“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Cif

Neo-Nazis And The Guardian.

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It is often very hard to distinguish the real thinking behind remarks left at Comment is Free.

Some are obviously offensive, others are openly racist and many others are borderline, full of euphemisms, twisted reasoning and questionable assumptions. Plus the fact that many of the most extreme racists have learn to hide their views under a mountain of verbiage or post-modernist twaddle.

So articles like that of Efraim Zuroff’s No time limit for Nazi convictions are most welcome, not only for their content but as they serve a secondary purpose of highlighting those with sympathies for the Extreme Right.

I will leave readers to analyse the full content of the thread, some 159 comments and see how even on this topic certain Far Right posters on Comments is Free can’t resist making snide remarks about Jews or Israel.

I am sure readers will notice that those on the thread so sympathetic to Heinrich Boere are often equally bitter against Israel and Jews, which is hardly a coincidence, is it ?

Not that the Guardian would like it if a fair few of its on-line posters were thought of as neo-Nazis or their sympathisers?

The Guardian’s Blindspot.

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There is an excellent article in today’s Guardian, dealing with the growth of Far Right groups in America and it highlights how aggressive rhetoric from people like Glenn Beck may have contributed to that rise, as it reports:

“How far such language is now part of the mainstream political discourse was confirmed by Politico today, which reported that it had obtained a Republican national committee document detailing plans to raise election funds with “an aggressive campaign capitalising on ‘fear’ of President Barack Obama” and a promise to “save the country from trending toward socialism”.”

So the Guardian is right to point out that aggressive rhetoric in the public discourse can have dire consequences, the rise of the Far Right, the potential for incitement, racial violence, etc

All very observable and easily documented, based on the evidence.

Yet the irony is that the Guardian, in the form of its electronic service, Comment is Free contributes to such racism on a daily basis.

Granted, it is not the bellicose demagoguery of American talk show hosts, it is rather very English, understated, but the effect is similar.

Instead of attacks on President Obama, creeping socialism etc, instead of that Comment is Free posts outpourings of anti-Jewish racism, conspiracy theories and attacks on Israelis on a daily basis.

And that is the Guardian’s blindspot, their inability to see how they are actively contributing to anti-Jewish racism.

(H/T: Adam Holland)

Written by modernityblog

05/03/2010 at 14:20

Holocaust Denial on CiF.

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In light of Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time, CiFwatch’s look at Holocaust denial on CiF is rather timely.

It should come as no surprise to readers that neither the BBC or the Guardian management seem to have a clue about neo-fascism or the whys and wherefores of Holocaust denial.

I often think that it is as if history never happened, lessons were never learnt and Homer Simpson’s approach to politics and intellectual discourse is becoming more and more widespread.

Written by modernityblog

23/10/2009 at 03:05

CIF, Saudis and HRW.

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Many, many people are following the Garlasco debacle, but to be honest I can’t keep up with it, still CiFWatch has a rather well written piece with a discussion of these events, as they are unfolding on CiF.

People are duking it out in the Seth Freedman thread, but what I found interesting was the type of guests who were invited to the HRW meeting/presentation in Saudi Arabia.

I remember it going on, and the fuss about it, but I hadn’t fully appreciated how many Saudi bigwigs were there, as HRW says it self:

“The roughly 50 guests at the reception in Riyadh included three with governmental affiliations: the spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior; the deputy head of the Human Rights Commission, a governmental organization; and a member of the Shura Council, a government-appointed consultative body.”

They make a point of saying:

“None was solicited for funds, nor would Human Rights Watch ever accept funds from such officials, in any country.”

And I’m sure that HRW wouldn’t have solicited funds, they wouldn’t need to, that’s not how it works.

Money in this case is such a vulgar topic, rather they would make a generalized presentation and there would be an implicit, an inferred, unwritten, understanding between the guests and the hosts that should they agree then at some point, in the future, some money may come from a Saudi source. It would be all very nebulous, if it came to that, nothing crude, nothing vulgar, unspoken. I daresay Sir Humphrey Appleby would admire their manoeuvering, but it does leave a bit of a sour taste in the mouth for the rest of us.

I have admired HRW’s work in the past, pity that they’ve had to compromise themselves in this way.

Written by modernityblog

15/09/2009 at 02:00

Have Their Work Cut Out For Them.

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If you were, say 20 or 30 years ago, to argue that one of the mainstream liberal newspapers in Britain, the Guardian, often allows its facilities to be used for the propagandarising of anti-Jewish racism then no one would have believed you.

Yet it is perfectly possible to scan articles on Comment is Free and find numerous instances of anti-Jewish racism, which is all the more surprising given the Guardian’s alleged opposition to racism and its use of moderators.

Nevertheless, CiF has become a hotbed of anti-Jewish racism and depressingly so, but pinning down exactly which bits are vulgar criticisms or crude generalisations from the entrenched anti-Jewish racism is hard, as comments are often deleted retrospectively and the volume of articles on CiF makes it hard to keep up with the worst offenders.

Therefore, I was gratified to see CiF Watch start up.

I feel they will have a very difficult task ahead of them, tackling anti-Jewish racism on CiF is a mammoth endeavour, I wish them luck and fortitude. They’ll need it.

Written by modernityblog

24/08/2009 at 22:56

Submitted To Moderation

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It seems that my comments on Comment is Free are automatically submitted for moderation. This has happened a few times, more recently when I saw an article on PressTV, by a leading PressTV employee.

Hmm, no conflict of interests there?

So apart from why a liberal newspaper should want to provide PR for PressTV, I was curious on another matter and I posted a question:

“If PressTV is so blameless, please could you explain why it provides a platform for Holocaust Denial?

Nick Kollerstrom wrote an opinion piece “Dr Nicholas Kollerstrom argues that the alleged massacre of Jewish people by gassing during World War II was scientifically impossible. “

[warning a link to his article, rather nasty]

According to her web site, Lady Renouf is often offered a warm welcome at PressTV.

Readers will remember that Lady Renouf has been a major supporter of David Irving, Ernest Zundel and Robert Faurrison, all leading Holocaust deniers.

That and much more.

So why does PressTV push Holocaust Denial.”

None of my recent comments on CiF have been offensive or rude, so it is peculiar that they should be pushed into moderation whilst offensive comments from anti-Jewish racists seem to sail straight through the Guardian’s moderation scheme.

Still I doubt that my comment will ever see the light of day over there, perhaps they should rename CiF to Comments Are Moderated.

Update: It seems to have got through!

Written by modernityblog

15/07/2009 at 15:14

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Ilan Halimi and CiF

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I was reading Z blog’s post on Ilan Halimi when I wondered if that modern-day bastion of intellectual “anti-Zionism” actually had any articles on the poor young man’s death.

Imagine my surprise when searching CiF for “Ilan Halimi”:

“You are searching: Comment is free Search all sites
‘Ilan Halimi’

0 results | Clear this search

Sorry, there are no results for your search query, please try another search.”

Zero results.

However, when I put “Israel” I get back 2511 results.

How peculiar, no bias there for sure?

In the Guardian proper, Ilan Halimi is mentioned in nine articles, a grand total of nine.

But you can almost guess what next? “Israel” elicits 22702 results.

That is nearly 23,000! But not one for Ilan Halimi.

I suppose that tells us a bit about the prejudices that drive CiF?

Pity, the Guardian was once a good newspaper.

Written by modernityblog

14/07/2009 at 16:47

Amazon Vs. CiF.

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I simply couldn’t resist this, as Seismic said, “Mercifully, the moderators at amazon are less “hands-on”:

From an Amazon review of Ben White’s book:

” 1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful, unbalanced, and ultimately unhelpful, 10 Jul 2009

By Entrepreneur (London) – See all my reviews

Ben White is known to be a very biased writer. He approaches the situation in Israel from a highly prejudice point of view, and makes no effort to be balanced or even handed. So if you’re an unthinking Israel hater, you might like this book, as it’ll add fuel to your fire of hatred. But if you are looking for an intelligent assessment of the complex and terrible situation in the Middle East, and it’s causes, look elsewhere. While White claims to be dealing with the origins of the situation, he does everything but. He prefers not to mention terrorism, and successful measures to stop it.

This author prefers everything to be black and white, good or bad, right or wrong. And for him, Israel can only do wrong. Having gone on the record as ‘understanding why’ people are antisemitic, one might question his reasons for this. No serious author on this topic should be this blinkered, limited, and prejudice. Such an approach is part of the problem, not the solution.

White neglects to mention vital events, such as Israel disengaging completely from Gaza in 2005. He ends many of his quotations just a bit too early, thus bending their meaning to his needs, but totally misrepresenting the original sense of the original source. And his sources all turn out to be form totally anti Israel writers. No serious author limits themselves in this way, and thus this reader can only conclude that White wasn’t aiming for balance, but for dogma and and bile. On that score, he succeeds (hence the 1 star I have awarded him), but as a wannabe author and peace activist, he needs to try much harder.

A dreadful little book. “

Written by modernityblog

11/07/2009 at 19:15


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Seismic has the Guardian bang to rights with their silly moderation policy and even sillier control freakery in trying to form the terms of the debate.

Not only do “anti-Zionists” like Ben White ban critics from public meetings, but they can’t take factual corrections of their own faulty research. As shown below, White used made up quotes from Ben Gurion to paint a bleaker picture of his views and the situation in pre-1948 Palestine.

Fake quotations from the Talmud and the Zionist leaders, including Ben Gurion, used to be confined to neo-Nazi and Extreme Right web sites, but now they are entering the mainstream thanks to War on Want, Ben White and Pluto Press, oh, not forgetting the Guardian’s role.

My last comment on that Ben White thread was thrown into moderation and I would expect, given the capricious nature of the moderation policy on CiF around these topics, that it won’t see the light of day, other than on this blog, just a reminder:

“I find it fascinating that a liberal newspaper, The Guardian, which apparently champions freedom of speech and freedom of expression has such a one-sided moderation policy.

So far I have had three, fairly innocuous, comments deleted.

I do, however, feel fortunately that neither the Chinese State, nor the Guardian’s moderators and their bosses, have control over the wider Internet or I suspect there would be a serious diminishment of the exchange of views as a result.

Still, the Guardian’s desire to control the terms of the debate does not go unnoticed in the wider blogosphere.

Shame about CiF, I used to like it.

That is the problem with power, it goes to people’s heads be they, Prime Ministers, Presidents, journalists, politicians or lowly Internet moderators.

Anyone interested can read the Guardian’s laughable community-standards (moderation policy). Shame they only partly implement their own guidelines on “We will not tolerate racism…”.

Written by modernityblog

11/07/2009 at 18:37

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The Guardian, Moderation and Anti-Jewish Racism.

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I can see that when a final reckoning on the CiF project at the Guardian is conducted that it won’t be too pretty.

Certainly, the Guardian’s CiF has stimulated debate, but what safeguards have been put in place to avoid it being used to foster racism and bigotry.

Latterly the Guardian introduced some moderation but in the more contentious threads many racist remarks still slip through.

The racist remarks that slip through a notable for one particular reason, they are normally aimed at only one social and ethnic minority, Jews.

Other bigoted comments which attack gays, blacks, the Roma, or even Muslims, etc are picked up with great speed and deleted before you could say “worried liberal”.

But it would be a fairly easy task to implement a careful moderation scheme which also manages the outpouring of anti-Jewish racism. Sadly, the Guardian and its staff are seemingly incapable of doing that relatively simple task.

I can’t determine if it is a lack of will, an indifference, a deficit in training or just plain laziness which means the Guardian forums on anything remotely connected to Israel often become a hotbed of barely concealed anti-Jewish racism.

This is surely surprising, as the Guardian, being Britain’s only liberal daily newspaper should be in the forefront of the opposition to anti-Jewish racism, but as we saw when it pushed Churchill’s nasty racist play, Seven Jewish Children, it is clearly losing its moral compass, or at least playing to the lowest common denominator. I’m not sure which.

Either way it is not an edifying sight, still it reminds me of what Dave Rich wrote:

“It is often said, not least by CST, that criticism of Israel is perfectly legitimate, just as it is of any other state. Equally, though, people who want to criticise or campaign against Israel should exercise care that their activities do not invoke or allude to traditional antisemitic imagery or language.

Written by modernityblog

10/07/2009 at 18:53

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The Guardian Getting Touchy About Own Racism on Cif.

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Well, not really. My impression is that the Guardian doesn’t mind criticizing Israelis or Jews, but can’t stand it when their obvious prejudices are pointed out.

I have been following an article by Ben White on CiF, and had commented:

“I can only wonder, in say 10 or 20 years from now, when someone is writing a potted history of how anti-Jewish racism came to resurrect itself in England, how the Guardian, as a liberal newspaper, will fare?

Not too well I suspect.

Here’s Eric Lee’s account of that meeting.

Then a few minutes later my remarks had been deleted:


10 Jul 09, 2:18pm (about 1 hour ago)
This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.”

Which is somewhat strange, as my comment was fairly innocuous. I can only assume that they are a bit touchy about being reminded of the racism that they are pushing.

Update: Other poster at CiF had similar problems (from the comment above):

I had the following deleted. CIF moderation told me it was because i had made personal attacks on WHite.

1) Ben – Would you support Israel building the wall along the Green Line ?

Why have you banned a Jewish person from attending your book launch tonight ? Because he’s from a pro-Israeli organisation. Can you not take debate ? Or is it so there isn’t a repeat performance of the anti-semitic abuse (Hitler was right) dished out at the last meeting for your book launch.

You have already written that you can understand why some people are antisemitic which says it all.

2) Hi Syd. Hoffman is definitely banned from the meeting. It’s a War On Want meeting for his booklaunch. Either WOW have banned Hoffman or White has forced WOW to ban him. If it’s WOW then Ben should call fro Hoffman to be allowed entry to the meeting.

“At a recent meeting arranged by White, a woman was jeered when she said her Jewish-sounding name prior to asking a question. Another Jew present was told the Nazis should have finished the job.

Seems that Ben White in his new book has been using false quotes. Bearing in mind he’s a Cambridge graduate in English it’s strange that White has done this as he certainly has the capabilities to source and check his quotations correctly. Bit of a whiff !

No wonder War On Want don’t want Hoffman at the book launch tonight.”

Update 2: Another poster comments:

“I have attempted to criticise Ben White’s neglect of any Israeli perspective on the fence (pro or con) in three varying forms, all non-aggressive or accusatory. I also tried to link to Harry’s Place which have an important response to Ben White’s arguments. All have been deleted. This sort of biased censorship in a mainstream newspaper strikes me as frightening more than anything else.”

Update 3: Seismic has two pieces on White and his attitudes.

Written by modernityblog

10/07/2009 at 15:49

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