UK journalist responds positively to criticism (Hint: he doesn’t work at the Guardian)

In an overall commendable article about Oxfam at The Telegraph (The Darker Side of Oxfam, Feb. 5), Jake Wallis Simons wrote the following:

“In December, a controversial bill was passed [in the Knesset] which would levy a 45 percent on donations from foreign organisations or governments to NGOs that support BDS, demand Israeli soldiers to be tried in international courts, or support terrorism against Israel.”

The only problem, as Gidon Shaviv of Presspectiva (CAMERA’s Hebrew affiliate) immediately realized, was that the bill did not in fact become law.  This prompted the following exchange on Twitter:

screen captureNot only did Simons thank Shaviv for the information (backed up with an article about the bill in question), but he revised the passage accordingly.

Simons’ positive response to Shaviv’s Tweet is especially worth noting in light of the manner in which editors at the Guardian and other British newspapers often stubbornly resist making changes to articles with even the most obvious distortions or errors.  

Journalists and editors in the UK would be wise to heed Simons’ example, and view the work CAMERA and its affiliates undertake to promote media accuracy as consistent with the value of accountability that their crusading journalists are often demanding of others.

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Sally Idwedar ‘forgets’ to mention the H-word in her Indy essay on “life in Gaza”

Sally Idwedar is just your average girl living in Gaza.  

sally

She’s also a blogger who, at some point in her life, acted “on impulse”, quit her corporate job in Washington D.C. and made “Aliyah” to Gaza to start her life anew. 

Idwedar also just published an essay at The Independent describing life in the Palestinian controlled territory. 

life

Her polemic on the difficulties of life in the Strip as the result of Israeli villainy includes the following passages:

I was thinking about how I would start to write about life in Gaza – how I would lay the words out with eloquence – when suddenly an explosion boomed close by and those thoughts fled my mind.I didn’t know the source; maybe it was internal training or perhaps another air strike.

The UN issued a report last week saying Gaza is becoming uninhabitable and the humanitarian conditions are deteriorating – sadly that is true.

Two weeks ago the sewage pumping stations stopped working in many areas – they simply did not have the fuel to work. Raw sewage leaks into the streets. Fathers carry their children to get to school and most cars won’t venture into it. The sludge reeks and brings mosquitoes in swarms.

There is fear it will end up in the water supply as well…

..

This is life in Gaza now: a constant struggle to find the bare necessities.

As Elder of Ziyon observed today in his post on Idwedar’s ‘meditation’, she oddly doesn’t use the word “Hamas” even once.  

This omission is even more glaring in light of her own Twitter battle with Richard “faux scoop” Silverstein (richards1052) in October (as noted by the blog Israellycool) where she was much less reticent about using the ‘H-word’.  Indeed, Idwedar’s exchange with the evidently pro-Hamas Jewish blogger is especially revealing in light of her complaint about Gaza sewage noted above.  

Who needs to take action?

Who could import needed parts?

Finally, just in case there’s any doubt as to who precisely she’s criticizing:

Yet, for some reason, Idwedar indeed “tried to hide” her opposition to the Islamist group in her more than 1100 word first person account of the “constant struggle to find the bare necessities” in Gaza.

I simply can’t imagine why.

Did CiF Watch “browbeat” Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson into submission?

Two days ago, I discovered that CiF Watch, a Jewish supremacist site interested solely in cleansing British press of any criticism of Israel and Jewish power, was boasting that the Guardian surrendered to their pressure – Gilad Atzmon (Jan. 25, 2012)

You can’t win – [antisemitism is] the ultimate trump card. No matter how many innocent people the Israeli state kills, any criticism is automatically proof of anti-semitism. No wonder idiots like Ahmadinejad want to deny the holocaust. They are jealous. They’d love to silence their critics like that. - Martin Rowson (Dec. 2011)

Though Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson is obviously in no way comparable to extremist Gilad Atzmon, we were reminded of both our battle with Atzmon last year and our periodic critiques of Rowson’s depictions of Israeli villainy following a brief Twitter conversation this morning with the ‘visual artist’.  

rowson

This social media tête-à-tête with Rowson reminded us that we were remiss in failing to note a pithy exchange with him a few months ago which would no doubt inspire ‘fear and trembling’ in those, such as Atzmon, who routinely do battle with the cabal of hegemonic, perfidious Jews and their philo-semitic friends.  

rowson

So, per Rowson’s sage advice, we shall now endeavor to “big ourselves up” with the satisfaction of knowing that our “campaign” to stifle the Guardian’s anti-Israel creativity “has worked”, and contemplate the possibility that the global Zionist ‘conspiracy’ to “cleans the British press of any criticism of Israel and Jewish power” may indeed be as far reaching as our enemies claim.  

Guardian amends Antony Loewenstein’s false claim that Israeli group tried to sue Stephen Hawking.

In July we called out ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Antony Loewenstein (a self-described Anti-Zionist Jew) for promoting the lie – at this personal blog – that there are ‘Jews-only roads’ in Israel, and his latest column at ‘CiF’ again demonstrates his casual relationship with the truth.  Whilst you can read our substantive critique of his commentary here, we recently noticed that the Guardian was forced to revise the following passage in his post:

The law firm [Shurat HaDin] tried to sue Twitter for daring to host Hizbollah tweets, former US President Jimmy Carter for criticising Israel and Stephen Hawking for damning the Israeli occupation.

However, the following now appears at the bottom of the column (‘To support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is not antisemitic‘, Nov. 7):

corex

Here’s the revised passage:

The law firm [Shurat HaDin] tried to sue Twitter for daring to host Hizbollah tweets, and former US President Jimmy Carter for criticising Israel. They also called on Stephen Hawking, who damned the Israeli occupation, to “pull out his Intel Core i7 from his tablet” because the chip was designed by a Israeli lab.

The link Loewenstein used in his original false claim that Shurat HaDin threatened to sue Stephen Hawkins [sic] takes you to the hate site, Mondoweiss.  Interestingly, however, the Mondoweiss post in question makes no such claim.

Finally, and quite tellingly, the original false accusation about Shurat HaDin still appears in the cross post of his ‘CiF’ column published at his personal blog.

Are Jews a “privileged” class?

A few months ago Louise Mensch was attacked at ‘Comment is Free’ for dismissing the idea of “privilege checking”.  Mensch had argued the following:

“Check your privilege”, for example, is a profoundly stupid trope that states that only those with personal experience of something should comment, or that if a person is making an argument, they should immediately give way if their view is contradicted by somebody with a different life story.

Laurie Penny is an absolutely prime example; she does it all the time. The other day on Twitter she told people not to rise to what she felt was a race-baiting article by Rod Liddle in the Spectator. She was quite right. Everybody with a blog knows what “don’t feed the trolls” means. However, she was angrily contradicted by the black comedian @AvaVidal who told her that people of colour were striking back and they should rise to it. Instead of defending her position, Penny caved, recanted, and commented mournfully that “having your privilege checked” was painful.

Here are the relevant passages from an essay by Laurie Penny, contributing editor at The New Statesman. 

Louise Mensch is confused. The erstwhile MP and professional gadfly has published a blogpost decrying “privilege checking”, and longing to return to a species of “reality-based” feminism where everyone would stop bothering her about class, race and money.

Actually, “privilege” isn’t at all hard to understand. It just means any structural social advantage that you have by virtue of birth, or position – such as being white, being wealthy, or being a man. “Check your privilege” means “consider how your privilege affects what you have just said or done.” That’s it.

Privilege is not the same as power. Nor is it a game whereby only the least privileged people will henceforth be allowed an opinion – the last time I checked, the political conversation was still dominated by rich white men and their wives. These are the people who go into spasms of outrage at the very notion that a black person, or a woman, or a working-class person might have as much right to an opinion as they do on matters that affect them.

Whilst the idea of ‘privilege’ is intellectually suspect for a host of reasons (many of which Mensch explored in her blog post), it’s quite interesting that Jews, of all people, are often considered among “the privileged” within this paradigm.  Not only has the post-Holocaust taboo against antisemitism been eroded, but Jews, who represent a fraction of 1% of the world’s population, are – in a manner evoking classic tropes about Jewish control - typically portrayed, by virtue of their relative success, as an elite, powerful, and privileged class. 

Whilst reasonable people can agree or disagree with attempts to explain disparities in economic, educational and social outcomes in terms of one’s ‘privilege’, it seems difficult to avoid including Jews among those who are “historically disadvantaged” when honestly exploring its political implications.

So, for those who fancy the specious argument that you can quantify privilege in terms of one’s race, ethnicity, gender, etc., here’s some food for thought – a list of the advantages (privileges) of waking up in the morning as a non-Jew – the daily effects of non-Jewish privilege.

1. You likely don’t have your people’s right to national self-determination questioned or characterized as racist.

2.  You are not characterized as racist for the alleged sin of caring more about your own people’s safety and welfare than that of other groups.

3.  You are not accused as a group – by virtue of by your current alleged “immoral behavior” – of having betrayed the memory of coreligionists who were victims of genocide.

4.  You are not accused of being more loyal to a foreign state than to the interests of your own nation.

5.  You are likely not held personally responsible for the actions of others who share your religion or ethnicity.

6.  You are not likely to be targeted for terrorist attacks by extremists simply because you happen to share the same religion as the majority population in one foreign state.  

7.  You likely don’t have to avoid expressing your religious identity when visiting Middle Eastern or even European countries for fear of violence.

8.  You are likely never accused of being part of an international conspiracy to control the world.

9.  You are not accused of exercising disproportionate control over the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.

10. Your success and personal achievements – and other fruits of your hard work – aren’t turned upside down and characterized as evidence of your ‘privilege.

To be clear, none of this is meant to suggest that we subscribe to the facile theory that groups should be divided between the ‘privileged’ and the non-privileged.  However, for those who do give this paradigm credence, it does seem to represent an egregious moral double standard to impute ‘privilege’ to such a historically persecuted, disenfranchised and marginalized minority as Jews.   

Guardian report on Iranian president’s ‘Jewish New Year Tweet’ appears to be untrue

Jews who were online on the first day of Rosh Hashanah were treated to the following ‘good news’, enthusiastically reported by Harriet Sherwood:

headline

Sherwood’s report began thusly:

Amid a global exchange of greetings and good wishes to mark Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, which began at sunset on Wednesday, there was one from a particularly surprising quarter. 

Iran‘s president, Hassan Rouhani, tweeted: “As the sun is about to set here in #Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah.” A picture of an Iranian Jew praying at a synagogue in Tehran accompanied the tweet

However, shortly after the initial reports on the alleged Rosh Hashanah Tweet by the new Iranian president, it began to emerge that the story was likely not true. On the same day Sherwood filed her story, Fars News Agency (the official Iranian news agency) emphatically denied that Rouhani posted such Tweets:

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior advisor to the Iranian President rejected western media reports alleging that President Rouhani has tweeted a felicitation message to the world Jews on Rosh Hashanah, the new Jewish year, underlining that the Iranian president has no official twitter account.

Mr. Rouhani does not have a twitter account,” Presidential Advisor Mohammad Reza Sadeq told FNA on Thursday

Sadeq said the Twitter account is likely run by Rouhani supporters.

Whilst many in the news media published stories noting that the Tweet story was untrue on the same day (Sept. 5) that it was originally reported, Sherwood’s claim remains unchanged at the Guardian’s site at the time of this post, three days later. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, ‘Like’ us on Facebook:

fb

Follow us on Twitter:

Subscribe to our RSS feed:

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

Glenn Greenwald, Matt Hill and Pat Buchanan’s ideological convergence on ‘Jewish control’

CiF Watch engaged in a series of Twitter conversations yesterday – based on our post earlier in the day about ‘Guardian Left’ antisemitism – which, in addition to a few interesting Tweets by Rosanne Barr over her endorsement of Gilad Atzmon, included an exchange with Liberal Conspiracy blogger (and Indy contributor) Matt Hill.

hill

Hill – who we posted about last month when CiF Watch prompted Indy editors to remove his wild and completely false accusation, in an April 16 essay about Israel’s 65th anniversary, that Israel engaged in “forced sterilisation” of Ethiopian women – engaged with us over our Tweets last night challenging him to acknowledge the antisemitism of, among other Guardian contributors who we cited, Glenn Greenwald.

Here is his reply:

The link which Hill opened was a Times of Israel piece I wrote which included several examples of Greenwald advancing antisemitic narratives.

As I noted in my CW post yesterday, being a Guardian Left anti-Semite is partially defined by the belief you are a champion of progressive politics  and yet often use (or at least defend) terms and tropes indistinguishable from classic right wing Judeophobia - such as the argument that Jews are too powerful, use their money to control politics, and are not loyal citizens.

Before we get to Greenwald’s quotes, which, again, Hill claimed were free of antisemitism, here are a few quotes from a right-wing paleoconservative racist by the name of Pat Buchanan.

  • Israel and its Fifth Column in this city [Washington, D.C.] seek to stampede us into war with Iran. Bush should rebuff them, and the American people should tell their congressmen: You vote for 362, we don’t vote for you.”
  • They charge us with anti-Semitism…The truth is, those hurling these charges harbor a ‘passionate attachment’ to a nation not our own that causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country and to act on an assumption that, somehow, what’s good for Israel is good for America.”
  • “Who would benefit from these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America-save oil…Who would benefit from a ‘war of civilizations’ with Islam? Who other than these neoconservatives and Ariel Sharon? Indeed, Sharon was everywhere the echo of his American auxiliary….”
  • “We charge that a cabal of polemicists and public officials seek to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interests. We charge them with colluding with Israel to ignite those wars and destroy the Oslo Accords. We charge them with deliberately damaging U.S. relations with every state in the Arab world that defies Israel or supports the Palestinian people’s right to a homeland of their own. We charge that they have alienated friends and allies all over the Islamic and Western world through their arrogance, hubris, and bellicosity.”“A list of the Middle East regimes that Podhoretz, Bennett, Ledeen, Netanyahu, and the Wall Street Journal regard as targets for destruction includes Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and ‘militant Islam.’ “Cui bono? For whose benefit these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America save oil, which the Arabs must sell us to survive? Who would benefit from a war of civilizations between the West and Islam? Answer: one nation, one leader, one party. Israel, Sharon, Likud.” What these neoconservatives seek is to conscript American blood to make the world safe for Israel
  • There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in The Middle East – the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States.”
  • Capitol Hill is Israeli occupied territory.”

Now here is Greenwald:

  • “So absolute has the Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy been that the US Government has made it illegal to broadcast Hezbollah television stations.”
  • “Not even our Constitution’s First Amendment has been a match for the endless exploitation of American policy, law and resources [by the Israel lobby] to target and punish Israel’s enemies.”
  • The real goal [of the Israel lobby], as always, was to ensure that there is no debate over America’s indescribably self-destructive, blind support for Israeli actions. [Charles] Freeman’s critics may have scored a short-term victory in that regard, but the more obvious it becomes what is really driving these scandals, the more difficult it will be to maintain this suffocating control over American debates and American policy.”
  • “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; and that results in serious cost and harm to the United States. In doing so, they insure not only that our policies towards Israel remain firmly in place no matter the outcome of our elections, but also that those policies remain beyond the realm of what can be questioned or debated by those who want to have a political future.”
  • “Anyone who has argued that a desire to protect Israeli interests plays too large of a role in our foreign policy has been subjected to some of the most vicious and relentless smears. Ask Juan Cole about that, or John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Those tactics have, as intended, prevented a substantive debate on this question, as most people have feared even approaching the topic.”
  • If you don’t…pledge your loyalty to our policies toward Israel and to Israel, what will happen to you is what just happened to Charles Freeman. You’ll be demonized and have your career ended.
  • 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.”
  • “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.”
  • “The dominant narrative among neocons and the media is that, deep down in his heart, [Obama] may be insufficiently devoted to Israel to be president of the United States. Has there ever been another country to which American politicians were required to pledge their uncritical, absolute loyalty the way they are, now, with Israel?
  • “[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.).”

And, finally, (though not included in my ToI essay), here’s a case of Greenwald using the term “Israel-Firster” to characterize a Jewish American politician, a term which ignited a row last year involving MJ Rosenberg and other bloggers associated with the Center for American Progress. 

  • “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

Matt Hill evidently sees nothing morally problematic about such attacks on American Jews. 

As I’ve argued elsewhere, Even before the birth of the modern state of Israel, Jews have stood accused of not possessing sufficient loyalty to the nations where they reside.  Its contemporary manifestation however almost always centers around the notion of dual loyalty – a charge that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own nation.  Often, such charges of dual loyalty are infused with a narrative imputing enormous power to Jewish communities which typically represent a tiny fraction of the population. 

Such a synthesis of disloyalty and exaggerated power allows the accuser to charge the Jewish community of working to undermine the nation – often alleging that such Jews are dangerous aliens who represent nothing short of a Fifth Column.

It’s remarkable that, while in much of the 20th century such tropes about Jewish power and dual loyalty were associated with the xenophobic and nativist far right, there’s been an ideological evolution such that these toxic ideas have gained popularity among self-styled ‘progressives’ – some of whom believe as a matter of faith that Jews exercise too much power in the US, put “Israel first” over their own country and even control US foreign policy.

This blog devotes a good deal of space to monitoring Glenn Greenwald because he, perhaps more than any other columnist at the site, represents the most egregious example of a popular and putatively liberal commentator who advances Judeophobic narratives seemingly without the least bit of concern about the racist ideological tradition which inspires his prose.

Our efforts to combat antisemitism at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’ is premised on the understanding that there is nothing even remotely liberal (yet alone “brave”) about engaging in ad hominem, scurrilous and bigoted attacks against Jews.

Genuine liberals, it certainly seems, would intuitively understand this.

Benghazi to Boston: Glenn Greenwald’s hypocrisy in condemning ‘rush to judgement’ over marathon attack

In response to the bomb attack at the Boston Marathon on Monday which killed three people and injured more than 175, Glenn Greenwald did what he does best: vilifying America and warning about racist-inspired assumptions regarding the religious identity of terrorist perpetrators.  

In his CiF commentary, ‘The Boston bombing produces familiar and revealing reactions’, April 16, Greenwald lectures Americans outraged by the assault that they are in no position to make judgements in light of the “horrific, civilian-slaughtering attacks that the US has been bringing to countries in the Muslim world over and over and over again for the last decade

Greenwald is of course largely referring to the US military’s drone campaign against Islamist terrorists - in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere - who plot attacks against innocent American civilians.  (The use of such unmanned aerial assaults against enemy combatants is supported by most Americans, but has become something of a negative obsession for Greenwald and other Guardian commentators.)

Additionally, Greenwald spends a large percentage of his column condemning those on Twitter and elsewhere in the traditional and social media for their alleged ‘rush to judgment’ over the suspected perpetrator(s) of the Boston attack:

The rush, one might say the eagerness, to conclude that the attackers were Muslim was palpable and unseemly, even without any real evidence. The New York Post quickly claimed that the prime suspect was a Saudi national (while also inaccurately reporting that 12 people had been confirmed dead). The Post’s insinuation of responsibility was also suggested on CNN by Former Bush Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend (“We know that there is one Saudi national who was wounded in the leg who is being spoken to”). Former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman went on CNN to grossly speculate that Muslim groups were behind the attack. 

Wild, unverified accusations with “zero evidence” singling out a minority group for responsibility over a deadly act of violence?  That sounds familiar.

Indeed, the day after the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, Greenwald, in a post titled The tragic consulate killings in Lybia and America’s hierarchy of human life‘, wrote the following:

Protesters attacked the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Tuesday night and killed four Americans, including the US ambassador, Chris Stevens. The attacks were triggered by rage over an amateurish and deeply hateful film about Islam that depicted the Prophet Muhammad as, among other things, a child molester advocate, a bloodthirsty goon, a bumbling idiot, and a promiscuous, philandering leech. A 13-minute trailer was uploaded to YouTube and then quickly circulated in the Muslim world, sparking widespread anger (the US embassy in Cairo was also attacked).

Further, Greenwald repeated completely unverified (and ultimately false) claims that the film-maker (Sam Bacile) was “an Israeli real estate developer living in California” and that he had made the film with “the help of 100 Jewish donors.”

Greenwald’s wild speculation about the cause of the attack, and the putative Israeli and Jewish connection (also parroted by the Guardian’s Julian Borger and Caroline Davies), however, was completely unfounded.

  • On Sept. 12, reports already began to appear contradicting claims that Bacile was an Israeli Jew.  And, a day later it was confirmed that he was an Egyptian Christian. 
  • The Guardian was forced to correct Greenwald’s false claim about the Jewish identity of the film-maker

Reports regarding the importance of an obscure, low-budget anti-Muslim film represented merely a ruse, designed to divert the attention of those in the media already ideologically inclined to blame Jews, Israel and the West for deadly Islamist terror attacks. 

Greenwald’s ‘shock’ over the ‘racist’ rush to judgement of those who disseminated unconfirmed reports that the terrorist attack in Boston was committed by al-Qaeda (or other Islamist terror groups) again demonstrates the Guardian contributor’s stunning moral hypocrisy.

The complete Daniel Finkelstein – Michael White Tweet timeline

While covering the exchange in Tweets between Guardian assistant editor Michael White and Times journalist Daniel Finkelstein, there were suggestions made of additional Tweets not shown which would have better contextualized the one which was the focus of the row.  Indeed, White made this argument himself in the comment section of our blog.

So, to be fair, here is the full conversation timeline on Finkelstein’s Twitter page, beginning with his original Tweet on March 14 (regarding news Lord Ahmed’s antisemitic remarks) which led to the reply by White about “Israeli settlements” (which we argued was antisemitic) and ending with Finkelstein’s last Tweet where he wishes White well.

(I added a red arrow to indicate the Tweet by White, preceding the one about settlements, which wasn’t previously included, and which White felt was important. The “settlements” Tweet has a blue arrow.)

new tweet

better snapshot

white timeline

threadAny additional relevant Tweets which didn’t involve Finkelstein can be found on White’s Twitter page. 

 

Guardian spin on Michael White’s Jew-baiting begins

Fallout over Michael White’s Jew-baiting Tweet to Times journalist Daniel Finkelstein has reached the Guardian offices in London.

As we reported, here and here, Guardian assistant editor Michael White responded to a completely innocent Tweet by Finkelstein asking why BBC radio hadn’t yet reported a story about Lord Ahmed’s suspension from the Labour Party due to allegations that the life peer blamed his 2008 conviction for dangerous driving on a Jewish conspiracy.

White replied to Finkelstein thusly:

“I agree it’s a stinker and typical of double standards. Pity about the illegal settlements though. Best wishes”

Finkelstein responded by asking White what his Tweet, or the broader issue regarding Lord Ahmed, had to do with Israel.

Indeed, as we noted, Finkelstein is a British Jew and not an Israeli.  White’s reflexive reply evokes the antisemitic narrative of holding Jews collectively responsible for the perceived sins of the state of Israel – an association he’s made on at least one other occasionin a column about Sasha Baron Cohen at the Guardian.

Today, March 17, the Jerusalem Post reported the following:

On Friday, the Guardian told The Jerusalem Post that White’s remarks had been misrepresented and that no offense had been intended.

“[Michael White] sought only, in exchanges with Daniel Finkelstein, to explain why the Times story about Lord Ahmed’s remarks had not been instantly picked up. No offense was intended,” a spokesman for the Guardian News and Media told the Post

Misrepresented?

The Guardian’s explanation doesn’t make sense. If White was only trying to explain why the Times story about Lord Ahmed’s remarks wasn’t picked up by the BBC, what possible reason would he have for taunting the non-Israeli named Finkelstein about “the illegal settlements” in Israel?

Interestingly it looks like the Guardian is simply parroting White’s own defense on Twitter, where he’s been complaining that his comments have been “doctored” or “corrupted”. Here’s a recent exchange between White and another Tweeter.

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Here’s another.

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Again, here’s a snapshot of the exchange.

white 3

White’s defenders, however, must answer two questions:

1. What did Daniel Finkelstein’s Tweet have to do with Israel or Israeli settlements?

2.  How was the Guardian journalist’s Tweet doctored, distorted or in any way misrepresented?

In fairness, though, Finkelstein has recently defended White on Twitter, arguing that he is not antisemitic.

However, as we’ve argued previously, the question of whether someone is, by nature, antisemitic is not the point.  Antisemitism’ isn’t something you can test for, nor is it some sort of immutable character trait.  It is, rather, more aptly described as the willful embrace of narratives which have the effect of vilifying Jews.  One need not possess any visceral or emotional antipathy towards Jews as such to, nonetheless, succumb to classic antisemitic tropes.

The EU working definition on antisemitism specifically characterizes as antisemitic holding Jews collectively responsible for the state of Israel as, historically, persecution against Jews has often included the automatic imputation of collective Jewish guilt for the perceived crimes of other Jews anywhere in the world.

Holding British citizens – be they Jewish, Christian or Muslim – responsible for the actions of their co-coreligionists abroad is bigoted and morally indefensible.

The antisemitic reflex: A Jew-baiting Tweet by the Guardian’s Michael White

Today, pending an investigation, the Labour Party suspended Baron Ahmed, a member of the House of Lords and the first male Muslim peer in the UK, for claiming that his prison sentence several years ago for dangerous driving resulted from pressure placed on the court system by Jews “who own newspapers and TV channels”.

He reportedly said the following during a TV interview last year.

“My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this.”

Ahmed was imprisoned for 3 months in 2008 after sending text messages while driving.

Today, on Twitter, as news of Ahmed’s suspension was reported, there was this exchange between veteran Guardian journalist Michael White and Daniel Finkelstein, a journalist for The Times.

The exchange continued:

continues

Let’s be clear about what just transpired.

A reporter for The Times expressed surprise that news of a Labour Party investigation into racism against a member of Parliament was not in BBC radio news summaries.

A Guardian journalist, noting that Finkelstein was Jewish, immediately engaged in an ad hominem and completely irrelevant attack, raising the topic of settlements in the state of Israel.

The Guardian reporter’s ugly response to Finkelstein’s Tweet represents the classic antisemitic “reflex” of holding Jews collectively responsible for the perceived sins of the state of Israel – a bigoted association he’s made on at least one other occasion in a column at the Guardian.

Daniel Finkelstein is not an Israeli.

He happens to be a Jew but is no less British than Michael White.

A glimpse of life near the Gaza border: #IsraelUnderFire

I spent the day participating in a media tour of Sderot and other Israeli towns close to the border with Gaza.  

The day included a security briefing, several Code Red (Tzeva Adom) alerts, an unexpected view of the immediate aftermath of a rocket which landed in Sderot, a play by children at a local kibbutz and an analysis of the military situation with Col. Richard Kemp.

Here a brief account of my day via updates on Twitter and Facebook.

11:45

11:48

We then went to Sapir College, near Sderot.  All classes were cancelled due to rocket fire.  

We were listening to a presentation by an academic expert on the psychological trauma caused by terrorism when the Code Red alert sounded.

12:14

The rocket landed in a neighborhood nearby, so our guides took us to the site of the blast.

12:42

Fortunately, there were no injuries.

A boy whose home was right next to where the rocket landed displayed a bit of bravado and claimed a souvenir.

12:47

A minute later there was another Code Red and we were able to get to a bomb shelter in a home near where we were standing.

Sderot residents have 15 seconds to get to safety once they hear the alert.

This was a tiny glimpse into the intolerable situation which residents of Israeli towns within close range of Gaza must deal with constantly.  

12:48

We then toured Kibbutz Alumim and saw the children perform a play dramatizing how they deal with the constant threat of rocket fire, entitled ‘Code Red’. 

We then listened to a military assessment of Israel’s current operation by Col. Richard Kemp, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, who explained the extraordinary efforts of the IDF to avoid civilian casualties – resulting in a civilian to combatant ratio in Cast Lead, and Pillar of Defense, far superior to recent NATO operations.

Finally, we took a brief detour to get a glimpse at an Israeli tank stationed near the Gaza border.

More than 1200 rockets have been launched at Israeli towns since November 10, and over 12,800 since 2001.

BBC’s Jon Donnison Tweets malicious fauxtography

This is cross posted by Hadar Sela, who originally posted this piece at our sister site, BBC Watch

Among the recent Tweets on the BBC Gaza correspondent Jon Donnison’s Twitter timeline we find this:

For the Twitter uninitiated, Donnison is retweeting to his 7,971 followers a Tweet by one Hazem Balousha – a Palestinian ‘journalist and social activist’ – including a picture titled “Pain in Gaza”, to which Donnison adds his own commentary – “Heartbreaking”.

The picture is indeed heartbreaking:

Except  – as has already been pointed out to Donnison – it does not come from Gaza.

Here is the original picture:

Up to now, it may have been possible to put down Jon Donnison’s frequently problematic reporting to a lack of knowledge and understanding of the region.

However, his decision to promote deliberate misinformation – either knowingly or as a result of a complete failure to check facts – indicates that he is not merely naïve.  

Donnison has rendered himself no longer fit for the purpose of accurate and impartial reporting from the Middle East in accordance with the BBC’s legal obligations. 

Update: 

This is just in: 

Sorry – that is nowhere near sufficient.