Saturday 18 April 2020

Keep calm and carry on

The mini-drama that’s being acted out in the Spectator has a parallel relevance to this blog (my position here) 

Stephen Daisley is a divisive figure in the Spectator. The Marmite kind of divisive.

Here we have a comparatively niche article about the fortunes and misfortunes of two English language Jewish newspapers, The Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News. They’ve both gone into liquidation, but some kind of rescue plan seems to be in the offing.

The below-the-line discussion ignores the content of the piece and coagulates instead around the justification for publishing such a ‘minority interest’ issue in the Spectator. And, predictably, it has brought a few unpleasant realities out of the woodwork. 

Personally, I find the journalism in the Jewish News (in our sidebar) a little bland. Also, rather error-prone, but it sometimes comes up with some valuable insights.

The ‘best’ comment (according to Disqus’s “Best” league table) is from ‘ugly-fish’  - ugly by name - ugly by nature, maybe.

 Here it is:
“It's obviously a subject very close to the writer's heart, but why is he banging on about this in The Spectator? I and, I suspect, many other Speccie readers don't give a f*ck about The JC.”

That’s the first of several, to the effect that 
 'Jewy stuff like that has no business in the Spectator. No-one cares.'

So, should I conclude that the Spectator readership is mildly antisemitic? At the time of writing, out of the 13 comments,  seven support ugly fish,  three are against, and the rest seem indifferent or halfway between.

I’m not suggesting that Jewish issues deserve Special Status. I can easily imagine similar, or much more virulent responses if, say, the Spectator featured an article about some Muslim related media organ going out of business. 

It’s merely that in the current climate - rampant antisemitism everywhere - it hits a sore spot.

So,  with regard to this blog. 

I realise that antisemitism on the BBC - often in the guise of anti-Israel reporting, but not exclusively - coupled with its aggressively pro-Islam angle - is a far more serious problem than a few negative responses to articles by Stephen Daisley. 

The BBC has a wider reach and a much bigger influence on public opinion, which ultimately affects government foreign policy, so my focus on antisemitism and anti-Zionism has a rightful place on a blog about BBC bias.

I won’t pretend that it’s not dispiriting to be met with comparative indifference to my ‘Israel” posts, but as long as this blog exists, I’ll do what I do, and I hope Stephen Daisley keeps doing what he does too. 


  1. It may not be indifference but mild fear.

    I never post on your Jewish related articles because you know more than I do, you've read more than I have and your understanding of Jewish history is superior to mine.

    My family were kicked into Europe during the Russian pogroms, but it was decided at some point in the 1900's that the kids would be brought up Christian.
    That effort fizzled out in the 70's, so we're all non religious with Jewish heritage.

    I spent 3 months in Israel in 1987 working on a Moshav on the Israel Jordan border watching tracer bullets fly about.
    I read your articles to learn. I listen to lefties too. I think most lefties don't quite get the picture, and most of them don't know anything about the six day war. I don't post because I have nothing sensible to offer, not because I'm indifferent.

  2. I'm with you Anon, well put. "I read your articles to learn."

  3. Thank you. Much appreciated.

    It’s reassuring that the ‘paucity’ of comments doesn’t necessarily signify lack of interest in Israel/Jewish related topics.

    You don’t need 'specialised knowledge' to express ‘interest’ though. (As these two comments demonstrate.) So thanks again.


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