The level of commentary in ‘Comment is Free’ sunk to a new low in the Ed Husain thread on Saturday which witnessed one of the most venomous and hate-filled threads in a long time. The target of this hate-fest was Melanie Phillips, a popular columnist for the Daily Mail and author of the highly acclaimed Londonistan.
The pretext for the attack was an article by Ed Husain entitled “The personal Jihad of Melanie Phillips” which accused her of being full of “anger, venom and hatred” and having an “Israel First” mindset. This was all that was needed to get the Guardianistas fired up and ready to vent their own “anger, venom and hatred” directed at Melanie Phillips personally.
As RightWingZealot aptly observed,
It is simply disgusting to see the parade of odious leftie guardianistas queing up, one after the other, to denounce Melanie Philips and by doing so hoping to burnish their own right on, multi-culturalist, I’m anti-racist credentials. It’s like a perverse competition to see who can be the most PC, Islam friendly poster, by coming out with the most strident attacks and virulent denouncements of this columnist. This thread is the guardian’s own version of “hate hour” from George Orwell’s 1984.
What’s more striking is that not only did the Guardian moderators allow this to go on for hours and hours (not just Two Minutes) in direct contravention of their talk policy (the talk policy prohibits personal attacks on any individual) but BellaM, a Guardian moderator weighed in with a highly offensive ad hominem and defamatory attack on Phillips which helped set the tone for the entire thread.
31 Oct 09, 9:53am
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.’
So here are some examples of the outpouring of hate most of which were not deleted:
31 Oct 09, 9:20am
Melanie Philips’s zealotry and ignorance frighten me. How did we produce a public commentator filled with such anger, venom and hatred?
I suspect that, like Ann Coulter, she doesn’t believe most of this claptrap. But it does make her a lot of money.
To be honest, she should be prosecuted for inciting racial and religious hatred. She’s hardly better than Mr Griffin and his friends in that regard.
31 Oct 09, 9:27am
She’s certainly rather dangerous and aggressive and in a bad mood most of the time.
She ought to drive a Golf. It would suit her.
31 Oct 09, 9:36am
Not for nothing has she earned the soubriquet Mad Mel.
31 Oct 09, 9:46am
Melanie Phillips is pure poison. A racial supremacist who would be dangerous if she wasn’t such a cartoon bigot.
Better to laugh at her Ed.
31 Oct 09, 9:56am
She is, to all intents and purposes, a British Ann Coulter, as MilesSmiles pointed out.
However, whether she believes the stuff she spouts or not is neither here nor there, really, because the effects of what she says remain.
So much hatred. So much spleen vented. Truly sad.
31 Oct 09, 10:03am
How many words does it take to basically say that Melanie Phillips is a bit of a twat? I agree with the premise but preaching to the converted in exactly the same way Mad Mel does in The Daily Mail adds the square root of bugger all to the debate.
Melanie has gone from being a tree-hugger during her Guardian days to ranter about climate change “totalitarians”.
Funny how quite a number of writers change tack depending on who they’re writing for. Were I a more cynical man I might come to the conclusion that they’ll write anything provided there’s a cheque at the end of it.
31 Oct 09, 10:08am
Melanie Phillips accusing Obama of being a secret Christian is world-class comedy.
As for anti-semitism, Melanie Phillips would accuse her husband of anti-semitism if he didn’t do the dishes on time – nothing she says is credible.
Care in the community has gone too far – keep the mad away from the media.
31 Oct 09, 10:22am
31 Oct 09, 10:26am
Melanie Phillips is one of the most vacuously aggressive people I have ever come across.
31 Oct 09, 10:43am
I assume Ms Phillips will taking over Our Nick’s chair on Question Time before long. They have so much in common though maybe Our Nick is the intellectual one.
Its worth noting that a number of the commenters above including Moeran, gondwanaland and MilesSmiles regularly post antisemitic comments on CiF so their outpouring of hate against Melanie Phillips is quite unsurprising.
And you don’t have to scratch very deep beneath the surface of this type of thread to find antisemitic commentary:
31 Oct 09, 10:36am
why, Mr. Husain, do you feel that you have to state that you “support israel’s right to exist” ?
is this in order to get this comment piece actually published on this site?
31 Oct 09, 10:41am
How can you believe in a “chosen people” and not be racist?
When it comes to restring historical homelands there would seem to be two problems. If God gave gave Palestine to the Jews they can not claim that they have any rights anywhere else in God’s world at large.
If we give back the “homeland” on a biblical( Jewish History) basis who is going to lead the campaign to return North America to the Ist nation peoples or undo the property inheritance that follows from the Norman Invasion of England? The Jews?
31 Oct 09, 12:15pm
Getting worked up about Melanie is rather a waste of time.
I know Jews who love her work and Jews who are embarrassed by her and make even stronger criticisms than Ed Husain. Ditto, non-Jews. She’s a living to earn and seems to know how to do it.
What seems a more productive use of time ahead of a general election and with the Middle East situation so urgent is to examine to what extent the parties depend less on the goodwill of Daily Mail columnists but on the backing of pro-Israel groups.
Lord Levy and the Labour Friends of Israel have been very important in the creation and sustenance of New Labour in the past 15 years. Will Stanley Fink and the Conservative Friends of Israel be similarly important to David Cameron?
If so, what are the prospects for peace both in the Middle East and for social harmony here at home?
31 Oct 09, 4:24pm
Brilliant and very courageous article.
Ed, by coming out and clearly and telling the Zionist Islamophobes where to go you’ve done yourself and many other British people a huge favour. Bravo!
Gondwanaland is correct; her bigotry is tolerated because it isn’t aimed at Muslims and Blacks.
And what would a CiF thread be like without its deletions of comments that do not comport with the Guardian World View (take note BellaM):
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?
31 Oct 09, 11:58am (51 minutes ago)
Let me take your logic a step further. You say you don’t see what is wrong in hating a religion. So do you see anything wrong in people saying they hate Judaism? Or do you see that as anti-semitic?
I think its avalid expression to sayone hate’s Islam, Judaism or Christianity.
If people came on here talking about how Judaism was taking over the country, how were were allowing thousands of Jews to flood in and make demands for Judaic law, and unless we stopped it, they would change our culture forever? If people said was perfectly normal for the EDL to campaign against the building of synagogues because this was a Christian country?
One-eyed bigotry of the first water, Monnie. You have no excuse for it that holds water.
If Jews had made demands of how our society has to change in order to accommodate them then I’d expect and support a backlash against that. No religion that is alien to a country and which boast a tiny minority has a right to abuse the hospitality of its hosts.
I support the right of EDL to protest about the building of mosques because in some parts of the UK mosques dominate locales where non-Muslims feel alien in places where they and their families have lived for ages.
This has unfortunately popularised the BNP. Its dues to loud-mouth, in-your-face Islamists like Choudray, Bakri and the hate crew. It even extends to Dr Bari at MCB who compared the UK to ‘Nazis” as did Dr Naseem at the Birmingham mosque.
What Melanie forecast in “Londonistan” was accurate and can be seen in what followed by way of Islamist terrorism in the UK.
Over 250 people have been found guilty of Terrorism related offences in the UK. They are almost 100% Muslims. So, Melanie’s warnings have been accurate. (figures can be verified by Home Office and answers in Hansard)
So Georgina, Matt and Brian, do you wish to clarify what your position is on the Guardian talk policy when it comes to personal attacks on individuals that do not share the Guardian World View because I’m having a really hard time reconciling what I witnessed in the Ed Husain thread (particularly from one of your own moderators) with what is contained in your talk policy. Perhaps Georgina you should consult the Guardian style guide or better still perhaps your talk policy has been updated with the one I have here which parodies your talk policy.
In particular, let me take the liberty of drawing your attention to Section 6 of the talk policy which we parodied and which provides,
“We will remove any content that may put us in legal jeopardy. Postings defamatory of Jews, Israel or neocons are an exception to this rule since we know that Jews, Israelis and neocons will never threaten to blow up our office.
The funny thing is that our parody of the talk policy is looking more and more like the real thing with every day that goes by.