To the UK Jewish Community: The time to act against the Guardian is now!

“If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” – Rabbi Hillel

Yesterday, Jonathan Hoffman, in a blog post titled “Just What Does it Take?“, asked the following of Mr. Vivian Wineman, who heads the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council in the UK:

Ron Prosor recently wrote: ‘Never has a British broadsheet so openly served the agenda of Middle Eastern extremism. The Guardian must be commended for its transparency — readers can no longer doubt its affinity for Hamas.’ Will you now call on the community to shun the Guardian, including withdrawing advertising?

The response:

We don’t support boycotts. Deputies can be trusted to choose their news sources accordingly.

An understandably exasperated Hoffman noted that such a response will be “taken by Rusbridger, Milne, Freedland and Co to mean that they can vilify and lie about Israel as much as they want – without major commercial consequences.”

In contrast, The Jewish Chronicle reported in September that, after leaders of Melbourne’s top Jewish bodies – Jewish Community Council of Victoria president John Searle and Zionist Council of Victoria president Dr Danny Lamm – attempted, without success, to address the “strident line” against Israel by the city’s major broadsheet, The Age, with the paper’s editor-in-chief, the community decided to sever ties with the newspaper, accusing it of “clear and consistent vilification of the world’s only Jewish state”.

Lamm and Searle said there was no one incident that triggered the boycott, but the paper’s coverage of the Mavi Marmara in May was the final straw. A front-page article in The Age on June 4 said the Israeli naval commandos “hunted like hyenas” before “tightening the noose.”

Of course, such incendiary remarks by The Age pale in comparison to what’s routinely peddled in The Guardian.  During the “Palestine Papers” series alone, the Guardian likened the Jewish state to a “Moldovan nightclub bouncer“, provided a platform to a Hamas member (who issued a thinly veiled threat of violence), posted a political cartoon from a notorious anti-Semitic extremist, and published multiple letters explicitly justifying the use of suicide bombing against Jewish men, women, and children.

No longer merely a vehicle for anti-Israel activism, the Guardian (as this blog consistently demonstrates) is shamefully tempted by the most lethal political orientations – those which fetishize political extremism, and, most dangerously, sanitize, even romanticize, the use of violence against civilians to achieve political ends.

While reasonable people in the British Jewish community can certainly disagree over what tactics, on a case by case basis, are warranted in the continuing war against Israel’s legitimacy, when it comes to the Guardian the words of Charles Jacobs, co-founder of The David Project – an organization created in 2002 in response to the Jewish establishment’s failure to address anti-Israelism on America’s campuses – are especially apt.

The problem, as we saw it, was that Israel’s adversaries were portraying perpetual attacks on Israel as honest criticism – but were in fact carrying out well planned campaigns of vilification.

In fact, campaigns to delegitimize the Jewish state are impervious to facts, logic and reason; they actually thrive upon the Jewish community’s instinctive response, which is to defend and “explain” Israel’s conduct.

[Israel’s] adversaries have no interest in honest discussion. Indeed, each time you prove a claim to be wrong or an overreach, another claim is manufactured. This would have been obvious to Mark Twain, who remarked that “lies can travel around the world before truth puts its pants on.”

The most natural and effective response to a campaign of vilification is to announce to the world that you are being vilified, and to turn the finger of accusation back on the defamers. Who are these people who tell lies and photoshop the truth under the banner of journalism and academic freedom and human rights? To win, one has to break the silence about them, the defamers.

It’s heartening that the Melbourne Jewish community decided to break the silence about their defamers in the media, and we wait impatiently for the day when the British Jewish community will reach the conclusion that their strategy until now (though well-intentioned) simply has not worked, and decide to shift gears and boldly confront, without apologies or qualifications, the clear and present danger they’re facing.

The potential consequences of inaction, to both Israel and the UK Jewish community, are simply too dire.  The time for debate and reflection has reached its end.

The time to act is now!

30 replies »

  1. Excellent article; but as always nothing will come of it and nothing will get done. The UK’s Jewish Community has NO secular leadership,the BOD “represents” a few “shul goers who voted their pals onto a committee, and is headed up by an ex Peace Now member, how is this representative of the UK’s 270,000 Jews?

  2. A. I have a problem with boycotts, because you cannot fight against one (against Israeli politicians and academics, for example) while supporting another. That’s just double standards.
    B. Another double standard is keeping schtum about BskyB’s giving a platform to the far more anti-Semitic Press TV. If you want a boycott against the Guardian, why not one against BSkyK and other Murdoch enterprises? After all, he’s supposed to be super pro-Israel, yet he lets the Iranians and their friends, George Galloway and Yvonne Ridley, get away with their propaganda.

  3. Joe mills,

    Not this “double standards” yang again. As I said on a previous thread, it’s like accusing someone who says, “Incarcerating law-abiding citizens is evil, doing the same to criminals is good” of a double standard. Boycotts are just a weapon. I am against boycotts against Israeli Jewish politicians and academics because I’m on the Zionist side, and for boycotts against anti-Zionist rags like the Guardian for exactly the same reason. That’s a single standard.

  4. Oh, as usual Millis is full of hot air. Boycotting an individual newspaper is not remotely analogous to boycotting a whole country.
    Moreover, if Millis wants to boycott Murdoch or anyone else, he is free to do so.
    However, the Guardian has been a dementedly antisemitic paper for decades. It must be over 20 years now since I told my (Jewish) girlfriend that she should stop buying this disgusting rag. Her response was: “Well, you are now my second Jewish boyfriend who has said this. Perhaps I really should stop.”

    Wineman is a useless, spineless idiot, ducking and evading and burying his head in the sand, or rather in his nether regions. These people are not leaders, but pathetic rabbits.

  5. Adam, of course you have a very good point – the Guardian carefully ignites Israel- Jew-hatred and deliberately fans the flames with lies and other nastiness, but why stop at ridding the UK of this egregious rag?

    The BoD/Order of Trembling Israelites is about as much use to UK Jews as the proverbial ashtray on a motorbike (I think we should sack all of them and start again with a democratically elected body which doesn’t depend on synagogue membership, starting with Vivian Wineman) and also counter every single lie told about Israel by the Jewish sheeple who describe themselves as the Independent Jewish Voices. WE should be the independent Jewish voices, who demand that Jewish people, Zionist or not, are allowed a voice and not discriminated against in the media.

    We are living in times when the Arab world is in upheaval and demonstrating in favour of democracy (pause for hollow laughter). I don’t advocate a Day of Rage against the Board of Dhimmis and their hangers on, but it’s high time all of us and any readers shouted long and loud and publicly against their antics and the ways in which they sell us out time after time.

    Ziontruth who’s to say that a boycott of the Groan won’t work? Why not “suck it and see?”

  6. As I wrote, double standards. The Guardian is doing the same as BSkyB which gives a platform to the anti-Semitic Press TV, which is no different to the Guardian giving a platform to Hamas members. But you like Murdoch, so you won’t admit that.

  7. Hey Joe I’m all for doing everything we can to get Press TV off the airwaves. And when someone (anyone) from the British Jewish community steps up and sends us any money to fund this we will happily pursue this. In the meantime, our limited funds allow us to only focus on the Guardian which I’m sure you’ll agree provides us with more than enough work.

  8. Joe there is a clear difference; Press TV is only available to those few who have (can afford) the full SKY package and are au faix to know what it is, I know people with SKY who have NEVER seen Press tv: whereas The Guardian is a main stream, mass media broadsheet that every person, all 66 million of them, have heard of and see on the newsstands every day!!

  9. Jon, you still have the option not to buy the Guardian. It isn’t freely given out on street corners (yet).

  10. It´s just reciprocity. If Der Schwarze Guardian uses double-standards dayly against Jews, why the heck should Jews help with this crap? Let them find other sponsors.

  11. I fail to understand with what chutzpah Jews are calling for a boycott of the Guardian when the leading paper of the UK Jewish community, the Jewish Chronicle, is just as bad in publishing anti-Israeli posts from readers.

    JCWatch was set up last year to combat anti-Israeli comments in the JC, and has so far documented the equivalent of 22 pages of a Word file of comments of hate against the State of Israel. The entry of Anthony Julius to the seat of the JC’s Board of Directors has so far revealed no influence in altering the JC’s policy of publishing comments of hatred against Israel.

    Like charity, cleanliness begins at home. Jews should clean their own stables before pointing out the filth in Christian stables. If there is currently a paper that requires boycotting, it’s the Jewish Chronicle.

    Judge for yourself, at:

    Avraham Reiss – Jerusalem

  12. jcwmoderator,

    If it’s consistency you’re demanding, then well-nigh the entire mainstream media (and not only in Britain–in fact, even in Israel itself) needs to be boycotted.

    I’m for that (I no longer read Yediot Achronot, the Hebrew-language MSM rag that’s been a staple of a great part of my life), but that would leave you with almost no alternative except Internet-based media. Not something a lot of people are prepared to get themselves into.

  13. I presume, Ziontruth, that you have heard of Yisrael Hayom, an alternative to Israeli MSM if ever there was one. And it’s free and available on practically every Israeli high street.

  14. ziontruth, I know people who boycott the NY Times because of its consistent anti-Israel stance.

  15. Joe millis,

    Yes, I know and I agree. But I still prefer the Internet for news, because of the much wider choice available (including the choice for anyone to be a reporter himself).

    Thank God I’m An Infidel,

    Or the Israeli equivalent, Haaretz…

  16. Shut down the Guardian and arrest its editors, writers for sedition and treason. Throw in a few ex-Labour ministers for good measure.

  17. Derek, I’m not sure if I agree with arresting the staff of Der Guardian, but Der Guardian must be shamed, and laughed out of relevence, a British version of Pravda.

  18. “…but Der Guardian must be shamed,…”

    Shamed how exactly? Their actions show they take nothing but pride in their anti-Zionist cause. What the writers and readers of CiF Watch consider beyond the pale, the staff of the Guardian and the typical Grauniad-reader think of as brave contributions to worldwide social justice.

  19. Could I just clear up the situation with Sky and PressTV. Sky are not responsible for PressTV, they do not own the satellite were they broadcast from, anyone willing to pay can broadcast from there. You do not need to be a Sky subscriber to get PressTV because it is free to air, it can received by anyone with a Freesat or any free to air receiver connected to a dish pointing at 28east. Sky no more control PressTV than they do the BBC broadcasts from exactly the same place. Sky do give them a slot on the EPG, something they can’t really refuse unless they want to be accused of abusing their position.

    Rather than bashing Sky for something they have nothing to with people would do better spreading the word as what PressTV is and who controls it.

  20. Great fighting words. But you gotta follow all that with action.

    The EDL is our best ally in thr endeavorer.

    They have the numbers along with physical attributes to put the Guardian dirtbacks { Rasbrdge, Milne, Ian Black et cetera] on their butts.

    Start fighting back, guys.

    I don’t live in England or I’d be there with you all the way.

  21. If the Board of Deputies won’t boycott the Guardian, perhaps leaders of Jewish businesses could be prevailed on to withdraw their advertising.

    Even if only a few businesses took part, it would be a highly symbolic gesture, and the resulting publicity would force the Guardian on the defensive and damage it’s reputation.

    Alternatively, how about a demonstration in which Rusbridger and Milne (in full Nazi dress) are burned in effigy on a bonfire of Guardians? I’d be up for that.

  22. Judah Kardom,

    Alliances haven’t fared quite well for Jews throughout history, and that must be the prime reason why the Torah forbids them. Even in the best case, an ally can fail because of a setback out of his control. That nearly happened to the American independence fighters: The King of France was sincere in his pledge to help them, but setbacks in his own kingdom delayed him until it was nearly too late. In other cases, alliances can be jeopardized by conflicting interests within the allied entities, as in the way the Balfour Declaration was swept aside in favor of the White Papers, and in the current black cloud hanging over U.S.-Israel relations ever since the ascent of a Marxist to the American presidency.

    I’m sympathetic toward the EDL’s anti-multicultural struggle, which is shared by many developed states (including Israel), and have at times been at odds with other CiF Watch members on that, but a formal alliance had better be avoided, because things can go wrong in one way or another. I wish them the best of luck in reversing the Leftist/Islamist takeover of Britain, but they’re not our stooges and we’re not theirs. The kind of relations Jews (and their state) should wish to have with non-Jews is one that is neither of enmity nor of dependence, but an ordinary one of plain business dealings.

  23. I recall on a previous thread asking why the Jewish community in Britain was so quiet and low profile in re: attitudes toward Israel and the Jewish population as a whole in their country. I was informed by a fellow poster that this type of strategy has worked well for them? Why then, would anyone expect any different from this community in re: to boycotts, etc. at this point in time. Perhaps if the community had been historically loud and strident……? Things certainly couldn’t be any worse.

  24. Ziontruth,

    Just because something did not pan out before does not mean it won’t work in the future.

    Israel’s strategic alliance with the United States has given Israel weapons to defend itself against its enemies.

    In any case, Jews and the EDL can attain many positive things working together, especially against the Guardian.

  25. “Just because something did not pan out before does not mean it won’t work in the future.”

    Yes, but experience should be our teacher still.

    “Israel’s strategic alliance with the United States has given Israel weapons to defend itself against its enemies.”

    On the credit side. On the debit side, this alliance has at times lowered Israel to the level of vassal of the United States, with the latter often using its aid as a tool of extortion to coerce Israel to make concessions to the Arab imperialists (the falsely called “Palestinians”).

    I’m for an agreement between British Jews and the EDL, especially for a good cause like toppling a common enemy like the Guardian, but I would caution to make it a matter of plain dealing and not an exchange of favors.

    Among the less image-conscious anti-Zionists there is the trope that the U.S. is Israel’s “shabbat goy.” They mean Israel uses the U.S. to do its dirty work free. It’s an ironic mistake, because the halakhic ruling concerning the shabbat goy, the non-Jew who does for Jews some work that is forbidden on Shabbat, is that he must be paid–his work must never be a favor. If only Israel had never asked help of the U.S. as a favor, but instead confined it to plain dealing, a lot of grief would have been spared both states. That’s water under the bridge, and Israel is almost all the way toward weaning itself off American aid, but I don’t want this to repeat itself in any other way.

  26. Only one organisation large in the Jewish community gives money to the Guardian: The JNF.

    JNF paid to list their Director of Fundraising vacancy on the Guardian Jobs website a few weeks ago. The job has now been taken down, presumably because it has been filled or the ad expired, but bits still exist in the Google Cache, see eg or the search

    Jonathan, will you condemn JNF for this?