The ‘settlements’ which occupy Michael White’s mind: Sasha Baron Cohen edition


The British Labour Party recently suspended Baron Ahmed, a Muslim member of the House of Lords, for claiming that his prison sentence several years ago for dangerous driving was the result of pressure placed on the court by Jews “who own newspapers and TV channels”.

Yesterday, as news of Ahmed’s suspension was reported, there was the following Twitter exchange between Guardian assistant editor Michael White and Daniel Finkelstein, a journalist for The Times.

The exchange continued:

continues

As we noted, Finkelstein is a British Jew and not an Israeli.  The Guardian reporter’s response to Finkelstein’s Tweet represents the classic antisemitic narrative which holds Jews collectively responsible for the perceived sins of Israel.

However, this episode of Jew baiting wasn’t a one-off, and can not be justified as merely an impetuous social media gaffe.

A 2011 piece by White ‘Borat ‘racism’ case reflects badly on employment tribunals, Aug. 24, took aim at another Jew, Sasha Baron Cohen.

White’s Guardian blog entry took aim at Cohen for mocking antisemites in the film “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”.  

The 2006 “mockumentary” focused on a fake Kazakh television personality who leaves his homeland of Kazakhstan for America to make a documentary film for the Kazakh Ministry of Information. The fake reporter utters sexist, racist and antisemitic comments as he crosses the US, encouraging those he encounters to make similarly bigoted remarks.

White’s commentary included the following:

“Like a lot of [Cohen's] work, it struck me as exploitative and inherently condescending to the kind of people who weren’t lucky enough to go to Cambridge as he did. It’s also a one-trick joke.

Nor was Cohen’s own justification for the film – he was roundly criticised and Kazakhstan allegedly threatened to sue him – convincing. He told the Rolling Stone magazine – here’s the Telegraph’s account – that “the joke is on the racists”, because only such people could imagine that his gross parody of Kazakhstan – a place where gays wear blue hats, women live in cages and anti-Semitism is rife – could really exist.

He then addressed Cohen directly in the following passage:

Well, if you say so, Sasha, though there are some pretty nasty countries out there. And I doubt if you’d enjoy the joke if a Cambridge-educated Palestinian pulled off a similar stunt travelling through the more red-neck Israeli settlements on the West Bank…” [emphasis added]

Again, for clarity, Sasha Baron Cohen (like Daniel Finkelstein) is a British Jew, and not an Israeli. 

Michael White saw a Jew ridiculing people who engaged in crude antisemitism and his first reflex was to associate him with the settlements in Israel. It’s as if he’s demanding that Jews must first prove they’re sufficiently opposed to the settlements before ‘complaining’ of anti-Jewish bigotry.

What other vulnerable minority in the world would be asked to pass such a moral test before their concerns about being subjected to racism are taken seriously?

Finally, some have argued that the people in Cohen’s film fell for a “trap”, and wouldn’t have uttered antisemitic remarks if not for Borat’s prompting.

Michael White, however, can offer no such defense.  He willingly volunteered his anti-Jewish bigotry without the slightest bit of coercion or ‘trickery’ to millions of “liberal” Guardian readers.

76 comments on “The ‘settlements’ which occupy Michael White’s mind: Sasha Baron Cohen edition

  1. “What other vulnerable minority in the world would be asked to pass such a moral test before their concerns about being subjected to racism are taken seriously?”

    Here in the UK, ordinary Muslims are often asked to pass moral tests about extremist Muslims.

    (That doesn’t negate your other points, though.)

    • Hi Chas. There’s a big difference in my opinion. Muslims in Europe are indeed sometimes asked to condemn extremism in by fellow Muslims in their own country, but not typically asked to condemn Islamists in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or other foreign countries.

      • Exactly; it’s one thing to ask a community to stand up to extremists within their midsts…it’s another thing to demand an anti-Zionist oath before engaging.

      • I live in England, and Muslims are regularly asked to pass moral tests on extremists both here and in foreign countries. I’m not disagreeing with your wider points in the article.

    • “Here in the UK, ordinary Muslims are often asked to pass moral tests about extremist Muslims. ”

      Really?
      I live in the UK and am interested in;
      Where these tests are taking place?
      When ‘ordinary Muslims’ are asked to pass ‘moral tests’?
      Why they are asked to pass these tests?
      What these tests consist of?

      Before you, or anyone else, asks Yes I live in an area where there are many Muslims and to be frank I suspect considerably more than in leafy Berkshire.

        • And these ‘moral tests’ which you claim they have to pass are what exactly?
          You seem to have missed the important questions I asked in my post, that is either missed them or attempted to avoid them.
          To refresh your memory they are;
          Where these tests are taking place?
          When ‘ordinary Muslims’ are asked to pass ‘moral tests’?
          Why they are asked to pass these tests?
          What these tests consist of?

          That is of course if these ‘moral tests’ exists anywhere except in your imagination.

              • Haha, I’d have bet my entire house on that exact reply.

                I can only imagine the outrage CifWatch would (quite rightly) express if a Guardian commenter was asked to prove antisemitism exists.

                • “I can only imagine”
                  And that is clearly all you are doing.

                  Why you feel the need to attempt to muddy the water by raising the spurious question of being asked to prove if antisemitism exists,when it is clear to everyone that it does and is a stain on all of us who live in the UK, is frankly nauseating.

                  I’ll leave it to others to judge if after creating fictitious ‘moral tests’ for Muslims in the UK you made any attempt to justify your spurious claim.

                • Gerald raises a valid point. I don’t know about the UK because I have never been there and I have no intention of spending a cent in a place where the government has officially deemed the holiest place in the world to me as outside my own country.

                  However, if the moral test which Adam has exposed does indeed exist for Muslim, could you provide a concrete example?

    • First of all, neither Jews nor Muslims are a race. Second of all, who is asking Muslims to pass a moral test? I certainly don’t see CNN, BBC, the Guardian, or other left-wing publications and media outlets asking Muslims to pass a moral test. On the contrary, you are deemed a racist Islamaphobe if you even question why more than 95 percent of all suicide bombing attacks conducted worldwide are carried out by Muslim extremists, why Sunni Muslim terrorists committed more than 70% (8,886) of the 12,533 terrorist murders in 2011 (that doesn’t include Shi’ite terrorism), why polls in the Middle East show 75% of people in favour of martyr-bombings, or why 49.9% of Arab Muslims Support Osama Bin Laden. I don’t see the media or society in general treating Muslims with the same grain of salt as they do the Jews.

      • Correction Daniel: Jews are indeed a race as we the vast majority of Jews share the same genetic markers.

        • I know we share genetic markers, but does that make us a distinctive race? According to Dr. J. Craig Venter, head of the Celera Genomics Corporation in Rockville, Md, you are wrong. Citizens of any village in the world, whether in Scotland or Tanzania, hold 90 percent of the genetic variability that humanity has to offer. Dr. Harold P. Freeman, the chief executive, president and director of surgery at North General Hospital in Manhattan asserts that only .01% of genes account for a person’s external appearance. What they both mean to say is I, a White European, can share many of the same markers with a Black man from Nairobi. They both conclude that “there is only one race — the human race.”

          You might want to take a gander at this article before you claim Jews are a race.
          http://partners.nytimes.com/library/national/science/082200sci-genetics-race.html

          • That’s playing with semantics and gets into a sort of social politics. What that’s saying is that there is no such thing as race. However, if there is, then Jews would qualify.

            • A genomist says all the variability in human genetics can be found within one region and that you or I share many of the same genetic markers as people from other “races” and you say it’s semantics. I think I’ll stick with the scientists on this one.

              And I would ask that you refrain from typifying Jews as a race. You may not have paid attention to Holocaust studies, but I did.

              • What the scientists say, huh? Fine. http://forward.com/articles/155742/jews-are-a-race-genes-reveal/?p=all “Is Judaism a people or a religion? Or both? The belief that Jews may be psychologically or physically distinct remains a controversial fixture in the gentile and Jewish consciousness, and Ostrer places himself directly in the line of fire. Yes, he writes, the term “race” carries nefarious associations of inferiority and ranking of people. Anything that marks Jews as essentially different runs the risk of stirring either anti- or philo-Semitism. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore the factual reality of what he calls the “biological basis of Jewishness” and “Jewish genetics.” Acknowledging the distinctiveness of Jews is “fraught with peril,” but we must grapple with the hard evidence of “human differences” if we seek to understand the new age of genetics.

                Read more: http://forward.com/articles/155742/jews-are-a-race-genes-reveal/?p=all#ixzz2NphZoUI9

                BTW, just because someone doesn’t believe in exterminating Jews doesn’t mean that he’s going to piddle with social politics.

                • “Ostrer points out, some of the same markers can be found in Palestinians, our distant genetic cousins.”

                  I cherry-picked this quote to illustrate a point. Genetic markers are just one tiny part of being Jewish. Who is more Jewish genetically? Me–a son of a Sephardi mother and Ashkenazi father, grew up in the religion, and stands for the right of his brothers and sisters to protect their homeland? Or a Muslim Palestinian who has similar markers? The question is so ridiculous because genes are not the only thing that makes up a Jew. We may share DNA, but that won’t stop Jewish people from being absorbed into other cultures and losing every hope of ever reattaining those roots.

                  This conversation is bordering on ridiculous so I would ask that we discontinue it. Good day

      • “polls in the Middle East show 75% of people in favour of martyr-bombings, or why 49.9% of Arab Muslims Support Osama Bin Laden.”

        Daniel, this isn’t consistent with the data I’ve seen. The % of those in the Middle east supporting suicide bombings is much, much lower than you say. The same is true of support of bin laden, based on these Pew surveys.

        http://www.pewglobal.org/database/?indicator=19&survey=13&response=Often/sometimes%20justified&mode=chart

        http://www.pewglobal.org/database/?indicator=20&survey=13&response=Confidence&mode=chart

        • Thanks…the data I was looking at was from ’06. That still does not negate the fact that Muslims are in the overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks.

        • Where did I say that genetics are the only thing that makes up a Jew? For your information, I was dating a convert just a few months ago, so you should feel embarrassed for being that judgmental. All I said was that Jews may be considered a race because of those genetic markers. As it concerns Muslim Palestinians, there is also a lot of evidence that many of them are descended from forced converts.

          But, you’re right. We should probably discontinue the conversation. Good day.

    • Agreed, OyVaGoy, but you show no evidence here of having asked yourself why they should not be. After all, if Jews or Christians or any other belief group committed such crimes in the name of their religions fellow Jews/Christians/others would condemn their actions unequivocally and in short order. All of which begs the question why outright, unequivocal condemnation by Muslims of Islamic “anti-other” behaviours is so rare:

      One plausible explanation, according to a friend who has studied Islam, the koran and sharia extensively lies in the following, which I have quoted from him, about the Islamic doctrine of “sitr”:

      The word “Sitr” itself is related to the Arabic word for a curtain or a veil, and carries the meaning of drawing a blind over something that is not to be revealed.
      The doctrine of Sitr is related to the concept of “Aurah” or “dis-honour / shame”.
      In simple terms when a person does something “shameful” or “dishonourable” within the Muslim community, it should be hushed up and only repeated offenders should be brought to (Islamic) justice. This is justified on the grounds that in the Hadith a duty is laid on Muslims to protect each other and each other’s honour.
      Thus, according to Dr. Qaradawi, if someone assaulted another in a rage, got drunk, visited a prostitute, etc. then if he were exposed, he would be shamed. Under the doctrine of Sitr, in order to preserve the person’s “honour”, the offence should be covered up.

      “Note here that this “cover-up” applies to both criminal and immoral behaviour. This should not surprise us, since Islam rarely distinguishes the two, treating both types of reprehensible behaviour as crimes under Sharia Law.

      “Muslim children, teaches Qaradawi, should be taught from an early age to adopt the practice of Sitr if doing so will preserve the “honour” of fellow Muslims.

      “At first sight this is a doctrine which has somewhat to recommend it. It is the opposite of the “kiss-and-tell” attitude prevalent in much of the West, which can be damaging to put it mildly. However, I suggest that it has a darker side.
      Recall that one example of something to be covered-up was a criminal act – that of assault. How widely does this doctrine reach, to what level of criminality (and here in the West, particularly criminality against non-Muslims) should Sitr be applied?

      “Dr. Qaradawi has said: “The principle of Sitr requires that [all] such [shameful] behaviour, whether committed by you or someone else, remains forever hidden behind the veil [of Sitr].”

      “Does this mean that Muslims should not co-operate with Law enforcement agencies if a crime (which in these terms brings “shame”) has been committed by Muslims and perhaps especially so if the victims are non-Muslims (who are regarded as lesser mortals in Islam)?

      “Note also the key concept of “Honour” within this doctrine.
      Somewhat simplistically, the doctrine of Sitr is all about preserving the “honour” of Muslims individually and hence the Umma collectively. Muslims are to be seen as being the “best community amongst mankind” (K3:110), no matter the truth of the matter.

      “Given the centrality of “honour”, are we then surprised that people who so flout the demands of “honour” are likely to be killed so as to restore this “honour” to their family, or that Muslims are often less than fully cooperative in Police investigations into crimes committed by Muslims, or that the widespread presence of hate-preachers in Mosques is not reported?…”

  2. Traditionally Jews have been held collectively responsible for the death of Christ. In liberal atheist circles, this has been replaced with holding the Jews collectively responsible for anything any Israeli does which they don’t like.

    • It could be the blood libel Greg; there are other possibilities. I often feel that many of the hard-core left hold their positions because they feel some sort of misplaced guilt about being born into privilege. However, rather than bear that burden, they would rather have a proxy like Israel serve that purpose, albeit unconsciously. It’s much easier that way, as Adam has so often elucidated, “Israel is low-hanging fruit.” A third possibility is that they want to be considered as fashionable and thus, follow that herd.

      • Israel ticks so many boxes when it comes to far-left bigotry. Nation-state? Check. Bourgeois? Check. Jooos? Check. Religion? Check. Supported by the US? Check. Not communist? Check. Intellectual? Check. Far-left types talk about equality but far-left organisations are driven by hatred. That’s why they usually implode. If you lock a communist in a room sooner or later he’ll beat himself up (hat-tip Douglas Adams).

      • Many are drawn to radical leftist causes because they are self-righteous crusaders out to fix the world, wanting to help those less fortunate. They view Israel as the oppressor/bully and arab palestinians as the oppressed/victims. It is ironic that these events and this rhetoric often takes place at and flows out of the university campuses all over the West, when they really should be engaging critical thought. Instead students are indoctrinated from a young age to espouse Communist ideals and are inundated with headlines and articles demonizing Israel (the Jew among the nations). Now when they reach university, they’ve already formed a belief and beliefs are hard to change especially when you find out you’ve been actively supporting and fighting for a cause that goes against your very moral fiber.

    • holding the Jews collectively responsible for anything any Israeli does which they don’t like

      Or which wasn’t actually done by an Israeli but what the hey, some Israeli somewhere did something bad so it COULD have been true. And anyway, it illustrates a larger truth. Which is that it’s the Jews’ fault (whatever “it” happens to be).

  3. I posted elsewhere that one of my favorite statements of all time, on any subject, was given by Sir Winston Churchill, when he said that a fanatic “is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”
    That pretty well describes White’s thinking, because he brought up West Bank settlements in a context that had absolutely nothing to do with them. NOTHING. I would love to see his argument that his logic wasn’t completely corrupted (best guess: White, like Lord Ahmed, believes that Israeli settlements should be the #1 story, all the time, not just on anything involving Israel or the Middle East, but on anything where any subject has any connection to Israel or the Middle East–and if that position is that of a bigoted politician who more or less got away with murder, called for Barack Obama to be murdered, and blamed British Jews for having to serve the little time he got for killing an innocent pedestrian, then Bob’s your uncle!).
    That’s my long-winded way of saying whatever else Michael White is, he’s clearly a stupid asshole.

  4. An asteroid hit the Earth 65million years, wiped out 95% of all life, including all the dinosaurs, but no Jews were killed. I bet that pushed the settlements out of the news for a few days.

  5. Michael White ‘knows’ what Daniel Finkelstein is doing. He is obviously deflecting attention away from critism of Israel by playing the anti-Semitism card. Someone as clever and principled as White doesn’t fall for such a pernicious and ubiquitous Zionist trick.

    In the dull, unimaginative mind of White, Ahmed’s racism against Jews intersects with his own malicious world view, and as White is left-of-centre, he is under the delusion that he is immune from such racist bigotry. Therefore Ahmed’s anti-Semitism cannot exist, except as a tool artificially manufactured by the Jewish controlled media to deflect attention away from Israel’s ‘crimes’.

    So we come full circle Mr White! A classic case of left-liberal double-think, and the mental contortions that are second nature to the self-righteous bigots at der Guardian.

    • Well, Churchill thought Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were ‘savage’. But why would a ‘progressive’ like you Joe, have a problem with anti-Semitic and genocidal regimes? They are obviously beyond criticism. What we should be concentrating on are the evils of Israel right?

      And BTW, as it’s obvious you don’t know, it was Churchill who gave three-quarters of mandated Palestine to his Hashemite friends to create Jordan at the expense of a future Jewish state. Still, wouldn’t be cricket would it Joe, to find it in our dark European hearts, to be anything other than obsessive, contemptous and mean-spirited over the remaing quarter when its firmly in the hands of the Jews.

  6. Joe why are you diverting the issue to Churchill?

    What I want to know is Israel guilty of ethnic cleansing? Why would Israel not allow Palestinians to return to their homes? Does this constitute racism? Why are Palestinian homes demolished? Does Israel not claim that it is a state of all the Jewish people not just those living in Israel?

    • Why just you are such a hater? Why obsess about Jews and Israel? Are you a militant anti-Semite? Why were 850.000 Jews ethnically cleansed by muslims? Do you know the Mufti of Jerusalem was a Nazi war criminal? Are you boy-george?

    • Then i would also ask why did the Arabs on the establishment of Israel force out of the Arab countries 800k plus jews who’s comunities had been there for centuries if not millenia and now seem to want to force out the christians out neither of which seem to make it into the mainstream media

    • You’re asking why someone is diverting the subject and you do the same on the very next sentence. Unfuckenbelievable!

    • Ashley George: “what I want to know is blah blah blah”.

      Well f**k off to der Guardian where your middle class sense of entitlement will be satiated.

    • Ashley George, I think that you need to examine history. First, it was the Arabs who told other Arabs to leave their homes because of the impending war. The refugee issue is complicated, but from Israel’s point of view, IMO, there was much too much risk involved in allowing people who were antagonistic to the existence of the state and wanted to see it eradicated to live in the country, especially during its infancy.

      Since we’re on the subject, why is it that Palestinians are the only people in the entire world for whom refugee status is inherited? For example, a Darfurian who flees to say, the UK, is considered a refugee. Children born to him/her in the UK are considered British citizens and not refugees. That’s not so for Palestinians. Every generation inherits that status. Why?

      Palestinian homes are often demolished, and make no mistake that the homes of many Jews are likewise demolished because they’re often built illegally, i.e, without the proper permits. House demolitions of terrorists has often been carried out in the past. That may sound unjust, however we don’t live in the same kind of society that you do. Here, Arabs are inculcated that they must wage jihad and seek revenge for actions. Jihad or shahada (martyrdom). It’s not something that you can reason with.

      As to your last question, Israel was established as the Jewish homeland.

      • Michael, I am glad you answered Ashley George’s questions because I assume that they were honest questions asked by somebody who didn’t know the answers. It is unfair to berate somebody who just asks non-rhetorical questions and wants to be enlightened.

    • BTW Ashley George, reading your post again reminded of something else. If Israel is guilty of “ethnic cleansing” as you imply why is that the Palestinian infant mortality rate and overall death rate have fallen, while life expectancy has risen, resulting in increased population, under Israeli administration?

  7. Groovy Times I resent your implication that I am a German Sheep who reads the German edition of the Guardian

  8. I think Germans have generally got over their deluded sense of superiority and by-and-large, don’t fixate on the ‘Jewish problem’ these days, so you can rest assured that I did not mistake you for a German.

  9. Looking at this from a distance it’s hard to believe that standards in the UK have slipped so badly.

    Here’s a theoretical, A white Republican politician drives off a bridge drowning his passenger. He manages to get home and after a night drinking coffee reports to the police the next day. He spends a few weeks in jail but due to some manoeuvring by expensive lawyers he beats anything too severe and is out on the streets in no time.

    Twelve months later he is interviewed about the conviction by a foreign newspaper who he assumes to be friendly and is quoted as saying “I knew I was in strife when I saw the judge’s name was Mohammed”. There’s another scandal. . Fox News ignores the story.

    Some one from the Guardian tweets “Surprised to see Fox News found nothing newsworthy Republican guy/Muslim story”

    Someone from the Times tweets back. “Yeah a real kicker there for sure. Pity about the Hamas Charter though”

    Crude enough for you? I could go on. In fact I think I might.

    You have a real problem in the UK because as I understand it the Guardian is regarded as mainstream media. We have real problem in Australia because the Guardian has just launched an Australian version news site. .

  10. Morning all. I am not a regular visitor to this site. I understand why Cif Watchers feel the need to run it ( I wish they didn’t), but its tone can be relentlessly unpleasant in ways that do the organisers little credit. In view of the nasty things being said about me this weekend I thought I should drop in.

    As I feared the account of my exchange with Danny Finkelstein at the head of this piece has been corrupted in transmission or deliberately edited by someone unknown to put me in a bad light; the latter I suspect, but I can’t be sure.

    When I looked at Twitter on Friday I saw that Danny had asked the question you correctly quote here. I replied along the lines of ” Now now, Danny, you must be able to see that all media ( not just BBC) had a problem checking this late at night. Alleged remarks in Urdu and legally sensitive.” I sought merely to inform passing readers of DF’s Tweet of the likely explanation for delay. From personal experience I know quite well the BBC’s habits of late night/ pre-dawn caution.

    DF then made the remark about ” double standards” . I agreed, but as I explained later as soon as I typed the phrase I thought ” hey, there are a lot of double standards around the Israel/Palestine issue” so I typed what were – for CifW – the inflammatory ” illegal settlements” remark.

    At this point I think we’d both misunderstood each other. I thought DF was picking on the BBC for being what it is to some, anti-Israel bias in its reporting ( I sometimes agree with that complaint as a viewer, though I do not monitor it). He should have complained about ALL media not picking up the story, instead of niggling the BBC again about Israel, I thought.

    But, as he now explains, he’d not seen any papers but the Times at that stage and can see what I was driving at: no one seems to picked it up overnight, so why single out the Beeb? For my part I thought he referred to Muslim double standards and I happily agreed. Did he mean BBC double standards? Perhaps he did.

    Having known each other for many years we parted on friendly terms, since confirmed, as several Tweeters noted at the time. But by that stage pirates were on board the ship making wild allegations against me. That’s life, it’s a free country, but no offence was intended on my part – not until Tweeters became seriously abusive. My policy is to be civil to the civil and give the benefit of the doubt to the young or inexperienced. But not to the louts.

    I’m sure Cif Watch has many fair-minded readers, which I why I have taken the trouble to explain myself. I thought it was DF who introduced Israel into this unpleasant incident, not me, though I now accept that was not in his mind. He accepts that he was not aware that the facts of the wretched Ahmed affair were still largely unreported when he Tweeted.

    He has also since Tweeted that I am not an anti-Semite which is true but should not need saying. Alas, my words were distorted, by accident or design. I am sure I will have the same trouble (again) with the other side next week when I plan to defend Tony Blair’s record in the Middle East.

    Best wishes

    • Can I be the only person who fails to see how your post even addresses, let alone explains or excuses the behaviours which you are under fire for here?

      To wit, of DF: “The Guardian reporter’s response to Finkelstein’s Tweet represents the classic antisemitic narrative which holds Jews collectively responsible for the perceived sins of Israel.”

      And of SBC: “Michael White saw a Jew ridiculing people who engaged in crude antisemitism and his first reflex was to associate him with the settlements in Israel. It’s as if he’s demanding that Jews must first prove they’re sufficiently opposed to the settlements before ‘complaining’ of anti-Jewish bigotry.”

      … and who are these “pirates”? How did they twist your words?

      Your story appears to be: ” I sought merely to inform passing readers of DF’s Tweet of the likely explanation for delay.”

      You’ll have to do better than that, Michael.

    • For the record, Michael, we never claimed that you were antisemitic, only that your Tweet evoked a recognizable and toxic antisemitic trope regarding collective Jewish responsibility. Here’s what I wrote today:

      “…the question of whether someone is, by nature, antisemitic is not the point. Antisemitism’ isn’t something you can test for, nor is it some sort of immutable character trait. It is, rather, more aptly described as the willful embrace of narratives which have the effect of vilifying Jews. One need not possess any visceral or emotional antipathy towards Jews as such to, nonetheless, succumb to classic antisemitic tropes.”

      Thanks for commenting.

      • For the record, Michael, we never claimed that you were antisemitic, only that your Tweet evoked a recognizable and toxic antisemitic trope

        Hang on, Adam. A more recent CiFW article refers to “Michael White’s Jew-baiting” in the very headline!

        • Maybe Adam never claimed but I do. Michael White is a typical British eshtablishment anti-Semite and he’s trying to dampen the reaction with lying about his twitter account has been hacked. But naturlich, exactly like Samira Ibrahim the courageous Egyptian “anti-Zionist.”

          • I’m not sure if he said “hacked” – but I too found his talk of “corrupted” and “pirates” rather strange.

    • “I thought it was DF who introduced Israel into this unpleasant incident, not me, though I now accept that was not in his mind. ”
      It was in your mind, immediately, as can be seen.

      As I already wrote, a man of no credentials.

    • How could anyone have edited your public tweets. They are there for the world to see. For you to claim that someone deliberately edited it to make you look bad sounds eerily similar to Samira Ibrahim’s response to allegations she made antisemitic insinuations on Twitter.

      How did they get deliberately edited? How do you expect anyone to believe that?

    • @ michaelcwhite

      DF then made the remark about ” double standards”
      I can’t find said remark.
      https://twitter.com/Dannythefink
      And that’s why I’m still wondering why you “thought DF was picking on the BBC for being what it is to some, anti-Israel bias in its reporting.”

  11. Welcome aboard Mr White! Well, you’re a busy man, so we can’t expect you to grace us with your presence on a regular basis.

    Yes, context is everything, which is why I find it strange that peace-loving liberals like yourself find is so hard to place Israel’s predicament in the context of being surrounded by fascist theocracies (Egypt, Gaza, Lebanon / Hezbollah, Iran), brutal dicatorships without the rule of law (West Bank / Fatah, Syria, former Iraq, Libya etc), and corrupt, self-serving monarchies where public executions are a speciality for keeping the population in line (Saudi Arabia). And all these countries, to varying degrees of anti-Semitic bigotry, are implacably hostile to Israel’s existence. Could it be that this lack of ‘context’ is a reflection of your own hostility to Jewish sovereignty?

    And in view of the ‘nasty things being said’ about you, I imagine it can’t be very nice, so perhaps a little more empathy might not be out of place the next time you see those grotesque charicature’s of Jews printed all over the Arab and muslim world, and on occassion, even make it into your own paper under the fig-leaf of fair comment concerning the iniquities and Zionism and Jewish power.

    Best Wishes

    Groovy

  12. White:
    And I doubt if you’d enjoy the joke if a Cambridge-educated Palestinian pulled off a similar stunt travelling through the more red-neck Israeli settlements on the West Bank…

    Has White not seen the subsequent Cohen movie Brüno? There’s a scene where SBC’s camply clad gay character gets chased by Hasidim on the streets of Jerusalem.

  13. Morning all, for the third day running.

    I plan to make this my last visit for a while. The Leveson press regulation controversy is important, the budget looms, we can at least see movement and make progress on these issues.

    Cif Watch has now launched three offended posts against me over mt Twitter exchange with Danny Finkelstein which those who have not read them will find nearby. If I am deft enough I plan to cut and paste this comment on all three for the sake of completeness.

    My top line this morning is that with technical advice from a chum I deployed Twitter Search yesterday and found the “missing Tweet” which I protested had been omitted from CiF W’s first two posts and from the version sent to the Guardian and, I assume, elsewhere.

    Having received a civil email from Adam who appears to be part of the brains behind Cif W – Hi there, Adam – I managed to cut and paste it for him to see. To his credit he seems to have decided it was worth acknowledging that all those mocking claims that “ it couldn’t happen” and “White’s a liar” were not quite correct.

    Here ( I hope) it is:

    Daniel Finkelstein ‏‪@Dannythefink‬ 
Surprised to find our Lord Ahmed Jews story not in BBC radio news summaries ‪http://thetim.es/10I7Kpp  (£)
Expand 



    13 Mar

    MichaelWhite ‏‪@MichaelWhite
    ‪@Dannythefink Now, now Dan. You must know Ahmed/Urdu/Jewish story is legally tricky for all media until checked, BBC lawyers not at work yet
    In reply to Daniel Finkelstein
    Hide conversation

    I realise this won’t change much for many of my critics on this site. I’m sorry about that, though they might ponder the speed and enthusiasm with which they called me a liar (etc). Among more substantial charges I am accused of being “ preoccupied with Israel” ( is there a lurking pun there? Stop it. Mike !) which I am not, and of being “disingenuous” about the BBC not quickly picking up on the Ahmed story.

    As the “missing Tweet” shows, I was concerned to stress only that ALL media – not just the BBC – would have had a legal problem confirming the original Times story, a good one I thought when I read it, in the middle of the night. The evidence was in Urdu, the risk of libel real. I suspected that DF, who should have known all this though he’s never ( I think) been a news reporter, was taking a little prod at the BBC for its sins against Israel. HENCE MY REFERENCE to the settlements. Tit for tat, you might say, though you probably wouldn’t.

    Am I sorry for causing such trouble ? At one level, yes. What a waste of all our time, this chasing of phantoms. At another level no. I wasn’t much troubled by the abusive posts either, many so OTT, so ridiculous, so much designed to be offensive ( whoops, missed again!). Critics ask why I could be “cruel” about Bob Maxwell and yet disapprove of SBC’s style of humour?

    Well, I had long regarded Maxwell as a bad man who had come to a sticky end and was perfectly happy to make private comments of a cheerful nature on hearing he had fallen off a yacht in improbable circumstances. Bad taste you may feel, most people did at the time, I felt quite isolated/ unrepentant, but less so when they discovered the hole in the Mirror pension fund. Let’s not go there on this occasion.

    As for SBC’s Borat, “surely” I must have seen it and its mockery of whatever ? Well, no, I didn’t see it because I went off SBC’s style of humour long ago. It makes me uncomfortable in ways that abuse on Cif Watch doesn’t. You may think this is nit-picking but it isn’t entirely so because it underlines the self-referential nature of so many posts. The posters KNOW what I think and why I say what I do, it’s ALL ABOUT THEM. I think I know why this may be so, but let’s leave it at that for now. There are points I could make, but they may only re-ignite tempers.

    I haven’t read them all, but there’s a samey quality to so many. One more thoughtful posters asks me if I am not aware of “ Israel’s strategic predicament,” a small country surrounded by unstable and autocratic neighbours ? Indeed I am aware of it, though I think of it less than some posters imagine. When I do it troubles me greatly for Israel’s future which I would wish to be prosperous and peaceful. Like many people who wish Israel well I doubt the wisdom of an expansionary settlement policy. I put it no stronger.

    What I hope it is common ground between us that it is OK to criticise particular policies of a particular government of Israel with risking the charge of anti-semitism. It’s a dilemma for British and other non-Israeli Jews, more acute than for the rest of us, I can see that, knowing everything that has gone before.

    Best wishes.

    • Is that so, Mr. White? Where did the word Israel first appear in the conversation? And why would it have come up, if not for your obsession?

      This is really no different from a South American journalist who would blame you for harping on “illegal Israeli settlements” while the UK continues its illegal colonization of the Malvinas Islands. Of course, it’s not considered “illegal” by you or the other members of the MSM and its Overlord, the left-wing mafia, but it would be if the members of that cadre would hold themselves to the same standards that they hold Israel.

      Of course, that would also be too inconvenient, wouldn’t it? Morals only apply when we want to pass judgement on others.

  14. The suggestion that you cannot criticise particular policies of a particular Israeli government without risking the charge of antisemitism is tired, lame and offensive. This is one of the great unshakeable fallacies of a controversy that teems with them. Please stop saying that.. Its a myth trotted out to close down thought. There would not be a single example of someone serious seriously saying that criticism of Israeli government policy is of itself antisemitism. By that standard the entire population of Israel is antisemitic.

    It is true however that a lot of “criticism ” of Israel is informed by antisemitism or antisemitic notions sometimes in their most vile forms. That cannot be honestly denied. The world is dripping with it and that has to be a crucial factor in the equation. One has to wonder why so many people do deny or overlook it.even while they ring on about the “expansionary” (which it isn’t) settlement policy out of one side of the mouth while pre-emptively denying antisemitism out of the other.

    It is also true that one cannot defend Israel and in particular its right to exist in peace as the Jewish state without sooner or later being accused of racism. It always happens. Always. There’s an example of it on this thread.

  15. Geoff, you’ve obviously replied to Michael White, but it shows up as if have replied to Adam; you may want to check that for next time.

    • On my screen it shows up as a stand alone comment that it wasn’t meant to be either. Sorry. That sort of thing has been happening a bit lately. Might have to get it checked out.

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