Comments policy

We hope for many comments on Engage posts and very much appreciate the time our readers put into adding them. However, comments will be moderated because of our area of interest and the nature of our campaign, which can make for difficult decisions about what and what not to publish.

Alongside our support for free expression (which in any case is afforded by the Web) we are running an anti-racist campaign against antisemitism. So, we can only allow our site to be used to advance racist, ignorant or bigoted arguments if we can use those arguments as occasions to make our own response. Ideally we would always do this and we wouldn’t censor anything – but we don’t always have the time. We understand that such arguments can be made with good intentions and in good faith. However because of time, and because these arguments can become repetitive, we sometimes decide to refuse the comment.

These kinds of challenges are elegantly outlined by Ben Davies, moderator at the New Statesman, on his blog post No Room For Bigots.

“One of the things that annoys me most though is the failure to see – or to admit to seeing – the weakness in one’s own argument. You can always tell when a leader is past his or her sell by date because they start to believe their own bull …Equally we have commenters who relentlessly push the same world view at any opportunity. Believe me it’s begun to get a little tedious in some cases especially if they constantly accuse you of being part of an SIS plot or, in another case, unwittily insult fellow contributors – over and over and over again.

But all of this is part of the territory and comments can also be extremely intelligent, interesting and funny too.

What isn’t funny, intelligent or interesting is the vileness that appears in our comments section when we run anything to do with subjects like Israel/Palestine, the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, the division of Cyprus – I could go on.

So having published an article to mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht and wasted far too much of our time on trying to moderate the comments I’ve switched off your right of reply. I’m not interested in providing an outlet for revisionist views of what happened in the Holocaust – especially when they blame Jewish people for the climate from which National Socialism sprang.

Equally I’m not interested in being a platform for extremist Zionists who scarcely conceal their racism towards their Arab neighbours and who belittle other victims of Hitler’s vile regime.”

This basically is our position. Engage moderators may:

  • refuse to publish a comment (so do save a copy)
  • delete part of a comment (if we do, we will be transparent)

if we find it is:

  • racist or made in an irresponsible way with regards to racism
  • humiliating, insulting or belittling (although we may sympathise with what induced this bout) in the absence of any other substance
  • repetitive
  • self-indulgent in inflammatory ways (although, again, we may sympathise)
  • sock-puppeting (talking to yourself under multiple identities in a manner empty of Socratic merits)
  • making unsubstantiated claims  of a defamatory or vexatious nature

If we can find time, we will contact you on any email address you leave to explain our decision – but we can’t promise to do this.

In addition, please be aware that WordPress allows us to see the I.P. address of any commenter, which may narrow down or reveal your identity.

One Response to “Comments policy”

  1. Todd Gitlin Says:

    I appreciate Robert Fine’s writing on the demonization of Israel–eminently worthy of the sharpest criticism for the Occupation–as if it were exclusive among egregious human rights violators in the Middle East. –I should add that I support boycotts of goods PRODUCED BY ISRAELIS ON THE WEST BANK. Their target is precise.


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