Just before New Year, Comment is Free published an article by a certain John Whitbeck.
Whitbeck is a 9/11 troofer who was suspended from the practice of law in the state of New York for four years for his machinations on behalf of Ghaith Pharaon, the Saudi financier who brought down the BCCI bank in 1991.
The piece was an object lesson in the manner in which antisemitic themes of Jewish world control are shoehorned into the Israel/Palestine disputes:
Western politicians and the western media customarily apply the term “international community” to the United States and whatever countries are willing to publicly support it on a given issue, and apply the term “rogue state” to any country that actively resists Israeli-American global domination.
By its slavish subservience to Israel – as reflected yet again, both in the absence of a single brave voice raised against this new House resolution and in the Obama administration’s recently rejected offer of a huge military and diplomatic bribe to Israel in reward for a mere 90-day suspension of its illegal colonisation programme – the United States has effectively excluded itself from the true international community (redefined to refer to the great majority of mankind) and become a true rogue state, acting in consistent and flagrant contempt of both international law and fundamental human rights.
One might hope that the United States could still pull back from the abyss and recover its own independence, but all signs are pointing in the opposite direction. It is a sad ending for a once admirable country.
The CST Blog made the point well, here. Mark Gardner also emailed the Guardian’s Readers’ Editor:
Can you please explain to me how this notion that the USA is subservient / slavishly subservient to Israel is any different in its rationale to the old antisemitic myth about Jews running the world through domination of politicians, finance and media?
I do not mean this as a joke, although it does read like a sick joke when it appears upon the website of a publication such as yours.
The Guardian has now responded by editing the piece. Mark Gardner says:
Now, following direct conversation between CST and the Guardian Readers’ Editor, Comment is Free has amended Whitbeck’s original piece. The word “slavish” has been removed from “slavish subservience to Israel”; and the phrase “Israeli-American global domination” has been entirely removed. The new Comment is Free piece is here and carries this at its end
This article was amended on 17 January 2011. Language that is inconsistent with the Guardian’s editorial policy has been removed.
It remains CST’s opinion that the words “subservience” and “subservient” should also have been deleted. Nevertheless, this has been a worthwhile and constructive discussion between CST and the Guardian Readers’ Editor; in which he has shown a sincere desire to grapple with the complexity of old Jewish conspiracy theories and contemporary anti-Israel slurs, in particular the relatively widespread (and therefore deeply worrying) notion at the heart of this issue – whereby Israel is somehow deemed to run America.
I disagree that this has been a victory.
Let’s start from first principles. Whitfield clearly believes that the USA has lost its “independence” to Israel, and is “slavishly subservient” to it. That’s his view. I don’t think that the Guardian should be allowed to disguise the fact that it has allowed this man to spill his “Israel Controls America” filth all over its pages. However, by editing out those give-away phrases, that’s precisely what they have done.
In fact, they’ve given Whitfield – and all those watching him – a little lesson in what you’re allowed to get away with in polite society. “Subservient” is OK. “Slavish”, however, isn’t. Next time, it will be a little easier for Whitfield, and others of his ilk, to sanitise their views for ‘liberal’ broadsheets.
This is the way it has been for some time. You can’t presently get away with saying that Jews rule the world by proxy, that they delight in the killing of children, that they poison wells, and that they control the media and the banking system. However, it is absolutely fine to say that about “Zionists” or Israel. It is a simple trick, and one which most racists have learnt.
I would much rather that the Guardian had left the article unamended. The fact that they haven’t taken it down shows that the Guardian really has no problem with Whitfield as a contributor, or his views. The retention of the word “subservient” indicates that the Guardian’s objections are no more than cosmetic.
At the very least, I would like to see the Readers’ Editor, Chris Elliott, explain the decision to edit this article in this manner. I would also like to know how the Guardian came to publish an article of this sort, from a man like Whitbeck, and whether they’ll take more articles from him.
I would also like the Guardian to state, in its footnote to the amended piece, which words it removed, and why.