The Guardian and Anti-Semitism. Why I Have Reluctantly Put The Guardian on Hold!
I have never been consistently loyal to a newspaper. I almost wish I was, as there is a part of me that likes being tribal. But then I also feel I ought to raise moral objections within a tribe from time to time. So it is that, becoming more aware of my political views being in conflict with what I was reading and it's hectoring and street fighting attitude disguised as good manners, I ditched the Daily Mail at a young age and then went for The Independent, occasionally flirting with The Guardian, but mainly going with The Independent as it was straightforward and inoffensive. I do recall going back to The Guardian when The Independent called for the legalising of cannabis, but went back after a while. Of course when The Independent went strictly online, I became a full Guardianista, but at the moment that is on hold while I am reading The Times and feeling slightly dirty about it because it is owned by Rupert Murdoch, but regard that as a better alternative at present, given that otherwise I have no real problem with The Times. So why have I put The Guardian on hold?
Put simply I usually have moral reasons for buying newspapers. Morality plays a big part in why I buy them and why I stop buying them. It is exercising my vote of approval or disapproval and quite frankly I wish many others in this country had a similar attitude. It is why I was very Pro Leveson, in that I expect newspapers to be the sort of publications that would likely win Pullitser Prizes and Washington Post style stories about Watergate etc and not trashy celebrity news. Cultural snobbery? Perhaps, but again I think newspapers should and must be moral in it's outlook and follow the Reithian notion of educate, entertain, and inform, not appealling to readers' base instincts!
So, deep breath here as it pains me to say this, I think The Guardian has been lacking in morality when it comes to dealing properly with anti-semitism! I am not saying it is anti-semitic, very far from it, but it has not been tough as it should be in dealing with this profound issue!
Firstly it was the cartoons of Steve Bell on Israel and Anti-Semitism, as this angered me, and he does have form, especially this. It showed a lack of appreciation for Margaret Hodge's sense of hurt, a wilful blindness over Ken Livingstone's comments, which were roundly condemned, and a consistent tone deafness. He has not been disciplined in any way and it sometimes feels like he is the Left's version of that awful late Express cartoonist, Cummings. I appreciate political cartoonists need to be offensive and provocative, but I do wonder where the line is!
But lately I have had enough. The articles criticisng Israel in a certain way. Not seeming to fully accept that, while the attacks on Palestinian territory have been vile and brutal in parts, it has gone both ways, and this reminding me that I am not being foolish and simply reacting
There is much to praise The Guardian for, it has many fine journalists, but it does not seem to be even handed, and equally not treating the anti-semitism issue seriously enough. It is not enough to not be anti-semitic, one has to criticise anti-semitism where possible, and while I am happy to buy The Guardian in the future, when it is somewhat more sensible in it's approach here, I am reluctantly putting my purchase on hold, and I think they will find I am not alone