The CST has done a great job at deconstructing the Oborne piece published on CiF yesterday. Our focus here will be on the accompanying comment thread which comes fresh off the heels of the Channel 4 comment thread promoting the Oborne Dispatches program that was replete with antisemitic comments. Commenting on the Channel 4 thread, the CST stated,
“we do have concerns, based on the language used by Channel 4 to promote the programme on their website, and the comments that have been posted there by members of the public, that the programme may unwittingly play up to antisemitic stereotypes, and thereby excite and encourage antisemites to think that their views have been validated by a mainstream broadcaster. These concerns have only been strengthened by today’s Guardian opinion piece, written by Oborne and Dispatches journalist James Jones.”
Knowing the types that frequent CiF, it should come as no surprise that the CiF Oborne thread generated large numbers of antisemitic comments so much so that shortly after the thread opened, Matt Seaton, editor of “Comment is Free”, was forced to intervene with this:
16 Nov 2009, 9:33AM
Because this is such a sensitive and potentially inflammatory topic, I would like to take this early opportunity to remind users to abide by our talk policy. In this context, that requires people to make the distinctions Oborne and James do in their article ? for example:
It is important to say what we did not find. There is no conspiracy, and nothing resembling a conspiracy.
Thus commenters who use this thread as an opportunity to apply antisemitic tropes to an otherwise legitimate discussion of influence and transparency are liable to find their posts deleted by moderators.
I, for one, will be following this thread with interest. But I won’t hesitate to r’eport abuse’ if I see it.
Now besides the fact that this is a massive admission that the Guardian has a problem with antismitism on its threads (otherwise why would such a comment be necessary?), consider this: Matt Seaton, a fairly senior Guardian staff member thinks that just because Oborne and James attempt to insulate themselves from accusations of antisemitism by stating that what they write has nothing to do with a conspiracy, that this is automatically so despite the fact that their report is rife with conspiracy theory. Did Seaton actually read Oborne and Jame’s third rate Walt and Mearsheimer wannabe rubbish? Or does he have a massive blindspot when it comes to antisemitism?
And Matt Seaton digs himself a deeper hole with this:
16 Nov 2009, 9:46AM
theres a fine line between abuse and legitimate points of debate though. Seems to me you should only be reporting any openly anti-semitic remarks rather than ones you might think allude to such attitudes.
Of course, and it’s always a judgment call ? exercised by our moderators. But people who look as though they are deliberately testing the limits may find that the call goes against them.
Judgment call. Interesting. If it comes down to that, I’m not sure I trust the “judgment” of the Guardian moderators given the “judgment” that a certain daughter of a certain someone displayed recently.
- 16 Nov 2009, 9:16AM
- I read about this in Peston’s book Who Runs Britain? Lord Levy used to be Blair’s main fundraiser and also one of the main fundraisers for Jewish charities in the UK.
- I’d always hoped that this lobbying culture was an American phenomenon and that we had more integrity in the UK. Sadly little by little this hope has been eroded.
- This is just more evidence that history will judge us to be the bad guys being in cahoots with an apartheid state amongst other shameful things.
16 Nov 2009, 9:26AM
What we really need really to have is an open debate and discuss Israel in terms of its real ‘value’ to the West – that of a strategic military outpost in the ME.
Whilst it remains so, the prominence of the CFI and LFI will remain a powerful feature of British Parliamentary life on both sides of the House.
Let’s be under no illusions here – Brand Israel needs to keep its representatives to the fore as much as any other Corporate organisation and unfortunately, this valued customer for military supplies and British-made WMD needs to be kept sweet and therefore, any open debate about the grotesque continuation of the Occupation or Invasion of Gaza will be supressed and played down in order to keep the customer happy and digging deep into its pockets.
Money talks, as always.
And here’s a familiar trope on CiF that has echoes of the blood libel, a comment which was posted on three separate occasions in the same thread by Sorcey.
- 16 Nov 2009, 9:28AM
- …cant find any rabbis who will stand at the pulp[it and call for the killing of infidels…
- Oh, I don’t know, the Chief Rabbi of the UK did a pretty good job in January saying that Israel killing children is justified.
Then there’s this “Israel is evil” comment from RoHa2:
16 Nov 2009, 11:32AM
The pro-Israel lobby, in common with other lobbies, has every right to operate and indeed to flourish in Britain.
No it does not.
Israel is evil in conception, evil in creation, and evil in conduct.
There is no right to support evil.
- 16 Nov 2009, 11:41AM
- Nerdy boris
- be very afraid, do you know how difficult it is to eavesdrop on their secret meetings with all that click clack click clack of the knitting needles going?
- Even sophisticated listening equipment can’t block that sound out, so their sneaky meetings go unrecorded!
- good tactic, and if they really have nothing to hide then why make all that noise to cover up the sound of their ‘so called innocent’ conversations?
16 Nov 2009, 12:34PM
Something is happening behind a closed door, comment by comment.
And then there is the ever popular sandlout, Shlomo Sands, peddling the lie that the Jews are not a nation.
- 16 Nov 2009, 12:12PM
- On radio 4 program Start the Week last week the historian Shlomo Sand raised a very controversial topic that questions the entire premise on which Israel is based . That is the diaspora and the right of return to the motherland. He says there is not any evidence that the Jews were exiled , instead they were converted in the lands they and their ancestors grew up in and never had any ties to the Holy Land. Of course Sand was met with a furious backlash, not questioning the evidence, but personal attacks.
- Here is an interview in the Israeli paper Haaretz :
- Shattering a ‘national mythology’
- According to Sand, the description of the Jews as a wandering and self-isolating nation of exiles, “who wandered across seas and continents, reached the ends of the earth and finally, with the advent of Zionism, made a U-turn and returned en masse to their orphaned homeland,” is nothing but “national mythology.” Like other national movements in Europe, which sought out a splendid Golden Age, through which they invented a heroic past – for example, classical Greece or the Teutonic tribes – to prove they have existed since the beginnings of history, “so, too, the first buds of Jewish nationalism blossomed in the direction of the strong light that has its source in the mythical Kingdom of David.”
And here’s xxxxx posting a link to a virulently antisemitic site.
- 16 Nov 2009, 12:28PM
And here’s one from the Brian Whitaker school of conspiracy theory:
16 Nov 2009, 12:55PM
Comments like these make me seriously suspect the sanity of some of those commenting on these threadfs. What alternative universe do they inhabit?
yes but this comment is in itself paranoid if you look at it that way!
The Israeli government is known to use people to defend particular points of view on blogs and sites like CiF. Its not some dirty secret. All political parties do it these days. Media warfare I believe its called.
Then we have london38 obsessing about the Zionists oops I mean the Jews.
16 Nov 2009, 12:57PM
Amusing that someone should say the Zionist experiment is now fact and that anyone with a contrary view should get over it. Presumably Zionists would proudly state that the idea of a Zionist state had to exist in the minds of generations so that it could finally become fact. Surely they should realise how important for people with a contrary view it is that such a view remains present in the public conscious. Given Israel’s current military hegemony, isn’t it this battle which the lobbyists are engaged in (so successfully in the case of the Jewish lobby)?
And what would a CiF thread be without an accusation that Israel is racist.
16 Nov 2009, 1:17PMi am amused by the comments about Israel tourism. Some people aren’t exactly “up to date” with the regulations.
Try entering Israel with a Muslim name; or if you have family in Palestine; or if you have friends in Palestine; or if you admit you are going to the “other side” of the annexation wall. You won’t be allowed back into Tel Aviv airport.
Try leaving without hassle if you buy a keffiah, a picture of Al Aqsa or a Palestinian souvenir.
Perhaps many of those “tourists” are on their way to Bil’in to help with the campaign for human rights and justice.
And here is xxxxx trying to distinguish between Zionists and Jews, never mind that he invokes familiar antisemitic tropes in doing so.
16 Nov 2009, 1:18PM
Yet another variation on “..the Jews have unlimited power and are plotting……”
no its not. there is a significant difference between being jewish and being a zionist. one could argue that the israeli lobby is in fact a zionist ideologically led lobby and its patronage would suggest that it is so since zionism does not exclude anyone of any faith or of no faith – what matters is the ideology , power and greed.
And then there is london38 who slipped up mentioning “Jewish occupation” instead of “Zionist”. I guess its all this conspiracy theory talk that gets london38 confused.
16 Nov 2009, 3:32PM“Israel exists primarily because of what was done to Jewish innocents in the Pale of Settlement over a long period of time.”
Why should that matter to the people who’s land they occupy?
“Palestinians sit within closed borders partly at the behest of their Arab neighbour states.”
The biggest lie of all (and a particular favourite of Melanie Philipps). Why should it be up to Palestine’s Arab neighbours to clean up the mess made by Jewish occupation?
Then we have Papalagi in true form posting a comment which echoes the Protocols.
16 Nov 2009, 2:42PMIf this were the case of a lobby in favour of poor children in India nobody would care about the matter.
We understand the needs of poor people. But the question is that people who are minimally informed, who read the newspapers, books, watch news, normally have more and more reasons to question Israel’s politics towards the Palestinians. Only people who are willing to delude themselves actively still support this politics. We know that it’s unjust to a very high degree. We know that the situation of the Palestinians is scandalous.
So, the people who support this politics (calling it abusively “Pro-Israel”) are effectively supporting a lot of human rights abuses, crimes against international right and sheer brutality and violence. They are effectively agains peace and pro-war. If they acted normally, Israel would have been submited to a boycott and embargo like Serbia, like Indonesia because of East Timor and so on. But this doesn’t happen and the amount of support for this oppressive politics is astonishing. This lobby is not a lobby in favour of poor children and that’s the difference.
Exactly because their cause has less and less respectability (and I repeat that this is not a pro-Israel lobby, but a pro-war, pro-occupation, pro-oppression, anti-humanity and so on, ), they have to act in ways that would be unconceivable in the case of a lobby for humanitarian causes. And this is the case. They are only effective when their influence is out of proportion (this is the case considering that Israel is a tiny, unimporant, country). They have to count with a torrence of propaganda. Their arguments are outlandish, and some times get out of control. Their style is agressive and irrational.
Of course the whole result of this is grotesk and pathetic. It’s really a bit sad to see a large group of men and women acting systematically against justice, against commmon sense and I ask if this is also not acting against decence). They are effectively justifying violence, prolonging a conflict in which we have no interest, acting against human interests. That’s the reason why people question the cause of this lobby and the results that they achieve.
And here is another comment echoing the Protocols.
16 Nov 2009, 5:20PM
you should be covering the many other “friends of israel” branches………this would, of course, refute your opinion that there is no israel cabal operating in UK/Europe……
And here’s a CiF all time top ten – invoking the Livingstone Formulation.
16 Nov 2009, 6:03PM
This will indeed make intersting viewing, make no mistake Channel4 will be hit with a million accusations of Anti Semitism from the well trained and funded Hasbarah crowd.
And finally here is Godseye accusing Israel of being a nation of blood lust.
16 Nov 2009, 7:19PM
Taking money from lobbyist is a form of corruption all MPs who are funded in any way by a firm or in this case a national interest should be charged with corruption and treason if it conflicts with the British national interest. This behavior is rife in America and Europe and should end immediately. One cannot serve two masters and in this day and age mammon appears to be the master.
The worst aspect of the expenses scandal was petty theft. Yet allowing another nation or their agents to influence policy via ‘allowed bribes’ is worse by far. I can understand firms or other interest groups wanting to make their particular point and maybe influence through rational discourse but to give decision makers financial or any other form of gratuity is bribery. We should pay our representatives well enough to be able to manage their affairs without resorting to any corrupt means of extending their income. That is why judges are paid so well.
All Israel has to do to make itself better received is to act more humanely at the moment it is a nation in a state of blood lust that never seems to be sated. Save money Israel and try to be more neighborly. There has to be something wrong with the character of a nation when it is so disliked and feared by its neighbors. when we appoint MPs they are there to represent their constituents yet as time has proved during the tenure of this and previous governments the true voice of the people has been routinely ignored, they even ignore sound advice from reputable scientific sources. Let us begin to bring some honor back into the public arena and have people with true integrity in the seats of government.
And remember whatever you do don’t criticize the Guardian because you know what happens….
16 Nov 2009, 1:12PM
Lobbying political parties and governments is what citizens of free democracies do. All parties have their financial backers.
I’m sorry that you have reported this story as if some kind of sinister plutocratic conspiracy is at work, and, indeed, as if supporting the State of Israel is somehow verboten, or should be.
I used to respect the Guardian as a bastion of liberalism, tolerance, and fairness, but lately you appear to be sailing close to the wind – nay, the stench – of anti-semitism.
Let me end though with my favorite comment of all in the thread from Matt Seaton which speaks volumes about the parallel universe of the Guardian:
16 Nov 2009, 7:03PMI’m sorry I haven’t been around as much as I’d have liked today in this thread. But I’ll be back tomorrow and in the meantime just wanted to thank users for (mostly) staying within the bounds of civility and on topic in a very sensitive area. I guess those of who can will be watching the Dispatches programme and be back for further discussion.
We will also be running some responses to the Oborne/James article, and the programme and issues raised more generally.
And this is civil discourse…
Here are a selection of comments from the thread today:
17 Nov 2009, 9:25AMackclothandsashes:
You will have probably garnered from my comments yesterday that I deeply detest ALL forms of lobbying of our so-called elected representatives and yes, that includes Saudi Arabian Oil royal oil cartels and the slush funds to wine and dine billionaires provided by the British tax-payer. This is no different.
Having watched the programme last night it merely confirmed what I already know and have had experience of. That the pro-Israel machine is deeply entrenched within the corridors of power of this country and that the bottom line is that it is as pernicious and motivated by money and greed as much as that of the Saudis. Saudi Arabia seems to enjoy a similar protected status that Israel pressure groups and lobbyists have worked hard to ensure in the past 20-odd years.
I’ve said before and I’ll say it again and again, it’s all about money and power and economic and military strategy. The lobby is pushing a far-right agenda linked to big-business. Now with the deification of Kaminski, I’m wondering how long before Nick Griffin’s anti-semitic hatreds will all too soon be forgotten?
Mark my words – there is already growing evidence that the anti-semitism of the BNP is already being played down for the sake of promoting a neo-conservative agenda – because the common cause is the perpetuation of the political Islamaphobic agenda, oil and more wars.
La RitPeaceCampaign 17 Nov 2009, 10:05AMI would like to congratulate all at involved at C4 and Peter Oborne for the dispatches programme.
Anyone who knows about the Israeli / Palestinian conflict of recent years knows that criticism of Israel or even balanced reporting of an incident in which Israel ‘look bad’ is seized upon by the Israeli lobby and those who dared to report the truth are silenced.
This manner of silencing any criticism of the way Israel behaves only prolongs the conflict as the Israeli state becomes even bolder in the manner in which they treat the Palestinians and in their disregard for the International community.
I sincerely hope Mr Oborne and his family can look back on this documentary proudly in years to come as having taken a brave stance to work for a more peaceful world at a time when too many other journalists and programme makers are looking the other way when injustice takes place.
Might is not right and until more people in positions of influence are brave enough to take on the Israeli lobby, the situation in the middle east will sadly not improve.
If history looks upon this period as one when the media were shamefully complicit in prolonging this conflict by reporting a false balance to placate the Israeli lobby, people like Mr Oborne will shine like a beacon of truth.17 Nov 2009, 12:29PMOborne’s investigation didn’t touch on half the story.
The programme didn’t mention the role of the Israeli lobby in pushing for the Iraq war. Or how the extraordinary enthusiasm of Conservative MPs for the Iraq war (only 12 voting against) mirrored their over 80% membership of Conservative Friends of Israel. Or the fraudulent intelligence about Iraqi WMD provided by Sharon’s own office. Why this country invaded another a continent away which was no possible threat to us – but which did fund Palestinian resistance to Israel.Elhaam 17 Nov 2009, 1:52PMtuttinski
I am really concerned about is that most commentators do not seem to be at all concerned with the revelation of just how corrupt our political system seems to be.
Corrupt politicians have always been admired and supported by the majority of their voters for their unique ruthlessness, corruptions and ?cleverness?! As long as these corrupt and criminal individuals can create endless wars where the real money and oil is, sell weapons, get billions in freebies & lousy contracts, bomb the hell out of the weak, bring money and create jobs across the globe for their own population 1000s of miles away, who gives a hoot how they do it or how many millions suffer endlessly along the way? Corruption and deceit is in their DNA; as we can see, their off springs have continued with their great ?charitable? work? totally unavoidable and beyond their control.hanwoori 17 Nov 2009, 2:36PMSomeone mentioned Israel and democracy in the same sentence, clearly a joke…..
The Zionists have no interest whatsoever in a 2 state solution, they have a long term plan to slowly rid themselves of all Palestinians from the occupied territory and more, the building of settlements is a key part of this plan… The world just sits back and does nothing……..trueman 17 Nov 2009, 3:37PMDoes this all sound a bit familiar?
South Africa had a powerful lobby in the days of apartheid. In just one example, Peter Hain, a holder of various high offices in our own UK government was anti-apartheid campaigner in the 1970s. He was successively subjected to a private prosecution by well-connected rich people, a criminal prosecution, a letter bomb attack and a framed bank robbery (both almost cerrtainly by BOSS – the SA equivalent of the murderous Mossad). This is not to mention the support of politicians and the media for the regime over decades.
Yet now the apartheid regime is gone and the colonial experiment is over.
It will be the same in Palestine. The colonists will still be able to live in Palestine, but they will have to share the land, water, roads and justice system.
This is tough for the Zionists to accept, but it is probably a more attractive future for everyone than the gangster state that exists now and the poison that it brings to the UK, the USA and the Middle East.
I think we will see increasingly desperate attempts to hijack the UK and US political and media systems.awkassim 17 Nov 2009, 4:08PMThanks to Channel 4 & Peter Oborne for exposing the pro-Israeli lobby which has hijacked British politics and media for so long.Spatial 17 Nov 2009, 4:25PMmainstream media in the west is so subservient to the pro-Israel group(s) that you can conclude that some countries -like UK, Canada and Australia- are MORE pro-Israel than the USTRUTHBETOLDTOALL 17 Nov 2009, 4:38PM@Epidermoid
Where once serious study would have to be made of difficult subjects now anyone can voice their opinion however ludicrous it might be. There are some here that believe Israel to be monstrous in its creation and behaviour who hold to such base sentiments because what they learn is learned from those who are war with Israel and wish to paint it so.
I hardly think a doctoral thesis is necessary to comment on CIF. It does not take a great mind to observe an action and form an opinion. No amount of wordplay can alter facts.
It is a fact that the Israeli military(Army/Airforce) kill Palestinian children.
It is a fact that Israel has used battlefield munitions in densley populated urban areas.
It is a fact that Israel practises extra-judicial assasinations
It is a fact that Israel collectively punishes the Palestinians by destroyting their homes and blockading the Gaza Strip.
It is a fact that British government wilfuly ingnores Israel’s war crimes and colludes with the IDF by supplying them with military hardware.
These facts are the main sources of the resentment felt towards Israel and the consequential rise in anti-semitism.
It matters not who you learn a fact from so long as it remains a fact. Any objective mind can easily separate factual events from manufactured propaganda
I agree that as passions are inflamed by the subject matter, facts can be skewed to fit a particular narrative.kenth 17 Nov 2009, 4:43PMOkay we’ve got the offending paragraph of my post. I said:
<Nor did it mention the conspiracy (yes, conspiracy) to pervert the course of justice by allowing Israeli General Almog to escape an issued UK arrest warrant for war crimes.>
Tipping of Almog that there is a warrent for his arrest is a clear perversion of the course of justice by some unknown individual. And a conspiracy to enable his fleeing the country. You have no grounds to object to that.
http://www.labournet.net/world/0509/almog1.htmlCDale 17 Nov 2009, 4:43PMThe rise in anti-Semitism in the UK is due solely to the misplaced attitude of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and BICOM British Israel Communications, who have unwisely allied themselves, (and with them, the whole of British Jewry), to the brutality of the Israeli army.
The problem being that those aforementioned organizations do not represent the majority Jewish opinion, much of which is horrified at the deliberate killings of hundreds of children and civilians, in Gaza.
That the offspring of Holocaust survivors in Israel could act in this way is almost impossible to believe and a sickening indictment on religious fundamentalism and ignorance.
This is compounded by much of the opinion here, of persons who have no military experience or who have been no further than their local airport for a week in Eilat.
17 Nov 2009, 5:08PM
Oborne seems to think,according to another of his brilliant TV shows last year, that Muslims are being treated like Jews were in Germany in the 30s, a superb comparison we will all agree. As for CDale, thank you for reminding us that anti-Semitism always everywhere is the Jews’ fault, everyone else is just being reasonable. Tolstoy, not known to be a Jew, had some very relevant comments on this. Try reading him when you become sentient and literate.