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Britain is a "hotbed of radical anti-Israeli views"...

Eddie Mair | 13:19 UK time, Tuesday, 10 June 2008

and extremists have "hijacked" the Israel debate - according to Israel's ambassador to the UK. He has written an article for the Daily Telegraph. In PM tonight we'll discuss his views.

What do you think?


  • 1. At 2:24pm on 10 Jun 2008, steelpulse wrote:

    Is being critical of just certain Israeli actions bundled up in what the ambassador calls radical anti-Israeli views? I will try and hear his opinion.

    And hotbed? Very emotive, Sir.

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  • 2. At 2:36pm on 10 Jun 2008, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    What a load of utter twaddle.

    Anything less than sycophantic, unstinting laudatory praise for Israel is deemed as being 'anti-Israeli'.

    Any criticism, no matter how mild, of the fact that they nicked land that didn't belong to them, and that the previous lawful owners of that land are now living in abject poverty, brings the facile response that we are being 'anti-semitic'.

    Change the record - if you want the criticism to stop, sit down and talk peace, get the 'road-map' discussions re-started and stop whingeing when it is clear that you are being supported by vast resources, financial and military, from the US of A and many other places, and also have your own nuclear bombs.

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  • 3. At 3:07pm on 10 Jun 2008, marcus5000 wrote:


    One needs little ability at rhetoric to see this : an Israeli referring to academic freedom in the UK as becoming a 'ludicrous oxymoron' not only ironically backfires on you, it does so positively redoubled.

    Mr Prosser, you are going to have to better than an appeal to our historic values ; how about Israel starting to display some of her own ?

    Dr. Marcus Pfeiffer MA. MD

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  • 4. At 3:08pm on 10 Jun 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    There is a tendency to attack the messenger, rather than the issues.

    The practice has been effective in the past, but is no longer serving to silence
    the critics.

    We need to go one step further, and root out those in the BBC who may feel a need to censor comment with their personal bias.

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  • 5. At 3:13pm on 10 Jun 2008, marcus5000 wrote:


    One needs no ability at rhetoric to see this : an Israeli referring to academic freedom in the UK as becoming a 'ludicrous oxymoron' not only ironically backfires on you, given your treatment of countless academics who criticise Israel (eg: Chomsky and Edward Said ) it does so positively redoubled.

    Mr Prosser, you are going to have to do better than an appeal to our historic values ; how about Israel displaying some of its own ?

    Dr. Marcus Pfeiffer MA. MD

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  • 6. At 3:16pm on 10 Jun 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Part of the problem lies with how polarised the views on Israel are. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground in discussions, but then there doesn't seem to be any middle ground in solving the disputes between Israel and its enemies either.

    Personally, I'm uncomfortable with a modern nation annexing territory and also ignoring UN resolutions (and avoiding penalties thanks to a big chum on the Security Council). Yet when this is brought up, the discussion turns argumentative and defensive and never gets anywhere. This can't be good for anyone and certainly gives the impression that the only people talking about it on both sides - are extremists.

    I have no idea how to solve that problem.

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  • 7. At 3:16pm on 10 Jun 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    A little bit rich to write of Israel that: 'No other country in the world is constantly forced to justify its own existence'. I suspect that the Palestinians, would welcome the opportunity to justify their country if they had one.

    An argument could also be made that far from 'British values of fairness, decency and common sense' coming under threat, those values are in actual fact causing people to reassess their attitudes to the Middle East situation and question Israel's actions on the same basis that they used to examine it's Arab neighbours.

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  • 8. At 3:23pm on 10 Jun 2008, vainly_here wrote:

    I don't think Britain is a hotbed of anti-Israeli views, but Israel's opponents have far too much influence at the UN.

    Save the 5 permanent members, countries elect each other to be represented on 2 year terms: currently Belgium, Burkino Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Indonesia, Italy, Libya, Panama, South Africa and Vietnam - not Israel. Israel has never been elected to the Security Council in its 60 years as a modern state.

    One day in April terrorists in Gaza fired 32 mortar rounds and 3 Qassam rockets into Israel. The same day Israel delivered 127 humanitarian aid truckloads of medical equipment / basic food products to the Palestinian population in Gaza. Israel was being pilloried in the press as if it had held Gaza under siege. Next day, Palestinian terrorists attacked and killed two Israelis delivering fuel to Gaza.

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  • 9. At 3:25pm on 10 Jun 2008, CuriousMinds wrote:

    A certain Vaadnik (union head) is addressing a union meeting at a certain unnamed Israeli government-owned company.
    "Comrades - Haverim. We have agreed on a new deal with the management. We will no longer work five days a week."
    "Hooray!", goes the crowd.
    "We will finish work at 3 PM, not 4 PM."
    "Hooray!", goes the crowd, again.
    "We will start work at 9 AM, not 7 AM."
    "We have a 150% pay rise."
    "We will only work on Wednesdays."
    Silence...then a voice from the back asks, "Every Wednesday?"

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  • 10. At 3:39pm on 10 Jun 2008, vagueofgodalming wrote:

    I think Ron Prosor's article sounds hysterical on the face of it.

    That said, we need first to understand who the UCU are, what their powers are, what they are actually advocating in respect of Israeli academics, and what the likely outcome would be if their proposals were adopted.

    Only then will we be able to start judging if there's a legitimate complaint behind the posturing.

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  • 11. At 3:40pm on 10 Jun 2008, Ruof_Oidar wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 12. At 3:49pm on 10 Jun 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    When I heard that comment on the Today programme, I immediately thought of Ed Iglehart.

    The Israelis have, through some of their more extreme actions, only themselves to blame for the frustration that many people feel about their policies towards the Palestinians. Nonetheless, it is understandable that they, as a minority nation within an arabic region, and having suffered extreme persecution throughout the ages, feel under threat from all sides.

    Unfortunately, the unquestioning support that they have received from the US over many decades hasn't helped their cause in the eyes of many non-Americans. The best development in a long time has been the drawing back from this position, and the pragmatic recognition that there is blame on both sides.

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  • 13. At 3:49pm on 10 Jun 2008, vainly_here wrote:

    Marcus5000 (3)

    Having now read the article, I wonder if you are confused. The Israeli ambassador did not describe academic freedom as a ludicrous oxymoron; he applied that description to an academic boycott.
    If someone as well qualified as you can get the wrong end of the stick, no wonder Israel gets to feel misunderstood.

    As for historical values, Israel's history includes the time when (at God's command) they drove out of (Canaan) the Hittites.....and Jebusites. Yasser Arafat claimed to be descended from the Jebusites.

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  • 14. At 3:52pm on 10 Jun 2008, Peter Bolt wrote:

    I cannot help but think that let to their own devices the Israelis and the Palestinians would achieve a "understanding"
    However Palestine has never has a seperate existence and Israel is a artifically made State.
    Add to that a Marxist ruling party (Hamas) and a aggresively Western Capitalist ideology (Israel) put into the mix a rabid fundemantilism (Hezbollah
    and Mosiac Hebrew)
    Mix in a Arabic tribal "honour laws"
    and Isareli "Holocaust" memories and well intentioned but `muddled and meddling` intervention. The result
    A discussion on PM.
    If only it were that easy.

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  • 15. At 4:09pm on 10 Jun 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    Vyle (13) - Well if 'God's command' is at least partly responsible, maybe you could persuade God to sort it out.

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  • 16. At 4:15pm on 10 Jun 2008, mindclearly wrote:

    Why does the ambassador Isreal feel this way? Just because we, UK, are not propping them, Israel, up in a similar way our associates across the pond do, does is not make us the opposite. It worries me that this type of debate causes the issue to be antagonised further and the power the Jewish lobby has in the US is visibly stronger than they do in the UK. For example the first speach Hillary did as she started to conceed to Obama was to a audiance of mainly Jewish origin and her words were "he is a friend of Israil".

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  • 17. At 4:36pm on 10 Jun 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    Vyle (8)

    You seem to have missed 3 items of news.

    1. Israel is blockading Gaza which is why the Palestinians there are completely dependent on Israel's aid.

    2. Western nations refuse to break this blockade for humanitarian or any other reeason.

    3. Isareal has killed 10 times more Palestinians than Palestinians have killed Isrealis.

    Other than that, of course, you are spot on the money.

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  • 18. At 4:38pm on 10 Jun 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    Excuse the typos

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  • 19. At 4:54pm on 10 Jun 2008, edallen wrote:

    If only Israel would adopt those British values of "fair play and even handedness" maybe the world would be a more peaceful place.

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  • 20. At 5:10pm on 10 Jun 2008, Afortescue wrote:

    The Israelis can not bear justified criticism ! Whenever anyone mentions their bad treatment of the Palestinians; the fact that they are occupying Palestinian land illegally - and are building on it at this moment ! the fact that the punishment of civilians, the denial of human rights to the Palestinians, and the destruction of a way of life; is a matter of Israeli Policy, and I speak as a Christian! The Palestinians and their Arab cousins must be incandescent with justified anger.
    Because I am.

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  • 21. At 5:14pm on 10 Jun 2008, holtender4life2 wrote:

    I would just like to add a few observations to the mix:

    At the end of WW II Israel annexed a large part of Palestine, effectively invading their country. This was done with the full support of the allied forces. For a lasting peace to hold in the region this land must be returned to its' rightful owner. Where is the real difference here between this event and Saddam Hussain's invasion of Kuwait?

    Whenever an attack is made by Palestinian terrorists on Israel the repsonse is usually a completely disproportionate attack by Israel on Palestine. This hasn't worked before and won't work now, so why continue with that policy?

    Israel's foreign policy, endorsed (supplied?) by the US is largely to blame for every other nation in the region detesting their very existence. Israel should learn from the activities against the US - if you try to meddle with everyone else's affairs they will get a little upset. If Israel adopted a more reconciliatory approach and actually negotiated fairly with their neighbours a lot of the troubles would cease very quickly. Instead they appear to arrogantly view themselves as better than everyone else (another US influence?) which only succeeds in fuelling the anger against them.

    Finally, can anyone explain why Israel are allowed to enter their sporting teams into European competitions, simply because they don't get on with their neighbouring countries?

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  • 22. At 5:22pm on 10 Jun 2008, ArtherCWithernee wrote:

    Hogwash and nonsense.

    The British fought in 2 world wars so the The Balfour Treaty of 1917 could be realised and still you're complaining.

    Extremist? Let's leave Afghanistan and Iraq, stop our involvement in all war and certainly let the Middle East alone or we'll go bankrupt.

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  • 23. At 5:24pm on 10 Jun 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    3 and 5,
    We heard you the first time Doc, and being a Dr doesn't make your opinions any more valid than the rest of us.

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  • 24. At 5:29pm on 10 Jun 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    Britain is also a hotbed of anti-US views as some posts here show, but that is not being an anti-semite or anti-Israeli, so doesn't count.

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  • 25. At 5:48pm on 10 Jun 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    A clever enough article, throwing blame very efficiently. I may not agree with the content, but I can respect the rhetorical ability displayed.

    Any time now I expect somebody in Israel to suggest that the Palestinians should be sent a bill for all the weapons that have been sent to them.

    I think it is fair to say that there is a bias in the reporting of this conflict. What I am unsure about is whether that bias is an unreasonable one, given the proportion of weaponry and deaths on either side, and the average incomes, and such.

    It is possible, after all, to be opposed to some of the behaviour of the rulers of Israel without being anything but opposed to some of the behaviour of the rulers of Palestine -- alloowing that those are not in fact the same people, of course.

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  • 26. At 5:50pm on 10 Jun 2008, MaggieL wrote:

    He's not very diplomatic for a diplomat. I suppose we'll have to make allowances...

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  • 27. At 5:50pm on 10 Jun 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Oooh, hallo again DMcN -- you snuck in while I was writing my comment, and I didn't see you in that corner there...

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  • 28. At 5:55pm on 10 Jun 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    I have to say; whatever discomfort I may have with the actions of the Israeli government (and they're far from the only or the worst government I have a problem with) I am fundamentally opposed to any restrictions on academic freedom and I heartily condemn the proposed boycott.

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  • 29. At 5:56pm on 10 Jun 2008, farsical wrote:

    Israel when will you see criticism as something other than a personal assault.

    How thick skinned can a nation be?

    An overall bias comes from an overall abuse of Palestinian rights.

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  • 30. At 5:58pm on 10 Jun 2008, tillship wrote:

    i don't think the country is anti Israeli it is just that we expect better of them than say Zimbabwe or North Korea

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  • 31. At 5:58pm on 10 Jun 2008, keppoch69 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 32. At 6:00pm on 10 Jun 2008, martyn24 wrote:

    Unspeakable horrors were inflicted on jews by nazis in the 2nd world war. But these wewn't perpetrated by palestinians.

    Bottom, line, Palestine was stolen by Zionists, supported by the usa. The inhabitants of the region, palestinians, were driven from their homes and have now been herded into walled compounds with no access to the outside world. These compounds are regularly invaded by israel with little or no internatiopnal protest. Whereas no-one can condone violence, is it any wonder that it occurs.
    Had the UK been successfully invaded by Nazi Germany in the 2nd worl war, we british would be lauding resistors as patriotic heros

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  • 33. At 6:01pm on 10 Jun 2008, bing1972 wrote:

    I agree that Britain is a hotbed of radical anti Israeli views. The media most of whom are part of the Liberal elite (whatever that means - lacking in intelligence maybe) constantly push their Anti American, anti Israeli, anti Christian and anti European agenda. So what's new.

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  • 34. At 6:11pm on 10 Jun 2008, marisstar wrote:

    I didn't need to be affected by any hotbed of radical anti Israel views, I simply visited Israel about 8 years ago. I , and several people around me, became increasingly uneasy at the treatment of the Palestinian people, the contempt and rudeness with which they were treated. I remember sitting at breakfast in a kibbutz on the shores of Lake Galillee overhearing a conversation between 4 women viz "I have always been a supporter of Israel but after this trip I have changed my mind and now will support Palestine". My sentiments and those of my sister exactly. The more you look into the plight of the refugees and the way in which Israel constantly flouts international law and any semblance of humanity the more you are drawn to support Palestine. As if that were not enough to put one off the Israelis the fact that any criticism of their savage repression is labelled as anti-semitic, obviously grossly untrue, is the final straw.

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  • 35. At 6:13pm on 10 Jun 2008, ygwerin wrote:

    The Israeli government enjoys such an overwhelming and generally uncritical support from both USA and UK governments that they expect to be able to act with absolute impunity quite literally getting away with murder.
    The Israeli ambassador’s remarks are part of a continuing attempt by Israel to control the level of debate and censor any commentators who have the temerity to object to Israeli actions.

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  • 36. At 6:24pm on 10 Jun 2008, seymouralexander wrote:

    Hundreds of Palestinian students are imprisoned in Gaza and prevented from going to university in the west bank and overseas by the IDF blockade. It is only due to the fact that the media created a bit of a fuss about the Fullbright students stuck in Gaza last week that Israel was forced to let them (some of them at least) depart. Academic freedom Israeli style means freedom for Jews but nor for Palestinians. The worst part is the cowardly silence of Israel's academia itself to this racist attack on the Palestinians' future. Apart from Prof Ilan Pappe now exiled in the UK not one of them has raised their voice in protest. As regards apartheid every non-Zionist South African (including a Jewish minister in the SA Government) that has visited Palestine has invariably concluded that the situation there is far worse than anything the South Africans did against the black population: the Afrikaans never sent in missiles, F16 and Apache helicopters against men, women and children. Israel's regime is evil, and the support it gets from the Murdoch Press, the Telegraph itself, the entire Jewish press, to its eternal shame, makes Prosser's claims laughable. Just to see last week the US Presidential candidates rushing to prostrate themselves before AIPAC and the Zionist Lobby, together with the rush of EU leaders like Sarkozy, Burlusconi, Gordon Brown and the others to attempt to insinuate Israel even further into the EU turns one' stomach.

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  • 37. At 6:33pm on 10 Jun 2008, itworks22 wrote:

    The ambassador's comments are completely wrong in my opinion and sum up why the Israeli/Palastinian problem has become so intractable.

    Despite the loss of British lives in Palestine after World War II at Israeli hands, Britain nevertheless supported Israel in what had been British ruled Palestine. However, successive Israeli governments went too far and effectively trampled on the rights of ordinary Palestinians grabbing land in the West Bank to the point now that most Palestinians live in poverty and misery.

    Too many opportunities have been squandered by Israeli governments to make peace. Of course it is wrong for any people, Israeli or Palestinian, to resort to force to get their way but the ambassador effectively is now saying that we can't even disapprove with the only non-violent method we have at our disposal - that of boycotting them.

    The British public continue to be fair-minded but that doesn't mean we like what is happening in Israel !

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  • 38. At 6:39pm on 10 Jun 2008, marisstar wrote:

    What has ;happened to my first post - all reference to it has disappeared. Not a very encouraging beginning!!

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  • 39. At 6:55pm on 10 Jun 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    Re #8

    The medical supplies got through, after weeks of delay, only due to the court actions of the gush-shalom.org.

    There are organizations seeking to relieve the persecution of the Palestinians, but they can do so against the intense opposition of the Israeli government only by acting through the courts.

    URLS for these organizations available on request.

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  • 40. At 6:57pm on 10 Jun 2008, scotsblood wrote:

    I am not anti Israeli but I would admit to be being pro a Palestinian nation, pro people being treated as equals, pro people having basic human rights, against walls and houses on other countries land oh and against the wholesale destruction of olive groves -- not many Israelis (including its ambassador) acknowledge let alone talk about the defficiences of the Israeli state or its moribund attitude to those that live both in and outside their country.

    Israel has a sophisticated and intelligent people -- why do they have such poor leaders and diplomats who should be much more aware.

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  • 41. At 6:58pm on 10 Jun 2008, mikecollar wrote:

    I can understand Mr Prosser's anger at the pressure for an academic boycott which as he says is a wholly inappropiate form of protest, but he needs to keep it in perspective as the action of an unrepresentative and vocal minority. What I can't understand is his contention that we are unaware of Hamas's attacks on Israel, the broadcast media never fail to mention the rockets when reporting on Israeli military action. As for the lack of context in reporting the issues, the media never do provide sufficent on any issue, they don't have the time. But which context does he want reported? The fact that Israel has occupied the West bank and Gaza for 40 years and ileagally settled Israeli communities on Palistinian land or the fact that the refugee camps which have dotted the middle east for the past 60 years are full of Palastinian Arabs displaced by the creation of Israel and denied the right of return to their homes. I suspect that the ambassador would be up in arms if these points were brought up every time Israel was reported. The truth of the matter is that by and large reporting in the British media on the middle east is fair and balanced it is the amassador's opinions which are coloured by the same predjudice which appears to blind him to the gross injustices that have been inflicted on the Palastinian people over the years.

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  • 42. At 7:01pm on 10 Jun 2008, andygavin wrote:

    This might be simplistic but if Israel were a hotbed of radical anti-British views would anyone care. What exactly is his point? Aren't people going to judge Israel by its actions? Perhaps that is what he's worrying about.

    Don't start fights then complain to your mother that nobody likes you. Perhaps the conclusion is not "the whole world is against us" but "there are consequences to our actions".

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  • 43. At 7:15pm on 10 Jun 2008, steelpulse wrote:

    The last paragraph of the Telegraph piece was instructive. We are asked to ensure the "radical fringe" doesn't get to monopolise British-Israeli discourse.

    I do not think it does or is near to doing so. Unless you take a large magnifying glass to anything said against Israel on occasion. I am aware of the rocket and other awful attacks etc and confess the sheer number of such outrages in that space of time surprised and appalled me.

    In my opinion there are elements in all sides in conflict that deep down - do not want peace - unless it is completely on their terms.

    Their hostile actions continue to stop lasting peace taking hold between two opposing sides whose populations majority normally want peace - even if it needs to be negotiated.

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  • 44. At 7:18pm on 10 Jun 2008, marisstar wrote:

    Britain generally is not anti-American. There has been for a long time some sibling rivalry, after all the USA took over our role of world leader so there is a bit of envy there as well. But on the whole America has been admired and thanked for helping to free Europe from the threat of fascism in two world wars.

    What is different at this time is the actions of George Bush, and we dislike HIM not his country. It is even more galling that our own Prime Minister allowed himself to be seduced by the lure of world stature to lead us into a completely unjustified and illegal war. The main victims as well as our own servicement are the innocent Iraqui civilians whose lives have been destroyed by death, injury and homelessness, to name just a few. We don't hate you America, but please make sure your next President puts humanity before personal ambition and leave us here in the Uk to make our own mistakes.

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  • 45. At 7:19pm on 10 Jun 2008, seymouralexander wrote:

    As the entire British press, apart from the Independent, the Guardian and the New Statesman, is in thrall to Israel what Prosser is in effect saying, and this is probably the only truthful claim in his entire diatribe, is that apart from the aforementioned Indie and Guardian, none of the other media really matters. The Murdoch outlets, and the Telegraph, the Daily Wail and the Express are all died in the wool Zionist fellow travelers so there is nothing else left to complain about. (except of course the good old beeb, hated both by Israel and Murdoch). So I guess we can expect a long hot summer of Zionist complaints against the BBC's valiant correspondents in Israel and the Occupied territories.

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  • 46. At 7:33pm on 10 Jun 2008, ClimbingRamblingRose wrote:

    This is the first time I have posted. I was just interested to see what was being said. Palestine has never been a country nor a nation. Before the British Mandate it was a backwater of the Ottoman Empire. Noone was interested in a bare, desolate land. Thers was always a Jewish presence in the land, providing they had not been thrown out by the rulers of the time.
    We, the British, divided the land up with the French and decided who would rule - hence Syria and Transjordan. Before that there were no boundries and the tribes wandered from place to place trying to stay alive in the barren landscape. See paintings of the period and read Mark Twain.
    If Israel had been given a chance by her Arab neighbours, the Palestinians would be now have created their own land. But they refused the UN and later two offers by Israel, because they want Israel removed from their midst. They tried at the founding of the state, in 1957, 1967 and 1973. Please listen to the President of Iran and many other Islamic countries when they talk to their own people. Israel first and then America and the West. They are steadily moving down Africa from the north.
    If we bury our heads in the sand, we will only have ourselves to blame. It is hard sometimes to get to the truth, as with instant news and so much of it, we rarely take the time to check what we are told.

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  • 47. At 8:18pm on 10 Jun 2008, Jon Sibbald wrote:

    In his recent visit to Israel, Bush made plenty of references to all that the USA and Israel had in common. What he didn't refer to, however, was the fact that both the US and Israel stole the land from the indigenous population and then started a campaign of ethnic cleansing.
    Only when Israel obeys UN resolutions by returning to its 1967 boundaries and only when Israel allows the return of all the many thousands of Palestinian refugees to their homeland can Israel complain about the conduct of the Hamas freedom fighters.

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  • 48. At 9:23pm on 10 Jun 2008, Steve JF wrote:

    Here are a couple of comments reported by the Community Security Trust in their 2007 anti-Semitic incident report:

    A Jewish organisation received an email that read: “You have in Israel a wonderful Nazi like killing machine (thousands of Palestinians have died or are incarcerated in camps, including Gaza and the West Bank) backed by the world’s richest Jews and America…we in the UK have had enough of Israel, we (the NUJ of which I am a member) have finally voted to boycott Israeli goods…shame on you, shame on all Jews, may your lives be cursed.”

    An organisation which campaigns against the academic boycott of Israel received an email that read: “Let me tell you that Jews command no respect and deserve no sympathy, because they are evil by nature and rotten to the core. The illegal Israeli has its base in terrorism (sic). There was no legal or moral justification for uprooting the innocent Palestinians and confiscating their land by the scum of the earth know as Jews (sic). The Jews once blessed people defied and played tricks with God turned out to be the most greedy, cunning and ungrateful one (sic)…I firmly believe that all Jews will burn in hell and in comparison Auschwitz will be like a holiday camp. It is never too late for the Jews to reflect on their misdeeds and repent
    because God is Great and Compassionate”. The email was referred by Police to the Crown Prosecution Service, who declined to prosecute the alleged sender of the email.

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  • 49. At 9:27pm on 10 Jun 2008, brijm67 wrote:

    I initially listened to this piece enraged, but I have to admire Mr Prosser's 'Chutzpah'!
    Mr Prosser states that he used to respect Britain for its free speech and 'liberal society' but will not allow us to question his governments actions. It is not as if Israel's humanitarian crimes in Palestine are a matter of debate: I do not defend the number of weapons fired into Israel, but a brief trip to Wikipedia or, heck, anywhere, will show that 8 - 10 times the number of Palestinian civilians are killed compared with Israeli civilians - or is a dispassionate reporting of what is public knowledge the 'bias' that Mr Prosser laments? This is the contradiction - a less generous man might say hypocrisy - at the centre of Mr Prosser's arguments. He states that the conflicts complexities are over-looked by a 'radical fringe'. But Mr Prosser himself simplifies matters grotesquely - he reports the only the official Israeli government view and treats any concern for Palestinian life as factually incorrect. If Mr Prosser will join with me in acknowledging the complexities of the situation then it surely follows that he is prepared to acknowledge at least some role played by Israel in the political and humanitarian nightmare that is the Middle East conflict. If he is not prepared to concede this then it seems he may have more in common with the 'radical fringe' he caricatures.
    Surely it is not the British media who have demonized Israel but Israel itself.

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  • 50. At 9:36pm on 10 Jun 2008, brijm67 wrote:

    Oops I meant 'Ron Prosor'. Ron Prosser I think was voted man of teh year for charity work in 2006. Or something

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  • 51. At 10:20pm on 10 Jun 2008, goldchrisevans wrote:

    Tom Hickey is the Brighton University philosophy lecturer and member of the Socialist Workers Party who has repeatedly moved the motion at UCU Conferences for an Israeli acadamic boycott. A lecture on the meaning of Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism was given by him at Sussex University in January 2007 under the auspices of the University's Islamic Student Society and publicised by Brighton University's Muslim Society to its members. This lecture is still available to down load from Sussex University's Islamic Student Society's website and by Video Googling "Anti-Zionism is NOT Anti-semitism ~ Tom Hickey" : It lasts about 15 minutes. I urge PM listeners to hear it.

    It is more than unfortunate that this account by Tom Hickey of Jewish history and the causes of the 19th Century growth of an aspiration of some Jews for their own homeland - i.e. "Zionism" - should have been presented to this particular audience by him. In my view, Hickey does a bad job here, due to his attempt to force all the untidy facts of all of the past 2000 years of Jewish history just into Marxist-materialist theory. Furthermore, the whole exercise - aiming to prove that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are not one and the same - is one of knocking down a straw man. Of course they are not the same, but that is not why most Jews would be furious with Tom Hickey, as he pretends here.

    In a nutshell, Hickey is saying in this lecture to young Muslims that the Jews were historically money-lenders and merchants and so they drew hatred in Europe towards themselves through economic envy.

    But if you look at the "professions" of the millions of 19th Century Jews in East Europe from census or immigration records, they mostly say "labourer" or "peddler" maybe "tailor", or "milkman" In other word, they were virtually all dirt poor - arriving in the USA or the East End of London in lice-ridden rags. Would Tom Hickey's audience of young Muslims be assumed to know this?

    Furthermore, Hickey completely ignores the history and experiences of the Jews of the Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. There were millions of them too. Of these around 750,000 were evicted peniless from their homes by hostile Muslims in the 1950s and found shelter mostly in Israel but many too, for instance, in France (from Algeria and Morocco). Shouldn't a young Muslim audience also have been reminded of their existence?

    The question that Tom Hickey needs to address is not the one he answers here so easily for his impressionable young audience of Sussex and Brighton Muslims. It is why is he focussed only on the human rights abuses committed (or so perceived) by Jews and so why does he want only to punish only them with an academic boycott? A case against Hickey for being an anti-Semite would be hard to make if he were also for an academic boycott some of the following: of China (for, say, its treatment of Tibet, but also for many other human rights abuses), of the USA (for, say, if Hickey is against the Iraq war), Russia (collapse of democratic rights and press freedoms), India (for treatment of "untouchables"), most if not all Muslim countries (treatment of women's rights, homosexuals, churches, etc.). That's all even before you talk about Zimbabwe, Darfur, Chechnya or Burma - or parts of Africa and South America, etc, etc.

    Anti-Semitism can be defined as an irrational and negative obsession with Jews. Tom Hickey - the mover of the UCU motion for an Israeli academic boycott - is negatively obsessed with Jews and his analysis of their history, if not irrational, is deeply flawed and biased. Therefore I believe that Tom Hickey can be said to be anti-Semitic.

    Anti-Zionism is not necessarily anti-Semitism. But when Anti-Zionism is suffused with the familiar arguments, symbols, historical stereotypes and purposes of Anti-Semitism, then there is a clear case to answer.

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  • 52. At 11:17pm on 10 Jun 2008, mrjamesatkins wrote:

    My idea to solve the Israel Arab problem; Israel could up-sticks and move to New Mexico or Oregon, take over a West Coast State as their promised land. They'd probably need a sea chart rather than a road map to get there but once settled in I'm sure they would find their neighbours much more friendly. We British certainly wouldn't stand in their way for this Exodus (unlike 1947).
    They could visit their old religous sites in the new palestine where I'm sure they would be welcomed as pilgrims. Of course, those existing residents of that West Coast State who don't like their State becoming a Jewish homeland could move to California - a small price to pay for Peace in our Time.
    On second thoughts, perhaps best not to trouble the Israeli ambassador or US President with this idea. They seem to be doing such a good job sorting it out without me throwing a sea chart into the equation.

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  • 53. At 11:40pm on 10 Jun 2008, akaCustardPie wrote:

    I am deeply saddened what I see so much ignorance published about the Israel/Palestine issue. Had Israel's neighbours, throughout the past 60 years, accepted the fact that Israel had been legally constituted by the international community and that both Israel and what was meant to be Palestine at that time, been allowed to develop in peace, side by side, the Plaestinian people would not be in the state they are in now.

    Through wars Israel did not start, she acquired land, which gave her some degree of greater security from the murderous intentions of her neighbours. So, when Israel won the Golan, the continuous rain of shells from the Syrian gun emplacements there, into Israeli towns and villages, ceased. To give these lands back as part of a peace deal, Israel needs the absolute assurance that there will be peace. It has happened before with Egypt when Sinai was handed back after a peace deal was signed by brave former enemies and the benefits that both countries have enjoyed, from the relatively modest degree of co-operation, have been enormous.

    Just think of the prize available to the Palestinians that a peace agreement with Israel could bring. Economic opportunities in agriculture and technology, real education for their children, who would no longer spend so much time being indoctrinated in the hatred of Israel and Jews. Israel has so much to offer it neighbours, given genuine peace. All Israel wants and has ever wanted is security and freedom from attack.

    Sadly, Iran with its friends in Hamas and Hizbollah only seem to want the destruction of Israel. They broadcast their murderous vitriol, promote shellings, suicide bombings and more against Israel and will clearly only be satisfied if Israel is no more.

    So, Israel has to continue to defend itself and, in doing so, will sometimes make mistakes, particularly when innocent civilians are hurt. Israel deeply regrets such incidents, but against an enemy which carries out much of its deadly work from the midst of the population it purports to support, what is Israel to do? When a country is under such pressure, decisions are made and actions are taken, which may be the antithesis oif everything it stands for. Israel may have done many things in war and in its own defence, which it would and should not have done, but Israelis are human and in extremis bad things happen.

    There is no nation in the world that has to endure what Israel has had to endure from its neighbours for so long and there is none that would not fight tooth and nail to survive, as Israel has done and mkust continue to do. No other nation has had to deal with implacable enemies, so consumed by hatred, for so long. Why then is there such a lack of sympathy and understanding for Israel's almost impossible situation? Why is so much criticism levelled at Israel and so little at the forces that make peace so hard to achieve. Could it be that Israel is a Jewish state?

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  • 54. At 11:49pm on 10 Jun 2008, Thunderbird wrote:

    Great idea Mr J, however what on earth would Tony Blair do?

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  • 55. At 02:04am on 11 Jun 2008, marcus5000 wrote:

    Re comments 13 and 23 respectively.

    I most certainly did not get the wrong end of the stick. Part of my point is that academic boycotts are part of the conception of academic freedom practised by Israel. Why shouldn't UCU do the same ? Perhaps, like the Palestinians, UCU feels it's a move toward a level playing field. Good for them ; another example of those great historic English values about which Mr Prosser rightly applauds, but which Israel is very far from learning and emulating.

    Re. 23. Apologies. I dont know how or why my post was repeated.

    Marcus Pfeiffer MA MD.

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  • 56. At 02:34am on 11 Jun 2008, marcus5000 wrote:

    Re: mrjamesatkins remark : oh don't be silly - surely no one could be so mindless as to just dump hundreds of thousands of foreigners into someone else's homeland and to add insult to injury, then ask those people to relocate ! Also one has to wonder if a people who accepted such a deal can have had any undertsanding of justice or history.

    But you give me an idea, inchoate as yet, but emerging as plausible : transplant the entire populations of Washington to Israel and vice versa ; the neighbouring American states would surely be tolerant and the Palestinians, they're used to that stuff.

    Marcus Pfeiffer MA MD

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  • 57. At 08:06am on 11 Jun 2008, bing1972 wrote:

    Mr Prosser, if you read this blog please note that Britain has also become a 'hotbed of radical anti west sentiment' as a consequence of the media, particularly the BBC being left unchecked to develop the 'political culture' it choses to follow, all at the expence of the taxpayer.

    However, in my experience what they are actually acheiving is resentment towards the groups and political issues they chose to 'push'. It's what you call 'in your face' reporting, it's constant and unrelenting but has been well documented.

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  • 58. At 09:29am on 11 Jun 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    CG 27,
    I just don't like it when people throw their titles around to sound important.

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  • 59. At 09:40am on 11 Jun 2008, Simon wrote:

    Custard Pie (53);
    You flanned yourself with that one I'm afraid!

    You wrote "Through wars Israel did not start, she acquired land..." and go on to name the Golan Heights, which were won by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War, started by ..... whoops! Israel, with a pre-emptive strike against Egypt.

    In consequence of that war, in which she emphatically DID fire the first shots, Israel also gained the Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem. In sum total the biggest additions to the area under its control from any of its wars.

    Lines like "Israel deeply regrets such incidents ...." are such trite diplomatic-speak that they could have been written by the Foreign Ministry and delivered by Mark Regev.

    As for your last line, suggesting that all opposition to Israel is anti-Jewish sentiment, you should be ashamed. Israel also contains many Arabs and has Arab members in parliament. 'Anti-Israeli' is NOT equal to 'anti-Jewish', nor is 'anti-Semitism', since the Arabs are also a Semitic people. To set ones face against the policy and actions of a national entity does not imply a dislike of the entire nation and all of its peoples.

    When Israeli soldiers shoot unarmed civilians, including foreign nationals, when they bomb civilian areas, contrary to their Geneva Convention obligation to protect the lives of civilians, they lose any sympathy they may have abroad.

    They claim national legitimacy from a UN resolution, but ignore UN resolutions regarding their legitimate borders and the illegality of their West bank settlements. They seem to think it acceptable to choose only those resolutions which favour them and disregard the rest. That's not the way international diplomacy should work.

    When young boys and men throwing stones during an Intifada are shot dead out of hand by its soldiers Israel can expect no compassion to come its way.

    Israel has lived under threat for so long that it does not understand the concepts of 'minimum force' or 'proportionate response', these are the principles which free liberal democracies employ in their judicial and security fields.

    It imposes collective punishment on whole areas for the criminal acts of a few, again contrary to Geneva, to which it is a signatory.

    For balance; I also deplore the violence meted out against Israel by terrorists, either equipped as suicide bombers or by indiscriminate rocket attacks from within Gaza.

    I am constantly baffled by the internecine struggles for power between factions of the Palestinian people, who seem to fall upon each other during lulls in their ongoing conflict with Israel. They seem to always have to be fighting with someone.

    I dislike the indiscriminacy of Palestinian attacks as much as those of Israel.

    I am against extra-judicial detention in my own country as much as in any other. Due process of the law is the only way to justice.

    Please join in the debate, but not just to parrot out the official line from tel Aviv. We can get that from press briefings on the news.


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  • 60. At 10:10am on 11 Jun 2008, Simon wrote:

    I'm with you on irrelevant titles. What someone does is more important than a few letters here and there.

    "In Peace, there's nothing so becomes a man,
    As modest stillnesse, and humilitie"

    Personally I think that my qualifications are irrelevant. If people want to get so serious about this radical anti-Israeli hotbed then it's high-time this thread got subverted.


    OND, HNC, BEng, BA (Open), BBC, ITV, Ch4, Sky1, VD (Scar) and Bar.

    Two 'A' levels in life and a degree from the school of hard knocks.

    Fighter of many battles, Winner of many wars, Lover of many happy women.

    Philosopher, Geometrician, Poet, Scientist, Sailor, Secret Agent, Statesman, Character Assassin, Cunning Linguist.

    Milk Tray man extraordinaire.

    Wielder of the sword of truth and justice (Whoops, Jonathan Aitken has already done that one)

    Prince with a Thousand Enemies (Mods: hang on, wasn't that El-Ahrairah in 'Watership Down')

    cont. P.94

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  • 61. At 1:21pm on 11 Jun 2008, levi9909 wrote:

    Israel is a radical state. It is unique in that it invites Jews from around the world to live there whilst banning most native non-Jews from most or all of its sovereign territory. It is a colonial settler state based on ethnic cleansing and racist laws to copper-fasten the gains of colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing and to facilitate more of the same.

    Israel has had a very easy ride in the media for 6 decades and now there has been some change. There hasn't been enough change. There are many of us, Jews and non-Jews, who believe that states should be for all of their people and not for one community arbitrarily defined by reference to the mythology of its ancestors.

    The issue for us in the UK or the west is that the running of our countries is based on enlightenment values and we are in breach of those values by allowing our governments and media to support financially, economically, militarily, diplomatically and in the propaganda sphere. We should be demanding that our countries quarantine Israel until it the Israeli Jewish settlers make amends and peace with the non-Jewish natives both outside and inside what was Palestine until 1948.

    I think the shock and bewilderment of zionists at the occasional truth slipping through the net of the media is based on two things. First, is the propaganda in their favour for so long and the other is the ideological fanaticism that blinds them to the fact that Jewish supremacy is a bad as any other ethno-religious supremacy as whilst these factors might characterise other states (always either past or in smaller measure), none receive the levels of material and ideological support from the west that Israel does.

    Of course there are other human rights abusers but Israel's existence is predicated on its human rights abuses.

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  • 62. At 1:34pm on 11 Jun 2008, vainly_here wrote:


    So academic freedom = academic boycott; not in my view.

    (59) Even Paris Match published a cartoon from one of Israel's neighbours showing "How we are going to destroy Israel." It was what they call a pre-emptive strike in 1967.

    Britain let down the Jews after the Balfour Declaration; was complicit in making "Palestine" (a name given by the Romans specifically to insult the Jews) unbalanced. Britain encouraged Arab immigration and prevented Jewish. We have a lot to answer for. And at the risk of drawing some fire, I take this opportunity to state that the true boundaries of Israel include from the Mediterranean to the Eastern border of Jordan. Thanks.

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  • 63. At 2:36pm on 11 Jun 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    WR @ 60, I hope you haven't forgotten that you probably hold a CDM medal? (Check the back of the sofa.)

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  • 64. At 2:43pm on 11 Jun 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Oh goodness, VH @ 62, about the 'true boundaries' of Israel: would you like to sort out where the true boundaries of Poland are, some decade or so? And come to that, does anyone happen to know whether there is actually any square foot of land that has been Polish throughout that country's existence?

    It's much easier for islanders to have fixed boundaries, what with the sea being impossible to build walls on and all that.

    If we start to have an argument about the historical (or legendary) origins and rights of anywhere or anyone, we are in deep, deep trouble.

    Romans go home, that's what I say! It was written on a very old wall in *The Perishers*, along with 'Bring back the groat', and it's about as relevant for the people dying in the Israel area as which little bits of bombed-out turf their great-great-great [etc] grandsires may have claimed to own.

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  • 65. At 2:44pm on 11 Jun 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    I join WR and DMcN in deploring the unnecessary quoting of qualifications and awards to sound important, even though I am important.

    The Intermittent Horse HAy, BEd, OATS, Stud (I wish!)

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  • 66. At 5:11pm on 11 Jun 2008, soudan wrote:

    Mr Prosser is disproportionate about the starvation and collective punishment of 1.5 million Gazans forced to pump 60 million tons of sewage in to the sea as Israel flouts international law. Along with the ritual humiliation, land-stripping, ethnic cleansing, child murder, and home demolition at the whim of the IDF in the service of the militant Zionists who hold sway in the 'Jewish democracy'.
    Israel's collective denial and the evocation of the Third Reich, and thus the holocaust, just won't do. That was a European crime. Jews lived in peace for centuries in the Arab countries of the middle east until the British and Europeans decided to assuage their guilt and reflect their own unconscious anti-Semitism by imposing the injustice of the Nakba.
    Mr. Prosser is wrong, the one state solution is not a hidden agenda to dismantle Israel; it is the only viable response to the contemporary reality; and the only feasible way for Israel to dismantle its shameful apartheid treatment of its Palestinian citizens -who, as amply demonstrated by Susan Nathan's compelling book 'The Other Side of Israel, are by no means 'equal' - and make amends for its many war crimes. It is the commendable liberal tradition of multicultural Britain which evokes the very protests Mr. Prosser seeks to silence with his discredited rhetoric.

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  • 67. At 5:14pm on 11 Jun 2008, richardkuper wrote:

    I found Robin Shepherd's comments particularly unhelpful. He doesn’t accuse journalists of being ‘deliberately biased’ but says that, as part of the wider society they absorb ways of talking ‘by osmosis’. And these ways of talking are ‘fanatically anti-Israel’. There may occasionally be such ways, but the examples he gives are a mixed ragbag designed to contaminate all criticism by association: his examples here were comparisons with Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa and the use of the expression ‘collective punishment’.

    Some questions to him:
    How often can he produce examples of comparisons with Nazi Germany? How many journalists have reproduced these?
    What is wrong with Chris McGreal’s two long articles in the Guardian a couple of years ago drawing analogies – and making distinctions – between apartheid South Africa and Israel some while back. Is it inherently anti-Israel to draw out such analogies as exist? Is Archbishop Tutu an antisemite for having bitterly criticised what he found recently in Gaza and drawing on his South African experiences by way of comparison?

    And what on earth is wrong with using the phrase ‘collective punishment’ to describe the blockade of Gaza today? Or the policy of house demolitions by Israel of the houses of people who have a relative who might have been involved in an attack on Israel. Or putting whole areas under curfew an ‘punishment’ for the actions of some individuals. That is precisely what collective punishment is, and Israel indulges in it on a consistent basis. Is the Israeli organisation B’tselem ‘anti-Israel’ for consistently documenting this? Or the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions? Or the Association for Civil Rights in Israel? Is it anti-Israel to make references to the Fourth Geneva Convention and to point out that Israel is in prima facie breach of numerous clauses which the convention classifies as ‘grave breaches’.

    And if Robin Shepherd is so concerned – as we in Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace are – with academic freedom why does he focus on the alleged breaches of this in a UCU resolution which the Union’s lawyers believe to be lawful while ignoring the visible and continual breaches of Palestinian academic freedom on a daily basis. Jut for the record, the UCU motion is not a boycott motion. For example, students held up on a daily basis, and often subjected to harassment, as they go from the villages to An-Najah university in Nablus and back home in the evening; or the students in Gaza studying physiology at Bethlehem university who were not once allowed to travel from Gaza to Bethlehem in their three years’ of study!
    Or the students awarded Fulbright scholarships who had them withdrawn a couple of weeks ago because they could not get permission to leave Gaza (after protest Israel was shamed into allowing them to leave). Or, or, or ... Just look at the Israeli organisation, Gisha’s website and its documentation of the lack of freedom of movement for Palestinians, particularly for Gaza’s students.

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  • 68. At 6:08pm on 11 Jun 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    I would like a distinction drawn between

    'anti-Israel' = opposed to the behaviour of the government or state of Israel

    'anti-Israeli' = opposed to any citizen of that state, of whatever religion or racial type

    'anti-Zionist' = opposed to those members of the state and government, and anybody in the world of any racial type, espousing Zionist ideals or aims

    'anti-Semitic' = opposed to all Semites, including Jews and Arabs, as a racial type and wherever they may reside

    'anti-Jew' = opposed to any individual who is of the Jewish religion, whatever his or her racial type.

    A person can be one or more of these things without being all of them. I think it would be a good thing if the terms were not used as if they all meant the same thing.

    It is my opinion that the Telegraph headline quoted above is not accurate because it uses the wrong term; I do think it possible that the general feeling in England may be anti-Israel or anti-Zionist, even among quite a number of Jews and/or Semites, but I am not convinced by the content of the artical that it justifies claiming that this is 'anti-Israeli'. After all, even some Israelis are clearly anti-Zionist, or anti-Jew, or even anti-Israel. They might even be anti-Semitic and pro-Israel, if they happened to be Israeli Jews of a non-Semitic racial type and opposed to Semites of a different religion.

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  • 69. At 10:18pm on 11 Jun 2008, david_s_daughter wrote:

    Yesterday I joined in the debate about Ambassador Prossor's views on the Daily Telegraph website - mainly a lot of ill-informed stuff supporting his view, quite depressing. Surprise, surprise, the quality of debate is a lot better on the PM blog.
    Reply to Ron Prosor
    Daily Telegraph, 10 June 2008

    If British views have changed since Ron Prosor was last in the UK, it is probably because Israel's 60 years of flouting international and humanitarian law, disdain for Palestinian rights and refusal to acknowledge any liability for the tragedy of a whole people dispossessed has become blindingly obvious to anyone not taken in by Zionist mythology. Far from being "hijacked by extremists", debate about Israel-Palestine is just starting to acknowledge the ethnic cleansing project which began in 1948 and continues today with inexorable Jewish settlement of Palestinian land and the confinement of Palestinians into shrinking ribbons of territory under military occupation.
    Boycott calls derive from the desperation of people - many of whom are long-standing campaigners for human rights all over the world - seeking a peaceful form of protest against a nation which calls itself democratic but which excercises blatant discrimination against non-Jews under its rule. Israel can no longer demand the right to be exempt from international humanitarian norms on the strength of past Jewish suffering. In lambasting the British media for showing some concern for the Palestinians, Ron Prosor is displaying his disappointment that the old Zionist trick of shutting down debate by screeching "anti-semite" is not working any more. To be a Jew does not necessarily imply being a Zionist, but so fierce is the determination of Israel's apologists to insist on representing all Jews, those of us who disagree have been obliged to set up independent organisations to explain the truth.
    Prosor's plea on behalf of academic freedom is laughable from the ambassador of a nation which has deliberately deprived a generation of Palestinians of the right to education, through bans on movement, to beatings and arrests, closures of institutions and denial of visas to those studying abroad.
    Pro-Palestinian bias is a figment of the Israeli imagination. If your average Brit does not know about home-made rockets fired from the open prison in which the Israeli army confines 1.5 million Gazan men, women and children, they are also ignorant of the 1,000 Palestinian children killed by that same army since 2000, the million uprooted olive trees, the 18,000 demolished houses, the dozens of assassinations and hundreds of arrests. Israel needs to listen to its critics, at home and abroad, and give Palestinians the recognition it so loudly demands for itself, if it is to redeem itself and put peace with justice on the agenda. If Ron Prosor wants people in the UK to know the whole truth, I say bring it on!

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  • 70. At 08:29am on 12 Jun 2008, mistermikeacib wrote:

    Writer 59 invites us to join the debate - well if he/she wishes to blame Israel for the start of the 1967 war then we have entered the realm of rewriting history. The Egyptian blockade was an act of war before the first shot was fired and with the build up of troops on its borders, destroying the Egyptian air force on the ground before it could do any damage in a "pre emptive" strike was sensible. It was the Jordanians who then attacked Israeli civilian areas.

    However I wish to support the comments of no 51 who has written more eloquently, what I put in the letter I sent last week to the General Secretary in resigning membership of UCU. It is not criticism of Israel which shows the UCU to be anti-semitic but the fact that, of all nations, it is Israel which is singled out for boycott.

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  • 71. At 11:02am on 12 Jun 2008, finchleyman wrote:

    Having read the previous 70 messages I think one can only agree with Mr Prosser! A lot of the discussion seems to be about the basic legitimacy of the state - wasn't that settled in the UN in 1948? Beyond that one sees an astonishing naivete about a complex history. Since the media is the only source of views for so many must one not assume that that media must share a part of the blame for this?

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  • 72. At 11:04am on 12 Jun 2008, Hugh wrote:


    I complained about a comment!

    31: [.... I am bored nippleless listening to the blasted Jews on Radio 4 and how hard done by they are....]

    How is that not anti-semitic?

    This was the moderator's response:

    "we have decided that it does not contravene the House Rules
    and are going to leave it on site".

    So anti-semitism is permitted on the blog?

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  • 73. At 11:24am on 12 Jun 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    PMHugh: The regulars have long been wringing their hands over the way moderation works on the Blog (we know it has nothing to do with the PM team, btw).

    I utterly agree with you about comment 31, and will now add my complaint to yours. I don't suppose the outcome will be any different, will it?

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  • 74. At 11:52am on 12 Jun 2008, Gillianian wrote:

    PMHugh and Big Sister - the comment has been removed (at least for the time being). I sincerely hope it will not re-appear.

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  • 75. At 12:07pm on 12 Jun 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    I have backed up Hugh's complaint to the mods, as may have others, and I presume that is why we can no longer see it.

    My point to them was this: that referring to jews in those terms is both racially offensive and defamatory, and asked them if they would allow through a similar comment about, let us say, muslims. I also pointed out that the adjective that was used is simply a toned down version of the 'f' word.

    I have no doubt that others have also complained. I hope the moderators do understand that such a comment is liable to cause deep offence - it does to me, and I'm not Jewish.

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  • 76. At 12:10pm on 12 Jun 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    PS to the last comment - My thanks to the mods for reconsidering their decision.

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  • 77. At 12:25pm on 12 Jun 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    PMHugh and Big Sister, 72 and 73, I hadn't and haven't seen post 31 in its entirety at all: it has been concealed for moderation every time I have been here and it is moderated at the moment. So I can only comment on PMHugh's quotation from it.

    I suppose the argument of the moderators could be that this phrase isn't anti-Jew (not anti-semitic, see my post earlier drawing that distinction!) but only anti 'those Jews on R4 who complain about how ill-done-by they are'. That's one of the more specious excuses I have ever come across for that sort of thing, but I reluctantly see that it is *possible*.

    I'd call it stinking sophistry, myself.

    Oh, by the way: does anyone know what they mean by that enigmatic final word: 'Explain'? Whom do they want to do the explaining? Because it seems to me that the people it ought to be aimed at is the moderators themselves.

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  • 78. At 12:42pm on 12 Jun 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Hugh's comment was the crux of the matter, Chris. I saw the original, and it wasn't much longer.

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  • 79. At 1:42pm on 12 Jun 2008, vainly_here wrote:

    (60) Probably the most infuriating load of bias I have ever read on the PM blog. I suggest you call on your friends in Gaza etc. and ask them to do what is necessary to stop the blockades, which are an unsuccesful attempt to prevent weapons from entering the occupied territories i.e. those Israeli territories occupied by Israel's enemies.

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  • 80. At 2:34pm on 12 Jun 2008, Simon wrote:

    Vyle (79);
    Are you sure that my 60 is "the most infuriating load of bias I have ever read on the PM blog"?

    Which of my (supposed) qualifications is it that you object to so strongly?

    Or was this a typo?


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  • 81. At 3:32pm on 12 Jun 2008, mistermikeacib wrote:

    Comment to moderator

    Could I make an amendement to my entry no. 70

    I have written "shows the UCU to be anti-semitic". I realise this is badly worded as it tars every single member with the same brush, whereas it is the people who attended conference who passed the motion - can the second paragraph be changed to

    "However I wish to support the comments of no 51 who has written more eloquently, what I put in the letter I sent last week to the General Secretary in resigning membership of UCU. It is not criticism of Israel which shows the conference of UCU to be anti-semitic but the fact that, of all nations, it is Israel which is singled out for boycott. Whilst the writer of 51 makes interesting comments about Tom Hickey, the motion was passsed by a large majority of conference delegates"

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  • 82. At 6:31pm on 12 Jun 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Message to pmHugh (and others):

    Just received the following from the mods-

    "Dear BBC blog reader,

    Further to your complaint about some of the content on a BBC blog (reference number P20674035), we have decided that it does indeed contravene the
    House Rules and have removed the offending material.

    Thank you for pointing this out to us."

    Seems a pity they couldn't have accepted the complaint from Hugh, though.

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  • 83. At 10:58pm on 12 Jun 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Big Sister @ 82, I suppose that it is right that they don't give any greater weight to PMHugh than to anyone else, but I would have thought that his complaint was valid in the first place and didn't need anyone more to back it up.

    Well, we always did know they were strange.

    By the way, I didn't need to see anything more than Hugh's quote: that was *quite* enough on its own, as far as I was concerned.

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  • 84. At 00:21am on 13 Jun 2008, el-nicko wrote:

    david_s_daughter, Right on,I could'nt have said it better.

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  • 85. At 00:35am on 13 Jun 2008, el-nicko wrote:

    Can someone tell me how to find out how many MPs are jewish?

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  • 86. At 12:18pm on 13 Jun 2008, soudan wrote:

    A lot more than are Muslim I suspect. And as for Vyle Hernia..never was someone more aptly named. Are they 'aving a laugh?' Occupied territories 'israeli territory occupied by israel's enemies' - despicable 'Greater Israel' Zionist psychosis!

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  • 87. At 12:31pm on 13 Jun 2008, vainly_here wrote:

    WR (80)

    Very sorry._ It was a mistake._ I was actually referring to 69 david_s_daughter._ That's the one el-nicko (84) admires.

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  • 88. At 2:12pm on 13 Jun 2008, vainly_here wrote:

    Psychosis? Sounds like a KGB diagnosis.

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  • 89. At 7:50pm on 17 Jun 2008, djFrank1 wrote:

    Some of the comments about Israel's action's on this blog verge on the hysterical. First and foremost, there is a conflict going on in Israel / Palestine. There may be an underdog (the Palestinians) and a more powerful nation (Israel) but it is a conflict. It is also a conflict that involves many other countries, notably the US and much of the Arab World.

    So let's criticise Israel and the Palestinians for their actions by all means, but let's not demonise one side. And that is, I am afraid what a lot of the liberal left in this country (including certain members of the UCU) are doing. And it does infiltrate certain elements in our press.

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