A Challenge to the Guardian

This is a guest post by Israelinurse

When I was a little girl, growing up in the narrow cobbled streets of the 1960s industrial North of England, my parents never read any newspaper other than the Manchester Guardian.

There was a nightly ritual before bedtime in our house; we each had to polish our shoes ready for school the next day. Inevitably, this took place upon the kitchen floor; shoes, polish and brushes laid out on yesterday’s edition of the Manchester Guardian.

One evening I asked my father, who came from a family background worthy of a John Braine novel in which socialism was handed down the generations as an heirloom, along with great-aunt Hilda’s cut glass vase, what the name ‘Guardian’ meant.

He explained that newspapers had a role as guardians of society; that the newspaper’s job was to bring injustices into public view and to advocate fair treatment for all members of that society. The idea that there were journalists in our nearest big city dedicated to guarding the good and exposing the bad appealed very much to me at the age of seven. I even volunteered to clean my sister’s shoes too so as to have more time to read the articles between smudges of brown shoe polish.

In late 2006, after an absence of more than 30 years from Britain, I was therefore dismayed to find that my old shoe-cleaning friend The Guardian had undergone a metamorphosis which made it unrecognisable. Where was the brave reporting rooted in a firm understanding of fairness and right and wrong? Exactly which ideals was the paper guarding now?

Take, for instance, a subject which the old Manchester Guardian would have had no qualms about getting its teeth into. The British charity ‘War on Want’, already investigated in the past by the Charity Commission, has teamed up with BRICUP to organise a series of lectures in universities in London, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow next week promoting the boycott agenda.

‘War on Want’ has a past history of supporting occasional CiF contributor Ben White’s book launch and selling Christmas cards which hardly promote the seasonal spirit of ‘goodwill to all men’ .

Now, together with BRICUP, it is bringing members of the South African Trades Union ‘Cosatu’ to Britain to promote the idea of Israel as an apartheid state in British academic institutions.

The old Manchester Guardian would have long ago turned the spotlight upon this seemingly blatant transgression of charitable status. It would have questioned the fact that a recipient of both public donations and government and EU funding is promoting racial hatred. It would have investigated the connections and backgrounds of charity workers apparently intent upon the promotion of a political rather than philanthropic agenda.

So where is today’s Guardian, Mr. Rusbridger? This is a chance to show the public that something still remains of the old Guardian ethos. Are you up to the challenge?

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27 replies »

  1. In late 2006, after an absence of more than 30 years from Britain, I was therefore dismayed to find that my old shoe-cleaning friend The Guardian had undergone a metamorphosis which made it unrecognisable. Where was the brave reporting rooted in a firm understanding of fairness and right and wrong? Exactly which ideals was the paper guarding now?

    I do hope that all the Guardian cabal read this post IsraeliNurse.

    And I hope that many of the advertisers and subscribers too.

    I have a feeling that this …. aberration, is the collective responsibility of the present management. They have alienated the rational left. From the Guardian and from UK society generally.

    They must be ‘let go’.

  2. Where have you been all these years, Israelinurse? You have a great talent, as demonstrated in this post, to combine a personal story with an important political issue — and at least for me, that is a motivation to really think about how our lives are affected by a development as you point out here. I didn’t grow up in England with the Guardian, but it was nevertheless a similar environment, where it was very clear what values the left stood for. Sadly, that’s no longer true. Nowadays the Guardian (and there are comparable examples in the US) prefers empty ideological postures based on the most intellectually shallow ideas of who should be considered the underdog. As a result, there is an obsession with the all mighty “Israel lobby”, while nobody cares what is the influence of the petro-power Goliaths or what the well-organized Islamic bloc in the UN is up to: currently, they are making great strides in getting the UN to outlaw anything that might be construed as insulting to Islam…
    And when it comes to the “boycott Israel” campaign, the Arabs called for anti-Jewish boycotts already when the Nazis did so, and then it became official policy of the Arab League. What else do you need to know to see just how hollow the claim is that this is a leftist cause?

  3. We have the Guardian undermining Israel,what about Israeli NGO’s that are funded by the EU,to undermine Israeli policy.

    There is an article in the Jerusalem post a that you might want to read about these NGO’s

    “B’Tselem tops European funding list”

  4. I don’t remember us using The Manchester Guardian to clean our shoes in the ’50s, but it was most certainly the newspaper of choice in most left-leaning Jewish families in the UK at that time.

    I identified so strongly with Israeli Nurse’s post that I almost exploded!

    But shouldn’t we have learned by now that it’s always our nearest and dearest who perform the coup de grace?

  5. chairwoman says: shouldn’t we have learned by now that it’s always our nearest and dearest who perform the coup de grace?
    In Israel we have our own form of the Guardian – Haaretz – which does its worthy best to put an anti-Israel slant onto any fresh item of news. The caption writers do valiant service and deserve special mention in this regard.

    Netanyahu’s announced a few days ago that construction of dwelling houses in the westbank would be frozen for ten months but that projects that serve the community like schools or hospitals, would continue. Haaretz assaulted our eyes a banner headline saying that construction was to continue nonetheless –with the implication that the government was lying — and it was only when reading the details that it became clear that the new structures were precisely of the kind that had been announced by the PM.

  6. Great article, and excellent links to the activities of “War on Want”, which it would seem could shorten its name to “War”. I would love to be able to find the funding sources for these groups – for example, who pays to bring the vile Ronnie kasrils, a self-hating Jew of the worst kind, to the UK?

  7. I, on the other hand and possibly with some personal regret, never had such illusions about newspapers. I always knew journalists were hoes – keen on sleeping with anyone and everyone.

    In their support for islamists, the left have lost their moral ground.

  8. I took a little time to dig deeper on “War on Want”. This, from NGO Monitor’s reference to the was interesting and explains the source of thir continuing bias:

    “WoW was formerly headed by British MP George Galloway, currently implicated in the “oil for food” scandal with close ties to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein”.

    Here’s a short reference to the sources of War on Want’s funding from their 2008 annual report, which is long on glowing references to their activities, short on sources of financing. In the document there are three references to their obsession with Palestine, which is the major issue highlighted on their website, though presented as a relatively minor activity in their report, presumably to dodge the criticism that NGO Monitor highlighted. (Note the attempt they made to confuse the issue with the attack spearheaded by Daniel Machover, well known for his hatred of Israel).

    Note that they claim to receive 43% of their funding for restricted purposes – could one of our British colleagues explain what this means, specially since their web-site seems to be 90% dedicated to attacking Israel? There is a reference to “Conflict zones” which they may use to cover their attacks on Israel. They refer to “member and regular donors” for the balance, apparently, and it would be interesting to uncover the identity of those “regular donors” who seem to have such an interest in the Israel/Palestinian conflict:

    Financial Review
    War on Want has maintained its healthy overall financial position. In 2007/2008 it increased
    its unrestricted reserves by £70,696 to £1,449,509.
    Principal funding sources
    We received 43% of our funding in the form of grants for restricted purposes. These funds
    provide significant support for its programme across the four thematic areas detailed above
    and campaigning work. Major funders support our work as follows:

    International Programmes
    Sweatshops & Plantations —– DFID, Comic Relief, Irish Aid
    Food Justice —– DFID, European Commission, Comic Relief,
    Informal Economies —– European Commission, Comic Relief
    Conflict Zones —- Irish Aid, the Isle of Man

    Economic Justice —– European Commission (Campaigns until August 2007)
    Global Justice —-European Commission

    However, this key work is also supported by the funds received through committed giving, appeals and donations. The trustees would like to thank our members and regular donors for their financial support throughout 2007/2008.

  9. I don’t know how the writing in the Guardian was back in the day but it sure is of poor quality now. The quality is so low that a twelve year old student who submitted it to a teacher would fail the course.

  10. Garry0 – ‘In their support for islamists, the left have lost their moral ground.’

    Careful. Not all the left by far support Islamists or apologise for ‘Freedom Fighting’. Many on the left are thoroughly disgusted with the behaviour of ‘extreme’ lefties.

    Me for one.

    Nick Cohen for another.

    The list is long and they need waking up to let their voices be heard above the screech of The Guardianistas and Extreme Islamists crying ‘WE ARE VICTIMS’.

  11. AkUS

    War on Want is a company limited by guarantee, It’s members , in the event of bankruptcy, will be responsible for debts only to the tune of between £1 and £io.

    Restricted funding – money provided either through grants or donation/legacy for specific purposes.

    Unrestricted are any additional money from fund raising events which can be spent as they choose as long as the purpose is covered in their constitution.

    Accounting rules require them to clearly separate restricted/unrestricted monies in their accounts so it is clear which money goes where, use of restricted funds for other purposes is illegal. In some circumstances – neglogence , fraud etc – the directors can be responsible for replacing funds wrongfully all ocated.

    Companies ltd. by guarantee are ruled by their Articles Of Association – this, among other things defines purpose, vision and scope of activity.

    One of WoW aims is to work in war zones, relieving poverty and suffering another is to work towards the implementation of the HRA

    Link to Charity Commissioners rules on political activity.

    Charities may campaign politically in furtherance of their charitable aims – they may lobby for the implementation or change in law in pursuit of aims. They may not campaign for a political party.

    Hope this helps Leni

  12. JerusalemMite

    Not only is the quality of the actual writing terrible (Seth Freedman is probably the worst of their stable of frequent contributors, but since he never went to college and is scraping by on a highschool education dimly perceived, by his own account, through a drug-induced haze, perhaps not surprising that his “style” (sic) stalled at the level of a 10 year-old’s) but they seem to take no interest in validating the content of the articles before they publish them – the errors, lies, omissions etc. are legion – the most famous example, I think, being their reporting of the “Jenin massacre”.

    They also very rarely admit to an error – responsible media outlets will publish corrections, but its a rare day that you see one on the Guardian’s web-site, despite the fact – or perhaps because of the fact – that it is so filed with inaccuracies, let alone deliberate fabrications.

    Of course, in thrall to a group of editors that Stalin would have welcomed, its not surprising that they have their own way of “making history”.

  13. “There is a confusion between Zionism and Jewishness, add in Israeli, non Israeli Jews – both religious and atheist – and you have several possible ways a Jew can define himself within his identity as Jewish. It also allows for others to define and see him in several ways.”

    Jews have been regarded as an ethno-national group, dispossessed of temple, city and land (and, arguably, just about everywhere else) for most of Christian and Islamic history.

    Before the birth of a restored Jewish state of Israel, antisemites tended to remember the fact. Since then they have tended to forget it. What both sets have in common is a desire to hurt the largest and most obviously Jewish community as is in contemporary existence.

  14. Steven – Come on The Guardian, show some spine and change.

    That would mean changing all the present management of the Guardian.

    It may happen though. The present management have been directing the paper into oblivion.

  15. Great article Israelinurse. I’ve come across George Galloway on occasion in past reading. He’s really not a very pleasant kind of guy it seems. Thanks for the info on this so-called charity. I had never heard of it before your article.

  16. Notice to all – be very careful when writing about Galloway. He is highly litigious and may well know about this website. It would be too awful to give him the excuse to sue any of us for defamation and win, simply because we have not been 100% sure of our facts when writing about him.

  17. Hi zkharya
    World jewry were not always considered an etho-religious group. Not even by world jewry. You seem unaware of the christian, muslim and even jewish sources such as Jacob ben-Reuben in the eleventh century who recognised this fact.

  18. sababa
    Where have you been all these years, Israelinurse?

    Up on a big hill called Ramat HaGolan, milking cows, treating snake bites and rescuing those bloody hang-gliders who insist on jumping off it!

  19. Seth Freedman’s writing is shockingly bad. He can’t put a sentence together and he is as boring as white bread and mayo.

  20. RepublicanStones,

    you are talking spectacular rot. Even pagan Greeks and Romans regarded Jews as a distinct ethno-national group.

    You clearly don’t know the Jewish, Christian or Islamic sources. And I’d be interested in your evidence from Jacob Ben Reuven.

  21. Lenny is a close friend. His son just got married this summer – tankist too!
    Next time you’re over you must come and visit. Lots of that garin are still there.