called elected representatives and yes, that includes Saudi Arabian Oil royal oil cartels and the slush funds to wine and dine billionaires provided by the British tax-payer. This is no different.

Having watched the programme last night it merely confirmed what I already know and have had experience of. That the pro-Israel machine is deeply entrenched within the corridors of power of this country and that the bottom line is that it is as pernicious and motivated by money and greed as much as that of the Saudis. Saudi Arabia seems to enjoy a similar protected status that Israel pressure groups and lobbyists have worked hard to ensure in the past 20-odd years.

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again and again, it’s all about money and power and economic and military strategy. The lobby is pushing a far-right agenda linked to big-business. Now with the deification of Kaminski, I’m wondering how long before Nick Griffin’s anti-semitic hatreds will all too soon be forgotten?

Mark my words – there is already growing evidence that the anti-semitism of the BNP is already being played down for the sake of promoting a neo-conservative agenda – because the common cause is the perpetuation of the political Islamaphobic agenda, oil and more wars.

La Rit

PeaceCampaign 17 Nov 2009, 10:05AM

I would like to congratulate all at involved at C4 and Peter Oborne for the dispatches programme.

Anyone who knows about the Israeli / Palestinian conflict of recent years knows that criticism of Israel or even balanced reporting of an incident in which Israel ‘look bad’ is seized upon by the Israeli lobby and those who dared to report the truth are silenced.

This manner of silencing any criticism of the way Israel behaves only prolongs the conflict as the Israeli state becomes even bolder in the manner in which they treat the Palestinians and in their disregard for the International community.

I sincerely hope Mr Oborne and his family can look back on this documentary proudly in years to come as having taken a brave stance to work for a more peaceful world at a time when too many other journalists and programme makers are looking the other way when injustice takes place.

Might is not right and until more people in positions of influence are brave enough to take on the Israeli lobby, the situation in the middle east will sadly not improve.

If history looks upon this period as one when the media were shamefully complicit in prolonging this conflict by reporting a false balance to placate the Israeli lobby, people like Mr Oborne will shine like a beacon of truth.

17 Nov 2009, 12:29PM

Oborne’s investigation didn’t touch on half the story.

The programme didn’t mention the role of the Israeli lobby in pushing for the Iraq war. Or how the extraordinary enthusiasm of Conservative MPs for the Iraq war (only 12 voting against) mirrored their over 80% membership of Conservative Friends of Israel. Or the fraudulent intelligence about Iraqi WMD provided by Sharon’s own office. Why this country invaded another a continent away which was no possible threat to us – but which did fund Palestinian resistance to Israel.

Elhaam 17 Nov 2009, 1:52PM

tuttinski

I am really concerned about is that most commentators do not seem to be at all concerned with the revelation of just how corrupt our political system seems to be.

Corrupt politicians have always been admired and supported by the majority of their voters for their unique ruthlessness, corruptions and ?cleverness?! As long as these corrupt and criminal individuals can create endless wars where the real money and oil is, sell weapons, get billions in freebies & lousy contracts, bomb the hell out of the weak, bring money and create jobs across the globe for their own population 1000s of miles away, who gives a hoot how they do it or how many millions suffer endlessly along the way? Corruption and deceit is in their DNA; as we can see, their off springs have continued with their great ?charitable? work? totally unavoidable and beyond their control.

hanwoori 17 Nov 2009, 2:36PM

Someone mentioned Israel and democracy in the same sentence, clearly a joke…..

The Zionists have no interest whatsoever in a 2 state solution, they have a long term plan to slowly rid themselves of all Palestinians from the occupied territory and more, the building of settlements is a key part of this plan… The world just sits back and does nothing……..

trueman 17 Nov 2009, 3:37PM

Does this all sound a bit familiar?
South Africa had a powerful lobby in the days of apartheid. In just one example, Peter Hain, a holder of various high offices in our own UK government was anti-apartheid campaigner in the 1970s. He was successively subjected to a private prosecution by well-connected rich people, a criminal prosecution, a letter bomb attack and a framed bank robbery (both almost cerrtainly by BOSS – the SA equivalent of the murderous Mossad). This is not to mention the support of politicians and the media for the regime over decades.
Yet now the apartheid regime is gone and the colonial experiment is over.
It will be the same in Palestine. The colonists will still be able to live in Palestine, but they will have to share the land, water, roads and justice system.
This is tough for the Zionists to accept, but it is probably a more attractive future for everyone than the gangster state that exists now and the poison that it brings to the UK, the USA and the Middle East.
I think we will see increasingly desperate attempts to hijack the UK and US political and media systems.

awkassim 17 Nov 2009, 4:08PM

Thanks to Channel 4 & Peter Oborne for exposing the pro-Israeli lobby which has hijacked British politics and media for so long.

Spatial 17 Nov 2009, 4:25PM

mainstream media in the west is so subservient to the pro-Israel group(s) that you can conclude that some countries -like UK, Canada and Australia- are MORE pro-Israel than the US

TRUTHBETOLDTOALL 17 Nov 2009, 4:38PM

@Epidermoid

Where once serious study would have to be made of difficult subjects now anyone can voice their opinion however ludicrous it might be. There are some here that believe Israel to be monstrous in its creation and behaviour who hold to such base sentiments because what they learn is learned from those who are war with Israel and wish to paint it so.

I hardly think a doctoral thesis is necessary to comment on CIF. It does not take a great mind to observe an action and form an opinion. No amount of wordplay can alter facts.
It is a fact that the Israeli military(Army/Airforce) kill Palestinian children.
It is a fact that Israel has used battlefield munitions in densley populated urban areas.
It is a fact that Israel practises extra-judicial assasinations
It is a fact that Israel collectively punishes the Palestinians by destroyting their homes and blockading the Gaza Strip.
It is a fact that British government wilfuly ingnores Israel’s war crimes and colludes with the IDF by supplying them with military hardware.
These facts are the main sources of the resentment felt towards Israel and the consequential rise in anti-semitism.

It matters not who you learn a fact from so long as it remains a fact. Any objective mind can easily separate factual events from manufactured propaganda
I agree that as passions are inflamed by the subject matter, facts can be skewed to fit a particular narrative.

kenth 17 Nov 2009, 4:43PM

Okay we’ve got the offending paragraph of my post. I said:

<Nor did it mention the conspiracy (yes, conspiracy) to pervert the course of justice by allowing Israeli General Almog to escape an issued UK arrest warrant for war crimes.>

Tipping of Almog that there is a warrent for his arrest is a clear perversion of the course of justice by some unknown individual. And a conspiracy to enable his fleeing the country. You have no grounds to object to that.

http://www.labournet.net/world/0509/almog1.html

CDale 17 Nov 2009, 4:43PM

The rise in anti-Semitism in the UK is due solely to the misplaced attitude of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and BICOM British Israel Communications, who have unwisely allied themselves, (and with them, the whole of British Jewry), to the brutality of the Israeli army.

The problem being that those aforementioned organizations do not represent the majority Jewish opinion, much of which is horrified at the deliberate killings of hundreds of children and civilians, in Gaza.

That the offspring of Holocaust survivors in Israel could act in this way is almost impossible to believe and a sickening indictment on religious fundamentalism and ignorance.

This is compounded by much of the opinion here, of persons who have no military experience or who have been no further than their local airport for a week in Eilat.

17 Nov 2009, 5:08PM

Oborne seems to think,according to another of his brilliant TV shows last year, that Muslims are being treated like Jews were in Germany in the 30s, a superb comparison we will all agree. As for CDale, thank you for reminding us that anti-Semitism always everywhere is the Jews’ fault, everyone else is just being reasonable. Tolstoy, not known to be a Jew, had some very relevant comments on this. Try reading him when you become sentient and literate.

Inside Channel 4’s Conspiracy Factory

This is  a guest post by Jonathan Hoffman

Chas Newkey-Burden said it:

The official remit for Channel 4 states that it should “exhibit a distinctive character” and “appeal to the tastes and interests of a culturally diverse society”. [John] Snow’s denial of Hamas’s crimes and Ahmadinejad’s Christmas message appeal to the tastes and interests of only the worst bigots of our society.

Peter Oborne’s Dispatches program this evening, “Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby”, could only have appealed to the same people. The deliberate conflation of bloody bodies and Jews eating dinner was an early low. Full of familiar innuendos and stereotypes, it was an agenda-driven and unprofessional piece of work from its inception, as the numerous Jewish organisations it has targetted have discovered in recent weeks. Oborne was unable to prop up his prejudices, so he resorted to desperate nudge-nudge wink-wink tactics to try and create an impression of sinister secretiveness where there is none. The overall implication he made was that his failure to find anything genuinely scandalous was because of a fear, rather than because there’s nothing there.

Because where is this all-powerful Israeli lobby? Why did it not manage to convince the UK to veto the Goldstone report at the UN? How did it fail to stop the UK from starting an arms embargo on Israel? How did it allow our Foreign Minister to attack Operation Cast Lead as ‘disproportionate’, or the UK to finance the Breaking The Silence organisation? As for media activism, if the Israeli lobby had the power it is ascribed, it would have stopped the widespread and routine distortions years ago. Oborne couldn’t find an all-powerful lobby, so he tried to create a false impression of one. It’s the same make-believe world [John] Snow inhabits with his “pretty pathetic” Hamas rockets.

So what did Oborne’s programme amount to?  “A row of beans” would be an exaggeration. The lack of substance was amply demonstrated by the people who were prepared to go ‘on the record’ – namely the usual as-a-Jew suspects accompanied by representatives of the Guardian, the (ex)BBC and the Foreign Office. Tony Lerman of course (and the folks at CiFWatch asked me to say “thanks for the plug, Peter, the cheque from the World Zionist Conspiracy is in the post”).  Liberal Rabbi David Goldberg; Avi Shlaim; David Newman; Alan Rusbridger (without daughter Bella, understood to still be under the floorboards where she crawled on Friday); a guy called Charlie Beckett who is ex-BBC, now at LSE; and Sir Richard Dalton (Director General, Libyan Business Council, Former UK Ambassador  to Iran and Libya – could he be an Arabist I wonder….).

What did the programme say? Well there were the allegations about money of course – no conspiracy is complete without some filthy lucre and if there is an Israel connection – so much the better.  After all, that was where all the Lehman Brothers cash went before it went belly-up, wasn’t it Peter? Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) members were said to have given £2m in eight years to MPs (on their Register of Interests). And “all CFI members and their businesses” were said to have given “more than £10m – more than to any other lobby”. There is no way of verifying this figure which seems to have been plucked out of thin air – for a start, the membership of CFI is not published. And “more than to any other lobby”? Have the Channel Four researchers really totalled the funding of every single lobby in the UK? – give me a break.

Then we had the ‘arguments by assertion’. Oborne for example told us that the “Conservatives have a surprisingly soft line on Israeli policies”. Well, they say they would have voted against Goldstone in the UN General Assembly – in what way is that “soft”? After all 18 countries opposed it, including Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and the United States.

And the purely irrelevant – the value of Poju Zabludowicz’s London house! And Oborne asked David Goldberg if he knew Poju Zabludowicz, Chairman of BICOM. When he said he did not, this was brandished by Oborne as some kind of negative reflection on PZ. If Goldberg took any kind of interest in Israel advocacy in the UK then of course he would have heard of PZ.

And we had the downright untruths. Let’s number all ten of them.

1. It was stated (I think by Michael Ancram MP, who is stepping down at the next election and who thinks the UK should talk to Hamas) that the reason Lord Levy did not draw a salary as Tony Blair’s Middle East adviser was so that his negotiations could remain secret! There is no substance to that allegation whatsoever. Disclosure of government matters bears no relation to whether the relevant officials are or are not paid.

2. The settlements were said (by Oborne and David Newman) to be illegal. That is not established and the most important country in the world, the US, does not believe it.

3. Then there was David Newman. He suggested that BICOM is “blindly supportive” of Israel. This is nonsense – they simply provide information and arrange trips for journalists – they have no political line.

4. And Avi Shlaim, who recently shared a platform with Shlomo Sand and Jacqueline Rose, told us that the UK Jewish Community is ‘split’ on Israel (it isn’t – there is a tiny minority who did not support Cast Lead) and that the leaders are ‘blindly pro-Israel’ (they aren’t – Simon Hochhauser for example – the President of the United Synagogue – said that the views of Avigdor Lieberman were appalling’) and that the leaders have a ‘narrow rightwing agenda’. This is pure ignorance: Vivian Wineman – the President of the Board of Deputies – is a former chairman of the New Israel Fund and former Chair of British Friends of Peace Now.

5. Of course we had (from Rusbridger and Oborne) the lie that critics of Israel are branded “antisemitic”. As usual no example was given – it never is.  It is antisemites who are branded as antisemitic.

6. Another distortion came from Oborne. In his anxiety to denigrate CFI he said that Kaminski “refused to apologise to Jews for what happened to them in Poland in World War Two”. It was the massacre of hundreds of Jews in Jedwabne in north east Poland in 1941 that Kaminski did not want to apologise for. Oborne’s version made it sound as if Kaminski sympathised with the Nazis.

7. Now to Charlie Beckett who told us about complaints to the BBC. The pressure works, he said, “because the BBC has no choice but to respond”. Ask anyone who has complained to the BBC about anti-Israel bias if they were satisfied with the response. No-one ever is. The pressure demonstrably does not ‘work’.

8. About Jeremy Bowen (who was found to have breached BBC standards on impartiality and accuracy) Beckett said “the BBC was forced to investigate” [by ‘the Lobby’]. No it was not ‘forced’ to investigate. There were complaints and the BBC followed the same procedure as for all other complainants. No ‘forced’ about it. (Or are complaints about anti-Israel bias somehow worth less than complaints about other topics?) What he then said was utter nonsense: “The BBC would not have investigated Jeremy Bowen without Israeli pressure”. Again – these were ordinary complaints, the same as the BBC gets about foul language, nudity and any manner of topic.

9. Shlaim said that in his testimony to the BBC Trust’s investigation of Bowen earlier this year “I could not fault the BBC”. Well let’s look at the Trust’s judgment. Unfortunately for Shlaim it puts the lie to what he said last night on Channel 4.

Here is what Bowen wrote on the BBC Website:

“the Israeli generals…had been training to finish the unfinished business of Israel’s independence war of 1948 for most of their careers.”

And here is what Shlaim said about it to the BBC Trust:

“It’s not accurate – the unfinished business of the 48 was capturing the West Bank…in 48 could have captured the West Bank…Ben Gurion said no – he didn’t want lots of Arabs in the state. It was true some of the right wing generals Weitzman, Sharon Za’evi…these were expansionist and waiting for the opportunity. But that was not true of the army…they had plans for all eventualities…[Jeremy Bowen] goes too far in implying the Israeli Army was planning and plotting to capture the West Bank – it’s not true…”

10. Finally Oborne turned to the BBC’s refusal to show the DEC Gaza appeal. Beckett of course blamed the “Lobby” for this but of course produced no evidence. Here is BBC Director-General Mark Thompson’s explanation of the decision.  There were a number of other considerations – for example the fact that the footage in the DEC Appeal was not shot by the BBC itself so it could not guarantee its authenticity.

For Beckett to somehow blame the supporters of Israel was a very fitting end to an hour of innuendoes, unproven assertions and untruths….

PS I did like Oborne’s book on Basil D’Oliveira, though. It completely vindicated the boycott of the MCC cricket match which I instigated at school in 1969. The “D’Oliveira Affair” – now that was a genuine conspiracy!

Latest on the Bella Mackie/Rusbridger Affair

Martin Bright over at the Jewish Chronicle has the latest on the news that anti-Israel biased moderator BellaM (a/k/a Bella Mackie) is actually Isabella Rusbridger, daughter of Guaridan editor, Alan Rusbridger, a scoop that CiF Watch broke last Friday.

According to Martin Bright,

I was subsequently contacted by a senior member of Guardian management who assured me that Ms Mackie was interviewed rigorously and won the job as a moderator three years ago because she was the best candidate. I was also told that it was an old story that Isabella Mackie worked at the Guardian (although perhaps not that she felt it appropriate to parade her partisan views as the anonymous BellaM).

Martin Bright also reports that the following is the official position of the Guardian in response to the JC’s report of our exposing Bella Mackie’s outrageous outpouring of hatred against Melanie Phillips in Two Minutes Hate: Melanie Phillips Bashing on the Ed Husain Thread:

“Staff at the Guardian are actively encouraged to engage with users and curate discussions in threads across the whole site, not only on Comment is Free. The well-understood convention is that staff posting in threads do so in a personal capacity and are permitted to express their own opinions; ‘below-the-line’ engagement in an opinion forum is a different role, and the expectation of impartiality that would apply to the regular work of reporters, editors and moderators does not necessarily pertain. When posting in threads, staff cannot be expected to be automatons sticking to leader lines in this informal context of online debate.

“However, they are expected to abide by the site-wide ‘talk policy’, as any user is; and over and above that, to be mindful that, as they are clearly identified in threads as ‘staff’, they should uphold a high standard of civility and avoid any behaviour that might bring the Guardian’s good name into disrepute.

“In this particular case, the staff member concerned was reminded of these guidelines; but no disciplinary action was judged appropriate or necessary.”

Just in case you’ve  missed it (and that you’re here because of the Dispatches program) this is what Bella Mackie said on the Ed Husain thread:

BellaM

31 Oct 09, 9:53am

Staff Staff

I imagine she’s like that character in Little Britain who is violently sick every time she hears the words ‘black or gay.’ Except for Melanie, the word would be ‘Muslim.’

And since Jewish conspiracy theory is a bit of a hot topic ask yourself how mindful of the “talk policy” Brian Whitaker, commissioning editor of “Comment is Free”, was when he insinuated in a comment thread that pro-Israel posters are paid agents of the Israeli government fuelling Jewish conspiracy theory in the thread. Here’s an example of the kind of discourse that Whitaker encouraged:

illegalcombatant’s comment 17 Jul 09, 12:18pm

BrianWhit 17 Jul 09, 11:55am

Staff Israeli Foreign Ministry to Hire Shills for Internet Warfare Squad

Thanks for posting that Mr. Whit. There is also the GIYUS organisation that performs an identical role in spreading Jewish-Israeli-Zionist propaganda.

Their site offers the co-called Megaphone software that issues alerts which results in the faithful swarming to sites to spread the “truth” – much as we see regularly on the pages of CiF.

I suppose the name Megaphone says it all – any discourse is invariably very loud and one-way only.

Note that this same poster made the following blatantly antisemitic comment on the Debating the Holocaust Thread (which took 16 hours to be deleted) and whom the Guardian refuses to ban despite a track record of antisemitic comments as exposed in our Ban the Ant thread.

IllegalCombatAnt

20 Oct 09, 8:42pm

Why is it that we are not allowed to debate the Holocaust?

Why is it that academics who try to do so have their funding cut off or lose their tenures?

Who came up with the 6 million figure?

And IllegalCombatAnt is but one of many examples of commenters that the Guardian refuses to ban. Now if the Guardian tolerates and actively encourages pond life like IllegalCombatAnt then do you really think that it will take disciplinary action against the likes of Bella Mackie or Brian Whitaker?

Surreal in Solihull

This is a guest post by Israelinurse

Last week I was approached by the BBC with a request to appear on its BBC1 Sunday morning live religions and ethics debate programme ‘The Big Questions’ as what is termed an ‘expert contributor’. The subject of the debate was to be ‘Is antisemitism on the rise in the UK?’.

Obviously, there is not much debate to be had on that subject as the data gathered by the ever-meticulous CST proves, so it was quite clear that the real debate would be why antisemitism is increasing and I had no doubt that accusing fingers would be pointed in Israel’s direction. I informed Hawkeye of the invitation I had received, and agreed to his request to act as CiF Watch’s representative on the programme.

From the outset, the producers of the programme were well aware that I occasionally contribute to CiF Watch and other forums out of a personal belief that there is a pressing need to try to counteract the tsunami of distortions and downright lies regarding all things Israeli in much of the British media. Indeed, in my initial telephone conversation with the programme’s assistant producer I raised the subject of the BBC’s suppression of the publication of the Balen Report at an estimated cost of some £200,000 so far to the license-fee paying British public. Despite this, they decided that they wanted me on the show.

Then, a couple of days before the journey to Birmingham, I received a further phone call instructing me that I must not mention The Guardian on air. My protests that this rather Fawlty Towers-style ‘don’t-mention-the-war’ restriction was absurd were met with the explanation that as no representative of The Guardian would be present at the time of broadcast, and therefore that organisation would not have the right of reply, there was a danger of legal action being taken against the BBC which they were keen to avoid.

After consulting with Hawkeye and trusting in the intelligence of the British public to connect between a blog called CiF Watch and the publication concerned, I decided that there was in fact no need to mention the ‘G’ word, and so decided to go ahead despite the gag-order.

Upon arriving at the broadcast venue early on the Sunday morning, I considered it prudent to check with the assistant producer exactly under which ‘tag’ (the potted description under one’s name when one appears on screen) I would be appearing. Yet another moment worthy of the Fawlty Towers script writers ensued when I was informed that they did not wish to define me as being connected to CiF Watch as “the public will not know what that is”. So much for the media’s duty to inform; apparently if the public doesn’t know, the BBC isn’t going to tell them!

Having already sacrificed my weekend, there was nothing to be done at this point but just get on with it. Imagine then my joy, dear reader, when I discovered that the ‘expert contributors’ on the opposite side of the debate were none other than Haim Bresheeth and our old friend Tony Greenstein – the latter complete with a ‘Boycott Israeli Goods’ lapel badge the size of a jam jar lid, which fortunately did not make it into the studio. Interestingly, at some point during the programme, both of the above had their ‘tag’ written as ‘Vilified by Zionists’. Now that you really could not make up!

Despite the frustrating format of the programme which at best only allows one to make one or two points in soundbite style, I think we managed to counteract the argument that Israel’s actions are the root cause of antisemitism reasonably well. Alex Goldberg, Jonathan Sacerdoti and Mark Gardner from the CST were all in excellent form and some very pertinent observations came from Rabbi Arkush in the audience.

For those who managed to view the show, the entirely disgusted look on my face at one point aimed in Tony Greenstein’s direction was due to his telling me off-microphone that I had no idea what I was talking about and that I know nothing about Israel!

One does have to ask oneself if a TV programme such as this can in fact make any worthwhile contribution to highlighting the worrying trend of rising antisemitism in Britain. Personally, I very much doubt it. The claim made by the show’s host Nicky Campbell whilst we were in the ‘Green Room’ before the broadcast that the Balen Report is merely a ‘journalistic’ issue serves only to strengthen my view that the ‘group-think’ within the media industry is so well rooted that business – in all senses of the word – will continue as usual until some brave and pioneering producer will stand up and question the commonly held premises which currently prevent the media from tackling the real truths behind the increase in antisemitism in Britain and many other countries.

As long as broadcasters are afraid of legal actions on the part of other media organisations and more concerned about gaining PC credibility by ‘giving a balanced view’ than doing any real analysis …… I’m not holding my breath.

‘Dispatches’ journalists ramp up their stitchup

In today’s CIF, Peter Oborne and James Jones ramp up their UK Channel 4 documentary to be shown tonight, “Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby

As Robin Shepherd points out, the fact that Oborne and James say “It is important to say what we did not find – there is no conspiracy, and nothing resembling a conspiracy” indicates beyond question that a conspiracy theory is precisely what they ARE peddling. Here is an excerpt from Robin’s article, please go to his blog to read the rest and to comment.

You know the old line about the racist who prefaces a torrent of racially charged abuse with the words: “I’m not a racist, but…”? Something similar about conspiracy theories could be said about the makers of a landmark documentary due to be aired this evening on Britain’s Channel 4 Television alleging that a secretive group of Zionists (just “Zionists”, not Jews you understand) has got hold of Britain’s main political parties and is manipulating them to spew pro-Israeli propaganda.

Writing about their documentary in the Guardian (where else?), Peter Oborne, a columnist for the Daily Mail, and television journalist James Jones are, of course, anxious that they should not actually be labelled as conspiracy theorists and seek to pre-empt such charges thus: “It is important to say what we did not find,” they tell us nervously. “There is no conspiracy, and nothing resembling a conspiracy.”

Except that their entire piece makes it quite clear that a conspiracy is precisely what is being alleged.

It is asserted, for example, that Conservative Party leader David Cameron this year gave a keynote address at the Conservative Friends of Israel’s annual dinner in the wake of the Gaza operation. The authors say:

The dominant event of the previous 12 months had been the Israeli invasion of Gaza. We were shocked Cameron made no reference in his speech to the massive destruction it caused, or the 1,370 deaths that resulted, or for that matter the invasion itself. Indeed, our likely future prime minister went out of his way to praise Israel because it “strives to protect innocent life”. This remark was not intended satirically.

Since it is obvious that no sane and rational person could possibly praise Israel in such terms, the authors conclude that darker forces must be at work.

“…what are the rules of British political behaviour that cause the Tory leader, his mass of MPs and parliamentary candidates to flock to the Friends of Israel lunch in the year of the Gaza invasion?” they ask incredulously. What could it be?

“During an investigation lasting several months,” they tell us, “we have been able to reach several important conclusions. We maintain there is indeed a pro-Israel lobby in Britain. It is extremely well-connected and well-funded, and works through all the main political parties.”

We later learn that “those in many sensitive foreign affairs, defence and intelligence posts in the Commons are often Labour or Conservative Friends of Israel.”

But there’s more.…..

Read the rest on Robin’s blog ….

CiF Watch Exclusive: Guardian Forced to Premoderate Antisemitic Thread

If any further proof was need that “Comment is Free” has become an incubator for antisemitism, one need look no further than the Good Deeds for Mitzvah Day CiF Belief thread, an open thread that carried the byline “[t]oday is Mitzvah Day, a day for Jewish people to offer their time to a cause close to their hearts. Who would you help?”

Instead of engendering discussion about good deeds, the thread devolved into Jew-hatred under the thin guise of Israel-bashing. In response, the Guardian moderator first responded with this:

CommunityMod

15 Nov 2009, 12:28PM

Staff Staff

Please note, off-topic posts will be removed. This thread is about good deeds and charities people support. This is not a thread about the Israeli?Palestinian conflict. Please stick to the topic so others who want to discuss their charitable work can do so.

And then finally in a practically unprecedented act, instituted pre-moderation.

CommunityMod

15 Nov 2009, 3:11PM

Staff Staff

Posts on this thread are now being premoderated. Thanks for your contributions.

Of the 63 comments prior to the premoderation notice, a whopping 23 comments were deleted excluding quite a number of  comments which were deleted without trace.

Here are a couple of observations of the thread:

PierreBezukhov

15 Nov 2009, 11:55AM

THe comments here are disgraceful, I thought i’d posted a light hearted comment but looking at the other I realise this wasn’t the place for it. The guardian must know that anything they put up that mentions jews with a comments section will end up like this page, it must be what they want. A nice bit of jew bashing on a sunday. Imagine if you were jewish & had never had anything to do with israel but met one of these people posting these comments. They’d be demanding you solve the problems of the middle east like even though you had nothing to do with the place. Theres no arguing with these racists, I suspect the BNP are delighted with the response. Sad, very sad.

MoFoGo

15 Nov 2009, 11:42AM

Cif is definately not the place to be drumming up support for mitzva day! The amount of anti-Jewsh (sorry anti-Zionist) venom that this simple act of charity generates is beyond belief.
I suggest to my fellow Jews that we continue practicing our daily obligation to perform mitvas as we have been doing for genetations, but let’s keep the Cif crowd out of it.

Now unfortunately, we were only alerted to the thread when most of the most egregious comments were already deleted but here are some examples of the type of comments that appeared on the thread (some of which are still up) and when you are reading through this bear in mind that according to the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism “[h]olding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” is antisemitic.

WhattheDormousesaid

15 Nov 2009, 11:03AM

Since the diaspora has influence—————-

The quest for fair treatment and a fair settlement in Palestine and Gaza.

vercol

15 Nov 2009, 11:05AM

Help the palestinians

notsorabid:

My good deed will come later in the year when I go to Jordan to make a film and employ many Palestinians who are living there having been deprived of their land by the country next door

[recreated from Monnie's 11.11am comment]

mxcz

15 Nov 2009, 11:21AM

Predictable – but appropriate: send donations to Medical Aid for Palestinians.

roachclip

15 Nov 2009, 11:42AM

One very good deed Jewish people in the UK and around the world could do today, and for the rest of the year, is to publicly question the veracity of the Israeli government.

cbarr

15 Nov 2009, 11:53AM

I’d help the men, women and children in Israel’s labour camps – http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1126057.html

bass46

15 Nov 2009, 1:47PM

monnie
My good deed will come later in the year when I go to Jordan to make a film and employ many Palestinians who are living there having been deprived of their land by the country next door

How nasty to take such a swipe at British Jews.
Can’t Jews in this country do anything without this sort of retort?

No. That’s the problem with Israel being a Jewish state that attacks it’s neighbours who live in a refugee camp, repeatedly, and the then the chief Rabbi urging all British Jews to support the aggression.You can’t just pretend it’s never happened and then demand respect for your kindness in shovelling some shit out of the local pond one day a year

Given all this outpouring of hatred, Daveireland amusingly queries where a certain Cif Watch favorite of ours is:

Daveinireland

15 Nov 2009, 1:53PM

Will the lovely Bella be joining this thread?

And WatchYourSteps has the following advice for the Guardian.

WatchYourSteps

15 Nov 2009, 1:59PM

I would prevent hate-filled comments directed at one particular country by not asking this sort of open-ended question in a forum where hatred generally runs rife.

Quite so. And of course knowing the kind of pond life that is attracted to this kind of thread, it really does beg the question as to what are the underlying motivations of the Guardian editors that exercise the decision-making. And if it was David Shariatmadari, assistant editor of CiF Belief, that had anything to do with this, it would make perfect sense as it seems from this tweet that he and Seth Freedman are buddy buddies.

screenshot4

Anyway, if CiF is able to pre-moderate now, why can it not as a general rule in order to screen out offensive antisemitism under the cloak of Israel-hatred?  CiFWatch is well aware that there is an inbuilt bias at CiF against pro-Israel posters and anyone who tries to call out the inevitable antisemitism which follows anti-Israel posts.

Does this historic action amount to an admission by CiF that it cannot deal with this groundswell of offensiveness towards an essentially Jewish topic, much less contain the monster which it has created?