Guardian

The All Powerful Israel Lobby?


This is a guest post by Joy Wolfe

If the ‘lobby’ was one-tenth as strong as Peter Oborne and the motley crew of anti-Israel whiners who featured in the disreputable programme on Monday night would have us believe, then the attitude to Israel in the UK would be demonstrably different.

It wasn’t just the content of the programme – it was the whole tone of its presentation. Direct quotes were spat out at the camera, and the menacing face of the presenter pushed into the faces of viewers with absolute venom.

And what is this lobby with its alleged huge power accused of?

Taking MPs and journalists to Israel and giving them the opportunity to meet Israelis and Palestinians to see the reality on the ground!

What about the trips funded by CAABU and wealthy supporters in the strong pro-Palestinian lobby ?  One big difference of course. They are  only exposed to the negative aspects of the conflict and not given the opportunity to see things from the perspective of the victims of rocket attacks in Sderot and northern Israel. When is someone going to do an exposé of that?

Providing funding for political parties and individual MPs? Do a little digging into which MPs accept funds for their pro-Palestinian views and activities, either in the UK or from the Saudis and other interested wealthy Arab sources.

Another accusation was that the appeal for victims of Gaza was not broadcast on the BBC as the result of pro-Israel Jewish pressure. On the contrary, many of us wanted it broadcast because we foresaw just that reaction if it wasn’t. And perhaps the most ludicrous of all was the suggestion that the Jewish lobby was responsible for the witholding of the Balen report on the BBC. What a joke. It was Israel supporters who went to court to try to get it released!

Most despicable were the personal attacks on Jewish philanthropists who not only support Israel, but who are also at the forefront of charitable giving to so many important UK causes. Could it be that the reason that many have never heard of Poju Zablodowicz is because he is a quiet, unassuming man who goes about his business in a perfectly legitimate way, choosing to financially support a cause in which he passionately believes? As for citing the value of his house, now that really is pure antisemitism, and I am one who uses that label very sparingly. There are a good few pro-Palestinian houseowners whose wealth  and the value of their homes never hits the headlines, and rightly so in my view.  It’s only when wealth can be used to stigmatise Jews that you will see it broadcast or in print…..

Is it a surprise that Conservative and Labour Friends of Israel fight Israel’s corner, any more than it is a surprise that CAABU, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Muslim Public Affairs Committee that promote antisemitism and demonise Israel and anyone who supports her, pushes the Palestinian side of the conflict?

That is their raison d’etre.

Where is the outrage about and denigration of THEM?  When is Alan Rusbridger going to allow the truth about them to grace the columns of the Guardian or be written about on “Comment is Free”?  His contribution to the programme was not exactly stellar.

Apart from much innuendo, clear bias, deliberate choice of known Jewish anti-Israel activists such as Liberal Rabbi David Goldberg, Avi Shlaim and Antony Lerner, and a selection of unsubstantiated and, in many cases, purely mythical claims, what did this programme achieve other than reinforcing the anti-Israel bias of those who already hate the Jewish state, or, sadly, inciting further antisemitism?  As for trying to suggest that constantly stirring anti-Israel feeling does not lead to increased antisemitism, that is pure and unadulterated rubbish.

Hopefully the Channel 4 audience will have been mostly the entrenched anti-Israel bunch and us – because we couldn’t resist watching to see how bad it would be – and there were relatively few whose minds could have been changed by such flimsy and unconvincing material.

18 replies »

  1. Sadly it did not take more than a few minutes for the rush of antisemitic and anti Israel comment to break out on the Guardian, CIF and any other blog that covered the dreadful Dispatches programme.
    The predicted rise in antisemitism as a result of this shoddy and ill researched programme is only just beginning in my view. What more do you need to prove the evil motivation for the programme than an endorsement from the BNP.

    There is, on the other hand, plenly of well thought out criticism of the programme from a number of very respected commentators.

    The ones below are well worth a read

    http://www.robinshepherdonline.com/top-british-documentary-makers-peddle-conspiracy-theory-about-secretive-zionist-lobby-ahead-of-landmark-tv-show/

    http://www.robinshepherdonline.com/my-op-ed-in-the-wall-street-journal-on-the-newly-revealed-jewish-conspiracy-in-great-britain/

    Does Israel have a better friend than Robin Shepherd Thanks Robin

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/17/pro-israel-lobby-peter-oborne

    I particularly liked David Cesarani’s piece

    http://www.oyvagoy.com/2009/11/18/israel-obornes-obession/

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/18/dispatches-israeli-lobby-antisemitism

    http://cifwatch.com/2009/11/16/inside-channel-4%e2%80%99s-conspiracy-factory/

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100017075/the-guardian-may-not-be-anti-semitic-but-it-is-biased-and-hypocritical/

  2. A lot of good points here, particularly also on the various ways for Arabs/Palestinians/Oil to influence politics. Actually, if I’m not mistaken, there have been 1 or 2 people who tried to publish a book on the Saudi lobby, but a bunch of petrodollars buys you a bunch of libel lawyers, and it seems that in the end, no publisher wanted to risk the wrath of the House of Saud.

  3. MindtheCrap, no, it might be more as a result of the following from Islamic chapter of their GIYUS (Give Islamism Your Unstinting Support).

  4. “….On the contrary, many of us wanted it broadcast because we foresaw just that reaction if it wasn’t…

    I think you are generalising here. For myself I wanted it broadcast not to waylay accusations of Jewish power but because the ordinary people of Gaza needed help (even though most of the money may well have gone to rearming Hamas), and I don’t think that I was alone in that.

  5. The program was pure anti-Semitism. It made no reference to the petrodollar lobby which makes big donations to colleges, media, and political campaigns of anti-Israel politicians. We all remember the MP who was on the take from Saddam Hussein. The program was filled with lies, typical of something that the Guardian would admire.

  6. Actually, I once wrote the editor of the Guardian and to the BBC asking when either The Guardian or the BBC was going to write an article or so a special about the influence of Saudi Arabia. I told them that in the US, as far back as the 1980s, there was a book published called “The American House of Saud” and the Saudis used the same tactics to buy friends and influence in the UK and Europe. To my surprise, I received answers The BBC said it already covered alleged Sauid influence many times. The letter did not cite any time, date, year, program directors, anything of that nature. The Guardian answered me by saying that there was no Saudi lobby or any undue Saudi influence and no Saudi equivalent of AIPAC and thus there was nothing to write about.
    The Guardian has also never written a word about Garoge Galloway’s ties to Sadaam Hussein and the brutal regime of Sadaam in Iraq. We all know about Sadaam’s largesse to George. And the Guardian never wrote a word about Ken Livingston’s curious ties.
    Oborne used all the tricks and shady tactics of the third rate journalist. He used dark and foreboding music to substitute for facts and data. He used the camera angles and the close up and the tactic of barging into offices of his quarry and demanding that the “criminal” subject himself to the cross examination of the righteous Obrorne.
    The best analogy for Oborne is that is was a modern day Torquemada conducting his own inquisition of “The Jews”. Torquemada demanded to know if his targets were secretly practicing Judaism. Oborne demanded to know if “The Jews” he was targeting had any ties to the evil an demonic State of Israel. Oborne’s letter to HR’s director was far ruder and accusatory than anything that Torquemada ever dreamed of.

  7. MindtheCrap
    Interesting that no members of the CiF “asajew” club have yet written an article defending the program. But we know why – pessure from the Zionist Lobby

    MindtheCrap is well named!!!
    How can the “Zionist lobby” stop articles being written by people they don’t even know are planning to write them!!!!!
    And in any event you cannot defend the indefensible

    And if whoever MindtheCrap is seriously thinks that CIF is not full of anti Israel anti Jewish articles they should rename themselves Mindthe Dementia

  8. Great article, Joy

    The sad result is that the Jewish communities around the world are at greater risk for antisemitic violence as Jews are tied to money, power and influencing American/British foreign policy. These are potentially very dangerous times for Jews – especially in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead. Are we really in the twenty first century?

  9. I found the Dispatches report pretty poor in content and at the same time overdramatic, i.e. in the traditions of sensationalist journalism.

    In fact, probably the lowlight was its 5-minute focus on … CiFWatch. In a report about an issue of potentially global significance, Oborne told of how he was investigating “… how critics of Israeli foreign policy in the press are labelled anti-Semitic”. Indeed some of them are – but by whom? CiFWatch??
    Frankly, who cares?! This website is wholly irrelevant to the issue at hand in terms of its influence or weight.

    And this article itself is frankly ridiculous:
    “As for citing the value of his house, now that really is pure antisemitism”

    That really is desperate stuff, Hawkeye.

    Does nobody else here have a problem with the above assertion?

  10. Thank you Joy. Nice piece.

    I think the bear in the room (Mouse? Elephant?) is how do we challenge these absurd conspiracies? By definition, the more you refute a conspiracy, the more it feeds the frenzy. It’s the same with 9/11, moon landings etc. I now v rarely post on CiF for that reason (except out of occasional anger).
    Robin sums it up with the following:

    “Since it is inconceivable, the authors obviously believe, that anyone could honestly credit Israel with anything other than the most damnable motives it must therefore follow that those who do in fact praise the Jewish state must be being paid or bullied into doing so.”

    So if you show sympathy with Israel you are tricked into it or paid off by the Jews.

    It’s a shame because I believe there is much legitimate debate to be had about Israel, the middle east and dare I say it, the unwavering support by the US of some of Israel’s less impressive policies. The hysterical undercurrent of anti-zionism and barely concealed anti-semitism itself shuts down any debate and polarises everybody to the detriment of Israelis and Palestinians

  11. Yes I have a problem with labelling Jews by their wealth Prezelberg and as for your comment that CIF Watch “wholly irrelevant to the issue at hand in terms of its influence or weight” I would really like to thank you for reinforcing just how ludicrous the concept of the powerful Jewish lobby that Dispatches set out with such ill will to expose is
    By choosing CIF Watch as something to attack along with many other perfectly legitimate communal figures and organisations whose crime is speaking up for Israel, and for being Jewish, although many of Israel;s best frineds and supporters are not Jewish, the directo showed just what a bankcrupt theoryt he was peddling. So again Prezelberg, thank you so much for proving the point

  12. Thanks Mindthe Crap I have a perfectly fulfilling and good like thank you so don;t need to Get One.
    However, I do not find any parody, humour or even cynicism on the 24/7 barrage of hate levelled at Israel, nor do I find clear incitement to racism and antisemitism in the least bit funny, and I suspect many decent people share that view.
    Some of the disgusting posts that have gone up on blogs and websites prove beyond doubt just how effective the Dispatches programme was in encouraging the bigots and those who never let historical truth get in the way of a good story was

  13. Sorry about mistake in first sentence above I meant, of course, I have a very good life thank you. so don’t need to get one!