Guardian

Who guards The Guardian?


Oh dear.  It looks as though the wind has changed direction.  Seth Freedman is at it again at “the other place.”

Look at the opening paragraph:

“Gone are the days when history was written solely by the victors. In today’s democratised climate of instantly disseminated words and images, those on either side of a battlefield have the potential to feed facts and figures to media outlets around the world, or to pass on video footage and photographs that their opponents might prefer never saw the light of day.”

What’s this?  “democratised climate???” On ‘Comment is Free’???    And “facts and figures”withal!   I particularly like the bit above about video footage and photographs that their opponents might prefer never saw the light of day.   (Freedman has obviously forgotten “Green Helmet’s” cynically manipulative play acting and lies about the injured of Qana in the last Lebanon war and the deliberately doctored camera footage on Reuters at that time.  No, this naïf actually believes that the camera never ever lies!)

And then he refers to a new document by B’Tselem and yes, we are again playing the numbers game about the dead in the Gaza war.  Of course Freedman clings to B’Tselem like a drowning man to a life raft – this is ‘Comment is Free ‘after all – and says that B’Tselem is completely open and has nothing to hide, unlike the IDF.  And he gets at least one thing right – people will probably criticise the report (and rightly so because B’Tselem is hardly neutral is it?).

Our Freedman, however, is not fond of any sort of criticism and so, true to form,  he rubbishes the rejoinders to B’Tselem’s report:

“….In the political cauldron of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the question of “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” has been turned into a cottage industry, with layer upon layer of self-styled watchmen declaring themselves – and only themselves – to be in possession of the pure, unadulterated truth….”

Oh, really?  Doesn’t that apply equally to his articles on ‘Comment is Free’ and to this one about B’Tselem?  For those readers who don’t have Latin, see below.  For myself, I think Freedman lifted this from some “quotable quotes” website or other in an attempt to lend his work more gravitas.

And the column goes downhill from there.  We then get Freedman quoting from another of his own Comment is Free articles to shore up equally tendentious arguments in a circular fashion (ie Freedman says this is true because Freedman said so before).  However, he does try to redeem himself in the current one by  informing us that B’Tselem says that Hamas’ shelling of Israeli civilians is a war crime.

So what are we to make of all this?  What are we to make of the reworking of the same old “Israel is bad” theme from another of ‘Comment is Free’s ‘house Jews?  It is well known that if one goes out as a reporter expecting to find wrongdoing one will find it, whereas to go out with an open mind brings one closer to what Freedman refers to as the unadulterated truth.

We know that B’Tselem has biases but Freedman gives us no indication that he knows this as well,  or perhaps he is selective in the “truth” he himself writes about.  He is merely reverting to type – he criticises the NGOs who he knows will criticise B’Tselem’s report in almost the same way as comments critical of his views are swiftly deleted from his articles on ‘Comment is Free’.  He quotes Latin at us about the “cottage industry” of those who are self-styled keepers of the pure unadulterated truth, and yet he is apparently oblivious of the fact that he writes regularly for a blog which silences anyone who disagrees with his or its “truth” about his adopted country.

Oh yes, the Latin:  quis custodiet ipsos custodes means “Who guards the guardians?” In this instance, in the sense that Freedman means it and particularly in the case of Comment is Free, he might have more honestly written (as one self-styled guardian of “the truth”)  quis custodiet ipsum Custodem “Who guards The Guardian?”

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61 replies »

  1. Exile:
    Watch the interview – Benny Morris clearly didn’t allow for any variables – he gave the bald statistics
    —-
    Yes I have watched the interview. You have not attempted to explain his motive. Why should one of the foremost historians in his field endanger his reputation for the sake of scoring a point in an interview when he knows that he has handed a.weapon to his opponents if he is inaccurate?

  2. What Benny Morris is perhaps saying is that the cultural divide between Western Liberal Democratic Israel and Arab Muslim culture is simply too great to ever allow integration. This has been obvious to me for many years and the UK is now chewing on the problem of integration not only of Arab Muslims but all Muslim immigrants into the UK.

    I think that he worded ihis statement badly.

    As you intimated. It would have been so much better if

    1. A Muslim had voiced those expressions rather than an Israeli Jew.

    2. He had perhaps mentioned that certain factors bring about a situation where a car maintained by an Arab family may be less ‘safe’ than one maintained by a Jewish Israeli family. I cannot say if this is true or not because Arabs live in much bigger houses than Jews do. They spend their money on house square footage rather than family transport. So if they use the money to build a large house and purchase an old car, it still boils down to less respect for human life.

    On a global level.

    Sunnui Muslims are slaughtering Shia Muslims in Iraq and the other way round.

    Black Arab Muslims are slaughtering Black Muslims in Darfur. And the other way round. Yet hardly a peep from the various UK Muslim organisation who are so fanatically enraged when Israel kills any Muslims. Hardly a peep from the ‘usual suspects’ who are so active on CI(F) threads concerned with the I/P conflict.

    But back to Benny. He has seen the light. The Palestinians/Muslims/Arabs are not ready for a true peace with Israel. He has finally understood it. Most European politicians understand it even though they are unintelligibly pressing for a settlement. Any settlement arrived at now with this pressure and that pressure will be signed by a country that really wants peace and the other side who still dream of destroying the other side.

    Military action has failed miserably they are saying to themselves. Perhaps ‘peace’ can be utilized to bring about the destruction of this evil colonialist apartheid and extremely successful Israeli state.

    You know it exiled.

    I know that you know it.

  3. Mita,

    “Yes I have watched the interview. You have not attempted to explain his motive. Why should one of the foremost historians in his field endanger his reputation for the sake of scoring a point in an interview when he knows that he has handed a.weapon to his opponents if he is inaccurate?”

    I didn’t say he was innaccurate – I said he made no attempt at contextualising his comments, despite being pressed to do so.

    His motives? He’s making a political statement rather than a historic one. Historians have political beliefs like anyone else, and Benny Morris’s have become increasingly extreme and racially motivated.

    Why do any of them do it? Irving, Finklestein, Pappe, Morris? Because consciously or unconciously, their political views colour their judgements.

    JerusalemMite,

    “This has been obvious to me for many years and the UK is now chewing on the problem of integration not only of Arab Muslims but all Muslim immigrants into the UK.”

    Sure, but only the BNP has come to the same conclusion as you have.

    “I think that he worded his statement badly. As you intimated. It would have been so much better if 1. A Muslim had voiced those expressions rather than an Israeli Jew. 2. He had perhaps mentioned that certain factors bring about a situation.”

    Possibly, but that wouldn’t have served his purpose – a nuanced statement, or one with context wouldn’t have backed up his central message, that Israelis are better than Palestinians.

    “Military action has failed miserably they are saying to themselves. Perhaps ‘peace’ can be utilized to bring about the destruction of this evil colonialist apartheid and extremely successful Israeli state.”

    If you really believe that, then you don’t want peace.

    “You know it exiled. I know that you know it.”

    At the risk of sounding like Donny Rumsfeld, I don’t know that I know it.

  4. Exile I didn’t say he was innaccurate – I said he made no attempt at contextualising his comments, despite being pressed to do so.

    His motives? He’s making a political statement rather than a historic one. Historians have political beliefs like anyone else, and Benny Morris’s have become increasingly extreme and racially motivated
    ———-
    Or you reject it by your conviction that he can’t be telling the truth because of your own feeling about cultural behaviour and your reverse bigotry.

  5. exiled how much do you really know about how Arab Muslims construe “peace” with an enemy which it believes it should fight until the end of days?

    You, like so many others, make the mistake of approaching this from a western perspective. The Israeli government has only recently cottoned on to the fact that it should approach this from an Islamic perspective and act accordingly.

    Prof Moshe Sharon wrote in 2002:

    “..- I regret to say but many people in Israel do not understand what such treaties are worth. Islam does not envisage in principle any peace treaty with “infidels”. Real treaties are possible only between Muslims. The principle of commanded war is always in force and waits for the time and real chance to be realized.

    “Even Anwar Sadat who put his signature under the “peace treaty” knew that he was signing only a temporary cease-fire agreement. But Sadat made a sin and broke the commandment when he publicly announced, “There will be no war any more. No bloodshed”, – and paid his life for that…

    He continues about the concept of jihad:

    “… – Those who support Muslims try to represent this notion like it looks in the West. They say it is a “struggle” for Muslims’ interests. It is not true. This is a bloody war to the final victory until the enemy surrenders to Islam.

    “Traditional Muslim books say that Islam will take over the world but only after Muslims defeat and destroy Jews. These books also say that Jews will hide themselves behind trees and rocks. But the time comes and one “great day” the rocks and trees will start shouting: ” Hey, Muslim, there is a Jew behind me! Come and kill him!”

    “Only one tree will keep silence. In Islamic it is called “el oseg” (the tree of Jews). I mean the tree of sne (a bush from which God appeared before Moshe). This tree is mentioned in Muslim books for Muslims not to forget to look for Jews even behind this tree. These books are studied in all Arab schools, and political leaders make quotations from them in their speeches…”

    Now, I am inclined to believe Prof Sharon, who, after all, has made a lifetime study of Islam and Islamism

  6. Demeter,

    I just googled Professor Moshe Sharon.

    He seems to be something of a specialist in the demonisation of Arabs and Muslims, often for such academic publishers as danielpipes.com, campuswatch, the JP, Arutz7 – he is a former advisor to Manachem Begin, and a former director of the World Zionist Organisation.

    Well, I guess it’s a living…..

  7. exiledlondoner

    Please provide the statistics for these:

    In Britain burglary and car crime are largely the preserve of young white men, growing skunk has become a vietnamese speciality, during the 30s and 40s the ‘razor gangs’ were mainly Italians and Maltese, and major fraud convictions involve a disproportionate number of Jews.

  8. Ariadne,

    “Please provide the statistics for these”

    Find them yourself.

    If you want to challenge any part of what I wrote, please feel free to provide evidence that I’m wrong – then we can debate the evidence.

  9. Another post deleted, but now there’s a new way of doing it. When I pressed the post your comment button, I received the following:

    Thank you for your comment. This has been submitted for moderation.

    b>Posted to Dan Koskys thread, Goldstones sins of omission<b

    Let's face it, Israel is on a hiding to nothing.

    Defend itself and get pilloried. Don't defend itself and have its citizens targeted by individuals and organisations sworn to eradicate the Jewish state and its inhabitants AND Jews throughout the world.

    On the charge of defending itself, regulars here on CiF will have you believe Israel should not have undertaken Cast Lead and that the number of Gazan civilians killed were only as a result of Israeli action. No allowance is given for the 8 years of missile attacks from Gaza into Israel. Nor is there any consideration for Gazan civilians herded by Hamas into areas from which Hamas targeted Israel, inviting a direct response, i. e. into a crowd of civilians.

    It is internationally recognised that both Hamas and HezB'Allah have as part of their declared creed, the intention to destroy and remove the Israeli state and further, to kill Jews in Israel and in the diaspora.

    There are always choruses of 'yes but', when this is mentioned, but the truth is H & H not only don't want an Israeli state – they want to complete what Hitler left unfinished.

    Since the horrors of 1933-1945, there have been unspeakable attempts at genocide in the Cambodia, the Balkans and more recently in Africa.

    During none of these appalling crimes did the UN ride in to the rescue of those being butchered. Only after the savagery was well underway did other independent states, make the effort to intercede and try to stop the killing.

    So why is it a surprise that Israel feels the need to do all in its power to defend itself and its citizens? Its not as if the UN or anyone else will come riding to the rescue should the Arab states mount a concerted effort to attack Israel.

    That would certainly lead to a true genocide as has been called for by H&H. But again, those on this cite will have you believe Israel is causing agenocide of Palestinians. How so? Palestinian number are going up, not down and more quickly that Israelis. How is that a genocide?

    Detractors of Israel defend the Goldstone report, whether or not they have read it in some cases, saying that Israel is guilty of war crimes.

    I haven't read the report and I have no more evidence than anyone else who was not involved, but my question has to be, why is there such forensic examination of every Israeli action? Why is Israel held to greater account than any other state or even non-state?

    According to a very quick search there are 195 countries in the world. I would hazard a guess because it certainly seems that way that based on size or per capita population, Israel gets more media coverage than any other state, and is held to higher account than anyone else. Why?

    The members of the UN Human Rights Council include Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Pakistan, Bahrain, Mauritius and Qatar. Am I alone in wondering how states like Saudi, Cuba and Pakistan whose human rights records are to say the least, questionable, are in a position to pass judgement on Israel, which is at least a democracy with an independent judiciary?

    It would be idiotic to contend that Israel is always blameless, but it would be no less idiotic to claim it is always in the wrong, as is so often claimed here on CiF.

    I haven't read the report – reviews I've seen of it have been pretty damning, but then it seems based on a highly suspicious premise.

    If people weren't generally so anxious to dissect and condemn every Israeli action, the friends of Israel could feel more relaxed about examining real issues. As it is, when I see the torrents of angry, unthinking condemnation, inevitably, the shields go up and you defeat your cause.

    As I said at the top, lets face it, Israel, no matter what it does, is on a hiding to nothing.
    ___________________________________________________________The above post has yet to appear (some hours later).

    Seems like Comment is Free only for some.

  10. I was looking back at this thread. Had to reply to exiled:

    Exiled go to Comment is Free, in fact, stay at Comment is Free. How many of their stable of house Jews, Islamists and the dregs of the loony Left make a habit and in some cases a career of demonising Israel and/or Jews?

    At least Prof Sharon does his research, which is more than can be said of the likes of Freedman and Ben White.