Guardian

How Low will they Go? Pro-Israel Posters Accused of Being on Israeli Government Payroll


In the latest Lerman thread, a self-confessed anti-Zionist commenter stated “[p]lease remember that the Israeli Foreign Office pays people to post here. This means that any pro-Israeli view is more than likely to be yet another instance of Israeli propaganda.”

While unfortunately one has come to expect this kind of “conspiracy theory” discourse from commenters on CiF, it is quite another to hear this from a member of the Guardian who holds a senior position there. But that is precisely what happened today and this is not the first time.

Brian Whitaker, commissioning editor of ‘Comment is Free’, fueled the “discussion” by, among other things, linking to a Ynet news article on “Israeli government’s internet activities”. When a ‘pro-Israel’ poster pointed out that this is a “serious, ugly, and counter-productive allegation, (should I add slanderous?) which unfairly taints any comment favoring Israel”, Whitaker responded by saying:

“I was just providing some supplementary information. Israel’s efforts to organise and co-ordinate internet “talkback” have been widely reported, though some commenters here seem to be sceptical.”

Given that the phenomenon of “nation branding” is nothing new and many other countries engage in other similar endeavors to improve their image abroad, what is it that motivates a member of the Guardian’s senior editorial team to specifically interject himself into the comment thread and slur pro-Israel posters in such a manner? And come to think of it, why is it that pro-Israel posters are specifically being singled out?

Because of CiF’s obsession with Israel and Whitaker’s prominent position with the Guardian, the upshot of his uncalled for intervention is to lend credence to the notion that there indeed is a Jewish conspiracy, whether or not this was actually his intention.

Meanwhile, Tony Lerman injects his own poison into the debate by stating:

“As for references being made to Cifwatch, I think its only fair to point out, before anyone gets too excited, that its basically a smear site, happy to make repeated unsubstantiated allegations about the views and biographies of people the sites initiators disagree with. And they fearlessly fight the good fight for truth and openness – by hiding behind pseudonyms.”

So I ask, who precisely is being smeared here? And what precisely are the unsubstantiated allegations that Lerman is referring to?

118 replies »

  1. All of this drama is hurting my head. All I want to know is if I venture into the hell hole that is CiF and write a pro-Israel post, can I expect a check from the Israeli Government? My car could use some repairs.

  2. leonwells,”Sorry? I don’t get you. Would you care to explain”

    You suck as a wind-up artist. You are just too primitive to finesses it. I know what you will say ten turns ahead. Go play your silly games somewhere else.

  3. Afraid not, Jonathan, it’s one of those anti-semitic conspiracies we wish were true. What actually happens is, you write a pro Israel post on CIF and you get deleted. Then you will be attacked, then you’ll respond and your post will be deleted.
    If you are targeted by LaRit, Dotty, Berchmans et al – you’ll be lucky not to have nearly all your posts deleted plus you’ll probably get pre-modded to boot.
    If you’re ExiledLondonor or LaRit you can discuss CIFWatch, if you’re PhyllisStein, you can’t.
    if you’re LaRit you can post libellous comment and yet, the one she libels get pre-moderted. But it gets better, if you’re LaRit you can claims regarding death threats that absolutely nobody knows anything about, even the police, but non of that bothers CIF. CIFWatch is the smear site, you see, CIF is just fab – so long as you’re LaRitournelle or Dotty or Berchmans and Co.

  4. SaraR,

    Berchamans is dumb as a doorknob. He appeared on the scene about three years ago. He is like CiF’s self-appointed agent provocateur. His basic modus operandi is to provoke us. You fight back and he clicks to alert CiF censors to get you premodded. He is not alone like that. There are others like him.

  5. Berchmans might not be quiet as dumb as you think, Sergio. He has a charmed existance on CIF. Like a few more whom CIF more than seem to favor.

  6. Let’s not give him too much credit here, Sara. Other than his perennial ” there is no anti-Semitism on CiF” or something to this effect, he never says much else.

  7. Woof

    If you (or anyone else here) can’t substantiate your allegations that I am an anti-Semite and “obsessed with Jews” — I’ll assume that they are unfounded.

    The ball is in your court.

  8. sergio bramsole

    “You suck as a wind-up artist. You are just too primitive to finesses it. I know what you will say ten turns ahead. Go play your silly games somewhere else.”

    In other words — you can’t explain your earlier comment, am I right?

    “If you defend him (Dan Rickman) then I prove my case beyond any reasonable doubt”

  9. Although the tenor of this discussion is shriller than I expected, popping in here reveals one interesting fact – the Guardian’s policy of banning people, with a pretty broad brush – after all, Dotty has been banned “count”less times (eh, Leon?) as well as some of his harshest critics – has moved the debate away from that site to here. CIFWatch has already shown by its creation that the Guardian’s biased obsession with Israel and Jews can be challenged successfully.

    They are pretty ineffective anyway – Dotty resurfaces as Btselempaul, that tiresome 63-year-old alte-kakker from Australia is back as interested1, and no doubt there are others. But some seem to live a charmed life – berchman’s for example, hiding rabid anti-semitism under “humorous” protestations against calling anti-semites out – and never appearing till their comments are removed, so he can keep his virtual nose clean by requesting references to the anti-semitc comments that have akready been removed.

  10. John Brown,

    You touch on an important point – banned posters returning under new usernames. CIF Watch calls for some posters to be banned, but does that actually help?

    For many posters, on both sides of the debate, banning is merely an opportunity to jettison their past posting history and start afresh – hardly much of a threat….

  11. John Brown.

    But some seem to live a charmed life – berchman’s for example, hiding rabid anti-semitism under “humorous” protestations against calling anti-semites out – and never appearing till their comments are removed, so he can keep his virtual nose clean by requesting references to the anti-semitc comments that have akready been removed.

    I have noticed that too.

    However, I also noticed various posters mentioning that the are keeping personal records of Berchmans and presumably to circumvent CI(F) protectionism.

    I personally regret never keeping Halgeel44’s comments about ‘Doctors with Jewish sounding names cutting up womens vaginae for huge amounts of money’. No record of these blatantly antisemitic comments can be found on the Guardian site yet she is still posting there. Most commenters seem to regard her as a great entertainer though.

    She has this thing about ‘white skins’.

  12. If someone wrote about the “covetness of Jews” I think anyone defending the author might have a hard time in persuading others some of that authors best freinds are Jews.

  13. Okay then, friends:

    If no-one can substantiate the allegations of anti-Semitism and “obsession with Jews” leveled at CiF commenter, LeonWells — perhaps the directors of this blog would be good enough to remove his name from the ‘watch list’.

    Thank you.