Guardian

Guardian caves to anti-Israel bigots, revises SodaStream article to please Ben White


Yesterday, CiF Watch prompted a correction to a false claim by Guardian Middle East editor Ian Black that the SodaStream main office was located in Ma’ale Adumim, when in fact that industrial park in greater Ma’ale Adumim (known as Mishor Adumim) is simply the location of one of their 20 factories. Their headquarters, as we noted, is in Lod, near Ben Gurion Airport.  (CiF Watch prompted a previous correction to the same error, by another Guardian contributor, in Oct.)

However, upon reviewing the language of the correction we prompted on the Guardian’s Correction page, we noticed an additional editor’s note relating to another SodaStream related story:

correction

According to (occasional) ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Ben White, per his following post at Electronic Intifada, he was the activist who prompted the revision:

Responding to my correspondence, The Guardian’s Readers’ Editor has amended an article written last week by Matthew Kalman.

Kalman’s article reported on the controversy over Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson ditching her role as humanitarian ambassador for the charity Oxfam, which objected to her endorsement deal with SodaStream, an Israeli company with a factory in a settlement in the occupied West Bank.

The piece, “Oxfam under pressure to cut ties with Scarlett Johansson over SodaStream ad,” now appears with the following appended text:

“In a sub-heading and in the body of the text campaigners seeking to pressure Oxfam to sever ties with Scarlett Johansson were described as “anti-Israel.” To clarify: the campaigners are opposed to settlements”

Remarkably, the Guardian Readers’ Editor upheld the objections to Kalman’s original characterization of the anti-SodaStream activists as “anti-Israel”, and bought the argument that they are only opposed to ‘the settlements’.  

To give you a sense of how extraordinarily misleading such a benign characterization is, here’s a brief summary of the ideological background of some of the more prominent BDS activists and groups involved in the anti-SodaStream campaign:

Ben White: White, who evidently prompted the Guardian correction and is one of the most vocal activists campaigning against SodaStream, opposes the existence of a Jewish State within any borders, and is even on record expressing sympathy towards anti-Semites:

Ali Abunimah: Abunimah is the co-founder of Electronic Intifada, has expressed sympathy towards Hamas, rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State within any borders, has likened Zionism with Nazism and has explicitly called for the start of a 3rd deadly Palestinian intifada.

Here are additional anti-SodaStream campaigners – that is, those who would prefer that 500 Palestinians workers get laid-off, rather than there be any Jewish presence at all across the green line:

Palestinian BDS National Committee, a radical movement which opposes all forms of normalization between Palestinians and Israelis, and supports the unlimited ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants, a tactic designed to erase Israel’s Jewish identity.  

Palestine Solidarity Campaign: a marginal, radical movement based in the UK, which supports the cultural, academic and economic boycott against Israel, and opposes the existence of a Jewish State within any borders. Further, PSC members have taken  part in convoysflotillasflytillas, and various demonstrations and events organized by supporters and members of terrorist organisations. 

Code Pink: A radical left group whichworks with the pro-Hamas Free Gaza Movement, and signed the so-called Cairo Declaration to End Israeli Apartheid, a document which opposes Zionism and calls for the unlimited right of return for millions of Palestinian ‘refugees’. (See this clip of Hamas welcoming a Code Pink delegation to Gaza in 2009)

To recap: Most of the activists aligned against SodaStream have either expressed sympathy or outright support for Islamist terror groups, support the boycott and complete isolation of Israel, oppose any cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, and reject the very right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State. 

Only in the mind of Guardian editors would such hateful views – some which are indistinguishable from the ideologies of violent extremist groups – not qualify as “anti-Israel”.

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67 replies »

  1. I see that the Guardian’s position is that Ben White and AbuNimah are not anti-Israel. I’m delighted to know that they are opposed to settlements but not the state of Israel, just like many middle-of-the-road Israelis, despite all the comments attributed to them and signed by them.

    Well done, Guardian for kiruv lvavot

  2. Ben White and half the Guardian readership probably see Israel as a “settlement” so, for them, they are correct in their “anti-Settlement” assertion (if that makes sense).

    • But its a deceitful cover though, isn’t it? Ben White has often declared in favour of one state: he openly opposed Norman Finkelstein’s criticism of the BDS movement’s not-so-covert goal of ending any kind of Israel, saying he had never been covert about that goal in the first place (naturally). This ‘opposed to settlements’ is another deceit because it is +not only+ the settlements BW opposes, but ultimately any kind of Israel, as Finkelstein deduced and BW acknowledged. Half the truth in this case is a kind of a lie.

      Also, can anyone read, copy and paste this Premium Matthew Kalman article on the affair in Haaretz?

      http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/outside-edge/.premium-1.572231

  3. Another defeat for cry-wolf anti-Palestinian journalists…tough shít, you reap what you sow. The very existence of this site and the paranoia it feeds, is testament to your collective desperation. Have fun…

    • Au contraire shithead. It’s this site that has caused the Groan to revise articles on numerous occasions. This story isn’t over yet and the Groan may have further revisions. To bad for the anti-Israel herd. Get a life or a hobbyl

    • Ben White has often declared in favour of one state: he openly opposed Norman Finkelstein’s criticism of the BDS movement’s not-so-covert goal of ending any kind of Israel, saying he had never been covert about that goal in the first place (naturally).

      Also, can anyone read, copy and paste this Premium Matthew Kalman article on the affair in Haaretz?

      http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/outside-edge/.premium-1.572231

      • Here’s the text of the Ha’aretz story by Kalman:

        Before the hate mail begins, let me just say that Oxfam is a magnificent organization that does a superb job battling poverty in far-flung places where other aid doesn’t reach.

        But the great West Bank Bubble debate over ScarJo-Sodastream-Settlements-Sanctions shows just how far Oxfam has come since it was founded in 1942 as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, campaigning for food supplies to be sent through an allied naval blockade to starving women and children in enemy-occupied Greece during the Second World War.

        It is now a fully-fledged political campaign group – with all the associated contradictions and obfuscations.

        Last week, Scarlett Johansson resigned as an Oxfam goodwill ambassador after the charity failed to defend her against criticism of her decision to front a new advertising campaign for Sodastream, the bubbly brew band with a factory in Mishor Adumim, an Israeli industrial estate in the occupied West Bank.

        After she quit, Oxfam bade her good riddance, noting that “Ms. Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador.”

        Sodastream CEO Daniel Birnbaum hit back on Sunday, accusing “some Oxfam branches” of “donating funds to the BDS, and this money is used to demonize and attack Israel.”

        “We would deny that,” said an Oxfam spokesperson. “We don’t provide financial support to the BDS campaign or fund any activities that call for a boycott of Israel.”

        “Oxfam,” said the spokesperson, “is not opposed to trade with Israel, and we don’t support a boycott of Israel or any other country. However, we do oppose trade with Israeli settlements in the West Bank.”

        But was Oxfam being entirely straightforward? I asked Sodastream how Birnbaum could make such an incendiary accusation without any evidence. The company directed me to the financial reports of the Israel-based Women’s Coalition for Peace, a leading campaigner for BDS in Europe, which received more than 1.2 million shekels from OxamNovib in Holland between 2011 and 2013. Nor were they the only group actively promoting BDS to benefit from cash transfers from Oxfam branches in Europe – money that mostly originates from government aid and public charitable donations.

        I presented that report to Oxfam and got the following response:

        “Oxfam funds Palestinian and Israeli civil society organizations on projects to reduce poverty and address injustice. We value the independence of our partners and we do not expect our grantees to agree with us on all policy issues. We do not provide our partners with funding for promotion of the BDS movement, or activities that call for the boycott of Israel.”

        In other words, Oxfam is happy to “partner” with – or fund – groups whose campaigns are directly opposed to Oxfam’s own policy, so long as the money is not used to fund those specific activities. You may wonder about the ethics of that distinction, or its practical effect for a group like the Women’s Coalition for Peace, which received 22% of its entire donations in 2011 and 17% in 2012 from Oxfam (slightly less than the amount it received from the European Commission during the same period).

        Scarlett Johansson may be wondering why she does not enjoy the same “independence” or freedom “not to agree on all policy issues” as the Women’s Coalition for Peace.

        Perhaps the answer lies in Mishor Adumim.

        Last week, Daniel Birnbaum told The Forward the Mishor Adumim plant was “a pain in the ass.” For most of the world, though, his factory teeters somewhere in the netherworld between a gross violation of international law and a despicable war crime.

        Oxfam’s fury at the settlements is so great that the reasonable doubt granted to partners in other parts of the world – or even on the other side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – goes out the window.

        Oxfam has been campaigning against Israel’s West Bank settlements for years. Its personnel in Jerusalem were the driving force behind the successful campaign to label settlement goods from the West Bank, first in the UK, and now throughout Europe. They teamed up with British diplomats in East Jerusalem who told me that the isolation and economic strangulation of Israel’s settlement enterprise was a key aim of British policy in the region.

        A senior British diplomat once took me to his office in the British Consulate-General in Sheikh Jarrah and pointed to a spot near the Dead Sea on a map on his wall. “It’s my job to f*** settlement factories like this one in Ein Gedi,” he said, pronouncing it to rhyme with “Whine Ready.” He didn’t take kindly to me correcting his pronunciation, or pointing out that Ein Gedi was not, in fact, a West Bank settlement, or suggesting that the Ahava factory he meant to indicate was several miles to the north, across the Green Line.

        The settlement enterprise is viewed in Europe with such contempt, it’s not unusual for usually urbane European diplomats to lose all sense of propriety when discussing it. Even their sense of direction.

        A few years ago, frustrated at treating the catastrophic symptoms of poverty without being able to address their underlying political causes, Oxfam successfully campaigned for an amendment to the UK laws governing charitable donations, allowing the use of public funds to campaign for political change. The charity seemed to feel it was time to supplement its well-intentioned re-arrangement of the deckchairs on the surface of failing societies with a frontal attack on the development iceberg that was causing them to go under.

        In this context, Birnbaum’s argument that Sodastream is a good employer is seen as irrelevant.

        “Some Palestinians in the West Bank do find work in Israeli settlements, but this is often because they have little other choice as the occupation, of which the settlements are a key part, has placed severe restrictions on their livelihoods and eroded the Palestinian economy,” says Oxfam. “We want a 2-state solution, but we want a viable Palestinian state where people can get jobs without having to rely on work in settlements that were built on Palestinian land and resources.”

        That’s a long way from simple “famine relief.”

    • Obviously you are in favour of the wilful lies and propaganda which emanates from the likes of White and Abuminah . Nothing new there . The whole rotten BDS edifice is built on lies and subterfuge and leading the charge is Ben ‘ I’m not an antisemite but can understand why some people maybe ‘White .

  4. They oppose to all Israeli settlements.
    Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Ra’anana, Neve Sha’anan and Gan Yavne are random examples of such “Israeli settlements”.

  5. Guardian caves to anti-Israel bigots…
    Why shouldn’t an anti-Israel bigot newspaper accept the wishes of other anti-Israel bigots?

  6. Adam – Simple famine relief without alleviating and looking at the reasons behind famines and addressing them is intellectual masterbutation – you might as well do it in private and do not embarass us all – Sodastream is part of the settlement. Settlements add the the poverty of the Palestinians under occupation.
    Even Palestinians, who work for Sodastream do not enjoy the same rights as Jews who work for Sodastream. Palestinians have to travel through checkpoints to get to work. They cannot freely move about in the settlements. What is happening to Palestinians working for Sodastream is akin to what happened to Black South Africans who can work in cities but had to return to Townships after the work is done. I salute Oxfam for standing up to its principles. and yes it is a long way from famine relief but it is an essential journey if famines are to be avoided in the future.
    By the way, the argument Adam you put forward are quite apt to extend the boycott to the whole of Israel until it dismantles Aparthed state both in occupation and in pre-1948 borders. No right of self determination extends the right to disenfranchise other groups.

    • Ok, I’m not going to address your general (and evidently immutable) hatred of Israel, but will challenge you on one question just to see how far your ideology corrupts your judgment: Are you sincerely arguing that the SodaStream factory in Mishor Adumim adds to the poverty of Palestinians?

    • Surely the solution, David, is a negotiated two-state one, along the precedented outlines evolved from Camp David II, Taba, Geneva Accord, Annapolis and the Kerry Plan, all of which seem to have included Maale Adumim inside Israel?

      Wouldn’t endorsing that be far more helpful of Oxfam, instead of pandering to (in reality) anti-Israel activists like Ben White?

    • [By the way, the argument Adam you put forward are quite apt to extend the boycott to the whole of Israel until it dismantles Aparthed state both in occupation and in pre-1948 borders. No right of self determination extends the right to disenfranchise other groups.]

      In other words the Guardian’s original ‘anti-Israel activists’ was quite correct. Thank you.

    • Mishor Edomid is not a settelment. it is located in area C so of course Palesinian who come from area A +B need to go through checkpoints. Israelis are not allow to go to area A + B at all.

    • Mr. Hirst,

      “Settlements add the the poverty of the Palestinians under occupation.”

      BS. The poverty is mainly a direct result of the PA inability to utilise the vast sums it receives from foreign aid and taxation.
      The fact of the matter the Occupation (whatever that may mean) is but a small part of the problem.
      The fact that large amount of Arab people believe the Occupation is beyond the West bank and further towards Akko and Yaffo is the perfect example why the stalemate has lasted that long.
      The fact that Israel succeeded while the Arab side failed having no Occupation at all for 19 years tells the exact story.
      Eastern parts of Jerusalem are still poor like they were when Jordan ruled that part of the city.
      In other words if anything East Jerusalem looks far better than under Arab rule.

      “Even Palestinians, who work for Sodastream do not enjoy the same rights as Jews who work for Sodastream.”
      Not sure about this particularly factory but I believe you are incorrect. Either way they receive far greater sums had they been working elsewhere in the WB except perhaps in the PA…

    • David Hirst:

      “…but it is an essential journey if famines are to be avoided in the future.”

      Of course it is. The Arabs really need all those Jizya taxes from the Jews to secure harsh years ahead.

    • “Even Palestinians, who work for Sodastream do not enjoy the same rights as Jews who work for Sodastream. ”
      Nice slight of hand. But Palestinians working at SodaStream have the same rights at SodaStream as everyone else at SodaStream. Palestinians living under the PA don’t have the same rights as Israelis. If you don’t like that try complaining to the PLO. They are free to liberalize their society, end the anti-Semitic indoctrination and calls to incitement and sue for a true peace at any time.
      “Palestinians have to travel through checkpoints to get to work. ”
      That’s the way it is. Lots of people have to go through checkpoints (stemming from the same aggressive calls to violence which as you should know are unacceptable). A pain to be sure, but also a fairly benign defensive measure when one considers the alternatives.
      Your comparisons to South Africa are the usual balderdash one would expect of an obsessive kook.
      ” I salute Oxfam for standing up to its principles.”
      Which wing? The charitable one or the political one? Is there a military wing in their future? If you’re going 7the century on us, you might as well go all the way.

      “and yes it is a long way from famine relief but it is an essential journey if famines are to be avoided in the future.”
      OMG ! Talk about reaching! Truly extremist and verifiably nuts. Go find a nice Jewish psychiatrist already.

    • They honestly think that if they post similar crap (or, in this case, copy the same comment wholesale) but use a different name, nobody will be able to tell it’s the same idiot.

      It’s like teenagers who think nobody can tell if they’ve sneaked a cigarette… but, unlike these idiots, most teenagers grow up eventually.

  7. umm…”Adrian”, same comment as ‘David Hirst’ and you two just happen to share the same IP address. merely a strange coincidence I’m sure…

  8. Something has always bothered me about the fuss over SodaStream, Ahava etc. If, say, a Chinese company or an Italian company set up a facility somewhere in the “occupied West Bank” and employed hundreds or thousands of Palestinians, surely this would be applauded – by the Palestinians and their leaders and the world in general – and taken as a sign that the Palestinian economy does stand a chance of surviving on its own, should it become independent of Israel’s at some point.

    If not, then how is the Palestinian economy ever supposed to get off the ground without inward investment?

    The only difference between this scenario and that of SodaStream and Ahava that I can see is that they are Israeli companies. Is Israel to be the only country banned from investing in the Palestinian economy and people?

    • ” If, say, a Chinese company or an Italian company set up a facility somewhere in the “occupied West Bank” and employed hundreds or thousands of Palestinians, surely this would be applauded – by the Palestinians and their leaders..”

      Labenal are you seriously asking if ‘the Palestinians and their leaders’ would applaud having to work for their money rather than having it given to them on a plate, without having to work for it, as International Aid?

      To quote the famous American philosopher John McEnroe “You cannot be serious!”

    • Give us a break! African-American Christian? You can do better than that!

      Desmond Tutu. Now that’s someone who knows. He told David Frost in his TV interview that Israeli apartheid was, I quote, “in many ways WORSE”

      • Yeah, give us a break. Desmond Tutu who doesn’t say anything until it becomes popular. Ever hear of Rwanda? It seemed like a long time before Tutu did.

        People who have endured apartheid know what it is. Kenneth Meshoe does.

      • Give me a break. Alex, the dipwad who cries about Israel whenever he can, is complaining about racism? I quote his mother, “Alex is the biggest of my mistakes.”

        • I quote his mother, “Alex is the biggest of my mistakes.”
          I’m not so sure. What if he’s the little brother of Webshit?
          Very hard choice for a mother…

          • peter how can you be so unkind to Berchmans?

            You would appear to be uppermost in his thoughts, at least you were yesterday.

            “Paul Titterton ‏@SonofBerchmans · Feb 3
            @adamlevick

            Hiya Adam I see im on moderation yet you let the whacko Peter post . I start my job in a week I wish I could tell you about it”

  9. i guess Israeli arab like to live in an aparthide state. they were given the choice to have the border move so they become part of the Palestinian state and wonder of wonder they refuse.

  10. Labenal Any country building factories in the Settlements, if in allowed by the occupier, would be challenged in the UN as an illegal act. That is why EU has decided not to be involved in any project with an Iaraeli company that is engaged in settlements. Perhaps this argument that people only complain if Israel does it.But the reality is that nobody other than Israeli companies build factories in Settlements. Of course, like the settlements the factories are illegal. I must say Israel does not agree with the international law. Even though a criminal may not agree with the law his crime still remains criminal –

    • First of all, international law is made by treaties between countries not by the media or UNGA which does not have lawmaking authority in its charter.

    • Tony…

      “But the reality is that nobody other than Israeli companies build factories in Settlements.”

      Really?
      First, Soda Stream is not an Israeli company.
      Second, you want to tell me that the West bank is the only disputed teritory on earth?
      You must be having a laugh.

      • “Sodastream is not an Israeli company”

        Sorry. My mistake. I saw the bit about their HQ being in Lod, and made an assumption.

    • There is so much to fisk in your post, Tony, but i will ask you a simple question.

      Assuming (as is clearly the case) that Israel is not going to withdraw from the “West Bank” any time soon (as there is no sign that a properly negotiated peace treaty as required under UN resolutions is in the offing), and therefore has some sort of control over and responsibility for the people living there (Israelis and otherwise), what should they do?

      Should they a) invest in the local economy, offer jobs to local people (of whatever nationality or ethnicity) and encourage companies (whether Israeli or not) to do the same, thereby improving the lot of the people living there? or b) NOT invest in the local area, or employ any of the people living there and FORBID companies (whether Israeli or otherwise) from doing so, thereby condemning the people to lives of poverty and reliance on international aid for survival?

      Which is the most appropriate course of action? Which is acceptable to you and Oxfam and the other do-gooders who have plenty of criticisms, but no (realistic) solutions?

  11. You need look no further than the Palestine Solidarity Campaign logo top left
    http://www.palestinecampaign.org/

    One state from river to sea as they like to remind us at their hate fests . Yet the Guardian buys into the lies of an inveterate liar without checking the facts . White and Guardian on the same side so no surprises there .

  12. The BDS “Call,” its “statement of purpose,” makes no mention of settlements at all. Nor does it call for a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It demands that Israel withdraw from “all Arab land.” It is working towards the complete dismantling of the Jewish State.

  13. Remember, folks, while Ben White Sheet tells us the difference between anti-Israel maniacs and BDSers, please make sure to never, ever call any of them anti-Semites. That will scar them in more ways than you can imagine and destroy their online reputations. Mostly, though, it will make them cry.

    And nothing flows like the tears of people who can’t stand Jewish autonomy.

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