Guardian

When Will the Penny Drop?


“Comment is Free” for once published a decent article on the Israel/Palestinian conflict that presented a moderate Palestinian viewpoint. If this, together with the fact that Seth Freedman was demoted to CiF Belief, is a signal that the Guardian editorial policy is undergoing change then this is certainly to be welcomed but somehow I’m not holding my breath because change at the Guardian is often short-lived.

Besides the comment thread was a cesspit of antisemitic comments once again, the perpetrators of whom were “Comment is Free” regulars that the Guardian refuses to ban. As MindTheCrap astutely observed:

MindTheCrap

9 Nov 2009, 12:49PM

It is interesting that on this rare occasion that CiF actually has a Palestinian discussing internal Palestinian affairs, the knee-jerk “experts” in the CIF crowd automatically reject his views because they are contrary to their simplistic script. Which leads to the question – are they really pro-Palestinian or simply anti-Israel?

So lets start off first of all with the self-appointed defender of antisemitic speech on CiF Watch, good old Berchmans with the following tireless classic:

Berchmans

9 Nov 2009, 5:16PM

smtx01

## Quite a few Anti Semites posing as Anti Zionists today…##

Care to grow a pair and name them? If not..No to tired vague and referenceless allegations of anti Semitism from tired and vague posters! 🙂

B

Well Berchmans if you do insist.

Here’s the first one by orwellwasright taking a page right out of the Brian Whitaker playbook.

orwellwasright

9 Nov 2009, 1:33PM

InappropriateName: everything you post is so inherently flawed and full of such contradictions I’m not sure that replying isn’t akin to something masochistic:

“The old “Israeli government propaganda” myth – people still fall for it. Shame.”

Ah, so you’re suggeting that Israel doesn’t engage in propaganda; that the idea is a “myth”? And you’re to be taken seriously on here? I guess you’ve never heard of the National Information Directorate? Missed the reports regarding the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s paying people to post pro-Israel comments on forums?

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3744516,00.html

The old “Israeli government propaganda” myth” indeed. Hilarious assertion, InappropriateName…

“And Israel does that for no particular reason, does it?”

Well most objective observers are pretty clear on their understanding of why Israel breaks ceasefires, and it’s because they can’t accomplish their illegal aims of territorial acquisition in a climate of peace and reconciliation. Think about it (if you’re capable) – Israel’s territorial expansion has been conducted entirely under the guise of conflict. It is the modus operandi for the creation of Greater Israel.

“All these terrorist groups sing from the same hymn sheet. Doesn’t really matter about the name – it’s the motives that you look for.”

Not one for nuance, are you? Lump them all into the same category – makes it much easier for you to get your head around, I suppose. No matter that it completely removes context and detail – you obviously manage without that.

Then there is this one from ooh lets guess, none other than good ol’ Berchmans jumping on the orwellwasright bandwagon.

Berchmans

9 Nov 2009, 2:19PM

InappropriateName

## Has there ever been any evidence that even one post on CiF was from one of these “paid” posters? ##

It is always an own goal to suggest folk are paid when there is no need. Enough people are clearly fixated enough and angry enough to do this without cash…smearing lefties as haters seems to be all the compensation required. The fact that a tiny and occasionally brutal country can command so many posts in a Brit lefty paper…do you not find that weird?

B

And here is Papalagi true to form abusing a pro-Israel poster :

Papalagi

9 Nov 2009, 2:38PM

Sydk asks:

Was this a thread on the Journal of Psychiatry, where contributors were asked to present some of the more deranged ideas mooted by ostensibly (but seriously questionable) sane individuals.

I know that for you the idea that Palestinians are humans is a crazy idea. The reason is because you are a unrepentant racist with a criminal mind.

And here’s another one from Papalagi that reeks of Jewish conspiracy theory:

Papalagi

9 Nov 2009, 5:18PM

Millifield wrote:

A mockery is then made of international law and any nation populating or making claim to a disputed territory, from the Basque to the Kurds, could independently declare a State without negotiation. A dangerous precedent would have been set, and thereby an even more dangerous world created.

Given Israel’s history, it’s a bit funny to see you writing this. It seems that it created a more dangerous world for a lot of people, that it created a lot of conflicts and that it led to allowing some countries to attack other people and to claim that the territory of those other people are “disputed territory”. But you don’t like to talk of Israel itself as disputed territory, do you?

And what would an I/P thread be without Moeran (or Moron as we like to call him) – here’s some interesting CiF Watch trivia, Moron was a secondary school headmaster

Moeran

9 Nov 2009, 3:51PM

Papalagi

To your list of Israeli desires should be added a passive “foreign” workforce to provide cheap labour, confined except when working in secure bantustans.

Then there is this from rubberneck wishing for the destruction of the Jewish state:

rubberneck

9 Nov 2009, 12:37PM

Israel has broken every single ceasefire first with it’s illegal state assassinations of democraticaly elected representatives of the Palestinian people.
Israel has no interest with peace. It will only concede land if it loses it in a war.
It’s enemies are learning fast. Gaza is one thing but attack Iran and the end will be in sight.

And finally there is this one from KrustytheKlown:

KrustytheKlown

9 Nov 2009, 3:55PM

When Jews buy land with actual cash at three times the price it is still never ”Jewish land” but belongs to someone else in the eyes of the bigot brigade.

It’s always interesting to note when one of our Zionist friends uses the word “jews’ instead of “israelis’. They invariably do so to cultivate sympathy and a sense of victimhood (You never hear them speak of ‘Jewish tank bombers” and they’d probably accuse anyone who did use that phrase of the ol’ A.S.) And, of course, accusing people of the ol’ A.S. sp precisly what such posters do when referring to Israelis(or pre-state Zionists) as ‘jews’.

But more fascinating still is the notion that when ‘jews’ buy land, it somehow becomes ‘jewish land’. I was quite unaware than land took on the religious affiliations of its owners upon purchase (or theft). What happens? Does the plot of land go through a conversion ceremony, with a rabbi present? Or something like that?

It would seem to me that if the Guardian really wanted to solve the problem of antisemitism on its I/P comment threads it would ban each and everyone of the antisemitic posters listed above. Problem is it doesn’t and you’ve gotta wonder why.

25 replies »

  1. The regular dodo birds who flock to the Guardian’s comments and leave their antiIsrael droppings there are far more antiIsrael than even the most hardened Palestinians. Many Palestinians would actually like to live in peace with Israelis if only Hamas and Islamic Jihand and the Syrians would let them. From the security of the UK, the clowns who post on the Guardian have the luxury of telling Palestinians to fight to the death against the “Zionists” or the “imperialists” or in Tony Lerman’s favorite phrase “the neighborhood bully”. Anwar Sadat once remarked that “the fiercist warriors are those farthest from the battle”. Sadat was speaking about people like Tony Lerman and his acolytes in the comments section. Not one of them has an ounce of courage.

  2. Hawkeye your point about those whom the Guardian refuses to ban is well taken.

    By this stage my eye automatically skips over Papalagi’s posts discounting what he writes However he gains large numbers of recommendations and so we know that he is influential among cif’s less cerebral ranks. This must be the image that the Guardian wants for its CIF since they do not ban his comments despite his obvious faults which are manifold.

    He is wildly politically incorrect. He freely insults people calling them fools, stupid, liars and worse. – to SydK The reason is because you are a unrepentant racist with a criminal mind.

    His facts are way out of line. “Israel had no good faith and has never been willing to give occupayed territories back to the Palestinians. Only afterwards they tell that the Palestinians don’t want the land back.” He invents statistics and incidents. He attributes Palestinian actions to Israelis and vice versa. He repeats things over and over.

    He said to Millfield “But you don’t like to talk of Israel itself as disputed territory, do you?”. Perhaps that is due to his poor command of English but he has missed a stage – did he mean ”wouldn’t like” or perhaps he meant what he said. He is joining those attempting to destabilize Israel He continues ”Israel is already claiming all of that to justify its occupation, but if it could be taken seriously, then the Palestinians could also claim the whole of Israel.”

    Is this truly the image that CIF wants of one of its most frequently ”recommended” commenters? It seems it is.

  3. Conrad – that is very true, and something I noticed in action at the recent Bolton Octagon event. None of the people there, as far as I know, were Palestinian, but they were all much more extreme than any Palestinian I know, and the impression I got was that the more middle-class-English-with -kefiyah they got, the more the extremism was apparant.
    On the Trade Union Friends of Israel (TUFI) website is an account of their delegation’s recent trip to Israel. I noticed that the overwhelming impression left on the delegates was a sense of surprise that the facts on the ground did not correlate with what they had read/heard/seen in the British media and that they were constantly surprised about just how well Israelis and Palestinians actually get on and how much co-operation there is.

  4. Hawkeye

    I must agree with Berchmans (sort of) for once:

    “The fact that a tiny … country can command so many posts in a Brit lefty paper…do you not find that weird?”

    Indeed I do it find it weird.

    I find it weird that such a tiny country can attract such obsessive attention from the Guardian itself and Berchmans, papagali, moron, krusty, orwell, etc. who seem to spend their days and nights doing nothing much else than pore over the columns at CiF waiting fro the opportunity once again to repeat their endles vile accusations.

  5. Israelinurse

    The TUFI delegation report is at:

    http://www.tufi.org.uk/delegation-blog/

    I recommend everyone to read it, and notice, by the way, the picture from Nablus – so different from the mental picture held by the usual obsessive crowd of Israel haters at CiF.

    Its quite interesting to see how the view of israel and the palestinians changed when that delegation actually went tot he area, rather than sitting in the UK.

    The Israel-bashing CiFers seem to have invested a large part of their psychic energy in simply hating Israel irrespective of any facts, and creating a mythical place where they can act out their aggressions from the safety of their keyboards. A sort of self-contained little virtual world, provided by the Guardian, for them to spend their days and nights writing and saying the things they would like to say to others but never have the opportunity or guts to do.

  6. To Conrad, Israel Nurse, My impressions are the same. The Guardian, especially Seth Freedman and Tony Lerman along with Roger Cohen of the NY Times (He is British and generally writes from Europe) portray the West Bank as a hell on earth, a kind of concentration camp with barbed wire everywhere. Last June, while in Israel, we traveled to Ramallah to go to a restaurant that had been featured in a travel magazine for its wondrous chicken dinners. And then we went to Bethlehem after that. We took a video camera and mounted it on the car so we could show that there are not barbed wire fences everywhere and there are not checkpoints everywhere. And locals were driving pretty much where they wanted. Granted, it was not paradise but far from the reality that the Guardian and Freedman portray. When I returned, I played the video for some of the students and faculty who are in my grad program. The students could keep a reasonably open mind but the two faculty members were aghast. They both insisted, against all evidence, that Israel was worse than South Africa. I told him that the owner of the restaurant said his biggest complaint was not “human rights” but that he wanted more commerce with Israelis and less red tape and that frustrated his business. Businessmen are always way ahead of the curve. Businessmen are always seeking new markets and faculty members and “journalists” like Freedman and Lerman never have to worry about things like making a living. They just have to keep people at each other’s throats and feel virtuous about it. When I told the faculty member what the restaurant owner said, the faculty member said that the owner was a turncoat, an informant, he had been paid off, he was willing to take crumbs from the Israeli table and then he said to me that “Whites in South Africa could always point to happly Black Africans” which coincidentally is what Goldstone always says about Israel.

  7. AKUS
    Great link, thanks. If only that gets around the UK trades union movement, it might do wonders. However, from what I read, TUFi was set up to promote good relations between Israeli and Palestinian trade unionists, so naturally, that will immediately be suspect!

    Sid Bachrach
    Well done for your video initiative. Just out of interest, which is your uni?

  8. It is in the States. It’s in the State of New York and City of New York and has a department of Middle East Studies that is notoriously proArab and it was the university that housed Edward Said!!! And it’s the same university that hosted Ahmedinejad and where the feckless president of the University made a big deal of the fact that he removed the logo of the university from the lecturn. Gee, that really socked it to Ahmedinejad. You can probably figure it out! I changed my last name ever slightly on this forum because incredibly the faculty members read alot of things and remember everything.

  9. AKUS, you make interesting points about a virtual space where hatreds can be acted out although I would not be so quick to assume that those who write there would not act out those hatreds if they got the chance. For example, we don’t know, do we, how many Guardianistas participated in the riots outside the Israeli embassy during Cast Lead and attacked Starbucks?

    And of course all of us have heard about other virtual spaces where quite different fantasies can be acted out. People can be arrested for accessing those.

    The extreme, OTT and visceral verbal violence of hatred of Israel and Jews, in print on CiF and tolerated tol the point that it becomes the norm, is a form of pornography to my mind.

  10. I have to say that MindTheCrap’s question re. “are they really pro-Palestinian or simply anti-Israel?” is a very valid one.

    As you know I frequently criticise Israeli policy on CiF – but I am sick and tired of all of the posters cited above. Moeran’s comment, in particular, about him only potentially having respect for the US-trained “Dayton” Palestinian police force if they were to “take on the settlers” (which in practical terms means fighting the IDF, i.e. a suicidal mission) really got me thinking about just where his and other’s priorities lie.

    It could well be that there is some anti-Semitic agenda behind said posters’ comments – but I still see no grounds to assume it (as you do).
    It could equally be primarily about old-school left-wing dogmatic good guy vs. bad guy rhetoric.

    And sorry, but where is the anti-Semitism or “Jewish conspiracy theory” in any of the posts cited above (nasty though they are)?

    @ MITNAGED

    “The extreme, OTT and visceral verbal violence of hatred of Israel and Jews, in print on CiF”

    Where has there been such hatred of Jews in print chez The Guardian?

  11. Sid B. – interesting commentary about your visit to Ramallah and Bethlehem. My own experiences, even in the army, of the WB, gave me the impression that if the outside meddling were to stop, from both sides, things would rapidly cool down.

    People are people, and most simply want to get on with their lives and live them as well as their circumstances will allow. The tragedy is that a few suicide bombers on one side or hilltop crazies on the other, with support from external sources, set the agenda for millions who want no part of the whole conflict.

    I’ve traveled widely across the world, and I am frequently amazed at fervent desire of the CiFers to show the WB or even Gaza as some kind of hell on earth. They simply are not, and I bet there are many in Latin America, Asia or Africa or even from places in the ME who would cheerfully exchange places with them.

    I recall eating at restaurants in Jericho, Jenin, the Old City of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, even shopping in Gaza – maybe it wasn’t the greatest love-fest in the world, but just as Arabs cane to Israel to shop, Israelis went to the WB and Gaza, and I see no reason if the leadership of the Palestinians would simply say “Yes” to the offers of about 95% of everything they want that have been made that life could not be pretty good for everyone there.

  12. Pretzel – I regard you as one of the balanced Cifers, but with a pretty big blind spot when ti comes to the sort of blatant anti-Semitism we see on the CIF website.

    I’m glad you come here to comment – without some balance from others this would not be the site it has developed into.

  13. Just a followup. There is a very famous professor at the univrsity where I attend who is also a friend of President Obama. Everyone here probably knows who I am referring to. I once suggested in a class that Ehud Barak had worked very hard for peace and been quite generous and the professor got apoplectic. The prof does not live in the West Bank and he likes luxuries too much to do so. But he found it treasonous for any Palestinian to consider accepting Barak’s offer at Camp David, 2000. I am sure that with this professor, whose whole life has been devoted to being a victim, he could not live without his status as a victim. It ennobles him to other faculty members. And yes, he has written for the Guardian.

  14. IsraeliNurse – None of the people there, as far as I know, were Palestinian, but they were all much more extreme than any Palestinian I know, and the impression I got was that the more middle-class-English-with -kefiyah they got, the more the extremism was apparent.

    Something that I noticed quite a while back on CI(F).

    It will definitely be easier to make peace with the enemies surrounding us than with the ‘Hate Israel’ groupies on CI(F).

  15. pretzelburgIt could well be that there is some anti-Semitic agenda behind said posters’ comments – but I still see no grounds to assume it (as you do). It could equally be primarily about old-school left-wing dogmatic good guy vs. bad guy rhetoric.

    Well. When these obsessive anti Israel characters who don’t seem to be banned from CI(F), are examined, you will almost 100% find that they hate the United States of America too yet are very apologetic about the sins of Russia, China and other quasi communist conglomerates. I doubt that you would find a single comment where Moron is in anyway critical of the Russian slaughter of Muslims in Chechnya.

    There is really no way to explain their concentration of denigrating and trying to de-legitimize Israel other than antisemitism.

    If they were pro Palestinian, you would expect them to support a peace movement among the Palestinians. Instead they only support groups which state as their aim the complete destruction of the Jewish state.

    That amounts to the GWV too but Georgina would never admit it.

  16. pretzel old chum, look at the thread which asks you to distinguish between antisemitism in the Guardian/CiF and on Stormfront.

    Note how the author points up the similarities in phrasing and analogy employed by the two.

    JersualemMite is absolutely correct. It is disingenuous on your part (to put it kindly) wilfully ignorant (to be blunt) not to realise that the fact that the perpetrators of this equivalence to racist pornography are still allowed to post on CiF whereas those of us who have argued with their views, often in measured and knowledgeable fashion, have been banned. is anything other than blatant anti-Jewish racism.

    How else can one reasonably be expected to interpret this other than as a deliberately antisemitic agenda under the false flag of antizionism?

    You seem to be an intelligent chap. It appals me that you seem not to recognise it for what it is.

  17. Sid

    Thanks for that. So its not just here in the UK that academics become blind deaf and dumb to what’s actually going on. I’m jealous of your and AKUS’s visits to the WB. I’m returning to Israel in December and hope to visit some less usual locations – can I expect to drive across the green line with equanimity?

  18. pretzelberg

    I echo AKUS’s comments to you as I have here before. It’s good to have an intelligent but not pliable friend posting here. You probably can’t understand some of our points of view – unless you grow up as a Jew in a particular environment it would be impossible to do so – so please keep on keeping on as far as I’m concerned.

  19. @ JerusalemMite

    When these obsessive anti Israel characters who don’t seem to be banned from CI(F), are examined, you will almost 100% find that they hate the United States of America too yet are very apologetic about the sins of Russia, China and other quasi communist conglomerates.

    Exactly. You prove my point. These people are armchair communists, and they see Israel as an extension of US imperian ambitions. OK, those who talk about the US being a servant of Israel are most likely a) deranged and indeed b) anti-Semitic.

    But …

    There is really no way to explain their concentration of denigrating and trying to de-legitimize Israel other than antisemitism.

    But there is, i.e. blind hatred of the US and its allies.

    @ MITNAGED

    As I’ve said before: I certainly don’t rule out anti-Semitism among the CiF posters cited, but you should also bear in mind that Stormfront posters will mindfully select the kind of language that is not ostensibly anti-Semitic – even though they hate Jews to the core.

    They are not completely stupid, after all.

  20. @ cityca / AKUS

    I suppose I’ll take your respective comments as complements.
    😉

    To be honest, cityca, I’ve always given Jewish pro-Israel (a nonsense term, but you know what I mean) posters more leeway, because at the end of the day there is the personal aspect.

    I’m not Jewish and I regularly criticise Israel – and I will continue to do so. On CiF this has earned me accusations of “obsession” and indeed AS.

    What strikes me about this site is the reluctance to challenge the more extreme views.

    We recently had someone here making the preposterous claim that CiF threads are closed down overnight (UK time) so as to “connive” to exclude Jewish-American posters.

    Where are the nay-sayers?

  21. @ MITNAGED

    a) You did not respond to my challenging your reference to “OTT and visceral verbal violence of hatred of Israel and Jews, in print
    b) I’ve seen phrases similar to “How else can one reasonably be expected to …” employed countless times from both “sides” of the debate.
    For me it immediately compromises the relevant poster’s point. They are assuming some kind of moral high ground that simply does not exist.

  22. pretzelberg
    I think at this relatively early stage in this website’s life, people are being polite and not looking for confrontations within. Among its regulars are Israelis, Americans and Brits and others and of different religious persuasions. I have read stuff here I don’t agree with and so I have ignored it. I’m sure others feel the same way about some of my posts.

    Among us are people who are passionate about both Israel and the spectre of anti-Semitism. I live in the UK, a country that has been safe and comfortable for Jews for over 100 years but now seems to becoming less so.

    Because of the absurd unfairness of judgement of Israel by much of the media, organisations such as the UN with its multiple offshoots, and the many and varied politically motivated NGOs, we are defensive about opening up to additional criticism.

    So while while I may have many issues with Israel and the way it is governed, I will not voice those criticisms on line or in public – we have too many enemies doing that already for me to give them more ammunition.

  23. pretzelberg,

    a) it depends whether you are talking above or below the line. There’s evidence of plenty in both areas. Go again to my post on 11 Nov at 9.55am. It gives you all the information you need so I neither wish nor need to repeat myself. The hate-filled posts are still on the page. You can look them up yourself.

    b) You are certainly allowed to have your own opinion and to air it here, but mine was equally valid and well put whereas yours evidences somewhat wonky thinking given the context of this debate. You have far more freedom of expression here than people like me find on CiF – before they banned me. Aren’t you glad that you are allowed to use it?