End of Arts Council funding for London Review of Books

By Jennifer Lipman, March 30, 2011
Mary Kay Wilmers

Mary Kay Wilmers

A literary magazine described by historian Benny Morris as sometimes being "no more than pro-Arab propaganda" will no longer receive any government funding.

The London Review of Books (LRB), published once a fortnight, had received £767,000 of public money to pay contributors since it was founded 31 years ago. However it did not apply for Arts Council support this year.

Of the money the LRB was given, nearly £190,000 was spent on 92 articles about the Israeli Palestinian conflict. An investigation by media monitor Just Journalism found that all but one of those "put forward a staunchly pro-Palestinian narrative".

In a report released last year, Just Journalism revealed that many LRB articles portrayed Israel as "a bloodthirsty and genocidal regime out of all proportion to reality" but gave "sympathetic portraits" of terrorist organisations including Hamas and Hizbollah.

The LRB was also described by Norman Lebrecht, former assistant editor of the Evening Standard, as "a resolutely anti-Israel publication".

Its editor, Mary Kay Wilmers, has gone on record offering understanding towards Palestinian suicide bombers and describing herself as "unambiguously hostile to Israel because it's a mendacious state".

Before the cuts were announced, Professor Morris called it "misguided if not downright hostile towards Israel" for the government to continue to subsidise the LRB.

Last updated: 4:15pm, March 30 2011