CiF Watch Exclusive: Guardian Forced to Premoderate Antisemitic Thread

If any further proof was need that “Comment is Free” has become an incubator for antisemitism, one need look no further than the Good Deeds for Mitzvah Day CiF Belief thread, an open thread that carried the byline “[t]oday is Mitzvah Day, a day for Jewish people to offer their time to a cause close to their hearts. Who would you help?”

Instead of engendering discussion about good deeds, the thread devolved into Jew-hatred under the thin guise of Israel-bashing. In response, the Guardian moderator first responded with this:


15 Nov 2009, 12:28PM

Staff Staff

Please note, off-topic posts will be removed. This thread is about good deeds and charities people support. This is not a thread about the Israeli?Palestinian conflict. Please stick to the topic so others who want to discuss their charitable work can do so.

And then finally in a practically unprecedented act, instituted pre-moderation.


15 Nov 2009, 3:11PM

Staff Staff

Posts on this thread are now being premoderated. Thanks for your contributions.

Of the 63 comments prior to the premoderation notice, a whopping 23 comments were deleted excluding quite a number of  comments which were deleted without trace.

Here are a couple of observations of the thread:


15 Nov 2009, 11:55AM

THe comments here are disgraceful, I thought i’d posted a light hearted comment but looking at the other I realise this wasn’t the place for it. The guardian must know that anything they put up that mentions jews with a comments section will end up like this page, it must be what they want. A nice bit of jew bashing on a sunday. Imagine if you were jewish & had never had anything to do with israel but met one of these people posting these comments. They’d be demanding you solve the problems of the middle east like even though you had nothing to do with the place. Theres no arguing with these racists, I suspect the BNP are delighted with the response. Sad, very sad.


15 Nov 2009, 11:42AM

Cif is definately not the place to be drumming up support for mitzva day! The amount of anti-Jewsh (sorry anti-Zionist) venom that this simple act of charity generates is beyond belief.
I suggest to my fellow Jews that we continue practicing our daily obligation to perform mitvas as we have been doing for genetations, but let’s keep the Cif crowd out of it.

Now unfortunately, we were only alerted to the thread when most of the most egregious comments were already deleted but here are some examples of the type of comments that appeared on the thread (some of which are still up) and when you are reading through this bear in mind that according to the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism “[h]olding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” is antisemitic.


15 Nov 2009, 11:03AM

Since the diaspora has influence—————-

The quest for fair treatment and a fair settlement in Palestine and Gaza.


15 Nov 2009, 11:05AM

Help the palestinians


My good deed will come later in the year when I go to Jordan to make a film and employ many Palestinians who are living there having been deprived of their land by the country next door

[recreated from Monnie’s 11.11am comment]


15 Nov 2009, 11:21AM

Predictable – but appropriate: send donations to Medical Aid for Palestinians.


15 Nov 2009, 11:42AM

One very good deed Jewish people in the UK and around the world could do today, and for the rest of the year, is to publicly question the veracity of the Israeli government.


15 Nov 2009, 11:53AM

I’d help the men, women and children in Israel’s labour camps –


15 Nov 2009, 1:47PM

My good deed will come later in the year when I go to Jordan to make a film and employ many Palestinians who are living there having been deprived of their land by the country next door

How nasty to take such a swipe at British Jews.
Can’t Jews in this country do anything without this sort of retort?

No. That’s the problem with Israel being a Jewish state that attacks it’s neighbours who live in a refugee camp, repeatedly, and the then the chief Rabbi urging all British Jews to support the aggression.You can’t just pretend it’s never happened and then demand respect for your kindness in shovelling some shit out of the local pond one day a year

Given all this outpouring of hatred, Daveireland amusingly queries where a certain Cif Watch favorite of ours is:


15 Nov 2009, 1:53PM

Will the lovely Bella be joining this thread?

And WatchYourSteps has the following advice for the Guardian.


15 Nov 2009, 1:59PM

I would prevent hate-filled comments directed at one particular country by not asking this sort of open-ended question in a forum where hatred generally runs rife.

Quite so. And of course knowing the kind of pond life that is attracted to this kind of thread, it really does beg the question as to what are the underlying motivations of the Guardian editors that exercise the decision-making. And if it was David Shariatmadari, assistant editor of CiF Belief, that had anything to do with this, it would make perfect sense as it seems from this tweet that he and Seth Freedman are buddy buddies.


Anyway, if CiF is able to pre-moderate now, why can it not as a general rule in order to screen out offensive antisemitism under the cloak of Israel-hatred?  CiFWatch is well aware that there is an inbuilt bias at CiF against pro-Israel posters and anyone who tries to call out the inevitable antisemitism which follows anti-Israel posts.

Does this historic action amount to an admission by CiF that it cannot deal with this groundswell of offensiveness towards an essentially Jewish topic, much less contain the monster which it has created?

35 replies »

  1. “I would prevent hate-filled comments directed at one particular country by not asking this sort of open-ended question in a forum where hatred generally runs rife.”

    I thought I was giving the Guardian the kind of good advice that they needed, in order to prevent the disgrace of people perverting the meaning of the message and of attacking Israel when the subject was British Jewry. I suppose that is what you would call anti-Semitism, conflating British Jews with Israel a foreign country that they don’t understand in the least.

    Anyway, my advice was valued to the extent that the comment was erased, together with any expectations I had of fair treatment. Here is the most relevant comment of all:

    15 Nov 2009, 1:00PM

    If your going to remove off topic comments you must remove them all. If you don’t remove all, then a response is just as valid.”

  2. CiF is too far gone, that no pre instituted moderation will help it.The loons have already taken over.The Berchmans’s of CiF are irradicable.

  3. Watch your steps.

    Anyway, my advice was valued to the extent that the comment was erased, together with any expectations I had of fair treatment.


    ‘Does this historic action amount to an admission by CiF that it cannot deal with this groundswell of offensiveness towards an essentially Jewish topic, much less contain the monster which it has created?’

    Indeed the Guardian coven has a lot to answer for. Most if not all of its senior management should be dismissed.

    CP Scott is probably turning over in his grave.

  4. CiF was really asking for it. To ensure only good-hearted comments, next year they should just write:

    “[t]oday is Mitzvah Day, a day for the people who incidentally make up a majority of Israel to offer their time to a cause close to their black hearts. What opressed people who are being stolen of their land as we speak would you help? And in what BDS way?”

  5. Nothing to worry dear Jew haters. To reward your understanding of yesterday fiasco your beloved CIF offers a new opportunity to vent your hatred of the very influential and well funded Zionist conspiracy in the UK whose goal to take away British independence.

    Friends in high places

    I’m sure you want to take a look at the ad connected to this bile.
    This is simply unbelievably idiotic:

    Support Israel
    Help Yad Ezra VeShulamit. Feeding Israel’s Hungry Children & Families

  6. Prior to the CIF article, I had never heard of Mitzvah Day. Every day Jews are obliged to perform a mitzvah. As soon as I read the comments I understood why the article had been published on CIF. Never let a good deed go unpunished when it comes to Jews.

  7. Dear Jew-haters again not to worry, he is only joking:

    16 Nov 2009, 9:33AM
    Because this is such a sensitive and potentially inflammatory topic, I would like to take this early opportunity to remind users to abide by our talk policy. In this context, that requires people to make the distinctions Oborne and James do in their article ? for example:

    It is important to say what we did not find. There is no conspiracy, and nothing resembling a conspiracy.

    Thus commenters who use this thread as an opportunity to apply antisemitic tropes to an otherwise legitimate discussion of influence and transparency are liable to find their posts deleted by moderators.

    I, for one, will be following this thread with interest. But I won’t hesitate to r’eport abuse’ if I see it.

  8. Amazing, peterthehungarian.

    Apparently the only lobby in the world that needs to explain and excuse itself is the Israel lobby.

    Maybe the Guardian should give a list of their share holders. I’m sure there will be some surprising names in that list.

    Interestingly, though, a few of the posts are already referring to CiFWatch.

  9. There are hundreds of different lobby groups in Britain,there are lobby groups for just about anything/everything.

    Now why do you think that out of the hundreds of these lobby groups ,the Guardian chose to high light a pro-Israeli group,no prizes for guessing .

    Too easy.

  10. As soon as any article comes on CiF,whether it has anything to do with Israel or not ,the first ones to jump in with their two cents worth,will be teacup,and LaRatInHell,among others.

    LaRatInHell’s,celebrated contribution was “Money talks as always”.
    Get it,Jews and Money.And all this under Matt Seaton’s watchful eye.

    Then we have the teacup,whose cup as usual over-flows with love for Israel,
    she is under the illusion that she tweaks our noses.Teacup to do that you need a brain.BTW teacup loves kebabs,she ends her posts with”kebabs here I come”.Luck kebabs teacup is coming.

    BeatingTheDonis,now this one believe it or not is a “contributor”and is in a league all of her own.I will leave it to you guys to decide which league.

  11. Our beloved Tony is advertising himself on the thread

    16 Nov 2009, 10:38AM
    We’ve just posted the Oborne/Jones pamphlet “The Pro-Israel Lobby in Britain” on the openDemocracy web site:


    What happened Mr. Lerman? Brian doesn’t love you anymore and doesn’t allow you to post under your own name?

    BTW Your “as a Jewish leader myself” article on the OpenDemocracy blog is extremely long, extremely boring and extremely disgusting… as usual.

  12. See Oborne and Jones’ full article here:

    They have a hyper-link to this site in the text. I literally laughed out loud – Tony Lerman’s feelings have been hurt:
    Antony Lerman, a man steeped in Jewish culture and history, who has worked for much of his career combating antisemitism, was labelled “a nasty anti-Semite” on a website designed to expose antisemitism on The Guardian’s website…

    Lerman has written the forward here:

    All being well, the London Review of Books will republish the article and a book deal will follow.

  13. I think that Matt Seaton has nodded off,the hate posts still keep coming.

    This is from BeatonTheDonis “Christ these manipulative psycopaths (psychopaths) have even prevented our Government and Her Majesty’s opposition from plunging themselves into every passing,contrived oil war that comes along”.

    Like I said this one is in league all of her own.

  14. CifWatch is doomed…

    16 Nov 2009, 11:36AM
    “Careful Mr Oborne, you’ll now be logged on CiFWatch”
    CiFWatch is still running? I thought CiF’s crack unit of curtain twitchers was dead in the water, the servers could no longer handle the 4 hits a day the site generated…

  15. One of the really interesting things for CiFWatchers about the Mitzvah Day thread was, of course, berchmans’ silence.

    One would have expected a chain of his trademark idiocies denouncing – for once – the evident anti-Semitism without his usual pretense that claims of anti-Semitism directed at CiF and the Guardian are baseless.

    Had any of the revolting comments been directed at his favorite group, the Moslems, he would have been all over them, decrying the venom directed at that “gentle” group, as he likes to call them, hoping that by doing so we will forget the latest suicide attack or call for jihad.

    But when it comes to the Jews – he prefers, apparently, to remain quiet.

  16. AKUS

    Sorry but you are mistaken. Berchmans did post on the thread explaining why it is natural and justifiable to blast British Jews because of the Israeli actions. Unfortunately his posts were annihilated and cleaned up with disinfectant by his friendly chums who didn’t want to embarrass him and themselves. (is it possible at all?)

  17. peterthehungarian, if you are asking whether it’s possible to embarrass Berchmans or al-Grauniad, my answer is I very much doubt it. If it were then they would shut up shop and go home with paper bags over their heads for the journey and never have the nerve to go out in public again.

    AKUS, berchmans wouldn’t know antisemitism if it bit him and he is himself an antisemite who doesn’t blame Hamas for hating Jews “now” (and note he doesn’t say “Israelis”) .

    And in answer to the good old hardcore antisemitism on CiF today, lifted straight from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, we have this forthright post:


    16 Nov 2009, 1:00PM

    “Oh dear oh dear…

    “Yet another variation on “..the Jews have unlimited power and are plotting……”

    “Don’t you people ever learn? We know that references to the alleged power of the Israel lobby are lifted straight from an antisemitic trope from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. You might as well serialise them here – you are only millimetres away from feeding the hate-filled beasts below the line here exactly what they need, and think of the hits!

    “In the interests of fairness, when are we going to have an article about the influence of the Muslim lobby in the UK – you know the sort of thing, in the Foreign Office and elsewhere – as well as perhaps cub reporters who may or may not be members of Islamist organisations and who just cannot contain themselves. I am sure you remember who I mean. I wonder how much government money is spent on alleged “inclusion” programmes which is a cover for other things.

    “Come on, be fair for once. Give us ALL sides of this debate.”

    It was still there five minutes ago. Amazing.

    Were I acklothandsashes I would also have asked about how many of their moderators are members of HuT or other Islamist organisations.

    H/she might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb….

  18. Hawkeye

    “…….Anyway, if CiF is able to pre-moderate now, why can it not as a general rule in order to screen out offensive antisemitism under the cloak of Israel-hatred?…..”

    This is all fine and good, but you cannot moderate the subtle hatred of Jews posted on CIF and elsewhere. For example, how many posters remark that the US holds up Israel’s economy implying Israel is just a welfare state? Forget that in 1922, Winston Churchill said about the Jewish Community – then numbering only 80,000 (copied out of “The Case for Israel”, by Dershowitz).

    “…..It has its distinctive intellectual life and displays considerable economic activity. This community, then, with its towns and country population, its political, religious and social organizations, its own language and its own customs, its own life, has in fact “national characteristics…….”

    Posters hate the success of Israel which, already, was well on the road to self determination in 1922 (without the US?). They hate that Israel thrives relative to the Palestinians (all Arabs, in fact). Posters attack Israel in every way possible – most completely unrelated to Palestinian human rights (which does deserve attention). You cannot moderate hate. You can only remove the more blatant post.

  19. TomWonacott, you are probably right about subtle antisemitism, but there is no excuse for allowing to stand, or even to get onto the page, the sort of antisemitism which uses Israel as a target but is lifted straight out of the ideas from Mein Kampf.

    So let them premoderate the outright antisemtism and argue with their readers about the subtle antisemitism. Many other blogs do that.

    As you say, you can remove the more blatant post so why not beforehand?

  20. Poor Berchmans – I think that most of his comments are intended to be witty but every attempt at humour is a total disaster. Poor man.

  21. Tabaqat

    I’m not a lover of pre moderation because it puts more power in the hands of the moderators. They abuse their power even when its obvious. I’ve been pre moderated numerous times at the NYT for political reasons, but who knows that but me? However, I said “fine and good” for the Guardian.

  22. TomWonacott, in an ideal world, with intelligent posters, premoderation would not be necessary at all but after the filth we saw on the Mitzvah day thread it is obvious that CiF cannot trust its moderators to know what is offensive and what is not offensive, or to care even, or to be able to act properly to keep up the blog’s reputation, such as it is.

    I have read here about how the CiF and the Guardian uses The Big Lie against Israel and I know for a fact that many of the more stupid people who post to the antiIsrael articles don’t distinguish between Israel and Jews. Every hatefilled post which is allowed to remain there without being challenged (and I know also that often the challenges are deleted) adds to this Big Lie effect.

    CiF cannot be trusted to post moderate – as we have seen and even with my doubts that it can be trusted to premoderate in a fair way this has to be the only alternative.

  23. MindtheCrap you need to have more than animal cunning to be witty. Berchmans is a rat. Dont waste your sympathy on him.

  24. This from a “contributer” known as “savvymum” on “To be or not to be in Afghanistan” (cartoon by Patrick Blower)

    “……..Americans patrolled (when they were forced to leave the Green Zone) with plenty of ammo and grenades. Our Brit lads had limited ammo and no grenades – they tried to scrounge them off contractors, as well as decent body armour. Everyone knew that the Brits had a much better relationship with the local civilians than the Americans who hated them – universally referring to them as ‘ragheads’ and ‘sand niggers’……”

    Racist Americans – universally. Who really hates who here? Over 4000 Americans killed, but only when they came out from hiding in the Green zone………

    It really would be nice if the we could tie the contributers to their articles. (I assume that’s what the “C” means)

  25. Off topic – apologies

    savvymum is Heather McDougall

    Here is the list of Ms McDougall’s articles in the Guardian:

    Everyone knew that the Brits had a much better relationship with the local civilians than the Americans who hated them – universally referring to them as ‘ragheads’ and ’sand niggers’……”

    What ‘everyone knew’ alas was a myth. The British soldiers went in to Basra believing that their Northern Ireland experience – as opposed to the supposed US lack of experience – would win the day. Ms McDougall simply repeats a comforting mantra. Her ‘universally’ in that sentence again shows Ms McDougall does not know what she is talking about.

  26. Tabaqat

    There is an undercurrent of hatred that is easy to find – and purposely promoted by the Guardian (and other left wing media outlets). No question.

  27. The moderation on CiF is a sham,it is meant mainly to delete or ban pro Israeli posters,by the likes of the bellamack’s of the Guardian.

    To make CiF a decent level playing field,the Guardian needs to ditch the moderators,and make CiF a free for All.

    And the devil take the hindmost.

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