Tony Greenstein | 11 August 2012 | Post Views:

Comment is Free – but Only When We Agree!

How the anti-Semitic Gilad Atzmon sees Machover – not very different from Jonathan Freedland

This is a guest post by Brian Robinson.  It concerns a recent act of censorship by the
Guardian’s Comment is Free.  Ostensibly
aimed at a comment Brian made on CIF in response to a comment on an article, a
perfectly rational comment, its clear target is Emeritus Professor Moshe
Machover of King’s College, London University. 
Not only is Moshe hated by a small group of anti-Semitic ‘supporters’ of
the Palestinians such as Gilad Atzmon (see his Tribal Marxism for Dummies and my response Gilad Atzmon’s attack on Judeo-Marxism and Israeli anti-Zionist Moshe Machover but  but he is
also detested by Zionism’s propagandists, not least of whom is the Guardian’s senior
columnist and leader writer, Jonathan Freedland.

Freedland also doubles up as a regular columnist for
the Jewish Chronicle, which today is little more than a Zionist propaganda sheet
edited by Stephen Pollard, who used to earn his shilling working for Britain’s
largest pornographer Richard Desmond, as editor of the Daily Express.  Desmond’s papers came closest to openly endorsing the fascist English Defence League, so Freedland is in good company.
CIF has in recent years become narrower and
narrower in the range of opinions it allows to be expressed and Marxist
analyses of the Middle East are a no go area. 
Freedland, who is the éminence grise behind this, is wedded to a ‘2 State
solution’, which as he knows will never happen but is a useful ploy for depriving 3+ million Palestinians living under Occupation of any democratic or civil rights.  The illusion, that it serves the quisling Palestinian Authority to maintain, is that
they will one day attain a state.   Thus justifying the operation of what amounts to a police state for the past 44 years in the West Bank.
Not only will 2 states not happen, because a genuinely independent state alongside Israel is incompatible with the aims and purposes of Zionism, an expansionist settler-colonial movement incapable, like all such movements, of coming to terms with the indigenous people, but were such a creature to emerge, it would be a bastardised version of the South African Bantustans.  Indeed compared to their South African equivalent (which the Guardian once argued should be diplomatically recognised!) it would be an open
invitation to a transfer of Israel’s Arab population.
Machover argues, not without reason, that one of
the reasons for Netanyahu’s eagerness for a war on Iran is that it will provide
the ideal cover for a transfer of the Palestinians over the Jordan. 
Whether he is correct or not, or whether a war will even happen, remains to be seen.  But it is certainly a logical and respectable point of view which today is
outside the narrow confines of Guardian liberalism.
Comment is Free boasts on its masthead a saying from its most
famous editor, C P Scott, who edited the paper for over half a century until 1929.  Scott was also, like most of the ruling class at the time (he was a Liberal MP) a Zionist.  His statement that ‘Comment is Free but Facts are
  is honoured in the breach by CIF.  It would appear that some facts
are more sacred than others.  But as we
are discovering at home, when you scratch a liberal you find a conservative
Freedland, who in the USA would be known as a Police State Democrat, has
always been on the liberal right.   Censorship of contrary opinions is second nature to these people, who support ‘free speech for fascists’ but oppose democratic debate that strays outside their ‘liberal’ borders.
Time was when the Guardian’s coverage of the
Middle East was second to none.  When I
grew up as a young Zionist, it was the only paper that dared to print the articles of an Arabist,
the late and revered Michael Adams, for whom truth was always more important
than impressing the Zionist lobby.  Michael was the first British journalist to reveal the brutality and racism of Israel’s
occupation of the West Bank having cut his teeth on opposition to the Suez War
on the Manchester Guardian.  Michael was
fortunate to work for perhaps the greatest Guardian Editor in recent times,
Alistair Hetherington.   This was a time when the whole of the media was pro-Israel.  The BBC’s Michael Elkins couldn’t contain his glee when Israel captured Jerusalem in 1967.  We often forget how the debate has changed and how Israel’s main supporters used to be on the Left not the Right and how the very idea that there was a contrary opinion to Zionist hasbara went unrecognised.
Unfortunately New Labour has long since captured
the Guardian and today, with a shrinking circulation, it is an echo of the past living in fear of the Internet.  It and its sister paper, The Observer, which used to be separate, supported Blair’s War on Iraq and to this day have refused to explain or apologise.  The Manchester Guardian under Editor AP Wadsworth and Alistair Hetherington as Foreign Editor, defied the trend in 1956 and with The Observer, opposed Eden’s war against Egypt for control of the Suez Canal, which Nasser had nationalised.  A good article on this is from the increasingly silent and nominal editor of the Guardian, whose shoes Freedland aspires to fill, Alan Rusbridger Courage Under Fire celebrates past glories whilst surrendering to present day chauvinism.  Rusbridger, who has had a distinguished career with coups such as the exposure of Jonathan Aitken as a liar and perjurer, increasingly has taken a back seat whilst mediocre talents and time servers like Freedland take over.

Another great Guardian journalist, the equivalent of
the Independent’s Robert Fisk, was David Hirst, who wrote the excellent book ‘Gun
and the Olive Branch
’ named after Yassir Arafat’s famous phrase and speeech to the United
Nations.    Today Hirst is confined to
the odd Obituary but is otherwise marginalised in his retirement rather than having his talents and expertise used.

I speak with a certain personal experience
because when the Guardian set up its on-line blog, Comment is Free, I was one
of a number of contributors, penning articles on anti-Semitism in the Palestine
Solidarity movement, the misuse of the term ‘anti-Semitism’ by Zionist organisations
and a picket of a Royal reception to Israel’s Jewish National
Fund, an organisation which is one of the main architects of Israeli Apartheid and integrally involved in the ethnic cleansing of the
Bedouin of the Negev.   

However the Zionists launched a major campaign against CIF, under another increasingly silent journalist, Georgina Henry.  It was too open, too democratic.  It dared say the things that they had spent years keeping under wraps.  I was banned from posting or contributing articles because Matt
Seaton, the Guardian’s bicycling correspondent, who had ludicrously become CIF editor despite being a political airhead, succumbed at once to this pressure from Zionist groups, who organised their own CIF Watch site
to ‘monitor’ CIF. 
My offence was telling the truth.  Daring to make comparisons
between Israeli practices towards the Palestinians, such as barring Arabs from renting
apartments, refusing to sell them land, demolishing their villages etc. etc. and those of the Nazi state pre-1941.    It is well known that the religious orthodoxy in Israel is controlled by those that Orthodox scholar, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, termed ‘Judeo-Nazis’.  People like Rabbi Dov Lior who openly proclaim that a Jewish fingernail is worth a thousand Palestinian lives.  People like the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and his son Yaacov Yosef who openly argue that there is nothing wrong in killing Palestinian civilians, including children who will only grow up to be terrorists.  Exactly the same arguments were used by the nazis to justify the murder of Jewish children but these fake ‘liberals’ prefer to turn a blind eye and more importantly to ensure that others do.

I wrote to 
Becky Gardener, CIF Editor, and the Reader’s Editor, about the latest
outrage by an unseen moderator but of course there has been no response.  Previous articles on CIF include When isComment NOT Free?  When Zionists are
Anything but Free the Guardian’s CIF under Matt Seaton

The latest petty act of censorship by the Guardian is by Brian Robinson below.

Tony Greenstein

On Thursday this week (9 August) the Guardian
CiF site published an article entitled Israel and the US would come todeeply regret air strikes against Iran”, by Yossi Melman (described as an
Israeli journalist specialising in security affairs) and Dan Raviv (described
as a CBS correspondent).
But it was the following paragraph that spurred
me into a little activism:
“Iran is not Iraq or Syria. The Iranians
have drawn lessons from those two events. They dispersed their nuclear
facilities and buried them underground, making them more difficult to reach and
destroy. Success is thus less assured. Instead of a quick, surgical strike,
Israel will likely find itself in a long war of attrition against Iran and Shia
Muslims everywhere. In the name of national pride and defending its Islamic
revolution, Iran was willing to lose millions of people in a long war against
Iraq through the 80s …”
A long war of attrition … The authors saw this as a
very obvious reason why Israel should not start a war with Iran. But I recalled
that there’s another view, in the public domain, highly relevant, highly
plausible, and one we certainly ought to be discussing. It is the view
expressed both in print and in lectures and talks by Prof Emeritus Moshé
Machover (see links to two of these versions below).
And so I quickly wrote this below-the-line comment.
10 August 2012 11:35AM

Well worth reading the article by Moshe Machover in Weekly Worker
9 February 2012 here 
Why would Israel want to risk such a dangerous war? “[W]e need to turn our
attention to Zionism’s nightmare: the Palestinian ‘demographic peril’ …
[O]pposition to a sovereign Palestinian state in any part of Eretz Yisrael is
not a mere quirk of a rightwing Israeli government, but a deep-seated and
fundamental principle shared by all mainstream Zionist parties … [F]or
mainstream Zionism any admission that ‘the Palestinians are entitled to their
own state because they are natives of the same country and have the same
rights’ would undermine the legitimacy of the Zionist state, and eventually its
very existence …

[An apparent contradiction] “disregards a third option:
neither a two-state solution, nor a single state with an Arab majority, but
‘population transfer’. Large-scale ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs would
result in a single state in the entire territory, with a large Jewish majority,
which is the ultimate aim of all mainstream Zionist parties … [B]ut
implementing ethnic cleansing on a sufficiently large scale – while technically
quite easy, as explained by the Israeli military theorist, Martin van Creveld
[see article references] – is politically very tricky. It cannot be done in
normal, politically tranquil circumstances. It requires what in Zionist
parlance is called she’at kosher: an opportune moment of major political, and
preferably military, crisis …
“A war with Iran would present a golden opportunity for
large-scale expulsion of Palestinians, precisely because (unlike the Iraq
invasion of 2003) fighting would not be over too soon, and major protests and
disturbances are likely to occur among the masses throughout the region,
including the Palestinian Arabs under Israeli rule. What better way to pacify
such disturbances than to ‘expel many people’ …”
Machover presented the same ideas at the weekend school run by
HOPI (Hands off the People of Iran) last April. The video of his talk, and those
of others, can be seen here
Well, hardly an hour had gone by before I
received an email from a comrade to say “the Guardian moderator removed
your comment. What did you expect?”

What did I expect? Well, free speech, within the
limits of decency and common respect, for one. A serious discussion on the
merits or demerits of Machover’s arguments for another. And most important of
all, a point to add to the many others we have in campaigning against any
invasion of Iran.

I know that the Guardian has gone seriously
downhill in the past couple of years (on a personal note I cancelled my regular
subscription to it and gave it to the New Statesman for a year — I’ll see …)
but I couldn’t see why the Guardian descended to censorship on a matter of
legitimate debate. I must have been more naive than I’d thought.

So I emailed
the Readers’ Editor
10/08/2012 14:45

Dear Chris Elliott

Are you able, and if able, willing, please, to
explain to me the reason(s) as to why my comment (details below) was removed?

Prof Machover may be right or wrong, but he
makes (in the article I cited) a valid contribution to the discussion. There is
nothing in his article, or in the extracts I quoted, that could be construed as
racist or antisemitic. Machover backs up his case with references, including
those to statements made in the past by Israeli sources, and including comments
by members of past Israeli governments.

This is a first for me – I’ve never been modded
by the Guardian before. I don’t know whether to feel proud or indignant. But I
was certainly astonished.

I do hope you can help me with an explanation. I
appreciate that you must be busy and shall value it all the more if you can
give some small amount of time to a clarification.

The “offending” comment, and my full address etc
are below

With good wishes

Yours sincerely

Brian Robinson
I then copied and forwarded it to Becky Gardiner, who is editor of the
Guardian Comment pages

Far too early (barely one day, and that on a
weekend) to have got a reply but in the present age what have we got but hope,
so I’m hoping … I shall let you know.

But meanwhile I can’t help noting how much the
Guardian has changed in recent years, and not only in its coverage of the
middle east, since the days of Alastair Hetherington and Peter Preston.  I
even find myself musing upon whether it could have anything to do with the rise
of that talented journalist Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian hierarchy. But I
daresay it’s merely coincidence.

Brian Robinson

Milton Keynes, UK

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