Feeble reasons not to boycott the Guardian

The following was written by Geoffrey Alderman, and published yesterday at The JC

Earlier this month, the Board of Deputies declined to adopt a resolution urging “all those who oppose antisemitism to refrain from buying the Guardian or advertising in it”.  

The proposal, tabled by Zionist Federation vice-president Jonathan Hoffman, had already been rejected by the Board’s defence division but the division’s own alternative motion (a wrecking tactic if you ask me), noting the paper’s “continued biased and anti-Israel reporting”, and deploring the lack of action by the Press Complaints Commission, was also rejected.

So, apart from rejecting both propositions, the Board did precisely nothing.

But my concern today is not with the Guardian (for which I have written in the past), or with the concept of a free press – an argument that was, I gather, deployed by opponents of Hoffman’s initiative. My concern is with the Board.

We can argue whether the Guardian really is an antisemitic newspaper and whether – if so – an Anglo-Jewish boycott of it would do any good. In the 1930s, there was a highly effective Jewish-led boycott of the pro-fascist Rothermere press. Lord Rothermere was a supporter of Oswald Mosley. Jewish companies were persuaded to withhold their advertising patronage from his newspapers. Rothermere soon came to heel, signalling that he had done so by ordering the papers to run articles praising the Jewish contribution to British life.

So the “boycott” was highly effective. But this took place three-quarters and more of a century ago, before the internet age. I rarely buy the Guardian, preferring for a variety of reasons (not primarily economic) to read it online. Much of its advertising is placed by international conglomerates which, however “Jewish” some of them might appear, would be unlikely, in today’s economic climate, to forego exposure to make a political point.

Read the rest of the essay, here.

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