Guardian’s output of Israel related commentaries continues to decline

cifThough it isn’t easy to empirically measure how the Guardian’s coverage of Israel has changed over the years (in a qualitative sense), one quantitative metric we’ve used relates to the volume of Israel related news reports and commentaries published by the media group.  

Though in 2011 and 2012 we revealed the disproportionate degree of Israel related coverage at the Guardian and its blog ‘Comment is Free’ in comparison to their coverage of other countries, we thought it would be interesting this year to isolate just their Israel related commentaries, and see how the output has changed since 2010, the first full year of this blog’s operation.

The results are interesting, and consistent with our sense that their institutional obsession with Israel, for any number of reasons, has decreased in some respects.

  • In 2010 there were 143 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 289 for the entire year.
  • In 2011, there were 92 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 168 for the entire year.
  • In 2012, there were 61 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 143 for the entire year.
  • In 2013, there were 54 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 100 for the entire year.
  • In 2014, there have been 35 Israel related commentaries through June 26th (with a projection of 70 to 75 for the entire year if current trends continue).

Whilst this analysis doesn’t include straight news reports (and other Israel related content which does NOT appear at ‘Comment is Free’), it’s clear that Israel related commentaries decreased quite dramatically over the last four years.

Also of interest is the fact that some of the Guardian’s favorite Israel bashers (commentators who we’ve posted about continually) have been published far less frequently, or have disappeared completely – reflecting a slight improvement (and we use these words cautiously) in their overall output on issues concerning Jews and Israel. 

Rachel Shabi, an anti-Zionist Jew who once was a frequent contributor, hasn’t published a commentary about Israel at ‘Comment is Free’ since August 2013


Antony Lerman, another anti-Zionist Jew, hasn’t published a commentary at ‘Comment is Free’ since 2012.


Seth Freedman has largely been silent on the topic of Israel at ‘Comment is Free’ for the past two years, save one quirky piece in August 2013.


Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah (once a frequent contributor) has had only one commentary published at ‘Comment is Free’ since 2009.


Richard (faux ‘scoop’) Silverstein (also once a frequent contributor) has been ‘silenced by the Guardian, and has had only one commentary which deals with Israel published at ‘Comment is Free’ since 2009.


And, finally, Ben White, the notorious Israel hater who can understand why people would be antisemitic given Israeli behavior, and who once appeared at ‘Comment is Free’ several times a year, hasn’t been heard from since September 2012


Though we are not shy about taking credit for Guardian corrections prompted by our correspondence with their editors, the cause of the decrease in Israel related commentaries – and the disappearance of some of their long time anti-Zionist contributors – is more opaque, and may involve editorial decisions (clearly influenced to some degree by the work of this blog) at the Guardian that we’re naturally not privy to.  

Additionally, the impact – to the editorial process at ‘Comment is Free’ – of the recent promotion of Jonathan Freedland (one of their more sober commentators) to the position of executive editor will not be clear for some time.

Finally, whilst the Guardian is still the most anti-Israel media group in the UK, it is nonetheless important to note such changes in their reporting and editorial decision-making, and recognize even modest improvements in their coverage of Israel and the larger region. 

14 replies »

  1. If the ADL’s reporting is accurate (and I quite frankly take exception to the idea that you need to agree with 6 antisemitic tropes to be an antisemite instead of one) then the truth that the average person in the UK is not antisemitic could be the reason why there is the lessening of these antisemitic posts. I think it also does help that you have been an ardent watchdog, holding The Guardian to the truth and insisting that they live up to some kind of standard. I would also hazard a guess that outside of their own circles these anti-Zionists and antisemites aren’t particularly welcome and hence has no reader appeal for the average Guardian reader. Its about add revenue in the end, but also a good indication perhaps of UK society and how it has no patience for such drivel.

    • It’s a political movement, with very ill defined goals, other than being a colonialist project.

      Being anti jewish is something else completely.

      You can be pro Israel and anti Zionist. The two are not synonamous you all appreciate right?

      • Coming from a fucking moron like you, No.

        Being anti-Jewish and demanding the world destroys the state of Israel because it makes you cry is the same thing.

        Being anti-Jewish and demanding that Israel, created decades before you conception, is a mistake are the same thing.

        And, yes, being anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic are the same thing.

        But do tell us again how etymology proves that labeling you a raging anti-Semitic Big Gulp of diarrhea is somehow wrong. I can’t speak for everyone here, but I am just DYING to hear what an anonymous, moronic, Jew hating, Israel bashing dipshit has to say next. It’s got to be interesting, yeah?

      • Blowing up a pizzeria less than a month after rejecting a state offer is a political movement.

        Kidnapping athletes at the Olympic games and then shooting them all because you just can’t let Jewish people live in the limelight any longer is a political movement.

        Shooting missiles from Gaza and into Israel 10,000 futile times, while keeping your silos in apartment buildings and schoolyards so the most innocent are the most easily targeted is a political movement.

        And anonymous anti-Israel, anti-Semitic message board commentators? Why I’d like to say they’re bowel movements, but that would be insulting to stinking piles of shit.

        Yup. You’re all over this like white on rice. Oh, and the Palestinians still don’t have a state. And Israel still exists. Shit, Shitferbrain, you’re still using Israeli technology! Nothing new under this sun.

  2. I wonder. The Guardian/CiF gets a lot of flak from new commenters whose motive is completely unclear. It seems that ‘average’ people are noticing the Guardian tendency to demonise Israel while ‘beatifying’ the Palestinians/Arabs. Of course, the Guardian is heavily manipulative in the presentation and what it selects to present relating to Israel/Palestinians/Arabs. There was a commenter a few days ago who posted about a Palestinian university lecturer who was fired for taking Palestinian students to Auschwitz. The comment wasn’t deleted but, the Guardian has ignored the incident.

    Just imagine if an Israeli lecturer had taken students to some divisive geographical place and was fired for doing that, I feel that The Guardian would not have ignored it at all.

    The Guardian remains obsessively anti Israel and pro-Palestinian/Arab. But its ‘attack-format’ has changed. I have no doubt that a serious part of the change is due to CiFWatch’s excellent work.

    Don’t stop. Rustbridger is a rank Israel hater. He reeks of it.

    • The Guardian remains obsessively anti Israel and pro-Palestinian/Arab.
      The Guardian is not and never has been pro-Palestinian or pro-Arab, they don’t give a flying keffiyeh about the Palestinians’ well-being. They are using the Palestinian cause for promoting their hate of Israel and the Jews. Remember their editorial condemning the “craven” Palestinian Authority who secretly showed some signs of readiness to compromise. I can imagine their sigh of relieve after realizing that the majority of the Palestinians don’t want peace but the elimination of Israel.

    • To describe Rust in terms of hatred is a little ott . Like many he will have moments when he is wrong. He will not driven by pathological hatred of Jews.. he would have been outed by now by moderate journalists and given he is the boss after winning the pullitzer he will be under a lot of scrutiny.

  3. Unless and until they really do become balanced and fair, it’s only tactics on their part, I think.

  4. If the Guardian’s hostile obssession with Israel has declined somewhat, then I think thanks is due to the persistence of Cif-watch. Well done all involved.

    I wonder if Rusbridger and co have started to be made aware of just how creepy and grubby many people find the Guardian’s unbalanced stance. Perhaps they’ve even started getting snubbed or told off at posh dinner parties. If so, good.