I sometimes wonder whether there is such an entity as a journalist’s mind (and I mean other than as an oxymoron). Since the advent of CiF Watch this blog has been collecting and collating evidence to show that the peculiar mindset of the Israel-hating journalist does exist, that it has found welcome on CiF where often its products seem to reflect how divorced from reality is its possessor.
The following is a short walk down memory lane, taking Georgina Henry’s swan song as a comparator and as evidence of the vast acreage between the good that she and her coven think CiF has achieved under her leadership, as opposed to CiF’s contribution to the sum total hatred in the world with her at the helm. Buckle up. Here we go:
Georgina Henry on 18th May 2010: “…You’ll probably agree if you look at our commissions in our first week, that – to coin a phrase – things could only get better…”
CiFWatch: Well, we could most certainly agree, but they didn’t. Instead they got steadily and nastily worse. Embedded among those first commissions was an indication of what was to become Georgina’s relentless obsession, the demonisation of Israel, using the tactic that CiF still employs today although it has been undermined again and again – antisemitism under the false flag of antizionism. We could not know then what we know now and even had we known it what could we, so used to being accused of exaggerating when we called antisemitism for what it was, possibly have done about it? Many of us had grown up regarding the Guardian as one of the best newspapers in the UK. How naïve we were to expect CiF to reflect C P Scott’s “Comment is free but facts are sacred!”
Georgina Henry (same date): “…Oh, and we didn’t have any moderators – and I wasn’t too sure what they did anyway.
“I’ve been trying to make up for this slow start ever since. And it is this, the growing understanding of what community really means – how it changes journalism and journalists – that has been the greatest lesson Cif has taught me….”
CiFWatch: We have news for Henry and her followers – CiF still isn’t too sure what moderators do, except that is, delete posts arbitrarily because they challenge the Guardian World View that Israel is uniquely evil and the Palestinians are the only victims in a conflict they themselves play the most significant part in perpetuating. Henry has been instrumental in shoring up that view by commissioning more anti-Israel articles than pro-Israel, and by indulging and furthering the co-dependent shoring up of the myth that Palestinians alone are victims or are wronged. People who live in the real world know that this is not true.
However, to twist the truth cynically and deliberately, as CiF routinely did under Henry’s command, and by not allowing many of those who could inform people of that truth to post it beneath the line (many who contribute to CiF Watch are “refugees” who fell foul of CiF’s bizarre moderation policy and were banned), is beneath contempt. Equally contemptible was that Henry commissioned articles from Hamas members and their supporters. Also, to further twist the knife, there were articles from Theobald Jews, commissioned no doubt to give CiF’s Israel-hating ethos a specious credibility.
Things might have been different, however, had Henry really been capable of learning. Early in her reign was an article by Arnold Wesker which, had she known it and been capable of engaging with it, could have taken CiF on an entirely different, more intelligent path. The title itself was significant – “The Goading of Israel” – and in it Wesker makes the following significant point:
“….The Israelis may not have turned out to be the wise Jews many of us hoped for, but I don’t believe that they have been allowed to create the climate in which wisdom flourishes. Had the poor, constantly occupied Palestinians, like the desperate, war-ravaged Jews, accepted partition in 1947, then a combination of the Israeli and Palestinian states alongside one another might have by now transformed the Middle East; they might today together have been the leaders in the area….”
Wesker was brave then (and would have been even braver now) to make that statement on CiF to blame the Palestinians for not accepting the partition offered them in 1947. To read later articles on CiF and the comments to them, one would think that authors and commenters were entirely ignorant that there had been such an offer and that the Palestinians had turned it down.
Henry’s divorcement from reality, and her lack of insight into how she is perceived by others, is blatant however from the following:
Georgina Henry: “… As I posted on Cif’s fourth birthday thread – a day when all the comment on Cif was inspired by or written by the community – we are mutually dependent, and at our best, we bring out the best in each other…”
CiFWatch: We note the “at our best” which are the most honest words in the whole article. The inescapable fact is that the “at best” on CiF was and is actually very hard to come by, and consequently comparatively few of the comments of the “community” she waxes lyrical about reflect it. Lies abound, ethics are absent, opinion and supposition are presented as hard and biased fact without any correction even when they are later found to be wrong. We have been treated to Henry’s principal Theobald Jew making capital about the most recent antisemitic blood libel and, by denying that it was antisemitic, opening the door for shoring up a fiction which even the original creator later admitted was false and said that he would not write such a thing again. But never, not once, was an apology made for this or other lies by said Theobald or Henry or her editors.
No eulogy for Henry would be complete without remembering her more (in)glorious moments, priceless in their lack of awareness or insight, for example:
Her excuse for what later became known as the “choir of ethical cretins” article she commissioned from another Theobald Jew and allowed to stand uncorrected, encapsulates the very essence of one who is devoid of any sense of how she might be perceived and, worse, believes her readership to be idiots and that she will always be forgiven because of who she is:
(And, of course, it often looks as though Georgina Henry is forgiven. Any comments which argue with her tend to be deleted).
The second inglorious moment was in fact a profound error in decision making. Again, however, it pointed up her self-aggrandisement, although Henry had Matt Seaton do her dirty work for her.
Prof Geoffrey Alderman writes above and below the line for Comment is Free. He is an erudite man who speaks his mind and will not be cowed into the Guardian World View. However, he committed the cardinal sin of writing for us at CiF Watch, which resulted in his being warned, in best schoolmarm-ish tones by Matt Seaton that if he continued to write for us then CiF would not be able to publish him (see here). Seaton, no doubt egged on by Georgina Henry, even went on to accuse Prof Alderman of falling foul of the hate speech policy, which is rather rich when one considers the amount of Jew-hatred CiF allows to remain below the line.
Of course Georgina had to back down.
It seems petty not to end by contemplating any good Henry might have done in her tenure on CiF. Most important is that the tone she set for CiF and its treatment of mainly Jewish, pro-Israel posters there has resulted in the thriving CiF Watch you see before you. As I said above, many of us are “refugees” from CiF, banned because we had the temerity to argue with its lop-sided view of the Middle East conflict.
So perhaps we should thank her, however grudgingly, for being the reluctant and unwilling midwife to an on line forum which puts the facts out there about Israel and its people and where comment really is free.