The chosen blog? Guardian gives a shout out to “pressure group” called CiF Watch

Though the Guardian has implicitly alluded to our presence on one or two occasions, they seem to have an unwritten policy of never explicitly referring to us by name. Indeed, even the most benign references to ‘CiF Watch’ in the comment section of ‘Comment is Free’ (‘CiF’) are still routinely deleted by their moderators, and, in 2012, this writer had his commenting privileges below the line at ‘CiF’ permanently suspended for some still unknown violation of their ‘community standards’. 

So, we were a bit surprised – to put it mildly – when a column written by the Guardian’s readers’ editor Chris Elliott, in the print and online editions of the paper (The many pitfalls when covering Israel/Palestine issues, Oct. 27th) devoted some space to addressing one of our recent complaints concerning a truly reprehensible column in the Guardian by discredited anti-Zionist historian Shlomo Sand titled ‘I wish to resign from being a Jew.

Specifically, we objected to Sand’s use of the term ‘chosen people’ to suggest that Jews treat Palestinians poorly due to a belief in their own racial superiority, and noted that Elliott himself had previously acknowledged (in upholding a CiF Watch complaint in 2011 against an article by Deborah Orr) that such pejorative references to the “chosen people” – widely understood as a Jewish requirement to uphold high standards of moral behavior – are typically used by antisemites as code for ‘Jewish supremacism‘.

Here’s the passage from Sand:

By my everyday life and my basic culture I am an Israeli. I am not especially proud of this, just as I have no reason to take pride in being a man with brown eyes and of average height. I am often even ashamed of Israel, particularly when I witness evidence of its cruel military colonisation, with its weak and defenceless victims who are not part of the “chosen people”.

Elliott’s reply can be found in the highlighted section of his article below (Click Image to Enlarge):



Interestingly, the online version of Elliott’s article included a shameful response by Sand, who defended his anti-Jewish smear.

Sand was unapologetic when an editor put the complaint to him: “I don’t think I should apologise. I put the term in quotation because it is not my own.

“This concept served during hundred of years as a means by which my ancestors continued to stick to their beliefs in face of the more powerful Christian beliefs that oppressed them. It was important to the existence of this minority in the face of the persecution.

“In modern times, many secular nationalists, descendants like me of this religion, continue to believe that they belong to a ‘chosen people’. If the reader doesn’t believe me I invite him to come to visit us in Israel.

I am sorry, but far too many people in Israel believe and behave as if they have indeed been ‘chosen’.”

Whilst it was helpful of Elliott to explain that, thus far, the “pressure group” called CiF Watch has filed 38 complaints to his office in reference to what we believe have been false or misleading claims in content relating to Israel or Jews, it’s even more satisfying to see that he agrees with the substance of our recent complaint against Sand’s ‘chosen people’ reference. 

Though, in fairness, Elliott has been quite responsive in the past when we’ve complained of racist content at the Guardian, we hope that their contributors, reporters and editors take note of his guidance on the necessity of avoiding such toxic antisemitic tropes.

The suggestion that Israel is a racist nation because Judaism itself is racist by design is a morally odious, Judeophobic canard – and one which truly liberal voices would never advance or legitimise. 

46 replies »

  1. “The suggestion that Israel is a racist nation because Judaism itself is racist by design is a morally odious, Judeophobic canard”

    Whether Israel is a racist nation by definition is largely a matter of semantics. That Israeli Jews are increasingly racist is evident to the most casual observer, amongst whom we can now include the Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin. Speaking at the scene of a massacre by Israeli police of 47 Arab villagers in 1956 he said “Many of [the Israeli Arabs] experience not uncommon manifestations of racism and arrogance on the part of Jews.”

    • Sencer, your utter lack of logic never ceases to amaze. You claim that “Israeli Jews are increasingly racist” and then reference an incident that happened… 56 years ago. What a relevant and convincing argument!

      • My point was made by the quote from Reuven Rivlin, not the 1956 massacre. However it might equally have been illustrated by listing the many more recent massacres of Arabs by Israeli Jews, the most recent just a few weeks ago in Gaza.

        • Listen sencar, your argument is hollow. It is not denied that there is racism in Israel. It is denied that Israel is a racist state. The same applies to many countries. And sencar, in view of your mendacious arguments you are close to qualifying as a racist, since you do not apply your singular logic to say, the racism that prevails in Arab society, do you – 1920, 1929, 1939-45, 1948-2014???

          • There is racism in all countries bar none.
            And many countries are institutionally racist (Saudi, Pakistan, …).

        • sencar,
          What makes your racism so evident to the casual observer? Any thoughts?

          Any admissions from Herr Abbas as to the racism of Palestinian and other Arabs at the sites of Arab massacres of Jews that the Arabs have a racism problem? Or are we to be good little Guardianistas and assume that the hyperventilating and often lethal racism against Jews by Arabs doesn’t exist because it’s simply never mentioned? Or are we supposed to pretend that millennial old Arab Jew hatred is the fault of Israel?

          The fact that you refer to a gargantuan and unequaled effort by the IDF to limit civilian casualties in a defensive war against the genocidal lunatics of Hamas as a “massacre,” (and by implication as racist one), might provide you with a jump start to answering the first question I posed to you.

    • Pure projection Sencar. The racist is you. By your presence here, continually parading your moral superiority over the Jews, with that visceral, smug, cultural anti-Semitism of the British middle classes.

      You don’t like to talk about the institutionalised racism and chauvinism currently ripping the the Arab world apart (Sunni vs Shiah) – because it shows you have a lot in common with a murderous world view, one which would make the Jews a prime target for genocide if your wish to disenfranchise and disempower them were to bear fruit. You want to know what racism is, ask any self-respecting Jew what they think about people like you.

    • Whether Sencar is the World’s Biggest Asshole is a matter of semantics. Then again, the trophy and blue ribbon he has displayed on the mantlepiece — the one looks like a gigantic asshole with the words World’s Biggest Jew Hating Moron — might also give it away.

    • Sencar, that’s not such a bad record. What you are say is that it has been almost 60 years for you to find a racist comment uttered by an Israeli official! I suggest you look in the mirror!

  2. Guardian gives a shout to CIFwatch? You are just being used for their click through jew baiting traffic.

  3. I guess Judaism is inherently racist in the same way that Islam is inherently violent, something denied repeatedly in response to claims to the contrary. One picks and chooses from the holy books as suits the argument. There is no need for the study of theology if there is no question of interpretation. There’s just the right way to see it and the wrong way, according to the true believers of the kind we could do without.

    • Can anybody make sense of this alphabet soup? Personally, I sense yet another ignorant Jew-baiting bigot.

      • I’m not sure I made myself clear but it also seems that some are missing the nuances I was trying to get at. Judaism is as inherently racist as Islam is violent or is NOT inherently anything, except insofar as it is willfully misunderstood. So I’m not sure where anyone is “sensing” a Jew=hating bigot but there aren’t any around here. I don’t hate myself.

        • Eva, the problem is you’re speaking to people who DO think that Islam is inherently violent. Therefore, you are telling them that Judaism IS inherently racist. I hope this helps.

          • I know that. It is certainly violent to most Muslims in the world today though I’m not sure the texts are any worse than Christian or Jewish ones.

            I wasn’t communicating MY opinion as regards Judaism being inherently racist which I don’t think it is in practice either. I was following through the logic/illogic of others’ arguments. I thought a more subtle point could be made but maybe I failed to be clear.

            I post this site on FB all the time as being one of few places to find Guardian reporting challenged. So it’s a drag to get jumped on and misunderstood here too. I also posted Bill Maher’s episode on the issue of Muslim violence on FB which I hope must here will know. He’s still getting criticism yet refuses to disavow what he said. Good for him.

            • Well, whatever the texts are telling you, you shouldn`t ignore the reality of deeds and facts, if you want to make a contribution worthy of interest..

              • On what basis do you think I ignore the reality of deeds and facts? You shouldn’t contribute here with such sloppy unwarranted comments that undermine your credibility. I once before commented on some of the hostile rude tone here which marred an otherwise excellent site.

                I assure you that my contributions are worth of interest, you patronising asshole. There, that ought to make my comment more fitting and of interest here since the measure seems to be based on name-calling.

                What a shame. I’ve so long been promoting this site but am less inclined to considering the nastiness. Also, I can’t help wondering why so many people here don’t use their names. Monikers always make me wonder. For one thing they are routinely used to hide abuse. Anyway, I’ve had enough of this absurdity when I come here to read important and relevant reports on shitty media coverage of Israel and Judaism. But If you’d rather fight among ourselves/yoursselves rather than address the important stuff, carry on. Without me.

                • “I once before commented on some of the hostile rude tone here”

                  “I assure you that my contributions are worth of interest, you patronising asshole”


                • Plenty of name-calling here. But Fritz saying something like “if you want to make a contribution worthy of interest” makes it open season as far I’m concerned. Let’s not pretend this is polite or respectful. It’s nasty. And the nastiness is based on a total misreading starting from the accusation I’m an anti-emite or Jew baiting from someone or other.

                  That’s an outrageous thing to say and based on idiocy in my view now that I’v read again what I wrote. It’s very clear that the next hostile messages seemed based on people assuming this is true without bothering to actually hear what I’m saying.

                  So yes, lowest common-denominator is what one must aim for apparently. I tried to be civil and respectful firstly but then it seemed clear that only insults are worhty of being heard here. Big yuck. And big disappointment.

            • “So it’s a drag to get jumped on and misunderstood here too” – perhaps, just perhaps, it’s your own fault for failing to communicate what you are claiming to be trying to communicate?

              • That could be, Leah, but then based on your response it’s just as likely you haven’t read properly or closely what I said, since I mentioned this possibility. Do you know anything about civil discourse I wonder?

                But hell, go on and “blame”. Your language prompts me to wonder. If you use it here, among those who don’t disagree with you, then I’d say you’re not a good spokesperson yourself on important matters. In other words the evidence suggests that you’re more likely to be to “blame” for not being clear to others, distorting your intent through an ill-advised and rude manner.

                I hope that’s clear enough this time. Now why don’t you all get back to attacking the people who are anti-semitic and racist rather than someone whom it’s possible you misunderstood! Unless you’ve nothing better to do. I hate the idea of removing myself from this excellent site but think I will if htis goes on.

                • Obviously. As I said; a comment like“if you want to make a contribution worthy of interest” means it’s open season to be rude. Also as I said, i’ve noticed nastiness here too but that might be more a “generalisation”, a blight of the internet. And people seem to hardly notice it or care.

      • I’m not sure to whom is directed the comment “full of generalisations that amount to generally lies”. From what I can see people seem to have not gotten the drift of my comment taking to task those who generalise.

        • If you are going to make comment that “Judaism is inherently racist…” you are inviting a problem. While Jews will certainly deny it, because it is a patently false statement, Muslims will not deny the point that Islam is accused of being inherently violent , in the same way, but will do so with significantly more intensity and in greater number, because there happen to be greater numbers of muslims who will demonstrate.than there are Jews. So there is no like with like here.

          Your point is a “George Galloway ” point. The producer of a documentary “Under- cover Mosque” got interviewed by GG and was picked upon for attacking Islamic clerics preaching hatred and not condemning the Bible. Here’s what happened:

          • I never made a comment that “Judaism is inherently racist…” Someone here did but not me. Please retract this implication and anyone else who has replled as if I said or think such a thing might also acknoweldge it’s not so.

            My point made earlier which has been grossly misunderstood is that those who say this emply the same logic who would deny that Islam is inherently violent, as it is practised in my view. In other words there is a cognitive dissonance and inconsistency in such thinking making nonsense of it. I hope this is clear to those who seem to be unable to hear me.

            I’d politely acknowledged that I might not have been clear but this just earned me another attack about how any misreading might be my fault. Someone else called me names and someone else made offensive remarks (Fritz, Leah I think.)

            Again, I never ever in my life said Judaims is “racist” and I hope finally that what I did say is clear and that my view on the matter is clear.

            • No . I know you didn’t say it. You made the point that both Jews and Muslims would deny the two allegations in the same way. and that there is some equivalence . There isn’t, is my point and generalising how the 2 would react equally does not help you.

              • Right, no equivalence. If one follows through the logic of someone’s thinking to find it leads to an illogical conclusion or one they wouldn’t have agreed to, then that undermines this thinking and opinions: shows that it stinks. And of course their not having bothered to follow through through to the logical conclusion further proves the weakness of their thinking and therefore their conclusions.

                • But don’t forget Eva you started this with: “I guess Judaism is inherently racist in the same way that Islam is inherently violent…” By doing so any reader will assume you own the statement, as I did when I first read it.

                • For the 60 seconds before I clarified things you might have thought this but come on, I made it absolutely clear that I was presenting someone else’s untenable logic. And I’ve laid out exactly why now although by then it seemed obvious except that it seemed easier (more fun/pleasurable?) to jump on someone perceived to be the enemy which I’m not rather than to say nicely they may have not listened (which I think is the case) as I nicely said I may not have been clear. But nobody did. Ok, that’s the way it goes here at this site I recommended to many people. Oh well

    • If CIFwatch has managed to get under the skin of the Guardian, you sure must be doing something right! I am appalled at some of the biased reporting disguised as “fair minded, democratic,intelligent liberal coverage” that is printed. Your work is extremely important to show,explain and broaden knowledge to the often ignorant reader who does not have the tools to counter what is reported. Most important is that the Guardian will be called to task by your “annoying and pesky” insistence of getting to the truth and calling them to task.
      Keep up the good fight

  4. Further to the Guardian’s imposition of accuracy of fact under the guise of responsible reporting, once upon a time there was an attempted coup d’etat in the poetry world, this reported on with a clear bias on the part of editors and various other poetry luminaries not bothered much about the facts.

    My comment on this article was also deleted due to some unspecified violation of “community standards’. It had simply provided to readers a source for further information on the matter which any responsible reporter would have mentioned but didn’t.

    At one point someone posted online a known satire, the joke being that roles of leading Nazis in Hitler’s bunker are taken by those involved in the little literary drama, including me. This then led to it being assumed I was responsible for this anonymous posting. Why this would have been assumed I can’t imagine unless it’s because I had family members who died in the holocaust. This rumor mongering was ironic too because it was the other “side” who was resorting to underhand tactics, which is partly what made me decide where I stood, since “right” doesn’t fear the truth or facts.

    Furthermore it was impossible to counter such rumors nor direct to anyone how offensive it was to be cast in in this way, considering I’m Jewish which, frankly, I think many would have known. Did the Guardian editors know? Well I’m constantly having to object to ‘friends” on Facebook making assumptions about my opinion on matters Jewish and Israeli based I can only assume is because they know I’m Jewish. Anyway, they know I’m from American/NYC…..heaven forbid.

  5. What this episode really shows is the blatant hypocrisy of people like this Sand asshole who accuse Israel of “racism”, because it’s a Jewish state.

    What about the 56 countries that are exclusively Islamic?

  6. How the events following the murder of a baby are reported by Al Guardian when it happened to be Jewish.
    They outdo the nazis.