“If you are not with us, you are against us!”

Our country is led by people who were trained as spies, secret agents. Their view is if you are not with us you are against us” – Oleg Vinogradov (Russian Opposition MP) – July 2006

The Guardian prides itself on taking antisemitism seriously. Part of the effort to eradicate antisemitism should surely be to move towards balance in the commissioned articles. You would think that the editors would bend over backwards to commission articles about Israel that are balanced, given the chronic lack of these on CIF. Israel-bashing above the line simply encourages the haters below.

So the threat to outlaw Professor Geoffrey Alderman for continuing to write for CifWatch was a massive ‘own goal’ for CiF. As Alderman relates, shortly after penning this he received an email from the Commissars threatening to cast him to the wind:

If I dared to continue writing for CiF Watch, I would no longer be able to contribute to CiF. It was, I was summarily warned, “an either/or choice”.

How childish – but how typical. Remember when they denied Robin Shepherd the right to correct a complete misrepresentation of his book by Tony Lerman?

Such spiteful, nasty behaviour is typical of the unreconstructed left which is in the ascendancy in the UK at present.

It is a sign of the Guardian’s lack of confidence in their editorial stance – of weakness, not strength. It means that all our other guest posters are also persona non grata with the Guardian. We hope they will stay with us.

It is of course part of the creeping delegitimisation of Israel and all those who are not prepared to join the haters or stay silent. It is the same mentality as those who gagged Benny Morris in Cambridge this week, as those who want visiting Israelis arrested and as Stephen Sizer’s clumsy attempts to silence Seismic Shock, using the police. It is anti-democratic and censorious.

Who better than Professor Alderman to have the last word:

As for C P Scott; he must surely be turning in his grave.

We would be fascinated to know what Professor Alderman’s colleague at the JC, Jonathan Freedland – a Guardian columnist – thinks of his Editorial colleagues’ treatment of Alderman.

Mr Freedland, if you would like to put your thoughts in writing we would be pleased to publish them.

75 replies »

  1. Ok fair points Reza Khan.

    As I said, sometimes I shake my head in disagreement with some of the commentors such as PBerg. And I’m really just using him/her as an example to make a broader point, which is that I think it is really important to avoid engaging in vitriolic, ad hominem attacks on PBerg or anyone else. It just demeans the subtantive counterargument and does a disservice to the notion of reasoned argument. That’s my main point. Good natured ribbing is one thing. Immature school yard taunts, however, are idiotic and best left to the likes of ### Berchmanns### and his ilk.

    For what it’s worth, I’m one of the usually “silent” readers on Cif Watch and Cif (frankly long ago I used to comment on CiF, but like many here reached the point of realizing that CiF is a cesspool and a lost cause… so why bother…which actually sickens me because in some respects perhaps that means that “they” have won). That said, I’m also an activist, have been in involved for many yrs in efforts from the U.S. on issues near and dear to many members of CiF Watch community, and am someone who doesn’t shy away from a very spirited rhetorical debate (I’m a lawyer, albeit a recovering one) and one who believes in taking the fight (hard) to the opposition.

    I just think “we” need to be better than “them” always. Sorry for the long-winded comment.

  2. Hello AKUS

    This seems a very curious decision from the CiF team. Many of their ATLers write for other blogs and publications. I have disagreed with GA on a couple of occasions – much of his writing, particularly on education, I find interesting.

    Do you know if the premodding results from a particular comment of his on CiF or is that also to do with his contribution here?

    I have been premodded here tonight on the Cambridge thread. No indication of my crime given

    I agree with you and Daniel about some of the petty comments here. Getting as bad as Cif. I shall probably jump ship. So take care.


    Other posters that i have engaged with – also. L

  3. Daniel, for the record, I took a closer look at the thread in which Pretzelberg said, “shut the f*ck up, Hawkeye.”

    The statements which aroused Pretzelberg’s ire were made by Modernity but mis-identified by Pretzelberg as Hawkeye’s. I took Pretzelberg’s word in his post, and so I compounded Pretzelberg’s mis-identification.

    My apologies both to Hawkeye and to Modernity.

  4. To Pretzelberg and others. I don’t always agree with your comments (though probably do >50% time) but I am concerned by some of the reactionary b……t finding its way onto this site. Much of it is aimed at you, but please don’t rise to it. It kills sensible debate. Actually I would love to have a debate on this site about settlements in the WB, about the stupidity of the current Israeli administration, in the knowledge that posters realise that I am not a bigot, and am not anti-semitic. It should be possible.

    I realise too that the raison d’être for this site is to be a reaction to Cif but amongst supporters of this site there must be a very wide range of opinions and they should be discussed without being shouted down.

  5. Canadaneil

    I would love to have a debate on this site about settlements in the WB, about the stupidity of the current Israeli administration

    Why? CIF already covers that in spades. So do many internal Jewish and Israeli publications.

    I suppose CiFWatch would allow it, but it would be a diversion from the site’s self-assigned duty to monitor anti-Semitism on CIF.

  6. Thanks,

    Although I signed up for CiF when it came out, I soon tired of the dross and mindless argumentation and gave it up, one of my better decisions, for which I am eternally grateful 🙂

  7. Reza Khan

    Pretzelberg … often seems to be insistent upon drawing a moral equivalence between Jews and anti-Semites.

    That is absolute nonsense. For starters: I don’t make any generalized comments about Jews.

    He also illustrates what some have called the anti-Semitism of indifference.

    Wrong again – unless you’re one of those who demand that I personally apologize for the Inquisition and the Holocaust etc.

  8. Daniel

    Shouldn’t those who believe in fairness rise above hyperbole and ignorant rants? Make spirited, passionate, reasoned, and well thought out arguments. Attack the brazenly hateful or bigoted venom with gusto, but armed always with facts. Stay true to the notion of decency, openness, democracy. And resist the temptation to drag your proverbial nuckles in the mud with the neanderthals and ill-informed people who pollute CiF.

    In a perfect world, that would be really nice BUT, we ain’t in a perfect world Daniel. I used to write as you would want but I learn’t that it is a waste of time on Ci(F). Shock and confrontation is what is needed.

    With some of the lunatics from CI(F) prowling here, although missing today, my style reverts to confrontation rather than refined discussion.

    As far as your suggestion to debate West Bank settlement. I wouldn’t advise it. The division of voting in Israel’s Knesset demonstrates very clearly Israel’s attitude. If I felt the need to debate that specifically,

    I would look for an appropriate site. As you have said, this site seems dedicated to exposing the Guardian to serious criticism for its obsessive denigration and attempted de-legitimisation of Israel.

  9. Canadaneil,
    There is ample opportunity to discuss the villages, towns and cities in Judea and Samaria the moves of the Netanyahu gov’t that have strengthened Israel’s hand, and I for one welcome it, however this site has a mission statement of dealing with anti-semitism at the guardian.

  10. @Daniel. I agree with you. I intensley dislike personal character assaults and the use of spiteful language and insults, it becomes intimidating and has the opposite effect,effectively closing down discussion and engagement. Posters should be able to openly and freely challenge viewpoints they disagree with,and though people may debate with passion and anger,comments and political discourse should not degenerate into personal insult.After all Cif watch is a ‘Grassroots,unaffilated group that is neither left wing nor right wing,religious or secular’, and ‘The voice of opponents no less than friends has a right to be heard’. To combat antisemitisim, whether at the Guardians Cif forum or in the antisemitisim we personally encounter or witness or overhear,or read, we have to work together, if people are not part of the solution they will remain part of the problem.

  11. I should also note that despite some of my disagreement with tone and content of some posts and comments on CiF Watch, this site plays an absolutely necessary role in exposing the complete corruption of CiF and has helped unmask (or at least call out more directly) the clear anti-Semitism that is pervasive above and below the line there.

    So good on you.

    Best alone, better together.

  12. Mitnaged

    ” CiF is primed to crank up hatreds, particularly anti-Israel/anti-Jewish hatred. ”

    This is such tosh. I keep saying…CIF watch needs a special side site for people to post frenetic ballocks and when they are through and have caught their breath …they can then have a go at the Guardian.

    How on earth do you expect to to take seriously the suggestion that they are primed to crank up anti Semitism..this is only not laughed out of this blog because the blog is a bit odd. No disrespect to anyone involved.

  13. @Peter1 and Independent Observer
    I think I acknowledged the primary reason for CiF watch in my comment (see the last paragraph). However, it is very important for this site not to descend into the personal attacks, mantras, revisionist narratives of CiF. If it does (there is ample evidence here that personal attacks at least are a feature of some commentors), I and others will cease to contribute.

  14. Daniel

    “the complete corruption of CiF and has helped unmask (or at least call out more directly) the clear anti-Semitism ”

    The problem is that “clear” is the last thing it is. By far the largest number of anti Semitic posts are sarcastic or ironic ones and as an example look at Yohoho ( above 6:26 pm )

    “Those clever Jews, eh??? ”

    Now this is anti Semitism ..yet because it is Yohoho.. an Israeli supporter …you know it must be sarcasm. I have complained to CIF on maybe 250 occasions about sarcastic anti semitism and 3 times I think ..about genuine ” straight ” anti Semitism. Each time I complained about obvious gross anti Semitism the poster disappeared ..confirming my suspicion that such posts are often black posts ..or spy posts.

    There is no “clear” anti Semitism on CIF and if there was you would have provided an example.

  15. Neil, aren’t you being a tad unreasonable and overly self-righteous?

    I haven’t the impression CiFWatch wants to get involved in being thought police or manners police. Your demanding that is unreasonable. Posters will take whatever direction they please; I’d venture to guess the management would only intervene in the case of outright anti-Semitism or illegality.

  16. Thanks for your response Abandon Hope.

    I completely disagree with you. The reason I haven’t posted any examples (with which CiF is littered like a polluted swamp) is that I’m at work and honestly don’t have the time during the day to cross reference (what I happen to think is more than obvious, and has been established “beyond a reasonable doubt.”). If I have time later, I’ll come back with some of the myriad examples of blatent, brazen anti-Semitism on CiF.

    In the meantime, there are numerous posted examples on the homepage of CiF Watch of verbatim comments that appear on CiF (and have not been removed) that clearly rebut your assertion. Surely you can go view those and see for yourself.

  17. @ Abandon hope / Berch

    There is no “clear” anti Semitism on CIF and if there was you would have provided an example.

    How about the following?


    “Mass immigration and the loss of whole areas of our towns and cities ignites great passions among the my people (which passions, for the most part, are demonised by Jews, incidentally).”

    “I read a fair while back that 98% of Jews support open borders in the West, 99% support Israel, but 100% support the holocaust movement. Jews are a hyper-ethnocentric people, and it is asking much more of a Jew to relinquish his ethnic interests than it is of a European, who is, on average, much given to individualism and out-group altruism. It is not unreasonable to suspect the capacity of Jews to perform, perhaps, in negation of their ethnic interests. It is not as great as Europeans.”

    They were posted (and deleted) here:

    Would you not consider such comments to clearly constitute anti-Semitism?
    Am I making this up?

  18. Berchmans (who must be on the bottle writes) “By far the largest number of anti Semitic posts are sarcastic or ironic ones”


    The earth is flat, the moon is made of Stilton cheese and all pigs are fuelled and ready to fly.

  19. @ Biodegradable

    Yes, I was also flummoxed by that term. I can (to repeat a phrase used by me on a parallel thread) only imagine that they mean the Holocaust industry / exploiting the Holocaust.

    @ Yohoho

    Berchmans is evidently referring to sarcastic comments that mimick anti-Semitic mantras.
    They are not in themselves anti-Semitic, of course. He’s just rying to wind people up.