Why was this deleted by ‘Comment is Free’ moderators?

The voice of opponents no less than that of friends has a right to be heard.” – CP Scott (The Guardian’s former editor and owner)

‘Comment is Free’ published an open thread on February 10th (What ‘Comment is Free’ means to you: in celebration of its late founding editor Georgina Henry) that asked readers to share their thoughts on “the Guardian’s home of online comment and debate.”

While most of the reader comments predictably praised ‘Comment is Free’, there were a few dissenting voices – those who evidently take the words of CP Scott seriously  - including this:


A bit later, the comment was deleted by CiF editors because it evidently violated their “community standards”:


While the topic of comment moderation has been addressed at this blog on numerous occasions, we still are often baffled why many pro-Israel (or otherwise heterodox) comments are deemed inconsistent with their “community standards”.  So, here are the ten commenting rules at ‘Comment is Free’, listed under the heading ‘Community standards and participation guidelines‘:

There are 10 simple guidelines which we expect all participants in the community areas of the Guardian website to abide by, all of which directly inform our approach to community moderation (detailed below). These apply across the site, while moderation decisions are also informed by the context in which comments are made.

1. We welcome debate and dissent, but personal attacks (on authors, other users or any individual), persistent trolling and mindless abuse will not be tolerated. The key to maintaining the Guardian website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

2. We acknowledge criticism of the articles we publish, but will not allow persistent misrepresentation of the Guardian and our journalists to be published on our website. For the sake of robust debate, we will distinguish between constructive, focused argument and smear tactics.

3. We understand that people often feel strongly about issues debated on the site, but we will consider removing any content that others might find extremely offensive or threatening. Please respect other people’s views and beliefs and consider your impact on others when making your contribution.

4. We reserve the right to redirect or curtail conversations which descend into flame-wars based on ingrained partisanship or generalisations. We don’t want to stop people discussing topics they are enthusiastic about, but we do ask users to find ways of sharing their views that do not feel divisive, threatening or toxic to others.

5. We will not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia or other forms of hate-speech, or contributions that could be interpreted as such. We recognise the difference between criticising a particular government, organisation, community or belief and attacking people on the basis of their race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age.

6. We will remove any content that may put us in legal jeopardy, such as potentially libellous or defamatory postings, or material posted in potential breach of copyright.

7. We will remove any posts that are obviously commercial or otherwise spam-like. Our aim is that this site should provide a space for people to interact with our content and each other, and we actively discourage commercial entities passing themselves off as individuals, in order to post advertising material or links. This may also apply to people or organisations who frequently post propaganda or external links without adding substantively to the quality of the discussion on the Guardian website.

8. Keep it relevant. We know that some conversations can be wide-ranging, but if you post something which is unrelated to the original topic (“off-topic”) then it may be removed, in order to keep the thread on track. This also applies to queries or comments about moderation, which should not be posted as comments.

9. Be aware that you may be misunderstood, so try to be clear about what you are saying, and expect that people may understand your contribution differently than you intended. Remember that text isn’t always a great medium for conversation: tone of voice (sarcasm, humour and so on) doesn’t always come across when using words on a screen. You can help to keep the Guardian community areas open to all viewpoints by maintaining a reasonable tone, even in unreasonable circumstances.

10. The platform is ours, but the conversation belongs to everybody.We want this to be a welcoming space for intelligent discussion, and we expect participants to help us achieve this by notifying us of potential problems and helping each other to keep conversations inviting and appropriate. If you spot something problematic in community interaction areas, please report it. When we all take responsibility for maintaining an appropriate and constructive environment, the debate itself is improved and everyone benefits.

If someone wants to let us know why the comment was deleted, we’re all ears.

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Guardian readers commemorate the Holocaust in their own special way

h/t to the ‘global network’ of CiF Watchers

A commendable essay by Hila Shachar was published at ‘Comment is Free’ yesterday (Jan. 27) titled ‘The Holocaust is not your metaphor to use in modern political debates – one in a series of appropriate articles which appeared in the Guardian on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorated annually on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Here’s an excerpt from the essay:

In thinking about what it actually means to honour the victims, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the best ways to do this is to continue reminding ourselves that those victims were individual human beings. This should seem obvious, right? And yet, the victims of the Holocaust continue to be appropriated as political metaphors and dehumanised in the process.

Specific examples can be both well-meaning or purposefully disrespectful. Take the animal rights group PETA, which is known for its insensitive shock tactics when it comes to its marketing. In 2004, the group created the Holocaust on your plate campaign, using images of emaciated victims of Nazi concentration camps and comparing meat-eaters and those working in the meat-production industry to Nazis. I hope I don’t need to explain why this is wrong. But as I’ve been watching Facebook and Twitter conversations about the Tony Abbott government’s treatment of refugees degenerate into comparisons with the Nazis, I have to wonder if perhaps I do.

Recently, I came across this Facebook post that uses an image of a child who was killed in Auschwitz next to an image of a baby who was born in Christmas Island detention centre. It’s highly emotive and also, in my view, highly unethical. Using images of those who were killed by the Nazis to make a point about the Australian government’s policies is demeaning to those who died. It is essentially saying that their deaths are not to be remembered for their own sake, but rather because they are useful tools as points of reference and comparison in contemporary political debate. It turns Holocaust victims and survivors into concepts, decontexualised imagery and generalisations, and erases their individuality as human beings – even when the intentions behind it are sincere and well-meaning.

As part of our mission, we often monitor reader comments below the line of ‘CiF’ essays to see if moderators promptly remove antisemitic commentary (consistent with their own stated ‘community standards) and, more generally, to get a barometer of the hate often elicited by any Guardian or ‘CiF’ entry which focuses on Jews or Israel.  Here are just a few samples of the less than enlightened reader responses to Shachar’s essay:

Israel-Nazi comparison: 36 ‘Recommends’ and NOT deleted by ‘CiF’ moderators:

oneIsrael-Nazi analogy:

oneIsrael-Nazi analogy:


Jewish conspiracy/general antisemitism

oneDavid Ward, MP?

oneInevitable “Zionist Lobby” comment:


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Guardian staff endorsed comment on ‘Zionist evil’ is deleted by…another staffer?

On Aug. 19th we posted about the following conspiratorial and quite bizarre reader comment beneath a Guardian story (unrelated to Israel), which received the prestigious ‘G pick’ label (orange ribbon icon), indicating that a Guardian staffer viewed it as an especially interesting ‘reflection’. 

At some point following our post the Guardian did a 180, not only removing the official Guardian endorsement, but deleting the comment altogether.

deletedSo, just to recap: the commenter’s warning about the threat faced by the “Evil Trinity” of “the neocon-military-corporate complex in alliance with Saudi Wahhabism and Israeli Zionism” went – in the span of 24 hours or so – from officially endorsed to a violation of ‘Comment is Free’ “community standards”. 

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see the internal Guardian email exchange between the two “professionals” which prompted this reversal. 

The ‘Guardian Spring’: Is ‘Comment is Free’ easing its ban on CiF Watch?

As we’ve noted previously, despite the relative improvement of the moderation of comments beneath the line at ‘Comment is Free’ over the years, moderators seem to have an at least unofficial policy of immediately deleting any mention of, and links to, this blog.  Indeed, as we recounted in a post, though I was for some time allowed to comment using my real name, with a bio noting that I spent my days guarding the Guardian, at some point I fell out of favor with the politburo and was banned – and my comments airbrushed from ‘CiF’ history.

Now, being the official nemesis of a paper cheekily yet accurately described by one prominent commentator as “the English-language newspaper least friendly to Israel on earth” is a badge we wear proudly, and, happy warriors that we are, we take their hostility in the face of our dogged efforts to chip away at their dwindling journalistic legitimacy as a sign of our effectiveness.  Though they may fancy the notion that they’re indifferent to our presence, the fact that even furtive attempts to allude to our presence are immediately flagged by their “professional” moderators would suggest otherwise.

However, yesterday, something quite curious occurred.

In the comment thread beneath the Guardian editorial praising the East London Mosque (fisked by Harry’s Place in a post cross-posted here), there was this, by a commenter responding to a comment (which, as you see, was deleted) that had dared to mention these blogging critiques of their apologia for radical Islam.


And, then there was this:


A few observations:

  • Yes, as the first commenter above argued, CiF Watch has indeed published a number of posts, which would disturb genuine progressives, about the Guardian’s licensing of illiberal, decidedly Judeophobic commentators at ‘Comment is Free’.
  • Yes, one would certainly expect the Editor to establish a transparent dialogue with these critics and take a closer look at the ideological extremism they are implicitly endorsing.
  • The two comments posted above have garnered nearly 200 recommends and, remarkably, have NOT been deleted by CiF moderators.

Will 2013 be remembered as the year in which the spirit of openness, tolerance and liberalization (what may be known as Glasnost and Perestroika to the Cold War brats among us) finally penetrated the anachronistic and suffocating radical chic political environment which has long dominated the Guardian’s London salon?

Have the liberal journalistic upheavals of the ‘Guardian Spring’ arrived? 

Why wasn’t this comment deleted by ‘CiF’ moderators? ‘Nuke Israel’ edition (Updated)

A guest post by AKUS

The reader comment below (beneath the line of a Guardian editorial on the Syrian crisis), which suggests that Israel should be destroyed by arming its enemies with nuclear weapons, has remained up so far for almost 12 hours.

nukeAt least one commenter has complained to the Guardian with no results – almost 12 hours later.


Those familiar with CiF Watch would of course understand that this one example is indicative of a broader problem at ‘Comment is Free’.  As we’ve shown in countless posts, CiF moderators often demonstrate egregious double standards when determining which comments get deleted – decisions purportedly based on whether such comments violate their ‘Community Standards‘.

UPDATE: Shortly after our post, the comment was deleted by ‘CiF’ moderators.

Glenn Greenwald’s column at ‘CiF’: A safe space for antisemitic commenters?

A guest post by AKUS

Antisemitic commenters at the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ have discovered that Glenn Greenwald’s columns provide a useful forum in which to post racist commentary below the line – many of which have not been deleted by CiF moderators. 

In a post by Greenwald on April 7, Bradley Manning is off-limits at SF Gay Pride parade, but corporate sleaze is embraced, which didn’t mention Jews or Israel, this comment popped up in response to another commenter who mentioned the widely used term “Pallywood” to describe the faked and discredited film clips and photographs which Palestinians have sometimes distributed:


This opened the doors to a bit of antisemitic jollity by “bilejones” and others based on the well-known antisemitic meme that Jews control Hollywood.

On most ‘CiF’ threads the following comments would have been deleted by moderators, but thanks to Greenwald’s unique policy regarding comment moderation, they remain in all their smart-alecky racism. Notice that the pretense that “Israelis” or “Zionists” are the people opposed to Palestinians immediately gives way to the underlying animosity towards Jews usually hidden by those terms in the following pejorative exchanges:


Now the Pavlovian dogs had been let loose, and even MonaHol may have realized they had gone too far – or, perhaps, was just being a little coy:

newThe approval of such comments make you wonder how long a comment that proposed characterizing movies which are made by African–Americans by using a variation of the ‘n-word’ would be allowed to stay up.  Would the commenter engaging in such shamefully racist “wordplay” still be permitted to post at the Guardian? 

Lest the gentle reader think these are isolated examples, here is another recent set.

In another column by Greenwald, ‘The same motive for anti-US ‘terrorism’ is cited over and over, he mentioned the excuse given by some recent high profile Muslim terrorists – such as the Fort Hood shooter and the ‘Underwear Bomber’ - that they were attacking America due, in part, to its support of Israel.  A commenter then drags in Judaism as a counterbalance to criticism of Islam, and MonaHol offers to post selections from the Talmud in defense of Islam:


The  comment by “westeastnorth” was in response to several well-known invented citations purporting to come from the Talmud provided on antisemitic websites that MonaHol repeats here:


Given that someone like MonaHol likely cannot read Hebrew, Aramaic, or Rashi script, and it takes a lifetime of study in the original languages to learn and understand the Talmud, the question must be asked: “From where does she get her information”?


The answer is that that she gleans the citations from the numerous antisemitic websites that have trolled selectively through an English version and then circulate the very citations MonaHol presents, without the context of rabbinic disputation. Only an obsessive anti-Semite would in turn troll through such sites to find them, and only an ignoramus would present them as representing the full range of Jewish thought on those subjects. Googling “Talmud” and any of the so-called Talmudic references MonaHol quoted will give you dozens if not hundreds of such sites.

It is the equivalent of presenting a list of straw man legal arguments that have been given to students at law school to argue over as representing exact examples of a country’s laws

Refutations can be found at this site, which painstakingly fisks the many fabrications about the Talmud that circulate on the internet, listing them one antisemitic “Claim” at a time, including the ones that MonaHol uses. The antisemitic websites provided as sources have mostly been taken down since this website was set up, but Stormfront (one of the purveyors of such gross distortions of Judaism) is still active.

I have edited the lengthy list of refutations down to the claims that MonaHol made, and further reduced the number of responses to each claim for the sake of (relative) brevity:

CLAIM (23) Jews May Steal from Non-Jews Baba Mezia 24a. If a Jew finds an object lost by a Gentile (“heathen”) it does not have to be returned. (Affirmed also in Baba Kamma 113b).

Found objects do not have to be returned when they are lost under circumstances that make the owner impossible to identify. This also applies to objects lost by Jews in crowded areas — as you would know had you actually read the passage in question instead of pasting it in from a National Socialist website.

CLAIM (25) Jews May Rob and Kill Non-Jews Sanhedrin 57a. When a Jew murders a Gentile (“Cuthean”), there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a Gentile he may keep.

Misquote. That’s a theoretical point that is being raised and subsequently rejected. Naturally, [the quote] “forgets” to mention the latter part.

CLAIM (27) Jews May Lie to Non-Jews Baba Kamma 113a. Jews may use lies (“subterfuges”) to circumvent a Gentile.

This is one of the most obvious pieces of out-of-context blather it has ever been my pleasure to refute. The context is evading a thief. Yes, you are permitted to lie to a robber — in particular a crooked tax collector.

Further down the same page, it not only says that robbing gentiles is prohibited, it even discusses the derivation of the prohibition.

Here, we have gone beyond going out of context and have entered the realm of deliberate falsification.

Refers to whether a Jew may deceive a Roman tax collector, IIRC (note that Romans were the occupying force at that time, literally playing the role of the Sheriff of Nottingham).
From Usenet message

The passage discusses robbers (such as tax collectors who acted beyond their legal authority) who have stolen property. The question that arises is whether it is permitted to use subterfuge to circumvent their thievery. In a long legal discussion, the entire thrust of which is that any form of stealing from heathens is forbidden, the following statement is brought forward for consideration: “we use subterfuges to circumvent him [a heathen; this is one opinion] … but Rabbi Akiva said that we should not attempt to circumvent him on account of the sanctification of the Name”. The Talmud continues and notes that Rabbi Akiva forbids subterfuges not only on account of desecration of G-d’s name, but also because theft from a non-Jew is absolutely forbidden by biblical law. The Talmud continues to explain that even the opinion which is rejected does not condone outright theft which is absolutely forbidden according to all opinions.

The Talmudic passage here is a well-known one which makes the point that the “law of the land is the law”, that is, the civil and commercial law of the nations in which Jews reside is binding on them. 

Obsessive anti-Semites like “bilejones”, “MonaHol”, “axenicely” and others congregate under Greenwald’s columns – and are left there to create an environment which extremist sites might envy.

The Guardian has banned supporters of Israel for far less, and one would think that such name-calling by “bilejones” and “axenicely” would elicit corrective action by their team of professional moderators – which begs serious questions about the Guardian and the extent of their commitment to maintaining high ‘community standards‘. 

Silence by ‘CiF’ moderators in the face of such hate speaks volumes.  

Why wasn’t this deleted? Passover edition.

Guardian contributor Harry J Enten recently published a personal story at ‘Comment is Free’ about his childhood memories of Passover, and how his affection for the Jewish holiday has grown over the years (Passover is an acquired taste I’ve grown to love, March 25).

Despite the completely apolitical (and non-theological) nature of Enten’s first person essay about perhaps the most widely observed Jewish holiday among both religious and secular Jews, the first CiF reader to comment couldn’t help but impute, in the celebration of the Jewish people’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt, something much darker.

keoThe comment, charging Jews around the world with celebrating genocide, has thus far received 62 ‘Recommends’ and has not been deleted by moderators despite its flagrant violation of ‘Comment is Free’ community standards.

Why haven’t ‘CiF’ moderators deleted comment with the word “Zionazis”?

A ‘Comment is Free’ essay by Nick Cohen, titled ‘Betrayed by British justice: Marina Litvinenko’s tale‘, March 10, regarding the treatment of the widow of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, didn’t elicit many comments below the line, which presumably would make such a thread easier for CiF editors to moderate.

However, the following reader comment has been left at the site for more than 9 hours thus far.


Interestingly, CiF moderators were clearly following the thread, as these two comments were deleted.


‘Comment is Free’ editors finally suspend user privileges of white supremacist

On Jan. 16 we posted about a Guardian reader whose commenting privileges were not suspended despite the fact that he made racist remarks, including the promotion of Holocaust denial, beneath a Guardian story about Holocaust education in the UK.  We additionally noted how peculiar it was that his user profile remained at ‘Comment is Free’ despite the fact that it contained a link to a white supremacist site called ‘British Resistance‘.

We identified the right-wing extremist – who uses the online moniker of ‘CorshmCrusader’ – as Mark Kennedy, a Nazi sympathizer who is actually the deputy editor of ‘British Resistance’, and asked CiF Watch readers to consider contacting ‘Comment is Free’ editors to inquire why he hadn’t been banned.

Today we finally learned that ‘CorshmCrusader’s profile has indeed been removed by ‘Comment is Free’ editors.

Here’s what you see when try to open the user’s link:

profile not available

Many thanks to those of you who responded to our request, emailed CiF editors and helped us get this extremist removed from the Guardian.


Not banned by the Guardian: White nationalist crusader against the ‘Holohoax’

On Jan. 14, the Guardian published at report by Peter Walker titled ‘England’s football stars feature in Holocaust educational video film for schools, about Premier League footballers teaming up with the FA to produce a film for UK schools in which players discuss the impact of their recent tour of Auschwitz – part of a broader program by the Holocaust Educational Trust.

The report includes a short film explaining the context of the Holocaust before detailing the events and their impact on Europe’s Jews.

Though the report didn’t elicit too many reader comments, it did attract the attention of a few Holocaust “skeptics”. 

More people need to see “passed” [sic] the Holocaust propaganda.


Truth teller

holocaust comment 2

“Holohoax” Crusader


Though this comment by ‘CorshmCrusader’ was eventually deleted by moderators (along with the two others) it remained at the Guardian for roughly four hours, and garnered 118 expressions of support from fellow readers.

More interestingly, the user profile of CorshmCrusdader is still up and his user privileges do not seem to have been suspended – which is interesting in light of CiF editors’ decision to ban other users who evidently ran afoul of the Guardian’s “community standards”.

Here’s the profile:


This profile evidently wasn’t flagged by editors despite the URL listed, which takes you to the site of a white nationalist group so extreme they have accused the BNP of being soft on Jews:


The CiF commenter appears to be the Deputy Editor of the extremist site, who goes by the name of Mark Kennedy.


He even has his own graphic on the sidebar:


The graphic links to his YouTube Channel, where you can enjoy the following videos:

videosTo those still not convinced, a post on the site of ‘British Resistance’ on Jan. 15, by the site’s Editor (who posts using the moniker ‘Green Arrow’), bitterly complained about the deletion of the same comment by CorshmCrusader shown above, and clearly revealed the author’s identity.

“In an article written by a piece of human excrement with a fetish for people who wear Lycra, known as Peter Walker, The Guardian today published a story and a video on how the Jews, through the Holocaust Memorial Trust were intending to brainwash young British children by sending every single English secondary school a DVD containing a seven and half minute video about the Holohoax and other “teaching” materials.

“…our Deputy Editor, the Corsham Crusader, was onto the comments section quicker than a terrier on a rat and left a rather good post revealing the truth about the Holohoax and advising people who did not believe what he said, to simply go and do their own research.”

Consider sending a respectful email to Guardian editors requesting that the white supremacist using the moniker CorshmCrusader be banned.


“There and Back Again” – A CiFWatcher’s Adventure in MediaEarth

A guest post by AKUS

picIt’s been an exciting week for CiFWatchers in Guardianland.

Although I have occasionally pointed out to him that, with his profile,  Adam Levick could better play the role of an elf in the next  1,000 reel screen version of one of Tolkien’s stories, it appears that the Guardian, influenced no doubt by the new monster movie version of “The Hobbit”,  views him as a triumphant reincarnation of Bilbo Baggins.

Adam was “banned” by the Guardian as he reported on December 14th, tracing his journey into the gloom the Guardian reserves for those who have dared to challenge it too openly.

FrontPage”,  Jewish Press, and The Commentator  reported  Bilbo’s – sorry, Adam’s – banning from “Comment is Free”, and Tamar Yonah interviewed him at Israel National Radio while, like any good hobbit should, he was quaffing one of the local beverages at a MiddleEarth – sorry – Middle Eastern – inn – sorry – café.

Adam’s December 14th report on his banning was complete with a screenshot of his profile at CiF after his banning.  Rather like Bilbo putting on the ring, he and his comments simply disappeared:

adam banned

Wanting to write about this, and needing a better screenshot, I decided to look up his vanished profile – and, lo and behold, like a victorious Bilbo returning after slaying the dragon and avoiding the trolls that inhabit the mythical world of Israel that the Guardian has created, Adam’s profile was back:


Every good story deserves a moral. In this case, it seems that the monsters and trolls (I use the words in the Tolkien sense) running the Guardian were embarrassed enough by the negative publicity their foolishness created to reinstate Adam’s profile from the dungeon in Mordor where they keep those of us who have been banned.

The original purpose of the article I had planned to write was quite different.  I had noticed an exchange I captured in the screenshot below on December 13th  in the article about HSBC’s money laundering -  HSBC’s record $1.9bn fine preferable to prosecution, US authorities insist:

still there

I kept an eye on the comments by  “Mostmagnificentone” to see how long they stayed up before being removed (at least 15 hours, by the way, whereas any similar comments about you-know-who vanish within seconds, along, sometimes, with the person posting them).

One might imagine that “Mostmagnificentone” would be deservedly banned for these blatantly anti-Semitic comments. But you would be disappointed – he or she is still with us while not posting any more:


So it seems that while the Guardian is willing to crack down hard on hobbits, even if it has to allow them to reappear, it has no problem with orcs and trolls like “Mostmagnificentone”.

How the Guardian has changed since Tolkien’s time

A Guardian journalist conjures Israeli “snipers with children in their sights”

Here’s a quote from a report by Guardian “journalist” Chris McGreal, ‘Rachel Corrie verdict exposes Israeli military mindset‘, on Aug. 28.

“…the state of the collective Israeli military mind…cast the definition of enemies so widely that children walking down the street were legitimate targets if they crossed a red line that was invisible to everyone but the soldiers looking at it on their maps.”


To learn about McGreal’s mindset, see the links below, and read the section about the Guardian in CST’s 2011 Report on Antisemitic Rhetoric in the UK.

However, while McGreal’s views on Israel are well-known, I was curious to see if this particularly insidious accusation, that the IDF targets Palestinian kids, was a one-off, and after  brief search found a piece he wrote in 2005 which was even more explicit.

Here are some excerpts from a 2005 McGreal piece titled “Snipers with children in their sights“:

“It was the shooting of Asma Mughayar that swept away any lingering doubts I had about how it is the Israeli army kills so many Palestinian children and civilians.

Asma, 16, and her younger brother, Ahmad, were collecting laundry from the roof of their home in the south of the Gaza Strip in May last year when they were felled by an Israeli army sniper. Neither child was armed or threatening the soldier, who fired unseen through a hole punched in the wall of a neighbouring block of flats.

the army changed its account and claimed the pair were killed by a Palestinian, though there was persuasive evidence pointing to the Israeli sniper’s nest.

In southern Gaza, the killings take place in a climate that amounts to a form of terror against the population. Random fire into Rafah and Khan Yunis has claimed hundreds of lives, including five children shot as they sat at their school desks.Many others have died when the snipers must have known who was in their sights – children playing football, sitting outside home, walking back from school.”

The last passage (which quite predictably doesn’t even contain a link to a source) is astonishing, and begins to explain McGreal’s obsessive hatred for the Jewish state.

McGreal genuinely seems to believe that sadistic Israeli “snipers” intentionally fire at Palestinian children who are playing football or while they sit at their school desks.  

He doesn’t just dislike Israel, or disagree with Israeli government policy regarding the Palestinians.

The Guardian journalist seems to agree with the most unhinged extremists in the region – those who believe as an article of faith that Israelis are simply monsters.

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:


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.


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:


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:


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’

CiF reader comments attacking one particular Abrahamic faith not deleted by moderators

H/T Margie

The following reader comment was posted under ‘s Hanukkah post (My Hanukah honours list for 2012, Dec. 13) at ‘Comment is Free’ over 14 hours ago, and still hasn’t been deleted by CiF moderators.



Here’s another ‘thoughtful’ comment posted this morning under a story which, by the way, has absolutely nothing to do with Jews, (‘HSBC’s record $1.9bn fine preferable to prosecution, US authorities insist’ Dec. 13), and similarly hasn’t been deleted by CiF moderators:

comment 2


Finally, here’s another ‘meditation‘ beneath the story about HSBC, by the same commenter above, which hasn’t been deleted by CiF’s team of professional moderators.

comment 3

Thou shall not criticize the BBC at ‘Comment is Free’?

John Ware published an essay on Nov. 10 at ‘Comment is Free’ titled ‘A personal tragedy, and a hammer blow for an honest institution‘, about the resignation of George Entwistle as the BBC’s director general after a Newsnight report wrongly implicated Tory peer Lord McAlpinein in the Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal.

Ware, a BBC Panorama reporter since 1986, criticized BBC senior management, which he accused of having “collapsed into a dysfunctional heap” under the strain the Savile and McAlpinein crises, before rallying to Auntie’s defense thus:

“The irony is, as Michael Grade used to say, when he ran Channel 4: “It’s the BBC that keeps us honest.” That was true then, and it remains true today, despite the trouble that Entwistle’s resignation has prompted.

At almost every level, BBC journalism illuminates areas of our national life, and around the world, with a care and precision unmatched by other media outlets. On any objective view, the BBC is overwhelmingly a force for good and understanding. And this really is the point. The Newsnight debacle is an aberration.”

A CiF commenter took exception to Ware’s argument, writing this:


Here’s a capture of the BBC report the commenter linked to:

A bit later, however, the comment was deleted, deemed inappropriate by CiF moderators:


Finally, just as a FYI, there’s a great site I’ve recently ‘come across’ whose managing editor expertly fisked the report cited above and, more broadly, superbly illuminates the BBC’s consistent anti-Israel bias with “care and precision” unmatched by any other blog.