Guardian

Spring Cleaning


We were recently informed that staff changes are to take effect at the Guardian with Matt Seaton moving to CiF America and a vacancy for a new CiF editor becoming available. Readers of this site will no doubt be asking themselves if some of the new brooms brought in to CiF will be up to the task of sweeping clean the Guardian’s website of its more unsavoury aspects such as the one-sidedness of its Middle East coverage, the hosting of some dubious above the line writers, the tolerance of below the line bigotry and antisemitism or the obsession ad infinitum with all things Israeli, no matter how banal.

Taking on the responsibility for comment is Katharine Viner, currently Deputy and Saturday Editor. Here, in her own words, is a glimpse into Ms. Viner’s world.

“I’d heard from American friends that life for dissenters had been getting worse – wiretapping scandals, arrests for wearing anti-war T-shirts, Muslim professors denied visas. But it’s hard to tell from afar how bad things really are. Here was personal proof that the political climate is continuing to shift disturbingly, narrowing the scope of free debate and artistic expression.“

In the above paragraph Katharine Viner is referring to the postponement of the showing of the play she co-edited with Alan Rickman ‘My Name is Rachel Corrie’. The ‘Times’ review of the play stated that “an element of unvarnished propaganda comes to the fore. With no attempt made to set the violence in context, we are left with the impression of unarmed civilians being crushed by faceless militarists.”

According to her Twitter messages, Ms. Viner appears to be in contact with the Rachel Corrie Foundation; an organisation which hosts on its website links to Codepink and Electronic Intifada.


Rachel Corrie is apparently not, however, Ms. Viner’s only Middle Eastern heroine. In 2001 she interviewed the terrorist Leila Khaled, opening her article with words which can only be categorized as glorifying terrorism.

“In a way, the whole story is in the ring. The iconic photograph of Leila Khaled, the picture which made her the symbol of Palestinian resistance and female power, is extraordinary in many ways: the gun held in fragile hands, the shiny hair wrapped in a keffiah , the delicate Audrey Hepburn face refusing to meet your eye. But it’s the ring, resting delicately on her third finger. To fuse an object of feminine adornment, of frivolity, with a bullet: that is Khaled’s story, the reason behind her image’s enduring power. Beauty mixed with violence.

And the ring? “I made it from the pin of a hand grenade – from the first grenade I ever used in training,” she says. “I just wrapped it around a bullet.”

Additional articles written by Viner on the subject of the Middle East conflict include ‘Despair as usual for Palestinians

“The liberal West might have jumped for joy at the landslide election of Labour’s Ehud Barak, but what was happening on the ground? Settlers were snatching away the West Bank; the closure policy meant that movement between cities became impossible; Palestinian GNP fell by 35% after the start of the Oslo peace process.”

And also ‘Fear and rage in Palestine’:

“About 18 months ago, I visited the Amari refugee camp between Jerusalem and Ramallah. The makeshift homes are poor and far too small for the large families who live in them, but inside they are neat, with wall-hangings of Mecca and mosque-shaped clocks. A Palestinian woman there, while bringing me tea, apologised for the fact that her children had dirty faces and clothes; it was because the camp received water only twice a week, she said. I looked up the hill to see a gleaming settlement, Bet-El, illegally built on Palestinian land outside of Israel, the grass on its lawns green and lush, watered with sprinklers.”

Another Viner article from 2007 featured an interview with Hamas member Ghazi Hamad at the Hay Literary Festival.

“He reminded the audience that he believes, as every Palestinian believes, that Yasser Arafat was poisoned.”

Commentators on this article quickly picked up on its background story, with ‘justwondering’ even injecting an element of prophesy!

justwondering

27 May 2007, 2:26PM

Why is it that a journalist in the Guardian interviewing a member of the Palestinian government that is also a Hamas Member, yet doesn’t have any difficult questions for him to answer?

I mean, perhaps she could have asked him why Hamas uses Mickey Mouse to preach hatred to their children?

Or perhaps, the reason Hamas started killing innocent israelis, when their real beef was with Fatah?

There are so many difficult questions that could have been asked, yet this “journalist” chooses to list “comments” and bullet fashion, not even writing down the questions she asked.

That’s not only poor journalism, that’s appauling. Is this a Journalist integrity at work? The Hamas, after all, is a listed as a terrorist orgainzation by the US and EU, and as a matter of policy targets and kills innocent civillians. And they don’t even try to hide this fact.

No, instead they give him an open forum, enabling him to spoon feed our “journalist” just exaclty what it is he wants them to say.

Good job Katherine. At this rate, you can make managing Guardian editor in no time.

GeorginaHenry

27 May 2007, 2:40PM

Staff

justwondering: as is made clear in the blog, the Guardian journalist (ie, the author of the blog) was writing about an event at Hay where Ghazi Hamad was being interviewed on stage by William Sieghart, who has nothing to do with the Guardian.

justwondering

27 May 2007, 3:39PM

Well tickle me yellow,

It turns out the Hay festival was hosted by none other than the guardian itself. It’s even called the “Guardian Hay Festival.”

How about that, and imagine my suprise to learn it was held in the UK.

A guardian festival, held in the UK, hosting a member of Hamas, and they didn’t even think to ask him a few important questions, just quoted his responses in bulletpoints.

Now that my friends certainly is poor journalism. Where there representatives of the Israeli government there? I mean, was there equal representation?

DenisMac

27 May 2007, 3:14PM

The problem is that Katherine Viner, like so many other Western journalists in similar situations, went to the interview unarmed. She did not, as another commentator has pointed out, have any difficult questions for him to answer. A properly informed correspondent would have, at the least, read the Hamas Charter (no recognition of Israel ever, no peace talks, no international conferences: the only solution is jihad, the aim is to establish an Islamic state. A few questions there!). She might also have watched some Hamas television (children being taught to hate Jews, adults being shown blatant anti-Semitic material, terrorists guilty of the murder of innocent civilians being honoured as saints. More questions.). She might have asked why Hamas responded to the disengagement from Gaza with barrages of Qassam rockets (during a hudna, or truce). We’re not talking here about interviewing a novelist or a biographer. We are talking about a leading figure in a terrorist organization that despises peace and will only settle for 100% of its demands, killing, maiming, and hating on the way. The treatment of children in Gaza and the West Bank is sickening. They are trained with guns from an early age, and taught to aspire to be suicide martyrs who kill Jews as the entire purpose of their lives. Their textbooks are anti-Semitic and explicitly deny the Holocaust. For a Western journalist, these matters raise questions. But perhaps asking them would have led Ghazi Hamad to get up and walk away, leaving Katherine without an interview to post. Why was a known terrorist present at Hay anyway?

DenisMac

27 May 2007, 5:49PM

SpikeParis writes ‘Interesting that after justwondering accuses the Guardian of not asking the right questions and Georgina Henry points out that the Guardian didn’t conduct the interview, DenisMac then accuses the Guardian of not asking the right questions.’ I take it that Katharine Viner was at the meeting from which she reports, and that she was allowed to ask a few questions. Or was the whole thing railroaded by Hamas, just as it is in the Middle East?

If readers are not infused with budding new hopes of a brighter dawn for CiF just yet that is understandable, but maybe change will come in the form of Harriet Sherwood; the Guardian’s latest Jerusalem correspondent who is to replace Rory McCarthy. Ms. Sherwood obviously places considerable importance upon the success of the Guardian’s website. As outgoing Foreign Editor, she is also aware of the intricacies of reporting from the Middle East, although presumably up until now the reporting to which we have been witness must have passed her scrutiny in that role, despite this next statement:

“The first thing we need to be absolutely sure of is the purpose of our news reporting from the region. Our correspondents are there to give our readers accurate information about Israel-Palestine. We are not there to bat for one side or the other, but to report on the situation on the ground as we find it.”

So just how do the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondents gather information about the situation on the ground? Well Ms. Sherwood is obviously very keen to start her new job and was already in Jerusalem this week attending a briefing by PASSIA.


If she’s really looking for ‘accurate information’ Ms. Sherwood will have to extend her search somewhat. The Palestine Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, or PASSIA , may sound impressive, but in fact it is a member of PNGO, along with such infamous organizations as Al Haq and Badil, which were instrumental in organising the 2001 Durban hate-fest and are also currently at the forefront of the BDS campaign. PASSIA’s attitude towards the media has been quite clearly expressed by Dr. Nabil Khatib:

“Whilst the media is not supposed to have any predetermined interest in a particular issue…(the media) only aims (sic.) at defending the general objective and the general good, one has to take into account that this is not always the case. Sometimes we need as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), to make use of the international media in order to exert pressure on both the PNA and the Israeli government by developing an international public opinion.”

“In order to influence the general policy in one way or another, all CSOs should know how to influence the media. The best known way to do this is to come up with a hidden agenda (italics-author of article), and deciding on the most suitable time to release information to the media in order to direct the media towards a predetermined slogan, a defined demand. The best method for exerting pressure, is to transform a problem into a public opinion issue, using the media.”

If we are to take Ms. Sherwood’s existing articles on the subject of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as a sign of things to come, our anticipation of a change in the direction of the wind at CiF may prove to be short-lived.

“Hanan Attar, a slight 10-year-old wearing flip-flops several sizes too big for her small feet, is wistful as she recalls the house destroyed by an Israeli tank shell. “We had land, my father is a farmer,” she says. “We used to grow watermelons, but the land was too close to the border and we can’t get there now.”

Let’s hope that whoever replaces Matt Seaton will give more cause for hope than the two journalists above because in the meantime, reformation at CiF is looking about as likely as a long hot English summer.

49 replies »

  1. Israeli nurse

    ” the task of sweeping clean the Guardian’s website of its more unsavoury aspects such as the one-sidedness of its M E coverage, ”

    The problem with CIFs coverage was that it used to overplay the (admittedly ) horrendous violence associated with the IDF …justified or not…yet our savagery in Iraq is gently slipping into history. However CIFWatch has.. I think ..changed policy on CIF. Today there are no articles whatsoever …and has not been for days.

    ” tolerance of below the line bigotry and antisemitism or the obsession ad infinitum with all things Israeli, ”

    .

    This is hackneyed and unnecessary in my opinion.However if I am right that CIFWatch has changed CIF it seems you can post such fare and still make a difference.

    The only other complaint is that I would have highlighted the essential quotes rather than leaving the entire post to plough through.. …but …as I said …it doesn’t seem to matter .. CIF has become a neutered and cringeing site anyway!

    I went on to the CIF thread ” What do you want to talk about..its all lifestyle and travel! Lord help us. 🙂

    CIF RIP.

  2. Suggestions for who should be the new CiF editor,Seeth Freedman,or one of those self-loathing Jews or Israeli’s who write lovingly about Israel.

  3. Leila Khaled,is no hero,for a people devoid of heroes Leila Khaled should do.
    That beautiful face of hers is due to plastic surgery,that was done to transform her world renowned face.

    She owes her life to the Israeli Security Agents that were on an El Al flight that she and her colleague hijacked,her colleague was shot,she was spared.

    What does it tell you,that a common hijacker can be turned into a hero,reminds one of all the other palestinian heroes,like Arafat,and that monster Samir Kuntar.

  4. wherever

    ” one of those self-loathing Jews ”

    .

    I admit I have been wrong.CIFwatch does appear to be having an effect on CIFWatch despite the plodding rhetoric and mind crushing obviousness of some of the comments.

    Still not an article about the ME on CIF since April 1.

  5. Out with the old coven; in with the new, it appears. If Victoria is added to these two weird sisters, Viner and Sherwood, Cif could perform an Easter pageant with these three from the Scottish Play. They would intone “Double, double, toil and trouble, /Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” Duvidl’s guess is that Viner will have the “Adder’s fork” and Sherwood the “tongue of dog.” Each will, of course, have “Eye of newt and toe of frog.”

    Is it known whether either of these two new recruits to the weird sisterhood speak any Hebrew or Arabic?

  6. Duvidl forgot to mention that they could ask Seth if they could borrow his “Liver of blaspheming Jew,” for the pot.

  7. IsraeliNurse – thanls for this revealing article. What sticks out from Ms Viner’s background is a ghastly mix of obsessions with the I/P conflict, anti-Americanism, bitterness over the lack of “recognition” for her literary effort, and leftist feminism that condemns everything to do with the treatments of women in the Western societies, while having nothing to say about the subjugation of women in Moslem societies.

    Awful.

  8. Berchmans

    I sense withdrawal symptoms … not getting the usual adrenaline rush from yet another description of Israeli horrors. The regulars must be in shock … but I am actually quite sure they’ll drum up some of the usual nags from their stable to write something … anything … that paints Israel in a bad light ..mind you, … the best they could come up with was the popcorn story.

    This is not from CiF, but is actually the kind of article that might have made CiF worth reading and is in similar vein:

    [US] Strawberry prices drop as late harvest hits market- AP

    It’s a good spring for strawberry lovers: Prices are unusually low in many places because cold weather delayed Florida’s harvest to coincide with California’s, and the two states are flooding the market with cheap berries.

    Far more interesting and relevant than the 17,367th article about the WB or Gaza.

    (We bought two packs of strawberries yesterday).

  9. AKUS

    “I am.. sure they’ll drum up some of the usual nags from their stable to write something … anything … that paints Israel in a bad light ”

    Yes that must be it…its the way the story is told rather than the story. Heard the one about the hundreds of civilians who died last year ? Its actually quite witty… but painted as brutal by the usual suspects. What do they know?

    I thought you were in Canada.

  10. Or you could read Seth’s latest “Religion is no excuse for wearing fur”

    You would have to wonder who commissions these dumb articles.The world is spinning in a downward spiral,and guess what Seth and the Guardian are preoccupied with Religious Jews wearing fur hats.

    If you are going to commission a dumb article,who else would you want to choose to write that article.

  11. “In the above paragraph Katharine Viner is referring to the postponement of the showing of the play she co-edited with Alan Rickman ‘My Name is Rachel Corrie’. The ‘Times’ review of the play stated that “an element of unvarnished propaganda comes to the fore. With no attempt made to set the violence in context, we are left with the impression of unarmed civilians being crushed by faceless militarists.”

    But of course. Even positive change can be disconcerting. A massive change on al-Graundiad’s part – towards openmindedness and contextual coverage of the ME situation – would probably give its readership and the CiF “commentariat” a terminal fit of the vapours.

    Berchmans, I know that insight was never your strong point, but to call ” tolerance of below the line bigotry and antisemitism or the obsession ad infinitum with all things Israeli, ” hackneyed and unnecessarily is a lot of a cheek coming from you who is one of its regular perpetrators.

  12. I wonder whether the new CiF editor will have to pass some sort of McCarthyesque test at interview, along the lines of “Do you now, or have you ever supported anything Israel has done?”

  13. Heard the one about the hundreds of civilians who died last year ? Its actually quite witty… but painted as brutal by the usual suspects.

    It must be sloshed scots who consider it to be witty. The Israelis mourn every death while the Palestinians chalk each one up as another propaganda ploy, releasing pictures showing their citizens in circumstances others more sensitive would regard as invasions of privacy.

  14. I forgot to say, Israelinurse, thank you once again for a very interesting piece. These two appointments show that the Graun will continue with its disproportionate ‘specialisms’ intact – the big and little Satans.

    Follow the money – if Murdoch goes to Abu Dhabi, can the Guardian be far behind?
    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.0a9e7c090b996d0023516a49b0861d29.a1&show_article=1
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/mar/09/rupert-murdoch-abu-dhabi

  15. Have just seen Duvid’s post – surely Berchmans should be one of the weird sisters in the Scottish play?

  16. The Rachel Corrie play is a disgrace, but that Leila Khaled interview is even worse. “Liberation fighter” indeed.

    Good article IN.

  17. wherever

    Or you could read Seth’s latest “Religion is no excuse for wearing fur”

    I blame CIFWatch.It has clearly put the fear of the Lord into CIF so despite the critical and potentially dangerous split in the relationship between the doting father and spoilt brat we get no opportunity to have a peek… this is not a stretching article by Seth

    Haaretz is better at the moment but I sill have a loyalty to CIF what is a boy to do?

  18. whereever

    “Or you could read Seth’s latest “Religion is no excuse for wearing fur””

    I thought you were joking!!

    As soon as CiF hits bottom, it just keeps on digging …

  19. As soon as CiF hits bottom,it just keeps on digging,.

    And we will happily supply the shovels for them to keep on digging.

  20. wherever

    “And we will happily supply the shovels for them to keep on digging. ”

    No your strategy of shouting “anti Semite” at it is working fine.It has changed and grown huger…but it now is after the middle of the road / right wing posters that add all the volume and little else.

    It s all about advertising. You will not bury it as it is now.. I believe.. the largest of its type…but it is now another bland blog and the settlements can go ahead with no criticism from anyone mainstream.

  21. In re: to the fur article—-the UK Times had a small article on a similar if not the same issue last week—Freedmans comments appear to be behind the curve….but I suppose it fits in with the Talk is Cheap theme juxtaposed with Waking the Middle East up to animal rights…..how much more escoteric can things get?

  22. As is the duty of all Laureates, Duvidl has penned a welcome anthem for the new Cif Editor, as follows:

    Oy That Shikse Ka-the-rine.
    (to the tune of “Oh My Darling Clementine.” Hat tip: US tradition)

    Chorus: Oy that trickster; what a fixer;
    Such a shikse Ka-the-rine;
    Art thou come to stay forever?
    Dreadful sorry Ka-the-rine.

    Vile she is, and like a dybbuk,
    Of the kind that’s fem-in-nine.
    And her scrawling’s like a chazer,
    Or in Germsan, “wie ein schwein.”

    Chorus:

    “Anti-Israel,” is her watchword.
    For the caliphate she’ll pine.
    Of feminism, a Muslim prism;
    Turns no water into wine.

    Chorus:

    She will lie, as did Georgina;
    She’ll grow old before her time;
    At Cif doomed to scrawl forever.
    Have rachmones, Ka-the-rine.

    Chorus: Oy that trickster; what a fixer;
    Such a shikse Ka-the-rine;
    Art thou come to stay forever?
    Dreadful sorry Ka-the-rine. (repeat with new last line:)
    Freeze in aspic your jelly-spine.

    DS Al Coda

  23. Duvid crockett

    They could ask Seth if they could borrow “Liver of blaspheming Jew” for the pot.

    Just read the Religion is no excuse for wearing fur from Seth Freedman

    Now, Duvid – Who will do the schechita for Seth?

    Chop his liver, mix with fried onions and egg and serve it up for the Easter blood libel. Berchmans – Enjoy

  24. Millfield. It may be asking a little too much for Harry, Kathy and Vicky to keep glatt kosher with Seth’s chopped liver. They would be better off with Vicky’s “finger of birth-strangled [blue] babe.”

  25. IsraeliNurse

    “…….Readers of this site will no doubt be asking themselves if some of the new brooms brought in to CiF will be up to the task of sweeping clean the Guardian’s website of its more unsavoury aspects such as the one-sidedness of its Middle East coverage, the hosting of some dubious above the line writers, the tolerance of below the line bigotry and antisemitism or the obsession ad infinitum with all things Israeli, no matter how banal……..”

    No one should expect the Guardian to change their basic perspective of the IP conflict (or of the Tories), and therefore, it would not be surprising if the Guardian selects a CIF editor similar to those in the past.

    The Guardian will only become the Wall Street Journal if the Guardian is bought by the WSJ – or some other right wing news source with the intention of remaking the Guardian. Their correspondents are left wingers, their editors are left wingers and most of their above the line columnist are left wingers. They provide a left wing perspective. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. They will always give a left wing perspective of the Middle East or of the US and so on. The Wall Street Journal will do just the opposite.

    The slogan for Fox News is “fair and balanced”. Speak about inviting a lawsuit for false advertisement. Most news outlets from the Huffington Post to the Washington Times provide a skewed political perspective. I’m not particularly fond of the left-leaning skew of the media in general, but other right leaning news outlets have sprung up – especially in the US – as a result of this bias. The Democrats in the US have threatened to pass the so called “Fairness Doctrine” which forces news outlets to provide opposing viewpoints. This has been threatened due to the popularity of talk radio shows like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity who, themselves, provide an extremely biased right wing perspective. The popularity of these shows came about as a direct result of the left wing bias in the media. I oppose the Fairness doctrine.

    However, the Guardian can do more to limit the kind of criticism that has been leveled at Israel from above the line articles, for example, Ben White (and others). Lies are spread through supposedly credible above the line columnist from a supposedly credible news outlet like the Guardian. CIFWatch has done a very good job of exposing the connection between above the line comments providing a cover for below the line racism. How can a moderator delete the lie that Israel is a racist, apartheid state when the below the line commentor is just quoting from the article itself? We have seen Guardian articles quoted in Stormfront. Rather than promoting anti Jewish hatred, the Guardian can do much more to counter this troubling and dangerous trend.

    They can do much more to providing a fair below the line debate. Clearly, CIFW has exposed how their moderators selectively delete pro Israel comments. This is entirely unacceptable to the concept of free speech and debate. I don’t want pre moderation which only puts more power in the hands of those who oppress free speech – the left wing moderators. They have already shown that they are incapable of moderating fairly. I don’t trust the left or the right to moderate in a fair and unbiased manner.

    Israel is clearly an obsession of the Guardian, but how do we define too much? The IP conflict is an important conflict in the most important economic location on earth. The IP conflict generates huge interest from around the world, and therefore increases revenue for the Guardian.

  26. Tom

    Israel is clearly an obsession of the Guardian

    This is such rot. Israel is interesting ..a tiny sliver of news where east meets west ..poor meets rich ..powerful meets weak.It has history, politics religion and war.

    You are determined to paint this as an obsession in order that criticism of Israel can be seen as madness and you are so transparent a light can be shown right through you.

  27. dopey, I think it must be past your bed time.

    Of course al-Grauniad/CiF is obsessed by Israel’s alleged villainy and the angelic nature (of course) of the “poor”* Palestinians whose willing victimhood they can’t seem to prevent themselves from perpetuating. CiF would have folded long ago had it not been able to milk the “considered” opinions of the below the line ignoramuses like yourself.

    *(I’d dearly like to know where all the humanitarian and financial aid is going, and what percentage rake-off the Palestinian leadership is taking. Perhaps you can tell us, Berchmans, interested as you are in the area?)

  28. Someone got depleted uranium and phosphorus into the fur article and a smattering of stolen land but otherwise fairly dull. Hey Ho.

  29. Israelinurse, what a solidly researched piece! OK, I guess everyone has come to expect that from you, but this one is really outstanding — though the outlook seems pretty grim. So the new ladies in charge are swooning over female “martyrs”??? Well, maybe that’s their idea of romance… They must have been ecstatic when the Palestinians recently named a square after Mughrabi, and shortly afterwards, a street after Rachel Corrie!!!

  30. Yeah right Abandon, the fact that Israel is the exclusive state of the Jews is purely coincidental to the anthropological curiosities that it arouses.

  31. Re. the Viner article from the 2007 Hay Literary Festival:

    a) Given that the posts by justwondering are still standing, what does that say about repeated claims here that pro-Israel comments are routinely deleted?
    b) The first post by justwondering was – something you strangely failed to see! – simply wrong in its accusations.
    c) Said poster then swiftly switched to another issue – but their post was in general entertaining!
    d) The overriding issue here, however: what is/was Ghazi Hamad doing at the Haye Festival??

  32. Pretz – you fail to appreciate the subtlety going on in those comments.

    Yes, at first Justwondering thought that a Guardian reporter had interviewed a member of Hamas at a literary festival. Georgina Henry then corrects him/her on that point but somehow fails to mention that the festival itself is in fact hosted by the Guardian and therefore presumably it has some input into (and responsibility for) who is invited to speak there, as well as who does the interviewing. In fact she even goes as far as to say that the interviewer ‘has nothing to do with the Guardian’. Later, Justwondering comes up with the answers for him/herself. It’s the sequence here which is significant.

    The Guardian certainly has the choice to further publicise Hamad’s message to non-festival goers or not. It chose to do so, and in a form (bullet points) which is very much in the style of ‘closed questions’ – i.e. the interviewee is not challenged in any way at all and the reader simply has to make do with the points he has chosen to make.

    Now, do we really think that it would have been out of the question for a Guardian reporter at a festival hosted by the Guardian to conduct a more in depth interview with one of the speakers? Or did they just not deem that necessary? (or desirable)

    As for what Hamad was doing there at all – your guess is as good as mine, but radical chic would be my first bet.

  33. Jonny Moses

    ” the fact that Israel is the exclusive state of the Jews is purely coincidental to the anthropological curiosities that it arouses. ”

    If you look I said that religion is part of the reason why it is so fascinating.

    Tom used the word ” obsession” which is standard fare when trying to delegitimise the Guardian … it is an attempt to tar it as mad,, possessed and is exactly what the Soviets and probably many before did to dissidents.

    However as I have said this clumsy and obvious style of attack is working CIF is as bland as a night out in an English pub.

  34. Abandon, Jewishness is more than religion: God, law and nation to be precise. But why should this particular group of people be any more ‘fascinating’ than any other society struggling with a similar set of circumstances? It is indeed the uniqueness of its Jewish identity that fuels the curiosity and animus that European societies traditionally feel towards the Jewish collective, and in the case of the Guardian, British middle class parochial snobbery, that is convinced by the righteousness of its own spiteful prejudices.

  35. Jonny Moses

    ” why should this particular group of people be any more ‘fascinating’ than any other society ”

    This is disingenuous..you know why…for my generation Jews were the key players in our laughter .. politics ..much of the music…the psychology..sociology …I can hardly think of a field in which Jewish folk havent excelled . I have many times compared them to the Scots in 1800.

    I think such gifted folk should be able to move a million or so people about for the sake of peace. For the price of a single Merkeva you could build an entire block of flats away from the trouble….in pre 67 Israel. Where there is a will..

  36. Berchmans – thousands of people were moved into pre-67 Israel at tremendous financial, social and psychological cost when the Gaza Strip was evacuated ‘away from the trouble’ as you call it, but peace was not the outcome of that particular demonstration of Israeli will. The result was that the front line merely moved back into pre-67 Israel with them. At present we have no reason to believe that similar Israeli demonstrations of goodwill would bring different results elsewhere.

  37. Israelinurse

    ” peace was not the outcome of that particular demonstration of Israeli will. ”

    This was a tactical manoeuvre. Gaza could not be held without extremes of violence.This was not a gift .

    What is required is a major change of attitude where the entire country will change shape .It will cost many fortunes ..but the expenditure of maintaining the present situation can only be borne if the US remains an open bank.

    I believe there will be 2 states … Israel will be a lot smaller but it will be secure.

  38. Like I said before, I don’t know Matt Seaton from Adam. One thing I’ve noticed though, he keeps things on an even keel.

  39. Abandon hope ” I believe there will be 2 states … Israel will be a lot smaller but it will be secure”

    The IDF withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza. That didn’t bring peace at all.
    The peace treaty with Egypt still holds, but who knows what will happen after Mubarak? When you’re forced to trade land for peace, you could end up with neither land nor peace.

  40. Israelinurse

    the festival itself is in fact hosted by the Guardian and therefore presumably it has some input into (and responsibility for) who is invited to speak there, as well as who does the interviewing. In fact she even goes as far as to say that the interviewer ‘has nothing to do with the Guardian’.

    I think you presume wrongly.
    And what’s wrong about saying that the interviewer had nothing to do with the Guardian?

    When Pepsi sponsor a Britney Spears concert I hardly think they have a say in her choice of songs.
    If they were to sponsor the MTV Awards, I hardly think you could say the live interviewers or presenters actually have a connection to Pepsi.

    Anyway: this is all a minor point compared to the overall issue, i.e. legitimate concerns about Vilner and Sherwood. Now while we shouldn’t assume 100% that their apparent positions on I/P will necessarily be reflected in their future roles, it’s not exactly that improbable, is it?

  41. Pretzelberg

    “When Pepsi sponsor a Britney Spears concert I hardly think they have a say in her choice of songs.”

    I don’t know what world you live in but in the world I do, sponsors do have a say. Follow the money my friend. Conceivably Pepsi could require Britney to not sing a song that would not be consistent with their corporate image as a condition to their sponsorship. More likely there would be limitations on the identities of any co-sponsors for example Pepsi would not sponsor Britney together with Coca Cola.

    Hopefully you’re smart enough to apply the above analogy to the Hay Festival.

    This still begs the question what on earth is a terrorist doing at such an event. Clearly from the perspective of the corporate sponsor they do not view this as tarnishing their image.

  42. @ Hawkeye

    I don’t know what world you live in but in the world I do, sponsors do have a say. (i.e. in her choice of songs)

    Absolutely not. Where Pepsi does have options is in its own selection of artists. They’d be unlikely to sponsor some skinhead death metal band, for example.

    Hopefully you’re smart enough to apply the above analogy to the Hay Festival.
    😉

    Conceivably Pepsi could require Britney to not sing a song that would not be consistent with their corporate image as a condition to their sponsorship. More likely there would be limitations …

    Erm, so basically you seem to be agreeing with my point after all!

  43. “Conceivably Pepsi could require Britney to not sing a song that would not be consistent with their corporate image as a condition to their sponsorship.”

  44. Pretzelberg

    Let me spell it out for you. The Guardian could object to the presence of a Hamas member and make that a condition of their sponsorship. Problem is that we are talking about the Guardian that is falling over itself to give a platform to a Jew-hating genocidal group.

    Anyway lets agree to disagree and enjoy the Britney vid!