Over 100 reader comments using the term “ZioNazi” not deleted at ‘Comment is Free’

In our last post we noted that ‘Comment is Free’ moderators failed to promptly remove a comment, under a recent thread, which included the term “ZioNazis” – a vile epithet fancied by extremists which certainly seems to violate CiF’s community standards.

In fact, here are a few relevant passages from a Guardian page titled ‘Community standards and participation guidelines: 10 guidelines which we expect all participants in the Guardian’s community areas to abide by’. (Emphasis by the Guardian)

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.

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.

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.


If a contribution to the Guardian website is perceived as breaching the community guidelines set out above, then it will be removed by the community team.

Participants who seriously, persistently or wilfully ignore the community standards, participation guidelines or terms and conditions will have their posting privileges for all the Guardian community areas withdrawn.

However, a bit of research has revealed that use of the term “ZioNazi” was not a one-off at ‘Comment is Free’.  A search of ‘user contributions’ at the Guardian resulted in over 100 additional examples (dating back to 2006) of the abusive term not being deleted. 


While some of the commenters were being sarcastic, and using the term to mock some of the extreme anti-Zionists found routinely at CiF, most were clearly using it literally as a form of abuse against Zionists. Here are examples from three different threads, in Dec. and Jan.




Those familiar with our work at CiF Watch would understand that CiF moderators often demonstrate egregious double standards when determining which comments get deleted, and whose user privileges are suspended.  While there are indeed many grey areas where reasonable people can disagree over whether a term is offensive and morally beyond the pale, the word ‘ZioNazi’ – evoking the ugly, antisemitic comparison between the Jewish state and Nazi Germany – is inconsistent with even the broadest understanding of ‘Comment is Free’ community standards.

As much as it may strain credulity, let’s remember that the Guardian still claims that their “centre of gravity as a progressive, liberal, left-leaning newspaper is clear.”

A letter to CiF Watch from the Guardian, via King Ahasuerus?






Dear Mr Levick,

I am writing to inform you that we have been reviewing our codes of practice at ‘Comment is Free’ and have decided that closing your account and deleting your previous comments was unjustified.  We have therefore decided to re-open your account. Unfortunately your previous comments have already been removed from our systems and cannot be returned, but we would be happy to have you return to the below the line commentary.


In the course of our review we came to several conclusions with regards to the character of the above the line writers at ‘Comment is Free’ and have reached a number of conclusions:

  1. We shall no longer be publishing commentary from contributors associated with terrorist groups.
  2. We will be seeking a greater breadth of above the line copy, including more commentary from Zionists.
  3. Our moderators have been instructed to adhere to the working definition of anti-Semitism as laid out by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and to delete comments that do not adhere to this standard.  We have asked the Community Security Trust for help in this regard.

In short Mr Levick, thanks to organisations such as CiF Watch we have decided to fundamentally alter the way we approach contributions to ‘Comment is Free’ and the way that we deal with below the line comments.

Yours Sincerely

Natalie Hanman

Editor, ‘Comment is Free’ 


(This Purim Spiel was written by Marc Goldberg)

Gretta Duisenberg’s Unambiguous Antisemitism

H/T Yochanan Visser, of the organization, Missing Peace, for the Dutch translation.

Phyllis Chesler tells us of the typically outrageous lies and doublespeak of the antisemitic Israel-hater, Gretta Duisenberg.  Duisenberg is the widow of Wim Duisenberg, the former President of the European Bank, the darling of Yasser Arafat and of the Free Gaza Movement, and chairwoman of a pro-Palestine committee “Stop the Occupation”.   Prof Chesler tells us that Duisenberg, in an act which almost beggars belief, has proceeded to sue the Iranian-Dutch professor of philosophy and jurisprudence, Afshin Ellian, for calling her an “anti-Semite.” Duisenberg seems to have forgotten that she proudly defines herself as an “anti-Semite.”

In response to an article by Leon de Winter writing in Dutch in Elsevier, Abigail Esman writes:

“I invite all readers to support journalistic freedom and freedom of expression by writing ‘I, too, think Gretta Duisenberg is an anti-Semite.’”

I would not expect any reader to accept that statement purely on my say so.  I propose, therefore, to define Duisenberg’s behaviour in terms of the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism formulated by EUMC, [although the EUMC has since been succeeded by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)].   I believe that it is fair to say that Duisenberg’s behaviour falls into almost every category of antisemitism in the working definition, but to list all the evidence here would be time and space-consuming.  I shall concentrate therefore on the more florid and blatant examples, and an internet search about Duisenberg will almost certainly provide the reader with even more information.   Among the Working Definition’s specific examples of antisemitism are:

Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.

Duisenberg is a supporter of extremist Islam, and formerly of the PLO and Hamas whose nihilistic antisemitism is evident in its Charter and has been proven by its murderous behaviour again and again.  In 2003 Duisenberg organised and spoke at pro Palestinian rally at which donations were collected for the Al Aqsa funds which supports the families of suicide bombers.  She also did not protest against the chanting of Hamas supporters around her of “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!”

Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.

After the 2003 rally, Duisenberg draped a PLO flag from the balcony of her home in Amsterdam.  When requested by her Jewish neighbours to take it down, they were told; “It’s the rich American Jews who make it possible for Israel to do what they are doing to the Palestinians”. More recently, in January 2010, Duisenberg added to this calumny by engaging in the too-ready conflation of Zionism with Judaism, invariably the hallmark of the antisemite who is trying to pass.   See also Duisenberg’s answer in an interview in the Dutch magazine Keuzevrijheid :

“… These are the tactics of the Jewish lobby. By calling me an antisemite I will not be able to criticise the Zionist regime…”

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