Celebrating 5 years of CiF Watch!

 

Friends,

Last week, CiF Watch celebrated its 5th anniversary.

In our inaugural post on Aug. 24, 2009 we announced our intention to combat antisemitism and anti-Israel bias at the Guardian, and “to regularly post articles exposing the bigoted and one-sided nature of [their] obsessive focus on Israel and, by extension, the Jewish people.”

In recent years we have evolved in several respects:

  • We improved our efficacy by establishing an extremely successful affiliation with CAMERA.

Please continue reaching out to us – by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, or the ‘old fashioned’ way, by emailing us at contactus@cifwatch.com – when you come across misleading claims, or outright factual errors, in reports and commentaries within the UK media.

On the occasion of our fifth anniversary, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the work we do, and how we can more effectively carry out our mission, and continue speaking truth to power.

Adam Levick, Managing Editor

Economist is latest media outlet to falsely claim the 3 kidnapped teens are ‘settlers’

An article in the print edition of the Economist on June 21 titled ‘Stirring Bad Blood‘ included false claims in the opening and final sentences.

Here’s the first sentence of the anonymous report:

THE abduction of three young Jewish settlers on June 12th near the city of Hebron, in the south of the West Bank, has stirred Israeli emotions as viscerally as the kidnapping of a young Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, by militants of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement, eight years ago. 

However, as we noted in a post on June 16th (and noted elsewhere), two of the three teens are not settlers, a fact which, when pointed out to Guardian editors, resulted in a correction to their own false claim about the location of the Israeli teens’ homes. (The Indy, at our prompting, also corrected their false claim that all three teens were settlers.)

Additionally, the Economist article includes this claim in the final sentence:

A Facebook page posted by an Israeli calling for the execution of one Palestinian prisoner every hour until the young hostages were freed quickly attracted 17,000 likes.

However, as an accurate translation of the Hebrew on the Facebook page clearly indicates, the words “Palestinian” or “prisoner” are not present – a fact which prompted Guardian editors to improve their original faulty translation of the page in an article by Orlando Crowcroft on June 17th.

Here’s the correct translation of the Facebook page:

‘Until the teens are returned, every hour we shoot a terrorist.

We’ve been in touch with Economist editors over these errors and will update you when we receive a response.

Focus below the line: Guardian readers ‘reflect’ on Israel and the Jews (June 20)

This post is part of a series which re-focuses on the problem of biased moderation at the Guardian’s blog ‘Comment is Free’ (CiF) – particularly, reader comments which are off-topic, ad hominem or antisemitic, and yet not deleted by their team of professional moderators. All of the following comments have been posted under ‘CiF’ op-eds which have nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Guardian commenter with the moniker, ‘NormBlunt‘.

10 June, 3:26pm

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11 June, 7:19pm

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11 June, 7:12pm

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10 June, 7:25pm

4

11 June, 11:25pm

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Guardian commenter with the moniker, ferdous87

12 June, 2:20am

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13 June, 7:58am

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Guardian commenter with the moniker, ‘monkie‘.

11 June, 7:18pm

8

 

Guardian commenter with the moniker ‘Chomskyfan.

12 June, 6:51am

9

12 June, 8:44pm

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Again, these comments have NOT been deleted by ‘CiF’ moderators.

Focus below the line: Guardian readers ‘reflect’ on Israel and the Jews (June 18)

This post is part of a series which will re-focus on the problem of biased moderation at the Guardian’s blog ‘Comment is Free’ (CiF) – particularly, reader comments which are off-topic, ad hominem or antisemitic, and yet not deleted by their team of professional moderators.

All of the following reader comments have been posted under ‘CiF’ op-eds which have nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

It starts here with a commenter with the moniker ‘StephenStafford‘:

09 June, 6:43pm

1

09 June, 6:34pm

2

09 June, 6:49pm

3

09 June, 5:36pm

4

09 June, 2:44pm

5

The thread continues with a commenter named Morgenrot.

 10 June, 6:18pm

6

11 June, 8:56pm

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11 June, 7:04pm

8

11 June, 7:04pm

10

11 June, 3:06am

11

Again, none of these comments have been deleted by ‘CiF’ moderators.

 

Lost in in Translation? Guardian omits key word in Israeli Facebook page (Updated)

CAMERA consistently demonstrates (with their ‘Lost in Translation‘ series) that news reports which include an erroneous translation can completely alter the meaning or political context of the events being described. And, a recent Guardian story, which notes a marginal Israeli Facebook page provides a good example of such misreporting. 

The report by Orlando Crowcroft (‘Israeli leader meets families of missing teenagers as search continues, June 17th) notes the social media battles being waged by Israeli and Palestinian activists over the terrorist kidnapping of three Israeli teens last Thursday:

The battle is not only being waged by the IDF inside the West Bank, but on social media, where an outpouring of rival hashtags, comments and campaigns have revealed how strongly the incident has resonated with Israelis and Palestinians.

The hashtag #BringBackOurBoys has featured in thousands of tweets from both Israel and abroad since news of the disappearance of Yifrach, Frankel and Shaar broke on Friday, referencing the global Twitter campaign calling for the release of hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria by rebel group Boko Haram earlier this year.

Crowcroft then pivots to the ‘less benign’ social media campaigns:

Not all the online responses to the incident have been benign. A Facebook page calling for Israel to kill one Palestinian an hour until the three teenagers are returned has received more than 18,000 “likes” since it was set up on 13 June.

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However, as other media reports have indicated (and as a quick Google translate of the Facebook page would similarly demonstrate), the name of the page accurately translates to:

‘Until the teens are returned, every hour we shoot a terrorist.

Crowcroft omitted the word “terrorist” and added the word “Palestinian”. 

Remarkably, even Electronic Intifada got the translation correct in their story on the Facebook page.

To be clear, even the correct name renders the Facebook campaign morally offensive.  However, news consumers have the right to expect stories at putatively serious news sites which translate a foreign language into English not be compromised by such highly misleading and completely avoidable errors.

UPDATE: Following our complaint, the Guardian corrected the mistranslation.

Richard Silverstein’s racist abuse of Chloe Valdary continues: calls her a ‘house slave’

It is impossible to understand how anyone at this point can defend Richard Silverstein from charges of racism.

To quickly recap:

Five days ago, Silverstein posted the following on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, referring to a young black Zionist named Chloe Valdary who had published an op-ed at Times of Israel critical of Judith Butler.

Not only did Silverstein fail to apologize for, in effect, accusing Valdary of betraying her race by supporting Israel, he actually defended it in the following Tweet.

Then, after Valdary penned an essay at Times of Israel responding to Silverstein’s vile comments, they engaged each other on Twitter – a series of exchanges which include this Tweet today:

So, Silverstein, a Comment is Free contributor, has now called Valdary a ‘Negro Uncle Tom’ and a ‘House Slave’!

This blog has previously exposed Silverstein’s defense of Hamas, his suggestion that Israel behaves like Nazi Germany (and, of course, his faux scoops), but after his latest racist outburst is there really anyone who can honestly claim that the Seattle-based Jewish blogger represents anything resembling liberal values?

 

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The content of her character: Chloe Valdary responds to Richard Silverstein

On Saturday we commented on a racist Facebook update and Tweet by “liberal” Jewish blogger Richard Silverstein, which he posted in response to his apparent ‘outrage’ at a pro-Israel op-ed written by an African-American woman named Chloe Valdary.

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Chloe Valdary

Today in Times of Israel, Valdary published a new op-ed addressing Silverstein’s attack, and the broader issue of racism and anti-Zionism.

Here are some excerpts:

On February 22, a gentleman by the name of Richard Silverstein took considerable issue with an article I wrote in the The Times of Israel about the contentions of one Judith Butler, professor at the University of California, Berkley. I find Butler’s analysis regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict lamentably disagreeable.

Silverstein did not point out any possible faulty premises in my column. He did not question the evidence I presented. He did not find I was lacking in my analysis. Instead, to illustrate his (ahem) intellectual prowess, he shared a Facebook status linking to my column and in his commentary, wrote: “They finally did it: found a Negro Zionist: Uncle Tom is dancin’ for joy!

His intention is obvious: I am an African-American, and Silverstein believes that all African-Americans are monolithic. Indeed, he believes that because of my skin color, I must think, act, and behave in the certain way — a manner in which he perceives black people to be. Like the old white masters in the antebellum American South, Silverstein believes that he and his ilk alone can be the bearers of opinions which must be held by African-Americans. To think for oneself, to formulate an opinion independent of his consent — well now, this is unacceptable. The consequence is a verbal lashing on social media; an attack on my character because of my skin color, and because, I am, as he puts it, “a Negro,” who does not feel the need to make her analysis contingent upon his approbation.

Moreover, I am a Zionist. I am unabashedly pro-Israel, and a proponent of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their ancestral homeland. Silverstein is not a Zionist, and because I disagree with him —  like the old slave masters who believed that their view of the world was superior to and should be foisted upon the negro slaves — he contends that I am an “Uncle Tom” (a derogatory term meaning “house slave,” or one who is subservient and servile to white masters.).

I am certain that Silverstein does not comprehend the irony. After all, white supremacists tend to possess an astounding propensity for cognitive dissonance. It isn’t evident to Silverstein that to assert that a human being must, by virtue of her skin color, behave in a certain manner, is itself prejudicial and bigoted. Silverstein is judging me on the color of my skin, not on the content of my character, or rather, the content of my treatise.

Silverstein [a 'Comment is Free' contributor] inverts terms, making them devoid of any meaning, all the while having the temerity to believe his musings are erudite, when in point of fact they are ludicrous, and contributory to the cause of mass homicide. That such obscene characters are given license to spew nonsense in prominent newspapers like The Guardian, I find lamentable

You can read the rest of her essay, titled ‘In Defense of Liberty’, here.

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Richard Silverstein’s meltdown continues: Defends “Negro” “Uncle Tom” slur

Yesterday we posted about a racist Facebook update and Tweet by “liberal” Jewish blogger Richard Silverstein, which were posted in response to his ‘outrage’ at seeing a pro-Israel op-ed at Times of Israel by an African-American Zionist named Chloe Valdary.

He’s been roundly criticized ever since on Twitter, and many have asked that he do the decent thing and apologize. 

Instead, he actually defended his shameful racial slur in a recent Tweet:

Priceless: He’s not the racist for using such pejoratives to characterize a young, black Zionist, but his accusers are betraying their own “right-wing political prejudices”.  

His decision to double-down in the face of such criticism shouldn’t surprise anyone, as the white liberal privilege possessed by Silverstein and his ilk means never having to apologize for even the most incendiary and cruel racist invectives – especially if the target is a Zionist. 

Related articles

 

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Richard Silverstein accuses African-American Zionist of being a ‘Negro’ Uncle Tom

The racism of blogger Richard Silverstein was laid bare today when he posted the following on his Facebook account, referring to an African-American Zionist named Chloe Valdary who had published an op-ed at Times of Israel about Judith Butler.

silverstein

Here’s his Tweet:

Silverstein - a ‘Comment is Freecontributor through 2012 who, until now, was best known for his anti-Israel (and at times pro-Hamas) activism and his faux scoops – has now revealed himself to be bigoted towards black Americans as well.  The term ‘Negro” stopped being used in America in the late 60s or early 70s, and the term ‘Uncle Tom‘ of course is a horrible epithet used historically to accuse African-Americans of being subservient to whites, and betraying their own group by participating in systematic white racism.

As Valdary’s column about Butler had nothing to do with the issue of American racism, Silverstein’s ugly assault seems to have been motivated by his disgust at seeing a woman of color expressing support for Israel.

Silverstein seems to have deleted the post from his Facebook account (though the Tweet is still there), but let the snapshots above serve as a reminder of the narrow-mindedness of some on the Left when confronted with information contradicting their anti-Zionist assumptions.

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Guardian’s egregious double standards on display in report on Israeli Facebook post

Over the last week the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood has devoted two reports to the row over comments posted by an Israeli government official on his personal Facebook page.

August 16:

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August 22:

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Whilst the comments by Danny Seaman, Deputy Director General for Information at the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, were clearly inappropriate and offensive, recent Facebook posts on the official account of Fatah, the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, go way beyond ‘inappropriate’ and yet will almost certainly not be reported by the Guardian.

Per a report on Aug. 22 at Palestinian Media Watch:

Fatah’s official Facebook page continues to promote and glorify violence and terror for children. In one [August] post, young Palestinian boys are shown holding rifles with the text: “The children of Palestine – this is how they celebrated their holiday.”

Kids_with_rifle_FB

In another [August] post, a masked man is holding a rifle with these words beside the picture:

“Machine gun, wake up the sleeping and tell them that without blood Palestine will not return

Masked_man_with_rifle

Another [August] post on Fatah’s main Facebook page described 4 female terrorist murderers as “stars who sparkled in the sky.” Three of the women were suicide bombers, while the fourth was a bus hijacker [Dalal Mughrabi] who was responsible for the deaths of 37 civilians [during the Coastal Road Massacre]. 

[Facebook, "Fatah - The Main Page," Aug. 2, 2013

Unlike Seaman’s Facebook posts – one of which was insensitive towards victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, prompting the Israeli government to issue an apology – do we even have to ask whether the Palestinian Authority will apologize to the Jewish victims of the Palestinian terrorists they recently honored?

Will the Guardian or the mainstream media so much as report these acts of incitement, yet alone properly contextualize the incidents as serious impediments to peace in the dramatic fashion typically employed when Israel announces the construction of new homes in Jerusalem?

Whilst the answers to such questions are obvious to anyone who understands the double standards constantly on display in the coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the mere ubiquity of the media’s failure to hold Palestinians morally responsible for such grotesque behavior doesn’t render it any less outrageous. 

CiF asks Palestinian supporter of ‘armed resistance’ her views on the peace process

bakerAn August 1 essay at ‘Comment is Free’, titled ‘The Middle East peace talks are back to disappoint‘, by Gaza based blogger (and Electronic Intifada contributorRana Baker didn’t include anything particularly surprising – at least by ‘CiF’ standards.  

In her column, Baker, an activist from Gaza, demonizes Israelis as ‘colonisers’ who administer an “apartheid-like system in impoverished Bantustans”, dismisses the newly relaunched peace talks as an act of surrender and exercise in futility, and mocks as “irrelevant”, weak and spineless Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Baker’s views on the peace process are evidently considered especially worthy by the Guardian brass, as, in addition to her CiF commentary, Harriet Sherwood also featured the “Gaza blogger” – in a Aug. 3 story in The Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) – as one of the five “Voices from Palestine”, ‘Do Israelis and Palestinians think time is right for peace?’. In the space allotted to Baker – in a column which includes the views of five Israelis and five Palestinians – she again blasts the negotiations as useless, and actually praises Hamas’ refusal to engage in talks with the Jewish state.

So, other than face to face negotiations, what strategy does Rana Baker prefer?

Well, there are at least two indications that the Guardian’s ‘voice from Gaza’ clearly prefers violence to diplomacy – the first of which is the following post published at Electronic Intifada on Jan. 19, 2012:

3rd

Here are some excerpts from Baker’s post:

Negotiations have more than once proved to be useless. In fact, they proved to be damaging to the very essence of the Palestinian popular struggle i.e. the Right of Return.

People everywhere are born to be free. Enslavement is not only illegal because it causes human miseries, but because it essentially opposes the sound human nature that views fellow human beings as brothers and sisters not as slaves or second-class citizens. Unfortunately, Israel is singling itself out of this category.

Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, more Palestinian land has been expropriated and the Nakba never ceased. The Palestinian leadership, whether in Gaza or the West Bank, proved to be politically disabled; a broken record at best. Israel’s Apartheid is breaking new grounds passing new racist laws every day. World leaders are becoming more biased than they have ever been turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people on a daily basis. Isn’t it the time for a popular Palestinian revolution in the form of a third intifada?

Finally, in case there’s any doubt as to what kind of “Palestinian revolution” she’s proposing, there’s an update on her Facebook account which seems to reveal the orientation of her political sympathies.  The following graphic and text, and her accompanying English translation, was posted to her 1,474 friends on Nov. 8, 2012:

resist

The image (possibly depicting Leila Khaled, the former PFLP terror operative noted for being the first woman to hijack an airplane) of course suggests that the reason why Baker isn’t ‘hopeful’ about the peace process is pretty clear: violent resistance is the only legitimate path to the ‘liberation’ of Palestine.

Perhaps Guardian editors may wish to inform readers of Baker’s ideological proclivity towards violence the next time they legitimize her views on the pages of The Observer and ‘Comment is Free’.

CiF Watch beyond the blog – ‘like’ us, follow us, subscribe to us…

“[The Guardian] is the English-language newspaper least friendly to Israel on Earth.” – Jeffrey Goldberg

No mainstream media outfit in the Western world has been more hostile to Israel than the Guardian group.” – The Commentator

Concerns within the Jewish community and elsewhere regarding the Guardian, relative to other mainstream media outlets, have persisted for many years now – a situation that will probably worsen as the paper’s Comment is Free website grows. In 2011, the Guardian faced more accusations of antisemitism than any other mainstream UK newspaper.” – The Community Security Trust

Though not all anti-Zionism is informed by antisemitism, research has clearly demonstrated an overwhelming correlation between the two – a fact which informs the mission of this blog: combatting antisemitism and the assault on Israel legitimacy at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’.

Other than the launch of our sister site, BBC Watch, and our increased effectiveness as the result of our affiliation with CAMERA, one of the more interesting developments over the last couple of years has been our growing presence in the social media.  As we will always count on our network of ‘Zionist conspiracists’ to make an impact, we ask that those of you following this site consider joining us ‘beyond the blog’. 

So, ‘Like’ us on Facebook:

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Follow us on Twitter:

Subscribe to our RSS feed:

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And, finally, especially if you see something in the Guardian that makes your blood boil, feel free to give us a ‘shout out’ the old-fashioned way, by emailing us at contactus@cifwatch.com.

Harriet Sherwood ‘Likes’ Facebook group which ‘pokes’ at Israel’s legitimacy

Harriet Sherwood’s latest post ‘Israelis use Facebook to deliver poke at democracy during elections‘, Jan 17, is about a Facebook initiative, called Real Democracy, which has “allowed hundreds of Israelis to ‘donate’ their votes to Palestinians as a symbolic protest at what they perceive as a lack of democracy.”

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Lack of democracy? In Israel?

Let’s see what they’re referring to.

Sherwood writes:

“[The scheme] matches Israeli voters who are willing to give up their vote with Palestinians who decide how – or whether – the vote should be cast. The organisers say it is “an act of civil disobedience against … the undemocratic nature of the Israeli elections … elections of a government which controls four million Palestinians without a voting right”.”

Note that Sherwood’s protagonist cites “four million” Palestinians “without a voting right’.  So, we’re not only talking about Palestinians in the West Bank, but, evidently, those in Gaza, too.

Perhaps the organizers are unaware that Palestinians in the West Bank are being ruled by a President, Mahmoud Abbas, who recently began serving his 9th year of a 4 year term, and that Palestinians in Gaza are citizens of an independent polity governed by Hamas – the masters of statecraft who expelled all political opposition in a violent coup over 5 years ago.

Sherwood continues:

Shimri Zameret, one of those behind the scheme, hopes that the numbers participating will be in the thousands by polling day. The aim is to give Palestinians a potential say not just in the next Israeli government but also in its “de facto control over the United Nations security council“. [emphasis added]

Since Israel doesn’t have veto power at the security council, let me venture to guess that Zameret, an Israeli “peace” activist imprisoned for refusing to serve in the IDF, is suggesting that Israel ‘effectively’ controls the UN security council by exercising de-facto control over a nation which actually does has veto power – an Israeli vassal known as the United States.

Here he is on Twitter proudly announcing the Guardian promotion of his campaign:

Finally, the goals of the program become a bit clearer in the penultimate paragraph.

“Ayah Bashir, 24, a university teacher in Gaza, has asked her Israeli counterpart, Dror Dayan, to boycott the election on her behalf. “I call for boycotting Israel at all levels, not just the election but academic, cultural and sporting boycotts,” she said. “The Israeli system is an apartheid system, and the Israeli Knesset [parliament] is a Zionist and racist institution.””

Truly surreal.

Ayah is a Palestinian living in a Palestinian controlled territory tyrannically governed by the undemocratic Islamist movement which calls for Israel’s destruction.

Ayah calls for the complete boycott and international isolation of Israel.

Ayah evidently believes that she is being disenfranchised, not by Hamas, but by Israel.

Ayah believes she should have a say in Israel’s election.

Of course, anything less would be completely undemocratic! 

What the Guardian won’t report: Arabs bully religious Jews in Jerusalem

When I first saw the clip, posted on Facebook by a friend shortly after Shabbat, my stomach churned with a discomfort nurtured by a very particular history.

1A small group of religiously observant, traditionally dressed, peyote wearing Jews are seen outside in some city centre, hurriedly attempting to get to their destination, as they are confronted by a group of hooded youths.

 One of the pursued men falls as he slips on a step while attempting to escape the mob.

The shaky hand-held camcorder follows the Jews as they are pelted with snowballs, pushed and shoved. The sound of mocking laughter is heard.

As the Jews continue onto the sidewalk, attempting to distance themselves from the original gang, others emerge to confront them.

There are menacing shouts from the crowd. More snowballs are thrown at the moving targets as they attempt in vain to avoid the confrontation.

A traditional hat is quickly snatched from one of the pursued men.

One spectator is seen excitedly photographing the moment, clearly enjoying a first-hand view of the frightened Jew.

More laughter.

Soon, backpack wearing children now take their turn. Additional keffiyeh-wearing youths seize the moment.

Without any context, I had on some level initially believed that the one minute and fifteen second YouTube video was filmed on the streets of a European city and not, as I later learned, near the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The attack took place on Shabbat. The victims were possibly on their way back from praying at the Kotel (Western Wall).

A quick glance at the Israel page of the Guardian confirms that such ugly images of antisemitic bullying by Arabs, in the capital of the Jewish state, do not pique the journalistic curiosity of the paper’s Jerusalem correspondent.