The Guardian’s safe space for bigotry

The CiF commenter who uses the moniker Berchmans is one of the many Guardian readers who seem to spend their days hovering over the CiF site, just waiting to pounce on any post which is even tangentially related to Israel or the Israel/Jewish lobby.  Indeed, his vitriol often crosses the line (even for CiF moderators), and many of his posts get deleted.

Sure enough, Berchmans responded to John Whitbeck’s recent anti-Semitic diatribe in CiF titled,On Palestine, the US is a rogue state” (see CW posts, here & here).

Whitbeck – who has openly called for a world without Zionism, characterizing Israel as a “racial supremacist, colonial settler project” – evoked, in his CiF column, the ugly specter of the most powerful nation on earth being “slavishly subservient” to the Jewish state.

As we noted more recently, the Guardian, responding to criticism from Mark Gardner of the CST, deleted the word “slavish” and the phrase “Israeli-American global domination”, noting that such language was “inconsistent with the Guardian’s editorial policy.”

However, not only did Berchmans not find Whitbeck’s screed offensive, he characterized it as follows:

Note that Berchmans’ endorsement received 180 “recommends” – fellow CiF readers who found Whitbeck’s screed on the dangers of organized Jewry spot-on.

While you may have observed that we, on occasion, respond to CiF columnists or commenters who possess a palpable hostility towards Israel and Jews with sarcasm, the gallows humor we occasionally succumb to merely represents a veiled expression of our quite sober understanding of the very real danger posed by the Guardian’s continued legitimization of this antipathy.

Let it be clear: There is nothing even remotely funny about such viciousness, such malice.

32 replies »

  1. A few days later Berchmans accused someone of “tar[ring] present day Europe with anti-semitism”. I posted a comment that reminded him of his enthusiastic endorsement of the Whitbeck article but the moderator immediately removed it. I don’t understand why CiF protects Berchmans from legitimate criticism.

  2. One of Berchmans many obnoxious strategies is to accuse all and sundry of Islamophobia, while dismissing out of hand any expression of anti-semitism, or demonization of Israel.

    He presents himself as an anti-racist, and seems genuinely unaware that his own racism is all too apparent.

  3. Berchmans reminds me of Hook and the other jihadi who did a runner to Lebanon.

    The jihadis said people should kill the enemy “except of course in Britain where it is illegal”.

    Berchmans says that Israel is very very bad indeed but of course not as bad as Britain.

    There’s a kind of submergedness to their deceits but enough pokes up for most people to feel the hate message if not see it.

    Maybe it’s official Guardian code.

  4. This is parallel to the topic but a very important article on The Guardian‘s acolyte, the BBC. Archbishop Cranmer’s blog.

  5. “Hoi Polloi makes his usual important contribution to the discussion”

    No surprise that a leading member of the “Haaretz for Hamas” crowd would rush to Berchmans’ defence. However, I can assure you that it is of immense pleasure to me that I have obviously ruffled your delicate little feathers.

  6. Hoi Polloi:
    You don’t “ruffle my feathers”. You disgust me with the way you (and others) have brought the level of discussion on this site down to that of mentally-challenged four year olds.

  7. Another good article by Gideon Levy in Haaretz:

    “Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant must not become the Israel Defense Forces’ next chief of staff. Indeed, he might not become chief of staff, but for the wrong reasons. The Galant affair only proves the eclipse that has darkened Israeli society, which is upset by (relatively) small matters and ignores the truly serious ones. A few dozen dunams of rocky soil trouble it much more than hundreds of people killed for nothing. Half-truths and lies about an olive grove infuriate it more than lies that are not white about phosphorus that is. The monstrous dimensions of the commander’s palace produce a greater scandal than the monstrous destruction sown by that commander.”

  8. MTC, that’s empty rhetoric in a country permanently at war not of its own making.

    Israelis who hate Israel. Amazing.

  9. Ariadne:

    Of course – any criticism of Israel is “hatred”. Why don’t you read what he is saying before you post your usual ignorant answer. You have admitted her before that your knowledge of Israel is near zero.

  10. That was what you said, MTC. If I were Israeli I would pay attention to Article 12 of the Fatah constitution.

  11. Another good article by Gideon Levy

    Good article – Gideon Levy = classic oxymoron.

    MTC if you want serious discussions about articles in the Ha’aretz forget asbout Levy, Michaeli and their comrades in BS and read Arie Shavit, Moshe Arens and sometimes Carlo Strenger.

  12. MindOfCrap…

    “any criticism of Israel is “hatred”

    any criticism of honor killing, stoning, hijacking, bus bombing, current day slavery in sudan, 9/11 victory mosque, hijab/burka, islamofascism is “islamophobia”.

  13. Peter:

    OK – here is a quote from Ari Shavit:

    “Lieberman really can feel like one of their own at the Kremlin. His worldview is Putin’s worldview. His value system is Putin’s value system. Lieberman is as democratic as Putin, as enlightened as Putin and as delicate as Putin. They differ only in one way: seriousness. Putin, in his own way, is a serious leader. He served his homeland, he strengthened it and made it an international power again. In contrast, Lieberman is not a serious figure. He sabotages his homeland, weakens it and turns it into an international laughingstock. Lieberman is not Putin, but rather a caricature of the man. Clearheadedly and cynically, he harms Israel’s most essential interests. Lieberman’s public image is that of an arch-patriot. But the truth is that Lieberman is no patriot. If he were, he would not undermine the government, cleave society and endanger the alliance with the United Sates. If he were a patriot, he would not stir up conflict at home and deepen isolation abroad. If he were a patriot, he would not turn the state and the government, to which he has pledged his loyalty, into a dishrag. Without loyalty there is no leadership, as we know. But Lieberman is trying to build leadership though express lack of loyalty toward the country he is supposed to be serving.”

    And another one:

    “But now the radical right is especially loony. Why? Because now we can see the price. Now we see the abyss we have been led to. We see the delegitimization, the demography, the spoilage. We see that more is less. We see that having it all isn’t what it was cut out to be; that if we don’t draw a border for the Jewish state, there will be no Jewish state. We see that the occupation is about to turn Israel into South Africa; that the settlements are about to destroy Zionism. We see the clock striking midnight.”

    OK ?

  14. MTC

    So why the indignation when Gideon Levy says exactly the same thing ?

    So you don’t check the context and the motivation of the author of anything you read? You must be joking.

  15. What does “motivation” have to do with seeing Lieberman for what he is? I know an ex-Russian who has always voted Tchiya, Likud, etc but who won’t vote for Lieberman because “he reminds him of Soviet Russia”. Should I ignore him on Lieberman because I don’t agree with him on other issues, i.e. “context” ?

  16. MTC

    Should I ignore him on Lieberman because I don’t agree with him on other issues, i.e. “context” ?


    Both Nasrallah and me like moutabal. So I shouldn’t ignore his opinion about the Jews?

  17. Peter:

    Interesting ….. but it sounds a lot like the “all Zionists are inherently liars” argument we see so often on CiF, to which we all respond to with indignation.

  18. MTC

    Seems to me you didn’t understand my point.
    I’m interested to know any different reasonable opinions even if I don’t agree with them. (Be aware of the word reasonable). Levy is a hater who went off the rail and completely disconnected from the reality so I don’t waste my time to read his articles. That there are some sentences in his stuff I could agree with doesn’t make any difference exactly like my agreement with Nasrallah about the features of Lebanese food won’t make me read his sermons.

  19. The point is that Levy is saying the same about Lieberman as Arie Shavit and my T’chiya-voting friend, i.e. left, centre and right are all in agreement. Your instinctive denouncement of something you agree with just because Levy said it reminds me of the Guardianistas who denounce anything a “Zionist” says, even when they have the same views.

  20. MTC

    Please read my post before answering.

    Your instinctive denouncement of something you agree with just because Levy said…

    I wrote: “That there are some sentences in his stuff I could agree with doesn’t make any difference exactly like my agreement with Nasrallah about the features of Lebanese food won’t make me read his sermons.”

    With other words: I don’t denounce his opinion – I simply ignore it knowing that most of his writings are cheap demagoguery and fact-twistings – lies and distortions without any value – his thoughts are based on his irrational emotions without any serious attempt to match them to the real world.

  21. MTC

    …my T’chiya-voting friend…

    Birds of a feather? I don’t have friends like this…