|A pro-Israel demo in Brazil|
Early this month Brazil, its example soon followed by Argentina and Uruguay, announced its recognition of an independent State of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital. A not insignificant development, you might think. Certainly, those astute analysts Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post and Robin Shepherd of the Henry Jackson Society consider it so: they’ve devoted several paragraphs to this circumstance and what it may portend if it has a domino effect that causes other nations – especially France and others within the EU – to follow the South Americans’ example. (Scroll down to my blogroll for the Caroline Glick and Robin Shepherd blogs)
Not so, it seems, Britain’s Jewish Chronicle – the "Organ of Anglo-Jewry". I've looked in vain on its website for any mention of this breaking news – there has been none. The website (an award-winning one, no less, though that was some years ago) is as shtum about that development as it was about the speeches of Geert Wilders and Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff in Israel last week. The reasons for these omissions appears not far to seek – the JC obviously doesn’t approve of Mr Wilders and Ms Sabaditsch-Wolff for their robust unpolitically correct opposition to the islamification of Europe, so instead of reporting their speeches, vigorously pro-Israel though both were, and letting readers make up their own minds, they don’t report them at all.
Indeed, about many matters that we might reasonably expect a Jewish newspaper of its supposed calibre to report, the JC website is silent. Instead, the seeming lightweights among its reporting staff (they're of the female variety, I regret to say) were this past week, as usual, very much in evidence, displaying their characteristic preference for “news lite”, much of it revolving around “celebrities”, and with poking fun (not for the first time) at that good friend of Israel, Sarah Palin.
“You'll probably be shocked, but that kind of story will cause more of a stir around Shabbat dinner tables than all of the Israel-related stories put together”, noted a former world news editor of the newspaper, the man who was responsible for setting up the website in the first place. He might be expected to know. But – oh, surely not. Is the Britannic component of the People of the Book really that dumbed-down?
And are those not-so-intrepid reporters so clueless about world events impacting (and that deleteriously) on the Jewish State that they’re likely to imagine “the Brazilian initiative” is something to do with a trends in coffee-drinking or in hairstyles or in body waxing? Alas, I suspect so. (Don’t get me wrong, froth, frivolity, flippancy and – er – fluff do have their place, but not in every increasing measure on the paper’s website at the expense of important news.)
Below is a London newspaper vendor’s placard from the mid-1960s, when the JC was still a considerable force in the Jewish world. In common with other newspapers, as they compete with electronic media and try to carve out a viable online presence for themselves, the JC has its problems – there have been rumours of falling readership and revenue and of recent staff redundancies. But the quality of the paper has declined compared to what it was when that photo was taken; the amount of editorial news and solid features has diminished – I do not intend to imply that they have vanished altogether. That would be churlish and untrue.
http://jcwatch.wordpress.com/contains probably all you would wish to know about the episode – as well as rather alot more! ( The JC staff are said to look in at frequent intervals, wondering what the often somewhat intemperate Mr Reiss will come out with next!)
The paper seemed and indeed seems blissfully unaware that blogs on its website are reproduced on sites such as Jewish Press International – whose readers are no doubt startled and affronted to see the kind of blogs that were (until editor Stephen Pollard tardily heeded outraged readers' pleas and imposed a crack-down) and lamentably sometimes still are posted there. I’m not talking about blogs that criticise aspects of Israeli policy. I’m talking about blogs that demonised Israel and spewed out obnoxious vitriol about the Jewish State and its supporters, even comparing Zionists and the IDF to Nazis, and using words like "ubermenschen" and "liebensraum" [sic] in connection with Israeli attitudes.
A taunting poster who perpetually insulted Jews and Israel, including the Israeli flag, and addressed a zealous pro-Zionist poster, no less a communal personage than Jonathan Hoffman, as "Mr Ten Per Cent", constantly personally insulting him and other pro-Israel posters, was allowed to remain for weeks and weeks, even after having numerous antisemitic posts flagged. Some posts, including ones mocking and scorning the EUMC definition of antisemitism – were removed following complaints. There were many similar examples. I can only assume that the JC staff tolerated bloggers and posters such as that antisemite because they wanted to impress advertisers and potential advertisers with the impression that the website’s readers’ blogs (a feature that was almost as lifeless as a dodo only a year or so ago) are jumping with activity.
But advertisers can read – and if they did bother to find out what is actually being written by some bloggers and posters, with the apparent full blessing of the paper, they may well have taken their revenue elsewhere.
The paper is still biased against certain viewpoints, or at any rate certain individuals who voice them. It’s failed to print letters this past week from two redoubtable rightwing Zionists, Jonathan Hoffman and Jon Cohen (of course, the reason could be that the paper had no space, has held them over, and will print them next week, although I believe both gentlemen – through past experience – believe such optimism to be misplaced!) "If your name is Stanley Walinets then you have a letter published weekly", grumbles Jon Cohen, a regular poster on the paper’s website, today, referring to a well-known activist within the fringe group Jews for Justice for Palestinians. This, incidentally, is presumably the same Mr Walinets who posted the following tasteful piece on the JC’s website not so long ago (8 November) as a blog; following complaints, the paper was prudent enough to remove it:
Said Hitler "I wanted the world to hate Jews!
But how can I do it? I’m dead…
I know! Re-incarnate as hard-right Israelis
And let them do it instead!"
The JC’s editor, Mr Pollard, is perhaps haplessly in thraldom to this state of affairs, and possibly despite his better judgment. After all, the poor fellow clearly has to eat. He has written of his own disavowal of leftist attitudes in the wake of 9/11. In 2006, before assuming the JC’s editorship, he wrote:
"...large, mainstream sections of the Left – typified by the [then] Mayor of London [Ken Livingstone]– now choose to ally themselves with Islamists who seek to destroy the essence of Western civilisation, who would put to death homosexuals and Jews, and who would put women in metaphorical – and sometimes literal – chains, and the moral cancer that has taken hold of the Left becomes clear.
.... It is not easy to acknowledge what the Left has become, and the mindset of leftists.... The mainstream Left has demonstrated clearly which side of the battle to preserve Western civilisation and freedom it is on. The Left, in any recognisable form, is now the enemy." http://www.stephenpollard.net/002558.htmlAnd before the May General Election he revealed, in his usual felicitous literary style, that he was endorsing the Conservative Party after a lifetime of voting Labour.
Moreover, Mr Pollard began a book review in the New York Times last year with these words:
"There is no more important issue facing the West than Islamism, Islamofascism or – to use yet another label – radical Islam. And there is no more necessary precondition to countering that threat than understanding it: where it springs from, how it is expressed and the ways in which it is spreading. But before we do any of that, we have to agree that the threat exists". (From the rest of the review there's scant doubt that he most certainly does.) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/.../Pollard-t.html
"I hear that one or two Jewish community leadership figures have even been going round bad-mouthing certain non-Jews who defend Israel in public. Behind the scenes these leadership figures are viciously attacking people such as Douglas Murray or Robin Shepherd as ‘extremist’, ‘Islamophobic’, ‘right-wing’ and so forth, and urging other community figures not to support them.
This is utterly astonishing. Heaven knows these courageous, decent and principled people are rare enough in these terrible times; if only there were more of them. They are putting themselves on the line to support Israel and fight for the defence of the west in the teeth of mass hysteria, thus courting the threat of professional and social ostracism. Jews owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. Yet incredibly, these British Jewish community leaders, driven by a combination of ideological spite, empire-building and egomania, are blackening their names and thus trying to squeeze them into silence.
I have said before that the ingrained servility of British Jewish leaders, who believe in working behind the scenes in trying to influence the great and the good rather than putting their heads above the parapet and making their case in public, explains why they have so conspicuously failed to stand up in public against the madness over Israel that has engulfed Britain and the west. But the reality is far, far worse than that. By endorsing the positions of those who are demonising and delegitimising Israel through echoing their distortions, decontextualisations and grotesquely inverted morality, it has now become clear that Britain’s most senior Jewish community leadersheep [sic – well-characterised!] are simply, and tragically, on the wrong side." http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/6493974/the-british-jewish-leadersheep.thtml#comments
This prompted Edgar Davidson (who on his own blog has made a number of strictures about the JC’s editorial bias against the Israeli and the British right and against the EDL such as this post of 27 June http://www.edgar1981.blogspot.com/.../jewish-chronicle-gets-it-all-wrong.html) to comment beneath Ms Phillips’s post:
'The increasingly indifferent (and at times hostile) attitude of British Jewish Leadership toward Israel is reflected in the deterioration of the Jewish Chronicle over the last two years. The JC is increasingly taking on the mantle of standard left-wing Jewish critics of Israel. This can be seen in the prominence it now gives every week to articles, letters and interviews with anti-Zionists. The JC is increasingly obsessed with the 'radical right wing threat to British Jewry' while continuing to ignore the real threat from the Islamist-leftist alliance. To confirm its total ignorance of what is really going on, it continues to refer to the American J-Street organisation as a "pro-Israel liberal lobby" even after the evidence that its leaders had hidden the fact is was being secretly funded by the anti-Zionist Soros and even Arab propagandists.'He was supported by a comment from a certain Michelle, who observed:
'I agree with you wholeheartedly about the JC. This story is obviously boosting their declining circulation. It is to be expected when we know the connections between the JC’s owners - the Kessler Foundation and the New Israel Fund.
Nicholas Saphir, (a Sussex-based [actually Kent-based] farmer, is a trustee of the Kessler Foundation which oversees the running of the JC. He is also Chairman of the New Israel Fund as well as being involved in "overseeing the running of the JC." In such circumstances, could The JC’s current editorial policy actually be influenced by Nicholas Saphir and his New Israel Fund’s political views?
If so, are we to conclude, that the "Organ of British Jewry" is now moving very much left of centre in the various debates concerning Israel and diaspora Jewry?' [Hat tip to Michelle, for thereby inspiring the title of the present blogpost!]http://www.juniperinthedesert.blogspot.com/)as well as by observations by other commenters. Certainly the jury – make that Jewry – should still be out as far as the EDL is concerned. As one commenter remarked: "I think that we need to reserve judgment on the EDL unless or until there is a definite proven connection to the BNP."
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – it’s time Anglo-Jewry realised that it’s no longer fighting Oswald Mosley and the BUF. The enemy these days doesn’t wear a blackshirt but an entirely different garb. And quite frankly, if its hard news you want, especially about Israel and related international affairs, the jc.com is not the place for you. You’re better off making a personal google page and adding the Jerusalem Post as a module. But if you’re still tempted by the jc.com, do accept its opinions with at least two pinches of salt, and – as someone reminded me this week – don’t allow its take on events to shape yours.