Guardian

Anti-Israel Bias: March 2010 Stats


Inspired by our friends at TheBrothersofJudea who track antisemitsm at the Huffington Post, we have collated some statistical data for the month of March to demonstrate the extent of the anti-Israel bias and Israel-obsession at “Comment is Free”.

As can be seen below, of the twenty-seven articles in “Comment is Free: Middle East” on Israel in the month of March, nineteen of them harbored anti-Israel bias in varying degrees.  Among the slate of anti-Israel articles there was one by anti-Zionist, Abe Hayeem attacking the Jewish right of return, a piece by Oliver Miles, the former UK ambassador who objected to the presence of two eminent Jewish historians on the Iraq War Enquiry Panel, two articles supporting the engagement of the Jew-hating terrorist group, Hamas, and two articles touting the launch of the anti-Zionist news outlet, JNews. In addition, the roster of anti-Israel articles featured several pieces on the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador for Israel’s purported role in the assassination of a senior member of Hamas and the growing tension between Netanyahu and the Obama administration.


And when we compare Israel articles as a whole with articles relating to the other 16 countries in the region in “Comment is Free: Middle East” we discover that over 40% of the articles in March covered Israel. This in a month when Yemen declared an end to its six-year conflict with Houthis fighters, terrorist attacks in Iraq killed scores of innocents, elections took place in Iraq, clashes broke out between Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt, the Arab League held its annual summit in Libya, mass arrests of terrorists were made in Saudi Arabia,  Tantawi, Sunni Islam’s top cleric, died and in Iran the Persian new year was celebrated.

In this final pie chart you can see how the negative portrayal of Israel fits into “Comment is Free: Middle East” as a whole.

In a letter to the Jewish Chronicle on February 19 responding to my article in the Jewish Chronicle, outgoing editors, Matt Seaton and Georgina Henry, wrote:

[W]e remain resolutely committed to the CP Scott-inspired tradition of fairness and balance, and publishing a broad range of views (on the Middle East, as on all topics).

In the words of Geoffrey Alderman, “Pull the other one Matt”.

45 replies »

  1. Rushing for work ..only glanced at the article ..but my first thought is

    ” two articles supporting the engagement of the Jew-hating terrorist group, Hamas, ”

    Surely this is a loaded category? A monitoring site has to attempt to monitor coldly.. and the implicationis that the writer is looking at this fairly without any bias.The IDF is never described as a Muslim hating group for example. I will go to work and have another look later. Peace to all.

  2. [W]e remain resolutely committed to the CP Scott-inspired tradition of fairness and balance, and publishing a broad range of views (on the Middle East, as on all topics).

    Isn’t it a hoot? Using the words ‘fairness and balance’

    I copy/paste from a letter sent to Mr. Ribbans who was then, The managing Editor of the Guardian, sometime in March 2009 by Denis MacEoin.

    You say that ‘We flatly refute any suggestion that we’re “bent on condemning one side”’. I have already shown the extent to which Guardian opinion pages slant heavily towards a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel position. Over the years, I have never sensed any warmth in the Guardian towards Israel, and I have been troubled by a string of reports and opinions celebrating the Palestinian ‘resistance’, touching at times on the defence of very real moral depravity, from anti-Semitism to suicide bombing to the launching of thousands of rockets on civilian centres. You suggest that last week’s reports did not condemn one side. Please look at the main webpage archiving your coverage of the war-crimes allegations ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/series/gaza-war-crimes-investigation). There is indeed one entry covering allegations against Hamas. However, here is what you will find about Israel (I deal only with this single web page, not with any links): ‘Israeli war crimes allegations: what the law says’; ‘Will Israel be brought to book?’ (by Seumas Milne, not a friend of Israel); ‘Gaza war crimes investigation: Israeli drones’; ‘Evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes’; ‘End this culture of Israeli impunity’; ‘The Israeli attacks’. There are three videos: ‘Cut to pieces: the family drinking tea in a courtyard’; ‘Palestinian brothers: used as human shields in Gaza’; and ‘Under attack: medics died trying to help casualties’. As well as: ‘Gazan war crimes: attacks on medics’; ‘Gazan war crimes investigation: human shields’. There are also links to audio reports.

    The Guardian may be many things.

    ‘Fair and Balanced’ it is not.

  3. Maybe you are missing that CiF is the official publication (Hauszeitschrift) for the UN’ Council on Humbling one Country ? 😉
    – I don’t read them but I’d like to know what is CiF’s take on “defamation”
    – it sure seems like the next big Zeitgeist thing in the offing, after all it’ll offer a much better playground than PC and maybe CiF’s deleting of comments is only warm-up practice for the real stuff to come like a Nobel-like price for the best axe wielder of the year.

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/president-obama-s-priorities–human-rights-be-damned-15417

  4. A good job of exposing the bias and obsession of the Guardian Hawkeye.

    It clearly is not surprising that the Guardian publishes articles in support of the Jew-hating terrorist organization, Hamas, who they view as just a resistance organization. Unfortunately, the hatred of Jews is not just confined to Islamic terrorist organizations, but is pervasive throughout the Middle East encouraged by the governments who use Israel to whip up anti Jewish hatred (for political gain). This has been going on for the past 60 years.

    NATO member, Turkey, is the latest Middle East Islamic-run government to promote the hatred of Jews for political gain. Calling the Mossad baby-killers is encouraged on Turkish TV while telling the truth about the Armenian genocide can get you thrown in jail for being “unTurkish”. Why is this promotion of hatred and lies acceptable to the west?

    The Guardian (and other media outlets especially in Europe) is a party to this through their above the line delegitimization of Israel which only serves the purpose of the Arabs and others – and has created a dangerous environment for Jews in Europe and elsewhere.

  5. Beautifully graphic and practical illustration of what cifwatch has been talking about all these months. Well done indeed!

  6. TomWonacott
    read (not for free) Daniel Pipes’ review of Jeffrey Herf’s new book at Commentary or listen here to twenty minutes of Jeffrey Herf and you’ll realize that 60 years is an a wee bit too short time span
    [audio src="http://www.city-journal.org/mp3/2010-03-08-Stern-Herf.mp3" /]

    Der Bauch ist fruchtbar noch …
    the belly is fertile still … (my translation)
    (Berthold Brecht? or Kurt Tucholsky? or? )

  7. Silke

    The quote is from “Der aufhaltsame Aufstieg des Arturo Ui” of Bertold Brecht.

  8. In Orwell’s 1984, there was ‘Hate Week’. On the Guardian, there is all year round ‘Hate Israel’. It’s not enough to bear witness – we must oppose it too.

    Also a good link from Silke about UNHRC and Obama’s new priorities vis-à-vis Israel and the Islamic World.

    Finally, this Website could be improved just one teeny-weeny bit, by filtering out a certain conceited agent provocateur who adds nothing at all to the debate and only irritates many of us.

  9. Excellent analysis Hawkeye – and, given the changes at al-Grauniad, timely too as a baseline.

    Would it be possible to publish an update of this regularly to help us monitor whether the change of management at the other place is less biased than the coven?

    Dopey/Berchmans, first in the queue as usual. How come you never are at the other place?

    The IDF is not a “Muslim-hating organisation” however much you may perceive it to be so.

    Whereas Hamas and the other Muslim countries’ governments’ ethos depend upon innate Jew-hatred which they carefully nurture in their populations to distract from the their own woeful inadequacies in taking care of their people.

  10. Well done, great illustration of what “fairness and balance” means at Cif when it comes to Israel: the Jewish state is the Middle East’s smallest country, but gets the most attention; the Jewish state is the Middle East’s most democratic and liberal country, but gets the most “criticism”.

  11. SarahLeah

    .

    ” How come you never are at the other place? ”

    The moderation here is not only better but CIFWatch it is a more pertinent site at present. The I /P threads are closed on CIF when I get up at 4

    The IDF is not a “Muslim-hating organisation” however much you may perceive it to be ”

    Sorry if I was not clear..I agree entirely. I was making the point that a monitoring editor cannot be seen to use such loaded language ( Jew hating terrorists) and expect to be seen as some sort of non-involved figure able to opinionate on the way others regard the I/P debate.

    ” Hamas and the other Muslim countries’ governments’ ethos depend upon innate Jew-hatred ”

    Cringeingly pro-Israeli- narrative… yet helpful ..in that I guess you actually believe this sort of cartoon drawing of an explanation. Pull back to the 67 lines …give a little water and this” innate Jew hatred” will dissipate.

  12. Thanks Silke

    To think that Haj Amin al-Husseini was appointed by the British as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. They might as well have appointed Hitler, himself………

  13. On the other hand, two recent pro-Israel pieces received more than five hundred comments, way above what Judenrat turncoats average on CiF. If the Guardian really wants to leverage those eyeballs into advertising revenue, then invite more Jewish patriots to have their say.

  14. TomWonacott

    “To think that Haj Amin al-Husseini was appointed by the British as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. ”

    The one and only Palestinian Nazi.. whose appearance on these pages is guaranteed to be at least a weekly, if not daily occurrence. The desperation to link Palestine to Nazi Germany to keep the narrative going is not weakening here.

    And why should it? If you’ve got it flaunt it…even if it is so very little.

    Sergio Bramsole

    .

    ” Judenrat turncoat”

    I have previously mentioned the knock out punch that Punzi delivered to me when I used the word “rat” on CIF. She described the impact ,on her, of the Nazi films depicting Jews as rats and I swore I would never ever repeat such a stupid and thoughtless sentiment.

  15. Clearly, without even seeing the stats the general coverage of I/P on CiF is IMO unbalanced.

    A couple of questions, however:

    a) Why call them “anti-Israel” when many (note: not all!) are simply e.g. critical of govt. policy towards Palestinians?? Would you consider articles critical of Blair’s decision to join the Iraq invasion “anti-Britain”? Does being anti-settlement and pro-two-state-solution mean automatic classification as “anti-Israel”? How about displaying some degree of bias, e.g. more sympathy for the Palestinians – likewise “anti-Israel”?
    b) Why don’t you include the term “Palestinian” in your summary?
    c) Do any Seth Freedman articles qualify in your eyes as neutral or even “pro-Israel?
    d) Has nobody else here been wondering about Haweye’s subjective classification of articles? Is it assumed it was a fair analysis?

  16. Abandon Hope
    you are being ridiculous beyond hope
    – nobody absolutely nobody has ever reached the eminence of the mufti without large bands of followers and at the time there were as yet no Palestinians – brush up your history, brush it up.
    – as you are immune to research results of respectable people as modernityblog points out over and over again i.e. you are the classical know everything better, sheer basic life experiences should tell you that you are spouting utter nonsense. Lots and lots of mechanisms which may be observed in small communities are suitable to being upscaled and thus useful for an understanding of the “big” world out there – after all the mufti had bodily functions and emotions just like the rest of us (forgive me modernityblog, I have no scientific backing for that statement, only Miss Marple-ish style observations)

  17. Having said that, however, the proportion of wholeheartedly anti-Israel posts on CiF is substantial, and that of BTL posts critical of Israeli policy is far in excess of 70%!

    @ Sergio Bramsole

    Can you please tell us what and who “Judenrat turncoats” is referring to?

    Oh – and what in God’s name are “Jewish patriots”?

    p.s. Are you the same poster from CiF with that special-forces moniker?

    @ TomWonacott

    To think that Haj Amin al-Husseini was appointed by the British as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. They might as well have appointed Hitler, himself

    Nonsense. And anyway: what exactly does this have to do with the article and analysis??

  18. pretzelberg
    congratulation you are quite good at being facetious

    if you want to be as fine chiselled in labelling the stuff as you are suggesting then these pages could be turned into long and totally fruitless arguments about which kind of nuance is permissible to apply to this or that – PC is a lot of fun but I think as a fashion it is past its prime.

    I find anti-Israel as a summary description quite apt because everyone I have sounded out to date seemed to have this at his core desire.
    … and if the Palestinians would stop to demand murder all the time my feelings for them would warm up speedily. If somebody wants to beat me up I have no interest whatsoever in a Freudian exploration of his or her early frustrations, all I want is to keep him/her under control. As long as “they” let their governments or their institutions proclaim the stuff these proclaim I think the Israelis sadly don’t have much of a choice besides put a boot on their neck or have them at your throat.

  19. pretzelberg
    and as to your 12:35 comment

    congratulations to your being quite good at law and order

  20. @ Abandon hope

    FYI Judenrat is a German term that has nowt to do with rats. Check out the Wiki entry.

  21. ” Are you the same poster from CiF with that special-forces moniker”

    You’re so perceptive, pretz.

  22. @ Sergio Bramsole

    You’re so perceptive, pretz.

    Cheers. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that, of course.

    It has been a while, though. I think Callaghan was PM at the time.

    @ Silke

    Are you sure you’re addressing me, there?

  23. Pull back to the 67 lines …give a little water and this” innate Jew hatred” will dissipate

    You mean that’s all the `Israelis have to do to cause Hamas to loose its religion?

    “To think that Haj Amin al-Husseini was appointed by the British as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. ”

    “The one and only Palestinian Nazi.”

    Not so. There were many in the Arab world. The Husseinis were dominant in Palestinian politics and very happy with Hitler, so much so that they modelled their youth organisation on the Hitler Youth and called it for a time, the Nazi Scouts. The Arab Higher Committee, headed by the Mufti, was the effective government of the Palestinians and set about attacking the Jews the British and their fellow Arabs in 1936.

  24. “Cheers. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that, of course”

    Easy does it, pretz. More often that not, your fingers write checks that your intellect can’t cash.

  25. You have to love the simplicity of it don’t you?

    Pull back to the 67 lines …give a little water and this” innate Jew hatred” will dissipate……somehow it didn’t work in 67.

    Somehow the 67 lines have become carved in stone despite the fact that the Arabs refused to accept those very same lines as FINAL BORDERS.

    Oylem goylem, the arabist apologists slap their stomachs and blurt out statements that have no basis in history or reality.

  26. pretzelberg

    “FYI Judenrat is a German term ”

    Even worse …” Judenrat refers to a group of Jews who enacted the German laws in the ghettos. ” This is a disgusting attempt to call them Nazi sympathisers. There’s me thinking he was calling them Jewish rats. I wondered why you didnt translate it. You would have had to agree.

  27. as to Judenrat
    before you further disseminate your views maybe you should read this
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judenrat
    a little knowledge never hurts really that much and sometimes keeps one out of mischief

    As to English “rat” in German it is “Ratte” and so isn’t even at first glance similar to English “rat” and just to be clear we don’t do any “ratting” when speaking German.

    The “Rat” or plural “Räte” means Council in the sense of roughly representatives (for example after WW1 we had for a short time a RäteRepublik) and the tasks the members of these Judenräte bodies had to perform are so gruesome and their choices so terrible that any facile opinions thrown around about them are plain mean and cruel, whatever Arendt or Hilberg may have said about them only shows that they weren’t very familiar with the horrors and limited choices of daily life and too into preaching their universal principles.

    and a note to pretzelberg
    Siegerland refers to the river Sieg – as to the origin of its name German and English Wikipedia agree it does NOT mean victory – one attributes it to a Celtic origin the other to a tribe mentioned by Cesar – have your pick

  28. The Guardian commissions anti-Israeli articles with evil intent for the sole purpose of smearing us,

    The Arabs tried and are still trying to kill us off,it didn’t work.We are still here better than ever, and we give as good as we get and a bit more.

    Let’s get on with life……..I am.

    Berchmans…If one person calls you are donkey ignore them,if two people call you a donkey,buy a saddle.

  29. Four points:

    Good statistical analysis, although it’s time-consuming I would welcome more, it is harder for the Guardian management to argue against the starkness of these figures.

    Jeff Herf’s work is good, he’s very perceptive. I would recommend his Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys, it lays low many of the myths surrounding Konrad Adenauer, the post WW2 period and the GDR’s supposed anti-fascism.

    There are couple of biographies of the Mufti, apparently some of them try to lessen his treacherous activities. My impression is that he was appointed by the British (over the head of more able candidates) as a means to incorporate him and his clan into the British running of Palestine. It was a tactic often employed by the British, to buy off local elites and make them tools of British imperialism, but instead they boycotted the British mechanisms and took the cash, using it to build up their own organisations, fund riots and violence.

    The Judenrates were formed on the behest of the Nazis, anyone could be requested to be a member, if they refused they were shot. The Nazis told the individuals concerned that they were members, to refuse meant certain death.

    In more than one case completely secular Jews were put in charge of the remaining religious infrastructure, apparently the best book on it is by Isaac Trunk.

  30. @pretzelberg’s: “Why call them “anti-Israel” when many (note: not all!) are simply e.g. critical of govt. policy towards Palestinians??”

    Since I came up with this concept, I feel I should explain it.

    I know that “anti-Israel” is a bit misleading, as is “pro-Israel.” The reason behind these research is not to say that there are anti-Israel bloggers on these websites, in the sense that those bloggers want Israel destroyed. In fact a great many of the “anti-Israel” comments are simply critical of Israel’s policies.

    But remember the whole point of doing this: The question is whether these websites (Guardian and HP) presented two sides of an issue. When there are six articles criticizing Israel’s actions for every one defending it, that should tell you something.

    And that is what these projects are designed to illustrate.

  31. Silke, good comments.

    the tasks the members of these Judenräte bodies had to perform are so gruesome and their choices so terrible that any facile opinions thrown around about them are plain mean and cruel

    This irresoluble moral dilemma may be the reason Israel never instituted Judenräte trials – the one Kastner issue was more than enough pain.

  32. Modernity wrote accurately:

    It was a tactic often employed by the British, to buy off local elites and make them tools of British imperialism, but instead [the Husseini clan] boycotted the British mechanisms and took the cash, using it to build up their own organisations, fund riots and violence.

    … and kill off more civilised, more moderate rival clans.

  33. Modernity – there’s a marvellous book, sadly now out of print but maybe available via the library service, by Bernard Wasserstein in which he describes the whole process of how the British ensured that Husseini became Mufti.

    http://www.amazon.com/British-Palestine-Mandatory-Government-Arab-Jewish/dp/0631175741/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270681931&sr=1-3

    My books are currently somewhere in the Bay of Biscay or thereabouts (not literally ‘in’, I hope!), so I can’t quote, but basically elections were held among the Muslim population for the position of Mufti, in which Husseini came fourth. This presented a problem to the Mandate government because the protocols stated that the British should select one of the first three candidates for the position of Mufti and they had already decided that they wanted Husseini as he had convinced them that he was the only one capable of containing the Arab violence, so they ‘persuaded’ one of the other candidates to drop out, thereby advancing Husseini to third place, and then pronounced him Mufti, supposedly having acted according to the rules.
    Of course Husseini’s claims were soon proved to not only be wrong, but it quickly became clear that his agenda was exactly the opposite.

  34. Israelinurse,

    Thanks, I didn’t know about that one.

    I’ll look out for it. I like Bernard Wasserstein he’s (as I remember) a clear writer and competent historian.

  35. IN.

    This presented a problem to the Mandate government because the protocols stated that the British should select one of the first three candidates for the position of Mufti and they had already decided that they wanted Husseini as he had convinced them that he was the only one capable of containing the Arab violence, so they ‘persuaded’ one of the other candidates to drop out, thereby advancing Husseini to third place, and then pronounced him Mufti, supposedly having acted according to the rules.

    This so much reminds me of when the US pressed Israel to allow Arafat back under the belief that ‘he was the only one capable of containing the Palestinian violence’. As it turned out, he was the instigator of Palestinian violence with his ‘Give me more shaheeds’.

  36. JerusalemMite

    .

    “Arafat.. instigator of Palestinian violence ”

    So hes out.Hamas are Jew haters and Fateh is run by a guy whose thesis was about Holocaust denial. Som are in prison…is there anyone you actually like ?

  37. @ Zach

    I can understand why you used the simplified terms anti- and pro-Israel and wasn’t suggesting you did so for anything else than conveniency’s sake.
    It’s just that on this website calling critical comments “anti-Israel” will further stoke the fire, as it were.

    @ Silke

    My reference to Siegerland was purely about it being a Catholic/Lutheran
    patchwork, where denomination changes from one village to the next.

    I was well aware the region and the town are named after the river (and not after Sieg = “victory”) – what do you take me for?
    😉

  38. B: “…is there anyone you actually like ?”

    As for the other side, Moyshe and Yankale!