Come meet BellaM, one of the Guardian’s biased anti-Israel Mods

I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice that there is a Guardian moderator who is a relative newcomer to the I/P threads and who has been trying in vain to keep the threads on track.

A few days ago we had BellaM trying to keep the Michelle Goldberg thread on track despite the fact that her colleague, Brian Whitaker, completely undermined BellaM’s protestations as Whitaker failed miserably to defend against the charges of Guardian anti-Israel bias.

Then a couple of days ago, we had BellaM on the Seth Freedman thread complaining about how Berchmans diverted the thread because of his constant trolling.


30 Oct 09, 3:35pm

Staff Staff

Much as some might like, this thread is not about Berchmans or his opinions. Stick to the article people, or to use that horribly cliched phrase ‘ play the ball, not the man.’

Word of advice Bella. If you had banned Berchmans you wouldn’t have to put up with his inanities and antisemitic jibes on the I/P threads that rile up the Jewish posters and others and that throw them off-topic.

However, your failure to ban Berchmans and numerous other antisemitic commenters is I  suspect more as a result that there are double standards at play.

For example, would you ever make the following comment to Berchmans in the context of his anti-Israel and antisemitic comments.


27 Oct 09, 2:16pm

Staff Staff


You’ve posted over 2000 contributions here since you joined up. Nearly all of those are on threads that cover women’s issues. And your posts are always negative. Do you hate all women or just feminists?

I think not.

And lets take a look at this comment you posted recently.


17 Sep 09, 2:54pm

Staff Staff



Shockingly, The Guardian censors are removing all trace of posts that are do not agree with their political positions.

Let me just state categorically, we do not do this. The Guardian has hundreds of staff, and believe it or not, there is no official position to disagree with. You only have to read any article to see lots of varied opinions.

BlindInjustice2 posted the story of how his measured and reasoned contributions to the Israel/Palestine debate had been deleted by moderators.

This user was previously banned, so his comments were removed.

I found it hard to believe, until they deleted all trace of my own comment condeming such censorship.

If you read the talk policy, you’ll see that comments that refer to deleted posts, are removed without a marker.

Political censorship has no place in what purports to be a public forum for free debate. The very least The Guardian could do if they are going to engage in such behaviour is be honest about it and state in their moderation policy that they will delete comments that are opposed to their own political views.

I don’t know if there is much point trying to convince you that this doesn’t happen, but I think I’ve explained the situation you refer to as well as I can.

Well BellaM dear, in the words of a certain colleague of yours – what utter rubbish. Let me say categorically to you that the Guardian removes posts that do not comport to the Guardian World View. And there is nothing like incontrovertible evidence to demonstrate the complete falsity of your statements above.

Here’s a comment that was deleted yesterday from the Melanie Phillips bashing thread 




31 Oct 09, 12:11pm


I will stand up for Mel anyday. Cif readers amongst their own may feel very comfy bullying her from the protection of their homes, but in the real world she is very, very well repected. She says things as they are and will not conform to political correctness.

Ed, it is easy to write from your computer but when confronted on with Melanie Phillips face to face on live tv you run. Melanie is not only articulate with the pen, but pretty powerful on live debates. She can dish out the facts and any opponent that doesn’t have their wits about them will be made into mincemeat.

Yes sabraguy, it is shame we don’t have more like her. The baying of the crowds on cif against Israel, the Jewish homeland, reminds me of the thugs of 1930’s Germany. They all deserve each other. Is it some coincidence that this piece was put out on Saturday morning, when a lot of people who might debate this article aren’t at their computers?

Or how about the deletion of MindtheCrap’s 3.39pm Oct. 28, 2009 comment which included the following indictment of the Guardian in the context of his ‘debate’ with Brian Whitaker on the subject which we reported about here:

Please explain why during the week prior to the start of Cast Lead, when Hamas was firing 70+ rockets daily into Israel, the Guardian did not report these events, even though its full-time reporters in the area were obviously aware of the pending Israeli reaction?

“Probably it wasn’t considered newsworthy” ????

And what about MindtheCrap’s 4.37pm Oct. 28, 2009 comment in the same ‘debate’ with Brian Whitaker.

MindTheCrap 28 Oct 09, 4:37pm


MindTheCrap: You’re just making this rubbish up and it doesn’t fool anyone.
Now go and compare that with the coverage in other newspapers.

The problem is that the articles that you cite are from Dec 19 & 20; Cast Lead started on Dec 27. During that week there were 70+ rockets fired daily on Sderot and environs from Gaza. A quick check of the Guardian archives shows that there were no reports on these attacks between Dec 21 and 26. 

I check the facts before I make any claims. 

Now go and compare that with the coverage in other newspapers. 

Do you realize that you have made Brian Whitaker to be more of a fool than he already is. Not only is Brian Whitaker unable to answer the very serious charges against the Guardian concerning anti-Israel bias but the Guardian deletes the very charges brought against it while leaving up Brian Whitaker’s pathetic responses. If that’s not censorship then I don’t know what is.

And we have a great selection of more deleted comments from our very popular ‘Shit the Guardian is Burning‘ post as well as the Guardian World View in Action on the Galloway Thread post, the Biased Anti-Jewish Moderation in Action on the Hirsch Thread post and the Guardian World View in Action on the Ben White Thread post.

Anyway, lets take a look at another gem of a comment you made.


12 Sep 09, 12:40pm

Staff Staff


Of course, and some of the below the line commenters that have written above the line have had some of the best threads on Cif. Without the BTL input, we’d never have had articles from people like BeautifulBurnout, MsWoman, Annetan42, TrueLeft, LeftWingOrthodoxJew, BeatonTheDonis, PhilipHall and all the others I could mention.

I sometimes think Cif is like a see saw, the piece and the comments in some way balance each other. An article which is vehemently disagreed with will be put to rights by the commenters, and an article which is well liked can bring about great debate and becomes a lovely place to contribute. An article needs BTL comments to complete it.

But now I’m off topic, so I’ll just say – I can’t believe you got paid for this drivel. Who commissioned this tosh?

You gotta be kidding me. The BTL contributors you hold in such esteem include BeatonTheDonis who has a track record of making antisemitic comments as demonstrated here and don’t get me started on LeftWingOrthodoxJew. And what do you have to say about the “see sawing” that went on in the Harold Evans thread? Were the ad hominem attacks on the estimable Harold Evans supposed to somehow balance his article that came out against the Goldstone Report.

Or how about your own ad hominem attack on Melanie Phillips yesterday?


31 Oct 09, 9:53am

Staff Staff

I imagine she’s like that character in Little Britain who is violently sick every time she hears the words ‘black or gay.’ Except for Melanie, the word would be ‘Muslim.’

Wow. Is there some competition going on between you, Brian, Matt and Georgina to see who can make the most idiotic comment on CiF so that it can get featured on CiF Watch? Need I remind you as a Guardian Moderator that your own community standards and talk policy provide that “[w]e welcome debate and dissent, but personal attacks (on authors, other users or any individual), persistent trolling and mindless abuse will not be tolerated.” So please enlighten me as to how accusing Melanie Phillips of being a violently sick racist is anything but a personal attack on an individual not to mention the fact that you have most probably made an actionable defamatory statement. And consider this: if the same comment was made about Seth Freedman, Anthony Lerman, Ben White or any other of your superstar Israel-demonizers in the context of “Israelis” how long that comment would last (or the commenter for that matter).

I then saw this comment posted by you about Gilad Shalit and for a moment I thought there were some redeeming qualities about you until I read the last sentence.


03 Sep 09, 5:50pm

Staff Staff

They should swap Shalit for the 10,000 unnamed Arab prisoners and Marwan Barghouti.

Would you really want to show Hamas that you’re open to this type of negotiation? Israelis would be left incredibly vulnerable from this action. Hamas should not be allowed any kind of leverage from it’s action here. They cannot expect Israel to make any sort of progress with them until Shalit is given back to his family. The actions of Hamas in this story give credence to the myth that they don’t want peace. [emphasis added]

I had to read that one twice out of sheer disbelief. In actuality, you are saying that Hamas wants peace. What planet are you living on girl? Did you ever take a look at the Hamas Charter (I included the link so you can view it – take a look at Article 13 for example)? Are you aware of the numerous suicide bombings and rocket attacks? Have you listened to what Hamas leaders have said in Arabic on Al-Aqsa TV? Or have you been spending too much time in Brian Whitaker’s company?

Let me end this with a comment you made to one of the CiF commenters not so long ago.


26 Aug 09, 3:55pm

Staff Staff


Just wanted to say, if you’re ever in King’s Cross sometime, come in to the Guardian and I’ll buy you a drink for that comment.

I wonder whether you’ll be inviting me up to the Guardian for a drink sometime after this. You are as you know fast becoming a Cif Watch favorite!

65 replies »

  1. Margie

    A right-wing blogger you might not like says that if you refer to the “West Bank” rather than “Judea and Samaria” then you should refer to Jerusalem as “al-Quds” since you are promoting the Arab imperialist nomenclature.

    Please don’t shoot the messenger!

  2. Ariadne: Oh dear: political minefields here. Petra uses Westbank as one word, I’ve noticed. I would normally say Shtahim. So perhaps I should use ‘territories’ in English?

    No attack: interesting comment.

  3. Margie: I’m not sure that wouldn’t be misunderstood or twisted. About ten years ago one could correct “occupied territories” to “disputed territories”, or even better, use “the Territories”.

    Now however the use of the deceitful “(belligerent) occupation” is so predominant that I think you’d have to produce the history every time you used “territories”.

  4. Hi Margie

    Well, you can see the attitude of some of the anti Israel posters who consider the rocket attacks against Israeli citizens as little more than large firecrackers. Additionally, no terrorist organization deserves a blank check on terrorist activities because they’re technologically disadvantaged, thus Cast Lead was inevitable (and right). I also pull for the underdog – in sports, not killing.


  5. The anti-semitism is shocking, but the pro-Muslim slant of CiF is equally so. I had made a number of comments on the history of Mohammed and Islam, all deleted, then i got banned. The Guardian’s ‘narrative’ is that Islam is a religion of peace, no facts that might question this are allowed.

    Any comment along these lines will get you banned:

    According to the NSA, 50% of the world’s known terrorist groups are Islamic, no other religion comes close.

    Mohammed assassinated his political opponents and allowed his followers to lie to achieve this.

    Mohammed had 600 Jews beheaded at Medina market.

    Mohammed annihilated the 3 Jewish tribes of Arabia.

    The Koran has a unique theological idea called abrogation, where the earlier more peaceful verses, written in Mecca, are superceded by the more violent verses written in Medina.

    All of these are easily checkable facts, but they don’t fit the narrative of Muslims are innocent, so they are banned. Guardian writers don’t seem to read any books criticising Islam, or even the Koran for that matter.

  6. Jimster, when its commissioning editor, the Al-Babbler Brian Whitaker is pro Arab and doesn’t hesitate to show his own anti-Israel, pro-Muslim biases below the line, what else can you expect?

    Well, how’s this:

    I feel like being as paranoid as Whitaker and, as part of the joke I propose my own “hidden hand” conspiracy with al-Grauniad and CiF at its centre. Just as Whitaker actually believes that those who run this site are paid agents of the Israeli government, I feel entitled believe that Whitaker is a plant from Hizb-ut-Tahrir and that he, Henry and Seaton are affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood as are most if not all of the moderators, including Bella M.

    Only this can explain the increasingly anti-Jewish/anti-Israel and pro-Muslim bent of CiF. And sometimes the truth is stranger than we think…… :~)))

  7. Jimster

    For the Guardian, fiction is preferable if it promotes tolerance – at least for Muslims. Ironically, fiction is also preferable if it promotes hatred for the Jewish state (AIPAC, carpet bombing, etc.).

    To the Guardian, the fact that 50% of the conflicts involve Muslims just shows how pervasively the west has meddled into the affairs of the third world. Its not their fault.

  8. Yair Lapid is right,sue them.This idea has been floating around for quite a while,but no one bothered to take it any further.Perhaps Yair would like to give it a shot.I for one would donate generously,if a a fund were to be set up for this purpose.Akus are you up to it,there is a job opening here.

  9. Suing the Guardian is a big mistake. For a start it perpetuates the stereotype of the Jew as professional money-grabber. Second, any action is unlikely to succeed as lots of the bile is op-ed. Third, a failed action would buoy the Guardian and its peers and mostly likely increase the amount of anti-Israel guff being churned out.

    The Guardian as an institution is a short term problem anyway. It’s going bust.

  10. Greg I agree with the final part of your post at least:

    Someone I know – an ethical journalist – said that if anyone wanted to break al-Grauniad then the best way to do it is to find enough money to buy Auto Trader, which bankrolls it.

    If the Guardian was sued by Jews and lost, then said Jews could undermine the stereotype you refer to by donating what they had been awarded to charity.

  11. I find it extremely interesting that it is necessary to monitor what is said in the Guardian newspaper. When I was subscriber to the overseas edition, many years ago, I used to describe it as the Guardian Weakly but having visited the UK on a number of occasions, I find the column “Comment is free” to be viciously biased and at times to presenting arguments which have no basis in fact and little in the way of substance. Perhaps they should say: comment is free but talk is cheap and that about sums it up.

    However, the ferocious attacks on Melanie Phillips and some of the blogs appended thereto, which you have highlighted, is absolutely appalling. Do the British people live in cloud cuckoo land? Do they not realize even after so many uncovered terrorist plots, which mercifully did not reach fruition, that the UK as a modern Western liberal democratic society is a target for Islamic extremists?

    Down here in Sleepy Hollow, educating the public is an important but difficult task. A friend of mine who writes on terrorism considers that the great Australian public will not be roused from their stupor until we experience a 9/11 or a 7/7. There have been to several major terrorist trials and half the judiciary appears to believe that putative terrorists are somehow victims. Melanie Phillips does her best to expose these people for what they are and we are the richer for her comment. The sad fact of the matter is that multiculturalism is doomed to failure when you permit a hostile counterculture to exist in your midst, whose sworn aim is nothing less than the destruction of all the freedoms fought for over centuries, such as parliamentary democracy (however bad that may be) freedom of speech, freedom of worship and so on. We share the Judeo-Christian ethic and as such, Al Qaeda and allied organizations have declared war on us: not just the US but every Western country that regards itself as democratic.

    Melanie Phillips does not need me to rise in her defence but as the saying goes, the only necessary thing for the triumph of tyranny is that good men remain silent. In my own way, I’m certainly not silent and I appreciate your efforts in trying to roll back what appears to be a horrible tsunami to be visited on our populations.

  12. I’m happy to say that I’m the irritant (aka LenFirewood) referred to by BellaM above . It didn’t take much to earn her and others ire – assaulting them with hard facts is a cruelty I am oddly unrepentant of. Perhaps it’s my warped sense of fairness that assault with distortion and lies is worse than assault with facts – perhaps I need “therapy” who knows!
    PS “Len Firewood” is not my real name as you may have guessed but rather an alter ego I use for forms of online expression.

  13. For the record I am certainly not an anti-semite. I am an aspirant humanist who is trying to put equal effort into dealing with my own bias’s and prejudices as I am with others.I am sure where I fail in this effort there will be no shortage of those willing to put me straight. 😉
    It is becoming increasingly urgent that we find the correct perspective between the differences we have in terms of culture, race, politics etc and those which unites us (if we would acknowledge it more) and thereby get our priorities right. This is a global issue btw not just a middle eastern one.