Yesterday, we cross posted a piece by the CST on a forum held at the Front Line Club in London which was titled “Critiquing the media’s approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict” and included British Islamist, Ibrahim Hewitt, ex-BBC Middle East correspondent Tim Llewellyn, and Guardian foreign leader writer David Hearst. The discussion was chaired by Mark McDonald, a founder of Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East.
Sure enough, the event did not disappoint, with participants continually attempting to explain the dangerous influence of the Israel lobby (which was alternately referred to as the Zionist lobby and the Jewish lobby) on media coverage of the Middle East.
Highlights include this from Llewellyn about the apparent fear of the Jewish lobby within the UK media:
Why are we afraid of [the Jewish lobby]? That’s what I don’t understand.
Is it because. I can see it in the BBC. They’re frighten’, these people are quite aggressive, right. The Jewish Lobby is not much fun. They come at you from every direction.
Here’s Hewitt on Zionist “sleepers” all around the world:
It’s very telling that…the Israeli Foreign Ministry actually issued a directive to the hasbara people, the propaganda people, around the world, start placing articles…so they were very confident that they had the ability, the people in place to be able to do that…said a lot, if they can just basically give this directive and all these sleepers all of a sudden wake up and start doing things. There are clearly people in positions of influence who are able to do this.
Here’s a clip of some of the more inflammatory comments:
However, there’s another fascinating glimpse into the mind of the British anti-Zionist left in comments offered by Hearst, which you can hear if you forward to the 24 minute mark of the full video. Here’s part of what Hearst says:
In my short time as lead writer [at the Guardian] I felt that pressure very, very personally, both within and outside the organization.
If you just Google my name you’ll see…there’s a whole organization which is there to monitor everything I write from a point of view of antisemitism. I mean, the who thing is disgusting….but it’s pressure. It really is pressure.
In addition to his pejorative reference to our blog, what most stands out is that Hearst genuinely seems shocked by the criticism of his work by monitor organizations like CiF Watch – groups which use the power of the written word (and other democratic mechanisms) to hold his colleagues accountable to the EU Working Definition of Antisemitism and the professional standards of the UK editors’ code.
In monitoring the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’ for antisemitism we’re often struck most by their contributors’ appalling hubris and over-sensitivity to criticism – convinced, it seems, that they should reap the privileges associated with their profession without the corresponding responsibility to engage in accurate, ethical reporting.
In case Hearst needs to be reminded, here are the words of C.P. Scott, the Guardian’s former editor and owner, which appear on our masthead:
‘The voice of opponents no less than that of friends have a right to be heard’.
Regardless of the smears directed against this blog by the likes of Hearst, we will continue holding them to account, and certainly won’t cease in our efforts to expose their relentless, often bigoted assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish state and on the integrity of its passionate supporters ‘all around the world’.