Guardian

Guardian Ed: “In Israel They Murder Each Other a Great Deal”


This is a cross post from Honest Reporting

The Israeli Defense Forces murder people because they don’t like their political style…

What does the IDF have to do with the recent assault on Italian PM Sylvio Berlusconi? Absolutely nothing. But that didn’t stop The Guardian’s Political Editor Michael White from making the following comment during a discussion on BBC Radio London’s Breakfast Show concerning the physical vulnerability of political leaders:

In Israel they murder each other a great deal. The Israeli Defense Forces murder people because they don’t like their political style and what they’ve got to say and it only means that people more extreme come in and take their place.

(The full segment from the BBC Radio London Breakfast Show with Joanne Good and Paul Ross, 8am, Monday 14 Dec. can be heard by clicking on the icon below (3 mins 30 secs in) or here for a limited time only on the BBC website at approximately 1hr 16 mins in.)

These are extremely serious and baseless accusations and perhaps offer a disturbing insight into the mindsets of The Guardian’s senior staff as well as those BBC presenters who simply grunted in agreement.

Does the IDF target terrorists and their leadership in order to defend Israeli citizens from terror attacks? Certainly. Does the IDF engage in deliberate murder in order to silence dissent in the same style as a police state or dictatorship? Certainly not.

Accusing the IDF of murdering people because they disagree with their “political style” is an absolutely outrageous slander. How can the paper’s Political Editor represent The Guardian on a public platform, spreading slanderous accusations while expected to produce  reliable and credible material in a mainstream newspaper?

Please send a complaint to The Guardian’s readers’ editor Siobhain Butterworth – reader@guardian.co.uk – and demand that The Guardian takes action against Michael White who is unfit for the task of Political Editor if he publicizes such ridiculous untruths. Despite Michael White’s language, please remember to be civil when addressing your complaint.

You can also send a complaint to the BBC, which allowed such a slur to go unchallenged, through the BBC Complaints website – www.bbc.co.uk/complaints – remembering to include the full details of the BBC radio show in question. For detailed instructions on how to navigate the BBC Complaints website, click here.

38 replies »

  1. I have to run, what a stupid comment from this person.

    it only means that people more extreme come in and take their place.

    Really?

    More extreme than Sheikh Yassin, Arafat, George Habash, Abu Nidal?

    Israel’s policy of taking out the extremist leaders has convinced the Palestinian leaders that inciting violence has a price that they are not willing pay (though they still co-opt others for one-off suicide missions) and has limited civilian casualties despite the years of intifadas, rockets, suicide bombings, stabbings, etc. Notice the longevity of the current crop of Palestinian leaders who have absorbed the lesson.

    Was there any reference to the success of the similar US/NATO policy vis-a-vis Al Queda using drones to pick off their leaders? Or is only Israel supposed to lie back and think of Britain when attacked?

    As for:

    In Israel they murder each other a great deal.

    Crime statistics for Britain, anyone? No murders there, I imagine.

  2. Pleased to say I got this over to Honest Reporting and the Embassy and HR has acted on it as quickly as always.

    I’ve now also emailed the Guardian and the BBC to ask them to action this slander, not that I expect much but who knows.

    Those people not familiar with Honest Reporting, it is a really excellent organisation that does some great work and if you can afford to, needs supporting.

  3. A stupid comment in so many ways. Starting with “In Israel they murder each other a great deal” – which to the ignorant implies that Likud and Labour are always bumping each other off.
    No effort to provide any kind of context either, i.e. that those targeted by the IDF had blood on their hands.
    If he’d said e.g. “in the Middle East/elsewhere in the world …”, then I might’ve understood.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p005gypm/The_Breakfast_Show_with_Joanne_Good_and_Paul_Ross_14_12_2009/

  4. Was it a coincidence that Michael White did not mention the murder of Fuad Hariri by Syrian intelligence agents working hand in glove with Hezbollah? Was it a coincidence that White did not mention that the Syrian government has stonewalled the UN investigation and people with knowledge of what happened to Hariri have dissapeared. Was it a coincidence that White did not mention that a former Prime Minister of Iran named Baktiar was murdered in Paris by Iranian government agents? Was it a coincidence that White did not mention that Iranian agents have attempted many times to murder former President BaniSadr in Paris? Was it a coincidence that the Iranian government executed former Iran foreign minister Gotzbazedeh? Was it a coincidence that White did not mention the Taliban murdering the head of the Northern Alliance?

  5. Slowly but surely, the cat is getting out of the bag.

    And what an ugly, vicious, rabid cat it is.

    The Guardian staff needs to start getting legal attention, because that statement is slander in every sense of the word.

    They need to be worried that if they allow things to continue this way they might find themselves in a court of law. Maybe that will help. I’m sure it will, in fact. Just the fear of it.

    Israel is a country with more per capita lawyers than any other country. I think it’s time for some of these to start justifying their profession and act against this

    “newspaper”.

  6. FoolMeOnce

    Israel is a country with more per capita lawyers than any other country. I think it’s time for some of these to start justifying their profession and act against this

    Not really nice to be reminded of that. lawyers can certainly be considered parasites but, we’ll leave that to the side for the moment.

    When contemplating true legal action against a journalist or newspaper, one has to consider that success in a court of law may not be success in the perception of English citizens generally. The OJ Simpson trial being a case in point. Assuming of course that one is not just out to get a monetary settlement.

    Surely the object of a lawyer in this case would be to get public opinion on his side too. If he/she fails in this, the result may certainly not be what is required even if he/she wins the case.

  7. pretzelberg, for once you and I agree.

    JerusalemMite good points.

    HarveSmithfield, of course not! That would have detracted from the point he wanted to make.

    I don’t know which is more sick-making – that this sort of rubbish can be given air time on an allegedly intelligent TV channel or that this particular idiot called White seems to have no idea of the offence he causes?

  8. In Israel they murder each other a great deal. Dear oh dear – stop it at once!

    What a fatuous remark. I imagine M White made this remark in a personal capacity rather than as a rep. of the Guardian. I don’t know the demographics of the listeners to this programme – agree that this kind of casual accusation can have far reaching effects and should certainly be curbed. Any remarks which inflame – for or against – a ’cause’ can be both misleading and dangerous when thrown into the public arena – particularly when lacking context, means of rebuttal or qualification.

    Murder rates in UK? too high. Political violence ? Generally confined to demos with most severe violence coming from police .

    Personal violence against people or property from racists. bigots or special interest groups? On the rise.

    Anyone with public profile – so called opinion makers – has a duty to speak honestly, responsibly and to be aware thet there are extremists out there who look for any hook on which to hang their hatred.

    I will watch outcome of this with interest.

    Leni

  9. Leni, does it matter whether he made it in a personal capacity or as a representative of the Guardian? It’s still offensive and a pack of lies and reflects the Guardian World View whether he means it to or not.

  10. Yohoho

    I agree – it was more than offensive – it was dangerous and inflammatory. Whether made personally or reflecting editorial policy it is still offensive. In terms of any legal action – or request for retraction – it would make a difference though.

    Leni

  11. I don’t think there is any point in complaining to the Guardian since they didn’t publish this ludicrous statement and are not responsible for what their stupid journalists say elsewhere. The BBC did broadcast it though, without contesting it, and it is worth complaining to them on the grounds that they are total idiots who know nothing about Israel, and that a statement they allowed to stand was false and slanderous. The BBC do not respond well to accusations of bias or anti-semitism, which they always simply deny in a pompous, waffly way, so best just to stick to the basic facts when pointing this out. The post does not give the date and name of the broadcast, which would be helpful.

  12. NicoleS I agree that there would be no point in complaining to the Guardian – even if they had published it they would resort to their three wise monkeys default when they received the complaint.

    The inglorious Beeb is, however, another matter altogether.

    It was broadcast on the BBC Radio London Breakfast Show with Joanne Good and Paul Ross, at 8am on Monday 14 December.

  13. I very much think its worthwhile complaining to the Guardian. Michael White is their political editor and he was introduced as such. In this capacity, what he says reflects on the Guardian, so please do by all means let them know that this man who represents them is committing, what I can only believe is slander.

    As to the Beeb, of course you must complain. The woman hosting that show, Joanne Good, did not hesitate or think twice when White made his comments. The woman is running a chat show – she should at least have the brain to pull him up, and if she doesn’t her editors or producer should. That they didn’t is absolutely wrong.

    Just imagine if someone came on that show and said, ‘oh of course, the British army murders a lot….’ there’d be an outcry and rightly so.

    Just because White has an agenda and the woman presenter either agrees with him or is such an airhead she had nothing to say, the Beeb is so incredibly well resourced, their editorial team might just have had the nouse to do something about it,but they didn’t. By all means complain – politely but firmly.

  14. Hello Leni

    I think it’s ironic (if that’s the right word) that you (quite rightly)have total accessibility to this blog, when many of the posters here were banned, pre moderated or made to feel uncomfortable when they tried to post on CiF. They were often mobbed and insulted.

    Your use of language is, granted, very measured, but it is a fact that you were a bystander to some of the most vicious vitriolic attacks on some of the posters now posting here when they used to blog on CiF – particularly your lack of censure of La Ritournelle who called another poster well known here a cockroach, an affront to every single Jew – whilst at the same time agreeing with Yohoho on what he thought was acceptable behaviour or otherwise, makes me question your sincerity.

  15. Yechiel – Hello

    You question my sincerity ? Sorry about that but I have no intention of going into a self defensive rant.

    If you don’t like my being here I can leave,

    Leni

  16. You can expect this kind of shit from the Guardian,after all this is the kind of paper that they are.But this guy is the absolute pits.Is there anything that we can do to set this jackass straight.We should not let this go.
    This is a nasty and sick slur on the IDF.

    When serving,there were a few in the IDF who had terrible political style (not as bad as Seth Freedman’s though ),but nobody thought of disposing of them.This has to be taken very seriously,and something done about it.Can it be taken to court,if yes, then I would willingly donate to the cost.

  17. “Your complaint is important to us,The BBC Trust ensures BBC programmes are high quality”

    “Your complaint is important to us”,so important that they make it very hard to complain.

    “BBC programmes are high quality”,except when it comes to anything to do with Israel than it descends into the slime.

  18. Dear Leni

    What a strange reply from one who promises not to go into a self defensive rant.

    Whether you leave Cif watch or not is entirely up to you, it is immaterial to me, but your retort/threat to leave comes across as rather self-pitying. I see somebody has appeared to ask you to stay.

    I am simply trying to understand you – after all it is you who constantly bemoans the fact that people do not communicate properly and end up with misunderstandings instead. I could understand you taking this position if I had racially abused you – but it is not the case. I am asking you why you felt unable to join in with those who condemn racial abuse.

  19. Yechiel

    Nothing to do with self pity – more to do with being bored by unwarranted personal comments being thrown around.

    I have said repeatedly that I will not engage in discussing the La Rit thing again – I said what I think on a very early thread here and see no good purpose in raising it again.

    Leni

  20. Somehow, this doesn’t seem that surprising considering who said it. Yet, having come from the outside just a few months ago, I am still amazed at how blatant the bias is against Israel at the Guardian……..OK, I no longer am.

  21. Dear Leni

    I asked specifically about condemning racist abuse and your rather selective attitude.

    If you did not like me bringing that up – fair enough.

    Regarding you being bored with the subject, I seem to remember reading posts where you did bring her up – though since then you do not seem quite as comfortable.

    This exchange really does seem quite pointless, and I am happy to leave it here now that your position is very very clear.

  22. Writing to the Guardian,and the BBC,is pointless,nothing will be done about it,they will just laugh it off.Lighting a fire under their butts would be a better idea.
    WE need to complain to the UK Parliament,or any other body that keeps check on these people.

    It’s the IDF that NEEDS to take immediate action,it was the IDF that was slandered.

  23. What’s a little surprising about White’s clumsy and offensive comments is that he made them immediately after saying nice things about Northern Ireland, namely that even those formerly bad Catholics and Protestants could now work together in one Government.

    To begin to undo the pernicious results of years of anti-Israel propaganda in the Guardian ( in which his spiritual son, Ben White, was raised ) one would first have to go back to the anti-Jewish passages in the Gospels and the climate of anti-Jewish and xenophobic prejudice which still pervades the British media in these supposedly enlightened and post-Christian times.

    One would also have to ask oneself why so many journalists of White’s ilk, coming from a non-English minority background ( I’m guessing Scottish or Irish ) have such an inferiority complex that they attempt to displace it by focalising on another ethnic minority that has often succeeded far too well. British journalists are not famous for their academic achievements. Need I say more?

  24. JerusalemMite

    The object of a law suit should not be PR. It should be to deter other media persons and remind them that there are consequences to their slander, and that free speech has its limits. Even though in places like Britain and North Europe they seem to think it’s the new God, and nothing should interfere with the holies of holy- freedom of speech. (Unless it’s about any Moslem prophet.)

    Even if PR turns out negatively for a high profile law suit, I think the impact would eventually be beneficial.

    P.S. You’re right about lawyers though…

  25. You know, Leni, time out can often be a good antidote to feeling bored.

    Fairplay, I am made more uneasy by the Beeb’s apparent lack of insight into the slanderous nature of what White was allowed to say unchallenged. (Like Tom Wonacott, I am not in the least surprised that White said it – he does work at the Guardian after all).

    This is yet another example of the growing acceptability of Israel-bashing discourse in our media.

  26. Yohoho: This is yet another example of the growing acceptability of Israel-bashing discourse in our media. It is equally obvious that this is the level of discussion about Israel acceptable among members of staff at the Guardian

  27. I telephoned the Guardian to complain and after explaining the facts carefully was told that ‘the Guardian isn’t interested in an organised campaign by a bunch of Zionists against one of its journalists’ and ‘if you don’t like that why don’t get back to Israel?’.

    I gave him a piece of my mind but I soon realised he’d put me on speakerphone so the rest of his office could laugh and jeer. Eventually I just slammed down the phone but I swear I’ll never read that newspaper ever again.

  28. fair2both – That is just awful. What a disgusting way to relate to a member the public and what a blatant display of the Guardian attitude. I’m very sorry you had to experience that.

  29. In retrospect, the off-the-cuff comments on BBC Radio London ( hardly an intellectual heavyweight radio station ) deserve to be treated with scorn.
    Of course the BBC is awash with anti-Israel prejudice, but you’re not going to change attitudes overnight. I’d save my anger for the Beeb rather than a pseudo-intellectual rag not fit to wrap fish-n-chips in.

    I remember a time, a very long time ago. How long? Oh, about 35 years ago ( thirty-five years ) and Radio London had “You don’t have to be Jewish” presented by Michael Freedland. But now, (o tempora, o mores!) you have his son, also a journalist, writing crappy articles for the Grauniad.
    Talking of father and son acts, is it possible that Ben White really is Michael White’s offspring?

  30. Fair to both: start with a written complaint to the editor. Bullying is rife in newsrooms but journalists should be reminded that their readers are not to be bullied.

  31. we have been used already to anti-semitic slanders and pro-islamo-terroristic halleluyas in al-guardian, so there is nothing new in the growling of this anti-semitic pig except for his high standing in his paper. it is also possible that this pig was still fully soaked in alcohol from the previous night and didn’t have the necessary control over the anti-semitic excrements coming out of his jaws.