Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stratification of Antisemitism at The Guardian

A few days ago CiF Watch posted a piece about the followup at CiF to an article by Harold Evans. It's an interesting story for the way it demonstrates three layers of anti-Jewish animosity at the Guardian.

The first is the editorial level of the paper: what get's published in it. Any long-term reader of the Guardian will recognize that it's editors really don't like Israel. Really really. Yet they're not Nazis, they're not even Hamas, which means not only that they don't hate Jews in Manchester, they don't even automatically hate everything about Israel. Sometimes the remains of their Enlightenment conditioning shine through, and they'll see Israel in a rational light. Often not, of course, but it can happen. One remnant of this is their insistence on the occaisional airing even of a pro-Israel piece on their pages or on CiF. The Evans column that launched our story was one such: veteran British journalist Harold Evans described the Goldstone Report for the travesty it is.

Then there's the level of The Guardian's readership, or at least the segment of it that leaves comments on CiF. A few of them are valiant folks trying to stem the tide by leaving rational comments based upon reality (irrespective of their conclusions: I'm not saying that rational thought must inevitably lead one to agree with a particular political viewpoint). Most commenters at CiF, however, are stark raving mad. They also hate Israel, America, and anyone who doesn't join them in this hate, such as a venerable Old Boy Englishman such as Harold Evans. They have not the slightest interest in facts, save as clubs to beat the Jews with -and they're impartial to the factuality of the facts.

This makes CiF Exhibition A for anyone trying to document the state of Jew hatred in the early 21st century. Such people and such ideas exist out there, make no mistake about it.

Then there's the intermediate level, between the editors of The Guardian and the cesspool of the commenters. This is the level of the CiF moderators, Guardian employees of a lower rank than the editors, who decide which comments are too injurious to remain posted - and by default, what is acceptable and may remain. Because of their existence, The Guardian owns all the content of CiF, above and below the line; feverish hate-filled rantings posted by commenters and not removed by the moderators have been actively condoned by the Guardian staff.

One of the important services of the CiF Watch group is that they're collecting and documenting the actions of the Guardian moderators. They're capturing copies of comments before the moderators delete them. This means we get to see the comments that are so extreme and offensive even the Guardian staff can't live with them - so that's valuable and interesting. It also means we get to see what sort of rational and fact-based position is routinely deleted for not adhering close enough to the Guardian party line. This is where the mediators show the true colors of the editors: an occasional pro-Israel column can be tolerated, but only to a limited degree. Fig leaves, yes; full-blown debate and airing of counter arguments, not acceptable.

6 comments:

peterthehungarian said...

The details of the article and the reactions on CIF can be seen here on CifWatch

AKUS said...

Yaakov - although the editors of the Guardian who presumably reflect the views of the owners, board, etc. or they wouldn't be there are not Nazis or Hamas(I am dubious about the latter given the space they've provided to Hamas spokesmen) there can be no doubt they they provide a warm and accommodating environment for anti-Semitic comments.

Even the "threat" of "moderation" - deletion of comments - does not stop the anti-Semites posting there in the hope that , even if deleted, their comments will survive long enough to impress someone, somewhere. The Guardian knows this, yet while hastening to "ban" a long line of pro-Israeli posters it is a rare day that one of these anti-Semites is banned.

You don't have to be an Einstein, you should pardon the ethnic allusion, to figure out why.

This Is Hell said...

It's really a matter of what or who these organizations are willing to lend their names to. In the states, so called progressive blogs like Salon.com give an open forum to writers like Glenn Greenwald and 'Juan' Cole to spout pretty much whatever they like just this side of Nazi propaganda, and if a reader calls them on it, they are deleted immediately. Now one can pretend to 'be' for free speech and that's all well and good but when you lend your name, even passively to racist maniacs then that, in effect is what you stand for too.

Victor said...

Yaacov, Jewschool has a post up with transcript and audio of the recent Goldstone... what do you call it... teleconference with 100+ American rabbis.

I haven't read or listened to the content, yet, but I thought you might be interested.

Victor said...

I have since read it, and left my comment at the above Jewschool link, under my Jewish name, Avigdor.

Yaacov, this is pure blood in the water. Goldstone is a naive, sheltered fool, drowning in ignorance and swimming in waters far deeper than his ability.

The man has simply never thought, deeply, about Israel, about Hamas, about the context, to a frightening degree.

Goldstone thinks he is still in blood soaked Yugoslavia, and anything goes because he is a UN representative with ultimate moral authority.

It isn't, and he is not. This interview is blood in the water. This man will be intellectually taken down. He will cry. He will repent and... we will forgive him.

But first, let's focus on that takedown.

Gavin said...

Thanks for that link Victor. Your comments are spot on. Goldstone has completely, and very carefully, isolated from culpability what he calls the 'de-facto government' of Gaza. (That's Hamas.) He labels the military force in Gaza as non-state actors, which is demonstrably false but allows him to call state institutions like parliament buildings civilian infrastructure.

He is constantly contradicting himself. He lays charges of collective punishment which is a war crime under the 4th Geneva Convention, yet frequently refers in his report to Hamas as the governing authority of Gaza. Israel can only be an occupier of Gaza, and subject to the 4GC, if they have asserted authority over the territory and yet Goldstone himself is saying that Hamas exert authority. If Hamas are the authority in Gaza then it's Hamas who are guilty of collective punishment.

If Goldstone really is a judge then I feel sorry for anyone who has gone through his court... be a lot of innocent people convicted methinks.

Gavin