Guardian spin on Michael White’s Jew-baiting begins


Fallout over Michael White’s Jew-baiting Tweet to Times journalist Daniel Finkelstein has reached the Guardian offices in London.

As we reported, here and here, Guardian assistant editor Michael White responded to a completely innocent Tweet by Finkelstein asking why BBC radio hadn’t yet reported a story about Lord Ahmed’s suspension from the Labour Party due to allegations that the life peer blamed his 2008 conviction for dangerous driving on a Jewish conspiracy.

White replied to Finkelstein thusly:

“I agree it’s a stinker and typical of double standards. Pity about the illegal settlements though. Best wishes”

Finkelstein responded by asking White what his Tweet, or the broader issue regarding Lord Ahmed, had to do with Israel.

Indeed, as we noted, Finkelstein is a British Jew and not an Israeli.  White’s reflexive reply evokes the antisemitic narrative of holding Jews collectively responsible for the perceived sins of the state of Israel – an association he’s made on at least one other occasionin a column about Sasha Baron Cohen at the Guardian.

Today, March 17, the Jerusalem Post reported the following:

On Friday, the Guardian told The Jerusalem Post that White’s remarks had been misrepresented and that no offense had been intended.

“[Michael White] sought only, in exchanges with Daniel Finkelstein, to explain why the Times story about Lord Ahmed’s remarks had not been instantly picked up. No offense was intended,” a spokesman for the Guardian News and Media told the Post

Misrepresented?

The Guardian’s explanation doesn’t make sense. If White was only trying to explain why the Times story about Lord Ahmed’s remarks wasn’t picked up by the BBC, what possible reason would he have for taunting the non-Israeli named Finkelstein about “the illegal settlements” in Israel?

Interestingly it looks like the Guardian is simply parroting White’s own defense on Twitter, where he’s been complaining that his comments have been “doctored” or “corrupted”. Here’s a recent exchange between White and another Tweeter.

white

Here’s another.

white 2

Again, here’s a snapshot of the exchange.

white 3

White’s defenders, however, must answer two questions:

1. What did Daniel Finkelstein’s Tweet have to do with Israel or Israeli settlements?

2.  How was the Guardian journalist’s Tweet doctored, distorted or in any way misrepresented?

In fairness, though, Finkelstein has recently defended White on Twitter, arguing that he is not antisemitic.

However, as we’ve argued previously, 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.

The EU working definition on antisemitism specifically characterizes as antisemitic holding Jews collectively responsible for the state of Israel as, historically, persecution against Jews has often included the automatic imputation of collective Jewish guilt for the perceived crimes of other Jews anywhere in the world.

Holding British citizens – be they Jewish, Christian or Muslim – responsible for the actions of their co-coreligionists abroad is bigoted and morally indefensible.

77 comments on “Guardian spin on Michael White’s Jew-baiting begins

  1. Finklestein playing the ingenue! I don’t believe it! Ahmed was talking about Zionists. Finclestein is a vocal supporter of Israel.Why you can’t call him a Zionist Jew escapes me. most of the Zionists in the USA are so-called christians!

    ________________________________

    • Ahmed was quiet clear about the jews. Trying to say he was talking about Zionist is the usual poor exuse antiesmitic hide behind.

    • Let’s see, you’ve made hundreds of comments on this blog…is it too much to ask that one, just a single solitary one, of them have any bearing on reality?

      • How about we all ignore it? Once it’s denied the oxygen of attention it’ll go and bug some other poor blog.

    • “My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this.” — Baron Ahmed

      You see how he connects Jews with Israel: Classic antisemite.

      Yet, you come here and misquote him as referring to Zionists?

      Now, whether Finkelstein is a supporter of Israel or not has absolutely nothing to do with why the Guardian is so one-sided, as Finkelstein aptly pointed out. And what does White do but justify Finkelstein’s implicit claim: that White and the Guardian are one-sided due to their obsession with vilifying the Jewish nation even at the expense of its own Jewish citizens because they are not deemed equal.

    • Sprattyville

      You remind me of the reasoning behind Lithuanian killers at the start of the Nazi invasion of the USSR, knee deep in the blood of Jewish men, women and children, shot into pits. All of those Jews were guilty of being Communists you see.

      Of course, the political affiliations of the victims were neither here nor there, as if the murderers checked up on these things before dispatching their innocent victims in the most cruel and brutal manner.

      ‘Communism’ was just an excuse for unleashing their murderous prejudices against defenceless Jews.

      And now over to you Spratty, justifying your own prejudices against Jews by hiding behind your dislike of ‘zionism’, and in doing so defending an anti-semite who killed an innocent by-stander through dangerous driving.

      You are a disgrace. Your bigotry prevents you from condemning the remorseless Lord Ahmed, who would rather blame the Jews than take personal responsibility for the death of a fellow human being, showing that you are an insult to the liberal and progressive values that place a premium on human life.

  2. This is a trending phenomenum. If you look in the talkbacks of almost every British online paper (especially the Guardian and Independent, needless to say) you will find disparaging comments on Israel and/or Jews irrespective of the subject matter. Stories about North Korea, Syria, Egypt, the weather or a fish and chip shop in Scunthorpe will be full of them and are not removed. Our enemies are ruthless and determined and appear to have the moderators on their side.

  3. yep rather politely i have also had dealings with Mr.White, when commenting about certain things, he always quips in with “illegal settlements ” or “Israel has done worse things”. And he is creepily polite when doing so.

    • Impose her Jewiishness ? Did jews ever wanted to impose their jewishness in the world, did they kill those who didn;t want to become jews? make them paid taxes to protact them because they were unjews?

  4. I love this blog – I want to share an experience of a multi-cultural Britain i had today. On the Big Question there was one of the Jewish woman, her grandfather came to this country at the start of the last century and fought for King and Country in the first world war. There she was saying that if she as a Jew want Sabath to be publicly acknowledged then she would go to Israel. She was adamant she did not want to impose her Jewishness on the British. Yet, the irony of the fact that she was prepared to travel thousands of miles and impose her Jewishness on peoples thousands of miles away. Ironic Multiculturalism or pure European racism?

    • How is she imposing her Jewishness on “peoples” (sic) thousands of miles away? Muslims in Israel don’t have to observe Shabbat. Muslims have Friday (their sabbath) off, and Christians Sunday. You can hear the call of the muezzin several times a day.

      Or is it too much to ask of the world that there is one single teeny-tiny corner of it, about the size of Wales, where the Jewish Sabbath is marked publicly? Where the “holiday season” comes at the start of the school year, not at the end of December?

      That teeny-tiny corner of the world, which is as good as any other place at respecting the rights of other religions (and a darned sight better than most), somehow offends Jonathan Briggs and others of his ilk.

    • Well, Briggs, heavens forbid anyone in the world from ever having anything deemed jewish “imposed” on them. By the way, how’s the head of the Church of England making out these days? You know the one, she’s also the head of state.

    • Manndate Palestine was a lot larger than you may possibly know. Today’s Jordan was originally the 77% of Mandate Palestine earmarked for the ARAB Palestinians. The remaining 23% was to go to the JEWISH Palestinians, and that included Gaza, Judea, and Samaria. Instead, the Brits went back on their agreement and created Trans-Jordan which they then relinquished unto the Hashemites for their help against the Ottomans (they got Iraq as well).

      How can one possibly impose any more Jewishness on JEWISH PALESTINE!?

  5. Michael White inhabits a world where a casual slur about Jews is not considered to be antisemitic ‘per se’ – “how could I be, some of my closest friends are Jews you know” – is the kind of mindset that could not begin to conceive that they are racist.

    They are so right on, so much part of the liberal left intelligentsia that does not allow itself to even hold for one second, a gramme of racial prejudice because it’s against their core being.

    Except that some, like White, are so bigoted, arrogant and frankly, thick, that they would not recognise racism if it bit them in the bum.

    Nasty, pompous man, well past his sell by date and overdue to draw his pension.

    • What does it say about the current state of world Jewry that a guy like that could, hypothetically, have close friends that are Jewish?

      I don’t know about you, but that worries me.

  6. alexa heard of the Naqba? The Jewish state of Israel? Occupation and settlements?

    I hope you get the drift?

    • Yes, ronald bigs, you’ve finally got it right. Israel is the Jewish State. And, like other countries, it has an arab minority. Mull over it.

    • Jonathan Naqba was the result of a war arabs decalre on the young Jewish state. . So I wonder who wanted to impose whose religious on whom. The Jews however were kicked of arab states only becasue they were jews. ever heard of Farahud?

    • Have you heard of the expulsion of Jews from Muslim lands where they had lived since before there were Muslims Jonathan? Not as refugees from a war their leaders started or to get out of the way of a conquering Jewish army but because they were Jews and therefore held collectively responsible for Israel winning the war.the Arabs waged.

      Have you heard they are a majority of the Jewish population of Israel, Jonathan?.

      What about that Nakba, Jonathan?

    • What is the Naqba exactly? Can you explain it to me. Don’t just sum it up into one sentence. I want to know exactly what you are alleging Israel had done. If you cannot attempt this simple task, you are obviously repeating words you heard on some antisemitic forum that you have no knowledge about.

      Settlements are legal under international law. Read the Mandate for Palestine. They are occupying Jewish Palestine (that’s what the 51 nations who signed it called Israel–they called Trans-Jordan Arab Palestine).

      Do you get the drift?

      • What is the Naqba exactly? Can you explain it to me.

        No, he can’t. He can only repeat his idiocies ad nauseam.

    • “Nabka” is the grandiloquent name for the spectacular arab defeat in their war of extermination against Israel. Defeated by those inferior JOOOOSSZZ! Preposterous, eh, ronnie biggs?

  7. “[Michael White] sought only, in exchanges with Daniel Finkelstein, to explain why the Times story about Lord Ahmed’s remarks had not been instantly picked up”

    This is actually a shockingly honest answer, as it can only be read thusly:

    “We think that, because of the illegal settlements in the West Bank, Jews have forfeited the right to complain about anti-Semites,”

    (Good to have it in writing now, for future reference.)

  8. Israel is a Jewish state everybody acknowledges that. However, it is what makes it racist and what denies it the moral right to exist. Any state is a state of all its people with equal rights for everybody. Any differentiation based on ethnicity in law makes it immoral and apartheid.

    • Jonathan the aparthide lie. lol We are an aparthide state the same way the US in regard with it’s black people. How many blacks are in the Senate 0. 6 blacks in all us history. How many arab members in the Knesset- 69 in 64 years. in the US 6 in 200 years so who is the racist here.

    • “Israel is a Jewish state everybody acknowledges that. However, it is what makes it racist and what denies it the moral right to exist.”
      Only if you’re an anti-Semite.

    • “Any state is a state of all its people with equal rights for everybody”
      Israel is the only state in the Middle East that meets this standard.

      “Any differentiation based on ethnicity in law makes it immoral and apartheid”
      That would define every state in the Middle East other than Israel.

      .

    • The 51 nations who signed the Mandate for Palestine acknowledged that 23% of the land would be Jewish Palestine (today’s Israel, including Gaza, Judea, and Samaria) and 77% would be Arab Palestine (today’s Jordan).

      We knew it back then so why are you bringing it up now? Are Jews not allowed to have a state? But Muslims are?

      In all sincerity, I am glad you made this ridiculous comment because you’ve afforded me the opportunity to address the allegation that Israel is a “racist state.” So you claim Israel is a racist state because it’s Jewish (cuckoo)? 51 nations that signed the Mandate for Palestine were signing into international law two racist regimes (Jewish/Arab Palestinians), right? Population transfers all over Europe in the postwar era were racist too? How is it that only Israel could be deemed racist when Islamic states have forcibly removed or made situations so unbearable that Jews had to leave their homes in which they’ve lived for thousands of years (some even before Islam was a twinkle in Muhammad’s eye)? Is that not racist, in your definition of the term? I say your definition because Jews are not a race and neither are Muslims.

      The first election of Israeli Parliament saw an Arab elected into Parliament. How you can spin that into apartheid is worthy of note. I would love to see you claim Israeli apartheid while addressing the apparent equality of Israeli society. Remember: a good essay will incorporate opposing viewpoints as well. You need to convince me that these apparent equalities are in fact part of a broader picture of apartheid. I feel like being educated today.

    • Briggs: “It’s (Jewishness) is what makes it racist and what denies it the moral right to exist.”

      You are such a clever boy Jonathan, you’ve heard of the Naqba and everything, but what you don’t know, in your self-righteous indignation againt Israel, is that you sound just like any other European Jew-baiter and anti-Semite that has existed over the last 1000 years. The Jews, quite literally, are yours and everyone else’s misfortune, and you believe the world must be rid of its Jewish state if justice is to prevail. Then you can all live happily ever after in your ‘un-racist’ utopia.

      The question is when did you ever defend truth and justice against the real forces of reaction, fascism, despotism and murder? Nothing to say about 70,000 dead Syrians? I suppose they can go fuck themselves because you can’t parade your snazz and fashionable ‘anti-racist’ credentials unless it’s against the measure of Europe’s traditional moral antithesis; ‘Jewishness’. Nothing else really counts does it?

    • So is Greece, which is the state of the Greek people, Finland, which is the state of Finnish people, and Germany, Italy, Japan, China, etc. Lots of “apartheid” nations, eh?

      Once again you show you are a Jew-hating moron, ronnie biggs.

  9. Pingback: Michael White, Guardian Assistant Editor, cries “Israel” in response to concern over Lord Ahmed’s antisemitism | Engage - the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism

  10. Groovy you are not very cool – for instance did you know Naqba was a crime against the followers of Abraham’s faiths, including Christians and Muslims. Both are monotheistic faiths with Abraham as their father figure. Perhaps European racism does not allow realities to get in the way of abusing others.? Bad mouthing is no alternative to a genuine debate. The forces of fascism, European racism and its latest form Zionism all are European in their nature and their origins. Anybody who says otherwise is lying.

    • Bad mouthing is no alternative to a genuine debate.
      Hahahahahahahahahaha!

      One assumes Jonny Briggs typed this with a straight face. The lack of self-awareness would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Or vice versa.

    • You forgot Palestinianism which is rooted on the deeds of Amin al Husseini, a Nazi war criminal, Hitler’s buddy and leader of your palestinian heroes.

      Piss off, ronald biggs.

    • Jonathan you keep using the term ‘European racism’, for example
      “Perhaps European racism does not allow realities to get in the way of abusing others.? ”

      Are you suggesting that ‘European racism’ is worse than any other form of racism?
      Surely you are not suggesting that it is only in Europe that racism exists or that all forms of racism originated in Europe?

    • So muslim treatment of Jews and Christinas to these days is a crime against followers of Aveaham’s faiths. Do you agree?

    • Briggs: “Groovy you are not very cool”

      I pride myself on kicking against the vacuous self-serving pricks who think having a crack at the yids is the height of political fashion.

      And here’s why little boy. History lesson number 1:

      Jews are always the antithesis of whatever is fashionable in terms of European morality: When European political dogma revolved around nationalism, Jews were rootless cosmopolitans, when the fashion was Christian orthodoxy, Jews were Christ killers, when race was all the rage, Jews were sub-human race defilers.

      Now that all the self-serving talk of the town is ‘look how cool I am, I’m so un-racist and peaceful’, the Jews are libelled as racist warmongers.

      You don’t support anything remotely resembling democracy, justice or individual human rights, because every country and political entity that is proud to be an enemy of Israel is a despotic, fascistic enemy of liberal democracy and human decency.

      You will bite the dust just like all the other fashionable Jew-haters, and will take your place in the European hall of shameful, malicious, porochial bigotry. To make that clear, one day quite soon, you will be very un-cool.

      • Jews are always the antithesis of whatever is fashionable in terms of European morality: When European political dogma revolved around nationalism, Jews were rootless cosmopolitans, when the fashion was Christian orthodoxy, Jews were Christ killers, when race was all the rage, Jews were sub-human race defilers.

        Now that all the self-serving talk of the town is ‘look how cool I am, I’m so un-racist and peaceful’, the Jews are libelled as racist warmongers.

        Bingo.

        Alan Dershowitz agrees with you http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/02/26/pink-anti-semitism-is-no-different-from-brown-anti-semitism/

        The core characteristic of anti-Semitism is the assertion that everything the Jews do is wrong, and everything that is wrong is done by the Jews. For the anti-Semite every rich Jew is exploitive, every poor Jew a burden on society. For the anti-Semite, both capitalism and communism are Jewish plots. For the anti-Semite, Jews are both too docile, allowing themselves to be led to the slaughter like sheep, and too militant, having won too many wars against the Arabs. For the anti-Semite, Jews are too liberal and too conservative, too artsy and too bourgeois, too stingy and too charitable, too insular and too cosmopolitan, too moralistic and too conniving.

        • cba

          Actually, it’s me who agrees with Alan Dershowitz. Trials of the Diaspora is a tour de force, way above the heads of self-righteous Jew-baiters like Briggs.

          Labenal et al, thanks for the compliments, but careful please, don’t spoil my un-coolness.

      • No supernatural “being” gave anything to Jews. Israelites settled in Canaan (c. 2000 BCE) and formed the Kingdom of Israel (c. 1000 BCE). The land ownership was taken from ancients forcefully. None of them survive to this day. Jews are the only living people to have ever held sovereignty over that land. Others merely occupied it, annexing it into their empires. Thousands of years later the Mandate for Palestine was signed and Jewish Palestine (today’s Israel, including Gaza, Judea, and Samaria) was assigned, obviously, to the Jews, and Arab Palestine (today’s Jordan) was set aside for the illegal immigrants you call palestinians today. God didn’t file a land transfer, the world recognized rightful ownership. But then the Brits stabbed us in the back by setting aside Trans-Jordan for the Hashemites for their help against the Ottoman’s. The 1948 resolution is a truly bastardized version of the original law-binding agreement.

    • What’s interesting is that this is not in dispute amongst the three religions fighting over the land of Israel. Obviously the Hebrew Bible makes the original promise that the land of Isreal belongs to the Jewish people in perpetuity but what is less often recognised is that the Quran is quite clear (in more than one place) that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews. The Quran also repeats the prophecy of Jewish return from exile found in Deuteronomy 28. Were it not for the supercessionist claims of both Christianity and Islam there really wouldn’t be an argument.

      The return of the Jewish people to our ancient homeland confirms that G-d’s promises to the Jews have not been transferred to either the Church or to Islam- this is the source of the dispute.

  11. Morning again, it’s Monday now and we have both wasted a lot of time on what has been, at worst, a misunderstanding between me and Danny Fink’ .

    Most of my sensible friends, including Jewish ones, warn me to steer clear of rows like this. My own view, naive perhaps, that most readers are not the abusive types who make angry comments below the line on this and other topics, but people open to reasonable argument and explanation.

    In its reply to my own explanation of what transpired between DF and me – posted here 24 hours ago – CiF Watch attacks me ( in pretty intemperate terms on Twitter) and explains its own definition of anti-semitism. Fair enough, I understand your sensitivities though I do not endorse them.

    CifW poses two questions:

    1) What has DF’s Tweet about the BBC and Ahmed got to do with the West Bank settlements ? I’ve explained above that DF’s own Tweet singled out only the BBC for criticism and appeared to be playing to a wider agenda. He tells me that was not intended and, of course, I take him word for it. I did not intend to offend him with the settlement remark either – but had assumed he started it, albeit in more subtle fashion.

    2) Cif Watch tells its readers that I am lying about the two – I think it’s two – missing Tweets between DF and me which clarify point 1) . Now why would I do that ? I was careful not to say it had been done on purpose, I am not technically competent to make that sort of judgement. So I used the neutral word ” corrupted,” a common enough one in electronic communications. I’m seeking help on this point.

    I’m sure Danny F could confirm this point, but he’s probably too sensible to get involved here. It’s interesting to note in passing that he’s a principle party, but he’s not complaining about me.

    Meanwhile, life moves on. Today CiF Watch is attacking my Guardian colleague, Jonathan Friedland today. Oh dear, oh dear. JF can fend very well for himself, but CiF Watch has also dug up my remarks a while back about Sasha Baron Cohen’s style of humour.

    As is its way Cif Watch has pushed my remarks through an anti-semitic prism. Again my thought-crime is to invoke the West Bank settlements – readers can find the link above. That may not be comfortable, but many people who wish Israel well are not comfortable about the settlements. I’m not comfortable with SBC’s style of humour – which strikes me as cruel and exploitative of the weak and ignorant, a form of bullying I dislike.

    My objection to it long pre-dates SBC’s Borat creation, from his TV days as I recall. My response to a bully is to seek to bully him back in kind. I do it quite a lot and provoke Cif Watch-esque responses across the bully board. But I also get support from decent people (as well as rival bullies, alas) which reassures me. Would CiFW have been happier if I had picked on some cultural quirk of British Jewry for a spoof SBC show – let’s say the planning controversy in Stamford Hill ? I suspect not.

    I hope that’s helpful to at least some of your readers.

    Best wishes

    • Michael I note that you condemn, what you consider to be, ‘cruel’ humour.
      Is this a change in sense of humour on your part, as I seem to remember you and a Mr. A Campbell getting into a heated discussion when you made a ‘joke’ about the death of Robert Maxwell.

      So my question to you is this, is your condemnation of ‘cruel’ humour hypocrisy?
      Or have you changed from sinner to Saint?

    • Michael I’m afraid your “hasbara” doesn’t quite manage to get you off the hook, . I’ll explain why…

      1) DF;s original tweet does single out (or should that be call out) the BBC but this is entirely unremarkable. The BBC is the UK’s leading media organisation- they ought be expected to report on claims that a leading UK politician has been accused of making racist remarks.

      Your response suggests that anti-Semitism is not be be condemned in and of itself but rather such condemnation must be tempered by reference to real or alleged Jewish crimes. If this is indeed your position, it seems to be analogous to shlepping a discussion about short skirts to a condemnation of rape.

      2) When it is put to you simply; a man from Rotherham claiming that his driving conviction is the result of a Jewish conspiracy has absolutely nothing to do with Israel, you don’t (heaven forbid) stop to think but rather imply sinister intentions on the part of DF. Your point may have had some validity had DF attempted to link Lord Ahmed’s alleged comments with Israel in general or with the settlements, however, it was in fact you who insisted on dragging Israel into the discussion.

      3) You now openly admit (apparently in your ‘defence’) that when faced with accusations of anti-Semitism your response is to assume that this is “playing to a wider agenda”. This itself is logically grounded in nothing more than the very anti-Semitic trope of which Lord Ahmed is accused of regurgitating. Well done!

      Perhaps I am crediting you with more intelligence than you deserve but I do think you are more than smart enough to understand the implications of your statement. Your current stance gives the impression that you are either disingenuous when caught making a stupid comment or too daft to realise quite how vacuous your thought process is when it comes to Israel and the Jewish people. Since I don’t believe you are actually racist, my advice is to behave like an adult- be honest and take responsibility for your mistake, .

    • DF adressed the importance of Ahmed`s allegedly antisemitic statements for BBC to report.. And then somebody very preoccupied with Israel came up with the settlements who had exactly what to do with Ahmed`s presumably antisemitic remarks and the BBC? Nothing, only in sombody`s thinking of equalling antisemitc remarks with settlements in the DT.

      The ongoing spin of Al Guardian`s White is to deflect from the starting point which is Ahmed and his reaction to open Anti-Semitism, coming up with the settlements.
      It is quite common for a certain thinking to rationalize today`s Anti-Semitism with Israel..

      Same again, a man of no credentials.
      Anyway, how could be given credit to a man whose newspaper defends terrorists and terrorism against Israel, labels terrorists as political prisoners, militants or family fathers, publishes pieces of them, misrepresents facts about Israel and denies Palestnian Antisemitism, the crime against humanity by using human shields, the double war crimes committed by firing from civil sites at civil sites?
      In the name of ‘peace’ supporting Al Guardian publishes Palestinian, Arab and Islamist war propaganda against Israel.
      Now that`s what Orwell called double-think.
      Not to forget that Orwell adressed the nexus between double-think and Anti-semitism by calling the hate figure Emmanuel Goldstein.

    • DF’s own Tweet singled out only the BBC for criticism and appeared to be playing to a wider agenda.

      Why did it appear so? Was it really DF – as you’ve claimed elsewhere here – who first talked about “double standards”?

      And this question comes from – to put it mildly – one of the more Israel-critical posters here.

    • Again my thought-crime is to invoke the West Bank settlements – readers can find the link above. That may not be comfortable, but many people who wish Israel well are not comfortable about the settlements.

      What made you assume that Cohen is comfortable about the settlements?
      And as I said on the parallel thread: his Brüno film e.g. clearly set out to provoke Hasidic Jews in Jersualem.
      (not that those two subjects are one and the same thing, of course)

    • You know, Michael, you did not really clarify which settlements you referred to. Are those in:
      1. The Malvinas?
      2. Gibraltar?
      3. North Ireland?
      4. Or those former colonies in North America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, where the locals had to suffer under the “White Man’s Burden”, or be annihilated completely?

      I’m very eager to hear your response, and also to understand from where you take the nerve to waive your finger at others, when you have egg all over your face?

    • Most of my sensible friends, including Jewish ones
      Classic Mr. White classic…
      Your Jewish friends?! Maybe the great Freedland himself? Or Anthony Lerner? Not speaking about Gilad Atzmon or Ilan Pappe? Maybe Debbie Fink too? If incidentally you didn’t befriended yet the members of the Machover family nothing is easier, they are living in the same environment of the UK establishment with you – in the Guardian’s world of Israel-hate.

    • Michael, you’re back!

      Thanks for the reply – no sarcasm (really). I’m glad you don’t like bullies. Where would you rate the history of Jews in Europe and the wider world on the being bullied scale? Do they register at all, and if so would you defend them against today’s bullies. Is the emergence from powerlessnes and the application of self-defence an alternative to your noble struggle against injustice for the weak and powerless?

      Best Wishes

      Groovy

    • Come off it Michael White. Are you so far gone that you don’t remember saying on a BBC radio programme that in Israel Jews murder each other “a lot” (a nonsensical accusation in every sense of the word)?

      In the light of that, and so far as I know you didn’t apologise for the offence that caused either, how can people here not look at your remarks through what you are please to call “an antisemitic prism”?

      Doesn’t your brain engage with the words you are writing or speaking? Haven’t you the insight to realise how you come across?

    • Thanks for the update, Mr. White.
      I appreciate the attempt to divide the world into “decent” people and not, based largely on who kisses your ass and who doesn’t. But in the end I will keep it short: you’re both a fanatic and a liar, and I appreciate that your inevitable blundering into subjects you are interested in will immediately assure me that your future positions, whatever they end up being, are completely inaccurate.

    • “CiF Watch attacks me ( in pretty intemperate terms on Twitter) and explains its own definition of anti-semitism. Fair enough, I understand your sensitivities though I do not endorse them.”
      Mr. White,
      CiF Watch uses the EU’s definition of anti-Semitism. Are we to assume you don’t endorse that definition? If so, where do you differ?

  12. Michael, you still don’t get it.

    I don’t know why you are so protective of the BBC that you felt compelled to rush to their rescue when Danny Finklestein made a comment on Twitter about their non coverage of Ahmedgate, but you did, and a very ill advised one it was too.

    What you call the illegal settlements, have NOTHING to do with Ahmed’s remarks. Had he made them in the UK, he might be liable for prosecution for hate crime.

    But then you come charging in on your Twitter account, conflating Ahmed’s racism, with Israeli settlements. What are we supposed to think, other than you are trying to muddy the water by changing the subject from Ahmed’s racism, to the usual Guardian obsession, Israel?

    Then, instead of sitting back, giving it some thought and realising you have made the most enormous gaffe, you attempt to shrug off your cock up, by claiming your Tweets were corrupted. Do you really think people are so stupid as to be taken in by that?

    Everyone makes mistakes, even Michael White of the Guardian. Your ongoing mistake is not to admit it, but to try to obfuscate and try to place blame on others or elsewhere.

    But I suspect years of working on the Guardian have not prepared you for admitting you got it wrong..

  13. Michael White
    So you think “most readers are not the abusive types who make angry comments below the line on this and other topics, but people open to reasonable argument and explanation”.
    Do the below-the-line-rs of “Comment is Free” prove you right in this, in your opinion?
    Just wondering…

  14. 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.

    • Michael- You still don’t get it, do you? The missing tweet makes very little difference, except perhaps for demonstrating your feeble grasp of logic.

      I’ve read the entire twitter exchange and your claim seems to be that DF was not raising a legitimate question as to why the BBC was ignoring a relevant news story alleging racist remarks made by a mainstream UK politician, but rather was making mischief, In your words because DF wanted to highlight a presumed “anti-Israel” bias in the corridors of the BBC.

      The relevant point is that a man from Rotherham claiming that his driving conviction is a result of a conspiracy on the part of British Jews is nothing whatsoever to do with Israel. It is rather a clear-cut case of anti-Semitism. Had your point been about a supposed anti-Jewish bias at the BBC (which might also include a bias against Israel) your tweets may have had some relevance, but even in this case Israeli settlements are wholly irrelevant to the discussion. Back in the real world, the first mention of Israel in this discussion came from your keyboard. The underlying logic of your tweet is that mention of anti-Semitism is a device used solely in the defence of Israel, how else do you explain your rush to condemn Israeli settlements as if this in some way mitigates clearly racist remarks?

      So we’re back where we started; either you are too dumb to realise what all the fuss is about or you are being disingenuous having been caught with your pants down. Given your subsequent responses it is hard to avoid the former conclusion. .

    • The piece at the end is of course common ground. Annoying but common.
      .
      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 the other thread.

    • Goodness, Michael! You missed the biggest point! How does a Brit like you ignore your own occupation of the Malvinas, Gibraltar and Northern Ireland? And not to mention past occupation of 2/5 of the world, peppered with major annihilation, slaving and drugging efforts?

      Isn’t that the definition of hypocrisy?

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