Read Adam Levick’s latest article at The Jewish Chronicle

Here are the first few paragraphs of Adam Levick’s latest article at The Jewish Chronicle:

On Monday night, Israel formally accepted the Egyptian proposed ceasefire calling for an end to “all hostilities” between Hamas and Israel from the following morning.

Though the IDF halted its military operations, Hamas rejected calls to stop attacks and fired dozens of rockets at Israeli cities during the declared truce. After six hours of continued attacks, Israel announced it would resume its military operation and began attacking Hamas targets.

Despite this straightforward series of events, some media outlets found a way to obscure Hamas’s culpability, with the Guardian leading the pack. Even when the paper acknowledged that Hamas was still firing rockets, they somehow concluded that the “ceasefire was holding” and later managed to blame Israel’s eventual retaliation for causing it to collapse.

After the paper was criticised on Twitter, Guardian deputy editor Phoebe Greenwood defended the coverage, arguing in one Tweet that since Hamas never agreed to the ceasefire, their rocket attacks did not represent a violation of its terms.

Read the rest of the article here.

Read Adam Levick’s latest article in The Jewish Chronicle

Here are the first few paragraphs of Adam Levick’s latest article in the Jewish Chronicle:

“You have to keep an eye on who you are following on Twitter and where the picture you’re tweeting came from,” warned a BBC journalist in a short video that accompanied an article posted on BBC Trending, a section on the corporation’s website which selects stories that are popular on social media around the world.

The article was entitled, “Are #GazaUnderAttack images accurate?”, and looked at images shared on social media by pro-Palestinian activists during the current war in Gaza.

The short post focused on the above Twitter hashtag, which, the BBC noted, “has been used hundreds of thousands of times, often to distribute pictures claiming to show the effects of the air strikes”.

The BBC warned that a “BBC Trending analysis has found that some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq”.

Read the rest of the article here.

Tell the International Assoc. of Architects to reject RIBA’s racist boycott of Israelis

We recently posted about a Guardian report on a resolution by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) which called on Union of International Architects (UIA) to suspend the membership of the Israeli Association of United Architects “until it acts to resist projects on illegally-occupied land and observes international law and accords”.  

We noted that this appalling decision represents a prime example of the racist double standards at the heart of the BDS movement, as RIBA singles out Israeli architects among the 74 members of the UIA – a list which includes Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria, among others.

It appears that the resolution was based in part on the anti-Israel activism of RIBA’s past President Angela Brady, and a dishonest and highly propagandistic presentation by an extreme Jewish critic of Israel named Abe Hayeem. Hayeem is a RIBA member, chair of Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine and ‘Comment is Free’ contributor.

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Abe Hayeem (2003)

(You can hear Hayeem in this audio, from an anti-Israel demo in London in 2003, accuse the “neo-fascist” government of Israel of engaging in a policy of “transfer”, “ethnic cleansing”, “state terrorism” and “apartheid” against Palestinians, and calling for a complete trade embargo against the state.)

However, there’s been some push back against RIBA’s resolution by Stephen Gamesa RIBA member who published an op-ed at The Jewish Chronicle condemning the organization’s bigotry and hypocrisy, and calling for the removal of their Royal Charter if the resolution is not reversed.  

@stephengames

Stephen Games

Mr. Games has published the following open letter to the president of RIBA.

Dear President,

I am not a member of any interest group within the RIBA but was nonetheless disappointed to learn of Council’s decision to call for the Israeli architects’ body to be suspended from the International Union of Architects. I had no previous knowledge that this was coming up for a vote, I have not seen it reported in the RIBA, and I have not had any documentation about it, otherwise I would have protested earlier.

I object to the vote for five reasons:

1.0  The vote was biased

1.1  Council’s decision is wrong and misconceived. I completely accept that the principle of Israel’s building on land won by Israel when resisting efforts by combined Arab forces to destroy it in 1967 is contentious, politically motivated and merits questioning. It is designed to provide housing for Israelis and to redefine future borders. It will however either cease when an agreement is reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority or will continue legitimately, either within a newly drawn Israel or a newly drawn Palestinian state. 

1.2  The fact that no such agreement has yet been reached reflects the fact that terms have not yet been drawn up that satisfy both sides. Council’s decision implicitly means that the RIBA blames Israel alone for the fact that an agreement has not yet been reached.

1.3  For the RIBA to blame one side for censure is inappropriate. The RIBA is not a political body, it has no special insight into the dispute, nor is there anything in its constitution that should lead it to be partisan. The RIBA’s proper role is to preserve neutrality. To do otherwise is to act outside its mandate as a royal body. 

2.0  The vote was intrusive and mischievous

2.1  The decision suggests that the argument about Israeli building needs to be specially highlighted. It does not. There is already vocal opposition within Israel itself to “settlement building”. Significant numbers of IAUA members are themselves opposed to such building and do not need or wish to be removed from international platforms such as the International Union. They themselves see this as unhelpful and unfriendly action by foreign busy-bodies, designed not to ameliorate conditions but to demonise one side and one side alone in the dispute.

2.2  Votes such as this do not resolve problems. They drive the opposed parties further apart.

3.0  The vote was unfair

3.1  In voting for the Israeli Association of United Architects to be suspended, Council is taking action that it has taken against no other country. The meaning of this is that the RIBA finds Israel uniquely reprehensible in the world, or more reprehensible than any other country, in terms of human rights abuse. This flies in the face of all evidence. In the most recent (2011) Observer human rights index, Israel did not appear in even the top 20 of human rights abusers, which were listed as (in order):

1. Congo   2. Rwanda   3. Burundi   4. Algeria   5. Sierra Leone  

6. Egypt   7. North Korea   8. Sudan   9. Indonesia   10. Yugoslavia  

11. Pakistan   12. China   13. Libya   14. Burma   15. Iraq  

16. Afghanistan   17. Iran   18. Yemen   19. Chad  20.  Congo (Republic).

3.2  In Iraq, gays are rounded up by police, thrown into prison and tortured; Israel, by contrast, serves as a haven for gays in the Middle East, even mounting an annual Gay Pride march, an event unthinkable elsewhere in the region.

3.3  Israel is a country of political and religious pluralism. Freedom of expression and worship is welcomed. Israeli Arabs, both Christian and Muslim, are a full part of Israeli society, and can and do serve as parliamentarians in the Israeli Knesset. In no Arab country, and in few Muslim countries, is the presence of Israelis or Jews even tolerated.

3.4  Israel’s architectural body is itself made up of Israeli Arabs as well as others. Nowhere does such reciprocity exist in Arab or Muslim countries.

3.5  If the vote against Israel is to stand, it must logically be followed by similar calls for architects in countries beyond the Middle East to be banned.

4.0  The vote was reductive

4.1  If Council wishes to support the aspirations of the Palestinians, it has an obligation not to do so at Israel’s expense. Politics should not be a zero-sum game: the RIBA should recognise that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to end up with better outcomes. In Council’s vote, however, support for Palestinians was expressed in language defined entirely by vitriolic negativity towards Israel. This is utterly inappropriate and gives rise to reasonable speculation that the vote was as much about hostility to Israel as about support for Palestinians.

4.2  As the aftermath of the Arab springs has shown, Middle Eastern politics is far more complex than the simplistic “Palestinians-good/Israel-bad” formula that supporters of the vote in Council represented. The reductivism that Council has voted for is shameful in its effort to resort to pre-Arab Spring blindness about long-standing Middle East rivalries and hostilities, of which hatred of Israel is neither the biggest nor the most entrenched.

4.3  If Council truly wished to have a say only about the Middle East, it should be supporting all people in the region who are truly suffering victimisation and oppression. If the vote in Council is allowed to stand, it must therefore be followed by a huge programme of similar and more appropriate calls for suspension—especially against Egypt, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran—and especially against other countries whose treatment of Palestinians is much more reprehensible than that of Israel, but whose actions are deliberately ignored and veiled by obsessive opponents of Israel who wish only to use the Palestinian cause to damage Israel.

5.0  The vote disgraces the RIBA

5.1  For the reasons given, by allowing the vote against Israel to stand, the RIBA risks emerging not as a body that supports Palestinians but as a body with an in-built and unprincipled prejudice against Israel and legitimate Jewish aspiration.

5.2  For more than a thousand years, the Christian Church attempted to eradicate Judaism, either by mass killing or mass conversion. Were it the case that the majority of Council members came from Christian backgrounds, some observers might conclude that the vote continued a long-standing cultural prejudice against Jews within our society in general and within the RIBA in particular. 

5.2  The campaign to boycott Israel is also bound up with a much more insidious pan-Arab and pan-Muslim campaign to delegitimise Israel and eradicate it as a state. Thus, a millennium of opposition to Jews being Jews could be seen to be joining forces with a century-long campaign to prevent Israel being Israel.

5.3  In voting for Israel’s suspension, the RIBA could be seen as siding with the most vicious campaigners against not just boycott and divestment but against Israel’s legitimacy and its survival as a state.

Conclusion

No one could want to belong to a body that can be characterised as anti-semitic, nor is it appropriate that an institutionally anti-semitic body should retain its royal charter. 

In view of the above, I urge the RIBA to reverse its decision as soon as possible. If it does not, there will inevitably be a campaign calling for the removal of the royal charter, and this will involve much unnecessary expenditure of time and effort all round.

I am copying this letter to the press.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Games

To assist Mr. Games and others in the UK who oppose the boycott, please sign this petition , and (per the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s approach) consider contacting the president of the Union of International Architects (UIA), Prof. Albert Dubler, and ask that the group reject RIBA’s endorsement of a policy of racist exclusion targeting Israelis. 

uia@uia-architectes.org

 

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Boycotted at Ben White Amnesty event as David Hearst announces “I know who you write for”.

Cross posted by London-based blogger Richard Millett

White and Hearst in discussion at Amnesty last night.

White and Hearst in discussion at Amnesty last night.

Last night (Shabbat) I was at Amnesty International’s London HQ for the launch of Ben White’s updated Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide. The event was chaired by David Hearst, former chief foreign leader writer of The Guardian.

After White’s talk he had a Q&A with Hearst after which members of the audience were allowed to ask White questions. Well, most of them anyway.

I had my arm raised for half hour while Hearst took questions from those sitting around me, before taking questions from the other side of the room. While my arm was still raised Hearst called an end to questions.

Feeling rather frustrated I asked whether I could put a question to White. Hearst declined my request and replied:

“I know exactly what you’re up to. And who you are. And who you write for.”

Sinister or what! Here’s the exchange:

 

So, what was I up to? Who am I? Who do I write for? Well, since starting this blog in 2009 I have mainly written for myself. I have occasionally written for the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish News, the Jewish Chronicle and CiF Watch, but I never realised writing could get me boycotted.

But here’s the point; I have never had any dealings with Hearst. So, how did he know who I was?

He was obviously primed but why? I have never been disallowed from asking a question at Amnesty before, although I was once threatened at an Amnesty event by Amnesty Campaign Manager Krystian Benedict, who has since been moved to work on Syria and who was present last night.

My question to White was going to be simply this: Seeing that White relies heavily on statements by Israeli politicians to paint Israel as racist (see slides below) I wanted to know whether the same could also be said of White particularly after he once stated that (British Jewish author) Howard Jacobson’s face was “another reason to support a boycott of Habima”, the Israeli theatre company.

I’m sure White would have batted that away quite easily, wouldn’t he? He reads my blog (he mentions it), so he should feel free to leave an answer below.

White started his talk addressing the Israeli Embassy’s apparent attempt to stop last night’s event taking place and went on to dedicate the evening to “all those people, including the Palestinians, who have sacrificed so much for liberation”.

Here’s the clip:

 

He then proceeded to talk about Israel’s continued “Judaisation”, particularly in the Negev and Galilee, and Israel’s “brutality”, “racism” and “apartheid” (including towards Israel’s own Ethiopian and Mizrahi Jews).

White loves nothing more than portraying Israel and Israelis as child killers. Apparently, Israeli soldiers hide near schools so they can kill Palestinian children (see slides below).

White finished off by telling his love struck audience that “Israel is afraid”.

Meanwhile, if last night is anything to go by I’m sure that Middle East Eye, David Hearst’s new website, will be a beacon of democracy and one of many and varied views…..

Slides used by Ben White last night:

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A place where Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell can find “real” antisemitism

On the ‘Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Tuesday 29th January, there was a debate between Stephen Pollard of the Jewish Chronicle and Steve Bell, political cartoonist for the Guardian, over the Gerald Scarfe cartoon in the Sunday Times published on Holocaust Memorial Day – depicting mangled, tortured bodies being buried over with bricks laid by the bloody trowel of a sinister Israeli leader.

Pollard advanced an argument similar to the one he made so eloquently in The JC today, arguing that the cartoon slips into antisemitism because it invokes the blood libel, and while papers should always have the right to publish offensive material, possessing such freedom to offend doesn’t mean that it is always the correct decision to do so.

Bell disagreed, and argued as follows:

“Apologising for this cartoon – for once it wasn’t a bad cartoon – I think Stephen Pollard invokes terms like “the blood libel” and kind of ‘genocidal hate rage’…. he’s attributing this to a cartoon which is actually … it’s sort of like a mirror image of the cartoon Scarfe did the week before … President Assad clutching the head of a baby … not a squeak about that …

The problem with the State of Israel and the Zionist Lobby is that they never acknowledge the crime of ethnic cleansing upon which the State was founded …”

Bell’s fictitious history of Israel’s founding is as characteristic as it is malicious, as it was the tiny Jewish state which was forced, a couple of years after the Holocaust, on the day of its founding, to defend against five invading Arab armies intent on extinguishing their presence from the river to the sea.  Bell’s revisionism also excludes the shameful episode after Israel’s founding, in which hundreds of thousands of Jewish citizens of Arab countries were punished for the crime of Israel’s continued existence by being systematically expelled – that is, ethnically cleansed – from land where their ancestors had lived for hundreds of years.

Also during his debate with Pollard, Bell the historian also warned against using “the term ‘blood libel’ loosely and ridiculously”, and then added:

“Extraneous notions like ‘blood libel’ are dropped in and sensitivities are talked up .. the very word ‘antisemitic’ becomes devalued .. ‘they’ throw it around with such abandon, if there really is antisemitism it’s actually getting ignored.”

So, what does Steve Bell know about “real” antisemitism? My guess is that he doesn’t know too much. 

While Bell was all too willing to publish a cartoon (during Israel’s military operation in Gaza) depicting weak, cowardly British leaders being controlled like puppets by a powerful Jewish leader, when has he ever employed such graphic agitprop to mock “real” antisemites who occupy the landscape of the Arab Middle East?

Did the “populist” liberal satirist ever fancy the idea of caricaturing Egypt’s President Morsi, for instance, who characterized Jews as descendants of apes and pigs, and who told his fellow citizens to nurse their children on Jew hatred?

Additionally, has he ever thought to ridicule Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for engaging in Holocaust denial?

Finally, has it ever occurred to Bell to mock the ubiquitous commentators and clerics in the Arab and Muslim world who still peddle in the most bizarre Jewish conspiracy theories, such as the charge that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children to bake their ‘Sabbath’ bread? 

If he ever decided to do so, Bell could have used text from an actual poem by a radical and quite well-known Islamist preacher – demonstrated in a UK Immigration Tribunal ruling on Feb. 8, 2012, to be a clear reference to the antisemitic blood libel – which included the following: 

“We have never allowed ourselves, and listen carefully; we have never allowed ourselves to knead the bread for the breaking [of] fasting during the blessed month of Ramadan with the blood of the children.  And if someone wants a wider explanation, then he should ask what used to happen to some of the children of Europe, when their blood used to be mixed in the dough of the holy bread.”

Of course, if Bell did decide to direct his righteous ire at those who engage in such “real” antisemitism – and perhaps even at arrogant, hypocritical media groups which have actually championed the cause of such crude and unrepentant racists – he’d be hitting just a wee bit too close to home.

A ‘Comment is Free’ essay by the extremist who evoked the “real” medieval blood libel cited above, Raed Salah, was published on April 19, 2012, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial day.

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CST report on antisemitic discourse slams the Guardian: Singles out Orr and McGreal

The CST, the official body advising the UK Jewish community on matters of security and antisemitism, just released a comprehensive report on antisemitic discourse in the UK for 2011 and singled out the Guardian for opprobrium.  In fact, CST devotes an entire section of their 36 page report to the Guardian.

CST noted the following:

In 2011, the Guardian faced more accusations of antisemitism than any other mainstream UK newspaper.

Here are some specific highlights from the full report:

Context:

CST:

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.

Comment is Free website: overview

CST:

Comment is Free website hosts many more articles than the Guardian’s actual print edition –and has lower editorial standards. Articles critical of Israel and its supporters are commonplace and routinely attract hundreds of comments from members of the public. Counter-articles are far less common.

The Guardian: overview

CST:

Specific accusations of antisemitism against the Guardian itself usually arise from opinion pieces that reflect the hostility of the writer to Israel or those they associate with it. These articles are rarely, if ever, explicitly antisemitic. Rather, they usually contain remarks and attitudes that echo antisemitic motifs, such as Jewish conspiracies of wealth and power, and the notion that Jews are loyal to no one but each other. In their hostility, these articles afford little or no room for mainstream Jewish voices or perspectives.

[Not] innocent in the war of words about Jews and Israel

A March 2011 opinion piece in the 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.”

Typifying the Guardian’s problems regarding antisemitism, according to the CST, were comment articles by Washington correspondent Chris McGreal, a piece by weekly columnist Deborah Orr and its coverage of the Sheikh Raed Salah deportation case.

Chris McGreal: “George Bush slavishly refusing to pressure the Jewish state”

CST:

In an article concerning American Jewish voting patterns, senior Guardian correspondent Chris McGreal wrote: “Obama [told] American Jewish leaders that he would put some ‘daylight’ between the US and Israel after eight years of George Bush slavishly refusing to pressure the Jewish state to move toward ending the occupation.”Following protests that this risked reading as if former President Bush had somehow been a slave to Jews, the word “slavishly” was changed to“consistently”. The Guardian stated that this would“clarify the intended meaning” of the sentence.Given President Obama’s ethnicity, it seems unlikely that the Guardian would have allowed the word “slavishly” to be as readily used as in relation to former President Bush.

Nevertheless, the importance of conspiracy theory to antisemitism requires the newspaper (and others) to show sensitivity to risking such associations. In this regard, the Guardian’s alteration of “slavishly”to “consistently” maintained the overall meaning of the sentence, while reducing (but not entirely removing) the potential antisemitic sting.

Deborah Orr: “lives of the chosen”

CST:

In October 2011, Israel exchanged over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for a soldier, Gilad Shalit, who had been held captive in Gaza for five years.Guardian columnist Deborah Orr sparked outrage when she used the phrase “the chosen” in an article about the exchange:  “…there is something abject in their [Hamas’]eagerness to accept a transfer that tacitly acknowledges what so many Zionists believe –that the lives of the chosen are of hugely greater consequence than those of their unfortunate neighbours.”

Writing in the Jewish Chronicle, commentator David Aaranovitch explained his (and others’) concerns with Orr’s use of “the chosen…when the predicted complaint [about the Shalit exchange terms] was made in the predictable place (the Guardian’s opinion columns), the source surprised me. Deborah Orr is a clever, sensitive writer, as little given to bombast or prejudice as any columnist.“…What was so shocking to me about this phrase was its casualness – not its deliberation. The writer just didn’t realise, it seemed, that this charge about ‘chosenness’ – as applied specifically and categorically to Jews (whether ‘Zionists’ or not) is one of the most recurrent and poisonous tropes in antisemitism… Had she been confronted with the suggestion that, say, blacks were a bit childlike,undisciplined, sensual and physical rather than intellectual, she’d have recognised immediately the contours of old-time racism. The alarms would have gone off, the thought would have been interrogated, the problem noticed.“…Orr’s reaction seems to come from a place that deems all Zionism – all belief in a Jewish homeland– to be beyond respectability.“…What worries me here, as it increasingly has done for a decade, is the way in which the Palestinian issue is leading to a slippage in sensibilities, from concern, to partisanship, to an almost unconscious acceptance of the characterisation of Jews or Zionists or Israelis which replicates ancient libels….”

Blood libel allegation, Sheikh Raed Salah

CST:

Controversies concerning alleged antisemitism from Islamist sources were typified by the 2011–12 visit to Britain of Sheikh Raed Salah, a leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel. In particular, the Guardian newspaper was highly partial in its reporting of the case. Some coverage of the case (including, in part, by the Guardian) asserted or assumed that the Salah controversy had been engineered by the Israeli Government and carried out, at its behest, by its ‘local’ supporters and forced, somehow, upon the Home Secretary. These allegations about Israeli Government involvement were both unreferenced and untrue.

Guardian summary

The case exemplified the manner in which UK Islamists and pro-Palestinian activists defend their political allies from accusations of antisemitism. It is normal for such groups to act in this way and for them to misrepresent British Jewish concerns; but Blood libel allegation CST argued that Salah’s presence was unwelcome, primarily because of a speech he had made in Jerusalem in 2007 that had alluded to the “blood libel”, the notorious medieval charge that Jews kill Christian children in order to use their blood for religious practices.

These images, of medieval, Nazi, Syrian and modern day Hizbollah origin, each depict the notorious antisemitic blood libel charge.

As the controversy developed, Salah and his supporters claimed that Israeli officials had brought no charges against the speech, then said charges had been brought but dropped due to lack of evidence, before admitting that the case remained outstanding in Israel, but Salah and his supporters now claimed he had been discussing the Spanish Inquisition, not the behaviour of Jews.The final hearing (which Salah won) agreed with CST’s interpretation of the speech.

In February 2012, Justice Ockelton ruled in Salah’s favour against deportation, despite Section 59 of his own ruling finding that Sheikh Salah (“the appellant”) had indeed referred to the blood libel and that the Home Secretary had been right to consider this.  This finding has never been acknowledged…in any Guardian articles.”

Justice Ockelton’s statement included:

“In our judgment this [Salah’s counterargument] is all wholly unpersuasive. The appellant is clearly aware of the blood libel against Jews…The truth of the matter is that the conjunction of the concepts of ‘children’s blood’ and ‘holy bread’is bound to be seen as a reference to the blood libel unless it is immediately and comprehensively explained to be something else altogether.”.

“We have taken into account that the same sermon contained more moderate language and concepts and positive references to Jewish prophets and synagogues. Nevertheless we do not find this comment [by Salah] could be taken to be anything other than a reference to the blood libel against Jews…”

“The Guardian: pro-Salah bias:

Throughout the controversy, the Guardian…reported the views of Salah’s UK Islamist hosts and defenders, but failed to adequately ask for, report, or consider, the concerns of CST and the UK Jewish community.  It ran no articles countering Salah’s position.

Haneen Zoabi

On 29 June 2011, the Guardian ran an article by Haneen Zoabi, entitled, “An Israeli trap for Britain”.This framed the Salah controversy as being an Israeli ploy, carried out by its “supporters abroad”. It essentially reduced the allegations against Salah to the status of lies, concocted by Israel and its British supporters to defend racism and then forced upon the Home Secretary. Excerpts included: “…Unable to produce any legal evidence, the Israeli establishment and its supporters in Britain accuse him of antisemitism….It appears that the charge of antisemitism is being used as a way of suppressing criticism of Israeli policies…it seems that the British government has bowed to pro-Israel pressure even when it comes to inshore affairs.

Next, Zoabi alluded to Zionists being responsible for Islamophobia, repeated her dismissal of the allegations against Salah and ended by implying that “Zionist racism” and “the pro-Israeli lobby”were controlling UK policy: “Pro-Israel organisations in Britain and elsewhere are manipulating growing European Islamophobia to discredit us by falsely portraying the democratic Palestinian struggle against racism and discrimination in Israel as antisemitic.“…The British authorities have fallen into an Israeli trap…until now, Palestinian citizens of Israel have been struggling for our political rights in our country, and confronting Zionist racism inside Israel. But now it seems we have to confront Zionist racism abroad as well.“The pro-Israeli lobby must not be allowed to determine politics in Britain…

Official Guardian editorial

On 1 July 2011, the Guardian ran an editorial in support of Salah. Its title, “Muslim Brotherhood activists: unwelcome guests?” signaled the newspaper’s failure to properly address the antisemitism allegations against Salah, or what this meant for British Jews, Muslim-Jewish communal relations and the Government’s recently tightened anti-extremism guidelines.

The editorial echoed Haneen Zoabi’s opinion piece by crassly suggesting that the UK Government was moving against “all Palestinian activists Israel has a problem with”, before appearing to accept Salah’s denials at face value: “…he says [the allegations] were fabricated, and for which he has started libel proceedings…Mr Salah has not been convicted of antisemitism”.

Additional coverage of Salah by the Guardian.

On 26 September 2011, the Guardian reported upon Salah’s forthcoming appeal. The story summarised the antisemitism allegations against Salah and ran his lawyer’s rebuttals of them. This included implying that CST had “doctored”the Koranic poem and the “blood libel” speech to include mentions of “Jews”.

Following CST’s intervention, the story was altered on the Guardian website, clarifying that these were the lawyer’s claims, not the Guardian’s, and stating:“there is no suggestion that CST doctored the quotes”.  A line suggesting CST had not checked the quotes for accuracy was removed; but a further clarification that CST had actually found and supplied the accurate versions of the poem and speech was not included.

On 30 September 2011, the Guardian reported that Salah had won compensation for two days of wrongful immigration detention.  

On 26 October 2011, Salah lost his first appeal. Despite its extensive prior coverage (at least articles prior to this date), this verdict did not appear to be reported by the Guardian. Indeed, the paper seems to have made no further mention of Salah until 9 April 2012, when he won a further appeal. This was covered at length by the  two articles, which implied that Salah had won on all charges, whilst making no mention of the ruling dismissing Salah’s denial of having made a blood libel speech.

It also ran an article by Salah himself, entitled, Britain’s duty to the Palestinian people”.

Salah’s CiF piece included the claim that “The Palestinian issue can only be resolved if Israel and its supporters in Britain abandon the dogmas of supremacy…”

Conclusion:

CST’s 2011 Report on Antisemitic Discourse clearly demonstrates the Guardian’s continuing antisemitic sins of ‘commission and, just as dangerous, ‘omission': their silence in the face of clear evidence of antisemitism when covering a story. 

While this blog’s mission is clear, and we’ll continue combating antisemitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’, we also have a related mission: to name and shame the Guardian as an institution which fancies itself the “world’s leading liberal voice” yet continues to display tolerance towards decidedly illiberal opinions about Jews.

It is incumbent upon all those who consider themselves passionate anti-racists to join us in this fight.

Guardian publishes clarification of its Jewish Chronicle smear.

Two days ago Adam Levick wrote here on the smearing of the Jewish Chronicle and its editor Stephen Pollard by Guardian Diary Editor Hugh Muir, blogger Richard Silverstein and MPACUK over a BNP member’s use of the JC open blogging platform. 

The Guardian has now issued a clarification:

“In a Diary item about the presence of blogs by Carlos Cortiglia, the BNP’s mayoral candidate, on the Jewish Chronicle website we stated that the blogs were still available on 23 November. We went on to say that this “conflicts” with the account of the Jewish Chronicle’s editor, Stephen Pollard, “that he became aware of Cortiglia’s blog and deleted all trace of it ‘last September'”. To clarify: he told the Guardian’s reporter that “in September we were alerted to the fact that Cortiglia had set up a user blog and the moment we were told, we blocked him and changed [the] entire system”. Mr Pollard has asked us to point out that this was not meant to imply that all traces of the blogs had been deleted in September – in fact the measure he took at that time was to block Cortiglia’s access. He ordered the blogs to be deleted more recently (20 April, page 35).”

Whilst it is good to see the Guardian correcting the record, one also hopes that this incident will serve as a reminder of the fact that when a mainstream news outlet finds itself following the lead of such dubious interested parties as Richard Silverstein and MPACUK, some serious questions regarding judgment calls need to be asked. 

But then again, those questions should also have arisen long ago when Silverstein was a regular contributor to ‘Comment is Free’. 

The Guardian & Richard Silverstein’s battle to see who can most smear the UK Jewish community

In the Guardian Diary, on their Op Ed Page, on April 19th, with the grossly misleading headline, “A BNP bigwig writing for the Jewish Chronicle. Some mistake surely?, , writes:

With their party in laughable disarray, most members of Nick Griffin’s far-right BNP seem content to keep their heads down. But others have careers to build and division to sow. Thus, even in this period of hibernation, they seek a profile. One such is Carlos Cortiglia, who needs to put himself about, not least because he is standing as the party’s mayoral candidate for London. But platforms are hard to find. What to do? His solution has been nothing if not canny; he has been blogging on the Jewish Chronicle. It was easy, for until recently the paper had a system where any reader could set up their own blog and publish their thoughts. He penned at least three blog posts there, all moderate by the standards of JC bloggers, in fact “completely innocuous” as described by editor Stephen Pollard. Unacceptable nevertheless. For although it boasts a Jewish councillor in Essex, the BNP never seems far from the whiff of antisemitism. Griffin, we know, received a conviction in 1998 for distributing material likely to incite racial hatred, and in the course of the prosecution made statements denying the Holocaust. Recently antisemitism appeared to fuel a row between activists on the south coast. “Hitler had a purpose with the Jews,” tweeted one local organiser approvingly. That’s the least offensive quote I could find. The BNP and the Chronicle were never a good fit.

Cortiglia’s blog project endured until Wednesday when the Muslim Public Affairs Committee [MPACUK] put out a story claiming that the BNP man had been hired as a columnist. He never was. But a screenshot taken that morning shows his name at the top of the list of JC bloggers. Google’s cache records that his words were still available then. One blog was dated 23 November. That conflicts with Pollard’s account that he became aware of Cortiglia’s blog and deleted all trace of it “last September”. Still, by Wednesday afternoon the purge was indeed complete and the site amended to explain that only approved people can blog for the Chronicle. [emphasis added]

Of course, the suggestion that the Jewish Chronicle would knowingly associate with a BNP member is beyond ludicrous, and the innuendo that Pollard knowingly employed the services of an open BNP blogger is a smear, and grossly defamatory.

Here was Pollard’s Tweet in response to the Guardian post:

Further, I spoke to Pollard on the phone on Friday, and here’s what else the Guardian blogger got wrong.

  • Pollard, who was interviewed about the story by the Guardian’s ‘Belief’ editor, Andrew Brown, never claimed he became aware of Cortiglia’s blog and deleted all trace of it “last September”, only that he learned of it sometime in autumn. He made clear that the JC blocked the BNP member as soon as it was alerted to his presence on the site. 
  • Muir’s suggestion that Pollard misrepresented himself in the timeline of events is an outright falsehood.
  • Even more insidious is the suggestion that Cortiglia’s BNP’s affiliation was known ahead of time by the Jewish Chronicle.  As Pollard clearly and unambiguously informed the Guardian, they absolutely did not. As soon as they were alerted to the man’s BNP membership they immediately barred his access to the Jewish Chronicle site.  They didn’t remove his post then. They blocked him from posting again, but his three existing posts did remain in the archive. They said Pollard lied about this because his posts were still searchable, but Pollard NEVER claimed he removed them.
  • And, Muir’s most gratuitous, tendentious, and misleading line was this: “The BNP and the Chronicle were never a good fit.”  It never was a good fit because Cortiglia’s BNP affiliation was never to known to the Chronicle when he was blogging.  The JC had a system of open access blogging, through which anyone could register and immediately set up their own blog. Their was no provision for checking the political affiliations of any blogger, any more than the Guardian checks out the affiliations of people who leave comments on CiF. Once the JC realized that their system had been abused by the BNP, they changed the entire system and removed the open access. Blogs are now only hosted from those invited to blog by the paper. [emphasis added]
  • The BNP and the Jewish Chronicle are as far removed ideologically as possible and to suggest otherwise, by innuendo and rhetorical obfuscation, is the height of irresponsible journalism, and represents yet another smear by the Guardian of the UK Jewish community.

By comparison to U.S. blogger Richard Silverstein’s coverage of the The JC, however, the Guardian’s journalistic indiscretions are less egregious.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Silverstein, taking the lead of  Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACUK), outright lied about Pollard and the Chronicle.  While anyone even remotely familiar with Silverstein shouldn’t be surprised by anything published at the blog of the former Comment is Free contributor, the following truly should win an award for outright dishonesty.

Here’s the revised version of Silverstein’s original story about the row over Cortiglia, which originally contained a headline similar to the MPACUK lie, which suggested that the BNP candidate had been hired as a columnist by The JC.  (subsequently removed, but confirmed by Pollard)

Notice, Silverstein is still shamelessly writing (in the caption under the photo of Cortiglia) that The JC “offered” the white supremacist a blogging platform, which is a complete and total lie.

Plus, notice the similarity between Silverstein’s headline and that of MPACUK.

Briefly, MPACUK‘s extremism and antisemitism is well documented. They have promoted the idea of a worldwide Zionist conspiracy and used material taken from neo-Nazi, white nationalist, and Holocaust denial websites. A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism also notes the CST’s assertion that “[t]he use of ‘Zionist’ as a replacement for ‘Jewish’ is common on the MPACUK website” and that MPACUK has articulated antisemitic conspiracy theories through the language of anti-Zionism.

In a later post, Silverstein weighed in on the contrasting versions of events between Pollard and the Guardian’s Muir, thusly:

[All of  this] leaves one wondering who to believe: an Islamophobic pro-Israel ultranationalist or a reporter for one of England’s most distinguished newspapers.

Silverstein calling Pollard “Islamophobic” and “ultra-nationalist” just means, of course, that he, and his paper, supports Israel’s right to exist, and isn’t afraid to condemn Islamist antisemitism when they see it.

As far as Silverstein’s characterization of the Guardian as “one of England’s most distinguished newspapers”? Well, if by “distinguished” he means, unique in conflating reactionary, violent, antisemitic Islamism with progressive thought, he’s correct. In this category, the UK broadsheet is truly in a class by itself.

As recently as April 19, Yom HaShoah, they provided a platform to radical Islamist preacher Raed Salah, promoter of medieval blood libels, who proceeded to accuse the UK Jewish community of being “supremacists”.

Inayat Bunglawala, an Islamist who believes that the the BBC and the rest of the media are “Zionist controlled” was a contributor to ‘Comment is Free’.

A six month study by Just Journalism published in August 2011 demonstrated that three of the Palestinians who contributed op-eds to ‘Comment is Free’ during a six month  period [during the ‘Palestine Papers’ series] were either members of Hamas or strongly affiliated with it, and have endorsed  terrorist attacks.” The report concluded:

“The decision, by ‘Comment is Free’ [editors] to repeatedly offer a platform to signed-up Hamas members is the logical, if distasteful, outcome of its preference for those who fundamentally disagree with Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.” 

Again, bear in mind, these hateful extremists were  not blogging in an open blogging platform, but were approved and published by Guardian editors.

Here are excerpts from an email Pollard sent to Silverstein in response to his baldface lies.

Mr Silverstein,

I did not bother to respond to your earlier post in which you simply made up a story, that the JC had announced a new columnist – the BNP candidate for mayor. Quite why you would choose to post a lie, which you must have known was a lie – since you made it up – is your problem, not mine

I suggest that you preface any posts about me and the JC with the words: “This post is made up and has no basis in fact”.

Stephen Pollard

Some final thoughts.

Silverstein is one of the more shrill, dishonest, and hateful extreme left commentators in a very crowded anti-Zionist blogosphere, and, as the title of his blog, Tikkun Olam, (To heal the world), continues to make a mockery of such self-styled progressives bloggers.

Several months ago, for instance, he thought nothing of exposing the identity of a Zionist blogger, including his address, potentially placing his entire family at risk.

Also, for those unfamiliar with his brand of “liberalism”, and self-styled promoter of “social justice”, it includes expressions of support for a one-state solution, repeated defenses of terror groups like Hamas, and characterizations of IDF soldiers as “bestial” and “subhuman.  

And, he has even likened Israel to Nazi Germany.

Finally, the very notion that the UK Jewish community could even conceivably find common cause with the BNP would be dismissed out of hand by all but the supremely dishonest or those ideologically conditioned to find such implausible alliances politically convenient enough to advance.

The behavior of both Silverstein and the Guardian in this episode (demonizing a mainstream UK Jewish publication, while finding ways to legitimize the most reactionary political forces in the world today, under the absurd veneer of “progressive” thought) demonstrate what this blog has argued continually.  

Much of the the modern Left is in a deep ideological crisis, one which they don’t seem prepared to acknowledge, yet alone overcome.

Bigotry & justifications for terror as ‘progressive’ politics: Air Flotilla 2’s York PSC contingent

Along with the members from Greater Manchester, three members of the York branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign will also be taking part in the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ (or ‘Welcome to Palestine’) publicity stunt scheduled for Sunday, April 15th.

“Terry Gallogly, Mary Watson and Carol Pearman will be among visitors flying into Israel as part of the Welcome to Palestine campaign.”

Carol Pearman (left) and Terry Gallogly (centre)

Ms. Pearman appears to consider herself something of an expert on Israeli security needs:

“The Israeli government tries to make out that anyone wanting to visit Palestinian friends is a security risk, but that’s nonsense,” said Carol Pearman, 69, of Hull Road.

“We just want to visit friends who are kept like prisoners under this illegal occupation. Even prisoners are allowed visitors.”

Ms. Watson, however, somewhat spoils the ‘kept like prisoners’ meme by admitting:

“We have visited Palestine before”

York PSC is rather infamous for its extremism. Before it was removed following complaints, the FAQ section of its website included the following: (emphasis added)

1. Do we condemn the suicide bombers?

Yes, we condemn  ALL violence on all sides, but PSC seeks to understand causes and means of prevention. For example, Palestinians  do not have  the sophisticated weaponry of the occupying forces. Suicide bombing is their only weapon, it is a last resort of a desperate people who see no alternative way of defending their homeland. Extreme injustice breeds extreme responses.

2. Does PSC recognise the State of Israel?

Yes we recognize A State of Israel  with the borders that existed before the 1967 six day war. The continuous extension of those borders by war and occupation have been condemned by numerous UN Security council resolutions (beginning with number 242 in November 1967).  Individuals can comment on the right or otherwise of the land grab which created the state of Israel in the first place and its biblical justification,  but we must emphasize that PSC, like Arafat, accepts the inevitable presence of the Israelis and that pushing them all in to the Mediterranean is now not an option.

 

York PSC members prior to their departure on a 'Viva Palestina' convoy in 2009.
Carol Pearman in the centre. http://tiny.cc/69dncw

Predictably, Ms. Pearman is keen to add her signature to campaigns against nefarious Zionist activities such as exhibiting Israeli scientific achievements in British museums. She also appears to have some business interests in the Middle East.

Terry Gallogly is a familiar name to many. Besides being Secretary (and former Chair) of the York PSC and a member of the Green Party, he is also an organizer of the ‘Stop the JNF’ campaign and accuses the JNF of attempting to “greenwash its ethnic cleansing”.

Gallogly also campaigned for a boycott by British unions of the Histadrut – Israel’s main labour union – describing it as “this appalling apparatus of the Zionist structure”. As a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s national executive committee, he was involved in 2007 in bringing a member of Neturei Karta to give a lecture entitled “Anti-Zionism is not Anti-Semitism” at British universities during ‘Palestine Awareness Week’.

Gallogly’s main claim to fame, however, is his 2010 attempt to rig an online poll conducted by the Jewish Chronicle in order to create the impression that British Jews are racists. 

Amazingly, the MP for York Central, Hugh Bayley, is backing Gallogly et al in this attempt to interfere with the right of another country to exercise control over its own borders. That may or may not be connected to Gallogly’s additional activity as regional coordinator for a lobbying group known as Coordin8.

Members of several other PSC branches in the north of England are planning to accompany the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ delegates to Manchester airport, already in ‘spontaneous demonstration’ mode. 

I’m a Pro-Israel Muslim: So Why did UJS Ban Me?

This was written by Kasim Hafeez, and originally published at Harry’s Place. 

In a previous life I was anti-Semitic and an angry anti-Israeli activist.

Fortunately for me, I learnt the facts and now campaign proudly for Israel.

Given this and the fact I promote the moderate voice of British Muslims, you would assume that I could be a strong ally of the UJS.

You’d be wrong.

It was in fact StandWithUs UK who approached me to do a nationwide campus speaking tour, as a follow-up from their ‘Moderate Voices from the Middle East’ series.

Appearances were booked all over the country, including at J-Socs as well as with other student groups. However, as the events drew near, it became clear that Dan Sheldon, the UJS Campaigns Director, wasn’t happy with the tour and was determined to see it cancelled.

Why? I had spoken out against their controversial ‘Liberation’ campaign, but I was hardly the only one, and surely in democratic societies we are free to express our opinions and legitimate criticisms. Could the UJS not agree to disagree and move on instead of pursuing a personal vendetta with someone who is willing to do so much for a cause the UJS putatively supports? To this day, not one person from the UJS has contacted me to explain why they felt my presence would be detrimental to the welfare of the students they are supposed to represent.  At the very least, this should have been a decision for the J-Socs, free from pressure.

The irony of these statements of support for the cancelling of Brooke Goldstein is not lost on me. As they laud their support for the independence of each J-Soc to make decisions for the welfare of their campus community, why then was the UJS threatening this ‘independence’ by pressuring J-Soc and Israel Soc leaders to uninvite me?

The offending email from UJS to the student societies opined: 

“In our judgment Kasim going onto campus will do more damage than good. While Kasim has a perfectly legitimate view, him doing a speaker tour at this time is very controversial and could potentially backfire on the J-Socs, exacerbating tensions and disrupting interfaith relations. We are concerned that he will stir up unnecessary anti-Israel & anti-Jewish sentiment among several hostile groups on campus. It might be interesting and enthuse a handful of students but it could not come at a worse time.”

At this point, a number of messages from individuals at J-socs emerged. One such text message read:

‘Hey, I’m sorry to have to tell you this but j-soc cannot host kasim. I have heard he has spoken badly of UJS and its campaign director and for this reason j-soc cannot host him. I do hope kasim will be able to speak at our university. I personally am very interested in what he has to say, but this will need to be independent of j-soc.’

Despite this, I received constant support from StandWithUs; the reactions from students – both Jewish and non-Jewish – was amazing and I believe it was an overwhelming success. Some students even travelled to other cities to hear my talk. This opposition by UJS was disheartening and upsetting, but ultimately we were able to do what was right for Israel on campus. I have since joined the StandWithUs UK Advisory Board and I am looking forward to working with them and indeed with the rest of the proudly pro-Israel community in Britain. Following the tour’s success, I have been invited to speak all over Britain, and even overseas.

My hope now is that under new leadership the UJS will be able to cast aside such petulance and embrace voices like mine and those of truly pro-Israel organisations. Let’s move away from these petty rivalries and territorial behaviour and realise that in order to be a truly powerful force for good, we must be united.

People such as Brooke Goldstein and I are putting ourselves forward, at no small risk, to reach out to others for Israel’s benefit, and yet both of us have been treated with contempt.  Before I and others like me become any more disillusioned, I ask you: don’t push us away; embrace us.

Kasim Hafeez recently completed a nationwide speaking tour in the UK entitled ‘The Day I Stopped Hating Israel’. He sits on the Advisory Board of StandWithUs UK. This is a longer version of a letter from Kasim which published in the Jewish Chronicle.

Chas Newkey-Burden reflects on his love of Israel & Judaism: “The missing part of the jigsaw”

The following essay was written by Chas Newkey-Burden and published at The Jewish Chronicle

I never told you the one about how a Christian/Hindu cult helped me love Israel and Judaism, did I? As a non-Jew who proudly supports Zionism and is fascinated by Judaism, particularly the mystical and Hasidic traditions, I am often asked how I came to feel this way. To me, the real question is why someone would not support Israel and admire Judaism, but of course I understand the curiosity.

The short answer – which I’ve blogged about and mentioned during speeches – is that I became fascinated by the Middle East after the September 11 attacks. To my surprise, having previously had a lazy, hazy perception that Israel were the villains of the conflict, I became more and more pro-Israel the more I learned about the issue. So I started visiting Israel and quickly fell in love with the place.

However, I’ve never written or spoken publicly about a challenging childhood experience that had a part to play in this. When I was nine, I joined a new school in London. I was so excited to be leaving primary school and joining a new, ‘grown-up’ establishment. What I didn’t realise until I got there was that 99 percent of the pupils and their families were members of bizarre religious cult, as were all the staff.

The cult, which dominated the school, combined Victorian sternness with less savoury elements of Christianity and Hinduism to create a cruel concoction. I was a member of the one percent of pupils with no connection to the cult. This meant that twice a day, as my classmates meditated and chanted Sanskrit, I had to go to a dark room in the basement and sit kicking my heels with the other odd ones out of the school.

It also meant I was pressured to join the cult. The more I resisted this pressure, the more I was targeted by the staff. It was astounding how quickly the teachers could turn a maths, English or science class into a free-for-all discussion of how I came from an “impure” family.

The staff strongly discouraged pupils from befriending me and at times some of the teachers were violent with me. At one point I was even-handed a year-long detention, which meant I couldn’t leave the school until 6.30pm on weekdays and not before mid-afternoon on Saturdays.

For six years I resisted the pressure to join the cult and then at 16 I was finally able to leave the godforsaken place. Years later, in 2007, an inquiry found that “mistreatment” and “criminal assaults” had taken place when I was there. It is possible that one can never completely move on from such an experience – the question is how to create a positive legacy.

Which brings me to my love of Israel. I think that as result of what I faced at school I have developed a stronger empathy for anyone who is unfairly singled out. For instance, when Kofi Annan – then the Secretary General of the UN – was asked why the UN so disproportionately targets Israel, and replied: “Can the whole world be wrong?” he made my blood boil. As I knew from my schooling, sometimes yes, the whole world can be wrong.

Recently, while dining with a Jewish family I’m friendly with, I sensed a wider connection. I was telling them about my strange school, when the wise father of the household turned to me and said:

“You were like the Jew at school – that’s why you understand us.”

I had never thought of it that way, as I consider the story of the Jewish experience to be as much about the inspiration of your enormous achievements and inspiring example as it is the hatred you have faced.

But I can see his point – and within it is the positive legacy I sought. Perhaps if I had not been so tested as a child I would not have subsequently stood at the Kotel, nor watched the sunset in Tel Aviv, nor heard of the wondrous Baal Shem Tov and Rabbi Nachman, whose teachings now enrich my life.

Whatever took me here I am glad it did. After all, supporting Israel and admiring Judaism is the only sensible way to roll.

CiF Watch Gossip of the Day: Harriet Sherwood “Head Spinning” Edition

Via a highly reliable source, there was a truly quality moment at the 2012 Herzliya Conference todayat the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) – as the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood evidently unwittingly sat next to Simon Plosker of HonestReporting in the IDC cafeteria 

If you recall, the Guardian was the winner (in a landslide!) of HonestReporting’s 2011 Dishonest Reporter Award – an award attributed to, among other factors: Sherwood’s bizarre and unprofessional diatribe directed towards the Jewish Chronicle’s Stephen Pollard in response to a JC essay she disagreed with, her false claim that the Knesset was built on the ancestral farmland of the abandoned Palestinian village, as well as the journalist’s activist’s fishing expedition on board a Palestinian vessel (more than 3 nautical miles) off the coast of Gaza.

While I’m not sure if Sherwood knew she was seated next to one of her many Zionist nemeses while at the IDC, my guess is that this photo, from a couple of years ago, would accurately represent her possible reaction if so informed.

The latest CiF Watch newsletter has hit the stands!

Message from Managing Editor, Adam Levick

Friends,

The recent admission by Guardian Readers’ Editor Chris Elliott, “On averting accusations of antisemitism, Nov. 6, was quite astonishing, and stands as a clear vindication of CiF Watch’s efforts.

Elliott’s post, which received a considerable amount of press coverage (including reports and commentary at Ha’aretzThe Commentator, Harry’s Place, and The Jewish Chronicle) sought to address “complaints that [the Guardian] is carrying material that… lapses into language resonant of antisemitism or is antisemitic”, citing “organisations monitoring their coverage”.

While the post didn’t go nearly far enough in acknowledging the degree of antisemitism found at the Guardian, the fact that they evidently felt the need to respond to the criticisms which our blog, and many other concerned parties, have leveled demonstrates that they take our critiques seriously.

Moreover, Elliott specifically addressed Guardian “reporters, writers and editors”, imploring them to be “more vigilant to ensure our voice in the debate is not diminished because our reputation has been tarnished.”

Acknowledging the important role of CiF Watch in shining a spotlight on The Guardian, political commentator Robin Shepherd commented that “with the alarming increase of anti-Jewish racism and bigotry emanating from The Guardian, a newspaper which styles itself as the world’s leading liberal voice, the work of media monitors like CiF Watch becomes all the more invaluable to hold The Guardian to account.”

However, as I noted in a CiF Watch post on Elliott’s admission, our work monitoring the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’ for antisemitism, dedicated to the proposition that hatred against Jews is never justified, (and is inherently inconsistent with genuine liberal thought) continues unabated.

Featured posts

The Guardian vindicates CiF Watch
While the Guardian media group is a long way from taking the steps necessary to truly change a culture which tolerates outright antisemitism, and is viscerally and disproportionately hostile to the Jewish state, their Readers’ Editor’s recent admission that their reporters, editors and writers need to be more careful about employing Judeophobic narratives represents a remarkable mea culpa from an institution which has shown itself to be remarkably thin skinned, and resistant to true introspection.

Guardian contributor Gail Simmons’s tweets about the Nazism of Zionism
In researching the background of a new Guardian contributor, writing about her experiences in the Palestinian Territories, we came across Simmons’s tweets, one of which leveled the odious charge that Zionism was morally similar to Nazism. It says a lot about the politics of the Guardian Left that a commentator possessing such malevolence would even be considered for a position writing for “the world’s leading liberal voice”. CiF Watch’s post on Simmons’s tweet was noted in a report by the UK Jewish Chronicle.

The empathy-evil continuum and Hamas’ treatment of Gilad Shalit
A guest post by Medusa explores the appalling lack of basic human empathy which informed Hamas’s abduction and appalling treatment of Gilad Shalit.

Harriet Sherwood’s latest report on rocket attacks from Gaza redefines the word “sporadic”.
A guest post by Akus comments on Guardian Jerusalem Correspondent Harriet Sherwood’s Orwellian use of the word “sporadic” to characterize Gaza rocket fire – which, in the month of August alone, included 170 deadly projectiles fired at Israeli communities.

Jonathan Freedland’s intifada delusions
Israelinurse adeptly dissects the erroneous characterization, by the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland, of the mythical “non-violent” first Intifada.

CiF Watch in the news

CiF Watch post wins political essay contest at popular political website, The Propagandist.

The post, ‘Better Jews. The Moral Vanity of Israel’s Leftist Jewish Critics, won first prize at The Propagandist’s 2nd Annual Political Essay contest.

Adam Levick’s essay on the Guardian’s admission regarding antisemitism was published by the UK Jewish Chronicle.

What Can You Do?

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(1) Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

(2) Forward this newsletter to at least 5 friends and as many others by clicking here.

(3) Email us at contactus@cifwatch.com if you see something in the Guardian that makes your blood boil.

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Keep the pressure on West Dunbartonshire Council: Fight Racist Boycott of Israel

Fight the Racist Boycott of Israel by West Dunbartonshire Council

Friends,

In 2009, the West Dumbartonshire Council passed a motion boycotting Israel. The motion reads in relevant part:

“Officers should immediately cease the purchase of any goods we currently source, which were made or grown in Israel.  Officers should also ensure we procure no new goods or produce from Israel until this boycott is formally lifted by WDC.”

Publicity of the boycott recently came to light after the Daily Express reported that Scottish National Party led West Dunbartonshire Council ordered that its libraries ban any new volumes by Israeli authors, printed or published in the Jewish state. In a failed attempt to deflect criticism, West Dunbartonshire Council claimed the ban didn’t apply to all Israeli books just those printed in Israel and transported to the UK while maintaining that a boycott of Israeli products is in effect.

As media attention to this grew, activists began complaining to the council members over the boycott and a number of the council members responded exposing the bigotry underlying the boycott. In a series of emails, as reported by Ynet, CiF Watch exposed that Councillor Jim Bollan, the proposer of the motion, wrote that he viewed Hamas as “freedom fighters”. With pressure mounting, Councillor Jonathan McColl has been at the forefront of defending the boycott and even posted a rambling videoblog which was a display of rank ignorance and victim playing unbecoming of a political figure.

Since then, the Jewish Chronicle has reported that West Dunbartonshire Council library recently purchased a copy of the antisemitic forgery, Protocols of the Elder of Zion, a decision that the council defended in the interest of freedom of speech.

With West Dunbartonshire having the dubious honor of being the top unemployment blackspot in the UK, the motivation behind singling out Israel, and only Israel, for boycott out of all nations of the world is clear. In Australia similar moves to boycott Israel by a local Sydney council ended up in failure after mass publicity of the planned boycott.

Together with your help, we can reverse the motion and send a message to other Scottish councils that are considering the same that such moves are immoral and racist.

Speak up and tell the council that the boycott is immoral and racist. Don’t leave this to somebody else to do.

Ways in which your voice can be heard include:

1Twitter
CiF Watch has been leading a twitter campaign to fight the boycott. You can help this campaign by tweeting West Dunbartonshire Council and Councillor Jonathan McColl, both of whom are on twitter. Their twitter names are @wdcouncil and @CllrJMcColl.

If your 140 character tweet permits, include Gemma Doyle, Labour member of parliament for West Dunbartonshire, and Visit Scotland, the Scottish Tourist Board, on your tweets. Their twitter names are @gemmawdmp and @visitscotland.

Here are some sample tweets:

- West Dunbartonshire has the highest unemployment rates in the UK, yet @wdcouncil sees fit to boycott Israel. @CllrJMcColl

- Jim Bollan thinks Hamas are freedom fighters Email him at James.Bollan@west-dunbarton.gov.uk if you disagree http://bit.ly/jvWep5 @wdcouncil

- Why has ONLY Israel been singled out of the 192 nations for a boycott by @wdcouncil @CllrJMcColl @gemmawdmp #fdoublestandards

- The West Dunbartonshire Council should retract its racist boycott of Israel! Retweet this if you agree @wdcouncil @CllrJMcColl

Don’t forget to also retweet tweets to the West Dunbartonshire Council and Councillor McColl by tweeters with whom you agree.

2Post comments on Councillor Jonathan McColl’s blog
As chief defender of the boycott, Councillor McColl has uploaded a videoblog. You can post comments on his blog by clicking here, Please note that anti-Israel activists have been posting comments in support of the boycott.

3Email the councillors, Scottish National Party MSPs, the Scottish Tourist Board and the Press
For a sample email, please view an email by an unlikely supporter, a Muslim Zionist, who has been moved to speak out.

Emails of the councillors are as follows:
Denis.Agnew@west-dunbarton.gov.ukGeorge.Black@west-dunbarton.gov.ukJames.Bollan@west-dunbarton.gov.ukJim.Brown@west-dunbarton.gov.ukGeoffrey.Calvert@west-dunbarton.gov.ukGail.Casey@west-dunbarton.gov.ukjim.finn@west-dunbarton.gov.uk;william.hendrie@west-dunbarton.gov.ukDouglas.McAllister@west-dunbarton.gov.ukdavid.mcbride@west-dunbarton.gov.ukdavid.mcbride@west-dunbarton.gov.ukRonnie.McColl@west-dunbarton.gov.ukjonathan.mccoll@west-dunbarton.gov.ukJim.McElhill@west-dunbarton.gov.uk;Patrick.McGlinchey@west-dunbarton.gov.ukCraig.McLaughlin@west-dunbarton.gov.ukWilliam.McLaughlin@west-dunbarton.gov.uk;Marie.McNair@west-dunbarton.gov.ukJohn.Millar@west-dunbarton.gov.ukJohn.Millar@west-dunbarton.gov.uklawrence.oneill@west-dunbarton.gov.ukIain.Robertson@west-dunbarton.gov.ukMartin.Rooney@west-dunbarton.gov.ukMay.Smillie@west-dunbarton.gov.uk

Emails of the Scottish National Party MSPs are as follows:
alex.salmond@snp.orgnicola.sturgeon@snp.org;rcmp.perth@snp.orginfo@argyll-snp.com;kenny.macaskill@edinburghsnp.orgrichard.lochhead@snp.org;brian.adam@snp.orggeo.adam@ntlworld.com;clare.adamson@snp.orgalasdairallan@western-isles-snp.org;colin.beattie1@btinternet.commarco.biagi@snp.org;cbrodie@calstrat.freeserve.co.uk; keith.brown@snp.org;margaret.burgess@snp.orgaileen@aileencampbell.com;rodcampbell@live.co.ukwillie@williecoffeymsp.com;info@angelaconstance.co.ukbruce.crawford@snp.org;rcmp.perth@snp.orggraemedey@gmail.com;angusnorthandmearns@gmail.comboabdoris@hotmail.com;james.dornan@snp.orgjim.eadie@snp.org;fergus@fergusewing.comlindafab@btinternet.com;john.finnie@snp.orgjoe@joefitzpatrick.netkenneth.gibson@snp.org;rob.gibson@snp.orginfo@christinegrahame.com;jamie.hepburn@snp.orgfjhyslop@gmail.comadam.ingram@snp.org;adam.ingram@snp.orgbill.kidd@snp.orgrichard.lochhead@snp.org;kenny.macaskill@edinburghsnp.org;angus.stoneyfield@blueyonder.co.uk; Gordon.MacDonald@snp.org;derek.j.mackay@btopenworld.comtricia.marwick@snp.org;jmasonscot@aol.commichael.matheson@snp-falkirk.org;stewart.maxwell@snp.orgchristina_mckelvie@hotmail.com;aileen.mcleod@snp.orgfiona.mcleod@snp.org;stuart.mcmillan@snp.orgmember@neil100.freeserve.co.uk;gil@gilsmotorfactors.comdennis.robertson@snp.org;dundee@shonarobison.cominfo@argyll-snp.com;office@stewartstevenson.netkevin.stewart@snp.orgslb@snp.org;david.t13@btinternet.comwgw.snp@gmail.com;maureen.watt@snp.orgpaul@brs-snp.orgsandra@kelvinsnp.org;johnwilsonscot@hotmail.com

Email Visit Scotland, the Scottish Tourist Board, and tell them that you are not visiting Scotland for as long as the boycott is in effect.

The email of the Chief Executive, Malcolm Roughhead, is as follows:
malcolm.roughhead@visitscotland.com

Emails of the Press include:

 
Sunday Herald: letters@sundayherald.com
 
Magnus Gardham, political editor, Daily Record: m.gardham@dailyrecord.co.uk Glasgow Local News:Grace Franklin franklinfeatures@gmail.comRutherglen Reformer: John Rowbotham jrowbotham@s-un.co.ukCumbernauld News: Kilsyth Chronicle: editorial.cumbernauldnews@jnscotland.co.uk

The Glaswegian: webeditor@theglaswegian.co.uk

Scotland on Sunday: letters_sos@cotlandonsunday.com

Sunday Post : readerspage@sundaypost.com

The Scotsman: letters_ts@cotsman.com

4.Support the Official Scottish Whiskey Counter-Boycott
Details here.

5.Share this email with your friends
Click on the “Forward to a Friend” link below.

Harriet Sherwood Selective Outrage Watch: Hamas Edition

Today, the Guardian saw fit to publish an essay at CiF by Musa Abumarzuq, the deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau (Welcome Hamas’s reconciliation with Fatah, May 24), an organization which openly supports the murder of Israeli civilians, calls for the Jewish state’s complete annihilation, and cites, in their very founding charter, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to “prove” that there is a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.  

Indeed, Abumarzuq complained bitterly, in his post, that the U.S. President is opposed to his group’s terrorist acts.

If you recall, just last week a morally outraged Harriet Sherwood called the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard, to berate him over his paper’s decision to publish an essay by Geoffrey Alderman, which characterized the death of Hamas supporter Vittorio Arrigoni as a cause to celebrate – which begs the question: What are Sherwood’s thoughts over her employer’s decision to publish an official communique by an anti-Semitic, misogynistic, Islamist terrorist movement?

Is she equally as outraged at Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger, and similarly berating him for giving license to a hateful and reactionary movement?  

Is she outraged at the thought that a spokesperson for the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was given a platform to assert his inalienable right to engage in violence against innocent Israeli civilians?  

In Sherwood’s phone call to Pollard, she asked hysterically: “But you’re the editor! You must think it worth publishing’.

So, in the spirit of moral consistency, I wonder if Sherwood is on the phone with Rusbridger as we speak, demanding that he account for his decision to publish such insidious terrorist propaganda.  

If so, I sure hope she remembered to tape the conversation with her digital recorder.  

The object of Harriet Sherwood's outrage, Professor Geoffrey Alderman

A legitimate voice at Comment is Free