Press Watch 1: Guardian Cif-er – “Suicide bomb” Tony Blair

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    9th February, 2010

    “anti-war warriors out for a good hanging”

    If you thought it was a little OTT of me to say the above at the previous post, here’s something to chew on from Cif Watch, a site which monitors antisemitism on The Guardian.

    Advocating the blowing up of Tony Blair

    Here’s a comment from the recent Avi Shlaim thread from another gentle sandal wearing Guardian reader.

    I do hope that someone in the Guardian had the good sense to report this to the police.



    So what? Clearly, Tony Blair is viewed in the same way to Guardian commenters (and writers, in the main) as are Jews.

    Why say that he should be suicide bombed?

    A multitude of reasons, but partly that the typical Cif commenter thinks Blair understands and even sympathises far too much with the Israeli cause on Israel/Palestinian issues.  As the Quartet’s Middle East special envoy this will never do! Strap on your suicide belt, fellow-jihadists, this Cif commenter says. Blow him up!

    You might ask in this Free Speech land – “so what’s new?”

    That comment has now been removed, btw:


    3 Feb 2010, 9:31AM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.

    This kind of hate and incitement of murder on web comment pages and particularly on blogs is NOT new in recent years, and particularly as regards Mr Blair. I have saved pages of them on file,  if the authorities want to ask me about them.

    But it is new in historical terms. Until recent years people in this country have never called for politicians or anyone, even our sworn enemies, come to that, to be killed.

    Why is it allowed?

    And who are these would-be assassins? Infiltrators and those who do not trust western politics or democracy.

    I’m afraid our ignoring of this is political correctness gone mad, as well as the heavy hand of the Human Rights Act. (This is applied to the inhuman as well as to you and me.)

    Many of these inciters are on the “peace-loving” anti-war but often pro-summary justice Left. They KNOW that they will never again hold power after Blair’s shifting of their ideology to the unreachable edges of the political  Left.


    We should have clamped down on this when the first incitement to violence comment was published.

    And even this one  – “Blair is a war criminal”. And this – “Blair is a liar”. I was always under the impression that this was libellous.

    But in this constantly derided (by the Guardian and others) “police state”, we let it go. Free speech an’ all that.

    Now all sorts of previously considered balanced people and publications repeat these lies and libellous statements without compunction. And so they encourage the mad, often infiltrating, imho, to vent their spleen.

    Aside: How many have been charged with “incitement to murder”? See here, parliamentary questions, Feb 2006. NOTE – a diminishing, not rising number (1994- 2004). By 2004, both the numbers prosecuted and the numbers found guilty were on a markedly downward trajectory. WHY? When there are so many personal incitements against named politicians online? Or do politicians not count as being capable of being incited against? In the same way as they are not to be thought of as “innocent until proven guilty”?

    Be warned: ~(to paraphrase) “First they came for the politicians…”

    I’d like to put on record my disgust at this continuing online incitement. I would also be disgusted if it was said at all, not even as against Blair repeatedly, against Gordon Brown, David Cameron or Nick Clegg.

    The papers have refused to chase up or report this kind of comment to the Police. The government, although they must have been monitoring the internet (if not, why not?) have not followed up with charges of incitement.

    In my opinion, they could have done so under the Terrorism Act 2006. Excerpt:

    Encouragement to Terrorism
    “This makes it a criminal offence to directly or indirectly incite or encourage others to commit acts of terrorism. This will include the glorification of terrorism, where this may be understood as encouraging the emulation of terrorism.”

    Or does inciting to assassinate a western politician by suicide bomb or a bullet to the head, because he stood up  against international terrorism not qualify as “terrorism”?


    The Guardian Cif comments are not monitored as are those at most of the other mainstream papers. Thus, nasties like this are allowed to stand for some time until a moderator removes them.

    It’s a toss-up to decide which is better. The Guardian – ‘publish then delete’, or the Daily Mail’s ‘monitor then cherry-pick’.

    In some ways the Cif approach is at least being more honest. From the Daily Mail it’s hard to get the impression that anyone in the entire world has a good word to say about Blair. Thus it spreads a destructive narrative, thus, imho, giving the nod to violence.

    The Mail NEVER, but NEVER publishes me, btw. I wonder why not?

    It must have been something (positive) I said.

    About Cif Watch

    Welcome to CiF Watch, dedicated to monitoring and exposing antisemitism on the Guardian newspaper’s ‘Comment is Free’ blog.

    What is ‘Comment is Free’?

    ‘Comment is Free’ is the online home of the Guardian and Observer that carries articles designed to engender debate and discussion through a post-moderated comment thread. The Guardian is one of the most influential media outlets in the world and the ‘Comment is Free’ blog is among the most popular blogs on the internet.

    In the 2008 Webby Awards for the best political blog, ‘Comment is Free’ came in as runner-up second only to the Huffington Post while in the 2009 Webby Awards, the, the platform upon which ‘Comment is Free’ resides, won the category of best newspaper ahead of

    The Guardian newspaper is a respectable and mainstream news outlet. How is it possible that there is antisemitism on ‘Comment is Free’?

    Despite the fact that the Guardian is a mainstream news outlet, it has allowed ‘Comment is Free’ to become a platform where antisemitism thrives.

    Antisemitism manifests itself most frequently on the section of ‘Comment is Free’ known as “CiF Middle East”.  There Israel is the subject of regular rebuke and moral opprobrium in a manner quite out of proportion to any other country in the Middle East or the world for that matter.

    Contributors to ‘Comment is Free’ regularly engage in one-sided anti-Israel diatribes that fuel what inevitably devolves into an anti-Jewish hate-fest on the comment thread, through the invocation of antisemitic memes and tropes. Coupled with this is a post-moderation policy, relying by and large on users to flag abusive comments, that consistently fails to delete large numbers of antisemitic comments (see CiF Commenters) despite in many cases the report of abuse. To add insult to injury, in some instances the moderators delete the comments of users who attempt to refute antisemitic comments without deleting the antisemitic comment itself.

    The Community Security Trust, a British charity established to ensure the safety and security of the Jewish community in the UK, in both its 2007 and 2008 reports on Antisemitic Discourse in Britain, singled out ‘Comment is Free’ as one of the main purveyors of antisemitic hate in the mainstream media.

    Moreover, in Antisemistism on Guardian Comment is Free Jonathan Hoffman authored a 57-page report dedicated to exposing examples of antisemitism on ‘Comment is Free’ which was submitted to the UK Parliamentary Committee Against Antisemitism.

    In short, ‘Comment is Free’ has become a platform for the expression of antisemitic  hate-speech and the proliferation of such speech in such a widely respected mainstream news outlet lends credence to such extreme views, poisoning the public debate. As Andre Oboler eruditely pointed out in  Online Antisemitism 2.0, “[w]hat in the mainstream-media era was clearly viewed as offensive is now so prevalent that it is increasingly gaining acceptability.”  As we know all too well from experience, acts of antisemitic violence are always a step or two behind the vilification of the Jews in the print and online media.

    How do you determine if something is antisemitic?

    We use the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism to determine whether an article, editorial or post on ‘Comment is Free’ is antisemitic.

    The EUMC Working Definition is the most widely used definition of antisemitism and has been relied upon by the UK All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism and the US State Department.

    Please visit How We Define Antisemitism for more on the Working Definition.

    By labelling something antisemitic are you not shutting down debate on what is perhaps a legitimate subject of debate?

    Absolutely not. We support vigorous and open debate about Jewish related issues, including issues of controversy, as long as such debate does not violate the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism.

    In particular, it bears emphasizing that we support open and honest debate about the Israel/Palestinian conflict including harsh criticism of Israel as long as the criticism of Israel is similar to that leveled against any other nation of the world.

    What is CiF Watch’s Mission Statement?

    We at CiF Watch hold the Guardian directly responsible for openly facilitating and encouraging such a platform in which antisemitism can thrive.

    As one of the most popular mainstream news sources in the world, the Guardian has an elevated responsibility to ensure that it presents a balanced picture of the Israel/Palestinian conflict in accordance with prevailing journalistic standards and to implement a zero-tolerance moderation policy to identify and remove antisemitism from its comment threads.

    By documenting and exposing antisemitism on ‘Comment is Free’, we at CiF Watch are committed to holding the Guardian accountable for its complicity in spreading hate-speech. Specifically, we demand that the Guardian adequately confront and address the problem of antisemitism on ‘Comment is Free’ by taking, at the minimum, the following actions:

    • cease with the obsessive focus on the Israel/Palestinian conflict in CiF Middle East;
    • present a more balanced perspective on the Israel/Palestinian conflict – rarely do we ever hear the perspective of moderate Israelis and Palestinians;
    • permanently ban users that consistently post antisemitic comments to ‘Comment is Free’ and permanently delete their comments from all archives;
    • do not delete the comments of those that refute antisemitism on ‘Comment is Free’ unless the antisemitic comment itself and all subsequent references thereto are deleted in their entirety;
    • do not rely on users to flag antisemitic comments (which disproportionately falls on Jewish commenters) – this is squarely the responsibility of the Guardian moderators and if the task is too burdensome due to the volume of comments, either employ more moderators or implement a pre-moderated comment thread;
    • ensure that moderators are not exercising bias for either side of the conflict in the exercise of their duties;
    • employ the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism as the standard for identifying antisemitism and ensure that moderators understand what constitutes antisemitism and in particular that certain criticism of Israel is antisemitic; and
    • appreciate the pain and suffering that antisemitism on ‘Comment is Free’ causes to Jews and non-Jews alike and its poisonous influence upon public discourse.

    Who is CiF Watch?

    We are a grassroots, unaffiliated group that is neither left wing nor right wing, religious nor secular, that is dedicated to exposing antisemitism on ‘Comment is Free’.

    Yes but this does not tell us who you are.

    Due to intimidation suffered by those that have spoken out about the very issues that we raise, we have regretfully decided to remain anonymous. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation points outs “anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse”. As the much cited  United States Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission states:

    “Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.”

    How can we get in contact with you?

    If you wish to contact us “offline”, please email us at We welcome your comments and suggestions.

    Check back frequently at CiF Watch for the latest!

    Cif Watch’s list of anti-semitic Guardian Cif commenters

    This from Hussein Al-alak, of th so-called “Iraq Solidarity Campaign” says (my boldings):

    “The mass murder of one million Iraqi�s, the creation of five millions orphans, the destitution of millions of refugees, along with the forced unemployment of millions, under the banner of “de-Baathification”, is not even worthy of a trial at the Hague but of direct justice at the hands of the Iraqi people.

    Mr Al-alak refers to this article from the Communist Party of Great Britain with this thought by Ben Lewis:

    “Frankly, following his [Blair’s] utterly disdainful display at the Chilcot inquiry, many would not bat an eyelid if he was on the receiving end of a bullet to the head. But this is not the point. Focussing on him as a ‘war criminal’ who must be jailed is still playing within the rules of a bourgeois order that is rigged from the outset – skewed in favour of their property interests.”

    “Not the point”, is it?  Are you sure, Mr Lewis?

    And “direct jusice”, Mr Al-alk? How direct? Towards whom? Your followers in Iraq, insurgency groups- innocents all – are already taking direct justice against the troops who are there to free Iraq from decades of dictatorship. Presumably this is good news as far as you are concerned, as it is to the Socialist Workers Party who also want the our soldiers to be defeated in Iraq.

    Or are you suggesting action even more direct than that?

    In my opinion, at least where they are UK-based these people should be charged with incitement to murder.

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    6 Responses to “Press Watch 1: Guardian Cif-er – “Suicide bomb” Tony Blair”

    1. Ross Kelly Says:

      Did you ever consider the possibility that it might be libelous to say that Blair is not a liar?

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        You are funny, Mr Kelly. In the same way that in Germany holocaust denial is against the law?

        Of course the holocaust HAPPENED. Whereas Blair, until charged, tried and convicted is as innocent as you and me. Well, me anyway.

        But here’s a thought – free and with my compliments. The next Daily Maul headline.

        ‘BLAIR IS A WAR CRIMINAL’ Denial to be outlawed in UK!

        In fact if I wasn’t rather busy right now, I might write it myself.

    2. Press Watch 2: Cif Watch monitors and records anti-Israel & anti-Jew comments « Tony Blair Says:

      […] The Cif moderators are quick at removing the “Blair is/was the best PM we ever had” and “And now he’s gone, don’t we miss him?” comments, while they invariably leave the “to The Hague with the murdering WC” &  sometimes even the “string ‘im up” incitements, just for the flavour. This one, thankfully, WAS removed. […]

    3. ‘Success in Iraq is No Accident’. Yes, SUCCESS! « Tony Blair Says:

      […] some of our filmmakers, book-writers, journalists, peacenik nutters, commenters and political analysts continue to hound Tony Blair (though not George W Bush to anything like the […]

    4. The schadenfreude election that the press had coming « Tony Blair Says:

      […] Press Watch 1: Guardian Cif-er – “Suicide bomb” Tony Blair […]

    5. Schlow Mo Shun Says:

      Blair has never lied!
      (Jewish) Israelis have never committed terrorist acts!
      Similarly, US Marines, Seals etc have never volunteered to be, and become “suicide bombers!”
      The British didn’t invent, name or use modern concentration camps against against self professed “chosen people” Boers in the South African Wars.
      Israel, Britain and the USA governments never supported the “Apartheid” governments.
      Circumspect these statements and feel fulfilled. Your mother is proud of you but secretly …….

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