Guardian

“The mind of the bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it the more it will contract” (Oliver Wendell Holmes)


This is a guest post by Mitnaged

We read often, and it is part of the lived experience of those who monitor sites like Comment is Free, that certain hate-filled commenters are attracted there because CiF offers such excellent facilitative qualities for them to spout their barely-concealed Jew-hatred under the guise of the antizionism they argue that it is.

AKUS has addressed elsewhere the role of the internet in initiating, exacerbating and maintaining such hatred.   I would like to touch on another aspect of this phenomenon:

The internet is as capable of presenting alternative viewpoints to undermine those which incite hatred as it is of underscoring that hatred.   Why might it be that these alternatives cause so much psychological and cognitive discomfort to the haters that they are incapable of taking any of them on board, and indeed they result in a backlash of yet more hatred as the haters cling on to the distorted ideas even in the face of proof that their belief in them is misplaced?

“I’ve made up my mind – don’t confuse me with the facts”

The basic idea behind cognitive dissonance theory is that people do not like to have dissonant cognitions. In fact, many people argue that the desire to have consonant cognitions is as strong as our basic desires for food and shelter. As a result, when someone does experience two or more dissonant cognitions (or conflicting thoughts), they will attempt to do away with the dissonance.   This, I believe, underlines what I perceive to be the mindless hatred which is displayed on CiF.

The above statement  may well reflect the being-in-the-world of such Israel-/Jew-haters.  Their psychological comfort depends upon their being able to believe that what they think is true. They tend not to question what they are told if it resonates with what they  think, and they are incapable of reality-testing their beliefs because if these are found to be in error then it will have to result in a radical change in their whole self-concept and their being-in-the-world.

Phil Barker tells us that Leon Festinger published a theory of cognitive dissonance in 1957.  It begins with the notion that cognitions can pertain to any variety of thoughts, values, facts, or emotions.  For instance, the fact that I like watching soaps is a cognition as is the fact that I am a man. People have countless cognitions in their heads.

Most cognitions are unrelated. For instance, the two cognitions mentioned before (that I am a man and that I like watching soaps) are unrelated. Some cognitions, however, are related and are “consonant,” meaning that they go together.

However, sometimes we have cognitions that are related, but may be opposites. For instance, a person might like ice cream, but might also be trying to lose weight. These two thoughts are problematic — if this person eats ice cream, then s/he may gain weight, and if s/he really wants to lose weight then s/he cannot eat ice cream. These types of cognitions are referred to as “dissonant.”

Cognitive dissonance results from the inability to hold in consciousness two ideas which are perceived to be in conflict with each other – in this case let’s argue that such a dissonant thought might be that (a) Palestinians have been wronged and their resorting to terrorism is therefore justified but that (b) Palestinian terrorism damages Palestinians at least as much as does Israeli reaction to it.   To have to hold these thoughts and admit to them results in great psychological discomfort, particularly if the holder of them has publicly stated in all or nothing terms that s/he takes the side of one party or the other.  In such cases the emotional discomfort which results may well lead to yet more emphasis of the one-sided and distorted viewpoints in an attempt to achieve consonance (albeit consonance which is based on false premises) and emotional comfort.

“I believe it and many others do too”

Further to complicate this already murky state of affairs, we have the notion that people who feel increasingly threatened by the cognitive dissonance which results from the challenges to their world view tend to band together with others who believe likewise, in order to try to achieve consonance from the validation of their views.  In other words, it seems as if there is some sort of safety in numbers for such people – that they lack the courage of their convictions if challenged unless they can belong to or refer to such a peer group.

On CiF, for example, we get posters such as Papalagi who until recently would regularly quote  Ilan Pappe as a reputable historian although Pappe’s work had been soundly trashed by more reputable historians such as Benny Morris and also by  Ephraim Karsh.   The reiterative nature of Papalagi’s posts in this vein are not unique – other CiF “favourites” continue to bang on the same old drum regardless of the increasing weight of evidence against their arguments but I would wager that the posts in reply to Papalagi, which painstakingly point out Pappe’s shortcomings as an historian, increase Papalagi’s cognitive dissonance.

A more mature person might be able to cope with the emotional discomfort caused by this threat to his world view arising from hard evidence.  A more mature person might perhaps enter into further debate or even climb down from his original position in the face of that evidence.   Papalagi, however, does not evidence this strength of character and, like many Israel-hating CiF regulars, his apparently unshakeable belief becomes apparent – that if he continues the reiteration, often in the same wording again and again, its content will suddenly become acceptable and Papalagi’s (and Pappe’s) detractors will vanish (and of course they do in some cases, not because they disagree with Papalagi, but because their posting rights are pulled, often unreasonably and without explanation).  That CiF detractors become stronger – such as via the setting up of CiFWatch – in the face of such immature “debate” seems not to register at all, however.

The causes of Jew- and Israel-hatred are many and varied and are beyond the scope of this article, but I believe that the Israel haters/anti-Jewish racists on CiF hold in common this inability to tolerate the cognitive dissonance resulting from being presented with provable facts which are at variance with their beliefs, and the immense discomfort which results from this causes them to hate those whom they perceive to be responsible for it, and to act out that hatred towards them in print, rather than sit with and explore the discomfort.

The haters’ critical faculties, by which they might examine erroneous viewpoints shored up by questionable evidence, are often but not invariably bypassed in the pursuit of emotional comfort, or the venting of the built-up feelings of hatred which, being immature, they cannot contain.   This venting aspect of an attempt to achieve consonance by “I’ve made up my mind so don’t confuse me with facts” is excellently evidenced in the YouTube video of the interview with the egregious John Sullivan.

Note how Sullivan clings to his hatred like a drowning man to a life raft and how this escalates to the point that it distorts his perception of the good wishes for Christmas from his Jewish interviewer at the close of the interview at 3:51 minutes, and prevents him from doing the decent, mature thing by ignoring the good wishes if he feels unable to respond in kind.

On the other hand, and in the same video at 1.41 minutes onwards, John Beynon, when asked how he could countenance the use of his church by supporters of Islamist terror whilst at the same time condemning the killing in the Middle East, admits that the interviewer may have a point. We can see here how the more mature person might deal with cognitive dissonance, without necessarily abandoning his point of view and without seeming hate-filled.  Beynon might be a useful role model for the anti-Israel posters on CiF.

The apparent imperviousness to reasoned argument which is very evident on CiF may be best explained as a sort of doublethink – a concept promoted by George Orwell (1949) in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Doublethink was set out there, on p.32 of the Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, London edition as:

“..The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth..”  (Emphasis added).

And also as the following, which reflects the mindset of many CiF authors and the worldview of CiF itself:

“..To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself — that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink…”

28 replies »

  1. Mitnaged, a very good article. Thank you for this easy to understand explanation of cognitive dissonance; it’s probably the most parsimonious explanation for the behaviour of some of the regular posters on CiF, who remain welded to their distinctly bizarre arguments regardless of objective evidence which refutes them – papalagi is just one example, but there probably wasn’t room to list every one.

  2. Mitnaged, this is very interesting indeed.

    However, does it really apply to the likes of the Henry coven? I can’t imagine their being at all uncomfortable with their awareness of information which contradicts what they believe – I think that they conveniently ignore it as per your second quote above from “Nineteen Eighty-four” because pursuing their current course of action makes them money.

    I’d be interested in your take on this.

  3. Good analysis, Mtnaged.

    Guardian has offered up at least three new opportunities (one Editorial no less) for its commentators to vent their wrath against Israel (really Jews) in articles dedicated to Tzipi Livni’s arrest warrant, thereby keeping the font of hate there well watered. Constant demonising of Israel by the lefty in the media has done the trick and is interesting to note that even the Timesonline’s and Telegragh.co.uk’s offerings (whose readers you wouldn’t have likened to Guardian’s army of Hamas supporters) on this affair has attracted substantial number of Israel bashers.

    It seems that Israel has all but lost Britain.

  4. I believe that identification of an out-group is some people’s way of feeling themselves to be part of the in-group. Ultimately it becomes a sort of shibboleth to them, just like a religious tenet. And we can all cite examples of religious tenets which lead to cognitive dissonance when disproved, and held onto the more desperately for that.

    Many such people would, if examined, be found to have a poor internal locus of control. With them, it is not “I will believe what I choose to believe on objective examination of evidence; you can take me or leave me.” Rather it is “I will believe what you believe, even if it is stupid, because I don’t want you to leave me out.” Cf some of those ridiculous “frat” rituals at US universities.

  5. julian (love the name!) – you may have a point. The extreme left has aligned itself with Islamism in terms of what they both hate (the out group as you define it) ie Israel, rather than in terms of what they might conceivably have in common. In fact they have precious little in common and Islamists loathe the loony left as much if not more than they loathe Israel and Jews.

  6. Great analysis of how cognitive dissonance and doublethink (and groupthink) can be seen on CIF and affect the commentary there.

    Of course, it also affects the contributers, and it is extremely visible in the twists and turns exhibited in the puerile writings of Freedman who can’t decide if he’s “for us or agin us” on any day of the week and in the latest bizarre contribution of Kahn-Harris, where he called for more civilized debateamong Jews and is then treated to a typical CF thread vilifying Israel and Jews by non-Jews (and a few “as-a-Jews”, to be fair).

    But surely one f the most egregious recent examples of “I believe it and many others do too” and cognitive dissonancewas the throwaway comment by Michael White, who, of course, happens to be an assistant editor of the Guardian, and thereby provides us with the clearest insight we have had to the groupthink that exists there. SOme of the time its not even clear if he’s talking about Israel’s leaders or the palestinian leaders – they seem to run together in his mind:

    “In Israel they murder each other a great deal.”

    Underlying thought: “I believe it and many others do too” that:
    They = all Israelis are murderers.

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

    Underlying thought: “I believe it and many others do too” that:
    The IDF takes political positions and kills people for their political beliefs.

    “and what they’ve got to say “

    Underlying thought: “I believe it and many others do too” that:
    freedom of expression in Israel is punishable by death

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

    Underlying thought: “I believe it and many others do too” that:
    the new crop of leaders (not clear if its israeli or Palestinian – cognitive dissonance) are worse than the old bunch (even though there he provides no proof of this and Abbas and Haniya/Meshaal are certainly no worse than Arafat, Sheikh Yassin, George Habash, Abu Nidal, etc.)

    followed up by the woman interviewing him with “uh-huh” – Underlying thought: “well, that barely needs saying”

    All this in a throwaway comment as if everyone believes this, in the same tone that he would use to ask for a little more milk in his tea.

    To the extent that this groupthink is spreading in the UK, it is horribly reminiscent of the early Hitlerian years in Germany.

  7. Thanks for the comments.

    @Demeter – yes, I believe that my second quote from Nineteen Eighty-Four applies to the Henry coven. They probably experience little or no cognitive dissonance because they are able to tell themselves a completely different story from the one we perceive as to why they are doing what they are doing – and they believe it so readily that whatever dissonance is present has no chance to make itself felt or to cause them discomfort.

    Oddly enough, however, Seth Freedman may be capable of feeling the discomfort from cognitive dissonance and this may be the reason that he vacillates so much and appears to be such a chameleon about what pass for his opinions. Freedman is terminally conflicted of course, because he cannot stay comfortable for very long – if he acknowledges that Israel is not totally evil then he gets it in the neck for supporting Israel, and when he badmouths Israel then he comes in for severe criticism from those of us who are not boycotting his articles. In other words, he is damned by his actions whatever he does because he cannot bear discomfort and whatever he does to lessen it in the short term never works for long.

    @juliantheprostate – I am not sure of the extent to which you can apply external locus of evaluation across the board. It may certainly apply to the regurgitative and tub-thumping “arguments” of the usual suspects below the line, many of whom seem not to have had an original idea between them. It certainly applies to the unfortunate Berchmans for the same reason, but, for the reasons I have written above to Demeter, I doubt that it applies invariably to the Henry coven itself whose motives, as I see them, are largely about making money from ignorant people’s hatreds.

    @GaryO, I am not sure that I agree that al-Grauniad’s constant demonising has completely done the trick, but perhaps I have more faith in human nature and intelligence than you have!

  8. @AKUS – thanks for your comment – I was already in the process of replying to others before I saw your post, and, as you will see, I have echoed your point about Freedman in my reply to Demeter.

    I’d like to ask people what they think would be the solution to the increase in hate-filled groupthink directed against Israel and Jews.

  9. In Israel they murder each other a great deal.

    How do you murder each other a great deal.I have been trying to work that out.And if that were to be true,that we murder each other a great deal.It’s a wonder that there is any of us left.

  10. Mitnaged – good article, explained very well.

    However I’m left with the feeling “and?…..”

    It’s all very well explaining what drives these people and understanding it, but what to do about it? Strategies are needed – well defined and purposeful. So far all I’m seeing is tit for tat tussling – they call you names, you call them names, and it seems to me that some of your expressions/tactics are just as “cognitively dissonant” as theirs. For instance from time to time the impression is given on this blog that “it’s Hamas’s fault that the Palestinians are suffering”, when as supposedly congnitive consonant people you should not be feeling that it’s OK that they are suffering – yet you come across as not really caring because you’re fixed on Israel’s rights.

    Hope that came over as I meant it.

  11. The IDF murders people because they don’t like their political style.

    Once again not true,because if there is one thing that Israeli’s have is great political style.If there are three Israeli’s then between them they would have at least ten different political styles.

  12. @Winthrop, all people who are humane care that Palestinians are suffering. However, sensible/intelligent ones are aware of complexities surrounding cause and effect – of which CiF remains either blissfully unaware or wilfully ignorant – and no-one here so far as I know believes that Palestinian suffering is “OK” as you call it – although Hamas evidently does since it makes massive propaganda capital from maintaining that suffering’s status quo and doing nothing to help the quality of life and standard of living of its people.

    I for one refuse to take all, or even the majority of the blame for that, which is where I believe I differ from those on CiF, including the Henry coven, who would prefer people like me to do so. The I/P conflict has so often been de-contextualised that the ignorant below the line on CiF have no idea of the cause and effect I refer to above and are not in the least bit curious about finding out about it because it would add to the cognitive dissonance I have described.

    I have said often that Palestinian people deserve better than what they have, but what their leaders do not deserve is to continue getting a free pass to behave barbarically as a result of Israel and its allies not giving in to their governments’ needs to destroy Israel and its Jews. The Palestinian leadership down the years, and, yes, before Hamas, has been instrumental in maintaining and playing upon the Palestinian people’s sense of victimhood.

    The Palestinian people have been ill-used time time and time again, most recently by Hamas during Cast Lead where Hamas leaders were actually proud of using them as human shields. There have been many opportunities for successive Palestinian governments to show good faith and that they themselves actually care about the plight of their people and the future of their children by coming to a lasting peace with Israel, but all have been sabotaged by Islamist extremists and their fellow travellers, aided and abetted by the “poor things, they know no better” attitude of much of the media.

    Israeli youngsters are not taught from kindergarten age that it should be the apotheosis of their existence to explode themselves among Palestinians; their mothers are not forced on camera to be proud that their children have died whilst murdering Muslims; in Israel the disaffected, mentally ill and otherwise compromised are not groomed to be suicide killers. Hamas, by its iron grip on Gaza is breeding the next generation of terrorists, and the media in the West Bank continues its inculcation of Jew-hatred into children too, but nowhere in the Guardian or on CiF do we read anything about this. Instead they get “there there’d” and their warped behaviour is reinforced and supported by the cranks who post there.

    Of course I am fixed on Israel’s rights. I know that she is far from perfect but in the climate of increasing antisemitism, thanks to sites like CiF, she is the only hope for the whole Middle East but only if she finds a peace partner prepared to act in good faith.

  13. Mitnaged

    I didn’t mean you should take the all the blame for the cognitive dissonance of the Palestinians and I’m sure I said nothing to this effect in my post.

    However, you didn’t answer my question – what to do about it?

    I have no grounding in psychology whatsoever, but surely being fixed on Israel’s rights whilst agreeing the Palestinians deserve better is a form of cognitive dissonance?

    I’m sure you’ll be able to set me right if I have it wrong.

  14. To enlarge on what I wrote – as I see it cognitive dissonance may emanate from the fact that as you are encouraged not to mention expected to be totally on Israel’s side, if you find yourselves seeing the Palestinians’ point of view more and more it may lead to conflict..

  15. Mitnaged, thank you for a lucid exposition of a phenomenon that puzzles me every time I see it. The volume of denial when mentioning Israel’s good intentions is so loud that it is emotionally deafening.

    I encountered this today discussing Israel’s role in Cast Lead and the Goldstone report. A commenter who considers himself very moderate in his views and very knowledgeable about the situation revealed that he considered both the UNHRC and Goldstone to have been fair. He has managed to remain unaware of the Arab Charter of Human Rights and its effects on the HRC’s judgements of Israel, despite posting and presumably reading comments day after day on the Israel / Palestinian threads. http://www.who.int/hhr/Arab%20Charter.pdf

    He was unaware that Zionism – the basis of the creation of the Jewish state – is considered by this Charter to be akin to racism which would mean that countries signatory to the charter would always rule against Israel, and that the stature of the human rights of women is considered to be far below that of men. I can only suppose that he deliberately ignored all mention of this Charter every time it appeared: avoiding cognitive dissonance

  16. Brilliant dissection and explanation by Mitnaged. What to do about it:

    1) keep fighting and exposing the Georgina Porgies of this world until the Guardian goes belly up, because, as we know, when the boys came out to play, Georgina Porgie ran away.

    2) Have loads of fun while you are doing it. Here’s how. Take a peak at Tom Gross’s MidEast Dispatch Archive (December 10 notes-scroll down) to view the 19-year-old lovely lady triplets Odile, Nomi and Donna now serving in the IAF. Then compare them against photos of the abominable Michael White, Seumas Milne etc. No doubt about who is going to win or where I will be for my holidays.

    3) See the late great Mickey Katz (father of Hollywood’s Joel Grey and grandpa of Jennifer Grey) singing about me on Youtube. Remember that I was born in the wilds of Delancey Street, home of gefilte fish and kosher meat and that I killed me a bear when I was only three.

    4) While on Youtube have a look at the gorgeous Natalie Gelman singing about her little dreidel and compare with photos as above. Then repeat with Youtube videos of Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johannson talking about their Judaism, or Zac Ephron if you are a lady. And have a very happy Chanukah.

  17. @Mitnaged: quite so, which is why I started that sentence with “Many such people …” I choose fences with a broad top-coping and not ones with spikes, ground glass or barbed wire either!

    @Winthrop: Of course the Palestinians suffered before Hamas and there are actions of the Israelis which don’t make things easier for them. Some of these actions may even be avoidable. But it arguable that the root of their suffering derives from Hamasoid policies pursued by Hamas’s predecessors, most notably Amin El-Husseini in the Mandate and Shukairi, Arafat, Habash etc after it. The basic reason why there is no single Arab-Jewish state beteween the Med and the Jordan is that the Arabs rejected any arrangements for such which recognised the Jewish element as an ethnic group with rights equivalent to their own withinthe territory. This led them to resolve the issue by violence, which successively lost them part of Palestine, their own statehood and then the West Bank and Gaza. Now if Hamas willed it, there could easily be peace on israel’s southern border and no more consequences of Israel’s security arrangements, which are rendered legitimate by the continued aggressive posture of Hamas.

    So yes, the Palestinians’ point of view is that the whole of Palestine is part ofthe Arab world, and that is correct [or at least was in 1918 and later]. But the point of view that their leadership chose to impose on them as a consequence is that the Jews THEREFORE have no rights there equivalent to theirs, which does not follow at all. Zionists aware of the first point resolved their cognitive dissonance in 1925 at the Zionist Congress when they passed resolutions which admitted that Jews were not the only ones with a just claim to the area. The Hamasoid Palestinians have yet to do this reciprocally, though others seem to be working towards it.

  18. @winthrop, not necessarily (and here I am intrigued by what you mean by “fixed on”).

    I have not taken a poll of the population of Israel, but I would wager that they are, by and large not as entrenched behind their views that Israel is invariably right as are the Palestinians of Gaza or the West Bank. In other words (and as can be seen by the way in which they treat their critics among their fellow countrymen and women) they can probably cope with cognitive dissonance at least as well as I myself can.

    I am not sure how you get that I am expected to be “totally on Israel’s side.” By whom?

    I can see the situation of the ordinary Palestinian very well; indeed far better than he/she might be allowed to see mine as a supporter of Israel. Where I draw the line, however, (and not because it causes me cognitive dissonance but because there has been proof positive over the years that such an attitude is not helpful to Palestinians), is to join in with encouraging them to blame Israel alone for the mess they find themselves in. It also helps that I am able to contextualise their complaints and to see where they have genuine concerns rather than manufactured and/or “bigged up” or deliberately distorted ones which they parade in the media.

    You probably have little idea of the extent to which Israel goes and has gone to help Palestinian people – the number of collaborative projects in science, technology and medicine, in the Middle East and elsewhere.

    As for what to do about it, well it’s counter productive to buy into or bed in any deeper the notion that Palestinians are the only victims in this conflict, or to give them a free pass about doing anything to rectify the mess into which their elected leaders have got them.

    And since the truth invariably undermines the lies told about Israel in the media (and may increase the cognitive dissonance in her detractors and enemies) to offer more and more about the context of the more off the wall Palestinian complaints about Israel’s alleged ill- treatment of them, whilst at the same time encouraging Israel to explore what she could be doing better.

  19. Thanks Mitnaged for a well argued article and a great comment at 9:42. The idea of the Palestinian leadership is to always play the victim – and never move on as a society.

  20. @MITNAGED. I’m with Jubi, really good article – thanks for making this rationale, available. It’s a bit like, 1001 things you always wanted to know about “ciffettes” but were too afraid to ask.
    I suppose the knowing, or , better understanding as it were, is always helpful.
    WRT “cifs most famous personas” – The small pockets of debate on cif were worthwhile, while it lasted anyway but tainted by the presence of certain cif-personas many of who made broad declarations about human rights and humanity and….. our lack of it!! These personas who “cared,” were/are fixated on all things Jewish, beit the State of, religion, societal. Ultimately, these “personas” are responsible for reducing the genre of debate to a disturbing set of affairs.

  21. Duvid Crockett has a point about having fun (how can we not) so I’ll come back, if I can, with regard the psychology of Geo-politick viz a vie the I/P – but for now here’s a quickie to all our old friends over at cif (and secret little places where they haven’t been succesful at hiding from us:) who are too numerous to mention – one or two even pop up here from time to time. Enjoy!

  22. just when the season to be merry couldn’t get any worse for those ‘great looking girls’ who make up the, i-hate-Israel crowd, you stick the stilletto in their guys as well. have you no pity, punzal. lmao.

    good blog btw. interesting reading. cheers.

  23. Mitnaged – you know as well as I do that if you’re a Zionist you are EXPECTED to support Israel totally. By that, I mean that you are totally discouraged from and frowned upon for saying a word against Israel in front of non/anti-Zionists, some of whom have shown themselves to be little better than a hysterical mob. I am not saying you are not allowed to disagree with Israel’s policies between yourselves, but come on – you have seen surely the verbal attacks and accusations made (even in the past on this blog ) if anybody goes against the official line.

    I do happen to know how Israel has helped the Palestinians, and I’m well aware of the collaborative ventures it has engaged in. You have to be aware though that because she is an “occupying Power” in terms of international law – Israel’s financially and morally obligated to those under occupation. The tab for the occupation is actually being picked up by the big donors, one of which is Europe, the biggest donor.

    I’m certain I didn’t say the Palestinians were the only victims in any of my posts, nor did I say I would expect them to have a free pass – just so we’re clear.

    It would seem to a layman like me that the solution would be to make sure the truth is told – and that may not necessarily be what comes out of the mouths of the official bodies.

  24. Punzi – excellent!

    May I join you in making the vernacular gesture to our old friends on Comment is Free?

  25. winthrop, but isn’t that advisable?

    Far better to address the criticisms to the Israeli government itself rather than show spite and venom by sharing them on a blog like CiF to feed into all sorts of hatreds.

    Many Israelis themselves do this. No-one is threatened here for speaking out against Israel – you must be getting confused with organisations like IJV – who I believe are motivated by something very different than what is good for all the peoples in the area, or the CiF’s Theobald-Jews who are motivated only by spite and malice.