Guardian

A personal reflection on our one-year anniversary


Almost exactly 4 years ago, a conflict ignited on the Lebanese-Israeli border when Hezbollah terrorists attacked an Israeli border patrol convoy, which led to a 30 day war between the Jewish state and the Iranian backed terror group. I watched it unfold on CNN, as well as on the local news – reports suggesting that Israel was intentionally killing Lebanese civilians in its response to the provocation.

That narrative was a usual one when discussing wars involving Israel and Arabs despite that, by this time, we have seen the Coalition invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq unfold and have seen the tactics deployed by Jihadists seeking martyrdom. As a matter of course, they were hiding behind civilians, civilian structures, and even dressed like civilians when ambushing American, Canadian and British soldiers who were seeking out the enemy among an undeniably unfortunate civilian population.

Yet when Israel responded to the kidnappings and rocket barrages of Hezbollah, the media reported Hezbollah casualties as “civilians”. Each day, 100, 200, 300 “Lebanese civilians” died while Hezbollah declared (and the media reported) that they lost 3 or 5 fighters on a given day. It sounded insane. I recall one report near the end of the war which stated that Israel lost 138 soldiers, but killed 1200 Lebanese civilians, while Hezbollah lost 15 fighters. No sane person would believe such nonsense so why, I asked myself, was this on the news.

Something seemed out of tune here. Something seemed really wrong with that picture.

Like many of us, 9/11 changed me. I was always aware of terrorism and radical Islam but starting that day, I entered the online world of news and commentary, and discovered scholars, experts and personalities who‘s work probably did not matter as much on September 10, 2001. During those long nights sitting at the computer reading people like David Horowitz, Robert Spencer and Steven Emerson, to name a few, I plunged into a new world. A world where I have discovered issues and conflicts similar to the ones my father told me about when he was growing up during WWII. One of those issues was anti-Semitism and persecution of Jews. Not long after the attacks on New York and Washington, conspiracy theories were spreading that Jews were the actual culprits and Israel was the one benefiting from this and that Bush was under the control of a Jewish cabal and as such needed to declare a war on Muslims.

I found these ideas so silly that I laughed at them and assumed nobody could possibly believe such nonsense. I was wrong. Many have, and many more believed other, even crazier, conspiracy theories. I also realized that these 9/11 Jewish conspiracies were not created in a vacuum but were the culmination of a long and steady effort of demonizing Israel and the Jewish people, which started before I really cared to notice. The internet was always a crazy place. Conspiracy theories were all over it for years. How those ideas managed to find themselves in mainline publications was the question I needed answering.

In 2006 when the Lebanon war coverage was taking up most of the afternoons on CNN, and occupied most of the space on the popular blogs (which I read but never commented on seeing no real purpose to do so), I read a couple of articles and exposes on the Guardian and its comments section which was, according to these reports, filled with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and Islamist propaganda. In fact I recall the Guardian being in the news when it was revealed that CiF contributor Inayat Bunglavala had praised Osama Bin Laden.

During the start of the Lebanon war, I started to read the blog of the Guardian, called ‘Comment is Free’. I was curious to find out what the fuss was about as much was written about CiF on American Blogs, exposing the often explicit anti-Semitism and, at times, apparent sympathy for terrorist movements.

What I found was more than I could have ever bargained for. Comments about the inhumanity of Jewish fighters during the 1948 war, and even rhetoric about the “savagery” of the Jewish fighters during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising (according to SS officers) caught my eye. This was a rude awakening.

What I saw was the complete and perfect merger of anti-Israel rhetoric with old anti-Semitic tropes. It was like reading a magazine from 1936 Germany but instead of “Jew”, “Zionist” and “Israeli” were the descriptive words.

“Israel is stealing water from Palestinians”, “Israel is polluting Palestinian terrorizes…Zionists control the media …Israel is killing children as a matter of course and Israel is stealing money from the Palestinians. Old anti-Semitic tropes of the “Jew poisoning the well”, “The Jew killing our children…” “The Jew embezzling the collective wealth” and the Jew controlling our leaders and armies.

What I also discovered was that the articles in CiF seemed to inspire such comments, as the tropes they employed inevitably led their readers down a path of hate and vitriol. Much like when one starts to learn to swim or ride a bicycle, they held onto these ideas, not crossing ideological lines which commenters were ready to cross, who were merely following the direction of the writer – who then could wash his/her hands of bigotry knowing that the nastiness was taken up by someone else under the cover of anonymity.

What I concluded was that the Guardian was incubating what Melanie Phillips called the ‘New anti-Semitism” It was also incubating the alliance between the radical Left and Islamism.

Now I understood the power of comments sections. Before I never really cared, as I thought they were just a new version of ‘letters to the editor’. Now I understood what they could be used for. They often served as a gateway between the mainstream media and the conspiracy peddlers – bigots inspired by “respectable” writers who would advance tropes which carefully skirted around the edges of acceptable commentary.

We have since covered, and exposed, many examples of this phenomenon during the last year on CiF Watch. We commented on the Guardian’s defense of Saddam Hussein.  We demonstrated how they attempted to defend the comments of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – arguing that he didn’t actually call for Israel to be “wiped off the map” – and make excuses for, or rationalize, the malicious propaganda which not only was targeting Israel and Jews, but also America and the West.

I am still posting on CiF. Came close to being banned and do not expect to stay much longer. During that first summer, I felt almost alone in the sea of hate. A part of me enjoyed my contrarian position and I felt that at least this asymmetric situation will make me a better debater and will sharpen my mind.

However I wasn’t alone. There were others there on my side. I slowly started to watch out for kindred spirits who, like me, were immersed in a sea of hate and posting relentlessly in attempts to debunk the nasty and hateful posts which were attempting to spread such vile ideas.

It was on one of those days that I was invited to communicate with another poster who was part of a small group of commenters always re-appearing under moniker after moniker after having been banned by CiF moderators apparently more concerned about towing the ideological line, and defending their writers, than monitoring the hate speech appearing on their blog.

We assisted each other by alerting one other when a thread was open, and we helped each other in the many side debates which occurred between ourselves and posters attacking us. We were never part of, or working on behalf of, any government or non government agency, though we were continuously accused of it. Those accusations came not only from lunatic posters obsessed with Israeli spies infiltrating their sacred lair, but also by editors like Brian Whitaker who accused posters defending Israel of being part of a conspiracy.

Slowly our group grew and around late 2007, I suggested that we create our own blog and expose the Guardian for what it is – an incubator of radical Leftist apologists for radical Islam and the snake pit of the new anti-Semitism.

The first person to respond was Medusa. She said, “I would write for it.” Others joined in the discussion and the idea morphed into this watch site.  Those discussions took a long time, as most of us being Jewish, just could not agree on a format which could address the issues all of us, liberals, conservatives, religious and secular cared about  – which says quite a bit about the merit of Jewish conspiracy theories.

The only common denominator was the moderation policy – and radical slant of the Guardian which we found to be a nesting place for anti-Semitism as well as a conduit through which such toxic ideas, typically the domain of extremist groups, end up in main stream political discourse.

This idea was tossed around and we decided to launch CiF Watch after Hawkeye and AKUS joined the original group of Medusa, Louise, Peter, Omar and Yours truly.  The reason it became CiF Watch, and not something else, was due to the moderation at CiF, which we tried to influence with letters and meetings to no avail. That was what motivated all of us and that was what the Guardian promised to improve – but clearly failed to do.

The anti-Semitism kept coming, as did the rhetoric which clearly fostered it.  And, the stories were sometimes accompanied by simply vicious cartoons – imagery which could have appeared in Der Stürmer 70 years ago.

This Martin Rowson cartoon appeared in the Guardian in 2006

This cartoon, by Steve Bell was published in the Guardian in 2009 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall,

This Steve Bell cartoon appeared in the Guardian in 2009

The Guardian published this Steve Bell cartoon during the flotilla incident

We kept going back to threads and posted, on our new blog, nasty comments from CiF, which survived CiF moderation as well as those comments which exposed the hatred and bigotry at CiF, which the moderators subsequently deleted.

“Why was this deleted” became like the obituary section of our “publication” as it kept being filled with reasonable posts calling out anti-Semitism or factual errors in Guardian pieces.  It was also voluminous like a major city newspaper obituary section.

What did the Guardian do?

Well they thanked us for assisting in their moderation.

Ironic as, according to them, we were fast becoming an unpaid moderation service for them.

That would have been tedious and boring and serving them not us so we embarked on a more aggressive task to writing pieces about the stories the Guardian manipulates to serve its agenda – and ended up becoming reporters in the process.

We have covered rallies for Hamas where we exposed Jew haters singing Christmas carols and covered press conferences by the IDF during the Flotilla incident.

In the process of writing and researching our pieces we have learned a lot about the people inhabiting the Guardian world. Some of the stuff we dug up even shocked us, though we had no illusions going into this in the first place. We have exposed a totally incompetent editorial board, where editors and contributors often behave like the nasty critters who inhabited their comments section. We have exposed blood libels on organ harvests, Israel allegedly arming South Africa with nuclear weapons, poisoning Arab children, and unmasked supporters of terrorism and Islamic supremacy who were writing pieces decrying their victim status in the “Islamophobic world”: The Guardian continually  attempts to smear people who stand up to the most dangerous ideologies.

We have shown that it isn’t all about comments but an effort by a major, some call international, paper to de-legitimize Israel, the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, and unwittingly advancing the interests of extremists.

We have also learned a great deal about the stories themselves and learned – as we weren’t journalists but, rather, professionals from different fields – that journalism is a trade practiced with varying degrees of competency, and that what we encounter in our daily paper, in what passes for professional journalism, is often just propaganda or really, really bad reporting.

What was most painful to discover was the way the Guardian uses Jewish contributors to advance its anti-Israel narrative, and inoculate them from charges of anti-Semitism.

Writers were at the ready to deny the prevalence of the world’s oldest of hatred as soon as an incident made the news – such as Richard Silverstein, who actually suggested that Israel was to blame for the Mumbai attacks. It is one thing to discover Jonathan Cook being featured on David Duke’s website and quite another to read a Jew advancing tropes based on classic Jewish conspiracy theories.

The Guardian is not alone in this. The anti-Semitism of the 21st Century has infected the political left on both sides of the pond. The Daily Kos and Huffington Post are very similar in their comment sections, again proving that anti-Semitism is once again hip and mainstream as long as it is directed against the Jew of Nations, Israel.

Though, it needs to be said that often they don’t even bother with the Israel/Zionist label anymore. One can see, when looking through a Huffington thread, that Jews “this” and Jews “that” are back in full force.

Perhaps the most gratifying aspect of this often depressing endeavour is seeing other so-called “Watch sites” appears. Now Huffington and others need to take extra care, as they are also, a bit more frequently, exposed for harboring and providing license to such hate.

One may ask how we deal with this all day and every day. It must be boring and discouraging going through threads fishing for hate and bigotry. I admit that it is.

This is why we try not to take ourselves too seriously and inject humour, when possible, to lighten up. That has become another facet of who we are.  We love a good laugh and we especially love pointing out when our opponents’ commentary is blatantly hypocritical or even, at times, just plain ludicrous. They are so often such perfect targets of ridicule – such perfect self-parodies – that we chuckle all the way through writing a piece or researching some character.

In one year we have arisen from nothing – the proverbial business operating out of our parent’s basement – to become a leading watch site. We have attracted many Guardian readers and have offered a mirror debate for threads which some could no longer participate in for having been banned by CiF.  We have attracted reputable writers and contributors and have been featured in some of the leading pro-Israel mainstream blogs. We have been praised and vilified and we have been complimented and threatened with law suits.

It’s been an exciting ride and we are (quite unfortunately) confident that the Guardian will not cease to provide us with more goodies to denounce, debunk, dispel or mock.  The news continues and the stories are and will be bountiful.

The story which, for me, started with 9/11 and re-booted during the 2006 Lebanon war is still continuing. The Guardian still routinely vilifies Israel and America. We are mere little hell demons for now but our wings and horns are growing.  They blamed America for 9/11, Israel for anti-Semitism and now are defending Iran’s nuclear program. We will keep exposing their BS and we promise to keep our readers informed and give them a platform to speak their minds and discuss issues – allowing them to comment freely.

Special thanks to Adam Levick for taking up the task of being the only fully exposed face of our group. We often wish to emerge from our of anonymity but, unlike our subjects, we are not paid to do this and need to make a living elsewhere.  We are looking forward to our second year, we have shed our diapers and started to walk. We are happy that CiF Watch is clearly growing – both in terms of our web traffic, and our editorial scope – and are happy to see a unity of sorts between people who otherwise would be at different ends of the political spectrum. The Guardian managed to unite secular socialists with Ayn Rand individualists. That’s quite a feat, I must say.

Happy Birthday CiF Watch!  And, thanks to everyone who assisted, supported and promoted us.  You know who you are and we know who you are. If there is a birthday wish to blow the candle with, it would be that we should no longer be necessary.  This is, however, quite wishful thinking.

See you a year from now with another summary of events.

The Alchemist

Categories: Guardian

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98 replies »

  1. pretzelberg

    I am simply disagreeing with the majority view here.

    Is that the ‘story of your life’ Pretz?

  2. Fairplay

    What happened to the Middle East since WW1? Israel was the best thing to befall the Palestinian Arabs. Without Israel, they would have been swallowed up by Jordan, Syria or Egypt.

    In short – without Israel, Palestinians wouldn’t exist.

    Fat lot of thanks we get too.

  3. Ariadne,
    “Perhaps we should celebrate Israel’s friends among Arabs and other Muslim on this anniversary?”

    And if I may add, support them by spreading their word, so the idiots in the EU and the US leadership finally understand who their real allies in the Arab and Muslim world should be.

    Fairplay,
    “I don’t think any of us are anti-Arab and most of us will have met charming, educated and unprejudiced Arabs here.”
    Oh really! They are conspicuous by their absence on the Internet, I must say.

    You’re wrong. They’re out there, and they are not afraid to voice their opinions. Did you know that Mithal Al-Alusi, an Iraqi member of parliament (until the last elections, unfortunately), lost two of his sons because he dared to visit Israel?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithal_al-Alusi

    Have you heard about Iyad Jamal-Al-Din?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iyad_Jamal_Al-Din

    Unfortunately, although both Jamal Al-Din and Al-Alusi ran in the last elections in Iraq, they didn’t pass the threshold. That is why the West should help them in every possible way, so that they can spread their thoughts in their countries, since they are the only hope that these countries have! If the Guardian would really care about Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians, it would do just that. Instead, they choose to suck up to Hamas and Hizbullah.

    Have you heard about Dhiyaa Al-Musawi, a Bahraini author?

    Did you know that there is a prominent Palestinian intellectual, who is ready to compromise with Israel on Jerusalem and the refugees??
    If not, read here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sari_Nusseibeh
    Especially the following:
    “…during this period Nusseibeh began to strongly suggest that Palestinians give up their Right of Return in exchange for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip[7]. A number of Palestinian organizations have strongly condemned his views on this issue[8].
    Nusseibeh criticised the militarization of the intifada in January 2002 and called for the renunciation of suicide bombings and the establishment of Palestine as a demilitarized state: “A Palestinian state should be demilitarized – not because that’s what Israel demands, but in our own interest.”[citation needed]
    In 2002 Sari Nusseibeh and former Shin Bet director, Ami Ayalon published the The People’s Voice, an Israeli-Palestinian civil initiative that aims to advance the process of achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and a draft peace agreement that called for a Palestinian state based on Israel’s 1967 borders and for a compromise on the Palestinian Right of Return.”

    And those are just the bravest ones, who dare to be liberals in their own countries!
    There are a lot more in the West…

  4. al-gharqad

    If the Guardian would really care about Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians, it would do just that. Instead, they choose to suck up to Hamas and Hizbullah.

    The base values for the Guardian are hate of the United States of America. Israel and the Muslims are incidental. As long as they perceive Muslims to be anti Western/USA, they will be plugging for Muslims. They don’t care a fishes busom for Muslims as people.

    Their fear now is that a US/Israel strike on Iran will lead to the downfall of the Thug Muslims there to be replaced by a pro Western government. You can see it in the way that they present news about Iran and speculate on an impending attack.

    Being anti Western/USA trumps any and all horrors of such regimes in The Guardian’s book.

    It should no longer be called a newspaper as it uses misrepresentation and omission across the board to push its own Guardian World View. The view of Extreme anarchist lefties many of whom simply haven’t grown up.

  5. al-gharqad, I agree with Ariadne. If you would write an article about the brave Arabs who believe that the way forward is for there to be peaceful coexistence and stand against their wrong headed extremist countrymen I myself would be glad to read it here.

    I know that I, for one, know very little about them given that, in the age old fashion that the Devil seems to have the best tunes and plays them the loudest, and their bloodthirsty fanatical co-religionists and those of their weak willed, herd following countrymen drown out their voices. We need to be reminded that they exist so that the danger to them can be publicised.

    How about about it?

  6. Many thanks for the kind words.

    Thank you for reading us and participating in our discussions.

    I did feel my story would resonate with many of you.

    Richard

    We are not about censorship. I am a firm believer in free speech. Even speech which offends me.
    What we set out to do here is a forum where our free speech rights can also be exercised.
    We want to educate others about why we feel this way about subject X or Y. This is why we created CW.
    The Guardian has its right to delete and ban whomever they want for whatever reason they want.
    We just want to expose them, their mistakes and their agenda.

  7. imagery which could have appeared in Der Stürmer 70 years ago

    What a ridiculous thing to say.
    Nasty as some of the cartoons are – and the Rowson was indeed horrid – they all relate specifically to Israel.

  8. And another thing from the article:

    such as Richard Silverstein, who actually suggested that Israel was to blame for the Mumbai attacks

    Silverstein’s article was ridiculous (and you can see my opinions in the thread) – but do point out where he blamed Israel for the attacks.

  9. Pretzel
    you who knows everything certainly can explain to me why I read about this scandalous situation here for the first time ever. Could it be no Jews nobody cares? certainly not, that would be absurd and paranoic to even think or wouldn’t it.

    But if reporters could get into the Gilgit-Baltistan region and Azad Kashmir, they would find widespread, brutally-suppressed local movements for democratic rights and regional autonomy.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/27/opinion/27iht-edharrison.html?ref=global-home

  10. Pretzelberg

    “Nasty as some of the cartoons are – and the Rowson was indeed horrid – they all relate specifically to Israel.”

    That is the point isn’t it. And was the point all along. That antisemitic discourse is resurfacing via anti Israel discourse.

    Of course the G couldn’t print a cartoon of Jew this and Jew that.

    Where have you been the last few years?

  11. pretzelberg

    And another thing from the article:

    such as Richard Silverstein, who actually suggested that Israel was to blame for the Mumbai attacks

    Silverstein’s article was ridiculous (and you can see my opinions in the thread) – but do point out where he blamed Israel for the attacks.”

    Here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2008/dec/04/mumbai-terror-attacks-israel

    And I quote:

    “But few, if any, Pakistani militants have been known until now specifically to target Israelis. I say, Israelis rather than Jews because the single surviving terrorist noted that they chose Chabad House to avenge the suffering of the Palestinians. Therefore, the attack was anti-Israeli, though not necessarily antisemitic.”..

    …”That is why I believe they chose to attack Chabad House. Attacking a target perceived as Israeli allows the terrorists to enlarge their grievance and the drama of their cause. Instead of merely avenging India’s suppression of Muslim Kashmir, they were seeking redress for crimes against Palestine as well…”

    satisfied?

  12. armaros

    when boring Pretzel is so boring he bores even himself he asks these questions which make me imagine him as itching all over with boredom.

    when I feel that kind of itch from him oozing out of my screen I stop answering him because when he is in that state he can’t get no satisfaction no matter the amount of proof you can come up with.

    He who is capable of sniffing out all kinds of stuff then can’t even recognize evidence that stares him straight in the face

    … and I get told that Pretzelberg is the liveliest quarter of any town on earth – which makes me ask the question is he not welcome out there on a Friday night.

    BTW I take bets as to how he’ll read that question but he’ll be wrong

    Pretzel
    your remark as to Israeli soldiers is considered by me more than a bit inappropriate

  13. armaros

    And was the point all along. That antisemitic discourse is resurfacing via anti Israel discourse.

    Surely you’re not suggesting that all cartoons critical of Israel are anti-Semitic?

    I can see why (yes, really) excessive coverage of I/P would lead some people to draw the conclusions you do – but ultimately I think you are mistaken.

  14. @ armaros

    Silverstein is a clown.

    But nowhere did he actually blame Israel for the attacks.

    @ Silke

    your remark as to Israeli soldiers is considered by me more than a bit inappropriate

    I thought it was a harmless enough remark about the uniforms!

    Just a joke!

  15. Pretzelberg

    “Surely you’re not suggesting that all cartoons critical of Israel are anti-Semitic?”

    No, but the ones which use the same imagery as the Nazis or use imagery comparing Israel to the Nazis are. As set out by the examples above.

    I am surprised you still ask that question. It seems you haven’t really gotten the message.

    Sit in front and perhaps you ll get a better view of the blackboard.

    “I can see why (yes, really) excessive coverage of I/P would lead some people to draw the conclusions you do – but ultimately I think you are mistaken.”

    You can think what you want.

  16. pretzel
    But nowhere did he actually blame Israel for the attacks

    you have two choices now, either you see a doctor and ask him to have you admitted
    or
    you consult a lawyer and have him explain it to you. Lawyers are not only good at coming up with Silverstein style accusations, if one pays them for it, they even explain them and
    depending on how much you are willing to pony up they may even do it slowly and repeatedly in variations until it clicks even in your head.

  17. Silke

    you have two choices now, either you see a doctor and ask him to have you admitted or you consult a lawyer and have him explain it to you

    That’s your response? How laughable.

    p.s. Do I take it that you’re now regretting your premature “inappropriate” remark re. Israeli men?

  18. stop it pretzel

    my remark about Israeli men wasn’t inappropriate it was admiring it was your informing us that uniforms turn you on.
    There is nobody in this world that can convince me that you didn’t make that remark while sneering, so spare yourself the trouble to even try.

  19. @ Silke

    My post was perhaps ambiguous.

    I was talking about your post alleging that my post was inappropriate.

    it was admiring it was your informing us that uniforms turn you on.

    As I said above: it was a harmless joke. And FYI I certainly wasn’t “sneering”.

    Why would I be??

    There is nobody in this world that can convince me that you didn’t make that remark while sneering, so spare yourself the trouble to even try.

  20. Ariadne and SarahLeah,

    Thanks for the kind words. Until the article is written, here is a very partial list of selected brave women and men, who constitute a ray of hope for the Arab and Muslim world.
    The ones that I admire the most are the ones who dare to speak out in their own countries many of whom have paid heavily for their courage.

    Nasr Abu Zayd – who passed away recently, and was the leading liberal theologian of islam. Zayd suffered major religious persecution for his views on Qur’an. In 1995, he was promoted to the rank of full professor, but Islamic controversies about his academic work led to a court decision of apostasy and the denial of the appointment. In a hisbah trial started against him by Muslim scholars, he was declared an apostate (murtadd) by an Egyptian court, and consequently was declared to be divorced from his wife, Cairo University French Literature professor Dr. Ibtihal Younis. The basis of the divorce decree under Sharia law was that since it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to be married to a non-Muslim man, and since Zayd was an apostate, he therefore could not remain married to his wife. This decision, in effect, forced him out of his homeland. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasr_Abu_Zayd

    Saad Eddin Ibrahim – an Egyptian American sociologist and author. He is one of Egypt’s leading human rights and democracy activists, and a strong critic of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saad_Eddin_Ibrahim

    Ali Salem – Egyptian playwright, expelled from the Union of Egyptian Writers for the sin of visiting Israel – http://www.meforum.org/130/my-drive-to-israel

    Wajeha Al-Huwaider – Saudi-born writer and journalist Wajeha Al-Huwaider is one of the Arab world’s most prominent campaigners for human rights, particularly women’s rights – http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/220/1805.htm

    Wafa’a Sultan – a Syrian-American psychiatrist, author and critic of Muslim society and Islam – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wafa_Sultan AND WARMLY RECOMMENDED: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISNpOkpcWqg&feature=related

    To see more rays of hope for Palestinians, all other Arabs and Islam in general, the following are a must:

    Democratization And Reform In The Arab And Muslim World – http://www.memri.org/subject/en/804.htm

    LEADING ARAB AND MUSLIM REFORMISTS – http://www.memri.org/content/en/leading_arab_and_muslim_reformists

    A Liberal-Reformist site:

    http://www.metransparent.net/spip.php?page=sommaire&var_lang=en&lang=en

  21. Ariadne and SarahLeah,

    Thanks for the kind words. Until the article is written, here is a very partial list of selected brave women and men, who constitute a ray of hope for the Arab and Muslim world.
    The ones that I admire the most are the ones who dare to speak out in their own countries many of whom have paid heavily for their courage.

    Nasr Abu Zayd – who passed away recently, and was a leading liberal theologian of islam. Zayd suffered major religious persecution for his views on Qur’an. In 1995, he was promoted to the rank of full professor, but Islamic controversies about his academic work led to a court decision of apostasy and the denial of the appointment. In a hisbah trial started against him by Muslim scholars, he was declared an apostate (murtadd) by an Egyptian court, and consequently was declared to be divorced from his wife, Cairo University French Literature professor Dr. Ibtihal Younis. The basis of the divorce decree under Sharia law was that since it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to be married to a non-Muslim man, and since Zayd was an apostate, he therefore could not remain married to his wife. This decision, in effect, forced him out of his homeland. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasr_Abu_Zayd

    Saad Eddin Ibrahim – an Egyptian American sociologist and author. He is one of Egypt’s leading human rights and democracy activists, and a strong critic of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saad_Eddin_Ibrahim

    Ali Salem – Egyptian playwright, expelled from the Union of Egyptian Writers for the sin of visiting Israel – http://www.meforum.org/130/my-drive-to-israel

    Wajeha Al-Huwaider – Saudi-born writer and journalist Wajeha Al-Huwaider is one of the Arab world’s most prominent campaigners for human rights, particularly women’s rights – http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/220/1805.htm

    Wafa’a Sultan – a Syrian-American psychiatrist, author and critic of Muslim society and Islam – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wafa_Sultan AND WARMLY RECOMMENDED: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISNpOkpcWqg&feature=related

    To see the rays of hope for Palestinians, all other Arabs and Islam in general, the following are a must:

    Democratization And Reform In The Arab And Muslim World – http://www.memri.org/subject/en/804.htm

    LEADING ARAB AND MUSLIM REFORMISTS – http://www.memri.org/content/en/leading_arab_and_muslim_reformists

    A Liberal-Reformist site:

    http://www.metransparent.net/spip.php?page=sommaire&var_lang=en&lang=en

  22. re:
    Nasr Abu Zayd

    this interview has made me ages too late become aware of the man

    http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2010/1006/cu4.htm

    and when I read this quote I felt very sorry for me that nobody ever seems to tell us about people like him

    The slanderers of Taha Hussein went so far as to claim from their pulpits that he used to hold the Quran in one hand, and in the other a red pen which he used to delete the verses he deemed wrong. When some of my student repeated this talk, I said I was ashamed to be their teacher, since none of them had wondered how Taha Hussein, who was blind, could have held a pen to cross out verses from the Quran, It is really depressing to think of the silly, irrational debates into which we have been led by religious demagogy.

  23. ‘The Guardian managed to unite secular Socialists with Ayn Rand individualists?’
    I dont think so

  24. Sorry for the double-posting. Since it took hours until it appeared, I thought that my comment disappeared into cyberspace…

    SarahLeah,

    La shukr ‘ala al-wajeb (no “thanks” for a duty – i.e. one shouldn’t be thanked for doing his duty🙂

    As for the article, I just began working on it.

  25. To CIFW in your first year. I think you have posted some very informative articles and have highlighted much bias in the press and various media outlets, but I also feel that a few posts/links have been uncalled for and serve no purpose. Also As you state you are a grassroots,unaffilated group,that is neither left wing,nor right wing,religious nor secular,’ it would be useful if you allowed more debate, disagreement and opposing views, without posters having to endure a series of personal,often insulting remarks, I believe this does a great disservice to the site and to posters who wish to engage debate.

  26. al-gharqad

    may all of the 9 muses do overtime to inspire your pen and make the task for you an easy one

  27. smtx01 surely on a debating site which is really free (unlike CiF which pretends it is but isn’t) there needs to be disagreement.

    The opposing views are encouraged but you seem to be suggesting that they be agreed with rather than argued robustly against.

    And so what if that robustness occasionally crosses the line! You post on CiF don’t you and you must have seen some of the insulting rubbish there which is allowed to remain. Why hold CiFWatch to a higher standard than that cesspit?

    If people’s sensitivities are so tender and their feelings hurt so easily, then they might do well to reconsider whether they need to be at CiFWatch.

    (And no, smtx01, I don’t mean you personally. I am talking in hypothetical terms).

  28. smtx01, you are leaving out a vital aspect when you make your argument – that of the tendency of certain people to take offence where none may be meant, merely because they are disagreed with, as Serendipity says, robustly.

    This is a thriving, vibrant site. It would not be if everyone “played nice” with each other all the time and we had to tippy-toe around the feelings of people who confuse disagreement with their ideas with disagreement with them as people.

  29. PS: To SarahLeah – sorry, but anything has to be held to a higher standard than the CiF cesspit!

    It seems that you are arguing against the double standard which demands more of CiFWatch than it does of CiF. If so, then I quite agree.

  30. it would be useful if you allowed more debate, disagreement and opposing views, without posters having to endure a series of personal,often insulting remarks, ”

    You mean like defending Pamela Geller without being called a hate merchant and fascist?

    Yeah it would be nice…

  31. Thanks to Ariadne, Armaros, SarahLeah and Silke for the encouragement.

    Silke, do you have the 9 muses’ e-mail, so I can have a chat with them?🙂

  32. al-gharqad
    one doesn’t chat with goddesses ooops semi-goddesses …
    even though they are only Olympians they demand respect😉

    but I am sure having heard of your endeavour one or several or all of them are currently watching over you

    Just relax and let them do their job
    … and gathering from what you wrote before I’d guess the piece doesn’t need to be a one-hit-wonder, just an appetizer so readers’ll clamour for more – and if they don’t do the first time around I assume that the wonderful hosts of this blog will gladly give you more shots

  33. Al-gharqad, most blog software has built-in anti-spam filters which automatically hold posts with many links, in an effort to screen out obnoxious, automated advert posts. You might try splitting your posts in two, or else simply being patient until the blog owner notices your post and releases it from the software’s erroneous automated hold.

  34. Silke and Frequent Blogger,
    Thanks for the morale-boost and the technical advice, respectively.

  35. Is walt kovacs talking about Israel or Palestine?

    @ Silke

    There is nobody in this world that can convince me that you didn’t make that remark while sneering

    Have you since seen the light and realized you were talking nonsense re. my soldiers remark?

    Recognising one’s own mistakes is a virtue, if you ask me.

  36. You should read the account that Silke directed us to, from Lozowick’s blog. The story of targeting dazed victims is extraordinary
    I’m not 17 and yet the moral implications of these stories and how we should respond still worries me.

  37. Arabella
    for me the response is quite simple
    Israelis have all the right in the world to protect themselves and their children with whatever it takes. They even have the right to guess wrong and thus take wrong decisions

    What would you do, if one of your neighbours would try to kick you out of your living room?

    Would you brick up your windows or put your defenses up a bit further away?