Tony Greenstein | 03 December 2016 | Post Views:

New Statesman Editor Jason Cowley Personally Rings Up Long Time Subscriber to Find Out Why He Cancelled 
Editor Simon Cowley – feeling the heat
The New Statesman Editorial Collective is feeling the heat over their decision to comply with the demands of UK Media Watch to remove an article.

I received this message today from a long-time subscriber.

—– Forwarded Message —–

Sent: Thursday, 1 December 2016, 20:17
Subject: Re: Sign the Petition to Boycott the New Statesman

For what it’s worth, I cancelled my decade long subscription to New Statesman today, and to my great surprise promptly received a phone call from editor Jason Cowley.

First up he proffered an alternative explanation to the censorship story, claiming that the article in question had been a paid commercial piece inconsistent with the eligibility criteria. He denied all knowledge of outside intervention and insisted that PSC were acting in bad faith.

But more interestingly from my point of view, I had the opportunity to air long felt grievances about NS positioning on the Israel-Palestine issue more generally.
He didn’t attempt directly to contradict my assertion that the magazine is liberal Zionist in its editorial and selection of content. He merely stated support for “the Jewish State” and a two state solution.

He did seem to take on my gravely articulated suggestion that Israel is becoming ever more extreme in its behaviour and that sooner or later, a publication that defines itself by left progressive values may have to reassess its position. I was surprised by his, almost humble, acknowledgment of this, but I’m sure this conciliatory stance is primarily a damage limitation exercise. Who knows how many other long term subscribers like me are pulling the plug!

Keeping quiet – Clinton supporter Laurie ‘ex-red’ Penney

It is clear that the campaign against the New Statesman’s censorship is having an effect if the editor rings up someone who has cancelled their subscription.  I have also heard from other sources that there are ructions within the editorial board of the New Statesman as a result of what has happened. In particular some of its more left-wing contributors (no not Owen Jones!) are also unhappy about the heavy handed censorship of Cowley and Helen Lewis.

The attempt to suggest that the article was an ‘advertorial’ is merely smoke and mirrors.  The article that was pulled clearly said ‘Presented by Palestine Solidarity Campaign’ – there was a partnership between PSC and the New Statesman.  The nature of that partnership is irrelevant.  This was an article by Salah Ajarma, a well known Palestinian activist and founder of the Lajee Cultural Centre in Aida refugee camp outside Bethlehem. 

The fact is that an article by a peace activist living under a 50 year old military occupation by the world’s fourth major military power was pulled at the behest of an organisation which is a propaganda and lobby organisation acting on behalf of the same military power.  Imagine in the days of South African Apartheid, an article by an anti-Apartheid activist being pulled at the instigation of John Carlisle MP, a well known Tory MP who supported the South African state or an article on Chile by an opponent of the Pinochet regime being pulled at the behest of the military regime there.

What happened is a disgrace.  Israel operates two legal systems on the West Bank.  One, a military regime and military law for the Palestinians and another is the civil Israeli legal system for Jewish settlers.  In military courts there is a 99.7% conviction rate.  Palestinians have no right to a lawyer, cannot see a lawyer for weeks on end, are subject to torture as a matter of course and are convicted in a language that they don’t even understand.  This is the system that the New Statesman, in bowing to the demands of an quasi-Israeli government organisation has upheld.

The strangulation of Bethlehem, the birthplace of the Christian religion, by Israel and its Apartheid Wall, an ugly structure over twice as high as the Berlin Wall, is a matter of fact.  The commercial life of Bethlehem is slowly being squeezed out of it by Israel’s occupation.  In its place we see settlements like Gilo, which UK Media describes as a ‘neighbourhood of southern Jerusalem.’  The New Statesman took silenced the voice of the oppressed living in a refugee camp created by Israel’s ethnic cleansing, at the behest of an Israeli funded McCarthyist organisation.  Next time the New Statesman and its writers discusses identity politics and cultural racism it can reflect on its own practices.  Or maybe not.

The article that was pulled at the behest of Israeli funded McCarthyist organisation UK Media Watch

UK Media Watch used to be called CIF Watch after the Guardian’s Comment is Free.  UKMW boasts about the fact that it helped neutralise CIF’s original balanced coverage of Palestine [‘Indeed, our transition to UKMW was prompted by the general consensus that, partly due to our efforts, the Guardian’s malign obsession with Israel had somewhat abated, and their legitimization of antisemitic tropes (above and below the line) had at least diminished].  UKMW is now trying to repeat the same trick with other media outlets and it is clear that it has gained a scalp with the pusillanimous Jason Cowley and Helen Lewis of the New Statesman.

In its first tweet UKMW address Deputy Editor Helen Lewis thus:
Lewis jumped as UKMW barked.  In its next tweek UKMW boasted that ‘Following a @UKMediaWatch post & @CAMERAorg campaign, @NewStatesman removed an article published in collaboration w/ anti-Israel group PSC!’

CAMERA is a US based McCarthyite organisation, one of a stable of organisations whose sole purpose is to close down Palestinian voices.   That the New Statesman jumped to the UKMW/Camera bark is in itself a betrayal of the values it purports to espouse.

First they boast of their success at another media scalp with REMOVED across the erased article

However, following the campaign of this Blog, PSC and Electronic Intifada, UKMW began to deny its role.  When you stand up to these organisations they back off.  Unfortunately magazines like the NS lack the requisite backbone to stand up for free speech, which is why it takes blogs like t his one to do so on their behalf.  Now the story is that apparently the decision of the New Statesman to censor  Salah Ajarma’s article had nothing to do with their campaign or lobby – it was coincidental!  Such are the lies of the Zionist lobby.

Now UKMW pretends that it didn’t LOBBY the NS.  It took its own decision without any pressure at all!

We should not however let up because the NS occupies a pivotal position in the Labour Party and Trade Union spectrum. It not only has writers like Laura Penny and Owen Jones who purport to be on the Left but it is very much part of Labour’s Fabian tradition (don’t forget Tony Benn was also a Fabian). For it to actually pull an article which it has already put up, at the behest of a settler colonial regime and its propaganda outlets is a first.

Over 400 people have signed the petition so far but we need at least a thousand if not more. If you haven’t signed please do so now.

Also please share it on FB, Twitter etc.  What we are defending is the right to speak out on Palestine, a right which is under attack, not only by UK Media Watch, CAMERA and other Zionist lobby groups like Conservative/Labour Friends of Israel and people like Eric Pickles/Tom Watson MP, but by the cowardly behaviour of so-called friends of the free press like the New Statesman.

We not only expect this article to be reinstated but for the New Statesman to print an apology.  The best form of apology would be for Cowley and Lewis to depart.

Tony Greenstein


If you want to write to the editor and assistants at the NS then their email addresses are:

Jason Cowley
Deputy Editor
Helen Lewis
Features editor
Xan Rice
[email protected]
Political Editor
George Eaton
[email protected]
Culture Editor
Tom Gatti
[email protected]
Arts Editor
Kate Mossman
[email protected]
Assistant Editor
Michael Prodger
[email protected]
Assistant Editor
Caroline Crampton
[email protected]
Creative Editor
Gerry Brakus
[email protected]
Editorial Assistant
India Bourke
[email protected]
Chief Sub-Editor
Nana Yaa Mensah
[email protected]
Thomas Calvocoressi
[email protected]
Yo Zushi
[email protected]
Dan Murrell
[email protected]
Digital Editor
Serena Kutchinsky
[email protected]
Deputy Web Editor
Anoosh Chakelian
[email protected]
Special Correspondent
Stephen Bush
[email protected]
Staggers Editor
Julia Rampen
[email protected]
Online Writer (pop culture)
Anna Leszkiewicz
[email protected]
Online Writer (tech and digital culture)
Amelia Tait
[email protected]

Jonn Elledge
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

Posted in

Tony Greenstein

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.