Guardian

Not All Comment is Free (but we knew that)


The estimable Andre Oboler has a new article on Harry’s Place, about Holocaust Denial on Facebook.

Oboler’s piece was turned down by CiF because “I think it’s really going over the same ground as your last piece”.  The last piece is here.

Even if it were true, this rejection demonstrates how sloped the Guardian’s playing-field is between articles which are pro-Israel or attack antisemitism and articles which do the opposite. Just go through Antony Lerman’s articles on CIF, for example. Count the number of articles where he (implicitly or explicitly) attacks the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism for including some aspects of discourse about Israel. Here are just three examples:   24 July and 4 May and 2 April.

It isn’t even true that Oboler’s new piece covers the same ground as his last piece. There is important new material there – such as spelling out why Holocaust Denial is wrong.

What do you think?

This is not the only case in recent months where CiF has rejected a perfectly good article on Israel or antisemitism (maybe you know of the cases we have in mind).

It’s not as if there is a glut of such articles on CiF…

59 replies »

  1. modernityblog

    I think a few currents flowed together at the end of the nineties. For example, that is when the Fourth Geneva Convention nonsense started, instigated by Arabs who eventually succeeded in having the High Contracting Parties reconvene for the first time. For the sole purpose of deceitfully maligning Israel.

    I have known a dyed-in-the-wool leftie claim that the UN exists only to prevent major powers going to war and that Israel is a nugatory concern. I don’t think any country so malignantly discussed and censured so often is nugatory.

  2. Ariadne

    I do agree that British antisemitism is not of the type that led to pogroms.

    To the extent that British anti-Semitism encourages Arab violence against Israeli Jews, I’m not sure I see the distinction.

  3. TastySabra

    Attacks on Jews – not all Israeli – are certainly abhorrent and increasing but they aren’t anything near pogrom level.

    modernityblog was making the point that the British working class is not as antisemitic as Russian.

    I don’t think as many people make aliyah from Britain as from France.

  4. Well, Labor Day draws to a close and here we are again!

    What is strange is that the moderation policy (and I think the use of the word “policy” is a misnomer since you can clearly see the bias of different moderators at work as they delete certain comments and leave others) is so objectionable, and so destructive, to the site itself. By the time the moderators are done with deleting and banning, there is sometimes little left of the thread. There’s a new Freedman article that’s getting “the treatment” right now, and comments by those who support Israel are disappearing by the minute, leaving the Israel bashers talking to each other like a flock of parrots repeating the same limited and tired stuff over and over again.

    It sometimes seems as if its enough for one disgruntled commentator to hit the “abuse” button and a comment is deleted, at others it is almost as if moderators bored with the incessant merry-go-round of the same comments on the I/P threads simply decide to get their revenge through wholesale deletions. That fellow talknic (currently “postingon”) seems to have declared a private war against the moderators who must be sick of him reappearing in his endless new reincarnations!!

    But returning to the topic of this thread – you should not only copy your own comments that you want to save, but those of others that might be deleted that you find particularly interesting or disgusting. The scythes of the moderators swing both ways, and there also seems to be a policy of embellishing the site by removing the really objectionable posts. Perhaps all those comments about anti-Semitism have, in fact, raised awareness. Or not.

  5. Ariadne,

    Thanks for that, also I am making the point that anti-Jewish racism in Britain is split across class lines.

    By that I mean, you will find anti-Jewish racism in academia, in journalism and the media but rarely amongst the British working classes, that’s to say it’s not completely absent, rather that the trend we see in Britain is predominantly found in the British intelligentsia, not the average person in the street.

    There still is a fair amount of xenophobia, low-level racism and bigotry in the British working classes but it is generalized, and more likely to be aimed at Asians rather than Jews.

    That could change with the growth of the BNP, but we’ll have to see.

  6. Ariadne

    Attacks on Jews – not all Israeli – are certainly abhorrent and increasing but they aren’t anything near pogrom level.

    modernityblog was making the point that the British working class is not as antisemitic as Russian.

    Isn’t there a Yiddish expression, “A bit, a bit, fills the whole bowl”?

    Neither the UK nor France have had major pogroms for centuries, yet a significant portion of French Jewry see no future for themselves in France. This is because the steady drip-drip-drip of daily, commonplace, widespread, “soft” anti-Semitism adds up to the same effect as sporadic outbursts of “hard,” violent anti-Semitism on the scale of pogroms.

    The same logic applies to the UK. After all, prior to 1930, the level of anti-Semitic violence in western Europe generally was negligible compared to the level in the east (Russia, Baltcs, Ukraine, …). That wasn’t much help to the western European Jews turned over to the Nazis by their own governments.

    I thus re-affirm my surprise at the comment, “I do agree that British antisemitism is not of the type that led to pogroms.” Anti-semitism is anti-Semitism, and the statement sounds suspiciously like, “Our anti-Semites aren’t so bad as theirs.”

    I don’t believe it.

  7. Hello Leon and Akus. What the hell? I was banned for posting about Michael F*ckin Jackson! Such a disgrace…

    But this “Berchmans award” thing they got here is just plain insulting. Even when I disagreed with Berchmans (which was most of the time), the man has a good heart. This is just nasty spite.

    moishe