Anniversaries are always a time for taking stock and so at this juncture we should probably note the fact that – although still far from perfect – it can be said that there has been some improvement in the Guardian’s moderation of comments on ‘Comment is Free’, including the closure of threads at night when presumably fewer personnel are available to deal with offensive comments.
However, we note that increasing numbers of Israel-related articles are appearing without comments at all, which in some instances may be a blessing, but also prevents readers from correcting the erroneous claims of some of CiF’s writers.
There appears to have been little done in the way of injecting balance into the sheer proportion of articles dealing with Israel-related subjects. That, presumably, is partly a result of the fact that the Guardian elects to keep a full-time correspondent in safe and comfortable Jerusalem rather than in Damascus or Beirut: bread and butter must, after all, be earned.
Nevertheless, the Guardian’s focus on Israel compared to the rest of the Middle East is still obsessive and clearly – to borrow a word much beloved at CiF HQ – disproportionate.
Moreover, the continued commissioning of CiF articles from members and supporters of terrorist organisations as well as writers who are active in trying to bring about the dissolution of the Jewish state is an especially dangerous dynamic.
In addition to our monitoring of CiF articles and comments, we at CiF Watch are constantly debating among ourselves how to make our site more useful to you the reader, so this is your opportunity to tell us what you would like to see.
Do you find our running news updates on incidents such as deteriorations in the security situation or cross-border infiltrations useful?
Are there subjects about which you would like more background information in order to help you in composing your own comments on CiF or elsewhere?
Are our ‘information packs’ on subjects such as the organisations and people behind the flotillas or the Methodist BDS decision useful to you?
Are there aspects of Israel or Israeli life about which you would like more background?
What would you consider useful information in the run-up to a possible Palestinian declaration of independence next month?
So, please tell us in the comments what shape you would like CiF Watch to take as it enters its third year, and of course raise a glass – L’Haim – to life!