CiF Watch has often documented how any piece in the Guardian even remotely related to Israel typically elicits extreme anti-Semitic (not merely anti-Israel) replies in the comments thread. Though the Guardian represents an especially egregious example, it is a much broader phenomenon. (See CiF Watch’s cross-post of Lee Smith’s piece, Playing with Fire, which explores another element of this issue)
In a recent story in the Telegraph, Aug 24, Julian Kossoff, the paper’s senior editor, wrote a piece entitled “Where did all the BBC’s anti-Zionists go?”. His essay centered on the recent BBC Panorama program entitled “Death in the Med” – a story on the events surrounding Israel’s interception of the Mavi Marmara. While Kossoff was mildly supportive of the program – which many supporters of Israel thought was relatively well-balanced – he also cited the balanced reporting on the show to express criticism of those who contend that BBC is inherently biased against Israel. All and all, Kossoff’s piece wasn’t so much about the flotilla incident, or about the Panorama program, as it was a broader defense of the BBC, and other media, who are accused by both sides of being biased. He said:
“When Israel’s supporters mount this type of campaign, it’s often portrayed as a visitation from the all-powerful “Zionist lobby” rather than just a bunch of slightly overwrought citizens who really care about Israel, don’t understand how journalism works, and aren’t particularly interested in hearing the other side of the story.
But now that Israel’s supporters are falling over themselves with praise for “auntie”, what becomes of the widely held belief within the Jewish community that the BBC is a writhing nest of anti-Zionist, Arab-loving vipers?
No doubt we’ll now see the flip side to this paranoia. Anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists will start droning on about Jews…on any website comment thread that will have them.”
In fact, Kossoff’s words were quite prophetic. Here are just a few of the first 30 or so comments I read beneath the column.
Yeah, I know, Rod J and Farang are merely expressing their thoughtful, dispassionate, and well-reasoned, objections to certain Israeli policies. How paranoid of us to assume that they may harbor animosity towards Jews.