Guardian publishes letter by Jenny Tonge on the issue of antisemitism

Guardian editors recently decided that Jenny Tonge’s views on the topic of anti-Jewish bigotry were especially thought-provoking and worthy of publication.

Baroness Jenny Tonge EditedAmong the letters published at the Guardian on Oct. 8 in response to news regarding the Daily Mail, Ralph Miliband and charges of antisemitism – and Jonathan Freedland’s thoughtful response to the row at ‘Comment is Free’ – was the following by Tonge:

Jonathan Freedland’s article (Antisemitism does not always come doing a Nazi salute, 5 October) rightly pointed out how Jewish people and other ethnic and religious groups are discriminated against and criticised in many subtle ways. It is always deplorable. Whether or not the Daily Mail intended to be antisemitic we shall probably never know, but I wholeheartedly condemn that newspaper for its story about Ralph Miliband and its insensitivity towards his family.

What Freedland and many other commentators refuse to accept, however, is that criticism of Israel and Zionists who support that country is not antisemitism. It is anti-Israeli government, pure and simple. When I refer to Israel and the Israel lobby I mean just that. For me it has nothing to do with Jewish people in general. We are drawing attention to Israel’s disregard of international law and its apartheid system at home, causing huge suffering to the Palestinians and danger to the wider Middle East.

Freedland does no favours to Jewish people worldwide to look for antisemitism where none exists. Many of them deplore the policies of the Israeli government as much as I do. To accuse people of antisemitism in these circumstances does a disservice to Jewish people and protects Israel from the condemnation it deserves.
Jenny Tonge
House of Lords

For those unfamiliar with the ideological persuasion of the disgraced Baroness (and Palestine Solidarity Campaign patron), here are a few of her more notorious comments:

  • In 2004, at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting, Tonge said that if she was a Palestinian, she would consider becoming a suicide bomber herself.
  • In 2006 Tonge blamed Israel for suicide bombings…in Iraq!
  • In 2006, Tonge said: “The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the Western World, its financial grips. I think they’ve probably got a certain grip on our [The Liberal Democrat] party”.
  • In 2009, at an anti-Israel rally in London during the Gaza war, Tonge said: “The way Israel behaves is just not kosher. Jewish people should be totally ashamed of themselves that they are not doing more to stop them. It’s absolutely disgusting.”
  • In 2010, during a speech in the House of Lords, she said the West’s treatment of Muslims was due to the power of the pro-Israel lobby and “Holocaust guilt”. 
  • In 2010, she said that Israel should set up “an inquiry” over allegations that its medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims for use in transplants.
  • In 2011 Tonge helped bring Islamist cleric Raed Salahpromoter of the antisemitic charge that Jews use the blood of non-Jews to bake their “sabbath bread” – into Parliament.
  • In 2012, at a meeting which took place in Parliament with the Palestine Return Centre, she asked: “How can the Israelis treat the Palestinians the way they do after what happened in the Holocaust?”
  • In 2012, Tonge (at an anti-Israel event at Middlesex University) said that “Israel is not going to be there forever” and warned that eventually Israel “will lose its support and then they will reap what they have sown”. She also sat silently by at the same event while Ken O’Keefe claimed the Mossad was “directly involved” in 9/11, and compared Jews to Nazis.

Tonge has clearly demonstrated a malign obsession with Jews and the alleged power of the ‘Israel lobby’, and the decision by the Guardian to provide her a forum to weigh on the extremely serious issue anti-Jewish racism is, in a word, “deplorable”.

Jonathan Freedland’s blindspot on antisemitism

Though we’re often in disagreement with his politics on Israel, Jonathan Freedland is one of the few Guardian journalists who takes the issue of antisemitism seriously, and his latest essay at ‘Comment is Free’, ‘Antisemitism does not always come with a Hitler salute does something quite extraordinary. Freedland not only does a competent job discussing the various manifestations of anti-Jewish bigotry but also, at least indirectly, calls out two fellow Guardian contributors for their antisemitic discourse.

freedland

First, Freedland frames the essay:

The Daily Mail’s sustained assault on the late Ralph Miliband, the Marxist scholar it branded “The Man Who Hated Britain”. Some detect a whiff of anti-Jewish prejudice, some swear there is no such thing. When pressed on the point by the BBC, Ed Miliband himself declined to add antisemitism to his list of charges against the paper.

All of which, I imagine, must make it hard for the open-minded outsider, the non-Jew keen to oppose all forms of racism. They know they’re against antisemitism, but how exactly to spot it? When is the line crossed? Where, in fact, is the line? In the spirit of public service, let me attempt an answer.

He then notes the persistence of antisemitism in the Middle East and even links to a report by Tom Gross on antisemitic cartoons in the Arab world.

[Antisemitism] is not a phenomenon safely buried in the past. Just because hatred of Jews reached a murderous climax in the 1940s does not mean it ended with the war in 1945. It is alive and well even in 2013. Whether it’s on Twitter or in the cartoons that routinely appear in much of today’s Middle Eastern press, crude slurs and hideous caricatures of Jews – hook-nosed and money-grabbing – endure.

Later in the essay, Freedland makes reference to two particularly egregious examples of antisemitism at the Guardian:

In the antisemitic imagination, Jews are constantly working for some other, hidden goal. In this, antisemitism stands apart from other racisms, which tend to view the hated as straightforwardly inferior. Antisemitism is instead a conspiracy theory of power, believing that the Jews – always operating as a collective – are bent on some grand plan of world domination. Which is why images of Jews as puppet masters, or of having the world in their financial grips”, as Baroness Jenny Tonge so memorably put it, always hit a nerve.

The “puppet masters” reference links to a piece by Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott (Accusations of antisemitism against a political cartoon) criticizing an ugly cartoon by Steve Bell last November which depicted the Israeli prime minister as a puppet master controlling Tony Blair and William Hague.

Freedland continues:

And always on hand for the antisemite is some reference to Jews’ religious practice, real or imagined. For centuries, those who hate Jews would throw the phrase “chosen people” back in their faces, falsely interpreting it as a mandate for Jewish supremacism. 

His “chosen people” reference links to another essay by the Guardian’s readers’ editor (On averting accusations of antisemitism) which called out the shameful antisemitic use of the term “chosen people” by Deborah Orr. 

Freedland continues, rightfully pointing to the persistent tropes which evoke the classic antisemitic narrative of ‘dual loyalty': 

Instead, there are familiar tunes, some centuries old, which are played again and again. An especially hoary trope is the notion of divided allegiances or plain disloyalty, as if, whatever their outward pretence, Jews really serve another master besides their country. Under Stalin, Jews, especially Jewish intellectuals, were condemned as “rootless cosmopolitans” (another euphemism) lacking in sufficient patriotism. The Mail’s insistence that Miliband Sr was not only disloyal but actively hated his country fits comfortably in that tradition.

Freedland didn’t provide a link or cite any concrete examples of commentators employing such racist canards, so we thought it would be helpful to point to a colleague of Freedland’s at the Guardian who has engaged in such tropes on numerous occasions. His name is Glenn Greenwald. 

Here are a few quotes from Greenwald imputing such disloyalty:

  • Large and extremely influential Jewish donor groups are the ones agitating for a US war against Iran, and that is the case because those groups are devoted to promoting Israel’s interests.” – Feb. 3, 2007
  • “Those [American Jews] who favor the attack on Gaza are certainly guilty…of such overwhelming emotional and cultural attachment to Israel and Israelis that they long ago ceased viewing this conflict with any remnant of objectivity.” – Jan. 4, 2009
  • “The point is that the power the [Israel lobby] exercises [is] harmful in the extreme. They use it to squelch debate, destroy the careers and reputations of those who deviate from their orthodoxies, and compel both political parties to maintain strict adherence to an agenda that is held by a minority of Americans; that is principally concerned with the interests of a foreign country.” – March 11, 2009 Salon
  • “[Charles] Freeman is being dragged through the mud by the standard cast of accusatory Israel-centric neocons (Marty Peretz, Jon Chait, Jeffrey Goldberg, Commentary, The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb, etc. etc., etc.).” –March 9, 2009 
  • “Meanwhile, one of the many Israel-Firsters in the U.S. Congress — Rep. Anthony Weiner, last seen lambasting President Obama for daring to publicly mention a difference between the U.S. and Israel — today not only defended Israel’s attack. – June 1, 2010

We of course don’t know if Freedland has had the pleasure of meeting his new colleague but – insofar as he truly takes antisemitism seriously – we humbly suggest that he at least familiarize himself with Greenwald’s record of anti-imperialist inspired Judeophobia which we continue to document at this blog. 

Anti-Semitism, football and that Daily Mail article

A guest post by Richard Millett

If you are at White Hart Lane today to see Spurs v West Ham you risk being arrested for singing “Yid Army” or “Yiddoes”, typical refrains of the Spurs faithful.

Not an ounce of malice is intended, but just because a few with fame and influence, like David Baddiel, have complained about “Yid” being used in this context the Metropolitan Police have taken a stand starting with today’s game.

I’m Jewish. I like hearing Spurs sing “Yid army”. No harm is intended. It is a bit of fun. Spurs have a lot of Jewish supporters and have a Jewish chairman, Jewish directors and once had a Jewish manager in David Pleat. Spurs fans are embracing that positively.

It is a far cry from calling someone a “dirty Yid” which is obviously racist. That prefix makes all the difference.

It is sad that the police have been taken in by Baddiel. When playing Spurs certain opposition fans chant “Spurs are on their way to Belsen” (some Leeds United fans) or hiss to imitate the sound of Zyklon B being thrown into the gas chambers by the Nazis (some Chelsea fans). That’s racism. Arrest those racist thugs, but not Spurs fans who intend no racism at all.

It’s not just Baddiel. The British public is being taken in by the likes of Owen Jones and Jonathan Freedland who are crying “anti-Semitism!” due to that Daily Mail article headlined “The Man Who Hated Britain” about Ralph Miliband, Ed Miliband’s father.

Ralph was Jewish. He was a refugee. He was a Communist thinker. Any of these three aspects have been deadly for Jews in the past, admittedly.

But, does this now mean that we cannot criticise a Jewish person with Ralph’s background, or any Jewish person?

This is Owen Jones:

“As others have pointed out, this whole episode reeks of anti-Semitism – of the rootless cosmopolitan Jew with contempt for his country, and so on.”

Even Ed Miliband who has spent the week coming to his father’s defence on radio, tv and in print, doesn’t sense any anti-Semitism in the affair, but to Jones it “reeks” of anti-Semitism? Wow!

Jonathan Freedland digs even deeper in his attempt to make the “anti-Semitic” label stick:

“This is why I…stopped at the reference in Tuesday’s editorial to “the jealous God of Deuteronomy.” That looked like another veiled pointer to both Miliband Sr’s indelible alienness – and his membership of an ancient, vengeful people.”

This is what the Mail actually wrote on that score:

“We do not maintain, like the jealous God of Deuteronomy, that the iniquity of the fathers should be visited on the sons. But when a son with prime ministerial ambitions swallows his father’s teachings, as the younger Miliband appears to have done, the case is different.”

So the Mail is using this biblical reference as an example of what generally shouldn’t happen. That’s all. Based on Freedland’s assertion we should now be careful lest we associate any biblical reference directly or indirectly with a Jewish person. How sad.

And Marc Goldberg is easily influenced by Daniel Trilling’s attack on the Mail in the New Statesman. Trilling writes “The subtext…is that there’s something foreign about Ed Miliband himself”. Goldberg empathises:

“..if even Ralph Miliband, the Marxist who left his Judaism way behind him and sired the head of the Labour Party could come under attack for not being British enough, then maybe the rest could too.”

Even Charles Moore accuses the Mail of “attacking a Jew”!

There are many other examples of this hyperbolic response to the Mail’s attack on Ralph Miliband. Commentators should attack real examples of anti-Semitism before trying to board the “it’s anti-Semitism!” bandwagon.

Alex Brummer, who is a journalist for the Mail, thinks apologies should be made by those who have suggested anti-Semitism by the Daily Mail. He’s right.

As Ed Miliband, himself, said when asked if the Daily Mail was being anti-Semitic:

“I’m always incredibly careful about throwing around the idea that the paper or somebody is anti-Semitic or racist unless there is real evidence for that.”

Jonathan Freedland promotes the myth of ‘non-violent’ Palestinian protests in Bil’in

Jonathan Freedland’s latest essay at ‘Comment is Free’, about President Obama’s upcoming visit to Israel, is boilerplate Guardian: It promotes the idea that a US President needs to coax truculent Israelis who have lost their soul to ‘the occupation’ into pursuing peace, while failing to acknowledge Israeli concerns and ignoring Palestinian responsibility for the conflict.

Indeed, while much of what Freedland writes, in ‘You’re not a tourist, Obama, go to Israel with a message, March 15, is quite consistent with the ideological left’s tendency to view Palestinians as a mere abstraction, the following passage in the essay is worth examining. 

It’s too late to change Obama’s itinerary, but perhaps not too late to influence the in-flight entertainment on Air Force One. It’s a long journey, so the president should have time to see two films, both Oscar nominees. The first is not Les Miz or Argo, but 5 Broken Cameras. Shot by an amateur Palestinian film-maker in the West Bank village of Bil’in, it is a powerful eyewitness account of the everyday reality of the occupation, from unarmed villagers clashing with Israeli soldiers to Bil’in’s cherished olive trees set aflame by nearby settlers.

The depiction of Palestinian protests in the film which Freedland is referring to, however, is egregiously skewed.

The documentary, ‘5 Broken Cameras’, focuses on the Palestinian village of Bi’lin, where the local population, in conjunction with international (largely European) supporters, has been demonstrating on a weekly basis to protest the Israeli security fence a few kilometers east of Modi’in.

int'l

European and Palestinian protesters, Bil’in, Aug 2012

The protests, which commenced eight years ago, have continued each week despite the relocation of the fence as the result of an Israeli Supreme Court ruling which enlarged Palestinian territory, making the village more suitable for Palestinian agricultural.

english-map-of-new-sec-fence

Map outlining the new security fence route bordering the Palestinian village of Bil’in 

The film never mentions that the security fence which is the object of protest was erected as a result of the Palestinian terror war in 2000-2005, in which waves of suicide bombers attacked Jewish civilians indiscriminately – constructed for the sole purpose of preventing terrorists from walking into Israeli cities and blowing themselves up.

2-1024x682

A photojournalist covering Bil’in security fence protest, Aug 2012.

More importantly, the narrative, advanced in the film and evidently accepted by Freedland, that protests are staged by “villagers” who are “unarmed”, represents a gross distortion.  

Indeed, the film reportedly edited out scenes of the Palestinian ‘protagonists’ engaging in violence against Israeli soldiers.  And, while they may not possess firearms as such, they certainly engage in violent rioting each week, typically throwing rocks and metal objects, as well as firebombs, at Israeli security forces.

Over the past several years more than 200 Israeli security personnel have been injured by Palestinian rioters in Bil’in.

Like so many symbols of the Palestinian “resistance”, the weekly protests at the security fence near Bil’in are not spontaneous, grassroots acts of civil disobedience but, rather, choreographed, media-friendly acts of violence.

Guardian editorial on Israeli vote ignores their own erroneous political predictions

While we’re quite accustomed to Guardian reporters and commentators completely re-writing Israeli history, an editorial on the results of the Israeli election re-writes their own history by ignoring their entire body of work on the subject prior to the Jan. 22 vote.

The official Guardian editorial, Israel: the new normal, is, to be sure, characteristically imperious and hubristic towards the “truculent” Jewish state, but also concedes – based on the likelihood that Netanyahu will be forming a centrist coalition – that “the Israeli voter rejected “the far right”.

However, the editorial also briefly touches on those political observers who didn’t for a second believe that the Israeli center would hold:

“In the end, the crown prince of Israeli politics was not the dotcom millionaire who would annex 60% of the West Bank. He was neither of the far nor the national religious right, as many had confidently predicted.”

So, who precisely were these arrogant prognosticators who got it so terribly wrong?

Here’s a graphic look back at the headlines and passages published by the media group which they may be referring to.

1

‘Comment is Free contributor, Rachel Shabi

2

Guardian’s Middle East Editor, Ian Black

9

Ian Black

4

Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood

black tweet

Ian Black is Gloomy and Inaccurate

5

Observer’s foreign affairs editor, Peter Beaumont

6

Again, Harriet Sherwood

sherwood

Harriet Sherwood cites a piece by the New Yorker’s David Remnick,  to confirm Israel’s rightward shfit

8

Guardian journalist, Jonathan Freedland

replacement

Jonathan Freedland asks why the Israeli move right – which didn’t in fact happen – was happening.

freedland

Freedland also cites wisdom of ‘New Yorker’ contributor on Israel’s “endless” move right 

new

Once again, Harriet Sherwood

mid east

Guardian’s Middle East ‘Live’ Blog post edited by John Henley 

letters

Guardian publishes two letters from readers affirming Guardian analysis of Israel’s move to the right

As Adam Garfinkle recently observed, in a thoughtful piece about coverage of the Algerian hostage crisis, much of the media often sees what they expect to see, and thus ignores all evidence that “does not fit with [their] framing of the situation”.

Whilst I’ve been following the Guardian far too long to be so foolish as to expect anything resembling a mea culpa from their editors in response to such an egregious misreading of the Israeli electorate, it would truly be a gift to their readers if they were to even briefly acknowledge the limits of their capacity to interpret Israeli political phenomena unfiltered by their preconceived, ideologically inspired, conclusions.

The Guardian gets it wrong: Exit polls indicate no rightward political shift in Israel

If exit polls (as reported by Times of Israel and other media outlets) turn out to be accurate, the Guardian mantra – parroted by nearly every commentator and reporter who’s been providing ‘analysis’ on the Israeli elections – warning of a hard and dangerous shift to the right will prove to have been entirely inaccurate.

In the final days before the vote, the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood seemed certain that the elections would bring “a more hawkish and pro-settler government“, and Guardian Middle East Editor Ian Black warned that “Netanyahu [was] poised to…head a more right-wing and uncompromising government than Israel has ever seen before“.

Rachel Shabi predicted that Israel would elect “the most right-wing government in its history“, while Jonathan Freedland expressed gloom that diaspora Jews would have to watch “the centre of gravity…shift so far rightward [in Israel] that Netanyahu and even Lieberman will look moderate by comparison.”

However, based on preliminary reports, not only does it appear that there has been absolutely no rightward shift, but the makeup of the next Knesset may be slightly more left than the current one.

While in 2009 the right-wing bloc bested the center-left bloc by 65-55, the tallies released tonight after polls closed in Israel at 10 PM showed that the new Knesset will have a narrower (61-59) right-bloc advantage.    

318415

Screenshot from Israel’s Channel 2, showing 61-59 right-left split based on exit polling

According various exit polls, the top three parties will be Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu with 31 Knesset seats, the centrist Yesh Atid with 19, and the leftist Labor Party with between 16-18. The rightist party, Jewish Home, headed by Naftali Bennett, came in fourth and will have 13 or 14, while Shas, the ultra-orthodox party, came in fifth with 12.

Some Israeli commentators are already predicting that Binyamin Netanyahu will attempt to form a centrist or even a right-center-left coalition.

Though the final results aren’t expected to be announced until the early hours of Wednesday, a few things are certain:

The Guardian invested heavily in promoting their desired political narrative of a Jewish state lurching dangerously towards the right.  

They got it completely wrong.

They will learn absolutely nothing from their egregious miscalculation.

   

What Jonathan Freedland doesn’t get

Cross posted by SnoopyTheGoon at Simply Jews

I’ve stumbled on a (new to me) appearance of Jonathan Freedland under the auspices of Open Zion section of the Daily beast, edited by Peter Beinart. It was surprising, since I thought that being a columnist for the Guardian and the Jewish Chronicle makes him busy enough, without resorting to another venue. But the article, titled What U.S. Jews Don’t Get About European Anti-Semitism was interesting enough by itself.

The general purpose of the article (and the venue used), if I get it right, is to prove to American Jews that the fears displayed by some of them about the allegedly precarious situation of the European Jewry are just undue histrionics. 

The article is full of arguments in favor of this attitude: from the mistaken outcry by prof Rubin (6 years ago, what a memory!) through the finely nuanced analysis of different anti-Jewish sentiments in different European countries and the right wing extremists supporting Israel (proving what, exactly? – but let’s leave it alone) to the rosy perspective for the British Jews…

There even is an illustration of the idyllic life led by the British Jews in that article:

BritishJewsWith a capture: “Jewish men walk along the street in the Stamford Hill area of north London, Jan, 19, 2011.” Wow, man, you don’t say…  unfettered Jews working around Stamford. How cool. 

All this sounds like a serious and overwhelming tranquilizer attack, but more about it later. What really made me mad is the following: 

“Beneath these two headline cases are a hundred other lesser points of friction, often on campus, situations where Jews and Muslims have clashed, frequently over the politics of the Middle East. A consistent trend, noticed by those who monitor anti-Semitism, is a surge in anti-Jewish hatred whenever the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians escalates.”

One does his best, trying to ignore that “situations where Jews and Muslims have clashed”, as if European Jews are equally guilty in the “clashes”. Of course, one should be careful not to favor any side, especially when that “Islamophobia” label is circling the air, looking for another warm body to stick to – but imagine the folks like the ones in the picture above attacking innocent London Muslims…

But Freedland’s matter of fact acceptance of the inevitable “clashes” (read “European Muslims attacking European Jews”), whenever the Zionists perform their usual dastardly deed – this is what really gets my goat. Ten years ago that point of view was aired by one of the biggest stains on British journalism, one Seumas Milne, in his slimy Guardian piece ‘This slur of anti-Semitism is used to defend repression. Its lead sets the tone:

“Ending Israel’s occupation will benefit Jews and Muslims in Europe”

While it’s unclear how European Muslims will benefit, the benefit for the Jews, according to Milne, is obvious: stop the occupation and the attacks by Muslims stop.

Which, in effect, makes the European Jews into hostages for the Muslim rage, whenever and for whatever reason they become unhappy with Israel (or anything else, for that matter – after all blaming the Jooz is customary). And it’s quite painful to see how a “progressive” Jewish journalist repeats this deranged viewpoint as accepted and acceptable by using it as a side remark, without any comment.

Speaking of comments, it would be interesting to understand Freedland’s personal view of the other passage in that text:

“Others have long been alarmed by the case of Malmö, Sweden, a city whose 45,000 Muslims make up 15 percent of the population and where Jews have been on the receiving end of persistent anti-Semitic attacks—a fact denied by the town’s Social Democratic mayor, who instead criticized Malmo’s Jews for their failure to condemn Israel. As he put it, “We accept neither anti-Semitism nor Zionism in Malmö.””

Why didn’t Jonathan comment on this is unclear, and I would love to be certain he thinks what I do about that dreck of a mayor. But how could one be sure?

Very sad. And now about the general thrust of the article, the tranquilizer attack. It is hard to argue the fact that some responses, coming from US Jews to the shenanigans of the various antisemitic elements in Europe, could be over the top. But the sad tradition of European Jewry to stick its collective head into the sand and to ignore the signs of danger couldn’t be overlooked. And no matter how much Valium does Jonathan shove down our craw, a brief detour to a moment of European history could put it into perspective:

  • From hereBy the end of 1920, the Nazi Party had about 3,000 members.
  • From here: In the 1928 German elections, less than 3% of the people voted for the Nazi Party.

The humble results brought up above are easily dwarfed by current popularity of Front National in France, Jobbik in Hungary etc. One would say that there are very good reasons for the Jews (and other minorities) in Europe to feel somewhat shaky, especially as the economic crisis takes it toll. But no, Jonathan has an easy answer for that one too: 

“Episodes that Americans see as evidence of growing European hostility to Jews are often understood by European Jews to be criticism of Israel—in fact, not even criticism of Israel itself, but rather of a specific strain of Israeli policy: what we might call the Greater Israel project of continuing and expanding settlement of the West Bank.”

Clumsy. Very clumsy, Jonathan.

But probably heartily approved by Peter Beinart. So be it.

Jonathan Freedland’s illusions about the nature of modern antisemitism

Jonathan Freedland is one of the more decent and reasonable Guardian journalists.

freedland

It’s sad that, at the Guardian, being a Zionist who takes anti-Jewish racism seriously warrants such a tribute, but in contextualizing antisemitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy at the Guardian and Comment is Free, it’s important nonetheless to make moral distinctions. For sure, Freedland is not Chris McGreal, and he certainly is not an ‘as-a-Jew’.

His recent essay, however, published at Peter Beinart’s site, Open Zion, titled ‘What US Jews don’t get about European Antisemitism‘, Jan. 14, displays the characteristic intellectual ticks evident in self-styled progressives who comment on antipathy towards Jews.  Freedland sets the tone early by ridiculing a few of the widely discredited stories about antisemitism in Europe, such as the false report six years ago that British schools had banned the teaching of the Holocaust.

In fact, Freedland spends a remarkable amount of space – nearly 25% of his essay – providing examples of what isn’t antisemitism, and mocking those who, he alleges, exaggerate the threat to Jews in the UK and the rest of Europe. 

Freedland writes:

“We are getting used to the fact that U.S. Jews seem ready to believe the worst of this part of the world. In the two cases I’ve mentioned, many Americans were all too willing to accept that British Jews were about to become latter-day Marranos, driven underground by an anti-Semitic government and its jihadist allies, huddling together to teach their children about the Holocaust in Hebrew whispers.”

Finally, getting to “real” antisemitism, Freedland notes the importance of making distinctions “between Western Europe on the one hand and Eastern and Central Europe on the other.

Freedland correctly cites the rise of the Hungarian neo-fascist party Jobbik, as well as Greece’s Golden Dawn party as an ominous indication of a dangerous cultural lurch towards classic European right-wing antisemitism.

Interestingly, Freedland spends little time, however, discussing Islamist antisemitism in Western Europe, and not a word is mentioned about the Judeophobia of the European left.

He writes:

“The most extreme case is surely last year’s multiple homicide—the victims, three children and a rabbi—in Toulouse, apparently by a jihadist maniac. Others have long been alarmed by the case of Malmö, Sweden, a city whose 45,000 Muslims make up 15 percent of the population and where Jews have been on the receiving end of persistent anti-Semitic attacks.”

Then Freedland engages in an egregious obfuscation, positing a stunning moral equivalence between victim and perpetrator, by adding the following:

“So, yes, in Western European countries the tension between established Jewish communities and emerging Muslim ones can be perilous.”

First, it’s important to establish that – based on a comprehensive study at Yale, on antisemitism in ten European countries, by Charles Small and Edward Kaplan – Muslims in Europe are dramatically more likely to harbor antisemitic views than non-Muslims.

While Freedland correctly notes that there “is a surge in anti-Jewish hatred whenever the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians escalates”, the implied cause and effect is erroneous.

The empirical data which Small and Kaplan analyzed strongly indicated that – contrary to what Freedland implies – anti-Israel sentiment consistently predicts the probability that an individual already harbors strong antisemitic views.

However, beyond the statistics, Freedland’s suggestion that there is anything resembling parity in attacks by Muslims against Jews and attacks by Jews against Muslims represents a staggering inversion.

Freedland only included two examples of Muslim antisemitism, but, of course, there are hundreds more he didn’t note. Here are a few plots to murder Jews by Muslim extremists in 2012.

  • In October, A former Portsmouth Football Club player was among a group of 11 alleged Islamic convert terrorists arrested in France for targeting Jews – 7 months after Mohammed Merah murdered Jewish children in Toulouse.
  • In July, Mohammed Sadiq Khan and his wife Shasta Khan were convicted of planning to bomb Jewish targets in north Manchester.
  • In March, Italian police arrested Mohamed Jarmoune, an Italian of Moroccan origin, who they suspected of planning an attack on a synagogue, at his home in Brescia.

Moreover, in the UK in 2011, 31 out of 92 total violent antisemitic attacks in the UK in 2011, according to the CST, were committed by Muslim/Islamist perpetrators – an extremely disproportionate number when you consider that Muslims make up roughly 4.8% of the population in England and Wales.

Would Freedland suggest that there are (evidently unreported) Jewish or Zionist terrorist cells engaged in similar plots and attacks against Muslim targets? Are there synagogue versions of the radical East London Mosque? Are there Jewish neighborhoods in London, such as Golders Green, understood to be no-go areas for religious Muslims? 

Of course, he certainly knows the answer to these questions.

However, there is a more important point which needs to be addressed.

Right-wing antisemitism in Europe  – certainly within the mainstream media, and at the Guardian – has been properly delegitimized in a way Islamist antisemitism has not.  When the BNP, EDL and other like-minded right-wing extremists march in London, there is something approaching moral unanimity on the racist, xenophobic danger they present.  However, such a moral consensus does not exist when demonstrations in the UK are held by sympathizers of Hamas, Hezbollah and other violently antisemitic movements.

Finally, sometimes CiF Watch is asked why we spend so much time condemning Islamist antisemtism and less amount of time condemning right-wing or neo-Nazi racism against Jews.  

The answer is simple.

White supremacists, and other extreme right-wing groups, don’t have a platform at ‘Comment is Free’, while Islamist extremists who are affiliated with groups openly calling for the murder of Jews (and, no, not merely Zionists) are routinely provided a platform by Guardian editors – evidently motivated by the risible belief that such violent radicals are giving voice to genuinely “progressive” values.

While I’d like to give Jonathan Freedland the benefit of the doubt that he sincerely is intolerant towards all forms of antisemitism, it’s difficult not to conclude that he lacks the fortitude necessary to confront the dangerous legitimization of Islamist inspired Judeophobia in the UK – particularly at the media institution where he’s currently employed.  

 

If visiting Jordan, take precautions in light of the Kingdom’s dangerous lurch to the right

jordanThose of us who live in the liberal Jewish state have become accustomed to suffering through the steady stream of unhinged, if predictable, stories in the Guardian – as well as in the mainstream media – warning ominously of Israel’s dangerous political lurch to the right.

The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland (one of the more sober Guardian journalists) was the most recent Guardian contributor to warn of Israel’s pronounced shift to the right, but such warnings, with varying degrees of hysterics, have been advanced continually – with several CiF contributors even evoking the risible specter of an Israeli descent into fascism

The relative media blackout (outside a few Jewish and Israeli sources) about recent news from Jordan, on the other hand, demonstrating an extreme right political culture, is quite telling.

If you’re planning to visit the sprawling, modern metropolis of Amman, the ancient city of Petra, or one of the many beautiful seaside resorts in Aqaba, you may want to pack your bags taking into account the necessary cultural sensitivities.

The the Jordanian Tourism Ministry has recently issued a memo to tour operators warning Jewish visitors not to wear “Jewish clothing”, or pray in public places, in order to avoid possible antisemitic attacks.

Times of Israel reported the following:

“According to a copy of a ministry memo issued at the end of November, Amman instructed Jordanian tour operators to inform their Israeli counterparts to advise Israeli visitors not to wear “Jewish dress” or perform “religious rituals in public places” so as to prevent an unfriendly reaction by Jordanian citizens.

Israelis and Jews are typically advised not to wear outwardly Jewish clothes or symbols, and occasionally are met with trouble from Jordanian authorities when crossing the border.

Earlier this year, six Israeli tourists were assaulted in a market in southern Jordan after vendors were angered by their traditional Jewish skullcaps.

The six men and women arrived at a market in the town of Rabba, 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the capital Amman, when one of the vendors identified the tourists as Israeli due to mens’ skullcaps, which “provoked the sensibilities of the vendors,” independent daily Al-Arab Al-Yawm reported.”

Yes, those “sensibilities”. 

Now, remember that the Jewish population of Jordan is literally zero, and while the phenomenon of antisemtism without Jews is not unique to Jordan the mere ubiquity of such irrational anti-Jewish racism certainly shouldn’t render it any less abhorrent. 

Further, while Israel’s progressive advantages in the Mid-East are self-evident, and well-documented, Jordan is consistently given one of the worst scores on human rights by the respected organization, Freedom House. In addition to the state’s systemic abrogation of political rights (such as severe restrictions on political expression and the media), an even more remarkable and under-reported violation of democratic norms relates to the Kingdom’s treatment of a much discussed group: hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are still denied the right to vote.   

So, if, according to the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood, Likud-Beiteinu represents a “right-wing alliance”; the Jewish Home party is an “extreme right-wing nationalist”, how should observers characterize the political center of gravity in a neighboring state which denies basic civil rights, creates an apartheid like system for Palestinians, and is so infected with Judeophobia that the government warned Jewish visitors not to pray, wear Jewish symbols, or even wear “Jewish clothes”? 

Can we fairly characterize Jordanian political culture as dangerously reactionary, racist, extremist, and ultra, ultra, ultra far-right?

Naturally, Guardian’s Jordan page has absolutely nothing by any of its liberal reporters or commentators warning of the nation’s dangerous lurch to the extreme right abyss. 

Could it be that most journalists within the mainstream media – and at the Guardian – fail to hold Arab states accountable to the same moral standards as they do the Jewish state?

Of course, such an ethnically and religiously based disparity in journalistic critical scrutiny would be racist, wouldn’t it?

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What war is good for: Jonathan Freedland and the empty platitudes of ‘peace’

“War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things;
the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings
which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.
A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight,
nothing which is more important than his own personal safety,
is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free
unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

- John Stuart Mill

The memo at Guardian HQ explaining the ‘root cause’ of Israel’s operation ‘Pillar of Defense’ evidently has been distributed far and wide within their coven of activist journalists.

While Guardian reporters, and ‘Comment is Free’ contributors, have varied in the degree of malice they impute to the Jewish state for launching strikes against terror targets in Gaza, the message they’ve conveyed to their readers is clear: Don’t believe the Israeli ‘narrative’ that the state is acting to stop thousands of rockets from being launched at their cities by a malevolent Islamist terror group committed to its destruction.

Harriet Sherwood, Simon Tisdall,  and, of course Steve Bell, are among the Guardian reporters and commentators who are vexed by the idea that the Jewish state would see fit to defend its citizens from a well-armed terrorist movement on its border, and see something more cynical – indeed something much darker – in the decision to launch ‘Pillar Of Defense’.

Jonathan Freedland’s video commentary – ‘Why has Israel decided to attack Gaza now?‘, focusing almost entirely on the supposed electoral reasons behind the war – is a telling case because Freedland is a unique Guardian journalist; he’s a proud Jew who supports Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

Not that Freedland hasn’t in the past succumbed to ‘J Street/Yachad/Peter Beinart leftist narrative which mistakes love for Israel with obsessive criticism, but, by all accounts, he is a decent, reasonable and mostly sober commentator.

However, as you watch this video, you’ll note that Freedland spends about 2 minutes and 37 seconds (out of a 2 minute and 52 second interview) on the alleged electoral reasons, and only 15 seconds explaining the context of Hamas rocket fire.

Additionally, in a full commentary about the war at ‘Comment is Free’, Freedland, in ‘The battle between Israel and Gaza solves nothing, Nov. 15, repeats the same reasoning:

“Why did Israel hit back now? The Hebrew press immediately assumed the key date was political, not military: 22 January, when Israelis go to the polls. There are plenty of precedents for outgoing governments taking military action, hoping to create a wave of national unity that will carry them to victory: Cast Lead itself fits that pattern. Binyamin Netanyahu may well have wanted to push aside his Labor rival and prevent his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, making a planned comeback – forcing both to fall into line as patriotic cheerleaders. Similarly, Barak found a way to remind voters of his supposed indispensability.”

However, Freedland’s suspicion of Israeli motives is as notable as his facile understanding of the broader issues of war and peace. 

His commentary ends, thus.

“Above all, the pain and anguish inflicted by yet another round of civilian deaths and injury will sow hatred in the hearts of another generation, who will grow up bent on revenge and yet more bloodshed. This keeps happening, decade after decade, for one simple reason: there can be no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both sides will say the action they have taken is necessary. But it will solve nothing.” [emphasis added]

This last highlighted passage gets to the heart of the matter, and defines, as much as anything, the false, and dangerous, political assumptions of the Guardian Left.

A basic understanding of Israeli history, it seems, would inspire Freedland to take note of the fact that it was the use of force, and the credible threat of force, which has protected the Jewish state from Arab efforts, over the last 64 years, to ‘throw the Jews into the sea’.  Negotiations with its enemies didn’t occur organically, but only as the result of Israeli military victories which prompted its defeated foes to grudgingly accept that they did not have the capacity to fulfill their destructive aims.

By what means, other than through military force, would Jonathan Freedland suggest should be used by Israel to defang terrorist groups in Gaza (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Popular Resistance Committees, and others) which possess thousands of rockets and the will to martyr thousands of their citizens in the cause of Jihad?

The perception of weakness and a lack of resolve – for any nation, yet alone the tiny Jewish state –  represents a dangerous provocation.

‘Peace’, when dealing with an enemy committed to your destruction, is not a serious strategy, but merely an empty and quite dangerous platitude.

The overwhelming majority of Israelis, their passionate supporters abroad and defenders of Western democracy more broadly understand this intuitive moral and political fact. 

The cowardly Zionism of Jonathan Freedland

Cross posted by our friend Richard Millett

In his piece Yearning for the same land in this week’s New Statesman magazine prize-winning author and columnist Jonathan Freedland cites four shades of Zionism: secular, religious, left-wing and rightist.

Make that five shades: Freedland Zionism – sitting in one’s comfortable diaspora home while joining in the delegitimisation of Israel.

A May issue of the New Statesman was devoted to Who Speaks for British Jews? This week’s issue asks Israel: the future – Is the dream of a two-state solution dead?

Israel is unique in being the only country whose future, or lack of, is constantly under discussion. And who knew that ripping the heart out of Judaism by giving up places like the Machpelah in Hebron is considered a “dream”?  A necessity in return for an elusive peace maybe, but no dream.

Freedland puts himself among the “left-leaning Zionists”. These are “true Zionists” who think that “the 45-year long occupation is jeopardising the founding Zionist goal of a Jewish, democratic state.”

Freedland doesn’t tell us why the “occupation” is threatening Israel’s Jewish and democratic status but it sounds like the scaremongering of J Street and Yachad.

Yachad, for example, claims that if Israel doesn’t withdraw from the West Bank then by 2020 the Palestinians between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea will outnumber Jews. Minority autocratic rule by Jews over Palestinians will follow or, as Mick Davis, a British Jewish community leader put it recently, “Israel is heading towards an apartheid state”.

Those who cite this thesis never back it up with a source, but that is because it is just more anti-Israel propaganda; a ploy to force Israel to dangerously concede more land.

Yoram Ettinger shows how the numbers of Palestinians on the West Bank are regularly artificially inflated by at least one million and argues that Palestinians and Israeli Arabs can never make up more than 30% of those living between the River and the Sea. Freedland wouldn’t want facts to get in the way of a good story.

Freedland claims to support Israel’s right to exist. He just doesn’t like how Zionism was implemented or current Israeli policy. And he believes that “the security, viability and even the ethical character of the Jewish state matter more than its size.”

He contrasts this position with that of the “hawkish Zionists, heirs of the revisionist tradition of Vladimir Jabotinsky who are territorial maximalists, eager to fly the Israeli flag over all of the West Bank”.

So just how small does Freedland think Israel should have been?

The Peel Commission of 1937 offered the Arabs 80% of British Mandate Palestine and the Jews 20%. The Zionists accepted but Arab leaders rejected this leaving Europe’s Jews to their fate in the gas chambers.

Freedland states “Israel needs to look plainly at the circumstances of its birth and understand why Palestinians regard the event as a catastrophe.” But Arab leaders having rejected, this time, 45% of British Mandate Palestine in 1947 went on to commence hostilities against the Jews instead.

So who are the real “territorial maximalists” here?

In fact the seeds for Arab defeat in 1947-1949 were self-inflicted having been sown during the 1936-39 Arab uprising in British Mandate Palestine which was brutally crushed by the British leaving the Arabs bereft of leaders, fighters and weapons while Zionist militias used the time to build up their reserves.

Freedland then complains that there were no takers in Israel for a “national memorial day to mark the Arab dispossession”.

But why would Israelis commemorate an attempt by Arab leaders to kill them?

Despite all this Arab rejectionism Freedland then, incredibly, goes on to portray Jews and Arabs as drowning nations clinging to the same piece of driftwood. He thinks the Jews who were “gasping for breathe” were right to cling to it in 1948. After 1967, he claims Israel pushed the Palestinians off the shared driftwood and into the sea.

Freedland doesn’t bother analysing what the situation might have been like today had Israel not been in West Bank.  One need only look at the aftermath of Israel’s pullout from Gaza: rockets slamming into Tel Aviv, anyone?

Like in his piece This is Israel? Not the one I Love in the Jewish Chronicle last November Freedland doesn’t like to complicate the issue by mentioning Hamas or Islamic Jihad. No mention of Hamas’ call to kill Jews in its charter or of Hamas’ beliefs that Israel is an “Islamic waqf” and that peaceful solutions are invalid.

Freedland never asks, or answers, why he thinks the Palestinians, who rejected 80% of the territory in 1937 and 45% in 1947 would accept 22% now. In fact he doesn’t criticise the Palestinians once.

Luckily for Freedland he has never had to take a life or death decision. Sadly, he takes the coward’s way out and criticises those unlucky Jews forced to. He yearns for the perfect Israel and until then won’t stop his constant delegitimisation of the Jewish state.

But it gets worse. Alongside Freedland’s piece is a piece by Ali Abunimah.  Abunimah calls for a one state solution and the ending of “Israelis’ demand for the supremacy of Jewish rights over those of the Palestinians”. While Geoffrey Wheatcroft, in his book review How the dream died, describes the American “pro-Israel official ‘Jewish establishment’” as “elderly, rich and right-wing”.

“Supremacy of Jewish rights”, Jews described as “rich”? The New Statesman obviously has no problem with keeping sickening anti-Semitic stereotypes alive.

Will Jonathan Freedland stand with Jews & oppose those, like Mehdi Hasan, rationalizing antisemitism?

In my post on Mehdi Hasan’s ‘Comment is Free’ essay (We mustn’t allow Muslims in public life to be silenced, July 9th) I focused on his claim that the UK is infested with “Islamophobia”, that Muslims are being cowed into silence as a result, and his broader suggestion that the media tolerates racism towards Islam to a degree that it would never allow towards any other group.

I pointed to the fact that, for instance, the largest media institution in the UK – the BBC – contrary to Hasan’s contention, admits to treating Islam more sensitively than other faiths.

However, there was another component of Hasan’s essay which I did not address: his complaint that he is often personally subjected to abusive, racist commentary beneath the line of his polemics for ‘Comment is Free’, The New Statesman and other publications.  

While such attacks are never justifiable, I did not address that issue because here at CiF Watch we spend a lot of energy combating the unending stream of Jew hatred below the line at ‘Comment is Free’ and because Hasan, by shamefully offering a rationalization for antisemitism (and opposing the very existence of the Jewish state), has forfeited the moral high ground on the issue of racism.

Yesterday (July 10th), the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland came to Hasan’s defense, in a passionate polemic titled, “I stand with Mehdi Hasan against the torrent of Islamophobic abuse“.

 Freedland wrote:

“Mehdi…focused on the abuse he and other prominent Muslims regularly endure when they enter the public square, with insults often hurled via the medium of the online comment. Sure enough, many of those who disagreed with Hasan’s essay piled on to the discussion below the line to use language and imagery so vile it instantly confirmed the very case he had been making.”

Freedland, after proceeding to cite examples of anti-Muslim commentary beneath the line of Hasan’s essay which, he argued, vindicated Hasan’s argument, acknowledged the following:

“I and other Jewish writers have had more than a taste of the treatment Mehdi describes…And I recognise his lament that the tiniest thing can set off the haters…I’ve also grown used to a variant of that progressives’ prejudice, by which “card-carrying liberal lefties”, as Mehdi calls them, in their rush to defend Palestinian rights end up banging out the old, nasty tunes about the Jews.”

Though it is refreshing that Freedland acknowledges the vicious rhetorical assaults on Jews below the line at ‘Comment is Free’, it is quite dispiriting that he fails to hold Hasan, the protagonist in his tale, responsible for his own record of indifference towards Judeophobia.

While Freedland states his disagreement with Hasan’s defense of Lord Nazir Ahmed who, he noted, “has an awkward record of inviting known antisemites to the House of Lords” and writes that he felt “uneasy” when Hasan “…describe[d] non-Muslims as ‘people of no intelligence’ and as ‘cattle'”, he nonetheless fails to confront the elephant in the room: The following 2009 essay by Hasan.

Here’s the money quote from the piece:

“I do find it both tragic and ironic that the state of Israel – created ostensibly to protect Jews from across the world from hatred, prejudice and violence – through its actions today, and through its self-proclaimed role as the leader and home of world Jewry, provokes such awful anti-Semitic attacks against diaspora Jews.”

Interestingly, Freedland revealed the following in his CiF essay regarding his sympathy towards Hasan:

 “Each time I come across the kind of abuse he cites I mentally replace the word “Islam” with “Judaism” and “Muslim” with “Jew”.”

So, I think it’s fair to read Hasan’s passage about Israel “provoking” antisemitism and ask if Freedland would ever tolerate a commentator who argued that the actions of Muslims in the Middle East justify or provoke anti-Muslim racism in the UK?  Similarly, would he give credence to those who rationalize attacks on Muslims in the U.S. as merely a natural response to the attack by Islamist terrorists on 9/11?

Of course he wouldn’t!

Surely Freedland must know that Hasan’s apologia for antisemitism – blaming Jews for provoking others to hate them – represents a narrative with a long and tragic history for the Jewish people.  As Tablet reported recently about the increase of antisemitism in Malmo, Sweden:

“On Dec. 27, 2008, as the IDF launched Operation Cast Lead, the Jewish community of Malmö held a demonstration in the city’s main square to express sympathy for “all civilian victims” in Gaza and the Jewish state. They were soon confronted by a much larger counter-demonstration, consisting mainly of immigrants from the Middle East. The Jews were singing hine ma tov, but was their song was overwhelmed by chants of “damn Jews” and “Hitler, Hitler, Hitler!” A glass bottle flew through the air and hit a Jewish girl in the back. When a homemade bomb was fired straight into the Jewish group, the police decided to evacuate them. The Jews fled from the square but were followed by kids who used cellphones to report back to the counter-demonstration with which direction “the Jews” were heading. 

When [Malmo’s mayor] Ilmar Reepalu was questioned about these events, he chose to criticize the Jews of his city for not taking a firm stand against the policies of the state of Israel.”

Finally, a video at an event I attended last year in Jerusalem, to mark the 19th year since former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s death, included a conversation Begin had with interviewer David Frost.  Begin, strongly objected to Frost’s description of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem as “provocative”, and noted that during his youth in Poland, he asked a group of Poles why they felt a need to beat up Jews, and they responded that the very presence of Jews was a “provocation.” 

No doubt Jonathan Freedland would agree, broadly, that acts of racism are never a commentary on the behavior of victims of such bigotry but rather on the hate in the soul of the perpetrator.

If so, consistency (and moral integrity) would demand that he hold Mehdi Hasan accountable to this intuitive anti-racist principle.

Guardian reader on those uppity British Jews exercizing their political rights

Jonathan Freedland’s CiF essay, “I’ve backed Ken Livingstone for mayor before, but this time I just can’t do it“, March 23, elicited quite a bit of fury from the Livingstone faithful below the line – those ‘liberal’s evidently not bothered by the former mayor’s embrace of some of the most reactionary, antisemitic, misogynist and homophobic leaders.

Freedland noted Livingstone’s additionally illiberal comments throughout his career, and also noted Livingstone’s meeting with prominent members of the Jewish community (which included Freedland) where he complained that Jews won’t vote for him because they are rich.

One particular reader (phlebasconsidered) took exception with Freedland’s concerns, commenting:

First, there’s something just funny about a CiF reader complaining that folks spend quiet a bit of time talking and obsessing about Jews in a paper whose fixation with a certain Jewish polity has been demonstrated by the media group’s own data.

And, yes, those Jews – daring to ‘mobilize’ to participate in the political process!

Thenthere was this reply:

And, finally, phlebasconsidered succeeded in digging himself deeper:

So, the real problem is that British Jews exercise influence disproportionate to their “minority status” – stifling free speech along the way by complaining about antisemitism and, thus, SCARING CiF moderators!

Yes, such uppity Jews: exercising their political rights AND occasionally hitting the report link next to a comment they feel is inconsistent with CiF community standards – a veritable Semitic reign of terror!

Guardian reader’s thinly veiled threat against Jews doesn’t result in suspension of user privileges

H/T Pretzelberg

Beneath Jonathan Freedland’s CiF essay on March 6, Netanyahu and Obama’s prickly alliance on Iran, was this comment by a Guardian reader using the moniker, “MaggiesMemoirs“.

The comment (which garnered 10 Recommends before being deleted), evoking supremely arrogant Zionists squelching free speech in the West, and, threatening untold, and seeming unimaginably violent (“Ground-Zero” style) revenge against such Zionist oppressors did not result in a suspension of his/her user privileges.  

It is extremely disturbing that CiF moderators (who have suspended Zionist commenters for such shocking Guardian apostasies as daring to link to CiF Watch) have allowed a commenter who threatened mass violence against “Zionists” (or, at least, characterized such a calamity as inevitable, and a just outcome) to continue contributing at ‘Comment is Free’.

Evidently, as long as you don’t explicitly say “death to Jews”, such thinly veiled threats do not violate CiF’s sacred “community standards.”

Guardian reader on “belligerent” Jewish race: 72 Recommends, not deleted by CiF Moderators

I originally thought about posting this Guardian reader comment, posted beneath the line of the CiF essay “Netanyahu and Obama’s prickly alliance against Iran, Jonathan Freedland, March 6, despite the fact that I assumed it would be deleted by CiF moderators. But, 27 hours after being posted, it’s still there. 

The commenter using the moniker theolderb” (whose real name is listed as Stephen Barraclough) is concerned that his suggestion that Jews are a “belligerent” race would make him sound racist.

Evidently, CiF moderators don’t think so.