What makes Cif different? - By Hawkeye of CiF Watch


By Jonathan Hoffman
February 20, 2010
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The following article was published in the JC yesterday:

Please also comment on the CiF Watch site.

Guardian’s flagship blog reeks of antisemitism

Exactly why is this website different from all other websites? That was the question posed by a commenter on the Guardian’s flagship blog “Comment is Free” (CiF) last week in response to the suggstion by a number of commenters on the thread that the call by Jenny Tonge for the IDF to investigate organ harvesting in Haiti was manufactured by the Jewish media cabal to smear Tonge.

That whiff, or perhaps more accurately, stench, of antisemitism is something which is ever present in “Comment is Free” threads that deal with Israel and Jewish-related subjects. In a typical comment thread on the Israel/Palestinian conflict, you’ll encounter analogies to Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, claims that Zionism is a racist ideology, accusations that Israel ethnically cleanses the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine and that the nefarious Israel lobby wields untold control over US and UK foreign policy.

Any pro-Israel commenter will tell you that the minute that they espouse a position in support of Israel, they are cyber-mobbed by a group of virulently anti-Israel commenters parroting the familiar tropes of the anti-Israel narrative. And if you decide to stick around long enough you’ll discover that comments which don’t quite fit what we at CiF Watch call the “Guardian World View”, such as those comments that cite excerpts from the Hamas Charter, are summarily deleted. CiFWatch is replete with examples. It is against this backdrop that Professor Geoffrey Alderman has joined a long list of pro-Israel commenters who have been banned from posting.

But to really understand what goes on “below the line” in the comment threads, you have to understand what diet of hate commenters are being fed by the “above the line” Guardian-commissioned articles. “Comment is Free” regularly features articles that portray Israel as the equivalent of apartheid South Africa. For example, Ben White, author of “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginners’ Guide” and an apologia for Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial, is a regular columnist. Other regulars include Seth Freedman and Antony Lerman, both part of a vocal minority of anti-Zionist Jews that find a welcome home in the Guardian. The former recently wrote a despicable article using Israel’s heroic efforts in Haiti as a stick with which to beat Israel for the travails of Gaza, the latter an article denying that a Pat Oliphant cartoon making analogies between Israel and Nazi Germany was antisemitic.

The Guardian has even commissioned articles on more than one occasion from Hamas members including Khalid Mish’al and supporters of the one-state solution, such as Ali Abunimah of the virulently anti-Israel Electronic Intifada, are given a platform. Dig a little deeper and you’ll learn that “Comment is Free” allowed Peter Oborne to publicise his infamous documentary prior to its airing on Channel 4 – followed by a ringing endorsement from Antony Lerman – and Victoria Brittain was given a platform to spread unsubstantiated claims that Israel was causing blue baby syndrome among Gazans through poisoning of the water – a modern day blood libel if there was ever one.

Sure “Comment is Free” may occasionally publish the odd token pro-Israel article – so that it can trumpet the claim of “balance” – and may even ratchet up the frequency of these articles when there is increased scrutiny- as happened two weeks ago. However one cannot ignore the fact that the overwhelming number of articles are, in varying degrees, anti-Israel in their bias.

And what are we to make of the case of Isabella Mackie (aka BellaM) who is a CiF moderator and daughter of none other than Guardian chief editor, Alan Rusbridger, engaging in an ad hominem attack on Melanie Phillips, in contravention of the Guardian’s talk policy?

Even worse, what about the more recent case of a commenter going by the moniker of “William Bapthorpe” who advocated the slaughter of West Bank Jews down to “every last man, woman and child”? Though this comment was deleted, Matt Seaton, editor of “Comment is Free”, brazenly refused to ban “Bapthorpe”. It was only after wider publicity of the affair through CiF Watch and a police complaint that some two weeks later Seaton bowed to pressure and banned “Bapthorpe”.

So when Matt Seaton says “[w]e take all forms of hate speech extremely seriously, especially antisemitism, and we work hard to delete offensive postings rapidly” how can we take what he says seriously?

COMMENTS

moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Sun, 02/21/2010 - 09:24

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Who is this Hawkeye fellow and why is he hiding behind a pseudonym? That's not very brave from someone who runs an Orwellian watch site? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? eh Cifwatchers?


Jon_i_Cohen

Sun, 02/21/2010 - 12:45

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The Guardian web site "comment is free" have a very efficient "moderating", (I call it censoring), system, posts are not put up immediately, they check IP addresseses and review comments.
Whenever, any of my comments have been posted, within 5 minutes they have been taken down.
And, that is on a trendy-left, web-site, advocating, democratic viewpoints - or so they would have you believe.


DLeigh-Ellis

Sun, 02/21/2010 - 13:35

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well Jon, given your anti-guardian sentiment and the kind of junk you right on this website, i can only imagine that the stuff you write on the guardian probably is offensive.

Btw, i think your need to finish every post you make with a list of leftist characteristics you dislike is beginning to fall flat on its face, your grammar has gone to pot, ' trendy-left, web-site, advocating, democratic viewpoints.' That doesn't even mean anything!

Get an education Jon!


Jonathan Hoffman

Sun, 02/21/2010 - 16:13

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Look, he has the write to right 'write' wrong if he wants!

Spelling's like Israeli history

There's no 'right' history - there's just different 'narratives'

:-)


Avraham Reiss

Sun, 02/21/2010 - 16:35

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If you really want to see Israeli history being rewritten, you should be here during the 2 weeks of 'Festival Rabin', commemorating his yartzheit.

In a couple of years time the only great human achievement not so far attributed to him, will probably be the invention of the wheel ...

But then, when considering that his origins were in Mapam, the Bolshevik action of rewriting history doesn't seem so strange ...


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Sun, 02/21/2010 - 16:45

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Are we to take it then, Avraham, that you approve of Yigal Amir, yimach shemo, and his assassination of Yitzhak Rabin Hy"d? Also, Rabin Hy"d roots are in Achdut Ha'avodah, not Mapam -- although there is nothing wrong with the latter is its people were the backbone of the Palmach, so I can see why you are so confused.


Avraham Reiss

Sun, 02/21/2010 - 17:04

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I never wrote one word against Rabin himself, everyone but you understood that I was criticizing his messianic followers.

For the record, IMHO amir should have received the death sentence.

And stop talking rubbish about things of which you have no knowledge. Mapam was comprised of 3 parties, one of which was Achdut Haavodah..


DLeigh-Ellis

Sun, 02/21/2010 - 19:05

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Yup Avraham, obviously it was a little too subtle for you to comprehend, but my spelling mistake was intended!

I've got no beef with you Av, but look back at Jons comments towards me over the last four months or so and you will see why i reacted as I did. If you find what I said offensive and have no problem with the statements directed by Jon towards me then you must be considered at least a little misaligned.


Avraham Reiss

Sun, 02/21/2010 - 21:04

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DLeigh-Ellis:
"Btw, why call on Jess to censure me and then claim a few posts later that you 'don't care if 20 Jessica Elgots don't like it.' A little inconsistent surely?"

Dead right, mate! You caught me red- (but not right-) handed! Inconsistency - the spice of life.

"but my spelling mistake was intended"
- yeah, we use that here in Israel too, when teaching kids: "I was just testing if you're paying attention ... ".


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Sun, 02/21/2010 - 21:07

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Who is this Hawkeye fellow and why is he hiding behind a pseudonym? That's not very brave from someone who runs an Orwellian watch site, is it? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? eh Cifwatchers? I sometimes think that some of the CifWatchers place antisemitic comments on Cif Just to see how long it takes management to remove them. Also, isn't Mr Hoffman actually Hawkeye?


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Sun, 02/21/2010 - 21:08

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But, Avraham, you were criticising what you termed the Rabin (Hashem yikom damo) Festival during which you allege that history is rewritten. How is one not to understand that you were in favour of his assassination, especially since you term his followers as "messianic". I would have thought that Amir, yimach shemo, imo, achoto and aviv, would have been your cup of tea.
Oh, and achdut ha'avodah was one of the constituents of Mapai, not Mapam, and it was one of the more hawkish among them. It joined with Ben-Gurion's (and Peres's) Rafi party to keep the more doveish elements, like Aba Even, down. I know it's confusing, but do check.


returning sephardim

Mon, 02/22/2010 - 14:42

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Hi folks,

Just briefly I don't think anything was done in a purposefully underhand or secretive way. Discretion is not the same as secrecy. Hoffman gave his name. I may not agree with all any of you have written, but I think attacking one another has got to be dis-constructive not constructive. It is true there is anti-Semitism in the world but there are friends there too. If we attack each-other where does that put us? If we we see only enemies in the world at large how can we expect them to see us truly? There are always strong views but we should set ourselves apart without writing our own words in daggers. We can control our own eyes, not those of others. If we try to see things from all angles we might even see more clearly, then maybe others will too. If we see with hatred, our sight aint clear.

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