General Antisemitism

The Guardian: Jew Hatred? What Jew Hatred?

A guest post by Michael G.

I was not present at Saturday’s student rally in Manchester against the British Government’s plans to sharply raise university tuition fees, but here are the facts that the British media seem to agree on:

National Union of Students (NUS) president Aaron Porter was prevented by an abusive mob from speaking at the rally and had to be escorted to safety by police officers. About 150 fellow protesters, many pictured carrying Socialist Workers’ Party placards, broke away from the main, peaceful demonstration and barracked Porter over his leadership of the student movement. At least 16 demonstrators were arrested on the day.

The British media differed slightly in their reports of the type of abuse hurled at Porter.

The Daily Mail reported that Porter faced chants of “Tory Jew scum” in an article headlined, “Student union leader pulls out of speaking at fees rally after protesters hurl anti-Jewish abuse at him.”

The Daily Telegraph said that Porter was called a “f*cking Tory Jew” under the headline, “Student leader Aaron Porter barracked with anti-Semitic insults,” while Sky News reported that demonstrators surrounded Porter, “chanting anti-Semitic insults and calling for him to resign.”

The Guardian, though, saw it much differently.

Their story admits that student protesters targeted Porter before he was led to safety by police, but claims that he was merely called a “Tory too.” The word “Jew” doesn’t appear anywhere in their story, and there’s no mention whatsoever of the anti-Jewish abuse that other British media outlets detected. Why?

Porter himself, who apparently is NOT Jewish, said:

“Before I was able to speak to the rally of thousands a small group of people started to chant abuse to try to intimidate me, and there were audible antisemitic comments.

“Racism is something that student activists have been fighting to eliminate for decades and this was a sobering reminder that there is still work to do.”

Does The Guardian think Porter is lying? Or, rather, could it simply be that a story about racism by British Far Left “activists” simply isn’t a narrative that is particularly helpful to their cause?

I’ll put my money on the latter.

27 replies »

  1. it may not be the same at all – still I wonder, will Goldberg go after them with the same decisiveness that he condemned the EDL

    Socialist Workers’ Party placards

  2. Fortunately we’re not dependent on the individual choice between the Daily Mail and the Guardian as a reliable source of on-the-spot reporting.

    There are video recordings on YouTube of the hostile students barracking Aaron Porter with a chant originally meant for Nick Clegg:

    “Aaron Porter, we know you, you’re a —king Tory too!”

    Where the voice on the megaphone (and the crowd chanting along) is clear, the last word is very plainly “too!”

    At points in the most complete recording, the last word is slurred: I’ve listened to it multiple times and have concluded that yes, it is possible to “hear” that momentarily the last word is changed to “Jew!”

    No one in the crowd of left-wing students reacts: no one appears to notice any change. Anyone familiar with trying to record sound through a megaphone with a microphone found on an inexpensive video camera will know, the recording isn’t ever going to be perfect.

    But when a chant in a crowd changes, you can hear it – indeed, you do hear it several times in this video, from the “you’re a —king Tory too” to “Aaron Porter sold us out!” to “I say “Get!” You say “Out!”” to “No cuts!” After the slurred word in the recording that could be heard as “Jew” there’s no indication that anyone in the crowd has heard a change. What it appears to be (at kindest) is a mondegreen.

    It’s not just that sensible people assume that if the Daily Mail are the source, the story probably isn’t true. It’s also that there is no other eyewitness evidence beyond this unnamed Daily Mail photographer – and Aaron Porter himself, who may indeed have heard a random insult in the crowd – if so, disgraceful and shame on the person who said it.

    But the Daily Mail story now circulating, that a crowd of people barracked Aaron Porter with anti-Semitic insults, is shown by the video evidence to be untrue.

    Why it has been given such credence, from Labour Party MPs and supporters and from right-wingers, is pretty clear: the mass demonstrations of young people against the cuts, against the tuition fees, against the ending of EMA, are meant to be shown to be dangerous, populated not by young people desperate for a future but by “anarchists”. Are these people who are protesting for their very future to be dismissed because of a mondegreen and a Daily Mail invention?

  3. ‘No one in the crowd of left-wing students reacts:’

    Not true: there is a chorus of laughter, male and female.

    (I heard: ‘Aaron Porter, you’re a Jew, I wanna hit you with my shoe’. Laughter)

  4. How long does The Guardian think it can carry on in this vein without a reaction?

    I mean, how easily it explains or excuses terrorism as the inevitable result of injustice or suppression?

  5. Were you at the demo, or were you listening to a recording when you heard this?

    If the latter, link the video recording in which you heard it, give mm:ss time. (or tweet me, I didn’t post links here because I wasn’t sure how CiF felt about links in comments and mine was already long enough!)

    I’ve been asking people who say they “heard” anti-Semitic abuse to do this: so far, the only person willing to do so was an officer at an anti-racist organisation, who was not at the demo but who listened to a video recording of it.

  6. “Another excellent article in Ha’Aretz”

    One would have to be a moral imbecile to believe the ravings of a supporter of terror like Akiva Eldar:

    ‘Nahum Barnea, winner of the Israel Prize, formulated the “Lynch test”, which tests the consistency of Israeli journalists. According to Eldar, Barnea listed Eldar as one of several journalists “who could not bring themselves to criticize the Arabs even when two Israelis were savagely murdered by a mob in Ramallah”, that their “support for the Palestinian position is absolute”, and that “they have a mission.” Eldar, responded that “I admit to being guilty as charged. I am a journalist with a mission, and also no small amount of passion. Every Israeli with a conscience, in particular one who watches reality from up close on a daily basis, cannot write about the occupation from an objective observer’s neutral point of view.” In a response op-ed, Calev Ben-David wrote that if Eldar is not empathetic of the Israelis’ concerns, he will do little “to advance the Palestinian cause, as he merely preaches to the converted and makes his own conscience feel cleaner in the process.” ‘

  7. “If the latter, link the video recording in which you heard it, give mm:ss time.”

    The recording is evidence of next to nothing. It is very poor and it is very partial.

    And why should we believe you, especially as you have a very obvious axe to grind?

  8. “The recording is evidence of next to nothing. It is very poor and it is very partial.”

    I agree. Nevertheless, it’s what Sian is claiming as their “evidence” that this actually happened – hence my question.

  9. I’ve watched and tried to listen three times. There seems to be more than one video.

    In one, something about “Jew” is clear at 3.14 which is a time someone else has mentioned somewhere. It’s noticeable that when the “…Tory too” chants go on some organiser starts with “Porter out” and drowns them out. “Keeping it clean”?

  10. So when the video recording clearly shows Porter being shouted down by familiar student chants, abusive of his support for tuition fees and Labour party policy but NOT anti-semitic. it’s “very poor and very partial”. When slurred words make anti-Semitic mondegreens, it becomes valid evidence. Quite, I obviously have an axe to grind but you are all clearly very neutral observers.

    “And it has to be emphasised that Aaron Porter was there and says he heard racist abuse.”

    I would be interested to know (and as far as I know Porter hasn’t said) if he says that he heard racist abuse coming from the crowd when he was there, or if he listened to the video recording afterward and heard the racist abuse in the sound recording.

    I have to say: I think Porter’s bragging that he was a “leader” when he had entirely failed to “lead” meant he really deserved to be very publicly rejected by the people whom he had claimed were his followers. But – having seen the video recording, I have every sympathy for what must have been a pretty scary experience. And while so far there is only a very poor sound recording and mondegreens as independent evidence (I discount the Daily Mail claims, and so should any sensible person: they lie) if Aaron Porter says he heard racist abuse from anyone in the crowd that was obscured by the chanting and so isn’t audible in the recording, I believe him and it’s disgraceful.

    But it’s clear enough from the evidence available that the vast majority of people there, hated him because he was a bragging careerist who thought more of Labour party policy than of representing student needs to the government.

  11. So anti semitic comments to someone who isn’t even Jewish? Oh, I get it, only a Jew would betray the students….not the MP’s in London who they elected into office (most of whom are WASP).

    Nice to see mob mentality of blame of the Jew is alive and well on student campuses. Wonder if it will stop the tuition hikes from occuring?(sarc)

  12. Yonmei,

    Count the how many buts and ifs you have in the last comment.

    I think Jane has a the main point here which you obviously ignore.

  13. The Guardian is so wrapped up in its “Only Muslims are victims” campaign that it can never admit that there in any hatred of Jews in the world, least of all from a campus full of young leftists. The Guardian from Alan Rusbridger and Chris Elliot on down, see themselves as being on a mission. That mission is to destroy the reputation of Israel and Jewish supporters of Israel. Part of the Guardian’s mission is simply a matter of political correctness that you see elsewhere. Guardian columnists, editors and reporters see themselves as being cool, chic, stylish and progressive. So they love to endlessly report about how everyone but themselves (Guardian employees) are hopeless antiMuslim bigots. Another part of it is that people like Chris Elliot see Jews as a vestige of the past, nationalistic, prideful and unapolegetic. There is really no difference between Chris Elliot and Ken Livingston. Livingston is just an uncouth version of the more urbane Chris Elliot. But they share the same sentiments.

  14. I can hear ‘Jew’.

    Let’s see,

    ‘Harry Porter you’re a Too/You, I wanna hit you with my shoe!’

    Someone has suggested the chanter is silent at ‘Too’, and others shout ‘Too/You’.

    Which is plausible. Except for the fact it sounds like ‘Jew’, not like ‘Too’ or ‘You’.

    Actually I was wrong.

    I doesn’t just elicit laughter. It elicits a cheer.

  15. ‘Quite, I obviously have an axe to grind but you are all clearly very neutral observers.’

    Well, thanks for admitting you do have an ax to grind.

  16. Yonmei,

    you’re an idiot. If I can hear ‘Harry Porter, you’re a Jew’ being shouted through a megaphone a few feet or meters from him, so obviously can he.

  17. Tom Friedman has written about this.

    And remembering that the name of “Jif” was changed to “Cif” because speakers of a certain language could not pronounce /dz/ – which language?

    A really clear recording might make things a lot worse.

  18. “I would be interested to know (and as far as I know Porter hasn’t said) if he says that he heard racist abuse coming from the crowd when he was there, or if he listened to the video recording afterward and heard the racist abuse in the sound recording. ”

    This is now confirmed. Aaron Porter admits that he did not himself hear any racist abuse from the crowd as he walked through it: he was told, after the event, by an unnamed NUS official. So the two sources claiming they were at the event and they did hear anti-Semitic abuse remain an unnamed AP photographer and an unnamed NUS official: Aaron Porter, like all the other people who were there, didn’t hear anything of the kind.