Banned by the Guardian: My journey at ‘Comment is Free’ comes to an end


Over the course of nearly three years I went from ‘Comment is Free’ contributor, to CiF commenter in good standing, to permanently pre-moderated CiF commenter, to banned user. 

It was a good run, but my personal ‘Comment is Free’ journey seems to have come to an end.

It started well enough.  Through my previous work with NGO Monitor I was able to get an essay published at Comment is Free in Feb. 2010, commenting on an appalling anti-Zionist rant by a far left extremist named Jody McIntyre which was published in the youth magazine of the UK charity organization, Christian Aid – at the now evidently defunct ‘CtrlAltShift‘.  

cif essay

The resulting row motivated Christian Aid to take down McIntyre’s piece (and all of his other Israel related blog posts) and apologize “unreservedly” for their error.

When I first joined CiF Watch, I was pleasantly surprised that the editors at ‘Comment is Free’ allowed me comment beneath the line using my real name – and I was even permitted to note in my user profile that I was the managing editor of a group dedicated to exposing antisemitism at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free.

Here’s how my profile looked:

profile

I was never a frequent commenter, as there is enough offensive material at the Guardian and CiF to comment at greater length at our CiF Watch blog – and there are quite a few Zionist, philo-Semitic commenters who do a fantastic job of responding (with wit and wisdom) to the antisemitic and anti-Zionist propaganda appearing below and above the line.

However, occasionally I sensed that I may have annoyed the CiF moderators by violating the Guardian Prime Directive: Thou shall not write the name ‘CiF Watch’ or link to it the site in any way beneath the line.  Such reader comment apostasy typically gets the comment deleted, and can result in a Guardian purgatory called “pre-moderation” – a place of uninterrupted darkness, where your every comment has to be pre-approved by some sort of CiF committee of Elders before it gets published.

Sure enough, one day, I woke up and thought to comment on a CiF piece, and (in my utter horror!) saw this.

premod

The ideological algorithm which CiF moderators use to determine what gets deleted and what doesn’t get deleted has always been a bit of a mystery to the supporters of this blog (a topic we’ve commented on quite frequently), and the question of what can and can’t be written while in pre-mod was even more vexing, and I largely avoided even attempting to comment.

So, I was a bit perplexed to say the least when I considered submitting a comment under a CiF thread last night, only to find the following:

disabled

Here’s what’s left of my profile:

adam banned

All my comments over the years have been permanently deleted from their site.

Why indeed did the ‘comrade Guardians’ decide to ban me completely from the site, and erase all traces my two-year presence at CiF?

Well, their comment FAQ’s state the following:

rules

While I’ll likely never learn why I fell out of favor with ‘the Party’, my guess is it may have something to do with our continuing counter-revolutionary commentary exposing their Judeophobic biases, their licensing of the most extremist, antisemitic voices and a pervasive hostility towards the Jewish state at their site.

As a CST Report on Antisemitic Discourse in the UK observed:

 Jewish Chronicle by its deputy editor, Jenni Frazer, appeared to capture the feelings of many Jews and mainstream UK Jewish communal bodies towards the Guardian. She wrote: “…I cannot count the number of complaints we have had from readers who do not understand the Guardian’s obsession with Jews and Israel, the poisonous letters or op-eds it publishes.”

One thing is certain: Above the line or below the line, CiF Watch will continue attempting to explain, name and shame the Guardian’s malign obsession with Jews and Israel.

 CiF Watch, by use of the evidently “abusive” and “offensive” trolling tactics of facts, history, logic and moral reasoning, will continue trying to influence the debate about Jews and Israel below the line and above the line at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’

82 comments on “Banned by the Guardian: My journey at ‘Comment is Free’ comes to an end

  1. Join the club, Adam!

    At least you did get that valuable article exposing Jody McIntyre published.

    But 44? Really? Chapeau – you’ve clearly been taking good care of yourself. ;-)

  2. Adam, your sin was your honesty.

    At cif you are forbidden to mention Palestinians in any other than flattering or sympathetic terms. The Hamas charter, particularly its vile antisemitism and threats to annihilate Israel. is ignored by them and you are forbidden to remind them of its existence because it makes their admiration of the murdering terrorists look so absurdly weak-kneed.

    These hurdles have to be walked around or hinted at to get your message across. Sometimes it’s impossible, which is why I’ve been banned not once but twice and hence the moniker because the Guardian doesn’t reward honesty.

          • You know what’s interesting? Since I found out about this blog 3 years ago, I have sometimes gone to CiF to get a broad look at the comments being posted, and to my great surprise over that time there’s been a steady increase of posters who take on the anti-Israel crowd with facts and pretty much kick their asses. The Guardian still has a stick up its ass about CiF Watch–ask Geoffrey Alderman, who like Adam had the gall to call CiF’s shite its shite, about that–but the day when CiF had a Mondoweiss-level unchallenged amen corner on ME stuff is over. People like Alex might not like that that’s the truth, but it is. Oh, and Jody McIntyre’s complete professional post-riot collapse? Thing of beauty, that.

          • Ben. The problem with that argument is your definition of ‘fact’. If the commenters here are pointed to a video supporting the argument, it is said to be pallywood. Photos are said to be doctored.. That’s so easy to do, like sticking your fingers in your ears and saying lalalala a la Boris Johnson. It’s childish, but at the same time utterly representative of the paucity of the commenter’s position. Of course I let it stand as that pathetic attempt at denial of clear evidence says more about their desperate attempts to justify the unjustifiable than I could ever manage by responding. Keep it up folks. Footbullets rule!

          • A fact is something that is proven to be true. For example, it’s a fact that the pro-Pals regularly forge video and photographic evidence against Israel, and it’s a fact that they’ve been exposed doing this over and over and over again. And it’s also a fact that not liking something that is proven true, because it offends one’s beliefs or hurts one’s cause, doesn’t make it less factual.

  3. “We don’t like removing people’s ability to comment on our content…”
    And then the pro-forma explanation lists abusive/trolling behaviour, etc etc.

    Typical Guardianista lies and distortions. It should read

    “We are quick to remove people’s ability to comment on our content if those comments:

    “a) make us feel uncomfortable (ie they point up our deliberate distortions of the facts)
    b) criticise us for choosing lies over truth, ie when we heap gloopy pity on “poor Palestinian” terrorists, rather than hold them accountable for the subsequent reactions to their barbarism and the effects these have on their own people;
    c) criticise the distortions of fact by any of our so-called “journalists”, eg Chris McGreal
    d) openly support Zionism and the two state solution
    e) criticise Saint Berchmans or other off-the-wall crazies who are squatting on your page
    f) anything else we can think of…”

    • HairShirt, this website does not support the two-state solution. It has quite openly supported a Jewish state in the whole of historical Palestine, including the West Bank (which is often referred to by the biblical nomenclature: Judea and Samaria) and Gaza.

      • “HairShirt, this website does not support the two-state solution. It has quite openly supported a Jewish state in the whole of historical Palestine”

        When was that ? What have you been drinking?

        Judea and Samaria, until recently, were quite common terms for Judea and Samaria. What on earth does “the whole of historical Palestine” even mean?
        It sounds to me like you’re pulling the now classic-in-anti-Israel-circles “biblical” vs. “historical” phony baloney argument. Israel, Judea, Palestine, etc., are all historical terms.

        • Fair enough. That’s not really the point. THe point is how these terms are used. And the point is that the good folks on this site are not pro-two state solution.

          • “And the point is that the good folks on this site are not pro-two state solution.”

            The fact is you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    • Hair Shirt, this website does not support the two-state solution endorsed by the Government of Israel when it signed the Road map. It seems to support a one-state solution, even though this would result in Jews being a minority in their own state.

  4. I’m not sure whether to congratulate you or commiserate. I think the first is more in order, so Lechaim! Here’s to your continuing work at exposing the lies, distortions and double standards in the Guardian’s antisemitic and anti-Zionist commentary on Israel.

    A small commiseration is due because you won’t be able to respond to their articles there any more. On the other hand you have built and developed this excellent and important site and can take credit for unnerving the Guardian to such an extent.

    And you can always re-register under another name… :-)

    (/cue conspiracy theories)

  5. You are well out Adam . Wear your expulsion as a badge of pride . In fact I’m awarding you a symbolic Victoria Cross – ok Purple Heart .
    As for 44 – how so , and just when I thought you were young enough to adopt as my own .

  6. The funny thing about their moderation and deletion and banning policy when applied to people like Adam or Pretzel (or even me) is that they seem to think that it is effective. CiFWatch has proved the opposite, and makes a mockery of the idea that they really do believe in freedom of expression as long as it is not abusive.

    At the same time they leave some of the most appalling comments up for hours, like those finally deleted by an anti-Semite going under the moniker of Mostmagnificentone. Although his/her comments were deleted after about 15 hours, his/her account is still open.

      • Pretz continues to show how little he grasps what people say (read the comments in question for yourself P and first think before you post)

      • pretzelberg is such a weird idiot. He sticks up for Israel one second, and then insults everyone else who sticks up for Israel the next

        • Excuse me. sticking up to Israel does not go hand ok hand with antiuslim bigotry. we Israelis live with our Muslim countrymen and generally criticise things you will hear on a Beytar match.

        • On a lot of fronts I defend Israel wholeheartedly. But I do not “insult everyone else who sticks up for Israel”. Not at all – and certainly not on a whim, as you suggest. It’s a bit more subtle than that. See itsikdewembley’s response.

  7. Mazel Tov! To be banned by this odious toilet roll is a true badge of honour which you should wear with pride! I hope to be able to join you one day.

    • This is the same Al-Guardian that called for a levy on broadband users to support failing broadsheets like Al-Guardian which is the sama Al-Guardian that could be about to shed up to 170 of its so-called journobots

  8. Just use another email address and a slightly different user name. Plenty of posters who’ve been banned have come back that way.They never cotton on.

    The moderation policy clearly contains a lot of human judgement in it. Basically, people who don’t toe the party line Palestinians good, Israelis bad, tend to have a short shelf life at Cif. It’s one of their most important propaganda weapons.

    And that’s why it is so important we have somewhere like CifWatch where we can hear the other side, and can speak our mind without risking censure from some overzealous little apparatchik prig.

  9. Maybe a wish of the sponsors of Al Guardan. Or is it based on Anti-semitism, banning Jews from commenting in retaliation of being exposed as antisemitic?

    • I can assure you that it is most deffo not a requirement Jewish and with a commitment to the truth to be banned by Al-Guardian membership of any non-islamic religion [Or atheist/agnostic] and a commitment to the truth rather than falling for the islamic/palestinian/hamas/fatah/iran line will suffice to get you banned as i have been through the pre-moderation then banned treatment at AL-Guardian so this Sikh is now a non-person at AL-Guardian

    • Or is it based on Anti-semitism, banning Jews from commenting in retaliation of being exposed as antisemitic?

      You cannot be serious..

      • How stupid are you? We’ve never interacted on here, but I have seen your name on CIF in the past. You are one of these idiots who defends Israel in one post, and then agrees with some Israel-hating crap in the next. And one of these idiots who laughs at the idea that the Guardian is antisemitic. WAKE UP, they HATE Israel, and they HATE Jews… unless a Jew openly declares rabid hatred for Israel

  10. But never mind, I was banned just one year ago, by the Austrian Der Standard, partner of Al Guardian not only in sharing news and resources, but in fostering Anti-Semitism, too.

      • Yepp. If you can German, you just need to read the articles, the comments and the selected short notices on Israel. If you want direct Anti-Semitsm, look at the fores.
        I posted for twelve years and the increase of Anti-Semitism in one decade was monstrous. Israel, the financial crisis, wikileaks, neoliberalism, oil, energy, .. , all is put together as a new form of Anti-Semitism, on a global scale, you can read the same “arguments” from Japan to the USA.
        The postings at The Guardian differ only in language from those at Der Standard.
        These posters mainly are not the dull right-extrmists, but undereducated pacifists, gooddoers, social workers, computer nerds, “peace activists”, academic professionals, and students from the universities.
        And a lot of the postcolonial, gender, queer, cultural theorists, so to say the cultural left, have their share in an academic education which symbolises a cultural break in the west: anti-American, anti-Israel, anti western values, defending terror as the means of the little man, but want to demilitarise the west, worshipping otherness in a very uniform pattern, but devaluing individualism, rationalism, logic and chronology as “hegemonic” discourses of the west to supress the others, otherness.
        Even in theological studies you have meanings where monotheism is responsible for the bad, especially as Jewish invention, polytheism is the salvation.
        And these wicked, undereducated cuckoos are now the cultural mainstream, not the political. That´s what`s surprising them at a lot of elections. :-)

        • A-ha. “Fostering” in the sense of BTL posters posting anti-Semitic crap?
          And the posters chez the Standard are what one might expect from certain circles in Austria, with its lack of Vergangenheitsbewältigung?

          And yes I do speak German. Thought you knew that.
          Bin untröstlich.
          ;-(

          • No, I already told you that the biased articles, comments and short notices should be read.
            The headlines permanently paint Israel as aggressor, the articles and comments follow the famous two rules,
            rule 1Israel is guilty
            rule2 and even when Israel is not, then see rule 1
            Israel-Lobby is another issue.
            And during the height of financial crisis Jewish bankers were of special interest.

            And I also wrote that not the usual suspects, certain circles are the main driving forces, but – see above.

            And once more, as you obviously cannot draw conclusions, the “arguments” do not differ, be it Liberation, Guardian, Spiegel, Standard, …
            Got a clue?

    • Can’t say for sure. I’m guessing it was because of off-topic comments … complaining about off-topic comments!

      • Can’t say for sure. I’m guessing it was because of off-topic comments … complaining about off-topic comments!

        This cannot be. Some threads run to hundreds of off-topic comments, like the You tell us thread. And I doubt complaining about them is regarded as a sin by the powers that be there.

        Perhaps you just told them to undertake a sexual departure? That might have done it.

  11. comment – a remark expressing an opinion or reaction.
    Discussion, esp. of a critical nature, of an issue or event.

    censorship – the practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts.

    “Comment is Free” What a joke.

    • Comment is free……At Al-Guardian as long as it agrees with the hamas/fatah/palestinian/islamic/iran/marxist/communist agendas

  12. Don’t be such a freaking cry baby. I been banned by CIFWatch, Millett’s blog, Harrys Place, Elder of Zyon, Martin Brights blog to mention just a very few. You don’t see me whining.

        • I doubt that you wonder much about why people hate you or, indeed about anything much at all.
          Otherwise you’d be in the foetal position in the corner of a darkened room rather than bothering the nice people here

  13. Yeah I wondered about that too. Maybe I have been rehabilitated ? Or maybe it was my evil twin wot got banned. Or maybe it wasn’t a life sentence. Dunno.

  14. Another possible explanation could be that cuz my BT contract ended and I moved to talk talk I got a different IP address. Dunno.

  15. Obviously you should simply clear your browser cookies with anything with the word “guardian” any other related site names of theirs, and use a different email address to start a new account and keep right on posting.

    If they have IP-banned you, there are ways to change your IP address pretty easily.

    Anyone who works in computers/internet should know how to do this, or should work with someone who does

    • I believe your IP address can be changed simply by pulling the lead from your modem/computer to the phone socket then waiting 15/20 minutes then reconnecting and hey presto you have a shiny new IP address to annoy the usefull idiots at CIF and Al-Guardian

  16. Your being banned by the Guardian shows what cowards they are – prissy little bitches like the DKos and HuffPo who banned me 10 times each before Relpo came on the scene and because unbannable – are in good company with the Guardian prigs – who, like half the commenters on this very thread, belong in a bread line that only serves soup. Hey muslims – you lose…you always lose.

  17. All my comments over the years have been permanently deleted from their site.

    As Pretz wrote above. Join the club.

    I wear ‘my banning’ as a badge of honour. I remember MoveAnyMountain. A very talented and articulate commenter. But with a disposition almost completely at odds with the Guardian de-facto ‘World View’. I qualify ‘de-facto’ because their actual World View is not anywhere near as they present it. It is quasi fascist and wholly anti West which leads them to the dead end where they are digging their hole deeper and deeper while claiming that they are ‘progressive’.

    I feel so sorry for real progressives..

  18. I didn’t mention that The Guardian seems to get particularly worried when an anti-Guardian commenter is too articulate or too persuasive. A sign of their fear that the truth can expose them as a camouflaged propaganda platform for the radical extreme delusional left rather than a purveyor of current affairs. (A newspaper).

    • I think to think that that was why they banned me….. ;-)

      They have very great difficulty with articulate and persuasive posters, particularly who support Israel. It rocks their rigid view of the world.

  19. That’s the reason I started my blog: http://anothermudpit.blogspot.co.il/2009/01/selective-censorship-at-guardian-uk.html

    Though I immediately discovered a work around, which kept me arguing in that sh!thole for a year or two before I lost interest. At the time at least, you could create an account and post comments immediately, there was no validation of the email address you put in to register. So I’d register with whatever bogus email address crossed my mind, and would use that until that alias got banned. Eventually the half life of my new aliases got shorter and shorter due to the simple fact I just got more and more in their face.

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  21. My CiF id (YourProductHere) got revoked last week as well. I had been posting for 9 months and they suddenly accused me of having duplicate accounts, but how would they know? Anyway, I wonder if there is some ideological cleansing going on. The CiF moderators are one of the best adverts for moderated forums on the net

  22. It’s not all about you. The world knows there’s a conflict, knows it will never be resolved, and therefore largely ignores it.

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