UK media absurd political analogy watch: The Berlin Wall & Israel’s Security Barrier

Ben Zygier (known as Prisoner X) was the Australian-Israeli Mossad agent imprisoned at Ayalon Prison in Ramla on espionage charges who committed suicide in his cell in 2010.

The 2013 row over revelations regarding Zygier’s incarceration and suicide received saturation coverage at the Guardian, and included this claim by Peter Beaumont – then foreign affairs editor for The Observer, sister site of the Guardian – in a report on Feb. 14th.

“The latest revelations come amid a growing outcry over the case in Israel, with some comparing the treatment of Zygier to that meted out in the Soviet Union or Argentina and Chile under their military dictatorships.”

The comparison, as we noted at the time, was simply bizarre. Indeed, the very term “Prisoner X”, implying that his identity and whereabouts were mysterious, was itself a misnomer, as Zygier’s original arrest warrant was issued by an authorized court, his incarceration was supervised by the Israeli judiciary, and the proceedings were overseen by the most senior Justice Ministry officials. Zygier was also legally represented by a top Israeli lawyer.

To evoke a comparison with the USSR – where several million Soviet “enemies of the state” died (due to overwork, starvation, torture or summary executions) after being sent, without anything resembling due process, to Gulag camps – is risible.

More recently, we found another example of the media’s use of a blatantly false analogy – in an article published at i100 (The Independent’s Buzzfeed-style news brand).

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Focus below the line: Profile of ‘anti-Zionist’ Guardian commenter Eileen Kuch

We first noticed commenter ‘Eileen Kuch’ on a ‘Comment is Free’ thread about the Ukrainian-Russian crisis in April, where she vehemently supported Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.


This comment, putting aside the “Zio-controlled” trope (that can be explained off as some kind of anti-Zionism – she didn’t write “Jewish controlled”; did she?), reminded us of a crazy conspiracy theory – on some completely off the mental spectrum website – alleging that Barack Obama’s stepfather Lolo Soetoro must have been Jewish because “soetoro” is a Hebrew word used in the Hebrew Bible.

We were mildly surprised that the Guardian allowed such a bizarre claim on their site, and, wishing to understand the very generous flexibility of the moderators, searched for her other comments.

Reading her writings taken from her public profile on CIF is a beautiful example of the level of racist hate speech that the World’s Leading Liberal Voice is evidently ready to tolerate, completely disregarding their own ‘community standards’. Here are a limited number of examples of her comments, along with the ‘source’ of her knowledge.

Israel and its puppet the USA are the instigators of all ongoing unrest and upheaval in the world:


Another comment puts some light on her ‘sources’.


Her suggested useful reference on the mass murder of “Christians” by the hands of Lenin and Trotsky is a book of a certain Estonian author – Juri Lina – titled ‘Under the Sign of the Scorpion‘. To illustrate what she considers ‘an important source’, we will only quote the well-known neo-Nazi and conspiracy theorist Henry Makow: 

Estonian journalist Juri Lina has examined the recently opened Soviet archives and documented the connection between the Bolshevik Revolution and Jewish Illuminism in his book “Under the Sign of the Scorpion.” (1994)

I will probably devote a separate column to this book. Suffice to say here that Communism was the outcome of the plan outlined in Protocols. No wonder this book was banned in the USSR on pain of death! Its informal ban in America is a measure of our condition.

Karl Marx, Lenin and Trotsky, were all Jewish Freemasons, dysfunctional losers who were employed by the Illuminist bankers to hoodwink the masses. Lenin for example had been an unsuccessful lawyer who had only six cases in which he defended shoplifters. He lost all six cases. A week later he gave up the law to become a highly paid revolutionary.

Ms Kuch can’t be fooled; she knows the real name of the players in Ukraine:

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In a nutshell: Why Guardian readers shouldn’t be so smug

Cross posted by Dan Coen at Trending Central


The Guardian has a track record of gladly giving jobs to enemies of the state and fifth columnists.

In the mid-90′s, KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky identified prominent Guardian Editor Richard Gott as one of his agents. While Gott denied that he received cash, he confessed taking benefits from the KGB on a visit to the Soviet Union.

Gordievsky commented on the newspaper: “The KGB LOVED the Guardian. It was deemed highly susceptible to penetration.

More recently, following the 7/7 London bombings, the Guardian published an article by Dilpazier Aslam who is a member of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir radical Islamist group which regularly denigrates “non-believers” as sub-human, calls for a caliphate, and extreme sharia law across the world. Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s acolytes have regularly been imprisoned for terror offences.

Let’s not pretend it is the paper of the working class either. C.P. Scott’s (the Guardian’s most famous editor) son said: its “a paper that will remain bourgeois to the last”. Max Hastings wrote in 2005: “I write for the paper because its read by the new establishment.”

Let’s also not pretend it addresses the concerns of working class people – which tend to be things like unease over immigration and its knock on effects vis-a-vis the allocation of council housing, abuse of the welfare system and increased competition for low skilled jobs. Here is Assistant Editor Michael White speaking in 2011 and admitting just that:

“I have always sensed liberal, middle class ill-ease in going after stories about immigration, legal or otherwise, about welfare fraud or the less attractive TRIBAL habits of the working class, which is more easily IGNORED altogether. Toffs, including royal ones, Christians, especially popes, governments of Israel, and US Republicans are more straightforward targets.”

So there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth – it’s a paper which self-identifies as bourgeois, yet was a supporter of Soviet Russia (also known as champagne socialism), says it stands up for freedom but publishes freedom hating Islamists, says it stands up for racial tolerance but gives a platform to Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites, says its stands up for the working class but thinks they are “tribal” and admits it “ignores” them.

You can’t get more clear-cut than that.

Peter Beaumont’s absurd political analogy regarding Israel and ‘Prisoner X’

Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor at the Observer (sister publication of the Guardian), has already authored, or co-authored, six separate reports (totaling over 5000 words) in less than two days at the Guardian on the row over ‘Prisoner X’.

part 1

part 2

Prisoner X is believed to have been a Mossad agent (reportedly an Australian Israeli dual citizen named Ben Zygier) jailed by Israel because he was about to reveal Mossad secrets to Australian authorities or the media.  He reportedly committed suicide in his cell in 2010.

Due to the secrecy involved in any alleged spy case, there is a relative dearth of verifiable facts regarding Prisoner X’s background and incarceration.  However the absence of such information hasn’t prevented Beaumont from advancing the desired Guardian narrative regarding alleged Israeli violations of human rights and international legal norms.

Though the Observer is supposedly the more moderate of the two Guardian Group publications, Beaumont’s framing of the spy row has included one particularly hysterical political analogy, casually leveled without even an attempt to support its validity.

One of Beaumont’s reports from Feb. 14 includes the following passage:

“The latest revelations come amid a growing outcry over the case in Israel, with some comparing the treatment of Zygier to that meted out in the Soviet Union or Argentina and Chile under their military dictatorships.”

Naturally, Beaumont doesn’t inform us who specifically is making such a comparison, and even a cursory look at the judicial process, and the rights afforded Prisoner X, makes a mockery of the charge.

First, the prisoner’s incarceration was supervised by the Israeli judiciary, the original arrest warrant was issued by the authorized court, and the proceedings were overseen by the most senior Justice Ministry officials. We also now know that Prisoner X was legally represented by a top Israeli lawyer who reported, after meeting with his client, that he was in good health, was considering a plea bargain and didn’t appear to have been mistreated.

After the prisoner was found dead in his cell roughly two years ago, the President of the Rishon Lezion Magistrates Court held a coroner’s inquest into the cause of death and, though it was determined that suicide was the cause, “the Presiding Judge sent the file to the State Attorney’s Office for an evaluation regarding issues of [possible] negligence” by prison authorities.  

Further, the prisoner’s family was notified during the course of his incarceration, and Australian officials knew of the proceedings.

Though Prisoner X likely represented a serious security risk for Israel, he was afforded due process in a manner which certainly seems consistent with democratic norms.

To evoke a comparison with the USSR – where, for instance, several million Soviet “enemies of the state” died (due to overwork, starvation, torture or summary executions) after being sent, without trial, to Gulag camps spread out across the entire country – is beyond parody.

Indeed, it’s likely that the true identity of Beaumont’s unnamed commentators comparing Israel’s handling of the spy case to that of the most repressive totalitarian regimes of the 20th century will prove to be far more elusive and mysterious than the identity of Prisoner X himself.

Seumas Milne, antisemitism and “the usual internet suspects”.

An apparatchik named Seumas Milne, who worked for the decidedly pro-Stalinist magazine called Straight Left, and who’s currently serving as the Guardian’s Associate Editor, has written a book.

I don’t intend on reading it because, well, life is short, my personal list of ‘books to read’ grows larger by the day and I never really did fancy the political musings of unrepentant communists – even during my turbulent college years when I was most receptive to the mindless clichés of the delusional left.

So, I am indebted to  for having penned a Guardian review of the book, ‘The Revenge of History’, a collection of Milne’s essays in the Guardian over the last 10 years.

Relevant to those who follow this blog, Hatherley’s literary criticism takes a brief detour to lash out at those believed to be Milne’s critics.

He writes:

“Although slandered by the usual internet suspects as an “antisemite”, he’s been one of the few to expose this polite, Council of Europe-sanctioned form of Holocaust revisionism.” [emphasis added]

Intrigued by the suggestion that Milne – who has praised the anti-imperialist “resistance movements” in Kabul, Baghdad, and Gaza City, and parroted the lie of the Jenin “massacre” – may have been a closet philo-Semite all along, I did a bit of research in an attempt to learn more about the heroic defender of Holocaust memory.

The only thing even remotely related to Hatherley’s characterization I could find was an essay at ‘Comment is Free’ by Milne in 2009 titled This rewriting of history is spreading Europe’s poison‘.  

Writes Milne:

“…across eastern Europe, the Baltic republics and the Ukraine, the drive to rewrite history is being used to relativise Nazi crimes and rehabilitate collaborators. At the official level, it has focused on a campaign to turn August 23 – the anniversary of the non-aggression pact – into a day of commemoration for the victims of communism and nazism.

In July that was backed by the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe, following a similar vote in the European parliament and a declaration signed by Vaclav Havel and others branding “communism and nazism as a common legacy” of Europe that should be jointly commemorated because of “substantial similarities”.

That east Europeans should want to remember the deportations and killings of “class enemies” by the Soviet Union during and after the war is entirely understandable. So is their pressure on Russia to account, say, for the killing of Polish officers at Katyn – even if Soviet and Russian acknowledgment of Stalin’s crimes already goes far beyond, for example, any such apologies by Britain or France for the crimes of colonialism.

But the pretence that Soviet repression reached anything like the scale or depths of Nazi savagery – or that the postwar “enslavement” of eastern Europe can be equated with wartime Nazi genocide – is a mendacity that tips towards Holocaust denial.”

To those still under the illusion that Soviet repression wasn’t indeed as murderous as Nazism, I’d recommend the book “The Black Book of Communism” – a thorough account of the mass murder committed in every Communist country — the Soviet Union, the East European countries, China, Vietnam, North Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Cuba, Mongolia – which quantifies the death toll of Marx’s little theory at no less than 100 million.

More importantly, while reasonable people can debate the relative crimes of the Soviet Union and German Nazism, it certainly isn’t antisemitic, nor an offense to Holocaust memory, to unapologetically condemn the atrocities of Josef Stalin – whose purges, forced collectivization, starvation, and ethnic cleansing of ‘counter-revolutionaries’ arguably extinguished 20 million souls.

Milne wasn’t condemning Holocaust revisionism. He was merely defending Stalinist revisionism.

Those of us among “the usual internet suspects” need not offer an ounce of gratitude to those who cynically champion the cause of dead Jews but seemingly remain indifferent to the aspirations of living Jews.

Communist ‘Hasbara’ at the Guardian

Who among us hasn’t longed for the ‘workers paradises’ of the former Soviet bloc?

Who hasn’t experienced a sense of nostalgia for the forced collectivization, show trials, political purges, gulags, forced starvation, psychiatric incarcerations, mass murders and ethnic cleansing – the ineffable political beauty of totalitarian states which, by the early 80s, nearly one-third of the world’s population was fortunate enough to enjoy.   

This video of Soviet propaganda posters set to their national anthem may get you in the mood.

If that crude agitprop didn’t work, then, alas, we always have the Guardian.

On Aug. 14, they published a much more polished communism propaganda video as part of their ‘After Capitalism’ series.

Here’s the actual video they posted, which, in true socialist spirit, they were kind enough to allow me to download:

The disturbingly creepy narration of the video (which I just can’t get out of my head) seems to have jogged my memory, and I suddenly recall that communism was arguably the most lethal ideology in the history of man, with an estimated 100 million killed as a result of their, umm, benign proletariat dictatorships.

But, let’s not hold grudges. Why not let bygones be bygones?

Seumas Milne’s dystopian Guardian fantasies are nothing if not inspiring.

The Six Day War: Day Two

This week, Jewish Ideas Daily commemorates the forty-fifth anniversary of the Six-Day War with a day-by-day synopsis, for which we are indebted to Michael Oren’s comprehensive book, ‘Six Days of War.  

Abba Eban

In the Sinai, Israeli aircraft commanded the skies and the IDF advanced along roads littered with Egyptian tanks.  Some were in flames, illuminating the darkness; others were simply immobilized by malfunctions in their Soviet-made engines, which had failed in desert conditions.  On June 6th, 1967, by 8:00 a.m. Tel Aviv time, Israeli forces had entered el-Arish.  It initially seemed desolate, but the Israelis were soon under fire from every window.  Israel’s leadership, not expecting the war to move so quickly, had not considered what do to beyond el-Arish.  The IDF’s challenge became keeping up with the retreating Egyptian forces.

Meanwhile, Gaza had been severed from Sinai.  Though Defense Minister Moshe Dayan had predicted that this move would cripple the Strip, fighting was heavy; Gaza would ultimately account for nearly half of all the war’s Israeli casualties.  Still, Dayan’s prediction was correct: Gaza was taken by mid-morning.

Yet even as Egyptian anti-aircraft gun barrels melted from the continuous, unsuccessful efforts against Israeli planes, more than half of Egypt’s forces were intact.  Some important detachments had yet to see action.  Pilots remained available.  Forty-eight Algerian aircraft were en route, along with volunteers from Morocco, Tunisia, and Sudan.  Expressions of support poured in from Arab sympathizers.  By contrast, Israel’s forces were exhausted from over 24 hours of non-stop combat and were low on fuel and ammunition.

Meanwhile, another front was opening in the war—a political front.  In a 1:00 a.m. radio broadcast, IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin had informed Israelis of the previous day’s astounding military successes.  The broadcast boosted morale; but, Rabin knew, carried a risk: The international community might now seek a cease-fire, preventing further Israeli advances and threatening Israel’s gains with pressures for unreciprocated concessions.  The United States and Britain had declared neutrality, while France, then Israel’s primary patron, had embargoed further arms shipments.

Egypt’s leadership now ordered a wholesale retreat: An army assembled in 24 days began trying to draw back in as many hours.  Egyptian leaders may have believed that the more devastating their reversal looked, the more likely it was that the United Nations or Soviet Union would intervene.  They also began propagating the disinformation that America and Britain had intervened on Israel’s behalf.  During the day, this rumor spread across the Middle East.  Mobs attacked American embassies and consulates.  Exports to America and Britain were banned.  Egypt severed its U.S. diplomatic ties; other Arab states followed suit.  Americans were deported from Egypt at virtually a moment’s notice.

In the east, Jordanian forces were losing ground in tense, sometimes hand-to-hand combat as Israeli forces sought to “atone for the sin of ’48,” their failure to take Jerusalem’s Old City in the War of Independence.  By 5:15 a.m., Israel had won East Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill in one of the bloodiest battles in Arab-Israeli history.  It took more hours of heavy fighting for the Israelis to capture Mount Scopus.  Angering some field commanders, Dayan decided to surround the Old City rather than attack.  Even the efforts at encirclement proved arduous.

Of the promised Arab reinforcements, only Iraqi forces saw combat.  The Saudis sent a contingent, but it did not fight.  An Egyptian doctor attached to Saudi forces on the eastern border remembered: “We hoped”—fruitlessly—”that one Israeli plane would attack us, so that we could say that we participated in the war and we fired our guns.”

Jordan’s military retained significant strength, but King Hussein panicked when his generals warned him before dawn that failing to retreat from the West Bank would decimate his army.  He feared that if he accepted a cease-fire while Egyptians still fought, Egypt would blame him for defeat; he might face mutiny from his military and Jordan’s Palestinian Arabs.  He summoned Western ambassadors in Amman to warn that his kingdom might fall without an internationally imposed cease-fire.  He repeated the rumor that America had intervened to support Israel. President Lyndon Johnson heard and was infuriated.

Hussein also requested orders from Egypt but, for hours, received none.  Meanwhile, the IDF took the West Bank cities of Jenin and Ramallah and advanced toward Nablus and Qalqilya.  Hussein raced to the battlefield in a jeep.  He later recalled what he saw there: “In groups of thirty or two, wounded, exhausted, [soldiers] were trying to clear a path under the monstrouscoup de grace being dealt them by a horde of Israeli Mirages screaming in a cloudless blue sky seared with sun.”

In the north there was an abortive Syrian probe but general disorganization: The bridges across the Jordan River, for instance, were too narrow for Soviet tanks.  Dayan resisted opening a northern front.

Recognition was growing that the war would be decided in New York and Washington.  Sleepless for nearly two days, Foreign Minister Abba Eban flew to the UN; his plane was almost hit by Jordanian shrapnel.  Arriving in New York, he went straight to the Security Council.  With barely time to review his notes, he delivered what became a famous oration on Israel’s behalf.

In the United States, President Johnson, with an election season beginning, was cognizant of the public’s pro-Israel feeling—and angered by the Soviet role in the war and the misinformation about American behavior.  He was inclined to let Israel keep its gains and use them as bargaining chips.  Yet America allowed the UN to move toward a cease-fire.  Eban reluctantly acquiesced, and a resolution was passed.  But Israel was saved from the potential consequences when Egypt rebuffed the resolution, complaining that it did not require full and immediate Israeli withdrawals.

At 11:15 p.m., King Hussein finally received word from Egypt that its air force was obliterated and its army in full retreat.  Now Hussein could, and did, order a withdrawal from the West Bank.  He then heard about the UN resolution; the cease-fire would take effect at dawn.  Hussein accepted the resolution—and rescinded the order to retreat, in hopes that his forces and their Iraqi reinforcements could hold parts of the West Bank and the Old City until morning.

Guardian’s Seumas Milne: Trainee @ PFLP terror camp in Beirut? (Updated)

Harry’s Place today asked the question, “Did The Guardian’s Seumas Milne spend his gap year training at a PFLP camp in Beirut?

Here’s an excerpt from their post.

According to a number of prominent journalists, he did indeed, and used to brag about it at cocktail parties. “He wasn’t there to report,” one journo who knew Milne back in the bad old days of Soviet stooging and third worldist terrorism, told me recently, adding that Milne was “so Stalinist, we used to say he had snow on his boots.”

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, founded by George Habash in 1967, was a Leninist terrorist organisation which, in Habash’s words, “held the ‘Guevara view’ of the ‘revolutionary human being’. A new breed of man had to emerge, among the Arabs as everywhere else. This meant applying everything in human power to the realization of a cause.” In the first decades of its existence, the PFLP were responsible for airline hijackings, the bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket, bus bombings in Europe, airport shootings, and a synagogue bombing in Paris.

All of this would have struck young Milne as revolutionarily vogue.

While a definitive answer to the question of whether Milne spent his gap year at a PFLP training camp may be difficult to obtain, there is no question that Milne certainly shares some common ideological terrain with the Marxist-Leninist Palestinian terror group.

As we’ve noted, Milne worked for “Straight Left”, the pro-Stalin Marxist newspaper, prior to joining the Guardian.  Further, Milne’s communist sympathies don’t seem to have waned over time, as he demonstrated by lamenting the fall of the Soviet Union in a 2001 CiF essay. 

Milne also regularly accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing, is explicit in his support of so-called “Palestinian resistance”, and downplays the antisemitic nature of Hamas.

He also seems quite sympathetic to Islamist terrorist “resistance” movements around the world.

See our dossier on Milne, here.

I’d also recommend Tweeting Milne, to see if he’ll definitively deny any past association with the PFLP.


I am contacting you from the Guardian’s legal department in relation to the article that you published on 13 December entitled: ‘Did The Guardian’s Seumas Milne spend his gap year training at a PFLP camp in Beirut?

The allegation that Seumas attended a terrorist training camp is entirely false and defamatory. We would request that you remove this article from your website and run a correction as a matter of urgency.”

It’s interesting that the Guardian didn’t deny that Milne was associated with the PFLP, only that he never “attended a terrorist training camp.”

Stay tuned.

“KGB agents loved the Guardian”

H/T Gerald

A CiF Watch reader came across this juicy little nugget about the Guardian, from a report in 1995, and I couldn’t’ resist sharing it.

It involved a Soviet defector named Oleg Gordievsky, the KGB’s resident chief in London during the mid-eighties, who, upon turning on his former nation, named their Western agents, among which were some well-known British politicians and journalists.

Gordievsky’s list of UK agents of influence, which he had handed over to Western spy chiefs upon defecting, included Guardian literary editor, Richard Gott.  Upon news of Gott’s involvement with the KGB, he resigned, in a letter then Guardian editor, Peter Preston, accepted “with a heavy heart”. 

According to Gordievsky, Gott was “an absolute classic case of an agent. He came to meetings at regular intervals. Sometimes it was once a month, sometimes every two months.” His Soviet handlers drew money to pay him. “The KGB was stingy, so the payments would not have been very much. The normal fee was between $450 and $600 every month or so.”

Gott was not the only Guardian journalist to be targeted and Gordievsky claimed that Gott’s newspaper was of special interest to Soviet intelligence.

The KGB loved the Guardian,” he says. “It was deemed highly susceptible to penetration.” 

Surprising? Hardly.

The Guardian’s current associate editor, Seumas Milne, is still an apologist for Soviet Communism and began his “journalistic” career as a contributor to the decidedly pro-Stalinist Communist Party publication, Straight Left.

Milne, in a 2001 essay, expressed regret over the fall of the Soviet Empire, which, during the height of its power, enslaved half of Europe under its totalitarian yoke, and killed maybe 60 million human beings (give or take a few million).

Milne especially lamented “The removal of the only state that could challenge the power of the US militarily”.

Gordievsky, in his book, drew a clear distinction between active agents and mere “useful idiots”.

The term “useful idiots” is a phrase coined by Lenin to describe Soviet sympathizers in Western countries who genuinely considered themselves an ally of Soviet ideology, but were held in contempt by the Soviet regime and cynically used.

While Gott was clearly an active agent, Milne evidently remains, 20 years after the collapse of communist totalitarianism, a useful idiot in good standing. 

On the liberal and fashionable anti-immigrant racism of the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood

If a right-wing columnist or blogger in the UK had written an essay decrying the injurious effects of certain racial or ethnic groups on British society, the response by Guardian reporters and CiF commentators would be furious and indignant.  If the essay had singled out South Asians or North Africans, and warned that such groups were changing the face of British culture for the worse, accusations of racism would be predictable and sanctimonious.

Indeed, in 2010, the Guardian ran a whole series of articles under the heading, “Europe: Immigrants under pressure“, which noted, “Anti immigrant movements in Europe have moved from the madcap fringes to propping up governments.”  The series even included an interactive map to show where the anti-immigrant racism was flaring up, which was characterized by Guardian writers alternately as “far right”, “xenophobic”, and “racist”.

More recently, the Guardian has blamed such “mainstream” anti-immigrant rhetoric from “far right bloggers” for helping to incite Anders Behring Breivik’s terrorist attack in Norway. 

Yet, Harriet Sherwood – the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, who, no doubt, fancies herself a multiculturalist who is free of such narrow-minded anti-immigrant bias – saw fit in her most recent post, Israel’s former Soviet immigrants transform adopted country“, Aug. 17, to blame Israeli immigrants from the former Soviet Union (FSU) for moving the country in a dangerous direction.

Sherwood’s piece blames “The million-plus citizens of the former Soviet Union who immigrated to Israel in the past 20 years” for causing a housing crisis, being resistant to integrating into Israeli society, and bringing with them Russian political values inconsistent with democracy, tolerance and compromise.

Now, just imagine if something similar was written about the injurious effects of immigration to the UK on traditional British culture, and substitute the word “Muslims” for “Russians” to get a sense of the supreme moral hypocrisy at play here.

Fortunately, we received the following email from Anastasia Couzminski, a CiF Watch reader and immigrant to Israel from the FSU, who took furious exception to Sherwood’s characterization of her.

Here’s, in part, her email to me:

Hello CiF watch,

As a regular reader of your blog and one of those annoying Russians that “integrated little” in Israel, I couldn’t let this article pass. This is personal.

I am beyond furious at [Harriet Sherwood’s] article!

[What she says about Russians] couldn’t be any farther from the truth.

As an immigrant who’s been living here most of my life, I consider myself to be 110% ISRAELI and not Russian or Kazakh (I was born in the republic of Kazakhstan).

My mother is Jewish but I have many friends whose mother are in fact non-Jewish but are similarly supremely dedicated to this country.

It is absolute rubbish that immigrants integrated little and live mostly in “Russian enclaves”.

Many such “unintegrated Russians” are married to “Sabras” (Israelis who were born in Israel), give their kids Israeli names and many even refuse to speak Russian anymore.

This LIE [regarding the] lack of integration is evident everywhere.

I, as with most of the “unintegrated Russians”, have served in the army and, in fact, many of these “unintegrated Russian” young men go to become fighters and officers in the army and fight and DIE side by side with Israel-born soldiers!

We study all together in schools and universities and despite there being “Russian” hang-out places, it is SIMPLY NOT TRUE that [non-Russian] Israelis are NOT wanted there. The FIB that Russians created a housing problem is [also simply not true]. Russians did not come to parasite on this country. They finished “Ulpan” (Hebrew classes for immigrants) and right away began searching for jobs. They can now be found in every single workplace including hospitals, courts, and the media (NOT ONLY Russian media).

The fact that Harriet Sherwood makes a point of singling out Russians is a total double standard. And the following quote by the Russian-hating Israeli journalist, whom [Sherwood] must have had to dig out from some very dark place, which claims “…alienation between Russian immigrants and native-born Israelis [exist because] there is not much social interaction” is also simply not true.

Most of my friends are Israelis, many of my friends are married to Israelis, we party, travel and do everything together! And the older generation is the same.

In short, [Sherwood] evidently didn’t have anything to report about and found, in the much maligned Russian community, a convenient target and scapegoat.



Thousands of Brits reject Seumas Milne’s outrageous defense of rioters

H/T Garry

Guardian Associate Editor Seumas Milne is likely the Guardian’s most ideologically extreme commentator – which, considering the competition, is really quite an accomplishment.  

Milne still passionately defends some of the worlds most brutal totalitarian forces as legitimate progressive “resistance” movements, be they the Soviet Union, the Viet Cong, or Islamist terrorist groups in Kabul, Baghdad, and “Palestine”.

Seumas Milne at a meeting of the openly pro-Hamas group, MEMO

So, his essay at CiF on the UK riots, These riots reflect a society run on greed and looting“, Aug. 10, blaming the mayhem – which included looting, torching of buildings, robberies, and violent attacks against police and firemen – that he characterized as “multi-ethnic unrest ” on “police harassment”, “youth unemployment” “rampant [economic] inequality”, “the deepening economic crisis”, and the machinations of “neoliberal capitalism” may be an astonishing moral inversion, but also comes as no surprise. 

However, what was remarkable was the number of readers who rejected Milne’s radical, Guardian Left, elitist glorification of destructive criminal behavior.

On CiF comment threads it’s impressive when a comment garners a few hundred recommends, yet the first comment out of the block to mock Milne’s take on the riots has received 2,435 recommends.

No, Milne still doesn’t get it.

Remarkably, thousands of Guardian readers apparently do. 

Yelena Bonner – Courageous Jewish Leftist

A guest Post by AKUS

I have read several obits for Yelena Bonner, who died in Boston on June 18th at age 88. You can find them on-line easily by Googling her name.

The major papers have overlooked her attachment to her Jewish roots and her love and passionate defense of Israel. Her Jewish background is mentioned only in passing. Her love of Israel – not at all.  

Yelena Bonner suffered from anti-Semitic attacks in the Soviet Union as part of the oppression she and her husband Andrei Sakharov faced. Perhaps, like so many have, she found it strange that with all the horrors in the world, the worst opprobrium and most vicious attacks were directed at one small group of people and their tiny state and as time went by she became more aware of her Jewish roots.

In her memoir, she wrote:

“I hope to live out my life until the end worthy of the Russian culture in which I’ve spent my life, of the Jewish and Armenian nationalities, and I am proud that mine has been the difficult lot and happy fate to be the wife and friend of academic Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov.”

Bonner’s fight against anti-Semitism and defense of Israel are not mentioned at all in the widely available obituaries in paper such as the Washington Post or NYT (nor in the Guardian, for that matter).

It is worth listening to the speech Bonner gave at the Oslo Freedom Forum two years ago expressing her astonishment at the depths to which the politically correct Nobel Committee has sunk with its awards of the Peace Prize, chiding the Norwegians for their views about Israel, vigorously making Israel’s case,  dismissing the Arab demand for the “right of return”, demanding the release of Gilad Shalit and warning of the growing European anti-Semitism:

“So it is about Israel and the Jews that I will speak. And not only because I am Jewish, but above all because the Middle Eastern conflict since the end of World War II has been a platform for political games and gambling by the great powers, the Arab countries and individual politicians, striving, through the so-called “peace process,” to make a name for themselves, and perhaps win a Nobel Peace Prize. At one time, the Nobel Peace Prize was the highest moral award of our civilization. But after December 1994, when Yasir Arafat became one of the three new laureates, its ethical value was undermined. I haven’t always greeted each selection of the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Storting with joy, but that one shocked me. And to this day, I cannot understand and accept the fact that Andrei Sakharov and Yasir Arafat, now posthumously, share membership in the club of Nobel laureates.

In many of Sakharov’s publications… Andrei Dmitrievich wrote and spoke about Israel. I have a collection of citations of his writing on this topic. If it were published in Norway, then many Norwegians would be surprised at how sharply their contemporary view of Israel differs from the view of Sakharov.

Here are several citations from Sakharov:

“Israel has an indisputable right to exist.” “Israel has a right to existence within safe borders.” “All the wars that Israel has waged have been just, forced upon it by the irresponsibility of Arab leaders.” “With all the money that has been invested in the problem of Palestinians, it would have been possible long ago to resettle them and provide them with good lives in Arab countries….”

…Now, there is a new (actually, quite old) motif currently in fashion (in fact it’s an old one):  “Two states for two peoples.”  …  I will speak only of one demand: that Israel take back the Palestinian refugees. And here a little history and demography are needed. According to the official UN definition, those who have fled from violence and wars are considered refugees — but not their descendants who are born in another country.

Imagine Israel then, if another five million Arabs flood into it; Arabs would substantially outnumber the Jewish population. Thus created next to Israel will be a Palestinian state cleansed of Jews, because in addition to the demand that Palestinian refugees return to Israel, there is also the demand that Judea and Samaria be cleansed of Jews and turned over to Palestinians – while in Gaza today there is not a single Jew remaining.

The result is both strange and frightening, and not because Israel will be actually destroyed – it’s a different time and different Jews.  It is terrifying to see the short memory of the august peace-making Quartet, their leaders and their citizens if they let this happen. Because the plan “two states for two peoples” is the creation of one state, ethnically cleansed of Jews, and a second one with the potential to do the same thing. A Judenfrei Holy Land – the dream of Adolph Hitler come true at last. So think again, those who are still able, who has a fascist inside him today?

And another question that has been a thorn for me for a long time. It’s a question for my human rights colleagues. Why doesn’t the fate of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit trouble you in the same way as the fate of the Guantanamo prisoners?  … during the years Shalit has been held by terrorists, the world human rights community has done nothing for his release.  The real step toward peace must become the release of Shalit.  Release — not exchange for 1,000 or 1,500 prisoners who are in Israeli prisons serving court sentences for real crimes.

And yet I still think (and some will find this naïve) that the first tiny, but real step toward peace must become the release of Shalit. Release —  not  exchange for 1000 or 1,500 prisoners who are in Israeli prisons serving court sentences for real crimes.

Returning to my question of why human rights activists are silent, I can find no answer except that Shalit is an Israeli soldier, Shalit is a Jew. So again, it is conscious or unconscious anti-Semitism. Again, it is fascism.

Thirty-four years have passed since the day when I came to this city to represent my husband, Andrei Sakharov, at the 1975 Nobel Prize ceremony. I was in love with Norway then. The reception I received filled me with joy. Today, I feel Alarm and Hope (the title Sakharov used for his 1977 essay written at the request of the Nobel Committee). 

Alarm because of the anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiment growing throughout Europe and even further afield. And yet, I hope that countries, their leaders, and people everywhere will recall and adopt Sakharov’s ethical credo: “In the end, the moral choice turns out to be also the most pragmatic choice.”

(The full text can be found here)

Bonner came from an age when to be an “activist”, to support “human rights”, to be on and of the “Left” meant to do the right and courageous thing, not to use Israel and Jews as the politically correct way of ingratiating oneself to a group of “right-thinking” people who have totally lost their moral compass and formed the bizarre so-called “Left Wing” alliance with theocratic misogynistic thugs dedicated to the destruction of Israel, and, in the case of some like Hamas and Hezbollah, the final elimination of the Jewish people.


The Guardian at 190: Unauthorized CiF Watch Bio, Pt. 3 (1976, Guardian lionizes Mao)

The most important battle in the second half of the 20th century was the West’s ideological war against Communist totalitarianism.

While Hitler and fascism have rightly earned its place among the most evil ideologies of the past century, Communist inspired regimes – The Soviet Union, Cambodia, China and many others – were actually responsible for a greater total number of civilians killed in order to advance its political aims.  

As I’ve noted previously, Communism’s death count approaches 100 million – a staggering 45-72 million (depending on various historical accounts) of which are attributed to China under the leadership of Mao Zedong – which include various political purges of undesirable classes, mass starvation due to his “Great Leap Forward”, and the millions killed in his labor camps.  Mao, like Stalin, can reasonably be compared to Hitler in terms of his record of mass murder.

Yet, strolling back to the Guardian’s obituary upon Mao’s death in 1976, you find this:

The “Great Helmsman”, as the Guardian put it, was characterized in the story as follows:

“Mao has left his mark on China.  He shattered traditional restraints and urged Chinese to stand up and struggle for Socialism.”

It further referred to Mao’s “cultural revolution” without even hinting at the tens of millions killed along the way to the “Helmsman’s” Communist Utopia.

Then there was this:

“Mao was a complex man behind simple slogans. He led China on a difficult but successful path, particularly in the latest years of Cultural Revolution.  He has commanded admiration more than love. Respect as much as affection.”

“Mao’s general line of economic development with its emphasis on agriculture as the base for industrialization is widely accepted despite arguments over ways and means.”

The article concluded:

“‘So many deeds cry out to be done….‘ Mao wrote in his most famous poem, Ten Thousands Years are too long. Seize the day, Seize the hour!‘  Much of the strength of the China which Mao has left behind lies in this confident assertion for the future.”

In contextualizing the Guardian’s continuing assault on Israel’s legitimacy, and its propensity to tolerate and often advance anti-Semitic narratives, it’s necessary, in addition to monitoring such commentary each day, to see their polemics as part of a broader ideological orientation.

The Cold War was the moral test of a generation and it is important to note that, just as many today posit a false moral equivalence between radical Islam and the West and, closer to home, Hamas and Israel, there were those during the post WWII years – till the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 – who, often only implicitly, but sometimes more explicitly, advanced a similar equivalence between Communism and the West – a dangerous intellectual tick by some on the left which Jean Kirkpatrick so adeptly characterized in her landmark essay, “Dictatorships and Double Standards.

Richard Landes summarized Kirkpatrick’s principle, as:

“Refusing to accept a wild moral equivalence between the misdeeds of civil [democratic] societies committed, however imperfectly, to defending human rights, with the behavior of totalitarian regimes.”

It is the Guardian’s stunning failure at this urgent moral requirement which lies at the root of their antipathy towards the Jewish state, and their failure to condemn, without qualifications, terrorist movements which seek her destruction.  This dynamic at the Guardian may not have started with the their 1976 hagiography of the Chinese mass murderer, but the obituary does allow us to gleam some insights into the trajectory of their stunning moral decline.  

The Guardian at 190, The “unauthorized” CiF Watch biography. Pt. 2: Seumas Milne defends communism

This post is part of our ongoing (unauthorized) biography of the Guardian at 190, in response to the Guardian’s series of self-congratulatory flashbacks to their, um, “highlights” over the past 190 years:


Our last installment focused on a 2004 CiF commentary by the sage, and recently expired, “activist” known as Osama Bin Laden.

So, today, here’s a flash down memory lane to 2001 – where the Guardian’s esteemed Associate Editor, Seumas Milne, penned an apologia for the similarly deceased, and tragically misunderstood, totalitarian ideology responsible for the death of around 100 million people…but, really, who’s counting?

Throughout the past decade, it has been an article of faith in the west that the implosion of the Soviet Union represented a liberation for its people and an undiluted boon for the rest of the world. At a stroke, the evil empire had been miraculously swept away and the ground laid for a great leap forward to freedom, peace and prosperity.

There was rejoicing across the political spectrum, from free-market conservatives to the far left. The nuclear threat had lifted and a new world order of democratic global governance had been inaugurated.

History had come to an end and the long-suffering east European masses would at last be able to step out from under the communist yoke to enjoy the liberal capitalism (or genuine socialism, in the leftist version) which was to be the fortunate lot of all humankind.

This weekend, it will be 10 years since the comic opera coup which precipitated the downfall of Mikhail Gorbachev, the banning of the Soviet communist party and the dissolution of the USSR. As the dust and debris have cleared from the convulsive events of 1989-91, the real nature of what they brought about has come into focus.

For all the action on the streets, the changes were mostly engineered by sections of the nomenklatura that realised the old system was in crisis and saw the opportunities for enrichment.

Far from opening the way to emancipation, these changes led to beggary for most citizens, ushering in the most cataclysmic peacetime economic collapse of an industrial country in history. Under the banner of reform and the guidance of American-prescribed shock therapy, perestroika became catastroika.

Capitalist restoration brought in its wake mass pauperisation and unemployment; wild extremes of inequality; rampant crime; virulent anti-semitism and ethnic violence; combined with legalised gangsterism on a heroic scale and precipitous looting of public assets.

The scale of the social disaster that has engulfed the former Soviet Union and much of eastern Europe in the past 10 years is often underestimated outside, or even by visitors to Moscow and other relatively prosperous cities in the former Soviet bloc.

Some of the more startling facts are set out by US Russian studies professor Stephen Cohen in his book Failed Crusade, a savage indictment of western blindness to what has been inflicted on the one-time communist world.

By the late 1990s, national income had fallen by more than 50% (compare that with the 27% drop in output during the great American depression), investment by 80%, real wages by half and meat and dairy herds by 75%. Indeed, the degradation of agriculture is, Cohen argues, in some respects worse even than during Stalin’s forced collectivisation of the countryside in the 1930s.

The numbers living below the poverty line in the former Soviet republics had risen from 14m in 1989 to 147m even before the 1998 financial crash. The market experiment has produced more orphans than Russia’s 20m-plus wartime casualties, while epidemics of cholera and typhus have re-emerged, millions of children suffer from malnutrition and adult life expectancy has plunged.

As this human tragedy was unfolding, western politicians and bankers harried Russia’s leaders to push ahead more energetically with the “reform” and privatisation treatment producing it: a transition in many areas to a premodern age.

Only with the rise in oil prices, devaluation of the rouble and the merciful departure of Boris Yeltsin has the economic slide begun to be reversed. And in eastern Europe, only star performers like Poland have managed to return to the output levels achieved before 1989 – and even then at a cost of millions of unemployed, widespread poverty and social regression.

Some who have championed the lurch from a centralised, publicly owned economy to the robber-baron capitalism of today’s Russia will doubtless comfort themselves with the thought that the grim figures exaggerate the costs of change and ignore the greater freedom, democratic structures and better quality of goods now available.

But those freedoms and competitive elections – heavily circumscribed as they are – were largely the fruit of the Gorbachev era and predate the Soviet collapse, while for most Russians and other former Soviet citizens, the wider range of goods are priced out of reach.\

That is why people who lived in conditions of full employment, with low housing and transport costs and access to basic health and social provision, mostly tell opinion pollsters they are now worse off than under communist rule. It’s hardly surprising in the circumstances that 85% of Russians regret the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Similarly Leonid Brezhnev – Soviet leader in the 1970s, known as the era of stagnation, but also a period when living standards were rising – was picked out as the outstanding Russian politician of the 20th century.

Russians have seen their country reduced from a superpower to a nuclear-armed basket case in a decade and hatred of the west has grown as its role in that process has been rammed home. For the rest of the world, the impact of the Soviet abdication a decade ago has been no less profound. The removal of the only state that could challenge the power of the US militarily, even if it bled itself white by doing so, drastically narrowed the room for manoeuvre for everybody else.

The winding down of nuclear and strategic confrontation under Gorbachev allowed states like Britain to cut military spending, but also created the conditions for untrammelled US power in a unipolar world, while potentially more volatile nuclear threats emerged.

It is difficult to imagine the Gulf war of 1991 and the subsequent throttling of Iraq or the dismemberment and inter-ethnic wars of Yugoslavia taking place, let along Bush’s current rush to unilateralism, if the Soviet Union had not been on its knees or extinct.

For developing countries, in particular, the destruction of the second superpower – which had championed the anti-colonial movement and later the third world cause – largely closed off the scope for different alliances and sources of aid and sharply increased their dependence on the west.

Throughout the world, the removal of the ideological challenge represented by the Soviet Union dramatically weakened the labour movement and the left – and even confidence in political ideas of any kind, something that is only now beginning to change.

Perhaps it is still too early, as the Chinese communist leader Zhou Enlai said of the French revolution, to make a considered assessment of the 70 years of Soviet power: its achievements, failures and crimes, its legacy to progressive politics and the search for an alternative social model.

The particular form of society it created will never be replicated, nor will the conditions that gave rise to it. But the effects of its destruction will be with us for decades to come.


Without a trace: CiF completely purges comment from thread

“Why was this deleted” is staple at CiF Watch, as it often demonstrates CiF’s biased moderation process, and so anyone who reads this blog is all too familiar with the images along the lines of the following:

But, sometimes, the Guardians are evidently so infuriated by a comment that it disappears completely, without any visual trace whatsoever that the heterodox thought was ever expressed. 

Here’s a cheeky comment by HushedSilence in the thread beneath the CiF piece (Bahrain will not digress from reform, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, the King of Bahrain, June 1):

And, then:

Well, this is where we’d typically place a snapshot of the “this comment was removed…”, except that, well, all traces of the comment completely disappeared.  Even CW can’t take a snapshot of empty space.

However, the episode led me to thinking:

The Soviet government used to use crude techniques to change many of the photographs which had been taken after the October 1917 revolution to give the illusion that Trotsky had only a minimal role and did not share a close relationship with Lenin.  As you can see in the photo below, Trotsky is clearly standing next to Lenin in the first photograph, but is then removed in the second (and replaced by a hazy dark patch where nothing is clearly visible, giving an indication of the poor quality of Soviet alteration techniques)

Not that we’re comparing the Guardian to the Soviet Union (cough…Seumas…cough….Milne).